Author Topic: The rough and the smooth.  (Read 11159 times)

Offline loopylin

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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #45 on: August 29, 2012, 12:32:42 AM »
When he heard her plans Steve could hardly believe his ears. Here was the girl who hated change proposing something he wouldn't have dreamed of.
'How on earth would we pay for all that lot?'
'It wouldn't all happen at once. We could ask my parents. I know we've only just paid back the bridging loan but they don't need it.'
'What about when they come back here. Aren't they talking of buying a place near York?'
'Well they'll get pots for the London house!'
'Your mother won't leave her London set surely?'
'They have talked about getting a flat. Anyway Steve, money aside what do you think?'
'I'd like to have a close look round-especially at the house and of course we would need to talk to Hazel and Ben because they would have to be one hundred per cent in agreement.'
Dora's eyes were sparkling. 'Can we go and look tomorrow?'
'Let's leave it till after the weekend and talk it over lots in the meantime. I can see it would mean a lot to you but it is a big step.'
'The Maddocks Pony Centre' that's what we'll call it!' she said sitting up suddenly in bed the next morning.
Steve rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and yawned.
'It's 5 o'clock girl! Go back to sleep.'
'You can if you want to but I'm going to start putting some ideas down on paper.'
Steve groaned and turned over but sleep eluded him and he found himself beginning to catch Dora's vision which for once didn't involve filling all available stables with unwanted animals. In the end he showered and dressed and found Dora sound asleep in the armchair a beatific smile on her face. He decided to make an early start on their horses.
Next door Milly had also got up early and a delicious smell of baking permeated the annex. Bert had made no protest about her proposed activities for the day saying that David was picking him up to take him to see the district chief minister of his church.He also said he would be making an appointment to see his consultant as soon as possible and that he didn't want her or Steve to go with him. He seemed a little subdued and disappointed that David had not immediately found a project for him to get involved with.
'He has to get to know you first-see where your talents lie' Milly counselled.
The day was fine and Milly came back satisfied with the day but very tired. Bert was not in a good mood. The interview with Miles Broomfield, the District chief minister had given him no satisfaction.
'What do you want to do?' Milly asked.
'I want to train to be a preacher!'
'But that'd take years- and your age is against you.'
'That's why I want to get started. I've been reading my Bible and all the notes I got in Portsmouth and praying but I'm not being taken seriously.'
'You have to take advice Albert. David and Mr. Bloomfield have had a lot of experience.'
'I've a good mind to track down that Rev. Milton. I bet he'd help.'
He rummaged in the bag where he'd put the card he'd been given. There was his name and telephone number and he showed it to Milly.
'But that's in America!'
'That's right--he said he were going back there as soon as he'd finished in Portsmouth.'
'You can't just phone him!'
'If I get no joy from this church here I'll do just that. Mebee he can give me some advice over the phone if not I might just have to take a trip to Texas!'
'Have you got that appointment with Mr. Harper yet?'
'Yes-he'll see me on Tuesday. I've got to have a scan first.'
'Please let me come.'
'No-it's my business. you'll know the outcome soon enough.'
That night Dora dreamed, a lovely dream not one of her nightmares. She'd had similar dreams before. She and Steve were leading two ponies. Jeff was on one and a little girl who looked like her was on the other. This time there was something different. They were not at Follyfoot or the bungalow but in the field behind Bill Chadwick's house. They turned and led the ponies back to the stables through a large gate with a sign which said Maddocks Pony Centre. A girl with a rosy apple face stood in the doorway of a shop selling saddles and other equipment and above the door another sign read 'Sluggers Sundries' Dora thought she recognised the girl although she couldn't think who it was. She woke feeling excited and happy. Steve had agreed they should go to Bill's on Monday and today she was  going to ring and tell him.
They were having lunch when  Hurricane Kathy blew in from Liverpool screaming as soon as she alighted from the taxi. 'Steve-pay the man. I want to see that good for nothing old goat and give him a piece of my mind!' The hurricane blew straight into Milly's lounge. 'Where is he? Where's that so called  christian Bert Lane?i
'I'm here Katherine. What can I do for you?'
