Author Topic: The rough and the smooth.  (Read 11170 times)

Offline loopylin

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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2012, 12:15:12 AM »
Ron was having a cigarette outside the loft accommodation when they arrived as he was not allowed to smoke indoors. Jeff smiled and shouted excitedly 'Uccle Won!'
'Hello mate!' Ron carefully extinguished his cigarette and took the little boy out of his buggy.
'See donkeys!'
Ron carried him off singing 'Delaney had a donkey'. Steve and Dora went to see George and Vi who were delighted that Jeff would be spending some time with them. Steve asked them to think about the idea of Bert living at the farm and said that after Easter they would all talk about it together. 'Don't worry about cooking for us tonight Vi- Milly says she's quite happy to take over again.' said Dora.When Ron brought Jeff in Vi took charge of him while his parents went outside to school some horses. Jeff had a thoroughly entertaining day spending time with different adults and even sitting in front of Tony on Bianca. He was tired out when they returned to the bungalow. Vi had fed him scrambled egg and while Milly put the final touches to the meal Jeff had his bath and was put to bed.
'Have you had a lovely day?' asked Steve.
'Miss uccle Sugger.'
'We all do mate. But he was getting very tired and it was time for him to have a nice long rest. He just went to sleep.'
'Me go sleep.'
'That's a good boy and we'll see you in the morning.' said Dora.
'See uccle Sugger?'
'No mate- he's got to have a really long sleep.' said Steve
Jeff was cuddling Eddy, his favourite bear.'
'Ni night Uccle Sugger.'
Dora fought back the tears until she reached their bedroom where she gave in and cried.
'Come on love. The others are waiting.'
'I'm not hungry.'
'Milly's taken a lot of trouble cooking for us, just have a little eh?'
'Okay. Oh Steve it's so hard for Jeff to understand what's going on.'
'I know'
Milly called and they went to eat. Bert and Milly joined them. 'We're off to the Ferndale garden Centre tomorrow Milly. Would you like to come?'
'Ee I would love.'
'What about you Bert?'
'No thanks. I'm not a great garden enthusiast.'
Vi says you can go down for lunch. We'll have something to eat there.'
The garden centre was busy. It was a fine day and people were buying their spring bedding plants in readiness for the bank holiday weekend which was going to be fine according to the forecast. Easter was the latest it could be and already in the woods at Follyfoot bluebells, crocuses and snowdrops were making pretty carpets under the trees. Milly had not done much to the plants in her greenhouse since Slugger's death but the profusion of plants on display at the garden centre lifted her spirits and she bought some new plants. After they had stowed their two saplings and Milly's purchases in the car they ate beef stew with fluffy dumplings in the cafeteria. Jeff had a small portion with mashed potato and carrot and as usual ate with enthusiasm. 'At least he didn't lose his appetite!' said Milly.
'Auntie- you are really okay about Bert wanting to move out aren't you?'
'Yes love. I like being on my own. I'm used to it after all and you're only a short step away.'
The garden centre had a children's play area and pets corner with hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils, lambs and donkeys. Some of the pets were for sale and Jeff fell in love with a beautiful white baby rabbit so they ended up buying it for him and also a small hutch. Steve promised to make a bigger one and a run for it when it got older.
'We could have something like this at our place.' he said. 'It might be nice for the children but we do have a lot to do.'
'I reckon Gyp would help out.'
'We'll see!'
'What are you going to call your bunny Jeff?' asked Milly.
'Sugga.'
'Do you mean Sugar luv?' Jeff nodded and Steve breathed a sigh of relief when Dora smiled and said. 'That's a lovely name darling. Sugar is white isn't it?'
'Sweet.' he said.
'Clever boy!. Sugar is sweet and so is your bunny!'
On Easter Sunday afternoon the Follyfoot clan gathered together by the row of young trees that had been planted on previous occasions. Steve had dug two holes and when Ron asked why there were two trees he explained that according to the garden centre these two species of tree cross pollinated well and everyone accepted it. Everyone put a shovel of earth round the trees even little Jeff with his seaside spade and bowed their heads in silence thinking private thoughts. They began to drift away leaving Dora and Steve alone Jeff had gone back with Bert and Milly. 'Goodbye our litle Laurie. We'll always think of you when April comes.' said Dora. Amongst Slugger's possessions they had found some British Legion wooden crosses which he had kept from various remembrance days. They had written his name on one and planted it in the grass near the headstone which bore the colonels name and they did the same under one of the trees they had just planted, When his grave has settled we'll put one there too and when we buy our poppies each year we'll buy three new crosses- a fitting tribute to an old soldier.' said Steve. 'Now to happier things I've got something for you at the bungalow. Hand in hand they walked through the woods. The birds were singing. Dora suddenly stopped 'Look Steve -violets! How lovely. I've never seen them in these woods before.' An Easter surprise. New growth. Life goes on.'
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Offline loopylin

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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2012, 12:04:53 AM »
Dora sat down at her dressing table and fingered Steve's Easter gift to her, A charm for her gold bracelet in the form of an Easter egg which opened to reveal a chick inside. She loved the way he took such care to seek out special charms for her and decided that one day she'd make a list of them and the occasions they were bought to show to Jeff and hopefully one day their little girl.On Easter Sunday Vi had invited them for tea - Bert and Milly too and the decision had been made that Bert would move into the farmhouse. Dora was still rather puzzled as to why he wanted to go. He had said he would enjoy being able to chat to George but she had a feeling that was not the whole story. He was going to use Slugger's old upstairs bedroom and the study was going to revert to being used as a TV room with a put- you -up for use if necessary and George was doing some much needed re-decoration prior to Bert moving in. Bert's old car had finally given up the ghost and he didn't feel he needed to replace it. There were plenty of people who could drive him if he needed to go anywhere or he could take a taxi. Steve was grooming Alex one  morning when Bert sought him out. 'Steve-I have another hospital appointment next week. If I get a taxi there would you come and pick me up?'
'When is it? I'll drive you there too.'
'No it's okay. I'll be some time and there's no point you hanging about so it'd mean going to Leeds and back twice.'
'I don't mind- and I think you and I need to have a man to man chat.'
'Wednesday at 10 o'clock.'
'No problem.'
'Thanks son-I'll leave you to it. Got a couple of phone calls to make- can I use your office phone? Milly's got some of her W.I. ladies coming over for a meeting in a few minutes- best I keep out of their way!'
