The next few blogs are written by my friend and fellow writer, Josi Birkbeck. Josi is 'getting on in years' and her writing is raw and, I think, beautiful. See what you think.
Yesterday, when I was young...
Real carrier bags made of shiny brown paper with little cotton handles. Every week we would walk from the Walworth Road to Smithfield Market, no mean feat when you are seven and your kid sister is five and a half. My Mum was like a wraith. At Smithfield the chicken man would give my Mum big parcel of offal called giblets. He rolled them up in a newpaper parcel and then put them into the carrier bag. There was a tea wagon near London Bridge and we could have a sip of tea and a custard cream each before we crossed over the bridge. I used to look through the bridge railings up the river at the ships unloading at the back of Tooley Street.
Then we walked home again. It would take all morning.
I would help my Mum separate and wash all the parts of the meat. There were five kinds. Mum would be happy if there were lots of livers so we could all have them for tea that day. Then we helped to wash them all and cook each type seperately. Mum would make a pie for the next day and a big soup for the day after that. Every time Mum would say, "The best sixpence I could ever spend."
The giblets would just about last the week. Sometimes the man who served my Mum at Smithfield Market would slip in some other chicken part, like a leg or breast, and when she opened the parcel on the scrubbed kitchen table she would give this lovely smile. Every week. My Mum didn't have much else to smile about.