Monday evening came and also Tilly’s husband whose name I cant remember and he was taken aback he said he had no idea it was such an amazing flat, he was sure Tilly would want it. He asked if he could ring her on our phone .I went in the kitchen to make a cup of tea and give him some privacy. He chatted to Tilly for a while then came and said that if we wanted there house then we should see the council and get things in motion as Tilly was sold on the flat just from his description. Mike and I looked at each other and he said ok we will get it started.
From what I knew about exchanges, which really wasn’t much at that time, it could be a matter of 6-8weeks, panic was about to set in. What had we done. Mike went up to his Mums and asked her to come down and have a cup of tea with us as we had something to tell her. Mike said there was a look of horror on her face and she said Sheila’s not pregnant is she. Mike roared with laughter and said no way and that she would have to wait and see.
She came down and while I made the tea Mike told her she was upset and said she would miss the children so much but we said she could come and stay with us if she wanted to. She also understood that we were trying to make a better life for the kids and didn’t blame us for moving. Ten floors up was no place for young children. Everyday I tried to take them over to Norman Park but its not the same as having your own safe garden.
On the Monday I went to the council offices and set things in motion, they gave me a load of forms to fill in and return and said we would probably get some from Hemel Hempstead council also. They said as soon as they received the forms back they would put the procedure into action and it usually took about 6-8weeks. It was June now so around end of July beginning of August we could be on the move.
Tilly’s husband rang that evening and said they had also been to their council offices and that the same was said and we would be hearing from them. Mike had also had a word to his boss about transferring to Hemel Hempstead Buses and they were going to start that. I suppose we should start packing but I am not very good at organising things I work better under pressure like a few days before we would be due to move.
Dennis and his mate Roy was going to help us move. Dennis was 18 yrs old now he had a decent job shop-fitting and said he enjoyed it. He had gone to school with Roy he was a really nice lad who we had known for several years.
Mike and I filled in the forms we had from our council and waited for the ones from Hemel. A couple of weeks went by and we had heard nothing from Hemel, so we spoke to Tilly and she said she would chase them up as they had had the forms from Fulham Council ages ago.
Me and the kids did start packing, we packed a load of their toys but they ended up playing with most of them , it took a lot of persuasion to get them in the packing crates but we managed it. All three children were sat in Lesley’s bedroom and I could hear her telling the twins about the new house and garden . I could hear all these oohs and aahs and Sheila said will we play in the garden on our own without Mummy with us. Lesley said yes she would watch them, what a little sweetie, she was definitely beyond her years. She was 5 yrs old and the twins were 2 yrs old. I was pleased with Sheila’s health now . The last time we went to the hospital for a check up a couple of weeks ago they finally took her off all medication and said they thought she should have a check up in a years time and then hopefully if all goes well a final one at 4yrs before she starts school. If I had any concerns at all then I must phone them immediately as she had been on this medication for the first 2yrs of her life.
I told Dr Jolly we were moving to Hemel Hempstead and he said he would arrange the follow-up visits with West Herts Hospital he knew it well, in fact he said he still might see Sheila as he was the visiting consultant paediatrician there.
At last we got the forms from Hemel Council we filled them in straight away and returned them. Now it was the waiting game something I am not very good at.
Lesley was a little concerned about changing school but still really looking forward to it.
It would be odd living there not knowing anybody. We had always had Mikes Mum with us and my Mum and Dad just a tube ride away. We would really be on our own. One thing though since we had moved into our own place Mike had been so different no violence at all lets hope it remained that way.
After numerous telephone calls we had a letter from Hemel Council saying that Hemel Hempstead buses was out of the Hemel boundary, therefore that job would not qualify him for residency he would have to get a job within the Hemel boundary. Mike was angry we had wasted all this time. We were now back at square one.
My Dad said he would go with Mike to Hemel Hempstead to look for a job in the right area, as they had told him after moving to Hemel he could then leave and go on the buses. Mike took my Dad up on his offer of a bit of company and off they went. Everything now hinged on him getting a job.
