In today's excerpts from Empire Day by Diane Chamberlain we hear part of Kath's story: Kath is a single mum, battling to make ends meet, and also having to deal with the serious illness of one of her children.
This one is for the battlers.
Christmas was approaching and she regretted her reckless outburst at the pub. Now that she'd lost her job, she wondered how she's make ends meet, let alone provide Christmas dinner and buy gifts for the boys. She felt she'd fallen into a deep well without a rope or a ladder to climb out. She'd never felt so alone or so desperate. Jobs were scarce, and with Christmas only weeks away, her chance of finding one was slim. And to make things even worse, Meggsie wouldn't be home for Christmas
Across the road Kath sat at the kitchen table trying to figure out how she could stretch her meagre savings to put Christmas dinner on the table and buy something for the boys as well.
A few times lately , whenever she'd passed the red telephone box on the corner, she'd been on the verge of swallowing her pride and ringing Gran, but at the last moment the thought of going begging, and then having to listen to her grandmother's acid comments, had changed her mind.
Kath didn't care about Christmas for herself but she did want to try and make it special for the boys, especially little Pete. But what kind of Christmas would it be, with Meggsie still in hospital, unable to work, and no one knowing when he'd recover?
"I'd better start praying for a miracle because that's the only thing that'll help me," she mutter to herself.