The River

"The River" tells the story of Connie Francis Boothe who struggles to bring up three children in the damp living conditions on Howdon Road, North Shields in the 1950's Her Husband Richard is out of work and she is nearly seven weeks in arrears with her rent and eviction is looming. She has already pawned two of her mother's rings in order to feed her hungry children. Richard is a bit of a jack the lad who has ducked and dived all his life as a labourer - then he meets Beverly Madison a tall beautiful girl who is seven years younger than him but has had a crush on him since she was only fourteen. he begins an affair until after six months his wife finds out. How will Connie cope on her own after her husband leaves. follow this story of rags to riches - The River is one to read.


6. 6

“Can I go first then mam said Thomas so I can go out after.

“Alright but no racing through the pages or I will make you start again. They all went to the box and pulled out a book. Thomas picked up a book with a dark green cover called “The Old Man and The Sea” by Earnest Hemmingway’

Thomas opened the first page reluctantly until he read the first line. “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty four days now without taking a fish.”

“Wow,’ eighty four days.’

“Read on son urged his mother and Thomas needed no prompting he carried on and quickly each page disappeared until he had finished the first chapter and was about to start the next.

“Now you see how this old man lived in poverty and the only means available to him was to catch a fish that he could sell to make some money. That is what being poor is like and I don’t want any of you ever to be poor again do you here me.’

“Now tomorrow, you can read to us Alan.

Connie mashed the potato, onion, and the corned beef together in a large brown mixing bowl that was her mothers before her the inside was white but over the years tiny cracks in the inside began to appear. It was still usable but you could tell that it was old. Spooning the mixture onto the plate she placed the pastry topping then cut away the excess again. She quickly used finger and thumb to fold in the edges of the pie then cut to slits in the top and egg basted the top before placing it into the oven. The remaining mashed potato would be served with the pie with cabbage and carrots and some bisto gravy.



Richard finished his first shift and Tony Atkins passed him a sack full of food.

“Thanks said Richard as they made their way out of the gatehouse Tony passed over another sack. The gateman winked and they were let out of the yard where he walked up the bank towards the gas yard works then along Howdon Road to his house.

He opened the door and the smell of cooking hit his nostrils immediately his brain began working overtime as he unbuttoned the heavy coat he was wearing and removed his cap. He hung them on the door leading into the scullery then asked where the food had come from.

Sit down love, the dinner won’t be long.’

“I asked you a bloody question said Richard as he dropped the brown sack on the scullery floor and stared into his wife’s eyes.’

“I’m sorry Richard but I had to go.’

“Go where Richard demanded.’

“I, I went to the dole because we had nothing in the house and the children were hungry.’

“You went begging for money down the dole.’

“It’s not begging we are entitled to it according to them.’

“What will my mates say when they find out that my wife went asking for charity?’

“It’s not charity Richard, the law has changed now you can get help these days if you are out of work. They paid the arrears on my rent and gave us enough to live off until you get paid.

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