Author Topic: Families Matter  (Read 3614 times)

Offline loopylin

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Families Matter
« on: August 30, 2011, 10:39:07 PM »
Takes my story of Follyfolk a stage further.
Chapter One- A call from Liverpool.
The phone rang in the farmhouse and Slugger picked it up.
'Follyfoot- Slugger speaking.'
'Well hello there, Slugger, Elizabeth O'Sullivan speaking. Would Theresa be there with you?
I've tried their phone several times this afternoon but I can't get any answer.'
'No, she aint here. I don't fink she's back from work yet. Ron's about somewhere, shall I give 'im a shout?'
'No, that's okay, if you could just tell Theresa to phone me as soon as she gets back. 'How's yourself?'
'Old age is creeping up on me-can't do much since I had a bad bout of flu just after the wedding, I can't seem to shake it off.'
'Ah well, you take care of yourself-summer's arrived at last, the warmer weather should help.'
'Yers- I 'ope so- TTFN' He put the phone down and a few minutes later Teri drove in. Slugger stuck his head out of the door. 'Yer mum's been on the dog and bone luv- wants yer ter ring 'er toot sweet.'
'Thanks Slugs.' She went over to where Ron was watering the lightning tree. She gave him a kiss and said 'I have to ring my mother. I bet I know what she wants to talk about. Put another bucket on love, the tree's worked magic for Dora and Steve- let's hope it has some left for us.' Ron obliged.
'Come on luv, let's go have a nice cuppa before you ring her back. We've only been married three months- that's no time at all to be worried about there being no sign of a baby.It's fine by me- you know I love little Jeff to bits but Dora and Steve don't get much time to themselves with him around.'
'I agree with you Ron- it doesn't bother me either but my mother's a different kettle of fish. Everyone else in the family has had the same treatment. Martha went a whole six months before she fell and mum nearly drove her and Patrick crazy. I think if I don't get pregnant soon she'll be down here conducting an investigation to make sure we're not using birth control. I suppose I'd better ring her and get it over with.' Ron went too and made a pot of tea then sat beside Teri on the couch to give her moral support.
'Hi mum, how are you and dad and everyone?'
'Ah sure we're all fine. All the little ones are over the chicken pox-went right through all those who hadn't had it already. The Lord only knows how many bottles of calamine lotion we got through! I've got wonderful news too, Lisa's pregnant again. Grandchild number 24 is on the way. Let's hope we'll have news of number 25 before Christmas eh?. Anyway, while i'm on the phone what would you like the family to buy you for your birthday? I know it's not till September but I want t get things organised.'
'How about a Polaroid camera? It can be a shared present with Ron- after all he didn't get one. Some of the family sent him cards but you didn't even manage that!' Ron nearly choked on his tea and made frantic signals at her and shook his head. He didn't want her to fall out with Elizabeth. 'Well if you're sure that's what you want. Dora and Steve are coming to stay with us for a few days at the end of August. They are going to introduce Jeff to his grandmother. They can bring your present back with them. Now Theresa, I hope you're remembering to go to confession.'
'Of course.'
'Well that's good dear. I'll be praying every night that you and Ronald will have an addition to the family soon. Now you give my regards to everyone there and mind you look after Slugger. The poor soul didn't sound too good. I'd best be going now I think that we have visitors. Your dad and I are babysitting tonight, I like to keep my hand in.'
'Right you are mum- bye for now.'
Teri put the phone down and looked heavenwards. 'Oh there are times when I could easily disown my own mother.'
'Come on luv, she's got a heart of gold- she just loves babies!'
'Get us another cuppa, there's a love.'
'Okay- I put the casserole in at half three like you said. My dad wants us to visit him tonight- is that okay with you?'
'Sorry Ron, you'll have to go by yourself. I promised Dora I'd babysit because she and Steve are going out to celebrate her birthday. I'll take our present over then. You can drop me off on your way to your dad's and come and join me later.'
Right- I don't know what he wants- haven't seen hide nor hair of him since the wedding. I s'pose I'd better take the photos over, he hasn't seen them yet.'
'I'll have to ask Dora to take them to my mum, she'll no doubt want to keep them to show round the family. I think I'll have a bath before we eat.'
'I'll come and scrub your back'
'No Ron- I need to relax after a hard day at work and a trying conversation with my mother.'
'How about after your bath we relax together?'
'That sounds like a very good idea, I'd better turn the oven down!'

'
linda-norfolk dumpling

Offline loopylin

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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2011, 11:27:22 PM »
Steve was in the shower and Dora was bathing Jeff. She was wearing a towelling robe as it was her turn next in the shower. Jeff had already made her very wet kicking and splashing in the water. Steve appeared clad only in a towel wrapped round his waist.He lifted Jeff out of the bath and wrapped him in the spare towel he carried. With one hand he parted Dora's robe and gazed appreciatively at her bare flesh. 'Off you go birthday girl- I'll see to this young man. He took him into the bedroom and sat down to dry him tickling him to make him laugh. 'I hope you're going to be a good boy for your auntie Teri'. Soon Jeff was dressed in his night clothes and Steve laid him in his cot while he got dressed and went to put the bottle on to warm.By the time Dora was dressed Steve was reading Jeff a Thomas the Tank engine story making up different voices for all the characters and making appropriate train noises. Dora sat down to listen as she often did loving the expressive way he read. When the story ended they both kissed their son goodnight and told him they loved him. Then they switched on his mobile and tiptoed from the room as the little boy's eyes began to close. Jeff was a happy and contented little boy because his parents showered him with the love that had been sadly lacking in their own formative years. In the lounge Steve took hold of both Dora's hands and held her at arm's length taking in the navy dress with sprigs of white flowersthat set off her figure, now trim once again after Jeff's birth eleven months earlier. 'That new dress looks great.' Steve's present to her was a hew hairdryer with a brush attachment and hood. It could also be used to dry nails. Dora was delighted as her old dryer had given up the ghost a few months earlier. He took her in his arms and kissed her lovingly. She had experienced a bad attack of baby blues after Jeff's birth. She was not able to spend much time with her beloved horses but Steve had enlisted help from Teri to babysit so he could take her out and also look after Jeff for an hour or two after work to allow her to have time with Copper. She was now happily over the worst and only had the occasional bad day. The doorbell rang and Teri came in carrying a prettily wrapped parcel which contained a pale pink blouse. The two girls shared a hug. 'Thanks Teri, it's lovely isn't it Steve?'
'Mmmn yes- but we need to get a move on, I think the taxi's here. '
'You know where everything is don't you Teri?' said Dora.'Yes of course- now off you go, Jeff will be fine.'
Steve offered Dora his arm and gave a small bow. 'Your carriage awaits princess.'
The night was warm and Dora did not need a coat. The taxi bore them away to the hotel where they had spent Valentine's weekend the previous year. Dora had been hoping Steve would propose but he hadn't and she therefore did not feel able to tell him she thought she was pregnant. Now she relaxed against his arm. He was wearing his dark navy suit with a red rose from their bush in his lapel. He had cut her a bunch that morning and delivered them to her at the breakfast table when he had finished the early morning chores. The journey didn't take long, Steve paid the driver and helped Dora out telling the driver he would telephone when they were ready to be picked up. On their table was a bottle of champagne on ice and at her place was a silk corsage of red roses. She took his hand across the table and planted a kiss in his palm before pinning the corsage on her dress.
'Thanks for making my birthday so special. I've been thoroughly spoiled.'
'You deserve it. We didn't celebrate much last year because of you being pregnant- oh I nearly forgot, I put your bracelet in my pocket- thought you might like to wear it.'
He fastened it on for her and looking at it she saw that he had added a golden horse.' Oh it's beautiful Steve!.'
'I'd really like to take you on holiday before the end of September but it will have to be somewhere we can take Jeff. Perhaps we can rent a cottage by the sea. I'll look into it- meanwhile what would you like to order?'
'Oh if possible what I had last time- Florida cocktail  followed by lemon sole and vegetables and our favourite desserts to share. What about you?'
'Egg mayonnaise and Steak Diane. I know it's not very healthy but we don't eat out often.
They lingered over their dessert feeding each other mouthfuls of blackcurrant cheesecake and black forest gateau. Steve rung the taxi as they ordered coffee. On the way back they behaved like a courting couple oblivious to anything except each other till the driver announced they were home.
