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A nicer place

Things had turned out better for Johnny than he could have hoped. The headmaster had decided that he wasn’t such a bad lad after all and had given him a cushy job cleaning indoors. While the rest of the boys shivered in the fields, Johnny was in the warmth. He even got to walk into Southport with us for a few hours.

We went to the fairground and tried out most of the rides. We even had money to pay for them! Normally, when the travelling fairs came to Tuebrook we’d steal rides. We’d wait until the man collecting the money turned his back, or was occupied on the other side, and leap on. It was dangerous, but sometimes it worked.

At Southport it seemed odd to be paying. It also seemed a terrible waste, but we couldn’t cheat with my mam there and shame her in public by getting caught. We had quite a good day, and even had real ice cream.

Johnny did look a bit despondent when the time came for him to go back, but I had no sympathy. He was going back to a nicer place than I was. We were soon back at the house in Pringle Street and life was back to normal.

I was nearing the school leaving age, and still attended classes as seldom as possible. The only class that interested me at all was cookery, and that was only because we got to eat the food we prepared. The only problem was that we were expected to take a shilling to class to pay for the ingredients...

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