' 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.


12. 12

“Could you meet me at the back of Presto’s tomorrow about two o’clock I need you and your father to carry a lot of carrier bags home for me.’

“Yes mam, I’ll be there.’

“I’m going down to the quay tomorrow early so I can clean out the herring boxes.’ “Bring us a few dozen home then will you.’

“Aye I will mam.’

 “I will take my bike with the box on the front and back my granda made me.’

“Good lad; I would bring it to Prestos as well, there will be a load to carry.’

“I will mam don’t worry.’

“Right then I will say goodnight.’

“Goodnight mam; Tom opened the first page of the Beano and began reading it.’

“He laughed as he read about Dennis the Menace and his dog Gnasher.’

 Wishing that he had dog, Tom wondered what kind of dog he would get if he had one.



 That morning was just like any other in Presto’s Supermarket. Lily Thomas walked down every aisle inspecting each of tins to make sure that they were in date. Those that only had a couple of week’s week or so left on them were placed into a trolley that she pushed down each aisle. Tins of beans, hotdogs, tinned sardines, soup, Spaghetti, and minced beef all had to be checked. Next to be checked were the packets of biscuits and cereals. Then there were the fresh meats and cheeses to look at and finally the cooked meat, poultry and sausages.

“Give me a hand here will you Irene, called Lily.’

Irene came over and the two of them pushed the trolley that had a mind of its own to the back of the store to the warehouse. Bag this lot up for me will you.’ “Each brand has to be placed individually into bags do you understand; then leave it by the skip outside. “ Do not bag the fresh meat with raw meat like those joints of beef and pork.’ “Put them into separate bags as well.’

“Yes Mrs Thomas, why are we bagging them for when they should be put into the skip?’

“They are for the old folks home, we like to help the old folk so we give it to them rather than throw it away.’

Irene looked at her watch it was now 1.30 p.m. she took her time double bagging all the food. There was over forty bags when she was finished. Placing all of the tinned food into a trolley Irene took them outside. Her mother came out of nowhere with Matty and Tom. Matty had a barrow and he and Tom began to fill it. Irene hurried back then brought out the rest. Quickly she handed them to her father and brother who then disappeared.

Right I’ll be back just before closing; you point out where here stash is right.’

“Alright you’d better not be late mind.’

“I won’t don’t worry; I’m going to slip home then come back once I’ve sorted this food out.’

“Mam there’s enough food to feed an army.’

“Well its going to last us a month at least. Don’t worry nothing will go to waste.’

“We are going to be busy all day tomorrow so don’t make any plans.’

Jenifer hurried for the bus whilst Irene went back on the shop floor. She gazed from one of the tills as Lily began to put butter, milk, cheeses, eggs, bread, and yogurt onto the bottom shelf. 

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