Ron had arrived back from his dad's and they'd hardly got inside the door when he blurted out 'Guess what- me dad's getting hitched again! His future wife is 25 years younger than him and she's got a coupla kids.'
'Have you met her Ron- is she nice?' asked Dora.
'I dunno- I aint met 'er an I don't want to neiver. What's 'e fink 'e's playing at? Didn't take much notice of me when I was a nipper-now 'e's taking on someone else's kids!'
'Try and be happy for him Ron- it could be the best thing that's happened to him''said Teri.
'I'm sorry to sound off but I just can't see me dad playing 'appy families at 59- cripes she's even young enough to have some more. I need a drink- come on luv- let's go home and leave these two lovebirds alone.'
'Thanks for minding Jeff, Teri.'called Dora as her friend was led out of the door.
'It's no trouble- he didn't wake up.'
'Hmm- I daresay that means we'll get woken up in the early hours.' said Steve.
'Best we go to bed then!'
'Hot chocolate?'
'Mmn lovely , shame we haven't got any marshmallows.'
'Yes we have- I bought some this morning.'
'You really do know how to spoil a girl!'
'You pop into bed and I'll bring the drinks in.'
'A lovely end to a perfect evening!'
'Not quite the end I hope!'
'You mean Jeff'll wake up and join the fun?' he tapped her bottom playfully.
Eating mallows dipped in chocolate brought back memories of when they used to sit by the fire at the farmhouse and toast them before plunging them into the chocolate. Now after all the liquid had gone they kissed the foam from each others lips. ' Ooo' said Dora 'I think I feel a little bit squiffy, the room's going round and round.'
'You're like me, drunk on love.' There came sounds from Jeff's bedroom indicating he needed attention.' Back to earth with a bump!' said Steve. I'll go- don't want you collapsing in a heap on the floor.!'
'Thanks for another lovely treasure Steve. Putting on his dressing gown Steve left the room with a wink. 'Don't go anywhere- I'll be back!'
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2011, 09:56:56 PM »
Chapter 2 - Time for changes
Early next morning Steve's aunt Milly Robinson stood in her garden inhaling the scents which she loved. Sunflowers nodded their golden heads. Marigolds, Impatiens, Begonias and geraniums vied with each other for the title of most beautiful display of colour. Pink, yellow, white and red roses in various stages of development entwined with honeysuckle and around the metal arch over the wooden bench. Milly sighed, this was her favourite time of year and she now had a decision to make. When she'd stayed with Dora an Steve at Christmas they had offered to have an auntie annexe built onto their bungalow. She had been glad to accept but she knew it was not ready yet and the prospective buyers wanted to move in four weeks time. They were happy to pay the asking price but Milly didn't know if she was ready to move that quickly. She knew that accommodation was not a problem as she could stay with Steve and Dora until the annexe was ready. She was looking forward to being with them but - The telephone interrupted her thoughts-it was the estate agent wanting an answer. She realised that there was no logical reason for turning it down. If she did she could face  a further period of loneliness. Until recently it wouldn't have been so as she was very friendly with her nearest neighbour. The lady was in her eighties and had a fall which meant she could no longer live alone and she had moved into a retirement home at Easter. The young couple who bought the property both worked in Leeds and she saw little of them. Milly took a deep breath and accepted the offer on her cottage.
After receiving the news from Milly Steve checked with the builders when their work was likely to be finished and was told probably by the middle of October.As he and Dora were going to visit Liverpool at the end of August to celebrate Jeffs first birthday and Kathy's 50th the move could be fitted in with their return journey. Steve would have to visit Milly to help her tie up all the paperwork sometime the next week. Milly had told him how much she was looking forward to joining them. Kathy had said she was trading back of beyond for back of beyond and told her she should move to the city to see a bit of life but Milly merely laughed.
Dora took Jeff down to the farm later to discuss their financial situation with Ben who took care of the books now much to her relief. Ben now had a flat over one of the garages and Hazel had another. No rent was received from either of them or Ron and Teri. As their business expanded there was more work to do and Slugger was not able to do very much to help. What was really needed was a part time worker who didn't need accommodation and they had almost decided to put an advert in the post office for an active pensioner. Fate however took a hand. As Steve was about to join the others in the farmhouse for morning tea a young man who looked vaguely familiar rode into the yard on a grey mare.
Dora came out to see who had arrived. 'Hello' said the young man. 'I don't suppose you remember me. My name is Tony Luckett and my parents own Sundown Farm. I've been working part time for Bill Chadwick since he started up again because there's not enough work on the farm to support my parents, my older brother and his family and myself. I help out as and when I can. Anyway, Bill's in a bit of a spot. While he was inside he struck up a friendship with another inmate who used to work with horses and loves that kind of work. Bill promised him that if he needed a job when he was released he would give him one. Yesterday he turned up to accept the offer! That means someone will have to leave and as I was the last to start working for him and I'm young enough to find work he's asked if I could try and find myself another job. I have looked after your horses in the past. Bill said you were a bit short handed since Mrs Ross had her baby and suggested I might try my luck here. Bianca here is my only transport at the moment so she would need to stay here during the day. Bill has given me a reference. You can phone him if you need to and I could start tomorrow. I've got a niece and two nephews and I don't mind helping out with your little boy.'
It didn't take long for Tony to be taken on. Everyone took to him immediately. While Dora made friends with Bianca Tony made friends with Jeff and finding his nappy wet the young man asked where he could find clean nappies and did the necessary.
'Well' said Dora, 'even uncle Ron hasn't done that yet!'
They shook hands with him as he left. 'See you tomorrow bright and early Mr and Mrs Ross.'
'It's Dora and Steve- we don't stand on ceremony here.'
As they walked home for lunch Dora said 'That's a relief. I feel much happier about our trip to Liverpool now.'
When Steve went back to work Hazel approached him. 'Can Ben and I come and see you and Dora tonight please Steve. We need to ask you something.'
'Sure- but it'll cost you an apple pie next time you're baking.'
'Wonder what it's all about?' said Steve when he passed the message on to Dora.
'I think I may have an idea' she replied.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2011, 11:18:33 PM »
When Hazel and Ben first arrived they seemed a little on edge. Steve made coffee for them all and said 'Come on- don't be shy, what can we do for you?'
'Well,' said Hazel 'I'm 17 now- soon be 18 and Ben and I are in love. He spends more time in my flat than he does in his and we're conscious that neither of us give you any rent. As well as supplying us with bed and board you provide us with a bit of money in exchange for the work we do so we thought if we moved in together it would free up Ben's flat- you could perhaps hire it out for farm holidays. I could even cook the guests breakfast but if you wanted to provide any other meals it would mean updating the cooking facilities in the farmhouse.'
'Slugger wouldn't like that!' said Dora, Steve cast her a meaningful glance- Slugger barely cooked these days!
'Well we needn't think about that at the moment but what do you think about us moving in together? I'm not on probation any more, my so called parents don't care what I do but I know you do.'
Steve gave Dora a questioning look and she gave a small nod. 'Well' Steve said 'If you're sure that's what you want go for it- but you're still very young, Hazel'
'Don't worry, I'll take good care of her.' said Ben.
Having settled that matter they went on to discuss ideas for using Ben's flat and when the young couple left Steve accompanied them to see Slugger to bed. He and Ron took turns. The phone extension had been moved into Slugger's bedroom so he could soon summon help if he needed it. It was usualy Steve who helped him get up in the mornings. Tony had said he didn't mind taking a turn. Everyone was of the opinion that the colonel's old study should be converted into a bedroom for Slugger but he was staunchly resisting this.
On his way back Steve paused outside the stables at the bungalow. Just for a moment he thought he'd heard someone coughing-a human not a horse. He thought he should investigate and went inside to tell Dora and exchange the small torch he'd been carrying for a powerful flashlight. 'I'm coming too!' said Dora.
'No girl- you stay here and if I'm not back in ten minutes phone the police.'
'I'm phoning Ron now!'
When Steve switched on the powerful torch it disturbed the horses. 'It's okay, it's only me.'
He soothed each one in turn. He walked through into the big barn they now used for functions and educational visits calling out 'Is anyone there?' He heard the Tiger's engine as it roared through the woods  and shortly afterwards the other door into the barn,which was usually kept locked,opened to admit Ben and Ron ushering a young boy before them.
'Found this one trying to leg it.' said Ron.
'Take your hands off me. I haven't done nothing.' the boy responded.
