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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“Harry told his wife that he’d been sleeping with Elsie Harris. Helen then went across and dragged Elsie outside and battered her as well.’

“Elsie was only wearing her dressing gown with nowt underneath as Helen grabbed her by the belt on her gown and it came undone and she ended up naked as well.’ “The police arrived and they arrested Elsie Harris for indecent exposure in a public place.’

“I don’t know how the judge kept a straight face said Norma as Helen gave evidence in North Shields assizes about her husband and Bob Harris and then the naked brawl with Elsie.’

“Helen was released without charge but Harry and Elsie were both charged with indecent exposure. They were both fined £20.00 with £30 pounds costs.’

Harry was chucked out of the house by his wife and so was Elsie who had to go back to her mother’s house. “The Evening Chronicle ran a headline later that week. “ WHAT A BARE FACED CHEEK” Husbands infidelity lands naked brawlers in court.

“Serves the dorty buggers right said Liz Elgie.’ That’ll teach that cow not to mess wi an other woman’s bloke.’

“What time is it I’m gaspin for a smoke said Edith?’

“Its just after quarter to ten, we’ve another fifteen minutes yet before tea break.’

“Lend us a tab will yer Liz; I’ll give you one back when I buy some in the canteen.’

Amos isn’t going to let you go to the bog now with fifteen minutes to go to break.’

“Who is, he’s not going to stop me.’

Edith placed the cigarette and lighter in the pocket of her overall then walked towards the toilet.

“Where are you going shouted Mr Amos as he came running up to stop Edith from entering the toilet. Edith was just about to open the toilet door.

“I thought that was obvious Mr Amos.’

“Well how comes you need to go to the loo just before break?’

 “Don’t ask me; ask my menstrual cycle.’

“Well I think it’s because you like to sly off for a smoke before your tea break so that you get a half hour instead of fifteen minutes like the other girls.’

“Well you’ve kept me standing here long enough if I don’t  shift there will be a trail on the floor and I will be taking you to the union so you’d better let me go.’

“I’m keeping my eye on you Edith Holding said Amos as he stepped aside.’

“You can look all you like; I have the right to go to the toilet if and when I need to. I need change myself.’

Edith walked past Mr Amos who could do nothing to stop her.

As soon as Edith got into the toilet she went into the cubical and lit up her cigarette. She took a long drag from it then exhaled. She smiled away to herself knowing she had got one over on Mr Amos again. Edith sat on the loo and relieved herself then flushed. She took another drag of her cigarette then nipped it. She washed her hands than shoved a polo mint into her mouth. Drying her hands on the paper towels she dropped them into the bin then walked back out onto the factory floor. “Amos gave her the evil eye as she made her way back to her machine. She sat down and picked up another shirt just as the hooter went for break.

You’ll get the bloody sack one of these days Edith said Anne Colquhoun.’

“No I won’t, I’ll sue this factory first; I know my rights see.’

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