The taxi pulled in and Mel got into the front and the others into the back and they were gone.’
Des scratched his head and wondered why the bony faced man didn’t haggle the price this time.
The launderette was opened a seven o’clock as usual by Jenny Baldwin three people waited whilst she filled out the receipts for their washing that they were leaving for her to do.’
They paid her for the service then went on their way to work; pensioner’s Stan Chambers and his wife Sheila came into the laundrette she had a large carrier bag with her with that they had brought in the car and it had several bed sheets in it. Sheila loaded the largest washing machine with the bedding then put the washing powder in and then fed the slot with the money need to carry out the wash. Then in came Albert Renwick with his washing. The recently divorced seventy year old had moved into a sheltered but he insisted that it was an apartment not a home. Albert and his friend Stan Taylor still had an eye for the ladies. They would sit in the laundrette and watch the women walk past; reminiscing on days that were no longer here. They were both just lonely old men with nothing else to do but talk about their past and how it was in their day. They would meet up every Monday with Stan Chambers, Sheila his wife set the washing machines away and would leave the men to chat away whilst she did some food shopping in North Shields. Davey Turner and Ron Lee, they used to go into Shields and have a coffee in the library But Davey’s walking was letting him down these days. He waddled rather than walked because his hip joins were going. Each of them would spend a few hours discussing their ailments and if you weren’t suicidal before you came you were when you left. Albert had taken to carrying around with him a list of all of his ailments and his medication. He had had part of his nose removed because of a cancerous growth and he was worried sick that it may return to another part of his body.
They all had walking sticks and Stan Chambers had an uncontrollable shake in his hands he had to drink coffee using a straw because if he didn’t the coffee ended up all over him.
Stan was a very knowledgeable man about the Wild West and the Native American tribesmen. He would tell fascinating stories of Wild Bill Hickok (Buffalow Bill),
Jessie James, his brother Frank; the Younger brothers, Billy the kid, and George Armstrong Custer. He waxed lyrical about their prowess with a gun. He would talk about every different Indian tribe there were around in America before they were wiped out by the American settlers and mountain men looking for gold.
He talked about the cattle rustlers and the murders of hundreds of men; women and children; who had come gold prospecting; their claims stolen by unscrupulous gangs of pistolero’s. Fortunes in gold that were made and lost in 1849 became the main talking point. Stan had a vast library of history books and would often be seen down at Tynemouth Railway Station for the car boot sales which took place every weekend. He would spend countless hours looking for material with some historical significance.
Another friend Barry Smith would turn up; Barry was well to do and had property in Spain. He spent six months of the year abroad and liked to meet up with his old school friends when he was home.