Ben Fogle said do something in 2013, how do you like to read this instead
Ben Fogle said do something in 2013, how do you like to read this instead. Its the first chapter of my 6th book. Tears For a Butcher.
It’ll take me a year to finish it, not useless somebody donates a ParaLegal secretary, they can type at 100wpm you know. I could sit down and dictate, just like Barbara Cartland did. IF you like this 1st chapter then you can read my other 5 books on Amazon Kindle, only 2quid each.
I am available for hire as of 3pm this afternoon.
A Nation Of Shopkeepers Book Two
Tears For a Butcher ©
Chapter One ...Mrs Murphy to the Rescue
The next day found the street nursing a collective hangover , Mrs
Murphy being the sole sober person . It was her soul and that of her
infant grandchild which concerned her , so as usual she had got up and
said her three rosaries before going to early Mass . In the afternoon
little Shiela was to be Christened so Mrs Murphy at least was getting in
the right frame of mind . Mrs Murphy did stop to light a candle in front
of Saint Anthony as thanks for help in finding Jaswinda , after all wasn't
he the saint in charge of lost things and you might call Jaswinda's
kidnapping a form of being lost , lost from her parents and friends that
is . Fr Shaw had privately offered the Mass up in thanks for Jaswinda's
safe return , even he had felt humbled by Mrs Murphy's faith in God . He
had noticed the lit candle by Saint Anthony's statue and the nod and smile
Mrs Murphy had given to a poster of Mother Theresa of Calcutta . So united
in prayer the Mass was celebrated .
When the Mass was over and Fr. Shaw had taken the vestments off
he walked down the side isle and sat on the bench in front of Mrs Murphy ,
leaning back he spoke to her .
"Well that was quite a night . I didn't have as much fun since the last
ordination I was at " , he said with a smile .
"It was grand , I'll agree with you there , BUT you do know that the food
we were "ateing" was for Shiela's Christening do " , replied Mrs Murphy as
she heaved her bussom indignantly .
"You don't begrudge Jaswinda and her family that do you ?" asked Fr. Shaw
trying not to smile .
"I do not , I enjoyed myself too ! It's just that Patrick doesn't seem to
do anything in the right order . I mean he fathered a child before he got
married , now he eats the food before the Christening " , sighed Mrs
"You don't mind being a grannie , I mean some women feel that they've got
one foot in the grave now that they are grandmothers " , said Fr. Shaw
"I do NOT , now that's the best thing Patrick ever did , and June is such
a nice girl . It was almost the will of God them meeting , fancy it being
her father who lent us that money all them years ago . Now we are one
happy family , APART from that mother of hers . I just hope I'm spared
long enough to see all my grandchildren grow up , I wouldn't want the
"English Grandmother" to influence them too much " , she rolled her eyes
at the thought .
Fr Shaw smiled broadly and tossed his head back , stiffling his
laughter out of respect . Mrs Murphy smiled too , noticing for the first
time the small piece of paper stuck to Fr. Shaw's neck, she'd have a laugh
at him too as well as herself .
"Is the work getting too much for you Father , not trying to cut your
throat are you " pulling the piece of paper from his throat and holding it
in front of him .
"Get away out of that , besides the Samaritans are ex directory around
here" he replied .
"Well I'd better go home for some breakfast , I'll see you this afternoon
with the "Pagan Grandparents" for the Christening " said Mrs Murphy as she
gathered herself and her handbag up .
"You could always try converting them ,I mean their daughter is Catholic
now " , said a deadpan Fr.Shaw .
"And how do I go about that " said Mrs Murphy as she put her gloves on .
"Well we don't have a statue like we have one of St.Anthony nor a poster
like the one of Mother Theresa " , Fr.Shaw paused, he could see Mrs Murphy
blush , she was embarrassed by her shows of faith .
"Don't you dare tell anybody " whispered Mrs Murphy as she fidgeted with
her bag .
"Anyway " said Fr.Shaw diplomatically " haven't you heard of St. Jude ,
she likes a challenge , perhaps the "Pagan Grandparents" would be right up
her street " a smile on his lips .
"St.Jude would be ringing the Samaritans then " was Mrs Murphy's reply as
she nodded towards the altar and headed down the isle and out of the
"Lord grant me faith " , said Fr.Shaw . Then he smiled, he knew the saints
would soon be bombarded with conversion prayers .
In the afternoon Mrs Murphy , Patrick and June and baby Shiela
arrived for the christening . The "English Grandparents" were there
too , that's to say June's parents Mr and Mrs Kemp . Mrs Kemp was dressed
to the nines , with a big hat on her head and matching long gloves .Big
Sid , Mark and Gillian , Percy and Sgt Mulholland and Mathew were also
there , along with Amjit , Balbinda and Jaswinder of course .
"The Lord Save Us , if it isn't The Duchess of York Herself" whispered
Mrs Murphy as she walked up the side isle to the baptismal font . June had
to look down at the baby and pretend to wipe its nose to save collapsing
into giggles . Patrick just bit his lip , the pain would stop him
"I'll just go and say hello to "Annette" " , said Mrs Murphy before
striding over towards Mrs Kemp .
