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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3. 3

Busy as hell da,’ I’ve never stopped on them tills aal day.’ The coppers were in again to arrest a couple of blokes for shop liftin’ they were stuffing their coats full of bacon and sausage to flog in the Anson most likely.’

“Desperate means call for desperate measures love said her father.’

“They’ll be back on the street tomorrow and knocking off batteries and disposable razor blades.

“I’ll have to get myself doon to the Anson then cos’ there’s never a bloody razor in here when yer want one.’

“Here we go again Margaret yer fatha is always moaning.’

“Christ it’s you who moan’s more than me, yer want to hear yersel.’ Anyway, where’s wor Jimmy my guts are rumbling.’’

“What we having’ anyway.’

“Egg, chips, and beans.’

“Where’s the bloody meat’ is there no bacon like?’

“No,’ the bloody shop lifters have nicked it all.’

“Whey, we must have some sausage in the hoose.’

“I’m keeping that to make “toad in the hole” tomorrow night.’

“Egg and bloody chips wi no meat.’ I bet Joe Walton over the road isn’t sitting’ doon to egg and chips, no, he’ll be having’ a nice piece of steak he will.’

“Well Joe works in the ministry he’s earning three times the money you bring in.’

“It would be nice to have a bit of meat on the table apart from a Sunday.’

“Well there won’t be a joint this Sunday cos’ I haven’t got the money; so you’ll have to make do with mince and dumplings.’

“What on a Sunday, but we always have a joint on a Sunday.’

“Well get used to it because there’s not enough money coming in.’

“This bloody government makes me sick no wonders people cannot afford to live. Christ, we cannot afford a Sunday roast.’ They’ve put the beer up they’ve put the rents and rates and now we’ve got to pay poll tax no wonder there’s no money to buy a Sunday roast.’

“People are going to food banks man fatha, cos’ they cannot afford to feed their kids anymore on the wages their husbands bring in. said Margaret.’

“Nae wonders people gan on the fiddle whilst drawing dole money, how do they expect people to live.’

Shirley began to peel potatoes over the sink, “The NHS and the SS (Social Security) are on their knees man Bob.

“There’s no work for anyone, sorry I’ll rephrase that, there’s work, slave labour for £3.50 an hour on a YOP scheme, you work your bollocks off in the hope after the training programme is over you will be kept on and what happens. You’re oot on yer arse because the employers get money off the government for employing you. Whey it stands to bloody reason that if the government are playing the employers to hire young kids they aren’t going to give them a full- time job and pay them themselves are they.’ 

“Jimmy Stephenson walked into the house and kissed his mother on the cheek then handed her a nice bunch of flower’s.’

“Hello son, said Shirley with her back turned to the sink as she chipped the last potato, have you had a good day today; she turned seeing the flowers. Oh, aren’t they lovely.’ Look at that, my son has bought me a lovely bouquet of flowers. At least I’m appreciated by someone in this house.’

“It’s been hectic as usual mam, I had four dance to music exercise classes this morning then two GP referral classes this afternoon.’

“Sit down son and I’ll make you a nice cup of tea.’

“Margaret fill that kettle and put the gas on under that chip pan would you.’

Margaret did as her mother had asked as Shirley opened a tin of beans and then placed the last of the bacon under the grill for her son.’

“I thought you said there was no meat said Bob.’

“There isn’t any for you; I kept those pieces of bacon for Jimmy you haven’t been to work, he has.’

“I was working yesterday and all we got was a tin of macaroni cheese on toast.’

Shirley dried the chips then put them into the basket and waited for the fat to come to temperature.

Before dropping the basket into the hot oil.

“I wish you wouldn’t use that Spry Crisp n’ Dry stuff Shirley, the chips don’t taste the same.

“It’s less fat than beef dripping and I am putting you on a diet, you look like the Michelin man on the telly.’

“Alright I know that I’ve put on a few pounds but I’ll soon lose it.’

