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.


8. 8

The man cut the elastic and put it into a bag then said that it would be one shilling and tuppence please.”

“Joe gave him two shillings then waited for his change.”

“Thank you; I will tell me Da’ where you fly your aeroplanes.”

Joe shut the door behind him then walked down to Pallister’s second hand shop. He signalled to the lads who were looking at some fishing rods.

“When they saw him they rushed over. “ Did you get it they all voiced?

“What do you think; it was like taking candy from a baby.”

Right we have got to go to the reservoir to put them together. Then we have to try them out. We need a bag from Woollies then we can collect some pebbles from the Fish Quay Sands.

Once they had a carrier bag each they made there way down onto the quay. Even on a Saturday the Quay was a hive of activity; there were boats unloading fish all along the quayside. The fish stores were all open and the lads stood outside in the sunshine stripped to the waist as they slashed away with their filleting knives. The barrels were full to the brim with fish carcases.

They turned the corner past Joe Appleby’s fish store and Thos Melrose’s as the lads were hammering away at the lids of the salmon boxes. They were salted iced and then boxed to await the Burges Lorrie’s to take them to Lowestoft and Grimsby.

The Dolphin was packed with people drinking; Joe turned the corner past the old kipper house that led onto the Fish Quay Sands.

The lads took off their plimsoll shoes and socks then headed into the water.

Joe playfully splashed water on the others and they fought back with equal amounts of water.

Further on near the Black Middens they came across the pebbled beach they quickly found the smaller rounded stones and began to fill the bags with them.

 Once they had done that then they saw that there was no one around so they began to construct their weapons.

First the Braces or the cut pieces of inner tubing were fastened with wire around the top of the V formation then it was secured with electrician’s tape. When that was done the whole structure was taped up to make it water proof.

Then the elastic was cut into equal sized lengths fed through the eye holes of the braces and secured with wire and then taped up the two loose ends were then placed into a leather pouch with two small holes and again they were tied off and taped up.

Now the catapult was ready to be tried out.

It took them a good hour before the weapons were completed. They put their socks and sand shoes back on their feet then hurried on to the reservoir

They collected a few tin cans and glass bottles so they could practice their honed skills.

Ralphie took his out of his pocket and then lined up the tins and the bottles on the wall. They all stood in line like soldiers about one hundred yards away then aimed and fired. Posh, posh, posh went the smashed bottles.


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