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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“I gave one of them a boot in the balls and dropped him though said Chris.’

My bloody jaw was killing me for days after it said Steve.

“How were we to na they were the all Ireland boxing champions.’

“Well let that be a lesson to you both.’

They reached the first string of pots Tom turned off the engine and the boat drifted towards the marker buoy. Steve used the gaff to grab hold of it then began pulling the pots aboard. They were heavier than normal and each pot had several large crabs inside. Chris helped and as fast as they were emptied he was placing fresh bait inside.

“Good haul skipper said Chris, as they re-baited the pots then put them back over the side.’

“Let’s hope the lobster pots are as good then.’  

The skipper started the engine again then they headed off for the next string of pots.’

Chris rolled himself a cigarette then lit it as they neared the place where Tom had laid his pots. This time it was Chris who gaffed the buoy and began to haul the first pot aboard.

“Whoopee shouted Chris as he pulled out three large lobsters weighing about two pounds each.’

After the twenty pots were brought on board they had sixty three lobsters and no egg layers.’

Tom stated the boat up again then headed back to his line.’

“So far, so good skipper.’

“Fingers crossed that we get some decent sized cod.’

The tide was now on the turn and a bit of a swell was coming on; Tom steered the Outcast ready to find the marker.

They were about five miles from the shore this time it was rough ground but well good for big cod and ling.

Looking over they spotted “The Cormorant” they were pulling nets in and had some decent sized cod. “Wilson’s boat looks as if they’ve had a good day.’

“We have to get our nets in fast lads. We have to get our lines fast and get to market before Billy “The Fish.”

Tom turned up the speed on the Outcast and the boat nudged forward the waves hit the hull then bounced off as the outcast skipped over them. “Keep your eyes peeled said Tom; we aren’t far for the marker said Tom after ten minutes.’

It was Steve who saw it and quickly pointed it out as Tom reduced speed and steered towards the marker. They had to unhook over fifteen hundred hooks so it was all hands to the pumps as they set about it. Tom smiled as the cod he was bringing in were as good as the Cormorant some were over twenty pounds. If he could get a few hundred of those he would make a good price at market. It would depend on how fast he could get back. His boat was light and he had the advantage but he had to get ashore then to market. They were making good time and there was more cod than Plaice and other flatfish which didn’t bring in as high a price at market than the cod and haddock would.

The boat was piled high with crans. “Right come on let’s get back. The lines were coiled up ready for the next trip. Steve had to get at least an hour on his rival He raced at top speed back to port they passed many other boats who were still pulling nets.

“Go on Skipper shouted Steve.’

As the coble dance lightly over the breakers in the distance about a mile off they could see the bar at Tynemouth and the Priory Castle which looked so beautiful as the orange and yellow turned into a bright red as sun went down; beyond that was the little port which they knew and loved.

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