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Disraeli Avenue

Dizz–rah–el–lee Avenue

Caroline Smailes

First published in Great Britain in 2008 by Caroline Smailes

in support of the charity One in Four (,

an organisation run for and by people who have experienced

sexual abuse

Text © 2008 Caroline Smailes

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced

or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronically

or mechanically, including photocopying, recording or any

information storage or retrieval system, without either prior

permission in writing from the publisher or a licence permitting

restricted copying. In the United Kingdom such licences are

issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, 90 Tottenham Court

Road, London W1T 4LP.

Cover design by Snowbooks Design

Internal design and typesetting by Wordsense Ltd, Edinburgh

For those who are one in four

With special thanks to:

Clare Christian at The Friday Project


Joanna Chisholm at Wordsense Ltd


Emma Barnes


I lived in Disraeli Avenue, in between Gladstone Street

and Campbell-Bannerman Road. The neighbours all said it

dizz–rah–el–lee (four chunks) Avenue. My mother’s house was a

semi-detached on a street with 31 similar-looking houses.

They looked identical but I knew that they weren’t.

There were differences.

In Search of Adam

Disraeli Avenue

Number 9

In Search of Adam


* * * * *

Number 1

Martin North leaves home


Number 2

The making of Paul Hodgson’s legend


Number 3

A tarot reading


Number 4

The banana and milk diet


Number 5

Stamps for Crystal


Number 6

Payments for work, not yet done


Number 7

On me way to Bet’s flat


Number 8

James’ outbox


Number 9

Being Crystal


Number 10

I love Noel Ernest Edmonds very very much 49

Number 11

A potbellied pig for Christmas


Number 12

Details of a piano lesson


Number 13

A Lady Di hair-do


Number 14

The Queen of tittle tattle


Number 15

Being naked has caused an angry mob

to be on my driveway


Number 16

I call her Elizabeth


Number 17

The old man in the queue


Number 18

Dear Diary


Number 19

Loose change


Number 20

The Wheel of Fortune reversed


Number 21

I am watching you


Number 22

Me da and his bugle


Number 23

Invoices for work not yet done


Number 24

Probably a robbery


Number 25

Reciting Metro stops, unable to sleep


Number 26

Buy my stuff, buy me


Number 27

A simple love story


Number 28

For straight-talking advice, ask Jane


Number 29

Being married to Jezebel


Number 30

My brother Eddie


Number 31

My creative writing exercises


Number 32

Dear Father Christmas


* * * * *

Number 9

Thinking about wor Jude and wor Adam


* * * * *





Number 9

Bill and Jude Williams

Green front door

Green garage door

Yellow car.

KON 908V

In Search of Adam

Two years, six months and twenty-one days before I was born, my

parents moved to New Lymouth. From a block of flats that were as

high as a giant. My mother’s house was brand new. It was shiny.

Spick and span. There were two new estates being built in New

Lymouth. The housing estate that I was to live on and another one.

They each had four parallel streets and formed a perfect square on

either side of the main road.

On this Coast Road, there were ‘The Shops’. Dewstep Butchers was

also New Lymouth Post Office and displayed a smiling pig’s head

in the window. New Lymouth Primary School. My primary school.

Was a perfect E-shaped grey building with a flat roof. Mrs Hodgson

(Number 2) told Rita that many cuckoos were put in nests on that

roof. I didn’t understand. New Lymouth Library was on the Coast

Road too. It was a rectangle. Like a shoe box. Inside the library

there were eighty-seven Mills and Boon novels and three Roald

Dahl books. There were signs everywhere. ‘Absolute silence at


Caroline Smailes

all times.’ The grumpy librarian liked to read her Introducing

Machine Knitting magazine. I read the first chapter of Danny the

Champion of the World twenty-seven times. I read all of Matilda

and The Twits. Thirteen times each. Brian’s newsagents stretched

across 127–135 Coast Road. Inside the shop I heard gossip being

tittled and tattled, as I stood looking at the jars of delicious sweets.

Rhubarb and Custard. Chocolate Raisins. White Gems.

Aniseed Balls. Coconut Mushrooms. Brown Gems.

Cola Cubes. Pear Drops. Cherry Lips. Liquorice

Comfits. Toffee Bonbons. Jelly Beans. Edinburgh

Rock. Pontefract Cakes. Pineapple Chunks. Sweet

Peanuts. Scented Satins. Sherbet Pips. Midget Gems.

Sweet Tobacco. Chocolate Peanuts. Toasted Teacakes.

Rainbow Crystals. Sour Apples. Lemon Bonbons.

Unable to decide. I wished that I had the courage to ask for one

from every one of the twenty-five jars.

On the other side of the Coast Road there were five really big houses.

My class teacher, Mrs Ellis, and Mrs Hughes the local librarian lived

in two of them. I didn’t know who else lived there. The children in

those houses didn’t go to New Lymouth Primary School with me.

The children in those houses didn’t play foxes and hounds around

the estate with us local bairns. I walked down that road on my way

to school. I peered into those large houses. I stopped walking to

stare in. I tried to look past the fresh flowers in the window and I

thought about all the nice smelling things that would live inside.


Disraeli Avenue

The Coast Road ran a slope from New Lymouth down to the

Lymouth seaside. The estate that I lived on was at the top of the

hill. As the road continued up, it travelled through a number of

similar estates and villages. Signs warned drivers when they were

leaving one village and arriving in another. My father said that the

nearer yee lived to the coast, then the richer yee were. We lived

about a ten-minute walk from the coast. I’m not quite sure what

that made us. All I know is that, when my mother was alive, my

father talked about one day living on the sea front. The houses there

were enormous. Five stories tall. They went up and up and up to

the sky. You could stand on the roof and your head would be in the

clouds. I thought that really important people lived in those kinds

of houses. People like the Queen could live there. A hacky lad in

my class at school lived in one, with about twenty other children.

His mother and father hadn’t wanted him. They, the twenty other

children and the hacky lad, lived in their mansion that looked out

over the beautiful Lymouth cove. They were very very lucky. They

must have been very very rich. They must have been the richest

people in England.

Lymouth Bay was shaped like a banana. There was a pier at each

end and three caves lived in the cliff. Just over the left pier. Sat tall

on a throne of rocks. There was a lighthouse. The most beautiful.

The most elegant. A white lighthouse. Legend had it, that hundreds

and thousands of small green men with orange hair lived in it.

I never saw them. But. Paul Hodgson (Number 2) had seen one

buying a quarter of Toasted Teacakes in Brian’s newsagents.


Caroline Smailes

There were one hundred and twenty steps to climb down. One

hundred and twenty steps before touching the grey sand. The sand

was unhappy. It looked poorly sick all the time. A green handrail

wove next to the steps. I never had the courage to touch it. The paint

was covered in carved initials, decorated with lumps of hardened

chewing gum and topped with seagull droppings. Yackety yack.

Hundreds and thousands of lumps. Hacky yack yack. Paul Hodgson

(Number 2) told me that his uncle caught an incurable disease from

touching that handrail. He said that his uncle’s hand had dropped

clean off. I wasn’t going to risk it.

To me, the Coast Road seemed to go on for ever and ever and ever.

I was told that it was a perfectly straight road, which travelled from

the seafront and through four villages. You could catch a bus on

the Coast Road. The road passed by my school, up the slope, close

to my house and then on through village after village into lands

that were unknown. Into lands that sounded magical and exciting.

North Lymouth. Marsden. Hingleworth. Coastend. Mrs Hodgson

(Number 2) told me that Coastend was famous for its cheapness of

tricks. A magical place.

I lived in Disraeli Avenue, in between Gladstone Street and

Campbell-Bannerman Road. The neighbours all said it dizz–rah–

el–lee (four chunks) Avenue. My mother’s house was a semi-

detached on a street with 31 similar-looking houses. They looked

identical but I knew that they weren’t.


Disraeli Avenue

There were differences. Thirteen had red front doors. Seven had

green front doors. Five had blue front doors. Seven had yellow front

doors. The garages matched the front doors. Except for Number

17. Mr Lewis had a yellow front door and a green garage. I didn’t

know why.




yellow, green, red, red, yellow, yellow, green, red, red, red,

green, blue, blue,




yellow, red, blue, blue, yellow, green, green, red, red, red,

yellow, red, yellow.

