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chapter 2 jason

Jason was only eighteen on the outbreak of the Second World War. He signed up for the army immediately. He lived in a small mining town in northern England. The army could have refused him, just like his old schoolmates because mining coal was a reserved occupation and important for the war effort. It was not something women could do instead.
However, they must have seen something different in him. It may have been his intelligence and his handsome good looks, but he was spared the usual army training.
He learned how to use a gun, he did fitness training and then, he was sent to spy school. There, he learned how to speak Arabic, amongst other things, then he was sent to Egypt.
Exactly what he did there was top secret. Only Jason knew what he had done, suffice to say, it involved getting information from the locals, infiltrating underground groups who hated the Germans and recovering ancient relics from hidden places.
When his work was done there, he was sent to occupied Paris to do similar work there. While he was there, he met a girl called Marie. (French pronunciation, long A, rolled R and short IE).
She worked in a bakery during the day, but when she was not in the shop she was a member of the French Resistance. Before the war, the bakery had been a patisserie, but during a time of hardship and struggle, people wanted basic bread not fancy indulgences, so that’s what they had to make.
After working on several missions together, Jason fell in love with Marie.
Even when he returned to Blighty, they continued to keep in tough as best they could.

Jason’s next posting was in Japanese occupied China. He found it more difficult to blend in there, eventually had to come home after a gunshot wound to his buttocks.*

After the war, Jason returned home, but continued to write to Marie. He had to spend over a year at a far off country hospital recovering from his physical and mental injuries.
He got a job at the nearest pit. It was considered a good responsible job on the surface and was paid a reasonable wage in comparison to the miners who went underground. He had to inspect and maintain the pump that kept the water out of the mine. He worked short shifts, seven days a week, no matter what the occasion, or the weather. He had to check the pump. If it failed, other men’s lives were at risk.
Eventually, Marie came to England and married Jason. They lived in what was (in a time of shortages and rationing) a nice Victorian end terrace. It had a little garden at the front, surrounded by a low wall. The railings that had once been on the wall had been cut down and melted to help with the war effort. Marie grew a few flowers there to brighten up their drab world. There was an old stable block on the land to the side of the house. There was a family run funeral directors next door. They used the stables to keep their funeral horses.
Out the back, there was a brick yard, shared between three houses. It was surrounded by a high brick wall, with a gate that led into the back lane. Along the back wall was another series of outbuildings. Each household had it’s own outside toilet (or ‘netty’) and a coal bunker.
Most visitors would use the back door as the entrance. They would not knock, they’d just open the door and shout ‘cooeee’! Only the vicar or traveling salesmen used the front door.
The back door led straight into the scullery. A tiny area that housed a pantry, gas cooker and oven and a primitive washing machine with a mangle on the top. There was only a cold water tap. Hot water was provided by a separate boiler that was a recent addition. Prior to that, all hot water was provided by the range in the sitting room.
The sitting room was where the family lived and did all their activities. There was a large coal fire that had to be laid and lit every morning. In front of that was an upholstered chair for Jason and a small 2 seater settee. There was a home made rug in front of the fire, but the rest of the room just had polished wood on the floor.
Underneath the window was the dining table. Only one leaf of the table was open most of the time. The chairs were squeezed around it and doubled up as extra seating when the settee was full.
It was a dark, cluttered room, with only one window, yet this was where they spent most of their time. The reason being, it was the only room where the fire was always on and therefore it was the warmest in the house. The walls were painted a dull bottle green with brown woodwork.
The hallway to the front door was stark and bare with no carpets and the same green and brown decor that continued up the stairs. The stairs had a carpet runner and stair rods holding it in place.
There was a second reception room off the hall. This was the most luxurious room in the house. Glass and mahogany cabinets showed off the best China. There was a room sized carpet square, a piano, a three seater sofa and a roll top desk. There were pictures on the walls and ornaments on the mantelpiece. However, the fire was only lit on special occasions, such as Christmas, or for special visitors. Without the fire on and without central heating, the ‘front room’ was perishing even on the sunniest of days. It faced north, so it never received and direct sunlight.
Upstairs, there was no bathroom and no heating. There was a fireplace in each of the two bedrooms, but they only got lit when someone was poorly enough to have to stay in bed.

Jason and Marie has two children within two years of each other. John and William, who got called Bill. They shared the second bedroom.

Marie would have liked to go back to work after having the children, perhaps open her own bakery once rationing was finally over. But there was too much to do to run the household. There was no fridge, so she had to shop every day. The coal fire gave off a lot of black dust, so she had to dust every day and clean the windows. The washing machine she had did nothing more than agitate the clothes. She had to attach a hose to the cold tap to fill the drum. Once the clothes were washed, she had to fish each item out of the scalding hot water with a pair of wooden tongs and then run it through the mangle to get rid of excess water, before hanging it up to dry. The following day was taken up with ironing, using a flat iron, heated up on the fire.

Sunday night was bath night. The tin bath would be brought in front of the fire and they’d take their turns getting washed in it, reusing the bath water.

*astute readers will be able to make some sims 3 connections here. Jason’s war history was added into the story with the addition of the sims 3 world adventures expansion!
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Wonderful tease...looking forward