Jeff was in his playpen and Dora was doing the laundry when Bert went in and explained about the phonecalls. 'Haven't spoken to Kath for a while and I'd better tell her about the move.' As she passed the office on her way to the airing cupboard Dora heard Bert speaking in a raised voice which was very unusual for him. 'I've said no and I mean no! '
Dora hurried away not wanting to hear more.That afternoon Dora took Jeff down to the village as a young parents club had started in the church hall and she thought it would be good for him to start mixing with other children. He seemed to enjoy himself more than she did as she told Steve later but she said perhaps she'd go occasionally. 'P'raps I'll take him sometimes' he said. 'Dad's are allowed I take it?'
'So the notice said- but there weren't any there today. I don't think you'd enjoy it Steve. All those ladies talking about girlie things and babies.' Dora had learned that not all of the mums there had husbands and could imagine Steve causing one or two eyes to flutter.Steve grinned- 'Oh I don't know- I might learn something!' Dora realised he was teasing her and threw one of Jeff's plastic building bricks at him. He deftly caught it and she ducked behind the sofa in case he threw it back but instead he sneaked round behind her and they ended up rolling around the floor laughing as they had not done since their time of heartbreak.
The next meeting of the parents club was the Tuesday before Bert's appointment and Dora decided she might as well go. The talk that day was about an outbreak of German measles all of them anxious that no pregnant mums were present in case any of the children were carrying the disease. 'My friend's pregnant' she said. When they found out how far advanced the pregnancy was they said it was okay as she would have been tested and vaccinated against it if necessary so Dora breathed a sigh of relief.
Next day Steve kissed her and Jeff goodbye after breakfast and drove off with Bert.
'Tell me why you really want to live at Follyfoot Bert.' he said.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2012, 11:54:02 PM »
'When it was arranged that I stay with Milly I said that when I needed nursing I would go into a hospice. I've not reached that point yet but I haven't felt too well these past few weeks and I've a feeling today's tests will not go too well. I need to begin to gently ease out of Milly's life. I've grown very fond of her and I'll miss not sharing my meals with her and the meals we both have with you and Dora. It's been just like having my own family.'
'Bert- have you talked this through properly with Milly? I know she's fond of you too. We'll miss you too especially Jeff who doesn't understand where his uncle Slugger is now he won't see as much of you.
'I'll still be close enough to visit and you can all come to see me at the farm-like you did Slugger. I'm very fond of you Steve but I don't want to become a burden.' Steve sighed. He knew that Milly was more upset about this move than she'd let on to Bert. She liked his company. They had arrived at the hospital. 'Ring Copper's Rest' when you're ready to come home. Dora's not going out today- Jeff's a bit off colour.' Steve sat for a while before driving off not at all sure now if Bert's move was the right thing for him or Milly. An ambulance came speeding into the grounds and was met outside A and E by a medical team. Steve saw a man he recognised come running across the car park and got out of the car. 'Everything okay Mike?' he called to the man who was a garage mechanic from the village. Mike shook his head. 'It's Mandy- they think she might have meningitis.' He hurried on and Steve called after him 'Hope all goes well mate- we'll be thinking of you.' When he got home he found Dora had called the doctor as Jeff seemed really unwell. He agonised over whether he should tell her about Mandy- Dora had mentioned Mick's wife and eighteen month old son Joshua attended the parents group. He hadn't been home long before Jeff was violently sick. 'He can't have German measles- he's been vaccinated' said Dora. Steve carried him to the bathroom to clean him up and searched his body for signs of a rash but saw none. The doctor didn't arrive until early afternoon by which time Jeff was dozing fitfully. He examined him thoroughly. 'His tummy seems a bit tender- there's another bug going round.'
'He's been mixing with other children at the parent group' said Steve. 'I saw Mike Carter at the hospital....'
'Jeff doesn't have a rash Steve. I'm sure he doesn't have meningitis'
'Meningitis' screamed Dora. 'who's got meningitis- not Joshua?'
'No- his sister Mandy' said Steve.
'Why the hell didn't you tell me when you got home. You know we were with Jenny and Josh yesterday. I'd have taken Jeff straight to the hospital if I'd known.' She pummelled Steve's chest with her fists. 'Take it easy Dora.'said Dr. Stevens. 'Jeff has the symptoms of the juvenile enteritis bug. Keep an eye on him and if he gets worse ring the surgery. The hospital does not need panicky parents clogging up A and E. We're on red alert at the surgery and all the staff are on call.' Jeff sat up suddenly 'Loo!' he cried and Steve scooped him up. The doctor followed. 'There we are- another symptom of the enteritis' he said. 'Just give him sips of water for the next few hours and I'll leave you a prescription. Unless you call us before someone will pop in tomorrow.'He washed his hands and picked up his bag stopping for a moment to pat Dora on the shoulder. 'Try not to worry my dear. This is a nasty little bug that should be over in a day or so.' Jeff had dozed off again on Steve's shoulder and he laid him gently down on the settee beside Dora who was crying softly. 'I'm sorry I shouted Steve.'
'It's okay girl- it's only natural that you were worried.' A car drew up outside and Steve looked out and saw Bert getting out of a taxi. He remembered the phone had rung earlier when Dora was comforting Jeff and he'd gone outside for a few minutes. Bert said he had rung but it didn't matter. 'How did it go?' asked Steve.
'Test results still show I'm in remission. I feel fine now.'
'When Jeff's better I reckon we should all sit down for another chat about you moving out Bert.' said Steve. Jeff opened his eyes and smiled. 'Hello uccle Bert-I been sick!'
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Offline loopylin

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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2012, 12:13:59 AM »
'Do you think George and Vi  will mind if I put off my move. George has gone to a lot of trouble.'
'I'm sure it'll be fine.' said Steve.
'And what about Milly?' Dora gave him a little push.
'Go and tell her your good news and ask her!' she said. As Bert hurried away she looked at Steve and said 'Do you think....'
'I dunno girl-wait and see!
When Milly heard the news with her face wreathed in smiles she said 'That must be a weight off your mind luv.'
'It is that. Do you mind if I give you a hug?' Milly shook her head and Bert enveloped her in his arms. Keeping them round her he said 'So as I've got a stay of execution do you think you can put up with me a bit longer. I needn't go to Follyfoot yet.'
'Why do you need to go at all?'
'To make it easier when I have to move to the hospice.'
'Do you think it would have made it easier on us all if Slugger had died in a hospice?'
'No- but that was different. He'd lived at Follyfoot for years, Dora and Steve would never have let him go.'
'What if I said I don't want you to go- that I want to look after you with the help of Steve and the others and the professional nurses. I wouldn't want you to move 50 miles away where I was dependant on other people to drive me to see you.'