'Try trespassing for a start you young scallywag!'
Steve recognised the boy. 'Gip- what are you doing out at this time of night? It's okay Ron, Ben, I can handle this now thanks.' Steve was acutely aware of Gip's dislike of Ron.
When they'd gone Steve re-bolted the door they'd entered by. Gip was only wearing a short sleeved shirt with his jeans and the night had turned cool. He stood in front of Steve head down and shivering. 'Come inside and have a hot drink then we'll decide what we're going to do with you.' He locked the main barn door and put his arm round the young boy's shoulders as they walked through the stables and out into the night. Dora stood in the doorway having been told  the intruder's identity by Ron before he and Ben went back to Follyfoot. 'I dropped my bag outside' said Gip brushing his sleeve across his face which was white and tired looking. 'Make us all a hot chocolate love while I go look for the bag.'
He was soon back and they all sat cradling their mugs and munching digestive biscuits. Dora had draped a blanket round Gip's shoulders and he had almost stopped shivering. 'Your mum's going to be frantic Gip. she's probably got the whole of the local constabulary out looking for you!' In spite of himself Gip laughed at Steve's suggestion. The local police consisted of Bert Sam and Ernie -none of the young any more and not very efficient. She won't even know I'm gone yet- sent me to my room straight after supper so she could carry on with that reporter from the newspaper- Phillip Blake. Willy's out with his girlfriend and wont be back till late if at all. No-one'll bother about me till the morning.'
'We'll have to let your mum know you're here Gip. You can stay the night and I'll run you home tomorrow.'
'I don't want to go back, Steve. I hate that bloke Blake!'
'Come on Gip- he can't be all that bad if your mum likes him so much!'
'That's all you know Steve! He's okay when she's in the room but as soon as she goes out to make a cup of tea or something he starts making nasty remarks and he pokes me while he's talking.' Gip illustrated this by poking Steve in the chest with his bony finger.
'He won't care if I don't go back- let me stay here with you. I can help you with the horses- you know I'm good at it!' Steve didn't comment on that but instead said
'You'll be back at school soon. You and your mum will be in trouble if you don't go.'
'You could take me to school- mum won't mind, she says I cause her nothing but trouble!'
Dora had disappeared and Steve was pretty sure she's gone into the office to phone Gip's mum. She returned a few minutes later and said 'Come on Gip time you were in bed.'
Steve raised his eyebrows and again she gave him a small nod. 'We'll talk some more in the morning' said Steve steering the youngster into the bathroom. 'Here' he said handing him a clean towel. 'Have a wash and I'll find you one of my pyjama jackets to sleep in. I'll put your clothes through the machine so they'll be fresh for you in the morning.'
Soon Gip was snugly tucked up in the room Milly used when she stayed. Steve patted his shoulder and wished him 'Goodnight' turning off the main light as he went but leaving the bedside lamp on. 'What did Gip's mother say?' askd Steve.
'Blake answered the phone- sounded full of concern. He said it was kind of us to have Gip stay tonight and hoped he wouldn't be any trouble. I asked to speak to Gip's mum but he said she was asleep. I reckon Gip's right- they hadn't even missed him. What mother is going to go to sleep when her child is missing?'
'Poor little beggar. It's going to be a dickens of a job getting him back tomorrow. I've a good mind to go over  and have it out with them.' Steve made a fist and slapped it against his other hand. 'Not tonight Steve, leave it till tomorrow. He might feel better after a good night's sleep.'
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2011, 10:05:42 PM »
Tony arrived bright and early the next day. Steve was at the farmhouse having helped Slugger up, Ron and the others had not yet surfaced. Tony handed over his P45 and went back to the bungalow where Steve introduced him to the horses stabled there. 'I know I'm going to like it here, it's like a family' he said.
Once we were a family of strangers, but that's all changing and our family is growing all the time.' Dora had Jeff in her arms and was about to give him breakfast.
'Tony's seeing to our horses, go and say good morning to them while I take care of Jeff.' He took their son. 'Morning JR'. He strapped him in his high chair and began feeding him his cereal. When Steve produced his tipping cup of milk he put out his hand to help. When Dora came in she said 'Tony's obviously a hit with our horses. She began to prepare their breakfast. 'I'd better see if Gip's awake' said Steve. Jeff lifted his arms up. 'Ok JR, won't be long.'
Gip was still adamant that he wasn't going back home. Over breakfast Steve told him that he and Dora were going to see Mrs. Willen after Blake had gone to work. Jeff was now chewing enthusiastically on a piece of toast. 'He's a little belter' said Gip. 'I don't mind helping you with him. I won't boss him about like Willy bosses me I promise.'
After breakfast Steve introduced Gip to Tony who was just about to return to Follyfoot.
'Now Gip, you can help Tony but you must only do what he tells you okay?'
'Will that Ron be at Follyfoot- he doesn't like me!'
'Ron's okay-likes having a bit of a joke- he plays the guitar quite well so that's something you have in common.We'll see you later.'
Gip was amazed to see Ron talking softly to Polka the mare he was grooming. Unlike her stable companion Moonstone who had been ill-treated Polka had been greatly loved by her circus family who still visited her when thy were in the area.
'Hello young Gip' said Ron as Tony went to groom Moonstone. 'I hear you did a runner.'
Gip nodded. 'Tried that one meself once when I'd had a run in wiv me old man, didn't get very far though.'
'Did you get into a lot of trouble?'
'Na- he was too relieved to see me back. Bought me a new bike on the understanding that I wouldn't use it to run away.'
'I wish I had a bike, then I could go anywhere I wanted.'
'I might be able to help you out there Gip. The bike I had when I was about your age is in one of the outbuildings at our place. It's in good nick but needs a clean up.'
'I could go and fetch it later in the landrover.' offered Ron.
'You'd do that for me? I didn't think you liked me.'
'Reckon I owe you one son.' said Ron ruffling his hair.
Dora and Steve took Jeff when they went to see Mrs. Willen. They learned that Blake spent every weekend and most evenings with her and that she was enjoying her social life with the much younger man relying on Willy and his girlfriend to babysit. It seemed Gip spent a lot of time alone in his room.
'You have Phillip, Willy has his girlfriend, Gip feels he has no-one- does he have any close friends?' asked Steve.
'No-he's a bit of a loner- prefers animals to people, He asked for a dog, but what he'd really like is another horse. I can't afford either with three hungry males to feed and often Willy's girlfriend Julie too. Phillip's got to move out of his digs so he may be moving in permanently.'
Steve and Dora exchanged glances. 'Gip says he and Phillip don't get on too well and he doesn't want to come home, we've told him he must but sort of promised he can spend some time with us at the weekends and in school holidays, even stay over sometimes if that's ok with you.'
'Well that is kind. I know Gip would like that. I do love him you know and want the best for him.'
'Will Mr. Blake be here tonight?' asked Steve.
'He's not said that he would be.'
'Well I'll bring Gip back late this afternoon and we'll see what we can sort out.We'd best be getting back now, Jeff's getting restless.
When they got back Gip was getting out of the landrover and Ron was unoading the bike.
'Tony's lending me this. He's going to help me clean it and him and Ron are going to teach me to ride it. What did me mum say- am I in trouble?'
Steve explained what had happened and later drove him home. When they pulled up outside the house Gip shouted 'I thought you said he wasn't going to be here tonight. That's his car. I wanted me mum to myself!' He banged on the door with his fist. Phillip Blake emerged from the house, opened his car boot and took out a large suitcase which he carried into the house. 'Oh mate!' said Steve. Gip wrenched open the car door and with a parting 'I hate you- you lied ' to Steve he ran off down the street, tears of anger running down his face.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2011, 09:33:12 PM »
Chapter 3 - Gip's adventures
Steve sprinted down the road and through the alley but Gip was nowhere in sight. He called out- there was no answer. He asked some people passing by but they had not seen a boy running away. Dejectedly Steve retraced his steps and knocked on the Willen's door.
'Steve-have you brought Gip?
'Who is it Ellen? ' asked Blake from within.
'I'm sorry,' said Steve 'but Gip ran off when he saw Mr. Blake take his suitcase into the house. He went into the alleyway down there- I followed him but by the time I emerged the other end he's disappeared. Any idea where he might have gone?'
