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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“I don’t know,’ but I’m sure my mother knows.’ Does Eric know?’

“No,’ and I don’t want him to know either so don’t say owt will yer.’

 “What do you take me for Betty this is between you and me alright?’ Edith squeezed her hand to reassure her friend.’

’I’m terrified Edith, if my father was to find out he will put me out on the streets and disown me and there’s nowt that my mother could do to stop him.’

Look don’t worry Betty,’ I’ll get this sorted for you.’

The lads came out of the chippy and Edith and Betty walked over to them and took their parcel of chips then began to eat them along the road. Betty took comfort in knowing that by the end of the week her problem would be over.

 

 

Betty went to work the next morning and Edith pulled her to one side. “It’s all sorted; we must be at Ganny Howe’s house at 3 pm on Saturday; you will be there for a few hours. “ Bring some towels and a few pairs of knickers and a loose nightie with you. “My mother says she will wash and dry the towels for you so that your mother won’t know.’

“You must give her the ten pounds before she will do anything.’ “And you must follow her instructions to the letter.’

“I will, thank you Edith.’ “I will come to your house on Saturday then?’

“Yes, be at my house at half past two then I will take you to her house.’

All throughout that day Betty felt like a prisoner under the sentence of death. Her heart was beating so fast every time she thought about it, and that was most of the time. The fear of what to expect was torturing her mind. She’d heard stories from old women in the street when they talked about using Pennyroyal, Aloes, and Turpentine to bring on a miscarriage. Some used lead based poisons they said which not only blinded the patients but caused an agonising death.

Mrs Collier used to talk about women taking Beechams pills, hot baths, and gin. “When they didn’t work women were so desperate to rid themselves of what they called a burden that they threw themselves down a flight of steep stairs. Usually the ones down on the fish quay in order to abort the child they were carrying.

“She knew that once this was over she could not have sex again until she got some help from a doctor.

That morning and all through the afternoon Betty was quiet. She never joined in with the songs being played on the radio; throwing herself into her work she was dreading having to go out again tonight.

She had the impression that everyone was staring at her even though she wasn’t showing yet. She knew her body was changing. Her breast had darkened and the sickness in the morning was a dead give away. Betty was glad when the hooter went to end the shift and she could go home. She put on her coat and waited in the changing room, she stayed behind until everyone had all left before walking home alone.’

 

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