"She's up to something " , whispered Patrick .
"I know , but what ? " answered June from behind her hand .
After a few moments they found out what . For Mrs Murphy returned all
smiles , giving a knowing wink to Patrick and June , well that's how it
seemed but in fact the wink was for the baby Jesus in the Virgin Mary's
"You know you were going to call the baby Shiela , then have Annette as
the middle name , after your mother over there " said a surprizingly coy
Mrs Murphy .
"Yes , we decided that months ago ," answered a suspicious June .
"Well "Annette" agrees with me it would be better if the middle name be
different , I mean Shiela Annette Murphy is a grand name , but the child
might think one grandmother is better than another , what with her name
coming second and that . Now we don't want favouritism do we . So
"Annette" thought that you could save her name for the next granddaughter
, which won't be long in coming , as you are such a loving couple after
all " continued Mrs Murphy .
Patrick blushed at this point , June just twinkled , Mrs Murphy was a
terror to be sure , but it felt alright , well as far as June was
concerned . Mrs Kemp saw Patrick blush and whispered to her husband .
"I bet she's talking about the next doxen grandchildren , and in a church
too . Well at least one will be called "Annette" , and NOT "Shiela
Annette" , she consoled herself with that thought .
"So what will the middle name be then ?" enquired a still red Patrick .
"Jude , of course , " replied Mrs Murphy .
"Jude , of course , " echoed June while pulling a face at Patrick .
"But she's the patron saint of " started Patrick .
"Hopeless causes , " finished June , who had recently finished a book on
the lives of the saints .
"Well it nice to see you're becoming a good Catholic , " smiled Mrs
Murphy beaming with pride .
"Us converts can teach you old ones a thing or two , " smiled June .
"But why Jude , mom ?" asked a puzzled Patrick .
"Well its a nice name , isn't it ? " she replied defensively before
walking towards Fr. Shaw who had emerged from the presbytery .
"What's she up to ? " said Patrick thinking aloud .
"Well you are a bit of a hopeless cause , or so my mother says " jested
Fr. Shaw smiled when he heard what Mrs Murphy had to say , looking over
towards Mr and Mrs Kemp .
"Did you see that ? Fr.Shaw looked at mom and smiled , and he said
something too . It looked like" started already" . "
"I didn't know you were a lip reader . I'll have to watch out when I swear
at you in future " replied Patrick .
"Well only a bit , but what has she" started already" ? " continued a
an intrigued June .
"We can ask her afterwards , " was Patrick's reply , as he could see
Fr.Shaw was coughing and opening his prayer book , a sure sign that Shiela
was about to be baptised .
So with family and friends looking on , Shiela Jude Murphy was
baptised , Sgt. Mulholland and Mathew being her Godparents . Mrs Kemp
rolled her eyes at the sight , to her it seemed like two "King Kongs"
standing over a small bundle , which was baby Shiela . Mrs Murphy would
later explain how only Catholics could be Godparents for Catholic babies .
Baby Shiela stayed asleep during the service , even when drenched , for
Fr. Shaw a baptism meant water and lots of it , no dabbing for him . Yet
the baby slept through it , June had taken a tip from Mrs Murphy , namely
a thimblefull of Irish Whisky in the baby's milk half an hour before the
Back at Mark's cafe the baby's health was toasted , Mark and
Gillian having stayed up late to remake the eaten buffet . Jaswinda was
looking at her future playmate , and trying to work out when little Shiela
would be bigger Shiela , or big enough to play at any rate . Outside Amjit
was pacing up and down the pavement in front of the cafe and barking , he
wanted to be let inside the cafe .
"What on earth's that savage dog trying to do ? " said an alarmed Mrs
"He's only saying congradulations , that's all , " said a totally
unperturbed Mrs Murphy . Who then went to the counter to return with the
"Jaswinder , do you want to feed little Amjit ? " asked Mrs Murphy ,
holding the plate out so Jaswinder could reach .
"Yes , please , " Jaswinder replied then with a hop and a skip , her one
pigtail bobbing she dashed out to feed Amjit .
"Is it safe , he might harm her ! " said an alarmed Mrs Kemp .
"I don't think so ," said a smiling Mrs Murphy .
After an hour of festivities , the people began to disperse ,
Mrs Kemp was about to leave herself , when she leaned over conspiratorily
and with a glance at Patrick whispered to Mrs Murphy .
"Shiela , it's Patrick's birthday next month and I was thinking of getting
him a nice watch , as I noticed his old one is a bit worn out . "
"More like , knackered , I'm forever telling him to take it off when he's
humping big loads of flour and the like , but will he listen to me ? "
,replied Mrs Murphy shaking her head .
"Quite , but he's changed since he's married MY June , so if I was to
buy him a nice watch then perhaps he'll take care of it ? " said Mrs Kemp
trying not to sound condescending , but failing as usual .
