' 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.


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Matty and Jenifer had to go to Newcastle to the immigration offices on Stowell Street. They had all the documentation that his father had given him regarding the property in Wagga Wagga, along all their birth certificates and passports.

Mr James Surtees took them through the process which took over two hours by the time they had filled all the forms out and then they were checked over. Mr Surtees informed them that the forms would be checked again in London and that it would take up to fourteen days before they would hear from the immigration offices in Australia. If they were to be accepted they could then go to Australia to live there.

Mr Surtees assured them that he could not see a problem why they wouldn’t be accepted as they ticked all the boxes as an ideal family.

He’d already told Mr Surtees that he had a job to go to after his boss had made arrangements for him to be transferred once he arrived in Australia. He had to go as soon as possible to the offices in Canberra to introduce himself and meet his new bosses.

They came outside after coming down ten floors in the lift; they looked at each other then smiled.

“Well there’s no turning back now love said Matty; we’ve put the wheels in motion.’

“No regrets I hope Matty.’

No,’ none at all; we need to see Irene though and find out if Carol is going to be allowed to go with us.’

“Irene won’t go without her friend I know her.’

“Maybe we should have gone along with Irene to see her parents.’

“We can do that when we get the notification; if Carol didn’t want to go Jenifer, she would not have given us her details and her passport would she?’

“Aye,’ you’re right.’

They walked down Westgate Road to the train station that would take them back to North Shields. I could murder a cup of tea couldn’t you?’

“I thought we’d get one in the office when we were there so long said Jenifer.’

“Look there’s a café across the road; let’s go in there.’ Matty took his wife’s hand and led her across the busy road where cars, vans, and buses were all in a hurry.

Once they’d crossed over Matty held the door for his wife as they went inside the café.

Matty went to the counter whilst Jenifer found them a seat near the window.’

The café was full and it was only because two people were getting up for their train that she actually got them a seat.

“Could we have a pot of tea for two and two fruit scones with Jam and cream please?’

That will be forty eight pence please.’

“Matty thought nearly ten bob for a pot of tea and two scones but he said nothing. If you take a seat I will bring them over for you.

Thank you said Matty then gave her a tight lipped smile.’

Jenifer shuffled in her seat so that they were closer together.’

 “Did you hear how much she asked you for; nearly ten bob for just for a pot of tea and two scones?’

Matty laughed and then said I thought that you hadn’t heard.’

“I bet this place makes some money with it being on the doorstep of the station.

“Yes they will catch all the passengers coming and going.’

The woman in the café arrived with the tea and scones and Matty put up his little finger and said “Shall I be mother then.”

“Thank you very much said Matty to the woman in his poshest voice.’

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