The Street Urchin

The Street Urchin is set in North shields and tells of young Billy Phelps a promising young footballer- his father is a trawlerman and has no time for his children or his wife when he meets a Norwegian girl and begins an affair.
The impact of the the marriage break up and triumph over adversity are told in this heartwarming story.


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Billy and his brothers went back to see to their lines when the ship had sailed slowly up the river to Newcastle.

Billy had caught a decent sized plaice on his line. He unhooked it and banged it on the head with a piece of wood before he put it in his bag.

Alan and Johns bait had been stripped.

They baited up again then cast out.

The men they saw last time came and were setting up their rods.

“Hello youngun’s have you caught many today?

“Just the one Mr, a big flattie; do you want to see it?

“Yes give us a look at it.

Billy removed the fish from the bag and held it up for the men to see.

“It is a decent plaice too it must be at least two and a half pounds.

“What bait are you using?

 “Mackerel strip said Billy; do you want some as we have loads?

“Go on then it will come in handy for a cocktail.

“What said John?

“You use three different baits on one hook; look I will show you, come up here where my rod is.”

“My names Simon by the way what’s your names “This is John he’s the youngest, then there’s Alan and then me; I’m Billy.”

Simon showed them how to thread a wragg worm and then add a lug worm before finally adding the mackerel strip.

“Now comes the good part he took some elastic thread from his Shakespeare tackle box and wound it around the mackerel. “ Now that is what we call a cocktail.”

Why three baits Simon?

 “Well fish are strange creatures lads they use smell to locate food just like us.

You mean when you can smell the “Chippy” down the road?

“Exactly, this bait is like fish, chips, and mushy peas to a fish who can smell it from a long way off. We put big baits on to attract the bigger fish.

Simon showed Billy how to cast a rod.

Wow! Look how far out you got.”

 Have you ever used a fishing rod?

“No just hand lines.”

 “Look come down next Saturday around this time, we all have rods and reels that we used when we first started fishing. They are just gathering dust in my garage.

“Would you like them?

“Yes we sure would Simon.”

“Alright then I will bring them next week and I will teach you all how to cast properly.”

 “You will be proper fishermen then won’t you?

“Now you must promise me to look after them mind because I did and they have lasted all this time.

“We promise Simon.”

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