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.


29. 29

“Lucky me eh.’

Albert returned with the drinks and the girls were still laughing.’

“What did I miss something?’

“No Albert but it sticks out a mile said Brenda and they all cracked up again.’

“We’ve talking about your trouser snake?’

  “He shocks most people with it? “ I remember when we were in school and he lobbed it out for a bet; Mrs Atkins stared at it for nearly five minutes before sending him to Jack Spark to get six of the best.’

A letter was sent home ordering his mother and father to get him underwear to keep his Willie strapped in.’


The evening past quickly as Maxie and Shirley sat in the Percy Main Club Two comedians called “Little and Large” started the night off then Linda Wright came on and did a set. Shirley sat the whole night with a can of McEwan’s Export.’ Maxie had only three pints but still managed to enjoy himself.’

They walked home and stopped at the fish and chip shop where they bought their supper come tea as they hadn’t eaten since lunch time.’

Maxie had called in to his mothers again and she had made him some Irish stew with dumplings.’

“It got to the point where she expected her son to come for dinner and she kept him something each day. He at least got to see his two brothers when he called.’

They hurried home with the parcel of fish and chips and then buttered a slice of bread each to eat with them and poured some tomato ketchup on them too.’

The fish was delicious and it was devoid of any bones. The chips were golden brown and mixed with the batter that Mavis had put on them. They were welcomed by both their stomachs as they began to eat them.

“What are you doing tomorrow love asked Maxie?’

“I have to go shopping in the morning and pay the rent as well; by the way the council have put the rent up by a pound.’

“You’re kidding me.’

“No it is now twenty three pounds per week.’

“God, I remember when we first moved here and it was only one pound twelve and six.’

“Well we are living in the eighties now not the sixties Maxie.’

“Where have all the years gone love, it seems like only yesterday when we were first wed.’

“Twenty six years in the blink of an eye.’

“Yes, and a grown up daughter who cannot even visit.’

“Who is going to look after us when we get old Maxie, because Catherine won’t I can tell you that much.’

“That’s a long way off yet love.’

“It will be here soon enough.’

Maxie scrumpled up the paper from his supper and took his wife’s from her. She had left most of her chips and Maxie ate them because he didn’t know if there was anything in for his breakfast tomorrow morning.’

Maxie placed the paper in the peddle bin then went to the toilet. The inside loo and bathroom and gas fire that now graced every home in the now in the newly named Meadowell Estate after the houses were re-modernised in the early seventies. Radiators now heated the houses and coal fire were no more. It certainly made his job on the bins a lot easier. The new wagons took away the black bin bags that had to be 

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