'Back to your place I reckon.' said Ellen
'I doubt it- I'll try Simpkin's yard and if he's not there I'll drive slowly back to our place and keep a lookout on the way. It'll be difficult as it's been an overcast day today and it'll be getting dark soon. I'll phone to let you know one way or the other but if he's not found soon you'll need to contact the police.' Blake was now standing in the doorway behind Ellen. 'No need for that yet. Willy's at home- we'll go out and look and when we find the little devil I'll...' he jammed his right fist into his left hand. Steve felt the red mist rising but took a deep breath and managed to control his temper. 'If you hurt the boy he'll run away again. I'll be in touch.' Steve turned on his heel and walked out to the landrover. He looked for Gip's bag but it was gone.
Steve knocked on Mr. Simpkins door. He was upset when he learned about Gip and took a large torch from a shelf and opened the gates to the yard searching every inch particularly JonJon's stable but no sign of the boy could they find neither did Steve see him on his way home. A search of the farm buildings, the bungalow stables and the woods proved fruitless, Ron and Ben helped. Willy and Phillip fared no better. Steve sat in the armchair with his head in his hands. 'It's not your fault Steve.'
'Where can he be Dora? I can't bear to think of him out there all alone- I don't suppose he'll trust me ever again!'
'Come on love- you're worn out.'
'I can't go to bed yet-you go I'll be there soon.'
Steve sat and went over and over things in his mind and when he went to bed sleep was a long time coming.
Ellen was worried sick. Worried about Gip, about what Blake would do when he did turn up and worried about the future. She knew that whatever Phillip said she would have to call the police in the morning. Daylight brought another bombshell. Willy's girlfriend had stayed the night as she often did and Ellen saw her coming out of the bathroom white faced. 'I'm pregnant.' she blurted out 'I'll have to stop here. Me dad says I'm a dirty little trollop and says I'm no longer his daughter.' Ellen took the sobbing girl in her arms. 'Ee don't take on so love- he'll come round you'll see- what does your mum say?'
'She daren't go against him!'
'Well we'll manage somehow- now I must ring the police.'
In his bag Gip had some scones which Hazel had given him, an apple, half a bottle of lemonade, some biscuits and his piggy bank which contained the princely sum of one pound fifty pence. He knew that probably Steve would look for him at Mr. Simkins place so he didn't go there but made for the woods behind the garage. He'd been forbidden to go there and didn't know where they would lead him. He took his torch from his pocket and shone it on the ground. He thought if he followed the path he would eventually come out on the main road and find a sign to show the way-but the way to where he didn't know. It was quite dark now and the woods seemed to be thinning. There were buildings in the distance and a path led out of the woods towards them. He saw a sign and shone his torch onto it. 'Luckett's farm' he read. A familiar smell met his nostrils-horse manure. Gip realised where he was and didn't know whether to be glad or sorry. There was a barn which was unlocked. He crept inside- a wet nose crept into his hand then tried his pockets. He was no longer alone he was with Tony's horse Bianca. If he slept for a while then maybe he could borrow her to help him on his journey. He gave her the apple, then climbed the ladder that led to the upper storey where he ate and drank then covered himself with sacks and was soon asleep.Tony whistled as he made his way into the barn to feed Bianca. He opened the big doors and the early morning sun streamed in waking Gip. He'd overslept and knew Tony would be off to Follyfoot soon- he'd missed his chance of borrowing the horse. After Tony and Bianca had gone and the door was shut again Gip made his way down the ladder. He heard voices and peered out through a crack. Two older people, Tony's parents he suspected got into a car and drove away. Gip quickly left the barn. He'd been here with Ron to pick up Tony's bike and knew they had an outside loo which he made use of. He had a wash, drank the rest of the lemonade and refilled the bottle with water. He stuffed his pockets with ripe plums from a nearby tree and was about to take off when he heard a vehicle approaching. He hurried back to the barn and shut the door. He climbed the ladder again and rummaged in his bag, Ron had given him one of his picture western books and he read it from cover to cover. He didn't have his watch on but he guessed it was about dinner time.He heard car doors slam and more voices. He would have to wait until dark now before he left. He ate a couple of plums  and decided to have another sleep underneath the sacks. When he woke up later he was in terrible pain and was sweating profusely. He threw off the sacks and lay there unable to stop himself from groaning aloud. The barn door opened and a woman's voice called out 'Who's there? '
'Help me- please help me ' cried poor Gip.


 
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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2011, 08:29:54 PM »
Tony had just rode in at the farm gates 'Come in here quick son' called his mother from the barn doorway. 'There's someone up there- could be that young lad who's been missing and he sounds as if he's in trouble. 'Tony- I feel sick 'moaned Gip. Tony grabbed a bucket and climbed the ladder. Gip vomited. 'I ate a couple of your plums. They've made me bad.'
Mum- call an ambulance.'
'No- I'll be alright now I've been sick' but as he spoke another wave of pain overtook him, then he began to cry. 'It's okay Gip, the ambulance will be here soon.'
'I've wet myself.' Tony's mum had returned and overheard. 'I've brought a bowl of water and a towel. Get those wet things off him Tony and toss them down here. I'll find him a pair of pyjama bottoms. She was soon back with them and a blanket and Tony made Gip as comfortable as he could but the boy was clearly in a lot of pain so it was a relief all round when the ambulance turned up. 'Can you phone Steve mum- he can let Gip's mum know.' said Tony. Gip knew it was pointless to argue, the pain was getting worse. As an ambulanceman climbed the ladder he vomited again and passed out. He woke up in the ambulance, Tony was beside him. 'Hi Gip, I'm Paul ' said the attendant. 'Can you show me where you hurt?' Gip pointed and Paul pressed gently. 'Ow- what did you have to do that for, that hurt that did!'
'Sorry- just doing my job.'
'I'll not eat plums ever again!'
'I don't think the plums are to blame Gip!' said Paul. Steve picked Ellen up and drove her to the hospital. Gip had been taken to the admissions ward and a doctor told Ellen he had appendicitis. 'We'll need you to sign a consent form, we can't operate for a few hours because he's eaten today.'
'Can I see him?'
'Of course, sit with him as long as you like. He's a bit drowsy because we've given him something for the pain.' Steve went in with Ellen for a few minutes. Gip didn't answer when he said hello and he left hoping it was because he was too sleepy and not because he hadn't forgiven him for his supposed lie about Blake. He bumped into him in the car park a broad smile fixed on his face.' I've been out of the office all afternoon. Julie told me Gip's been found- great news eh Steve?'
'Oh yes- great news that he's got a raging appendicitis and because he's eaten they can't operate yet. Let's hope they catch it before it bursts.' said Steve - no-one had said anything about that but he'd picked up some knowledge when Ron had had his appendix out and he wanted to make Blake feel bad.
'Ah yes- well he's in the best place. It'll make a nice little story for the paper.'
'Print that and you'll have to say why he ran away.'
'Oh there's ways round that.'
'I just bet there is, but I don't expect Ellen will thank you for splashing their names about in the paper again- nor do I think Gip'll want to see your face at his bedside!'
'I have to be there for Ellen.' Steve refrainedfrom making any further comment but walked dejectedly back to the car where he sat for a while collecting his thoughts. Inside Gip had woken up and said the pain was a lot better. The ward sister had just taken his blood pressure. 'That's because of the drugs I expect isn't it?'
asked Ellen. The sister felt Gip's pulse and took his temperature.' Back in a minute' she said. When she returned there was a doctor with her who looked older than the one Ellen had spoken to earlier. 'Well my lad, I think it's about time we got that troublesome little appendix out. Sister will give you a little pill to swallow the I'll have a word with your mum.' Phillip was by now outside in the corridor and joined Ellen in the sister's office.
' What is it doctor- I thought you weren't going to operate yet.'
'A sudden easing of the pain is not always a good sign- it could be the analgesic but the effect of that would have started to wear off by now as he had it a couple of hours ago.
We dare not wait any longer or we could be looking at peritonitis- the appendix could be about to burst.' As Steve was about to drive away Phillip Blake marched over to the car.
'I hope you're satisfied- you were right. The boy's taken a turn for the worse and they're taking him straight to theatre. 'Oh mate!' said Steve and would have gone back into the hospital.'No thank you Mr. Ross. Go home- you're not needed here!'


