' 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.


46. 46


“Where’ve you been all day.’ said George Higginbottom as Elsie returned from doing the shopping at Aldi’s a local supermarket at the bottom of the road.’

“Dad I’ve only been half an hour.’ I’ve practically run there and back again.’

“Did you put my bets on?’

“Yes dad,’ here; there’s your slips.’ Elsie handed him his slips and looked down at the table to find that her father had not taken his medication. Elsie left it for him along with a glass of water also his cooked breakfast that he demanded every morning and a pot of tea. The Sun newspaper was by his side.’

“Did you pay the newsagents he barked?’

“Yes dad, you are up to date. I got your pension for you as well.’

“Get my coat I want to go to the club.’

It’s only Wednesday dad; you don’t go to the club until tomorrow.’

“Do I.’ So what day is it today?’

“It’s Wednesday dad; I go to the bingo with Rose tonight.’

“So I’m to be left on my own again.’

“Dad you know I go to the bingo on a Wednesday it’s the only night out I get.’

“Sylvia and Paul the carers will be coming in to sit with you.’

“I don’t like them; they boss me around.’

“Well they are alright with me dad.’

“I have to get ready for bed at nine o’clock.’

“That’s because I cannot lift you dad; you are too heavy for me to lift now; I’ve hurt my back lifting you on my own for nine years.’

“You’ve done nowt for me.’ all you do is sit about all day.’

“Dad who cooks your meals?’ who does your washing and all of your shopping.’ who puts your bets on everyday; and who cleans this house and takes care of the gardens as well?’

“I don’t know.’

“I do dad; it’s a big job doing everything myself; I get no help from the others in this family you know.’

“Well you’re a woman; you should be doing these things.’

“No wonder my mother died.’

“Don’t speak like that about your mother.’

“I’m going to my room dad to do my comp’ magazines; please take your tablets.’ “You know what you are like when you don’t take your medication.’

Elsie stood over him and handed him his pills and waited until he’d taken them. Now drink all of that water. You have to keep hydrated.’ “You know what the doctor said.’

George Higginbottom had been rushed into Newcastle General when he started having hallucinations due to dehydration. He got an infection in his bladder and urinary tract and was in hospital for over a week.

He was violent when he was in this state and had hit his daughter across the cheekbone when she had tried to help him. Elsie had a purple bruise where her father had back handed her across the face for two weeks. She ended up wearing dark glasses to hide it.

“Do you want a cup of tea before I go up to my room dad?’

“Aye go on then.’

“You will drink it if I make it for you won’t you?’

“I said I would didn’t I; Put the telly on for my racing; it’ll be on in a minute.’

Elsie went to the television set then switched the set on and found the channel for him.’ 

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