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.


76. 76

“Amen voiced everyone then they all sat down as Jack began to carve the bird.

“White or dark Iris?’

“Whatever Jack;

“I will give you a slice of both.’

“Hannah poured out some sherry from a bottle saved for special occasions.’

“Could I ask you to make a toast Iris?

 “Iris stood up and raised her glass. “ To friends and neighbours; may they be blessed by God?’

It was the day that Ralph’s parents let them have a drink to celebrate the birth of Christ the saviour. They all raised their glasses then drank.’

The vegetables were passed around. The stuffing was home made and the sausages from Bowman’s the butcher along on Bedford Street.

This was the most important feast of the year as everyone gave thanks for the birth of Christ. It wasn’t every day that they ate as well as this and many families would be without food today.

The food was delicious said Iris to Hannah.’

You must come again for New Years Eve Iris; no one should be alone as the dawn of a New Year beckons.




Bobby Grant had been out all night at John Brown’s house drinking. Instead of coming home had gone out again to the Sir Colin Campbell and was mortal drunk when he returned home to his wife and kids.

Florrie Grant had made the most of what her husband had given her to buy Christmas gifts for the children and to put a meal on the table. Each child got the same a pair of socks wrapped in newspaper. There was no turkey on the table just a small chicken that she had bought from the Grainger market at the very end of Christmas Eve when the butchers were selling meat a rock bottom prices. She bought the cheapest vegetables and young Bobby helped her carry everything home.’

No one complained except Bobby senior who blamed his wife for not providing them with a decent meal.

“Please sit down Robert you are frightening the children. It’s Christmas don’t go spoiling it.’

“He looked over at his wife and then laughed; look at you; you look like an old Hag.’

“No wonders that I don’t come home; Christ I can’t stand to look at your ugly face no more.’

“If you brought in enough money me and the kids could go around with clean clothes and I could go and get my hair done once in a while; but you choose to piss all the money up the wall.’

“Look at me you say; look in the mirror you drunken slob.’

“I may be drunk now but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be an ugly cow.’

“Don’t speak to my mother like that said Bobby Jr.’

“Don’t you speak to me in that tone of voice lad; you don’t think I know about you do you.’

What do you mean said the young lad as his father ripped off a chicken leg and began to eat it?  


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