' 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.


11. 11

was the preferred bait it was cheap and plentiful and Tom would get about half a dozen. The terminal rig used never let them down.

A long trace was fed through a swivel then baited with mussel and mackerel on the end was a four ounce bomb that was casted out some seventy to one hundred yards. The Idea of the terminal rig was that when a fish came along being a predator it would take the bait then try and run off with it. When the fish tried to swim away it got hooked when the weight at the end of the trace was pulled tight.

A good nights fishing would net them over forty fish.


“When Tom had finished his dinner he took the news papers and dropped them into the bin then washed his hands. He heard his mother come in and he disappeared into his room.’

“Any luck mam said Irene as her mother took off her coat.’

“Aye I won twice tonight, I had to share with Christine but I will get some shopping in tomorrow; it will keep your father happy.’

“Don’t forget you are meeting me tomorrow mam.’

“I know, I haven’t forgotten. Where’s our Tom?’

“He’s in his room; you want to see what he’s just eaten. It would have choked a horse what he’s just put away.’

He’s going to be a big lad just like Matty’s father.’

“Bigger I think. He looks more like an eighteen year old now, not just fifteen.’

“Pop the kettle will you Irene love, I could murder a hot cup of tea.’

  Irene got up and went into the kitchen filled the kettle and lit a gas under it.’

“How’s your mother Carol?’

“She’s fine Mrs Davis.’

“Good, tell her I was asking after her for me.’

“I will.’

Jenifer went to her son’s room and knocked on the door then popped her head around.’

Tom was reading all the latest comics that he’d stolen from the newsagents in the town centre.’

“He would just walk into the shop then all up to the stand where the magazines and comics were kept. He would pick up al the comics, a Daily Mirror, and the Chronicle for his dad then just place them under his arm. Five minutes later Tom would leave the shop with four or five comics. This week “The Topper” had a free model aeroplane made out of balsa wood.

It hung on some thread from the ceiling like his other model aeroplanes he had made.

“Hello son are you alright.’

“Yes mam.’

Did you go to school today?’

“Yes mam I did.’

It was true he had stayed at school only because they were serving beef stew and sponge and custard. Tom never paid for any of his meals and would just wonder into the dining hall and stand in the queue with the rest. He had only been stopped once and that was by Mrs Robinson his science teacher who asked him if he stayed for free dinner.

“Yes Miss he replied, technically he wasn’t lying they were free, and he wasn’t paying for them.’ Tom did not feel guilty about taking the food because he saw the amount of food that went into the swill bins every day. He thought that he was doing the school a service by eating it. 

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