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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There were even veterans of the Falklands War living on the streets of Britain without help. They had served their country and now they were just outcasts. If you lived on the street you could not receive help because in order to receive benefit you had to have a fixed abode. Soup kitchens began to help those less able to hep themselves.

Russell Howard noticed this decline and he tried to help by speaking with local councillors. Since his marriage to Annabella in 1990 he had been an active member of the Labour Party. He spoke at rallies and at council held meetings about the threat of rebellion by the people of Britain. If this never ending Spiral of benefit rather than work didn’t end and every man receive a decent living wage for being in work then  there would be even more unemployed people in Britain. We seemed to be using cheap labour from abroad rather than employing the services of its own people. We were importing more goods from abroad than actually exporting them. “Work must pay he told Stephen Byers a local MP.

“Instead of buying cheap exports; we should be creating jobs here he stated.’

The Poll Tax riots began in London where over 400 people were injured; these riots were echoed in Liverpool and in Birmingham. Then after the deaths of two young boys in North Shields the powder keg that had been brewing exploded and The Meadowell Estate became like a war zone with shops and houses burnt to the ground. Looting on a grand scale took place as the people of the area protested. Cars were stolen and used in what was termed ram raiding. They drove around the estate then set the cars alight. Pictures were shown around the world. Russell felt totally ashamed as he and Annabella watched the news on the television.

“I told them this would happen now it has said Russell angrily. The people will only stand for so much and this will only get worse Annabella.’

“You are only one man Russell what can you do?’

“I won’t stand by and let this government bring this country to its knees.

John Major is going to have to do something to turn this lot around or we will be living in a totalitarian society. His draconian Ideas must be brought to heel. Russell set about writing a letter to John Major voicing his concerns.


 Maxie Forster returned to work after taking a few days off for compassionate leave

He tried to carry on as normal as possible after his wife’s death. It took six months before he was able to face going out again and socialising. Catherine his daughter was still helping him with the washing and ironing. He was cooking for himself though and slowly he learned how to cope on his own. He went to the council and asked for another place to live as the house bore too many memories and Maxie felt as though he could not move forward with his life. They gave him a flat at the bottom of Tynemouth Road near to his Depot. Maxie got help from friends to help him decorate the place and Catherine helped with the décor.

 He joined the Howdon Social Club and started going there on a regular basis with a few friends from work. They would go each Friday and Saturday evening and sit upstairs in the concert room to listen to the turns.

It was whilst out one evening that he was introduced to Donna Hammond.

Donna like him had lost a loved one she had one daughter called Jenifer who was married. They found comfort in each others company. Maxie looked forward to her coming out where they would often dance together in the second half of the night.

They would meet up and go for walks along the coast. And he took her to York when the club organised a trip to a race meeting. They sat together and Donna had made sandwiches, cooked some chicken, and baked scones and a fruit cake.

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