HE WHO RIDES A TIGER

"HE WHO RIDES A TIGER" Chief petty office Peter Thompson the upstanding, charming gent hides a secret, he is an abuser of children. How long can he evade the law. one young girl, his daughter finds the courage to come forward to tell all after years of torment.. based on a true story. "A must read"

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10. 10

He parked up then opened the door for Deborah Jane could get out The Northumbria was taking on passengers so Peter locked his car then took Deborah Jane by the hand.

“Come on we are going for a boat ride said Peter.’

“Where we going daddy “We are going to take the ha’penny dodger over to South Shields.

Peter walked on board it was second nature to him and all the familiar sights, the sounds of the engines, and the smell of the sea came back to him.

“It whiffs a bit doesn’t it daddy.’

That’s because there’s a sewage pipe close by once we get out in the middle of the river you won’t smell it at all.

“What’s a sewage pipe?

“It’s a pipe that carries all the waste from the toilets.’

“You mean all the poo goes into the river.’

Yes, it does.’

“Well I’m never going for a swim in there.’ “What do they call this river daddy?

“It’s called the River Tyne Deborah Jane. You will see the coal barges sailing down the river and the fishing boats going out to catch fish if you look carefully.’

“Is it dangerous at sea daddy?

“Yes, it can be if you are not careful, many men have been lost at sea when they have been swept overboard by big waves or their boats sink.’

“Do you not get scared?

“Yes, sometimes because the waves are higher than those houses over there.’

“Golly, I don’t think I could be a sailor.’

“Being a sailor isn’t for everyone said Peter as the engines thrusted and the ferry set off for the other side of the river.

Deborah watched as the cormorants flapped their wings as they rested on a buoy in the middle of the river whilst others dived for fish. The shore became smaller and smaller as the ferry picked up a steady 5 knots and it made its way across to the other side. The trip took them less than fifteen minutes and when the boat docked Peter waited until they were allowed to leave. they walked up the bank into the town. There seemed to be a lot of foreigners over here in different garbs as Yemenis, Jamaican’s and Indians walked around the town. Peter pointed out places of interest then Deborah Jane got her eye on a man selling ice cream from a bicycle and asked if she could have one. Peter went to the man and bought her one. He took a handkerchief from his pocket in case she got ice cream on her mouth.

Now contented Deborah Jane walked around until they reached the park where they found a dry seat and sat down. Deborah Jane licked away at her cornet as Peter read her the book she’d brought with her. She listened as Peter read the story of Heidi a little girl who went to live with her grandfather after she became an orphan. The novel written by Johanna Spyri tells how the grandfather resents the girl at first but soon the young girl wins his affection. She becomes friends with Peter the goatherd.

That story is a bit like us isn’t it daddy, except I’m not an orphan, but you are like grandfather who takes the little girl in. My real daddy has never come to see me, has he?

“No, princess he hasn’t.

Do you think I will ever see my real daddy?

“Would you like to see him?

“Yes, just so I can see what he looks like, I keep imagining what he might look like.’ Why won’t mummy let me see him?

“I don’t know princess, but I’m sure she has her reasons.’

Peter wondered if now was the time to let her real father know that he had a child.

  It was just after four that afternoon when Peter decided to head back across the river. They walked the way that they had come from and stood on the quayside waiting until the ferry came across. The wind was now getting up which made it feel colder than it really was. Deborah Jane never complained, she was well wrapped up so she never felt it as much. Peter always felt the wind around his ears and he wished he’d put on a hat. He turned up the collar on his overcoat as they took their seats out of the wind.

“Is your boat the same size as this one daddy?

“No princess, it’s a ship and ships are bigger than boats. There are over two hundred men on board and we transport soldiers to Gibraltar and other army bases around the world; then take men who have been there for a long time back home so they can see their wives and children.’

“Are there soldiers there now?’

“Yes, they spent Christmas overseas.’

That’s very unfair, isn’t it?’

“Yes, it is Deborah Jane but someone has to stay to defend the island or some bad people could go there and try and take over.’

“Would you have to go and fight them daddy?

“Maybe, that’s why I joined the Royal Navy, it was to defend our country against enemies.

“You are very brave daddy.’

“There are a lot of men far braver than I princess.’

The ferry put on its thrusters as it neared the other side the water boiled from the propellers as the ferry came slowly to the side of the jetty and someone jumped of then secured ropes to a capstan. once secured the skipper let the passengers off and Peter walked along the gangplank then onto a small set of steps and onto some black cobble stones that must have been laid long before he was born. He walked to his car and opened the doors so Deborah Jane could get in.

He slid into the driver’s side seat then started the engine.  He backed out about six feet then turned left and drove up tanner’s bank putting his foot down hard on the accelerator.  driving through North Shields he saw many men coming out of the many public houses along the town. Once he reached Northumberland Square he turned onto Albion Road. He stopped at a junction then turned right and then back to his house in Alma place.

“Have you enjoyed your day out Deborah Jane?

“Yes, it was fun daddy.’

“Good, now we’ll go in and wash our hands and peel some potatoes to make chips with before mummy comes home.

“Oh good, I love chips with tomato sauce.’

“I think we have some sauce in the cupboard. First though I think we will have a nice hot cup of tea to warm us up.’

Peter lit the wood burning stove then put on the kettle. He emptied the teapot and then spooned the Earl Grey into the pot. He took a bag of potatoes from the cupboard at the bottom he then found a colander. He went into the drawer and got the potato peeler and a short sharp knife and sat at the table Deborah Jane knelt on the chair as Peter showed her how to use the potato peeler.

He gave her a medium sized potato to be getting on with whilst he used the sharp knife to peel a larger one. The curly peel came out like a long snake as Peter expertly turned the potato in his left hand.

Deborah Jane was trying very hard not to make a mess of the one she was doing by the time she had started her second one Peter had done almost the bag full. Deborah Jane heard the front door as her mother came in. She jumped from the chair then ran down the passage to tell her mother about her day as she hung up her coat and stuck the umbrella back into the recess on the hat stand.

“Mummy, mummy, I’ve been on the ferry with daddy. We went to the park and daddy read me a story about a little girl who went to live with her grandfather.’

“Well, you’ve had an eventful day then haven’t you.’

She came down the passage and into the kitchen as Peter was heating up the beef dripping in a pan to fry the chips in.

“So, what are we having tonight?

“Deborah Jane and I have been busy bees today haven’t we.’

“Yes, we made patties didn’t we daddy?

Peter nodded the took a spatula and turned the patties in the oven. He filled the wire basket with chips after washing them and drying them off.  He then dropped them into the sizzling fat.

“Would you like to help daddy set the table princess?

“Yes, I’ll get the knives and forks. Deborah Jane went into the drawer and took out the cutlery.

She went to the table and placed a set on each side of the place mats. Then she got out the Napkins from the sideboard and put one alongside the knives and forks.

The smell of the chips began to permeate in the kitchen and Peter opened the window a crack.

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