Friday, 31 October 2008

Page 146

It would be strange having to get up for work again as I had been off for about 3 months. I couldnt believe it my first morning at my new job and I had overslept, either I hadnt set the alarm clock or I had switched it off and gone back to sleep. I anticipated having breakfast sitting watching TV for a while and then going to work . Instead it was a quick wash, makeup put on in 1 minute and dash to the car, I got there at 8.25am and I started work at not the best of starts.

The personnel officer took me to where would be working and I couldnt believe my eyes, the office that I would be in was like something out of the ark. Desks that had definitely seen better days, chairs that all needed re-covering, I had come from an ultra modern office no expence spared.

I was introduced to everyone and I would be working with a young girl Donna who seemed really nice and friendly, she was going to teach me. Mark the warehouse manager who shared our office and Tom the Office Manager who was in a tiny office next door along with an elderly lady who was the clerk.

Donna and I got stuck in we did the admin for everybody in Despatch, we were responsible for all Inventory adjustments, Stock adjustments, transfer of stock to outside warehouses, Cycle Counts and export shipping documentation. Credit notes etc... This was going to take some serious learning but I loved a challenge.

There was also a small office off our main office that was the Post Room manned by a lady about my age Nancy and a guy similar age. They were a sort of couple but lived each in their own homes in fact Nancy lived in a static mobile home which was beautiful, from inside you would have thought you were in a normal house.

My first day was hard and not exactly getting off to a good start by getting up late. I knew by the end of the first day that I was going to really like this job and the people. There was about 20 Warehouse lads also that were in and out of our office.

Every time you left the office to go either to the toilets or the canteen the smell as you walked across the yard was of chocolate, it was actually the Ovaltine being made. In fact there were so many products made there. I found out there was a staff shop where they sold most of the products at a very much reduced price, usually the containers would be slightly damaged or badly printed which couldnt be sold to the general public.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Page 145

Lesley and the baby went home after 4 days. Now the hard work starts, sleepless nights and everything that goes hand in hand with a new baby. I couldnt see Jim doing much he was very much like my ex husband, all over the baby in front of visitors but when they were gone so were they.

Well , now I would have to start looking for work as the money was getting very low. I decided to go and sign on at an agency and do temp work. The first place I got was the Royal Mail it was for 6 weeks which was really good. I would be working on Customer Service and believe me it was very busy. I also had to open all the unable to be delivered post to enable them to be returned to sender and there were loads, like sacks full.

The agency rang me about a job at The Ovaltine Company as a Despatch Clerk she didnt have many details so she suggested I give them a ring. I spoke to the personnel officer and the first thing I said was I was 49 years old and if that was too old to please tell me before we went any further. She said she guessed I had come up against the age barrier, I said I had on several occasions.

She assured me that wasnt the case in this company and past work record and experience was the key. She asked me to go and see her the following day. The job I had applied for required a good head for figures, which I had , accuracy, which I prided myself with. She read my CV and said I appeared to have all the experience in my previous jobs that they were looking for. She said she would have to pass on my application to the Warehouse Manager and they would let me know if he wanted to see me. I had a good feeling about this job.

A few days later I received a telephone call at the Royal Mail from Ovaltine asking me to go for an interview in two days time. I was thrilled. The Warehouse Manager was a nice enough guy, he hadnt been there that long himself. I dont think he was far off retirement age. The interview went well and he said he would like me to have a short interview with the Stock Controller who I would be under if I got the job. This I did and I didnt feel at all nervous and it went well.

I was then taken back to Personnel and asked to wait a while and the Personnel Officer would come and have a word with me. I was a little confused as usually you were told you would hear from them in a few days.

I waited about 20 minutes or so before she came and apologised for the wait I had but thought I wouldnt mind as they were offering me the job if I wanted it. It took me a second or two to realise what she had said, I said yes please. The wages were quite a bit less than I had at my last job but I didnt mind, I really fancied this job and they all seemed so informal and friendly.she said she would get a formal letter in the post and I could start 1st October.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Page 144

It was about 7.00pm and still no baby. Tina the next door neighbour came round and asked me to go and have a coffeee rather than sit on my own, I wasnt keen as I hardly new her but it was a nice gesture and if Lel had the baby I would be there for the phone call.

They were Italian from Sicely I believe. Before long several visitors had arrived, family members, I think. They all proceeded to talk in Italian which left me at a bit of a loss. It went on like this for about an hour and I felt like a bit of a gooseberry and why do they shout all the time. I thanked Tina for the coffee and said I was going to do some ironing for Lesley. Actually I thought it a bit rude to all speak in italian when they invited me round.

I did the ironing and watched the TV for a while then went to bed. At about 6.00am the doorbell rang and it was Tina`s husband he said Lesley had a little girl and they were both well. I was ecstatic and thanked him profusely and apologised for the early hour but he said he was up for work anyway. I couldnt wait to see Lel and the baby so I washed and dressed and off I went.

Lesley looked really tired, she had a pretty tough time, the baby was born at 5.30am and weighed 7lb 2ozs and she was absolutely beautiful, lots of hair and the cutest little face. I was the happiest person except for Lesley and Jim and couldnt wait to tell Steve. I stayed for a while and decided I was going home as Lesley would be in hospital for a few days. Steve and I could come and visit the hospital. I knew he would be dying to see the baby and he didnt drive yet.

Steve wasnt home when I got back so I went down town and bought a teddy and a pink dress and other bits and pieces, everything we had bought so far had been either lemon or white so I couldnt wait to buy something pink.

It was too late to drive to Milton Keynes and visit Lel so we said we would go the next day. Steve finished work at 1.30pm so we could be there in time for the afternoon visiting which I think was 2.00pm to 4.00pm.

Lel looked a lot better today and the baby looked so content lying in her crib. Steve was thrilled to see her, his first niece and my first grandchild. They had decided to call her Roxanne which we all thought was a really lovely name and it suited her.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Page 143

It was really nice Dennis being in prison we didnt have to make sure the door was double locked, I could leave my handbag about the house not having to hide it. Not having to look for him down town , on a couple of occasions I had seen him in town and gone to the shops and warned him before hand not to steal anything. we would get out of the shop then he would show me something he had stolen and I had been watching him like a hawk.

I was loving not having to go to work and so was Allie . I went to Lesley`s a couple of times a week it was great. We bought loads of stuff for the baby as there was only a month or so to go. We went to John Lewis and ordered a beautiful cot and the sheets and bumper set and duvet. all sorts of things, it was such an exciting time, none of us could wait. I think Jim`s Mum and Dad bought them the pram, they had loads of things. This baby wouldnt want for anything.

It got to time the baby was due so I was going to stay overnight as Jim had to go to work early the next morning but he didnt get chance, around 1.00am Lesley started having pains so we decided to go to the hospital. Jim took Lel in their car and I went in mine as I would need to come home to see to the dog if it went on too long. I stayed several hours nothing much was happening so I went home and Jim was going to ring me when things started to happen.

Hours passed and I didnt hear from Jim in fact the phone didnt ring at all. I decided to ring Steve and let him know that Lel had gone into labour but the phone was dead. No wonder it hadnt rung, Lel could have had the baby. This was before the days of mobile phones. I got in the car and drove to the hospital, she hadnt had the baby it was a long labour. Jim had tried to ring. I stayed a while and Jim said he would ring Tina their next door neighbour if there was any news. When I got home I went and told Tina that the phone was out and said Jim was going to ring her if she didnt mind, which of course she didnt.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Page 142

I went home and the first thing I did was to ring Lesley, she was as shocked as I was. I said I would go and see her the next day and we could have a chat. In one way it was good because I would be able to go with her to the hospital checks, also I would have the money to buy things for the baby. On the flip side, I was out of work and 49 years old, this did worry me a lot.

When Steve came home I told him, he couldnt believe it. I discussed it with him and decided I would not look for work straight away, as it was the end of June and Lesley`s baby was due in August, so after then I would seriously look for work. If something turned up in the mean time then obviously I would take it.

The only things I bought were new carpets for the lounge and dining room and a beautiful three piece suite which was an absolute bargain. I went to Mike`s sister Junes one day and a neighbour who lived a couple of doors away from June`s shop came in and was talking about selling her three piece suite which she had only had a couple of months as it was too big for her new flat she was moving to. I asked her what it was like and she said it was a Chesterfield type in a sage green dralon. She said since she had it, it had been covered in throws, so it was in perfect condition.

June asked if could see it and Toni said yes. So off we went, her flat was beautiful very classy the suite was amazing just what I would like to have. I asked her how much she was asking for it and was shocked at her reply, she said £300 I was shocked it was immaculate. Incidently she wasnt without money as she was a High Class Call Girl. Her morals were not my concern she came across as a really nice person. I said that I definitely wanted the suite and £300 was fine. I said the only problem was I would have to hire a van to get it to my house which might take a few days. I knew she was moving in two days time. She said that would be fine and June said if the worst came to the worst she would keep it at her place. She lived in Hammersmith, London and I lived in Hemel Hempstead.

Everything worked out well the carpets were being fitted the following day and and the day after that I had managed to hire a van to collect the furniture. I was so excited. Dennis was going to have my old suite which was better than the one he had.

I couldnt believe the difference, my lounge looked amazing, it was a really big room and the carpet and new suite fitted perfectly. Steve really liked the suite, it was so comfortable. Now I had to try and keep Allie from sitting on it or it wouldnt last five minutes.

