I believe I’ve mentioned before that when Hubby and I got together all those years ago we didn’t have much money, yet we never went without our smokes or fuel in the cars having first and foremost met our bills.
It was Hubby who introduced me properly to the delights of Chinese cuisine, and I can remember the times we’d walk down to the takeaway for a bag of prawn crackers (which was all we could afford in the beginning) then sit at the bus stop and people watch.
I owed thousands of pounds thanks to my previous relationship, and it took two years for the useless solicitor I’d hired to obtain a court order for the sale of the property.
Luckily for me I had a good Bank Manager who knew the position and was aware that I was meeting my financial commitments in respect of loans and overdrafts, but it was down to Partner to pay the mortgage, especially as he was still living there.
In August 1990, I received a letter giving me 10 days to cough up £35,000 else they were going to foreclose and repossess the property. Partner hadn’t paid a penny since I left.
I was holding down 2 jobs, scrimping by with less than £20 a month left over after everything was taken into account and borrowing from one credit card to pay the minimum repayment and interest on the other, then vice versa.
Once I stopped shaking, I rang the bank and the Manager told me it was a formality as the mortgage was in both names and they were legally obligated to inform us both.
My solicitor finally got her act together (after house prices had plummeted and ours had devalued by over thirty grand) and things were eventually settled in April 1991.
I cleared my entire debts, tore up my credit cards, and refused to let anyone ever put me in that position again. With property prices still falling and Hubby (to-be then) and I now in negative equity, I paid a lump sum off our mortgage and changed it to a repayment type so that the longer we had to stay there, we were at least nibbling a little off the capital sum borrowed.
Partner wasn’t so lucky having invested in a business venture against over optimistic forecast proceeds of the house sale with his new girlfriend, who left after just four months. There followed a series of misfortunes that he hadn’t anticipated, budgeted or put money aside for, so the poor soul ended up applying for bankruptcy.
Hubby and I got married in May 1991 when my debt riddled past was cleared, and on our anniversary every year we’d buy a bag of prawn crackers, portion of chicken fried rice and some sweet and sour sauce, then with our two forks would sit in the car in a park, or again at the bus stop, remembering the days when things weren’t quite so ‘comfortable’ as they then were.
We’ve never had money to burn, and even when we were both earning relatively good wages, we didn’t overspend, saved for a rainy day, and treated ourselves occasionally to a chinese takeout. But our anniversary dinner for years was always the same.
Tonight, coming back from the hospital after Hubby’s late appointment, we decided on a takeout. We haven’t had one since we shared our silver wedding anniversary dinner with our friends here.
We had sweet and sour chicken balls, chicken fried rice, and a bag of prawn crackers.
Three times the cost of what we used to pay all those years ago and a different takeaway, but the memory is the same.
For us, it kinda keeps things in perspective (and the D word isn’t to be mentioned).