It was back to Mike having to walk to work again from Gadebridge to Buncefield quite a walk, it was usually only too work, he could most times get a lift home. He was not a happy bunny of course, I got the blame you would have thought I caused it on purpose. It was, if I hadn’t had to take you to work and I replied if you had never been born. He realised what he was saying was crazy and we ended up laughing.
Me and the kids were watching the TV when Mike came in and said he had a surprise for us and to come and look outside, we all followed him and he stood by a car and said I have just bought this. I was dumbstruck, I couldn’t believe he could be so stupid. I asked him how much it cost him he said £300 this may not seem much now but when you owe money to everyone and are paying for another car that was written off it was downright crazy.
I said I wouldn’t discuss it in the street, we would talk about it upstairs but he insisted on taking us for a ride in it. I refused, so he took the kids. When they got back after about 10minutes I asked him where he had got the money from as I knew he had got the loan for the other car from Provident Co that collected the payments weekly and you paid extortionate repayments, he wouldn’t have been able to get another loan from there. He said someone at work had told him about another company the same as Provident and he had got it from there. I asked him how on earth we could pay all this and the arrears he owed on the rent etc….He said I worried too much and to shut up as he would sort it.
Mike had to do a Saturday shift and asked Steve if he would like to go with him as it was only a short trip, Steve said he would. The next morning it was really freezing and Steve was dressed up in warm clothes. Mike went and collected the tanker then came and picked up Steve, he was thrilled to bits. When they got home a few hours later Mike said they had been going down Galley Hill when the tanker hit a patch of black ice and they ended up going down the hill sideways, completely out of control. Mike said he pushed Steve to the floor of the cab and told him to hold tight. The tanker went to the bottom of the hill straight across a main road and ended up in Gadebridge Park. Luckily there was no traffic on the road being a Saturday and early.
Thank goodness I hadn’t known about it earlier. Steve thought it was a great adventure.
My Mum rang me and said they had told Dennis of there find behind the fireplace and she said he went ashen looked absolutely terrified and asked my Dad what he had done with the items. My Dad said first tell us what they were doing there. Dennis said he was looking after them for a mate. My Dad said tell him thank you then, he would keep the gold watch and my Mum quite liked a couple of the rings and he said I quite fancied something. Dennis was almost beside himself he said if he didn’t get them back to his mate then he would be in serious trouble. My Dad asked him if he was getting paid for holding these things or was he getting drugs in return.
Dennis finally owned up he would be given drugs as soon as the jewellery was returned intact. This so called mate said he would lose a finger for every item not returned. He stressed to my Dad that he had to have it all. My Dad made him promise never to do anything else like that again, as if the police had come round my Dad would be implicated.
This was the final straw they were definitely going to move to Rotherham. My Mum immediately put things into motion. They decided to have proper furniture removal people rather than do it themselves although more expensive it would be less stressful. There was loads to organise my Mum and Dad who both worked at Harrods, my Mum as a Buyer and my Dad as a porter, had to hand in there notice also give notice to the landlord, he would be upset because they had become friends over the years.
The date was set for moving it was the middle of December, rather close to Christmas but they had to get Dennis away from the situation he was in, even he agreed he was in it up to his neck and he couldn’t get out of it his self.
Lesley,Sheila and Steve were really upset, they said they would miss there Nan and Grandad but my Mum said they would be able to go and stay with them whenever they wanted, they were pleased with this.
We had three weeks to go so Mike and I arranged to go over the next weekend to help sort things and do some packing as they would then have the packing crates.
My Mums brothers Doug and Ken were going to help them the other end so I knew they would be fine. Sheila continued to get more like her old self but she still stuttered . The school recommended she should see a speech therapist and Steve as he didn’t speak very clearly either. I think in Steves case it was laziness because we all understood him, so I think he thought why bother.
My Mum and Dad and Dennis finally moved and got settled in a couple of days before Christmas. This would be the first year since the children were born that we hadn’t gone to their house on boxing day for the kids second Christmas day. It would be odd. Christmas came and went the children had loads of presents and had a good time. Mike hadn’t been too bad I have seen him worse.
Mike was not his usual self he seemed quite withdrawn, even more than usual. Linda came over and she said whats the matter with him. I said I had no idea, I know money was very tight. I had asked him what was wrong and he jumped down my throat and said nothing, can you not keep going on about it. I thought time to shut up.
It was freezing cold and we had loads of snow the kids loved it. On the first night of the snow I got the kids all dressed warmly with their wellie boots and gloves and off we went first footing. They were each trying to be the front person to be the first to walk on the new snow, me as well. We had a great time but by now were so cold. We all decided to go home . I made them a cup of oxo each to warm them up and we sat around the fire getting warm. Then it was bath and bed.