"Oh , to be sure , he's a real man , now that he's married to YOUR June ,
but then isn't he the image of his father , MY dead husband in heaven
who's no doubt having a drink with the angels to celebrate his first
grandchild's baptism into THE CHURCH . " , smiled back Mrs Murphy as if
butter would not melt in her mouth , while glancing over with pride at her
own earthly holy family , namely her Patrick and June and baby Shiela .
"Well , you do agree with me he needs a new watch , I mean we don't want
to end up buying him the same thing do we ?" , said Mrs Kemo , flashing
her best smile .
"Yes , you are quite right "Annette" , and can you tell me where you got
those luvly false teeth from ? They are grand altogether , or did you just
soak them for a week in Domestos ? " , replied Mrs Murphy the butter still
not melting in her mouth .
Mr Kemp came to the rescue , and ushered his wife out of the cafe , giving
a wink to Mrs Murphy , behind his wife's back of course , he had a sense
of humour after all , but he was not totally stupid though .
"I just hope she gets him a stretch strap , otherwise he won't wear the
thing . Mind you the watch he's got now isn't too bad , he's superglued
the glass back in , it could last a while longer . " mumbled Mrs Murphy as
she watched the Pagan Grandparents go .
"What's this about a stretch strap ? " asked June as she placed baby
Shiela in grandma Shiela's arms .
"Annette ,wants to buy your husband a watch for his birthday next month ."
"He could do with one , he told me those Russian one's seem to last him
the longest , the sweat gets in the others he's tried over the years .
Besides the one he's got now has a horrid picure in green of a man playing
a lute , the man looks as if he's just came out of a concentration camp !"
"I've seen that , it could frighten little Shiela here when she gets
older" , said Mrs Murphy as she stroked the baby's nose .
"I just hope mom gets a stretch strap , he hates the others they dig into
your skin when you work , he likes wind up ones too , he said he'd not
have got his present one if he'd realised it was a battery one . "
"I'm sure she'll get a nice one , I mean now there's a real man in your
family , besides she probably fancies him on the quite . " said Mrs Murphy
as she played with the baby in her arms .
"You're an absolute terror , you are ! " laughed June .
"It might be true , I was reading it in the Readers Digest at the surgery
when I was at Dr. Quaringa's for my blood pressure tablets . It said that
some mothers - in - laws have a fixation for there son in laws . "
"Well I'll have to get my figure back quick , and then start to seduce him
again !" laughed June .
"You'll soon have a brother for Shiela if you do that , but at least with
two children to look after , then Patrick would be too busy to notice your
mother's overtures . " retorted a deadpan Mrs Murphy before looking up at
June and throwing back her head to cackle like a hen .
Patrick came over to see what was up . The two women in his life just
looked at him and resumed their laughter with fresh vigour . Then his
daughter joined in to .
"The sooner I have a son , the better , then at least I'll not be
surrounded by mad women " , said a slightly indignant Patrick .
June and Mrs Murphy just looked at each other again and laughed till they
cried . Patrick was bemused , so he repeated his statement . "The sooner I
have a son the better ! " June wiped the tears from her eyes , before
kissing him . "I'll only be too happy to oblige , if you can wait a few
weeks " , she replied as she patted her still swollen stomach . Patrick
blushed as red as the bottles of ketchup on the tables , Mrs Murphy just
swelled with pride and whispered to the bundle in her arms " Little
Timothy won't be long in coming , a year at the most . "
Patrick was still blushing as June kissed him again . Mrs Murphy then got
up and handed the treasure back to June , before snatching a kiss from
Patrick and leaving the cafe , she had other matters to attend to .....
Mrs Murphy had walked to the end of the street when , she had to
stop and shake a pebble from her shoes , leaning on a wall as she did so .
When something cold and wet shoved itself into the back of her leg she was
naturally frighten for a second . Spinning around she saw what it was .
"God blast you , the Devil carry you , Amjit you hairy thing will you
leave me alone . " She screatched at the innocent dog .
Amjit lowered his head , and offered his paw , so they could shake hands
and be friends again . It was then than Mrs Murphy noticed her umbrella ,
hadn't she left it in the cafe and Amjit had brought it after her .
"Sorry , Amjit , but you did frighten me . Here shake hands . "
They shook hands , then with a woof , and what could easily by mistaken
for a smile Amjit was off his tail high and proud . He too had other
business to attend to , if only he could remember where he had buried that
pig's head that Big Sid had given him , Amjit knew there was another meal
or two left in it , if only he could remember where he'd left it .
"Thank's again , Amjit " shouted Mrs Murphy after the hairy hound . Amjit
stopped to bark again , then with a burst of astonishing speed he was off
, he'd probably seen the Post Office cat and Amjit wanted to talk to that
moggie . It started to rain , and thanking Amjit with a "Bless Him" Mrs
Murphy opened her umbrella . She had hardly opened it when old Michael
pulled up in his taxi .
