Housewife, 49 (2006) - full transcript

In the late 1930s Nella Last,a housewife aged 49,living in Barrow-in-Furness on the North West English coast,agrees to send details of her routine to the Mass observation project,a non-governmental scheme designed to chronicle the lives of ordinary people. When war comes Nella defies her over-protective husband to join the local Women's Voluntary Service. Initially diffident she blossoms thanks to the dominant but kindly Mrs. Waite,and enjoys her independence as a useful war worker. The film also shows her relationship with her two sons as well as the effect of the war on the community and ends by explaining that Nella kept in touch with the Mass Observation project until her death in 1968. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
Then, 'Please reply to...'

Sorry, hang on. Dennis, are we saying
please reply to Mass Observation? Yep.

Yes, 'Please reply to Mass

That's Mass as in large and unwieldy,
not Mathematics. Observation. Same address, yes.

Dennis, what actually
is Mass Observation?

Well, in layman's terms,
we're putting policy makers

in touch with
the views of ordinary people,

and reporting to the government on
the public's reaction to life in wartime.

Sounds a bit brainy.
We want that to go in

Saturday's paper as well.
Thanks so much, goodbye.

Do you think we made it sound too
worthy? Suppose nobody writes in?

Well, loonies will always write in
so worry not.

'Dear Sirs, in answer
to your advertisement

asking for accounts of daily life
in wartime,

allow me to introduce myself.
I am married to a master carpenter.

I... am a busy wife and mother.

I am...

I am...'


Women's Voluntary Service.

Ordinary women doing our bit for
the war. Inspiring, isn't it?

Ah, can I tempt you
to join our happy band?

Even a morning a week would be
a poke in the eye for Hitler.

My husband doesn't really like me

We can't pander to husbands,
these are perilous times.

Pop your address down here,
Mrs... uh?

No, thank you very much.
I can't really. Sorry.

We won't win the war
with that attitude.

Perhaps she'll change her mind
when the bombs start falling.

And I'll need some torch batteries
I suppose.

Though I can't believe
they'll carry on

with this ridiculous blackout,
scaring us all to death.

I imagine they'll have abandoned
that by Christmas.

Sorry, madam, are these yours,
have you got an account?

Do I have an account? No.
I'll wrap them for you.

I beg your pardon. These
batteries are part of MY order.

I think we're all a little
rattled by recent events

but I don't think barging ahead
of people

and grabbing goods willy-nilly
is going to help morale, do you?

Panic buying is bad for Barrow
and bad for the war.

Just a word to the wise.

I'm so sorry, Mrs Lynch.

Now, luminous paint.
How luminous is it?

Hello, Nella.
Don't usually see you down here.

No - I wasn't thinking.

I don't usually get the honour
of a sister-in-law's visit.

You didn't think
you still lived here, did you?

No, I was just a bit flustered...

Well, you must have been. You
haven't lived here for two years.

Well, I'll get back.

Yeah. Doesn't bode very well
for you, does it?

The war's only two weeks in.

Lucky we don't all have nerves.


Beloved boy's back!

Oh, Mum.

I told you not to go into town.

Come on.

Sit down.

I'll get you some water.

You're courting indigestion,
eating at that angle.

Was that my potato cake
you've just had?

I don't know if it was yours,
it didn't have a label.

Well, there better be some more.
Call your mother.


Potato cake shortage.

Oh, Cliff, that was Daddy's. You
should have asked. I'll make more.

Pour Daddy another cup of tea.

Oh, is that Arthur?
Can you pour him one?

- The tax man cometh.
- Never heard that one before

Daddy. Inferior younger brother.
Ha ha.

Was the train late, Arthur?
Ooh, your cheek's cold.

Um, it's beef stew.
Has it got barley in it?

I don't want it
if it's got barley in it.

Which train will you get back
on Sunday?

I'm going back early, so you may have
to be a bit chop chop with the laundry.

Mum, have you asked Daddy about

Oh yes. We thought we might have
a bit of a gathering,

as it's his last weekend at home.
Get the gang round.

Give me your shirts. Daddy'll
be at his mother's, won't you?

She wants me to sort out black-out
panels for those front windows.

Oh, well, that's ideal, then,
isn't it?

Oh, I saw these hilarious old
biddies in town

wearing huge green uniforms.

Cos Mum was thinking of maybe

I wouldn't, Mum. All the women in
Barrow you'd pay to avoid in one room.

No, but for the war...
Nobody asked for a war.

No, I know, but...
I might have a bath.

That should be OK,
shouldn't it, Daddy,

if Arthur has a bath?

Well, he won't be long, will you?

Don't use too much hot water,
and don't have the taps full on

because of the pipes knocking.

And open the window when you're done.
Daddy won't want it steamy when he goes in.

And you can stop meddling,
suggesting this WVS lark.

She will not fit in.

Evelyn, please stop it,
you're not here to work.

Come on, Evelyn,
you're not here to work.

Here, that's my mash.

And don't tell me I won't get girls.

I'm gonna be in the RAF!
Cliff'll be the lonely one,

stuck up in Chester
as a P.T. instructor.

Well, I know who I'd rather go out
with, Mr Potato Trousers.

Oh, come on. I'll have a fighter
plane. He'll have a whistle!

God help any plane you're flying,
Michael Hockey.

You can't eat a forkful of mash
without an accident.

Is it fixed, Robbie?
Everybody say cheese!

Oh, gas masks!
Don't. No, don't put me in it.

I don't want to be in it.

Say 'gas mask'.

Gas mask!

Treasure hunt.
Oh, yes, yes.

Arthur, will you go with Harold,

and Michael Hockey with Robbie.

Why is he always Michael Hockey?

It's because of the dog.
The dog's Michael Finnigan.

We're in here.

I thought you might have stayed
at your mother's longer.

I'm having a bath.


I've been blacking out
that big window.

We're just having
a little treasure hunt.

And then I'm coming down
in my dressing gown.

Well, we won't be long. Michael Hockey
and Robbie are off this week as well.

Ah, well...

Good luck, all.

Perhaps if we make it quite quiet,
the treasure hunt.

Why have you come down?

Too much beer. I had to get
a drink amongst other things.

Mum, it's five o'clock.

You're freezing.

What's wrong?

I've... I've whitened
your plimsolls.

I keep waking up and crying,

but that's manageable, but...

Yesterday I went to the...

To where we used to live,
and the... the key wouldn't fit

and I was just standing
in the street

and I thought
why won't the key fit?

And... and that...

That did bother me, cos I thought
what if I'm ill again?

Should you not go back
to Dr Brierley?

He was pretty good last time,
wasn't he?

I daren't get the doctor.
You know how Daddy gets

when he thinks
things are going to be expensive.


Anyway... I'm fine.

You're not fine, though.

And I'm leaving in about
four hours.

I worry about what you'll do
when I'm not here.

Did you have a go at that
Mass Observation thing? The diary?


Yes, I... I tried. I couldn't think
what to write.

I'll be fine.

You know how panicky you get
in the middle of the night.

Like you
and that painting competition.

Let's put the kettle on.

Straight back, Daddy.

The vehicle is ready, Sir. I feel
the chauffeur will become restive.

Thank you, Jeeves.
That's it, Daddy.

Keep going, straight back,
straight back.

At least talk to Dr Brierley.

Oh, here's Evelyn.
I overslept!


Bye, Cliff. Send me a photo
when you get your uniform.

It's very bright.
Wear it.

I don't like that Dentifrice.
It froths up.

