Now it was the winter of early 1975. the house in Hackney had absolutely no central heating, save for the heat of the gas cooker (as long as we had kept the meter filled with money) and a coal fire if we had the time or money for coal or wood to light it). So to put it mildly (xcuse the pun), the house was very, very cold. I know that in my xxx days I often went to bed with socks and pants and my dressing gown over my nighty, as well as a hot water bottle!
Ty and I slept in a double bed in the 3rd floor. This room was originally the living/sitting room that I had sat in back in 1970, when I first laid eyes on the wondrous Ty. Since Ivy and the kids’ departure a year earlier, the place had taken a severe tumble downwards with each room other than the kitchen becoming a dusty bedlam of stuff in no particular order. I had done my best when I first moved in, but when I started to work at JJ, I did not keep up any reorganizing. I did manage to keep the kitchen in fair shape as I mentioned before as the kitchen was where we spent a lot of time.
xxx was a council house on Vic Park Road in Hackney. I am not sure but I think it was originally Ty’s family home, and that when he and Ivy got married they moved in, as Ty had been the only ‘child’ still living at home. Now this is not gospel, so don’t quote me. Ty’s mother still lived in the basement. She had a large ‘open concept’ kitchen and sitting and dining room. I think there was a bathroom in the basement with a bathtub, but I could be wrong. The few times that Ty took me down there I did notice that his mum had a geyser on top of the kitchen sink and probably in the bathroom.
The first floor had a medium sized and a smaller bedroom. There was a far staircase down to the basement and a closer one leading to the 2nd floor. In between the bedrooms was a little water closet. The toilet still had the old chain and pulley flush, and the tank was high up on the wall.
I am sorry to say that I don’t remember Ty’s mum’s name. He called her mum. She was always nice to me whenever we came in contact, unlike his sisters. She completely kept herself to herself. She never came upstairs to the 2nd floor and beyond. What I do remember about Mrs. B was that she was morbidly obese. Somehow though, she still could go out, because never once did we have to do shopping for her, though on occasion I remember Ty saying that she had asked him to get her a bottle of ale, which he always did happily. Mrs. B. had to climb the stairs either to go out of the front door, or to her bedroom which was the medium sized room just by the front door. I hardly ever knew she was anywhere in the house. She was totally unobtrusive.
On the second floor was the kitchen. On the third floor was a living room and another bedroom, and upstairs again there was another bedroom on a 4th floor. Most of the other rooms were medium sized. It certainly was a spacious council house. I was quite surprised at size of this house, but again it was a total tip, so all this room really did not mean much to me in the end. There was even a little garden with grass in the back with access from the basement and a side street level passageway. This garden even had a gate. We never used the garden however. I was content that this house was his mother’s domain below her bedroom on the main floor. … (not that I believe she would have minded if we did use the garden). Ty told me that the rent on this house was £6.00 (1975) a week! Now in retrospect, I don’t know if he meant that this was just his share, but I had the distinct impression that this was the total rent.