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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The next morning the dragged Alan out of bed; where three buckets of ice cold water were unceremoniously tipped over his head.

“Feeling better now kidda said Joe with a grin?

“Aye, what time is it.”

“Gone eleven o’clock; George has made breakfast that’ll fix you up.”

“I don’t think I could stomach a meal at the moment.”

“I was okay until I drank that whiskey; I cannot remember anything after that.”

“Best that you don’t either.”

“Alan sat at the table and managed a piece of toast; he passed the plate to Joe who he knew would demolish the rest.

Then they heated some water so that he could take a bath and have a shave.

Once he had bathed Alan’s head began to clear and he was ready now to face the day.

Peter Thompson, Joe’s friend turned up and asked if they would like to go for a pint before the wedding.

After what he had to drink last night I don’t think so mate.

“Hair of the dog mate”

“Well I’m off down the club; see you all at the church.”

“Okay Pete.”

“Did you polish my shoes for me George?

“Everything is ready now get your pant’s on in case Joyce Junghan pops in.”

“We wouldn’t want to give her a heart attack seeing you’re bare arse would we.”

“Be worse if I turned around.”

Joe passed him his trousers he put on his underwear then slid on his parade uniform trousers then he put on some black woollen socks and his highly polished Army Boots.

The door knocked then in walked Joyce.

“I just called in to say good luck Alan; if only your mother and father had been here to see it. She took out a hanky and mopped away the tears in her eyes.

“Now don’t you be keeping that poor girl waiting mind. She came up and kissed Alan cheek. I will see you all at the church.”

“Thanks Joyce.”

“I will see myself out.”

“Bye Joyce; they all voiced as the door shut behind her. Joyce had been a very good neighbour and had cooked and came in and done washing for them after the death of their mother.”

“I think we will have another pot of tea then it will be time for you to meet your doom; I mean your bride.” Joe and Alan laughed as George rinsed the pots out then made the tea.

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