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.


11. 11

It was ten past two when the lads showed up all the girls had gone in and changed into their dungarees and sunny sandals. Joe had a big sweet jar that he kept for catching newts and frogs in.

“What’s that for asked Bella?

Well when we go to the res’ we catch all kinds of beasties that we put into the jar then we take them to school.

The girls had a carrier bag with the skipping rope and three tennis balls inside.

My sister Agnes said she would come along if that’s alright.”

“I don’t see why not Paul said; there are four of us and four of you.”

“You can see that Paul is the brains of the outfit aren’t you; he worked that all out by himself, laughed Kevin.

“Funny replied Paul who looked at Kevin sarcastically.”

Paul was the only one who had brought a fishing net with him made from a bamboo cane and a metal coat hanger and a pair of his mothers fifteen denier tights that had been cut then neatly stitched. It was twice the size of the nets that they sold at the boating lake in Tynemouth and longer as well.

They walked stealthily up to the waters edge and peered down to see if any newts or frogs were swimming about.

There said one of the girls just next to that stone on the left can you see it?

 Paul wore glasses and was blind as a bat without them but he guessed where he thought the frog was and missed it.

“Give Bella a go said Joe who had had his eye on her when he saw her earlier that day.

Paul handed Bella the net whilst Joe filled up the Jar; they walked around to the Bridge Road South end of the reservoir at the end of it there was a grassy bank where you could sit down. At the back of the railings was the railway line which led to Percy Main Station from North Shields.

Often when they came they saw the Royal mail train or many old steam trains. Paul who was a bit of a secret train spotter used to write the numbers of the trains he saw either here or on his way to school. He was fascinated by them and he had lots of books on steam engines at home. His father made him a track in his bedroom that went up and around his bed so he could lie on his bed and watch his Hornby trains going around until his heart was content.

Agnes Mason seemed interested in trains and they struck up a conversation. Anne Colquhoun and Brenda Wilson were in conversation with Kevin and Ralphie Brenda had long black hair that was naturally curly Anne was a redhead she had a dimple on each side of her mouth that made her very pretty.


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