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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Elizabeth sensed that there was something wrong with Gerald so she waited until they were inside before asking him.

She had made him a shepherd’s pie and fresh vegetables to go with it. Elizabeth turned on the oven to heat everything then set the table as Ged told her about the meeting on Friday and the possibility of an all out strike.

“What are you going to do Gerald?

“I will have to come out with them or be classed as a scab.

But if they close the mine what will you do; will you lose your home?

“No because they are tied in to the council so my house is safe but I would need to find other work else where.”

“You won’t relocate again surely; is there no other Coal mine in the same proximity?

“Elizabeth every pit in the UK is suffering the same problems. They sell coal to industries and power stations who have found a cheaper cleaner way of producing energy.”

“Do you have to be a miner; is there nothing else you could do?

“I don’t know anything else Elizabeth; mining is all I’ve ever done since leaving school.”

“You could go to college and study engineering Gerald that could lead to better prospects.

I’m thirty four years old Elizabeth I would be laughed at going to school at my age.

“Look, I teach night classes once a week Gerald and they are all mature students. Some are even in their late fifties.”

“Would you not like to give it a try and if you don’t like the course then you can come out.”

“Alright, what night would I have to go? I will get you a prospectus which will tell you all the classes you can attend and when.

“I will give it a go Elizabeth but I’m not promising anything.

“You never know Gerald you might even surprise yourself; maybe you have missed your true vocation in life.”

Elizabeth served up the shepherd’s pie for them both, and then poured them a glass of wine.

“Gerald wasn’t a wine drinker, he preferred beer.

“Try just sipping the wine Gerald with your food; it will enhance the flavour.”

“How do you like my cooking?

“It very nice actually, I could get used to this. As for the wine I think that it is an acquired taste.”

“Would you like a beer?

“Yes please.”

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