1. Blue Van Woman

I was brought up believing that men knew all there was to know about how things worked and, what’s more – that was their domain.  According to my mother, my role was to keep my man happy with a combination of good food – on the table on time and a dedication to housework.

I met my first husband in Cambridge – he was an undergraduate and I was a student nurse.  In those days the students flapped about in their gowns, just in case anyone mistook them for ordinary ‘town’ people.  There were very few female students so nurses were a commodity in demand.  When we went to the pub I mostly kept quiet.  These clever men were clearly conservatives (big and small ‘C’) and I was a socialist.  I kept my opinions to myself.  I didn’t even have any A levels so what did I know.

I washed his socks in the hand basin of the nurses’ home – you heard right.  It was the closest I could get to my mother’s standards.

We did very well together.  Until I decided that I was worthy of an education.  I enrolled in the newly formed Open University.  I can still remember my first tutorial at Summer School – I spoke and others listened – I may not have got it all correct – but I was, apparently, entitled to an opinion.

So there I was, a BA degree, four children and a full time job. Those years passed in a blur of fatigue, thank goodness my parents moved into the annex and tried to impart some order on my poorly run house (her definition).

They died and husband number two came and went.  The children grew up and left home.

Enter number husband number three.  I’m going to call him Alan.

Alan was an only child and behaved with an air of someone who is used to getting his own way.  He had two children that he ruled over.  He was twenty years younger than me.  I was so flattered – here was a man who fancied me.  My children had left home and I had a big house.  I had a good income and I was used to doing as I was told.  Pretty much perfect for a man who freely admitted he liked control.

The damage he inflicted on me over the years of our marriage is too awful to tell.  What I do want to tell is the story of my recovery.

It started in June 2020.  Part way through the pandemic we moved out of our house.  Alan to a rented flat and me to a terraced house many miles away.  That morning was ghastly.  I couldn’t do the final sweep round.  We had lived in that large 4 bedroomed house for ten years.  It was full of a combination of love and horror.  We went for coffee and I wept.  I cried a lot that year.  And the year after.

The people buying our house had engaged poor solicitors and the money didn’t get transferred.  All my possessions were in a removal lorry and I had no home.  That night was hideous.  Luckily I was moving to be closer to my daughter so I stayed with her.  The lorry returned (the cost had doubled) and I eventually got the key.  Somehow I unpacked with help from my daughter and her husband and I began life on my own.

You may be wondering ‘where’s the blue van?’

That story will come next…


This blog is written by Marion, hosted by Carrie 

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