Written by Inchcock
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Sunday, 18 September 2011

image for A True Diary of Woe - Part Twelve These and girls like them, actually showed an interest... in the car, not me!

A story of one man's utter failure, depression, frustration, and poverty, starting in August 1947

Chapter Twent-six: Into the offenders relocation digs


The next day, I went off to work at Tesco, and after while I got call from dear mummy.

She had got me somewhere to live. (Which I thought I'd already got before she stopped paying the rent, emptied the gas and electricity meters, flogged off the furniture, all my stuff, all Dad's stuff, sold a neighbouring family a holiday in a none existent caravan, and did a runner!)

This place she had got for me, was at some digs in the Meadows, 49 Wilford Crescent East, and I was assured it was nice and clean.

I went around that night to view these digs - and found the landlady to be firm but nice with it.

The three storey house had 6 bedrooms, one a single, two doubles, two triple bedded, one with four beds, and the top one with nine beds in it.

The only shock was the prices of the board, £5.5.0. (5 guineas) a week board! I think I was only earning about £9 a week at that time - but needs must.

So I moved in, and soon settled in with the other 11 or so lads who were staying there.

The landlady, Mary Gavin from Athlone in Ireland, was hard, fair, and a none-bullshitter, what she said went.

Her husband Jack was a Nottingham man, big, and as soft of butter, I never knew him to lose his temper.

I soon palled up with other three the lads in my bedroom, and being the youngest, was soon introduced to the pleasures of regular intakes of Home Ales, how to play darts, and the perpetual tottie seeking activities that I was not very good at... keen, persistent, avid, but generally unsuccessful.

The only period of success I had, came after about a year in the digs, and I was doing well at work, had been promoted with a nice increase in pay, and one of lads, I think his name was Trevor, suggested we combine out finances and buy a car on sale just down the road from the digs.

I explained I could not drive, and for the next month one or the other of lads would take me for lessons every night.

I passed my test, and the car, a Ford Consul Classic 4 door, Maroon with a cream roof, was still for sale, and the price had dropped to £90!

We purchased the vehicle, filled it with petrol, took it for a spin, and found it had many, many extras!
1) The steering column gear change was unmasterable to both of us, but at least when either of us went to pick someone up, they would be aware of our arrival beforehand by the tuneful grating noise that accompanied a gear change.

2) The pleasant aroma of petrol fumes was, it appears standard on that model, and made many long drives intensely enjoyable and worry free!

3) As the head light casings regularly filled up with rainwater, we considered putting a goldfish in to customise the thing.

4) We were unsure who tied the front bumper on, but they used electrical cable, and made a custom job of it, leaving it at pleasant 15% angle.

5) Air conditioning came through the whole in the drivers foot-well, and the cracks around the inverted rear window.

6) The steering was slack and flaccid to say the least it was rather disconcerting when travelling at speed (not that was very often believe me) as at times you was actually turning the massive very thin steering wheel to the left, as you and the vehicle went to the right!

7) You had to try not to slam the drivers doors too hard, as this had a custom of encouraging the side window to disappear with a painful grating noise at it fell.

The last, but most monumental extra I found - was that for some reason, maybe because it and twin headlights and looked American, it was the finest tottie puller in the world!

A trip to the Pally for a dance and crumpet, now bought success, unparalleled in my lifetime!

The girls were impressed with the car of course, not me!!!

Ah.... memories.... distant memories.... remembering the memories gets harder as I grow into the state of decrepitude and senility, as is the lot of all those who live long enough...

See what I mean, I nearly lost it there!

Anyway, overall it was a slow, noisy, smelly, unreliable, and expensive to run car: The Best Car I've Ever Had!

It's as I say. Memories fade, that is sad! Any-road-up, it was about 8 months after I'd moved into the lodgings, that I found out it was half-way house for prison parolees!

Trust mother to find me somewhere to live!

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