Sometimes, the doorbell rang. The onion man came once a year. He was thin and brown and didn't speak English. Why did he cycle from far away to sell onions in our street? Except for onions, he had no luggage and where did he sleep?
The coalman, smiley, dirty and torn tossed the huge sack over his shoulder and did a fast trot to the back of the garage where he sliced open the stitching and tipped the sparkling, blue-black, jagged lumps of coal into the bunker. Then he did it nine time more.
Every Friday, the icecream man announced his arrival with twinkly, tinny music. (Thanks to endless adult warnings, I imagined myself running onto the road and getting hit, SPLAT, by a car). One of us children got to choose a chocolate, neopolitan or raspberry ripple family block. It wouldn't last long in our fridge's little ice box so we always ate it all for tea.
Once, the children of our cleaning lady came. "Have you seen our mother?" the oldest one asked. "She's been gone a week."
"She hasn't been this week," my mother said, though she didn't say that the last time their mother was here, she had stolen the Sunday sherry bottles. Mum gave them a loaf of bread and some apples which they started to eat straight away.