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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2011, 04:35:45 PM »
Steve phoned Dora and arranged to take Fish and Chips home for tea although he didn't really feel much like eating. Being with Jeff helped to cheer him up and over the meal he talked things over with Dora.'Poor Gip's going to have to be taking it easy for several weeks after this operation. It won't be so bad in the hospital but when he's back home with Blake in the house it will be awkward- I feel sorry for him but also for Ellen.'
'He will pull through though Steve?'
'I hope so. Ellen will let us know how things go.I wish we could help more but we'll be off to Liverpool soon and then we'll have Milly to settle in. We'll just have to wait and see how things go. Perhaps we can have him over for a couple of days. If the weather's nice he could sit in the garden- maybe use the hammock for a snooze.' Dora smiled remembering the time she had spent recuperating in the hammock after her fall from 'Dancer' and Steve gave her a hug.
Ellen rang early next morning to say Gip had come through the operation okay and that Phillip had been a tower of strength and promised to try harder to get on with Gip, even said he might buy him a puppy. 'Ellen- think things through. There's going to be a baby in the house in a few months. Can you really cope with a young dog too? They're not cheap!' said Steve.
'It'll be Gip's responsibility!'
'What about when he's at school?'
'We'll manage.'
'Please don't let Phillip do anything in a hurry. Now how are you?'
'I'm okay- a bit tired but Gip can't have any visitors till this evening so I'm going to have a rest now.'
Dora and Steve visited the next afternoon, Gip was sitting up in bed reading 'Beano.'
Ellen went off to get a cup of tea.'How are you feeling now Gip?' asked Dora.
'A bit sore but not too bad- better than the other day. Phillip bought me this comic, he's going to get me a 'Dandy' later on'
'Well don't laugh too much. Are you and Phillip getting on better?'
'Alright I s'pose.Our house is going to be a bit crowded now- Julie's moved in.'
'Well you have to promise not to run away again. It won't solve anything and it'll only upset your mother. She loves you very much you know.' said Steve. Dora handed over a 'Horse and Pony' annual. 'Thanks- I'll keep it always.'
'We'll go now Gip I can see your mum outside so we'll just have a word before we go.'
said Steve. 'Ellen- if there's anything we can do let us know. When Gip's better he can come to us for riding lessons. We'll visit again soon.'
When they got home Dora said 'Steve- I've been thinking. It would be a really bad idea for Gip to have a dog or any other animal at home so why don't we let him have a horse at the farm. We're bound to get a new arrival in the next few weeks- we can say he can treat it as his. We can show him how to look after it properly and take care of it ourselves when he's not around.'
'That's a wonderful idea love! We won't tell him yet but we'll let Ellen know our plans so they don't do anything daft like buying a dog. It'll need to be the right horse though.' They heard the sound of childish laughter from outside. Teri had been looking after Jeff and Ron was now piggybacking him home neighing as he came. Dora laughingly opened the door. 'More horsey' said Jeff.
'Horsey's a bit kn..... tired mate.' said Ron.
The following afternoon Jeff sat in his buggy watching while Steve and Dora trained Troy and Cressie. Tony and Ron were working nearby. It was almost time for morning tea when they heard the approach of horses hooves. A vehicle also pulled in. The driver got out and said 'Hello, my uncle needs your help. His horses are too old to work any more.' Two beautiful black horses were pulling a landau driven by an old man who wiped his eyes as he descended from his seat. 'Uncle's been giving carriage rides on the promenade at Seamouth but his health is not good, he can't work or look after the horses. He would like you to take them and as he has no further use for the landau will give you that too. He has no spare money but hopes you will accept it to help pay for their keep. The landau is in very good condition as you see. 'Steve looked at Dora who gave a small nod and said ' We'd be happy to give your horses and carriage a home Mr.?'
'Featherham.' replied the old gentleman stroking and patting the two horses and then loudly blowing his nose. Steve put his arm round the old man.'You can come and see them any time you like.' he said.
'They're really beautiful.' said Dora.' What are their names by the way?'
'This 'un's Jet' he indicated the horse on the left 'and t'other's Ebony.'
'Would you like to leave us your address and we'll let you know how they're doing?' Dora asked. 'I'll give you mine- uncle's house is up for sale and he's moving to a retirement home but not for a few weeks yet.'
'Come inside and have a cup of tea.' invited Steve.
'No thanks' was the reply as a business card was handed over. 'Come along Uncle Jack.' Taking a last long look at his beloved horses Jack Featherham got into the car and was driven away by his niece. Dora read the card 'Annabel Seaton-Carew- now why does that name ring a bell?' Their paths would cross again in the not too distant future.


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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2011, 09:45:14 PM »
Tony usually finished work around three so he could go and help on the family's farm. There was always plenty to do but Tony did not get much in the way of wages as the farm supported not only his parents but his brother's family too. He didn't mind working weekends but had a couple of half days to make up for it. Teri got home around the time when Tony left off and offered to mind Jeff for a while so Dora and Steve could get on. She wheeled him into the flat and lifted him out of the buggy burying her face in his baby softness. 'Well- how's auntie Teri's favourite un-nephew then. Jeff gave her a smile showing off his few teeth. 'Oh Jeff, I'd so love a little boy like you. Your mummy and Daddy are so lucky! She stood him up on her knee and he laughed as she bounced him upand down. She was still happily playing with him an hour later when Ron came in his chores finished for the day.
'Time for uncle Ron's cuddle' he said taking Jeff from Teri who rose to make a cup of tea.
Hazel had prepared enough chicken casserole and vegetables for Dora and Steve to take home for tea.' You're a star, Hazel ' said Steve as he put the sealed containers in the car.'There's bread and butter pudding for dessert.' Dora remembered when she had been against giving Hazel a home. 'I don't know how we'd manage without you' she said.
'Right- all we need now is Jeff.' said Steve and they went into the loft to find their son with Ron playing 'Ride a cock horse.'
'Are you all ready for the trip to Liverpool' asked Teri handing them each a mug of tea.
'Well we've got to arrange for a furniture van to pick up auntie's stuff on the day we come back.We're stopping off on the way for a few hours to help her finish packing. Your mum's lending us most of the baby equipment we need as we're going to need as much space as possible to bring back auntie's things which she doesn't want to send home in the van.'
'Why don't you leave Jeff with us this Saturday afternoon and go to Milly's to make a start. it'll only take you an hour to get there. You could even stay the night if you want to. I finish work at twelve and I'm not on call till sunday afternoon.' The idea of a night away together was tempting.' You sure you don't mind?' said Steve. Teri smiled as she said 'Of course not- do we Ron.'
'You'll be doing all the work, I'll be too busy with the horses.'
So it was all fixed and they were booked into the 'Wayfarer Inn for the night. This was the hotel they'd visited on Dora's birthday. Before they left for their Saturday trip Steve had to take Slugger's riding class and then they planned to visit Gip. Joe Rimmington turned up with his niece and nephew. Now they lived with him they were not only allowed to ride Champion but his twin 'Victory' Jeff was watching with Dora as Ron and Steve put the children through their paces. Slugger brought a chair out to watch too. Dora and Joe exchanged pleasantaries.' Jeff's a fine little chap- got a birthday coming up I believe?'
'Yes- it's on the same day as Steve's mum's. She hasn't seen Jeff yet so we're taking him up next weekend. Joe reached for his wallet and gave Dora a £5 note. 'Buy him something nice from his uncle Joe!' When the class finished and Steve joined them Joe said 'I'm hoping you can do me a big favour. My fiancee's sister, Louise is getting married and going to live in New Zealand. She has a 3 year old horse called Raz. She can't take him with her and wants me to look after him. Frankly I'm up to my eyes in horses and she's adamant he's not to be sold. Could you possibly take him? I know you're busy.'
'We've got Tony working for us now so things are a bit better and we'll soon have my aunt living in so she'll be able to look after Jeff sometimes.' said Steve.
'Actually Joe- you might be able to help us with a favour in return.' Dora explained about Gip. 'Well I'll bring him over this week and you can see if you think he's suitable. Louise knows what you do here and she's happy for him to come '
Jeff was holding out his arms to Steve who said 'Do you want to hold him Joe?'
'My' said Joe as he took him, 'he's quite a weight- not been feeding him on Slugger's stew that's for sure.' Dora's face clouded. 'Slugger doesn't do much cooking now.'
The twins came running over .Please can we have burger and chips for lunch, please uncle Joe, can we?' they said together jumping up and down.
'As long as you don't tell auntie Ellie.'
'Are you getting married soon Joe?' asked Dora.
