The Ridgalite

The Rigalite focuses on the People who lived in Marina Avenue in the Ridges Estate in North Shields. Eddie Saint owns the Roaring venture a trawler moored at the fish quay- his crew work hard and play hard - one of them is Ron Lee a young lad who has aspirations of becoming a rock star. He was in the Royal Navy on board the HMS Illustrious as a trained chef before joining the trawler boat. The lads all tell him that his songs are crap because they don't wan't to lose a good cook. The story also tells of two rival shop keepers- Ronnie Hancock and Billy Burston have been each others throats for years- read the comic antics of both men. "The Ridgalite is an insite of life in the early sixties on an an estate with high unemployment and little hope - where every day is a constant struggle. There are some though who prove that if you have hope then dreams can come true.

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The Roaring Venture returned to North Shields with a good catch on board they knew that they had prime cod on board and it would fetch a good price at market. John Ellis and Billy Bones had got ten pounds a box for their catch but Sainty was expecting at least twelve for his. The lads rallied around getting the fish onto the quayside and then it was taken to the place where it would be sold. The wholesalers all gathered so it was good for Eddie as the more people bidding would push the prices up as they all fought to buy his catch.

The bidding started at ten pounds and steadily rose until it reached fourteen pounds per box. Eddie was more than happy with that. He also had another twenty boxes of mixed and he had four halibut which sold for two hundred and eighty pounds.

The lads all waited for their wages. they headed off to the dolphin as they usually did.

Margaret Harman poured them all a pint and they sat down and waited until the skipper came. He had to work out what each man had earned less tax, insurance, and graduated pension.’

The lads would still clear eight hundred pounds each though.’

They had to make hay whilst the sun shone because there would be fishing trips where they would hardly make any money at all it all depended on the catch.’ So money earned had to be spent wisely and put away for the lean times.

Dougie told them all that he was only staying for the one as he wanted to go out tonight with his girlfriend. He had to have a bath then go to meet Paula. He took his towel and toilet bag with him to the YMCA where he was a member and used the hot showers. He brought clean clothes to change into so that he didn’t have to go home.

He placed his dirty clothes into a locker after he’d shaved along with his toilet bag. He would pick them up tomorrow on his way to meet the lads.

He shined his boots on the back of his jeans then locked the door to his locker then walked along to Northumberland Square then down Bedford Street a journey he’d made many times before. He reached the Dock Hotel then went inside where he spotted Minnie Beck serving behind the bar.

Hello, Mrs Beck I’ve come to take Paula out.’ she’s expecting me.’

“Is she now; and who would you be?

“Sorry I thought Paula would have told you.’ I’m Douglas Cook.’

“Well Douglas Cook what do you do?

“I’m a fisherman.’

“You don’t smell like a fisherman and I get plenty in here I can tell you.’

“I’ve just come out of the shower and changed.’

“Yes; you smell of cheap aftershave.’

“Wait here I will go and tell her that you’re here.’

Two men were being a bit loud after one had told the other a joke and Minnie walked over to the table told them to finish their drinks and get out and never come back.

Dougie thought that she would go out of business if she owned the Dolphin.

Minnie would not serve black people, Irish people, or any foreigners she instantly took a dislike to. It was a wonder that she managed to have any clients at all. Minnie either liked you or didn’t.

Minnie Beck still hadn’t made her mind up about Douglas Cook.

It was some twenty minutes later when Paula came down stairs she was wearing a pair of brown flared trousers a white blouse and a red cardigan.’

“Hi said Dougie are you ready to leave?’

“Hi, when did you get in?’

“About three hours ago but by the time we unloaded, sold the catch we also I had to wait for the skipper. I had to dive in a hot shower as well before meeting you.’

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