'You can take this precious Bible bashing letter and shove it where the sun don't shine. Then you can make sure you damn well don't alter your s**ding will!'
Milly put her hand over her mouth.
'Oh Kath!'
'
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Offline loopylin

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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #46 on: September 03, 2012, 11:31:40 PM »
'Take Jeff down to Follyfoot out of the way Dora. I need to get next door.'
Bert and Kathy stood eyeing one another and she was obviously spoiling for a fight.
'You promised you'd look after me. The landlord came round this morning to say you havent sent him this months rent. I hope that's just a mistake.'
'No- I'm not paying it any more!'
'How is that looking after me?'
'I'll be praying for you that you see the error of your ways and ask forgiveness.'
'You're no plaster cast saint! I know what you got up to with that Nellie Frobisher!'
'I've repented and been forgiven. now I need to make sure that what money I have and anything I leave when I die will be used to help the poor and needy.'
'I'm blxxxy poor and needy. You're nothing but a lying bxxxxxxx! Where's your Christian charity now?'
'Mum- will you calm down and stop screaming like a banshee. Let's talk things over sensibly.' said Steve putting his hands on her shoulders and leading her to a chair.'
'Sorry Stephen but I'm not prepared to discuss it.' said Bert picking up his Bible and beginning to read.
'The hell you're not! Put that blxxxy Bible down and talk to me damn you.'
'Stop using bad language. You're on the road to hell if you carry on the way you're going.'
'Well at least I'll be in good company there. Milly can't you make this old goat see sense?'
'Wives should be subject to their husbands' Bert quoted. Kathy turned to Steve-
'What about you. If he won't support me you'll have to- you and your stuck up bxxxx of a wife.'
Steve could feel the red mist descending and stood clenching and unclenching his fists. Seeking to diffuse the situation Milly said 'I'll make us all a nice cup of tea.'
'Huh-that's always your solution. If you put a cup of tea near me your precious husband will end up wearing it!' Seeing that Bert was once again reading his Bible ~Kathy wrenched it from his grasp and began to tear out the pages. Steve darted forward to retrieve it but she had managed to do quite a bit of damage before he got it from her.
'That's the word of God' cried Bert picking up a page from the floor. 'This is Exodus 20, the ten commandments 'Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all.....'
'No I flaming well wont. If you're an example of those who follow it I want nothing to do with any of it!'
'But Kathy' put in Milly. 'We learned them off by heart at the village sunday school.We used to get litle pictures for each passage we learnt and when we'd memorised 100 verses they gave us a Bible. I've still got mine.'
I used mine for toilet paper when I was too hard up to buy any. Softer on the backside than newspapers!'
'That's it- I've had enough. That's verging on blasphemy. Not a penny more will you get out of me alive or dead. First thing on Monday I'm seeing a friend of my minister who's going to advise me about finances!'
Kathy advanced on him and as Steve held her back out of reach she spat in his direction.
'Sxd you Bert Lane! Sxd the blexxxxx lot of you. If you hear that I've done away with myself you can have it on your conscience for the rest of your natural. Get me a taxi Steve. I'm done here. I'm going back to Liverpool!'
'I will pray for you' said Bert. Steve turned to go and Kathy twisted out of his grasp.
'Oh there is just one more thing' Kathy retrieved the ruined bible which was still heavy being leather bound. Tearing out two or three more pages she marched over to Bert who stood open mouthed and rammed them into his mouth. Then she jammed the rest of the book hard into his stomach.
'Feed on that!'
Bert gagged and choked and Milly went over to help him.
'Can't swallow it eh? Well me neither!' raged Kathy.
Furious now Milly approached her sister. 'Leave her Millicent-don't stoop to her level.'
'I've said it before and this time I mean it- Don't you ever come here again!'
Kathy laughed nastily. 'Oh don't you worry-I wont.'
Bert sat down heavily in his armchair cradling his wreck of a Bible his body racked with sobs.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #47 on: September 11, 2012, 11:00:32 PM »
'I'll take you to the station' said Steve to Kathy. He went by way of Follyfoot to ask George if he would look in on Milly and Bert later.
