The Black Middens

A story of love and struggle to bring up three children during the war years.
Joe Donnelly, a coble fisherman from cullercoats meets the girl of his dreams when Emily Rose Higgins crashes into him on her bicycle whilst out with her sister Mary Jane. Joe and his brother George, a captain in the British Army ask the two girls out to a dance at the plaza in Tynemouth and they both fall in love. Alan Donnelly the youngest of the brothers is in the Northumberland Fusiliers. it is not long before they all get married. Emily Rose has two children but there are complications during the birth of her third child and she dies leaving Joe to bring up Marina, George, and Helen the newborn child.
After some attempts to try and hire a nanny come house keeper Joe hires a dutch girl called Alina Classen whose parents were both killed by the Germans in the first world war.
Not speaking much English Alina works very hard and teaches the children to speak Dutch and they in turn teach her English. What dev

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13. 13

“What can I get you Joe?

“Can we have a large pot of tea and some cake if you have any?

“We have no cake but we have some freshly baked fruit scones and some home made strawberry jam.

“That would be lovely Belle said Joe.”

“Take a seat love; I’ll bring them over for you.”

Joe sat at the table next to the window opposite Emily; he kept taking sly looks at her when she wasn’t looking; then she looked at him and smiled her face went a little pink with embarrassment knowing that he’d caught her looking at him.

Do you come in here a lot then asked Mary Jane?

“Yes; Mary it is open so that fishermen returning from sea can get a bite to eat and a hot cup of tea. It can get cold out in the North Sea.

“What in the summer?

“Yes the temperature of the sea only changes by one degree in the summer months.

“Really that is really odd don’t you think Emily?

“Yes, it is.

“So George; tell me when do you go back to your regiment?

“I leave later tonight.”

“When will you be back?

“About two months I’m afraid; we have manoeuvres’ on the Yorkshire Moors.

“What happens there then?

“Well it’s like a game of soldiers played by adults; one team tries to take the camp of the other.”

“Is it fun?

“Oh yes; the assault courses can be dangerous; we have had many broken bones from young officers falling from a great height.”

“Why do they have to climb so high?

“Well we have to try and replicate a real battle situation where soldier’s may be require to say climb a steep cliff or mountain to infiltrate the enemy. “

“Is fishing dangerous too Joe? “

“Yes; if you look on the walls here you will see the names of many seamen who have drowned in heavy seas.”

“Are you going fishing tomorrow?

“Yes; I have to if I am to make a living.”

“Belle brought their tea and scones and Joe paid her.”

Both Mary Jane and Emily Rose lent a hand to pour the tea and butter the scones then add a good helping of jam on each piece.

“Belle had given them some clotted cream to go with the scones and jam

All of them had cream on their faces as they bit into the scones. The girls quickly used the napkins to wipe away the offending cream then took a drink of tea to wash down the food.

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