' 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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He put down the plough and he started slowly as the blades cut a furrow into the soil once they reached one end they turned and Matty let Tom drive it back. It took them both over five hours to plough the one acre field. Tomorrow they would cross rip the  

The field to break up the clods of earth take out any old roots. Then they could mark out each row six feet apart where the posts would go.

Later that evening Mick Flannery came over.’

“Been busy I see mate.’

“Aye I plan to grow my own wine here on this land.’ “Do you know where I can get some fence post and some wire, I will need horseshoe nails, enough hose pipe to cover one acre and some four inch pipe to run right along the length of the field and to a connecting water source at my house.’

That’s going to take you ages if there’s only the two of you I will rustle up the lads at the weekend we can get that field done in no time.’

These lads are used to it as they’ve all done farm work and renewing fences is part of the job. Leave it to me Matt I will get them here early Saturday morning. Just clear the roots and old rocks ready for them coming.’

“Don’t worry it will be done Mick, even if I’ve got to get the girls out in the field it will be done.’

Tomorrow I will cross rip the soil then put the rake across it all.’

“I thought you had no farming experience.’

“I don’t,’ I’ve been reading Jackie’s books in his library that he left.’

“There are diagrams in there showing you what to do.’

“I will put a Barbie on for the lads after if you can take me and Tom hunting.

“Go and fetch your rifle; we’ll drive out to a good place I know and shoot a couple of roo’s there’s some rabbits and other game out there we can eat.’

“Do you want a beer?’

“Thought you’d never ask mate.’

Matty told Jenifer that he was going hunting. Tom jumped into the truck with his father and Mick and they drove over to his house got his son William and Elizabeth who both had their own rifles and they jumped into the back of the truck with Tom. They had a spade with them too which Tom found odd.

“I never guessed that you’d like to go hunting Liz said Tom.’

“Why not, I’ve been hunting since I was about ten years old.’

“You have to learn how to survive in the bush.’

“What have you hunted?’

“My dad took us on a boar hunt which was pretty scary. They can weigh up to 300 pounds and they are so fast. Their tusks can rip your guts open in seconds. So you have to take them down quickly. An injured roo can break your arm with a kick so watch for that. Have you hunted before?’

“Yes,’ I’ve shot rabbits.’

“Rabbits and big hares are plentiful here as you will see tonight. They come out in the dark watch out for foxes as they will try and steal what you have shot.’

We might get lucky and bring down a Sambar.’

“What’s that?’

“It’s a large deer, we have hog deer, rusa, and fallow and red deer here too.’

The truck jumped and Tom held on as his father sped across his land in search of game. As the light faded Matty put on his headlights.

“It was then that they saw their first target; two large kangaroo’s they speeded up until they were about fifty feet away.

“Do you want to have a pop at one asked Mick to Matty?’

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