' 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.


49. 49

Margaret heard the door close then turned up her stereo.

Come on lets dance.’


Duncan greeted Elsie and Rose as they walked in with their carrier bags full of goodies that they brought every week. They parked the cars in the car space near the entrance before going in.

“Evening ladies said Maybeth as the two women took out their membership cards and logged in.’

“Hello May; are you alright love.’

“Yes, I’m hunky dory, no good moaning; no one listens she joked.’

“You’re right there said Rose as they walked towards the stand where they were selling the books. Maybeth sold them their tickets and they walked into the hall.

“Not many in tonight said Elsie to her friend as they said hello to Sonya and Steve who were two regular members. Elsie went to the bar and asked Terry the young lad behind the bar if she could have a large jug of water with lots of ice. Terry duly obliged and Elsie walked to her usual seat behind the screen near the kitchen area.

Rose got two paper cups so they could pour some water into them. Then the two women took off their coats and opened the shopping bags and took out various bars of chocolate and shared them then took out all their lucky charms and cuddly toys and placed them around the table. It was now just after six thirty and they walked to the counter where they ordered their meal which they had being doing since the bingo began some twelve years ago now.’

The menu was sparse to say the least but at least it was hot when they got it. Other restaurants they had tried brought cold food.

Rose settled for a baked potato with tuna and salad and Elsie her usual steak pie with a fried egg, beans, chips and some fried onions. They also bought two bread buns and paid for two cappuccinos.

They returned to their seats then took out the puzzle magazines and finished the answers that Rose didn’t have before writing out the envelopes ready to post them off. They lived in hope of winning one of the big prizes on offer. Just then her other friends Alanna and Sylvia came and took their seats. Rose and Elsie always put a magazine and some sweets down on the table adjacent to theirs for them so that no one else could sit there.

It was only a couple of minutes to the first chance bingo where they would play three in house games before there would be board games played. Elsie and Rose never played the board games as they found that they were too expensive and they ended up spending three times the money they would usually spend. However they did like to play on the slot machines where they were both lucky on.

Wayne the overweight caller waddled towards the podium. His head seemed tiny, it was buried beneath his shoulders and looked out of place in comparison with the rest of his body. He was only five feet eight but weighed around nineteen stones. You had to be on your mark as Wayne raced through the numbers. The faster he got the bingo done the more time he had to just loll about doing nothing.

The first game got underway and Elsie seemed to be marking well. She was using her purple bingo dabber tonight which was her favourite colour. It matched her top that she was wearing and the silver chain with a pendant with a purple coloured stone and some matching drop down earrings. On her wrist was a bangle of purple and some beads. Rose was wearing an emerald green coloured top and some black trousers. She had to wear soft shoes because she had a bunion on her right foot that was giving her gyp. The first line was won and before you could draw breath Wayne went straight 

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