Tinkers on the road: Canal Journey

On our journey down the Ship Canal that Spring day in 1949 we next encountered, or rather passed on the road to our right, a herring man.  Soon either in Omeath or Carlingford he would be singing out the praises of his wares :

“Herrin’ ‘Live : Herrin’ ‘Live! ” while raising his voice at least a major third on the last syllable. 

“A yard long and a pound weight!  Hurry up!  I’m laving the town.”

And doling them out …

“There’s two more again .. and two more again … makes six more again …

and wan fore the chile.”

A crowd of tinkers were heading for the border.  They looked as if none of them ever had to answer an examination paper or fill out an income-tax form in their lives .. but did not appear to be unduly downcast at being deprived of these inestimable privileges of our alleged civilisation.  As a matter of fact, they were singing … which, despite my relaxation, I do not feel like doing this minute.

We had reached the Victoria Lock gates, which, with a whistle and a wave from the lock-keeper, were soon opened for us, though it took several able-bodied men to turn those massive wheels which pulled the chains that worked the gates …

… Journey concluded later ….

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