Was telling someone today about when I landed back here in the area.
16 years old
1 holdall with a few clothes and a couple of photographs
1 return train ticket (incase I didn’t find a job or somewhere to live)
£20 in my pocket to last me the month.
Went for a few interviews over the two weeks I stayed with my auntie.
On the last day before I had to return, I got offered an interview in a discount shop. Went over and spoke to the owner, got the job, a whopping £60 per week for full time hours, “Just one problem… I don’t have anywhere to live!”
The shop owner took me across the road, to a bedsit place one of his customers ran, picture two houses divided up by plaster board walls into single rooms. Sorted, £50 per week.
For this I got a single bed, a black and white TV, a shower with no curtain and a key to the main entrance.
Don’t think I slept for a week, with all the strange noises, comings and goings.
But slowly, over time, it got easier.
I had my own place, a job six days a week and Sundays off to wash my clothes at the launderette. If I was really lucky, I’d save a diver so I could go out and have a drink or buy some snacks to eat in my room in the evenings.
I started small, I’d go out once a week on my own and just have a pint and make it last an hour or so.
Then I got to know a couple of people and went out in the next town, walking the 3 miles there, 3 miles back. If I was really flush, I may even get the bus there!
So it spiralled from there.
I was where I wanted to be, I had my own space, I could do my own thing.
Yes it was a bit lonely, but I soon got to know a couple of people, I was skint all the time, but I got promoted to running one of the shops, which meant an extra ten spot each week and started to move around to the other shops the owner had, plus I got a good discount on the stuff the shops sold, so never went short of pan roll or cheap coffee, etc.
Then I looked at what people have today.
Big screen colour TV, own flat, new cooker, some bills paid, disposable income left at the end of each week, internet, mobile phones, furnishings, separate rooms, shower and bath (with luxury curtain!), computers, etc.
Different times maybe, but a whole world away from when I was starting out.
I wonder how they would have managed back then, with just the things that I had to live with, in my shoes so to speak?
I hope they never have to find out.