The House Across The Road

This is a true story about a strange old looking woman who lives on her own in North Shields- she befriends a disabled young boy.


7. 7


Michael Murray was a thin middle aged man with a bald pate; he wore a tanned coloured working over coat that shop keepers wore to keep their clothes clean. His wife disliked my mother who always put kisses on the notes she gave me when I had to ask for “Tick.

I had been waiting ten minutes or so when Michael served me, he was surprised when I paid him in cash. I said nothing and left the shop. The bottles were banging around in the bag as I walked and I hoped that they wouldn’t smash even though they were close together. Walking down Oakwood Avenue I reached the old ladies house knocked on the living room door after I had let myself in then went inside.


‘Did you manage?


‘Yes, I got it all.’


‘You’re a good boy, thank you.’


‘Would you like me to put them in the larder for you?


‘Would you, you’re so kind.’


Again I headed off to the kitchen my shoes resonating off the wooden floorboards as I made my way to her kitchen and turned on the light before opening the larder and placing her shopping neatly on the shelves. I looked out of the window and noticed that she still had an outside toilet before closing the door and turning out the light.


‘Right I’m done I will see you later I said and was about to leave when she said ‘wait a minute.’


She held out her hand and gave me a shilling and told me to come again the following week. I thanked her as I picked up my bag of herring was going when she called out.


‘By the way my name is Mrs Matthews but you can call me Lillian.’


Okay Lillian I said if you ever need anything I’m just across the road and if I’m out just tell my mother and she will get me to come over.’


My mother asked where I had been and I explained about the lady across the road.

I sat down with my brothers after I had placed the bag with herring into the stone sink for my mam and we had dinner. Mam had made mince and dumplings, we wolfed down the meal. Then my mam said that she’d made a home made rice pudding for us.

We all had some then went out to play football using the lampposts as the goals and a smaller ball so that it wouldn’t bang against the neighbours windows.



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