Philip and John were almost six years of age, and Lynne was nearly nine, and we were now beginning to run out of breathing space in our flat. The little box room was too small to hold all three children and their toys. Something had to be done.
When the children became toddlers Arthur changed jobs and went to work for the bank. The salary was far better and he got two bonuses a year. By far the best perk the bank had to offer however, was the prospect of us owning our own house one day. Once Arthur had worked for the bank for six months he could apply for a mortgage. Not only did they give employees a 100% mortgage for a house, they also gave them a loan to cover the solicitor and surveyor’s fees, together with moving expenses. All this at 2½% interest!
Because rented accommodation was still at a premium, we contacted our house agent and offered to vacate our flat if they would pay us five hundred pounds towards our expenses. After a bit of haggling, he agreed to give us two hundred and fifty pounds. This money was to help with the cost of things like curtaining and floor covering in our new house.
Arthur applied to the bank for the mortgage and was told to go ahead and find a house. It wasn’t easy to view property with three small children, when it all had to be done in the evening or at weekends. We worked out that we viewed about sixty houses in all (we even accidentally viewed one house twice). I think we were starting to get punch drunk in the end. We finally chose a house in Enfield, paid the deposit and started the ball rolling.
We decided to move on a weekday while the children were safely at school. We took them to the school gates in the morning, and told them we would pick them up at home time and take then all to the new house. They were so excited; I don’t know how they managed to do any schoolwork that day.
Everything went as planned. Arthur, Rusty and I moved into our new house and the sun was shining. The first thing I did was to open the back door and gaze in wonder at our very own private garden. How the children were going to love running in and out of the garden and having friends in to play. Perhaps we might be able to buy them a swing or a see-saw to play on. No more Aunty Minnie watching us from behind her nets. I was so happy. We’d been married for about sixteen years and, until very recently, had had no chance of ever owning a real home of our own. Now, here we were. Just the two of us (and rusty), sitting on boxes in our first dining room eating fish and chips from our just discovered, local fish and chip shop. Oh, bliss! The three children were duly collected from the old school, beds hastily made up, and curtains draped across bare windows in new bedrooms. It had been a thrilling but tiring day. We ate a simple meal in a picnic-like manner, after which we all went happily and excitedly to bed; ready to start a new life in the morning.