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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Father Peter was in normal clothes as he walked onto the coach carrying his guitar. The only tell tale sign that he was a priest was his white dog collar.

He said good morning to all the ladies on the coach and then sat down beside Iris who was wearing a pencil skirt and high heels. Her long shapely legs were on view and father Peter tried to avert his eyes but Iris kept on crossing and uncrossing her legs.

 He chatted away about the history of Holy Island as the coach made the journey. The smell of her perfume and the rise and fall of her breasts made the catholic priest feel a little uncomfortable; reaching for his guitar and began to finger pick a tune to take his mind off the woman who was sitting beside him.

“You play ever so beautifully Father Peter said Mrs Andrews.

“Thank you.’

Iris asked if Peter would like a nice cup of tea that she had made up in the large thermos. She had used a jam jar to put some sugar into and an old medicine bottle that had been sterilised to hold the milk. The priest put down his instrument after he’d played for twenty minutes the ladies had joined in with some of the songs they knew.

Iris passed him the mug of hot tea and his hand touched hers briefly she looked into his eyes then smiled.

“Thank you he said as he took a drink from the plastic cup.

“Do you not take sugar Father Peter?’

“No I’m sweet enough, he laughed; his near perfect smile made her heart skip a beat.’

 

The coach went through Bedlington, Ashington, Alnwick, and then Bambrough. They would be in Holy island by ten o’clock where there could spend five hours before the tide would cut them all off. Father Peter had booked the eight women into “The Open Gate Retreat” where they would spend the next three nights. Kelvin had agreed that Iris could go if she so wished. He had plans to invite Jeffery to come to his house to stay for a few days whilst Iris was away.

The coach pulled into the gravelled path of the retreat; there was a reception room as they went in with a well stocked library; some of the books were written by the retreats founder Raymond Simpson. The Open Gate was the mother house to the community of Aiden and Hilda. It was in the centre of the village on the corner of Marygate and Crossgate Lane.

There were six guest rooms on the 1st floor and the twelve older women were to use those on the second floor there was two single rooms which Iris had asked if she could sleep in one on her own. There was a toilet and bathroom on the landing.

The lounge had an inglenook fire with heavy leather armchairs and sofa’s. Looking out of the window there was a court yard with wooden tables and chairs to sit out on.

The lady who ran the retreat was called Ailsa Oxbrough. She was in her early sixties and she and her husband Charles ran the retreat. It had bookings for the next four months which would take then up to April. There was no shortage of visitors to the retreat as churches from all over the country were booking up to come every week.

After Ailsa had shown everyone to their rooms; they all took time to unpack their luggage.

Ailsa told them that tea and biscuits would be served in fifteen minutes in the lounge where Father Peter would explain what the retreat was all about.’

Iris took out her clothing that she had brought; hanging them up in the wardrobe; she then placed her smalls in the drawer by the bed. There was a small table lamp in the room. Iris took out an alarm clock where she placed it onto the table. She left her toilet bag on the bed she changed into a flowered patted skirt a clean blouse and a pair of walking shoes. 

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