God and ASDA

Stories and thoughts: past, present and future

18 to 20

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I’ve got a lovely warm feeling, just like when you’ve just drunk a Cup-a-Soup on a cold day – all lovely inside. Why? Well, I’ve got two people who’ve read my Blog. TWO PEOPLE!! Mind you, I did have to sit and tell them what a wonderful Blog it is – not really the way to do it, but at least they’re waiting for the next instalment. Now I know how J.K. Rowling felt after her first Harry Potter book sold millions.

So, onward and upward.

After trying both, working in an office seemed to me to be the better alternative to working in a shop – at least in an office you get to sit down all day!

It’s amazing, looking back now that I’m a Christian, to see how God’s hand has been working in my life. I used to say it was “coincidence” but I now realise it was “God’s influence”.

On my way to work I had to pass the Royal Air Force Recruitment Centre and I found myself thinking what an interesting life it might be. There was no history in our family of great military careers or derring-do in any campaign or conflict – and I found out they needed typists!! So, to cut a short story even shorter, I joined up in 1961. It was much easier then to join any of the armed services, but sadly, numbers have declined in recent years since the three Services have suffered from drastic cut-backs.

The date for my Basic Training at R.A.F. Spitalgate arrived and, clutching my travel warrant to Grantham I waved goodbye to my family and I was on my way.


But another shock awaited me on my arrival. (You’ll find a few more of these as we go along!). On the train journey, I had met up with a couple of other girls who were bound for Grantham, too. We had all been told that transport would meet us at the station on our arrival.

Now I’m a person who believes that if someone says they’re going to meet you, I expect to be met. When we arrived at our destination there wasn’t a soul about on the platform, so we decided to go into the restaurant and have a cuppa while we waited. We sat for a few minutes getting to know each other when suddenly, World War 3 broke out. A female corporal came in and told us in no uncertain terms what it meant to keep Her Majesty’s personal waiting while we drank tea. Did we think it was a Garden Party? Should she call us Ma’am? Sudden thoughts of “What have I done?” then “I want my Mum” came rushing into my head. It seems the coach had been waiting a little way down the road, seeing no-one come out of the station they returned to base without us. Oh, my goodness, what a great start!! It could only get better. Only six weeks to go!

Woman Holding Decorative Tray with Espresso Cups

And, of course, it did. At first we had to be knocked into shape, learn how to obey orders, iron our uniforms, march, run (how I hated the running), and the dreaded P.E. wasn’t quite as dreadful as at school. I actually loved my time there. On passing out (finishing the course, not fainting!) I gained my first rank because I had already had experience in my chosen RAF career. Then came Trade Training. I was now a Leading Aircraftwoman.

It was awfully decent of the chaps at Air Ministry to locate the secretarial training on a camp near one of my aunties, so I was able to spend several weekends there instead of staying on camp. Life was much more relaxed and this course would last for 12 weeks.

Have you ever learnt how to do something, then have someone try to ”un-learn” you? The RAF way of setting out letters, for instance, is like nothing I ever did in “civvy street”. But I battled on and finally, after my 12 weeks, passed with distinction and became a Senior Aircraftwoman. WOW!!


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