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.


61. 61

Yes but it can take over your life Agnes. Tomorrow night I have to fly to Madrid to interview Rodrigo De Marquis one of the leading Bull fighter’s in the country and the world. “He is recovering from being gored by a bull called El Nino; the wind that blows around there.’

 “They have kept the bull alive so that Rodrigo can fight the bull again. It is big news.’ So I have to go.’

What time is your flight?’

“Seven o’clock tomorrow evening.’ It will take near five hours to get there.’

I do the interview on Monday morning at eight o’clock sharp and should be back in London around eleven that evening as I am his guest for dinner.’

“Guess what we are having?’

“I don’t know; Paella?’

“No, T bone Steaks.’

“No bull eh laughed Agnes.’

Norman laughed too as the first film was about to start.’





Margaret Cumming’s first night was a restless one it was only ten o’clock and she had been sent to bed like a naughty school girl.’

She lay awake; her back and legs were sore with bending and kneeling. There would be more of the same tomorrow when the manure truck arrived. It would have to be wheel barrowed from the yard to the garden and it would take at least three hours to spread onto the land. Her Aunt had allowed her only time to make a pot of tea before starting again. They drank the tea whilst peeling the skins off the beetroot then placing each one carefully into big Jars ready to be pickled. Her mother had given her some fish to give her aunt on her arrival. It was taken then placed into the larder without even a thank you.’

Margaret knew that her aunt was doing her and her mother and father a big favour as the shame brought on by being only fifteen and pregnant would have ruined the family name.’

At least here no one knew her. Once the baby was born she could return to her own home and see her boyfriend Brian again. “There would be no more hanky panky until they had a place of their own and he took the proper precautions. Her mother had told her about family planning; even though it would be classed as a mortal sin by God and the church. They were all staunch Catholics in their house and the priest from St Thomas was a regular visitor.

Her mother would have to lie in order to preserve the family name.

The priest Michael Flynn would ask her mother where she was and she would have to tell him that she was working away from home.’

Margaret thought that she would have to write to Michael Flynn explaining that she as working away in Morpeth on a farm near stately home and that she would come and see him the next time that she got time off. That way the priest would not suspect anything.’
Margaret got out of bed then took out the case from under her bed then used it to rest on as she composed a letter to her parents.’

She had been told what to say by her mother and not to mention the baby in the letter so she could show father Michael.’

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