“You’ve been saying that for nearly two years now fatha.’

Whey I cannot afford to go to these posh gyms that you work in. I couldn’t afford a hundred pounds a year.’

They have an offer on at wor place at the minute Fatha £80 for the year.’

“Where am I ganna get eighty quid from son?’

“Well if you stopped going to the club every night and gave up going on the Blackpool trip I’m sure you could afford to go.’

“Bugger that, I’m not givin’ up my club nights or my Blackpool trip for no ponsey gym.’

“There you are mother; this is why me fatha is fat.’

“I’m not fat I’m pleasantly plump.’

“Come off it Bob, if you fell on your belly you’d rock yourself to sleep.’

“It’s solid that is said Bob trying to tense up his arms that were still quite muscular.

Seems as if your arms are the only muscles working on your body then fatha.’

“That’s because it takes a lot of effort to lift up a pint from the bar counter said Shirley sarcastically.’

“What the hell is this anyway, pick on Bob day or Sommuck.’

Shirley shook the chip pan then put out Jimmy’s tea first.’

“Where’s mine, I’m bloody starvin’ here, protested Bob.’

“Jimmy’s been to work he gets his first.’

Shirley arranged a few chips and one egg and a few beans on Bob’s plate then set it down in front of him then put out Margaret’s.

“Is that it, you mean I’ve waited all this time for this?’ Lillian Scott’s dog over the road gets more than me to eat.’

Bob reached for the loaf of bread and Shirley slapped his hand and took it away. No bread for you you’re on a diet I told you.’ Would you like some bread Jimmy?’

“Aye go on mam I’ll have a couple of slices.’

Shirley took the carton on Lurpack and opened it and spread the butter upon the bread cut it into neat triangles then placed them on a tea plate for her son.’ I got you some John West tuna steak for your bait tomorrow Jimmy and there’s a tin of Heinz Mushroom soup and a banana for you.’

“Did you get owt for me for my bait?’

You eat before you go to work you cannot expect to bait as well no wonders you’re piling on the pounds.’

“Will you stop going on about my weight, I mean you are not exactly slimmer of the year are you.’

“I’m not four stone over weight Bob like you are.’

I’m not four stone over weight I’m about two.’

“Alright Jimmy go and get the bathroom scales from up -stairs and let him get on them and prove it.’

“Whey that’s not fair you have to get weighed first thing in the morning cos’ that gives you your true weight doesn’t it.’

“Alright we’ll knock off five pounds for what you have drank this afternoon and the tea that you’ve devoured in less than three minutes.’

“What about my clothes they must weigh at least four pounds so there’s nine pounds.’

Alright nine pounds off I bet you all the money you have in your pocket Bob that you are still four stone overweight.

“Bollocks,’

“Don’t use that language at the table Bob.’

Jimmy went to the bathroom and then quickly came down with the scales. 

Jimmy set them down on the floor as Bob took off his shoes and then his jumper we’ve deducted five pounds for your clothes already said Shirley.’

“You never get weighed with your jumper or shoes on they weigh heavy them do.’

“Alright get on.’

“Bob came to the scales like a boxer he stepped on them as lightly as he could, thinking it would make a difference to his overall weight.’ He breathed in holding his arms behind his head.

The wheel whizzed around and then Shirley and Jimmy looked down.

“Fifteen stone nine pounds.’

That’s five stone three pounds heavier than you were before your accident fatha.’

That can’t be right, the floor isn’t level in here.’

“Dad whichever way you dress it up you are five stone overweight. look I’m bang on eleven stone that’s my correct weight so yours must be right.

“That’s it,’ tomorrow I’m going for a long walk along to Tynemouth and back. They say walking is the best exercise don’t they son?’

“Aye if you do it at least three times a week fatha.’

“Well giz a chance, I’ll build up to it.’

