The New Arrival
It was a typical day in Yorkshire; the rain had just stopped and the sun peeked out from behind a cloud, casting golden over the houses, trees and walls. Truly exited his house, wearing his tan mac and carrying his brolly in the event of another cloudburst.
The lorry pulled up followed by a small sedan. A young woman in her late twenties stepped out of the sedan shadowed by two boisterous little boys. The boys quickly ran up to the wall in front of the house and hoisted themselves up onto it.
"Is this our house?" one of them asked her.
"Yes, so treat it nicely!" the mother warned. The boys scampered over the wall and into the garden where they poked around the flower, or rather, weed bed.
"Don't wander off!" she called to them as she walked over to one of the removal men holding a clipboard.
Truly looked over with vague interest, tipped his hat to the young woman, and hurried on his way. He was meeting Compo and Cleggy at Ivy's for their morning coffee and plans for the day.
One of the movers rolled up the back door of the truck and the young woman unlocked the front door. The house smelled musty as if it had been closed up for some time. With a stroke of the pen, the removal men began to relocate the family's belongings inside.
The trio entered the café. Truly and Cleggy hung their overcoats and hats on the pegs. Cleggy joined Compo at their usual table as Truly placed their order.
"Three coffees please, Ivy," Truly requested.
"Which one of you lot is paying?" she addressed the three men, surveying the room.
Compo and Cleggy shoved their hands in their pockets and looked around innocently, avoiding her gaze.
"I guess it's me," said Truly smiling, retrieving a handful of coins from his pocket.
"That'll be sixty p."
He paid her and returned to the table with a tray and three blue china cups of steaming coffee. He set the tray down and they each took their cup.
"Thank ya, Truly. Thou's truly a friend in need," Compo smiled and bowed slightly.
"It's you who's the friend in need!" quipped Cleggy.
Truly sat down and sipped his coffee.
"There's someone moving in next door to me," Truly started.
"Who? Who would move into that house? No one's lived in it for years!" Cleggy stammered.
"Didst thou tell 'em 'tis haunted? You tell 'em you hears spooks all the time?" Compo asked.
"Nah!" Truly exclaimed, "They look nice enough. A young mother and two boys."
"Thoust can't let a young mother and two boys move into that place!" Compo countered, pouring his coffee into his saucer.
"Two boys? What kind of boys?" Cleggy asked, sipping his coffee.
"What kind of boys are there?" Truly questioned, looking at him sideways.
"Well, there's the kind of boy you were," Compo laughed and leaned in, "Thou were a sight in your little sailor suit, smelling of Vicks vaporub!"
"And then there are the boys like Compo!" Cleggy chimed.
"Yeah! Wearin' Wellies and getting' dirty and scruffed up!" Compo added proudly.
"Then they're your kind of boys!" Truly announced, "They were already climbing on the wall."
"Yup! Them's my kind o'boys!" Compo stated, "Got no use for boys what plays the violin and grows roses!"
They drained their coffees and Truly took their empty cups to the counter for a refill. He picked out three buns.
"Those are 25p each!" she snapped, wiping the counter and lifting the tray, "They're fresh!"
"Well, where're the stale ones then? He's fresh enough!" Truly nodded, indicating Compo.
"I hear you have a neighbor moving into the old Rutherford house," said Ivy.
"Yes," Truly began, "A young woman with two boys."
"That's just what we need! New people. Young people," she stated.
"But Truly di'nt them 'em 'bout the spooks and the noises," Compo called out.
"You hush! Don't go startin' trouble!" Ivy warned, scowling at him, "That place has stood vacant long enough. If there's any place round here full of noises and spooks, it's your place! Nora tells me all the time about those ferrets scurrying in the rafters and the sound of things falling over!"
Compo looked down, sulking.
"Well, if Nora'd let me move in with her, the ferrets could 'ave the place to themselves!" He chuckled. Cleggy and Truly rolled their eyes.
The doorbells jingled and Nora walked in with Pearl and Edie.
"You three haven't seen my Howard, have you?" Pearl asked, scrutinizing the three.
"No, where did you leave him last?" Truly asked.
"I last saw him at the end of a brush in front of the house, but when I returned from the dustbin, he had disappeared."
"There's a lot of that going on lately," Cleggy interjected, "People just evaporating into thin air!"
"I'd like to see these three evaporate into thin air!" Ivy sneered.
"'at's how she treats us payin' customers!" Compo bellowed.
"What paying customers?" Cleggy asked.
"Us!" Compo said, pointing from himself to Truly to Cleggy.
"He must have a mouse in his pocket!" Truly muttered.
Pearl, Edie and Nora sat down and Ivy served them pastries from a tray.
"Thank you, Ivy," Nora said, "Three coffees, please."
Ivy returned to the counter to pour the coffee.
"I noticed you didn't ask her who was going to pay!" Compo flared, teasingly.
"That's because I never have a problem with these customers!"
"My Wesley's in his shed beating and banging away on something. There was smoke everywhere!" Edie said, loud enough for the trio to hear.
Taking that as their cue to leave, they stood up and retrieved their outerwear.
"I'll take a raincheck on those buns, Ivy!" Truly called as they hurried out of the café.
"And I'll take a rain check on that kiss, Nora!" Compo flirted, mock-tipping his watch cap.
"When Yorkshire suffers a drought!" she countered, shaking her head and scrunching her face.