How long are you going to be away then Muriel asked Janice as she took a long drag from the Senior Service and then exhaled a cloud of smoke that had Muriel coughing.’
When Muriel had stopped she told them about three months.’
“They won’t keep your job open that long Pet.’
“They are Mr Laidler said so.’
Mr Laidler say’s that but we will be a worker short and that will slow down production so they will have to take someone else on.’
“Well if they do they do; there are other jobs.’
“Work is hard to come by these days, yer na Muriel; yer just cannot pick and choose.
“You’re lucky to be in work at aal.’
Muriel drank her cup of tea then they all headed back to the factory. They only got half an hour for their dinner break so they all ran back to the factory.
Later that day she told her father what her boss had told her.
“Well at least they are keeping your job open Muriel.’
“Yes Dad, but I plan to seek other work when I return.’ I will go back to the kipper house if I have to but I will be looking for another job.’
After dinner she did the washing up then went to her room and picked up her book and began to read it. She brushed all other thoughts from her mind and lost herself in the pages of text.
When Saturday morning arrived Muriel hurried home from work she washed and changed then headed to the train station in North Shields. Standing on the platform she waited impatiently for the train to arrive. She heard the sound of the puffer train as it neared the station. The maroon coloured train carriage doors were opened and people started to get off. It was a cloudy day and it seemed a lot colder today for some reason. Muriel sat on a seat by herself as the train pulled away. It was only one stop so it wouldn’t take long. An old woman gave her a look because she was unaccompanied. Normally a young woman would need an escort when she was on her own but Muriel never did. When the Steam train stopped at Tynemouth Muriel walked calmly along the platform then over the foot bridge to the other side.
“Good morning Miss Marshbanks and how are you this very morning?’
“I am well, and you Mr Stonehouse?’
“This cold is no good for my old bones he said, as he sat in the fold away chair. Muriel looked at the books that were on display on the table.’ One in particular she liked the look of by Lucy Maud Montgomery called Anne of Green Gables. She scanned the bibliography then smiled. She paid Mr Stonehouse the penny for the book then continued looking around the table.
“Hello Muriel said a voice.’
Turning she saw Edward and gave him a smile.’
“Sorry I’m a little late but I had to rush to get here after work.’
“It’s alright really.’
“I was coming anyway she said nonchalantly.’ I like to buy a new book to read.’
“So where would you like to go.’
“We could go to the tea room again or I could take you to lunch if you haven’t eaten that is.’
“Why don’t we just go to the fish and chip shop along the road. We could share a portion of chips together.’