' 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.


5. 5

“Well you were carried of the field on a stretcher last week and you were only on the pitch five minutes according to Ronnie Skinners wife Jean.’

“Yes, but I was fouled by that big lanky forward from Tynemouth Social.’

“Aye there’s a lot of younger lads starting to come through now isn’t there. Don’t you think its time you were hanging up your boots?’

“I’m only thirty six, that’s not old, Stanley Matthews who I was named after by the way, played until he was fifty.’

“You are no Stanley Matthews are you?’

“Yes but… Matty searched for an answer and found none.’ “I like playing; it’s my only interest.’

“If you spent more interest on your kids and getting this home decorated we might be a better family.’

“I’ve really tied with our Tom, I’ve tried to get him into football.’

“He doesn’t like football he likes to go fishing; you know that.’

“I can’t stand fishing, you just stand there watching the end of a rod all day. I’d rather watch paint dry.’

“You’d have to get a paint brush in your hand first.’

“You know how the smell of the paint upsets my chest.’

“Any bloody excuse to get out of DIY that’s you Matty Davis, I wish I’d married a handy man.

“Well there’s always the gasman, the rent man, and the bloody coalman.’

What do you mean by that like?’

“You want to see yourself, flirting on like a lovesick teenager; it’s pathetic.’

“I’m only being friendly.’

“Friendly my arse,’ you’d throw your arms around Staggie the ragman you would.’

“You have a very low opinion of me Matty Davis.’ Jenifer went to the packet and took out another cigarette then lit it up.

“You’ve not long put one out.’

“It’s me nerves; you’ve got me all on edge you have.’

“Any excuse to light up a fag that’s you Jenifer.’

“Oh give it a rest will you, you’ve got my head ringing you have.’

“You’d better get yourself ready for work anyway, what time is it?’

“It’s only twenty past one and I’ve not eaten a thing yet.’

There’s an egg in the fridge, boil that.’

One egg; you expect me to go to work after eating one egg.’

“Well they say “Go to work on an egg” don’t they.’

“Yes as part of your breakfast, not all of it you daft bugger.’

“Is there no cornflakes left.’

“No Tom ate them along with all the bread as well. He had six slices of toast this morning before he went out.’

“Well he needs it, he’s a growing boy.’

“Growing boy, he eats us out of house and home he does.’ 

“If you go out now you will catch the chippy open; get yourself a bag of chips.’

Jenifer gave him 50p. He had a few bob of his own so that would get him fish and chips which were 83p. The price of fish and chips had almost tripled since the introduction of decimalisation in 1971. There was a drought and potato blight caused a shortage. All the fish and chip shops tripled the prices of their chips but when the drought was over they never came down again. Fish and chips remained at that price until 1978 when a piece of fish would cost you a pound.

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