Life With Mabel: Part Twenty-Nine

This is the twenty-ninth part of a fiction serial, in 742 words.

Mabel soon settled into the new life of a housewife. Not having to hold down a full time job, she found her everyday chores quite pleasant, for the first time ever. The purchase of some cookbooks even saw her experimenting with some new dishes for dinner, many of which were not to Reg’s taste.

“What’s that flavour, Mabel love?” His face was screwed up as he spoke. “Garlic, Reg. It’s good for you, and adds something to a normal casserole”. He held up a spoon to show her what was on it. “I don’t think these peas are cooked properly, love. And they have gone a funny colour too”. She shook her head. “They are chickpeas, Reg. Good roughage”. To be fair to him, he carried on eating. But she wasn’t surprised to hear him making a cheese and pickle sandwich after she had gone to bed.

Reg’s job took him away from home more and more, with frequent overnight trips to attend meetings, mainly in London. He still refused to have anything to do with his mum, so stayed in hotels arranged by the railway. On those nights, Elsie would stop over. They would listen to records and drink Port, sometimes they even danced together. The occasional coach trips were more Elsie’s thing. Mabel wasn’t so keen on visiting stately homes, but she enjoyed the seaside trips, and the ones where they stopped overnight. They went back to Scarborough the next summer, and it was even better than the first time.

It seemed her and Reg had worked out a pretty good way of living apart together, with nobody apparently suspecting it was all a sham. He never asked her about Elsie, and she didn’t mention Malcolm. Then one day Reg announced him and Malcolm were going on a golfing holiday. Two weeks in Florida. Mabel was stunned. “All the way to America? Are you going on a liner?” He chuckled. “Course, not. We are flying. Gonna get a taxi from here down to Gatwick Airport, and fly on Panam”.

While he was away, Elsie moved in for the whole two weeks. She had to go to work still, but came home every evening and they sat and ate dinner like a real couple. Elsie was not so fond of garlic either, as it turned out. “I can’t eat this, darling. It’s got a funny smell”. After that, Mabel cooked her traditional food.

The years slipped by, each one much the same as the one before. It shocked Mabel when Reg started to talk about retirement. “I might as well go at fifty-five in a couple of years, Mabel love. The pension is bigger if I wait until I’m sixty, but we can manage well enough either way”. The last thing she wanted was for Reg to be around the house all day. Hopefully, he would just spend more time at the golf club, but you never knew. She gave it a few days, then broached the subject.

“Been thinking, Reg. I don’t get my Woolworth pension until I’m sixty, nor my State Pension until then neither. So why don’t you wait until you’re sixty, get that bigger pension? At least that way if anything happens to you, I will be alright. And you should increase our life insurances too, just in case”. Reg nodded. Okay, whatever you say, love. Though the house will be paid off soon, and we ain’t got nobody to leave any money to”. She smiled. “We’ve got each other to leave it to. When we’re both gone, I don’t care what happens to the money”.

Elsie was seven years older than Mabel, so she got her State Pension and retired when Mabel was fifty-three. With no intention of carrying on working in the baker’s, Elsie became a daily visitor to Mabel’s house. She would get Terry to drop her off after Reg had left for work, and then collect her in the late afternoon if Reg was due back, or stop overnight if he was away working. They were happy times, with the women completely relaxed in each other’s company, living something of their fantasy where they were always together. Some days, they didn’t even bother to get dressed again, after the first time in the bedroom. Mabel joked that they were like those Hippes in America, wandering around in the buff.

She tried not to think about Reg’s impending retirement.

That was going to change everything.

30 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Twenty-Nine

  1. (1) Mabel’s rating:
    Second trip to Scarborough: Good!
    First trip to Scarborough: Fair!
    (2) In Ireland, living apart, but pretending to have a rock solid marriage, is referred to as a shamrock.
    (3) After Reginald returned from his golfing holiday in Florida, he complained that he had to keep buying golf balls. “It’s hard to fetch them from those crafty gators in the Everglades!”
    (4) Overheard:
    Mabel: “When we’re both gone, I don’t care what happens to the money.”
    Reginald: “Maybe you don’t, but I do. According to my will, whatever money is left after we die will be donated to the R&A World Golf Museum.”
    (5) Two buffalo named Mabel and Elsie:
    Elsie: “How about we wander around in the buff?”
    Mabel: “I’d rather wear my fur coat.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wasn’t sure if ‘buff’ was used in the US, David.
      ‘In the buff
      phrase of buff
      “People generally don’t go swimming in the buff in public places”‘
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Retirement is definitely a major life change (we found that out not long ago), and I can understand Mabel’s apprehension. Hopefully, her and Reg’s outside interests will keep them from driving each other crazy. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am quite sure that both will adapt when Reg retires. It won’t be the first time they found themselves up against a wall and managed to climb over. Yet there is Reg ability to eat anything Mable cooks up…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think even couples who are OK together worry about what happens after retirement. Took Phil’s sister 18mths to get over her hubby being at home all day 🀣 (they’re fine now!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I retired, Julie was still working full-time. Since she was made redundant from the bank in 2018, she has worked at least 3 days a week, sometimes 4. She cannot afford to retire until she is 67, in five year’s time. (Unless for medical reasons) People need space, so if they are thrown together 24/7 they really need to have hobbies or interests that separate them.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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