We'll go back to
the powder when that's run out.

Not in bed, what's to do?

Oh, I don't know,
I was thinking about Cliff.

It'll be funny for him,
his first night.

Mmm, he'll have to shape up.

Buying his mother a lipstick.

You're as soft as each other. I was
thinking of myself without him.

Let's hope he makes a better job of it
than he did working with me in the yard.

Well, if you'd ever
properly listened to his ideas...

If there's one thing you don't want
in a joinery, it's ideas.

No, he has a cushy number,
has Cliff.

And if Arthur gets that transfer
to Ireland

we've got both lads parked
out of the way nicely.

I'll have to have the light off.
I can't be lying awake.

Put it off, then.

I just need to see Dr Brierley.

It's barely seven thirty.
He's having his breakfast.

I just need to talk to him.
It's Mrs Last, tell him.

He's seen me before. I can pay.

This really is rather the limit
you know. Wait there.


Look, Nella.

I'm not a trick cyclist.

I don't know whether I got you
through that bad breakdown

or if it went of its own accord.

The thing is...

I shan't be here from next week.

I'm joining the Navy.
Ship's doctor.

Do you have chums,
people you can talk to?

I don't have any family here.

My husband has family in Barrow
but I don't see them.

We don't really have a circle
of friends.

Mr Last isn't much of a one
for parties.

No, no, I can't see him
in a paper hat and a squeaker.

You see, Nella...

I think when people aren't

that's when they become ill.

Make friends. Talk to people.

In the paper they were asking
for people to send in diaries,

wartime stuff. Cliff thought
that might be a good...

I keep a diary.
Locked away I may add.

And after a day of being
tactful to idiotic patients

it's quite nice to let rip on paper.

Present company excepted of course.

I'm sorry to bundle you out

but I'm already in the doghouse
over this Navy business.

Brace up, Nella! Join the Navy.

Actually, join the women's
voluntary whatsit.

Get out or go under.

Hang on, Deirdre!

You'll get there.

In a what? In a bucket?

Do you have a bucket each, or...?

What did you say, the Doctor?

Yes, I went round to his house.

I can't tell you now,
I'll tell you in the letter.

He seemed to think
the diary was a good idea.

I'll try and have another bash
at it. Hang on.

Here's Daddy.
I'm giving him the phone now.


Yes, I'm all right, son,
how are you?

That's good. Very good.

There's nothing wrong with her.

No, don't bother. Bye.

Did you get cut off?
No, the pips went.

I told him not to bother putting
any more money in.

Right, I need to get on.

Will you be long?
I'm not coming home now.

I've that job at the shipyard.
You'll have to walk.

Take Dot with you.

How's my nephew liking the Army?

They're all in a sort of shed by the
sound of it - no proper bathroom.

He won't like that
with his namby-pamby ways.

What was that about
going to the doctor's?


You're not worried about walking
home in the blackout, are you?

With your famous nerves
Are you on your way home?

Oh no, no.
We're chock-a-block here.

I don't go your way, unless you've
forgotten where you live again.

Erm... Gas mask!

Click the door to, we don't
all want to be at the doctor's.

'My name is Nella Last and I'm sad
and scared and I have nobody

and I don't know who I am.

I feel like I'm behind
a glass wall.

My name is Nella Last.
I suffer from... nerves.

I'm very cheery always
in company.

I cry all the time.

Erm... I'm in my kitchen
which is very new

and I've not taken my coat off
yet. It's check. I had it made.

I rather like it.
I had a bad breakdown last year...

I can't imagine any of this
will be of interest to you.

Sorry about the pencil, I hope
it's all right to write in pencil.

I came through the blackout tonight
on my own for the first time.

So that was something.'

I went round to see why my skirt
was taking so long

and she'd put her head
in the gas oven.

How ghastly.
To keep her warm, I suppose.

The thing is I'd quite like
my material back.

It's a little awkward.

Well, my cook just looks like
she's put her head in a gas oven.

She's as ugly as sin.

I'm sure they would sit down, if they
knew where they were meant to be sitting.

That's the point. The tables
are now in different places.

Do be careful, please. Ladies,
please! Don't let it near the jam.

Clear a space, will you. Ladies.

Give an ear a moment if you will.

Thank you. We are not going to move
them now,

but after lunch we will institute
a table numbering system,

as Mrs Lord's diagram has proved
a whited sepulchre.

Bandages, Mrs Waite.


If you are a navy knitter
on a bandage table,

remove yourself. We cannot have
navy knitters on the bandage table.

If you are knitting in navy,
vamoose. We do not want you. Yes?

My friend's only here
from Silloth for the day.

From where?

She can't knit, but we
want to sit together. I'm knitting.

And what are you knitting?
It's for the Navy.

Then you must leave your friend.

It's a seaboot stocking, it's white.

Then you may stay with your friend
from Silloth.

Now, Mrs Lord is going to come
amongst you with limb bandage diagrams.

You must move the table.
We can't have trailing wires.

We're meant to be supplying
hospitals with bandages not victims.

Knitting? Not knitting?
No, I haven't come to...

Not knitting. Ah, here's a chair.

Come along, Mrs... er...

Can't have people hanging around
like a smell on the landing.

There we are.

Stop! No-one is to take wool unless
I am there to book it out!

Please, ladies.
Less of the smash and grab.

And a proper perm's not cheap.
Well, with that complexion

and the flat nose she looked like
a darky to start with.

The perm just put the tin lid on it.
Oh dear.

Talk about Polly Wolly Doodle!

Yet again may I remind you

we cannot have tea near
the bandages.

No beverages near the bandages.

Oh, you look like a useful little
body with a teapot.

Come with me to the Casbah.

Possibly scullery would be
a more accurate term.

I need more middle-aged men.
Ooh, ducky.

You have Albert Hall, postman.
I have indeed.

What, there's a postman
who lives in the Albert Hall?

Deep breaths, Pru.

Can I give you
a nice middle-aged woman?

MAY you give me
a nice middle-aged woman.

Nella Last.

Nella... Last, yep?


Jill, Barrow in Furness.

Nine, Ilkley Road.
It's on the side, Jill. Lancashire.

Like in a furnace?
What does she do?

I said she's a housewife.

Where are you, Lancashire? 49.

Okey doke.

Nella Last, Barrow in Furness,
housewife, 49.

I could just do with a middle-aged
man in Shropshire.

I went in to the WVS centre today.

It was more curiosity than anything,
but the lady who seems to run it,

Mrs Waite, very tall, quite
imposing, she sort of swept me up.

I ended up making
about 60 cups of tea!

They did well out of you, then,
didn't they?

I liked her.
She knew what she wanted.

I bet she did. Some muggins
to make tea for the high-ups.

I didn't mind.
I bet none of the top drawer lot

were pouring tea, were they?
Well, she just happened to spot me.

And saw someone who was fool enough
to take on the dirty jobs.

Well, you've been and there's
no need to go again.

Well, everyone seemed very nice.

I work in these people's houses.

They're not like you,
these ladies.

They're all fur coat
and Austin Sevens.

If you think you'll fit in,
you won't.

If you want to make tea, make mine.

'I've just had a bit of an argument
with my husband.

Well, it would have been an
argument if I'd said anything back.

He was a bit scathing about me
going back to the WVS.

I think he's worried I won't be
there to put his dinner on the table.

I'm glad I went, though.

I was shaking, I admit. I don't
know how I managed to pour the tea.

Oh heck, I won't get any less
scared by staying at home.

