The Jolly Boys

Shirley Stephenson is a bored housewife who never stops day in day out, its the same humdrum existence. Bob her husband is a lazy good for nothing. who lost his leg in an industrial accident and is claiming benefit fraudulently. he keeps her short and moans because she goes to the bingo. Shirley finds the courage to file for a divorce and free herself. her life is suddenly transformed after she finds all of the compensation that Bob has been hiding from her. she orders a taxi she takes £30.000 and takes a box with some things that her gran had left her.

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“Better buy a new hat you’ll be going to a wedding shortly, but make sure it covers all of your face though.’

“What! you getting married again said his father as he said congratulations to Paula then shook the hand of his son. Betty Bumface just said congratulations then asked “Is there anymore left in that bottle, I wouldn’t mind a drink.’

Jimmy Stephenson went to the bar and bought another bottle of champagne and got more glasses.

The Chairman of the Club Robert Black said that a round of drinks was on the house and everyone rushed to the bar.

When they all had a drink in their hands Robert asked them to raise their glasses to Bob and Paula.

It was a great night and after they’d finished Bob took Paula outside. They stood outside and Paula said “It’s a bit early for a taxi isn’t it Bob?’

“Come with me I want to show you Sommuck, Bob took Paula by the hand and the crossed the road then over the grass verge. See that house.’

“Yes, it’s lovely said Paula.’

“Well, I bought it for us today.’

“You’re joking Bob.’

“No,’ I’m not he replied as he jangled a set of keys in front of her. ‘

Paula took the keys and walked up the path onto the ramp then turned the key in the door.

Bob had rung the Gas Board and Northern Electric to switch on the power. He wrote down the number that they both asked him for so his bills could be checked against the numbers he had given her. Soon after a man arrived and turned on both the gas and the electricity.

Paula couldn’t believe that Bob had bought the bungalow.’

“It’s beautiful Bob; I love it.’

“Tomorrow a friend is going to repaint the whole place to freshen it up, by Saturday you can move in with me if you like.’

“You dorty bugger Bob Stephenson; sex before marriage, whatever will the neighbours think.’

“They will think that I’m the luckiest man alive.’

The sooner we get married the better then aye said Paula as she kissed Bob passionately.’

Come on back to the club I’ll order us a taxi and you can stay at mine tonight.’

They walked down the hill to the club and Betty Bumface asked where they had been.’

“We’ve been to look at our new house.’

New house, what new house Betty’s face went red as Paula pointed directly over the road.

“You bought that bungalow, with what, your Social Security Cheque.’

“No actually, not that it’s any business of yours but I bought it with my compensation that I got for losing my Leg. And before you go ringing the social to shop me again. Compensation from an industrial injury is not subject to be investigated the social. I checked you see.’ And by the way I’ve had my medical at Arden house and they are reinstating my benefits. Maggie my sister is clever like that you know, she knows all about employment law and incapacity benefit as well.

Betty Bumface went even redder than she was before then walked past Bob and went back into the club.

“Did she really shop you to the social?’

“I never knew who it was until now; now I know it was her alright.’ “She has been jealous of me from day one. She has been trying to rob my father blind for years but I’ve been one step ahead of her all the time.’

“Her days are numbered in the club, it’s just a matter of time before she is caught fiddling.’ We’ve had her under the radar for some time now, so it’s just a matter of time.’

“She seems a very devious woman.’

“Do not trust her Paula, she comes across as my dad’s loving wife but deep down she doesn’t care about my dad at all, only his money.

Bob said goodnight to his father and said he would see him at the weekend.

 

 

 

When Margaret came around after work to see her father that Friday, he told her that he’d asked Paula to marry him and that he was moving into a bungalow. “You and Jimmy will come to the wedding, won’t you?’

“Yes, we’ll be there; when are you getting married?’

“We were hoping to get married at Christmas but we can’t get a church to do it here.’

“Why don’t you go to Las Vegas and get married there?’

“That’s a bit pricey, isn’t it?’

“Yes, but you’d be saving on a honeymoon.’

“I never thought of that.’ Alright leave it to me I’ll make all the arrangements and get back to you.’

“Well you’d better hurry dad, it’s less than six weeks to Christmas.’

 “I know that, look get yourself an outfit sorted and tell Jimmy to get a decent suit and I’ll pay for it.

“You don’t need to do that dad we get an allowance of mam every month.’

“How is your mother anyway?’

“She’s happy dad, they went on holiday today to the Maldives for a week.’

“They you say, has she got herself a bloke.

“Yes, he’s called Gary and he’s really nice. He’s tall and very handsome. He and mam are in the property development business.’

“I see.’

“Well thank her for her letter she sent me when you see her next and wish her good luck from me won’t you.’

“I’m sure that she’ll be glad that you’ve moved on too and that you are happy dad.’

“What about you Margaret, is there anyone on the horizon yet for you?’

“No, not yet; Jimmy met this girl at University and is madly in love.’ There is time for me I’m only twenty years old.’

“One-day aye.’

 Margaret hugged her father then said goodbye.’

Standing at the door he watched as she drove away.  Both of his children were grown up now. He was touching forty and getting himself married again and his ex-wife had a new bloke. He smiled and then came back into the house. He picked up the telephone and rang Thomas Cook’s holiday firm.

Speaking with a young girl he asked about the possibility of a wedding and hotel deal for six people.

As much as he hated Betty Bumface he knew that his father would not go unless Betty went too.’

He was given a bargain of a deal when someone had dropped out and were no longer getting married. The holiday for the six of them including the wedding and hotel for eight nights was only going to cost £3.250 pounds. That included a limousine to take them to the “Chapel of Love” and a champagne breakfast in one of the bridal suites in Caesars Palace.

