We found, thinking about it later, that him repeating the quote to us was a little patronising. However, we had no idea how to go about buying a house, and the manager was very helpful, guiding us through the legal side of the purchase. It was just as well, as we found the paperwork we signed to be incomprehensible. This was another point that lodged in my mind: that people could sign documents so important – after all, buying a house is one of the biggest things in most of our lives -- yet be unable to understand so much of them.
We moved into the house, but the satisfying sense of owning the place was offset by the state it was in. It was no better than the identical house next door had been when I was born there, twenty years before. Nobody had made improvements. There was space only for a coal fire and there was no washing equipment. Before long, we were going to have to bring up a child there. We had spent all our savings on the deposit on the house, which left us with no money to decorate the rooms or buy furniture. When the baby was born, all we had was a chair, a bed, and a carrycot.