You Never Know

Marty McGarry, has dreamt of winning the pools all his life his wife is forever the pessimist until one day it happens- Marty becomes the biggest ever winner in 1969. When the press find out the couple are hounded and flee to America. does money really bring happiness?


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Marty cycled to work most mornings unless it was raining heavily or there was bad snow and ice; then he would take the bus.

Marty lived in a three bed roomed council house in Oakwood Avenue. The neighbours all knew each other John Colquhoun and his sister Anne lived directly over the road

Mrs Bell lived upstairs. The path had four families living in each in close proximity to each other. The coal man, the milk man, and the rent man, all came to the street during the week. There were a total of 60 families living in the one street. The houses all had just been modernised and now they all had bathrooms and indoor toilets.

Every family got together to scrub their steps and paths on Friday during the summer months. Each family took turns when there was heavy snow to clear the paths. It was a very close knit community and everyone looked out for each other in times of difficulty. No-one was ashamed to go and ask a neighbour if they had a spare half a loaf or a pan of soup; many men worked down at Smiths Docks Ship Repair Yard in the town. They weren’t always guaranteed work and would often be laid off on what was termed C9. Everyone knew how hard it was in the late fifties to make ends meet.

Large families struggled to put a meal on the table. The women had to be resourceful and make every penny count. Often it meant going without. Christmas time was one of those times when children ended up with one small present an apple and an orange; sometimes they were given a bag of monkey nuts.


It was April and the weather was showery but Marty had a waterproof coat and bottoms. He wore rubber gum boots that fit over his shoes to keep them dry.

Cycling down West Percy Road he freewheeled down the bank until he reached Ralph Gardner High School where he went as an eleven year old. He remembered some of his teachers with affection namely Mr Grundy, his metal work teacher Hector Heath, “Pop Wray, and “Big Daddy Lawrence. He passed the shop on the corner where children from the school would go into during the break. Then there was “Charlie’s shop on the other corner where the older boys would go and buy Woodbine cigarettes for thrupence each (3d).

Turning right he cycled down Coach Lane which led onto Saville Street. He climbed off the saddle and glided onto the pavement on one pedal before pulling the breaks.

He propped the bike up under the front window before going into the shop.

“Morning Steve said Marty as he walked into the back of the shop and changed.

When he came out he put on his white pork pie hat and blue and white striped apron.

There was a whole lamb that had been brought out of the chiller and Marty set about carving the joints from it. He got the tools he would need to butcher the lamb. There were two boning knives, a cleaver, and a saw. Then he brought out some meat hooks.

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