'Steve-what happened?' asked Dora.
'Tell you later' he said caressing her cheek and giving Jeff a hug. After he'd bought Kathy a train ticket she asked him for rent money but he said he'd send it direct to her landlord. He did give her a few pounds.
'Have you still got your job mum?'
'No- but I start a new one on Monday-more money too.'
'Good well make sure you start paying your rent next month.'
'Oh Steve-come on. You're not short of a bob or two now surely you can...'
No mum- I can't!'
Kathy shrugged her shoulders. 'We'll see.' she said to herself as she walked to the station cafe to wait out the hour before her train left. Steve sat for several minutes outside in the car park fully aware that he had not heard the last of his mother's rent saga.
'Oh mate- Dora's not going to be pleased if we're going to have to keep subbing her.'
He stopped off at the supermarket and bought her a box of 'Tempters' and some chocolate buttons for Jeff.
On monday the phone rang soon after breakfast and Steve answered it.
'He's what? Okay I'll be right there!'
'Steve-where are you going. You promised we'd go to Chadwick's today!'
'Perhaps later- but that was Tony. Bert was wandering about outside and fell flat on his face and cut his head. Tony says it'll need stitching. I'll have to take him to the hospital. I may take Tony with me as well as Milly.'
'Ok-I'm sorry.' Dora picked Jeff up and watched as between them Tony and Steve got Bert in the back of the car. Tony sat beside him and Milly in the front. Steve came and asked Dora to ring David Charlesworth and call off Bert's meeting. 'He's babbling away to himself about goodness knows what!'
Accident and emergency was busy with people who had hurt themselves over the weekend but decided to wait until monday to be seen. Bert was behaving strangely and it was all Steve and Tony could do to control him.
'He's got a nasty head wound' Steve told the receptionist and gave her Bert's details. A nurse cleared her throat and said that a traffic accident had recently happened and several casualties were expected in the next 20 minutes. She advised anyone whose problem was not urgent to try their GP or come back later. Several people got up and walked out. Bert turned a deathly white and vomited all over Steve and Tony's shoes. He and Milly were quickly taken into a cubicle while domestics were called to clean up and Steve and Tony went to the Gents to make themselves clean. Bert's wound was cleaned and dressed and he was then sent to xray. Steve went with him and Tony took Milly to get a cup of tea. A male nurse accompanied Bert and asked for him to be seen as soon as possible as he needed monitoring and he himself needed to get back to his department quickly. As they waited nurse Don Lewis chatted to Steve and learned that Bert was a ptient of Mr. Harper who had recently experienced a radical change in behaviour. Steve explained about the alleged healing and the subsequent obsession with religion. The nurse filled in a form and took notes about recent happenings and the fall to pass on to the doctor. He took hold of Bert's wrist and frowned. 'Hope they get a move on.'
Bert made a retching noise and Don held a kidney dish in position. 'Has he vomited blood before?'
'I'm afraid so' said Steve.
The xrays were taken a few minutes later and Steve was asked to wait for the films while Don took Bert back to A&E. When Steve got back Mr. Harper was with Bert and put the xrays on the viewer. He gasped.
'Where's Mrs. Lane?'
Steve went to fetch her.
'My dear -neurology is not my speciality but I do know that there seems to be some sort of swelling in your husbands brain and it's not at the site of today's injury. I'll contact neurology and arrange blood tests. It looks like he may need an operation.' He left the cubicle in a hurry. Steve stuck his head out and called Tony over.
'Ring the farm and get someone to pick you up mate and when you get back tell Dora I'm sorry but I don't think I'm going to make it back in time to see Bill Chadwick today.'
A nurse had been detailed to monitor Bert and she frowned as she looked at his blood pressure reading. A man in theatre greens entered and introduced himself as neurosurgeon Patrick Flannery. He looked at the xrays and performed an examination of the now semi-conscious Bert.
