A Christmas Carol

Bob Cratchit trudged home. For the tenth time he mentally divided the £14.50 by six and worked out how much the family could afford to spend on food until the next payday.

His paced picked up as he neared home, thinking of his wife who would be home from work soon. It saddened him that although she was terminally ill, she still had to work because her disability allowance had been cut.

But soon she would be home, and the thought cheered him.

As he neared his street, he wondered whether his eyes were playing tricks on him Were the streetlights dimmer than in former years?

The room was cold.

He couldn’t help but think back to previous Christmases when they had had a roaring log fire. But there was no wood now since the sell-off of the National Forests.

A tiny tinge of bitterness crept into his thoughts but it was soon dispelled by the wheezy voice of Tiny Tim calling from his sickbed in the corner.

“Will we get our bedroom back?” asked Tim, unable to hold back the words.

“Well,” Bob Cratchit started, “…it all depends on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. If he decides to rescind the popularly-known bedroom tax within the regulations of the Department for Work and Pensions…” but Tim was already asleep, his pale face lit by the moonlight.

Bob Cratchit sat down and waited, lost in thought.

Mrs Cratchit wheezed in with a “No buses; they’ve cut the service; had to walk,” before she flopped down on the chair.

It was so good to see Mrs Crachit when she came home that he forgave her outburst in an instant.

Mrs Crachit’s face brightened as she held up the bag – “I did manage to stop by the food bank on the way home,” she said, “and look what I got.”

“That’s wonderful,” said Bob Cratchit, and they started working together to turn the food into a meal.

“How was your day,” he asked his wife, as they worked, “I know,” she said “Let’s look forward to 2015.”

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The Library Room – Debenhams

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The last time I was in Debenhams here in Edinburgh I saw a sign to the ‘Library Room’.

Today, while waiting for Tamara, I went exploring.

I hoped the Library Room wouldn’t turn out to be a brand, and it isn’t.

The Library Room was formerly the Gladstone Memorial Library of the Scottish Liberal Club.

And this is a photo of the bust of Gladstone in the Room that was sculpted by a Mr John Rhind who sculpted it when Gladstone was staying at Dalmeny Park in1885.