' 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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when the relief staff came in and she could then go home. Marina drove a red Fiat motor car that Norman had bought for her because she hated waiting for buses. It took her two go’s to pass her driving test; she put it down to just nerves the first time when she got a very strict, shifty looking man in black framed jam jar glasses and a tatty tweed coat with a brown patterned tank top underneath. Marina failed miserably but on the second occasion she had a nice gentleman who put her at complete ease and she sailed through her test. It took her about twenty five minutes from the town to get home.

Norman was in when she arrived, he had made breakfast and a hot cup of tea. The drinks she made for herself and Carol usually ended up cold when they were called out to see to a patient.

He was just about to leave to open the shop which he did every morning at 10 a.m.

Norman gave his wife a quick kiss before leaving knowing that he would not see her again until tomorrow Morning.

“I will see you later love.’ he said: as he went to work.’




Elsie Higginbottom and Rose Stewart had been friends for many years they had been friends from their school years and had remained close. They would meet up every Wednesday to go to the bingo hall in North Shields and would also go on trips together. Rose had a daughter who had Downs Syndrome. Margaret Rose Stewart was twenty two and was very friendly towards everyone. Like most Down’s syndrome sufferers Margaret had slight weight problem, she wasn’t fat but if she continued to eat the way that she could sometimes then she could become overweight. Her step father allowed her to eat take away food and she would gorge herself on Pizza. Rose had to keep a check on her eating as she would eat her out of house and home if left to her own devices. Tim the man she was now living with after her divorce from her husband seven years previous could not cope with having a Down’s syndrome child. Tim just let her do as she wished because he felt that it wasn’t his place to stop her doing things that she wasn’t supposed to be doing. In fact, he didn’t actually want to deal with Margaret at all. The truth was he felt embarrassed in her company and treated her like she was some alien from another planet. He would often walk ahead with the dog when ever Rose and Margaret came out for a walk with him. Patch was a black and white border collie and Margaret loved him. She would sit for hours stroking him. They got the dog three years ago when they had gone to the PDSA dog shelter on a day out.

Margaret saw the black pup with a white patch over one eye and asked her mother if they could take the puppy home.

“Please, please mam can I have him; I will look after him she pleaded.’

 “Alright said her mother after listening to the protest from her daughter for over an hour as they walked around the kennels with lots of other homeless dogs on display but Margaret was insistent that the one she wanted was the Border collie.

They returned to the kennel with the puppy inside and immediately the puppy bonded with Margaret who smothered it with love and affection.

They were given a lead and some booklets on how to look after it and train the dog.

Margaret needed no words the puppy followed her all the way to her car and they got into the back seat and the pup lay down on Margaret’s lap happy to be patted and stroked.

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