A thin, plaintive voice yelling into his ears, and small hands tugging at his beard pulled William Caddoc out of the stupor caused by one too many pints the night before.
“Ow,” he groaned, hands gnarled by twenty years of shovelling, of hammering a pick into the coal face, hands marked with coal dust that can never be washed off, clutched his aching head.
“What do you want rag-tag girl?” he growled. The noise of the growl made his poor head pound the harder. Blood-shot eyes snapped closed again, shutting out the sunbeams playing with the dust mites in the doorway.
Aching head flopped back down onto the floor.
“Dah……..Dah,” the voice grew louder, the tugs on salt and pepper chin hairs became more insistent.
“Go away and let me be, girl.”
“The mother told me to get you up and see you got breky. And then I’m to set you on the colliery road. Please Dah,” she wheedled. “I’ve got a surprise for your breky.”
Caddoc struggled to all fours, groaned every inch of the way to the rough two-by-four table in the middle of the room. Calloused shaking hands were placed on the nearest plank bench. It took every bit of strength the man could muster to pull the tall frame upright. Legs lifted up one at a time and went over the bench top. He eased his big frame onto the hard wood, sighed when the pain from the crick in the back eased a little. “I’m too old for sleeping on the floor,” he grumbled.
“Did the mother send you to the floor again to sleep?”