“Give me a chance to get my coat of first dad.’
All that week at work Muriel was wishing that it was Saturday she could think of nothing else but he meeting with Edward Forrester. She would have to lie and tell him she was visiting her sick Aunt when she saw him; but she thought that in the end doing so would be worth it.
Muriel made sure that she was wearing gloves and kept her hands free from the kipper dye solution. The work seemed a never ending conveyor belt of fish day in and day out. Muriel so wanted to get away from working in the kipper factory so she could better herself. If that meant sacrifice then so be it; she never went out anyway so she could devote her time completely to changing not only her job but her appearance and her accent.’
That lunchtime she knocked on her the door of her boss Michael Laidler.
“Come in came a shout for behind it and she entered to see sitting at his desk in a brown suit he looked at his gold watch on an Albert chain then put it back into his pocket.’
“What can I do for you Miss Marshbanks?’
“Well sir my Aunt Ester is sick and I am going to have to look after her for a while.
“What about your work?’
“I was hoping sir that you would keep my job open until I return.’ My Aunt lives in Coventry you see.’
“That depends on how long you are planning to be away Miss Marshbanks.’
“I hope that it wouldn’t be too long Mr Laidler; I like working here.’
“How long have you been in my employ Miss Marshbanks?’
“Nearly seven year’s sir.’
“Clearly your loyalty means a lot to us here at the factory so I will allow it; but upon your return you must work some extra hours to make up for your lost time is that understood.’
“I will see to it that your post is held open for you then; good day Miss Marshbanks.
“Thank you sir.’
Muriel hated lying but what else could she do. Had she told her boss the real reason for her visit she would have been sacked on the spot; at least she would have a job to come back to until she could find another.’
She took her lunch break in the seaman’s mission and all the girls wanted to know why she was seeing the boss. Muriel told them the same lie.
“It must be pretty serious if you are going to stay with your Aunt.’
“Pneumonia they said.’
“They drop like dead flies with that in Coventry said Lilly Walker; it’s the air you see. They aren’t used to the cold weather in Coventry; it’s not like North Shields where the bloody cold winds are cuttin.’ Chills you to the bone it does; but it kills off all them flu bugs it does. We are immune to all of those diseases doon here.’
“Aye said Janice Long those women in Coventry wouldn’t last five bloody minutes on the fish quay; they don’t know the meaning of hard work.’
Lilly Walker lit up a cigarette and passed one to Janice who took hold of Lilly’s lit cigarette and used the end of it to light up her own.