' The Ragman's Serenade tells the story of four families- one from North Shields and the other three from Wallsend. It is a story of relationships- The Davis family are up to their eyes in debt - The Stewart family have a daughter who has downs syndrome– The hagarths who’s husband owns a bookmakers shop and his wife is a midwife at the RVI- and the Higginbottom's have a father with the on set of Alzheimer's. How do they cope - read this fascinating story i'm sure you will enjoy.


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By Terry Patterson








Standing at the stone sink in the kitchen Matty Davis picked up another cereal bowl that had been left from the day before. There was a cigarette ash in the sink from a discarded woodbine. The fag end floated around in the water whilst Matty held his hand under the tap until the water heated up. The water splattered down on it and then the cigarette paper came apart and the tobacco began to swirl around then disappear down the plug hole.

He hated having to wash up the dishes from the day before. He felt it was somehow just laziness on the part of his wife Jenifer who was still in bed. It was now gone eleven thirty and she hadn’t got up yet. It was hardly surprising when she sat up until after three o’clock in the morning reading some astrology book trying to work out the position of the moon and the alignment of the planets. Her Ephemeris lay open on the floor next to her chair. Matty thought she was crazy and he didn’t like the thought of her doing what he considered a pagan ritual because he was a religious man and he believed that trying to predict the future of things was going against all he believed in. Jenifer on the other hand was not religious at all; although Jenifer’s parents had made him marry her in church. A simple registry office wedding would have sufficed in her case. Her parents thought it proper that he should marry their daughter in church even though she was nearly two months pregnant at that time and was an atheist. He met Jenifer at the youth club on Stephenson Street in North Shields in 1950. The East End Boys Club had several members on its books and Harry Raffo who was the club leader allowed girls as well as boys to attend. The building was built on the site of the old Kettlewell School that had been demolished after the Second World War. Jenifer was only fifteen when they first met; Matty was playing football for the club. He played centre half for the club in those days and Jenifer said he looked handsome in his dark blue football strip.


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