Now it won’t take long.’
“Look while you are doing that Agnes, I will make a start on your doors and windows.
Colin went down the passage and took out his brushes and opened the tin of burgundy coloured paint. He quickly set to work painting the four panels then the surround.
By the time he’d finished the door frame and the down stairs windows Polly was shouting for him to come through for his dinner.
Agnes set it out on a big plate and poured out some tea for him then took out the sugar bowl and the milk in a jug. Now Colin you tuck in; don’t be shy, there’s some buns there if you want some bread and the margarine is there and a knife.’
Thank you Agnes you are so kind.’
“A working man needs something substantial in his belly. I saw you leave last night just after six; you must have worked like a Trojan to finish one side of the street.
Colin picked up a chip on his fork and answered “yes it was hard going but the bosses expect us to finish by the end of today.’
You will be working late again then?’
“Yes I expect so.’
“Well you call in on your way home Colin and I will give you a big pan of broth to take home for Alice, Peter, and yourself.’
“Are you sure Agnes I mean this is enough?’
“Don’t talk stupid Colin by the time you finish tonight you will have worked this off and will be ready for another meal. It’s the least I can do.’ Your mother and I go way back you know. We worked in the kipper house together before she met your father.’
Your mother was a pretty young thing and when she first came the Scots girls tried to put on her like until I stepped in.’ There was this big Glaswegian woman called Morag McDonald she had a right gob on her and everybody was frightened of her except me of course.’
She was always getting on your mother’s back so one day I told her to pick on me.’ “Whey I wasn’t the size of a happath of chips in those days.’ Well this fat wife came for me Colin and I punched her right in the mouth and her front tooth broke off. I mean she was an ugly sod to start with but she was even worse after that. She ran at me again and this time I clobbered her wi a lump of wood that we used for bangin’ doon the lids on the barrels of herrin.’’
“Well she fell doon and hor skirt lifted up and you could see everything she had. “You could even see the hole of hor body.’
Colin fought back the urge to laugh as he swallowed a piece of pie.
What happened after that Agnes said Colin; as he took a drink from the mug?
“Whey a diven’t na Colin; cos’ the next day she was gone and she never came back.
The funny thing was that Elsie Noble who lives two doors doon from yor hoose found hor big tooth under one of the barrels. I think she put it in an owld snuff box. Next time you see hor ask if she still has it.’
“I think you would have given Joe Louis a run for his money.’
“Whey a diven’t na aboot that but my brother Jimmy taught me to box in the back yard wi these geet big gloves on. Now he used to be a prize fighter and went under the name of “Thumper Ellis.” He was always’ winning but he’d come home in some right states Colin; I divent remember a day when I was just a bairn seeing him when I was growin’ up wi oot a black eye. He was as hard as nails was wor Jim.’
What happened to him?’