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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Joe spoke with both of his brothers George and Alan who both agreed that another war was inevitable. “We are preparing now said Alan and we are being moved from Ireland and back to our barracks in England; now that tells you something does it not.

Whatever happens Joe, you won’t be called up because the country needs food and you provide that with fish? Leave to fighting to your brother and me. It won’t last a year you will see.

I hope so, please take care wont’ you?

“We are big boys now Jo nothing is going to happen to us.”

“Look; I have to go Joe give my love to the Children for me.”

George hung up and then walked down to the market with the children to pick up a Christmas tree and provisions. He asked Alina to stock up on tinned food, flour, yeast, Oats, sugar, dried fruit, and whatever else she could think of so they would not run out of food if a war was to break out.

 

 

 

 

The Christmas tree looked splendid after Alina and the children had decorated it. They used glue and other pieces of painted news paper to make streamers.

Joe invited Peter; Mary, and Joyce and Edward their neighbours and friends for Christmas dinner.

The dinner was splendid; both Alina and Joe helped with the making of it.

Alina baked and made biscuits and a huge cake which was iced with edible snowmen placed on the top.

Both Marina and Little George loved the presents that they got. Alina knitted them a jumper each and even knitted a thick woollen jumper for Joe. Joe bought Alina a new coat and a pair of shoes.

“Prettige Kerstdagen Joo.”

“Merry Christmas to you too Alina.”

Joe bought Peter a pair of leather gloves; Mary and his neighbour Joyce got a new Pinny each.

They turned on the radio and joined in with the Christmas songs.

They played charades and ludo.

“They drank beer until nearly midnight then Joyce and her husband Edward left.

“Well, I think we ought to be going too said Peter.

“I will get our coats said Mary.

“Thank you for having us mate we will see you new year’s eve in the club if you are coming over.”

“I don’t think so mate’ it wouldn’t be right without Emily Rose.”

“You have to go forward Joe or you will go under.”

“It’s too soon yet Peter I need more time.”

“Well if you change your mind you know where we will be.”

“Thanks; see you soon; good night.”

Joe closed the door as walked back into the scullery to see Alina clearing up.”

They kept all the left over’s which could be used again to make soup.

“I make Turkey both tomorrow Joo; there is lots of meat left to make some pasties too.”

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