A Tunnel of Darkness

A miner from Ashington discovers his wife's infidelity. left alone he faces an uncertain future when the pit is set for closure. the strikes of 1969 force him to relocate to South Yorkshire where he meets a young school teacher. who pushes the young man to make a better life for himself.


7. 7

There would be redundancy payments for those over fifty five years of age; the rest of you will be offered work else where.

Johnny shouted; so we are being asked to relocate or lose our jobs?

“That would be the case brothers.

How far away though; shouted another member from the back of the room?

There have been three collieries mentioned; the South Yorkshire Coalfield,

Bentley Coal Mine and Craghead in Country Durham.

“Would we be expected to work for less or would they pay us the going rate someone else asked?

“No you would actually be paid more to move.”

“Will we be re-housed and who will pay for that move said Ged?

“All moving expenses will be covered.”

“There is a new estate being built and there are a lot of facilities on the site and you will be offered first chance of the new houses.

“Woodhorn is splitting up generations of families here said Gordon Paris; our grand fathers, and our fathers were all born here and worked in the pit.”

“The choice will be yours brothers; it’s either the move or dole.

“Can I have a show of hands for the proposals please?

The men raised their hands reluctantly.

 “Those against the proposals?

“The older men put up their hands.

“The motion is carried gentlemen.


The meeting came to a close and the men began to disperse. Ged had a decision to make; he wouldn’t get redundancy, he also wanted a fresh start away from his wife.

He would tell his wife she could move back into his house once he was gone he would get his name changed on the rent book as it was in his name.

He would only allow her back here if she signed the divorce papers.

Ged walked up to the top of the street then got the bus back home.

When he got off he went to the fish and chip shop to get himself a meal to eat.

He opened the door and picked up the keys his wife had pushed through the letterbox then went into the scullery. He sat at the table opened the parcel of cod and chips then shook some Heinz tomato ketchup on them and began to eat.

He thought to himself that he would have to go shopping for some food tomorrow as there was nothing in the house but two tins of garden peas and a tin of tomatoes.

He would go to the market and buy some fresh vegetables as they were cheaper there.

He could also see his mate who had an allotment and buy some eggs from him.

He would buy some bacon and a cheap cut of meat for his dinner on Sunday.

Living on his own was going to be hard but he would manage.

Ged went up stairs after he had eaten his meal. He stripped the bed first and changed the sheets and pillow cases. He brought the soiled sheets down stairs and put them into the twin tub washing machine. He looked in the cupboard under the sink unit and found a packet of Fairy Snow and read the instructions on how much to put in.


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