' 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.


44. 44

Carol followed Matty Davis into the house.’

Sit down Carol. Please.’

“What kind of proposition.’

“Leave this to me Matty; you’re scaring the lass.’

“Jenifer asked if Carol would like a nice cup of tea, who refused and was curious as to what they both wanted to talk to her about.’

“It’s like this Carol; Matty and I are thinking of moving away from here and we want to know if you will come with us with Irene and Tom.

“What for a holiday like?’

“No,’ permanently Carol.’

“Where to?


I don’t know; I would have to ask my mam and dad.’ when would you be going?’

“The end of the month said Matty; we have been left property over there Carol, you could have your own room or bunk up with Irene.’ Look Carol, talk it over with your mam and dad first and if they agree then we will pay for you to go to Wagga, Wagga with us. It’s near the capital of New South Wales.’

Irene came out of the bathroom with a towel over her head she looked at her friend and said: They’ve told you then?’


“Would you come with us Carol; I mean I won’t go if you don’t come.’

“It’s not that I don’t want to go with you Irene it’s up to my mam and dad. I’ve only just turned sixteen.’

My dad was right when he said there’s just nothing for us here.’ We could make a good life over there in a country with nice weather; better life style choices, and job prospects.’

“If you did not like it over there Carol we will pay for you to come back.’

At least you will have travelled to the other side of the world and seen what it is like.’

Think of all those Australian surfers over there with tanned skin and blond hair.’

Carol giggled shyly then asked if Irene would come with her to ask her parents.’

“Yes,’ give me a minute to dry my hair and get ready.’



Norman Hagarth opened the bookies as he normally did he picked up a sweeping brush and swept up the shop of scrumpled up betting tickets then placed them into a black bin liner. He then took down all the old Sporting Life newspapers. Then put up the new ones with that days racing on them. He then put up the greyhound racing cards.

Once that was done he switched on the tannoy and the lights on the walls so that people could see the race meetings. He wiped all the boards then put up the betting prices for the first race at one o’clock that afternoon. He cleared all his pigeon holes that he used for each race. Norman filled up the ticket machine and then did the books for the taxman. There were always way and means of fiddling the books so that he didn’t give the government money. He was ten steps ahead of them and that’s why he never had a till roll as the money coming in would show up on the till receipts.’

He thought about his wife Marina, she would be in bed now and how he wished that he could join her. He reminisced about the last time they had sex together it was last Christmas. Five months ago he thought.’ something had to be done about the amount of hours she was working.  

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