My mother was an only child, she married my father in 1968, for 10 months they lived with my mothers parents until they got their first council flat. My granny and papa were a great couple, always entertaining, always the first in the street to get things, phone, TV, even a rotary clothes drier in the back garden. My granny worked all her life which was quite unusual in her day, most of her friends gave up working when they had families but my gran, she worked, she kept a lovely home and at one point had my mum and dad and her sister all living with her, she was cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing for them all. My papa on the other hand had a temper and preferred not to work, he fell out with countless bosses, losing jobs along the way. At one point, when my mum was pregnant with me, he owned 3 shops, unfortunately the shops did not manage themselves and he lost them all, leaving him and my gran in some debt. Any money he earned he would splash out at the local pub on his friends, who typically all thought he was great! My gran and papa had a bought house and my papa's best friend Bert, who was a great handy man helped to build the garage and landscape the garden, he was a great friend to them both and an Uncle to my mum, he in contrast to my papa was a great worker. At one point Uncle Bert had a job opportunity in Australia so him and my papa went with the intention of setting up a new life and then sending for my gran and mum. Uncle Bert had never married but would have sent for his mother. My papa in true form fell out with the boss and was back as quick as he had left, Uncle Bert stayed a while but his mother became ill and he returned to the UK.
My mum and dad lived married for four years before they had me, we lived in a 1 bedroom flat for 3 years, during which time I remained in a cot as there was no room for another bed, we then moved to our newly build 2 bedroom end terraced council house. This is when my first memories start. I was exactly 3 yrs and 1 month old. I remember walking up the hill to the new house, my mum with her shopping trolley, full of dishes etc, we walked that road 2 or 3 times a day for a while, I'm not sure how far it was maybe 1.5 to 2 miles, my mum couldn't drive and I don't even know if we had a car then. It was a great house, we always used the back door, why this is important to mention, I'm not sure. There was a huge walk in cupboard at the back of the kitchen and I mean huge it was the same size as the kitchen, we kept coats and shoes and shite in that cupboard, I played for hours in that cupboard, we also had a smaller full size cupboard facing you as you entered through the back door. The living room was what we called a through and through living room, I suppose because we came through from the kitchen at the dining end and entered the hall at the other end, the living end, the room was long and bright with windows at both ends and a gas fire on the middle wall, the hall was square and housed the green dialling phone and the unused front door, we would pass the front door to walk to the side gate and enter the back door, for years this bothered me and I wanted my mum to leave the front door unlocked in order that I could use it, she refused it was always locked, I suppose it was so that strangers could not enter and go upstairs unnoticed. Upstairs was my mum and dad's bedroom which housed yet another cupboard over the stairs, my mum was very proud of the cupboard space in her new home, our bathroom was standard and the bathroom shared a wall with my bedroom. Ahhh my bedroom, the room that has been the most important to me in all my 35 years. I lived in this bedroom from the age of 3yrs and 1 month to the age of 17 yrs and 10 months, 14 yrs and 9 months compared to my 35 years does not seem many but it was my most influential years and the one and only house I have ever considered home.
I now know this house was to be a fresh start, my dad liked a drink and this caused many arguments as my dad would give my mother a showing up by getting drunk and becoming outspoken, my mum was of a slightly different class to my father, she was an only child, my gran and papa had more money, a bought house, they had been well brought up and were quite posh, my gran slightly on the snobby side, where as my father had 3 sisters, lived on a council estate all his life and there was nothing posh about them, they were just ordinary people, my papa B liked a drink and it was the only time he had cracked a smile the rest of the time he sat silent glued to the tele, he didn't have much time for children, I don't think he knew what to do with us.
So fresh start it was my dad promised to spend less time going to the pub. A promise is a promise after all, how wrong could it go.......................