A Place Beyond The Priory

 "A Place Beyond the Priory " This is a story about Life in North Shields during the 1900's-1920's Tom Farrow is a third generation coble fisherman, Who meets and falls in love with a young herring girl who has travelled from the isle of Barra in the outer Hebrides looking for work. Margaret Linnie, her two friends Kerstin McDonald and Beth Munro all end up on the gutting line in Tyne Brand - their unscrupulous foreman Albert Mortimer treats all the girls on the line like animals including his wife Lizzie who bares him 11 children. forced into a marriage she did not want, Lizzie is abused by Albert for his own sexual gratification. She was in love with a young Greek boy called Leonidas Kostalas whom she had known from her days at school and lost her virginity to but her father will not allow them to marry- this is a story of love and betrayal and will keep you riveted until the last page is read.

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Inside was a long passage that led to his bedroom he bypassed it then went to the kitchen where there was a small wooden table and four wooden chairs there was a larder in the left hand corner and a stone stink next to it he ran the cold tap and filled a cup with water and took a long drink then he rinsed it before setting it down on the wooden board to dry. The living room had a brown sofa the range that heated water and cooked meals stood clean. He rarely cooked for himself since the death of his parents. He took a bath on a friend’s boat “The Oyster catcher as he had a steam boiler that heated water. He covered the windows with news paper when he was taking his ablutions. The wall paper in the living room was peeling off in places with damp he covered it with the back of the sofa. His parent’s room stood as it was when they were still alive. The iron framed double bed was made up and there was a small cabinet and a large wardrobe that now held all of his clothes. Darcy had asked him to bring his washing along for her to wash and iron but he chose to take his clothes to the ship laundry at the back of Howdon Road because they got caked with fish scales and they stunk the place out. Toms own room had just a table with an oil filled lamp and a single bed again with a iron frame. The other lights in the house were ran by gas and had to be lit. To save money Tom lit only one and used the oil lamp to light the room. Under the bed was a chamber pot that he used instead of having to go outside to the toilet. It wasn’t bad in the summer months but in the winter it was bitterly cold.

Squares of newspaper were cut them tied on a length of string and hung on a rusty old nail. There was also a candle on an old saucer so you could see in the dark. This was lit and left on when there was snow and ice on the roads to stop the cistern from freezing up. The bin men came every Wednesday to empty the bins of ashes from the ranges and to take away rubbish. Friday Rowley’s coal wagon came around to deliver the coal; six mornings a week Ken Robson came around with his milk float. It was pulled by his horse called Byron after the British Poet. Ken the fifty four year old milkman would go around reading verse to all the women on his round. He was well liked by everyone. His cheeks were always rosy red in the winter months. Tom bought milk from him to make a canister of boiling hot tea to take on board the Outcast. He placed some milk into a bottle with a lid that clipped down to stop any from spilling out. There was enough for about four mugs of tea. By the time they got the boat into the water at low tide by man hauling it down the beach on railway sleepers they were all ready for a drink of tea before setting sail.

It was twelve thirty when Tom got undressed and got into bed. He thought about Margaret before his eyes got heavier and he fell asleep.

 

 

When he arrived on the beach the tide was almost down He set down his haversack that held the tea wrapped in a clean towel to keep hot. He fixed the two ropes to the cleats ready to haul the boat down the beach when Chris and Steve arrived.

Having only had a few hours sleep Tom was quite tired but there was fish to be had if he could get out and back quick enough he would make at least fifty pounds from his catch. He paid his men £5.00 pounds per trip each so they were on good money. The up keep of the nets had to be taken into account or the loss of lobster and crab pots. He had a source that gave him good fresh bait which had to be paid for but he was saving around £150 pounds per week but there was diesel to buy and then there was the rent for his home, food, gas, coal, and milk. He hoped one day to be able to pay the mooring charges from the fish quay so that it would save him time. Tom hoped that by doing that he could then get out when he liked. He wanted have a head start on the other cobles that had to wait until low tide.

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