'It looks like there's a tumour in the brain and there's evidence of internal bleeding. We need to operate as soon as possible to see what's going on. If it's a malignant tumour there's not a lot of hope. It could of course be benign but given Mr. Lane's medical history I'd say that's unlikely. I am willing to try but I must warn you that if he survives the operation he may be blind or partially paralysed.'
'I'd like him to be given a chance sir.' said Milly.
'I'll send someone in with a consent form and go and arrange a theatre.'
Auntie-do you think this is the right thing to do? Wouldn't it be kinder...'
'No Steve- I can't give up on him.'
'Bert began to thrash about wildly and Steve pushed the panic button. Patrick Flannery came in followed by another member of his team.
'If you'll sign the form Mrs Lane- Doctor Flint is going to give your husband an injection to calm him down then he'll stay and accompany him to theatre. Steve peered out of the cubicle. There were white coated figures everywhere then suddenly he heard a familiar voice.
'Dora-what are you doing here?'
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Offline loopylin

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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #48 on: September 15, 2012, 09:59:13 PM »
'I was at the farm when Tony phoned. Ron said he would come and fetch him on the Tiger so I asked Vi to look after Jeff as planned so I could come and be with you and Milly.'
'Bert's going to theatre soon. It'll be touch and go!' said Steve. Patrick Flannery left the cubicle to scrub up leaving his registrar with Bert. Milly was holding his hand as the porters wheeled him out quiet now that the drugs had taken effect. Tom Flint and a nurse followed the trolley.
'Come with me and I'll show you to the relatives room where you can wait for news ' said the nurse.
As a porter pushed the button to summon the lift Dr. Flint suddenly bent low over Bert.
'Cardiac arrest!' he called. Someone pushed an emergency button and footsteps came running from all directions as the crash team assembled and Bert was hurried into resuss which was already busy with accident victims. Nurse Jemma Shaw ushered Steve, Dora and Milly into a small room where they waited for what seemed like hours but in reality was no more than forty minutes. Tom Flint entered the room. Milly and Dora were sitting facing the door while Steve paced worriedly about. Seeing the look on the doctor's face he went and place one hand on Milly's shoulder and with the other held Dora's hand tightly.
'I'm sorry Mrs Lane- we did our best but I'm afraid your husband didn't respond and sadly has died.'
Milly and Dora both burst into tears. Jemma Shaw entered with a tray of tea  and set it on the desk.
At length Milly said 'I've been praying for an end to this thing with Bert and I suppose in a way my prayers have been answered. 'Oh Milly' said Dora going to put her arms round Steve's aunt who she had come to love dearly. Soon all three of them were sharing a hug and nurse and doctor left the room so they could grieve privately. Steve made sure Milly drank her tea steadying it as her hand shook.
'If he hadn't had that fall this morning....' a fresh flow of tears began.
'I think we need to get Milly home' said Dora who had now largely regained her composure. Steve nodded.
Are you okay to look after auntie love- there'll be formalities to see to so I'll go and find someone.'
He was getting used to this- the colonel, Slugger and now Bert. He knew he had to stay strong but it was hard. Before they left the hospital Steve phoned the farm and Vi assured him that Jeff was quite happy and she would look after him as long as was needed.
Milly decided to stay at the bungalow for the time being. Steve would return to the hospital the next day to pick up the death certificate. When they went indoors a delicious smell was coming from the oven.
'Hazel's chicken casserole' said Milly. 'But I can't eat anything.
'I hate to admit it but I'm starving' said Steve and Dora agreed she was too.
Come on auntie- try a little.'
After they'd eaten Steve fetched Jeff who was worn out as was Vi. 'Ron and Teri gave him tea so he's ready for bath and bed.'
After the little boy was settled and Milly was drinking Coco Steve said
'Well- as Bert didn't get round to changing his will it looks like my mother has got her way.'
