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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“Good, now there’s going to be a big show next week and we are expecting a big wig coming here to mark the third anniversary of the Battle of Britain.’

“Will you be going sir?’

“Yes and so will you; you can accompany me and my good lady wife if you’d like that is.’

“Thank you Sir, I’d like that very much.’

It’s settled then; you will wear your best uniform and fix your hair won’t you.’

“Yes sir.’

My wife Heather is dying to meet you.’

“Is she Sir.’

“Yes I’ve been telling her how you spoil me here in the office.’

“I hardly think a few biscuits is spoiling you sir.’

“All the same she would like to meet you.’

“I will be there Sir.’

“Splendid Mason now be a good girl and file these for me.’


It was Saturday Evening when Agnes received a call from Norman who had been in Birmingham most of the week. He asked if he come and pick her up on Sunday so that he could take her to meet his parents for Sunday lunch.

Agnes was little apprehensive about meeting Norman’s parents, what if they didn’t like her she thought to herself. She agreed to meet him after the church service outside of the base.

When she’d finished speaking Agnes went back into the officer’s mess to find Jenny chatting to another officer. She turned then went back to her dorm, there was no need for her to stay, and play gooseberry so she undressed, got into her pyjamas then got into bed. It was only nine thirty so she picked up a book that she had been reading. She opened to the place where she’s left her book mark. “Ride the Rising Wind” by Barbara Bradbury Kingscote told the story of a journey across Canada. Barbara set out on horseback for the Pacific Ocean; reaching the West Coast a year later having travelled 4.000 miles through the harsh wilderness of the Canadian landscape. Using only a map one hundred dollars and her wits, she tackled the elements alone. Using the generosity of the local people she was able to see the Great Lakes and the Rockies on a journey of self discovery.

Agnes had read almost six chapters when Jenny returned with a big smile on her face.’

“You had a good night I take it.’

“Yes, that Group Captain Johnny Norton is something; he’s asked me out tomorrow.’

“Are you going?’

“Are you kidding, of course I’m going; what else is there to do on a Sunday?’

You like him then?’

“Yes, but you know me Agnes, it’s only a bit of fun.’

“Well don’t go getting yourself in trouble will you or it will be my head on a platter.

“Can’t a girl have a bit of fun these days said Jenny as she hung up her uniform and took off her shirt?’

“You know what these officers are like.’ I don’t want to see you as a name notched up on someone’s bedpost.’

“I’m a big girl Agnes and your talking like that isn’t going to help.’

“Alright but don’t say I didn’t warn you.’

Jenny put on her Pyjamas and got into her bunk said good night and turned over on her side.

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