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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“Two weeks after they had met up again Liz and Leo were finally married in the registry office . Liz left Jean her oldest daughter in charge of the house Alice, her twin Irene, Maybeth, and Sarah were all grown up now and could take care of themselves.

All of her children came to the wedding and were pleased that she had found love again.

 

 

 

By the end of February 1925 the snow began to melt and the warmer weather was just around the corner. In another week or so they could re-launch the Outcast and head home again. Tom had asked if Margaret and the other two girls if they would stay behind. It was pointless going all the way home risking the lives of all of them just to come back out again later. Tom had postponed the wedding until July to give him enough time to make some money and make up for his loss since being on Barra.’

They had made some money from the farm work they had done but not enough to save for a wedding. Steve was not happy about leaving Kerstin behind but he eventually saw the sense of it. When the day came for them to leave; quite a lot of the islanders came to see them off. Tom steered the boat north once they had re-launched the boat at 5 a.m. He hoped the weather would hold at least until he got around the Cape. He was going to see Craig the farmer from the Isle of Sky. He would need more fuel anyway so it would be a good place to stop even for a few hours. The winds were stronger than they had been when they had first come. Tom reckoned on making the Isle of Sky by six that evening even less if the wind kept the sails full. There was a silence tinged with sadness on the boat as the two lads gazed out ahead but all that they could make out was the sea. “Go get your heads down if you like said Tom there’ll be nothing doing here for several hours so you might as well grab some sleep whilst you can.’ Chris and Steve didn’t need telling twice and off they went. Tom didn’t mind being alone on the boat; he was quite content just to stand at the tiller watching the puffins and seals.

He had seen his first otter three days before. At first he thought it was a big rat until he saw it lying on its back in the water breaking open a mussel shell. The Islands were packed with wildlife if you knew where to look. The owls and the sea eagles were majestic in flight as they hunted their prey. From way above they swooped down to seize a fish or a vole. It seemed effortless to him watching them but obviously it was a honed skill. Tom wondered if he would see the Whale Shark that he’d seen on his way to Barra’ he wanted to show Chris and Steve just how big these creatures were. They would swim the seas and oceans travelling hundreds of miles in search of the tiny shrimp they called krill; their giant mouths scooping up thousands of the tiny creatures that formed a huge red carpet on the seas surface. For hours all they did was feed until there was nothing left and they would slowly swim silently away, like some marine ghost.

Tom wondered what man first thought as they gazed upon these magnificent creatures.

Were they in absolute awe as he was or did they see them as a threat? In the 1870’s over a million whales were slaughtered for their oil. Tom wondered why man seemed hell bent on destroying things of beauty on the earth. His teacher Mr Rutherford once pointed out to him that man was the only animal on this earth capable of destroying the earth and everything in it. He certainly had a point.

 

 

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