John McCullagh January 4, 2005
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A bucket on the stove boiling all the whites
The big tin bath on Saturday nights
An old glass washboard, an outside loo
Distemper on the walls, cardboard in your shoe?
Lino on the floor, a scullery out the back
A coin in the meter, coalbrick, coke and slack?
Keys in the lock, door on the latch
Long, hot summers, ponies and traps?
Blackleaded range, mansion red tiles
Rag men, bone men and men who sharpened knives?
Ardglass herrings, buttermilk and snuff
Sore heads, stomach aches, tripe and onion stuff.
 
Sennapods, virol, castor oil and malt
A poultice for sore throats made of hot salt
A half-moon waterwark like a front-door mat
Soda farls, wheaten farls, cooling on the rack.
Sheets made from flour bags, winding-up clocks,
Suspenders for men, holding up their socks.
Crombie hats, paddyhats, corner shop small
Horse-drawn hearses with black plumes tall.
Gas mantles, lamplighters, billycans of tae
Walking home from dances, courting on the way.
Fish an’ chips in newspapers, a pennyworth of jam
A pound of broken biscuits, a trolleybus and tram.
Donkey’s hoof, pinade, crocks and beetles too
Rinso, Vim and soapflakes, newspaper in the loo.
Carbolic soap, Brylcreem, seven o’clock blades
Sugar and water potion making permanent waves.
Ale plants growing in a big sweet jar
Food safe with wire mesh in every back yard.
Hotspur and Rover, Dandy, Beano too
A 3d matinee or a jampot in lieu.
A refund on bottle, brown paper bags
Five Willie Woodbine or sharing a fag.
Hoops and cleeks and guiders, parries, whips and all
Skipping songs, marble, pitch and toss, handball.
Top 20 from Luxembourg, Desert Island Discs
Henry Hall’s guest night, rock ‘n’roll and twist.
Billy Cotton’s Band Show, a book at bedtime too
The list is never-ending – but who was ‘skiboo’?

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