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


47. 47

At eight o’clock Peter showed up with the engine and propeller on the back of the cart.

Morning Peter you are early.

“Yes; I managed to get the engine for £30 pounds for you.”








“Good lad, how did you manage that; well I did him a favour a while ago and he said he owed me so there you go.

They started by making the housing at the back of the boat for the engine to fit into then they fitted the wiring to the panel near the bow the cables would run underneath then be connected to the engine once they ha reinforced the bottom of the boat the engine was then lowered by winch into the housing and bolted to the floor so that it wouldn’t move when the ignition was started up.

The shaft went along then out of the boat. A bilge pump was fitted so any excess water was quickly pumped out. They connected the propeller to the shaft and screwed it in.

Have you got some diesel and oil?


“If you go and get it we will give her a try.”

Joe climbed down then went into he shed where he carried some diesel and oil he passed them up and Peter showed Joe how it was done to fill up the tank that would feed the engine. Always keep some spare fuel on board out of harms ways and some oil too.

“How does this work.”

“Well basically liquid fuel is injected into camshaft there and the fuel is ignited due to the high temperatures and pressure combustion takes place and the work phase of the piston does begin.”

They drive the propeller shaft. The cylinder there empties the exhaust gasses with the piston in the upward position. The inlet valves open just as the exhaust valve closes the cylinder is then filled with air. The miller timing device makes the engine work more efficiently and lowers the carbon emissions.

These engines are indestructible as long as you look after them; make sure that you check the fuel and oil each trip.

“Okay, climb down and tell me if the propeller is working when I switch it on Joe.

Joe climbed down and stood to one side as the engine was switched on. It spluttered and then shut down.

“What’s wrong?

 “Nothing, give the fuel a chance to get to the engine.

“Peter tried again and this time the engine fired up.

“The propeller is turning mate; it works.

“Peter left it on for a good five minutes before switching the engine off.

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