EBB AND FLOW

"Ebb and flow" which is centred around the Charley Clays Clothing Factory during the early sixties. The story focuses on different kinds of life in North Shields at that time - There's Helen Smith the young woman who dreams of a better life for herself, she wants to live like the rich people. When she marries Thomas Lattimer who is a wealthy banker she discovers that the life that she wanted is not all it was made up to be. Jimmy Mulligan who works for Hoults the butchers, lives over the road with his parents he has been in love with Helen since they were at school together. He tells her of his love and that he will wait for her no matter how long it takes. Allan Forster has been in and out of Borstal for petty crimes he dreams of one big job that will net him enough money to live the high life - He gets involved with Paddy Leonard a notorious hardman. A power struggle takes place in North Shields for supremacy. Paddy Devlin another bouncer, come gangster is running a protection racket

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Even though the girls were now in their twenties it took them back to a time when they were young and just becoming teenagers; first loves, and sexual experiences with boys from school. Liz looked at her Timex on her wrist a present from her father and told them that they should be heading back to work. Edith lit up another cigarette as they walked back to the factory and took a quick couple of puffs. She nipped it as they got to the door then made their way back inside.

Melvyn Anderson was driving the fork lift truck and he was carrying a load to fill up the waiting van outside. All day long there was a steady stream of vans to fill up with various goods. Mel had been there since he’d left Ralph Gardner School. He learnt driving his father’s Austin Martin with his mate Alan Wiseman. He was under age at the time but he picked it up in know time. When asked at interview if he could drive he told them that he would give them a demo in the yard outside. He drove the forklift around effortlessly and even though he was only fifteen years old Mr Amos let him drive around the factory because he was more accomplished a driver than he was.

Mel was now nineteen and remembered how intimidating it was working alongside 300 women. He was scared shitless he told his mate Eric Clarke. He recalled running the gauntlet through the factory as the young lasses tried to get hold of him.

Mel was a good looking lad, tall, and had athletic frame. His film star looks endeared him to the older women who thought he looked like Errol Flynn.

Mel had a cheeky smile. He was more confident now and gave the women as good as he was given. The girls returned to their machines and work commenced again to the sound of The Move and “Flowers in the Rain.’ The girls all joined in with the chorus as Elsie McIntyre walked along each machine checking the stitching in each box. They had to remember to put the bones into the collars to make them stiff. Elsie was a sticker for perfection. She was fifty two years old, dressed up in posh dresses and bought new shoes every week. She was still attractive for her age she hadn’t let herself go. She was married to one of the directors from Formica and her house had all the mod cons. She drove a VW Beetle and her husband an emerald green e-type Jaguar.

She was very well spoken and lived on the Broadway in Tynemouth. She had her hair and nails done every Saturday in “Curls for Girls;’ one of the best hair salons around. She and her husband Brian ate out most nights. She didn’t clean or cook unless they were giving a party. She had a young Chinese girl called Mandy Wong who did all the cooking and cleaning. Her husband was chairman of Tynemouth Social club; he was also a respected member of the Free Masons. His work took him all over the world and his salary reflected that. He wore hand made suits from Kowloon in Hong Kong. They would come to his office and measure him up and then several suites would be brought to him the next day. He bought himself 10 pairs of black and brown made to measure shoes from one shop because they were so comfortable. Brian had his wife’s measurements for dresses and shoes too and he spent lots of money on her every time he went away. She had something new to wear at the parties that they attended regularly. He also bought his wife expensive jewellery which he lavished on her. Her wedding ring was a 20 carat diamond set in white gold. It cost £12.000; she had diamond bracelets, earrings, and a watch. Brian was in Seoul in Korea at the moment and she wondered what he would bring her back this time.

She had met Brian at a friend’s party and he came over and asked her to dance, Elsie had taken dancing lessons and was very good. She was surprised at how good a dancer Brian was until he told her that he went to dancing classes too. They laughed and chatted away the whole evening. 

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