I'm going to go back.'

Mrs Waite wants these
in a vase before the raffle.

I was just saying to Mrs...

Sorry, I don't know your name.
Mrs Last.

Mrs Higham, Mrs McGregor.

That when Chamberlain
was so feeble with Hitler,

that's when the Duke of Windsor
should have stepped in.

Yes, because he was so lovely
wasn't he, with the unemployed.

Ooh, spiders' graveyard.

Shall I give it a rinse?
Golly, you're noble.

I think if the Duke of Windsor had
gone with Queen Mary to Hitler...

What and just said
this has gone far enough?

Little Mrs Last.

Oh, that does look beyond
the call of duty.

But please carry on in your usual
splendid manner, apropos of which,

Mrs Lord wishes to form a raffle
and refreshment committee

and I've an idea you might
be somewhat of an asset.

Oh, I hadn't really thought of...
I cannot promise of course

that you would be elected
but I like to think

that a protégée of mine could be
co-opted, as it were, on the nod.

Don't give them the milk jug.
It's not the Kardomah.

'I'm so proud of Cliff. I wasn't
sure how he would go on in the Army

because he hasn't always found
it easy to fit in.

I understand his moods
but not everybody does.'

I'm putting the cocoa on.

'I write any old nonsense every day.
Just to jolly him up.

But his letters to me, they're
so loving and give me such strength

I feel I could do anything.'

Moving on, through the chair,
I would like to propose

little Mrs Last as a member of the
Raffle and Refreshment committee.

Sorry. Before that goes ahead

the point for me,
and I think I speak

for everyone here, pretty much

is that I'm not entirely
comfortable with the committee

being any bigger really,
than we were told it would be.

It was planned as quite a small...
This is nothing against Mrs Last.

I don't know Mrs Last,
she's not on my table,

but we all socialise, do you see?

That gives us a head start
as a committee.

We're all on the telephone
for instance.

We don't know that Mrs Last
doesn't have a telephone.

We don't have one in the house.
My husband has one in his workshop.

Well, heaven forefend there should
be any difficulty.

I really am very happy

to... bow out.

Mrs Last, perhaps I could have
a little word?

It's just Mrs Whittaker
from next door.

How are you, Mr Last?

All hands to the pump I bet,
isn't it, with your woodworking?

Whatever all hands to the pump
might mean. Is Mrs Last in?

She's busy.

I thought she was looking
a bit upset earlier on.

I thought she might like
some company, pop next door.

She doesn't like going far
in the black-out.

Are you having a cup of tea
about now? No.

Shall I pop through?

But she is all right, is she?

Because we're all a bit funny
with these so-called hostilities.


Well, that's good, then.

Tell her I popped round.

Good night.

'I don't feel up to going out
at the moment.

But I manage to keep busy
in the house.

Luckily, Arthur's not like Cliff.

He takes my cheeriness
at face value.'

Mother, what on earth is that bundle of
scribble in the drawer tied up with wool?

It's my Mass Observation thing.
I must get a big envelope.

You didn't read it, Arthur, did you?
Why, it's not personal, is it?

It's only the wartime equivalent
of What I Did On My Holidays.

No, I didn't read it. I read it not.

What do you
find to write about by the way,

as your sojourn at WVS
seems to be over?

Well, I write about the war, but
sometimes I write about my feelings.

Oo-er. A drawer full of mother's
feelings. And all in pencil.

Pity the poor boffins who have
to make sense of that.

Oh, I got my transfer by the way.


Oh. Oh...

Do you want to swap families?

I've had enough of my mine.

Norman's in a mood because
we can't have bonfire night.

I've got June on the sofa
with a hot water bottle, moaning.

Anne's got wet suspender
belts all over the kitchen.

Oh and Milady Madeleine,
coming up for winter,

has decided
that she's too old to wear a vest.

Mam! Are you the Ilkley Road
Broadcasting Company?

Get in! Letting the heat out!

Does that mean you won't be home
for Christmas, Arthur?

Pardon me. A bit of acid came up.

They were perhaps cheap raisins.

Well, not one of your best,
but very good.

I hear you've given up WVS.

I think you're wise.

No offence,
but I couldn't see YOU fitting in.

No, she's not a mixer.
I'm not a mixer.

Whereas myself,
I'm on the telephone all day,

I can talk to all sorts.

Right. Let's have another go.

'Mother and Father have I none...'


Where have these shoulders
come from?

Clean manly living.

I've missed you, Mum.

Cliff, I'll tell you now,
in case she pops round.

Evelyn met somebody,
and they just got engaged.

Blimey. Quick work.

Sorry. I thought I'd just tell
you and get it over with.

Oh, I'm so tired.

No, I'm happy for her.

Is there any more pudding?

I just write it all the time
on little bits of paper.

I scribble away
and then I send it off.

What does Daddy say when
you're sat there scribbling?

Nothing. He never mentions it.
Oh, no. What?

It's Mrs Waite from WVS.

Remember I told you about that awful business with
the committee? Look away, don't catch her eye.

Oh, it's little Mrs Last,

oh, how are you, my dear?
Happy Christmas.

Well, there's nothing to beat
the air on Walney on a clear day.

Alan, stand up, hunching over.

Why the young can't stick
their chests out I don't know.

Now Mrs Last, have you been ill?

Oh, this is my son, Cliff.
He's on leave from the Army.

Mrs Waite, Cliff.
How do you do.

Have you pointed a weapon in anger?
No, I'm a PT instructor.

This, this is my grandson, Alan.

He was just in Hamlet
at school, weren't you, Alan?

Who did you play, Alan?

He was very convincing.

You were much better
than that huge Ophelia.

Now Mrs Last,
you've not been keeping away

because of that silly nonsense
with Mrs Lord

and her raffle
and refreshment committee?

Well, I found it awkward.
That committee was very short-lived.

The refreshments were a shambles

and the raffle items
frankly pitiful.

So please don't let that
silly episode keep you away.

Well, we must scoot. We're going
to see Mother Goose at Cartmel.

Alan, use your hanky
and please try and keep up.

Heel and toe, heel and toe.

She seems a sport.

I've missed her, I must say.

Go back then, you daft woman.

I can take the bombs and the gas
always being off.

What I can't take is this bloody
bumholing farce of a paraffin stove.

Oh, good for you.

My nice Barrow lady.
She's gone back to the WVS.

She's going to dig up her
husband's precious lawn for hens.

Oh, I got my call-up.

No! What, am I supposed
to do this all on my own?

Oh, we'll find you some nice gent.
Not that old queer Godfrey, please.

Finn! Naughty dog, stop!

Out of Daddy's onions, naughty boy!

What's all this then?

Remember we said we might have hens?
I'm measuring.

No, you said we might. I said
nothing at all about it.

I think I might
just try and catch that ten past.

Where's that string from?
Have you been in my cabinet?

Two bombs have dropped on the yard!

Two time bombs. The planes just
slipped through, Norman says.

In broad daylight. I said to you
when they bombed Liverpool didn't I?

Barrow's a blooming big shipyard,
it's a heck of a target.

'I feel there's a bit of a breeze
blowing through my marriage.

I've always been a bit feeble
and given way to my husband

but I seem to be finding
a bit of courage from somewhere.

I stood up to him
over the hens for instance,

I'm quite tickled
when I think about that.'

Yoo-hoo, it's only me.

Come in, Mrs Whittaker! Go through
to the dining room, I won't be a tick.

Oh, you and your pastry!

Who invited her?