'Next spring. I can't promise you an invite though, Ellie's already got a list a mile long.'
Jeff began to wriggle and Steve took him back.'Thoroughly recommended mate.' he said looking at Dora. 'It'll be nice if you can have a little one of your own' she said. Joe looked from Jeff to the twins and said rather wistfully, 'I think my family is complete. I'll be in touch about Raz.' he said as he prepared to drive away.
'Time for lunch, then we'll take Jeff and all his gear to Teri and Ron.' said Steve. 'Remember- not a word about Raz to Gip.'
Jeff was quite happy when they drove away. Teri was looking forward to spending time with him. Ron was hoping that the tension which they had been feeling over their failure to conceive would be eased by having Jeff around. Steve was hoping that Dora would get through the weekend without fretting too much about Jeff and Dora was looking forward to having Steve to herself for a few hours after they had finished at Milly's. She did not look back to where Teri stood waving with Jeff in her arms but sent up a silent prayer that they would find all well at Gip's house.
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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2011, 03:57:42 PM »
When they arrived at Gip's house he was sitting in the kitchen reading a comic whilst his mother did some baking.'Something smells good Ellen' said Dora.
'Apple pie.' said Gip. 'Me mum makes a smahing apple pie.'
'My favourite' said Steve. 'Milly makes a good apple pie' he said looking at Dora then explaining to Ellen about where they were going.
'Well, I'll make you an apple pie next time I'm baking- this one won't be ready for ten minutes or so yet but you're welcome to a cuppa and a currant bun.'
'No thanks- we'd best be off.' Ellen found a paper bag and selected half a dozen buns.'Here- take these with you.'
Before they left they explained that they were going to get a horse for Gip to look after at Follyfoot. At first he was excited then his face fell. 'But I can't pay for everything a horse needs and neither can mum.'
'It's okay, Gip. all that will be taken care of. As soon as Raz arrives and we've made sure he's suitable for you one of us will come over and fetch you so the twoof you can get to know one another.'
'When will it be Steve.'
'Hopefully next week before we go to Liverpool. Now we must be off as we've got lots to do today.'
'Seems funny without Jeff doesn't it love?' said Steve.
'Yes- are we doing the right thing leaving him.'
'He'll be fine and we'll get on a lot quicker without him.' Dora chewed her lip.
'Okay- drive before I change my mind.'
The day went well and they enjoyed their meal at 'The Wayfarer' and sharing the room they'd had for their honeymoon. A phone call to Follyfoot had reassured Dora that all was well. 'This time next week we'll be in Liverpool' she said as they got ready for bed.
'I hope Jeff and mum get on all right together. I know she's not really a baby person but she is his grandmother after all.'
'I know I'm biased but I reckon he'd charm anyone.'
'You're right- as he's not here how about you try your feminine charms on me?'
'With the greatest of pleasure.'
They woke up early through force of habit and had room service deliver a light breakfast because they were stopping on the way home for lunch in their favourite restaurant in Harrogate. They had a walk round first and bought Jeff a new book to take with them to Liverpool. As they sat eating a couple were shown to a table in the corner where they sat kissin and holding hands. 'Steve' whispered Dora. 'That couple who've just come in- the man is Phillip Blake but the woman is definitely not Ellen!'
'Oh mate- are you sure?' said Steve who had his back to them and didn't want to turn round in case Blake noticed them.'
'Positive- now what do we do?'
'We keep out of it! '

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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2011, 11:01:52 PM »
'Steve- we can't! She has to know.'
'But not from us!'
'If I were in Ellen's shoes, I'd want to know.'
'Come on Dora- let's not argue and spoil our homecoming. We need to pick Jeff up'
They left the restaurant deliberately avoiding going past Phillip and his companion. On the short ride home Dora was very quiet and Steve sighed. Since becoming parents they had not had many bad arguments and tried to avoid having any in front of Jeff. Teri was just about to leave on a case when they arrived home. 'How's he been?' asked Dora sitting down with Jeff on her knee.' Great,' said Ron,'we've loved having him. Any time you want a night away just say.'
'Thanks' said Steve, 'it was great to have some time alone together wasn't it love?'
'Mmnn' said Dora. 'We have plenty of time alone but even though we've stopped avoiding my fertile time still nothing's happened.' said Teri going to say goodbye to Jeff. Dora gave Jeff to Steve then gave Teri a hug. 'It will- I know it will- just you keep on watering that tree Ron.'  Teri kissed Ron and ran out to her car.' It's been good having Jeff here to take her mind off things.' he said.
'I'll go and unload the car- could you give me a hand Ron- we've got quite a lot of Milly's personal stuff, then I'll come back for the  cot and the rest of Jeff's stuff.' said Steve.
'I'll push him back in the buggy' said Dora. She took her time going over in her mind the situation with Blake and Ellen. Later she and Steve talked again. 'I won't be able to face Ellen knowing what I know and saying nothing.' she said.
'I understand- but let's not do anything till we get back from Liverpool then we'll see how things are. Let's hope that Raz is suitable for Gip and we can give him a happy day this week.'
One look at Raz and Dora knew he and Gip would get along fine. He was very like Marty but younger and the picture of health. She was happy for Joe to leave him and the next day Steve phoned to let Ellen know he would pick Gip up in the afternoon.
'Can I ride him?' asked the excited boy as he stroked the horse's neck.
'Not yet mate- can't risk you having a fall- a couple of weeks and provided the doctor says it's okay then you can.'
'How's your mum, Gip?' asked Dora. Steve gave her a long hard look.
'We've been getting along okay- Blake's been putting in extra hours at the paper so mum's had more time for me. She says when you come back from your trip she'll be sure and bake that pie for you.'
'Better be getting you back now- you're looking a bit tired' said Steve. Blake's car was outside. 'He's early today.' said Gip. Raised voices were coming from the house.
'Why do you need to go back to work again- and why did you have to get changed?' said Ellen. 'I have to meet a client who's hopefully going to advertise extensively in the paper.'
'Who is he?'
'Oh- no-one you would know- it's a she actually, we're having dinner at 'Enrico's'
'She's got expensive tastes. You've never taken me there. I thought you were short of money and couldn't pay anything for your keep this week.'
'Dinner will be on my expense account. If this deal comes off I'll take you somewhere nice.'
'Enrico's?'
'We'll see.'
'You'd better go in Gip- I'll see you next week some time.'
Over the evening meal Steve told Dora what he'd overheard. 'Sooner or later he's going to slip up.'
Teri's parents lived on the outskirts of Liverpool and Dora, Steve and Jeff arrived there on Friday evening having stopped off for lunch at Milly's and made final preparations for Monday's move. Jeff sat in his borrowed high chair enjoying his share of the evening meal. Elizabeth was used to providing for children. 'He's a good eater that's for sure' she said.
'Now tell us all the news- is Slugger better now- and Theresa, is she- well?'
'Slugger's still a bit under the weather but Teri's well and happy. ' said Dora and after a slight pause waiting for the enquiry which didn't come she added 'Ron's fine too.'
'Sure and why wouldn't he be with a fine girl like our Theresa to look after him!'
'Are you two after having a brother or sister for Jeff?'
'We'd like to but we'll get auntie settled first and maybe have a holiday.'
'Well don't be leaving it too long. It's good to have your children close in age-but perhaps our Theresa is next in line eh? You'll not be seeing your mother tonight will you Stephen?'
'No- we're spending most of tomorrow and Sunday with them. There's no need for you to worry about meals for us except breakfast. '
Steve took care of Jeff's playtime and bath while Dora helped with the washing up and showed Teri's parents their wedding photographs. 'If you'll excuse me now I like to be there for Jeff's story time. I'll leave you Teri and Ron's photo's to look at- they're lovely, they made a handsome couple.' 'Ah yes our Theresa's very photogenic. Stephen makes a very good father doesn't he? He doesn't look much like his mother.'
'No- he takes after his dad. Auntie Milly's shown me some of Steve's baby photos and Jeff's very like him. '
'I can see you give Jeff a lot of love. I hope Ronald will be a good father when his turn comes.'
'Jeff loves his uncle Ron and he's very good with him. I'll see you in the morning Elizabeth.'
'Breakfast around 7.30.'
'Thanks- goodnight Sean.'
After Jeff had settled Dora told Steve about the way Elizabeth had spoken about Ron.
