The Skin Shop

The story which is semi autobiographical tells the story of Ralph Mason Growing up in Collingwood Terrace in North Shields in 1948. it is a story of Hardship, poverty, love, and friendship just after the Second World War. Some names have been changed and I have used some poetic licence to bring the story to back to life as some of the places talked about in this story are no longer with us. "The Skin Shop is one boys journey into manhood. i


12. 12

Jack returned from the club as Hannah pulled out the joint of beef from the oven on the range. Agnes began serving the vegetables out as her mother got the Yorkshire pudding out of the other side of the range.

They had risen four inches from the tray and were golden brown.

John passed his father the large Ivory carving knife in the shape of whale and he set about carving the joint into generous slices.

Sitting around the table Jack asked his daughter to say grace since see was going back to the RAF base in Cambridgeshire tomorrow.


“For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful Amen.

“Amen they all voiced and then the gravy boat was passed around.

“So when are you back to work then Agnes?’

“Soon as I get back father, they don’t let you laze about there.’

“They don’t give you much leave then do they?

“No they don’t; but I like the job father and I am staying with a lovely girl.’

“What’s her name dear asked her mother?’

“You call her Jenny Simpson. She is from Harrogate in Yorkshire.’ She comes from a wealthy family mother. Her father is a top barrister in London and her mother is an English teacher.’

“I see; it’s a wonder you two get along then with the difference in class dear.’

“She knows nothing about our family mother.’

“So are you afraid to tell her that we are humble people here and that your father works by the sweat of his brow as a brick layer. I certainly work hard to keep this house running as well.’

“It’s not that mother; they may look down on me somewhat if they knew that.’

“I see said her father, so you are ashamed of us then?

“No father, but put yourself in my place; she goes on about her holidays in France, Venice, and Rome. I can hardly tell her that we went to Blackpool can I?’

“Nothing wrong wi Blackpool Agnes. Not many folk from around here have even been to Blackpool.’

“I know that father, and I know that you have done the best for me but I want to make a life for myself away from here. I have a chance to do that; I am not going to spoil it all by telling Jenny I was brought up in a council house in the rough end of North Shields.’

“What are you going to tell her then if she asks you?’

“I will meet that when the time comes mother.’ She has asked me to come to Austria skiing with her this summer and I am going. I want to see a bit of the world before I settle down mother; I am young, and there’s nothing stopping me.’

“Who is paying for your holiday dear?

“Robert Edwin Simpson; who is Jenny’s father, he’s paying for everything.’

“Will you be going alone?’

“No Mother, there will be a group of us from the RAF going.’

“You know what people would say about two young girls going on holiday.’

“Yes I do; but don’t worry mother there will be at least twelve of us staying in one chalet.

“When are you going Agnes asked Ralph?’

“Next month.’ I cannot wait; I’m so excited.’ I had to get myself a passport and everything I would need to go skiing with. “Won’t it be very costly?’

“Do you have enough money to last you whilst you are there?’

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