The Skin Shop

The story which is semi autobiographical tells the story of Ralph Mason Growing up in Collingwood Terrace in North Shields in 1948. it is a story of Hardship, poverty, love, and friendship just after the Second World War. Some names have been changed and I have used some poetic licence to bring the story to back to life as some of the places talked about in this story are no longer with us. "The Skin Shop is one boys journey into manhood.


19. 19

“Don’t worry vicar I will kick his lazy ar… she stopped herself from swearing and said I will make sure he’s there.

“I hope to see you all on Sunday in Church.’

“Oh we will vicar.’

“I’m not a vicar, I’m a minister Mrs Grant.’

“All the same thank you.’

Alan Bell left the house and walked towards the church; once he was out of sight Florrie went to the bedroom where her husband was sleeping off the effects of several bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale and shoved him.’

Listen you get your lazy arse over to the church tomorrow morning the vicar has a job for yer.’

“Doing what?

“Who cares, it’s a job and you’d better start pulling your weight or we will be oot on the street.’

Florrie never told him about the money that the Minister had given her because he would have taken it and went out on a bender and not returned until it was all gone.

“I will iron your collar for tomorrow as he wants you to start straight away.

“Don’t cock this job up Bobby or so help me God I will kill you.’

“He rolled back over and went back to sleep.’

Florrie sent her oldest to Cottingham’s fish and chip shop and told her son to get a parcel of fish and chips. He was out the door in seconds and ran up the street onto Howdon Road.

“He ran all the way to the fish shop and went in with two shillings.’

George Cottingham the ginger haired proprietor served him.’

“Can i.. c,ccan.

Take your time son; get your breath back; you look done in.’

Looking down at the scruffy looking kid George saw that it was Florie Grant’s son.’

“You hungry son?’

“Y. yes sir.’

“You look like a gentle breeze would blow you over.’

He put up a huge parcel of chips and threw in a few fish cakes and a piece of Haddock.’

He put salt and vinegar on them and some batter then winked at the young lad.

The boy gave him the two shillings and George just said “Tell Florrie they’re from me.’

“I will sir and thank you.’

“Young Bobby ran all the way back home again then told his mother.’

Florrie could have easily married George Cottingham; she had gone out with him many years before hand. In fact her husband didn’t know that his son wasn’t his. In fact it was George’s child. There was no mistake; Bobby had Georges copper coloured hair and looked nothing like her husband.’ Bobby had married her thinking the child was his.

Six years later Maggie was born. She never told her husband about George because they had had a row one evening when they were just courting and she finished with Bobby. That weekend she went to a dance and met George; she was upset and George was a comforting shoulder. That evening she had a one night stand with George and slept with him. Soon after she got back together with Bobby who had begged her to take him back and that he would change. Looking back Florie wished she had stayed with George at least she would have had a roof over her head now instead she married a lazy good for nothing who could not hold a job down.

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