It was now February and I had a letter from my Mum saying Dennis was doing great, he was off the drugs and was working. My Dad was really enjoying it and she thought it was the best thing they could have done. She said how nice it was to have all her brothers and sisters close by, there was always someone visiting.
I woke up one Saturday morning and noticed that Mike was already up. This was unheard of on a Saturday morning unless he was working ,which didn’t happen very often. I went downstairs but there was no sign of him. The place was a mess though there were papers and bills everywhere. Then I noticed an envelope with my name on it. I opened it and it said he was sorry but there was no other way he had to leave as he had got in a real mess this time with no way out other than to leave us. He said he owed money on the cars he hadn’t been able to pay for weeks but the worst thing was he had received an eviction order weeks ago and we had to either pay the arrears five days after receipt ,which he obviously hadn’t done or we would be evicted on the 1st of March 1970. It was now the 25th February 1970 . I had a week to do something I had no idea what. I could not believe he had left me with this. Me and three children with no roof over our heads in a weeks time.
I dashed upstairs and looked in Mikes wardrobe and it was empty also the big suitcase was gone. I went back downstairs, I was like a headless chicken, I had no idea what to do. I had no money at all. How was I going to manage, I was going to pieces and I realised if I did then we were finished and I wouldn’t let that happen. Then I found in the envelope £5 he said that was all he had. He had kindly left me all the bills. From what I could see with a quick glance we wouldn’t have any gas or electric before long. He hadn’t paid anything for months. Why hadn’t I made sure the bills were paid. Then of course what would I tell the kids as I had no idea where he was. He could have gone to his Mums but I doubted that or to his sister June who ran a general store in Hammersmith.
I could do nothing about the eviction or the bills until Monday. Later I would phone his Mum and sister and check with them and tell my Mum. I knew he wouldn’t be back or he wouldn’t have taken all his clothes with him. Typical, in the face of adversity do a runner. I assumed he had taken the car as I couldn’t see it parked outside.
The children would be up soon and I had to work out how I would tell them. I thought to myself that after I had done that I would feel better and I would sit down and work out my moves for Monday morning. It was quite handy because a few weeks ago the twins had changed there nursery to mornings, this would give me about 4 hours to try and at least extend the eviction date. I had no idea if this was possible I had never been in this awful position before.
I tried to explain to the children about Mike but I didn’t have very much to tell them as at this time I didn’t know where he was, although I said he would probably be with their Auntie June. I don’t know what reaction I expected from them but it wasn’t the one I got which was ok can we have breakfast now.
I must admit I was shocked and a little saddened to think that his departure meant so little to them but then again I have said time and time again you reap what you sow. I have warned Mike on loads of occasions that he would end up with the kids not caring one way or the other for him.
The kids were happily playing and I wrote down a list of things I must sort out, at least try to sort out . The main one being the eviction. On looking at the paperwork he had left in greater detail, this was the second eviction letter he had received. I was also confused as to how I didn’t see these letters I can only assume they must have come when I took the kids to school. He must have been listening for the postman. No wonder he had been withdrawn he must have been scared I would get to the post before him.
I phoned Mike’s Mum and told her what had happened and she was shocked and said she hasn’t heard from him for weeks and suggested he must be at Junes. I rang Junes and at first she said he wasn’t there but I said he wasn’t at his Mums so he could only be at hers. She finally admitted that he was there, I asked to speak to him but he refused. I said to June are you proud of your gutless brother he hadn’t even the decency to tell me face to face what was going on. Just walk out probably in the middle of the night and leave me a pile of bills, an eviction notice and £5.
She said she was thoroughly ashamed of him but what could she do. After all he was her baby brother. She said she would send me some money but I said no thank you we will manage. I could have done with it but I wouldn’t let them think they could appease their conscience by giving me money. In fact it really spurred me on ,I would show them all. All my life from 9yrs old had been hardship this was nothing in comparison.
I went home and told the kids I really wanted to speak to them to let them know it was going to be difficult for us but if we all helped each other it would all come out right. I explained that money was even shorter than usual instead of sweets every day after school could we make it every other day. I said I had a lot to sort out so if they could be good kids it would make things easier for all of us.
They were amazing ,they said they would do all these things and keep their bedrooms tidy too . What amazing kids I had, I loved them so much. We would get through this, I just knew it. I said we would go for a nice walk for them to get wrapped up warm as it was snowing again we would go and have some fun. We went down to Gadebridge Park and built a huge ball of snow. They had a wonderful time and me too. I was determined it wasn’t going to be doom and gloom . We stayed until we were just to cold and worn out then back we went that was the worst part the snow was driving into our faces. When we got home at last it seemed an age, I took off their wet clothes and they put on dry ones and sat around the fire while I made our usual oxo drink. Then had a bath ready for school the next morning. After that dinner and bed.