"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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The bruise on her face was worse this morning and her jaw ached. There was a ridge on her tongue where she had bitten it and it kept catching on the back of her tooth when she tried to talk. The cut on her lip could be concealed with some lipstick she thought as she put on her coat. Thomas had already left for work. She hadn’t spoken a word to him and he could not look her in the eye. He now knew that she had seen the medication he was taking when he found the medicine bottle on the table. He just picked it up and put it into his pocket on the way out. As soon as Thomas had left she got herself ready and applied make up to her bruised face. Leaving the house at eleven forty five, Helen drove to the butcher shop. When she got there the shop was closed so she knocked on the door. Jim answered it almost immediately he had been waiting in anticipation. He looked down on Helen when she came in and had avoided eye contact with him.

“Is something wrong Helen?’

No, no she said keeping her head down as she entered. Jim went to lift hear chin up and she winced in pain it was then that he knew something was wrong.

“Did he do this to you?’

“It wasn’t his fault it was mine; I said some things that I shouldn’t have James.’

“Does he know about us?’

“No Jim I haven’t told him but I now know about him and what he’s been up to these last months; I suspected it anyway.’

“Are you going to ask him for a divorce Helen?’

“Yes I am, I cannot go on living with him anymore. I know people are going to talk and he will make me out to be the bad one but I don’t care anymore James. “I don’t love him, and to be honest I never did. I just thought that I would grow to love him but instead I’ve grown to despise him.’

“We don’t have to go out today you know if you’d rather just stay here.’

“No it’s alright James I will be fine, I need to get out as that house was stifling me.’

“I made us up a hamper said Jim so that we could have a picnic.’

 “I have a large thermos flask; I can make us some coffee before we leave.’ He packed a bottle with some fresh milk and some cream and placed some sugar into a bag with two tea spoons.

He switched on the peculator and spooned in fresh coffee. “Please sit for a while Helen. We are in no hurry are we?’

“No we’re not, I don’t have to be back until five o’clock, said Helen as she sat on the sofa in his living room. She looked through the doorway into the kitchen as he prepared the thermos flask of coffee.’

 “There is a lovely drive up to Hexham James, you will enjoy it I’m sure.’

”We could drive along the Tyne valley through to Edingham and then onto Davidson’s Linn where we can stop off and have a nice picnic.’

“Right then, I’m ready said Jim as he carried a bag with a large tartan blanket and two cushions and another with a flask inside to the car. Helen opened the boot of the VW beetle and Jim stored the stuff away neatly then got into the passengers side.

Helen pulled away once they were settled and headed towards Newcastle they took the A1 to Poteland then onto the A69 to Corbridge which would take them onto Hexham. The bus terminal at Loosing Hill with its distinctive clock told them it was just after one o’clock. Helen Parked in Manver’s Street near the moot hall so that they could visit the outdoor market. They walked around looking at each stall. Helen and Jim tried on some hippy hats and flower patterned shirts and blouses. Jim did buy her a leather stringed necklace with some beads that she liked and she bought him a key ring, pen, and notebook.

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