Companion Stories: Geoff
"I have great memories of my dad, even though he died forty years ago now. He was employed as a sign writer, but what he really loved was decorating motorbikes. I remember he had these special horsehair brushes and he’d use gold and silver paint to create really beautiful designs.
Unfortunately, sometimes the clients he worked for didn’t bother paying him for his time, and this caused trouble at home if he came back without any money. When I was 16 I left school and got a job as a junior in a transport firm. Then the company hit hard times and within a year I was made redundant - last in, first out.
After that I worked as a clerk in the office of a company that made armoured vehicles. When I was 18, my dad died suddenly. He was only 58, but he had bronchitis from being a heavy smoker and from times in the past when he had worked with asbestos.
My mum was in a bad way and so I stayed to look after her. Over the next few years she had several strokes and so I acted as her carer, until in 1986, she died too. I was still living in their council house, but it was too big for me on my own so after a while I transferred to a flat.
I got a new job as a postman, but a run of bad weather meant I got really sick with flu and I resigned from the job. I started signing on, and while I was doing that I volunteered at Emmaus in Coventry. There were some complications with my benefits at that point, and I lost my flat, so I decided to move in to the Emmaus Community.
I stayed at Coventry for fifteen years. It was like an ever-changing family, I saw tragedies and people coming and going. When they shut down for refurbishment, I came to Emmaus Village Carlton. I’ve been here nearly five years, but now that I’m nearly 60 I feel I need to move on. I will miss the hustle and bustle, but I need my own space. I want to make my own decisions about what to eat and when, and what to do with my time.
I will really miss the work, though. I’m used to working every day and I will be looking for a new job, but times are tough. I’ll carry on coming back to the Community to volunteer. I really like working with wood and I’m currently doing a course in wood carving at Bedford College. Moving away is going to be a leap of faith, but Emmaus helped me until I was ready to take steps towards living on my own."