' 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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for take-off. The thrusters sounded as the plane began to pick up speed down the runway until it finally left the ground. In a matter of seconds they were over 300 feet above the airport. The landing gear was put away and the plane climbed higher and higher into the clouds. Their journey had begun, there was no turning back now as Tom looked out of the window fascinated. The silky looking clouds looked like giant pieces of cotton wool as the aircraft levelled off then cruised along at over 350 miles per hour; although it didn’t feel like they were travelling that fast.

The air hostesses dressed in green with a yellow cravat began to get the lunches ready.



 It was raining as Elsie Higginbottom drove her father to the barber shop on Churchill Street.

“What we going this way for I want to go to the club.’

“Dad you asked me to take you to the barber’s to get your hair cut.’

“No I didn’t, I only got it cut last week.’

“Dad that was four weeks ago.’

“Don’t be daft woman, I get my hair cut every fortnight.’

“You missed last time because I had to take you to the hospital remember.’ I have “been asking you ever since if you want to go and get a haircut.’

It’s not pensioner’s day today is it?’

“Yes dad,’ it’s Thursday.’

“I go to the club on a Thursday.’

“I know you do dad, that’s why I have come out earlier so you can get your hair cut then I will drop you off at the club.’

“What about my bets; you won’t forget to put my horses on will you.’

“No dad I won’t, I do them every day don’t I.’

“Here’s twenty quid, and I want my change.’

“Dad I’m hardly likely to rob you; is there anything else you need from the shop because I’m going in to get my magazines.’

“Aye,’ get me a couple of steak pies from Hoult’s pork shop.’

“Do you want peas with them and a few chips for your tea?’

“Aye,’ that’ll do.’

Elsie parked the car then got out and came around to the passenger side to help her father out. Elsie’s back was hurting her this morning. The years of lifting her father from his chair into a wheel chair then to the toilet. Holding her father to undress him for bed and then put clothes on him to go out had taken their toll on Elsie’s spine.

Elsie lifted the folded wheelchair out of the boot which was some weight to start with. She pushed it to the front then put on both brakes, she opened the car door and asked her father to put his arm around her shoulder whilst she lifted him out of the car and into his wheelchair. The pain shot up her back to her neck and Elsie cried out in agony.’

“Don’t be bleating like a sheep in my ear girl, just take me to the bloody barber’s, I want to go to get the club before closing time you know.’

“Elsie bit her tongue and just shook her head. She pushed her father to the door of Jimmy’s barber’s and he stopped cutting someone’s hair to open the door for her.’

“Hello George,’ where have you been; I haven’t seen you in a while.’

“I was here not long ago; what you on about.’

Elsie explained to Jimmy Johnson that she’d taken her father for a check-up at the hospital and that was why he hadn’t come to get his hair cut.’

“Do you want a cup of tea George whilst you are waiting?’

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