Harold grunted and woke with a start as Dorothy nudged him and shouted excitedly. “Harold, Harold, we’ve done it, they’ve just read out the lottery numbers and they’re ours ! We’ve used our birthday numbers ever since day one and at last it’s paid off. Two lots of £10 we’ve had, in all them years, but now we’ve got the big one – and it’s a rollover!”
Harold was wide awake now, looking at the TV screen to double check. She was right, – 5,11,16,29,40 and 42, were their birthday dates – 29,5,40 and 16,11,42.
“Don’t count your chickens love” he said ” let’s see the money before we tell anyone.”
“Oh Harold, I can’t believe it. We’ll be able to do so much for everyone,” she said, “and at last we’ll be able to move to a nice little bungalow, no more stairs to struggle with.”
” We’ll be able to set Ronnie and Jean and the kids up in a nice place too, get them away from that rotten old council estate” Harold answered “and Connie and Derek will be able to send Jamie to that posh school they set their hearts on.”
“Well all the kids will be able to go to private schools won’t they,” said Dorothy “There’ll be enough to pay for them all.”
” Only if they want them to” said Harold cautiously, “We can’t tell them how to live their lives, we’ve always said that.”
“Young Ruth will be able to have that fairytale wedding she has talked about for so long” said Dorothy dreamily “Won’t it be wonderful.”
“It will change our lives too, as well as theirs” said Harold “We’ll be eating steak instead of mince from now on.”
“I’m not going to spend money for the sake of it” answered Dorothy “I’ve always prided myself on being economical and that won’t change”.
“I wouldn’t expect it to love” Harold said “but surely you would treat yourself so something indulgent.”
“Oh yes, – shoes” she replied. “I shall have my shoes hand made from now on. What with my bunions I have a terrible job to get any that fit properly, and by the time they’re broken in, they are just about worn out. Oh and I shall buy one of those gadgets they were advertising on TV earlier, to scrape the hard skin off my feet.”
Harold laughed. “I shall buy a greyhound ” he said “a real racer, and I shall have it trained properly, and when it wins I shall be the proud owner who steps up to take the trophy.”
“Well it won’t live in the house” said Dorothy “I’m not having my new carpets and furniture spoiled by a blooming dog!”
“Where’s the ticket?” said Harold “Let’s make sure the numbers are right”. Dorothy reached for her handbag, then paused. “You’ve got it” she said. “Remember you were going for a pint with Ted, and I asked you to call in and buy it as it was raining.”
She watched the expression on Harold’s face change from anticipation through realisation, dread and fear. “Oh No Harold, don’t tell me you forgot to buy it.” she cried.
“I’m so sorry” he muttered, absolutely mortified. “I was having a laugh with Ted and it went clean out of my mind. I just don’t know what to say.”
“Say nothing” she replied through gritted teeth. “The right words don’t exist. Still, it was nice while it lasted, wasn’t it. Now go and make me a nice cup of cocoa,
and I’ll have some of them chocolate biscuits I was saving for Christmas. Go on man, what are you waiting for?”
As he clattered about in the kitchen, Dorothy wiped a tear from her eye. Then she looked around the cosy room and smiled. Why would they want to change the contented life they led, with all the attendant memories, for a life of luxury? Apart from the bungalow, and that could come anytime anyway as they had had their name down with the council for ages, their expectations were very modest compared with what they wanted to do for the rest of the family. If they dipped into their savings and carried on being economical, she could see no reason why they shouldn’t treat themselves anyway. Next time she went to the shops, she would buy Harold a bit of steak for his tea, and she’d get one of those gadgets for her feet. She wouldn’t let Harold know what she was thinking though, there was a lot of capital to be made here, and this cup of cocoa was only the beginning. She would get a pair of handmade shoes yet if she played her cards right, but she might make Harold wait a jolly long time for his dog !