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.


6. 6

She walked past associated fisheries to “Albert’s Plaice” a fish store that she knew where she knew she could pick up some cod cheeks. Stan Taylor who worked in the fish store as a filleter was best friends. Stan learned his trade on board the Ben boats where they went out to fish in the Icelandic seas; it was hard work, bitterly cold, and up to ten days at a time on board ship. The six man crew worked up to fourteen hours a day hauling in nets and then gutting the fish. Then it had to be quickly iced and stored away ready for market. Stan got tired of the arguments and fighting that went on amongst the crewmen over very petty little things. The sea makes men change after a week at sea in some of the worst weather conditions known to man. There was no time for slackers on board and if you got sea sick there was no sympathy forth coming. In fact the crew members saw it as a way of breaking the monotonous Job of work that they were doing. When a new comer came down with it they would taunt him so much it would make his condition worse. He would often be sick where he stood because he would only be paid if he carried on working. The stink from fish guts was enough to turn any man’s stomach. Stan remembered when he got a bad case of sea sickness. His head was constantly over the side of the boat as the swells of up to twelve feet threw the boat around as if it were match wood. The constant up and down motion would not abate and his stomach muscles ached with the constant wretching.’

The others on board taunted him with greasy eggs and bacon which he could not keep down no matter how he tried. For three days and nights his torment persisted. He had never been as sick in his whole life and never wanted to be like it again.

 Albert offered him the job working in his store after he’d came ashore and was sitting in the Corvette drinking a pint of McEwan’s Exhibition. Stan Taylor lived in Dockwray Square not far from his friend and when Albert came into the pub and sat next to him.

“How’s it gannin’ then Stan.’

“I’m bloody sick Albert he said; this job has got me round the bend. A diven’t na if I’m gan a be workin’ there much longer.’

“Why don’t you come and work for me man.’

“I know that the money isn’t as much as you get aboard the boats is it.’

“Aye but its steady work mate; plus you get to go yem every neet not stuck on board some boat in the middle of nae where.’

“Aye yor reet aboot that.’

“When could I start?’

“The morra’ if you want.’

“I’ll be doon at six in the mornin.’

“Five thirty we start Stan; I’m on the market at five o’clock buying the best cod and haddock.’

“Five thirty then said Stan.’

Albert went to the bar and bought his friend a pint, Albert got the attention of Molly Thompson the attractive looking barmaid with huge breasts that she loved to show off to certain men. “Albert the Hat” as he was known to all his friends had a reputation with women and so did Stan Taylor. There wasn’t a married woman safe when they were out. The lads were now in their late thirties but back in fifties they wore drain pipes and drapes. Their hair was cut by an Italian called Giovanni on Nile Street.

It was worth the two bob to have their hair cut into the perfect DA (Ducks Arse) at the back and a stylish quiff at the front. They would roam the bars and dance halls 

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