“Are you coming back with me?
“I think I should; I need a change of clothes and a bath.’
“You can get a bath at the Dock you know I’m sure my mother wouldn’t mind.
Look I will run you home then you can pick up some clean clothes and then come to my house.
“Are you sure It will be alright’
“Yes I’m certain.’
“I mean I can go to the YMCA for a shower you know.’
“I told you it will be fine.’ Anyway I have news that I want to tell you when we get in the car.’
Doug got in then looked at Paula as she started the car and pulled away.’
“Well, don’t keep me in suspense lass; what is your news?’
“I got a place at university.’
“That’s great news.’
“Not really because it’s in Durham; that was the only place I could go to.’
“Look Paula; we can still see each other; Durham isn’t that far away and I will call you when I’m home.’
“So you are okay with this.’
“Yes of course; I wanted you to do this; it is Gods will.’
“Well I start next Monday; I am going to stay in the halls residence with two other girls who are on the same course as me.’
“Well at least you won’t feel alone.’ Have you told your mother?’
“Yes, and she is happy for me to go.’
That’s great Paula you will never look back I promise you.’
“I’m going to miss you so much Doug; you won’t forget me and go off with some other girl will you.’
“Of course not, I love you, nothing can change that silly.’
When Paula pulled up at his house Doug ran out and opened the door and went inside. He packed his jeans and clean tee shirt and a sweater in a bag along with a pair of Adidas three stripe training shoes and so socks. His shoes were the same colour as his boat. He also packed a Bic razor blade and his old spice shaving foam.
They drove back to the dock hotel and Paula let |Doug in then went to tell her mother that Doug was taking a bath. She then showed Doug to the bathroom and gave him towels. There’s some shampoo there and some soap in the dish near the sink. Come down when you are done, I will be in the bar helping my mother.’
“Doug closed the bathroom door then ran his bath. He wondered when they would get round to putting a bath and toilet inside the houses of the Ridges.’
He hated using a tin bath and when ever he could he would use the YMCA.
There was talk from Councillor Bernard Johnson that all the houses would be modernised in the next two years. Doug couldn’t wait for it to happen.’
He stepped into the water and lay back the muscles in his body were aching and he began to relax in the warmth of the water. He picked up a large sponge and poured the water it had soaked up onto his hair then added some Vosene shampoo. He worked it into lather then left it for a minute before rinsing it using the sponge again in the clean water. Then he grabbed the hand towel and dried his eyes that were stinging with the shampoo. He picked up the bar of pears soap then began to wash himself. When he was done he turned on the hot tap with his toes and ran a little more water in and sunk further down so that his shoulders were covered. He lay in the water for a good fifteen minutes before getting out and drying himself then he shaved. He had several days of stubble on his face and it was nice when he got rid of it. He felt and looked a lot