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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Looking out from the window of his mother’s house Jimmy Mulligan watched as Helen Lattimer got into the car belonging to her new husband Tommy Lattimer. She had still gone and married him after all he had said to her. She left the house where her mother and father had brought her up. She now lived on the Hollywell Road in her own house. They had been married for over five years now and there were no children between them. Helen did not get on with Tom’s parents who insisted that Helen call her son Thomas. David and Eloise Lattimer were total snobs and they looked down on Helen and treated her like a servant girl not their daughter in law. They always made excuses not to come and visit her and Tom at their home and couldn’t wait to leave the wedding reception. They ignored Barry and Joan Smith her parents completely. They told Thomas that he was marrying beneath himself and that she would never be a lady no matter how he dressed her up.

His mother wanted him to marry Charlotte Rutherford whose father owned a textile factory in Blyth. David Lattimer was a solicitor in Newcastle for Crutes. He moved in different circles and spoke with a bag full of marbles in his mouth and so did Eloise.

“The thing that Helen had longed for all her life was not as she had envisaged it to be. She didn’t speak to her neighbours because Tom’s mother had poisoned them towards her. They too looked down on her and where she had come from. “Ridges Trollop” they called her. She longed to be back amongst her own kind where she could be herself and not something that Tom’s parents wanted her to be. Tom had sent her to elocution lessons to learn how to speak correctly and after nearly a year she could converse the same as any of the high brow people that Tom mixed with.

“They were all false to her; she could not stand to hear people brag about their wealth and belittle the poor. She began to have arguments over it; Thomas took the side of wealthy clients over her which annoyed her greatly. Thomas took to staying out late he would call to say he was working late.’

“Helen felt totally isolated and alone, she began to think about Jimmy Mulligan the apprentice butcher from her old street. He would now be fully qualified she thought. Helen had heard that he was thinking of buying his own shop.

Jim’s Aunt Ester had left him a considerable amount of money after her husband who owned a cotton mill in North Yorkshire passed away and when she died a year later Jim found he was named in his aunts will. Jim was looking for a shop in the heart of North Shields where he could set up his own business with the money left to him. He found one on Nile Street. He bought his meat from the abattoir on Scotswood Road where he butchered it himself and made his own sausages and black pudding. Helen called into the shop one afternoon and there he was, larger than life with a big smile on his face.

The first thing he said to her was that she’d changed. “You’re a proper lady now Helen.’wi fancy clothes and a car as well.’ “My, my you have gone up in the world.’

“Are you married James?’

James is it, my God my Sunday name and its only Thursday.’

Helen blushed embarrassingly; I’m sorry, I’m so used to talking to posh people I’ve forgotten how I used to speak.’

“I must admit it doesn’t sound like you at all Helen; it seems as if you’ve become a different person altogether.’

“I’m the still the same person inside Jame…Jim she corrected herself.’  “ So,’ are you residing here in North Shields?’

“Yes, I have a flat above the shop and to answer your question; no I am not married.’

“Why ever not?’

“Do I need to answer that Helen?’

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