I wanted the numbers to fit better. I wanted the colours to fit better.

It should have been sixteen red front doors. One half. Eight green

doors. One quarter. Four blue doors. One eighth. Four yellow doors.

One eighth. It was simple. The colours could look really nice. I had

worked it all out.





Caroline Smailes






green, red,

yellow, red, green,

red, yellow, red,

red, green, red,

green, red, blue, blue,

green, red, yellow,

red, green, red,

yellow, red, red.

I wasn’t happy with Mr Lewis (Number 17). His colours didn’t

match. Maybe he didn’t realise. I wished that I had the courage to

talk to him about it.

There was a little wall in front of the garden. A dwarf wall. A dwarf

wall for Snow White’s friends to play on. There was also a drive

for my father’s Mini. There was a garden to the front and a slightly

larger one to the back. The front lawn was just big enough to squeeze

onto it a folded tartan picnic blanket. The soil surrounding the

perfect square of grass was always packed with flowers. I watched

the flowers. I noted them all in a little lined book. It was green and

lived on my windowsill. Thorny rose bushes, coordinating colours

and then down to a mixture of blossoms. Depending on the month.


Disraeli Avenue

Gaillardia ‘Burgunder’.

Shiny red flower, with light yellow centre.

June–October. 30cm.


Really orange and red.

June–November. 60cm.

Narcissum ‘Amergate.’

Orange outside with a darker orange

in the middle.

March–April. 45cm.

I liked to write things down. In the green notebook that I kept on

my windowsill. Flowers. Colours. Number plates. Full names.

Times. Routines. All of the first chapter of Danny the Champion of

the World. So I wouldn’t forget.

* * * * *


Number 1

Mr and Mrs North

Green front door

Green garage door

Red car

DFT 678T

Martin North leaves home

I was the first lad from Disraeli Avenue to get into uni. There’d been

this lad Paul Hodgson who used to live at Number 2, he went on to

study law but they’d moved out of the road by then. So I’m saying

that he doesn’t count.

Getting into Liverpool Uni was fucking huge. I managed two As

and a B at A level and my mam was beyond happy. She was right

chuffed and painted my results on a white sheet, then hung it

from the front room window. It was a right sunny day and all the

neighbours slowed down to look at what me mam had painted on

the sheet. I told me mam that it didn’t really make much sense. So

she got another sheet, asked is how to spell university and then

wrote ‘Oor bairn Martin is ganin to university’ in fuck off huge red

letters. She was practically dancing around the house. I’ve made

me mam so proud.

Mam, dad and me nana North gave is a lift to Liverpool last week.

The car was packed with everything I’d need. Pans, a kettle and a


Caroline Smailes

load of food. Me nana North had baked is pies and scones and stuff.

They all wanted to give is a right good start. My going to uni is the

most major thing in me mam’s life and I have to try me hardest not

to fuck it all up.

I’m sharing a flat with two other lads, Ginger Matt and Charlie.

They’re sound lads. We’re right in the centre of Liverpool, just off

Mount Pleasant, around the corner from the Everyman Theatre.

It’s sound being right central. We can walk everywhere and don’t

have to bother with the last bus or with hailing a taxi. Charlie’s a

private school lad. He’s right posh and his dad’s mates with Jeffrey

Archer. He’s studying French and Spanish. Ginger Matt’s a Manc

and so fucking sound. He’s writing a novel and studying English

Lit. They’re both a bit off their heads. Charlie has a never-ending

supply of pot and is determined to roll the longest joint he can. He

reckons he’s going to get in the Guinness Book of Records with it.

We’re out every night and I’m spending me money far too fast. The

Guild’s a laugh and there are thousands of fit birds wearing hardly

any clothes. I’ve shagged two lasses already and I’ve only been

here a week.

Early this morning, I reckon it was just after two. We’d left the Casa

before closing and were having a few tins in the kitchen. The kitchen

has huge windows and looks out onto Oxford Road. Charlie managed

to pull a lass by shouting out to her from the window. The silly tart

came up and let him shag her before he chucked her out. We were

laughing about that, so I reckon it must have been about three when


Disraeli Avenue

we heard screams. Charlie was first to see and ran straight out the

flat. He’d had first aid training and even though he must have been

stoned, he seemed to know what to do. Ginger Matt had some lass

straddling him on one of the kitchen chairs. He was on a promise.

I stood at the window and saw her lying, curled up on the road and

there were already a few people screeching around her.

The taxi driver was out of his car and was looking down on her. I

could see that he wasn’t right. He was lighting a fag when he puked

all over his shoes. Charlie was on the floor giving the lass mouth

to mouth. I could only catch glimpses of him through gaps in the

crowd. Another lad, who I kind of recognised from downstairs, was

in the phone box, must have been calling for help. Charlie came back

up to the flat with the lass’s blood all over his face and t-shirt. He

told us that she was dead and then he went and got himself washed.

It turned out that her name was Laura. Well that’s what a copper

said when he came to get statements from us all a bit ago. She was

a fresher and studying English Lit, must have been in the same

lectures as Ginger Matt. She was pissed after a night in the Casa.

She’d been in the phone box calling her boyfriend who was still

back home somewhere in Wales. The copper said that she’d been

giving the lad shit. The last thing that she’d said to him was fuck

off. Then she’d staggered out from the phone box and straight onto

the road. He told us that she’d died on impact, and although Charlie

had done his best, well there was really nothing that he could have

done to save the lass.


Caroline Smailes

And now it’s pissing it down outside. The cars are going up and

down the road, over her blood and it’s as if nothing has happened. I

reckon there’ll be flowers by the side of the road at some point and

a few people will come and stare at the spot. And maybe that’s a

good thing, because at least if there are flowers people will wonder

and ask questions and the poor lass won’t have died without anyone

noticing. She was eighteen years old and she died after saying fuck

off. I’m not going in to uni today. None of us are. We’re all going

out to the Guild to get pissed. I was going to phone me mam and tell

her about Laura, but I don’t want her to worry about is. I guess what

I’m learning is that life is too fucking short and that I shouldn’t

waste any of it.


Number 2

Mrs Hodgson and Paul

Yellow front door

Yellow garage door

Red car

GYS 606S

The making of Paul Hodgson’s legend

Mam and Sam had met through a dating agency. It’d been advertised

in the local Guardian free paper and we’d had a laugh about it. My

nana was the one who made my mam fill out the form, because she

reckoned that my mam needed a man about the house. My mam had

been to see Mrs Curtis from number 20 for a tarot reading, she was

holding out for a ginger bloke, on a horse in a field full of pumpkins.

My nana told mam that she was holding out for a pile of crap and

that she had to make her own future, that no one got anything by

sitting on their arse waiting for the world to come to them. So mam

got the form and, although we took the piss out of her, she filled

it out and sent it back with a postal order for £15 (meet your ideal

man within six months or get another six months free).

Sam was mam’s first date. He had no kids and was divorced,

because his first wife had shagged his best mate. Sam’s a decent

bloke. He’s a teacher at the local college, earns pretty good money

and treats my mam like a princess. Nana likes him and I do too. I

can’t really fault him as a person, but his dress sense is shit.


Caroline Smailes

We moved in with him three months after mam met him. He

lives on the new estate, in a canny posh detached house with three

geet big bedrooms. Mam was a bit stressed about leaving Disraeli

Avenue. It was more to do with her independence than anything

else and I think that my dad leaving all those years ago made it

difficult for her to let go. My nana helped out and gave her a good

talking to and then we moved in with Sam. We’d been here just over

five weeks when my dad turned up.

Legend has it that my dad left us when I was a toddler. I can’t

remember much about him. The story goes that he’d been on jury

service when he’d met a lass called Sky Thursday. Two weeks after

the end of the jury service, after he’d eaten a plate of egg and chips,

my dad packed his bags, took a pint of milk and pissed off.

That was the last we heard from him.

My dad didn’t bother with us and I’m not too sure how that’s

supposed to make me feel. He was too busy shagging Sky fucking

Thursday, selling crystals from a stall in Coastend indoor market

and being a dad to the three kids that he’d had with Sky fucking

Thursday. He didn’t give my mam any money for me and he never

bothered with my birthdays or with Christmas.

I used to care.

