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.


16. 16

Climbed the steps into the loft. Dragging himself up. he counted all of the money he had there before going down into the cupboard to discover his wife had taken £30.000 pounds. He was angry at first then calmed down it was no good calling the police or confronting her because she would only report him. He figured that he had come out the better. He showered before getting himself ready to go to the club. he would have to tell "Bumface" his father's wife that Shirley would no longer be going with them to Cyprus. He would tell his father about Shirley leaving whilst she went around with a domino card. She would find out but he couldn't deal with her sarcasm just yet.

His father was very sympathetic when Bob told him. He asked his son if she was having an affair and Bob explained that it was his fault that she was leaving.

"You're not messing about are you son?'

"No dad,' we were just going in different directions she wanted different things to me so she’s gone.

"Where has she gone?'

"To her sister's house in Whitley Bay.'

" Kate's house?'


"She'll come around son a lot of women get sick and just need a break.'

"I don't think so dad she's gone for good and she's already filed for divorce; the papers will be here any day.'

"Looks like she's serious about not coming back.'

"Yes,’ she is dad.'

"Do the kids know?'

She was going to tell them both this afternoon, so yes they will both know by now.'

"After your mother died it took me a long time to come to terms with it but I did.' now I hardly ever think about her.' I know that might sound callous talking like that about your mother but like you I just didn't know how to change who I was after she died. I just couldn't be the person she wanted me to be either. We used to row a lot too.

“I don't bare Shirley any malice Da, it was for the best.’  

“I was hurt for a while but I soon bounced back. You will too.'

Bob supped on his pint of John Smiths. Tommy Grimes came over and asked if he'd give him a game of snooker and bob went. he thought that it would take his mind off what had happened that day.




The taxi pulled up outside of Iceland and Shirley got out She went into the store and asked her daughter to step outside for a moment. Margaret asked her manager if she could take a break then went outside with her mother who told her what had happened. Margaret actually said that she wasn't surprised and thought that it should have happened long ago.

"I will not stay with dad mother, I will not become his slave the way you did.'

"What will you do?'

"I will move in with Doreen Laws my friend she has a place in Walkerville. It is near to the bus stop and I can get to work alright from there.'

"Does Jimmy know?'

"Not yet?'

"Do you want me to tell him.'

"No, it is best that I tell him, look I’m staying at your Aunt Kate’s so come along if you want to see me alright. I must go love the taxi is waiting.

"Alright mam I will come down and see you next week alright.' take care. "I love you mam.'

"I love you too. now get yourself back in before we both start crying.'

Margaret stood at the door then waved as her mother got into the cab and it drove away.'

"Where to know.'

"Waves in Whitley Bay please, don't worry I’ll pay you to wait.'


Jimmy seemed more upset about his mother leaving than Margaret. He was younger though.'

"Look Jimmy, this is for the best and you can come and visit once I get a place of my own.'

"What about dad?'

"Well he'll cope, he's a survivor your dad.'

Again, Shirley left and for once felt free she gave the diver directions to Ilfracombe Gardens. he set off at a pace and it was just after three o'clock when she reached her sister’s house.'

Kate lived on her own after John Patterson her husband died of prostate cancer. The house that she lived in was immediately paid for due to an endowment policy her husband had taken out. So, she lived there alone and had a job in the cafe just across the road. She had a small pension from the RAF where her late husband worked.

Kate came out and embraced her sister and the taxi driver helped her with all the boxes. she gave him £20.00 pounds. The fare was only ten but he had been so helpful.

"Are you okay Shirley, Yes, I’m fine Look you can put those boxes in the spare room. there's three bedrooms in this house one I just use for storage. Shirley followed her sister Kate into the storage room where she kept ladders and her husband’s tools there were a couple of tea chests with other things inside. Shirley placed the boxes tidy in a corner.

"Come I'll put the kettle on and you can tell me all about it.'

Shirley really didn't want to go into details but felt she had to.'

"Is there anyone else?'

"Well yes,’ I just met someone yesterday and we get on so well he's coming to take me out tonight. He's an ex parachute regiment soldier.’

“That was quick, do you like him?’ "What's his name?'

“Gary Sanderson, he's a bus driver; that is how we met. I was on my way to the bingo with Joyce Marti you know the girl I told you about who I go with and he started chatting me up.'

"I went for a drink with him Kate because I’d already filed for a divorce, I knew my marriage to Bob was over long before I met Gary.’

Shirley never stopped talking about Gary for an hour.'

"I hope that you’re not falling for this guy Shirley, please go easy I don't want to see you get hurt.'

