“We better get some coal next week Robert we are running low.’
“We only got five bags a fortnight ago Annabella. “ We are nearly into winter now you know Robert.’ We need more coal to keep warm. The bloody wallpaper is coming off in the kitchen because of the damp patch. I’ve stuck it back doon wi soap and sugar but it keeps coming away. It’s all the washing hanging up that’s causing it.
Robert went and had a look and told her to get in touch with the council.
“I’ve already done that love, they keep saying that they will send someone but no one ever comes.’
Stop paying your bloody rent for a week and the bloody rent man comes pretty sharpish.’
Craig brought the tin bath in from the back of the wall near the outside toilet in the yard.’
“I wouldn’t go in that toilet for at least half an hour; I’ve just been. There’s only two sheets of newspaper left as well mother.’
“I will cut some up later mother said Muriel.’
Annabella combed her hair which had now streaks of silver grey in it; she applied a little lip stick then put on her black coat.
“I’m ready she shouted as she took her black bag with her; all that was in it was a compact, her lipstick, and her purse with four shillings in it.’
They saw other couples making their way out and like Robert they doffed their caps as they passed. Annabella took Roberts arm for all his fifty two years the muscles in his arms were solid as rocks with humping lumps of steel plate around.’
Rob was only five feet eight but solidly built.
They walked up the street then crossed the road to the Ballarat.’
He went to the bar and asked Jeff Sharp the landlord for a bottle of brown ale and a port and lemon for his missus.’
Annabella sat down at a spare table in snug.’
“Lizzie Crosby was there with her husband Kevin; and they were joined by Alec Dale and his wife Judith. Annabella said hello as her husband brought the drinks over.
Is Jimmy Lattimer coming in wi his accordion; you’d think someone had died in here.
“Actually Rob, Des McDonald was killed today in the yard.’
“Shit, trust me to put my foot in it.’
“He fell into the double bottom of the Herald of St Helier. He cracked his nut on the hull on the way down and it broke his neck.’
Poor bugger; he wasn’t much older than me.’
“He would have been fifty tomorrow.’ Apparently he was hopping about on the upper deck saying he was going to have a party for his half century and the next minute he was gone.
“Just goes to show you that you never know when your number is up do you; said Judith.’
Robert stood up and raised his glass. “To Des, until we meet again.’
“Until we meet again said the whole of the bar.’
“Robert sat down again; are they having a collection for his wife and kids.’
“Aye Rob they are doing it on Monday I think. Jackie Adder is doing it.’
“I will see him on Monday and I will organise a wreath from all the plater’s.
“I think the money should go straight to Helen his wife Rob; she will need it to bury him.’
“Aye you’re right.’
Robert went back to the bar and bought himself another pint.