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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Albert Nicholson turned up as promised at 97 Peartree Gardens; it was five minutes to seven. Albert hadn’t slept much before his wife shoved him to tell him he’d better get up. He didn’t have time to shave so he douched his face under the cold tap then dried it with a towel. The freezing cold water woke him up and he felt alert again. Making himself a strong cup of Nescafe he filled a thermos with some hot milk before spooning in the instant coffee. Screwing on the lid and then the cup he headed out to the car. He hoped that the car would start straight away or he would have to radio Central Taxis office and tell them to send another car straight away.

Checking his mirror he pulled away after firing the engine with a key.

The Ford Cortina was now five years old and had really served its purpose. It had done 160.000 miles in that time.’

He needed a new car but on the money he was making he couldn’t see him buying one in the near future.’

His wife Muriel was scraping money together to pay the rent to keep a roof over their heads. She was working at Dukes and Marcus’s a clothing factory on the Coast Road full time and they were like ships in the night. Albert hadn’t taken a day off in over two years. The long unsocial able hours didn’t do anything for his sex life which was virtually non existent. Muriel complained but after working seventeen hours each day all he wanted to do was sleep. He ate and drank on the hoof and he was sure he had an ulcer. He didn’t even have the time to visit the doctor and spent pounds on Rennie’s and other stomach remedies. Muriel put it down to the fact that he was eating greasy food day in and day out instead of eating healthily. “She had tried to make him sandwiches with ham salad but she would find them in the Tupperware box uneaten. She threw out fish and chip papers, half eaten burgers, and cold chips.

Muriel wished that Albert could go back to his old job in the Shipyard but since he’d hurt his back he had to pack the job in. The severe pain from his sciatic nerves meant he was limited to what work he could do. Driving was the only option he had. Albert didn’t want to be on the dole; he’d worked all his life. He’d met Muriel twenty three years ago she was working at a fish cake factory on the fish quay at that time and he saw her walking home one night and offered her a lift in his old Austin Morris.

She lived in Cedarwood Avenue at the bottom end of the Ridges and he liked her as they had gone to Ralph Gardner School at the same time. He asked her out after seeing her in the Chirton Club playing darts for a ladies team. Albert and Muriel became inseparable and were always seen out together. They were married in 1940 and there were children because Muriel had to undergo a hysterectomy after three miscarriages. It was a bitter blow to Albert who wanted a son. They now had resigned themselves to a life without children.

The door opened at number 97 and Paul Whinham, John Robson, and Mick Taylor came out followed by Paddy Devlin a few seconds later.

“Where are we going Mr Devlin asked Albert respectively? The lads looked the worst for wear in the back as they sat with shirt collars open and ties undone.

“Take me to Russell Street and drop these off where they want to go.

Paddy slipped a twenty pound note over to Albert. Devlin then told him to pick him up again at six o’clock that evening.

“Thank you Mr Devlin said Albert who was now feeling a whole lot better now he’d been paid. 

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