The Orphan

A woman is found unconscious in the street with a severe head wound; she is also pregnant.
The woman gives birth to a son but later dies- her dying words was the Name Robin McNally- Police sergeant Bob Cole is out to get McNally a petty thief for murder but he manages to get off in court. The grand parents of the woman bring up the boy as their own. Jackie Boyle has an unusual talent- he has the ability to remember everything he see's. he can read a book in minutes and remember every word. Jackie watches his Grand Mother who he calls mam cooking and when she dies of a stroke is forced to cook and clean so that his father who is really his Grandfather; can go to work down the pit at Battlehill Colliery. The five year old does this until his father is killed in the pit rescuing his friends- Jackie is sent to Oakridge Children's Home where he suffered at the hands of the Matron and the nuns strict regime. The Orphan is a fast paced story that will leave you wanting to read more.

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Opening the outhouse door Jackie found the cracket then stood on it and opened the front door with the key his father had given him. He returned the cracket back where he had found it then went inside and closed the door. He filled a kettle and put it on the stove then lit the coal fire after emptying the ashes in the bucket. He had watched his mother do it so many times before. Once the fire was going he went outside again and brought in the cracket where he stood on it so that he could reach the sink. He peeled carrots, potatoes, sliced some leeks and turnip, and washed them all before adding them to a pan with a stock cube. He had also watched how his mother had cooked for his father. He cut up some bacon from the larder then added that along with some dried herbs and pepper. When that was brought to the boil he eased it off the heat a little then added some pulses the way his mother did. Jackie even made some dumplings and he added those too. Then he set the table after filling the big brown tea pot that had white striped hoops at the top then put the tea cosy over it.

He stirred the soup and it was thickening nice. Jackie opened the window a little wider to let out the steam.

When his father returned he could smell the soup as he walked down the passage and nearly called out his wife’s name.

“Hello dad, come and sit down; dinner is nearly ready.

“Who has been here son?

“No one dad, just me.”

“Who put on the fire and made soup?”

“I did, I used to watch my mam cook.” I’m sorry I didn’t put the cracket back dad but “I had to use it to reach the sink to peel and wash all the vegetables.”

“Good lad you have done a fine job now I will serve it up for us because that pan there is a bit heavy.

Jackie cut two slices of bread then placed them on a plate. And then poured out the tea through a strainer then added some milk and two sugars the way his father liked it.

“Billy tasted the soup and if he’d not known that Jackie had cooked it he have sworn it was his wife who had made it.”

“Jackie this is delicious son; thank you.

I can cook everything my mam used to make if we have everything in the house and if we haven’t I can go to the shops and get it if you leave a list.”

“You have done marvellous Jackie I’m very proud of you.”

“What did you do at school today then?

“Well Mrs Backhouse let me read Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. She says I’m a good reader and writer for my age. In the afternoon we did some sums.

“If you can read that well; I have a good book that you can read later.”

What’s it called then dad?

“It’s called Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stephenson.”

“Tell me what is it about dad?

“Later son, after I’ve washed up.”

 

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