The House Across The Road

This is a true story about a strange old looking woman who lives on her own in North Shields- she befriends a disabled young boy.

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5. 5

As I entered the parlour then into her living room I was surprised at how Spartan she lived.

There was a wooden rocking chair by the fire that was lit even though it was summer.

There was a wooden table against the far wall which had a tea pot and a crocheted tea cosy, one cup and saucer a white bowl with granulated sugar in it and a silver spoon.

Next to the bowl there was a bottle of milk that had gone off and was turning a yellowish colour.

She left the room briefly and went into her bedroom then returned with a black leather handbag and sat down in the rocking chair. I felt sorry for this old lady and wondered why her family had allowed her to live like this.

I asked her if she wanted some of the herring that I had brought home.

 

 ‘Are they fresh she asked?’

 

‘Yes I replied, got them this afternoon from down on the fish quay.

 

‘Alright then I will have two if you have enough.’

 

 ‘I have about two dozen so if you would like more?

 

‘No thank you, she whispered,’

 

I went into the bag that I had put the herring in and took out two of the larger fish.’

 

‘Do you have a plate I can put them on?

 

‘Yes in the kitchen on the draining board.’

 

I headed towards the kitchen that was in darkness like her living room apart from one light bulb with no shade.

I quickly turned on the light then took a plate from the drainer and placed the fish onto it then set it down onto another small table before switching off the light and returning to the old lady.

She had taken a note pad from her bag and had written out some provisions that she wanted me to get. Her writing was beautiful and it made me wonder again if she was a very educated woman.

On the wall there was an old black and white photo in a silver frame of a young woman standing next to a man in a Royal Navy uniform who I figured was her and her husband. She was quite pretty and didn’t look nothing like what she was now.

 

‘Do you like that she asked as I went closer to have a better look?

 

‘Yes, I like it very much, is that you?

 

‘It is and my late husband Edward.’

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