“Until after dads funeral, drive us to the Ship Bobby told the driver.
My condolences Bobby, your dad was a nice bloke.’
“I never even knew he had a heart condition; I used to ring him at least once a week.’
I guess you haven’t spoken with your mother yet then.’
“No,’ but she’s going to the funeral.’
“Are you on speaking terms then Bobby?’
No, but she won’t cause a scene at the funeral.’
“Have you seen her lately John?’
“Yes, I see her regularly in Shields when she goes to pay her rent and do a bit of shopping. She knows Sally’s mother.’
“She’s changed quite a lot Bob.’
“How do you mean.’
“She doesn’t look well.’ She’s lost a lot of weight and has aged considerably.’
“Is she still with Frankie Dillon?’
“Yes, she married him about a year after you left.’
“Where are they living, do you know?’
“Yes, she lives on Redburn View, in one of the new houses.’
The driver pulled up outside of the ship and Bobby gave him a ten pound note.’
“It’s alright Bobby, I’m sorry I didn’t recognise you earlier. I knew your dad, he drank with my dad in the Ridges Inn.’ They renamed it the Seine Boat now but it’s still called the Ridges Inn by all the folk around Shields.’
I some daft bugger went and changed all the street names an aal; so nae bugger knows where the hell they are anymore.’
“Look take this and come back for us around eleven thirty to take us back.’ Bobby handed him ten pounds.’
Are you sure?’
“Yes, its okay.’
Bobby got out and they all walked into the Ship.’
Even the inside of the pub had changed somewhat as he remembered it.
“Walking up to the bar he asked what the lads were drinking.’
“Here let me get these you paid for the taxi man.’
“John paid for the drinks and they sat down at a table near the door.’
The bar was quite busy with a lot of young lads who were all dressed in eighties new romantic suits with shoulder pads white shirts with thin ties and polished shoes. Some wore checked short sleeved shirts, with silver grey or navy blue chinos.’
They wore no socks and either wore adidas training shoes or tanned moccasins.
They were all drinking out of bottles. It was not beer but alcho-pops like Hooch in various flavours which was 5% alcohol. Most of the lads filled up on White lightning in 7.5% three litre bottles before coming out. They went from bar to bar then ended up in Idol’s on the sea front where the barmaids were student’s who dressed in the skimpiest pairs of denim shorts and bra’s. Then there were the older ones who would go to 42nd Street that was once the Burgundy Cobbler. Or hit Deep night club which was now part of the Rex Hotel. All the bars played loud music and you were virtually deaf when you can out and you had lost your voice with shouting to be heard.
Sitting down further back were the regulars who had been coming for years. They were mostly pensioners who came out for a couple of pints and a game of dominoes.
They sat away from the bar and tried to get away from the sound coming from the Juke box which was now just a glass window on the wall with a library of tunes.
For fifty pence you got two tunes. Pressing buttons you selected the number from the plates as they went forward or back to choose the song you wanted to hear.