I had a call from Dennis, he had been arrested for fraud and deception, they had finally caught up with him for getting prescriptions from different Doctors Surgeries, six in all. Also changing the quantities on some of the prescriptions. He also asked them to take into consideration a couple of shoplifting cases he had pending and a burglary.

He was bailed for two weeks which was unusual as previously he had always been remanded in custody. He said his solicitor asked the judge to bail him as he had a dog and wanted to make arrangements to have him taken care of. The Judge must have been an animal lover.

I picked Dennis up the next day and we went to Druglink to ask if they knew of anywhere that could take Ben. Dennis said his solicitor had said he could be looking at a sentence of 12 - 18 months, which meant he would serve approx. 6- 9months. They came up with a Charity based dogs home and made arrangements for Dennis and I to go and see them and take Ben with us.

We did this and as I have said before Dennis could charm the birds out of the trees and before long the lady we saw had fallen for his little boy lost look and it was all agreed they would keep him until he came out of prison.

He got a twelve month prison sentence so I took Ben to the kennels it was very sad leaving him. I said I would ring them regularly to see how he was and also keep them informed as to when Dennis would be out of prison. If the sentence had been longer than 12 months then he would have lost his flat but upto 12 months ther D.H.S.S paid the rent. I had the keys so I would keep an eye on it.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Page 141

Dennis went from bad to worse, his flat was a mess. He had left a pan on his cooker and fallen asleep in one of his drug fuelled moments and the next he knew the fireman had laid him on the grass outside. Evedently there wasnt any flames just smoke.

I got a couple of telephone calls over time from hospitals asking me to pick him up, this was usually really late at night or during the night. He had been found by passers by completely out of it and been taken to the hospital by ambulance. Drugs again. On one occasion he woke up the following morning, had no recollection of the incident and asked me what the suction pads and wires were that were attached to his chest. I then realised he must have just walked out of the hospital. I did think it strange because he was waiting for me outside the entrance when I went to pick him up.

Since Lesley had been living in Milton Keynes I used go every saturday and we would go shopping the shops were amazing there. Jim would either be at work or watching sport on TV. They had got the house really nice now.

A couple of months had passed and Lesley rang me one evening and said she had something to tell me, my heart dropped, I wondered what was coming but it was the very best news I could have been told, she was pregnant, my first grandchild, I was over the moon, she said it was due in August 1988 I couldnt wait. Steve was thrilled to bits, he would be an Uncle.

Pregnancy suited Lesley she seemed to be taking it in her stride. We still went shopping on saturdays . I bought wool and started knitting things and we bought bits and bobs. Dennis used to go with me on saturdays to Lesley`s on condition he was drug free. He was also thrilled he would be a Great Uncle ,which was eventually shortened to Gunk.

I went to work as usual one monday morning in June and I hadnt been there long, when my boss said he needed a word with me, nothing unusual in that except he said we were going downstairs to another office, I started to get a bit concerned. I was shown in to this office and there was a lady I had never seen before , the Chief Accountant and my boss. He told me this lady was from somewhere called A.C.A.S as what he was about to tell me needed this lady to oversee it.

He said he was really sorry but I was being made redundant. I was shocked as I had so much work these days since Robert went. He went on and on saying if there had been another course of action he would have taken it. Like I believed it. I had worked there for 10 years it evidently didnt count for much. Then he said he was pleased to tell me that they had made a really good redundancy package for me . The lady from A.C.A.S confirmed this and said it was way above what they were contracted to pay. Because I had been such a good worker and this reflected that. I was in shock , the next thing my boss said was I would have to vacate the premises immediately. I knew from past experience this was how it worked in case you did something to the computer or saboutaged things. I could have reeked havoc, this was to avoid that happening.

My handbag and coat were brought to me and that was that . I got in my car and was out of work. Yes, I had a fair bit of money but I didnt have a job. It felt like my feet hadnt touched the floor.
Dennis only lived around the corner from where I worked so I went to him but surprise surprise he was out of his head so I went home.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Page 140

Lesley and Jim`s wedding day arrived and the weather was atrocious, absolutely throwing it down with rain. The ceremony was at 10.00am so there was no time for it to clear up.

Steve and Dennis looked so smart in their suits and I had bought a really nice trouser suit in a fine cord, multi coloured . Mike had put white ribbon on his car. Lesley looked amazing. we got to the Registry Office and there were quite a few family and friends already there.
In no time it was all over and in spite of the rain we took photo`s in the grounds which incidently are really nice.

In no time we all looked like drowned rats as the rain had got worse. We all made our way to Berkhamsted for the buffet reception. They had put on a lovely spread. The alcohol was flowing nicely. So far Dennis was behaving himself but I felt on edge all the time and I really resented having to watch his every move.

We all had a really lovely time and Lesley and Jim were off to spend the night at a local hotel and the next morning were flying to Paris for a long weekend.

It worked out that they would have to stay at our house for a couple of days until they got the keys for their house in Bletchley and they had to get furniture before being able to move in. I went with them to collect the keys, which I believe would have been the 16th October the day after the severe wind that did such terrible damage.

This was the first time I had seen the house they had bought and I loved it. It was facing a huge playing field with no road, at the far side of the playing field was Bletchley Park where the Enigma Machine was.

The house was one of six and mid terrace. It had a really big kitchen/ diner and fair sized lounge. Two double and one single bedrooms. It was perfect. I bought them a dining suite for a wedding present which fitted in really well. It was a very exciting time.

Dennis was back on the drugs again, not heroin but I think the tablets he was taking Temazapan, were far worse. They were actually sleeping tablets that when used properly really were amazing but abused like Dennis did they were horrendous. They had the opposite effect. He couldnt stop talking and would shop lift, badly, usually get caught. He shambled about like a tramp. He would register at 3 or 4 different Doctors surgeries and get tablets from each of them. He had absolutely no idea what he was doing. On one occasion he left his dog Ben tied up outside a shop and completely forgot about him. Luckily he had a name tag and the police took him home after about 2 hours and Dennis was cautioned.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Page 139

Steve hadnt felt well since coming back from his holiday, he had a problem with his ears. He went to the Doctors and was found to have a severe infection in both ears, he was almost stone deaf. He was off work as he felt so ill.

I was ringing him from work one day to see how he was, as when I left home he was still in bed. The phone rang and rang, I was getting worried so I dashed home to check on him. When I opened the door the sound of the TV was deafening....pardon the pun.... I couldnt hear myself think. I went in the front room and there was Steve sitting on the sofa watching TV. I turned the TV down and had to really shout for him to hear me, he hadnt a clue the phone had been ringing. Goodness knows what the neighbours were thinking. If they had wanted to complain he wouldnt have heard them at the door.

Hopefully when the anti- biotics kicked in his hearing would improve, it was a worrying time. The Doctor thought he had probably got the infection from diving in the sea. A few days later the pain was much better but he was still deaf. He had some Spanish money to convert back to sterling so I took him to the bank. At that time you had to go upstairs to the department that dealt with Foreign money.

He did the transaction with me trying to convey to him what the teller was saying, it was like a comic strip and I couldnt stop laughing , which annoyed Steve. We were walking down the stairs when this booming voice of Steve`s was asking me what the problem was. Until then it was so quiet in the bank and because he couldnt hear he didnt realise he was shouting really loud. I was trying to tell him he was shouting but he just couldnt hear me, he was getting so annoyed then the penny dropped and we both ended up laughing. Talk about embarrassment. We did see the funny side of it eventually. Poor Steve.

Lesley and Jim had set the date for their wedding for 10th October at 10.00am. There was loads to do. A wedding outfit for her was the first thing, Lesley and I went to West Kensington, London we looked in loads of shops and ended up going to a shop called Hyper Hyper and she saw this amazing black suit, she tried it on and it fit perfectly with her blonde har and some black stilleto shoes she would look perfect. Some people might think it odd getting married in black but that was my daughter.

The next thing was to make an appointment to get her hair cut for the wedding, she was going to Alan`s in Berkeley Square, who she had been going to from about 14 yrs old. His Salon was now called `Wish'.

Jim`s best man was going to be a workmate from the Fire Service. Things were coming together they had bought the rings and sent out invites. Her Dad had a nice big Rover car so he was going to take them to the Registry Office and then on to the reception. He had also lent Dennis a suit otherwise he would have turned up in jeans. He wasnt one for dressing up. I just hoped he could stay off the drugs for one day.

Lesley made a lovely cake and iced it, is there no end to her talents. A buffet was being provided by Jim`s sister.

They were in the process of buying a three bedroomed house in Bletchley, Milton Keynes which they were thrilled about and fingers crossed it should be there`s just before the wedding.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Page 138

Dennis loved his flat and was thinking of getting a rescue dog for company, plus the fact he loved walking this would be ideal for them both. It would also give Dennis someone to be responsible for, hopefully.

Steve and I went with Dennis to the local Blue Cross, it is such a sad place , loads of dogs needing homes, it made you want to take them all. They brought out several dogs for Dennis to look at. Then they brought out this lovely black dog which looked as though he had a bit of Alsation in him, he was beautiful and made a beeline for Dennis. He was about 4 years old. This was the one for him, the dogs name was Ben and just wouldnt leave his side. They said they had to do some checks on Dennis and the dog had to have some injections so all being well we could pick him up in a weeks time.

Lesley and Jim were still going strong, I was getting the feeling that it was for real. I still had my reservations but kept them to myself.

This turned out to be a very uneventful year and before we knew it Christmas 1986 had come and gone. Steve was seriously considering going on a 18-30 holiday later in the year possibly to Spain and what surprised me even more was he was going on his own. This was something I could never have done. I was very proud of him for even contemplating it.

