' 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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He placed a wooden board down onto the bench then lifted out the casserole dish with the hotpot in with a pair of oven gloves.

The smell of the hotpot had him salivating and he reached up into the cupboard and brought down a heavy plate. Marina liked to make corner puddings in her hotpot and they were nicely browned off and crisp on the top the way he liked them. He took a serving spoon and plated some of the food. He hated eating alone but what else could he do. He placed his plate onto a tray then took out a knife and fork and some salt and pepper then shook some onto his food. Sitting on his chair he sat watching World in Action then Whickers World. He picked up the newspaper after that to check to see what was on.

He turned the television over onto the new BBC2 channel to see what was on. There was only an episode of Call My Bluff on so Norman got up to make himself a cup of tea before Sportsnight started. The highlight of the night was the world title fight between Joe Frazier world heavyweight champion and George Foreman. Joe Frazier had beaten Muhammad Ali; AKA Cassius Marcellus Clay on points. He became the first man to beat the undefeated ex champion after he was striped of his world title for refusing to join the American army to fight in Vietnam. At that time Muhammad Ali sited his religious beliefs for refusing to fight stating: “Them Vietcong ain’t done nothin’ to me.’

Muhammad Ali was subsequently jailed for 3 ½ years. Some say they robbed him of his best years because he was at his prime. Regarded as the fastest heavyweight in history Muhammad Ali predicted the rounds his opponents would fall. He made a lot of fighters rich over the years including Britain’s Henry Cooper who fought Muhammad Ali twice. Henry nearly upset the prediction made by Ali. He knocked Ali down near the end of the third round. Controversy erupted when a split was discovered in one of the gloves that Ali was wearing. Valuable minutes were wasted; Ali recovered; he came out in the fourth and opened a bad cut over Coopers left eye and the fight was stopped. It was a similar story in the return. The thin layer of skin over Henry’s eyes pumped blood all over the canvas.

Norman watched in amazement as the big George Forman hit Frazier so hard he lifted him off his feet. Frazier was knocked down four times before Frazier’s corner threw in the towel and the fight was stopped in round 2.

Everyone was talking about the fight and people were shocked to hear the result.

Now Foreman was being talked about as the biggest hitter in boxing since Charles Sonny Liston. A fight between Forman and Ali was being talked about. It would take place in Kinshasa Zaire in the jungle of Africa.  Because the fight had ended so quickly there was a rerun of the rugby game between the Barbarians and the New Zealand all blacks Norman watched I until the end. By 11.30 p.m. Norman was tired and he knew his wife was working late again. He locked up then went to bed.


Marina returned at nine the next morning she let herself in then took of her coat as Norman came out of the bathroom.

He’d washed and shaved and then wandered into the kitchen to see his wife sitting down waiting for the kettle to boil.

I’m shattered said Marina as Norman made the tea then took out the milk from the fridge.

“We have got to talk Marina.’

“What about?’

“About us.’

“Not now Norm I’ve just finished a shift.’

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