"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


55. 55

“I’ve got to go out later mam there’s the bloke I’ve got to see. He’s going to put some work my way.’





“Your not going to get yourself into bother again are you son.’

“No mam I’m finished with all that now.’

“I hope so son.’ “I’ve worked it out that you’ve spent eleven years of your life behind bars. You were only fifteen when you got sent to borstal in Medomsley for pinching lead off Trinity Church’s roof. “When’s it all going to end I wonder she sniffed into a hanky.’

“Don’t worry mam things are going to be alright; said Allan as he kissed his mothers cheek.’ He placed the plate from the oven on a tray with a towel to stop his hand from burning then spooned the marrowfat peas onto the plate. He took out a fork and knife then buttered himself a slice of Sunblest bread. Allan liked the thick crust off the loaf and he spread a lot of stork margarine on it.

“I’m going to eat this in my room mam then have a kip alright.’

“Alright son, do you want me to wake you up before I go to work?’

“No, you’re alright mam.’

Allan knew that he would hear his mother going out as she closed the door; She started work at seven so that would give him time to have a couple of hours sleep then get himself ready. He could watch a little bit of telly now he had a few bob to put into the slot. Allan had been fiddling with the electric meter for years saving his mother a fortune. They always knew when the “Lecky man”  was coming around as Brian Maskill liked to whistle a happy tune to “I’ll take you home again Cathleen” He always did Jenny Marshbanks house in the path first giving him ample time to remove the large magnet in the cupboard. The meter was housed in the passage and it slowed down the meter wheel that went around so the readings were always cheap. When asked why his were cheaper than his neighbours he told Brian that he and his mother were never in the house a lot and that they hardly used the lights. This was confirmed when Allan would turn off all the lights in the house so they would be in virtual darkness when the electric man came. The shilling he used had been neatly drilled with a small hole, it was then tied to a piece of strong thread was pushed into the gas meter several times then pulled back out again. It was a tricky procedure and you had to be extra careful that the thread didn’t snap or the game would be up. Allan had it off to a fine art. When the gas man came he only got a fifteen bob again Allan would tell him that they weren’t in much.

He did the same with the telly slot as well.’

The steak pies from the chippy weren’t bad; there was a lot of meat in them unlike some pies. They were just full of gravy and a few bits of beef with more onion and carrots inside. These ones his mother had pinched; which she did regularly as well as all the other stuff that was left over subsidised her income. Maggie Forster always put in extra fish and chips just before closing as she knew there would be a few people wanting some supper from the pub. There would always be at least one or two fish, fish cakes, battered sausages left, and some chips that she could take home for supper most nights.

Allan never complained; he didn’t mind eating a fish supper. The fish cakes, sausages, and pies could be reheated the next day. She would also give some to Jenny Marshbanks who in turn would bake her corned beef and potato pies. Allan missed his 

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