True to his word he booked the holiday, I believe sometime in July I would be really worried about him while he was away. Since Sheila`s accident I had been a real pain , if either Steve or Lesley didnt come home at the time they said, I would be at the window looking for them. They were good kids and if they were going to be late they would ring me. They put up with my paranoia.

Dennis had Ben for sometime now and they were real buddies, inseparable, they walked for miles . Ben got on really well with our Great Dane Allie which was handy as he often popped in on his travels.

Steve went on his holiday, it was the longest two weeks ever. He sent a postcard saying he was having an amazing time. It was around this time that Lesley and Jim told me they were getting married, it was going to be a Registry Office wedding, just for family and friends. Lesley wasnt one for all that pomp and circumstance. Jim`s sister had a wine bar in Berkhamsted and as a wedding present they could have the reception there. Lesley decided she was going to make her own cake, a bit ambitious I thought.

They were also hoping to buy a house in or around Milton Keynes, as property was a lot cheaper there. Work was not a problem for Jim now as he was no longer a fireman he had since become a British Transport Policeman .

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Page 137

The flat Dennis had been offered was really quite nice. The kitchen was a decent size and the lounge/diner was huge. It was also on intercom so that meant a degree of security was in place. It looked as though the housing association had just re decorated it .

I was off work the next day so I said if Dennis wanted I would go with him to Help and see what was available and he would also have to sort out benefits, work wasnt in his vocabulary. I met him the next morning and made our way to the Help office. I explained Dennis`s situation and they said they could probably furnish his flat for him as long as he didnt expect new stuff.

Dennis said as long as it was decent he would be happy. I was amazed some of the stuff was in really good condition. He got a cooker(electric), fridge, three piece suite really good condition and a bed also a chest of drawers and wardrobe. I told him I had got some curtains and bedding he could have , also some cooking utensils and mugs. In fact I found loads of things for him, he was really pleased. I said he could stay at our house until he was able to move in to his flat ,which should only be a few days. He would have to sleep on the sofa.

That night Steve and Lesley were out. Dennis and I had been watching TV. I got up to take the dogs in the garden I called Candy but she didnt come to me so I went to look for her. She was in her bed under the dining room table and I couldnt understand why she didnt get up. I bent down and gave her a prod but she didnt move. I called Dennis and he looked and we realised she had died in her sleep, she was 13 years old. I was so upset but at the same time realised if you had to go that was the way, just go in your sleep.Steve and Lesley would be very upset. We had had her from when she was 8 weeks old, a long time and we loved her very much, she was part of the family.

The items were all delivered over the next week and Dennis was able to move in. I made him ask for his rent to be paid direct to Circle33 from the benefits office. This way he wouldnt be able to spend the rent then get evicted.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Page 136

We were now able to close Sheila`s bank account. Her life insurance had now been paid out. Inland Revenue informed, in fact we had done everything. The only thing outstanding was a request by her car insurance people for the whereabouts of her car. Indeed this was something we all would like to know. They had also checked with the police and the garage that towed it away but everyone pleaded innocence.

Time passed we were slowly coming to terms with the loss of Sheila. Lesley`s relationship with Jim seemed to be serious. Finally Ian had sold the house and Lesley received her share of the profits, much less than she should have had . Steve was getting a bit fed up with working at Sidal. It was quite dangerous working with the sheets of Aluminium and Stainless steel as he found out. Him and a workmate were moving a sheet of aluminium when it was dropped on to Steve`s foot, bearing in mind these sheets were 8` x 4` and weighed 1/4 of a tonne very heavy and sharp. He was rushed to hospital convinced his toes might be severed ,so much so he was scared to take his boot off..

He was finally seen by the Doctor and found that he had crushed several toes and his big toe looked like it had burst, he had to have 25 stitches in his big toe. They were xrayed and then dressed. He would be off work for a while. He was in a lot of pain.

The first anniversary of Sheila`s accident came round , it was the saddest time, we took some flowers to the crematorium and checked in the chapel and yes the book was open at 24th October 1985.

Christmas came and went nothing very much happened it was quite uneventful thank goodness.Around easter time Steve applied for a job at Kodak, in the warehouse and was successful. He was glad to get away from the aluminium and Stainless Steel, the accident had unnerved him.

Dennis had been thrown out of the house in Woodhall Farm for taking drugs and he was staying at various friends houses. I suggested he talk to the people at Druglink to see if they could help him with accomodation. They suggested he contact Circle 33 the housing association to try and get on the list. If he managed this ,then they would be able to help him get to the top of the list because he was homeless. Things were differant then to now. He asked me if I would go with him for moral support, which I did. I was so surprised the person we had to see was a really good friend of mine, from when I worked at Dept. of the Environment. She was now in charge of lettings for the association. This hopefully may help. Dennis filled in all the forms required and Pat said he would hear in due course. She said he was lucky because they had just purchased two more blocks of flats from the council and when that was finalised there would be quite a few flats up for grabs. We left and Pat and I arranged to meet for lunch the following week to catch up. Bearing in mind I hadnt seen her for about 10 years but we had been really good friends.

A month later Dennis rang me to say he had received a letter from Circle33 via Druglink offering him a first floor, one bedroom flat in Woodhall Farm. He said he would come round that evening as he would then have the keys and we could go and see what we thought about it. We would have to find him some furniture .There were a couple of charities one I believe called Help who specialised in providing secondhand furniture for free.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Page 135

Lesley was having quite a bit of hassle with Ian over money. Who owed this and who owed that, she told him all she wanted was her share of the profit made on the house. The furniture and bits and pieces he could with what he wanted.

Dennis seemed to be getting on ok at the house in Woodhall Farm but I am sure it would only be a matter of time before he blotted his copybook. He came to see us quite often ,which was nice.

Lesley sometimes went with Steve to the local pub, The Marchmont Arms. It wasnt long before she started dating again. She had been with Ian since she was 17 yrs old so I am sure she found it a bit nerve wracking. She was also a regular at a boutique type shop called Zoo, she bought loads of very up to the minute clothes.

I was so proud of how she handled things with Ian and being single again. I think the first lad was Gary, I am not sure how long that lasted, a few weeks maybe. Then it was Joe, someone she had known for quite a few years, he had a Porche car and I must admit Lesley looked the part in her new clothes. The next one, I was horrified about because of the things I had heard about him , he was a fireman who ate bugs and flowers and thought of himself as Bill Sykes with his trusty dog Bullseye. Only his dog was a brown boxer, who would allegedly eat you for breakfast, when in fact he was a really nice dog. The lad was supposed to be a bit of a hard man biting noses in fights, all rubbish but that was what he projected. This is purely my opinion. In fact I think he was very insecure.

It wasnt long before she dropped seeing Joe and Jim seemed to be the one. I would just have to try and forget what I had heard and see for myself what he was like. I did know he was a very courteous person opening car doors for Lesley and was nothing but polite to me but I wasnt convinced, time would tell.

Steve came home from work and said he was feeling really ill. He looked awfull, I said he should take a couple of paracetemol as it looked as if he was full of cold. The next morning he was even worse and had quite a high temperature. I suggested I take him to the Doctors because I thought it was more than a cold. The Doctor took some blood and gave him anti-biotics and signed him off work for a week and told him to rest.

The next morning if anything he felt and looked worse. I left him some juice and water and said I would pop home at lunchtime to make him some thing to eat. At about 12.00noon I received a call from Dr. Williams saying she had been trying desperately to get hold of Steve but no one was answering the phone. She was very concerned and needed to see him because the blood test had showed he had glandular fever with the added complication of Hepatitis which untreated to seriously damage his liver. I told her I would go straight home and meet her there.

Steve looked so ill, he just had no energy. He said he hadnt heard the telephone. Dr Williams arrived and I took her to Steve. She told him about the glandular fever/Hepatitis and said it was really serious. She left a prescription for some more medication plus Diorlite as he was dehydrated and said she would be back to see him the next day and if he felt any worse to ring her.

Steve was in bed for about a week before he felt able to come downstairs. Dr Williams had told him he couldnt drink any alcohol for six months as it took this long for the liver to recover. This was a big shock to Steve as he loved his beer. The implications were so great that he had no choice.

I received a letter from the Coroners Office in Bedford stating the second part of the inquest was to be held at Bedford Court on 29th March 1985 to establish the cause of the accident and record a verdict. Although it was a terrible thing to have to go through we would be able to sort out Sheila`s bank and insurance. I had already paid the funeral directors. Because we hadnt as yet received a death certificate everything was held in abeyance.

The day of the court hearing came , it was dreadful we had to sit and listen to a couple of car drivers behind her who said nothing appeared to be amiss just that she suddenly veered to the right and into a lorry going in the opposite carriageway,the only thing at that time separating the carriageways was a strip of grass, no crash barriers. The driver of the lorry involved was so upset and kept saying there was nothing he could do to avoid the collision, as was previously stated she just crashed into the side of his lorry. Her car door had sprung open and the seat belt had snapped and she was thrown out of her car. an ambulanceman also gave evidence and said she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of death was recorded as:

1a. Brain Stem Haemorrhage

b . Due to fracture of skull and fracture of upper cervical
Verte Brae

c. Due to Trauma

Verdict "Accidental"

They could not be certain the accident was caused by mechanical failure or human error. Both offside tyres were deflated but they had been unable to prove whether this was done prior to impact or during , the reason being the car had been to towed to a local garage and then disappeared. So no safety checks could be done. We will never know what happened just that it did and we lost someone that meant so much to us and is forever in our thoughts.