I did. She's on her own tonight.
She's lonely and scared of raids.

Well, don't give her my fruit cake.

Ooh, lovely, a nice fire.
You don't mind if I warm my knees?

I don't know if they're using the
good rubber for Spitfires or what,

but there's some shoddy girdles
in the shops now.

Swiss roll
or we've one bit of fruit cake.

Well, if nobody else is having it,
I'll have the fruit cake.

Nice photo. Who took that?

Cliff's friend, Robbie.
Robbie Kilgour.

That's him, he's in the desert
somewhere. I put him there.

That's the whole gang then.
Look a happy bunch, don't they?

Oh, no, not again.

I think you're right,
they've flown over.

Now, Mr Last,

do you have Miss Bang,
the scientist's daughter,

because I have a feeling
you have.

'We've got off lightly
compared to the London blitz.

But we've just had five continuous
nights of bombing

so we've not had much sleep.
I'm pretty bright

but poor Mrs Waite seems to feel
it, not that we'd dare say anything.

You won't have to do this tomorrow.
No, I'll be on a lovely farm

with no bombs trying
not to throttle my mother.

The little boys will love it.
They'd better!

Oh, what on earth is that?
It's my handbag.

I keep meaning to get
a smaller one.

It's the stuff for Mrs Lord's clothing
exchange. Is she coming in to sort it out?

Mrs Lord "doesn't like the bombing"

The rest of us of course
are delighted to be kept awake

by enemy action. No, Mrs Lord
has gone to Lytham I believe,

leaving her much-vaunted
Clothing Exchange Scheme

unlaunched and unattended.

Well, we can make a start.

Don't worry.
Will you be in your office? Mmm.

Shall I bring you a cup of tea?
Oh, thank you. Much appreciated.

'Five nights in the hidey hole seem to
have concentrated my husband's mind.

We are finally getting
an indoor shelter.'

Are you having a Morrison shelter?
Are you getting one?

No. Dad's too fat to fit in one.
I got your paper.

Don't chuck it, thank you!

Evelyn's having a baby.
What, now?

No, at the end of September,
you daft ha'porth.

Madeleine! It's 25 to!

Keep your wig on.

Robbie's died.

Our Robbie? Robbie Kilgour?

Died of wounds.

I didn't even know he'd been

I was only talking about him
the other day.


Robert John Kilgour. Died of wounds.

Aged 21.'

Are you all right?

The papers are in the suitcase,
the insurance and what not.

I should think it's safe enough
under the stairs, wouldn't you?

That wasn't our wedding photo?

No, that's under the stairs.

I wrapped it in Cliff's dinner suit.

I don't think that jacket
would fit him now.

The trousers might, they should do.

That was a funny old day.
What? Our wedding?

You were as white as a sheet.
I was terrified.

I couldn't think why you'd asked me
to marry you.

We'd hardly been on our own

Funny little thing. Pretty.
Big eyes.

You didn't say much.
I didn't know much.

I remember thinking whatever
you were like,

you couldn't be as bad as my father.


My hand's shaking.

I thought we'd had it then.

Good old Herbert Morrison.

Something's gone in the kitchen
by the sound of it.

Or in the hall.

That's my plates, isn't it?
In the hall.

I said I'd take them down,
didn't I? I'm a fool.

You're not a fool.

I thought we'd had it then.

I was thinking I'd never opened
those tinned pears.

You're everything to me.

What do you mean?

I didn't want to die
and not tell you.

You're everything to me.

Have you checked your airing
cupboard? No.

Black dust in there as well.
My sheets, my towels, tablecloths.

Every time I blow my nose
it's black.

When we want to hear about
your nose we'll tell you.

I heard Ilkley Road had got it!

We're all right, are you all right?

Hawcoat Lane had it bad. We just
had bits and bats, we were fine.

Oh, your plates!

Did the door blow off?
Did it come off?

Don't go in, Evelyn,
it's full of glass.

Where in Hawcoat Lane, do you know?
That's where my Mrs Waite is.

Mrs Waite, are you all right?
Mrs Last! I'd say take a seat,

but Herr Hitler seems to have taken
most of them.

Do my eyes deceive me,
or is that a siren suit?

I heard Hawcoat Lane had got it,
so I ran up to see if you were OK.

We took a bad hit at the back. We
were in the front in the cellar. And you?

We were in the Morrison. Our kitchen
door blew off. But you're OK?

Yes. And very thoughtful of you
to make the expedition.

What will you do about the Centre?
We may have to stay shut pro tem.

I certainly can't go in
at the moment.

Mabel, no point, dear.

So, will Mrs Lord take charge?
She may be in Lytham, I don't know.

I think while things
are so hugger-mugger

we'll have to stay closed.
That can't be right.

This is the very time people will need
us. I think we have to try and open.

But how would we let people know?

I could put a little thing
in the paper.

But who could open?
I'm needed here.

I could open.
Could you do that?

Would you be Marc Antony
to my Caesar?

I can be Laurel to your Hardy
if it gets the job done.

One day I may get used
to your jokes.

'Some days I just want to weep with
the horror of it all.

But that won't do, we have
to paste on a smile and do our jobs.

My husband's marvellous,
works all hours.

Doesn't smile much.'

This is the ten o'clock tea
and this is Nella Last bringing it.

Miss Finch, tea's up.

Mrs Last, I hear it was you who put
the notice in last night's Mail.

I couldn't believe it.

I would never have seen it at all

but my husband was flicking through
for the crossword.

I don't do crosswords,
I don't have that kind of mind.

On whose authority have you done
this, might I ask?

Mrs Waite's. I don't think so.

Her telephone line is down,
Hawcoat Lane had a lot of damage.

So unless you walked
over the rubble from your own house

I'd love to know how you managed
to obtain permission

and open the Centre.
Well, that's what I did.

I walked over to see her.


Next time you put a WVS notice
in the Mail

perhaps you'll put it in a place
where more people will see it.

I don't suppose anyone's got out
the War Savings ledger. It's out.

Good. I'm glad someone's
on the qui vive.

Please, do have your tea,

and thank you for your efforts
to get here.


You've buttered Mrs Waite up
very nicely with your whistling

and your cheeky ways.

But be warned, she can blow
very hot and cold.

Sorry, Mrs Lord, that's my son.

Back in a tick.


How's Pru liking the WAAFS?
She absolutely loathes it.

She says the girls all stink
of Soir de Paris

and have venereal disease
which she's expected to sort out.

Gosh. Perhaps I won't join
after all.

How's the crackers Barrow woman?

Well, I haven't got to the end
of this one,

not keen on George Formby.

Maybe she's not so crackers.

How he gets all those girls
when he's so gormless...

Yes, Mum, it's what we call a film.

And why does he have to play
the ukulele?

Oh, look, there's Evelyn's brother.
Oh, good.

Someone to have a drink with.
Hey, Tom!

We went in there just to keep cool.

George Formby annoys me.

I was just on my way up to
Ilkley Road.

I've got some bad news.

It's our Evelyn.

You know those houses that were hit
next to the Trevelyan hotel?

She has a friend she was

She was in that house.

She's gone, Mrs Last.

Well, I think they were very glad
you managed to stay for the funeral.

I know Arthur was upset
he couldn't get over from Portadown.

She was the first girl
I ever kissed.

We would have been about 17 then.

She was so thrilled about the baby.

It's a joke, isn't it?

I'm in the Army
and she's the one who gets killed.

Thank God they don't still
give out white feathers.

You're not a coward.