"Do you want a lift , I've earnt my diesel for the day . "
"Well could you take me to Weatherfield Rd ,the one by the Rover's Return
past the old clothing factory ? "
"Hop in , but why are you going over that way ? "
"Me and Mrs Lynch are looking after Mrs Powulska , she's still weak after
her operation , so we take it in turns to keep an eye on her . Her sister
is coming ower from Poland for a month , she will be here in a few days
so I've got to tidy the place up a bit . "
"I like the Poles they are a great lot , I was with a lot of them fellas
in the war , they are sometimes called the Irish of Central Europe , they
have suffered let me tell you . " said Michael as he moved up the gears
and sped off .
"Yes they did suffer , first the Nazis , then the Communists , but they
led the way for Europe to be free , and after all isn't the Pope himself a
Pole , so you cann't beat that . " said Mrs Murphy her voice showing her
As Mrs Murphy left the taxi , Michael who'd just had 10
minutes on the persecution of the Catholic church in Poland was numbed by
the outpouring . "Is it really true , they built a church themselves cos
the government built the town without one . And that in Albania they shot
a priest dead for babtising a baby ? "
"Yes " was Mrs Murphy's simple reply though her eyes betrayed her anger
and passion .
"The Bastards , I fought a war for them , what are they afraid of ! "
"The Baby Jesus " mumbled Mrs Murphy as she walked away .
"Let me know when your Polish friend arrives , I'll drive you to the
airport " shouted Michael after Mrs Murphy . She just waved in
acknowledgement , her mind was elsewhere .
Mrs Murphy did the vacuuming , and dusting for 2 hours before
stopping to make cup of tea for herself and a hot meal for Mrs Powulska .
She proped Mrs Powulska up in bed , before putting a tray down in front of
her , she watched as a still weak Mrs Powulska ate .
"So which part of Poland , does your sister come from ? " asked Mrs Murphy
as she sipped her tea .
"Oh the south , a little place , a university place , its called Cracou "
Mrs Murphy's cup clattered against the saucer , she put her tea down for
fear of dropping it . To her it was as if a trumpet had sounded to herald
the entrance of an angel .
"That's where the Pope comes from !" she jabbered .
"Oh , of course , he babtised my sister's children . This food really is
good , you could almost be a Pole , Mrs Murphy . " replied Mrs POwulska as
she ate heartily . Mrs Murphy finished her tea fast , she'd have to give a
final sheen to things before she went . After all wasn't a friend of the
Pope's coming . She had seen the Pope in Coventry , sneaked in with the
handicaped thanks to Fr. Shaw , but now to meet with a friend of the Pope
, Mrs Murphy hadn't been this excited since her confirmation .
Mrs Murphy took it upon herself to meet Mrs Powulska's sister at
the airport . On the drive in Nanska the sister , told an awe struck Mrs
Murphy all about "Carol" , which was what the Pope insisted his old school
chums call him , his reasoning being that's what his mum called him , so
they must call him that too . Michael cocked half an ear to the
conversation , after all it wasn't often that he had a V.I.P. in the back
of his taxi . Mind you he had had the odd Lord Mayor or two who did think
that they were important , Michael knew from his own experience that the
really important people tended to be the quiet ones , they knew that they
were the guardians of gifts , however bizarre or seemingly useless , yes
the truly important people were the quite ones that was for sure , ask any
old taxi driver mused Michael as he pulled up outside Mrs Powulska's .
"Thank's Michael , come inside for a cuppa , I'm sure Nanska will not
mind . " chirped Mrs Murphy .
"Yes , Shiela is taking the words from me . " continued Nanska who was
now as a sister to Mrs Murphy . The sisterhood of the faith , was a bit of
a beneign conspiracy . A pair of rosary beeds and pictures of
grandchildren in a bag and there you had it , instant sisterhood no matter
what nationality , it was the mothers that gave birth to faith , and it
was meer men that said the Masses . The Pope himself knew that , that's
why he insisted on being called Carol by Nanska and all his old school
Inside the tears flowed into the tea , Polish words and songs
rang out from the heart to the heart , there in central England , Mrs
Murphy looked on , she knew that but for the miracle of Poland breaking
the chains of Communism , this happy scene would never have happened . It
was at times like these that a good Irish drink was called for . So
reaching into the bottom of her black bag , she produced Poteen .
"Will you take some in your "Tay" ? " , she said but without awaiting an
answer she was pouring it .
"What is this Poteen ? " asked a curious Nanska , sitting up straight and
straightening her hugh , black clad bussom .
"Vodka " was Michael's reply , repeating the word in Polish , it was one
of the few words of Polish that he could remember from the war , the
others words he knew were certainly not fit for ladies such as these .
So tentatively sipping at the cup , Nanska tried her fortified tea .Her
face changed colour then slowly changed back again , rather like traffic
lights changing , only traffic lights don't breathe heavily and fan their
mouths with their hands .
"It's good " said Nanska with a tear coming down her eye .
"It's fresh if I'm not mistaken " added Michael who was a bit of an
authority on these things .
"It was made three weeks ago , Sgt Mulhollands family send it over "
mumbled Mrs Murphy a tear now coming down her own eye .
