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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When they were finished Joe asked them if they would like to go for a walk along the Black Middens.

Joe told them the history of the place and the girls were intrigued to see the place where so many ships had met disaster upon the rocky outcrop. They walked along to King Edwards Bay then up the bank which took them into Tynemouth.

They walked in a complete loop until they found them selves walking down the bank then onto the quayside where they had left the car.

There were boats making ready to set sail. They loaded the boats with supplies that could see them at sea for ten days or more. A young lad sang a little ditty as the trawler started its engine the bilge pump went to work to get rid of any excess water and the ropes that held the trawler to the dockside were released.

The young lad voice soared above the squealing seagulls as he continued his song.

“Dance to ya daddy my little laddie, dance to ya daddy my little lad; ye shall have a fishy on a little dishy, ye shall have herrin,’ when the boat comes in.”

I see what you mean now George said Emily Rose as each of the men on board eagerly waited to go out to sea. “The sea is calling them to come to her; to bask in her loving arms that caress the boat.”

 The Skipper from the wheel house shouted and the trawler turned slowly to the right then headed out. They watched and listened as the young lads voice got fainter and fainter.

“Right then; I think we ought to get these ladies home said George as he helped Mary Jane into the backseat whilst Joe did the same on the other side. George started the engine and off they went.

“It has been a wonderful day hasn’t it Mary Jane, said Emily Rose; thank you both.”

“Here, here said both the men.”

Joe told Emily that he would see her next Saturday as he waited at the gate.

Emily Rose came up to Joe and kissed him softly on the lips; it was the sweetest kiss that Joe had ever known.

It was different to he kisses that he used to receive from his mother. He longed to hold her in his arms. To tell her that his heart would surely burst if he didn’t get to see her again.

George gave Mary Jane his address so she could write to him at the base camp.

She too kissed her man before the car pulled away.

As the two women came into the house their mother smiled and asked if they were walking out with these two gentlemen.

“Yes mam; I think we are.”

“Then you will bring them to tea.”

“George is a Captain in the Army mother and he is away for two whole months.

“What about you then Emily Rose?

“Joe that’s the big one of the brothers is a fisherman mother. He has his own boat.”

“So they are brothers?

“Yes mother.”

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