' 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.


110. 110

She got into the back and the ambulance driver got in and made a call to the hospital to tell them that he was bringing in an elderly gentleman with a serious bleed.

Elsie had brought pyjamas and some clean clothes just in case they kept him in.

The ambulance wasted no time and with its blue light flashing sped up the coast road to the hospital.

Apparently Elsie discovered some four hours later that her father had a serious kidney infection and because of the warfarin tablets he was taking used to thin his blood it had caused a haemorrhage.’ They told her that he was going to be kept in for a few days. Elsie now had to come to the hospital twice daily.

She left her father at well after midnight and told him that she would see him tomorrow at two o’clock the next day. She walked down the road to the Haymarket and picked up the bus that would take her home. Lucy was whimpering when she got in and she had to take her out. She was tired although she hadn’t done anything energetic. The stress of her father was just taking its toll it wasn’t long for her trip to Bamburgh and she hoped that her father would be well enough so she could leave him with the carers. She walked the dog down Denbigh Avenue then around by the club then turned up the street and back home again. Lucy was a playful dog and she wanted to play when Elsie got back into the house.

“Not now Lucy,’ said Elsie as the dog brought her a toy for her to throw.’

She felt guilty for neglecting the pet and even worse for leaving her father but the strain of being at her father’s beck and call were taking their toll. He had given her strict instructions to bring his newspaper in so he could still put his bets on. He also told him to make him something to eat as he abhorred hospital food.

She would make him a corn beef pie and some cheese scones that he liked in the morning and some sandwiches for his tea. She had some steak so she would also make him a steak pie which she could take for him the next day to eat.

She went up to her room and Lucy followed her. She undressed then got into bed but sleep would not come easily she read a few chapters of a Catherine Cookson novel before setting it down on the bedside cabinet and tried to close her eyes. Her body began to shake and she felt her heartbeat begin to quicken.

“Please not tonight she said out loud.’ Elsie suffered from severe anxiety attacks and light headedness. The first time it happened she thought she was having a heart attack.

She talked away to herself trying to calm herself the way her therapist had told her. She took out a paper bag that she kept handy in her drawer and breathed into it for five minutes.  Her heart began to return to normal again and it was four twenty two in the morning when she eventually nodded off.

The dogs barking woke her. She got up and put on her dressing gown she looked at the clock and went downstairs to answer the front door.

“Good morning said the postman; there seems to be no answer next door would you be so kind as to take a parcel in for her?’

Elsie felt like saying there’s no one going to answer the door at twenty past seven in the bloody morning but just nodded and took the package then closed the door.

Lucy had slipped out and squatted down on the lawn whilst she was talking to the postman then came back in just before the door closed.

“I’ve told you about weeing on the lawn.’

The dog looked at her enough to say if you were bursting you’d pee on the lawn too.


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