' 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.


45. 45

 Brian Mowat the young lad came in at 12 O‘clock; it was pointless paying him to stand around so he got him to come in at twelve when the majority of his regular punters came in to study the days form. Norman put on free coffee so they didn’t leave and made sure that the toilets were kept clean. Brian went in to check them every half hour. Some men urinated all over the seats or left a calling card around the toilet rim. The comedian Bobby Thompson was a regular customer. He ran up a tab but always paid Norman at the weekend win or lose. He did plenty of gigs around the North East and was never out of work. His style of humour appealed to both young and old and he never had to use a swear word to get a laugh unlike some of the other comedians like Bernard Manning, Bob Monkhouse, and  Billy Connolly.

The phone rang in the shop and Brian picked it up. He usually got punters asking if they could have credit and he would pass the phone to Norman who knew everyone.’

“Hello,’ he said down the phone and there was silence. Hello’ who’s speaking?’ The phone went dead. Brian shrugged his shoulders then went to the toilet with his bucket to clean them. He just got to the door and the phone rang again. Brian set down the bucket and mop then went back behind the counter. He picked it up phone again and asked who was speaking again there was silence. Hello, Hello who’s speaking this is Hogarth’s Bookmakers how can I help.’ Again the phone went dead and he put it down and walked to the bucket and picked it up. The phone rang a third time and Brian who was annoyed at this point picked up the phone and shouted down the receiver. Listen you fucking old fart, ring here again and I’ll friggin ploat you get it.’

Brian slammed down the receiver. He went into the toilet and began cleaning when the phone ran again. This time Norman answered it. He set the phone down and went to the toilets.

“Brian there’s a call for you.’

Brian left the bucket in the toilet then came out and picked up the phone. “Hello now if this is you playing silly fuckers with me I’m going to find out who you are and come down and smash you fucking legs.’

“Brian! This is your mother here,’ Brian’s face turned crimson as his mother berated him on the other end of the line for his language.’

Sorry mam said Brian trying to make excuses for his bad language. The punters in the betting shop all laughed like hell as Brian cowered in the corner of the shop.

Norman had to laugh too as his mother gave him a right dressing down then told him to bring home a fresh loaf of bread after work.

“Yes mam, I will. Yes,’ I won’t forget. Look I’ve got to go, I’ll see you later.’

Just then there was an almighty crash as someone had tripped over the bucket in the toilet and there was water all over the place. “Fucking hell shouted Brian and again his mother heard him.’

“Brian is that you swearing again just wait until your father gets home.’

Brian set down the phone and went to clean up the mess.’ His day wasn’t going well at all.’

“Was that your mother on the phone, asked Norman?’

“Sorry Mr Hogarth,’ I’ve told her not to ring me at work.’

It’s alright son, forget about it.’

The first race at Kempton had just started and he quickly picked up the felt tipped pen and recorded the odds before going back to clean up the mess in the toilet.

Norman just shook his head.’

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