HELEN’S STORY PART 3

Going back to the flat we had found for ourselves to live in, from London, felt rather odd. Kind of a bit of a let down. After all that high emotion, we now found ourselves in a huge house given over to student accommodation. It wasn’t that it was a bad flat – no, it was actually quite nice. The rooms were nice and big, and we could see out over the city. It turned out later though, that we were in the exact area in which the Yorkshire Ripper was operating. I shudder when I think of that!

By now, I was teaching – I was teaching a class of Special needs children, which was certainly challenging. I worked with another teacher – a man – and I was hoping to do some more training in this area. One day, he asked me to go with him after school to look at some special desks for the children. Why he needed me I had no idea, but we got into his car and the next thing I knew was that he was telling me a tale of woe about his marriage and a wife who was uninterested and unresponsive to him. It was obvious what he was after, but I gave him no truck!

Life continued, and eventually we moved to a better area and a better flat. It was here where I made friends with the vicar and his wife who lived just over the road from us. The wife suffered from depression, and I invited them to come and have a meal with us. It was my first try at entertaining. Sadly, it was a complete disaster! I made pork balls in gravy, but for some reason the pork balls did not cook properly, so no one ate them. Then, for afters I made something which normally came out real well – a sort of toffee biscuity thing with nuts in, and cream. The wife took one bite and immediately cried out,

“Oh my teeth. It’s going to break my teeth.”

The toffee had set rather harder than normal, and so the whole meal was a disaster. She began to wail and could not get out of our flat fast enough, much to the embarrassment of her husband. It was, however, the end of a nice friendship!

It felt strange being married, though quite a few of my College friends did it. Some soon had a baby too, despite trying to avoid that particular occurrence. We soon moved again, to a completely different town, as my husband got a job with an oil refinery. We lived in a ground floor flat not far from the beach, which was wonderful. It was a very happy time, and we got a dog, and I spent a lot of time on a deserted part of the beach with the dog. We walked a lot at weekends, and all in all it was a good time. In the flat above us lived a couple and the man was a North Sea fisherman. He would be away for long stretches of time, but then he would come back carrying arms full of absolutely fresh fish that they had just caught. We were the recipients of some of it and I have never tasted fish so good in my life! I loved living there, but soon we had to move again, since my husband only had a temporary contract with the oil refinery, and so we moved back to my hometown where there was a decent job going for my husband. He worked shifts, including night shift, at a place called Nypro that eventually blew up. He was an Industrial Chemist there, and he was due to be on shift at the time of the explosion which killed many of his mates. He had changed shifts with someone else though, and he was not at work at the time. By this time we had bought our own house, but we were at the house of friends at the time of the blast. We were four miles away from the chemical works, but we distinctly felt my friends’ house move. Many houses even miles away were damaged in the explosion, and shop windows in the town were blown out. It was a terrible time for my husband, and for many others as mates were lost, but also he had to go into work and help in the clearing up process. One day, he was doing something and was on a huge mound of something, when he detected an awful smell. It turned out to be a body, and he came home from work traumatised. Eventually they rebuilt the plant, but after a while it went bust and we moved to London for work. That was an experience and a half!

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