'But hedid change it- after we got back from honeymoon. Kathy was so horrible that he decided he didn't feel obliged to stick to it any more even though he'd promised to look after her. I can hear him now
''The number of times she promised to lay off the booze, to stop smoking, to be a better mother to Steve and be kind to Dora and Jeff. She kept none of them- so why should I keep mine!'' He wanted to leave everything to me but I said not to be so daft because I've got plenty enough to live on comfortably and whatever he left me would come to you in the end so he might just as well leave it to you now. He did leave me something but most of it is for you and Jeff. I've got a copy of the will. I'll show you in the morning. I reckon you're in for a surprise.I suppose we'll have to tell Kath Bert's dead- she's in for a real shock. I've made up my mind I don't want her at the funeral. We'll give him a good send off because he was a good man- just not himself these past few weeks. Rev. Carmichael will take the service and that David Charlesworth can come and read a lesson if he likes. Right-that's that! I know I won't sleep much tonight but I'm going to turn in now. Don't you worry about me. '
She hugged them both in turn. 'I'll see you in the morning.'
Steve got up and went to check on Jeff who was sleeping soundly. Unable to settle he told Dora he was going out for a while. He didn't stop to put on a jacket as the night was warm. Dora asked if he was going for a drink but he shook his head. 'Just for a walk. I wont be long.'
Dora watched as he began to walk towards the farm. Half an hour later when he hadn't returned she phoned Follyfoot to see if he was there. George looked out of the window.
'He's sitting on the bench by the lake.'
Dora looked in on Milly who was sitting up in bed reading her Bible.
'Steve and I are going to be outside for a bit. I don't think Jeff will wake up.'
Steve was sitting forward his head in his hands. 'Steve?' He dashed his hands across his face.
'Hi'
'Are you okay?'
'Mmmm.' She sat down beside him and took his hand.
'It's okay to cry you know. You don't always have to bottle everything up. It doesn't make you any less of a man- I've told you before.'
'Oh Dora! Losing Bert so soon after Slugger! The two people I'd looked up to as father figures. But it's sadder with Bert being so strange lately- and then there's auntie-so happy until they got back from holiday. I just wish they'd never gone to Portsmouth!'
'Who's to say how things would have turned out if they hadn't gone? We can't bring him back.'
Steve looked around. 'I want to plant a tree for him.'
'Of course. Now come home. It's getting cold and neither of us have a coat.'
Steve blew his nose and took her into his arms. 'I love you Dora Ross!' The lock of hair that had a habit of falling over his eye had done so and she brushed it away kissing the spot and whispering that she loved him too.
to continue later tonight hopefully.
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Offline loopylin

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Re: The rough and the smooth.
« Reply #49 on: September 15, 2012, 11:34:58 PM »
This will conclude this part of the story but my ongoing Follyfoot tale will continue in due course probably in short story form.

Milly insisted on accompanying Steve to the hospital next day to complete the formalities. she was handed a bag with Bert's clothes and wristwatch in and was told that his wedding ring was still on his finger. In the car going home she looked at the watch.
'Ee it's funny- my watch stopped yesterday and I can't get it to go. This one's ticking away quite happily.'
She put it on her wrist. 'I'll always wear it for you now Bert love.'
The death certificate gave lots of long words as contributing to the death but cardiac arrest was first on the list. Mr. Coggins, the undertaker was contacted to arrange for Bert's body to be removed from the hospital. Milly wanted him buried in his wedding suit and his ring left on.
 'When he's all dressed up then I'll go and see him for the last time.' she said.
John Carmichael called round that afternoon and as the undertakers was on his way home he volunteered to take them Bert's clothes. A couple of days before the funeral Milly and Steve went to the undertakers. Dora said she preferred to remeber Bert as he was. Steve went into the rest chapel with Milly. It brought back more memories of the Colonel and Slugger. Like them Bert looked at peace. Milly kissed him and said 'Goodbye' then bowed her head in prayer for a few moments. Steve merely touched Bert's cold hand before leading Milly out.
The funeral service was simple and dignified. Kathy had been warned to stay away. David Charlesworth read the lesson and the church choir sang 'I know that my redeemer liveth.' Everyone from follyfoot attended. Vi sat at the back with Jeff on her knee. Teri, only a short time away from her due date sat beside her. At Steve's request Ron sat alongside Dora in the pew to lend her his arm during the slow walk back down the aisle while Steve supported Milly who was outwardly calm and dry eyed.This church held many memories- happy and sad. a place where they were not afraid to show their emotions being among friends and with the comforting presence of John Carmichael and his wife.