'I wouldn't expect you to visit me.'
'Look however nice the hospice is we wouldn't want you to die alone amongst strangers.'
'It's a lovely hospice-I've visited it a few times...'
Stop! I don't want to hear this! ' Milly put her handkerchief to her eyes and turned from him. He put his arm round her shoulders. 'There luv-don't take on!'
Milly turned round and faced him her brown eyes, so like those of her nephew still full of tears. 'I nursed me mother right up to the end. Those last few months we spent together were really special and I've got lots of happy memories as well as some sad ones.'
'That's different Milly- your mother was a lady and there's certain things a lady can do for another lady that she can't do for a man unless she's a nurse or his wife.'
'Then we could get married.'
'It's not a leap year Milly! I'd be honoured to marry you, I really would but I made a promise to Kathy that when I die I'll leave her well provided for. Everything is being left to Steve on the understanding that Kathy receives a monthly allowance during her lifetime and afterwards anything left is for Jeff and any other children Steve and Dora may have, I'd have nothing to leave you!'
'Ee yer daft  'apporth, I don't need your money. I've a nice little nest egg put away from the sale of my bungalow. I'm sorry if I spoke out of turn about us getting wed. I know you'd marry Kathy tomorrow if she'd have you.'
'That's where you're wrong lass. I phoned her before I went to the hospital and told her I thought the cancer had flared up again. She asked me to let her have a few thousand pounds to renovate and re-furnish the flat and buy a new wardrobe of clothes-after all she said- you want me to be well turned out for your funeral.'
'Eh Bert luv- she never did!'
'As true as I stand here she did. Got really stroppy with me when I said No. I tell you any romantic thoughts I had about Kathy are buried in the past. But what about your Brian love?'
'He'd want me to be happy and you make me happy Bert Lane. I so want to store up some happy memories with you but if you don't think it'll work out I'll understand.'
Bert dropped down onto one knee.  'Milly Robinson- will you marry me for better or worse?'
'I will!'
'Goodness knows what the younguns'll think. Two people of our age who've never married suddenly deciding to tie the knot. They'll have a good laugh I reckon! By the way I know I should have said this earlier- I do love you Milly and I hope we'll have some happiness before.... '
'Sh- i know i'm not as old as you but anything can happen- I might go first. And I love you too .'
'Let's put Kathy's nose out of joint by splurging out money on a romantic honeymoon.'
'Don't be like that. I can't go anywhere foreign cos I don't have a passport. We could go to Bridlington.'
Bert roared with laughter. ' Steady on- we might even make it to Blackpool. Let's make it soon and have a quiet do eh?'
'Are we inviting Kathy?'
'No- we'll tell her after the event. I don't want her spoiling our special day. Now let's go tell the family.'
Steve lifted his aunt into the air when he heard the news. 'Put me down you daft young beggar!' she exclaimed. Steve did so and pumped Bert's hand- and Dora? She cried.! >76<
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Offline loopylin

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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2012, 12:08:25 AM »
Milly and Bert went together to tell George and Vi that he wouldn't after all be needing to live at Follyfoot. Their apologies were waved away. 'The redecorations needed doing anyway' said George. Like Milly Vi was a member of the Women's Institute. 'This'll be something to tell the girls, Milly!  I've just thought of someat- you might need to move in here for a few weeks Bert. Can't have you living under the same roof as Milly before the wedding can we?'
Milly blushed. 'Oh but everyone knows we've been living together and that it's all perfectly innocent!'
'There's a few in the WI that might be a bit put out Milly- the Derwent sisters for example.'
'They only come to a few meetings.'
'Yes but Cecily Laithwaite keeps them up to date with all the scan- news!'
The problem was solved by Milly moving back in with Steve and Dora before she and Bert saw the vicar. Rev Carmichael smiled benignly at them. 'A month's not long to organise a wedding.'
It's going to be a very quiet do.' said Milly.
Hazel was making the wedding cake but there was not going to be a reception. Instead the wedding guests were having lunch at The Blacksmith's Arms which had a private room for hire. Bert organised everything and booked a honeymoon in secret. Milly tried to guess where he was taking her. 'It's by the sea' was all Bert would say except it wasn't Bridlington or Blackpool.
It was a bright, sunny May morning when Millicent Constance Robinson and Albert Edward Lane were married. The ladies of the WI had decorated the church and turned out in force to support the happy couple. Milly, wearing a dove grey two piece entered the church on Steve's arm to the strains of Jerusalem. She was attended by Vi in an outfit of pale lilac.
Bert stood proudly beside George waiting to greet her. Sitting on Dora's knee Jeff tried his hardest to eat the fern of her buttonhole. After he had performed his role and given the bride away Steve slipped into the pew beside Dora and shook his head at Jeff.
In Liverpool Kathy wondered why she got no reply from Milly, Steve or Follyfoot.It was really unusual that no-one was there. Later Bert telephoned her from Llandudno. 'Hello siter-in law!' he said. 'Milly and I were married today and we've just arrived on the train from Leeds. I hope you're happy to have me in the family.'
'Put my sister on the phone!' demanded Kathy. Milly took the receiver and before Kathy could say a word she said. 'I don't care what you think Kath- this is the happiest day of my life.'
'Well Milly- you've made your bed and now you have to lay on it!'
Milly smiled shyly at Bert 'Yes Kathy- but I'll be sharing it with the man I love.'
Kathy slammed down the receiver. 'Stupid idiots!' She poured herself a large gin and added a small amount of tonic. 'To the joys of a single life' she said raising her glass to her lips and downing the drink in two swallows .She picked up the phone again and dialled Steve.
'Hello son- I'd like to pay you a visit and be there to welcome the happy honeymooners home- what do you say?'
'You're welcome to stay at Follyfoot mum. You can have Slugger's old bedroom.'
Kathy made a noise of disapproval but said 'I'll let you know when I'm coming so you can  pick me up from the station.'
'Oh mate! Why do I sense trouble ahead.' said Steve.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2012, 12:19:17 AM »
On the day before Milly and Bert arrived back home their new double bed was delivered. Dora went in to make it and put a vase of spring flowers on the dressing table. As she was about to leave the post was delivered. There was a letter marked 'Urgent' addressed to Bert and she left it on top of the pile that had accumulated while Milly and Bert had been away.
'I suppose I'd better go and pick up my mother' said Steve.
'On no account must we let her in next door whatever her excuse. There's no telling what she might get up to.'
Kathy lost no time in trying her luck. 'I've bought Milly and Bert a housewarming present. It's an electric blanket. I'll go and put it on the bed so they can be nice and warm tonight.'
