It was 1955, ten years since the war and two since rationing ended, and the country was finally coming back to life. Work was plentiful and hope was returning, but for those who had come home with permanent injuries, work and hope were limited.
Bill put his razor in the cup and wiped soap from his chin.
“Life in the old dog yet,” he grinned into the mirror. He limped out of the bathroom and down the stairs, one step at a time.
His breakfast was on the kitchen table and Ivy was washing up. Bill sat down, whistling a happy tune.
“Are you alright, Bill?” Ivy asked.
“Yeah, course,” he smiled, “why do you ask?”
“You haven't been yourself lately.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you seem... cheerful.”
“What, can't a man be happy in his own house with the woman he loves?” he winked.
She gave him a sly little smile and went back to scrubbing the skillet.
Bill popped the last bit of bacon into his mouth. Still chewing, he shook out the newspaper and turned the page.
Scotland Yard Baffled By Robbery, said the headline and Bill read on. He finished the article and eased himself up.
“Right, I'm off then,” he said, “I'll see you tonight, love.”
He put his coat on and started to the door when a thought occurred to him. He took out his wallet and pulled out a five-pound note. He took Ivy's hand and pushed the note into it.
“Why don't you go down the shops and get yourself something nice?”
Ivy stared at the note. She'd never seen a fiver before.
“Bill, where did you get this?”
“I've been doing a bit of overtime, love.”