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.


37. 37

“I saw some in the Ridges; yer na that new estate along by the reservoir?

Aye’ I’ve seen them.’

I wonder if mam and dad would move there.’

“Would you really want to move away from here?’

Yes; if it meant I could have my own garden.’

“What about all of your friends wouldn’t you miss them?’

“I could still see them at weekends; any road they might move before us; I heard Manny Nicholson’s mother saying that they were thinking of moving.’

“Are they; I don’t really want to move Ralph but it’s not up to us is it.’

Ralph opened his bottle of lemonade and took a drink before reading a section on summer bedding plants.



I hope you don’t mind but I’ve ordered us lunch said Norman as Agnes returned.’

How long have we got before we arrive asked Agnes as they made there way to the carriage where they served food.

We have over two hours yet.’ Are you in a hurry to get rid of me?

No, sorry; I’m being rude aren’t I?

“Not at all Agnes, now would you like a drink?’

“I had better not as they don’t take kindly to servicemen or women drinking whilst on duty.’

“But you are not on duty until you get back.’

That’s fine, but do you mind if we have a pot of tea.’

“They serve sandwiches and cakes I see said Agnes.’

“We are having a proper cooked lunch Agnes.’

“I took the liberty of ordering you a salad to start. “ You can choose your own main course.’

Agnes picked up the menu and looked at the prices and nearly choked on her glass of water.’

Have you seen what they are charging for one meal here Norman; I could feed us both for a week on the money they are asking on here.’

Norman laughed and told her just to order what she liked regardless of the cost.

Agnes looked for the cheapest meal on the menu then asked if they had a chef’s special.’

The young waiter informed her of the special which was steak and kidney pie with creamed potatoes and a vegetable medley.’

“That will do thank you.’

My father is paying you know Agnes; you can have what you like?’

“I do not take advantage of people Norman so the special is fine.’

Could we have two chef specials then please said Norman to the waiter.’

“Norman looked at Agnes then began to giggle.’

“I don’t mind what you eat you know; you could have had what you wanted.’

“I know that Agnes, but like you I prefer good home cooked food.’

The salad came and Agnes picked up a fork and began to eat. “Do your father and, mother eat out all the time?’

“Yes but it is only because my father can put it down on his expense account.’

He claims it all back in tax you see so really he gets to eat at the top restaurants in London for free.’

“He’s a very clever man then if he can manage to do that.’

“He has a good accountant and auditor looking after his interests Agnes.’

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