'No- don't do that mum. give it to them in person. It'll be much nicer and they might not feel they need it now the weather's getting warmer.'
'Well how about I go in tomorrow and put a nice casserole in the oven for them. You know I make a good chicken casserole.'
Hazel's cooking and we're having a bit of a welcome home party here for them. Just us, Hazel and Ben, George and Vi, Ron and Teri and  you too of course mum!'
'Hmm- no partner for me then?'
'You can have Jeff.'
'Thanks a bunch. Where am I eating tonight- with you?'
'No Vi's cooking and you'll be able to get to know her and George.'
'I'll come with you when you meet the train tomorrow' said Kathy.
'I'm going in a bit early mum. I have to go to the bank and there's always a queue.'
'That's okay. I'll have a look round the shops and meet you at the station in time for the train's arrival.'
Steve was tempted to drive off without her but decided against it. In the car she said 'Could you let me have a bit of money Steve? I've had a lot of expenses lately and the train fare wasn't cheap.'
This was no more than Steve had expected and when he parked the car he handed her £i0.
She looked at him in disgust. 'Sorry mum. I haven't got a lot of money with me.'
'Well you're going to the bank aren't you?' Steve didn't answer.
'See you at 4 o'clock.' he said.
Milly and Bert were smiling broadly when they got off the train but their smiles disappeared when they saw Kathy. Steve gave them both a welcoming hug and took Milly's case.
Milly went to embrace her sister but Kathy pulled away. She sat in the back with Milly while Bert sat in the front passenger seat.
'Fancy not inviting your own sister to your wedding Milly Robinson!'
'Milly Lane please Kath. I'm proud of my new name.'
'We didn't think it would be your scene Kathy. It was a very quiet affair.' said Bert.
'Hole in the corner stuff eh? Well you can't wonder at it- couple of old fogeys like you two!'
'Mum-please!' interjected Steve. 'It was a lovely wedding- everyone said so. The W.I. turned out in force and made a lovely choir.'
'Ha- the Jam and Jerusalem brigade. Thrills.'
'You see what we mean then Kath. Not your scene at all.' said Bert.
Steve stopped the car at Follyfoot and got out to open Kathy's door.
'I want to come back with you and hear all about the honeymoon.'
'Later mum. Bert and Milly are bound to be a bit tired after the journey.'
'Tired out after two weeks dozing in the hotel lounge.'
'I'll have you know--' began Milly.
'Leave it love. She's only out to stir things.'
'By the way Bert- you've got a letter -from the hospital the stamp says '
'That'll be my next appointment.'
'It's marked urgent.'
'Yeah, they do that sometimes.'
Steve took Milly's case straight into the bedoom. She went to put the kettle on. Bert took the hospital letter from the top of the pile, put it in the inside pocket of his jacket and looked through the rest. 'Bills mainly love. There's a couple that feel like cards.'
'When's your next appointment Bert ?'
'Not for months yet!
'Only I'd like to come with you.'
'The tests take some time- you'd get tired of waiting.'
'I want to be there for you!''
'Ok we'll see.'
Later Milly went for a lie down. 'Are you coming love?'
'Be there in a tick.' Bert opened the letter, read it's contents then tore it into little pieces and put it in the bin outside. Then he went to the calendar and wrote down his appointment for October. Milly was already asleep. Bert took off his jacket and shoes and lay down beside her laying his arm over her and smiling to himself.
Over at Follyfoot Kathy hung up her clothes holding in front of her one of the new outfits she'd bought especially.
'Well my little country mouse of a sister- let's see how you compete with this!'

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Offline loopylin

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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2012, 12:24:50 AM »
Steve sighed as he put down the phone. 'I have to go and get mum. she wont walk from the farm in this weather. I may as well bring Vi and George, they would have walked but since I'm fetching mum I'll bring them too.'
Milly and Bert arrived looking relaxed and happy. Hazel had been in the kitchen for most of the afternoon and delicious smells were wafting into the lounge. Jeff was already in bed. Dora handed Milly a package. 'Steve picked up the proofs of your wedding photos. I hope you don't mind but we had a peak. They're really good. '
Milly and Bert were sitting side by side on the sofa admiring the photographs when Kathy came in followed by the others. 'Take my coat Steve' she said handing it to him. Milly gasped as she saw what Kathy was wearing. It was bright red with a low back, a neckline which was very revealing, and a slit up the side. It was also very short. She leaned over Bert to hand Milly the electric blanket which she hadn't bothered to wrap. Ron and Teri had arrived and Ron gave a low whistle. 'Blimey Kath- that's a nice bit of material, what there is of it. '
'Supper's ready' announced Hazel. The table looked amazing set with all the plates and dishes in Wedgewood blue  which Dora had always loved when she dined at her uncle's house  so she had kept it after he died, The cutlery and glasses had been lovingly polished and sparkled in the light of the magnificent candle centrepiece which had belonged to the former owner of Copper's Rest now known as Steve's Auntie Jane.
'EE you've gone to a lot of trouble' said Milly.
Kathy engineered it so she sat on one side of Bert. Milly looked demure in her sensible navy skirt, pale blue twinset and a double row of pearls which had been Bert's wedding gift to her. Kathy did her best to keep Bert's attention on her leaning across him occasionally to make a remark to Milly. When Dora, Hazel and Vi began to clear the table Milly roce to make coffee. Bert sat on an armchair knowing if he sat on a sofa Kathy was bound to sit beside him. She went and picked up the proofs, took them over to where he sat and perched on the arm of his chair feigning great interest in the pictures and getting him to talk about them. When Ron lit a cigarette she asked for one too. Teri glared at him. He was not supposed to smoke indoors, 'Sorry luv- I forgot' he said. The usually laid back Ron was feeling very uncomfortable. He could sense that Steve was seething and Bert was embarrassed. He stubbed his cigarette out in the ash tray that lived on the coffee table then haded it to Kathy. 'If you don't mind Mrs. Ross. I'm pregnant.'
'Yes dear I can see that.' She made no attempt to extinguish the cigarette so Steve took it from her and did so. 'If you want to smoke you'll have to do it outside'
'In the rain- no way.'
'I think it's time we were going Ron. I'm rather tired. We'd love to look at your pictures another time Bert.'
When the clearing away and washing up was all done everyone else left leaving Kathy still trying to monopolise Bert. Milly had always been quiet and polite but her sister was really annoying her. 'Why don't you come next door for a bit Kathy, Y'aven't seen our wedding presents and I expect you'll be wanting to get off back to Liverpool and your friends tomorrow. You stay here for a bit Bert love. Kathy and I are going to have a nice sisterly chat, one we should have had ages ago.'
