The girl next door

Maxie Forster is a binman who carries out ashes from the coal fires of North Shields the holes in his leather soled boots are letting in water from the rain and he cannot afford to go and take the boots to the cobbler shop in Billy Mill. He tries repairing them with some old lino and cuts the shape out with a stanley knife and glues them with some evo stick then places cardboard in the insides. Looking over the road on his round he spots a family being evicted by the bailiffs - the wagon is loaded with furniture and the woman and her five children stand in the rain as the barrow with everything she owns is pushed down the street.


30. 30

put out by the home owner as well as their own bins. He was more or less finished his round by lunch time as the machine in the new dust cart crushed the rubbish bags before taking them to the land fill site in East Howdon. The seagulls had found a new source of food and swarmed around the wagon as its contents were emptied. Rats were another visitor to the site and they wondered around unafraid by human activity. They made high pitched squeaking noises as they scurried about.

The smell of rotting food and waste could be smelled by all the locals who complained to the council about it. They told them that a new incinerator was being built in the Percy Main area near the trading estate.




Maxie got into bed with his wife and they made love together for the first time in a long while.

Shirley lit up a cigarette from a pack of Players Superkings; they now cost one pound fifty one a packet and she smoked twenty per day. That was £10.57p per week.

“She reckoned that she earned them for all the work that she did in the home.’ Her husband was now earning one hundred and forty pounds a week. But the cost of living had risen dramatically; plus there were lots of new taxes introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government. A Community Tax was introduced said to cover the cost of taking away waste from your home; which included the cost of the fire service, police, and ambulance services.

There were also levies on certain goods that you bought as well. So the wage was no better than it had been when Maxie started on the bins all those years ago. The only difference was he was now driving the wagons not emptying the bins.’

 He had got himself a second hand Vauxhall which he would be able to travel to work in now that the depot would be moving to the trading estate in Percy Main.


June 1969

Russell Howard sailed through his driving test that Friday lunch time

Mrs Belsham was delighted when she found out. He came dressed in a suit and tie; he informed Mrs Belsham of his promotion.

“You are moving up in the world Russell and will continue to do so as long as you keep both feet firmly on the ground. “ Now here is the keys to the Jaguar; look after her she is yours now.’

“Thank you Mrs Belsham; where am I to keep her I couldn’t leave her where I live because it would be dismantled in a night.’

You can leave her here until you buy a place of your own.’

You are a man with a good wage and a good future; you could get a mortgage easily.’

Leave it to me young lad and I will make some enquiries for you.’

“Would you Mrs Belsham?’

“Come by my house tomorrow and you can drive me to D. Hill & Carter’s estate agency.’

“Thank you Mrs Belsham.’

“You had better not keep the young lady waiting Russell.’

Russell opened the garage doors then drove the shining Jaguar up to Annabella’s house.

He rang the doorbell and Annabella’s mother answered.’

“Hello Russell, please come in Annabella will be with you presently.’

“Would you like a drink?’

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