A Tunnel of Darkness

A miner from Ashington discovers his wife's infidelity. left alone he faces an uncertain future when the pit is set for closure. the strikes of 1969 force him to relocate to South Yorkshire where he meets a young school teacher. who pushes the young man to make a better life for himself.

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How lucky was I thought Ged; if I hadn’t been one of the first to leave I may have been lying in a hospital mortuary now.

If anything had made certain his decision to leave this coal mine; this was it.

Ged returned home at two in the morning he had an early start. He was hungry so he heated the rest of the rabbit pie and fried the vegetables in butter.

As he ate the food he kept on seeing the bodies that were brought out in body bags in his head. He wondered if he should actually join his friend Rob and get a job in the tyre factory then dismissed the thought. He was a miner and he would make the best of it like his father and his grand father before him.

The next morning Ged made another flask of soup and three cheese and onion sandwiches wrapped them in the bread paper that he had kept from yesterday and placed them into his bait bag. He also made another large thermos flask of “Camp Coffee” he added sugar and took a small bottle of milk with a screw top so it wouldn’t leak.. He wore a clean white shirt, blue suit trousers, black polished boots, and a blue tie. He slipped on his jacket and combed his hair then headed out towards what would certainly be his future.

Over four hundred people boarded a fleet of Priory Coaches when they set off at seven thirty that morning.

The route they would be taking would be from Newcastle to Darlington then onto Leeds and finally South Yorkshire.

Roughly two and a half hours said the driver through a micro phone.

Today it was sunny there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The main talk on the bus was about the explosion last night and the deaths of all those men.

The men on the coach were trying to assure their wives that this coal mine was safer than the one they had just left.

Ged knew that was a lie, there was always going to be accidents under ground and people were going to die. It was a fact of life.

The coach stopped off in Leeds at a service station everyone was given thirty minutes to walk around or use the toilet. Ged found a seat with a table he opened the flask of soup he had made and pour it into the cup; then took out one of his sandwiches.

 The soup tasted better than yesterday he blew on it as it was piping hot. He set it aside until he had eaten the cheese sandwich. He kept his coffee for the coach. When he had finished eating he slipped to the toilet to wash his hands before getting back on the coach. Ged had a seat to himself behind the driver because they assumed he would be taking his wife with him.

He turned side on as the coach pulled away and closed his eyes he didn’t open them again until the coach came to an abrupt halt outside of Bentley Colliery.

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