Kathy was all set to argue but Steve said 'Go on mum, I'll drive you back when you're ready.'
Inside her neat little home Milly took a deep breath. 'Now listen to me Kathy Ross. When we were growing up you were the one with all the boyfriends. You even set your bonnet at my Brian but he wasn't having a bar of you. You left all the housework to me while you went off gallivanting every night. My mother despaired of you-then you took up with Steve's dad and he took you in hand and we thought you'd changed for good but when he died you didn't lose much time in getting back yo your old ways. Bert was the next person to try and take you in hand. He kept you out of trouble as best he could. You kept on going off to try your hand at other jobs but you'd get drunk and it would affect your work and then you'd be back with Bert again. You made it clear that you weren't interested in walking out with him. He told me he nearly washed his hands of you several times but he thought so much of you that he let you treat him as a meal ticket. when he met Steve he couldn't believe that someone like you could have a son like him.'
'Oh yes! Right little paragon of virtue. His last school was approved!'
'One mistake and that was sticking up for an abusede horse. Anyway now you've seen me happy with Bert all of a sudden you want to take him from me- I suppose it's the money you're interested in.' Bert had come into the room and could not believe the way Milly was standing up to Kathy. 'You needn't worry Kath.' he said. 'I've not altered my will and Milly knows I don't intend to. You'll still be well provided for when I'm gone. As I've said before Steve will be in overall charge of the money and you'll still get your allowance. Now i want you to go away and leave me in peace with my lovely wife. You might have the looks but she's lovely inside and you're not. Oh and by the way- thanks for the electric blanket but i don't think we'll be needing it.!
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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2012, 10:41:03 PM »
Kathy returned to Liverpool the next day and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Milly went outside to tend her plants in the greenhouse. Bert had just gone to take her a cup of tea when Steve arrived with a card from one of Milly's W.I. friends who had missed the wedding.The telephone rang and as Bert apparently hadn't heard Steve answered it and took a message. 'That was the hospital Bert wondering why you haven't been in contact with them about the letter they sent you. It was just your next appointment wasn't it?'
Bert looked out of the window to see that Milly was occupied then sat down heavily.
'No Steve- it wasn't. Apparently it is hospital policy to review some people's test results and they reckon someone might have made a mistake with mine. They want me to make another appointment to be sure which result is right-I already have my appointment for October so I'm going to wait until then.'
'But that's months away.'
'Just look at my Milly Steve. She's so happy. I love watching her outside with her plants or pottering  about in the kitchen making scones and buns. I don't want to spoil her happiness yet. I don't want to have more painful treatment that will only prolong things. I'd just as soon let nature take its course. Promise me you wont say anything to anyone Steve. Let this stay our secret.'
'It's a hard thing you're asking Bert. Don't you think you should be honest with Milly so that she can share everything with you- that's what marriage is all about.'
'If I start to feel worse then we'll see but I'm happy too. I reckon that after all those years trying to win Kath's affection I should be able to enjoy my marriage for a few weeks- if not months.'
'Okay I wont say anything for the moment at least.' He went to have morning tea with Dora who had just replaced the telephone receiver herself. 'Steve- you're not going to believe this. Your mother has had a bad fall outside the railway Station in Liverpool. She's broken her leg.'
'Oh mate what are we going to do? Her new flat is up two flights of stairs.'
'I suppose we're going to have to have her to stay here. It's not fair on Vi and George to expect them to take care of her.'
'We've got to ring the hospital later on to see how she is.'
Milly came in her face glowing and began to enthuse about how well the plants were coming on. 'Do you want me to start the lunch love?' she asked. 'I'm all nice and clean now.'
When neither Steve nor Dora answered immediately she looked from one to the other.
'Ee whatever's wrong? You two look like you've lost a shilling and found threepence.'
Steve smiled in spite of how things were. Milly had never quite got used to decimal coins and to her five pence was still a shilling. They sat her down and told her the news.
'Well- I've got a spare room now. She'll just have to stay with me and Bert!'
Kathy had been in high dudgeon when Steve drove her to the railway station saying that Milly had been unkind to her. His aunt had admitted giving her sisterr a piece of her mind-no less than she deserved she reckoned. 'Are you sure that's what you want?'
'Nay lad and 'twont be what she wants either but she's not being a burden at Follyfoot and she's not going to cause trouble to the pair of you. Me mind's made up. I'll go tell Bert. You just let me know when she'll be coming. I now know I can handle Kathy Ross.'
Steve wondered what Bert was going to think. His mother was enough to make a healthy man like him feel ill sometimes. What would her presence do to poor Bert?
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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2012, 12:26:32 AM »
Bert was in a bad mood. Milly had gone off with Steve to pack some things for Kathy and pick her up from hospital. To say he and Milly had had words would be an understatement. 'If she's moving in, I'm moving out' he said in a final effort to change Milly's mind.
'You mun do as you please-but when all's said and done she is still my sister!'
'And what would she have done if the plaster cast had been on your leg eh?'
'You've had your say Bert. I'm going now and I hope you'll be in a better frame of mind when I get back!!!' Once outside she took a deep breath of fresh air. 'Married but a few weeks and already he's threatening to walk out on me.' She turned and looked regretfully at the door which she had just banged shut longing to go back and at least have a goodbye hug but Steve was coming over to take her bag, They were staying overnight in a hotel and picking athy up in the morning. Inside Bert too was regretting letting Milly go off like that but by the time he'd made up his mind to try to smooth things over the car had gone and he was left to his thoughts. He wouldn't move out, he hoped Milly knew that but their little Utopia was about to be turned into purgatory of thaat he was sure.
Kathy Ross did not want to spend weeks in the back of beyond but she had a cunning plan. If she made everyone's life a misery then maybe they would pay for her to stay at a convalescent home. She put her plan into action as soon as Steve and Milly walked through the ward doors. 'What time do you call this. Visiting time started 10 minutes ago.'
'Sorry mum. I bumped into that police officer I got to know when I came looking for you. He'd just been interviewing someone who'd been assalted and robbed.'
'Did you bring me any chocolates?'
'There's no point. We're taking you home tomorrow.'
'Well- and here's me thinking that you'd brink me a nice box of All Gold. You know they're my favourites. Can you just go down to the shop and get me some Steve?'
'Shop's closed mum.'
'Probably only been shut for a few minutes. If you'd been here on time...'