So the three ladies and an old taxi driver got quietly and quickly drunk
, on tea strengthened with Poteen . Michael even remembered a whole song
in Polish that he'd learnt . It's wonderful the power of good alcohol , it
brings back the memories to the old and banishes the cold of loneliness .
As for the song , it was as bad or as good as the one Mrs Murphy had sung
at the do for the childrens's home . The two Polish women laughed till
they cried , Michael sung it even louder and was made repeat it seven
times , and all the time he hadn't a clue for the life of him what he was
The next day Mrs Murphy took Nanska on a trip around town to show
the sights , Mrs Murphy really liked flashing her bus pass like a police
man , in fact Starsky was her favourite . The two ladies stopped off for a
cuppa at a little cafe by the bus station . Behind them was a park and a
wood , it reminded Nanska of home .
"I feel at home here , with these woods , with a friend by my side " ,
she squeezed Mrs Murphy's hand , as she gazed towards the woods .
" We have woods like that back home , when I was in service in the hotels
in Killarney I used to walk in the woods . Its nice to see something so
tall and strong reach up to the sky and grow . Then you have the low
branches with their leaves leaning down and touching your hair . It always
gave me a thrill . " said Mrs Murphy as she followed Nanska's gaze .
"It was such a thrill , the soft earth underneath the trees , the bouncy
ground , the squirrels chattering away and jumping like acrobats from tree
to tree , the magpies too , oh it was all so grand , just think what its
like to be young ." continued Mrs Murphy in bewteen sips of tea .
"It was the closest we got to sex . " smiled Nanska
"Yes , I suppose you are right - then we realised trees are more
dependable than men . " laughed Mrs Murphy .
They laughed together , a shared love of trees , a shared faith , a
shared hope , they laughed as only the old can laugh , they laughed at
"Come on , let's walk in the woods " said Mrs Murphy jumping up and
nearly knocking the table and chairs over .
A smiling Nanska , eagerly joined in this nonsense , oh to be young again
, youth was wasted on the young , they wasted so much time , life is for
living and loving and hoping , not sitting around and saying " I'm Bored"
all this went through both their heads as they strode towards the wood .
Not that they actually strode , in their hearts they did , but they
progressed towards the woods arm in arm .....
They must have been in the woods for a half hour , before Mrs
Murphy felt the call of nature . So making hissing noises , and gestures ,
she ushered Nanska on , while she did a country pee . This is how Mrs
Murphy described crouching behind a tree with her dress held up about her
head so she could let nature take its course . It was while nature took
its course that it happened . A fact of human nature to be prescise ,
greed . Nanska was mugged . Mrs Murphy heard the screams and came running
, or rather huffing and puffing with her drawers still not fully pulled up
"What's up ?" she demanded as she rearranged her underwear .
"A bandit take my bag " was Nanska's reply as tried to contain her heaving
bussum , such was her shock and heart rate .
Mrs Murphy looked feverishly around her hoping to see the mugger , but
there was no chance . So taking Nanska's hand to comfort her , Mrs Murphy
led Nanska out of the wood . On the way out they found Nanska's handbag ,
there was a trail of Nanska's poccessions .
"So we are lucky after all " said Mrs Murphy trying to console Nanska .
"Yes , but he did frighten me , he pushed me to the ground " replied
Nanska as she crouched about picking up her belongings .
"Bad sest him , the divil carry him , if ever I catch him , I'd tan his
bare arse ," said Mrs Murphy as she struggled about picking up Nanska's
"I have everything now , he must have thrown it down when he realised my
money was Polish kind . Sadly I miss the gold cross and chain that The
Pope gave me . " sighed Nanska .
Mrs Murphy's ears pricked up as she heard this , nobody , no cheeky
spotty youth was going to steal from her friend , she'd catch this
"person" if it was the last thing she did . Her head raced with anger , as
the two of them continued out of the wood , towards the bus station . Now
how would Starsky deal with this she wondered , then she wondered was
St. Anthony the one for muggings too , after all she wanting help in
finding that cross . She was awakened from her throughts by the
"Chugg,chugg" of Michael's taxi .
"Jump in ladies , where to ? " he said quietly , as his head had not
recovered from the night before .
"You better go to Mark's , WE have been mugged . " said Mrs Murphy .
At Mark's , Mrs Murphy and her soul mate , were the life and
soul of the inquest into the mugging . Concerned looks , and dire threats
of what they'd do to the culprit were the order of the day . Patrick his
hands covered in flour came running .
"Are you alright , are you alright ? " he said , scouring his mothers face
for signs of harm .
"Of course , I am . Only the spotty faced monster made me wet my knickers"
"You were that afraid ? " said a worried looking Patrick .
"Don't be so soft , you overgrown egyt , I was taking a country pee ,
when I heard the fuss , then in my rush I wet my knickers ." said Mrs
Murphy with a look that said "What kind of idiot have I for a son " .
"So we've wet the baby's head last week and now your knickers this
week ! " said Patrick who couldn't resist the chance of a joke .
"I'm not too old to tan your bare arse , Patrick ! " snapped Mrs Murphy
before she saw the funny side and started to shriek with laughter .
