' 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.


26. 26

“We had better get you on board then hadn’t we said Colin to the young girl. The two women were better known as the “trolley dollies” because whenever they went on a trip anywhere they took their trolleys with them.

The driver stored them away in the side compartment before allowing them to board the coach. He checked off the names on his clip board as they took their seats and Margaret headed down the coach to find the toilet.

“Are you picking many up today asked Rose?’

“We have a full coach and will be stopping off at Gateshead, Washington, Durham, and Darlington.’

Margaret returned to tell the driver that there was no light in the toilet and she couldn’t see. Colin swiftly clicked a switch and the light indicator went on.’

“Is it on now,’

“Can I use the toilet?’

“Yes,’ it’s on now love.’

Margaret disappeared down the coach again as Colin took his seat. He looked at his watch which told him that it was 8.30 a.m. he started up the coach then pulled slowly out of station and got onto the main road.

Elsie took a box of travel sickness pills from her bag. They were 20 years out of date but she took one anyway.

“When Margaret returned she told the others how small the toilet was.

Rose opened a packet of mint humbugs and passed them around. She leaned across and gave the driver some. It was a beautiful morning and the sky was a beautiful azure colour.

How long will it be before we reach Bury asked Elsie?’

“Depending on traffic I should get you there around lunch time we will be making a short stop at the Scotch Corner for about fifteen minutes before heading on towards Huddersfield.’ They soon got onto the motorway and crossed the bridge and turned into the main bus terminal. Four people got on with carrier bags with food and drinks inside. Colin checked each one off as climbed up the steps and went to the back of the coach. Colin soon pulled out of the station and was on his way to Washington.

A lady got on with her son and daughter in law. She had just strands of hair on her head through cancer by the look of it. Her scalp showed through the wisps of greying hairs that made her look a lot older than she was.

Another woman had to be turned away because the ticket she had been issued with was for the week before. Rose felt sorry for the woman who had gone to the trouble of putting up sandwiches and getting a taxi to the bus stop from where she lived.

“Although the driver empathised with her he could not let her on the coach and she walked away to find a taxi back home. The next stop would be Durham where the vast majority of passengers would be coming from. Colin pulled out making his way back onto the motorway. The farm lands and lovely bungalows came into view as the coach sped along at a steady 50 mph. flocks of crows were feeding in the fields. Iris pointed out some rabbits and a large hare standing up on its hind quarters in a field as they passed.

Margaret loved animals and birds she also liked horses. She watched them on a Saturday as Tim put his bets on and came home to watch them on the television.  

Tim liked to watch World of Sport and Grandstand. Tim would be cheering his hoses on when they got near the finish line and Margaret would ask if he had won.

“Why do they whip the horses; that’s cruel she would say.’

“It doesn’t hurt them it only makes them run faster Margaret, Tim would say.’

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