We moved into the former council house and it was great to have a working toilet again! We were now a family of three along with a dog that me and the girls had persuaded my husband to buy. Benji was a collie type dog and we loved him. My husband thought the dog was a bad idea but then agreed to go and look at him. He picked him up, the dog licked his face and they were smitten.
We missed my husband’s second daughter a lot but I think his youngest girl enjoyed being the centre of attention. She wrote a funny mother’s day thing for school saying how I gave her money and did stuff with her and her dad put out the bins. She would get me gifts like little teapots and was in charge of making sure her Dad got me cards for important occasions. He is not really into birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day and the like.
This house was a happy house as we became a real family. Things improved when my husband found a job although it was at quite a distance so a long commute to Ryedale and back. He did not think he would even apply for the job through lack of confidence as it was a management job but I saw his potential and helped with the application and to prepare him for the interview.
There was a wonderful occasion when I went and spent one of my monthly wages on buying him a car he had seen. My step-daughter had a sports day so we hid the car keys in a bowl with a cover on and told him it was something to do with her sports day. He was amazed to see the car keys there. We drove that Renault with the leather seats all over the place loving the freedom of having wheels at last. My step-daughter and her great friend would come along for the ride too. Fun times where we might end up in the Derbyshire Dales just because.
I remember our first Christmas in this house. My husband’s oldest girl and her fiance came over. We played cards, probably drank and had a good laugh. There is a photo of me and my husband kissing that his daughter took I imagine on this night. I look super skinny although probably thought I was fat at the time.
On Christmas Day I remember my step-daughter heading for the smallest pile of gifts that was actually for the pet dog.
I remember cavorting in bed one morning and her mate coming to warn us that she had fainted at the bus stop. She had a fall in the bathroom too shattering the Father’s Day glass her sister had bought.
I recall my shock when my husband phoned to say he was going for drinks with work colleagues so I was to look after his daughter until he got home and that he did not know when that would be.
There was an occasion when the neighbour hurled a brick at our dog so I went out in my dressing gown to tell him off. My husband said I was like a fishwife. My stepdaughter was impressed at my actions. I eventually made peace with the neighbour when we went out to watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
At this time we would argue as a couple and I can’t really remember what about. He would go out for a walk to cool down. I always worried he would not come back. So he stopped doing that which probably didn’t help us. We all have our strategies for calming down I guess.
My husband’s oldest girl was about to get married. She asked him to get involved money wise very late in the day and he was not able to do so. That caused tensions. Her in-laws had money and took the lead on things. It was a wedding arranged using a guide and I probably cruelly commented that it was like painting by numbers only a wedding. The bride-to-be did not want her mum at the wedding but wanted me to stand in and appear on top table and act as her mum. I felt incredibly uncomfortable about this as a shy person. I was only a few months into a relationship with her dad. It was all a bit overwhelming for me to play mum to the bride when I was only 30 years old.
On the morning of the wedding, my husband picked up his daughter at the hotel she was staying at. I arrived at the church with my other step-daughter who was a bridesmaid and then was left feeling very alone. My step-daughters’ relatives looked at me like some strange alien. I am a very introverted person and found it all a bit mortifying to be honest. I dutifully sat at the top table trying to keep the secret that the bride was pregnant. It was pretty obvious as she avoided booze on the day. I would have just stood up and announced my pregnancy in similar circumstances but we are all different. She had not intended her dad to know but when she said something about not having her longed-for tattoo on her tummy I worked out she was up the duff. I remember standing in the greeting line at the reception and someone from the RAF asking me who I was. I stumbled over my words and he was so very kind.I should say that my step son-in-law was in the RAF at the time.
We got back from the reception and I had a lie-down. I really was not in the mood when called to go to the evening do. It did not work out well as my husband’s sister had a go for some reason I still cannot work out. I went to stand outside and the wife of my husband’s nephew came out to offer a listening ear. We remain good online friends and I hope to meet up with her soon.
My parents were not talking to me at the time disappointed that I had left one bad relationship into another so quickly with what my mum referred to as “a loser”. I hope I don’t disappear on my kids if they make choices I do not like. My brother would visit sometimes dropped off by my Dad which of course was painful for me.
I can’t remember why but I think we decided it would be good to be nearer my husband’s work and to try and adventure in North Yorkshire. We found a bungalow to rent that was small but fancy and so our adventures in Ryedale began.