Looking at the clock it was now twenty- five to seven. Bob had never moved so fast in weeks as he rushed to the bathroom to get ready for the quiz at “The Railway.” His team named “Fred’s Dog’s Dead.” competed every week and were lucky enough to win some money every week. This was also banked by Bob who had money in different boxes all over his bedroom wardrobe under lock and key. Bob was accountable for every penny. He kept a book for every event. Whether it was for the darts team or the lads from the club’s Blackpool trip he handed everyone a card so they knew how much they had in. each week as they paid, the card was marked then signed by both the card holder and Bob.

Bob was paranoid in case someone would accuse him of fiddling. He also had a little hobby. Bob was a Numismatist. He had been collecting rare coins since he was a boy and had a large collection in cases piled high in his wardrobe. There was an array of silver dollars, gold krugerrands, and ten cent coins worth several thousands of pounds. He had a collection of silver ingots with the coats of arms on them as well as some British coins and notes dating back to the early eighteenth century. Commemorative coins lay in other boxes, from Queen Elizabeth the second’s coronation, her silver Jubilee, Princess Anne’s wedding to Captain Mark Phillips and the recent marriage between Prince Charles and Diana Spencer. He scouted around market stalls looking to pick up a bargain at Tynemouth train station on a weekend. Even when he went to Blackpool he would search for junk shops in which to try and find a rare coin. He had been fortunate on a couple of occasions and bought coins for a few pounds worth several hundred. His best was a full sovereign which he paid £25 pounds for. It would be a great legacy for his children or even his grandchildren if they were to ever get married.

Bob had rung for a taxi from the Westholme and they sent one straight to his house within five minutes.

“Bob was wearing his black Led Zeppelin tee shirt his stone washed jeans and his trainers.

“Hi Ken said Bob as he got into the front and sat down.’

“Quiz night tonight? Ken picked him up most Tuesdays and knew exactly where he was going.

“Aye.’

Ken swung the car around then drove down St Peters Road down to the Burn Closes Bridge. The bridge that was built in 1912 resembled a humpy backed camel; they had been having problems with the bridge for many years the foundations that it was built on were not adequate and soon the bridge began to sag. Fed from the River Tyne at Willington quay the stream ran right through the burn and into the Park on Kings Road North. The stream ran right along the other way over Church Bank and past old Haggie’s rope factory to the even older railway bridge in East Howdon. Ken turned right past St Peters Church. The school next to it was built in 1834 was the oldest in the borough. Across the road was the old Burnside Grammar School. It had been re-modernised and joined the school on Boyd Road. Passing the New Winning Tavern, they carried on past the East End Club and then the many bars on the high street. The town had a reputation for violent outbursts and it was a local ex-boxer and doorman called Viv Graham who came in to sort things out.  Viv the 24-year-old, 17 stone heavyweight had set up his own security business and protection racket. He was soon earning vast sums of money from this and would be seen driving around in his Ford Sierra sapphire Cosworth. It was reputed that Viv was earning somewhere in the region of £30.000 pounds a week. He liked to gamble and would be seen in the bookmakers and casino’s spending thousands of pounds. Viv seldom drank alcohol and trained his body at Andy Webb’s gym in Jesmond, Newcastle. He could bench press 520lbs. Some saw Viv as a bully who used his influences to extorted money, others who knew him said that Viv only gave you a slap if you deserved it. Viv was living with a publican’s daughter called Anna Connelly in Walkerville in Wallsend. His reputation soon spread and he had several altercations with other doormen. The police in Wallsend were happy to let Viv sort out any violence and anyone who stepped out of line were quickly dealt with. It was during a night out at Hobo’s nightclub in Newcastle that Stewart Watson was badly beaten up. Doormen who worked for Viv were refused entry by Watson who thought that if they got into the club there would be trouble. The gang went away then returned with Viv who set about Watson he was punched all over the night club. Viv held him behind the ear, a hold that rendered him unconscious and he was ceremoniously beaten. The incident was 

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