Outside New Ross we managed to scrounge a sandwich from a kindly lady, but by now it was evident that if we were to make it home, we needed some kind of transport and the solution presented itself in the form a bicycle propped up against a wall on the outskirts of New Ross.
We took it in turns sitting on the crossbar until we managed to “borrow” another bike in Waterford. The evening descended but we decided to pedal all night and as it turned out, it was a wise decision.
Just after dark a motor car passed us, and shortly afterwards we heard my elder sister calling our names. She, her boyfriend and my father had set out to look for us. We did return to the school, but only to collect our belongings, having convinced our parents that under no circumstances would we stay there.
On the way back, we called in on the woman who had given us the food and my father gave her the princely sum of five shillings (25p), a fair amount in those days. Thanks to the Chief of Police, the bicycles were returned to the owners and the whole affair was forgotten. We later took up residence in Middleton College, in Co. Cork, a school which we attended as boarders for almost two years. But then came 1939 and with it, the declaration of war. My father in his wisdom, or maybe out of patriotism, decided to move us all back to England.
We 'borrowed' a bike like this one
Eric had left the college before me because he had accepted a cadetship with a firm of shipping, T & J Harrison, that ran a service mainly to the West Indies and the USA. He left to join his first ship shortly after we had moved to Manchester, where my father had
joined a large chemical and engineering works. It was the first time in seventeen years that Eric and I had been separated.
The Harrison line ships were famous for being named after trades and professions, such as the Herdsman, the Barrister, the Diplomat, etc.