"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


90. 90

“So are you going elsewhere then because you haven’t been in my bed for months?’

“I… I haven’t been well and anyway it was you who threw me out of the marital bed.

“Yes,’ and you know why as well. I won’t have you stinking of whiskey and then slobbering all over me.’

There you go then it is not my fault but yours, you married me for better or worse remember.’

“Well it has never got any better has it Thomas?’

“I took you from that shithole you were brought up in and gave you a decent house to live in.’

“A house does not make a home Thomas Lattimer she spat.’

“Neither does a frigid wife either.’

“I am not frigid; you just don’t know how to treat a woman.’

Thomas lost his temper and back handed Helen across the face and she was sent sprawling to the floor banging her head against the wall.

“She was seeing stars in front of her eyes then she lost consciousness. When she came around Thomas was gone he’d put his coat on and had gone out.’

Helen began to cry. She took the handkerchief from her pocket to wipe away the blood from a cut on the inside of her lip and there was a red mark on her jaw. She tried to open her mouth but it was sore. She’d also bitten her tongue and the salted taste of blood was in her mouth. Helen swore that that would be the last time that Thomas Lattimer would ever lift his hands to her. She would kill him first.

Going into his room where he’d been sleeping she saw some pills on the floor in a bottle. She read the label which told her that they were a high dosage of Penicillin.

Whatever was her husband taking penicillin for she thought?’ Penicillin was used to treat infectious diseases.’

Then the reality hit her. “If he husband had been going to a prostitute whom she suspected all along then he must have picked something up from them. No wonder he had made no attempt to have sex with her all these months. She placed the bottle of pills on the table so that he would know that she had found them.

She was glad that she hadn’t been with her husband in months because if he had a sexually transmitted disease then she would have it too.

“She ran herself a bath and got into it. She used the sponge to clean herself then filled the jug with warm water to rinse the shampoo from her hair. Once that was done she wrapped her head in a towel. Looking at her face in the bathroom mirror there was the beginnings of a bruise coming up on her jaw line. She would have to conceal it with make up tomorrow when she was to meet James.

James came into her mind again; she was daydreaming and felt his arms about her and the softness of his lips on hers. She ached for him; James was twice the man that Thomas ever was. She played back the events of the last time they met as she had done a thousand times since. After drying her hair she slipped on a nightie and got into bed. The phone rang at just after ten o’clock, she ignored it turning off the light and closing her eyes.

James reappeared and she played out the scene in her sleep.


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