This particular dual carriageway at the Black Cat Roundabout, I understand has now been revamped and although it is renowned for accidents crash barriers have been installed and hopefully will help to stop any more fatalities.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Page 134

We did manage to get home in one piece but a lot didnt. The dogs loved the snow, they were running around, their noses to the ground, it was so funny to watch. We had dinner and watched a bit of TV and chatted then Lesley went to bed and I took the dogs in the garden. On the way down stairs I noticed a pile of snow on the landing, which I thought was strange as it was all covered in but didnt take much notice.

The dogs had another run around in the snow and we went back upstairs. I got to the landing and couldnt believe my eyes, the pile of snow I had seen when I went down was a face but not any face, it was the face of Sheila. The other odd thing was the dogs actually walked around it. I called for Steve to come and look and he couldnt believe what he saw. He immediately went and got his camera and took some photo`s of it. We were both shaking. we had a photograph taken by my ex husband of Sheila and this image on the floor looked just like that.

Bearing in mind this walkway to the maisonettes was completely covered in and Steve and I couldnt work out how the snow had got there, plus the fact you would think it would have melted. We decided to go to bed and see if was still there in the morning.

The next morning the picture in the snow was still there as fresh as if it had just appeared. I took the dogs to the garden and was shocked to see them looking at it apprehensivly and again walking around it. It was in the middle, you would have thought the dogs would have walked straight through it. There would be the milkman and possibly the postman coming to our door. I couldnt wait to get home tonight, although I was convinced it would have been trod on by someone. Also the weather was a little warmer and the snow outside was turning to slush. Steve took the film to be developed it would take a couple of days to be developed. We couldnt wait.

Steve was first home and rang me at work he said the picture in the snow was still just as it had been when I first saw it . Again he said the dogs skirted around it. It was really scary, the snow had now gone from outside but this bit amazingly, was still there. It stayed there for several days and then disappeared with out a trace. We were all unnerved and were convinced it was something to do with Sheila.

I finally got round to arranging something as a memorial to Sheila from The Moat House collection. Garston Crematorium had sent me a brochure of all the things you could do. We had about £200 and for that we could have a huge yew tree set in amazing grounds. A plaque with Sheila`s name and birth and death date would be put on it and for 10 years it would be ours and we could renew it every 10 years. We also with the remainder of the money had an inscription put in a beautiful bound book within a glass case which on the anniversary of her death would be opened at that page. Also we contributed to planting bulbs in the grounds. As of now 24 years later we still have the tree and book entries and contribute each year towards new plants.

I sent a letter and the receipts to The Moat House telling them what we had done and they were thrilled. I think because it had taken me so long, I just couldnt seem to settle my mind to do it. Maybe they were getting a little concerned. I sent them a map of the grounds pinpointing where the memorial was so they could visit.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Page 133

About a week later Dennis had a phone call from the house and they told him the residents all agreed he should be taken on, therefore he could move in next week. One thing I didnt mention was if by chance he kept out of trouble, there was a strong possibility he would be given a flat. There was an arrangement between them and the charity housing association called Circle 33.

I decided I was going to get a new bed for Lesley and decorate the room. I bought the paint etc... and waited for Dennis to leave then we could get stuck in. Lesley and Steve could do it as I was useless at decorating.

The New Year appraisals were starting at work , this meant we all had to have interviews with the office Manager who would tell us what our new salary would be and also how much bonus we would get.

We were called in alphabetically my surname beginning with P meant I was next to last. He went through the usual, timekeeping and sickness, I was never late and had little sickness time off so that was ok. The next thing he said shocked me to the core, he said my work hadnt been as good at it had always been before and could I give him an explanation as to why this had happened. I just said, ` it may have something to do with the fact that my daughter had been killed in a car accident a couple of months ago`. I then got up and walked out of the office. I was shocked , I knew that although it had been the most horrendous thing to happen to us, to him it meant nothing . You would have thought he could appreciate how it affects your day to day functioning. He had a couple of children of his own.

Later in the day he came over to me and tried to apologise but I couldnt speak to him and walked away. A few days later I received a letter from the General Manager saying how he regretted the callous way I had been treated and would I accept their deepest apologies.

Dennis left and the room was decorated and a new bed installed and Lesley moved in. It was so nice having her there. Ian would now have to sell the house in Boxmoor there would be loads to sort out.

We got up the next morning and it had been snowing over night and it was quite deep. I decided to drive Lel and I in to work which would be fun, as we lived at the top of a hill. It was really dangerous as cars coming up the hill were getting stuck and us going down were sliding sideways and it was only luck that we missed the cars that were stuck ,some broadside, but we made it if a little late. I hoped it had gone by time to go home or we would have trouble getting up the hill.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Page 132

Dennis had been back to his old ways, since Sheila`s accident ,he had as far as I hadbeen aware not touched any drugs. It was the end of January I had just got back from Belgium and I could tell there was an atmosphere between him and Steve. Evidently he had on several occasions come back to our house as high as a kite. When he was like that it completely changed him both in the way he looked, he shambled about, he looked dirty and unkempt and would strongly deny having taken any drugs.

He had taken the dogs for a walk as he knew he was going to get both barrels. We had a difficult time as it was without extra pressures from him. Of course when challenged he was full of apologies and it was never going to happen again, he had just made a mistake. He apologised to Steve but we all knew, give him a week or so and it would all happen again. We had been there, done that and got the T Shirt.

I had seen an article in the local paper about a drug centre being set up it was called Druglink A house had been converted into a drop- in centre complete with counsellers and ex drug addicts as volunteers. I was very interested in finding out more and maybe try and get Dennis to see them.

Only a couple of weeks had gone by and Dennis was worse than ever , I was really finding it difficult to handle. I rang Druglink and was put through to the guy who ran the place and proceeded to tell him about Dennis and his drug problem and before long I was telling him about Sheila and the tears came and I could not stop them . I felt such a fool but I was at the end of my tether. He said for me to try and get Dennis to ring him and they would see if they could help him.

Dennis did ring them, in one of his lucid moments and arranged to go and see them informally the next day for a chat. I dropped him off and waited for him. About 20 minutes later he came out and said they had asked if I would like to go and meet them too ,as families were just as much in need of help as the addict . I went and had a cup of coffee and a friendly chat about their aims and hopes of making a difference. It sounded very exciting. Dennis was getting on with them and they him. This was usual until he did something that would alienate them. I hoped these people werent as gullible as others had been.

Time passed Dennis was still taking drugs and still going to Druglink but this was because he had got very friendly with a couple of the ex addicts

I arranged to meet Lesley one saturday down the town , as we did occasionally and we were walking along when she asked me if she could come back home to live, I said of course she could she didnt have to ask it was her home. She said she was leaving Ian and to this day I dont know why, I assumed they had outgrown each other as he was very immature. I said I would need a little time as I would have to ask Dennis to find somewhere to live. I said leave it with me and I would start the ball rolling. Dennis was driving us mad and I would love him to find somewhere else to live.

I was a little sad about their relationship ending but really pleased to be having her home with Steve and I. Steve was shocked also, we hadnt seen it coming at all.
I told Dennis when I got home and give him his due he did understand the situation. I said I would ring Druglink to see if they could help. They told us about a house in Woodhall Farm that had been converted into rooms for people with either drug or alcohol problems. It was run by a Christian Based Charity and they had agreed to see Dennis. Druglink had recommended him and told them about the recent events in our lives.

Dennis had the initial interview and he said it went very well, he could charm the monkeys out of the trees. He had assured them that he was drug free, which was a bare faced lie. He had to go for another interview with the residents of the house, evidently it was up to them whether he would be accepted or not. He was told he would hear in a couple of days. Fingers Crossed

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Page 131

Finally everyone went home. It had been a very upsetting day. We were all shattered and needed some quiet time. I realised I had no idea who had sent flowers , maybe we should have taken the cards so that I could have thanked everyone, because there were so many. I just hoped they would understand and forgive me for not acknowledging them.

Usually the funeral was the final thing , it should help you to start rebuilding your lives but we still had the inquest to come, we had no idea how long that would be. Evidently witnessess would appear and they would try to find the cause of the accident which at this moment in time seemed to be baffling everybody.

A couple of days later I received a letter from Sheila`s insurance company saying they had not been able to find the whereabouts of the car. The garage that towed it away denied having it and also the police. They also wanted the M.O.T and a copy of her driving licence. They were full of apologies for intruding at this time but I appreciated it had to be done. I sent the driving licence etc.. but had no idea what had happened to the car, that was not my responsibility.

There were still loads to do like sorting out her bank account and life insurance. Thank goodness she was such a methodical girl, all her bits and pieces were in a metal box. I then realised there was nothing I could do yet as we wouldnt get a death certificate until after the inquest had been completed.

Lesley and Steve went back to work but I just couldnt seem to pull myself together. My main boss Graham had said when he came to see us , to take as long as we needed. My immediate manager Simon, kept ringing me asking when I would be back. I kept telling him I didnt feel ready and would be back as soon as I felt able. This didnt stop him pestering , so after three weeks off I felt I had no choice but to return to work.

When I got in work I realised why Simon had wanted me back so urgently my desk was strewn with work. I didnt know where to start. The first thing I did was to ring Belgium to speak to the man in charge of things there. First of all he offered his condolences and said he hadnt expected me back yet but was glad I was because they were in meltdown, evidently Simon had said I was the only one who knew that side of things. You would have thought the sales office manager would have made himself aware of such a vital part of the business.

