What a carry on

“What a Carry On”

The Toffee Stall was a magnet for the ‘Cotton Mill Girls’ who left work at noon on Saturday and there was always a great deal of banter back and forward. They were the prettiest girls you ever did see,   and with such spirit.

Hi’ya lassies said ‘Toffee’ as two girls approached, both smoking.

One said “Let’s have some of that Cough Toffee; I’ve got a really bad cough!

“If you stopped smoking like a chimney pot, that cough would clear up” he commented.

“You shut your bloody mouth and mind your own business” was the curt reply.

“Ladies! Please, ” he reprimanded

“No,  listen love, what you need is your chest, rubbing with a ‘strange hand’ and Goose Grease”. Offering up his hand “Here’s my hand and I’ve got the Goose Grease as well.

“Shut up you silly Buger” the girl said “You would not be saying that if our Tom was here”

“Your Tom! Ha!  He’s worse than me. Salt of the earth he is, when is he coming home”

“This year sometime, they say the War is nearly over now” she said hopefully.

“That Bloody Croat” said Arthur, “He’s worse than ‘Kaiser Bill’, have you seen what he’s done to ‘Ancoats’? Half the street is gone. People killed. It is unbearable”. Then holding up aloft the pincers he said angrily  “ If I get my hands on him, I would cut the other one off”  snip! snip! snip! !he went waving the pincers in the air.

“What” said the girl…

Leaning over the stall, and cupping his hands over his mouth he whispered something to them.

They fell about laughing.  “Stop that! You’re making Philomena embarrassed” said one girl.

“Nonsense, you haven’t heard what her mother said to the Coal Man” when he was trying to diddle her out of a bag of coal .Her Mother swears like a trouper if you cross her, Doesn’t she” he said turning to me.

I nodded.

“She’s not a bit like her Mum, are you Princess?

I just smiled; I had no intention of copying such behaviour. “Let’s have a sing song”.

Oh! Oh! Antonio

He’s gone away,

Left me all alone io

All on my own io

I’d like to see him

With his New Sweet Heart

And, up will go Antonio

And his ‘Ice Cream Cart’.

Lots of people had now joined in and there was much clapping

“Listen girls I told Tom I would look after you so ..best Bib and Tucker on and we will go out one evening!  You have my word that it will be only one Drink “

They looked at each other then said “Ok only one drink mind.  Next week then. .Ta Ra” and off they went still laughing.

When his favourite girls called he would sing;

“If you were the only Girl in the world”  and say “Come round here and give us a kiss”

“Don’t be a cheeky monkey” they would say or “Shut up you silly old goat”

and turning to me in mock horror he’d say“ Did you hear that! ..Me who’s  fit as a fiddle on Fynnons Salts!”

“Now Princess” you go for lunch and tell Sam I’m having double Steak Pudding and Chips.

“Would you like a sweet” I asked

“No Ta but some bread please”

By Philomena


PART 2, to Follow.

Terry – Who can remember the ‘toffee made with butter’ man? He must have shouted out that phrase a thousand times a day. Its a wonder he had any voice left.



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