My father was a mechanic to trade but also did driving jobs, he loved cars, the mechanics of cars obviously and driving, this is a love that passed to me, not so much the mechanics but the love of cars and driving.
It was 1975 we settled into our new house, me in my own room, in my own bed, our fresh beginning. A very sort time later my granny appears at the door and announces she is leaving my papa. Bombshell! She is furious at the debt he had got himself into, my gran is a cash women, you don't have the money, you save then spend. She could take no more of his temper and laziness. End of. Over. No going back. And she never did. Both my papa and my mother were devastated. Although they had arguments like every other couple they were good together. My mother was 28, they had been married for 32 years, they were the stability in my mothers life, she took it very badly. I was too young to understand but there was much excitement for me, granny was moving in! Granny sold her beautiful house for a grand total of £2000, a house that today would be worth nearly £300K, she cleared my papa's debt and my single bed was exchanged for a double, I loved it, the person I loved just as much as my mum and dad was staying with us. Papa, he went into a men's refuse for a short time this had no effect on me as granny staying far out weighted where papa might be.
My mum hadn't worked since she had me, women really didn't then, my gran, she worked full time, so my mother took over the roll that her mother had once played for her and her new husband. My mother couldn't believe the coldness granny was showing, many times, even before I was born, she had left my father as he had become so argumentative through drink, she had gone straight to her parents, her father, the protector, said she could stay as long as she liked and yet my granny who didn't suffer fools gladly always let him in, accepted his calls and always told my mother 'he is really sorry you know.' Had my granny said 'you're are not going back' I don't think she ever would have. On the worst occasion when I was a baby, my mother left with me in the coach built Silver Cross pram without even a coat, walking the 4 or 5 miles to her parents house, this time my papa put his foot down and my father was not to enter the house nor was my mother going back, he was not having this with such a young baby. Papa went in his Jaguar and collected my cot and some other necessities and told my father as much. Gran and papa's house had 3 bedrooms, my mother moved into the big room and my papa told my mother I should have the small room, little did my mother know the 3 piece bedroom suite in the small room would then come with granny and became my furniture, we all had our own space there was no need to go back. However, this time after many promises, my mother decided it wasn't fair to keep a baby from her father or indeed a father from his daughter and back we went, this was a pattern that was to repeat itself for many years to come. And yet here was granny less than 3 years later walking out on papa and she never did go back. How was this fair all the times she had been talked round by her mother to make her marriage work, I think the torment of this was worse than her parents actual separation.
My gran was always early to bed and early to rise (and quite rightly makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise - as the nursery rhyme goes) this suited me and every night we retired to bed together, lights out and we would sing;
Jesus bids us shine
with a pure clear light
like a little candle
burning in the night
In this world of darkness
so let us shine
you in your small corner
and I in mine.
Every time I hear this song I remember these times with great love and affection and of course a little tear in my eye.
We finally got our routine going, dad and Granny would go off to work and mum would take me to playgroup a few mornings a week, mum got a job in the playgroup doing some secretarial work, we would then come home to find papa waiting on the doorstep. He would stay for lunch, he would drink coffee and ask about my granny, perhaps he believed one day she would come back. Not that my mother minded him coming but when it was everyday she felt drained both physically and emotionally and then have to put her brave face on for granny coming in from work. My dad would then after dinner leave my mother and granny to blether and nip to the pub for 'a quick pint' and here starts another routine...