On my desk was several letters addressed to me which by rights should have been sent on to me but no. They were letters from the branch managers who knew Sheila . They were amazing letters saying how unbelievable it was and if there was anything they could do then just to ask, even just to chat. I got stuck in to the work and had just about cleared the back log by time to go home.

I felt drained, as well as the work load I also had to cope with whoever I spoke to sympathising with our loss of Sheila. This I found really hard to handle. I am the type of person that if you feel sorry for me I cant cope with it and the tears start. The best thing for me is to not mention it but of course this is totally selfish. People feel awkward around you and I understand how difficult it is.

It was now December 1984 soon to be Christmas which we normally loved but this year someone would be missing, so we would have rather forgotten about it. Also I had been told at work that in January I would be going with a few managers to Belgium again. I said I didnt think I could handle it but they said they thought it might help me , also that yet another new system was being implemented and I needed to be involved. So I said ok but I didnt want to go.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Page 130

Patsy and her Mum and Dad came at about 6.00pm they had brought the remainder of the money collected at work for Sheila after buying flowers. It was a grand total of £200 this was unbelievable after Sheila only being there a short time but just proved what an impact she had.
I told Patsy that I would make equiries after the funeral as to what was available as a memorial and would ring her.

There was what I thought was a knock on the front door but there was no one there, just a letter on the floor addressed to me. I opened it and saw it was from Dennis`s ex wife Linda. It said she would not be at the funeral tomorrow as she felt really left out and that we hadnt told her any details about the times etc. and as we had made it perfectly clear she wasnt part of the family. I was gobsmacked, she had actually been at our house when Steve and Dennis came back from arranging the funeral. Also she had helped me choose the wreaths and flowers including posies from Craig and Simon. The last thing in the letter was ` I wont see you again` goodbye Linda. I was totally puzzled, she knew as much as we did.

I showed Dennis and Steve they were shocked too. Someone had delivered it by hand. Patsy said she must have wanted to upset me and she was right but all it did was make me angry. What a selfish person she was.
Patsy and her Mum and Dad said that they would be at the funeral tomorrow and would meet us at the crematorium. June, Mike`s sister was coming in the morning and Erin. We had a cup of tea and chatted for a while. I am glad they came or we would have just sat around dreading the morning coming. At least it took our minds off it for a while. They left at about 9.00pm

I am glad they came it took the pressure out of the night before the dreaded day.

The morning came all too soon, we tidied up a bit, as we had no idea if anyone would be coming back to the house. I was not laying on any food, I didnt agree with this, I had loads of biscuits and tea and coffee. We were all a bundle of nerves. June and Erin arrived together they had somehow met up at the station. The hearse was due to arrive at 11.00am. We were all ready.

The hearse arrived, I couldnt believe my beautiful daughter was in it. It was laden in flowers and wreaths I just couldnt believe this was happening. There was quite a few people standing around paying their respects but I couldnt take my eyes off the coffin. I dont remember getting in the car or who was in with me. In fact I dont remember anything about the funeral, it was as if I had blanked it out. The next thing I remember is arriving home. Quite a few came back to our house and I started making tea and coffee for everyone , it was as if I was on auto pilot.

I found it very difficult making conversation . I had nothing to say. I just wanted to be with my family, very selfish I know but it was how I felt and I think Steve,Lesley and Dennis felt the same.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Page 129

I had been on the telephone all afternoon informing everyone of the funeral details. It was causing quite a few problems being such short notice. Mikes sister June was coming and Erin and Linda and the children, her choice to bring the kids, I personally thought they were to young, other than them I had no idea who would turn up.

Steve, Dennis and I were all sat in the lounge each locked in our thoughts. How were we going to cope on the day, what to wear, would any one turn up. How would we ever come to terms with this momentous loss.

I couldnt stand it any longer and went to have a bath to try and get these thoughts out of my head. I didnt think I had been in the bath that long, when this lovely smell wafted up the stairs, bacon frying, it was the first time I had felt hungry. Then Dennis knocked on the bathroom door saying he was cooking bacon and egg, did I want some. I said I did and that I would be down in a few minutes.

Dennis had gone to the local shop looking for something to tempt us to eat and bought the bacon and eggs. The smell had got to us all and this was the first decent meal we had had since the accident. I must say it tasted good. For some strange reason I felt guilty for enjoying it, as if we had no right to enjoy anything. Later Steve and Dennis said similar things, they felt it too.

We watched the TV for a while then I went to bed and left Steve and Dennis chatting. The sleeping tablets the doctor had given me were amazing, ten minutes after swallowing it I was asleep until morning.

Once again the smell of bacon cooking was beckoning me downstairs and there was Dennis making breakfast, Steve came down behind me. Dennis was an amazing person when he was drug free but totally different under the influence, he was a real Jeckyll and Hyde. He was the nicest,most thoughtful, polite man. No wonder we always forgave him for whatever he did to us. He had been more like a Dad to my children than their own Dad and they thought the world of him.

It was wednesday, a week since the accident and tomorrow was the dreaded day of the funeral. I checked with the florist to see if everything would be done, as we were so late placing our order, they assured me it was all in hand and for me not to worry. Which I thought was nice of them.

I decided today I was going to tidy Sheila`s room and pack her clothes in a couple of suitcases, I didnt want to but Dennis really needed a good nights sleep in a bed. It was the hardest thing I had ever done, with tears streaming down my face I forced myself to continue. Everything I came across evoked a memory. My poor poor Sheila, she had so much to live for.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Page 128

Usually whenever Dennis entered our house it wouldnt be long before it was filled with laughter but this was so different, we were all so down and heartbroken. I told Dennis that we could now arrange Sheila`s funeral and bless him he said if I wanted he and Steve would arrange it. Steve said he would like that too. They said they would go to the funeral directors on monday. I said that I would order the wreaths and flowers when we had the details. I wanted the hearse to be absolutely covered in flowers. We all ended up with tears streaming down our faces. This was just too difficult.

I asked if anyone wanted food and they said no, just a drink. I also asked Dennis where he was going to sleep tonight, he said he would sleep on the sofa. He said it wouldnt feel right to sleep in Sheila`s room. I was pleased because I didnt want the room disturbed, I knew I would have to do it but it could wait until after the funeral.

Patsy from The Moat House came with her Mum and Dad, who incidently Steve and I knew he worked in the warehouse with Steve. Patsy said they had made a collection at the hotel amongst the staff and also the customers. They couldnt believe how much they had got , they knew Sheila was very popular but had been overwhelmed by the outcome of the collection. Patsy said they didnt want to spend the money on just flowers so they suggested we might like to get a memorial plaque or something similar. I thought that was an excellent idea and something we most certainly would do. What a lovely thing for them to do, she hadnt been there very long. Once more the tears came, there wasnt a dry eye in the house.

I told them we were going to arrange the funeral on monday and after that we would see what memorial things were available and let them know. They were still collecting so after the funeral Patsy would bring the money left over from them buying flowers and together we could decide what to arrange.

Monday morning and Steve and Dennis were up nice and early both nervous about going to the funeral directors. I said for them to make sure everything was just right and not to think about money as Sheila had a life insurance policy, as did Steve. I didnt envy their job.

I was just thinking about doing some housework when there was a knock at the door. It was Linda, Dennis`s ex wife, I had forgotten she was coming today. We had a cup of tea and talked about Sheila, I told her Dennis and Steve had gone to arrange the funeral. I asked her if she would help me sort out the flowers and wreaths, she said she would.

I rang The Flower Box in the Old High Street and asked how we went about ordering the wreaths and flowers and she said if we wanted they would drop off the brochures at our house and collect them after we had decided. I said that would be perfect and she said she would be here in about 15 minutes. I was really pleased about this.

Linda helped me with the housework, it hadnt been touched for ages. You could have sand danced in the dust, slight exaggeration. She said Craig and Simon were really upset about Sheila, she had a soft spot for Simon I dont know why him more than Craig because Craig was Dennis`s son but Simon had a different Dad.

Dennis and Steve arrived just as we had sat down for yet another cup of tea. They looked drained and said it had been a really hard thing to do. They said the girl they dealt with was really helpful and took them through everything step by step. The funeral was going to be on thursday 1st November, only four days away. This was such short notice I didnt think anybody from Yorkshire would make it, but you never know. Dennis said he hadnt thought about that. We would have to start ringing everybody today.

Linda didnt stay long after they came home , I thanked her for her help and off she went. She had picked out the flowers she wanted including a posy each from the children. I rang the florist and explained that the funeral was on thursday would they still be able to get them in time if I returned the order the next day tuesday. She said yes but she must have the order by at the latest 11.00am.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Page 127

I was just so tired I struggled to keep my eyes open but as soon as I went to bed I was wide awake and sleep just wouldnt come. I decided to ring Dr. Williams to see if she could prescribe something. I did ring her and she had heard about Sheila , so I didnt have to say too much. She said she would leave me a prescription for some mild sleeping tablets to see if they would help. I had told her I didnt want to be walking around like a zombie, I would rather manage with- out.

Saturday came and I realised the sleeping tablets had worked , I didnt remember going to bed . Once more the phone was on overtime. Every time it rang I hoped it would be Dennis but no. I decided to tidy Sheila`s room a little as I somehow felt close to her in there. I tried but I found it too much.

One call I received was from the coroners office saying an inquest had been opened on the 26th October and adjourned to a later date , after all the forensics had been completed on the car and accident site. This call was to tell me that we could now arrange the funeral .

