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.


18. 18

Joyce was getting more and more nervous as the two women nearly came to blows in the doctor’s surgery.

The argument was stopped as an old lady came out bent over with a walking stick.

Nelly got up and walked to the door with John; she knocked then went in.

Five minutes later she came out with a prescription for some calamine lotion and a bottle of medicine.’

“Well then said Barbara was I right?’

“No he’s got Rubella.’

“That shut Barbara up as Nelly walked out of the surgery.’

“What’s Rubella mam asked her son curiously.

“Its bloody measles but diven’t say nowt to hor right she thinks she’s a right clever shite.’

John laughed as his mother went into Hogg’s the chemists.

 Walking down Collingwood Terrace Alan Bell minister at Trinity Church stopped outside of Florrie Grant’s house. He banged on the door with his fist as there was no door knocker. A young girl about four years old stood in just a vest and nothing else stood beside a scruffy looking young boy as he answered the door.

“Is your mother in asked the Minister who was wearing a black suit and highly polished shoes.

 “Ma’ there’s a bloke at the door he’s askin’ for yer.’

“What does he want came a shout back?’

“What de yer want.’

“Tell your mother I’m from the church.’

“Ma he says he’s from the church.’

“Tell him we’ve got nowt we’re skint.’

“Mam say’s’

“I heard son; Mrs Grant if I could have a word; Mrs Mason came to see me I’m sorry I could not call yesterday something came up. I am here to help you.’

Florrie Grant got out of the big sofa and walked to the door. Her hair was in dire need of a comb and her clothes filthy.

“What do yer want then she asked as she stood in the doorway.’

“Well I’ve come because Mrs Mason says that you need help.’

“I diven’t want charity.’

“This is not charity Mrs Grant’ we like to help those in need that’s all.’

“Look vicar I’m four weeks behind in my rent; we’ve had nowt to eat since yesterday when Hannah Mason gave me something for me husband and the bairn’s. The bloke from the rent office is coming tomorrow and if I haven’t got the money t’ pay him they are chucking us out on the street.’

“How much is your rent?

“It’s one pound ten and six a week.’

“Here there is ten pounds; please pay your rent and buy some food for the little one’s.

Come and see me if your husband has not found work I will find him a job somewhere. Does he have a trade?

No, but he can do owt; he’s a bit of a handy man.’

“I know someone who is looking for a gardener handy man. Please ask your husband to come to the church tomorrow morning at 6am.

“He can start straight away.’

“What about this money; I cannot pay you it back?’

“Don’t worry about the money Mrs Grant; just make sure your husband is at the church tomorrow morning.’

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