Life With Mabel: Part Twenty-One

This is the twenty-first part of a fiction serial, in 752 words.

Surprisingly, Reg loved the television. After previously dismissing it that night at Winnie’s house, he became an avid watcher. Mabel thought something had happened with Clive, as Reg stopped going fishing at weekends. When she asked Reg about it one day, she was surprised at his answer. “Well, I am junior management now. Let’s face it, it wouldn’t do for me to hang around with a train guard like Clive any longer”.

Although she had married him, Mabel found her husband very hard to like as a person.

She knew he was involved in modernisation of the main lines, but Beeching was slowly dismantling the more rural services, and closing down so many small stations. The railways were changing beyond recognition, and Reg was fully on board with the changes. He was a different man.

Using some of Winnie’s money, they bought a nice refrigerator, and an expensive twin-tub washing machine. Both sets of parents were amazed, but also pleased for them. Then Reg came home one night with more news. “We are going to need a home phone, Mabel. Not a party line, neither. I have told work to arrange it, and they are going to sort it out for me. Mabel was miffed at not being consulted. “Are they going to pay the bill as well then?” Reg smirked. “Actually, they are. I can claim all work calls on my new expenses account”.

The other surprise was that Reg didn’t ask for any of the money. That concerned Mabel a bit, as she had been sure he would ask. So she decided to offer him an olive branch.

“If you want to buy a different car, Reg, I will get the cash out for you. Nothing too fancy, mind. No Jaguars or Humbers”. He couldn’t stop smiling. “Funny you should mention that, love. The place where I bought the Prefect has got a smashing Zephyr Six in stock, lovely cream colour. Only nine months old, almost no mileage, and it’s in mint condition. They are sure to give me a good part exchange on the Prefect. I will go and look at it on Saturday”.

He suddenly stood up, and leaned over to kiss her. It felt strange, as it had been so long since they had kissed. Then he said something unexpected.

“I’m happy for you to keep your money, love. And the money from selling Winnie’s house, if that’s what you decide to do. I really appreciate you thinking of me about the car, I really do. It won’t be too long before I am on very good money. I will be earning enough that you won’t even have to go to work if you don’t want to. You wait and see. By the time I’m thirty, I will be in top management”.

Mentioning Winnie’s house made her feel sad. She hadn’t had the heart to put it up for sale, as that somehow seemed disloyal to Winnie. Besides, house prices in the town were increasing steadily. Some people were moving out from North London, and commuting by train into the city every day. Mabel couldn’t imagine having to do such a journey, twice a day, five days a week. But the town was growing, there was no denying that. She spoke quietly when she answered Reg.

“Her house will have to be sold soon. I am paying the rates and standing utility charges for an empty house, that’s silly. But I just wish I could have some say about who buys it. I dread getting neighbours I don’t like. But I know I can’t do that. Give me a bit more time, and I will ask Mr Colyer about a good estate agent who won’t charge too much commission”.

Even a lot of money soon disappeared. By the end of the year, hundreds of pounds of Mabel’s inheritance had been spent. But Mr Colyer said Winnie’s house was worth a thousand pounds now, because of the commuters. Even with all the work that needed doing, he thought she should hold out for twelve hundred. He recommended Walker and Son to sell the house. “They will only charge you one percent commission, and they have a presence in London, Mrs Price. It’s the commuter market you should be looking at, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the house reached as much as fifteen hundred. Demand is high”.

On the third of August the following year, Mabel instructed Mr Walker to sell the house next door, and signed the contract.

35 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Twenty-One

  1. I think selling Winnie’s house is the hardest thing for Mabel. She’s letting go of Winnie, and she is worried about who will move in. Reg is certainly on a high road at work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) I like my York Peppermint Patties in mint condition.
    (2) After buying the new refrigerator, Mabel should have frozen her assets.
    (3) Mabel spoke quietly when she answered Reg. “What? What was that? Speak up, Mabel!” (I heard that Reginald had spent too much time with his ears on the rails listening for approaching trains, and that he never stepped away from the tracks until the very last minute.)
    (4) The writers didn’t think about smashing Zephyr Sixes when drafting the screenplay for “Gone in 60 Seconds.”
    (5) “Mabel couldn’t imagine having to do such a journey, twice a day, five days a week.” It’s too bad that she has such a limited imagination.
    (6) A lot of money soon disappeared. (Never put coins behind your ears at a magic show.)
    (7) Walker: Texas Home Loan Arranger.
    (8) Will Mrs. Price determine the selling price of Winnie’s house? (By the way, a Scottish couple is interested in the house. Please have Walker and Son contact Mr. and Mrs. Byers.)

    Liked by 1 person

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