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.


22. 22

After the first three hour lesson; Thomas gave him a Highway Code book to learn off by heart. I will be outside at the same time every day until Friday when we will drive to the test centre where you will go to take your test.

Thomas dropped him off at his street and he walked down with a spring in his step.

He went in the house and told his mother and father of his new promotion.

His mother kissed him on the cheek and his father shook his hand. “My boy a development officer; who would have thought it.’

Jacqueline his sister who worked at Dukes and Marcus’ on Verne Road was so happy for her brother she went out that night and would have told the whole world about her brother who she was so proud of.


Fillipo Tomaselli the good looking Italian who lived on Bird Street had came over to England in 1947 after the Second World War when he was a pilot on board a Lancaster Bomber. He was responsible for the raids on the Ruhr Dams under squadron leader Guy Gibson, who led a team to break the dams supplying water to all the power stations in Germany. It became better know as “The Dambuster Raids”

Fillipo had worked in various jobs since he had come to Britain when he couldn’t find work he took any work he could; working as a casual labourer in the ship yard. Then he found a winter job as a coalman. He began to produce his own ice cream and sell it from a small cart that he made himself. He met the girl who would go on to become his wife Margaret Bird one afternoon. He had spoken with a friend who knew someone who had a pony for sale but it only had one eye after it was blinded in the pit in Billy Mill.’

They called him Nelson and he lived in Grey’s yard. Fillipo would rig the cart up so he could sit on it and they travelled to Galas, Bedlington, and often to Durham to sell ice cream. He was parked up this afternoon in Durham and there was a young girl on a market stall who he had noticed looking at him. She sold fruit and vegetables for her father and would often come over and feed Nelson some carrots and apples at the end of the day. Nelson had a mind of his own and sometimes it was hard to control him. Fillipo remembered once how when he had unhitched Nelson, he had galloped off and went into someone’s house when he smelled some apples that this lady had just picked from her apple tree. The horse ran amok inside the house and left his calling cards all over the living room floor until he found the bowl of apples and stood eating the lot.’

The lady got the shock of her life when she saw horse manure all over her new Indian rug in the living room and screamed. Fillipo came and apologised; he cleaned up the mess the horse had made and gave it to the lady who said that she would use it on her roses.’

Fillipo loved children and they loved him because he was so generous; if any child didn’t have a penny to buy an ice cream he would give them one for free. He never left anyone out. It was a few months before Fillipo got the courage to ask Margaret Bird out; she accepted and it wasn’t long before they were engaged to be married. Fillipo then got himself a small van after Nelson was run over and killed by a lorry after it broke loose in Bedlington high street. Fillipo not content with that converted a bigger van and painted it with his own Ice Cream designs. “Tomaselli’s Gelato was born.

 Right through the sixties Fillipo and his now wife Margaret; were able to travel further and further away because of an in built refrigerator.’

He was able to make his own cones from dough; using wooden cone shaped pieces of wood. He also made his own spaghetti from freshly made pasta and it would hang all 

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