' 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.


75. 75

That’s great.’

“There is something I would like to ask you Paul if you don’t mind.’

“Ask me anything you like.’

“How long was it before you told your parents that you were gay?’

“I was eighteen I think; I knew I was different from other boys at a very early age.’

I hung around with boys all the time and you know, experimented a little with girls too, but I was certain that I was gay after that. “I came out” as it is called now on Christmas Day. We were all sitting around the table and a comment was made about Larry Grayson. “I just blurted it out that I was homosexual which nearly choked my father who was eating a piece of turkey at the time.’ He coughed and spluttered all over his napkin whilst my mother patted him in between his shoulders. When he’d recovered he just looked at me as if I was an alien who had just been transported to earth and was sitting at his dinner table.’

“You’re kidding me aren’t you son he asked.’

“No father I am not.’

My dad just got up and left the table saying nothing. ‘It was my mother who supported me and seemed to understand more than my dad did.’

“I think it hit home that his only son would not father a child and it would be my sister Clara who would bare him a grandchild, but the name Atherton would cease.’

It was a long time before my father accepted who I am and told me as long as I was discrete about my relationships he would be alright with it.’ As you know homosexuality between men is illegal until the age of twenty one so I had to hide the fact that I was a gay man for three years.’ When I met Simon who I adore by the way, he may be a little older but he knows how to treat a man if you know what I mean.’ He is not the jealous kind whereas I am.’

“So where do you both work asked Iris?’

“I’m a solicitor for Crutes said Simon. ‘And Paul is an architect; we met when he was drawing up some deeds for a property developer.’

“Do you work for a firm asked Margaret?’

“No I am freelance.’

“I have a master’s degree in architectural design.’

“Wow! Clever as well as handsome; this man has it all Simon.’

“I have to remind myself that I am one lucky man said Simon.’

 Just then it was Paul’s turn to get up and Paul walked to the stage to the applause.’

He took the microphone then sat on a seat and lowered a mic to the guitar and another to his mouth.

“Good evening everyone here is a little acoustic version of a tune for the two ladies who are kindly sitting with Simon my partner and I.’ “It’s called “I don’t want to talk about It.’ and it was recorded by Rod Stewart. Paul played the intro on the guitar and began to sing.’ Paul had a sweet voice it sounded different to the Rod Stewart gravelled voice version but both Margaret and Iris liked it.’

They listened intently to the words as Paul sang. Paul was very good in fact he had a great recording voice and had made a few records and a cassette tape Simon told the two girls.

“He should record this one said Iris as Margaret went to the bar and brought more drinks.’ When Paul finished there was a generous round of applause.’

Paul returned to his seat and sat back down.

“You sing and play very well Paul I would love you to record that version for Margaret and I. I will pay you of course.’

“Forget it, I have my own recording studio that I built myself.’

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