"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


96. 96

The coaches pulled in outside of the factory as the girls got on with their coats and bags full of food. The two Priory Coaches would be taking them all to Blackpool. It was a free trip laid on by Charley Clay each year.’

Anne Colquhoun got the back seats for herself and her friends as there was more room. She opened the window to let some air in as it was stifling hot.’

“Come on sit yersel doon or we will be here all day shouted Liz Turnbull as some of the girls were stashing their coats and bags in the luggage racks above their heads.

Liz Elgie, Dianne Decker a young black girl who had just come to work at the factory took their seats. Maggie Davison, Pat Holding and her sister Edith waited until Betty came to join them at the back.

“Where’s all the lads.’

“They were using the toilets in the factory said Edith.’

“They’ve supped four bottles already and the bus hasn’t even moved yet.’

“Well we aren’t stopping until we get to that café in Preston.’ You know the café, the one with the letch who owns it.’

“Aye that creepy bugger with the wondering hands.’

“Well I’m not going in unless I need the toilet and then I will be straight back on board the coach.’ A big cheer went up as the lads came running out of the factory gates carrying crates of brown ale they weren’t supposed to drink on board the coach but the driver turned a blind eye. They all boarded and made their way to the seats that had been kept for them.

Dave Cox was the last to get on and he was helped on board by John Bridgett.’

“Come on hop along some girl shouted.’

“Edith got up and nudged the woman in the back. “ Don’t you be calling my lad “hop along’ do you hear me or I will punch you in the nose.’

“Alright keep your hair on I was only joking.’

“I see arse face.’

“What did you just call me?’

“Arse face, but I was only joking said Edith with a tight lipped smile.’


Alan Ellerby the driver asked if everyone was on board before starting the coach.

“Too bad if they aren’t; come on let’s go.’

It was now nine thirty in the morning and the driver swung the coach out and then drove towards the coast road turning off just before the three sisters flats they took the A1 that would get them onto the A69 to Penrith. Jack Bowen passed his two brothers a bottle of beer each from the crate that he’d brought on board. Using his teeth he opened the bottle and began to drink the contents. I hope you’s lot have got strong bladders mind said Liz cos’ we’re not stopping till we get to Preston which is 3 hours away.’

“No bother if push comes to shove I’ll fill one of these bottles up he laughed.’

“Dorty sod.’

“A mam’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do Liz.’

 The other coach in front was about to over take and the lads all stood up and then dropped their pants and stuck their bums on the windows. You could hear the screams and laughter coming from the other bus through the open windows as it went past.’

“We’ll have less of that shouted Norma Jenkins.’

“Shurup you old crow one of the lads shouted back at her as he opened a packet of Woodbines and began to pass them around. Then he took out his Ronson’s lighter and lit his own before passing the lighter for the others to light theirs.

“Anyone want a sandwich?’

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