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.


27. 27

She quickly took out a compact and powdered her face and applied a little red lipstick. Agnes was very attractive with blonde hair and a slim figure. She had no fear of travelling and actually enjoyed it.

As much as she liked to come home and see her parents she wanted to better herself and if that meant moving away she would do it. The whistle blew and the train pulled away leaving a smoke cloud behind.

Agnes looked out onto the farmland that surrounded the Ridges Estate; before it was it was built the whole area was farmland. She passed the large reservoir at Percymain there where wild ducks came in the spring. Soon they would be flying south to sit out the winter weather.

The train stopped in walker to let a passenger off and three more got on.

A young man gave her a smile as he got on.

She returned his smile he was wearing a brown suit and tanned brogues he wore a trilby hat.

He sat opposite her and offered her a cigarette as he introduced himself.

“Hi I’m Norman Ryder.’

“Agnes Mason.’

 “So Agnes, are you just visiting or are you going home?’

“I’m actually returning to my base.’

“I’m going back to London are you going anywhere near?’

Yes, I’m going to Cambridgeshire.’

“Maybe we could keep other company then if you don’t mind.’

“What makes you think that I want to travel with you Mr Ryder?’

“Because if you were not interested in me, you would have let me know about it and it’s Norman.’

“You are pretty sure of yourself Norman.’

“I have to be in my job.’

“Yes and what would that be?’

“I’m a sports journalist.’

“Really,’ and for which newspaper would that be for?’

“Well not for the Evening Chronicle, if that’s what you were thinking. Actually it’s the Daily Telegraph.’

You are very young to be working for a newspaper.’

“It helps when your father owns it.’

Oh so you’re a spoilt little rich kid then. Hardly, I had to start at the bottom of my fathers business. My father wants me to learn every aspect of the newspaper business before he hands it over to me.

“So do you work out of Fleet Street Norman?’

“I work anywhere my father sends me; I just did an interview with Jackie Milburn.’

“Who is he?

“What you’ve never heard of John Edward Thompson?’

I take it he’s a sportsman then?’

“You mean you’ve never heard of “Wor Jackie?’

“Should I?’

“Yes, Jackie Milburn “He’s only the best centre forward Newcastle United has ever had. He played left wing and was the chief supplier of the ball to Charley Wayman but manager George Martin dropped him after an FA cup semi-final 4-0 loss to QPR. Jackie was brought in to wear the Number nine shirt he scored a hat trick.

“What’s a hat trick?

“Norman laughed you really don’t know nothing about football do you?’

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