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


32. 32

“Ralph let out a low whistle then placed the bag in the bed. he took out the football and Marvel comics and gave them to his friend then placed the gardening ones he had picked up from the waiting room into the empty bag.



Do you want a drink; it’s pretty hot in here isn’t it?’

“Yes thanks.

“My mam bought you some lemon and barley water.’

“That was nice of her.’

Ralph opened the bottle then poured some into the beaker and added some water.’

“He held it so Terry could take a drink.’

“That’s better; they are giving me one with a straw so I can drink myself later until my hands and arms heal.

“How long are they keeping you in?

“Six weeks the doctor said.’

“You lucky bugger; can you break my leg for me so I can miss four weeks off school an aal.’

“Don’t joke about stuff like that Ralph it is really painful.’

“They keep coming and giving me pain killers; last night they had to knock me out with sleeping tablets because I was in agony after my surgery to reset my femur, tibia, and fibula. I also have a badly sprained right ankle.

“Well I can tell you that we got the ball back and that we won the football game 46- 7.

“Terry laughed as he said it was a big margin to make up.’

“Everyone is asking after you Terry; even Shawn Crawford; I think she fancies you.’

Oh by the way fat arse came out and was shouting and bawling again and wor John left her a nice present.’

“Present, for that old cow?’

“Not that kind of present stupid; you know that lose airbrick where her toilet is well there was a bag of rotten fish in Mrs one eye’s bin and the flies were buzzin’ from it. Well they rammed it down inside the cavity wall and now when she goes for a dump the place will be swarming with flies.’

“Whey yer na what she’s like about insects laughed Terry.’

“A nurse came around to take Terry’s temperature and told him not to speak as she placed the thermometer under his tongue.’

She recorded it on the chart at the bottom of his bed then asked if he’d been able to use his bowels yet.’

“Bowels what’s that?’

“Have you taken a dump today Ralphie said.’

“No I haven’t eaten since I came in.’

“Well they will be coming around soon so you will get something then.’

It was two thirty when Terry’s mother and father showed up so Ralph excused himself and told Terry he’d come and see him tomorrow.’

“Thanks’ for coming mate; see you tomorrow.’

“We’re all going fishing down the fish quay so I will try and catch a fish for you.’

“Tara Mr and Mrs Lane.

“See you later Ralph and thanks for coming.’

Ralph walked out of the ward then down the corridor the way he’d come. The cleaner had now moved to another part of the corridor as he passed by.

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