The Wanderlust Lady and the Door to Door Salesman - 7
August 31, 2012
It only took me about ten minutes to cross Station Road, and walk
down Ley Hey Avenue. I found the right cross street, and was soon
outside Minnie's very identifiable house. It was getting dark and I
couldn't see any lights on. Maybe she went to bed early. Well, hard
luck if she did. I'd knock anyway.
I knocked and knocked and there was no reply. I tried shouting out,
“Minnie, it's me, Stan,” but again no reply. I knew that I was taking a
risk, but what choice did I have? I went over and pulled up the flower
pot and retrieved the key. It fitted easily into the front door lock, and I
opened the door slowly, shouting again who I was. But there was no
response. I shut the door, and thought that it looked pretty much like it
had the day before – no more mess – no less.
I did a quick tour of the rooms – and no Minnie was to be found
anywhere. She wasn't in her bedroom – but the bed was unmade with
the covers thrown back. I looked for some signal of where she might
be – but there was nothing. She probably was spending the night with a
friend or relative, but I was sure she wouldn't mind my kipping here.
After all, it was she who'd mentioned if things didn't work out at my
job that I could come and live here and she'd help me get a new job.
Well, I was just taking her up on her offer, whether she knew it or not.
I was still hungry, so I made myself a cup of black tea and some
toast from a loaf of dry sliced bread I found. The fridge was nearly
empty – only some eggs and apples. My meal was quickly over.
If Minnie came back later, she would probably need the key to get
in. I checked the back door in the kitchen, and found a key was left in
the door. So I opened that, took the front door key, making sure the
door was locked, and slipped it under the flower pot, and then returned
through the back door, leaving the key in the lock as it had been
before. I was pleased with myself for having thought of everything.
I wondered about getting into Minnie's bed but decided that if she
did come back later, I wouldn't like the shock she'd get from finding a
man in her bed – a real Goldilocks moment. So I took a blanket and
pillow and made myself as comfortable as possible on her couch.
Despite my disastrous day, I was soon asleep.
Next morning, I quickly checked to see if Minnie had returned in
the night – but everything was just as it had been before. I decided that
there was nothing for it but to return to Hyde by bus, and get signed on
again at the job centre. Hopefully I'd find a job more suited to my
personality next time. I sure didn't want to do any more door to door
Having thought it through, I decided to leave everything just as I'd
found it (minus a few tea bags and pieces of bread) so I did my dishes
and replaced the blanket and pillow more or less where I found them. I
went around from the back to get the front door key, and then when I
was ready to leave, I went out and locked the front door, putting the
key back under the flower pot. “What a stupid woman she is,” I
thought, “making it so easy for a burglar.” But then again, I was pretty
grateful for her stupidity.
The lady at the Co-op kiosk which sold cigarettes told me where to
catch the Hyde bus – just down Station Road to the bottom of the hill,
then a left turn up Lower Fold, and the bus stop was outside a block of
flats. She didn't know the number of the bus, but said that there'd be a
timetable on the bus shelter.
I retraced my steps back to Station Road and started down it. My
attention was taken momentarily by a sign that was being put up, just
across from the park – something about had anyone witnessed an
accident there last night. Well, I hadn't, that was for sure. I had enough
trouble of my own without worrying about anybody else.
I was in luck. The bus was where it was supposed to be within five
minutes of my arrival, and although it cost me £3 of my precious
money, I was very grateful that I didn't have to walk the 10 miles –
much of it up hill. The bus wended slowly through Romiley, Woodley,
and finally got to the bus station in Hyde.
I got off, and realising where I was, decided I might as well pay a
call at the job centre. It was at Beech House, Clough Street, only just a
stone's throw away from the bus station. I'd had this job for just a
month. I hadn't been getting any allowances while I worked – even
though the old lady thought I probably was. But it would've meant
getting back to Hyde between 9 and 5 to sign on. It was only once a
fortnight – but then you had to be interviewed about which jobs you'd
applied for and stuff like that, so it just wasn't worth the effort, when
my selling was taking place over ten miles away.
I saw the usual people who had dealt with me on many occasions
over the last year, and was set up to get my £65 starting at the end of
I made some notes about jobs I might apply for: an industrial plant
sprayer - £8 an hour; a Door to Door Sales Manager (just for a joke), a
Milk Round Delivery Man (needs a driving license which I don't have)
and some part time supermarket work at Asda. That seemed the most
promising. I'd call them later for an application form.
I supposed I could make do with what money I had in the
meantime, as long as my house manager where I have a room cuts me
a bit of slack, and lets me pay her weekly until my money comes
It was just after lunch when I got back to my room, and as luck
would have it, the boss herself was around and shouted out for me to
come and pay her for next month. So I had to put on my most
appealing look and hope she took pity on me. And with very bad grace,
she did allow me to only pay for this one week – as long as I coughed
up the other three week's worth on Friday. “But,” she said, “if you
don't have it on Friday, you're out. I have a list of people who want
your room.” I doubted that was true, but had no choice but to agree.
The week went slowly, and none of the job possibilities had led to
anything so far. Friday I went to town to get some cash out of the bank,
and found when I tried to take money from the machine, it came up
with the message, “NatWest regrets to inform you that they are
currently experiencing computer problems. We apologize for any
inconvenience caused. We will work all weekend to try to get it all
working again.” I felt like the whole world was conspiring against me.
No money, no job, no job seekers' benefit, probably no room. I slowly
returned to my rooming house and had to tell the manager that I
couldn't pay the rest of what was owed. “Okay. Not your fault if the
bank messes up, but I meant what I said. You're out. You've got till
Monday, but if you get out now, I'll give you back two day's rent so at
least you'll have something to buy food with until you can get at your
money in the bank.”
I packed my clothes and few other possessions into some grocery
bags, and started back down towards the bus depot. All I could think of
was maybe Minnie would help me out again. She probably never
realised that I'd been there before, so this time, I'd make a good case
for myself maybe implying that it was her fault I lost my job. If she
hadn't dreamt up that half-cocked tale about how my boss was using
me as an informer, I wouldn't have made that note on the card – and it
was the note that did it for me.