- Author: Nadine Dorries
Book online «Coming Home to the Four Streets Nadine Dorries (book recommendations for young adults TXT) 📖». Author Nadine Dorries
Also by Nadine Dorries
The Tarabeg Series
Shadows in Heaven
The Velvet Ribbon
The Lovely Lane Series
The Angels of Lovely Lane
The Children of Lovely Lane
The Mothers of Lovely Lane
The Four Streets Series
The Four Streets
Hide Her Name
The Ballymara Road
Coming Home to the Four Streets
Run to Him
A Girl Called Eilinora
An Angel Sings
COMING HOME TO THE FOUR STREETS
First published in the UK in 2021 by Head of Zeus Ltd
Copyright © Nadine Dorries, 2021
The moral right of Nadine Dorries to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN (HB): 9781838939069
ISBN (XTPB): 9781800241961
ISBN (E): 9781838939052
Head of Zeus Ltd
First Floor East
5–8 Hardwick Street
London EC1R 4RG
About the author
An Invitation from the Publisher
There was little need for Eric to guide his faithful cob, Daisy Bell, along his milk round. The early morning mist lay close to the cobbles of the Dock Road and the four streets but the mare knew each step of the route by heart and had never wrong-hoofed him as he dropped the reins to turn the pages of the Daily Post which, by arrangement, he removed from a bundle piled up on the pavement outside the tobacconist and replaced with two bottles of silver top.
‘Morning, Eric. Red sky last night so that sun is going to get his hat on at last, eh,’ called out a scurrying figure, bent forward towards the Mersey and wreathed in blue cigarette smoke. He gave Eric the thumbs up as he passed, on his way towards the dockers’ steps. Eric lifted his white oilskin cap in greeting and, feeling the fresh air on his head despite his thatch of thick chestnut brown hair, replaced it quickly. He rubbed his chin and wondered should he give the float a coat of fresh paint when he returned to the dairy.
He’s right, he thought. The weather must change soon. I can’t leave the painting for much longer because the Dock Queen Carnival is only weeks away. Eric, Daisy Bell and the float played a central role on the day of the carnival. Cleared of wooden crates and bottles, bedecked in May flowers, garlands and with the large throne-shaped chair from Sister Evangelista’s office draped in crimson velvet and secured by hidden ropes, they would transport the queen and her retinue along the Dock Road and around the four streets, beginning on the front yard of the Anchor public house where everyone was offered a free tot of rum by Bill and Babs.
This guaranteed attendance for some of the day by the men, reluctant fathers and work-worn dockers trying their hardest to elicit a second tot from Babs, no friend to the equally reluctant and work-worn mothers who resented the time she spent serving their husbands. The rum was freely dispensed but, unknown to either Father Anthony or Sister Evangelista, it was not provided out of generosity nor was it even the property of the Anchor. No, it had ‘fallen off the back of a tramp ship’, close to the dockers’ steps and been stored in the Dohertys’ outhouse, in waiting for the event of the summer.
The procession would be led by Father Anthony at the front, and brought up by the Union of Catholic Mothers at the rear, pushing prams. Children would be running and laughing alongside all the way to the finish in the large priory garden where, for one day only, the children were allowed to play and run free. Games were organised by Miss Devlin, the only teacher who was not a nun at the school, whilst the nuns and the women of the four streets served teas and home-made cakes in an old canvas army hospital tent which smelt of gunsmoke, mud and despair. The highlight of the afternoon was the blessing of the dock queen and the awarding of the prizes – threepenny bits – by Sister Evangelista. Goldfish were won, moles whacked and bells rang out as the first child crossed the finishing line at the end of each race. The carnival could be won or lost on the state of the weather, which became the focus of attention for weeks before.
Eric looked up to the sky. The rain had been relentless, but this morning there was definitely a lightness in the mist. He made the decision that he would begin painting as soon as he arrived back at the dairy and would take the week to paint a panel a day. He delivered every morning, even on Sunday, his wife, Gladys, having frightened away every young boy Eric had taken on as an apprentice. Even those from homes desperate for the money had never lasted longer than a week, terrified by her temper or frozen in her piercing glare.
Daisy Bell turned left and the Anchor loomed before them. ‘Well done, girl,’ Eric said, and her ears flicked forward as she recognised the affection in his voice. The public house was their next-to-last call on the Dock Road; the round ended at the top of the dockers’ steps which led down to the Mersey and delivered to every house and business on the way. Eric enjoyed the meticulous order of the round which played well to his military training. Every day was the