Butcher Boy ( Part 6, Gambling and Kids.)
So now I was Roys runner. It was always last minute with Roy, if the race was at 2.30, he would be looking at the paper at 2.28 and telling me to run as fast as I could at 2.29! I had to run across a busy road and into the bookies, write out the bet and then put it on. Sometimes I made it and sometimes I didn't. If I did and Roy was on, then, all was ok. If the horse won and I was too late, Roy would blame me and I would blame Roy for being so last minute. But it was all good banter.
Now back in 1972 if you had £5 on a horse that was the equivalent of around £40 now. Roys minimum bet was £5 and maximum was £50. some day he would do very well other days he would take a beating. Didn't make any difference, with everything that he had going on, money was no problem.
One Tuesday he had a fantastic day, just couldn't stop winning, he had won around £700 ( more than £3000 today). He was not in the mood to stop when the days horse racing finished. Micky wasn't much of a gambler so didn't show much interest, but I loved it. My Dad was a gambler and so was my Grandad so I guess it was in my blood. Of course the good news was that if Roy won, he would always treat me. On this day he gave me £30, that was a lot of money for me at 14.
"Fancy coming to Romford dogs tonight?" he asked with that silly grin that he wore when he was up to mischief.
"Love to!", I replied.
So off we went to the dogs for the first race at 7.30pm. Roy picked me up in his new white sports car, an MGB GT, bit of a girlie car but could really move and Roy liked to drive like a maniac!
He was dropping me off again 60 minutes later, he had lost it all in 3 races and my £30 had gone as well. But he never moaned and still had a grin on his face when he drove off. When I saw him again the next day, it was mentioned once but never again. It just wasn't a big deal to Roy.
Soon it was July and the school 6 weeks holidays. Great news, Roy asked if I could work full time during those 6 weeks. The shop closed at one oclock on Mondays and Thursdays but all other week days were 07.00 until 18.00. He said he would pay me £25. I jumped at the chance, my Dad was earning the same money at the local Gas works but he didn't get free meat!
So I worked full time in the shop during the school 6 weeks holiday. Roy took Sue away on holiday for a couple of weeks to France, me and Micky ran the shop. Two kids, one 14 and one 17, couldn't happen today, you'd have some child protection group after you!
Of course we also had to look after the "extra" deliveries that came in. Roy left us with plenty of cash and said "Buy everything". So we did and just stored it in the garage until he came back.
All this time Roy was on the look out for another shop, he kept it quiet but at the beggining of September he told me and Micky that he was taking over a shop in Plaistow, East London. It was a much bigger shop that had a big Deli counter and also sold fresh bread, rolls and some groceries It had 4 full time staff. The deal was completed at the end of September and a few days later Roy became a father. Sue had twins! A boy and a girl. Completely unexpected, apparently their heart beats were together and that's why it wasn't picked up before.
Roy was in shock, they had obviously only bought one of everything and now Roy had to go out and buy it all again. But typical Roy, he got it all done while Sue was in hospital and as an extra suprise for Sue he had the sign changed above the shop and the delivery Van to "R.Marshall and Son".
The kids were christened Thomas and Sarah.
Roy took over the shop on 1st October 1972, he kept all the existing staff on but asked Micky to spend a couple of days a week over there just to keep an eye on things as the person he could trust. The new shop was taking £2500 per week as opposed to the £1200 per week the East Ham shop was doing. Butchers work on a gross margin of 33%. So out of the two shops combined he was earning around £1200. Once you took wages and overheads out Roy would clear around £600 per week. Great money back then, he was also earning about the same again from the different scams he was involved in. The great thing about the new shop was, it sold a lot of things that Roy was getting from the delivery drivers. No longer did Roy have to sell on to other shopkeepers, he could now sell it in his own shop and make even more money!
Even with the extra responsibility of the twins, Roy still loved his bets. I was probarly the only one who knew how much he was gambling. Sue never knew, she just thought it was a few quid here and there. Micky didn't know, as he never got involved in any of it. Roy bet around £100 per day over a 6 day week. Overall he was losing around £300 per week.
Didn't matter to Roy of course, cos now he had 2 shops both making him money and of course the scams.
And Christmas was coming, Christmas was the Holy Grail. There was serious money to make at Chtistmas!