The constant supply of fizzy drinks was a great benefit of having a mum who worked in a pub, but one of the downsides was having to spend Friday nights with our neighbour, who looked after me, whilst mum worked and dad stood on the other side of the bar, getting drunk. I often pleaded with my parents that I was old enough to look after myself, and that our neighbour had her own two kids to look after. But my words fell on deaf ears, and so every Friday night, at about seven o'clock, I was frogmarched to the house next door, where Mrs Green welcomed me, and looked after me, until my mother collected me later in the evening.
The Greens had two cats, who pissed throughout the house, giving it a disgusting odour, that headed directly for my nostrils as soon as Mrs Green had waved my mother off and closed the door behind me. And if the smell of feline urine wasn't enough to leave me feeling sick, the smell of whatever it was the family had eaten, just before my arrival, certainly did. But there was no escape from the house from hell, and after I had managed to get use to the terrible smell, I was forced to spend the evening playing Monopoly with Mrs Green, and her two sons, whilst Mr Green sat in front of the television, drinking bottled beer, whilst watching something that made him laugh occasionally.
Cats pissing, playing games and drinking beer - when Tony Joy was a young boy in need of a good hiding.
Extract from "Dad drove a bus" - out now for Kindle via Amazon