' 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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“I see you are both currently employed.’

“Yes said Margaret but Remploy where I work is boring and the wage does not reflect the work I do. I know that I’m capable of better.’

“If you were to work here Margaret where would you like to work?’ There are many jobs in this store.’

“I would like to work on the tills but I am willing to work anywhere within the store.’

“What about you Iris.’

“Like my friend here I am prepared to work anywhere.’

“Do you have any retail experience?’

No Mrs Dundas, but I have lots of experience dealing with the general public.’

“I see.’ How long have you been in your present employ?

“Since I left school.’ So seven years.’

“What about you Margaret?’

I’ve been there too long Mrs Dundas, I’m sick of being exploited because I have Down’s syndrome.’ I am not stupid.’

“Well,’ we do not discriminate here Margaret and if you prove capable you can work anywhere in this store.’ When would you be able to start?’

“We would both have to give a weeks’ notice if that’s alright with you.’

“That’s fine now the wages differ from job to job here. We will start you stacking shelves to begin with then we will find where you are best suited. The wage is forty six pounds per week to begin with but there are bonuses here as you will find out. You will be entitled to a 10% discount on all goods in this store as part of your wage.’ So we will see you both next Saturday morning at 8 a.m.’

“Thank you so much said Margaret excitedly.’

The two girls left the office and then walked back the way that they had come.

They looked for Margaret’s mother who now had a large shopping trolley with food in it. She looked at the two girls as they came towards her. Margaret stuck her thumbs up and her mother smiled.

“Well done both of you; that didn’t take long.’

“I know, but she’d already seen our CV said Iris, so she knew. I think she’d done some checking beforehand.’

So when do you both start?’

Next Saturday morning mam; we are going to be on the shop floor to begin with until they find where we are best suited. Mrs Dundas says there are lots of jobs here in this store so one will suit us.

Rose pushed the trolley to the checkout and placed her shopping onto the conveyor belt as Margaret watched intently at the other end as the girl on the till tapped in all the prices of the goods then the total amount came up.

She pressed a button and then the till draw opened. Margaret worked out her change then asked her mother if she was right.’

“Spot on Margaret.’

“Can we go get a coffee in the café mam?’

“Yes, good idea.’

“Why don’t we pack the shopping away in the car then come back again said Margaret.’ Margaret asked her mother for the car keys and then told her mam to get the coffees. Iris went to help Margaret and when they were out of earshot asked if she was going to tell her mother.’

“Yes,’ of course I am Iris; I want to share this flat with you. She looked at Iris then asked her if she’d changed her mind.’

“No Margaret I want this more than anything.’

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