They didn’t get home until about 8.00pm as Mike had taken my Dad to see the new house. He said he was really impressed and could see how good it would be for the kids. Also he had a job which he didn’t know how long he would keep . It was driving and delivering coal to householders. A very hard job. He had to start 2 weeks from now and Tilly had said he could stay at there house until the move as it would be impossible to commute.
We immediately told the council and they said they would now action it. Another couple of weeks and once again we had to pester them. Evidently there had been a lot of trouble at the council a lot of the bosses were taking backhanders money for houses and planning permission in other words you could do anything as long as you could afford it. The whole council housing dept. were sacked which in turn caused us more delay. We applied in June and it was now October. It was supposed to take 6-8 weeks.
At the end of October we finally got a moving date this really pleased Mike as this job was too much for him lugging sacks of coal on his back. The date was 28th November 1967 the day after Dennis’s birthday but he was still going to help us move thank goodness.
At last moving day came, it was freezing cold and wet but we were in high spirits and soon got underway with the removal van full to bursting. We would have to make two trips which was a bit daunting for the lads. It took us about 2 hours as the van didn’t go very fast . At least Tilly’s stuff was all out when we got there so we could unload the van quite quickly.
It was a shame the weather was so awful the kids couldn’t go out and they were not very pleased. Me and the kids went across to the shops to see if there was a fish and chip shop as we were all starving and there was no cooker fixed yet. We went back loaded with goodies.
After that was eaten the lads went back to Fulham to get the other things. Mike said he thought there was only about half a lorry load. They took a few things of Tillys back with them to save them two trips.
Me and the kids stayed in the house. It was freezing being mid November and something we hadn’t thought about was the heating in the house. There only appeared to be a gas fire in the front room and no other form of heating at all. We were going to be like icicles. This was really bad. I saw the lady who lived next door Mia I asked her if I was perhaps missing something and she said that was the only fire but that there was under-floor heating which was really nice but nobody could afford to use it only for short periods. I asked if she would show me how to put it on as I hadn’t a clue I hadn’t even realised it existed. She was a really nice person there was only her and her husband and they were really nice. At one point they took the children so that we could work a bit faster.
It wasn’t long before you could feel the difference it was getting really warm after only 30 minutes. The children liked it they were taking their shoes and socks off to feel the warmth on their feet. I left them to there own devices and went upstairs to start trying to sort out the childrens bedrooms, Sheila and Stephen would be in the double bedroom and Lesley would have the single one. Now it was devoid of furniture you could see it was badly in need of decorating, actually that applied to the whole house but hopefully we could get it done a room at a time. That is if Mike felt the same, otherwise I would be having another battle.
Before the others came back I had got the twins cots ready for them and most of there clothes put in their cupboards. Lesleys bed was assembled and made and her clothes put away. The house was really warm now. When the lads got back they couldn’t believe how warm it was .When I told Mike what Mia had said about the cost he said we had no choice . The last of our belongings were now in the house. They were so tired I suggested they stayed overnight and slept on the sofa as that turned into a double bed. Neither of them fancied both sleeping in the bed so I said that’s fine, one will have to make do with the chair or the floor. Then it was who was having which, we had such a laugh. The lads then went upstairs to do the bedrooms they didn’t realise I had done the kids room and there was only ours to do. They hadn’t realised how long it had taken them.
We decided to call it a day it was 9pm the children are usually in bed by 7pm the twins and 7.30pm Lesley. They were really excited and I thought they might have trouble calming down and going to sleep but no in about ten minutes it was silent. I made a cup of tea for us all and all we could have to eat was toast, but it was delicious.
The van had to be back by 9.00am the next morning so it was early rising and cup of tea and toast for breakfast. Off they went and Dennis and Roy said they would be over next weekend to help out a bit. Mike didn’t get back until 1pm as he had to drop the lads off at the Oval then back to Fulham to drop off the van and collect the car then drive to Hemel.