Of course I fucking used to care. My dad abandoned me and

then went on to be a dad to three other kids. I’d see Karen Johnson

with her dad and Jude Williams with hers and I’d feel like shit. I

didn’t know what I’d done to make my dad hate me, but he must

have. My mam’s been great and my nana made sure that I had as

much as she could afford. She’s canny kind. And next week I’m


Disraeli Avenue

starting university, studying law. How the fuck did that happen? I’m

going to Newcastle, so I’ll still live at home with mam and Sam.

But dad turned up.

I answered the door and of course I didn’t recognise him. He

looked a state in a knitted cardigan covered in wolves and a moon.

His hair was long, grey, thin, scraggy and he was wearing flip flops

with trackie bottoms. I thought he was collecting for something.

Anyway he started talking and it turns out that he’d heard about my

mam and Sam and thought that seeing as my mam had come into

money, that we’d all be able to be one big happy fucking family.

Apparently my three brothers were waiting around the corner to

meet me too. I don’t know why him having three more lads pissed

me off quite so much, but I got the need to deck the bloke.

It was then that my mam came to the door.

I was standing with my fist clenched leaning forward, my mam

was in front of me pushing me back with her huge arse and she was

staying canny cool. She looked my dad up and down, then she did

her fake laughing thing that she does when she’s actually scared

shitless. She told my dad that we’d managed sixteen years without

him and that really he should just fuck off. Then she closed the door

in my dad’s face.

I used to make up a story for the kids in my primary school

class. I’d tell them the legend of hundreds and thousands of small

green men with orange hair living in the lighthouse in Lymouth

Bay. I even told them that I’d met one when I was buying a quarter

of Toasted Teacakes from Brian’s newsagents. Jude Williams and

Karen Johnson believed me.


Caroline Smailes

Now for the real legend.

Legend has it that I once had a dad who went on jury service and

pissed off with some woman who he’d known for all of three weeks.

He left me and his wife of ten years for a fucking weird tart who

changed her name from Wendy Jackson to Sky Thursday and made

my dad want to live in a council flat and play the didgeridoo. Legend

has it, that my dad ate his egg and chips, then packed his bags, took

a pint of milk from the fridge and then pissed off. It took him nearly

sixteen years to remember me.


Number 3

Mr and Mrs Drake

Red car matches red front door

Red car matches red garage door

EVS 343V

A tarot reading

() indicates the length of pause, in seconds

(.) indicates a pause of less than one second

‘What question would you like to ask of the cards?’

I’m only allowed one question?


My thoughts are all over the place


I’m sort of thinking that everyone needs a partner.


For some I guess it’s sexual, for others convenience.

For some I guess that it’s a chance to be eternally mothered, for

others something else. I wish I knew what that something else



No that’s not my question. That’s not even a question.



Caroline Smailes

Some people don’t enquire. They accept what they’re given. They

say ‘thank you very much’ to the first man or woman who happens

upon them. They panic, they grab, they accept. They can relax then.

They can mate.


And I’m kind of sure that most people can go through life feeling

content. They accept, they embrace, they make do with whoever it

was who happened to stumble onto them, into them, beside them.


I’m beginning to sound cynical.

Really this isn’t a bad thing.

I’m just saying.


I’ve been thinking too much about life and death. It comes from

living on this bloody street. The bed hopping, the suicide, the

abandoning, the repression. It’s all getting to me a bit, but we can’t

move. We’ve got too much debt, we’re trapped.


I’m looking at him and wondering if I’ve made a big mistake. I

didn’t know who else to turn to and so I thought I’d try you.

I thought you’d understand. I thought you’d be able to see into my

lives and give me an answer.


But I’m only allowed one question.

I’ll have to formulate all my ramblings into one, all of these floating

thoughts into one question.



Disraeli Avenue

You see I’ve got to thinking that maybe life is continual.

I know that this goes against what you, what some people believe

in. Well it sort of does. Doesn’t it?


That’s not my question.


I just think that life is one big series of livings and deaths. And the

more that I think about it, the more I get to worrying that there may

be one true soul mate for each of us.


I’m rambling on. I’m trying not to sound too manic. Too confused.

But I guess that I am.


You see, I’m wondering if there is just one special person for

each of us. And then I’m wondering if life is really simply about

bumping into them. If that one special person keeps coming in and

out of our lives. And if only true believers, I mean believers in true

love, could ever realise.


Does that make any sense?


That’s not my question.


I’m getting to wonder if life is one big game of Russian Roulette,

but without the gun. It’s kind of like holding your nerve until the

time is right. Until you get a feeling that there is no next one. Really

no next one. That this one person is true.



Caroline Smailes

I met a lad called Simon when I was five and he was six. I clicked

with him instantly. We met at a family wedding. He was on the

groom’s side, being a page boy. I was on the bride’s side, being a

bridesmaid. I remember dancing with him during the do. We held

hands and loads of people snapped photos. I remember it being late,

dark and I remember him leaving the party.


My mam used to have a photo of the two of us on the sideboard.

She’d polish it and tell the same story.


The story went that when Simon left, I started crying. Apparently I

was inconsolable. I sobbed and sobbed.


‘When will I see my boyfriend again?’ I asked my mam.

‘Maybe when there’s another party,’ she’d answered.


I never did see him again. Well I don’t think that I did. Maybe

we brushed into each other. There must have been other family

parties. But maybe that one meeting was our only scheduled hit

for this life.


Am I making any sense at all? I know that you’ll be thinking that

my question is about Simon, but it isn’t really. Not at all, really.


You see, I think that I must have loved Simon. Truly loved Simon.


Apparently I cried all the way home from the party. Apparently I


Disraeli Avenue

fell asleep, releasing tiny sobs. Mam says that the next morning I

woke up and told her not to laugh at me. She’d been shocked by

how mature, how adult like I’d sounded when I was only five years

old. Mam reckons that I grew up during that night.


What if Simon was the one? What if he was my one true love?


No they’re not really questions for this reading. Not really. I’m

rambling again.


Simon and me never met again. The connection that I had with

him was instant. I still remember him. Or is it the photograph that

prompts the memory? You see that’s where I get stuck.


I think that I came here for you to tell me about life and death.

I think that I wanted an answer to my wondering about if I kill

myself, if I die tomorrow, will I simply start a new life?


Because I’m kind of thinking that this life is shit and if I try the next

one, then I might meet Simon and I might actually manage to live.


You see me and Len have money problems. It’s no big secret.

I’m not coping. We married young. I was eighteen and Len was

nineteen. We lived beyond Len’s wages. We spent, we lived and

soon the debts started to pile up. We tackled the bills by getting into

more debt and then it all spiralled. We’ve had bailiffs knocking on

our door. I’ve got nothing. They’ve had everything.



Caroline Smailes

I’ve got zero, zilch, nothing left to give anyone. You’re my last

option. I guess that I came here, hoping that you’d see into my

future and tell me what to do.


You know that I work in Woolworths in Coastend. But what you

probably don’t know is that I’m only thirty-two years old. I know

you’re shocked, I can see it in your eyes. I look twice my age.


And Len, well he doesn’t work. He spends his days in the bookies

in North Shields, he says that it’s work. He has bad days and good

days. Mainly he has bad days.


He’s the one that I married. It was sexual, it was me saying, ‘thank

you very much’ to the first man who showed me any interest.


He was good looking, came from a nice family, was an apprentice.

It was all good to start with, for a couple of years.


But now it’s shit.


Now I don’t think that I can go on.


I don’t think that I can take any more.





Disraeli Avenue

You asked me what my question was. What question I’d like

answered with this reading.


Well I’d like it to go no further.


I don’t want it being spread around the street.


You see my question is, ‘Should I kill myself?’


I’m supposed to focus on my question aren’t I? Would you like me

to shuffle the cards whilst thinking about it?



Number 4

Mr and Mrs Black

Black car matches their name

Red front door

Red garage door

POK 776T

The banana and milk diet







Drank – 3 pints of milk.

Ate – 8 bananas.







Drank – 3 pints of milk.

Ate – 8 bananas.


Caroline Smailes







Drank – 3 pints of milk.

Ate – 8 bananas.







Drank – 3 pints of milk.

Ate – 8 bananas.







Drank – 3 pints of milk.

Ate – 8 bananas.




Disraeli Avenue





Drank – 3 pints of milk.

