Each month we’ll bring you an excerpt from the fantastic book written by Nancy Shaw – “In with both feet” – Available on Amazon.

PART 3 – England Again
The Absolute Worst Journey anywhere, any time!

I had not written to Tommy and Ella since receiving their venomous letter and it was left to Brian to give them the news that we were coming home. He wrote and asked his folks to rent a house for us for the next six months, and both of us were bowled over at their response, “Well Brian, there’s nowt to rent, so you can have your old bedroom back, but Nancy and the children will have to find somewhere else to live!” What on earth had I ever done to harm either of these people, apart from being born illegitimate, marrying Brian and having two babies in two years?

I knew I was over-sensitive. I’d had a lifetime of being over-sensitive. I was a product of my upbringing. I’d get all psyched up and feeling confident, then somebody would make some stupid remark that I’d take as a personal reference to me, and I’d stew over it for days. Except in this case there were no slyly dropped hints, there was no sophistication or subtlety whatsoever, it was out there, plain and simple in their letter, “Nancy, you’ll never be good enough.” And how did they expect Brian to respond to their moronic suggestion? Did they really think he would say, “Well goodbye Nancy, David and John, I’m off to stay with my folks? Sorry, but you have to fend for yourselves!” Did they really think he would do that? Neither of us could quite believe what they’d suggested, and even though it hurt me as I guess it was supposed to, Brian said he’d find another solution. One has to wonder what they really hoped to accomplish, but after writing to Beattie and telling her all about it, she wrote back and invited all of us to stay with her for however long we needed.

It had taken a few weeks to get letters back and forth so it was about six weeks before Brian once again wrote to his folks. He said, “Thank you for the offer of accommodation for myself, but I have a wife and two children, and where I go, they go. Nancy’s mother has very kindly offered to accommodate all of us and we will be staying with her for the foreseeable future.” I didn’t want to come between Brian and his folks but I felt a lot better after he sent that letter. It was just as well they weren’t the reason for my homesickness or I’d have stayed where I was. On reflection, it’s a pity they weren’t because it would have saved us a horrendous journey and a terrible homecoming. Still, at that time their letter hurt, but my attention soon shifted to Brian and the children. I think somewhere deep inside me came the first stirrings of real motherhood, like a mother bear awakening after a long winter of hibernation, only in my case it was a lifetime of hibernation. My husband and children were much more important than I ever was, and I determined that nobody on this earth would be allowed to upset them in any way, and nobody would be allowed to interfere in my little family circle, and at the top of the list were Ella and Tommy Shaw.

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