I'm not fighting though, am I?

Just getting blokes fit enough
to kill other blokes.

'Well, this war is taking
a toll on all of us.

Even my Mrs Waite is becoming
a bit unpredictable.

Hopefully this Mrs Thompson
who's come down from head office

to set up the new canteen
will be easier to deal with.'

Oh, little Mrs Last.
Here on a Wednesday?

I'm just bringing some plates
for the canteen.

Well, drop them off and run,
would be my advice.

That Mrs Thompson will have you mashing
potatoes before you say Dick's hatband.

She came to find me the other day.
I know.

Poaching. Prowling around
like the troops of Midian.

"Where's your nice Mrs Last,"
she said.

I said, "She's where she belongs.
With me!"

I like cooking. I told her
I could manage two days a week.

Oh. And when was I to be told?

Well, I didn't think
I had to tell you.

I'm still going to do
my two days at Hospital Supply.

Very handsome of you.
That leaves one day a week spare

should the War Cabinet
need a hand

I'll, erm...
I'll just go and take these.

We're not open, you battery boys
are getting a little bit cheeky.

We're on a funny shift, Mrs Last.

Any chance of some potato cakes
to take with?

All right. Don't tell the heavy rescue mob.
Mrs Heigham, have we got a paper bag?

You are a sweetheart.

Get off, you silly boy.

Sorry, Mrs Waite,
I didn't see you there. Patently.

Please, carry on with your kitchen
capers, it is of no consequence.

Mrs Waite, what was it, do you need
me to do something?

Your uniform has arrived. You're
obviously far too busy to collect it now.

I have to finish my shift.
Oh, I'm sure.

Why leave while squaddies
are hanging on your every word

I'll come and get it
as soon as I can.

Well, when you do collect it,

please remember
that it is the uniform

of a noble and distinguished

I'm back. 'Cliff has invited
some lad for Christmas.

He's quite well off apparently,
he's in the fleet Air Arm.

I think Cliff's worried we'll let
the side down.'

Hasn't that hood come out well?
Your ties are in your wardrobe.

Mum, this room is like a midden.

Ooh, is that your uniform?

When have you ever seen
a midden, I'd love to know.

Why do you want a tie anyway?
Is he definitely coming, this chap?

Chap? His name's James.

Nobody says chap.
He's phoning the workshop

before he gets the train.

Do you like my hood, Cliff?
Eh? Yes, it's great.

Thanks a lot,
you didn't even look at it!

That's enough cheek from you.

He's fighting for king and country,
he's not interested in silly girls' hoods.

Pardon me with knobs on.
Do you want to go to the Messiah?

No, I like that, Mrs Last.

It's smart but not too smart.
Come on, Miss Pixie Hood.

Bye, Mrs Whittaker.


Mum, this year, on Twelfth Night,
please put them away properly.

We're in here.

Hello, Dot.

Those lights have done well,
haven't they, for cheap ones.

Daddy, has anybody phoned for me?

Do you know a James?
Yes, great.

What did he say? God, I look
like I'm from bloody Borneo.

Nice army language.

You do know him then?
Fleet Air Arm lad?

Yes. What's he said?
Nothing. He turned up.

At the workshop? Did he? Good man!

Where is he?
On the path.

What? Daddy!

Why didn't you bring him in?
Well, I didn't know who he was.

I was in two minds about having him
in the car.

Oh, I kept my eye on him.

Because people get bludgeoned
don't they, in cars?

James, this is my mum.

You're very welcome, James.
Thank you.

Come to the fire.
I was just saying,

you could have been one
of these con men.

Could have been a stick-em-up job.
Bang. Goodnight, Vienna.

And that's from me and Daddy,

- Thank you, Esmeralda.
- The bells, the bells

If you don't like that scarf, Dot,
we can always change it.

Oh, no, I like it.

I only said it was a bit itchy

and perhaps made me look sallow.

This is yours.
And this is for you, James.

It's only a writing pad
and some stamps

but I didn't want you left out.
That's very kind of you, Mrs Last.

Well um, by the same token,

a bit frivolous, you've probably
got bucket loads already...

A tie pin. Thank you, Mother.

I shall pin my tie, my tie shall be
pinned forthwith.

That's from Mum, Daddy.
Feels woolly.

Oh. Not a tin of pilchards then.

Lily of the valley.
I love lily of the valley.

Have you seen what brand it is,

Mmm, what's that?

Yardley. It's lovely. Smell.

I can't tell Lily of the Valley
from Lily of Laguna.

Lili Marlene.

What did you get from Auntie Dot,

Five shillings. Thanks, Dot.

Well, I don't know what she wants.

Oh, I will be posh.

Keep it for best, won't you?
Hey, that's swish, Daddy.

You must have done something

Now I'm so busy with WVS,
Daddy's taking packed lunch to work.

My father taking a packed lunch.

Jeeves, is the earth tilted
on its axis

My flabber is well and truly
gasted, sir.

Very comical.

'James has fitted in so well this
Christmas. It's been lovely.

Cliff's had
some queer pals in the past

but there's something very right
about this friendship.'

After you, Claude.
No, after you, Cecil.

No, after you, Claude.
No, after you, Cecil.

Oh, get a move on. You know I can't
stand that silly programme.

Cliff said there was
some accident at your landing place.

There was a bit of a collision.
Two planes.

I was all right,
but half my crew weren't.

It must take a lot of courage,
what you do.

I don't know about that. Anybody
who says he's not scared is a liar.

From the minute we know we're
flying we're scared all the time.

It's pretty dangerous being
a PT instructor, you know.

I was nearly hit
by a medicine ball once.

Well, it's a lovely sunny day.

Happy Boxing Day, all.

And thank you
for your hospitality, Mrs Last.

What's up?

Pork pie.

You're up late.
Been talking to James.

Telling him what a pig's ear
I made out of working with Dad.

How you said it was a bad idea
but I went ahead anyway.

That hardly matters now.

Yes, but...

I want to be able to look myself
in the face, after the war.

I don't want the war to be just
another thing that I mess up.

What are you saying, then?

Like James says, he's scared
but... he does it.

I want to know
that I could do it too.

So... I want to volunteer to go


You're a man, Cliff. You must do
what's right for you.

I want it to be all right with you.
You're my mum.

It is all right with me.

Oh, I'm losing my fizz.

Don't forget to switch
the light off.

What do you mean I should have
stopped it? Should I write to them?

Please excuse Clifford,
he hasn't got his machine gun?

He thinks nothing of me but you
could stop him. He's 23.

He's made his mind up.
He wants to go!

I want him to be safe.
There is no safe.

Michael Hockey's just been blown
out of the sky, Evelyn crushed to death.

My heart goes cold
when I think of it

but it's nothing to do with us.
It's what he wants! He's my boy.

Is he? What have you done to make
him your boy? Either of them?

Read to them, spanked them?
No, that was me.

You didn't even do Cliff's
Cub's woodwork badge with him.

A master carpenter and I had
to ask the man next door.

Do you want him killed?!
Of course I don't want him killed!

But if something happens I want
him to have had a proper life.

Not some stifled fearful existence.

I don't want him smothering
every feeling

just to suit other people.

You don't know what you're talking
about. Oh, I do.

I don't want it to happen to him.

Are you coming to bed?


I think I'll sleep
in the Morrison.

So if that's everything...?

And sorry, Mrs Waite, through the
chair, just the condolence cards.

