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.


27. 27

“I’ll bat you in the gob in a minute Paul you cheeky sod.”

Joe stopped Ralphie who was going to punch Paul; come on lads we are all friends here; we have enough with the kids around our neighbourhood without us lot falling out as well.

“What’s our next lesson?

“The science lab with Mr Hyslop.

“Have any of you not got a time table?

“Why do we need a time table when you have one stupid said Kevin?”

“I like how it’s always me who has to write out the timetable each time.

“It’s because you are the neatest drawer among us Paul; said Joe winking at the others.

“Yeah that’s right, it is voiced the rest.

The bell sounded to end break and they all made their way to the science lab at the far end of the school which was good because it was right outside the dining hall; they would be first in the queue.

The four boys sat at the back of the class on the high stools as Mr Hyslop went through the process of oxidisation.

They took out a bowl then filled it quarter full with vinegar then added some salt. They were told to take out an old penny and drop it into the solution for a minute or so then wash it under the tap then dry it with paper towels. The coin now looked shiny and new.

Kevin had a copper ring on his finger so he took it off and popped it in the solution and then rinsed it. Again the ring came out shining. Kevin was about to put it back on his finger when Mr Hyslop stopped him. Look at this boys finger can you see how green it has gone this is what you call Verdigris it is a process that causes the skin to turn green because the air cannot circulate around the metal and sweat and dirt collect and that is when verdigris is formed leaving this green stain which is in fact harmless.

 Now I want you to think of other objects that could tarnish like this and copy out the process in your exercise books.


When the lesson ended Joe and the lads waited until Mr Hyslop said they could leave

“Barrett get behind the rest of us; you know we always go first on a Monday said Joe.

Nobody argued they just fell in behind. They could smell the food from outside the dining hall and they were all salivating as they waited for Mrs Higgins to open the door. When the door opened two minutes later Joe grabbed a tray, knife, and fork, and spoon. Then he smiled at Mrs Porterfield who always gave him a bigger potion than the rest because she was his mother’s friend.

“Thanks Mrs Porterfield.”

Your welcome Joe, tell your mother I was asking after her.”

“I will; Joe moved along to the coconut cake that stood some six inches high and four wide. Mrs Johnston scooped the corner piece and then topped it with custard


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