Countdown To Christmas – Episode 12

GOAL!” As the cry erupted around them, Sally nudged Kate.“Your Robbie nearly saved that one! Did you see? He got a fingertip to it. He’s getting better, isn’t he?”It was Saturday morning and they were standing shivering on the touchline of the school football pitch, giving Kate’s son Robbie what support they could. So far, it had apparently had little effect, since his side was five-nil down against the opposition. Sally had wondered why Steve wasn’t on football duty. She suspected that it had something to do with the bitter wind whistling across the playing field, but Kate had assured her that she was doing him an injustice.“He’s having a look at the car. It’s been making a funny noise when I go round roundabouts. But you know what he’s like when he gets under the bonnet comes out scratching his head saying it’s got him beat this time. I hope your Phil isn’t busy this morning, because he’s bound to get a call.”“He’ll love that. It’ll get him out of doing the big shop.”As the game restarted and the run of play immediately headed towards poor Robbie in goal again, Kate wrapped her scarf more closely round her neck and stuck her mittened hands in her pockets.“Even I, his proud mother, know Robbie only gets to play because he’s the tallest boy in the class,” she commented mildly.Neither she nor Steve had ever exhibited any sporting prowess at school, and Robbie was a real chip off the old block, though as the ball was punted his way again he managed to fend it off, drawing a smattering of applause from the watching parents.Kate gave her son a quick thumbs-up and turned back to Sally.“So, where were we?”“Talking about the lovely Dolores and how she seems to have set her cap at poor old Ted,” Sally reminded her, tugging her own tammy more tightly over her ears.“Oh, yes. Poor Ted!”


It had become apparent at the last rehearsal of the tap-dancing class that the quiet, unassuming Ted had caught the eye of their teacher. He was only there to check that the timer on the heating system had been reset after the last power cut. Eagle-eyed Dolores spotted him through the glass panel in the door of what she now called the “dance studio” the “little hall” to everyone else and hot-footed it straight out into the corridor.“Ah, Ted, just the man I wanted to see!”Chuckling with mischief, Kate nudged Sally.“I thought it was tap-dancing we were learning. That looked more like a good old-fashioned quick-step to me!”The door had opened again, and in came Dolores, leading a bemused Ted by the hand.“ . . . so if you could just check the thermostat on these radiators for me, Ted, that would be helpful.”Sally and Kate exchanged raised eyebrows.Ted ambled around the room checking the two small radiators, but when he declared them functioning perfectly, Dolores allowed a small wrinkle to furrow her brow.“Really? I could have sworn they were running a little warm. Well, anyway, now you’re here, Ted, would you like to sit in on the class? It might help my dancers get used to having an audience. We used to find it a very useful exercise when I was on the stage myself.” She primped the little chiffon scarf at her neck peacock blue this week, Kate and Sally had agreed and smiled that girlish smile she seemed to save for him alone. She was almost prodding him towards a chair at the side, but Ted resisted manfully.“Well, now, that’s very tempting, but I don’t want to spoil the pleasure of seeing it in its entirety, once you lovely ladies have had the chance to perfect your routine.” He was blushing as he spoke and edging towards the door even as Dolores was hanging on to his sleeve.Kate and Sally were fascinated. Who would win this tug of war?Ted did, scuttling out of the room and leaving Dolores looking forlornly after him until she remembered the class, watching with awe.“Well, now, where were we?” she exclaimed, clapping her hands. “These interruptions can be so distracting!”“I’ll say!” Sally said slyly, making Kate snigger and earning them both a scowl from Dolores Granby.“Pay attention at the back there, please!”


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