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PostPosted: Fri 22 May, 2015 3:40 pm 
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We were allocated a council house in 1966 when our daughter was four years old. Our son had been born a few months previously.

When we moved in we had a bed for us and our daughter and a cot for our son; a second hand three piece suite, a small rug for in front of the fire, two chests of drawers, and a small wardrobe for the children, bedding and some kitchen utensils. My mother gave us her old electric cooker.

Mr Ohso was bringing home just under twelve pounds a week. Out of that we paid four pounds a week rent.
There was no central heating. We had a fireplace with a back boiler and an immersion heater. By the time we had paid the rent, coal, electric, water and the house rates there was barely enough left for food.
We lived from week to week. I learned to cook filling meals from scratch and without salt so that I could mash some up for our son who was beginning to eat solids, but I had to buy some baby food for him which was an added expense.

A local draper would let you have goods for a weekly payment and luckily they had some cheap material which I liked, so I made all the curtains. We couldn't afford proper curtain rails so used net curtain wire.
Dad gave us some wood, a hammer, nails and screws and I made a bookcase. Mr Ohso scrounged a length of metal pipe, and fitted up a rail in the bedroom for our clothes.

I dug some flower beds in the small garden with a kitchen fork and a spatula, and by pinching tufts of grass from wherever I could find it when we were out for a walk, managed to create a small lawn which I used to trim with scissors.
We had no TV, radio, fridge, washing machine, or vacuum cleaner let alone smaller electrical appliances.

Did we have aspirations? I suppose we did, but it was for normal everyday things like a washing machine or a spin dryer, because boiling nappies up in a bucket on the stove and trying to get them dry was a never ending, soul destroying job.
Carpeting would have been nice; I'd have sold my soul for a lawn mower and there were nights when I went to bed hungry.

We were already buying our clothes from jumble sales and I quickly learned to buy items that I could cut down for the children, or alter and mend for myself and they were invaluable for buying books and toys that I could never otherwise afford.
At that point in our lives one of my best jumble sale bargains was handing over a couple of pence for a bunch of plastic flowers and a small vase to put them in. They looked a treat on my newly built bookcase.

Mr Ohso's one luxury was doing the football pools every week. He was positive he was going to win. One of the neighbours collected the forms and the money, and each week Mr Ohso handed over his shilling with the completed form, and wondered if that was the week his luck was going to turn.

Sure enough one Saturday evening he jumped up and announced in a wobbly voice that he had eight score draws but just for the purpose, the guy who collected the money was away for the weekend so we had Saturday evening and the whole of Sunday to wonder how much we'd won and what we would do with it.

On Sunday when I'd put the kids to bed I drew a hot bath and as I soaked started to make plans. For a start it would mean a prolonged trip to the States to see Mr Ohso's family – but I didn't want to. I really really didn't want to.
And then there were all his relatives. His parents, seven brothers and sisters. They'd have to be treated fairly. I only had a small immediate family. It wouldn't be right to give one family more than the other. And what about aunts and uncles? Hadn't I read somewhere they came out of the woodwork when they heard a family member had won money? We couldn't give it all away. We'd have to make sure some of the money was invested in order to give us an income... But I was useless at Maths and Mr Ohso wouldn't want to do it. I'd have to learn how to manage it...

By the time the water had cooled off, I had too and all the mental arithmetic had given me a headache.

On Monday when Mr Ohso dashed over to the neighbours to see how much we'd won, fate must have been looking kindly at me. It was the Australian football season and we'd won seven and six.
Less than fifty pence in today's money. I breathed the biggest sigh of relief.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. – Aesop

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