Don't worry Kate I know what I’m doing.'

Kate showed her to the room where she would be sleeping and where everything was in the house and told her to treat the house Just as she would her own.

"Here Kate I brought food.'

"You shouldn't have, you know there's plenty of food here.'

"I couldn't come without bringing something.'  Tomorrow I’m going to the Job centre and then to the estate agency. Are you looking to buy a house?'

"Yes, how much do they go for here?'

"About fifty thousand pounds now.'

"How much would a decent flat cost me?'

"Twenty-five, maybe a bit more; it depends what you want and where it is situated.'

"Where are you going to get the money to buy a flat.'

"Bob hid almost seventy thousand pounds from me. I found it today whilst looking for my CV.’

"What he kept seventy thousand from you?'

"He had more than that but he's been gambling and buying gold and silver coins.'

"I took thirty thousand pounds and left him the rest.'

"You have thirty thousand pounds here with you.'

"Yes, it's in one of the boxes I brought with me.'

"Wow Bob is lucky I would have taken the lot.'

"I have all of grans stuff you know what she left me and you didn't want.’

"What you kept that old tat.'

"Yes, I thought we could take it to the auction rooms and sell it.'

"You might get a hundred pounds for it if you’re lucky.'

"We'll see.'

"Those paintings would make good fire wood. they are just little men and industrial landscapes.'

"They might appeal to someone. How many is there?'

 "Three or four.'

"Well bin them I would advise.' I mean you aren't going to put them up in your flat if you get one are you Shirley, I mean they are as old as the hills.'

"I like them and so did Gran.'

"Suit yourself they are all yours, I don't want them.'

"When do you work in the cafe.'

"In the mornings until one each day, I do alright, I have John's pension. I go out to the cinema or the people’s theatre if the mood takes me.'

"Don’t you go out for a drink?'

"I have a drop of wine or sherry occasionally, but other than that I stay in and watch the television.' "I like that new soap called Brookside on the new channel.'

Kate and Shirley chatted right up until six thirty then she excused herself to go and get ready.

"Would you not like to come with us Joyce is coming with her new boyfriend?'

"Thank you but no, I prefer to stay in. I have my routine you know.'

"Alright just thought I’d ask.'

Shirly went to the room and placed her case on the bed she slid the zip around and hung up her clothes in the wardrobe to stop them creasing. then she chose an outfit to wear. She thought that she'd wear her dress tonight. she mostly wore trousers or denims but tonight Shirley would transform herself she thought. she set her hair so that it was in a modern 80's style. she applied some eye shadow and then eyeliner and mascara she painted her nails on both her hands and her feet something that she normally never did because her hands were never out of water or scrubbing floors. already she felt better and more confident. she chose a pair of shoes to go with the dress. Then put on a white mohair cardigan. When she came out her sister looked at her in amazement. "Shirley I've never seen you look as nice for years.'

"Thank you I do make the effort sometimes you know.'

"She looked at her wrist watch it was quarter past seven then she saw a car pull up outside.

Gary got out and walked to the door and pressed the doorbell.'

Let me go I want to have a look at this fellow of yours.'

Kate went to the door and turned on the porch light then opened the door.

There stood Gary tall and smartly dressed with shoes so clean you could see your face in them.

Hi you must be Shirley's lovely sister, I'm Gary.'

Pleased to meet you said Kate looking at the handsome looking man at the door.'

"My sister is coming would you like to come in.'

"Well we have a table booked for seven thirty Kate, another time perhaps?'

Shirley appeared in her dress and Gary looked at her. "You look beautiful.'

Shirley turned to her sister who gave her the spare front door key.

I hope you both have a pleasant evening.'

"Don't wait up Kate, I’ll be in before twelve.'

Walking to the car Gary opened the door for her then got in himself.

Shirley felt like royalty in the black coloured jaguar.'

"I like the car Gary.'

“Yes, she's my pride and joy.'

"You look after her well there isn't a mark on her.'

She's three years old but I do take care of her.'

Gary drove the car at a steady thirty miles per hour until they reached The Red Lion restaurant in Earsdon. he pulled in slowly to the car park where he saw Ritchie’s car.

He got out and let Shirley out and locked the car then held the door open for her so she could walk in.

Thank you she said.'

They looked around until they spotted Joyce and Ritchie.

They walked over and Joyce was stunned as she saw Shirley.'

"Wow Shirley you look amazing.'

Thanks, have you ordered yet?

"No, we thought we'd wait until you arrived.'

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