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


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They got off the ski lift then slowly made their way to the slope where they were to ski down. Agnes was not frightened and she waited until Susan and Lindsey went down before following Jenny down. She executed the turns perfectly and as her speed increased was able to cope with the manoeuvres. When they got to the bottom Agnes looked up at how far she had come and was very surprised at how far she had actually travelled.




Ralph sat in his classroom again and he had another boy sitting next to him.

“Hello my names Brian, Brian Smith; I live in Smiths Park.’ My dad’s the head gardener there.’

I’m called Ralph Mason.’ So your dads the parkie is he.’

 “Aye, your brother John knows my sister as well I think.’

“I live in Oakwood Avenue now but I used to live in Collingwood Terrace in Shields.’

“I’ve seen you and your friends playing football and messing about in the park. I’m not allowed to play football because I could get injured and I wouldn’t be able to compete in the tournaments that I go to.

“What tournaments are those?’


“Like on roller boots?’

“No, on ice.’

“So you prance about on ice then.’

“If you want to call it that; we call it ice dance.’ Do you want to come to Whitley bay ice rink with me; I can get you in for nowt?’

“When are you going like?’

“I have to go every morning at six for an hour, then at six every evening when I’m competing.’

“Are you good then?’

“Yes, I’m the currant Northumberland and Durham Champion.’

“Wow, you must be good then.’ How long have you been skating?’

“About six years.’

“You started when you were six years old?’

“Yes, I used to go with my friend Jimmy Marshbanks who liked to watch the ice hockey games. He moved away to Norwich last year and now I just go by myself.’

“Alright what time do you go?

“I have to be there for five o’clock.’ Do you have a bike?’

“Yes I do,

“Meet me at the park gates at quarter to five tonight. You cannot be late though Ralph or I will have to leave because I have to pay my coaches by the hour.’

“Who pays for your coaching?’

“My parent’s pay some but I help clean the rink after everyone has gone each night that helps to pay for it.’

Just then Mr Trotter walked in to the classroom and told them to take out their history books where they studied about the Pharaohs.

Brian was good at History and Maths and he and Ralph helped each other. Ralph helped him with his English lessons and Religion.

“Clever buggers those Egyptians weren’t they said Ralph as they went outside in the break after milk. Brian had a few biscuits that he shared with Ralph as they walked around the school yard. 

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