Authors: Anne Douglas
Table of Contents
AS THE YEARS GO BY
BRIDGE OF HOPE
THE BUTTERFLY GIRLS
A HIGHLAND ENGAGEMENT
THE ROAD TO THE SANDS
THE EDINBURGH BRIDE
THE GIRL FROM WISH LANE
A SONG IN THE AIR
THE KILT MAKER
THE MELODY GIRLS
THE WARDEN'S DAUGHTERS
THE HANDKERCHIEF TREE
DREAMS TO SELL
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First published in Great Britain 2013 by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of
9â15 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM1 1DF.
First published in the USA 2014 by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS of
110 East 59
Street, New York, N.Y. 10022
eBook edition first published in 2014 by Severn House Digital
an imprint of Severn House Publishers Limited
Copyright Â© 2013 by Anne Douglas.
The right of Anne Douglas to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Douglas, Anne, 1930
Dreams to sell.
1. Edinburgh (Scotland)âFiction. 2. Great Britainâ
HistoryâGeorge VI, 1936-1952âFiction. 3. Love stories.
ISBN-13: 978-0-7278-8330-8 (cased)
ISBN-13: 978-1-78010-473-7 (ePub)
Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.
This ebook produced by
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Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland.
Cold as Christmas, or so it seemed in the Rainey girls' room, yet here it was, March. March, when it shouldn't be still winter, when there was supposed to be a hint of spring. Not so's you'd notice when you'd to face getting out of bed.
Still, Roz didn't mind the cold too much. Always first up, she moved fast, jumping from her bed, pulling on the dressing gown she'd made herself and sprinting down to the bathroom the Raineys shared with two other families. In fact, it was to reach the bathroom, on the half-landing below, before Todd Atkinson came up complaining from the ground floor, which made Roz hurry now, while her sister, Chrissie, in her narrow bed, peacefully slept on. The last thing Roz wanted when she was washing was Todd shouting through the door, as he liked to do, âIf that's one o' you Rainey lassies in there, come on oot, time's up, I've to get to work!' As though they didn't all have to get to work!
Luckily, the tiny bathroom was still vacant when Roz reached it and she was able to wash and do her teeth in peace, only having to face the glowering Todd when she came out, tall and slim in her dressing gown, her dark red hair damp, her cheeks rosy with cold water and her grey eyes bright.
âAll ready for you, Mr Atkinson!'
âAnd aboot time too!' he bellowed, pushing past her, a big man in his vest and corduroy trousers. âI was just going to rattle the door, I'm telling you.'
Oh, the joy of sharing with neighbours! Roz, running back to her mother's flat, vowed again â yes, again, that one day she'd have a beautiful detached house of her own, with a splendid heated bathroom where she could take a bath every day, not just a freezing cold wash, and lie in the bath as long as she liked with no one shouting through the door!
Maybe she shouldn't complain. If she lived in a tenement there'd very likely be no bathroom at all, so life in an Edinburgh terraced house, now converted into three small flats, could be a lot worse. It was only that working in a lawyer's property office brought her into contact with houses that were so much better. Couldn't blame her for dreaming!
Back in the little room she shared with her sister, she dressed quickly in the clothes she'd laid out the night before â white blouse, dark wool jacket and calf-length black skirt, which still followed in 1949 the New Look fashion Dior had introduced in 1947. Then it was time to run a comb through her hair before starting the breakfast she'd have to make once she'd turfed her brother, Dougal, out of his cupboard bed and knocked on Ma's door. Oh, yes, and pulled the covers off Chrissie.
âNo!' squealed Chrissie.
âYes,' cried Roz, laughing. âCome on, now, you know you've to get to the cafÃ© on time.'
âIt's all right for you,' Chrissie murmured, sitting on the edge of her bed. At twenty, she was three years younger than her sister, shorter and not so slim â something she minded â but more conventionally pretty, some thought, with a cloud of soft fair hair and clear blue eyes. There were photographs of Flo, their mother, showing her to have looked very much the same as Chrissie in her youth, but life had changed for Flo and so had she.
âAll right for me, you say?' Roz asked. âI'd to get up too.'
âAye, but you like going to work,' sighed Chrissie. âI'd just as soon not.'
âLike a lot of folk.' Roz shrugged. âSuppose I am lucky, to like my work.'
âOf course you're lucky! You're the bright one.'
The bright one? Roz shrugged again. Well, folk said so. She'd done well at school, it was true, and had been lucky enough to win a small cash prize that had meant she could take a typing course, which had led to a job in a city office before she'd got what she really wanted â the post of assistant in a lawyer's property department.
All her life, she'd been interested in houses. Even as a child she'd daydreamed about owning a beautiful house of her own, and if the dreams were a long way from reality, when she'd left school she'd been sure that working with houses would be the next best thing. And so it proved. She was doing well in her job, not just typing particulars but accompanying her boss, seeing houses and gaining experience all the time. Now all she had to do was climb the ladder for promotion and maybe one day she'd be in charge of a property department herself. What an achievement that would be! Except that it was going to be a lot harder than she'd ever imagined, if not impossible.
Leaving Chrissie to roll slowly out of bed, Roz moved away to do her morning chores.
First, with her usual apprehension, she knocked on the door of the room that had once been shared by her parents but now was her mother's alone. How would Ma be? You never knew, you see, from one day to the next.
âAll right?' Roz called at last. âAll right, Ma?'
âAll right, pet,' came Flo Rainey's faint reply and, with a sigh of relief, Roz hurried on to check on poor old Dougal, her brother, who had to sleep in a cupboard.
Well, not exactly a cupboard, but not much more, it being a tiny room off what had been the principal bedroom of the house in Edwardian days and was now the Raineys' living-room-cum-kitchen. Dougal, now twenty-two and a tall, blond, strapping fellow, had to manage as best he could with a small bed and little space, the only place to put his things being a share of his mother's chest of drawers, making him sometimes complain that if he'd been a lassie, he'd have had a proper bedroom, eh?
âAnd then there'd have been three of us in a room instead of two,' Roz would remind him. âAnd you know how much space we've got.'
That morning, she was relieved to see that he was already up and dressed in a shirt and trousers, a towel round his neck, shaving gear in his hand and his bed clothes in a pile, which was his idea of making his bed. Draped over a chair were the overalls he'd be wearing for his work in a machine tools firm, a job he'd taken on following his national service after the war, and which he never said much about. Roz always supposed he enjoyed it. Or, rather, hoped he did.
âBetter get in the queue for the bathroom,' she told him, tying on a large blue pinafore. âTime's getting on and you don't want those MacGarry boys from up the stair cutting in.'
Evan and Bob MacGarry were brothers in their twenties who shared the top flat and were both in good jobs â draughtsmen, no less â but how did they manage in the flat? Roz often wondered, for they'd lost both their parents and looked after themselves. Still, they were good young neighbours â a great improvement on Todd Atkinson, that was for sure!
âI'm going to make the porridge now,' Roz told Dougal, âand, no, there's no bacon â we've had our ration, and we don't get eggs till the weekend.'
âDamned rationing,' Dougal muttered. âFour years after the war and we're no better off. Worse, in fact. Stuff's rationed now that wasn't even rationed in the war, how about that?'