"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


41. 41

He had sliced some tomatoes and placed them into the tray as she was looking at the bed rooms and bathroom areas.

Using some oven gloves he lifted out the tray they placed the meat on the plates. When the toast was done he buttered the bread then placed that on a tea plate with the same design as the dinner plates and coffee mugs.’ He refilled the coffee then brought the sugar and cream.

“James you are so organised.’

“I have to be.’ There you are Helen this is the best meat money can buy.’

“You’ve given me far too much here I will never eat all of this.’

Helen and James chatted away for almost two hours and she was surprised when she looked up at the clock and it told her how long she’d been in James Company. Time had passed so quickly, she felt so relaxed with him.

“I had better go James I’m sure you have things to do.’

“I will walk you to your car with all of your shopping.’

“Thank you; you are too kind.’

“I hope that you will come to the funeral Helen, you know you are welcome.’

“I will be there James.’

Jim walked up with her to the car with a touch of sadness on his face. She was leaving him again. For a couple of hours she was completely his and he was lost in her eyes.

She unlocked the car then Jim placed he bags on the back seat.’

“Thank you for a wonderful afternoon and your cooking was first class.’

“You are welcome any time Helen.’

“Helen went to him and kissed his cheek; it took all of his reserve not to scoop her up into his arms and place his lips upon hers.

“I will see you on Tuesday at eleven then he said finally as she got into the driver side of the car and wound down the window.’

She reached out for his hand and held it briefly then turned the key in the ignition.

Jim stood and watched as she drove away and again that ache in his heart returned.



There was a meeting organised with the son’s of Charles Clay that afternoon they were chauffeur driven into the factory amid the booing from the women as they were pushed aside by two burly policemen who had been ordered to stand on the picket line to allow the car to enter the factory. The union men spent three hours in the factory before coming out and addressing the women. It was Barry Sheldon from the TGWU who spoke.

“Comrades,’ we have been in a conference with the son’s of Mr Charles Clay and although they sympathise with you all regarding your wages. The fact still remains that there are not enough orders coming in.

“So what have they said then asked Frances. Are they going to give us a pay increase or what?’

“They have duly taken note of your demands but have refused to offer you anything other than what was previously offered by their father.’ This strike is not official they say it is a wildcat strike.’

“Who says it’s not official?’

“Well you did not consult us before you all walked out therefore it is an unofficial strike and we cannot support you.’

“Bloody turncoats the lot of you said Frances; how much have they offered you to get us back to work eh?’

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