The Factory Girls – Episode 37

“All set?” Frank asked, bustling into Carol’s office next morning.“All set,” Jonathan agreed, leaping straight up.He’d been fidgeting ever since he’d got here. Was he so eager to see Moonbright, Carol wondered. He’d barely been able to summon up a smile for the photographer . . . though she couldn’t blame him for that. Lime green was definitely not a flattering colour! Jonathan had summoned up some words for the reporter but had seemed distracted, as if he didn’t want to be there. As they stepped on to the factory floor, Carol noticed him scuttle past the stairs as if they led to a monster’s lair. Suddenly she realised he wasn’t excited at all about the visit to the new factory.“Have you still not told Dana where you’re going?” she asked him once they’d made it outside.“Not as such.”“She knows how things are, Jonathan.”“Knows, maybe,” he agreed grimly, “but she definitely doesn’t like it, and neither do I. She’s set on saving Cardill’s as she’s quite right to be yet here I am scuttling off to look for a job elsewhere. I just feel bad, that’s all.”* * * * It was a silent trip into Manchester but eventually they pulled up outside Moonbright Textiles. It was on a small industrial estate, wedged between Nina’s Balloons and Baa-baas lite Sheepskins.“What do you think an lite sheep looks like?” Carol whispered to Jonathan.“Suit and tie?” he suggested and Carol grinned, but now Frank was ushering them inside and an ample woman with a cheeky smile and a broad accent was bounding over.“I’m Anne,” she introduced herself, pumping Carol’s hand. “So lovely to have you here. I’ve heard so much about Cardill’s over the years, such an example to us all. I’m honoured to have your machines here and, I hope, some of your girls, too.”Carol looked suspiciously at her but she seemed genuine.“I’m not sure about that,” she admitted. “The girls are reluctant to leave Deveroe.”“Oh, I’m sure. I’m from Grassington myself, way up in the hills. I came to Manchester kicking and screaming, I can tell you, but I love it now.”“You do?”Anne chuckled.“Yes, honestly. Now, come on in and see your machine.”Frank had had the first lace-attach machine moved over on Monday and Carol felt quite overwhelmed to see it sitting in pride of place in the centre of a cleared area. She walked up the line of more conventional hemming machines towards it, gazing all around her. The floor was so even and so soft; some fancy coating, no doubt. The light was good, too; it poured in from huge, high-up windows and was enhanced by daylight-effect ceiling lamps. And the space!“Is it all right there?” Anne asked anxiously, interpreting Carol’s awed silence as disapproval.“Fine. It’s just fine, Anne, thank you.”“Good. This is Becky. She’s our best machinist and she’s very keen to learn lace attaching.”Becky, a bright-eyed twenty-something, smiled up at her.“It looks very complicated,” she confided.“Oh, no,” Carol said, swooping in next to her. “No, it isn’t at all, not when you’re used to it. Now . . .”“I’ll leave you two to it, then,” Anne said with a smile. “Lunch in an hour.”


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