"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


31. 31

Albert got up from the table paid for his meal then as he was walking out he gave the two women five pounds each. “Get the bairn’s something nice with that for Christmas said Albert.’

“Thank you Albert said the two women who knew him from the taxi office. It was what he had made that morning from Sid McCullough but he couldn’t bear to see children go without at Christmas.

Albert smiled as he walked out of the café; he got back into his car and drove away.

“What you got for me Dot he said as he radioed the office.





Sitting near the window at number 17 Hollywell Road, Helen Lattimer waited upon her husbands return. She wondered whether or not to cook his steak or just wait until he came home. She’d only eaten a digestive biscuit since morning and was now feeling hungry. Helen looked at the grandfather clock as the pendulum swung rhythmically from left to right. Silence only broken by the constant “tick tock. “ It was now twenty past seven and it looked as if she would spend yet another night on her own. “The phone rang and she went over to the table and picked up the receiver. It was Eloise.’

“Could I speak with Thomas she said.’

“I’m afraid not mother, Thomas is still at work and I do not know what time he will be home.’

“Is everything alright with him?’

Helen was annoyed at her mother in law who didn’t have the decency to ask how she was.’

“Yes everything is fine mother;

“Am I not allowed to call my own son without there being an enquiry?’

“No it’s not that at all, I though that it may have been Thomas calling to say he was going to be late for dinner.’

“Have him call me when he arrives.’

“Alright I…

The phone went dead and Helen replaced the receiver. Even after five years of marriage the relationship between Thomas’s parents had got no better. She was still classed as someone beneath her son, someone who could not be accepted by an upper class society.

She resented them for feeling that way towards her; she had tried everything in order that they should like her. Now she had come to the conclusion that no matter what she said or did would make no difference. She was a Ridges woman and would always remain so in their eyes.

Her marriage had turned into a disaster; she was beginning to wish that she’d never agreed to marry Thomas Lattimer. If only she had followed her heart instead of her head. Life seemed so much better on the other side, away from filthy streets where she was raised but the canny folk of the Ridges Estate meant more to her than these people who looked down on the less fortunate; who treated them with distain. Now Helen was on the other side and living in it, she longed for her old life back where she was free and happy. She only felt pity for the less fortunate because she had come from poverty. She had come to realise what a huge mistake she had made. 

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