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’m hoping to get there later today; it’s another hundred miles or so. It will be late evening before you get there.

The tractor followed the winding road at a steady thirty miles per hour.

They saw the house that was grey coloured and it was big. It had twelve rooms inside a very large kitchen and dining area. Craig said that the rooms were used by rich Americans who came to shoot pheasants in August and to hunt deer.

There were photographs of many shooting parties with their hauls of birds on the walls painted in white lime wash and antlers hung on the wooden beams.

“Helen we have six guests for breakfast and they’re hungry Craig Shouted through to the kitchen.

Helen came through and introduced herself even though she was now in her fifties she was still very attractive. She was slim with a strawberry blonde hair and a lovely complexion. She wore no make up and it was only her hands that gave away the hard work she had done over the years working on the farm.

“Please come wi me into the dining room and I will fix you a good breakfast.

Have you come far?’

“Yes, from North Shields, which is near Newcastle.’

“You girls don’t sound like these men; where are you from?’

“We hail from Barra.’

“I thought I spotted the accent. What are you doing so far from home?’

“We are herring girls; we went looking for work.’

Looks like you found yourselves a man too aye.’

“Aye laughed Margaret; Kerstin is married to Stephen here only a short while and I’m to be married next spring to Tom Farrow who is the skipper of the Outcast. What about this pretty girl then;

“This is Beth Munro; she is going out with Chris here.’

“Well it won’t be long before he pops the question then aye.’

Chris looked away with the briefest of smiles.’

Helen excused herself as Craig came in with a huge pot of tea and he poured them each a mug of it.” Please help yourselves to milk and sugar.’

“Thank you Craig replied Tom. He spooned in the sugar and added milk for everyone then passed them around.

“Ah’ said Steve you don’t know how good it is to get a nice strong cup of tea when you’ve been out at sea.

“Well no disrespect but when I’m out in the fields fourteen hours a day then I welcome a good brew myself. The men all laughed and they drank the tea down and poured another from the big pot.

A half an hour later Helen brought out fresh baked bread, oat cakes Bacon, sausage and eggs black pudding with beans and fried potatoes.

The bacon, sausage, black pudding and the eggs are all from the farm.’

“Don’t forget the wheat that makes the flour for the bread dear and the oats for those cakes too.’

“Don’t be shy everyone just dig in.’

Chris wasted no time at all and he had a sausage down his neck in three seconds Tom made a sandwich with the bacon; Steve crammed sausage and bacon in his sandwich.

“These are wonderful sausages Craig.’

The bacon is good too said Tom; we breed our own pigs here on the farm they are lean but full of flavour.’

Chris said that he liked the crackling on the pork best of all so when Helen  brought more food out Chris was given a big piece of pork crackling to eat.’

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