The Ridgalite

The Rigalite focuses on the People who lived in Marina Avenue in the Ridges Estate in North Shields. Eddie Saint owns the Roaring venture a trawler moored at the fish quay- his crew work hard and play hard - one of them is Ron Lee a young lad who has aspirations of becoming a rock star. He was in the Royal Navy on board the HMS Illustrious as a trained chef before joining the trawler boat. The lads all tell him that his songs are crap because they don't wan't to lose a good cook. The story also tells of two rival shop keepers- Ronnie Hancock and Billy Burston have been each others throats for years- read the comic antics of both men. "The Ridgalite is an insite of life in the early sixties on an an estate with high unemployment and little hope - where every day is a constant struggle. There are some though who prove that if you have hope then dreams can come true.


30. 30

“Thanks; yer haven’t got a couple of tabs an aal have yer.’

 “Come over t my hoose an aal make us a cuppa tea said Minnie.

Be over in a minute when a hang out wor Joe’s shirts said Doreen’


“Come out here lad said Taffy Smith as he caught a boy chewing gum in his lesson.’

The fifty nine year old Welshman had taught English for over thirty years at Ralph Gardiner high school.

“What are you doing chewing in my lesson boy?’

“I wasn’t chewing said Terry Matthews; I had something stuck in my teeth; I think it was a bit of wood from my pencil sir.’

“Don’t they feed you at home boy?’

 “Yes sir; but it’s a habit I have sir; I chew pencils.’


 “Well I have a habit too lad; it’s a nasty one, hold out your hand and I will show you.’

Matthews held out his hand and taffy brought down the cane on it three times.’

“Now if you want me to get out of my habit don’t chew in my classroom.’

The boys all laughed as Matthew’s walked back to his desk holding his stinging fingers.

“Right can anyone tell me what a simile is?’

Joe Darby stuck up his hand.’

“Yes Darby what is it?’

A simile is a comparison sir, like say “he was as brave as a lion.’

 “Good answer Darby, that it a perfect description.’ Now I want all to write me a story using a simile.’

Taffy sat he looked at his watch; it was thirty minutes until break where he would get a cup of coffee and a smoke from his pipe.

Matthews sat and wrote “His cane came down “swift as a peregrine falcon” upon my hand because I was chewing the end of my pencil. Nibbling the end of it gave me some comfort and it helped me to think. The only draw back was before the end of each lesson I’d eaten the pencil away. My mother calls me a beaver because like the furry animal I chew wood. God forbid if I was to start building a dam in my classroom. I can see trees falling down all around me as I bite into the trunks; knawing away at the soft bark and into the wood beneath. The taste of it upon my tongue has a taste all of its own. I began chewing on wood when I bought a toffee apple from Burston’s shop on Marina Avenue when I was about four. I chewed on the stick trying to get every last piece of toffee that was stuck to it off. I ended up chewing the stick. “Did the stick become a substitute for a dummy?’

My mother and father never gave me a dummy to suck on as a child and maybe it was that; or was I seeking the comfort of my mother’s breast.

“For whatever reason it is; the habit I have is costing me a fortune.’

Four pencils a day in fact. Over a week that was twenty pencils. Eighty in a month;

 That was five hundred pencils in six months. That’s costing me a thousand pennies every term.

I would have to find something to break the habit but what? Pardon the pun’

I cannot write any more; I’m down to the nub and I’m holding the little bit of graphite to write this.




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