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.


40. 40

“Don’t you worry about that mother I will take dads shirts and smalls home and wash and iron them.’ You just get well and then they will let you go home.’

“Do me a favour will you love asked Shirley.’

“Anything what is it?’

“Would you let Sarah Miller know that I won’t be at the bingo tomorrow afternoon?’

“Of course I will; I will call in on my way home.’

I haven’t had time to get anything for your tea tonight either.’

“Look the fish shop is just around the corner love; I will go there.’

“The rent will need paying as well Catherine.’

“I will take care of that mother don’t worry.’

“I hope that they let me out of here soon.’

“What make the most of it Shirley love; it’s like a hotel in here with everyone running around after you.’

“The food isn’t bad either I hear.’

“I don’t know about that I missed dinner so I will have to wait until tea time to find out.’

“Do you think if I jump into bed with you they will give me my tea an aal?’

“Don’t be daft.’

Catherine and her father stayed until just after four o’clock; Maxie said he that he would be back at seven that night with clean things and toiletries.’

Catherine said that she would drop her father off then go home to change and would pick him up around six forty five.’

It’s alright Cath’ I have my own car at home.’

It was the first time that her father had been in his daughter’s car. It was a blue and white mini cooper. Nice car he said as he got in. It is very economical on petrol.

“Mine is a diesel and I can fill up my Gerry can at the depot so it saves me a few quid.’

“Dad you will get done for stealing.’

“Everyone does it Catherine; even the boss at the depot; so don’t fret.’

She turned right at the traffic lights and drove along Albion Road then turned left at Chirton driving along Front Street then turned left down Bridge Road and into Briar wood.

The redevelopment programme had started and many of the houses were being updated.’

It wouldn’t be long before they would be doing his street. Jackie dropped him off outside of Sarah Miller’s house and told her father that she would go and collect his washing and then see him later at the hospital.

Maxie knocked at Sarah’s door and she answered soon after.’

“Hello Maxie how’s things?’

“Not Good Sarah, I’ve come to tell you that Shirley is in hospital.’

“What has she done wi herself noo?’

“It’s not what she’s done Sarah, she has cancer.’

“Oh no, I’m sorry Max; poor woman must be beside hersel. ‘

“They haven’t told her yet Sarah; they took her in with a haemorrhage.’

“They can treat hor though can’t they, a mean they have advanced so much these days with medicine and aal.’

“We don’t know they are still doing tests at the moment.’

“Is it alright if a gan up t’ see hor then.’

“Well it would be good if you could go up tomorrow as I will be at work.’


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