I have Mrs Cross, her son was
killed in the Western Desert,

Mrs Bacon,
another Western Desert,

and Mrs Hockey, her son was
killed in a bombing raid, I believe.


And Mrs Grantham has lost a nephew

but I don't really think we can
do condolence cards for nephews.

So that's three cards to buy.
Any other business?

Yes, the proposed Red Cross shop
for Prisoners of War.

I'm pleased
to report that Mrs Last

has "at last"
found suitable premises

and Mrs Last is I believe
"on the scrounge" for stock.

And will the shop be called
Last Limited?

Or should I say unlimited,

as there seems to be no limit
to Mrs Last's rise to glory.

Well, erm...
I would like to propose

that this little Red Cross shop
is not left to flop about by itself

but that we tether it, as it were,
to Hospital Supply,

which I may remind newcomers has
been run successfully for 30 years.

And that all decisions
are referred back to me.

'I think this is the first time
I've ever worked in a team

and I absolutely love it.
They call me the boss which is silly

and Mrs Waite will be horrified.

Cliff sent copious notes
about how to dress the window.

And he says I have to get my photo taken with
the Lady Mayoress when I give her the bouquet.'

Shall I put the lilo in the window?
What did you say, Finchy?

Gracie Fields was on
the wireless last night.

I can't be doing, I'm afraid,
with Gracie Fields.

Buongiorno, all.
Now look, it's a fur jacket.

Chinchilla, not desperately
stylish. It is a little old chippo.

Anyway chuck, don't chuck.

Short and sweet. Is this
Mrs Waite's offering? Yeah.

Oh, lordy, they don't strike quite
the right tone, do they?

I'll put them in the corset

Aha. Here's my neighbour. This
could be the long promised vases.

This came. It says 7, Ilkley Road
but it's addressed to you.

I thought I should bring it.

Cliff's missing.

His ship was hit.

'We are unable as yet to confirm

that he is amongst the survivors'.

What do you think about the lilo?


He's not on the list of the dead.

I've already spoken to them
and they told me to telephone you.

He's not on the list. Yes,
they said the full list of survivors

wouldn't be compiled until all
the ships have docked back in.

But... Last.

I have done, yes, and they
gave me your telephone number.

No, I understand that.

I understand.

Thank you.

No joy?

She said more or less the same
thing as the Admiralty.

It's all girls on these phones

There'll be all manner
of mistakes made.

They'll all be filing their nails
and reading the paper.

They said it's still a muddle.

They say he may not actually
be missing,

it may just be that they haven't
got the names sorted.

We've known enough lads who have gone
missing. And we know what happened to them.

Well, until we know more I think
we should hope for the best.

And... I think we should get on
with our jobs.

I need those measurements,
Will, for the requisition forms.

'He is not missing.

He is not missing.

I would know if he was dead.
We have a bond.

He can't be dead,
I can't lose Cliff.

I can't manage without Cliff.
I need him. I need him.'

Well, Gordon Selfridge will have
to look to his laurels, Mrs Last.


Now, order of business.

1:30, Mrs Lord to collect bouquet
from florist and bring to shop.

That's me and I've done that.

I hear the bouquet has already been

Yes and Mrs Last is going
to present it, we've decided.

We'll carry on. 2:20, Lady
Mayoress to set off from Town Hall.

2:25, Lady Mayoress to arrive
at Red Cross Shop

and 2:30, Mrs Last to present
Lady Mayoress with bouquet.

I'm sorry, Mrs Lord, I don't think
I can stay. I'm sorry.

I think we require a little bit
more than sorry.

I need to go home. I need to be
at home. You know my son's missing.

Yes, and it's most distressing. But
surely it's one's duty to carry on.

Mrs Hockey and Mrs Bacon have
both lost sons

yet both have shown
great pluck and fortitude.

I, as you know have a grandson,
Alan, who is a prisoner of war.

But I put aside that burden daily
in order to do service for others.

What surprises me, Mrs Last,
is that you seem to feel no need

to act in a similar fashion.

Well, I'm sorry
if I've surprised you.

I have to go home.
I... I need to be at home.

I can't think.

Erm... you could give her
the flowers, couldn't you?

Don't bother. I'd rather you wrote
rubbish than talked it.

What do you mean?

Well, he didn't get this Artillery
idea out of his own head, did he?

He was safe...

He was safe as houses in Chester
till you got round him.

Wanting him to... live his life.

Much good that does him
under the bloody ocean.

We don't know he's under the ocean.

Damned writing. What is there left
to write, mmm?

Son's missing
and you're still scribbling away.

Why do you do it, eh?

Who wants to read
what YOU'VE got to say?

I don't know who wants to read it.
I'll tell you why I have to do it.

It's because I have nobody.
I have nobody to talk to.

I don't have a sympathetic,
loving, interested friend.

I don't have that person.

I only have you.

Oh, dear, shall I retreat?


I was just thinking how hard
it is to be married.

Lord knows what it'll be like
when my chap comes back.

IF he comes back.

I managed to get the doughnuts.

They've given it quite a write-up,
the shop opening. And a big photo.

The Lady Mayoress has a drain pipe
coming out of her head but...

Hello? Hello? Telegram.

Oh, Lord help us.

He's safe!

He's on a hospital ship!
It docks tomorrow in Liverpool.

Suffering from slight exposure.
I said he wasn't dead

till they said he was dead.
It docks tomorrow. Slight exposure.

That's nothing, slight exposure.

How are you, darling?
Watch out, I haven't shaved.

Are you allowed to smoke?

How are you feeling?

Oh, in the pink.
Fit to be torpedoed.

Arthur sends love.

Is there anyone you'd like me tp
phone, or drop a line to?

Any of the Chester lot?
Or James? I've got airmail paper.

Good luck writing to James.
Oh, is he not still in Gib?

I've no idea.

He's dead.

What happened? When, Cliff?
Was this in Gibraltar?

Month or so ago.

What happened?
He got blown to bits.

His poor mother.

Why didn't you write and say?

He had such good manners,
didn't he, Daddy?

Have you got your penknife?

We could have a bit of fruit cake,
couldn't we? No, thanks.

I'll be discreet.
Don't want a riot.

I don't want any.

I have to have my tea soon,

No, well, we won't stay long.

We don't want to make you late
for that.

Well, I think I need to stretch
my legs.

Is there a Gents, son?

Back that way.


Look after yourself, then.

Will do.

I'll see you at the car, Dad.

I'm so sorry about James.
But... it happens.

We can't get too upset,
we have to plug on.

You'd not known him that long,

Not really as sad as losing Robbie
or Michael Hockey or Evelyn.

Oh, no, it's not as sad as losing
someone from Barrow

I just meant...
I don't care what you meant really.

I don't care what you have to say.

You're so far from understanding me
it's laughable.

You can't mother me.

You can't turn up with a bloody cake
and make it all lovely.

I wasn't. I just wanted to see you.

Well, I didn't want to see you.

I know I loom quite large
in your life

but actually, Mum, you don't
loom very large in mine.


He forgot his cake, you don't have
to slam the door over it.

Three years and not a scratch,

It's only a dent.

Do you know how long it takes
to get a dent out properly?

It can't be difficult.
Will you be hammering it out?

Or paying for it?
Why didn't you see me out?

I told you it was a tight reverse.

Yes and I told you
I wanted to get home.

Every day we have this palaver.
'See me out', you act like a child.

I don't take the huff because
someone's not eaten cake.

It was nothing to do with the cake. He
didn't want us there. Did you realise that?

He didn't want to talk to me.
Any idea how painful that is?

