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.


18. 18

him as I was getting ready in the back yard after she hoyed all my clothes oot the bloody window.

“You’ll get caught one of these days you dorty bugger.’


The houses on Linden Road housed some seventy people. The newly built houses were the first to have inside toilets and a bathroom. There were no ranges just a coal fire. In the scullery there was a gas cooker and a new sink made of aluminium. There were cupboard units on the walls and it made the houses look more modern and even spacious. Eventually all the houses on the estate would be this way said the local councillors who came around canvassing for the elections.

Harold Wilson was in power and he a Barbara Castle gave many speeches around the local area. “Poverty in Britain today will be a thing of the past he declared.’

Brian Wood and his wife Alice and their three children moved into the new house. It was a bit of a culture shock at first living in the newly modernised property but they soon got used to it. People in the surrounding areas were jealous of them and the people who lived there became outcasts. They lived next door to Alec Dale and his wife Joyce and their three children got on well. Brian would often go to the Percy main Club with Alec and his wife. Mary his daughter liked Brian’s son Peter and a courtship was going on and Brian and Alec were oblivious to it until they came home early from the club one night to find the two of them in bed together. Needless to say the two of them got a right talking to. A wedding was planned earlier than they had both expected. Lucky for them that one of the residents old Lilly Palmer had died and the house was available. Mary had to pretend she was pregnant to get on the housing list. And she stuffed a huge cushion up her dress secured it with a belt then put on her coat and went to the rent office.

“There are simply no houses available Mr Wood she the lady to Peter who had gone with her .’

“There is,’ there’s one four doors down from my mother at number 37 Linden Road.’ “look I can pay you two weeks rent in advance if you are prepared to give me the keys now.’

Just a moment Mr Wood I will have a word with my boss.’

“Ooh said Mary I’m getting pains; I’m due any day now you know.’

“The lady looked at the young girl then hurried to see her boss who listened intently as the woman fought their corner and got them the keys to the house.

They came out after paying the two weeks rent and she kissed her future husband.

Two weeks after they had redecorated; they were both married in the registry office in North Shields. It was five months later that she bumped into the woman who had given her the keys to her house. This time she was pregnant for real. God your husband doesn’t waste any time does he she stated.’

“Two kids in no time. You are going to have to get yourself along to the family planning clinic once you have this one.’

Mary nearly laughed out loud as she waited for the bus on Saville Street.

She called in at her mother’s house and told her who she had seen. They had a good laugh about the comments that she’d made.

“Do you want a nice cuppa tea love; you look fair tuckered in.’

“Thanks mam.’

Mary put up he legs that were aching on the black leather sofa as her mother filled a whistling kettle.



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