I always go back to writing when trouble is around. Apparently there is a method called free writing where you just write what comes to mind and somehow that helps your wellness. I wrote about how my husband and I met and presumably fell in love. I guess if you had told us then we would end up splitting up we would have told you that you were mad. So we met at work, started socialising as friends and then became a couple. I loved the us we created. We said if we ever did part we would inevitably end up back together as we got on so well.
So in a loved up state we decided to look for a home together. Was it significant without me realising it that we ended up in a house in the car park of my husband’s favourite pub? It was a detached house with two large rooms downstairs, a bathroom upstairs and 2 bedrooms. That caused hassle with my husband’s teenage girls who wanted their own space. We toyed with ideas about splitting the room with curtaining or something but it never came to anything.
I have fond memories of that time. I liked being part of a couple and we had a good giggle together. Our love life was great too. We worked and played together. Perfect!
The house was up a hill and it was the time when you rented videos for entertainment purposes. I would walk up and down the hill with the two girls taking out so many videos and all too often forgetting to take them back on time resulting in fines. This was an era before Netflix and yet really not that long ago.
We also ate out a bit at places like the Little Chef and Frankie and Benny’s.
I would cook with the older girl at lot. She was more like me in many ways as a bit of a creative. The younger girl got jealous so I agreed to make a meal with her. Somehow we failed to defrost the chicken properly so it was a bloody disaster quite literally.
The older girl was 14 or 15 by now and growing more independent. She had a friend round and suddenly started to have older boys calling for her in cars. I did not like this at all and worried for her welfare. She thought I was too much on her case and I was reminded that I was not her mother. It was difficult because sometimes she would want that mother-daughter bond with me and other times she would push me away.
I remember finding out the younger girl was smoking as I walked into a room and she tried to push the fag on her older sister who we already knew was a smoker.
Sadly I was not used to teenage angst and these girls were troubled from their experiences of abuse. I imagine I mucked up a lot. Suffice to say, the older girl marched out one day going back to stay with her mum. She talked of having Christmas with us but that never happened. I missed her as she was a step-daughter but also a friend. My husband contacted his ex-wife for updates but it soon became clear that my step-daughter has chosen to move out of there too and found an older female friend to live with. I thought this was less than idea although have to say the woman treated her really well from what I could see when we visited. It was one of those times when I realised I had no real status where the girls were concerned. I would insist my husband contact social services but at some point the authorities will pretty much decide that in late teens, there is little you can do if the person concerned wants to live their own life in their own way as they see fit.
We were troubled with issues of disrepair that the landlord would not deal with including a vital one with the toilet. So we started to look for somewhere else to live. My husband went to a pub and spoke to the landlord there who had a brother with properties. We ended up renting a former council house with a weird garden that was all banking really but a big kitchen and the space upstairs we needed too. We were ridiculously excited that we had a corner bath and I liked the sun and moons stencilling. What can I say? It was a different time and feels like a lifetime ago now.