Hop or Pop?: Let’s Doo IT!

Previously at the LoL

CLICKY: With one enormous chair…

Thoughtful Man’s Apol!Fon chirruped alarmingly, disturbing the calm before the Boys’ return from school, a.k.a. ‘The Storm’.

“Oh no, who’s died now?” In 2016, it’s the natural response. My money had been on Brucie.

He squinted at the screen and then looked at me in surprise. “Victoria Wood. Wow, I didn’t feel that one coming.”

I took a deep drag from my cigarette and smiled back sympathetically at him. “You might be losing your touch but actually, if you think about it, it kinda syncs.”

Now Thoughtful Man squinted at me. “How so?”

“The Ballad of Barry and Freda…” I looked at him him expectantly but he continued to stare at me blankly. “It was an answer on the episode of ‘Pointless’ we watched yesterday. Richard waxed lyrical about it.”

As is often the case, he dismissed my synchromystic observation with a roll of his eyes. But then, Thoughtful Man wasn’t aware that Vik had only just paid a visit the LoL…

Roobee knot ISIS Victoria Wood

CLICKY: Selfie? 

*Go on then, Clicky. I should explain to Dear Reader: I post knot-ISIS of syncs in the Red universe … as opposed to helping to reveal ‘The Stink’ in the Blue. And it’s knot the smokers to blame. Reality in 2016 is built on junk science.  Sum times it makes my blood boil

Oh well, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.* 😉

*A bonding moment, Clicky? Really? /rolls eyes…*

*******

Extract from ‘A Family History for Ruth and Julia (Gawd ‘Elp Us!)’, a.k.a. ‘The Ma Papers’ by Judith Eileen Newton (formerly Shewan, née Packer)

One year we went hop picking together. For those of you who don’t know what hop picking is, here goes.

The breweries needed hops to make the beer and the best hops were grown in Kent. But there was no machinery in those days to pick them, so poor families, who could not afford a holiday, went hop picking. It gave a break from the city, a kind of holiday, and some income for the work that they did.

The workers were nearly all mums and kids as the men all had full time jobs. They only came down to the hop fields for the weekend. I think it must have been before Dickie and Christine were born because I don’t remember Dickie at all. Then again he might have been a baby and I tended to deny his existence when he was a baby.

One afternoon an open backed lorry pulled up and on the back were Flo, her kids and half of their home. We piled on with half of our home and we all went to Paddock Wood in Kent.

I remember it so clearly and yet I must have been very young. When we got there the farmer gave us a hut with a large wooden bed frame and a straw mattress. That was about all. Outside was a lean-to with an open cooking hearth and a variety of large cooking pots and utensils.  Flo and the kids were in the next hut and we shared the cooking and washing between us.

I remember that Nanny Packer had to sweep up cow pats before we moved our stuff in because the farmer had been using the huts to house them during the winter.

The next morning we went to the field that had to be picked that day. Every family was given a station to work from. You literally had to fill these large canvas containers with hops and take to the weighing station. The amount you had picked was credited to you in a large ledger. You were then paid according to how much you picked by weight.

At first it was a novelty and we all helped. But after a while it became boring and one by one the kids went off to explore. I remember that was very exciting, exploring the streams and trees, all the animals and things we never saw in the city. Scrumping apples and eating them even though they were cooking apples and I got a belly ache.

It was just like a little city: they had a shop for provisions and a doctor called regularly and so did a priest. The atmosphere was good.

Flo and Nanny cooked over an open fire and we all had to bathed in a tin bath. Because I was the youngest I always got the last of the water but hey ho.

On Friday evening, all the men arrived on the train from London Bridge to spend the weekends with the families. I remember them all going to the pub and sitting outside. The kids got a glass of muscatel and an arrowroot biscuit. If we were lucky, we would get a packet of plain Smith’s crisps with a small blue packet of salt in the bag. We thought we were in heaven.

We stayed for the whole six weeks of school holidays and came back sun tanned and absolutely lousy with fleas. We had to be deloused but it was worth it.

*******

*Sew then, Clicky… what should we do about Vik’s suggestion? *

*Alright, take your time… /looks at watch and sighs… Meanwhile I’ve got a job to find and another story to submit for The Underdog Anthology. I’m popping over to Hugo’s… Whilst we’re waiting, have a Song*

 

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