Jimmy set about gutting and then his father neatly filleted each one until they were done. William sold his fish to the local fish and chip shops cheaper than what they would pay at market plus they were fresh and filleted for them too.
It kept him and his wife and paid for the upkeep of the boat.
They sailed back to the harbour and Jimmy went to get the cart that was kept in the fisherman’s shed on the beach. Using the hand winch they lifted the boxes of fish onto the cart where Jimmy helped pull up to the top of the bank whilst his father secured the boat.
“Thanks’ for a great day out William said the lads as they made there way home.’
“Might see you later Jim said both men as Jim helped his father deliver the fish that he’d just caught in Cullercoats and in Whitley Bay before returning home and putting the cart away. It was now just after six when they got in.
“Hi mam get the chip pan on we’ve got you a nice piece of haddock.
“Oh lovely said Martha ’the chips are cut son just have to heat up the beef dripping and make some batter with a bit of beer in it.’
Jimmy stripped to the waist like his father and they washed in the sink as Martha mixed the batter in a large brown bowl then added chips to the wire basket in the fryer
When they had been frying for twenty minutes she then took them out and placed them in a tray then took out the basket and placed two pieces of haddock into it. The hot dripping sizzled away as the batter turned crisp. Then she battered a ling steak and some cod then placed that in the fryer for William.’
Jimmy set the table and put out some plates as his mother spooned some tea in the pot from the caddy. The wooden box had been handed down from her grand mother. It had been in the family many years when tea was said to be a luxury and was kept under lock and key. This box was no exception it too had a lock on it. The box was made of ebony and had been hand painted with flowers on the front. Martha didn’t lock the box but kept the key in a safe place.
They all sat around the table as the fish and chips were put out and some mushy peas that Martha had made added.
“There’s nothing like a good piece of fresh haddock said Martha as she cut into the fillet. Jimmy had both a fillet of cod and haddock on his plate with a mountain of chips and peas. He poured some vinegar on the plate then handed it to his father who had a large piece of ling and cod on his plate.’
“Are you going out tonight son asked his mother?’
“I don’t think so mother replied Jimmy; I’m going to have a lie down after dinner and read I think.
“What about Brian and Keith.’
“I think they will survive without me around mother.’
“You are only home for a week you know and it might be another six months before you see them again.’
“Not tonight mother, I’m done in; I’ve been with them today so I will see them tomorrow.’
“I was just saying.’
“Dad will tell them when he goes down to the club tonight.’
Mary McLeod was only fourteen years old the first time that she met Eddie Bruce outside of Woolworths shop in North Shields. He said hello to her and she ran away with her brother Norman down towards Howdon road where they lived.
She wasn’t used to black boys speaking to her and in those days it was shunned upon to associate with black people. Eddie Bruce was working as merchant seaman as a