My mam worked in a local corner shop and had persuaded the owner to give me a job delivering groceries so that I could earn some pocket money. She was a bit worried that my wellies would become entangled in the pedals of the grocery bike and wanted me to wear shoes but I already passed my cycling proficiency test in wellies and so had plenty of confidence.
The bike in question was very large with a metal basket over the front wheel and when ladened with a cardboard box of groceries, was a great deal heavier than myself. It was hard holding it up never mind riding it. I placed the bike against the shop window and climbed on to the saddle leaning against the glass whilst the grocer lifted the box into the front basket. I then launched myself off into the road aiming the front wheel in the general direction of the delivery address. Luckily there were not many car drivers for me to scare as I struggled crazily with the massive handlebars desperately trying to keep balance.
It was on the first bend I realised that the bike designers had never delivered groceries themselves. The basket was welded to the front part of the main frame and when I turned the front wheel to go left, the basket kept going straight ahead, causing the bike and me to meet the road in a tangled mess.. The contents of the box were strewn across the road along with my wellies which were covered in smashed eggs, milk, and what I thought was blood, but turned out to be a broken bottle of tomato sauce.
With help I managed to get the bike upright and stuff all the groceries back in, keeping the carton of broken eggs near the bottom. I then had to push the bike up the hill to the customer’s house. I was lucky as they had two grown up sons who came out and helped me on the last section, they lifted the box out of the basket into the house and even gave me a shilling tip. I was long gone before they reached the eggs. Luckily they hadn’t noticed the egg yolk running down my wellies.
I must have impressed the store owner as he gave me another job later that week. He had a few thousand leaflets printed and wanted me to go round the houses putting a leaflet through each letterbox, and for that I was paid seven shillings and sixpence.
I started out fine but after a few streets I was getting slower and it was becoming dark, and I had made no impression on the pile of leaflets. So with cunning logic I decided to bury them on some waste land near the railway line. I went to sleep dreaming of what I was going to buy with my wages. The next morning as I walked to school there were lots of leaflets blowing around the streets, I was horrified to see large bulldozers digging up the waste land to build new houses. My attempts to gather them up proved futile but I like to think the wind sent them to people’s houses, that must have been the case because I heard no more about it and bought a plastic skeleton with the money I felt I had earned in the end.