Ate – 8 bananas.






Total pints of milk – 18 pints

Total number of bananas – 48

Weight Sunday – 13 stone 9

Weight Sunday – 13 stone 4

Total loss – 5 pounds.






Fat. Fat. Fat. Fat. Fat.


Caroline Smailes



Number 5

Mrs Grant

Red front door

Red garage door

No car

Stamps for Crystal

Crystal from number 9 came and knocked on my door. She’s a

sweet kid.

‘I’m starting a stamp collection. Have you got any spare ones?’

she had her eyes pointing to the floor and she was fidgeting, moving

from foot to foot.

‘Are your mum and dad with you?’ I asked, looking over

her shoulder.

‘No. Mam’s in bed and dad’s at work.’

‘I’ll have a good look around and I’ll pop what I’ve got through

your door, in an envelope. I’ll put your name on the envelope. Is

that ok Crystal?’

‘Thank you Mrs Curtis,’ she smiled, she turned and she

walked away.

I started searching for stamps, looking in the bin and on the

kitchen side, searching for used envelopes. I looked in cupboards

and then in drawers. I had found quite a few before I found the

postcard. It was picture down, his handwriting looping up at me.


Caroline Smailes

19 August 1972.

My dearest Loulou,

Weather hot, fishing without a shirt on. Not

seen the Monster yet.

Had a dodgy stomach last night. Perfecting my

Scottish tongue.

Miss you. Back soon.

Love Bob xxx

I turned the postcard over, the picture was a cartoon. Nessie was

coming out from the loch, wearing a tartan beret and looking rather

grumpy. She was breathing fire onto a man fishing in a boat. The

man’s fishing line was attached to Nessie’s nostril. I know that Bob

would have smiled when he found that card. I know that he would

have felt it to be perfect.

Holding the card that Bob had sent to me, seeing the handwritten

words that he had chosen for me. I could hear his voice. I could

hear him reading the words, emphasising ‘yet’, laughing after the

word ‘tongue’.

Bob and I met at school. He was my first and only boyfriend.

He was my sweetheart, my soul mate. We married at eighteen, they

said we’d never last, but we did. From the day we married, we only

ever spent four nights apart. This was the only postcard, the only

letter that he ever wrote to me. He’d gone fishing with his brothers,

I’d begged him not to go but his dad had been ill and Bob had

promised. Bob was a man of his word. I remember crying myself to


Disraeli Avenue

sleep that first night. I missed his warmth, I missed how we’d sleep

with our legs brushing.

When he came home, he was dirty and shattered. We spent two

full days in bed. My love for Bob goes beyond words and clichés.

There is no comparison. Even after all these years he still covers

me, he tightens my stomach and causes me to gasp in pain.

But Bob died.

His heart was faulty. It was sudden, his death was quick. The

doctor said painless, I shuddered at the word. Bob died when we

were twenty-eight, before we’d started a family, before we were


But I still talk to him.

I tell him about my teaching, I tell him about the people in the

street and the stories that they try to gossip at me. I shout at him

for leaving me with nothing, I laugh at him for making such a mess

of our lives.

I feel him near to me.

I feel him hovering behind me, breathing on my neck. I turn

expecting to hold him, to touch him. I know that I’m going insane.

Grief does that, I guess.

I live a normal life outside of my home. I teach a class of thirty-

two children. I smile, I control, I engage. Then, within my house I

become Bob’s wife again. I cook for us both, I set the table for us

both. I talk during the meals. I laugh, I cry.

I miss him.

I can’t find enough words. I have an ache that turns my stomach,

that won’t go. I have a constant taste of nausea, I panic when I


Caroline Smailes

remember. I can still see him collapsing, crumpling to my feet. I

am helpless.

I long for his touch.

I’ve closed the envelope, I’ve written Crystal’s name onto it. The

scrawl is looped, slowly written. I thought about taking Bob’s

stamp, about cutting around the perforated edge. But I couldn’t.

Finding Bob’s postcard is a sign, for something.


Number 6

Mr and Mrs Wood

Yellow front door

Yellow garage door

White car

NPK 911V

Payments for work, not yet done

6, Disraeli Avenue,

New Lymouth,

North Shields,

Tyne and Wear,

NE30 3LF

Dear Richard A. Smith,

23, Disraeli Avenue,

New Lymouth,

North Shields,

Tyne and Wear,

NE30 3LF

Attached cheque for payment for invoice

number 124, interim payment number 1.

We are a bit concerned that building work hasn’t

started yet, but we understand all of the upfront

monies that you have to pay out for the project.


Caroline Smailes

Therefore, I attach the advance and now hope that

the building work will start before we fall too far

behind schedule.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Wood

Lloyds TSB


Whitley Bay (354657) Branch

1-4 Marina Road, Whitley Bay, North Shields, NE30

Pay Richard A. Smith & Partner

One thousand, three hundred and ninety

£ 1,399.90

nine pounds and 90p

Mr and Mrs Wood.

Lloyds TSB Bank plc

Mr Wood

Cheque No.

Sort Code

Account No.

Trans. Code


35 4657



6, Disraeli Avenue,

New Lymouth,

North Shields,

Tyne and Wear,

NE30 3LF

Dear Richard A. Smith,

23, Disraeli Avenue,

New Lymouth,

North Shields,


Disraeli Avenue

Tyne and Wear,

NE30 3LF

Attached cheque for payment for invoice

number 125, interim payment number 2.

Of course we are deeply worried that building

work hasn’t started yet and wonder if the target

completion date will be met. It has been six weeks

since the first interim payment was sent to you.

We do understand that you are having cash

flow issues and that you require further upfront

monies to progress with the project. We are happy

to assist, but will require progression and evidence

of labour and materials being deposited on site. Of

course we trust you, but we are sure that you will

appreciate our concern.

I attach further advance and now hope that

the building work will start before the weather

turns for the winter.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Wood


Caroline Smailes

Lloyds TSB


Whitley Bay (354657) Branch

1-4 Marina Road, Whitley Bay, North Shields, NE30

Pay Richard A. Smith & Partner

Two thousand, five hundred and seventy

£ 2,574.90

four pounds and 90p

Mr and Mrs Wood.

Lloyds TSB Bank plc

Mr Wood

Cheque No.

Sort Code

Account No.

Trans. Code


35 4657



6, Disraeli Avenue,

New Lymouth,

North Shields,

Tyne and Wear,

NE30 3LF

Dear Richard A. Smith,

23, Disraeli Avenue,

New Lymouth,

North Shields,

Tyne and Wear,

NE30 3LF

It has now been seventeen weeks since we sent

the cheque in payment for invoice number 125,

interim payment number 2. Six weeks prior to


Disraeli Avenue

that, we sent payment for invoice number 124,

interim payment number 1. We also note that both

cheques have been cashed.

Of course we are deeply worried that building

work still has not started. The target completion

date has been and gone, without evidence of

building materials or any labour on site.

We understand that you have had other building

jobs to complete and that we are ‘next on your list’,

but we would appreciate a date being assigned to

the start of the work. Of course we trust you, but

we are sure that you will appreciate our concern;

after all we have been neighbours and friends for

a number of years now.

We would appreciate an outline of your proposed

schedule of work and of course, we would like to

see work commencing as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Mr Wood


Number 7

Mr and Mrs Lancaster

Yellow front door

Yellow garage door

Black car

GOY 443V

On me way to Bet’s flat

I met a bloke on the Metro a few weeks back. It was a Thursday,

I was on me way to see wor Bet and the missus thought I was

working late. The bloke was wearing one of those bright yellow

jackets, the kind that the track workers wear, the ones with the big

black M on the back. He got on at Tynemouth, sat opposite is and

didn’t speak, to start with.

The inspector got on at North Shields, shouted ‘tickets please!’

and worked his way through the carriage and down towards where

we were sat. He got to us, the bloke looked at the inspector and then

sort of patted the outside of his pockets, as if he was feeling for

something. Then he said, ‘I’m going to work.’ The inspector must

have looked at the bright yellow Metro jacket and figured that the

bloke was one of his lot, because he smiled and then turned to me.

I passed him me ticket and then he carried on.

The bloke spoke a few minutes later, ‘Works every time.’ He

laughed. ‘It’s me brother-in-law’s jacket. He used to drive trains

before some lad jumped in front of the one he was driving.’