I could hear Steve in the bathroom so I went and put the kettle on to make tea, yet more tea. Then we could discuss funeral arrangements, something I didnt think I could face yet.Another day loomed ahead for us , it seemed as though we were waiting for things all the time, it was impossible to relax. my head was full of thoughts and what ifs, if I had done this if I had done that could I have changed the outcome. If I had gone with them could I have perhaps altered the outcome. Why didnt I take him myself. Sheila hadnt had the car very long ,was there something wrong with the car? was it a mechanical failure , was it human error, so many questions . it was impossible to stop these thoughts. I just couldnt come to terms with not ever seeing or speaking to her again.

The phone rang at about 2.00pm I answered it and it was my brother Dennis, at last. He said "hi She, did Sheila get home ok " my legs buckled under me and I sobbed , I couldnt speak I could hear him saying "whats wrong, whats wrong" I was finally able to speak and didnt know how to tell him. I hated having to tell him over the phone but I had no choice. I said Sheila had an accident on the way home and .......I couldnt say it......he said "She for gods sake tell me how she is". I blurted out she is dead. The silence was deafening. I was shouting down the phone Den, Den , but the line had gone dead. There was no 1471 then. I hoped that when he had got over the initial shock he would ring back.

Time passed and Dennis hadnt rung back, I really hoped he hadnt resorted to drugging himself up. we really needed him, Steve said he didnt think he would. There was a knock at the door at about 6.00pm , Steve answered it but I couldnt hear him speaking to anyone, so I went to see who it was and there stood Dennis, we both hugged and sobbed, not a word had been spoken.

Once again the kettle was put on for more tea , the panacea for all ills. Steve and I told Dennis as much as we knew and he was racked with guilt, he said if only he had gone by train this would never have happened, you could say if none of us had been born. He was still reeling from our telephone conversation . I apologised but said I didnt know how else to say it.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Page 126

Friday came and the postman brought loads of cards of condolence, also a postcard from Erin when she was in Scotland with her Mum, for some strange reason it had taken a week to get here. It was very sad. This decided Steve to go and try to find her new flat and tell her the sad news, I hoped she would come to the funeral but I would understand if she decided against it. Steve promised to ring me when he could.

I was so tired I hadnt slept properly since this happened, all I had done was drink tea and eat the odd biscuit. I just had no appetite. I really wanted Dennis to ring, I couldnt bear the thought that he wasnt aware of what had happened.

I thought I would pass the time doing some housework but my heart wasnt in it. I went and sat in Sheila`s room, it was the usual tip, I would have given anything for her to be lying in bed and me trying to get her up for work. I couldnt count the number of times she had fallen asleep in the bath , just about everyday and I would be hammering on the door trying to wake her.

The telephone didnt stop ringing a lot of my relatives in Yorkshire were asking when the funeral was, I told them I had no idea, the powers that be said they would let me know as soon as all the medical examinations were complete. I said I would ring as soon as I heard.

The local newspaper had rung and asked if they could come and have a chat with us but I said we werent up to it yet, maybe after the funeral. I had to get out of the house so I decided to take Allie for a walk in the woods to get away from the phone, also the poor dogs had been sadly neglected and needed some exercise, as did I. I was back after about 10 minutes, I needed to be at home ,I dont know why but I had this feeling that I needed the security of home.

Steve rang me that evening he had found Erin and she was very upset, she just couldnt believe it. He said he was on his way home. Lesley and Ian came that evening, I told them I still hadnt heard from Dennis. I had found a couple of telephone numbers from way back but they were unobtainable.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Page 125

Steve was really suffering, she was his twin and I cant imagine what he was feeling. We were saying we would have to somehow get in touch with Erin, Sheila`s friend. We didnt have a telephone number only an address somewhere in Chelsea, London. Steve said maybe he would go and try and find her tomorrow, if I would be ok with it. I knew it would help him, getting out of the house.

I was very worried about Dennis being unaware of what had happened to Sheila, in one way I couldnt wait for him to ring and another I didnt know how I would tell him over the phone. I rang my cousin Anne who was also my friend, she was devastated and said she would tell all our other relatives. Sheila and I actually went to visit Anne and my Aunt Dot & Uncle John last Easter. I said I would ring Anne when I had some details about the funeral.

There was going to be an inquest so I had no idea when we could have the funeral, something I dreaded. The phone didnt stop ringing with people offering their condolences, it was so hard. I just wanted to curl up in a ball.

Mine and Steve`s boss came as he said at 11.00am. He was so nice but it only upset us more. He said to stay off work as long as we needed to. He also said the lads at work and the branch managers who knew Sheila sent their condolensces as they knew her from The Moat House. He wanted us to let him know the funeral details as they wanted to send flowers. It was very awkward and he didnt stay long but very nice of him to come.

Linda ,Dennis`s ex wife rang and said she would like to come over with Craig and Simon her children but I said I didnt think we could cope with the children at the moment, she wasnt very pleased but It was only yesterday this tragic accident happened. we needed time to ourselves. She said she would come on monday and I left it at that. If I hadnt been waiting for Dennis to ring I would have unplugged the phone just for some peace. I know everyone meant well.

A policemen came that afternoon for a few more details and was able to tell us what had actually happened. Evidently Sheila had just come off The Black Cat roundabout near Bedford when she somehow crossed the grass strip that seperated the dual carriageway and hit a lorry going the other way. Her door came open and she was thrown out of her car.. He said the car was being checked and witness spoken to and we would hopefully all know more at the inquest. When that would be he had no idea but gathering evidence takes time.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Page 124

Steve and Lesley arrived and Ian , Lesley`s boyfriend . Steve, Lesley and I hugged each other, we couldnt speak , I kept thinking I will wake up in a minute and it will all have been a bad dream. The police were still there and spoke to Steve and Lel . In the meantime, as I found out later Ian had gone to tell Mike, Sheila`s Dad.

The police went and we were able to let the dogs out of the lounge at last. I hugged Allie she was my link with Sheila. The dog knew something was wrong and wouldnt leave my side. Mike came and came over to me but I pushed him away, I couldnt stand him near me. He had never been a proper father to her or any of the kids and now he was upset, I may be being harsh but in my grief thats how I felt, I didnt want him there but I knew he had every right.

Steve said we had to go to Bedford Hospital to formally identify Sheila and other things to be seen to. Ian was going to drive us there. Nothing seemed to sink in , I felt disassociated from everything that was going on. In the meantime we had a telephone call from the Moat House asking where Sheila was, as she should have been at work at 6.00pm. I dont know who took the call but they then had to explain . Patsy the hotel manager was shocked and said she would ring back later.

I dont remember the journey to the hospital I dont think any of us did. I didnt think I could handle the formal identifcation. As of yet we had no idea how the accident happened or who else was involved, if anybody.

We finally arrived and were shown to a room and they asked who was going to identify her and immediately Mike said he would and I felt relieved and guilty at the same time. I felt I should have gone but I was frozen to the spot. I felt that if I went and saw Sheila then it would be to final and I still didnt believe what had happened . Mike came out white as a sheet and nodded, the flood gates opened until now against all odds it might not have been her. Mike said she just looked asleep she just had a bruise on her forehead. I dont remember who went to see the doctor but they were told the cause of death was Brain Stem Haemorrhage, Fracture of the skull and Fracture of upper Cervical Vertebrae they said death was instantaneous. You cant imagine the guilt I felt, I should have been with her, she shouldnt have died on the roadside on her own , she was my daughter and I should have protected her. I shouldnt have let her go.

I had lost my Dad last year and my Mum in 1975 and I was heartbroken then but nothing compared to losing my child, I felt a part of me had died with her and I really didnt think I could recover from this. You expect your children to outlive you not like this.

We went home I was given Sheila`s handbag and the jewellery she had been wearing it was all so very very heartrending. I suddenly realised that my brother Dennis had no idea what had happened and we had no way of contacting him, we would have to wait for him to ring us.

Thank goodness Ian dropped Mike off at his flat, I know it sounds callous but I really didnt want him around and Lesley and Stephen felt the same. It all seemed so false. I made us all a cup of tea, no one wanted food. we were all in a state of limbo. Lesley and Ian reluctantly went home it was about 11.00pm. Steve and I then went to bed. I just couldnt sleep so got up and made yet another cup of tea. There were so many things going round my head, we still didnt know what had caused the accident only that no other vehicle was involved, which made it very disturbing.

Morning came I took the dogs in the garden and when I came back Steve was up, he hadnt been able to sleep either. Lesley was going to ring work and tell them what had happened and that Steve and I wouldnt be in. Lesley rang me and said my boss Graham was going to come round to our house at about 11.00am. I didnt want to see anyone only family.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Page 123

Sheila loved the job and got on really well with the staff and customers. The Moat House was also the hotel used by the company I worked at. If there were meetings for our branch managers and staff this would be the hotel they stayed at and held meetings. Also any staff social events were also held there.

One day the lads had been on a golfing day, as was usual in the sales office as incentives and after, they had a meal at the Moat House and then stayed drinking. They were saying what a good night they had, evidently the barmaid was a real laugh and made their night. I asked one of the lads what her name was and they said Sheila, I said she was the bar manager and she was also my daughter. It was a good job they were saying nice things about her. They became regulars there.

She was earning good money now and decided to buy another car as her current one was a bit of a heap. She had set her heart on a Ford Cortina. There was one in the local paper at around £500 just mot`d so she rang them and arranged for us to go and look at it. We did and it was in good condition and the engine sounded nice. We asked if we could test drive it and they said yes. The husband sat in the back and I drove, Sheila felt a little nervous. it drove really nice, the steering felt really positive the only thing I didnt like was the colour, it was yellow but Sheila liked it. Needless to say she bought it, we had to wait for the cheque to clear then we went to collect it.

