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Janie now blew at the snow that was dusting her lips and turned her head towards him and blinked as she said, ‘You’re a surprise packet you are, John George. Do you ever talk to Rory about it?’

‘Aye, sometimes. But Rory’s not really interested in Newcastle or buildings and such onlinecasinosvizzera.com.’

‘No, no, he’s not.’ Janie’s voice held a dull note now as she added, ‘Cards, that’s Rory’s interest, cards. Eeh! he seems to think of nothing else.’

‘He thinks of you.’

‘Aye, he does, I must admit.’ She was smiling at him through the falling snow and she added now, ‘You’ve got me interested in Newcastle. I’ll tell him . . . I’ll tell him he’s got to take me up.’

‘Do that, Janie. Aye, do that. Tell him you want to see Jesmond. By! Jesmond’s bonny. And the houses on the way . . . Eeh! lad, you see nothing like them here.’

‘I think I’d like to see the bridges. I heard me da say there’s some fine bridges. Funny me never ever havin’ seen Newcastle and it only seven miles off. And there’s me grannie. She worked there at one time, she was in service at a place overlooking the river. She used to keep talking about the boats laden down with coal going up to London. It was funny, she never liked Newcastle. She still speaks of the people there as if they were foreigners; she’s always sayin’ they kept the South Shields men down, wouldn’t let them have their own shipping rights or nothing until a few years back. It’s funny when you come to think of it, John George, we know more about the people from Ireland, like the Learys and Rory’s folks, than we do about them up in Newcastle. I’m beginning to see the sense of some of me grannie’s sayings; she always used to be saying, “You could be closer to a square head from Sweden than you could to a man with a barrow from Jarrow.”’

John George laughed now, saying, ‘I’ve never heard that one afore.’

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