Monday, 5 October 2009

My friend Barry & such

When you get to my age the natural scheme of things is that your family and friends start popping off to wherever their after life chooses. Recently a friend of mine of many years and neighbour left this mortal toil. With my own mortality challenged I perhaps feel this death more than most. He helped me to cut the grass which sets our little part of Hamstead apart from the rest and he indeed was a good neighbour. I think now I will have to contact my local councillor to get the council to start cutting it again but this saddens me because of the reasons we started to cut it in the first place.
His departure though caused me to reminisce about life when we moved to our homes over forty years ago. The houses we bought were just basically shells they contained a toilet, bath, wash basin and a kitchen sink and that was about it. Nothing like today where they come with fully fitted kitchens, bedrooms and the like. We had a choice of colours though: buttercup or off white. In reality they were the same colour. Our gardens were not landscaped, just one step removed from the building site. Like the wife and I, he and his wife came from the slums of B’ham so moving to a new house with “all mod cons” in those days we were envied by our parents. Buying your own home though was not without problems and we had to work extremely hard to turn our houses into homes fit to bring up our families.
In those days there was no maternity leave when your wife got pregnant she was forced to give up her job with no prospect of ever getting it back. Paternity leave was something invented by new labour. I had to have a couple of days holiday when my kids came along. Family allowance was 5 shillings (25p) a week for the second child only. All these things have been introduced by Labour over the last few years. No redundancy pay or statuary sick pay. If you lost your job or got sick, tough. I don’t bemoan the deal our young people get these days but I do think our government should remember where us oldies are coming from. Both parties have treated us badly over the years but listening to Cameron and Co over the week end I think we are likely to do worse under his lot than sticking with Gordon.
We knuckled down turned our shells into decent homes and raised our kids to a very high standard. I for one do not want to go back to the “Born to Rule” philosophy of the Tories. So come on Gordon let’s see some real pensioner friendly policies. We do vote and we deserve a better share of our nation’s wealth than we have been getting.


margaret macklin said...

Sorry about Barry.We started to cut the grass until our neighbour from round the corner thought we were doing it so her child wouldnt get her feet wet when she parked her car on it!I didnt get any maternity leave let alone him and I was the bread winner in those days.Certainly no tax credits.HOWEVER we did get tax relief on being married and tax relief on buying our home so we managed as long as we worked our butts off.He came from the slums of Quarry bonk so we havent done too badly have we?Great Barr is still a good place to live(Just) but only because of people like you and the missus who complain when someat is wrong.Long may you do it!

Bob the Black Country Brummie said...

You’re quite right Margaret we did get tax relief on being married and on our mortgage. We had to find 10% deposit before the co-op would look at us. All the banks and the Halifax turned us down a hard working honest and reliable couple. We just did not have any collateral. Can you believe it. I can remember the manager at Birmingham Municipal Bank in Aston where I had an account since I was a little un, a very small account though shaking his head and saying he didn’t think we were suitable for a loan from his bank.