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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“There are lots of wild flowers, stock and other shrubs and bushes growing around the

Island. It is a carpet of colours in the spring and summer months.’

“There is always a vase of flowers during this time on my mothers table.’

Margaret went on to tell him all about the island and its history and why they had come to North Shields.

And the gardener listened intently as Margaret waxed lyrical about her home.

In fact she talked for a good hour and it was only when another gardener approached that the elderly man told them that he would have to go.

“Well it’s been nice talking with you; we had best be going too.’

“Well I hope that you enjoy working here and will come and visit us again.

“I’m sure we will.’ bye the now.’

“Goodbye said the gardener.’

Margret and the girls stood up and walked back the way they had come.

It was twenty past four in the afternoon and the sun was still shining brightly as the walked down the bank with handkerchiefs at the ready to cover their noses as they neared the Guano works. The quay seemed a lot quieter now and the gut had the odd fisherman repairing his nets. The empty fish boxes lay on the quayside and the gulls stood on the wooden beams looking out to sea, watching, waiting for the return of the boats that would bring in more fish. Margaret looked to see if there was any sign of the Outcast on the beach but there wasn’t.

Two fishermen sat outside drinking beer in the Dolphin; they looked up and smiled as the girls walked past then carried on with their conversation. The filleter’s had all gone now and the fish stores closed. They carried on past the Prince of Wales pub where they could here someone playing an accordion and people singing inside.

“Shall we go in asked Kerstin?’

“No I think not Kerstin, we best be getting back to the Golden Fleece and have a bite to eat before we get ready to go to the picture house.

“I agree said Beth who was now hungry, all that walking had given her an appetite.

The landlord of the hotel bar greeted them as they walked in and they asked if there was any food left.

“Mrs Valerie Harper the wife of Gerald the landlord smiled and told them that she had kept some Sunday roast and vegetables for them.

“That is so kind of you said Margaret.’

“Well I knew that you ladies didn’t eat much for your breakfast this morning.’

If you come through I will set it out for you on the table.’

The ladies walked through to the kitchen area and sat at the table whilst Val served the food.

“Would you all like a drink with your meal?

“I could murder a pint said Kerstin who was promptly kicked under the table by Margaret.’

Kerstin winced and rubbed her shin.’

“We had better not drink any beer as we would fall asleep and we are going out to the cinema tonight aren’t we girls.’

Aye, both Beth and Kerstin said with the briefest of smiles.’

“I can make you a pot of tea to go with your meal then.’

“Thank you, that would be lovely.’

“I take it that you won’t be wanting any supper later then?’

“No thank you Mrs Harper replied Margaret as she cut into a piece of beef. It wasn’t the best cut of meat that she’d ever eaten and when Val wasn’t looking removed a lump of gristle from her mouth and set it down on her plate.

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