The girl next door

Maxie Forster is a binman who carries out ashes from the coal fires of North Shields the holes in his leather soled boots are letting in water from the rain and he cannot afford to go and take the boots to the cobbler shop in Billy Mill. He tries repairing them with some old lino and cuts the shape out with a stanley knife and glues them with some evo stick then places cardboard in the insides. Looking over the road on his round he spots a family being evicted by the bailiffs - the wagon is loaded with furniture and the woman and her five children stand in the rain as the barrow with everything she owns is pushed down the street.

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11. 11

Shirley Forster placed the herring on a tray then poured the vinegar over them then she boiled the cod cheeks until the meat came away and she discarded the skin and bones. She mashed it with some potatoes and then using the last remaining egg made some batter mix she had bread crumbs that she’s saved from the fresh loaf and rolled the fishcakes into the egg mixture and then into the bag of bread crumbs there was twelve fish cakes made and they could be fried when she came back. Shirley took out the sauced herrings when they were done and popped one on a plate and ate it.

By twelve thirty the lure of the bingo was too much and she put on her coat and scarf and headed out to meet her friend Sarah.

The doors were open when she arrived and she made her way to the hall. She could smell hotdogs and burgers with fried onions in the Foyer. And could have eaten four on the trot she was that hungry. She found her friend after buying her books and they sat and waited until the first flyer got under way. All through the games she prayed that God would smile on her. So far she had been nowhere.’

Sarah brought her a cup of tea and a blue ribbon biscuit to eat. “I do hope that we get lucky in the second half Sarah, I really do.’

The suited caller called Johnny Millsip mounted the stage.

Sarah was wearing a dark blue spotted dress and a pair of white plastic earrings that she’d bought from Woolies’ in the town.’

I like your earrings said Shirley who had an array of good luck charms on the table from Irish leprechauns to four leaf clovers and Buddha’s of different sizes.

“Mind you I like the long dangly one’s the best.’

“We are talking about earrings here laughed Sarah.’

“Shirley realising what she had said began to chuckle as Johnny told them eyes down for their first number. Sarah marked off three numbers straight away. She only wanted number twenty six after Johnny had called out seventy three.’

By the time fourteen numbers had been called Sarah had almost given up then twenty six came up and she shouted.’

“Well done Sarah God has smiled on you for helping me. Sarah’s ticket was checked and given back to her and they carried on for the full house.’

Shirley wanted three when house was called at the back of the hall. She now had only three chances left to win.

“The next game got under way and Shirley waited in expectation again she was waiting for three numbers when someone two tables away called house.’

 In the next she waited for number five for a line and her heart sank as someone called house. Then she quickly filled the card and number thirteen was all that was needed she prayed and prayed then Number thirteen came out “Here she proclaimed shaking.’

“There you go said Sarah; him up there always provides.’

“Thank you God she whispered.’

Then the last flyer was played Shirley was marking off numbers well again and when only thirty six numbers were called she wanted only two numbers; number three and top of the shop blind ninety.’ This time the house prize was worth twenty pounds.

“She waited in anticipation as the numbers were called.

“On its own number seven’, Shirley’s heart sunk. “ Top of the shop blind ninety.’

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