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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At 7.30 am the front door slammed and Thomas Lattimer got into his car and drove away noisily. Helen smiled again to herself as she got up. After taking a bath Helen set her hair and put on some make up then put on a light blue dress that was four inches above the knee and a navy cardigan. She wore some black boots and a white cashmere coat.

She took a shopping bag with her and got into the VW Beetle and drove to North Shields.

She parked the car in Northumberland Square walking past the fountain and the statue of the Wooden Doll. The statue stood as a reminder of how women had toiled over the years. She never realised significance of the statue until she stood for a moment and looked at it.

Walking around the shops Helen went on a spending spree buying new clothes and shoes. She also bought two new hand bags, three scarves and some new jewellery.

Over the years Helen had never been a one for spending her husband’s money even though he gave her an allowance each month. Helen didn’t realise until now that she now had several thousand pounds saved after five year period.

It felt really good spending over a thousand pounds. She went to the butcher shop to see if James was there; not that she was going to buy anything, she just wanted to see him.’

It was now just after 11.35 am and she hadn’t eaten breakfast and was feeling peckish. When Helen reached the shop she saw he note in the window and she wondered who in the family had died.

Poor James she thought as she was about to walk away.

“Hello Helen, nice to see you again said a voice and she turned around to see James standing there. He looked very smart in his charcoal grey suit, tie, and highly polished shoes.’

“James I’m sorry; I didn’t know.’ “Was it your mother?’

“No it was my Dad; he dropped down dead in “The Crane.’”

“I’m so sorry for your loss.’

“It’s alright Helen look come up and I will make you a cup of coffee, you look done in with all of that shopping.’ Jim took the bags from her and opened the door to the flat.

Helen was surprised to see how modern it was. There was a thick red and grey patterned carpet running right along the passage that had been tastefully decorated with pictures depicting the shipyards and the fish quay. They hung as a reminder of his father and how the shipyards were a living thing.

“Come in, come in Helen don’t be shy, just make yourself at home.’

Helen took off her cashmere coat and hung it up on the coat rail then set down her hand bag. The room had a deep wool carpet and a navy coloured three piece sweet. In one corner of the room there was a glass cabinet and in other a standard lamp with a matching blue shade. On the wall next to the window there was a radio gram and across from the fireplace an arm chair, in the far corner was a television set. The navy blue curtains set off the room along with just a hint of purple and blue pansies that the wall paper had.

“This is lovely she said, how do you keep it looking so nice.’

“I’m very domesticated Helen didn’t you know.’

Helen hadn’t noticed the two small wooden doors in the centre of the room until James opened them then she could see into his kitchen. The kitchen had a cottage feel to it with soft shades of yellow and maple wooden benches there was a yellow patterned Formica top on one of the benches. 

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