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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“Aye and who’s going to be your best man?’

“Not you two ugly buggers.’

“I guess that does it then; there will be no wedding if we aren’t your best men.’

“So when is the big day going to happen?’

“In the spring next year; I will be twenty three on my birthday.’

“That’s only five months away from now Morag.’

“You had better start saving up then for your brides maid’s frocks then hadn’t you.’

“I want to get married on Barra Tom, so my mother and father can be there.’

“That’s fine by me Margaret.’

Steve and Chris made for the door as it was eleven o’clock and by the time they got to bed it would be near twelve. Low tide was at seven o’clock so they would have to be there at six to pull the boat to the water’s edge again.

The men kissed the girls goodnight then crossed the road to their houses.

“Right then let me show you where you are sleeping said Tom as he led them to the main bedroom. “ Kerstin and Beth can sleep in this room and Margaret you can sleep in here.’

Margaret walked into the other room further down the corridor. It had been left unchanged from when his brother Jack was alive. Jacks books and toys were still on the small table along with a photo of him with Tom and his mother and father.

Margaret picked up the photo in a silver frame and gazed at it. “Jack looked like his father didn’t he, you look more like your mother.’

“Yes he did, everyone used to say that I looked like my mother when mam was alive.’

Margaret returned the photo to the place where it was then put her case under the bed.

I will make us some cocoa if you like said Tom as he walked out of the room. He heated a pot of water then spooned cocoa into four mugs then added sugar. He poured the boiling water into the mugs then topped them up with fresh milk.

He brought in some malted milk biscuits on a plate then passed them around.’

“Do you have an alarm clock?

“Yes I have a traveller’s clock; it belonged to my father but you can use it if you like.’

“I will be gone before you get up I expect; I don’t need an alarm clock I’m programmed to get up early.’ Kerstin remarked on the house saying how tidy everything was.’

“Well there only me living here so there isn’t much mess anyway.’

“Yes, but not even a speck of dust around the place.’

“I never went out much apart from work.’ so I spent my time cleaning and polishing.’ “I still scrub the path and steps every Friday evening, my mother wouldn’t forgive me if I allowed the house to get dirty.’

Tom showed them where the outside toilet was and told them that there was a box of matches to light the candle on the mantle piece. He supped the rest of his cocoa then went into the scullery and ran the cup under some cold water then placed it on the wooden board.’

“I will say goodnight then. I should be home by five thirty tomorrow night.’

“I will leave you some money to buy food with for the week.’

Tom left two pound notes on the mantle before going to his own room and closing the door.

Kerstin and Beth went to bed first while Margaret washed up the other cocoa mugs and set them down on the draining board. She then turned of the one gas lamp in the living room and took the oil lamp to her room. She pulled out her case and opened it to find her night dress. Then she left out her work clothes for in the morning. She found some hangers inside the wardrobe and hung up her clothes. she stood naked and 

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