WEEKLY SOAP Riverside by Glenda Young
The Ship is enjoying its grand reopening . . .
ARE you going to the party on Friday night?” Anna looked up from the diary where she was checking the salon’s schedule.
“Might do.” She smiled. “It’s Big Jim’s grand reopening night, isn’t it?”
“It’s St Patrick’s Day, too,” Jenny said. “I’ve heard that Jim’s done the place up after the robbery.” Anna shook her head. “I haven’t heard from him for days. I expect he’s been busy sorting things out.”
Jenny took her phone from her handbag.
“I might give him a ring to see how things are.” Anna shot Jenny a look. “You’re ringing Jim?” she said sharply. “What are you doing with his number?”
“I run the darts team for the Ship, remember?” Jenny replied, taken aback.
“Sorry,” Anna said. “It’s just he was supposed to take me out before the pub got broken into and I’ve not heard from him. I want to know where I stand.”
“You could ring him yourself,” Jenny suggested. Anna shook her head. “I prefer the man to do the running. He knows where I am.”
“Have you heard any more from your business partner lately?” Jenny asked.
“Not a squeak. As far as I know she’s still in Tenerife with Juan or whatever his name is. It was her idea to set this salon up and for us to invest our savings and buy a flat on the riverside.
“And now she’s deserted me. Mind you, it’s not the first time she’s landed me in it, but what can I do?”
“See a solicitor?” Jenny offered.
Anna was alarmed. “Oh, I couldn’t start legal proceedings against Carol.” Jenny shrugged.
“But why not?” “Because she’s my big sister – that’s why!”
Next door, inside the Old Engine Room, Susan and Dave were sitting at a table overlooking the river.
They were folding menus ready to place on each table – menus advertising the fare for St Patrick’s Day.
It was a new menu from their chef, who had been trying out tapas-size dishes of colcannon, soda bread and potato cakes.
Chef had also created beautiful new desserts. Susan’s favourite was treacle and ginger pudding with sauce made from stout.
“It’s a date, isn’t it? St Patrick’s Day?” Dave said as they worked.
Susan looked at him, unsure what he meant.
“It’s a Friday,” Dave said “The seventeenth of March.”
Susan laughed. She had no idea what he was going on about.
“What I mean,” he said, looking at her fully, “is that we need a date, too. How about it, Susan? Let’s set a date for the wedding.”
“Well, it can’t be Friday the seventeenth of March, I’m telling you now!” She laughed. “I wouldn’t have time to buy a frock.”
“Or send the invitations out.” Dave smiled. “What about a spring wedding?” Susan nodded.
“That would work.” “April?” he said. “That sounds good.” “What about Saturday the twenty-second?”
“Gosh, you’re organised!” Susan laughed again. “It sounds good. Should we check the bookings diary in case we’re needed to work that weekend?”
“I’ve checked it.” Dave smiled. “I’ve spoken to Dad, too. He’s giving us two weeks off and said he’ll pay for our honeymoon, too.”
Susan planted a kiss on Dave’s lips, then a thought made her brow crease.
“If the wedding’s in April, it doesn’t give us much time to find somewhere to live,” she said.
Dave looked at one of the menus he was folding.
“I was going to talk to you about that. You see, Dad’s come up with a plan . . .”
There was quite a crowd gathered outside the Ship on Big Jim’s reopening night. The door handles had been tied with green ribbon, which Jim made a fuss of slicing with scissors, receiving a round of applause in return.
After a short speech thanking those who had turned up, he proclaimed the Ship open for business and a cheer went up.
“Looks the same to me,” George said quietly to Mary as they waited to go inside the renovated pub.
“Must be just the inside that’s changed,” Mary whispered back.
“I heard he was installing a jukebox,” Mike put in.
“And he’s put a conservatory on at the back,” Bob said. “That’s what I heard, anyway.”
“I just hope he’s got rid of the old fireplace,” Mary added.
“And those threadbare carpets,” Ruby said.
“I’m hoping he’s gone upmarket a bit,” Anna added. “You know, exposed brickwork and mood lighting.”
“Ladies and gentlemen!” Jim shouted. “Are you ready for the big reveal?” “Yes!” a shout went up. “In you come,” Jim said. He held the pub door wide open and, one by one, they all trooped in from the cool night air to the warmth of the pub.
Once inside, Jim watched everyone’s faces as they took in the sight of his renovated pub.
Mike’s mouth dropped open and Mary grasped George’s arm. Bob allowed himself a smile, but no-one said a word.
They were shocked into silence.
More next week.