“So Robert,’ are you coming out with me and my dad tonight to celebrate.
“I don’t see why not.’
“Don’t you come home drunk or you will be sleeping in Shirley’s room.’
“Mam don’t be so hard on dad; I mean it’s not every day you become a granda is it.’
“Go on get yourselves away mam will drive the car back.’
“Tom kissed his wife and then his son then left the ward to phone a taxi.’
“Where are we going Tom?
“We’re meeting my dad and Mickey in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.’
“I will call a cab then said Robert.’
Tom waited whilst Robert made the call and then the two of them walked to the front entrance and sat on the wall outside.’
“How does it feel to be a father then asked Robert?’
“Bloody marvellous, it really does did you feel the same when Shirley was born?
“Yes, it certainly makes you feel differently doesn’t it?’
Yes,’ because you have another person to consider and protect with your life.’
“Makes you wonder what you are bringing them into the world for though.’
“I think you have hopes and dreams that they will turn out better than yourself.’
“Considering I played the wag from school I haven’t done too badly.’
“No you haven’t, have you.’ how is the shop going anyway?’
“Great; I cannot complain; I have a steady stream of customers all day long from the train station.’
“Yes you are in a good area aren’t you?’
“A friend of my dads picked it out and it’s perfect; I have young Rob Darby my apprentice and Liz Hopkins and Nancy Carter working the shop and helping out in the back. They keep Rob on his toes and keep the shop running smoothly.’
You have no delivery vans yet though have you?’
“That is my next plan Rob; make enough to save up for a good second hand van then “I can start delivering further a field after that.’
I know someone who is selling his old Bedford. It’s an ex policeman friend of mine. The black Maria can be adapted to fit shelves inside with a bit of know how you could have it up and running in a week.’
“How much is he asking for it?’
“£300 but I reckon with a bit of persuasion I could get him to £250.’
Okay have a word with him will you Rob.’
They saw the taxi driving up the street and went out to meet it.’
“Where to mate asked the driver?
“Uncle Tom’s please driver.’
The taxi swung around doing a U turn then headed back towards North Shields town centre. It was seven thirty when the taxi reached the pub and Tom was about to pay but Robert stopped him.
“I’ll get this.’
Thanks ‘ said Tom as he waited until Robert had paid then opened the door to the pub and the two of them went inside.
“Mickey saw his friend and came over and embraced him; then his father shook his hand and then gave him a big hug.’
“Right the first one’s on me said Tom what you all having’
“Whiskey I think.’
“Four large whiskeys Roger said Tom.’
“What we celebrating.’
“Only the birth of my first son Roger; he’s called Jeffery Thomas Taylor.’