The Rainy Day Gang convened in the Bailey’s shed. Lynne Bailey handed out pieces of Invalid toffee, hoping that the large shards of confection would keep the others quiet whilst she got them organised.
“You should have got Sherbet Pips, you get loads in a quarter” moaned Jackie.
“You get even more Rainbow Drops” mumbled Dot through her toffee filled mouth.
Lynne rolled her eyes.
“So let’s go over the show. Dot is the princess, I’m the witch, Tracey the servant and Jackie and Debbie are the village drunks. I will read the story, Dot does her song. Then we need an interval so I can get my costume on.”
“Why don’t I ask Gary, he’ll do Delilah probably? Auntie Lily loves that. ” suggested Debbie. Gary had been drafted in the year before to sing and he had surprised the ‘aunties’ who watched with delight, his particularly dramatic rendition of Delilah. He had even included some Tom Jones style gyrations, more suited to ‘It’s not Unusual’ really but the aunties didn’t seem to mind. Debbie had over heard Auntie Lily whisper to Auntie Iris ‘It’s a shame I don’t have any drawers to throw at him’. Debbie felt that was a bit harsh since drawers were heavy and Gary was only 10 and couldn’t be expected to be completely in tune.
So Gary was drafted in. This was their second show. They had done a ‘Sunday Afternoon at the Palladium’ previously. It had consisted of them singing Cliff Richards ‘Living Doll’, Dot doing a dance with chiffon scarfs pinned to a swimming costume and tried around her wrists. She had then mimed ‘Rose Garden’ whilst Debbie sang it from behind the hedge (she was the only one who knew the words). Lynne and Tracey had showed their guide badges with lengthy explanations of how each had been earned. Jackie and Debbie had brought the comedy with Knock, Knock jokes. Then Gary had debuted his ‘Delilah’. The neighbours, or ‘aunties’ were all invited into the Bailey’s garden for the performance. They were charged 6d each and judging by the applause they’d had a great time. They were told very earnestly by Dot at the end that all proceeds would be given to Dr Barnardo’s who they thought lived somewhere in Shipley near Carr Lane.
The day of show came and the gang were excited and a little nervous as this was their first actual ‘dramatisation’. It’s fair to say that it didn’t have a strong story line. Their theatrical efforts tended to revolve around the diva that was Dot. She floated onto the stage in a rather grubby bridesmaids dress and a crown that said ‘Kelloggs’, somewhat belying its origins. Lynne narrated the story of a beautiful and adored princess and Tracey confirmed this with some dramatic genuflecting at Dot’s feet. On staggered two village drunks, Debbie in a headscarf and Jackie in oversized pyjamas. Their task was to gaze in amazement at the Princess’s beauty but unfortunately during Jackie’s drunken stumbling she dropped her beer bottle onto her toe which caused her to hop about and clench her lips in an effort not to swear.
“Now for an interval where Gary Morton will be singing Delilah” announced Lynne.
The aunties who had also been clenching their lips, in their case to hide amusement, now grinned delightedly and it is fair to say that Gary stole the show since this year he wore a sequin jacket and had fashioned a microphone stand from a Bex Bissell pole and a squashed ball of grey wool. The Rainy Day gang still regarded their show as a success. They had taken over three shillings for Dr Barnardo’s but once again they were faced the problem of finding his address.
Thirty years later Debbie found herself taking out a direct debit for monthly donations to Dr Barnardo’s to compensate for the Sherbet Pips, Fruit Salad, Black Jacks, Penny Arrows and Rainbow Drops that the gang had bought with three shillings plus!