Those Were The Days 4

A Memory of Barking

Then there was the greatest fish and chip shop in the world PESCIES. Decorated in true Italian style of painted scenes of the blue waters and gondolas of Venice with beautiful wood booths with frosted glass scenes and marble topped tables, tea and bread served with every sit down meal. I'm salivating now just thinking of Rock eel and chips with a big old pickled onion mmm. So being a lad an all. I go in one day and say "Hey I wanna buy some of you fish ana chips and a bigga de onion Ok?". To wit a very large man of unknown genealogical species leans over the counter and says "Are you making da fun ofa me eh?". I say "No, it's notta me?" and then smack he hit me in the ear'ole and told me to bugger off.

Back to reality cos next to them was the Copper Shop, Barking's very own CID division and Police Station all foreboding with its steep steps and heavy doors and obligatory Blue Light (open all hours) and the nasty looking trunctions, "Allo, Allo, Allo what's going on 'eer then?". "Sorry sergeant it won't happen again", then with a smack in the ear'ole you were on your way. I can still see the first Panda car, remember those? The little pale blue and white Morris Minors with the flashing nick nick light on top. God that light moved faster than the car. My gran could run faster than that thing. But funnier still was the image I still carry of what seemed like a 7' constable with his helmet on getting out of one on East Street at night by the Capitol, how bleedin' embarrassing is that, I said to him. My ear still hurts.

Then a couple of other shops and then Boots the Chemist on the corner it was still a bombed out building with a clock tower for years before Boots took it over (they used to be on East Street next to Kilwicks) Go round the corner and there was a men's wear shop, the Kilwicks furniture shop with signs in the window "Get this 3 piece suite for 10 guineas". I only had one but they turned me away cos it was dead. Well at 7 a guinea is a pet who knew! And then there was Sainsbury's where mum would get fresh patted butter to order, it was fun watching the girls pat the big lumps of butter with wooden paddles from the wooden churn in to 1lb squares and one of the butcher ladies would always give me and my sister - wait for it! - a raw sausage each and we would stand outside the shop bite the end off and see who could suck out all the meat first. Jeezus you could never do that today. But did we suffer any dire problems from eating raw pork no not a once.

Then we come to covered market number 2 a very large one as well. There was a small sweet shop to the right in front of you at the entrance that sold all the cheap stuff like flying saucers, sherbet dibs and a main stay the threpenny Jubilee or Jamboree bags full of teeth destroying sugar sweets and a prize. But well worth a trip to Dr. Death the Dentist when the cavities showed up. There was a fish monger, a cobbler, a comic shop, a baker that had barrels and barrels of stale broken biscuits for a farthing a bag; I kept wondering who broke all those biscuits. That's a good job for me I thought, Biscuit Breaker to the Queen. The lady there liked me and one day she winked at me. I think I was about 6, so I winked back and she yelled at me mum saying I was too fresh and mum smacked me round the earol and we left oh well. Farewell my love. Clothes, pots and pans, records anything you wanted was in that market. It was a great place to wander around in.

A memory shared by Chrs , on Mar 15th, 2010.

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