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.


26. 26

Tell your lass there’s a meeting in the seaman’s mission tonight or you will never get out.

“Albert came in whilst Stan changed and told his wife that he had a meeting that night at the mission.’

“Hope that you’re not going to be late mind Stan.’

“See you later love he said as he kissed her. Don’t wait up as Albert and I are going for a pint after.’

“What about me?

“Here’s ten bob get yourself to the bingo.’

Stan crooked his head at Albert to indicate that they were leaving and the two of them walked down the narrow passage and left.

Right then we are on the pull mate said Stan as they got back into the van and headed back to Alberts’ house.


There was hell on in the street when Maxie Forster returned from doing his last shift.

Apparently Betty Lowther had caught her lazy husband Robert with the next door neighbour Lizzy Tomkins in her bed of all places; after she had been called at work to pick up her son who had been sick in school hall that afternoon. Betty was throwing Lizzy out of her house and calling her all the dirty sluts. She began punching the woman all over her path then went back into the house up stairs then threw her husband out along with all of his clothes.’

He began to collect his clothes from around the path then headed down the street to his mother’s house.’

Every neighbour was out as Robert walked down the street with his clothes.’

“If she had been a proper wife to me I wouldn’t have looked elsewhere he declared as he turned the corner and walked towards Bridge Road South.’

“Did you see that said Maxie as he went in doors; they should change the name of this street to Bedspring’s  as there’s that much shagging going on around here.’

Shirley put the kettle on to make her husband a cup of tea. She wasn’t in a good mood because she hadn’t heard a thing from Catherine in nearly two weeks.’

“Why don’t we go and pay her a visit said Maxie knowing that this was what was troubling her.’

“Why doesn’t she come here anymore Maxie?’ what have we done to her. Ever since she got married to George Arthur and got her own business, it seems as though we are not good enough for her.

“Don’t think like that love she might just be too busy.’

“Too busy to even pick up the phone to ring her own mother.’

Maxie made the tea then poured it into two mugs he added milk and sugar then handed one to his wife.’

He then took out his pay packet and handed it to her.’

“Look Shirley, why don’t we go out tonight to the Percy Main Club it’s ages since we both went out together and I think it would do you good.’

“If we go out it will only leave us short next week.’

“I have a half shift tomorrow love that will pay for our night out.’ “Go on get your glad rags on.’

“What about your tea?’

“We can get something from the chippy later.’

“Shirley got up and went into her bedroom and began to get herself ready.

She looked at her face in the mirror and was saddened by what she saw the years had not been kind she thought as she picked up he compact and began to powder her face.

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