Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The road thru Bristol Continued

We moved into the house two weeks before Christmas, our goods from Singapore where still on the way by boat.The house was decrepit, most of the windows broken, some of the water pipes and fittings stolen. Most of the inside doors hung broken or warped. No carpets, curtains, or working lights. That night my father and us boys collected scrap wood so we could have a fire and light of sorts. Wrapped in the clothes in our suitcases we spent the first couple of nights on the floor. Luckily my father was still receiving a salary from he navy , but nowhere near his previous pay. No active service pay or family allowance. He was on basic salary, for the next 18 months as he trained for his job as a stone mason. A second hand mattress, two old blankets  to cover us , food, plastic sheeting for the windows, a couple of pots and a frying pan, a second hand 2 plate stove, some electric cabling and a couple of light bulbs  and most important 2 cwt of coal. The cash was wiped out. What saved us was 3 weeks after Xmas my mums father sent me and my brothers £10 as a present. It was a cold and miserable introduction to the City. To keep warm we stripped out the rotten wooden floors and joists, doors and broken window frames. In May my parents got a windfall of child allowance back pay, not a lot but enough to buy two beds and some bedding. We had also spent time in getting some sort of living area cleared and tidied up. The good floor boards and joists from some rooms were scavenged to replace those rotten in others. Two rooms  were made livable by this means. The years of accumulated detritus was cleared from the back garden, what could be burned kept us warm. We made curtains from old sheets and stripped and painted the walls. Just us no aid, my dad and mum were too self sufficient and proud ,to chase up welfare aid from the navy. But in those days it was a case of one department gives and a few weeks later ,another takes it away. (Apparently 40 Years on it has not changed.) After Xmas I was enrolled at school 1 year lower than my previous grade as I was already in secondary school in Singapore, what a farce that was.

1 comment:

Effie said...

Interesting to know.