“Thank you said Helen you are so kind.’
“What we have, we gladly share with you.’
They asked Helen to bring some chairs from her house as there was only six in her house. Her oldest sons ran down the street then went into the house via the key on a piece of string then brought out two chairs each. Annabella placed the chairs around the table and everyone sat down to eat. It was the best meal that the children had eaten that week.’
How are you managing Helen asked Robert?’
“Well after the funeral costs were paid for it left me with only twenty pounds Robert. I had to pay the rent and I was one week in arrears so that took a large chunk of it.’
“I will have a word with the lads again down the yard and see if we can have another collection for you and the bairn’s.’
Thank you Robert the lads have all been so kind to me.’
“Well you should be receiving some sort of compensation from the yard soon Helen but the collection will tide you over until you get something. Meanwhile I will have words with my boss and see if I can hurry them up for you.’
“I am so grateful to you Robert.’
“Think nothing of it Helen; I would hope some would do the same for my wife if such fate were to befall upon me.’
“Right who’s for some home made rice pudding?’
“The children all shouted me; as Annabella took the pudding dish out of the oven and served it out with a large dollop of jam in the middle of each bowl.
The children all tucked in unashamedly as Annabella put on the kettle to make a pot of tea and wash the dishes.’
Helen helped to clear the table as Jimmy and Craig sat with the kids playing a game of ludo on the kitchen floor.’
All of the children said it had been the best day ever when they all left.
“Now if you need anything Helen just give me a knock do you hear me. I won’t see you and the kids go hungry. There’s always a pan of soup going spare in here.’
“You are a good neighbour Annabella.’
Take care now said Robert as the kids carried their chairs back home again.’
“Thank you Mr and Mrs Marshbanks.’
Robert closed the door and went inside.
“That poor woman must be beside herself not knowing where the next meal is going to come from.’
“Don’t worry love; I will have words with my gaffer tomorrow.’
“Do you want to go out tonight Robert, you never got to go out this afternoon?’
It’s alright Annabella, the money that I saved will go into the collection for Helen tomorrow.
“Did I ever tell you that you were a good man Robert Marshbanks?’ she kissed his cheek then went into the kitchen to sit down.
North Shields was crowded with people shopping Atkinson’s the fruiters were doing a roaring trade as was Hoults the pork butchers. Standing outside of the White Heart was young Johnny Decker the likeable black kid from the Ridges Estate had a severe