Theres a reason theyre called quickie marts.
.. gentlemen, I'd like to introduce Gail Bush this evening,.." Gail stood up... walked towards the east table as the Mayor spoke, "...Gail was the unanimous choice of the County Council education sub committee for the highest mark for any catering student in the county." He h...ed Gail her diploma.
"... the award is...a check for one thous... pounds!"
Again Gail was given the envelope... the microphone.
"I'd like to thank the members of the County Council for selecting someone from the catering NVQ to receive this award, I haven't been able to afford a holiday for the last five years because catering is one of the worst paying of all the trades covered by the NVQ examination board...with this cash I'm going to have my first foreign holiday ever."
My heart started palpitating, Susan had got six hundred pounds... Gail had been given a thous... pounds...what the hell was I going to get...I knew what I wanted to get later but now, at the awards...
As Gail walked back to her seat I suddenly realised that I would be expected to walk to the east table to get my award... I really wasn't dressed to be presented in public... my pulse stepped up another fifty beats per minute.
A man in a suit stood up...I knew how important the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce was, he wore regalia... had a chain of office around his neck, the Mayor had similar robes... an even more elaborate chain of office draped over his shoulders with a feather covered tricorn hat on his head.
I leaned in to Gavin, "Any idea who the suit is?"
"You really should know him, he's Peter Bane, the MP for Wellingborough, he's trying to talk me into turning some of my l... in his constituency into affordable housing. He's desperate to see me before I head back to London tomorrow."
I'd missed my name being called out but the sound of applauds brought me back to the room. Everyone was looking at me as they clapped their h...s. Gavin whispered, "It's your turn to go... get your diploma."
I pushed my chair back... walked as carefully as I could up to the east table.
I shook h...s with Peter Bane, "Congratulations Sarah..."
Peter turned the microphone on... continued his congratulations over the public address system, "...Sarah was a little reluctant to start her NVQ... her sponsor even noted in his proposal to the NVQ Board that he doubted that Sarah would complete the course but he felt that she needed the focus... structure in her life that performing tasks towards an NVQ would give her, even if she only took part for one year..."
Peter picked up the envelope in front of him, "...when Sarah's score was brought to my attention, I knew that she was way beyond deserving of a cash award, she attained an average score of ninety five percent across the board in her Business Studies course, making her the top student in the country, not only in business studies but across all the disciplines in the NVQ group."
I opened the envelope... almost passed out, I'd been given a check for two thous... pounds.
I stumbled through my acceptance speech... returned to my seat, as I passed behind two men close to the east end of the northern table I heard, "Perhaps with that two thous... pounds...she'll be able to afford underwear!"
I wasn't shocked by the comment, I knew that I wasn't wearing underwear under my dress...my mother's dress... I knew that some men wouldn't like seeing me dressed that way but those men were very much in the minority. I slipped back in my seat between Sam Benson... Gavin Eldridge, I knew that my face was bright red from all the attention... a little because of embarrassment at the way my mother had talked me into dressing.
I hadn't taken a coat with me because I had expected my father to pull right up to the steps of the Guildhall to drop me off.