Over the next few days’ mother and baby Jackie were bonding nicely, he would gurgle and his little hands would reach out and grab at her fingers as she washed his face. Thomas had bought the nappies that his mother had asked him to get and Janice found herself washing and steeping them in a bucket. It was and endless chore but she never complained. She started feeding Jackie on a milk formula; he greedily took four ounces of the milk every four hours then slept soundly.
When Saturday arrived Thomas tied the pram to the back of the trailer then he drove Janice back to Ashington. Janice was almost silent all the way there. They drove through Whitley bay then through to Blyth Town along the coast passed the Cambois and power station. They turned off and drove through Pegswood then onto Woodhorn Road. Thomas looked across as he saw the Woodhorn Colliery. “That’s where my father and brothers work said Janice breaking the silence; it’s not far from here Tommy.’
Looking along the road there was around a hundred old pit houses; there were some scruffy looking kids playing with a football in the back lane. Their faces covered in muck from heading the leather size five case ball. Their short pants barely stayed up and you could see them repeatedly pulling them up. The tee shirts that they wore were torn and they wore boots upon their feet that had holes in the bottom of. They seemed not to have a care in the world though as they dribbled and passed the ball. Thomas couldn’t help thinking if this was the sort of environment that young Jackie was going to be brought up in.
Thomas pulled up outside of number fifty eight then helped Janice out with the baby then untied the pram and brought out a big sack of vegetables he placed it inside the pram then pushed it into the path. He then went back and brought the crib.
The neighbours curtains were pulled back as they stared out at Janice and you could see them mouthing words to whomever and then they came to window to have a nebb.”
“Will you be alright Janice?
“Yes I’ll be fine Tommy thanks.”
“Don’t forget our invite to the Christening mind.’
“I won’t don’t worry.’
Janice opened the door and then went inside the house; Thomas helped her bring in the pram then she kissed Tom on the cheek as he left.
Janice walked into the house that had fallen into a state.
She took off her coat and began to clean it. Her father and brothers wouldn’t be in until seven thirty so she had three hours to get the house cleaned before then.
After scrubbing floors and cleaning the house she prepared a meal for her father and brothers. She baked fresh bread and made soup from the vegetables that Thomas had kindly given her.