' 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.


31. 31

“Are you sure you’ll be alright?’

“We’ll be fine just go and enjoy yourself.’

Iris walked off towards Margaret then they walked up another aisle where there was a man trying to sell handbags. They passed him only to see another man giving a demonstration on how to use a wonder mop.

“Do you live on your own Iris asked Margaret inquisitively?’

No,’ I live with my mother and father but I am going to get a place of my own.’

“Do you have your own room?’

“Yes; I have.’

“Good because then I can come over to your house too.’

“I have a portable TV in my room and a music centre that plays cassettes stated Margaret.’

I have an old record player that’s about it said Iris as she led Margaret through to an arcade. There was several slot machines costing two pence a go so Iris went and got five pounds changed and the money was placed into two plastic tubs. Iris gave one to Margaret and they stood side by side next to two slot machines. They inserted money into the slot and then pulled the lever. Margaret won twenty pence straight away. They played on for nearly half an hour walking away with more than what they had started with.

“Do you want to have a go on this football game?’

“Yes alright, we have one in the centre that we play on.’

Margaret was very good at the game and it wasn’t long before Iris found herself four goals down as Margaret hammered home the ball into the back of Iris’s net.

“You are too good for me said Iris as she tried a shot which Margaret deflected with her keeper and the ball was then hoofed up the field.’

“What do you do at the centre?’

“We pack things into boxes most of the day, it’s really boring.’

“Look for another job then.’

“Who would employ me, I look like a freak.’

“Don’t say that, no you don’t.’

“Ronnie Barron at the centre says I do?’

“Never mind what others say Margaret; what would you like to do?’

“I would like to work in a supermarket on the check out.’

“Okay then, on Saturday we will go to that new place that they are opening called ASDA and see if we can get a start there.’

“Where do you work now?’

“I work in an old folk’s home; it’s pretty boring too.’

They both laughed as they finished playing on the football game and then had a game of slide hockey using these plastic discs and a plastic round bat. They hit the discs back and forth trying to get inside the others net. Iris faired a little better at this game as the sound of Rod Stewart came on inside the arcade and Margaret began to sing along to “Maggie May”. Iris joined in too and the two of them began to dance in the arcade. Iris was surprised at how good a dancer Margaret actually was.

“Have you ever had a girl friend before Iris?’

“Yes, when I was about 16 years old; I fancied this girl who lived down our street. We were great friends to begin with.’

It was then I discovered that something was different with me. I think I knew all along that I was different from other girls.’ But I just could not accept the fact that I was different if you know what I mean.’

“Did you try to have a boyfriend?’

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