WEEKLY SOAP River­side by Glenda Young

The Ship is en­joy­ing its grand re­open­ing . . .

The People's Friend - - Contents -

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.

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