Caroline Smailes

‘Mr Scott, 25 Disraeli?’

‘Aye that’s the lad, you know him?’

‘Me neighbour,’ I told the bloke.

The conversation stopped for a bit. I didn’t want to get too

friendly and for him to go telling Mr Scott that he’d met is. I was

supposed to be working late, not going to Wallsend to shag wor

Bet. The bloke was sort wriggling about a bit, like he needed a piss.

He was staring out the window with the peak of his flat cap almost

touching his glasses. They were them big black National Health

ones, a bit like those Eric Morecombe used to wear. His hands were

tight together and his feet were doing tiny steps. I didn’t know what

to make of him.

‘Will you do is a favour?’ the bloke asked.

‘What like?’

‘I’m going to bugger off. I’m going…’

I stayed quiet.

‘Thing is, I didn’t leave a note or nought.’

I nodded my head.

‘And I’ve not taken any spare keks or ought like that.’

I nodded again.

‘I’m just buggering off, so if you could make like you’ve never

seen is before?’ he smiled.

‘No problem mate,’ I smiled back, relieved.

We didn’t speak for the rest of the journey. I got to Wallsend

station, stood up, caught the bloke’s eye and told him to

gan canny.


Number 8

Mr and Mrs Douglas

Red front door

Red garage door

Green car

RTS 446T

James’ outbox1

cm asap2


- – - – -




- – - – -


:-9 g8

1 The folder in James’ phone containing sent text messages.

2 Call me as soon as possible.

3 James Douglas.

4 Are you ok?

5 I am confused.

6 James Douglas.

7 You can consider it done.

8 I am licking my lips at you Gill (Gill Andrews from number 18).


Caroline Smailes


- – - – -

gal >:-(10


- – - – -

f2t m8 cm ned blo asap12


- – - – -

Ltns g u 3 ths wknd 4 blo14


- – - – -




- – - – -

9 Love James Douglas.

10 Get a life, you are annoying me.

11 James Douglas.

12 I am free to talk mate. Can you call me? I need cannabis as soon as possible.

13 James Douglas.

14 Long time no see Gill (Gill Andrews from number 18). Are you free this weekend to share

some cannabis with me?

15 Love James Douglas.

16 Can you tell me why?

17 I am shocked by this news.

18 James Douglas.


Disraeli Avenue

dk betr f2f u 3 2nite 4 bit19


- – - – -

Uraqt g swalk gd shag 221



- – - – -

Iou1 thx l8r24


- – - – -

19 I don’t know. I think that it would be better face to face. Are you free tonight for a bit?

(presumably a bit of cannabis?)

20 James Douglas.

21 You are a cutie Gill (Gill Andrews from number 18). I seal this message with a loving kiss

and think that you are a good shag too.

22 I am pouting at you.

23 Love James Douglas.

24 I owe you one. Thank you. Until later.

25 James Douglas.


Number 9

Bill, Rita and Crystal Williams

Green front door

Green garage door

Yellow car

KON 908V

Being Crystal

Mam once told me that my sister Jude had bad blood. I didn’t really

get what she was trying to tell me. She used to say really mean

things about my sister. She’d say that Jude was an evil brat just like

her killer of a mam. She’d say loads of mad stuff about how Jude

was off her heed. I love my mam, but I love Jude too. Jude wasn’t

my mam’s kid. Jude’s mam was dead. She died ages before I was

born and then my dad met my mam and got married. Mam says that

she was really fat with me in her belly at her wedding. Jude and me

have the same dad and that’s how we’re sisters. Mam’d say that we

were only half sisters, but I knew that was just mam being rubbish.

Jude was nearly eleven years older than me. She was skinny.

She could put makeup on really nicely. And she had really pretty

blue eyes. I wish that I had eyes like hers. I wish that I was skinny

like her too. I miss Jude. I miss her so much that it makes me cry.

I cry till my throat hurts. I wish someone would make it better. I

wish someone would explain what happened and why my big sister

did what she did. She was kind and gentle. She looked out for me


Caroline Smailes

and told me that I was special. She worked in the pub and she used

to get me stuff out of her wages. She’d just put it in my room and

wouldn’t make a fuss. I’d find new stuff and know that my sister

had given them to me. My Care Bear with the big red heart on its

belly is my favourite thing in the world. When I hold it I think of

my big sister. And then I cry. I miss her more than anything.

When I was growing up Jude used to tell me loads of things.

She used to say that she was going to protect me. She told me that

there were loads of bad people in the world and that she would

make sure that nothing bad ever happened to me.

But she was lying.

Because the worst thing that has ever happened to me was done

by Jude. And instead of looking out for me and protecting me from

all the bad shit, well my big sister made everything go bad. And

now because of my Jude I know that no one tells the truth. And no

one will give me answers to my questions. And my dad has gone

really weird and says that it’s his fault. And I want to know why it’s

his fault, but I don’t know how to ask him. And no one really cares

about me at all. It seems to me that everyone is really fucked up

because of some bloke called Adam.

You see this isn’t a recent thing. It all started five years ago.

When I was eight years old. I remember that I was dressed and ready

for school. And it was 7:56 am on my watch. I remember the time

because I was worrying that I was going to be late for school. My

big sister Jude wasn’t awake. I needed her to be awake to take me

to school. She always walked me to school. I knocked on her door.

Gently at first. She’d been so grumpy and I didn’t want her to start


Disraeli Avenue

swearing or shouting. Jude’d been different for a few days. I didn’t

know what I’d done to stop her liking me. I remember knocking on

her door a few times. She didn’t answer to any of them. I went into

her room to wake her. I found her lying on top of her duvet cover.

She was still wearing her pyjamas and I thought that she was asleep

but her eyes were open. Next to her, on her duvet I saw an empty

bottle of Vodka. And there was an empty bottle of tablets too. And

then I saw a scrap of ripped paper.

There were words on it.

Gone in search of Adam.’

I didn’t understand. I must have known that something really

bad had happened, but I didn’t scream or shout or anything like

that. I was really calm. I remember thinking that she was sleeping

funny. But I knew that she wasn’t playing a joke. Jude never did

jokes. My dad had already left for work and my mam was still in

bed. I didn’t want to wake my mam. I didn’t want her calling Jude

names or swearing at her. I didn’t like it when my mam said swear

words. I didn’t know what to do. My mam didn’t like it when I

woke her and mam didn’t like Jude

I took the piece of paper with Jude’s words on it. I crumpled it

into the pocket of my school skirt. I don’t know why I did that, but

I wanted it. I wanted Jude’s note to be mine. Then. I sat on the bed

next to my sister. I held her hand in my hand and I made her fingers

slot through my fingers. I wished that she would wake up. I wished

that I knew what to do to make her wake up.

I stayed with Jude until my mam woke. I heard my mam moving

around in her room. I called out, mam. She came into the boxroom.


Caroline Smailes

She looked at me and then at my sister. Then my mum started

screaming really loudly. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t move.


My life changed and now I have no one who cares about me.

I miss my Jude.

I wish that she’d taken me with her.


Number 10

Mr and Mrs Russell

Red car matches red front door

Red car matches red garage door

Red car

GOT 654V

I love Noel Ernest Edmonds

very very much

I didn’t used to like Noel Ernest Edmonds when I lived with my

other mam and dad but that was because I didn’t know who he was

and I’d never seen Swap Shop before. We moved here and we got

a nice new mam and dad and we got a colour TV and I can watch

Noel Ernest Edmonds in my pyjamas and sometimes Rentaghost,

but he’s not in that.

Ring Rinnnnnnnnng.

Swap Shooooooop.

La laaaaaaaaaaaah.

Hello hello hello hello.

Wave wave wave.

Oh yes, hello.

And a very good morning to you.

My name is Mrs Edmonds.

Noel Ernest Edmonds is my husband and our birthdays are on

the same day.


Caroline Smailes

I hope that you can see that in full colour.

We have so much to pack into the programme.

I’ve found a rather interesting news story for later.

Swap Shooooooop

La laaaaaaaaaaaah.

