' 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.


18. 18

black fish painted on it. It was strong enough to sit on too so when they casted out on Lloyds jetty. They could place the boxes at the back of the portable shed there which sheltered them from the North Easterly winds.

“I told my dad about the boat granda: said Tom as they drove away and headed past the Chirton Club and the Esso garage they drove on towards “The Spring Gardens pub as they noticed couples going inside. His grandfather had never been a drinking man and Tom wondered why.’

“Do you ever go to the pub granda?’

“No Tom I don’t.’

“Is there a reason why you don’t?’

“Yes,’ he said as he turned right onto Spring Terrace then drove past the two schools; St Josephs on one side and Queen Victoria on the other. Then they passed Scots Park and down onto Coach Lane before his grandfather spoke again.

“Your great granda Davis was a hard cruel man.

“Your father granda?’

“Yes Tom, he worked hard but had no time for any of his children. There were five of us in my family; I was the youngest. Three of my brothers were all killed during the First World War. Your great uncle Thomas, who you are named after went to live in Australia. He died of a heart attack six years ago.’

“I remember dad telling me about him.’

“He had a son too who also lived in Australia you called him Jackie; he was your dad’s cousin. He was a bit older than your dad but he made a lot of money in the gold mines in the outback.’ Now he never married for some unknown reason and he died in an accident down the mine. The mine owners had to pay him a lot of money because it was their fault he died.’

“There was a massive explosion and Jackie was killed in the blast.’

 The solicitors over there tracked me down as his next of kin; they sent me all of his belongings including a property he bought in a place called Wagga Wagga near Canberra.’ Now I would like you and your sister Irene to go over there and make a life for yourselves.’ There’s nothing here for you so going to Australia will be a new start for both of you.’

There’s a family over there called Flannery; Michael who was Jackie’s friend has been looking after the place for me.’

“What if our Irene doesn’t want to go granda?’

“Then when you are fifteen you can go over yourself, it will be the making of you my lad. Jackie left a fishing boat I believe. “Maybe you can make a living from it; if not there is plenty opportunities to make a living out there.’

“Do you think my mam and dad will let me go granda?’

“That is something we will have to talk to them about. I will talk with them tomorrow when we come for dinner at your house.’

His grandfather parked beside Clifford’s Fort and they carried the fishing gear to the end of Lloyds jetty and began to set up.’

“Have you been to Australia granda?’

Yes, I went when you and your sister were little for my brother’s funeral, he didn’t want to be buried here for some reason.’ His grave is in Wagga Wagga.’

“I will go and visit his grave when I get over there.’

“So you would go?’

Yes, why not; like you said there’s nothing here for me.

“It’s over twelve thousand miles away you know Tom.’

“Yes I know, we did it in our Geography lesson at school.’

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