Hazel and Ben slipped back to the bungalow while the other mourners said their final farewells at the graveside. At Milly and Bert's wedding the buttonholes had been silk carnations white for the men and red for the ladies. Those that had been worn by Bert, Steve, Ron, Dora and Teri were thrown into the coffin as it was lowered into the sun warmed earth. There were several beautiful floral tributes from family and friends including a basket arrangement from Jeff.
'These flowers are not to stay here to rot ,put them in the church' decreed Milly to the funeral director. Just leave mine here when you've filled in the grave.'
After everyone had gone home and Jeff was having a nap Milly said
'Well with the money Bert left you you'll be able to buy Mr. Chadwick's place.'
'We don't need to think about that now auntie.' said Steve.
'Course you do! no use leaving it to do nothing- make it work for you. There's money in trust for Jeff so you don't need to worry about that and I intend to put the money Bert left me to good use if you'll let me.'
'What do you mean?' asked Dora.
'If there's enough room I'd like to have a bigger greenhouse built over there and gradually build up a good stock so we can sell plants. I've got lots of cuttings already.'
Steve shot Dora a glance.
'Won't you find that too much hard work Milly?' was all she said.
'No love. I can't sit on my backside grieving and brooding. Besides if you're going to be down there with the ponies lass I can help to keep an eye on Jeff as well as looking after the plants. If I get tired maybe I'll sleep at night and not lay there tossing and turning like I do now. Well I'm going to get out of my black suit now- never did suit black. Make sure you get in touch with Bill in the morning.'
Liz and Shaun O'Sullivan turned up later to say goodbye. They were intending to return as soon as Teri had the baby. 'Don't leave it too long before you add to your family' said Liz. Dora bit her lip as today had brought the miscarried baby into her thoughts. 'All in good time' said Steve.
He picked up the post from the coffee table. 'Uh oh- Liverpool postmark and it's not my mother's handwriting. Would you believe it- the landlord has written to say thanks for the rent cheque and he understands I'll be making payments in future. We'll see about that!'
'Steve, look, we may as well face it. It's no more than we expected. We don't want her turning up here homeless because she's not paid the rent do we?'
'What's in your letter?'
'A note to say Mummy and Daddy are planning to arrive on 30th November.'
Milly emerged from her room in time to hear that piece of news.
'Why not let the stay with me when they come here for Christmas. We can't all stay in the bungalow and I don't want to be alone.'
'Good idea.' said Steve. Dora frowned at the thought of her parents in Millys little annex but decided it was probably for the best. As she went past Milly's room that night she heard her saying her prayers.
'Nanny used to say prayers with me at bedtime Steve. Do you think we should start saying them with Jeff?'
'Well you or Milly can if you want but don't ask me. It's another memory I have of the orphanage. Standing up for grace before meals. Saying thankyou for grotty food that was congealing on the plate while Mr. Cherry intoned a long prayer. Mr Cherry eh with his bright red cherry nose! Then of course there were the dormy prayers at bedtime and first thing in the morning. Being named and shamed and told to ask forgiveness for the slightest little wrong. Told to count our blessings while one of the staff stood tapping a stick on the floor ready to punish anyone caught laughing. Lining up to make sure we'd washed behind our ears and being made to kneel on the bathroom floor repeating the Lords prayer over and over and miss breakfast if our beds hadn't been properly made.'
'So that'swhy you never say it in church!'
'And why I'll never give Jeff a smack!'
'Well I used to love snuggling down while Nanny helped me with my prayers.'
'If you asked to be made a good little girl-it worked!'
' You used to think I was a spoiled little daddy's darling!'
' And now I know you're my darling.'
After Steve had fallen asleep Dora began to think of her many blessings and silently offered up a prayer of thanks. Then she thought about the future asking for help and guidance and to always be able to take the rough with the smooth.

The End.
linda-norfolk dumpling