' 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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After closing up the shop Norman drove home, he hoped that Marina had not been called into work as he fancied going out to the King Street Club. He like spending a Saturday night at the club where they had first class entertainment. Norman also liked to go to Gateshead to “The Talk of the Tyne” where Bobby Pattinson and Bobby Hooper performed their “never ending saga of love and marriage.’ The club looked as though it had a “wall of death” on the roof. The likes of which you saw at the fairground on the town moor where motor bikes would spin around inside at nearly a hundred miles an hour. The club own by Pattinson, was very popular in the early sixties and through the seventies.

Packed houses listened and laughed until their sides split at the comic antics of these two men. They had other acts as well who would make guest appearances. It was great entertainment which took you out of yourself and gave you a laugh at the way Geordies lived. Norman got out of the car he saw that Marina’s car was gone so he knew that she’d gone into work again and wouldn’t be home until late.

He unlocked the door then went inside he could smell something that his wife had made for him in the oven. There was the obligatory note left on the kitchen table

Asking him to forgive her as she had been called in to cover a shift. Turning on the oven and then filling up the kettle, Norman went to the bathroom and ran himself a bath then changed the blade in the razor. He used a Wilkinson’s sword blade he preferred them to the 7’ o’clock cheaper brand of blade.

He took off his jacket and unbuttoned his shirt whilst the water he’d put on in the kettle boiled. He had to have the water in his shaving mug red hot. He placed the shaving brush into the water in the sink then lathered his chin. Looking at himself in the mirror he noticed the gowls on his face beginning to show signs of age. His eyes began to have lines in the corners and his hairline was receding. He opened his mouth and checked his teeth. At least those were still alright he thought. Mind you, he cleaned them four times a day. He brushed up and down one hundred times to the front and then each side, then finally the same for the upper and lower teeth. He swore by Colgate toothpaste and would not use any other brand.  

He Pursed his lips as the blade ran under his nose then he did the left side of his face then the right. He felt it after with the palm of his hand to make sure he’d caught every bit of bristle then he carefully did the neck area last of all. He was particularly careful when doing it as many times he’d cut himself and ended up with bits of toilet roll on his face. He’d forgotten to take them off one night and walked into the club covered in paper. Charlie Evan’s the doorman asked if he’d been arguing with his missus. “No Norman replied sternly, Why like?’

“Well I thought you’d been trying to cut your own throat wi the razor like.’

Norman looked in the mirror in the toilet and saw all the paper stuck to his face and then twigged why people were giving him strange looks.

He rinsed off his face then dried it then undressed and got into the bath.

Norman liked to wallow in the relaxing bath salts. He’d fallen asleep in it once before and slid further and further down until his head was under the water and it woke him up. Tonight thought it would only be a quick one. He used the brush on his back and the bottoms of his feet then placed the brut shower gel on his sponge and washed himself all over. Now he felt better as he stepped out and dried himself. He went through his ritual of talc between his toes and his legs then out came the brut deodorant body spray. He once sprayed his balls with the stuff after watching Henry Cooper the heavyweight boxer spraying the stuff saying “splash it all over” and ended up crying out in agony as the spray burned his vitals. Finally Norman used the brut aftershave cream on his face. 

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