The Street Urchin

The Street Urchin is set in North shields and tells of young Billy Phelps a promising young footballer- his father is a trawlerman and has no time for his children or his wife when he meets a Norwegian girl and begins an affair.
The impact of the the marriage break up and triumph over adversity are told in this heartwarming story.

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24. 24

The Misty Dawn had been trawling for nine hours now and the net emptied and re shot. They had about two hundred boxes of good cod with a few monk fish and two boxes of prawns.

Tonight they were dining on a ling that they had caught. Ralphie Mason the Misty Dawn’s cook baked the fish in the oven and served it with potato gratin and crusty bread. He also made an apple pie with custard which went down well with everyone.

They ate quickly because there was another trawl to bring in that they would have to sort, gut, box, and ice before they could get their heads down for an hour or two.

Fishing has irregular hours; you are governed by tide and weather so you grab sleep when you can. The skipper was always the last to sleep because of the responsibility and safety of his crew.

The lads all drank tea so a huge pot was made by Ralphie. They all had pint sized mugs that they filled because of the long hours they would have to work without a drink. Dehydration causes sea sickness; if you came down with it there was little sympathy from the rest of the crew who would have to work even harder with a man short.

After dinner they got back into their oilskins and went up on deck. The Misty Dawn had its lights on so that the men could see what they were doing as they dragged up the net from the sea bottom hoping that this would be a huge catch that would fill the already swollen hold.

This time though the winch froze and smoke came billowing out from it as it tried to raise the net.

Tony Asiamah shouted up to the wheel house for the skipper to stop.

“Alvin! Shut down the engine.

“Aye, aye; skipper.”

They had to be careful; the net had snagged on the seabed. There was a danger that the net could tear and the catch would be lost or even worse lose the net altogether which would cost five thousand pounds to replace.

Albert reversed the Misty Dawn in an effort to free the net without success.

“What are we to do Skipper; he came into the wheel house then looked at the captain with a concerned look on his face?

“We could try to go around in a circle that might free the net but there is always a danger that we could lose the net.

“If we don’t do anything we will be stuck here.

“The decision has to be yours skipper but I would say better to try something than do nothing.”

Albert thought for awhile as the crew waited on deck.

“Alright Alvin lets go for it.

“We go around.”

“Steady as she goes.

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