Sunday morning the kids were up bright and early we all had breakfast then Dennis suggested we all went out for a walk. The kids got changed into there old clothes as we knew from previous experience that they would come back caked in mud and grime. If they had old clothes then it didn’t matter and they could relax and have fun.
We walked miles across the fields to Potten End and on and on we went. They climbed trees looking for birds eggs . We came across old farm buildings that Dennis managed to turn into an adventure. The kids loved it. They paddled in the river a very shallow one, then of course had to walk home with wet feet. There wasn’t a single moan, not even from Sheila who was the proverbial moaning Minnie.
We had no idea of the time or how long we had been out and were shocked to find we had been out for around 4 hours. The kids got changed out of there muddy clothes and they went straight into the washing machine. I made us all a sandwich and drink. We were all absolutely shattered but very happy.
Monday morning Dennis was true to his word and went down to the job centre to try and find a job. He was gone about an hour then he was back said he had an interview that afternoon in Piccotts End at a company called Choakes Agricultural ,evidently they maintained ditches and general things on the land. Dennis said it sounded just the kind of job he fancied. It was outdoors just working with one other guy and Dennis would be his labourer. We all decided to go with him as it was a lovely walk there and we could meander about while Dennis had his interview.
Dennis came out of the yard all smiles, it was obvious he had got the job. He was so thrilled and said he had met the guy he would be working with, he was polish or Hungarian and he said they hit it off straight away. The work could be anything from digging ditches to clearing manure heaps. Even repairing fences and dry stone walls. He really was looking forward to the work. He was to start on Wednesday . The wages were not all that brilliant but it would be enough for him to help me out a bit and keep him in cigarettes.
Wednesday came and Dennis was up nice and early he had to leave the house by 6.00am to meet this polish guy at Piccots End. I had made him sandwiches and a flask of Coffee because they would be working probably miles from a shop. He was really excited couldn’t wait to go, he had no idea what he would be doing or what time they finished work.
The kids were still on holiday so I went back to bed for a while, at least until they pestered me to get up. I made them breakfast then they sat around for a while watching TV then their friends started knocking at the door to see if they were going out to play. Of course they were off and I probably wouldn’t see them for a couple of hours.
I wondered how Dennis was getting on at least it was a lovely warm sunny day.
The kids were in and out like yoyo’s first a drink then a sandwich it was like Piccadilly circus.
Dennis got home about 4.30pm and said he had had a smashing day. He really liked the guy he was working with he had loads of stories to tell. They had been diggng out trenches ready for some other people to lay pipes. He was shattered but looking forward to tomorrow.
This carried on for about 3 months and Dennis had put on weight and looked really healthy and as far as I knew he hadn’t taken any drugs. My Mum and Dad were so pleased and really hoped it would last.
Saturday morning there was a knock at the door and it was Dennis’s mate Roy who helped us move from London to Hemel. Dennis was real pleased to see him a blast from the past. Roy said he had suddenly decided to drive over and see if I could give him Dennis address in Rotherham so he could arrange to visit him.
He was really surprised at how fit and strong Dennis looked. He asked him if he wanted to go for a drink and of course Dennis said yes. I was a little worried because he hadn’t been out drinking since he came to our house but I trusted Roy he had never taken drugs.
Time went by I bathed the kids ready for school in the morning it was the twins first day at proper school. I was sure they would find it hard staying a full day. They would come home at dinnertime and I fully expected they wouldn’t want to go back. I could be wrong, I usually was, they never ceased to surprise me.
It was 11pm and Dennis and Roy were not back yet, I was getting worried as Dennis had to be at work for 6.00am. I had a bad feeling. I waited up another hour then went to bed.
The next morning I looked in Dennis’s bedroom and his bed had not been slept in which meant he hadn’t come home. His work clothes were still there. I got the children up and ready, the twins were really excited. I took them to school then went to the phone box and phoned Roy’s home. He answered and said Dennis had gone back to London with him as he wanted to see some of his old mates I went mad at Roy and told him that all his old mates were druggies. I knew it wasn’t Roy’s fault but I was so angry at Dennis. Roy visiting had reminded him of his past. I wasn’t even sure he would be back. It would be a waiting game . The kids would be so upset.
A whole week went by and no sign of him . I phoned my Mum and Dad they were really upset they thought he had changed but I think we expected too much too soon.
I said I would let them know if I heard from him. I was so worried he could be laying dead some where because he hadn’t had drugs for a while it is easy to overdose.
Linda came round I hadn’t seen her for a while and she was surprised Dennis was living with us and seemed quite pleased about it until I told her what had happened. She did have a soft spot for him. We went and picked the kids up from school and when we got back there was Dennis looking very dishevelled and dirty and sheepish. I asked where he had been and he said looking up old mates I asked him about taking any drugs he said no but I knew he was lying. His whole demeanour was drug induced .
I asked him if he was going to phone his job and try and smooth things over but he said he was too tired and would do it in the morning. He said hello to Linda and said it was nice to see her again. I made him a sandwich and cup of tea then he went to bed. No explanations at all , it was as if he had just come in from the shops. I said to Linda that Ill bet he didn’t know how long he had been gone.
I picked up his coat and out fell a piece of paper and of course I picked it up and read it. It was a charge sheet from West End Central police station he had been charged with shop lifting and bailed to go to court at the end of October. My suspicions had been right the only time he shop lifted was when he needed money for drugs. Poor Marks and Spencers that was the easiest shop to steal from. All the junkies who needed to score went to M&S they would steal, for instance, a duvet or two then take them back to get cash back as M&S had a policy that anything you returned with or without a receipt you got your money back, of course this was so easy for the shoplifters.
Linda stayed and was going to have dinner with us, I think she was hoping Dennis would get up. He did to, I was very surprised . I challenged him about the charge sheet and he did own up and said he was out of practice that’s how he got caught but he had previously stolen a load of items and got the money back he thought approx £100. He really was the odd one out of the family everyone else wouldn’t dream of stealing or for that matter take drugs.
We all had dinner and as usual it was great fun, Dennis really was a fun person to be around when drug free. The next morning he rang his job but of course they didn’t want to know he had been awol for over a week and they had set someone else on. He was really upset but accepted that it was his own fault and promised to get another job. They were going to post his wages to him.
The next morning he said he was going to see Dr Jones, our family doctor who knew Dennis’s problems as he was still taking heroin. He hadn’t admitted this before he always denied it. He said while he had been in London he had taken it every day and really needed help. I thought this was a step in the right direction , at least it was out in the open. He saw the Doctor and came home and said the Doctor would only help if he could speak to me, as getting him off the heroin would take every-ones co-operation. Dr Jones was going to come to our house to talk it through.
I got the kids to bed and waited for the Doctor. He finally came almost an hour late offered his apologies, he had been called out. He said the only way to get Dennis off the heroin in the long run and permanantly, was to register him as an addict and then he could prescribe controlled doses of it and gradually reduce it over quite a long period of time. He would also have to be counselled by him twice a week. He said he had done loads of research and if Dennis and I agreed he would like to put his theories into practise.
He collected a certain number of ampoules each day and injected himself and for a while it seemed to be working, he no longer needed to go shoplifting in order to score the heroin, which meant a daily trip to London and avoiding the police. He also went for the counselling and I was getting really optimistic for the future. Of course I should have known it was too good to be true.