CH TWO 44
Buoyed by the news of Arsenal beating Spurs to win the League Championship Scotty decides it is time to speak with Dawn about his plan to become a home owner. The babies are sleeping and the rest of the children at school, Mavis is shopping for groceries and they have settled down with a cup of tea. The lorry is loaded ready for the night’s deliveries and there are no other distractions.
‘I’ve been thinking about how crowded the house is these days,’ he begins, ‘now that the babies have arrived. They won’t be able to stay in our room for long and there’s no space in the boys’ room.’ Dawn says she has been concerned about this problem too. ‘I went to the Council and asked them if they can get us a bigger place but they said all they can do is put us on the list, and we know what that means.’ Scotty finishes eating his third biscuit and takes a gulp of tea to steel himself. ‘I think we should buy a place of our own.’
Dawn for once is lost for words; she sets her mug on the table and stares at her husband in surprise. ‘You, a lifelong Socialist want to BUY a house? Have you gone soft in the head? We could never afford to buy a house of our own; who was it put that idea in your brain?’ Scotty explains what Ken was telling him about it being an investment and how it wouldn’t cost any more to pay a mortgage than to pay rent. ‘Anyway, I made an appointment to see the Agent on that new estate down the road. It’s ideal for the children, they wouldn’t have to change schools or anything, and you’d have the fitted kitchen you always dreamed of and central heating. That alone would save us a fortune: we can heat the whole house for what it costs to heat one room with the open coal fire and without the mess.’
After only a few moments cogitation Dawn agrees to at least have a look at the site and listen to what the Agent has to say but she doesn’t see where they will find money for a deposit and Scotty decides to keep that little nugget of information to himself for the time being.
Mavis returns at just the right moment to offload the twins into her care and the Stewarts make their escape before she asks for an explanation.
Work on the housing estate has been going on for some months and the first houses are nearing completion, with the show home ready for inspection. The Agent stands up from his seat behind the desk to greet his first clients of the day. ‘Mr and Mrs Stewart, good to see you, do take a seat and I’ll show you our portfolio.’ He takes out a large folder from a steel filing cabinet and opens it on the desk, turning the plans so they can be viewed by the potential buyers. ‘These are the four bedroom properties you are interested in Mr Stewart,’ he says, indicating the plots marked with blue dots, ‘this one is due for completion in four weeks with these here and here a week or so later.’
They move to the site plan, which is pinned to the board on one side of the wall and ‘Bob’, the Agent points out the plots in relation to the first phase of the site. ‘As you can see, the roads and services for these plots are already in place and all services will be connected by completion. We are even providing new carpets throughout and turf for the gardens so all you need to do is move in and begin your new lives as home owners. How does that sound to you Mrs Stewart?’ Dawn says it sounds too good to be true but Bob smiles away her remark and ushers them through to the show house.
As they walk into the hall Bob points out how light the space is with the glass panelled front door and side panel letting in the sunshine. They inspect the cupboard under the stairs and move on to the living room with its large picture window and modern fireplace with fancy gas fire. ‘The boiler is in the kitchen,’ explains Bob, ‘but the fire is there for days when you don’t need the whole house heating and anyway it makes a nice feature for the room, don’t you agree?’ The two nod and give looks of approval as the Agent points out the abundance of power points and radiators, the large windows for added light, the Artex decoration on all the ceilings, a modern innovation and something which will make them the envy of all who do not have the luxury.
The separate dining room is laid out as if for a dinner party, all the furniture carefully chosen to make each room look as large as possible. ‘And here we have the lovely French windows which open onto the patio,’ beams Bob, opening the doors with a flourish to reveal a small area of paving slabs in pink and grey and a metal table and folding chairs to complete the scene. ‘The garden is a good size and of course it will have overlap fencing to all sides to keep your privacy,’ the Agent continues as he guides his clients around. ‘It’s surprising how big the garden is,’ says Scotty, ‘even bigger than ours and there’s plenty of room for a shed and space for the children to play.’
Bob’s piece de resistance is next on the tour: the spacious fitted kitchen with its built-in washing machine, fridge and cooker. Dawn’s eyes dart from side to side, her heart melting at the thought that this could soon be her domain. Then she remembers that they are not millionaires and brings herself back to earth. ‘How can we afford all this?’ She whispers to Jim, ‘it’s going to be way out of our price league.’ Bob overhears her and tries to smooth her concerns. ‘You’ll be surprised what we can do to help you, Mrs Stewart,’ he assures her as they follow him to a small area by the back door which leads into the garden. The door opposite is opened to reveal a toilet and hand basin. ‘You’ve always wanted a downstairs toilet,’ urges Jim, ‘we won’t have to trail upstairs and the kids won’t get mud up the hall forgetting to take off their shoes, we can just nip in here.’
Dawn really wants this house, her mind is buzzing with the dream of living in such a wonderful modern home as they follow Bob upstairs to inspect the four bedrooms and the bathroom with its coloured suite and tiled floor. ‘We’ve never had two toilets before,’ she says, ‘and it is a lovely house. Can we really afford to buy it Jim?’
They return to the sales office after a second look round all the rooms and Bob is delighted when Scotty announces that they will definitely be buying. He feels a jolt of excitement as he sees Dawn sitting there with her mouth open in astonishment. ‘In fact, I have the money for the deposit right here,’ he says, causing her eyes to bulge in awe. But she doesn’t care where the six hundred pounds came from; she only knows that she must have one of these houses.
Mavis is in a bit of a stew by the time they arrive home an hour later. ‘Where have you been?’ She demands to know, ‘Charlie has been screaming his head off and woken George and I can’t deal with both of them at once. I’ve had to put George in the living room so I can keep this one quiet. Here,’ she adds, handing over the red-faced baby to his mother, ‘you can sort him out; I need a fag.’ And with that she storms off to cool down in the garden with her Consulate and her cold cup of coffee.
Dawn can’t keep the smile off her face but tries her best to look stern as she tells Scotty that he can explain to her mother while she deals with the babies. Scotty says he will be delighted to do so.