'Stop your mithering Kathy. We'll get you some chocolates tomorrow.'
'Mind you're here early. I can't stand much more of this place.'
'We'll come as soon as we've had breakfast.'
'Huh- and what do I get? Lumpy cold porridge and burnt toast!'
'I'll mek it up to you later in the week luv' said Milly.
'And we'll stop for a nice lunch on the way home.' said Steve.
'I can't manage to walk far on those damn crutches.'
'It's okay. we've borrowed a wheelchair from the Red Cross in Leeds.'
'Well I hope it's a decent one- not a blinkin' boneshaker.'
And so it went on all through visiting, on the journey home, over lunch and when they arrived. Bert fixed a smile of welcome on his face which was soon wiped off as Kathy said acidly 'You still here Bert? I thought she'd have driven you to drink by now!'
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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2012, 12:44:22 AM »
Steve went to fetch fish and chips for tea, Kathy wrinkled up her nose as Milly set the meal out on plates. 'I don't fancy fish tonight. Have you got a piece of ham I can have with me chips'
'Sorry love- but I could do you a bit of egg and bacon t'have with it if you like.'
'That would be nice!'
'Well you just eat the chips for now and you can have the rest later.' said Bert. 'I'm not having Milly let her food get cold. You've never turned your nose up at fish and chips before.'
Kathy looked daggers at him and viciously stabbed a chip. Bert made as if to remove the fish from her plate. 'I'll have it if you don't want it!' Kathy picked up the tomato ketchup and covered the fish in it knowing full well that Bert only liked brown sauce on fish.
Milly sighed. 'No-one's going to want that now!'
The evening went from bad to worse. Milly cooked bacon and egg and Kathy complained that the bacon was too crisp and the egg yolk hard- she preferred it runny. Bert took the dishes to wash up not noticing Kathy had put her handbag right in his way. He caught his foot in the handle and stumbled slightly, two plates slipped through his fingers and smashed. They were part of a set of Willow pattern that Milly had had in her hope chest.
'I'm sorry love' he said as tears ran down her cheeks. She brushed them away hastily and gave him a watery smile. 'It's okay- accidents happen.'
'Well you've had those old things years!'said Kathy as Milly sadly surveyed the broken pieces before putting the in the bin.
'Steve's asked me to go down to the pub for a drink' said Bert. 'Wont be long.' He kissed Milly and glared at Kathy. 'Don't you go causing Milly bother!'
Milly cleared away and made a pot of tea. 'I'll have coffee' said Kathy and watched as Milly put in the milk.
'Black'
Sighing Milly tipped it out and started again. ' I suppose you'd like a biscuit too.'
'Fig bars would be nice!'
' Well you'll have to mek do with bourbons or custard creams. That's all there is!'
'You could go and ask Dora. My Steve's very partial to fig bars.'
'It's raining hard out there'
'Well you're only going next door. You won't shrink.'
When Milly got back with half a packet of biscuits the contents of Kathy's coffee cup were spilled all over her lovely beige and brown carpet. Milly got down on her hands and knees and worked on the stain while Kathy munched all the remaining biscuits.
'I'll have another cup now!'
Milly handed her a fresh cup of black coffee. 'I'll have milk!'
By the time Bert got back Milly was ready to scream with frustration. She had just wheeled Kathy into the bathroom so she could wash.' In all the years I nursed my poor mother she never gave me the bother that Kathy's giving. She's now saying she wants Steve to drive us into Leeds tomorrow so we can push her round the shops!'
When Steve heard this he forbade Milly or Bert to push the chair any distance. He and Dora drove Kathy and Jeff into the city the next afternoon. Steve pushed his mother and Dora pushed Jeff's buggy. He hoped it would give Bert and Milly  a few peaceful hours but when Milly went into Kathy's room to make her bed she found biscuit crumbs in the sheets and sweet papers strewn on the floor obviously from a stash that Kathy had bought in the cafe shop on the way home. A sticky ring  from a Lucozade bottle was on the bedside cabinet. Milly sat and wept. She said nothing to Bert merely cleaned up the mess, stripped the bed and remade it with clean linen. When Steve pushed Kathy back she was carrying a supermarket bag. 'If you've got biscuits and things in there you're not to take them into your room. I've spent hours cleaning up in there after you!'
'Well I can't do it, can I?'
A week passed with Kathy making life as difficult as possible for everyone but for Milly in particular. At the end of that time Bert said:
 'I give in Steve, I'll pay for her to go to a convalescent home.'
'

will continue this tomorrow-tiredness has struck!
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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2012, 10:40:49 AM »
continued
'We'll go halves' said Dora.'We just need to find a suitable place.'
'Oh she knows where she wants to go' said Steve 'Magnolia Lodge' Evidently it's set in it's own grounds on the outskirts of Liverpool.Her friend Martha evidently spent some time there last year,'
'It's about the most expensive place she could have chosen but it'll be worth every penny!' said Bert. Kathy had the number readily available and for the first time in her stay smiled as Steve picked up the phone. 'Well mum you're booked in for a month but not until next Thursday, they're full up at the moment!'
They hoped that now she had got her way Kathy would treat them all with more kindness but it was not to be.
'If I'm going to a nice place like that I need some new nighties, dressing gown and slippers so I'll need to go shopping again.'
Vi and George regularly went to Harrogate on Fridays and to give everyone a break they volunteered to take Kathy but came back with nothing except expensive toiletries.
'Those shops didn't have anything decent- we'll have to go to Leeds!'
Dora knew the shops better than Milly so she went with Steve and left Milly and Bert in charge of Jeff. Milly insisted that this time she would provide the money. Neither dora or Steve really liked trailing round the shops but they gritted their teeth and consoled themselves with the thought that there were only three days to go. Three days when the normally genial Bert went round with a permanent scowl on his face, Milly looked worn out all the time and Steve and Dora snapped at each other at the slighteset provocation disturbing Jeff who was normally a good natured child but now was given to grizzling for no reason. The night before Kathy's departure Steve and dora walked down to the lake after Jeff had been put to bed. Milly sat in their lounge with her knitting but soon fell into a light doze. The night was humid and thunder rumbled in the distance. '
'It's a shame you have to drive to Liverpool again tomorrow' said Dora. 'Are you sure you don't want someone to go with you?'
'No- she's caused everyone enough grief- I just want to get her out of their way!'
'What if she needs the loo?'
'She'll have to cross her legs- don't worry, we'll manage. I'm sorry I've been in such a mood lately love.'
Me too but it's Jeff I feel really sorry for. We'll have to be extra loving towards him when your mum's gone. It's so peaceful here, just what we needed!'
