Over the coming months both Tom and Mickey took everything that was going to be thrown out and sold it. Every bar in North Shields was glad of a cheap pie to go with their beer. The fruit and veg were sold around his street. Mick cottoned onto another idea. He could get more money if he cut the bread that he brought home and made sandwiches. Using his wages he bought some pork from his local butcher cheap then his mother made him stuffing. He was able to make a good profit selling all the pies, sausage rolls, pasties, and now pork sandwiches with stuffing. Each week their bank balances grew and within only six months they had made two hundred pounds each, more than enough for two holidays.’
Mickey got himself a bigger bag that he could fix on his back so that he could bring more fruit and veg left by other stores. In fact he got Tom to fix another box on the front of his bike because Mickey was supplying several streets with stuff from the Grainger Market and making a huge profit.
Both Mickey and Tom were still seeing Alison and Shirley. They had all booked to go to Benidorm in the July of 1956. Shirley was now sixteen and they had spent Christmas together going to the Oxford in Newcastle where Bill Haley and the Comets came. They had both danced the night away and Mickey asked Alison to get engaged. She accepted of course; they were both seventeen and in love.
Alison showed her friend the single diamond ring that Mickey had bought from Beaverbrook’s the jewellers.
Tom congratulated his friend but felt that Mickey was a little young to be getting himself tied down especially after what he had told him.
Christmas was always a special time in Tom’s house and this year was no exception.
Mickey brought home a tree for them from the Grainger Market. He and his mother always decorated the tree together a week before Christmas and the burbles’ were placed on the tree along with chocolate Santa Clauses and other novelties. A star made of gold paper was placed on the top. Then the home mad decorations would go up using coloured paper they were cut, Glued and linked together to form a long chain.
Then Chinese lanterns would hang from the ceiling and balloons.
A large holly wreath was placed on the front door and mistletoe strategically placed so that if you stood under it you could get a kiss.
Tom bought his mother a new hat and scarf and his father some new leather gloves some handkerchiefs and a pack of cigars.
Tom brought the twenty five pound turkey home along with chipolatas, and sausage meat to make the stuffing with. It was a big family occasion where all the family got together and sat round the table to enjoy a meal together, sing carols, pull crackers, and have a drink.
His mother and father went to Mass each Christmas Eve to give thanks for the birth of Jesus. This year Sarah White came over for dinner. She was over the moon when everyone brought out a little gift to give her. She was crying with joy and told George and Agnes that they were very special people and thanked them for allowing her to be part of her family.
Tom went to see Shirley and was introduced to her parents for the first time.
Robert and his wife Ruby were nice people and made Tom welcome; even though there were lots of questions from both of them.
Tom had a beer or two with them and he told Robert where he worked and about his side line business.
“Then it was Robert who put the idea into his head.
“When you come out of your apprenticeship you could start your own business.’