' 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.


69. 69

 “Not really mam, that’s why I’m looking for another job.’ “They work you to death in that care home and there’s barely a minute to catch your breath before something else want’s doing. I’m going to Asda tomorrow morning. I have an interview at ten.’

“Well don’t be leaving until you have another job to go to.

“I won’t be having tea mam I’m going out.’

“Are you not hungry Iris; I mean look at you, you’re so thin.’

“I’m not I’m just made that way.’

“I wish you would let your hair grow; I do not like that style that you wear it in it makes you look like a boy.’

“I’m thinking about dying it mam; I fancy changing it to red.’

“Don’t be silly Iris; what is wrong with your own colour.’

“I just want a change mam.’

“Your father would go mad if you came in here with red hair.’

“It’s my hair, I’ll have it any colour I want.’

“Don’t be silly Iris; think of what people would say to us. I mean we have to live here you know.’

“If I get this job I’m getting myself a flat somewhere mam. I need to have some independence.’

“You’re only a child Iris whatever would you want to move away for.’

“Mam I’m twenty two years old next week, I’m no child anymore, I’m a woman.’

“You will always be a bairn to me Iris.’

“Whatever would your father say; you moving out of the home we brought you up in?’

“I need my own space mam, to be myself.’

“You will be lonely on your own anyway.’

“I won’t be on my own mam; I’m thinking of asking Margaret Rose Stewart to share a flat with me.’

“What that handicapped kid that comes to Elsie’s over the road.’

“She’s not handicapped mam; she has Down’s syndrome and she’s twenty two years old.’

“Yes,’ but she looks like a little girl doesn’t she with ribbons in her hair?’

“That’s only because her mother dresses her in silly clothes mam.’

“Well you cannot be too careful you know; some men may take advantage of her if she was dressed like an adult.’

“No man is going to take advantage of her I assure you of that, she can look after herself.’ “ I like her, and she’s not stupid mam. You will be surprised at how smart she is.’

“We are going to the buskers tonight. She’s coming for me; so when she come’s don’t treat her as if she is some freak okay.’

“As If I would.’

 “I’m going to have a bath then get myself ready. If Margaret comes just tell her to come to my room.’

Iris went upstairs to the bathroom and closed the door.


It was quarter to seven when there was a knock at the door as Margaret Stewart stood outside waiting. She had fixed her own hair and she was wearing her new flares and the top that she had bought at Bury market. She had her new boots on with platform soles which made her look taller.

“Eileen Deyton opened the door and was quite surprised to see Margaret dressed in adult clothing. She had done her own make up and nails and the only give away to the 

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