I’m going to write in to Swap Shop and ask Noel Ernest Edmonds

to marry me for real. His birthday is the same as mine and we could

get married in a castle. I love him very very much and think that

he is canny lush. I would like to know who his best football team

is. I would like to brush his straw hair and put nail varnish on his

toenails. He’s so little and thin and likes to wear brown. I love him

so much better than Keith Chegwin who’s a bit rubbish. When we

have a baby we can call him Posh Paws, which is kind of nearly

Swap Shop backwards. That’s so lush!

Swap Shooooooop.

La laaaaaaaaaaaah.


Number 11

Mr and Mrs Symons

Red car matches red front door

Red car matches red garage door

Red car

HYT 664X

A potbellied pig for Christmas

Ring a ding a ring a ding a ring a ding a ring.

Hi ya.


Mrs Clark, lass.


Aye Ah’m alreet. Was just going te call ye.


[throaty laugh]

Yee won’t believe what Ah just heard aboot what Mrs Walker frem

number 24’s getting hor youngest laddie.


Aye. Ah reckon he’s aboot eighteen noo.


Aye he gets the dole an does the windas wi his dad


[throaty laugh]


Caroline Smailes

Aye ernly a matter of time before he goes bad leik his brothers


Well Ah wez taakin te me mate Janine aboot it. She’s got horsell

two of those Rottweilers. They’re evil buggers. An sheh sez tha

she’d love one tee.


Ne you’ll nivvor guess. An me forst question wez weor it wez

gunna sleep.


Ne it’s not a snake an it’s not a dog. They’re the two ideas tha Aha’d


[throaty laugh]

Dad. Dad. Will ye tyek me cup in tee? Thanks pet.

[sound of Mr Symons’ footsteps]


Anyways. Ah reckon tha he’s eighteen years aad an he’s got

everything, so wheyaye his mam didn’t knaa what te get him.

Apparently yee nyame it an he’s got it.


Apparently he’s got a load of pig ornaments in his room an that’s

weor Mrs Walker got the idea frem.


[throaty laugh]

Aye a fucking pig. One of those potbellied ones. Canny good job he

didn’t hev loads of ornaments of camels.

[throaty laugh]

Apparently they had te gan aal the way te Manchester cos nowhere


Disraeli Avenue

in the North East does them.


Yee knaa what Ah mean, leik breeds them. But Mr Johnson reckons

tha there’s a playce in Bill Quay tha does them, so they haven’t

dyun thor homework git well. They could hev saved themselves a

few quid.


[throaty laugh]

Ah don’t care if they’re supposed te be cleaner than other pigs. It’d

stink the hoose oot. It’s got te stink the hoose oot. It’s not leik the

houses on wor street are huge. Apparently sheh’s gunna let him

keep it in his bedroom. Can yee imagine what a shock it’d be if he

ever took a lass hyem fre a shag?


[throaty laugh]

Pig shit aal ower his bed sheets.

[throaty laugh]


Anyways, apparently Mr an Mrs Walker went aal the way doon te

Manchester. They’d got te taakin wi him frem some bloke on the

internet. They were gunna bring the pig hyem in the back of thor

blue car. When they got te Manchester, they met the bloke in Asda

car park, they paid him a hundred quid deposit, then went te meet

the pig. Then cyame the best bit. Really you’ll wet yer keks when

Ah tell yee.

[throaty laugh]



Caroline Smailes

Ne you’re so wrong. Honest te God. Yee couldn’t myek this stuff

up! Mr an Mrs Walker paid the hundred quid non-returnable deposit,

then they went te meet thor new pig. It wasn’t a little pot bellied

thing, it wez a fucking huge pig. It wasn’t a dwarf at aal. An they’d

paid a hundred quid!

[throaty laugh]


Aye don’t myek is laugh anymore. Ah swear te God, Ah’m gunna

piss in me keks


So two hundred-odd miles there an back, petrol money, a hundred

quid deposit an then somehow thor laddie foond oot aboot it. So

they can’t change thor minds noo. The laddie really wants a pet pig,

so they’re having te pay more than the gannin rate te get him one.


Ah’ve ne idea weor they get aal thor money frem.


Reet dodgy.


Did yee hear tha Mr Lewis had ower twenty thoosand quid stolen

frem under his bed the other neet?


Aye. Apparently he wez in a reet state in Brian’s newsagents. Rita

Williams wez telling me aal aboot it an hoo tha Mrs Walker could

hardly gandie poor Mr Lewis in the eye.


Where’d Mr Lewis got aal his money frem ? He’s a reet tight fisted


Disraeli Avenue

aad gadgie. Ah’ve heard some fowk saying tha they reckon it serves

him reet.

[ pause]

Yee knaa Ah don’t leik te gossip, but Ah wez taakin te Rita Williams

an Ah reckon tha Simon Walker had summat te dee wi it. He’s been

flashing his cash around the Traveller’s. An Ah reckon a pig’s got

te cost a few quid.


[throaty laugh]

He’ll be sleeping in a bed of pig shit!


Yee nivvor did! Yee looked in the windas?


Ne! Did yee really? You’re pulling me leg!


What did yee see?




Tha number 32 isn’t really port o the street an they’ve a bairn but

sheh doesn’t gan te the Primary school. Ah reckon they’re stuck up.

Wi should send Mrs Walker roond theres wi hor pig!

[throaty laugh]

Shall Ah come roond fre a cuppa an yee can tell me everything?


You’ll tyek me curlers oot fre me an pull the comb through me




Caroline Smailes

Ah’ll bring a packet of Custard Creams. See yee in a minute.


See ya, gan canny pet.



Number 12

Mr and Mrs Ward

Red front door

Red garage door

Maroon car

FVX 404W

Details of a piano lesson

Lesson outLine 4th June

Theory: p5, Exercise 7 c) and d)

Exam pieces:

New – A3 Allegro in F.

Please use fingers as marked.

Complete to the end right hand only.

The Old Cuckoo Clock.

Lots of practise with this please. Work on sequences right +left

(Left hand bars 6 + 7)

1st three lines hands together.


Moderato in C.

Good playing.

Keep this slow and steady, careful with wrong notes.

Work in phrases, right + left hands together.


C Contrary.


Caroline Smailes

Arpeggios: C G + F Major

A + D Minor

Say finger numbers aloud. This week just C D + G Majors.


Broken Chords: Use manuscript for C + G

Parent comment:

Dear Mrs Ward,

I am most impressed with Sarah’s progress. She

is keen to practise. However Sarah is apprehensive

about playing in front of an audience. She informs

me that Mr Ward sits in the room with you both

during the lesson.

I wondered if it would be possible for Sarah to

have a lesson without your husband present?

Many thanks,

C Lock

Lesson outLine 11th June


None this week. Correct p5 Ex 7 e) from lesson.


C Contrary.

Major C G D + F

Minor A + D

Lots of left-hand practise for smooth under thumb.

Arpeggios: C G + F Major


Disraeli Avenue

A + D Minor

Remember to hold last note for two counts + then lift.

Broken Chords:


Most practise on broken chords.

Exam pieces:

Moderato in C.

Good playing.

More difference between piano + forte needed.

Slow tempo to aim for accuracy.

Parent comment:

Dear Mrs Ward,

As last week, I continue to be impressed with

Sarah’s progress. However, Sarah has informed

me that Mr Ward was again present during her

lesson. She has spoken of how uncomfortable she

feels playing in front of others and I am hoping

that you will respond to this comment either in

writing or by telephone.

My number is 0191 2526673

Many thanks,

C Lock

Lesson outLine 25th June

Exam pieces:

Moderato in C.


Caroline Smailes

Tricky – careful with bars 4 + 5.

Excellent articulation + dynamics.

Careful with notes bars 11 – end.

The Old Cuckoo Clock.

Excellent playing today Sarah.

Work on middle section a little more + hold minim chords well


New – Industrious Student.

1st 8 bars hands together, the rest right + left hands separately.


p12, Exercise 22.


C G D + F Major.

A + D Minor.

C Contrary.

Arpeggios: C G + F Major

A + D Minor.

Broken Chords:

C G F A + D.

Parent comment:

Dear Mrs Ward,

I am becoming alarmed that you are not

replying to my comments. Sarah continues to be

distressed by Mr Ward’s attendance of her lessons.

As Sarah comes to you direct from school and I

do not feel it right to interrupt the paid lesson to


Disraeli Avenue

discuss this matter, please contact me as a matter

of urgency. My number is 0191 2526673

I await a phone call from you.