“I’ll take it; can I give you a cheque for the full amount?’

“Yes,’ that will be fine.’

“I will bring it tomorrow. “When do we fly?’

“You fly out late on Saturday evening the 23rd of December you arrive at 9 a.m. U.S. time at Kennedy Airport. Then you will fly to Las Vegas from there. you should arrive about 4 p.m. their time. Once you are there you will be picked up and taken to Caesars palace.

That sounds brilliant.

“Don’t forget to bring your birth certificates with you and a copy of your blood group or they won’t marry you.’

Thank you for all of your help. Bob put down the phone then picked it up again and rang Margaret.

It’s on Margaret December the 23rd we fly at midnight can you all come to my new bungalow and I will get a mini bus from Westholme Club to take us all to the airport. Tell Jimmy to bring his birth certificate and yours too.

“What for?’

“How do I know I was just told to bring them. They want a copy of my blood group and Paula’s too.

“That’s just standard procedure dad, don’t panic.’

“I’m not I was just curious that’s all.’ Look I have to go Margaret, I’m busy packing all of my stuff for the removal men tomorrow.’

“Alright dad I’ll call in next week to see you, bye.’

“Bye love said Bob and hung up.’ He carried on filling cardboard boxes full of his coin collections when there was a knock at the door. He went to answer it and it was Paula.’

“Come in pet I’m busy packing.’

“I thought you might need some help so here I am.’

“You are an absolute life saver darlin’. I’m never going to get this lot packed.

“By this time to morrow maybe.’ Paula folded all of his clothes and inserted the hangers inside each box the wardrobe was then pulled out and cleaned behind. He found money and a couple of coins he’d lost underneath from years ago. Paula hoovered up then moved the bedside drawers.  they took the bedding up and folded it then lifted the bed onto its side and rolled up the carpet that would fit into the spare room in the new house. Bob had ordered a brand-new carpet from the Co-op and they were coming in the morning to fit it before the removals were coming.

“They said eleven for the removal so that gives the carpet fitters two hours to do the living room and our room in the bungalow.’

That’s more than enough time Bob, I will go across in the morning to make sure that the carpet fitters don’t damage anything.’

Bob moved the fridge and the washing machine then cleaned behind it, he then packed all the utensils, plates and pans he left the kettle out one mug to make tea with. one tea bag and one bowl for his cereal and a spoon. He hadn’t much left in the fridge but there was frozen stuff which Paula would take and place in her freezer which was larger than his small one. Jimmy was taking his fridge once he’d washed it thoroughly.

The washer was going with them as a back- up in case Paula’s packed up. They would store it in the shed in the garden.

It was way after eleven when Paula drove home everything has been done Bob slept on the sofa that evening covered with his quilt. Tomorrow would be a whole new start for him. He’d started a diet plan and was determined to lose three stone before the wedding. He bought a multi gym weight training bench; it exercised every part of the body. He only paid £50 pounds for it from a man in the club. he even threw in a rowing machine free.

The morning of the move came all too soon and the house was a hive of activity as the lads came to take all of his stuff. The furniture went in first then the washer, carpets and then the boxes.

They gave Bob a lift to the house after he’d locked the door and posted the keys through his own letterbox they hit the floor with a thud. His rent and all his bills had been paid before the move so he had nothing to worry about. His neighbours came out to wish him well as he boarded the van one of the young lads sat in the back to give Bob more room. The engine started and they were on their way.

The house where he’d started his married life and had his children was gone now. he was to begin a new life with Paula and he couldn’t wait. The wagon turned left up onto the coast road then carried on to Station Road it turned left then went down to the new bungalow. Paula was waiting at the door in a pair of jeans and a blouse.

“Well here we are said Paula, as the lads helped Bob down from the wagon.  he walked up the ramp to his new house. It didn’t take the lads long to move his stuff in and they never scratched a thing as Paula showed them where she wanted everything.

Bob connected the water pipes to the washer before slotting it into place. The gas cooker was next Paula wanted to use her cooker because it was newer than his. Bob left his in the house. The new occupant may have had use for it he thought.

It took them most of the day to un-pack everything and get the place looking the way Paula wanted it.

The two wardrobes they had would do for now said Paula, eventually she wanted fitted wardrobes to give her more space.

Maggie came around to look at the place and to meet Paula, she stayed for dinner too. There were no more fry ups for Bob who was sticking to his diet. He’d reduced his beer intake to just a couple of pints and drank diet coke. The weight started to drop off him and with the work he was doing on the multi gym four times a week he was firming everything up too. He and Paula went swimming on a Wednesday evening down at Tynemouth pool after they joined the swimming club. on Sunday, they spent time in the kitchen together preparing the Sunday lunch. He invited his father and Betty Bumface and his sister Maggie one week and then Margaret, Jimmy and his girlfriend Natasha Hopkins the following week.

By December Bob was wearing clothes that he’d never worn in nearly twenty years. His waistline had dropped from a forty-two to now a slim thirty. All of his friends apart from Slack Arse who was like a latt were fatter than him now. Molly Richardson nearly lost her eyes as Bob walked in wearing a smart pair of trousers polished shoes, a clean ironed shirt and a tie. His black casual jacket made him look more like a college lecturer as he stood at the bar and ordered the drinks.

“Why Bob I didn’t recognise you, have you won the pools and said nowt.’

No, I’ve been on a diet and bought myself a new wardrobe.’

“It’s certainly done wonders for you I must say.’

Paula came to the bar and Bob said it’s all down to this good lady here. She looks after me don’t you love.’

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