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.


47. 47

Russell went to visit his parents and his sister Jackie he pulled up in the jaguar and all the local kids came to have a look at the classy sports car. “Now there’s fifty pence for the ones who will look after my car and make sure no one touches it.

“I’ll do it Russell said Billy Bell the biggest in the group.’

“Right then I will pay you when I come out in an hour or so.’

Russell went into the down stairs house knowing that his car would be safe.’

His father was not with Rowley’s coal anymore; he was now working in a television shop in Bedford Street. Since the re-modernisation of all the houses in what was now called the Meadowell Estate every house had a gas fire. There was no call for coal anymore and the little scam that he had going for over thirty years whereby he sold coal cheaply to his neighbours was no more.

Jackie Howard had only two years to work before he retired. He found it hard at first going to work each day in a suit and wearing a tie instead of a donkey jacket and hobnailed boots but things were changing; some for the better and some not he told his son. When Russell was moving into his luxury apartment next year he was going to let his mother and father have his place in Tynemouth. The maisonette was nearly paid for from his bonuses he had made on the deals he had secured.

Dianne now worked in a flower shop and his sister was now working as a secretary where he worked when he spoke with his boss James Crawshank who found her a position. She loved the job and worked very hard staying late when Russell needed her. She had been working there just over a year when one of the junior Architects asked her out on a date. Daniel Matthews was from a nice family in Whitley bay. Russell had already warned him that he would have him to deal with if he got his sister in any trouble.’

Daniel respected Russell and wanted to get on at Maidstone’s who were becoming the leading Architects in the country.

It came as no surprise when Daniel asked his sister to marry him and she accepted.

The wedding was held in St Edwards Church with over two hundred guests attending. The Grand Hotel was doing the reception which Russell had got cheaply because he knew the owner who was also interested in investing in the New Tyne project. Mrs Belsham had a place on the main table beside all of the family.’ She was now walking with a stick because her hips were troubling her with arthritis.

Russell invited Annabella but she hadn’t replied.

He sat and watched as Daniel danced with his sister and he knew that she would now be taken care of because Daniels parents had bought them a house on Ilfracomb Gardens. It was getting on for nearly six o’clock when he saw her, walking in looking as beautiful as ever. “Annabella you look beautiful; you’re not meant to upstage the bride you know.’

He went over to her and kissed her on both cheeks then took her by the hand and led her to a seat and asked if she would like a dry white wine.’

“You have a retentive memory Russell.’ Excuse me I won’t be a moment said Russell as he brought over a bottle of dry white in a bucket of fresh ice.’ Taking the bottle opener he carefully uncorked the wine and poured Annabella a glass out. He couldn’t keep his eyes from her face as she asked him how he was getting on.’

“Are you not seeing anyone she asked?’

“No he replied blushing.’

“What about you?’

“Well there was this guy called Anton who fancied me; he was a ski instructor and all the young girls fell for his charm and good looks.’


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