"I'm going to catch that cheeky monkey , I don't mind my knickers getting
wet , it's just that Nanska a visiter to our country should not get
treated like that , it ruins the reputation of the place , they'll think
we are all totally uncivilised . " Mrs Murphy sounded more than indignant
, she had that look in her eye . Then by way of afterthought she added
"Besides , the little bastard stole a cross and chain given to Nanska by
the Pope himself ! "
Patrick knew it was definately a waste of time trying to persuade his
mother that she hadn't a chance in hell of finding the mugger . He looked
about the cafe trying to think of something useful to say . Outside Amjit
barked and put his nose to the window .
"Well Amjit can help you , " said Patrick trying placate his mother .
"Well I'll take him home with me then . "
The next few days Amjit found himself under house arrest at Mrs
Murphy's . She was training him with the aid of a hurling stick and ginger
nut biscuits , if he had a soul Amjit would have sold it for a ginger nut
biscuit , wasn't Patrick the same only Rolos were his weakness . Amjit was
a clever dog already , but Mrs Murphy didn't quite trust him as he had
ran after a squirrel while saving Jaswinder . She was an old woman she
didn't want to be attacked while souring the town for the mugger . Amjit
already knew English and a bit of Indian but now the Gaelic were to be his
command words . Mrs Murphy did not want anybody to know what was coming .
"Well , you seem to know your stuff , so we'll go for a walk in the woods
Walking in the woods was a joy for Mrs Murphy , a harsh word
in Gaelic was all that was needed when Amjit started to trot , having seen
a squirrel ahead .That and the odd ginger nut .She thought she'd only have
to walk into the woods and then the mugger would come out with his hands
up , but neither life nor love is like that . The first thing that Mrs
Murphy came across seemed to be a body , she couldn't quite see so she
sent Amjit ahead , just in case it was dangerous . Amjit crept ahead and
sniffed at a white rounded thing , his cold nose touched it . There was a
startled scream , followed by a girl's laughter . Amjit had disturbed a
pair of natural lovers . Mrs Murphy brought up the rear , averting her
eyes from the naked lovers .
"I'm sorry if my dog disturbed your husband at his "Work" , " the
laughter in her voice , hadn't friends of hers done the same fifty years
ago in the woods of Killarney , in a crowded house a wood can be a thing
of wonder and recreation if not procreation .
"He's only my boyfriend !" came a laughed reply from the girl , while the
boy blushed .
"You should only do that if you know , he'd be a good father to a baby !"
was Mrs Murphy's moral retort her eyes averted still .
"Oh , he will be , I want lots of children , we are just getting some
practice in , " was the final remark before the girl got the boy to carry
on with a job well done .
Mrs Murphy was going to say something more but then thought of Patrick
and June , so she just laughed and laughed , they were true lovers just
like her Patrick and June , so what if they were early starters . And they
wanted lots of kids , anybody who loved children was ok in Mrs Murphy's
Further into the wood teenage children were swinging from a
rope tied to a tree . When they saw Amjit they scattered , screaming
"Police" . They had been playing truant from school , the sight of an
enormous dog had only meant one thing to them - Police . It took Mrs
Murphy a while to realise this . Then she realised she had a new problem
now , how to make Amjit invisible .
Mrs Murphy thought long and hard on how to make Amjit
invisible , it would be easy if she was Paul Daniels the tv magician , but
she was just a poor widow woman , as she insisted to her son every time
she wanted to extract a favour . Saint Francis was roped in to help but
this only gave partial success , what was needed was something to slow the
hairy beast down . Mrs Murphy even thought of attaching the old last to
Amjit's collar , she ruled this out though , something much heavier was
needed , something that would make Amjit slow down and so make him keep
his distance and so be invisible . Then while watching the tv she saw a
blacksmith , a light went on in her mind , now an anvil would be just the
thing to slow Amjit down . It was then that Saint Francis spoke up , she
couldn't be so cruel to a dumb animal especially after he had saved
Jaswinder . The picture of Mother Theresa looked down the wall and said
"have faith ".Mrs Murphy looked at Amjit lying at her feet like some form
of long haired rug and smiled her own saintly smile , they were only
thoughts , meer passing pagan clouds . She threw Amjit a ginger nut , the
"rug" awoke and caught it , licked his lips and wagged his tail ; he liked
her , it amused him how she threatened him with a hurling stick , he let
her think she was in charge , after all he really would sell his soul for
a ginger nut .
The door bell rang , Saint Francis had sent a helper , no last
this but a human anvil who would really slow Amjit down , it was Mathew .
Mrs Murphy smiled , those saints really loved playing games with her ,
they could really drive her to distraction , yet they always came through
in the end , even though if sometimes they puzzled her despite her
fathomless faith .
"Hello Mathew , come in I'll make some fresh tea , I've a favour to ask
you " , she said casting a sideways glance at Mother Theresa on the wall.
