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.


88. 88

William sat with Robert chatting for fifteen minutes before the bank manager returned.

“Would you like to come with me Mr Cottingham we like to do this in private; you know people seeing you with that amount of cash could be dangerous.’

“I understand.

George followed the tall lean looking bank manager with black spectacles and a bald pate through to his office. Where he signed for the cash and it was put into a plain brown coloured package.’

“Thank you Mr Cottingham and I do hope that you will bank with us again.’

“I hope so’ I still have money in the account.’


William shook hands with the manager then walked out of the bank and into Robert black’s Ford Cortina.’

“You got it then I see.’

“Yes; how long will it take to get to Seahouses?’

“At a push, about an hour and a half said Robert.’

“Make it a gallop then will you; I have to get back to open the fish shop.’

They set off from North Shields then drove to Bedlington then onto Alnwick, Then they drove along the Northumberland coastline until they reached Seahouses.’

James Matthews and his wife Tina greeted them at the door as Robert Black and George were invited in.

“Would you like a nice cup of tea said Tina in a Scottish accent.

“That would be lovely said Robert.’

“Did you find us alright said James?’

“Yes it was no bother at all; in fact my aunt lives not far away from you.

“What’s her name we may know her.’

“Olive Cartwright.’

“Olive is your aunt, yes we know her she comes to the “Guillemot” on a Friday and we have a drink and a chat with her and Joe.’

Tina brought in the tea and she asked them to help themselves to sugar and some homemade cake.’

After showing George around the property Tina  asked them if would  care for a wee dram in their teas.’

“It’s not single malt but it’s still nice on the palate.’

“Thank you I don’t mind if I do.’

James went into the cabinet and brought out the whiskey and poured some into each cup.’

“Slangivar said Tina.’

“Slangivar they all said then they all took a sip from the mugs.’

“Ah that is a good drop of whiskey there Jim said George.’

“We bring it down from Aberdeen when we go to visit her sister; actually her sister isn’t in good health and that is the reason for the sale of the cottage.’

“So you are planning on moving back to Aberdeenshire then?’

Yes, and now it won’t be long; we came here in 1939 and we’ve been really happy here and made some nice friends.’

“Well if you can sign the papers here we can make it official said Robert as he went into his briefcase and pulled out the documents.’

George began to count out the money in front of James then handed it over.’

James shook his hand.’

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