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.


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“For now yes, but one day when these luxury apartments are built I will move into one of those.’

They left the Plaza building and crossed the road to the car and Russell opened the door for Annabella before getting into the drivers seat.’

“You have big plans Russell.’

“Yes I do, some say a little too ambitious at times.’

They drove along the coast again as the moonlight reflected off the sea at Tynemouth, the tide was coming in along the beach, and the waves swept gently over the rocks.

Russell let Annabella out of the car and then wished her good night; she kissed his cheek before going in and Russell opened the garage and put the car away before leaving to take the train home.

He paid for his ticket at Whitley bay station after running about a mile feeling the warmth of the night air in his lungs. He felt exhilarated, and more alive than he’d ever felt in his life. The train pulled in just before midnight and he boarded it. There were a few late night revellers who had obviously had too much ale talking loudly at the back of the carriage. The stationmaster blew the whistle and they moved off. They passed the boating lake at Tynemouth with its wonderful flower displays and well kept lawns. Then onto North Shields; only one person got on and they moved off. He got off at his stop and he walked down the stairs and on towards Cedarwood Avenue.

“Did you have a good time then asked his mother and sister?’

“What’s she like then come on tell us aal aboot her.’

“Well she is beautiful mother, she is tall, and has hair that shines in the darkness and her eyes are like emeralds they are so green.’

“I think my brother is in love mam said Jacqueline.’

“Do you want a nice cup of cocoa before you go to bed son asked his mother?

  “No mother I think I shall just go to bed. I am going to look for a house tomorrow with Mrs Belsham.’

“Are you moving out?’

“Yes mother I am twenty four now and this house is far too small for all of us.’

“I am going to get a mortgage for a house nearer to my work.’

“I see said his mother disappointingly.’

“Mother I will still come every day to see you; Mrs Belsham has given me a car to drive now so I will be able to take you shopping.’

“Can I come too Russell said Jacqueline excitingly.’

“Yes you can both come and father too if he likes.’

Jacqueline hugged her brother before he went to his room and hung up his suit.



Sylvia Belsham was ready when Russell came the next morning he took out the car and then drove to D Hill & Carters’ Estate agency where they were met by Mr Alan Bertram who showed them several properties In the Tynemouth area. They were all within his capability to pay the mortgage and live within his means. He was shown a three bed roomed property on Collingwood Terrace for £52.000 he asked to view the property and the estate agent organised a viewing that afternoon. The period Maisonette with oak beams and open planned living room gave the house a nice warm feel to it. There was two good sized bedrooms painted light blue and white and all the floors were made of wood and polished to a high shine. Russell loved it and made an offer which was accepted. It was the sea view that looked out onto King Edwards bay and the Priory Castle that captured his imagination. He signed the papers that afternoon. Russell could move in once he got his furniture sorted out.

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