The River

"The River" tells the story of Connie Francis Boothe who struggles to bring up three children in the damp living conditions on Howdon Road, North Shields in the 1950's Her Husband Richard is out of work and she is nearly seven weeks in arrears with her rent and eviction is looming. She has already pawned two of her mother's rings in order to feed her hungry children. Richard is a bit of a jack the lad who has ducked and dived all his life as a labourer - then he meets Beverly Madison a tall beautiful girl who is seven years younger than him but has had a crush on him since she was only fourteen. he begins an affair until after six months his wife finds out. How will Connie cope on her own after her husband leaves. follow this story of rags to riches - The River is one to read.

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Richard Boothe pushed his way to the front of the queue as Billy Milligan picked out the men he wanted.

You there, Richard looked around then back at the gaffer.

“You want a job or not lad.’

Aye of course I want the job. Richard squeezed himself through the gates and walked towards the dock. Five other men made their way to the same place where they would be given labouring jobs. Fetching and carrying mostly but Richard didn’t care he needed the money. They were met by Brian Sloan the dock manager who told them that there was a couple of weeks work aboard two tankers that had come in for refit. The African Star and the Mombasa Strait. They set about their work helping the carpenters and electricians. Richard now had a smile on his face knowing he had work for at least two weeks. That would give him time to find out if there was any work going else where. He had written away to all the firms on the Coast Road hoping that he would get an interview but he’d heard nothing.

Meanwhile the work here would have to do. He picked up the cables then walked up the gang plank on board the African Star and looked for Tony Atkins. He asked several men as he walked along the deck where the man he was looking for was.

The ship was a cacophony of different noises, from welders, riveters, and corker burners. The men he spoke to couldn’t here him above the din. Then someone tapped him on the shoulder and indicated that he was on the third deck down. “Look for a guy named Tony Atkins he was the electrician that he sought. A metal door led to a set of iron steps which he followed down towards the sound of men talking.

He approached two men with the different spools of cables that had his shoulder aching. “Are you Tony Atkins?’

“Yes, have they sent you down with the cable I asked for?’

Tony was a thick set man in his fifties; his skin was tanned with working out doors most of his life and he had two tattoos on each arm. His hair was wavy and had wisps of grey starting to peep through.’

Hi,’ I’m Richard Boothe your new labourer.

“This is Jackie Thompson who works with me.’

Richard shook both their hands then placed the cables on the deck.

“Now Richard divent be goin’ hell for leather around here or you won’t last five bloody minutes. “ Take your time we need to spread the job out if you know what I mean.’

Jackie came in and said “the gaffers would like us to sweat our bollocks off down here but we have this job well sussed. There will be work for a month if we play this right.’

“That’s good because I was only expecting to be here two weeks.’

“That’s what they say Richard what we do is another matter.’

Sit yourself down lad and have yourself a cup of coffee out of my flask in that bag over there.’

“Cheers Tony.’

Richard took the haversack and took out the scotch patterned flask he unscrewed the cup then poured himself a cup of coffee. Also in the bag was a bottle of milk, some sugar and a tea spoon. He stirred the milk and sugar into the hot coffee which when he sipped on it revitalised him.’

“I’m glad to be working with you lads said Richard as he sat on a wooden crate.’

“How long you been out of work?

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