Saturday, April 05, 2008

Petticoat Lane - London

Years ago, when I was training at Guy's Hospital in London, I managed to get the keys to a small flat in Wentworth Dwellings overlooking Petticoat Lane. Getting the keys was the operative point, for without paying the key money, which was £200, a small fortune back then, we would never have been able to move in. I shared the flat with Stephen Milner, a very bright lad who was also studying at Guy's, who eventually became advisor in surgery to the British Army. Anyway all that aside, we had a lot of fun living over the Lane, and this poem will give you a flavoring.

If you go to the Lane ov a Sundy,
You never know wot you'll find
'Cos there's row after row of barrers
An' stalls wiv people be'ind.
They'll sell you most fings for a penny
'arf a quid or a dollar or two,
It really don't make any difference
So long as you keep passin' fru.

'Tween ve barrers all mixed up wiv people,
To a tune or a well know rhyme,
There's a band of colourful beggars
Beatin' out double quick time.
Those barrers are loaded wiv bargins
Fings you won't see again
"So hurry up love if ya wannit
Come on now it's startin' to rain".

Who'll buy this fine set of china
It's goin' fer two poun've lot
At only a fird of the shop price
'Cos it's not in a fanciful box.
Now Lady jus' try a tomato
'Ave you seen 'em like this one before
You really can't go wive out buyin'
They won't grow 'em like vis any more.

Any shirt ’ere for a smacker
For one fifty I'll let you ave two,
They'll fit any neck that you, Sir
So you really can't grumble can you.
These coats are of genuin' leaver
You don't ave to check em ya know
If you ave any doubts jus smell vis one
Oh! I'm sorry that's only fer show.

The Lane is just bulgin' wiv people,
Of every persuation an hue,
But I'll tell you who gets a good look in
It's either a Paki or Jew.
The Lane is terrible 'igh brow,
Wiv it's delicate nosh from Marks,
You can when it's closed on Shabbes
By the place where the Daimler parks.

Above the Lane live the locals
They know it all this cocky crew
And no matter whatever your business
They'll tell you a thing or two.
They know the chap sellin' razers
At only three bob a shot
And the drunk from the Salvation Army
Who'll pick up old apples and grot.

I live in a dwelling in London
My window looks over the lane
And the noise wakes me up in the morning
But really I never complain.
I can sit in my bed and just listen
All cozy and never alone
With thousands of people parading
All mad, an' right outside my home.

It's a real old edjamacation
To come and live local 'ere
Wive the Cockneys all cheeky as sparrows
And 'apply the whole bleedin' year.
So when you come to the Lane of a Sundy
Be grateful and never forget
There's a lot goin' on all around you
That you 'aven't fort ov yet.

No comments: