The Shieldsman

A story of four young boys growing up in the tower block of flats in Percy Main in North Shields. the story follows them through to adulthood through mischief and lost innocence, love, tragedy, and finally triumph. If you remember what it was like growing up as a child then this story is definitely one for you.


10. 10

“What’s for dinner mam I’m starving said Ralphie to his mother Hannah as she was busy wringing out some towels over a tin bath with a mangle. There was no garden to hang out the washing so everyone used the veranda to hang clothes out to dry.

The whole building was a mass of white and coloured washing when the sun was out. It was a right struggle though when the winter months came because the coal fires couldn’t prevent the dampness caused by drying washing inside of the flats. The wall paper peeled away from the walls leaving a blue green mould on the wall. The council came and painted something on the walls to kill of the mould and damp patches but it just came back or went to another part of the house.”

“Here lad; you just wait until I’m finished here then I will give you something to eat.’

“Go see if that washing hasn’t blown away Ralphie whilst I wring out these towels.

“Right oh mam.”

Ralphie went to the front window then looked out; being right up on the top floor Ralph could see right into North Shields on a clear day. The view was spectacular.

He could make out the high and low lights from the quay and Tynemouth pier. He could even see the fishing boats and the ferry crossing over to South Shields.

Looking down the grass was now all cut and looked great. They would be able to play football on it once the piles of grass had been collected.

“How’s that washing doing Ralphie is it dry yet?

Ralphie walked out onto the veranda and felt the towels and a couple of shirts; they were flapping about in the wind but they were dry.

“Aye mam they are dry.”

“Bring them in then son will you?

Ralphie found the washing basket then began to un peg the clothes. He placed the pegs into the bag attached to the line then carried the washing inside then closed the door. The curtains inside had blown over to one side so Ralphie straightened them up.


“Sausage egg and chips do you for dinner son.”

“Yes mam shouted Ralphie over the drone of the mangle as he folded the washing then placed them onto the table in the scullery then he went back and took in the basket so that his mother could put the towels in ready to hang them out.

“Can you peel a couple of spuds whilst I’m hang these out then I will pop the gas on over the chip pan.”

“I can do that mam.”

 “Alright do that first then the dripping will be ready one you have peeled the spuds.”

Ralphie lit the gas and then moved the deep frying pan with a basket over the heat. He took out the frying pan then scooped some of the hardened dripping into the frying pan then took out the sausages from the larder and some large potatoes and began to peel them under the running water.

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