My husband Dick was in partnership with Barry his brother-in-law, they had a deep litter business with approx 200 hundred chickens we raised them from tiny fluffy chicks and eventually when fully grown we would collect the eggs and they were sold on to the then milk marketing board.....it was a very lucrative but small business. Both Dick and Barry had their day jobs. Now these two were always up for a challenge to make a bit of extra cash hence the saga of the bubble gum machines. Do you remember the old bubble gum machines, they always stood on the pavement outside your favourite sweet shop, and you needed one old penny to put in the slot - turn the handle - and your lovely colourful round ball of bubble gum would drop into your hand.
One evening Barry was reading the news paper the headline said "Easy way to make money" well, he was drawn to this and read on, it sounded great. The people advertising would find a nice position , outside a local shop and this is where your bubble gum machine would be placed. So Barry armed with all this information came to our house to discuss it with Dick, well, to be honest they were as bad as each other, and soon decided this was an opportunity not to be missed so Barry made arrangements and the man would come to our house to tie it all up.
Back then when this was all being sorted out remember we didn't have a telephone or a car so these two were biking back and forth to each others houses planning what they were going to do with all the money they were going to make.....perhaps a new car or shall we increase the chicken population in our deep littter shed or you name it they suggested it !!!
Well the night arrived for the big meeting, it was about 7 o'clock when the doorbell rang, l was busy making dolls clothes for Lyns doll. Dick went to the door and invited two men in. Have you ever seen the" Godfather.".well, they could have been out of that film. All l could think of was Mafia and Gangsters and whatever have these two got into now.
Barry was very keen on the idea - and sold it to Dick, who agreed (I think against his beter judgement) But the Mafia knew how to sell their products...and a deal was struck..,,,A few days before the cash was to be handed over this very pleasant young man called, he worked for the Mafia, and it seemed to me he was trying to dissuade them, but they were carried away with their dream of big profits and nothing was going to stop them.
The cash was handed over, and a few days later bags of bubble gum arrived and they were told where the Machine had been sited, Heigham Street - a quiet part of Norwich - about 4 miles from our house. Bikes to the ready and off they went to fill the machine with the gum. All filled and Barry took an old penny inserted it into the slot turned the handle and out came his lovely colourful bubble gum.
A few days passed and anxious to see what a florishing business they had, Dick decided to take a ride down by himself and have a look. It was a dark night and raining by the time he got there, no street lighting and was finding it difficult trying to find the keyhole, when a policeman approached and shone his torch at Dick and wanted to know what he was up to, Dick told him the machine was his and was just emptying it - and asked him if he would shine his torch so he could see the keyhole - the policeman oblidged with that Dick did the business, and in the cash box was ONE penny.
Dick hurried round to Barry's and he told Dick he had been to the bubble gum machine earlier that evening, emptied it of the money "ONE PENNY" which he duly put back in. So it turned out that nobody had used it - Only Barry !!!
There is a nice ending to this saga - as it was a well known paper - and we certainly were not happy with the results of our venture, we wrote too them - And not expecting any results, we were pleasantly surprised when the lady got in touch with us from the paper - and fought our corner - after quite a few weeks we received a letter and were reimbursed with all our outlay.....We did send her a box of chocolates for her trouble - but out of the profits of our chickens - and not the Bubble gum machine.....