' 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.


16. 16

“I will give you money each night Irene so you can buy up any bargains before Lily Thomas gets her maulers on them.’

“Right oh mam, this is going to be fun.’

 When you are checking for sell by dates stash your own away then buy it up later on before Lily Thomas gets it. “I don’t think Lily Thomas will be leaving with Presto’s with any food for some time to come.’ They all laughed as they sat round the table eating a lovely chicken dinner. It was the happiest that Matty had seen his family in a long while.

“I think we will invite all the grand parents over tomorrow for dinner Jenifer; what do you say.’

Aye that would be nice.’

“I’ll tell Granda when he comes to pick me up later;

“Are you going fishing?’


“Well I might get my hand line out.’

“Alright dad that’s great.’

“You can both get in there and clean that freezer first.’

 “I’m going to change mam said Tom. He stood up from the table then went to his bedroom where he dug out his fishing clothes. He put on the white overall on that he’d used to clean out the fish boxes with earlier that day. He had parked his bike next to Irving’s fish store then calmly picked up three boxes of filleted fish from a store further down. He looked just like any other fish merchant coming to collect fish. He then placed them into the box at the front of his bike and rode away. Tom had lined the box with newspaper then placed the fish inside and peddled back to Lightburn’s chippy. The herring his mother asked him to bring was in the back inside the other box. Later he stroked the ten pounds that he’d made for a couple of minutes work. That was more money than apprentices were making in a week on the quay.

Jenifer scraped the plates then set about washing the dishes. She knew if she left them they would be there in the morning.’

“What are you two going to do then Irene?’ asked Matty as he filled a bucket and placed some cloths and disinfectant into the bucket?’

“I’m helping mam make pies.’

“Good lass; you did well today you know Irene; all that food is going to help us get out of a hole we were in.’

“I didn’t know that we were in one.’

“We were but now I can pay off the bills with the money we’ve saved not having to buy groceries. If we can keep doing this then by the end of the year we may all go on holiday to Spain.’ “Would you like that?’

“That would be great dad; could Carol my friend go with us?’

“I don’t see why not if she can afford to go.’

“I will ask her alright; Irene kissed her father on the cheek; something she hadn’t done since she was eight years old and it felt really good.

“Tom are you ready son; let’s get this freezer washed out then we can go fishing.’

 It was dusty in the garage and the freezer took some cleaning. They scrubbed it both inside and out and when they were finished it looked good as new.

You can go to Granda’s allotment tomorrow and get a load of vegetables from him and me and your mother will wash and blanch them. We can put them into this chest freezer and use only what we need. That should save us a lot of money in the long term.

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