'Just take every opportunity of saying positive things about him' said Steve.' Oh mate have I got mixed feelings about tomorrow. My mother doesn't have a very high opinion of me.'
'I don't think she does about me either. It's all down to Jeff'
A few miles away Kathy Ross sat drinking vodka and orange and reading 'Cosmopolitan'
She wished she had the O'Sullivan's phone number- there were hundreds in the phone book. No way did she want to spend the weekend with her boring son, his la dee da wife and their kid. She'd stay in bed- let Bert deal with them, he'd promised to be there. She could plead a headache- well if she drank enough vodka that wouldn't be a lie. Blast! she had a hair appointment at twelve. Well she would get up in time for that. If they thought that this weekend they would play happy families then they had a surprise coming!



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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2011, 11:01:22 PM »
When Bert arrived at the cafe on Saturday the door was locked. He was puzzled- Kathy was normally up by now even though it was a closing day. He opened the door and went upstairs to tap on her bedroom door. Loud snores were the response from within. 'Kathy- wake up' he called knocking louder.'Steve and the family will be here soon.' Kathy groaned.
'I've got one of my bad heads. I've taken a tablet. I'll be up later- you'll have to take care of them Bert.'
Jeff and Bert took to each other immediately. Kath came down at around 11.30, made a strong black coffee and said 'Sorry- I've got to go out. I've a regular hair appointment at noon. I'll see you at lunch.'
'I'm sorry, Steve, Dora. Kathy's a creature of habit. We normally have fish and chips on Saturdays to give Kath a break from cooking- what about Jeff?'
'Oh we've got some jars of food with us so he can have one of those followed by small tastes of our fish. He'll love it- eats almost anything.'
Kathy visited the pub after her hair appointment, Bert thought she would and left it as late as he could before going to the fish shop. Kathy pleaded a headache again. 'Sorry' she said. 'These headaches do tend to last most of the day.' It was after lunch and Jeff had climbed onto the sofa beside her clutching a book. 'He wants you to read to him mum'
said Steve. 'I'm sorry Jeff. Nanna Kath is not feeling well. Uncle Bert will read to you.' she said and once more went upstairs to lie down.
Bert drove them to the city so they could shop and gave them £5 to but Jeff a present from him and Kathy. 'I'll pick you up aroud 5 then we'll have scrambled eggs on toast for tea-okay?' he asked  and Steve nodded.
When Bert had been back a while Kathy came down and sat on the sofa with her feet up.
'Where are they then?'
'Gone to the city to buy you a birthday present.'
'Make us a cuppa luv.'
'Black coffee's what you're getting my girl.' Kathy moaned and said she wanted tea but Bert was adamant and as she drank he went on the attack: 'Listen Kath- you've got to make an effort. Your family have come all this way to meet you and you greet them with a king size hangover.' Kathy opened her mouth to protest. 'No- it's no use denying it- you've been on the sauce. Tomorrow we're going to cook a proper sunday roast and we'll eat early because I've booked a celebration tea at 'Paddington's' at 5 o'clock. They won't want to be late leaving as they are off home tomorrow and want to be at Milly's early. You are going to enjoy yourself- do I make myself clear?  I hope so because I'm telling you that if you mess up tomorrow that's you and me finished.'
'What do you mean finished you silly old goat. We're not married and you wouldn't turn me out would you?'
'No- but I'd put a manager in over you and you'd see me once a week to collect the takings and pay the wages. I might have to charge you rent.'
'You'll be lucky. After all I've done for you I don't know how you can treat me like this.'
'Your choice Kathy. Sober yourself up, put a smile on your face like you do for the customers and show that little boy a grandma not an old sot.' Inside Kathy was seething but she knew that without Bert she had nothing.' Okay- I'll go and have a shower but when I get down I want that cup of tea.' When Bert returned with the family she was sitting on the sofa looking at the wedding photos they had brought. She smiled at Jeff. 'Have you had a good time?' she asked.
'Ride' he replied. Steve explained he had given him some kiddi rides while Dora browsed round a big department store. 'Feeling better mum?' he asked.
'Yes luv- the tablets did the trick. Did you buy anything nice Dora?'
'Ssshh- it's a secret.' she replied. Jeff suddenly began waving his arms and shouted 'Loo'. Steve took him to the bathroom. 'Jeff hates being wet or dirty so we're teaching him to let us know if he needs the toilet.' Dora said.
'Fascinating I'm sure' said Kathy. Bert gave her a warning look and she managed to be civil for the rest of the visit. When they'd gone she began to cry and told Bert that Steve looked so much like his dead father that she could hardly bear to look at him. He was the love of her life she said and when he died she started on the slippery slope that led her to drown her sorrows in drink and smoke heavily. She was not capable of bringing up a child and did not want to burden her mother and Milly with him. Jeff looked so much like Steve had at that age that she was reliving the guilt she'd felt when she'd given him up all those years ago.' Kathy wove a really convincing story and Bert said 'You should have told me Kath- I would have tried to help you through. You will make an effort tomorrow won't you? Steve's a good bloke and you'll need him after I've gone.'
'You've got years yet Bert- but yes- I'll try hard to make tomorrow special.'
After Bert had gone Kathy poured herself a drink. 'Sentimental old fool. Fell for it hook line and sinker- Cheers Kathy!  Somehow though the drink didn't  give her the usual pleasure and uncharacteristically she poured half of it down the sink.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2011, 04:45:39 PM »
Before they left for the family dinner on Sunday Elizabeth and Shaun surprised them by giving Jeff a gift of a set of Duplo bricks which they took with them to the cafe. They had bought Jeff a Fisher Price fire engine with the money Bert had given them.Kathy was checking her pools coupon when they arrived.' Can't live in Liverpool and not do your Vernon's each week' she said.
'Steve's been buying Jeff a Premium Bond every week- you don't lose your money that way.'
'Typical of my son he's so b..' a look from Bert and the boring she was going to say turned into bloomin practical!'
Steve handed over Kathy's card, the gift wrapped black handbag they'd bought and a pot plant. 'Thanks luv- it'll go well with my new coat and handbag'
Dora handed Jeff the one present they had brought with them which was a pull along hen which clucked and flapped it's wings.' Fancy that- chicken for lunch!' quipped Kathy.
Lunch and tea went down reasonably well. Steve was certain that Kathy had consumed a celebratory drink or two as she was rather animated during tea. There were helium birthday balloons on Jeff's chair and a teddy bear shaped cake with a blue bow in the centre of the table. Later when they were about to leave Kathy swept Jeff up and gave him a kiss and cuddle. Dora looked on open mouthed as she even allowed Steve to kiss her cheek.
'You take care son', she said. Bert took Steve to one side. 'Come through to the cafe, I'll show you the menus.' Steve followed and while he looked through them Bert said ' Kathy doesn't know this Steve but I've been diagnosed with cancer. There's nothing they can do- found out when I was in hospital after the accident and I've had tests and investigations but it'd gone too far for anything more than containing treatment. I saw the consultant last week and he told me to make sure my affairs were in order. What I told you before still stands. You and Kathy get everything- you have the final say about important matters. She gets to run the cafe and live rent free. I'm arranging for you to have the funds to pay the bills- they will be sent direct to you. My solicitor will have all the details and he'll set you straight.' Steve was about to reply when Kathy  came through carrying Jeff and Dora brought their belongings. 'He's getting tired Steve, we'd better go as we need to get up early.' Steve gripped Berts hand holding it for several moments. Dora gave Jeff to him to hold and Bert kissed the little boy then Dora. Steve put their things in the car then took Jeff.'Wave bye bye to nanna Kath and uncle Bert.' Jeff obliged and as he turned to settle him in the car Steve felt a lump in his throat. Kathy went indoors and Bert stood waving tears trickling down his face. He knew that he would  have to tell Kathy his news.
When they were alone that night Steve passed on what Bert had told him. 'Oh Steve- he's so sweet- it's such a shame.'
'My mother will find things a lot different when he goes.'
'And you'll have even more work to do.'
'Let's hope he's got a good few more months left. At the moment we need to concentrate on getting Milly sorted. We won't say anything to her until we have to.'
They set off at 6 am after giving Jeff breakfast. Elizabeth was an eartly riser and wanted to give them breakfast but they said it would be good to stop for a break and a snack on the way. She waved away their thanks but was very pleased with the plant they presented to her.
