It was going to be fish and chips for tea as it was not possible to cook anything.
I was on my own the kids were out playing and Mike was at work when I got a phone call from a lady who was interested in an exchange. She lived in Warners End she had a three bedroom house in a cul de sac and wanted a four bedroom house . I said I was interested and would like to go and see it and she said come over now.
I drove over and when I saw where it was I realised it would be perfect for Sheila to get to the stables it would only take about ten minutes on her bike. The house looked nice too. There were only three houses either side of the close and the one I was looking at was at the end with a small wood running alongside. It looked really nice. I was even more impressed when I looked inside. The girls would have to share a room ,which was a really good size and Steve could have the single room.
I told the lady I was very interested and arranges for her to look at our house later that evening as she wanted to wait for her husband to come home from work. She said it would be about 6.00pm this suited me as I could tidy up a bit.
When I got home the kids were in and I told them about the house, Lesley and Sheila were a bit worried about sharing a room , as they really didn’t get on. Steve was ok about it but concerned about school as it was a fair distance away from Warners End.
Still the lady hadn’t seen our house yet and she might not like it. I was hoping they would get here before Mike got home from work, I could tell him later. Sheila was really pleased about being so close to the stables so that swung it for her
The lady and her husband came and really liked the house and said if we both agreed she would inform the council on Monday morning, I said I would do the same. I did feel a bit guilty as Mike new nothing about it, no doubt sparks would fly later.
The other house although smaller rooms still had a separate dining room and decent size lounge but a really big kitchen that we could get a table in. after the tiny kitchen in this house it would be heaven.
Mike came home and I made him a cup of tea and told him what I had done, the kids were there, we thought safety in numbers but we couldn’t believe it, he said that he thought that it would be a good move and certainly better for Sheila. I was flabbergasted this was certainly out of character, still don’t knock it.
So Monday morning I rang the council and she said they had already heard from the lady so now they would start the ball rolling. She said it should only take about six weeks as we were all up-to-date with our rents so she couldn’t foresee a problem.
The kids said they would go to the local shops and ask for some cardboard boxes so we could start packing. This would be a nightmare as we were downsizing and I knew no-one would want to get rid of anything. I said that I would take them to see the house that night the lady had said that would be ok. Once they had looked at it they also really liked it. It was much easier having their approval. The packing was all done; the house looked like a tip….no change there then….. That was about all we could do until we had a moving date from the council. I had rung Sheila and Steve’s school and arranged for Sheila to transfer to Halsey School in Warners End . Steve had decided to stay at Mountbatten he didn’t want to change; he said he didn’t mind the travelling. We decided to give it a go and he could change schools if the travelling got too much. His juvenile arthritis was slowly improving the shoe insert was working really well along with the medication. At last he was able to attend school even though he couldn’t do any PE or games.
At last we had a moving date so it was all systems go now, we had just two weeks to arrange everything. What with working full time it was going to be hard work but the kids said they would help. I had to hire a Luton Van as we were going to move ourselves; we also had the land rover and horsebox so we could move quite a lot in that.
A mutual exchange which we were doing meant that both families moved at the same time, timing was crucial or else someone’s furniture etc. would be in the garden. It also posed a problem with laying carpets and cleaning before your furniture went in. Whose idea was this moving lark….oh dear it was mine, I never learn but I had a master plan and if it took this move then so be it. When Mike went we would be in a smaller house therefore much more able to manage on my wages.
The moving day came, we worked so hard dismantling beds, taking up carpets and taking down curtains. A couple of Mikes workmates came and helped thank goodness The move went quite well, Mike having a couple of workmates helping him meant he wouldn’t lose his temper in their presence so we all benefited.
The house was really nice I hoped we could be happy here. It was going to be great for Sheila , it would only take her about 10 mins to cycle to the stables. She was also looking forward to riding outlaw to our house from the stables something she had been unable to do because of the distance.
While Mike took the van back the kids and I got stuck in sorting out the bedrooms. Sheila and Lesley would have to share a room I was aware this was going to be troublesome to say the least. We tried to partition the room by putting their wardrobes down the middle of the room with a bed either side. At least they wouldn’t have to look at each other. Steve had the single bedroom.
The dogs appeared to like it, the garden backed onto a small wooded area making the garden look bigger. It was all fenced Angel being so big could look over a five foot fence so it had to be secure. She was a big softie but people could be a little scared of her because of her size.
When Mike got back he fitted in the cooker and washing machine and assembled the beds. First we were going to have a cup of tea then get stuck in properly. Sheila had to go to the stables to feed and groom outlaw.
The house needed quite a bit of work doing ie decorating, goodness knows when that would get done. The area seemed ok, only three houses each side of the road. It didn’t take us long to get settled in. Sheila started her new school and Steve travelled to his which was ok in the good weather but horrid in the rain.
Time passed we found that the road we lived in was a nightmare, fighting and shouting, not nice at all. Sheila had got in with a bad crowd at school and unfortunately they lived quite near us. Sheila turned into a monster she was 15 yrs old and thought she could do as she pleased. If she hadn’t had Outlaw I think she would have been uncontrollable but she had responsibilities.
Mike had been ok most of the time, he had done some decorating. One night the children were in bed and Mike and I somehow got into an argument over what, I cant remember but he got me by the throat and threw me on the bed but he had forgotton the kids had only just gone to bed and came out of their rooms to see what was going on, Mike immediately let go of me, he had been caught in the act for the first time and said to me “just wait I`ll get you when you are least expecting it, watch your back”. Lesley and Sheila both heard this. Sheila and I both went downstairs as I certainly didn’t want to sleep in the same bed as him. Sheila asked me why I stayed with him, I said because of the horses and all the competitions etc…. she said she would rather put Outlaw out to loan and we would all have a better life. I was shocked. I said I would sleep on it. I said I would sleep on the sofa but she said no, to sleep in her bed in case he came downstairs, she insisted she would sleep downstairs
When I got up the next morning Mike had already gone to work, Sheila said he hadn’t said a word. Sheila and Steve went to school and Lesley and I went to work. I was talking to my friend and boss about what had happened last night and she said I should divorce him and that I shouldn’t have to put up with his nonsense. I had a good job I was pretty sure we could manage. I agreed with her. I had previously said to Mike that if he was ever violent again I would divorce him and it wasn’t an empty threat. Now with Sheila willing to put Outlaw out on loan for a while we would be able to manage.
I rang the solicitor and made an appointment , I was surprised I got one for that afternoon. It was a good job my boss was also my friend so it was easy to arrange the time off. I was quite nervous about going, I had no idea of the procedure.
I saw a really nice man who immediately put me at ease and proceeded to ask loads of questions. From my answers he decided the grounds of the divorce should be irretrievable breakdown of marriage We then had to make a list of all the things that he did that was unreasonable and there was a lot to choose from. After this was all done he said he would get it typed up and then send a copy to Mike, I think when this came I had better make myself scarce. This was May 1980.
When I got home I told the children what I had done and thank goodness they agreed it was the right thing to do. My next obstacle was to tell Mike…I was actually trembling at the thought. I had better have the kids with me.