' 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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His wife Anne was a club regular on a Monday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. She liked a game of bingo and would sit with half a glass of lemonade all night.’ Bob waxed lyrical about his days in the navy. He had a vast knowledge of the different countries he had been to and they were many. Bob liked to stand in his same spot each day where he could see everyone coming and going. He knew all the bums and hangers on who came into the Howdon Social Club better known as the legion. Every day the same crowds would come in. they didn’t work but always seemed to have pots of money. Bob was wise enough to know that they were selling drugs on the premises. 


Elsie got back to the barber shop as Jimmy was finishing off. He dusted her father down then gave him some kitchen roll.

“Thanks Jimmy.’ said Elsie as she took some money from her purse plus a tip to pay for the haircut. Jimmy came out as he always did and helped her to get her father back into the car; he folded the wheelchair then waited until Elsie opened the boot and Jimmy lifted the chair in for her.’

“See you in two weeks George said Jimmy as he closed the door after fastening George’s safety belt.

Elsie waved then pulled away and headed along Tynemouth Road. Lucy her dog sat in her basket on the back seat asleep as she came to the traffic lights. The Berwick was open and people were going in as the lights changed and she carried on turning left into the car park Elsie pulled up outside the door. Fred the doorman knew that George came on a Tuesday and Thursday and came out to help. Once they had George into his wheelchair Fred opened both doors so she could just wheel her father in. Barbara said hello to them both as they went in. Could I have a pint of Scotch Barbara please, said Elsie as she moved a chair out so that he father could wheel his chair in. Aidan and Hud were on hand to take him to the toilet if need be. Elsie took hold of a beer mat and set her father’s pint on it then gave him the change from what was left from the twenty pounds after paying for his bets, shopping and his haircut.

“I will pick you up around three o’clock then dad.’

“Don’t be any later than half past.’

Elsie left the club then walked next door to the shop and got her competition magazines that she liked to do to pass the time away.’ She got into the car and drove off and now she could relax. Elsie usually took the time to have a relaxing bath and shampoo her hair. Her father had a walk in shower that he used. It had a special seat that he could sit on whilst she used the shower hose to wash her father down with. She found the procedure both embarrassing and degrading. A daughter shouldn’t have to bathe her own father. But this was what she was forced to do and had been doing for nine years.  Once home Elsie went into the house taking Lucy’s bed with her in it back into the house. Then went to the converted shower and bathroom and ran the hot tap. She squeezed some bubble bath into the water then went to get towels. It was so nice just to have a few hours to herself. Lucy knew that Elsie went into the bath on Thursday afternoon and instinctively wandered into the bathroom and lay down on the bath mat. When the bath was filled Elsie placed her clean clothes onto a chair ready to put on and undressed then slid into the soothing water. Lucy was hankering to come in with her but Elsie said no firmly and Lucy lay back down on the mat and sighed.

Elsie washed quickly and then shampooed her hair. She had to get it dried before going to pick up her father and she wanted to do the competitions in the first of her five magazines before that. Once she was finished Elsie dried herself with a large blue bath towel and then put on her dressing gown she wrapped a towel around her head 

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