The Factory Girls – Episode 07

Dana looked up from a tricky flat-bed seam as the factory bell rang and Helen appeared in the doorway.“Carol wants everyone downstairs in the packing shed. Now.”“Bossy, ain’t she?” Shelley muttered but Dana shook her head.“She’s just doing her job.”She’d watched Helen Wright move quietly up the rung at Cardill’s recently and had admired her for it. It gave Dana hope that she could move up, too. She joined the others streaming down the stairs and into the warehouse, where Carol had clambered up on to one of the big packing tables, to be clearly seen and heard by all.“Right, girls,” she said once they were all gathered, “Jonathan’s just texted me to say the big bosses will be here any minute now, and I want us all to show them what Cardill’s is made of. We may not be their most high-tech factory, but I bet you anything you like we’re the hardest working. “We may not be their fanciest workforce, but I bet you we’re the most skilled. And we may like a joke and a laugh . . .” her eyes roamed around the gathered girls, catching the eye of a few, Dana amongst them “. . . but we know when to take things seriously, too. We’re going to give these London suits a top couple of hours at Cardill’s, right?”“Right!” came back the ringing reply.“Good. Now, to your workstations and heads down. Feel free to say hello when they pass and to answer any questions honestly, and remember Cardill’s is proud of you. I’m proud of you every one of you. Right?”“Right!” It was even louder this time.“Excellent. Back to work.”The girls did as they were bid, fired up from Carol’s words.“She’s not a bad old girl,” Shelley said to Dana as they headed back to the second floor.“She’s top,” Dana replied. “Though she looks nervous. I hope she’s OK. It’s a lot to cope with, without, you know, Eddie . . .”Shelley squirmed uncomfortably at the mention of Carol’s late husband and dived for her machine, but Dana, acquainted with loss, wasn’t so shy of such thoughts. She’d known Eddie Jenkins pretty well. Despite being the local copper, and thus confined to a panda car most of his time, he’d been nearly as engine-mad as her dear dad, and had spent many an hour round at the garage tinkering over this or that old car. When her parents had died he’d taken Dana under his wing for a bit. She could still remember the time he’d found her crying her eyes out beneath a bush in the park, afraid to show her tears to her brothers, who had scorned such weakness, despite the redness under their own eyes. Eddie, out on the beat, had coaxed her from her hiding place and had taken her home for something to eat. Dana had been impressed by the quiet calm of their house and, after a hearty bowl of soup, had slept a shamefully long time on their deliciously soft sofa. Carol had never said a word about it since but had made it clear that Dana would be welcome again if she needed somewhere to go. There were times when Dana had been sorely tempted but she didn’t like to be a nuisance. Mindful of her boss’s kindness, though, she’d kept a quiet eye on her ever since Eddie had died, so she could see that Carol was unusually tense today.There was no time to dwell on it, however, as a girl at one of the window stations called out that Frank’s car was pulling up outside. Moments later the doorbell rang through the factory and, it seemed, the visit was in motion.


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