' 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.


28. 28

Margaret filled her time in by reading car registration numbers and making words from the letters. Then she saw the sign for Bury and got excited.

“Mammy,’ its only seven miles to Bury now.’

“It won’t be long now Margaret we will soon be there.’

“Can I go to the toilet again before we get off?’

Margaret asked Colin if the light was on in the toilet and he told her that it was so off she went.

“Are you alright Iris, Margaret isn’t bothering you is she?’

“Yes Rose, I’m fine and no Margaret is okay.’

“My knees are giving me gyp said Elsie as she shuffled around for a comfortable spot.’

“I will be glad of a walk around once we get off.’

They passed a local grammar school and a couple of hotels as the bus neared the town centre.

“I took the wrong turning the last time I came here said Colin and I had to go all the way back: Colin adjusted his spectacles on the bridge of his nose. He took a left turn then drove past a few shops then they saw the sign post for Bury market. Some of the women had stood up now and were retrieving there coats from the spaces above them. The sun was blazing down as Colin pulled into a place especially for coaches. The woman controlling the metal barrier let Colin through and he turned right then came to an abrupt halt.

Looking around, the place was huge. There were shops and stalls as far as the eye could see.

“Okay everyone said Colin through the microphone; we’ve arrived at Bury market, please be back here at quarter past five, and don’t be late because we have a long drive back.’

The doors were opened and Elsie, Rose, Margaret, and Iris got off. The first stall they came to was a huge vegetable stall where there was every kind of fruit and vegetable on offer.

“Look they’ve got pea pods said Elsie as she picked up a hand full and began to open them and sample the fresh peas inside. The others soon followed suit and they must have eaten a pound of them between them before they got to weigh the ones Elsie had placed into a bag. There were strawberries as big as apples and Margaret helped herself to one.

There was something that resembled a cucumber but it was prickly. The man called Gary who owned the veg stall explained how this bitter gourd called Palak was meant to be good for diabetes it had to be cut up and heated just like making tea, and then lemon juice was added to take away the bitter taste. Elsie bought a huge cucumber, potatoes and other vegetables then they moved on looking at other stalls which were selling a lot of tat. Rose bought Tim a couple of refillable lighters then moved onto a sweet stall and bought a big bag of jelly babies and some salted peanuts.   

They stopped and looked at some blouses and Elsie even tried one on but it was just too small. Elsie was tall for a woman who had her blonde hair parted down the middle like a rock chic. She was large breasted and found it difficult to get clothes to fit.

Rose wore her hair in a short spiky style at the front and longer at the back in kind of Suzie Quatro style. They both wore flares and platform soled shoes.

Both had a flower pattered designed blouse on and Margaret had a red flowered patterned dress and a white cardigan, she had a pair of Jesus sandals on her feet.

Iris seemed disinterested in the women’s things and asked if she could take Margaret to the record stall where there was a variety of albums and singles for sale. 

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