Having a wife, a child, and a house rental agreement to consider, I immediately registered as “unemployed” so that benefits would be available until I found more work. The benefits took a while to be processed and, because I gave Perkins no notice of leaving and therefore received a minimal final pay, we were very soon in financial trouble.
We made a fast decision that food and rent must come first, and whatever balance remained was to be directed to which debtor was making the most noise at that time. We quickly learned that the most congenial way of handling this situation was to pay all the debtors just a little on a regular basis! Their level of concern dropped considerably if something was being received regularly, so we made small payments against a number of companies until the unemployment benefits became available.
The day came when my first unemployment cheque could be picked up and so, with a “light being seen at the end of the tunnel”, I went to collect my cheque. What a surprise! The room where I had to go was not very well maintained; was gloomy, and the staff seemed totally indifferent to everybody. My cheque was given to me and, when I looked at it, I saw that the value would cover our rent … but with only a few pounds to spare. I questioned it and explained that the three of us could not eat based on those few pounds. The response was that I could buy quite a lot of food for that! That was it!
(I discovered much later that I could have been eligible for some supplementary benefits, but they were never offered. It was very much an example of knowing in advance what to ask for. If you don’t ask for it …. you don’t get it!).
Fortunately, I found out that a local bakery was looking for a delivery man to temporarily cover for a sickness situation. At that time, bread and other baked goods were delivered on a regular basis to residents. Not much earlier, it would have been done from a horse and cart but now, electric vehicles were the vehicles of choice and, after having been offered the job (and I accepted), I was given a brief driving lesson and then told to report at the bakery at 7:00am the next day.
I arrived at 7:00am and was directed to my vehicle which was being loaded with all the pre-ordered items together with many additional items which it would be my job to try and sell as I worked around my route. I was expected to be on the road by 8:00am however, turning the starting key produced no signs of any life in my vehicle. Apparently, whoever had taken it out the previous day had neglected to plug it in for charging over night!
The service people thought that they could get it charged up for me in couple of hours so I eventually left the depot at around 10:00am. This was going to be a long day!