' 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.


90. 90

“Did you eat the food that I put you up?’

“I ate one of the buns and the cake; the lads ate the rest.’

“Steak pie, chips and peas for tea then is it?’

  “Yes dad, are you hungry?’

“I could ate a scabby horse.’ Your hair is wet where have you been?’

I jumped into the bath dad and then Rose was on the phone so I didn’t have time to dry it.

“You will get your death wor Elsie.’

 Her father always called her Elsie when he was in a good fettle.’ She smiled at him then turned into her street. She went to the back of the car and pulled out his Wheelchair and then went through the procedure of getting her father into it.

Her back had eased a little with the hot bath. She pushed her father up the ramp they had made for him then let themselves in.

“Cup of tea dad.’

Aye, gan on then wor Elsie, three sugars.’

Elsie parked him into his spot and put on the television for him. Soon the paper lad would bring the Evening Chronicle and he would sit and read it from cover to cover.

Especially the late racing results.’ The health visitor would come around eight o’clock to help get him into bed. The nurse would come in the morning and late at night because she couldn’t lift her father into bed and it took two of them to do it. They had moved his bed down stairs now so he could watch the portable TV in his room. She would come down stairs at midnight to switch it off.  When her father was in a bad mood he would call on her to keep switching the set over until he found something he liked. Elsie brought in her father’s tea then heard the paper plop onto the passage floor and went to get it.’

“There you go dad she said handing him the paper. I’m just going to peel some spuds for the tea. She bent down and lit the oven with a Swan Vesta match then set the pies onto a tray. Using a tin opener she opened the peas. Then took out the chip pan that had beef dripping in it and lit the gas under it as she then chipped the potatoes. Elsie then washed and dried them on a tea towel, ready to place into the hot fat once it was hot enough. The rain had completely stopped now so she opened the kitchen window to let out the steam. She would tell her father that she was going away in a few weeks’ time to Bamburgh to stay in a cottage with the dog whilst he was in a good mood.

The fat sizzled in the pan as she added the basket of chips. Turning down the gas under them Elsie put in the pies to heat up then heated up the peas on a very low heat.

 She looked down the street at some girls playing bays they had some chalk which they had meticulously drawn the numbers on each paving slab. They hopped and skipped over each of them as they sang a rhyme that she remembered when she was young. Her eyes looked across at Iris’ house wondering how she was coping after telling her parents; Rose had told her that she was going to drop it on them when she got back from her interview. She saw John Deyton returning from wherever he’d been. He gave his next door neighbours little girl some money when an ice cream van came around and she thanked him then ran across the road to Mr Whippy’s. He watched her as she asked the ice cream man for a mivvy. He turned when he saw that she had got safely back across the road and had removed the paper wrapping on her ice lolly and was sucking away on it. He entered the house and it was extremely quiet.

“What’s up did someone die in here he asked.’  

“No our Iris just came back from the interview.’

“Did she get a start then?’

“Yes, she’s got a start and she’s moving out next week too.

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