Christmas Wishes for the Railway Girls by Maisie Thomas EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Status: Available for Free Download
- Author: Maisie Thomas
- Language: English
- Genre: Historical World War II Fiction
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 2 MB
- Price: Free
With their tools over their shoulders, Mabel and the other members of her
gang of lengthmen walked from the station to their allocated length of the
line. Finding their starting place, they dumped their knapsacks and got
going. Bernice wasn’t the sort to allow slacking. The first job was to hoe
out the weeds from the railway tracks, then they set to in pairs, getting on
with the real task of the lengthman, which was to level the railway bed on
which the permanent way was laid. While one of each pair used a crowbar
or a pickaxe to raise a sleeper, the other had to shovel the ballast back
underneath. In due course, the same length of track would need exactly the
same work to be done again because the ballast shifted every time a train
travelled along the line.
It wasn’t long before Bette took off the old jacket she wore for work and
dropped it on top of her knapsack. ‘Lots of folk hate working outdoors in
the winter because of the cold. Me, I don’t mind, because this job keeps us
warm. It’s the summer when I’m not so keen.’
‘I don’t care how hot it gets,’ said Mabel. ‘I shan’t be stripping off. I’m
not going to fall for that one again.’
‘You were unlucky, that’s all,’ said Bernice.
‘Unlucky with bells on,’ Mabel answered.
‘Ah, but you met your Harry as a result,’ said Bette.
Mabel couldn’t suppress a smile. ‘That’s true.’
She’d had a tough time two years ago, in her first summer on the
permanent way. Working in a sleeveless blouse, she had ended up with
badly sunburned arms, which had blistered. She hadn’t thought anything of
it when some of the blisters burst, but after that she’d become unwell and
eventually collapsed, waking up to find herself in hospital, where she was
told that soot and dirt had got into her bloodstream via the open blisters and
she’d gone down with blood poisoning. It had been a truly ghastly
experience, but – and it was a very big but – as Bette had pointed out, it was
when she was laid up in hospital that she had caught Harry Knatchbull’s
eye. Harry, her very own cheeky blighter.
‘How long have you two being seeing one another now?’ asked Louise.
‘It must be coming up for two years.’
‘It’s about time you made it official.’ Bernice stopped working for a
moment to wipe the back of her hand across her forehead. ‘Look at our
Joan, married a whole year as of the beginning of this month, and with a
gorgeous new baby. He’s a month old now, bless him.’
That made Bette laugh. ‘Everything comes back to Max, doesn’t it, B? I
swear that if I said “Pass the salt”, you’d find a reason to say what a good
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