' 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.


119. 119

He now felt like a new man.

He put on a clean pair of jockey underpants and his old trousers and a clean vest until he’d eaten his tea. He didn’t want to get gravy all over his clean white shirt that Marina had ironed for him which hung on the back of the bedroom door.

He lifted out a steak and kidney pie and cut himself a big wedge then added carrots and new potatoes. Marina was one hell of a cook he loved all of her meals she made him. He used to be a skinny thing when they first got married. Marina said that he needed feeding up. Now his trousers were a 36 inch waist and he had a little paunch.

He grinned then set about his pie like a man possessed. What was even better was the fact that his wife had made him a rice pudding as well which he loved. He would do well just to have one helping. When he was finished he washed his plate in the sink then left it to drain. He did all of his accounts before cleaning his teeth again and then putting on his shirt and tie. Norman Hagarth was a very smartly dressed man, he liked to wear a suit when he went out and the gold watch Marina bought him. He wore a gold wedding on his left hand and a gold ring with a ruby on the little finger of his right. He never drove his car when he was having a drink so he rang central taxi’s to come and pick him up in ten minutes. He combed his hair then checked his wallet to make sure he had enough money to last him the night.’

Norman wasn’t a big drinker really, he liked a pint but never drank like some who made it their ambition to get as much of it down their neck in the time allotted.

At 40p a pint the club was a cheap night out. Norman saw the taxi outside he had hidden his money in a safe place in case he was burgled. That was behind the cistern in the toilet. Burglars would look everywhere but in the shithouse.

He got into the front of the taxi and it sped away.

“Where you off Norman said Alan Nicholson.’

“King Street Club Alan please.’

  “Nae bother Norman.’   

Alan drove the car along West Percy Road to Northumberland square. The wooden doll stood proudly next to the fountain and the neatly flowered borders. Alan turned right past the East End Boys club where some lads were hanging about outside talking with some girls on Stephenson Street.

“Oh to be young again said Alan as they drove past the girls who were wearing low cut tops showing off an ample pairs of breasts.’

“Aye, we’ve had our day mate.’ I just wish girls had dressed like that then.’

I tell you what Norman you wouldn’t believe it if I told you what I get in my cab of a Saturday night. I’ve had lasses wi next to nowt on in here mate. No knickers on miniskirts up to here said Alan as he indicated with his free hand.


“I tell you mate they are practically having it away in the back of the cab.’   

“Hey,’ and the propositions I get when they cannot pay me Is unreal.’

“I gave a young lass, who was stunning by the way a lift home from the Burgundy Cobbler at two in the morning.’ She was gagging for it Norman so I gave her one up the back lane beside the Spring Gardens School; I thought no young lass would do what she did to me in the back of my car I can tell you.’

“I thought that you were married?’

“Divorced two years now mate.’

“Anyway I got the shock of my life the next day when I was waiting to pick up a fare from Ralphie’s School; and who walks up to my car but the girl I’d shagged the night before. She was sixteen Norman, school uniform on and everything.’

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