Thursday, 20 June 2013

Our House

My Mum and Dad never really had much in life. Dad was born in 1917 and mum in 1923. As youngsters growing up they would have felt the full force of the ‘Depression’.

They both served in World War 2. Dad served in the Royal Artillery Mum, well I was never really sure what mum did but we have pictures of her in uniform. I do know she didn’t like it, the military that is. My dad used to sing with a band in the Naafi and my Mum was smitten. Dad was a good singer. He would always sing. I suppose that’s where I get it from. If you come across a singing boater it may well be me.

After the war Dad worked in the furniture manufacturing trade. He was a frame maker for people like Lebus Bros. They lived with his mother and they lived with her mother. Eventually the council gave them accommodation. . . . . .
                                                                a Nissen hut!
tumblr_mej8c1X4As1qmvhifo1_500Nissen huts were not the nicest of places. Dad raised the issue with the council, several times. Eventually they were told there was a new estate being built and they could have one of those when they were finished, October 1950 they moved in. I arrived in December. Elizabeth was not yet Queen. Some stuff was still rationed.

My parents had a simple philosophy in life ‘Always pay your rent if all else fails at least you can’t get rained on. Dad never missed a days work unless he was seriously ill. He left the house in the morning before I got up and arrived home when it was time for my bed.

Another thing my Dad never did was to call the council. What ever needed doing to the house he did it. He considered that if the council were good enough to let him have a house then it was his responsibility to look after it. Unless it was something major we never saw a council worker. Didn’t need one dad was good at DIY a great repairman/decorator/woodworker/electrician etc. Our garden was always neat and tidy and the gate never swung off its hinge. The property was properly looked after.

They had lived in the house for nearly 30 years when the Tories got elected in 1979 (it was me who convinced them to vote tory). The right to buy scheme was a Tory con. Yes Joe Public could be come house owners, and for many this was a good thing (in all honesty there is not one man reading this that would have said no), but the thinking behind it was simple. If you owned the house you lived in you would be unlikely to go on strike because you couldn't then pay your mortgage. Maggie wasn’t stupid. As I see it the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme was the beginning of the end of the unions as they were at that time.

It was about 1982 when my parents bought their house. Yes they got a discount, but they didn't get as big a discount as the family down the road in a similar house. You may wonder why this was? I can tell you it is down to my fathers hard work. Our house was in very good condition, well looked after. The family down the road did nothing to their house in thirty years. They always called the council to even fix a tap washer or a loose screw in a door hinge. So there is profit in laziness.

Yes my parents did get their house at a reduced price, but had they not bought the house they would never have left it anyway. They were not the sort to walk out on 30 years of memories. They didn’t know how. So when people tell me they were wrong to buy the house I have to wonder if I am in the presence of sainthood. I know I am not, but I have to wonder.

Now when I left the RAF after 25 years 239 days, I too was entitled to get in on the RTB scheme. I however had bought a house three years earlier and never for one minute thought about RTB. People get in a situation and make choices. Some good, some bad. I certainly don't think of my parents as bad people because someone offered them a lollipop at half price and they took it. I do consider saints to be of dubious integrity………and stupid.

7 comments:

Nev Wells said...

Hi Maffi,

I am not a saint nor my parents but they did not participate in the RTB....and even today my mum would not... Why, well when my dad was made redundant and they had to sell their house they had worked all of their life for they were so very grateful for the council house they were allocated. It was a real life saver. Now when my old ma passes on she knows that her council house will pass to someone else maybe in the same need.

Not saintly but just learned and valued experience.

A thought provoking post,

Take care

Nev

Maffi said...

Different circumstances Nev.

Anonymous said...

Hi - I'm so torn about how to cope with the local 'professionally ill' neighbours. You know? the ones who've bought a 2nd caravan and had 6 short break hols last year?
They can't cut their grass nor hedge, and run a Motability car. She's 'large' in the local Parish church and he has a dreadful back disorder. They're in late 30's/early 40's and I feel so helpless about whistleblowing as they're in the local housing chat group!
Please believe me - if I were able to 'out' them I would, but they just keep saying that each set of parents help them out with 'treats' and etc. Needless to say - they're both humungously overweight...........

Freda

Maffi said...

Freda whats ya point.

John said...

"(in all honesty there is not one man reading this that would have said no)"

I did. Not saying your Dad (or anybody else who benefited from RTB) was wrong, but I see Council housing as a social asset, not something to be sold off cheap.

What is really annoying though is the number of ex-council houses/flats that are now part of various spivs' 'buy-to-rent' portfolios.

According to the Daily Mirror (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/right-to-buy-housing-shame-third-ex-council-1743338) up to a third of ex-council homes are now privately rented.

One of these 'Buy-to-Rent' landlords who owns scores of former council flats is the multi-millionaire son of a Tory minister who presided over the controversial “right-to-buy” scheme .


John

'Ronniesonic' said...

Hi Maffi- This post got me thinking about today's 'easy' ride for some.

To put it simply; Our Daughter is 24. She is lovely but genuinely deluded (or is she?). She has 2 children. She EXPECTS to receive all of life's good stuff as that is the way it is & what the Social Security system is there for! She has never worked a single day. I/we are in our 40's. I have had 3 days off sick since 4/10/84 (grateful for that).

Daughter has a better house than us! She has just arrived back from Majorca. Needed a Holiday as she 'needed a break'!

Some may say envy is apparent in my tone? I do not see it like that.

It is blatantly obvious to me that the current system is totally unfair & too often many people are allowed to receive what I perceive to be decent rewards for doing nowt.

So the questions are these. Is she deluded or are we? Are there just too many nowadays who are purely mercenary? Does the 'system' just allow this mindset to breed?

Kevin Ronnie- NB Acorn- Dog poo land- Hawkesbury!...........

Henhouse said...

Mr Maffi,

Once again you have got it just about spot on.

Your parents made the right decision. Good luck to them.

I firmly believe in giving people the chance to improve their lot in life.

Sadly, today we have reached a position where the modern benefits system has now become a blanket of handouts to all, instead of being a safety net to help those in genuine need and hardship.

It makes my blood boil to see lard-arse chavs and their degenerate spawn living off our efforts, whilst pensioners are dying in awful conditions.

Regards. M.