‘Fred fought in the second world war; he deserves to feel safe,’ Thomas said.
‘I can’t tell you how scared I were at first, but with everyone’s help, especially yours Mrs W, I felt more confident to go out.’
‘Is there anything else we need to discuss?’ Thomas asked.
The room was silent, and Thomas turned away from Martha. He went over to his drinks cabinet, with Charles not far behind.
Martha rose from the sofa, took hold of the empty glasses and plates from the table. It could only be one drink each. The bottle was half empty. It always made Thomas nervous to speak in public.
‘You alright Mrs W? Looks like you found a penny but lost a pound,’ Fred said.
Before she replied, Martha counted to ten. ‘I’m fine Fred, probably coming down with a cold.’
‘A good whisky in hot milk will stop that.’
‘I’ll get your cake now Fred.’
‘That would be grand,’ Fred said.
Martha watched everyone surround Thomas and could see he was debating what was going to happen next. Fred began to talk about the needles in the park.
In the kitchen, Martha put them down, leant against the side. She would be glad when she could put her home in the state it had begun the evening. It took such a long time to clean up when they had visitors. None of it could be left till morning.
The dishwasher filled – she got a tablet from the bottom cupboard. Cups at the bottom, plates to the side, and glasses at the top. She would have to rewash the glasses in the morning, but the rest should be okay.
Martha preferred to hand wash, but Thomas valued their new kitchen, and wanted the dishwasher to go with it. It would save her time and effort. With the cupboard in front, you would hardly notice there was an appliance at all. She only returned to the front room when there was nothing more to do.
‘Ah Martha, I was wondering where you had got to,’ Thomas said.
‘Just loading the dishwasher Thomas, lost track of time.’
‘Such a great asset to our new kitchen. It cost ten thousand pounds, but it was worth it. We have a new fridge freezer, dishwasher, and the latest washing machine. Nothing but the best for my wife.’