Lots of things started to happen which began to make life more complicated.
Dad went on a rant about his brother. His brother and family lived a long way from us so I only recall visiting them once. That once was the last time because, apparently, they had bought a caravan and need a co-signature on the financing agreement and decided to sign my Dad’s name! Later they defaulted and, of course, Dad was expected to honor the agreement. I have no idea how it was resolved, but the incident divided the families.
Later, when Gran (Dad’s Mum) could no longer take care of her house in Birmingham, it was decided that she would alternate living with her two sons, and started off with Dad’s brother and his family. It was not long before she outstayed her welcome and so came to live with us. She never went back and lived with us quite happily until she died a few years later.
With her passing, there were more complications because so many of her assets could not be accounted for, and suspicions were directed at Dad’s brother.
Mum and Dad decided to emigrate to Australia and we were apparently cleared to go and live on Para Hills Estate which, I believe, was in Adelaide. All that was required were medical examinations. Valerie had a skin disorder which presented itself as a very dry and flaky skin. She used to be constantly applying a moisturizing cream which possibly made it more comfortable, but certainly did not stop the perpetual flaking. This was an ongoing issue with her throughout her life.
While her condition did not prevent her from living in Australia, a doctor strongly advised against it as he expected the Adelaide climate to aggravate the situation. It was decided that we would not be emigrating.
Valerie was now in her teens and had very little to do with me but then, what 17 year old girl wants her 14 year old brother hanging around! My life was mostly trainspotting and cycling, but I still missed the times that we used to have together. Valerie was also listening to Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Sal Mineo, Ricky Nelson and others who I could not relate to, and she had a friend (Dorothy) who came to our house and made it quite clear that I was not welcome into their conversations.
I had however made a friend of the owner of a local bicycle shop. I was often in there looking at bikes and getting odd parts for my bike. He knew the riding that I was doing and used to advise me on what I needed, and even explained how to do odd maintenance jobs as he knew that I was interested in doing them myself.
One day, he showed me a beautiful touring bike and suggested that I should be looking at something like that given the mileage that I was doing. He knew that there was no possible way that I could ever afford to buy it, but he did make a remarkable suggestion.
To be continued ……….