Many thanks,

C Lock

Lesson outLine 2nd JuLy


See previous page!!!

I believe that these have not been practised since last week.

F major scale – please work on right hand.

Broken Chords – need everyday practice.

Most work with these please.

Exam pieces:

Moderato in C.

Remember the key signature.

Hold tied notes + consider rests.

Correct fingering + timing is needed.

Be quicker changing hand positions in bars 7 and 8.

Bar 11 – watch out for F1 on G!! *DYNAMICS!!!!!*

I do not feel that this has been sufficiently practised.

The Old Cuckoo Clock.

Be careful with timing + keep quavers even.

Up tempo please.

Watch bar 5 – no extra notes.

Watch last bar – crushing note!

Industrious Student.


Caroline Smailes

Keep crotchets even.

Most work with this piece please.

Don’t guess left-hand notes in the 2nd part.

Parent comment:

Dear Mrs Ward,

Please contact me as a matter of urgency. My

number remains 0191 2526673

If I do not hear from you within the next week,

I will be forced to give notice on Sarah’s piano

lessons with you.

Many thanks,

C Lock

Lesson outLine 9th JuLy

Aural Tests:

Clapping 2 + 3 time.

Echoes – singing

Recognising changes.

Legato + staccato description.

Piano – quiet

Forte – loud

Scales/Arpeggios/Broken Chords.

All well known, but more work needed in future to boost student


Scales completed to inform your future teacher:

C Major, G major (F#), D Major (F# + C#), F Major (Bb), A Minor


Disraeli Avenue

(G#) D Minor (Bb + C#)

Right + Left 2 octaves.

Arpeggios C G F A + D

Broken Chords C G F A + D

Parent comment:

Dear Mrs Lock,

I am using this space to contact you, mainly because I do not like to

talk to people over the telephone.

I am afraid that I am not able to ask Mr Ward to leave the room

during my teaching of Sarah or any of the other students. We

feel that it is most important for a future pianist to learn with an

audience watching them and I do believe that Mr Ward is the perfect


I had hoped that, over time, Sarah would be encouraged by Mr

Ward’s courteous and supportive comments, but this doesn’t appear

to have happened. I can assure you that he has applauded Sarah’s

progress and I do believe that he may take some credit for her

musical achievement to date.

I am sorry that you have chosen to communicate with me via this

notebook and that you have not considered Mr Ward’s feelings in

all of this. He is most upset.

For this reason, I accept your notice on Sarah’s lessons.

Many thanks,

Mrs Ward


Number 13

Mrs Thomas

Red front door

Red garage door

No car

A Lady Di hair-do

I was flicking through the Guardian free paper and came across a

headline ‘Models Wanted’. So of course I found myself reading on.

They wanted models for the hairdressing students at the Community

College. I quite fancied meself as a model, so I called them up. I got

meself a date with a couple of students at the Community Centre

in North Shields. They gave is a Lady Di hair-do and plucked me

eyebrows and it didn’t cost is a penny. There was no way that I

was going to tell the other lasses on Disraeli Avenue about it. I was

onto a good thing and I wasn’t going to let any of their greedy arses

in on it.

Rita, that new lass of Bill Williams’, was the first to notice me

new hair-do. She asked is where I got it cut. Of course I panicked

and before I could stop meself from saying the words, I told the

lass that I was doing it meself. The silly cow believed is and started

asking loads of questions. I ended up telling her that I was doing a

night course in hairdressing and that was when she asked is to cut

her hair. She wanted it just like mine and I was kind of chuffed and

that was when I found meself saying yes.


Caroline Smailes

Well I couldn’t really tell her the truth could I? I didn’t want her

finding out about me freebies at the Community Centre. The silly

cow had a mouth on her the size of the Tyne Tunnel.

So I went round to Bill’s house and cut his Rita’s hair over

newspaper in their front room. She got her a Lady Di hair-do with

me chopping at her hair with a pair of blunt scissors. I told her that

she looked just like Princess Di and she seemed happy with the

result. I thought she looked a right fucking state, but I was hardly

going to tell her that. Then she told is that she needed her roots

doing and asked is to do them. I nearly found meself agreeing to

do it, but I didn’t because Bill’s reet strange bairn was watching is

and I reckon she knew that I didn’t have a fucking clue. So I told

Rita that I’d only been doing the course for three weeks and hadn’t

learnt anything about roots yet. I charged her two quid for the cut.

Then I went to the chippie on the seafront with me two quid and

bought meself a packet of chips and a tin of lager for me tea.


Number 14

Mr and Mrs Clark

Green front door

Green garage door

Yellow car

Same as Mr and Mrs Johnson’s but shinier

FDT 609X

The Queen of tittle tattle

Number 1 – Mr and Mrs North own Brian’s newsagents and think

that they’re better than the rest of us on Disraeli Avenue. They’ve

got one lad called Martin and he was born with a silver spoon in his

gob. They’re stuck up and Mrs North gets Mrs Bruce from number

26 to do her cleaning for her, because she’s too fucking lazy to do

it herself.

Number 2 – Mrs Hodgson’s husband buggered off after meeting a

hippy lass on jury service. He’d been the envy of the street having

a whole week off work, on full pay. Apparently Mrs Hodgson, the

poor hinny, was cooking his egg and chips when he told her he was

leaving. The poor woman has had to bring up her lad Paul all on

her own.

Number 3 – Mr and Mrs Drake have money problems. They’ve had

a bailiff around loads of times and I was told that Mr Drake spends


Caroline Smailes

all their pennies in the Bookies in North Shields. Mrs Drake looks

like shit most of the time and they don’t get their milk delivered.

Number 4 – Mr Black’s an alcoholic who hangs out in the bus

shelter on the Coast Road. Mrs Black’s fat and looks a state. We

don’t really bother much with them.

Number 5 – Mrs Grant is a widower but she’s not that old. She

won’t tell anyone about how or why her husband died, so it must

have been of something canny bad and probably Aids.

Number 6 – Mr and Mrs Wood are having some sort of container

built in their back garden by Mr Smith from number 23. Mr Smith

is a lazy arse builder and they’re pretty thick giving him money

before he’s even started the job. I don’t get why they’re having a

container built anyway, probably to be better than the rest of us.

Number 7 – Mr and Mrs Lancaster must have problems in the

bedroom. Rita Williams from number 9 told me that she knows a

lass called Bet and Mr Lancaster is one of her punters. He goes to

Bet’s house every Thursday after work and tells Mrs Lancaster that

he’s working late. Apparently he gives Bet a right good seeing to

and then pays her sixty quid.

Number 8 – Mr and Mrs Douglas have got one son called James. He

works part-time in Brian’s newsagents and is mostly off his face on

drugs and booze. His poor mother doesn’t know what to do with him.


Disraeli Avenue

Number 9 – Mr and Mrs Williams have a kid called Crystal. Rita is

Bill’s second wife, his first killed herself in their bedroom, then his

kid Jude was wrong in the head and went and killed herself in the

same way as her mam. Bill’s not quite right any more.

Number 10 – Mr and Mrs Russell adopted themselves two new

bairns. Apparently the girls’ proper ma and pa were pot heads and

the poor bairns were bags of bones when they got delivered to

number 10.

Number 11 – Mr and Mrs Symons live there and she’s me mate.

We keep our eyes open and share all the stuff we figure out. She’s

got more nerve than me, like when young Jude Williams from

number 9 was in hospital, apparently having tests for three months,

Mrs Symons got herself into the hospital and got Rita Williams to

tell her all about Jude being wrong in the head.

Number 12 – Mrs Ward teaches piano to the local bairns from her

house and Mr Ward likes to watch her do it. It’s fucking odd and I

wouldn’t be sending my kids to her. I’ve been talking to some of the

local parents and telling them the same. You never know what goes

on behind closed doors.

Number 13 – Mrs Thomas used to train to be a hairdresser.

Apparently she even got offered work in one of the posh salons in

Newcastle, but she didn’t fancy catching the Metro in every day.

She’s happy to come around to your house and cut your hair for


Caroline Smailes

two quid. She’s still learning new styles, but she’s cheap and always

tells me stuff I didn’t know.

Number 14 – Mr and Mrs Clark. Me, and me husband.