'Yes- but we'd best be getting back I think it's the calm before the storm the storm it's getting closer.' continued next page
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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2012, 11:11:15 AM »
continued
They walked back slowly hand in hand stopping a couple of times to share a kiss then running as the lightning got closer and they heard the sound of raised voices coming from the annexe, the windows were all wide open.
'You're a miserable old skinflint Bert Lane! I need money while I'm staying at Magnolia Lodge. They've got their own little shop and Martha says the staff are willing to shop for you and they'll even wheel you down to the local pub. I'm not on any drugs so it's okay.'
'I'm quite prepared to give you some spending money but not that much. I don't spend even half that much in a month!'
'No well you wouldn't dare would you. Milly wouldn't like it. Got you right under her thumb she has!'
Bert looked with disgust at the woman he once thought he loved and realised not for the first time what a lucky escape he'd had.
'Don't you talk about her like that' he thundered. 'After all she's done for you while you've been here with not a word of thanks. You need to start helping yourself more. You've got crutches- you'd better start using them instead of sitting on your backside all day and being pushed everywhere!' He stood looking down at her, anger in his eyes.'
'Use my crutches you say- yes I can do that!' She picked one up and aimed it at him jabbing him viciously in the stomach. Bert staggered back and as a horrified Steve ran in
Bert retrieved the crutch and lifted it high above his head. Milly who hads followed Steve screamed and Steve yelled 'Bert- no!' managing to wrest the crutch from him with difficulty.
Bert staggered outside. The storm had broken and the rain lashed down. Bert was in shirt sleeves and carpet slippers. Milly made to go after him. 'No- you'll get soaked. I'll go' said Steve. 'I'm not stopping here with her!'
'Go in and stay with Dora.'
'What about me- you can't leave me here by myself. He might come back and murder me.'
Restraining himself from saying something he might regret Steve said
' I'll lock you in. You'll be okay.'
He draped a coat over Milly's head and hurried her next door securing the yale lock as he went knowing they had a key. Sensibly he stopped to put on his heavy wet weather gear and unhooked Dora's from its peg. Outside he stopped wondering which direction Bert had taken. A flash of lightning caught him as he half staggered towards the lake and Steve's young legs soon covered the ground between them. Milly sat huddled in an armchair and Dora held a small glass of brandy out to her. She refused to touch it. Dora called the farmhouse and alerted George. When Steve caught up with him Bert  looked at the younger man through red rimmed eyes, clutched his stomach and collapsed against him. From Follyfoot George and Ron came running and they were all horrified to see that the handkerchief Bert clutched was stained with blood.
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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2012, 09:47:52 PM »
An angry whirlwind that was Steve stormed into Milly's lounge grabbing Kathy's coat from its peg on the way. He put it on her, bundled her into the wheelchair and without a word pushed her next door and into the spare bedroom calling to Dora on the way to take Milly home and fetch Kathy's crutches. He breathed in a few calming breaths of damp night air before going back himself A few minutes later George and Ron took Bert in. Milly gasped as she saw the blood.
 'Don't worry love, it's only a nosebleed-bumped into a tree in the dark ' said Bert.
'I'll run you a bath mate' said Steve. 'I think we can manage okay thanks' he said to the others.
'If he does need to go to hospital let me know and I'll take him' said George.
'You need to be fresh for your drive in the morning.' After Ron and George had gone and Dora was back indoors Steve helped Bert get undressed and into the bath saying to Milly
'You'd best put his pyjamas in the airing cupboard.' He had to smile to himself when he heard Milly say softly 'I'll have to find them first!' Steve was relieved that other than his nose Bert had no other visible injuries.
'Let me know when you want to get out' he said leaving the door ajar and leaving Bert to bathe in peace.He put the kettle on then told Milly he was going home to make sure Kathy wasn't causing Dora any trouble.
'I've leant her a nightie and got her into bed' said Dora. 'She keeps saying she didn't mean to hit Bert, just to pretend. Says she's sorry and that she felt really scared that Bert would kill her with the crutch.' Steve marched into the bedroom without knocking. Kathy was sitting up in bed sobbing noisily.
'You can shut that racket up as soon as you like.'
'I could have been killed tonight!'
''And I'd have testified that it was self defence! Given Bert's medical condition you could have killed him and that would have meant a manslaughter if not a murder charge. As it is he could have you charged with assault.'
'Why didn't you let me stay and apologise?'
'I needed to keep you away from Milly. I have never seen her so angry as when I brought her in here earlier. Maybe things'll be calmer in the morning and you can apologise then- but be warned I want to be away from here soon after breakfast. I'm going to go and collect the rest of your things now so get some sleep.'
'I want a hot drink and some painkillers.'
Steve left the bedroom slamming the door shut. He banged his fist against the closed door then drew it to his mouth in a gesture that Dora recognised as accompanying the aftermath of distress or the red mist. His hair was wet with rain and clung damply to his face. Dora took a towel and gently mopped at it.
'I need to get back next door. Could you take mother a hot drink and a couple of painkillers?' Dora nodded as he left her once more returning an hour later with Kathy's suitcase and the news that Bert was looking better and was in bed.'
Breakfast next day was eaten in relative silence . Jeff was sitting at the table and looked puzzled because his parents were not chatting to him and each other as much as they normally did.He tried all sorts of antics to try and make them smile with little success. His grandmother kept blowing her nose noisily. Steve had been in to check on Bert who said he felt almost back to normal and that he'd prefer not to have a meeting with Kathy.
'You can tell my sister that lucky for her my Bert hasn't got a nasty bone in his body so there won't be any police involvement over last night.'
Bert handed him an envelope.
'You'd best give her this- money for her needs at Magnolia Lodge. It was what started all the fuss last night. I wish I'd just given it to her and saved us all a lot of hassle.'
'Stay calm and drive safely' urged Dora as they said their farewells before he got in the car for the return journey to Liverpool.'
'Don't worry sweetheart- a good night's sleep did me the power of good.' He gave her a knowing wink, kissed her lovingly and ruffled Jeff's hair.
'Take care of mummy for me JR.'


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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2012, 10:37:16 PM »
Kathy kept up a stream of complaints throughout the first part of the journey until fed up with listening Steve pulled in to a service station to have a coffee. Kathy declined saying it was muck from those places. Actually Steve agreed. It was scalding hot and tasteless but gave him a few minutes relief from his mother's moans. When he got back in the car he put the radio on.
'Steve- I had a bad night. I was just going to have a doze.'
