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.


52. 52

When Ralph went in to see Terry they had removed the bandages from both his arms and leg.

The extent of his injuries was all too apparent as the stitches were there for everyone to see. His arms and leg looked like a road map of Africa and it shocked Ralph to his very core.

 “Hiya mate, I see they’ve taken off the bandages now. You are looking much better.

All those scars are going to make yer look real hard when we get back to school.

Pity you didn’t get a couple on yer face though it would have been an improvement.’

“Cheeky sod said Terry as he playfully punched Ralph on the arm.

“Here I got you the new copy of the Beano to read and a bag of broken biscuits.

“Thanks’ Ralphie.’

“Well I knew you had plenty of juice to drink.’ Speaking of which can I pinch a glass, I’m choking for a drink.’

“Aye go on just help yourself.’

“Ralph filled the beaker on his locker then poured in some orange juice.

Ralph caught the attention of the nurse and asked her for another beaker as he handed the one he’d poured out to his friend.’

 The nurse returned with another beaker and he poured himself a drink.’

It’s hard to believe you’ve been here nearly a week already.

“What’s been happening since yesterday then?

Not much really; we went down to the quay and made a camp and oh aye Mattheed fixed a rope to the lamp post on Tanner’s bank and we were swinging like Tarzan.’

“I missed out there then said Terry as he ate one of the chocolate digestive biscuits.’

Has anyone else been in to see you Terry?’

Aye,’ a few of my Aunts and Uncles have been. I have over a pound off them plus my pocket money off mam and dad when they come tonight.

“We are all going shooting rats tonight down the ferry landing.’

Shut up will yer, I’m proper jealous being stuck in here.’

“It won’t be long before you’re out of here.’

“I have months of physiotherapy once they take the plaster cast off Ralphie.’

“Does that mean I will be able to beat you in the school sports day in the hundred yards dash?’

“You might this year mate until my leg is fixed.’

“It will still take something to beat you.’

“I think you could do well in the sack race hopping on one leg.’ But absolutely hopeless in the arse kicking contest.’

“Funny bugger.’ Hey guess what?


“The barber is coming in to cut our hair tomorrow; no basin cut for me for the next four weeks. Apparently he comes in every two weeks. So I’ll get my hair cut twice before I get out of here.’

“Mam gives me the money to go to the barber anyway.’

“Well you need to go to the barbers mate; those curtains are almost shut, it’s a wonder you can see.’

I’m going to ask for a different style the next time I go.’

“Yer can’t make a silk purse oot of a pigs lug.’

“God knows what yours will turn oot like then.’

“Ha ha, Terry said sarcastically.’

“Time please said the nurse as she went down the ward.’

“Well there’s another visit over.’

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