Mike my ex husband came over to have a look at it and gave it the all clear and said it seemed to be a nice tidy car. Sheila soon got used to it and was here there and everywhere.

She received a letter from Dennis saying his release date was 23rd October, 3 weeks away she had previously arranged to pick him up from the prison. He had decided to go the next day 24th to stay with friends in Newark, Notts as we didnt have any room for him at our house. I worried about this because as far as I knew his friends were all junkies , so it would only be a matter of time before he was back on the drugs. He said he was looking forward to seeing her new car.

By the time Steve and I got home from work Dennis and Allie were great mates. Sheila and Dennis had taken both dogs out for a long walk, to Dennis this was amazing after being cooped up in prison for the last year and a bit. He loved Sheila`s car and between them they had decided that Sheila was going to take him to Newark the next day and Steve was deciding whether to take the day off and go with them. He hated taking time off unautherised. Sheila didnt have to be at work until 6.00pm so she had loads of time.

I cooked a really nice dinner for Dennis`s homecoming, I felt a bit guilty about not letting him stay with us but it would have meant he had to sleep on the sofa and this was just not practical. He understood , I think.

We talked for hours trying to cover all that had happened in the last year or so, to us and him. I begged him not to get involved with drugs again and he promised that he wouldnt. I went to bed they stayed chatting away. Steve had decided not to go to Newark.

The next morning Dennis was already up and dressed, as he had slept on the sofa and I could hear Sheila in the bathroom. I had got up extra early to make them breakfast before their journey. Just before I left for work I again asked Dennis to stay off the drugs. Sheila was laid on the floor in front of the fire with Allie at her side. I said have a good journey and stay safe and I would see her later and to ring me when she got home. They were going to leave at about 08.30am.

My lunchhour was at 1.00pm-2.00pm and I was surprised not to have heard from Sheila, this was in the days before mobile phones, so I could understand she may have difficulty finding a public telephone. I rang home, initially at about 1.00pm but no reply, then about every ten minutes after that , nothing. Then I thought maybe my home phone wasnt ringing so I got in the car and drove home hoping to see her yellow car parked outside the house but no it wasnt, by now I was sure something was wrong, I had this terrible feeling, I couldnt get it out of my mind, I drove back to work and rang again , still no answer. I spoke to a workmate Ross and she said maybe she had broken down but I said if she had she would have somehow got a message to me.

It got to 3.00pm still nothing, by now I knew something was really wrong I cant explain this feeling I had , it was a sort of emptyness, a feeling that something really terrible had happened. Ross said maybe she had decided to stay over with Dennis but I knew this was out of the question, even if she had , she would have rung me. I dont know how I got through the afternoon I was a nervous wreck and these horrible feelings were intensifying .

At last 5.00pm came and I went home hoping and praying that Sheila`s car would be parked outside but it wasnt. As I was going up the stairs Rene, the next door neighbour said a policeman and woman had been knocking on my door this afternoon and she had told them I was at work but she didnt know where I worked. My heart dropped, I was now sure my feelings were real. I couldnt stop shaking I wondered where Steve, was then realised it was wednesday and he would be at Lesley`s.

I wanted to ring the police station but I was too scared, I didnt want to hear what they had to say but I knew I had to. With such a feeling that the next few minutes could change my life forever I rang them. I explained that the police, according to my neighbour had been to my door and that I had just come home from work. I didnt mention anything about Sheila. I gave them my name and he came back on the line and said someone would be with me in the next ten minutes. I begged him to tell me what it was about but he wouldnt.

I had still got my coat on as I had been stood looking out of the window, hoping against hope that my beautiful daughter would drive up and tell me not to be so stupid. Instead it was a police car.

I quickly put the dogs in the lounge and let them in, I could tell by their faces that it was serious. My mind was working overtime . The policewoman asked me if there was anyone else in the house, I said no could she please tell me what was going on. She said there was no easy way of saying what she had to say and I said just please tell me, is it about my daughter? she then said was my daughter Sheila Prior I said yes then I started shaking , then was her car reg PVX 357R I nodded yes. I said please tell me and she said she had been involved in an accident and unfortunately had died at the scene. I heard this screaming and suddenly realised it was me, although I knew but didnt know, confirmation was just too much. I ended up in a heap on the floor. I was on my own, I needed Lesley and Stephen desperately. The shaking continued , my head was throbbing, had I heard right, this couldnt be happening but the police were there so yes it was real. They asked if they could call someone to be with me I said to ring my daughter please.

The policewoman got me to the chair and I waited for my children, I needed them like I had never needed them before. This just cant be happening.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Page 122

Allie got a clean bill of health from the vet and I got her insured which was a relief. She really was an amazing dog . I knew Dennis would love her when he got out of prison , he loved dogs and was very upset when Angel died. I did write to him to tell him about Allie and I believe Sheila did too.

Dennis had now been moved to Wormwood Scrubs Prison in Shepherds Bush, London which meant it was easier for us to visit him but it was a dreadful place, according to Dennis. From outside it was very forbidding. We all hated visiting these places but it had to be done. I think I had visited most prisons in England over the years. Not something to be proud of.

Erins mum was coming to England in early September and wanted to tour England, Ireland and Scotland with Erin. They were planning on three weeks to do it all. Erin asked her boss if she could have the three weeks off and he said no way, bearing in mind she had been working there for over a year and had only had a couple of odd days holiday. He wouldnt budge so Erin handed in her notice as she couldnt let her Mum down and she would need to find somewhere else to live as when she left the job she would also be out of her room. She had a month to find somewhere.

Luckily it was London , so it wasnt difficult getting accommodation. Sheila went with her to try and find either a flat or room. They found a decent cheap flatlet which consisted of a bedsitting room and kitchenette and shared bathroom in Chelsea, London. The timing was right as the day she would leave the Tea Clipper she was due to move into the flat.

Sheila was very upset that Erin was leaving and decided she was going to also , she couldnt face being there without Erin. She rang me in tears and explained the situation and asked if she could come home, I said of course she could, it was her home, there was no need to ask. I said Steve and I would drive up when she was due to leave and bring all her things home.

It was lovely having Sheila home she could now see how well Allie had settled in. It was job hunting time again. She saw an advert in the local paper for a bar manager at The Moat House in Bourne End , to live out. Although she hadnt been a bar manager she knew she could do it and was going to give it a go. She was sure her experience in the The Tea Clipper would stand her in good stead. She was such a confident girl and very smart.

She got an interview and to everyones surprise even her own, she got the job with an immediate start. She would be on a months trial ,due to her lack of managerial experience. She had obviously talked a good talk.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Page 121

The three weeks soon passed, I had everything ready for the Great Dane. A huge bed and food. We were going to use Angels collar and lead. I hoped she would get on with Candy, I knew Candy would accept her. The other thing was her name we didnt like Alice but we would have to live with it for a while at least until she settled in.

Sheila was off work until 6.00pm that evening so off we went to pick up Alice. The lady had her ready Sheila paid the balance and off we went. Alice seemed very happy to go with us and jumped in my car as good as gold.

We got home and now came the worrying part, would the two dogs accept each other. Steve was in waiting for us ,he was eager to see Alice. I opened the door and Candy came to greet us and her and Alice ran into the lounge leaping and sniffing each other. This lasted 2 minutes then they both sat on Alice`s bed, it was amazing. I gave Sheila a big hug and thanked her over and over again . We decided we would take both dogs out for a walk so Steve, Sheila and I took them across the road to the woods , we let Candy off the lead but poor Alice had to stay on hers .

I cant remember who it was but someone called her Allie and she went to them so we all decided Allie it would be. We had dinner and then Steve and I took Sheila to the station, we had no idea how Allie would be but we would soon find out. It would be at least 2 weeks before Sheila would be able to get home again, so by then Allie would be really part of our family.

I did wonder how she would be on monday when Steve and I went to work , I had already decided I would come home at lunchtime to take her for a short walk, which I did and everything was fine no mess or damage at all, she was very excited to see me. She was a really nice dog, very loving and as is peculiar with Great Danes she would sit on your lap with her feet on the ground, very odd to see.

Steve would be home before me so he would be the one to take her out next. It would be awkward on a wednesday as Steve goes straight to Lesley and Ians for dinner so they would have to wait until I got home a couple of hours later. Dogs are such creatures of habit , they have this in -built time clock.

Sheila rang regularly for an update. Allie had settled in so well you would have thought she had been with us for years. I took her to the vet to have a thorough check up and register her. The next thing was to get her insured ,which because of her size and breed would be expensive but necessary.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Page 120

I rang loads of people who I knew bred Great Danes but so far no one had what we wanted. My last resort was a lady in Chipperfield I had heard of by reputation but didnt actually know. I couldnt believe it she said she had a bitch 12 months old that she had been going to keep for herself but due to illness she could no longer compete, so wouldnt be able to go to shows therefore be unable to win any championships which are imperative if you wanted to get good prices for your puppies. I arranged for Sheila and I to go and look at the dog on saturday as previously arranged with Sheila.

I rang Sheila she was thrilled to bits and couldnt wait until saturday. I arranged to meet her at the railway station and drive straight to Chipperfield.

Saturday finally came and I met Sheila and off we went. The lady let us in her house and we couldnt believe our eyes, we were surrounded by Great Danes , some puppies about 3 months old and several adults. She said all the dogs came in the house during the day but went out to kennels at night.

