A Vintage Seasonal Tale from a Married Quarter

20th Dec 2022

A photograph depicting Mel, her dad, and brother taken at Christmas in 1984

Feast your disbelieving eyes on these two festive photographs, capturing some special memories of my childhood. The above photograph is from 1984, and the below image was taken three years earlier in 1981. During these three years, there were two different houses. And between my birth and eventual swanning out at 16, I lived in six different rented married quarters – with five of our moves happening in just seven years.

Mel, her brother and dad pictured on Christmas Day, 1981

Fair to say these pictures are both “of their day” – featuring as they do, a very impressive moustache on my dad (who I think was channelling Tom Selleck), a monolith of a telly and me as a 4-year-old, appearing to be enjoying a glass of German sweet Liebfraumilch. The baby brother in the highchair went on to serve 15 years in the Met Police.

Each of these photos was taken on Christmas Day. Within them, you’ll see my dad in his uniform, having been allowed to nip home on his break to our married quarter (just outside the prison perimeter fence) to see his kids during his shift. I’ll gloss over the fact that in one of them, he’s also drinking a glass of wine (on duty!).

I want to tell everyone that these kinds of photos are common in public sector families, especially for front-line workers. My mum would have been dragged out of bed by two hyper kids. She’d spend the morning cooking a traditional roast and cutting crosses into sprouts on her own in a tiny, impractical kitchen, using a cooker that wasn’t hers. And she’d be doing this two hundred miles away from her own family while her husband, despite having two small children, was on duty less than five minutes’ walk away. Must have been lonely and difficult for them both.

I also want to tell front-line workers everywhere that your kids will one day realise and understand the sacrifices you made, because your job required it, to keep things normal. I can’t even remember dad’s absence, which is extraordinary and a testament to the efforts they must have gone to, to make the day special for us.

To front-line workers, key workers, public sector workers everywhere – here at Bevan Money, we see you and we’re on our way.A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us all at Bevan. May your shifts run smoothly, may your work be light and may the time run as swiftly as Santa’s sleigh.

Mel Lane
CEO, Bevan Money