I have always been in awe of my Mum. She was deserted by her philanderer of a husband in the 60s with two kids under five to raise on her own. Her parents had both passed before I was born and therefore she was basically on her own. As I have told before she rented a small two up and two down house (with an outside toilet) until she saved up the princely sum of 5 pounds as a down payment on a house. She was on the Brit equivalent of welfare but still worked 40 hours a week as a cook at the local university cafeteria to be allowed to earn a pittance above her welfare check. (Whatever she was given in welfare was deducted from her paycheck per week, whatever was left she was allowed to keep). Her mortgage was 4 pounds 18 pence a month. She paid 5 pounds in order to get it paid off quicker. We were clothed from thrift stores, I earned money sweeping the front of the local store, we picked left over veggies from the weekend market, and collected left over coal from the trucks turning at the top of the hill.
And you know what? I never went hungry. I never felt that I was not dressed appropriately because Mum had a sewing machine and if hot pants were in fashion then she could make them for me. I remember when crocheted ponchos were in fashion my mum got out her needle and all her bits of spare wool and made me one. It was my own “coat of many colors” that I was so proud of.
Several years ago she sold the house that she put a 5 pounds down payment on for one hundred and sixty five thousand pounds. I’d say she did well for a mill girl from Carnforth. My Mum rocks!