One dog would not leave Sheila and I alone, she wanted stroking all the time she was really beautiful and the same colouring as Angel, She obviously was from the same line I thought. The lady said that was the one for sale, her name was Alice and she was descended from the Clausentum breed which was the same as Angel. She was fawn with black spectacles and very big.

Sheila and I looked at each other and we both knew she was the one. Sheila asked how much she wanted for her and she said £200 as she had a pedigree full of champions. She would have asked for £350 if she had been a couple of months younger. As much as I now wanted her I said to Sheila it was too much. The lady said she would leave us to talk about it for while. Sheila insisted she was going to buy her , provided the lady would keep her until she got paid in 3 weeks time. I said I would go halves with her but she was adament it was going to be her present to me.

The lady came back and Sheila asked the question ,she said providing Sheila left a deposit she would be happy to wait the three weeks. She left a deposit of £100 and we arranged a date to collect her. By the way on talking to the lady we found we had quite a few friends in common so she wouldnt need to take up references as was usual.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Page 119

We went to see Dennis he was fine, in fact he looked better than I had seen him look for ages. He had put on quite a lot of weight and looked really healthy. Prison seemed to suit him, I cant think why.

I spent a whole week in Belgium this time, as a new system had been installed and there was alot we needed to understand to process our requests to them for fabrications in the correct way. Once again we were in a five star hotel and the food there was excellent. Working very hard during the day but having an amazing time at night. We were taken to some amazing places to eat. Even the food on Sabena Airlines was amazing, I dont think it exists now.

My goodness its almost time for all my childrens birthdays again Sheila and Steve will be 19 yrs old and Lesley 22 yrs old it doesnt seem possible, where have all the years gone. Sheila said her and Erin were coming over and they would arrange something with Steve. Lesley would be celebrating hers with Ian, I would think.

Steve`s arthritis had gone completely now and he was a strapping 6ft 2 ins young man , he still religiously did the weight training. Sheila wasnt far off his height she was 5ft 10ins.and carried herself very well. Lesley was the shortest one at about 5ft 5ins. with straight blonde hair whereas Sheila`s was curly. I was so proud of them all. They were all good hard working kids with good hearts.

I couldnt quite believe it, our lives were jogging along quite smoothly. With Dennis being in prison we could relax. Everyone seemed to be happy in their work, it was really nice.

Sheila came home for the day and asked did I still miss Angel our Great Dane I said that I did but we still had Candy our little mongrel, although, she was getting on in years. She said how would I like another Great Dane and I said I didnt want another as I couldnt replace Angel. Her next question surprised me she said what would I do if she brought one home, would I turn it away , I laughed and said probably not. She said in that case she was going to buy one for me. I said no she couldnt they were so expensive, she said she had been saving up for it for some time. The tears just ran down my face and she joined me. I knew this was what I had hoped and prayed for that Sheila could forget the tough times we had been through in her early teens and get back the love and respect we had before it all went pear shaped. I know I handled things badly and had told her so. I was the adult she was the child but it had all got fuzzy at the edges.

I tried to dissuade her from buying the dog but once her mind was made up there was no stopping her. She made me promise to ring my contacts and to try and find one, we didnt want a puppy we wanted one about 12-18months old as we were all at work and puppies needed constant attention. I could get home at lunchtime, so it would be ok with an older dog.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Page 118

It was a couple of weeks before I received a letter from Dennis saying he had been sentenced to 3 years imprisonment and would probably have to serve a minimum of 1 year. He said he had been charged with possession of class `A `drugs, shoplifting, selling drugs and had asked for several other things to be taken into account. The result being the 3 year sentence. One thing about Dennis was, he accepted that he had done the crime and must serve the time. This would be the the longest yet. Learning from past mistakes......I dont think so.

By the end of this sentence I will have probably visited most prisons in the UK .as they were always moving them around. What an achievement. At least we could relax now. It would probably be next October 1984 that he would be out, possibly longer if he didnt behave himself.

Sheila was really loving her new job, her and Erin were great friends, socially and at work. Sheila had certainly changed, much more positive and confident, She rang me regularly and came home whenever she was able and we were much closer, I would go so far as to say friends as well as mother and daughter.

Time passed thank goodness quite uneventful , Steve and I were still working at Sidal. I did love the job I was kept so busy now Robert had left. I was now liaising with all the branch managers and we had a great working relationship. I was off to Belgium again but this time I was going with a couple of Salesmen from my office and two managers from the branches, it was going to be very enjoyable.

Christmas came and went, we missed Dennis this year. Steve and I was going to visit him sometime this week but had to wait for a visiting order. He was now in a prison on the Isle of Sheppey. Quite a trek for us.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Page 117

I saw Lesley every morning because where I worked had a staff bus that collected us an brought us home. Lesley lived on the route so the driver who I knew quite well would pick her up at the bus stop and drop her off where I worked , she worked across the road at Honeywell. It was very handy for her. I am sure it was against the rules but we did it for quite a few years.

I was changing all the beds and in Dennis`s room as I pulled off the dirty sheets I saw some papers sticking out from under the mattress, without thinking I pulled them out and found they were charge sheets from West End Central Police Station in Piccadilly. The dates were a few days ago and related to arrests for shoplifting, possession of illegal drugs and loitering with intent. Intent to what it didnt say. On another piece of paper was a court date, he was due to appear in court on monday it was now saturday and he hadnt said a word.

Dennis had been out since friday morning and we had no idea where he was again, I could only guess he would be in London scoring drugs. Steve and I spoke about the situation and decided we were going to tel him he had to go, we were not going to put up with the lies and stealing any longer.

Monday morning and he still wasnt home, Steve and I was worried sick, he could be lying in a gutter somewhere but there was nothing we could do but wait. I hoped if he was able that he would make the court appearance .

When Steve and I got home that night he still wasnt home and I just didnt know what to do. I decided I was going to ring the police station in Piccadilly, which I did and was given another number to ring they answered with Wormwood Scrubs Prison, my heart sank I now knew where he was. They confirmed he was there but couldnt or wouldnt give me any more information and for me to wait to hear from him. It was such a relief to know he was alive and safe.

I hoped if the sentence was a few months then perhaps he could get off the drugs but according to him in the past, they were easier to get hold of in prison than outside. If I am honest I felt relieved he was in prison and perhaps we could now relax in our own home instead of me making sure my handbag was hidden and Steve having to be carefull what he left unattended. It really was horrible but he was my brother and in spite of everything he did we loved him because we knew what a great guy he was off drugs.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Page 116

Life went on ,it was very hard getting used to my Dad not being there. I sometimes found myself going to ring him. I rang Mrs Smith now and again, she had also found it difficult. Reading between the lines I got the impression they were relieved to have her home, not as they had put it gallivanting to Hemel every few weeks. She said she was very lonely now,she missed my Dad so much.

Sheila was now going to start her job at The Tea Clipper, incidently she did pass her driving test and had bought a little car from my friend Val, who Sheila had worked with at The Oldbury Park Hotel some time ago. It was quite old but in good condition mechanically. We decided that Sheila would drive to London and because of the lack of parking I would drive it home. In London you didnt need a car as there was always the tube and buses.

We got all her things in her room she was excited, if a little apprehensive . We were sat talking when there was a knock at her door, it was the other girl she would be working with, she had come to introduce herself. Her name was Erin she was Australian and a bit of a goth but a really nice friendly girl. She said for me not to worry about Sheila as she would look out for her. She also said the Landlord was really good and looked after them well. I felt a lot happier after meeting her, I could relax somewhat now. I decided it was time for me to go home and leave them to get to know each other. Sheila promised she would ring regularly and I grudgingly left.

Things were changing at work, my friend who was also the Sales Manager was called into the big boss`s office and told she was redundant she had been there for years. As usual what happens in a sales office is any one leaving for what ever reason , they go immediately in case the try to sabotage anything. I told her I would pop round to see her after work. She was so upset and angry.

A couple of months later Robert who was the buyer was sacked on the spot as he had been buying items to do with his hobby of graphic designing, it had obviously been a substantial amount. Again he was out the door with out being able to say goodbye. As I had been his assistant I expected my job to change.

Sure enough I was now expected to do most of Roberts work as well as my own with the same pay. Our jobs were so precarious no one dare to complain. I loved the job so I was happy to be taking more on.

Sheila was loving her new job, her and Erin were real mates and by all accounts were having an amazing time. Sheila was bringing Erin to out house for the weekend as the pub was closing for two days for redecoration. Sheila was eager to show Erin around Hemel . They got all dressed up and took Steve with them and said dont wait up.

I didnt hear them come in but they all had hangovers the next day . A good time had been had by all evidently. We had a lovely roast dinner, Erin said she hadnt had a family dinner since she left Australia. Her Mum lived in Queensland but Erin had been in Sydney.

I drove them home that evening and I arranged to meet Sheila on her next day off and we would have a mooch around Harrods. They said it was very unlikely to both be off.

Dennis was going off the rails again I think I made a mistake , my Dad had quite a bit of money in his wallet when he died and I gave it to Dennis. He had been clean for quite a while and I didnt think he would buy drugs but he did. We didnt see him for a whole week we had no idea where he was. He did eventually turn up looking really scruffy and admitted he had been in London.

It soon became obvious that he was back on heroin, he would go out early in the morning, usually without food and not come back until the evening. He would be shoplifting all day and selling the proceeds to then buy his heroin. Steve and I knew we had now to make sure everything of any value had to be hidden when we were at work.