' 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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There are two bedrooms, a shower and a bath. Ina stopped outside of the downstairs flat and then walked down the pathway the garden was well kept she told them by the gentleman upstairs who was in his late fifties.’

Ina led them into the flat and showed them around. The furniture was all new as was the carpets. The cooker and fridge were clean and the bathroom fully modern with a glass cubical shower and a blue coloured bathroom suite. The bathroom was fully tiled to match the blue bathroom suite and it had a tiled floor with blue coloured bath mats. The place was perfect. Ina led them to the back garden where there was a bench to sit out on and an extensive lawn. Mr Merriweather takes care of the lawns for me so don’t worry.

There’s an apple tree in the garden so you can help yourselves to those.’

Ina showed them the two bedrooms and Iris said that they would take it.

“Could we move in next weekend?’

“Yes, I don’t see why not; however I would need a month’s rent in advance.

“Can I give you that next week?’

“No problem I will make sure your rent book is ready for you when you come for the keys.’

Margaret and Iris walked up Percy Road they were both smiling.

“We’ve now got to go home and tell our mothers.’ How do you think your mam will be about it Iris said Margaret?’

“Just like yours I expect, frantic.’

My mam isn’t going to like this at all but the time has come Iris and I’m glad we are moving in together.

“Mam is going to say that it’s pretty sudden and that I do not know you; but we have all the time in the world to get to know one another.’ If it doesn’t work out between us I can always go back home again.’

“I just hope that we both get a job tomorrow.’

“Yes I know,’ or we will have to wait for another flat.’

They walked along then turned right and they saw the Rockcliff Arms. Two lads walked in carrying guitars and someone was playing a set of Northumbrian pipes from inside as they followed the lads into the room.

There wasn’t many tables to sit on and many of the audience just crashed out on the floor near a make shift stage. There were three microphone stands in case there was a group performing. A young gentleman asked them if they would like to join them at his table so Margaret thanked him. Iris went to the bar leaving Margaret to chat to the man as she got them drinks. Margaret found out that the man in his late thirties was called Simon Smith after introducing herself and Iris to him. Margaret laughed and asked Simon where his dancing bear was.’

“I see you know your music Margaret;

“My mam used to sing it to me when I was little.’  The Alan Price Set sang it didn’t they?’

“You’re right again.’Is this your first time here?’

“Yes,’ I do go to a lot of concerts at the city hall in Newcastle.’

“Who is your favourite singer then?’

“I like Rod Stewart, not because I fancy him or anything; I just like his music.’

  “Most of his fans would say that they fancied him too.’

“Not me.’

“Iris returned with two pints of lager and lime then sat down next to Margaret.’

“Hi I’m Simon I hope that you don’t mind me asking you to sit with me Iris.’

“Not at all, are you alone?’

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