We lived in Hendon and when I was about 7. Me and me sisters used to chase the rag
'n' bone man. Some people used to call them ‘tackers’. The rag 'n' bone man used to
come round about once a month on a Saturday morning and he used to shout
something but we couldn't understand what he was saying.
He was a little man with a big overcoat, cap and a scarf he used to tie round his neck. I
think he was old - but everyone looked old when we were young. His cart was pulled by
a scabby horse and the cart was wooden with sides and it was piled high with clothes.
He used to shovel manure onto the back of his cart. We used to run into the bedroom,
see what we could pick up. We gave him jumpers, skirts, once we even pinched one of
me mum's towels out the bathroom. I think even dirty socks if we could find them. I don't
think she ever clicked on we gave them to the rag 'n' bone man.
We used to go knocking on neighbours' doors the day before he come so we could get
more to give him. He gave us 6 pegs - called dolly pegs - or a balloon and sometimes it
was a goldfish in a bag; but we never got the goldfish. Old Ivy who lived next door - I
think she was about 200 - she used to make the dolly pegs into dolls with a big knitted
skirt that went over the toilet roll and she used to give them to everybody.
The trouble was, we used to live in flats - we never had a clothes lines.