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.


12. 12

Shirley’s heart was now beating fast, her hands were sweating as well as trembling as another three numbers were called. She thought that someone would surely shout when the next number came out.’

She looked up at the machine where the balls were going around then she saw the ball going up the tube and into the caller’s hand. “On its own; Shirley took a breath, Number three.’

“House she shouted, eeh Sarah I’ve won twenty pounds.’

“Thirty,’ don’t forget the tenner that you won earlier.’

“Yes, that’s right.’

When Shirley went to collect her money she handed in her card and she was paid out.’

Here Sarah this is for you as she handed over ten pounds to her friend. “Don’t be daft woman Sarah exchanged the ten and gave her back five pounds from her winnings.’ and told her to go and fill her cupboards and pay the rent with it.

Thank you Sarah I won’t forget this I really won’t.’

She ran down to the bus stop it was just after three o’clock and she headed back into town and went to the market to buy fresh vegetables and fruit. Then she went to the co-op and spent ten pounds on tinned foods bread, and some cereals, pulses and oats.’

Then she looked in her bag and found her rent book and went and paid two weeks. She was now happy and took a taxi home with the vegetables and shopping that she had bought.  She had bought a sack of potatoes at a third of what she would have paid for five pounds of loose ones, and she also bought a sack of carrots, parsnips, and onions. She bought two large cabbages, leeks and four turnips. They were all placed into the pantry and would keep them going for at least a month. All the food was placed into the cupboards along with the meat that she had bought from John Bowman’s Butcher shop.

When Maxie returned from work Shirley sat him down to fishcakes, chips, and mushy peas.

“Where did the money come from to buy this lot he asked?

“Sarah Miller loaned me five bob and I won at the bingo.’

“Is there any money left he asked?

“Aye, I have a few quid.’

Good because I need a new pair of boots for work.’ my feet have been soaked aal day.’

“Can you not get those ones repaired like?’

“Do you want me to empty bins in my bare feet whilst they are being repaired woman?’

“I will go down to the Army/ Navy stores tomorrow and get you a good pair of hob nailed boots.’

Rob was busy cutting out pieces of old lino into the shape of a sole then when his boots had dried by the fire he took out a tin of Evo Stick and glued the thick lino over the holes in them. The room stunk to high heaven of glue but there was nothing else he could do until he got his new boots. Using clamps he tightened them around the upper and the soles so that the glue would stick He would be walking around with a blue pattern on the soles of his feet but at least they would be dry.

He cut out more lino and placed them on the inside then added fresh Cardboard to cushion his feet.

He opened the window for a while to air the room but it was cold outside; there was the beginning of a frost starting and the grass in the front garden were taking on a white appearance.’

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