' 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.


104. 104

It was just after lunch that day when a middle aged man walked in to Norman’s betting shop wearing a smart suit and a Dickey Bow tie. His shoes were highly polished like Trevor’s and he wore a smart neatly trimmed moustache and was well tanned. He bent down near the counter then stood up again before addressing Brian.

“Good afternoon said the man in a well-educated voice. He removed his hat then asked if anyone had dropped a pound note upon the floor.’

Norman looked over at the man who he had never seen before and said that someone must have dropped it when they came in.’ Jeff Sharp looked over and said: “I think it’s mine.’Jeff was never one to miss an opportunity.

“Bugger off Jeff, you’ve never had a pound note in your life and when you come in  you always give me just five bob for your bet.’

“Trevor have you lost any money.’

“No, replied Trevor who knew that he’d only given Norman change he had in his pocket for his first two dog bets. Trevor kept his notes in his wallet and in the inside of his jacket.

“Look said the man; I will leave you my name and if no one claims the money I will come back and claim it.’

The man took out an expensive looking fountain pen and wrote his name on it.

Norman looked at the hand writing which was well written which told him that this man was well educated. Possibly a school teacher or doctor.’ The man placed a small bet then told Norman he’d call in tomorrow.’ He then held the tip of his hat and nodded bidding them good day as he left the shop.

“Not many like him said Trevor.’

“I know Trevor, some people I know around here would have just put it in their pocket and said nowt looking at Jeff as he spoke.’

“What was his name anyway?’ 

“He looked eccentric to me said Jeff; not short of a bob or two either, did you see his gold pocket watch and gold chain.’

“Aye and that fountain pen was worth a few bob an aal said Brian.’

“His name is Grandville Stephenson said Norman reading the slip of paper that the gentleman had left. What they didn’t know was that Grandville had left money that he’d supposedly found in five other bookies that afternoon. He knew that the vast majority of those bookmakers would say that the money had been claimed. Those were the ones he was looking for because greed would get the better of them in the end.

He travelled all around the country using the same ploy and the vast majority of bookmakers fell for it. The next day he would return to the shops where he’d left the pound notes. Of course he wasn’t expecting to get his money back but then he would go on to tell them that he was an eminent Jeweller who made fancy rings and chains.

He was wearing some of the gold rings with a ruby in them and showed them a few heavy gold chains to confirm who he was.’

He told them that he bought and sold gold and silver jewellery and knew someone who was selling rings and gold necklaces cheaply. If they were interested in investing £1000 or even two thousand pounds they could then triple or even quadruple their money. They had little doubt not to trust this man who was honest. After all, he had handed in money he’d found on the floor of their bookmakers shop.

Granville even had a receipt book which he gave them which he signed after taking the money that they’d invested. Greed had got the better of them and they freely gave Granville thousands of pounds. Of course Granville never returned to the bookies and had done them out of a lot of money. 

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