The next day Mathew and Mrs Muphy were on the street , a trail
of ginger nuts seperated them . The plan was for Mrs Murphy to call Amjit
and make him advance slowly along the street , picking up the ginger nuts
one by one , Mathew was the braking device to prevent Amjit wolfing down
the lot . This did the trick , as Mathew was heavier than any last or
"Follow " commanded Mrs Murphy from up the street . Fifty
yards away Amjit eagerly obeyed , why shouldn't he after all , wasn't
there a trail of ginger nuts in front of him , he was only a dog , albeit
a very large and hairy dog , but he wasn't stupid . The pavement was a bit
wet and slippery after the early rain , and such was Amjit's pulling
power that if Mathew were wearing skis he could have water skied along the
pavement , but since Mathew wasn't then that wasn't a possibility , but it
was a near thing . Amjit proceeded up the road after Mrs Murphy licking
his lips all the way , now this was fun he thought , even if he did have
to drag Mathew after him . After half an hour the supply of ginger nuts
was exhausted . Jaswinder came skipping out with a couple of packets of
ginger nuts , her father like everybody else on the street had been
watching with interest . So patting Amjit hello and goodbye Jaswinder
skipped away , her mission had been accomplished . Amjit again followed
Mrs Murphy at a distance , still weighed down by Mathew , to be honest
Amjit was getting bored , even though it was his duty to do Mrs Murphy's
bidding , it would be a shame to waste all those nice ginger nuts wouldn't
it ? "Now lets see if he'll do it without the bribe , " yelled Mrs Murphy
to Mathew . So Amjit followed her at a distance , almost inventing
pavement water skiing at the same time as he dragged Mathew along . Amjit
followed three times without reward . "Well he seems to have leant it then
doesn't he ? " beamed a happy Mrs Murphy . Only to be disappointed
immediately , Mathew had let go of Amjit , so a disgusted Amjit dashed
off. It wasn't fair was it , Amjit had been tricked , he had obeyed out of
duty hadn't he , the ginger nuts had nothing to do with it , it was the
principle , wasn't it ?
In the cafe Mrs Murphy had a well earned cuppa while she treated
Mathew to a banana milk shake . Where had that turncoat Amjit got to ,
just when she thought he had learnt his lesson .
Amjit too was having a break , he'd dug up a favourite bone and
was chewing on it , pondering on the morning's fun as he sucked the marrow
from his bone . It was while Amjit was chewing that he had an idea , but
he finished his bone first before he put his idea into action .
"I've got an idea Mathew , what if we gradually reduce the
amount of ginger nuts , then even that stupid dog will understand , "
sighed Mrs Murphy , who was tired and feeling her age .
"Like Barbara Woodhouse did on the telly last night do you mean ? "replied
Mathew as he blew bubbles into his milk shake . Mrs Murphy realised what
an old fool she had been and it was Mathew of all people who had made her
realise this .
"Come on then , I'll try and whistle the devil back to us , " she said as
she leant on the back of a chair to lever herself up .
Outside Amjit was sitting with his lead in his teeth , his tail
was wagging , he was pleased with himself and the bone he'd just eaten no
doubt . "Your stomach not full enough is it ? " scolded Mrs Murphy . Amjit
just barked and skipped in front of her just like a puppy . "You better
grab him , before the rascal runs away . " Then in front of them they saw
the fruits of Amjit's chewing the cud or rather chewing his bone . Along
the pavement placed at intervals were fragments of bone ! Amjit thought
Mrs Murphy had ran out of bribes , so he had supplied his own , in
readiness for more fun .
"You'd teach this grandmother to suck eggs wouldn't you ," she
again scolded , as Amjit jumped about like a very excited puppy .
"But I thought we were just teaching him to follow you at a distance , and
how can a dog suck eggs , or do you mean carry eggs like Police dogs can
do , like I saw on - "
"Barbara Woodhouse last night , " interrupted Mrs Murphy . She looked at
Amjit and then Mathew , then she smiled , some would call them dumb
animals yet both had shown her a thing or two . There was no doubt in her
mind , St.Francis was making a fool of her . She shook her head then she
let the laughter out , at her age she had no time nor need of anger ,
laughter was all she wanted , that and to die in her sleep and to convert
the pagan grandparents of course . The shopkeepers who had again been
keeping half an eye on proceedings came out to see what was the cause of
all the laughter , Mathew having started off too , a braying echo of Mrs
Murphy's earthy laugh , Amjit barking for joy too , which would soon start
off all the dogs in the neighbourhood . A look along the street to see all
the bones soon explained things . So the whole street joined in the
laughter . When sanity returned Amjit proved that he'd already mastered
the trick of following at a distance . If the truth be know , Amjit had
worked things out pretty soon , but he hadn't the heart to admit it to
poor Mrs Murphy , besides it was great fun , if she wanted to leave ginger
nuts along the pavement then he wasn't going to stop her . After all a dog
was man's and old ladies' best friend .
Mrs Murphy resumed her search of the woods with her newly
trained Amjit , but to no avail . So she went and had a bun and a tea from
the cafe in front of the wood . It wasn't fair , she'd spent all this time
and energy ,not to mention wasted prayers and still no sign of the mugger.
