"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


93. 93

“I love you James; never let me go she whispered in his ear as they held each other as if their very lives depended on each other. Then again she had to leave him as much as she wanted to stay. She had to return to the other life that she had made for herself.

It was twelve thirty when she returned she took off her coat and hung it up in the passage then combed out her blonde hair that was still damp. Her day was now complete and would live long in her memory she thought.’

She picked up a copy of Jane Eyre and began to read the next chapter. The embers burned in the fireplace as she turned the next page. Helen felt like Jane Eyre the outcast, the one who must discover her own self worth as the glare from the red fire is not the Hell that is portrayed in the story but a warm glow inside. A heat rekindled in her heart. James Mulligan had become her Edward Rochester; her saviour from the misery that she had felt for many years.

Helen’s silence was shattered by the banging from the front door and she got a fright as it continued to bang away. She fastened her dressing gown then went to the door. It was now two in the morning and she thought that it might be Thomas so drunk that he couldn’t find his keys.

She opened the door and standing there were two very large policemen. “Sorry to bother you madam but may were come in a moment.’

“What’s happened?’

 “If we could just come in then we will explain.’

“Helen let them both in and they followed her down the passage into the living room.

“Are you Mrs Lattimer?’

“Yes I am.’

“Would you please sit for a moment we have some bad news I’m afraid.’

“Helen sat down in the arm chair as the two policemen went on to tell her that Thomas had got into a drunken fight during a card game and had been stabbed to death.’

Helen didn’t know weather to feel shocked or relieved. She sat in silence for a long time before the police told her that they had apprehended the man responsible for her husband’s death.’ We have taken your husbands body down to the morgue and we would like you to come with us to formally indentify him.’

“Yes, but can I make a call to his parents; I’m sure they would like to know.’

Of course Mrs Lattimer, look we will go and sit in the car and you can make the call then go and change.’

Thank you officer she said quietly.’

She trembled as she picked up the receiver then dialled the number. It ran out a long time before it was answered and it was David Lattimer who answered abruptly.’

“What do you want at this hour girl said her father in law?’

“It’s about Thomas Mr Lattimer.’

“What about him?’

“He’s dead said Helen the words were said with feeling even though David and Eloise had treated her no better than a servant girl .’

“How can that be came an answer.’

“He was stabbed to death during a drunken fight; I am going down to the morgue in North Shields now to formally identify his body.’

“I will see you down there came a reply and the phone went dead.’

Helen changed and tied up her hair then put on a coat and made for the door. Helen told the police that she would follow them down in her car. She got in and started the engine the police put on the blue light as they sped off down to the morgue at Preston hospital.

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