The Bonny Lad by Jonathan Tulloch

The Bonny Lad

Jonathan Tulloch

A mixture of a book. Set in Gateshead and written in Geordie dialect it's a tale of the relationship between a little boy and his grandad. As a reluctant friendship blossoms, this read is at times hilarious, and, at other times shocking.

'Please, gadgie mista, make it me birthday.' The old man continued to stare for a while, then roughly pulled himself to his feet. 'Ah'll gan and get wor dinner,' he said gruffly. At the counter he put on his glasses and consulted the large menu fixed to a grease-splattered wall, his lips moving as he read it. 'One soup and a roll,' he said after some time 'and one ham butty.' In the mirror fixed on the wall over the huge tea urn, Joe could see the reflection of the boy .... A few moments later the girl brought the tray over. She waved a spoon questioningly. Through the corner of his eye, the boy peered nervously at it. 'The soup's fine for me' Joe said. The old man had been eating for some time when he noticed that Sonny Gee had not touched his sandwich. 'It's areet, man' he said. 'Ye can use yer hands.' But still the boy did not start to eat. 'Gan on. That's why ah got yus a butty.' Sonny Gee was staring dubiously at the sandwich. 'Is it chips?' 'See for yerself.' Sonny Gee bent his whole body over the sandwich and lifted a corner of the bread. 'Funny-looking chips, them.' 'It's not chips.' The boy's face turned lopsided with incomprehension. 'What is it then?' Joe took another mouthful of soup and then waved his spoon at the boy's plate. 'It's ham, man.' 'Ham?.' 'Divven't say yus've nivver had a ham sandwich?' The boy tutted. 'Course ah have,' he said, but he prodded the bread uncertainly. Taking a bite, he chewed mistrustfully. 'Gadgie mista,' he whispered, having swallowed the mouthful with an effort. 'They've had ye.' ... 'They've put grass in there.' ... 'Ah think there's a dock leaf an' all.' 'It's salad.' 'Eh?' 'Salad.' 'What's that?' 'Ye divven't kna what salad is?'
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