Well, I can see the results.
Cliff's just really upset me

and you're just thinking
about the car.

You mind more about the car. You
weren't this upset when he went missing.

Did you find your best cardigan?

Oh, yes.

Any post? Nothing from Cliff?

You don't read it when there is,
so why ask?

Turn the record over.

It got caught in my chain.
It just wants a bit of mending.

You can't mend this. It's ruined.

We're not having
an argy-bargy about it, are we?


'I'm getting a bit of that glass
wall feeling again.

Without the fun of the shop
and only the odd card from Cliff.

It all feels a bit dim.

There is of course my sister-in-law's
rather peculiar whirlwind engagement.'

No, well you're too broad. I've more
of a nipped-in outline than you.

Still can't believe it.

Went to the Isle of Man
got a man!

Good job you didn't go
to the Isle of Dogs!

Mrs Last! We haven't exchanged
two words for ages.

I keep looking on
the Red Cross Rota,

but I never see "N. Last"
in that famous scribble.

No. I felt perhaps I didn't have
the right character for the shop.

Perhaps not enough
pluck and fortitude.

Now you're quoting my words back
at me. Have I offended you?

Yes. Because you've said things
to me and they weren't fair

and they weren't kind,

and that's why I sit on the back
table at Hospital Supply

where you won't see me
and why I don't come in the shop.

Well, now. This is a little
difficult for me to say.

I liked you immensely
from the beginning.

I was very touched when you crawled
through the rubble to see me,

wearing that ridiculous garment.

I felt we were very much a team.

And when you went to Mrs Thompson,
to the canteen...

I suppose I was jealous. I wanted
you to just do things with me.

Under my wing, so to speak.

Petty of me.

I apologise.

Thank you...

How is the shop?
It's not quite the happy ship

one would have wished. I feel it's
missing a certain little Jack Tar.

Could I twist your arm?

Thank you. Stick it under
your jumper. Make a run for it.

Shall I turn the sign over?

See you on Thursday.
Adios, amigos.

Oh, it's torrential.
Bye, Lynchy.

I'm sure this is the Germans.
This is ludicrous weather for May.

Oh, he's a splendid fellow.
What shall we call him?


There's a spam each,
and a hardboiled egg.

I'm very peckish, little Nell,
I must say.

Mrs Hockey, it's not your day.

No. I was having a clear-out.

I've brought Michael's
cricket things.

Are you sure you don't want
to hang on to them?

I've hung on to them for two years.

I'm sure he'd rather
they were useful.

Yes, and every ten shillings
is a parcel for our POWs.

Have my tea.
I'll get another cup.

Oh, it is jolly chilly.

How is your grandson, Mrs Waite?

He's been moved to a different camp.

I expect we'll get a letter

Alan, isn't it?
That's right.

It's very hard
not knowing how he is,

whether he's being fed
and treated properly.

And how is Cliff?

People never tell me about their
sons now but I like to hear.

Oh, he's fine.
He keeps getting promoted so...

He's on leave at the moment and
then I think he goes back to Italy.

Might he pop in the shop?
No, he's not staying with us.

Oh, that's a shame.
I remember that time

he hitch-hiked and surprised you.

Some things...

It's hard to explain...

We had a bit of a falling-out.

I've written but he never answers
what I ask him.

I must have upset him but I truly
don't know what I did.

That was... more than a year ago.

I had no idea.

You're so bright always.

Couldn't you go and see him
and try and sort things out?

I don't think
that's a very good idea.

Well, you may not get another
chance. I didn't.

Godfrey, when you first met me

did I have more of a bust
than this?

Erm... I'm not really
a bust expert.

What news from Barrow?

The son who's not a tax inspector

is on leave in Chester
for some reason.

And my Aberdonian queer?

He's in the usual sordid pickle.

Cliff, stop a minute.

I want to make things right
between us.

Can we not still be pals?
Oh, for God's sake.

Because if I've done something
wrong, I need to know.

I'm in a war.
No, I know that.

I've lost the same people
you have.

Evelyn, Robbie, Michael Hockey...

Oh, for Christ's sake...

Michael Hockey
was just a boy who was on my bus.

I don't care about those people
any more.

It's not like the newsreels, Mum.

It's horrible.

I see horrible things all the time.

You work in a shop
with some nice ladies.

We're not really
having the same war.

At least you're alive,
you have a future.

Those people you suddenly don't
care about don't have a future.

I don't have the future
I wanted to have.

With the person I wanted
to have it with.



Oh, well, yes,
I know that was upsetting.

Do you understand what I'm saying?

That you were upset about James.

Come on, your train
will be here in a minute.

Oops, I'm sorry.

I'm sorry.

Dr Brierley!

Mrs Last.

Good Lord above.

Mrs Last.


I'm sorry.

I must admit I'm on the drunk side
of sober, as it were.

In fact, do you want some?


I'll swig.
You have it out of the cap.

Oh, no. I'm beginning to think
I won't get home tonight.

To Barrow?
I'm damn sure you won't.

We're not even at Bolton yet.

Are you on leave?

Cheers. Chin chin.

Down the hatch. Coughs
and sneezes spread diseases.

No, no, I was actually spending
my leave with...

You don't know my wife, do you?

Only to say hello to. You're not
going to go blabbing to her

so it goes no further.

Isn't she lovely?

I mean, you can't tell on that
but her hair is sort of chestnutty

and her eyes...
What colour are yours?

Yes, yes, sort of a bluey grey.

Anne. Which suits her actually.

She's a nurse. A brilliant,
brilliant nurse actually.

Cheers. Chin chin.

Coughs and sneezes et cetera.

I think England's had it.

I can't stick in Barrow
for the next 20 years, 30 years.

A beetle's happy in a matchbox
until you take him out.

He doesn't want to go back in,
does he?

I can't go back into my matchbox.

Those lads I treat on the ships,

they're not going to
want to go back, are they?

I know I'm going to hurt my wife...

but you only have one life.

I'm not a Hindu.

It's the same for you with...

Whatsisname... Mr Last.

I mean, that's not going to get
any more joyful, is it?

But... you can't just ditch people.

Oh, you can. I think you have to.

Get out or go under.

Why are you up so early?
I haven't been to bed.

When you weren't on the last train

I didn't know what to do.
I thought you weren't coming home.

No, I've been sat outside Bolton
half the night.

What are you doing?

Well, I thought I'd have a go
at washing that cardigan.

I wasn't quite sure
how to go about it.


How did you leave it with Cliff?

He would have grown up
whether or not.

We don't do so bad, you and I.

It's not exactly smooth running.

You're not so sweet as you were.

What, as when you married me? Good.
You don't want to be sweet at 54.

I look back, I think, who was that
poor child. She didn't have a clue.

We managed.
I didn't manage.

All the years when you didn't want me to
go out without you and you wouldn't go out.

I just wanted to keep you safe,

I know.

I know it wasn't nastiness.

I can't manage without you.
I know. But that's not love.

Well, it is in my book.

And me keeping you happy
to stop you getting cross,

that's not love either,
that's just being cowardly.

"Put jolly music on for Daddy. Don't
run the taps, let's all be bright and gay."

Well, what's wrong with that?

It made me ill. I couldn't
remember where I lived some days.

Well, I don't understand.

I thought we were well-suited.

Well, I don't think we are.

Hasn't that rose bush done well?

What do you want me to do?


We're not those people who got
married, that's all.

You can put up with me though,
Nella, can't you?

