Thursday, September 8, 2016
"She's one of a' new neighbours, lad. She's only been here 6 years. She's a nosy old cow too. She'll go and tell the whole bloody neighborhood now that mi son's come home. I'll probably be on the 7 O'clock news tomorrow night!"
"She seems to like ya Dad."
"Bolox! All she's after is mi bloody pension and someone to do her fetchin' and carryin'. Her old man died a couple of years back and now she's lookin' for another bloody mug. It won't be old George Swindells, I can tell ya that for nought!"
Once we got to the bus stop we walked around in circles, stamping our feet on the ground to warm 'em up.
"Look out lad, here comes our bus. Stick ya hand out or he won't stop..he's in too much of a bloody hurry."
It was an enjoyable bus ride with mi dad. He even came upstairs with me so I could have a fag. The upper deck was almost empty so he had no complaints about the smoke. It didn't take long before the bus came to a squeaking halt at Sowerby Bridge and pretty soon George and I were walking through the front door of West End Club.
"Evening George." said the club doorman. "It's gonna be a bitter cold night. It's just as well we've got the heat cranked up. Are you a member young fella?"
Before I could answer, mi dad said, "Is he buggery Jack, this is my lad. He's just come over from Australia for a holiday. I'll sign him in."
Once I was signed in, the doors of the club were open to me so we went inside and ordered 2 pints of Websters Best, then found ourselves a table for the evening. It was about 7 O'clock and the club was empty except for a couple of bar flies who had resigned themselves to seats so as to make it through the evening.
"It's a bit of a dead place, isn't it Dad?"
"It's only 7..they don't start comin' in until 7:30. By 8, ya won't see an empty seat in this place. At 8:15 there's an act on so it's bound to fill up."
"What kind of an act is on tonight?"
"Oh, some bloody comedian singer. I saw his poster as we came in. His name's Eddy George or something of the other."
"Is he any good?"
"Buggered if I know lad. I haven't heard him before, but if he's ought like the other buggers we'd may as well not have him. There's mi old mate Gavin comin'. His old lady must have let him off early tonight."
"Evening George lad. How are ya?"
"Same as always Gavin. How would you expect me to be?"
"Just askin' George. Ya know my old backs' been playing up something terrible this week."
"Suppose you've been tiddle-tatting that old wench of yours again, have ya?"
"Don't be silly George, it's probably healed up as far as I know."
"So you say Gavin. If ya not getting ought, how come she's still pushing ya around?"
"That's just her way George. I'm used to that by now. I've been married to her for 40 years."
"That's 39 years too long Gavin. Go and get yourselfs a pint and come and sit ya self down before ya fall down."
"I take it that's one of ya drinking mates Dad?"
"I'y, I've known him for years lad. He's mi drinkin' mate when he's allowed out and when he's not down at the club, he's a bloody house-wife for that wench of his."
Gavin came back over and sat down at our table. He took a mouthful out of his pint and went. "Haaaa! So who's the young bloke ya with George? Aren't ya gonna introduce us?"
"Who the hell does he look like Gavin? Have a good bloody look?"
"He looks a lot like you George, now I take a bit of notice."
"Course he looks like me. He's mi son!"
"I thought your lad was in Australia, George?"
"He was. Now he's here. He's come over to see me. His name's Richard."
"My name's Gavin, good to meet ya Dick. So you're Georges' lad eh?"
"You're a bit more handsome than ya Dad, far as I can tell."
"Bolox Gavin!" said mi Dad. "If he looks as good as me when he's 75, he'll be doin' all right, but if he keeps smoking those bloody fags like they're going out of fashion, he might not see 24, never mind 75?"
"Don't listen to him Dick. I've known ya dad for 40 bloody years. He was just the same as you when he was a young'un. He smoked like a bloody chimney."
"That's when I was young and bloody stupid Gavin, just like him."
"Where's ya old girlfriends George, haven't they shown up yet?"
"Girlfriends mi bloody arse Gavin. They come and sit at my table uninvited. What the hell am I supposed to say, Piss Off!"
"Oh no George, they'd never buy ya another beer again if ya said that."
"I suppose a man should. They're always trying to get a bloody foot in my front door."
"Maybe it would be good for ya George."
"Bolox Gavin! Ya think I want to end up like you, on a bloody chain. Ya must be jokin' man."
Just then, two old ladies with curled and dyed hair walked over to the table.
"Evening George, hello Gavin. Ya saved our places I see."
"We saved nothin'. The club put 'em there. We just didn't bother to shift 'em." said Dad.
"George", said the big fat one, "We know you better than that. Who's the young fella anyway?"
"It's mi lad. Ya can keep ya eyes off him too, Neither of us are available."
"My names Maude and this is my pal Gert. Ya father's full of jokes ya know. He couldn't do without us really."
"Don't bloody bet on it or you'll lose ya pension money." said Gert.
"Gavin, go and get us 2 half-pints please.", said Maude.
"Tell 'em to fetch their own beer Gavin. Ya only get one night out as it is." said George.
"Oh it's all right George, I don't mind."
"Please ya sen then. Bigger bloody fool you!"
"You're grumpy tonight George. Did ya lose on the races?" said Gert.
"Well, I didn't win, put it that way."
So that's how I spent that first evening with mi Dad. He seemed to quite happy having a few beers with people his own age that obviously adored him. Once the club closed down for the night, I walked mi Dad down to his bus stop and made sure he caught his last bus home to Jubilee Terrace.