While Mrs Murphy was having simple fare , on the other side
of town Mrs Annette Kemp was treating herself to Black Forest Gateau
washed down by real coffee and cream all served by pretty young girls in
uniforms similiar to those Mrs Murphy had worn fifty years ago when in
service in the hotels on the lakes of Killarney . Mrs Kemp was pleased
with herself , she'd just bought Patrick his birthday present , a very
nice Rolex with clasp strap . So pleased was she that she had the watch on
her table so she could admire it while she had her gateau and coffee , and
she of course congradulated herself on her good taste , if only some would
rub off on Patrick . Then she smiled to herself , hadn't he married HER
daughter , so if that wasn't good taste , then what was ? She overlooked
the fact that some of her "friends" would have called it a "Shotgun
Wedding" ; but now that SHE was a grandmother those kind of "friends"
could go to hell as far as she was concerned , in many ways she was
already like the other grannie - Mrs Murphy .
Outside on the street somebody else was admiring the Rolex , a
spotty faced youth with a skateboard under his arm , a "class war" badge
on his jumper , next to a gold cross held on with a safety pin . As far as
the spotty youth was concerned here was one of the enemy , flaunting
wealth , that one watch would more than pay for a years poll tax , that's
if the spotty youth didn't feel poll tax was immoral . Not that stealing
was immoral , for that's was what he was about to do .
Mrs Kemp finished her gateau , had a last sip of her real
coffee , then she put the Rolex away , into a dainty carrier with Rolex on
it . She floated outside , with the air of the Queen Mother about her ,
she was happy and content , it had been a nice morning , a very nice
morning . So when a sneering spotty faced youth shouted in her face
grabbing her precious cargo she was to taken aback . She just couldn't
comprehend the situation , it was like stealing one of the three gifts
from one of the three kings , or slapping an angel's bum and asking for a
bit of slap and tickle . It happened to other people but never to you , it
was as likely as a man breaking into the Queen's bedroom . It just did not
happen . Then Mrs Kemp's face fell , it had really happened and to her ,
just as it had happened to the Queen , even the Queen .
"Stop thief , catch that little BASTARD ," she screamed . She hailed a
taxi and ordered "Follow that skateboard . " Only the taxi driver laughed
"It's too late for April Fool's Missus . " This really annoyed Mrs Kemp ,
being called "Missus" , and by a taxi driver . So she ordered him to take
her to the street , her daughter at least would give her some sympathy ..
"So you see the spotty creature grabbed the bag and made off on
his skateboard , I doubt if he could tell the time , unless it was on one
of those horrid digital watches , so why on earth should he steal a
"Timepiece" like the Rolex ? " mused Mrs Kemp to her daughter , as she
sipped her tea in Mark's cafe .
"So Patrick won't be getting his birthday present then ? " said June , who
was holding her mother's twitching hand , the shock only now sinking in .
"No , he'll have his watch , no little hoodlum is going to ruin MY plans
after all , Patrick is family now . Though you will come with me to the
shop to buy him another , I wouldn't feel safe on my own ."
June looked at her mother , she suddenly seemed old and vunerable , the
hard real world had never dared encroach on Mrs Kemp , and now there she
was holding June's hand , looking vunerable , June was the mother and her
mother was the little frightened child .
"Of course I will , but you need not go to the expense , after all it is
the thought that counts , " concern in both her eyes and voice .
Outside there was a screech of brakes ,as three orange VW vans pulled up .
Out jumped eight Indians in turbans and saffron coloured robes , long
swords dangling by their sides . Behind the Indians came Mrs Murphy , like
an honour guard they heralded Mrs Murphy into Mark's cafe .
"Nine teas , please , and some cake too , " flashed a pearl white smile .
Mrs Murphy sat down , her boys surrounding her . It was only then that Mrs
Murphy noticed a crestfallen Mrs Kemp .
"Are you alright ? You look down today , Annette , " Mrs Murphy enquired .
"Mom was mugged , just a while ago ," answered June .
"Jesus , Mary and Joseph it's an epidemic . Didn't somebody have a go at
me , only a few minutes ago ! "
"What , somebody tried to mug you , dear God , Shiela what's the world
coming to ? " a startled Mrs Kemp replied .
"Oh , I'm ok the mugger just pushed me to the ground . You see the bus
conducter was in a funny mood so he wouldn't let me take Amjit on the
bus , so the poor dog had to walk the two miles home on his own . Then
what with the dirty bus windows I couldn't see where I was and got off at
the wrong stop . So this young lad jumped out at me . But luckily my boys
happened to be passing so they jumped out of their vans and chased him
down the street . I think he got the fright of his life , mind you he's a
very fast runner , he just tucked his skateboard under his arm and ran
like he'd just seen a banshee , " Mrs Murphy gave glowing looks to her
"Well , when we saw Mrs Murphy we were going to give her a lift , as it
was we ended up saving her from God knows what ," said Amajit the one with
the pearl white smile .
"This is Amajit , and these are his brothers , Bamajit , Camajit , Damajit