Well, you've had to put up with me.

I'm not looking
for another matchbox.

What's that?

Some nonsense I heard on the train.
Silly drunk man.

'Arthur's brought his fiance
over from Ireland, Edith.

Cliff's still very taciturn
about being wounded.

We know it was a hand grenade
and that's all we do know.

And the war just seems to be
fizzling out.'

What did they say? Is it today?

Same as the one o'clock. Crowds
everywhere but no announcement.

How can people plan a celebration
with this shilly-shallying?

Quite. I mean, do I open
my tin of cream, or don't I?

Shall I phone the BBC, Lynchy,
get the full picture?

Could you? It's rather crucial.

Any news?
Same as before, nothing.

Some victory this is turning out
to be. Have you any Union Jacks?

No, people have been asking all day.

I wonder if I can bodge one up on
the Singer. Any white sheeting? No.

Any white material?

No... Yes!

Oh, that's plenty in those,
that's ideal.

Are those my mother's good bloomers?
They shall be waved in victory!

'Any more news on Victory in Europe Day
will be brought to you when we get it...'

I'll leave it on, there
might be something on the next news.

Edith, if you don't like ham,
how about a bit of salad? Or cake?

I'm not really a salady person.

And you're not a cakey person.
No, I'm not really that cakey.

So are we at war,
or are we at peace or what?

Mam, what does it matter? Look
around, do you see any Germans?

Pardon me for taking space
on this earth

Everybody start,
I'll just get the teapot.


What's the gen on your
jolly old war wounds, son?

Dad's a fighter pilot, can you tell?
Where did the beggars get you, son?

What was it, a hand grenade?
I've told you all this, Norman.

I'll have the salad.

Left thigh, right thigh,
right buttock, bladder, penis.

Could you reach me the beetroot,
Edith, please?

Oh, sorry, is that the side
you want to sleep on?

That was always my side.

Well, Edith's off tomorrow,
so you'll get your room back.

She'll take her records with her,
I trust.

Boogie woogie bugley boy!

When will the WVS pack in?

Why would they be packing in?
We're still at war in the far East

and after that there'll be things
to do, why would they pack in?

Will you not pack in though?
I'm out!


I'll get changed in the bathroom.

Dad, are you nearly ready?

Don't get oily,
we're just about to go out.

Come on, your shirt's on your bed.

I better see to this.

It's this valve, it's...
Come on.

It's only Mrs Waite's garden,
it's not the Tower Ballroom.

You won't have to jitterbug.

Well, I'm going to go on my own
then. I'm not going to miss it.

Why don't we go later,
when I've done this?

Oh no, I'm not falling
for that one.

If you want to come later,
you do that. I'm off now. Bye.

Really, Mrs Lord, it would almost
be quicker to brew one's own beer.

Well, I'm doing my level best.
I think this is a faulty tool.


Good and then over.


No, not down, over.

I met you in the kitchen,
didn't I, that first day?

Yes, Mrs Waite sort of catapulted
you through the door.

"Tea urn - get to it!"

There is, of course,
only one bottle opener.

Did you kick up a stink, Lynchy?
Me? No.

I drew it very mild, as per.

Mild? When I first met you at WVS
you were terrifying! Tosh.

I hope the men use the... cloakroom.

We don't want any out of bounds

Excuse me.
Chin chin.

Down the hatch.
Coughs and sneezes spread diseases.

Hello. Please, would you come here?

I think she wants her mother's
bloomers back.

Good evening, Mrs Waite, would you
like a sip of my beer?

I would not. It's a filthy beverage
in my opinion,

leading to the ruination
of the working classes,

but don't let that spoil
your enjoyment.

You've heard about our little shop.
That we are closing? Yes.

You'll miss it more than
all the others I should think.

Though if Clement Attlee
gets his way

we'll all be down the mines
by Christmas.

What a slap in the face
for Churchill.

Yes, I will miss it. I've loved it.
Well, I've loved all of it.

And I've loved you.

And you've been a true friend
and a credit to the WVS. Crikey.

And also very annoying
and very cheeky.

Cary Grant and Clark Gable seem
to have been unavoidably detained.

Would anyone like a dance?
Mrs Waite?

No, no, no, Mr Hopkins, up, up, up.

Good evening. I was just about
to ask your wife to dance.

Well, I've saved you the bother.

♪ Life is just a bowl of cherries

♪ Don't be so serious,
life's too mysterious

♪ You work, you save, you worry so

♪ But you can't take your dough
when you go, go, go

♪ So keep repeating it's the berries

♪ The strongest oak must fall... ♪

Mrs Last...

I'm Alan.

Mrs Waite's grandson.
We met on the beach that time.

I'm just out of the camp.

I just wanted to...

I'm sorry.

I get a bit weepy,
I'm not quite fit yet.

I just wanted to see the shop

and say thank you for the parcels.


When we got one...

We knew we weren't forgotten.

'I did a lot of thinking when I was
packing up the shop.

Arthur's got Edith,
he doesn't need me.

Cliff's got his discharge,
he's in London.

We parted on bad terms.

I haven't heard from him and
he doesn't want to hear from me.

So really my life as a mother
in the real sense is over.

And that's quite a...

Quite a cold feeling.'


I went to the shop

but it was closed.

God, Mum, you don't get
any taller, do you?

And I don't get any braver, so...

If there's any nastiness coming
I'd just as soon not hear it.

I know I was nasty.

And I know I hurt you.


Mum, you know I've never been
any good at saying sorry.

Chelsea? That's one of the top
places, isn't it, for art?

Top drawer, as Dad would say.

And then what? I'm only asking.

I know you're not coming back
to Barrow.

I'm sick of England.

If I'm going to paint,
I want to go abroad.

Might go back to Italy

if they've stopped chucking
hand grenades at people.

You could come out as well.

Would you want me to?

Course, if you wanted to.

We could have chianti
and... ravioli.

I can't see your father
coping with ravioli.

It's taken me 20 years
to get him to eat bread sauce.

Ooh, I'm starving, actually.

What do prodigal sons
get these days, fatted spam?

What's that?

That's you.

That's... my heart.

You're in my heart. Always.

Till the tide comes in.

Does it hurt, Dennis, banging it on
your leg like that?

Hardly. Tin on tin.

I'm not built for stairs.

The removal van's here.
The Japs have surrendered.

Who says?
The removal man. BBC.

They've asked for an armistice.

Blowing them to atoms obviously
worked then.

Oh. So that's that. How bizarre.

Well, it's looking very grand
at the new premises,

Mass Observation Towers. I've heard
talk of central heating and two lavatories.

Who wants to pack Nella Last?
Bags not I.

Are you making coffee, Dennis?
It's your turn.

Can't be... I made it in 1939.

Sounds like people are already
celebrating. I won't be.

The buntings back in the loft. Not
going up the ladder just for Japan.

'The canteen's closing so that's
another two days I'll have empty.

I've wanted peace,
I've longed for peace

but now it's here I've
a feeling of, well, panic almost.'

Victory bonfire?

Hen house.

It must have come through on the
last news, at quarter to twelve.

Come and see, there's huge rockets going up
from the ships in the dock. Come and see.

It woke me up.

So that's peace then.

Well, that's not my idea of peace,
this damned racket.

I hope it's not
going to go on all night.

Shall we go out?
Have a see, have a drive round?

I can see drunken fools any time.

No, I'm back to my bed.

Will you go?
I might just have a look.

Watch out for folk chucking



I'll have bacon, I think, tomorrow.

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