When the removal van had left and Milly's few remaining possessions loaded into the car Dora asked if she had any regrets. They were standing in the garden where earlier Milly had taken lots of cuttings from her favourite plants. 'Not really love. This place has never seemed the same without mum' but she looked a little wistful as they drove away.
After the lunchtime rush Bert closed the cafe. 'Kath- there's something I need to tell you' he said.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2011, 11:05:04 PM »
When everything had been taken into the bungalow or put into the barn for storage Milly sat with Jeff on her knee while Dora made tea. Hazel had made a batch of scones which Milly pronounced 'very good'. Jeff's eyelids were drooping and Steve took him to his bedroom.
'There's something I want to show you later auntie- a surprise' he said. When she saw the beautiful greenhouse all equipped and ready for her Milly was delighted.' So that's where you spirited my cuttings to' she laughed. I wondered why you were so keen to get me indoors. I'll be able to teach Jeff all about plants. I would love to have done the same for you. I'm fair made up, Steve.'
'Welcome to your new home.' Dora went off to say hello to all the horses then presented Teri with the camera from her mother and told her about the weekend. 'I'm really looking forward to a proper Yorkshire birthday celebration tomorrow.'
'I've got the day off so I'm helping Hazel with the food.'
Later Steve phoned Gip to invite him to the party. He was still convalescing after his operation but he said he'd love to come. The phone rang immediately after Steve put it down. It was Bert. 'Steve, there's something I didn't tell you because I wanted to speak to Kathy first. The thing is I've received a really good offer for the cafe and I think I should take it. I don't want to be spending what time I have left working hard and I can't leave it all for Kath to do. I  could get in extra staff but it'd mean you'd have to see to paying the wages as Kath- well she-'
'It's ok Bert. I know what you mean and I think you've made the right decision. How did mum react when you told her all this?'
'She's been a bit quiet, she'll have to move out of course.I'll help her find a nice place, don't worry.'
'If you need help with anything Bert just let me know. I can't thank you enough for what you've done for my mother.'
'I asked her to marry me once Steve did you know that? She turned me down flat but I think of you, Dora and Jeff as family nevertheless.' They said their goodbyes and Steve sat down heavily on the sofa. Dora lowered herself onto his lap and he told her the gist of his conversation with Bert. 'You're taking this hard love' she said.
'Bert was my rock when I was in Liverpool-he was a substitute for old Slugs! Hey I think that's Jeff crying, tha't not like him.'
'He's got over- excited and over tired this last couple of days' said Dora.' And tomorrow will be more of the same.'
The next afternoon Steve went to pick up Gip. When he knocked it was a while before Gip himself answered the door. 'Ready?' Steve asked smiling.
'You'd better come in Steve.' Thinking that perhaps Ellen wanted to give him the promised
apple pie he followed Gip into the living room where Ellen sat sobbimg as if her heart would break. He thought he could guess what was wrong but decided to wait until she told him. 'Ellen- what is it? ' he said taking her hands in his.'
'It's Phillip- I threw him out on his ear this morning. Willy saw him at the pictures with a girl last night. Young enough to be his daughter evidently and there they were bold as brass snogging in the back row.' She paused and gave a great shuddering sob freeing her hands and dabbing at her eyes with a very soggy handkerchief. 'Willy didn't let on he'd seen them but came straight away and told me. I waited and waited for him to come home but in the end I gave up and went to bed. Where did you get to last night I asked him and he spun me a yarn about being with a prospective advertiser drinking in his hotel room- said he'd been trying to get this person to sign on the dotted line for months. When I asked him about the pictures he tried to wriggle off the hook by saying the girl was an old friend and they'd been 'catching up.' I told him that he'd better try catching her up again and seeing if he could stay with her because I didn't want him in the house any longer. Told him he'd neglected me since Gip came out of hospital and then it all came out. Been seeing this girl since before he moved in here. Every time he was supposedly working late he was with her. I gave him half an hour to get out and now everyone's going to be laughing at me.' She began to sob again . 'No mum- it's alright. We're better off wi'out him.' said Gip.
'I don't think I'll be able to come to the party after all Steve- mum needs me.'
'I understand' said Steve putting a hand on the boy's shoulder. 'You can come to tea later in the week.'
'No way are you going to miss out Gip' said Ellen. I'll be alright now I've had a good cry.'
'You can come too' offered Steve
'Nay- I'd only be a wet blanket- a very wet blanket' she said smiling in spite of herself.' The lass'll be home from work soon, it's her half day. Go on Gip and get yourself ready.' To Steve she said. 'There's a little present for Jeff on the sideboard. I'm right sorry I didn't get round to making that apple pie for you this morning. '
'That's okay. I'll make sure Gip's not too late home- oh and for what my opinion's worth I think Gip's right- you're better off without Phillip Blake.'
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Offline loopylin

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Re: Families Matter
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2011, 11:02:43 PM »
Gip enjoyed playing on the floor with Jeff showing him how to work the lift on his Fisher Price garage. Jeff clapped delightedly as the cars rolled down the slope. ''Gen' he demanded.
Teri and Hazel brought the party food in the car. Ron and Tony walked through the woods. Before they ate Jeff needed a nap so Ron took Gip to see Raz. 'I go back to school next week' he said sounding rather forlorn. 'Well next time you come you'll be able to have a short ride. You'll be able to tell everyone about Raz- he's a super horse not like poor old Marty. We'll get you proficient at riding the bike too and when you've mastered it you can take it home and come here whenever your mum says it's okay.'
Gip told Ron about Phillip and Steve told everyone else. He and Tony set chairs out on the patio so they could eat outside. Ben arrived back from college and Callie and Anna arrived soon afterwards. By the time the birthday boy woke up the party was in full swing. Steve poured the drinks and everyone drank a toast to Jeff and one to Milly. It was almost time for Gip to go home. Jeff had become over excited and grizzly and didn't want to play anymore so Steve sat him on his lap and read him a story to calm him and cheer him up.
Gip looked wistfully on. 'How about I take you home mate?' asked Ron. The others were all busy clearing away and to Ron's surprise Gip climbed onto his lap and hugged him. Ron made eye contact with Steve who nodded at him. 'Anything wrong mate?' asked Ron. 'I thought you'd be over the moon about being rid of Blake.'
'But me mum's so unhappy- she might blame me for him going. She'll have a lot more to do when Willy's baby comes what with helping out and that.'
'You can help too. Look how well you get on with Jeff. Uncle Gip- that sounds okay doesn't it? I know I like being uncle Ron. 'He looked up and smiled at Teri who had brought cake and other things for Gip to take home. 'Can I be uncle to Jeff- and your baby too when you have one?'
'You sure can mate' said Ron keeping his emotions in check with difficulty. 'That's right eh Steve?'
'Sure thing- and your mum isn't going to blame you for Blake going Gip. Now I promised her you wouldn't be late back so--'
'Please Steve- read Jeff one more story- I want to listen too. No-one read to me when I were little.'
Steve picked up 'Chicken Licken' and as he read and used different voices for the animals
Gip laughed and joined in 'The sky is falling in and we're going to see the king!' As Gip collected his things to go home Dora whispered to Steve 'I hope the king wasn't in Australia!
Back at home Ron said 'I wish I'd never taken the Micky out of that boy, he's had a lot to put up with.'
'Never mind- you've more than made things up to him. I'm going to bed- it's been a busy day and I have to work tomorrow.'
'Okay love- I'm just going out for a breath of air.' She watched him through the open door as he went to put a bucket on the lightning tree.
Dora had made hot chocolate and went to sit on Steve's lap.
'I'm so happy Steve. What I want now is for Teri and Ron to have a baby then maybe we can think of having a brother or sister for Jeff.'
'Mmmn- earlier on I asked Milly if she'd ever had a holiday and she said not really so I suggested that we all go to Bridlington for a week. Rent a cottage. She said she'd love to and wouldn't mind at all if we left Jeff with her for a couple of evenings. It would be good to go to the pictures or something.'
'Steve- I've had an idea- why don't we hire a cottage for two weeks and let Ron and Teri have the second week- an early Christmas present from us. They need to relax- get away from Liz's phone calls for a few days then who knows?'
'I'll talk to Ron in the morning- make sure Teri can get some time off then I'll see about booking somewhere.'
Gip sat up in bed smiling to himself. He might not have a dad but he had Steve, Tony and Ron and he was going to be an uncle. He was beginning to think that life was not so bad after all.
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