Pop

We were very fortunate. We lived in Kidds yard at the top of Glebe bank. The entrance was through an arch our house was to the right of the arch, and our bedroom was above the arch so people going into the yard passed beneath us. It was like living in a castle. My father used to make ginger beer. he’d start on a Wednesday and have it redy for Sunday. He’d made a bogie out of an apple box and pram wheels. He’d bottle his beer and tie the corks down with string.
He charged twopence a bottle and did his round at Sunday lunch time.
I don’t know if that is why we started calling him pop. But when the string was cutout popped the cork it was like champagne. When we moved to Catholic row, I think uncle Tommy got our Kidds yard house . Catholic Row was much better for us as we went to school without having to cross any main roads. My wife Muriel got knocked down by a motor bike coming from school. We had a two roomed flat it was upstairs as all the water and coals had to be carried up the stairs. After a couple of years we moved downstairs and also acquired a front garden. Pops ginger beer making was never done in Catholic Row instead he went into Dr Watson’s Tonic Stout. There was always some in the pantry and we’d take our cup in and help ourselves.
Every Friday he’d come home with an orange box he used the sides to make the walls of his hut and the ends for the floor. Our neighbours at the front were old Mr Martin on our Left
And the dixons on our right.The market garden went right down to Hartford crescent.
WE got a female tortoise. It laid lots of eggs under the poatoe shaws and covered them with soil
It would disappear for few days then return and drink a few saucers of water you could see it a long way off coming up the drills. Pop was on the dole so he had plenty of time to amuse us. He once drew a complete snakes and ladders game everyone was happy for a while but some were unhappy going down the snakes so when the tears came he tore the game up.
We were always the last to be shouted in and Mum would sing high and pop lowat the fireplace
Then he made a one string fiddle with a cigar box and a bicycle brake cable. Much later on the Crystal sets came on then the local newspaper published wireless circuit diagrams that could be built at home.
Happy days Pop would go the heap and get two bags of coal. Glebe bank was a heavy push up.
In those days The beer wagons ran on steam one was short of coal and the driver offered pop
seven shillings and sixpence for his two bags of coal so pop returned to pick another two bags.
The scrap heaps went on fire smouldering and the fumes used to turn silver coins green.
When the wagons tipped the stones at the top of the heap you had to watch as they rolled down the heap some stones had coal attached and you had knock the coal off with a hammer.
Pop would meet friends from the bottom end picking coal. He was brought up at the bottom end. But in Catholic Row we were the only Catholics there and he was the only man on the dole. So he had to wheel his bags down to his coal house past his neighbours. No one was really that well off. And pop would say I’m off to the corner for 1/2 an hour. So the men stood at the corner talking about topics and watching the traffic coming up Hartford bank
The reservoir was only half the size it is today. The water board stored all sizes of pipes at the top which made a great adventure ground for us. The rest of the space was allotment gardens. All the streets and yards had gangs and if you went to the market place on an errand you had to cross and recross the street to avoid the gangs. So it was a relief to get around the Police station corner and safety. HAPPY DAYS with pop and Mum……

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