'I've got the volume on low- if you're going to go to sleep stop your mithering!'
Dora's words about staying calm came back to him and he paused before driving off to look at a mental picture of her as she stood with Jeff to wave him off. He nodded, smiled, said 'I'm okay girl' and readied himself to concentrate on the rest of the journey. Kathy sighed deeply and closed her eyes saying 'I hope they'll have some dinner for me.'
Gyp arrived at Follyfoot after school and offered to help Hazel with the chores. Tony had already left for the day, Ben was at college and Ron had taken Teri for a clinic appointment.With Steve gone too things had got a bit behindhand. Dora had been having afternoon tea with Vi who had given Jeff a piece of dough to keep him amused. Suddenly Hazel came running in-
'Dora- Gyp's spooked Barney. He's got him cornered against the barn wall and I can't handle him. Gyp's panicking.'
'Heaven's' said Dora already running out of the door. 'What did he do?'
'Got hold of Ron's guitar and started singing and carrying on something dreadful. Barney's stall was open and he came out at the run. Gyp ran for it but Barney reared up and scared him. He won't move and Barney's standing guard in case he does.'
Dora approached the disturbed horse making sure he could see her coming.
 'Easy boy, easy! What's the trouble? Did naughty Gyp scare you?'
'He flippin scared me!' yelled Gyp which made Barney snort in disapproval.
'Quiet Gyp.' said Dora firmly keeping her voice low. 'Now you know I won't hurt you don't you? We're friends you and I.' She stroked his nose. 'Let's not be silly anymore eh? You come back to your stall with me and you can have your tea. How does that sound?'
Gradually the horse calmed down and was coaxed back to his quarters allowing Gyp to escape.
'Pick Ron's guitar up and put it away.' said Dora crossly. 'You shouldn't touch it when he's not here'
'Ron don't mind. He's me mate. Where's Steve?'
'He's gone out.' Dora looked at her watch.' Where was Steve? He should be back by now.
'My horse is not too well. Can I ride one of the others today. I've done my chores' said Gyp.
'Alright- take Jellybean. Just a short ride though. You'll need to go home for tea soon.'
She made sure all was well with the other horses and went to fetch Jeff. Ron and Teri pulled up as she came out.
'Everything okay?' she asked.
'Fine' replied Teri.
'Er Steve not back yet?' asked Ron.
'No- I thought he would be by now.'
'Probably got caught up in the traffic after the accident.'
'What accident?'
' Three car pile up in between Leeds and Liverpool. Heard about it on the car radio.'
'What sort of cars?'
'Didn't say love- come on, Steve's a good driver. He'll be okay.'
'Ron I'm going home in case he phones. Gyp's out on Jellybean. I've told him not to be long. Make sure he goes home in good time.'
'Right you are. I'll let you know when he's gone.'
Dora hurried home and put the radio on for the five o'clock news. There was nothing more about the accident other than to say that traffic was still being held up.'
Dora found the number for 'Magnolia Lodge' and was told her husband definitely left around lunchtime. The phone rang around five thirty and a relieved Dora snatched it up.
'Dora- it's Ron. Which way did Gyp go? He's not back yet.I'll have to take the Tiger and go and look for him.'
Dora gave Ron the information he needed then sat down and wept. Where had Gyp got to this time and where oh where was Steve?
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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2012, 11:39:19 PM »
Milly had a telephone in the annexe and leaving Jeff asleep on the settee Dora went to make sure Steve hadn't called her.
'Isn't he back yet love?'
'No- oh Milly, I'm so worried. There's been an accident on the road he would come home on-he could be hurt, Do you think I should ring round the hospitals?'
'It might be an idea. Let's go back to yours in case anyone tries to get in touch. Bert's having a lie down. I'll just tell him where I'll be.'
'Oh Milly- what must you think of me. How is Bert?'
'He's fine.'
Dora had not eaten since lunchtime and despite Milly's pleading would not have even a sandwich. Jeff woke up and wanted his daddy.
'He'll be back later love.' said Milly. 'Now I'll make you your favourite scrambled eggs for tea.'
Dora paced up and down wringing her hands looking at the phone but not daring to ring the
hospital. She was in the bathroom washing her tear stained face when it rang but again it was Ron on the other end telling her that Gyp was safe. Jellybean had hurt his foot and sensibly Gyp had got off to walk. He was nearer to Tony's parents farm than Follyfoor and was making his way slowly there when Ron found him. The horse was now stabled at Tony's and Ron had taken Gyp home on the Tiger. When he heard that Steve had not returned he hurried to the bungalow.
'Uccle Won' cried a delighted Jeff.
'Wotcher mate!' He said swinging him into the air.
'Careful Ron, he's only just had his tea!' said Milly.
'Right- I take it you've not phoned the hospitals?' he said and Dora shook her head.
'I'll use your bedroom extension then' and as Dora made to get up continued 'No- you stay there girl and look after Jeff.'
Ten minutes later he emerged and grabbed Dora's hand. 'Come on girl. Get your coat. Look after Jeff please Milly.'
'Where are we going?'
'Leeds- to see Steve. He's at the hospital.'
'Is he badly hurt?'
'I dunno girl. They wouldn't tell me.'
It was early afternoon when Steve left Magnolia Lodge the first time. Kathy had sent him back to her flat to collect some things she said she couldn't do without although looking at the list Steve did not believe her, Nonetheless he went and collected everything- thankfully Kathy was meticulously tidy and told him exactly where to find everything. Anxious to get home to he family he left them at the reception desk. He decided to head straight for home and not stop for lunch. A few miles along the road he was aware that all was not well with the way the car was behaving. He pulled into a layby and discovered he had a puncture in one of the front tyres. He soon had it fixed. He searched for his sunglasses because the sun was surprisingly bright . The few minutes it took him to locate them may well have saved his life. Just as he was about to pull out out onto the road a car hurtled by at breakneck speed followed by a police car flashing it's lights and sounding it's siren. Then he heard an almighty crash and saw a few hundred yards away that the car had hit a coach travelling in the opposite direction and the police car had run into the back of it. Not stopping to think Steve locked his car and ran to the scene .It all came rushing back to him suddenly in the Accident and Emergency Department of Leeds hospital
'Mr Ross- your wife's here.'
'But how did she know?' It had been an age since he had been brought here and as he was one of the walking wounded they had only just got roud to seeing to him. Everyone had been so busy he hadn't wanted to bother them. He would contact Dora himself' he thought
but the horror of what he had seen affected him so badly that he had not done it and yet here she was- and Ron too.                                                          (continued next page)



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