Number 15 – Mr and Mrs Shephard bought the house new like we

did. Mr Shephard likes to get his cock out and flash at us lasses from

his bedroom window. We reckon he’s harmless really, especially

after seeing the size of it, but we’re going to get the police and do

him for indecent exposure.

Number 16 – Mrs Smith’s insides don’t work properly and she’s

had loads of miscarriages. She reckons that Mrs Curtis put a curse

on her, but I think she’s off her head. I’m not surprised that her

husband left her.

Number 17 – Mr Lewis is an old bloke. He’s got no money and

tries to keep himself to himself. I don’t really know much about

him, but I wouldn’t go in his house because he stinks. Apparently

he lets cats piss in the corner of his front room.

Number 18 – Mr and Mrs Andrews are decent people, but their

daughter Gillian’s a bit of a slag. She’s slept with most of the lads

on the estate and is pregnant again, but no one knows who the

father is.

Number 19 – Mr and Mrs Johnson have got two lasses, Karen and


Disraeli Avenue

Lucy. Lazy arse Mr Johnson was fiddling on his own doorstep and

shagging his next-door-neighbour Mrs Roberts. Thy have a bairn

together called Timothy, but neither Mr Roberts nor Mrs Johnson

know about it. It’s the best-kept secret on Disraeli Avenue.

Number 20 – Mrs Curtis is the street witch. She’s off her head.

She reads tarot, does stuff with crystals and noses in on people’s

business. I try to avoid her because she’s full of superstitions. Her

finger nails are ridiculously long and curl.

Number 21 – Mr and Mrs Roberts are happily married. This is

mainly because Mrs Roberts has shagged Bill Williams from

number 9, Mr Scott from number 25 and then her neighbour Mr

Johnson. She’s the street bike and we all know to keep our husbands

away from her, apart from Mrs Johnson of course. Mrs Johnson

thinks that Mrs Roberts is her mate.

Number 22 – Mr and Mrs Wallace couldn’t have bairns of their

own. He lets some of the blokes play his bugle when they’re drunk

and he talks about how his da played it in a war.

Number 23 – Mr and Mrs Smith don’t have any kids. Mr Smith’s

supposed to be a builder, but the only time I’ve ever seen him work

was when he did the blocks at the end of the street for the Royal

Wedding party in 1981. He’s a bloody waste of space lazy arse

and I wouldn’t have him put up a curtain rail. I reckon Mr and Mrs

Wood from number 6 need their heads read.


Caroline Smailes

Number 24 – Mr and Mrs Walker have got three lads and they’re

pretty well known around the estate. The police are always parked

up outside their house. Their eldest is doing time for beating up

a lass. I try to stay away from them and would appreciate it if

you didn’t repeat what I was saying about them. Let’s just keep it

between us.

Number 25 – Apparently Mr Scott shagged Mrs Roberts a few years

back, before she started with Mr Johnson. He used to work on the

Metro, until some lad jumped in front of his train and died. He never

worked again and spends most of his time in the Traveller’s Rest.

Number 26 – Mrs Bruce is a cleaner for Mrs North from number

1. She won’t tell me how dirty Mrs North’s house is though. I think

cleaning other people’s toilets is the lowest job in the world and that

Mrs Bruce must have something wrong in her head to do it. She

must only be getting a quid an hour or something like that and Mr

Bruce works down the docks, so he must be on ok money.

Number 27 – Mr Pescott had foreskin problems recently and had

to get it chopped off. The poor bloke’s been getting the piss taken

out of him something rotten. Apparently Mrs Roberts went around

and asked if she could have a look because she’d never seen one

like that before. They’ve got twin lads who are little buggers.

Number 28 – Mr Stevenson likes to dress in women’s clothes. His

wife came to me in tears asking for advice. I nearly pissed me pants


Disraeli Avenue

when she told me that she’d found her husband wearing his dead

mother’s dress. I told her to chuck the dirty bugger out, but she

didn’t. I reckon he was wearing mascara when I saw him the other

day in the queue for the lottery at Brian’s.

Number 29 – Mr and Mrs Doran are the street’s religious nutters.

They go to church nearly every day and they won’t answer the

door to the local bairns on Halloween. I don’t understand why

they believe in God so much, especially after their own bairn was

knocked down and killed by a drunk from Gladstone Street. Where

was God then? Where was he when their poor bairn was bleeding

to death in the middle of the road?

Number 30 – Margaret Jones gets called Aunty Maggie by the local

bairns. She once had a kid and gave it to some nuns to look after.

She likes to tell everyone that her darling husband Samuel passed

away in his prime, but he didn’t. Apparently her darling husband

Samuel is called Samuel Cleggit and he lives with his real missus

of thirty years, in a council house in Wallsend. Margaret’s brother

Eddie was in the paper. He’s a dirty bastard and I hope that they

chop his balls off after what he did to those kiddies. He’s inside

doing time for fiddling with bairns.

Number 31 – Mr Gibbons is in a wheelchair and his wife only

really comes out when she has to push him somewhere. They don’t

have any kids and I’m not sure if that’s because Mr Gibbons’ body

doesn’t work properly. She’s a quiet lass and always looks sad.


Caroline Smailes

Number 32 – Mr and Mrs Alexander moved in a couple of months

ago. I think they have one child. I went around to tell them all

about their neighbours, but they didn’t answer the door. I’ve been

watching them, but can’t figure them out yet. The husband never

seems to leave the house and they’ve had an ambulance there a few

times, so he’s probably a drug addict. I’m thinking that perhaps I

should ask if they need a cleaner.


Number 15

Mr and Mrs Shephard

Yellow front door

Yellow garage door

No car

Being naked has caused an angry mob

to be on my driveway

Q Q Q forum

Show me another>>

Hi all.

I have a question that may sound a bit odd to some of you, but it’s

causing me a bit of bother.

The thing is that I like to walk around my own house naked. I don’t

mean that I do it all the time, but every now and then, like after

having a bath and when getting changed, I like to walk around for

a bit without my clothes on.

The problem that this is causing is that sometimes, when I’m

walking around naked, the curtains are open. Do you see where

I’m going with this? Four times in the last week, I‘ve been without

my clothes, near my window and I’ve looked outside to see eyes

staring at me.


Caroline Smailes

One of the women from my street got herself a little gang of

spectators yesterday. They were waiting outside my house all day

and I didn’t dare go out. She got her husband to start banging on

my door, saying that they were going to get the police involved,

saying that it was indecent exposure. Before I knew it, I had an

angry mob on my driveway. One of the women was screaming

that I wasn’t ‘normal’ and I was yelling back that I wasn’t trying to

harm anyone.

It wasn’t like I was exposing my bits, like flashing them out the

window, I just like to walk around my own home without my

clothes on. What’s so bad about that?

So what should I do? Should I go to the police or do you think

they’ll be coming to me? And is it wrong to want to walk around

your own house naked?


3 days ago.

Report it?

Best answer, chosen by Q Q Q.

I tk that its normal, although I don’t really liek walking around

without my nickers on myself. I wouldn’t be bothered if I saw u

walking about naked and I think that u must live in a pretty uptight

place. In Europe were used to nudity and we kind of like it. What is

it with you Brits? U should perhaps be a little bit more careful and

try not to go too near your windows.



Disraeli Avenue

2 days ago

Report it?

Other answers

U ned 2 clos ur curtins mate cos its so wrong 2 flash ur bits.


2 days ago

Report it?

its wrong if your being disrespectal to your neihbours. you should

wear your undies.


3 days ago

Report it?

It’s indecent exposure and they could put you away for it. Most

normal folk take offence at people exposing themselves.


2 days ago

Report it?

Me and my man walk round naked al the time, but keep are panties

at the bottom the stairs case ne1 nocks.


1 day ago

Report it?


Caroline Smailes

Go to the police b4 they cum to u + get uself a lawyer cos u hear

bout this kind of stuff happening over + over these days. Next u

neighbours will b claiming 4 sychological damage! LOL!


2 days ago

Report it?

U is nasty :-{


1 day ago

Report it


Number 16

Mrs Smith

Green front door

Green garage door

Red car

PHC 665X

I call her Elizabeth

I discovered that I was pregnant on the same day as a Rita, Bill’s

lass from Number 9. We were at the doctors at the same time and

we got talking in the waiting room. I wasn’t going to tell her at first,