Adapt and Recover

"Adapt and Recover" which tells about two boys growing up in the 1970's in which was still known as the Ridges Estate. Michael and Lizzy Fox live in Oakwood Avenue they have friends who live across the road; Connie and Bob Harris. Both of their sons Roger and Ronnie play together and go to the same school. Infact they are inseparable. This story takes you through their childhood together and their desire to be Royal Marine Commandos after Lizzy, Rogers mother buys Roger an Action man toy for Christmas. As young boys they join the Army Cadets until they reach the age of eighteen where they sign up to take on the hardest training regime in the world. see the boys grow into men as they are sent to fight in the Gulf War in 1991. This is a story of friendship and comradery. one that will last a lifetime.


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his day with his work mates who like him had been made redundant. They talked of days gone by in the Robin Hood Inn.

When the pub closed he came home he argued with his wife.

It was if he was blaming her for losing his job.

Lizzy Fox was only a little woman she worked in Days fruit shop during the day.

Her boss Alan would ask how she was as Liz had become withdrawn and very quiet. Alan kept his mouth shut as it was none of his business; he hated domestic violence.

Lizzy was well known on the Meadow Well Estate as both her parents were brought up there in the days when it was better known as the Ridges. Built on farm land the houses were built in 1934 to accommodate the growing population of North Shields after the First World War. Many houses in the little fishing town lacked the amenities that modern houses had now. There were no baths inside; a galvanised one would hang outside along with outside toilets known as the “Netty.

Sanitation and dampness saw off many families due to disease. The council decided to build a new Estate to try to combat the problem. The reputation of the Ridges Folk soon grew and not for the better; the Estate gained notoriety as a place to avoid. The stigma attached to the Estate made it very difficult to find work of any note and you had to drag yourself up from the gutter in which to get yourself a decent job that paid enough to keep a large family. It wasn’t uncommon for families to have thirteen or fourteen children. Many died before they reached their teens due to diseases such as scarlet fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and pneumonia; rickets and polio where also common place and many children walked the streets without shoes or clean clothes to wear. The many hardships and poverty drew the community together and everyone tried to help one another. During the on set of the Second World War many husbands were killed in action and the women were left to bring up these large families alone and without financial support. The women worked not only along side of the men during the day but when they came home as well. Many women including Lizzy and her mother worked on the fish quay gutting and packing herring. The money they received barely kept a family and it was only when the arrival of Family Allowance in 1948 after the Bevin report that families got some money to help them through the difficult times. However this still this wasn’t enough to support a large family who had to be clothed and fed. Women used all manner of means to try and make money. They took in washing, did house cleaning for people who were well off; as well as doing a full time job on the Fish Quay. Lizzy was one of eleven children and was considered very bright. She attended King Edwards School then went onto Linskill High School. Leaving at the age of fourteen she began working in Welch’s toffee factory in the late fifties. She worked there until she met and married Michael who was only just out of his time as an apprentice riveter. They got together one night in the Percy Main Club after her friend Ivy Bridgett introduced her to Michael who was sitting with his family. Saturday night was always a big family occasion and those old enough would go with their parents to a social club where they spent a few hours listening to a comedian or some singer or group. The clubs were packed in those days and the beer cheap. Not that Lizzy drank much; she would sit with a bottle of Double Maxim which lasted her all night. They played a game of bingo during the break.

She liked Michael straight away he had a Teddy boy haircut like Marty Wilde.

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