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January 2019, vol 14 no 4

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Raine Geoghegan

The Table in the Hop Fields, Bishop’s Frome, Shirley’s Tale

We got to the ‘op fields just as the sun was coming up. We walked across the poove and there was our Aunt Amy, pouring panni from the kettle into the big brown teapot. She’d covered the table with a white lace cloth and ‘ad laid out ‘er best china crockery.

‘Ere you are my gels, come and ‘ave a bit of breakfast and a nice cup of mesci.’

Me sister and I couldn’t ‘elp but laugh, the table looked so funny in the middle of nowhere.

‘Now listen ere, we got a pick a lot of ‘ops today, yearn ourselves some poshes.’

We had to sit on a red checked blanket, the grass still wet from the morning dew. She gave us bread, cheese and a cup of sweet mesci. We looked up at all the ‘obben that she’d prepared for the ‘oppers. Plates of bread and ham, cheese, pickles and funny shaped biscuits. She put ‘er ‘ands on ‘er ‘ips and looked around as if she was waiting for someone.

‘ere ‘ee is, ‘bout time too.’ It was our Uncle Tommy, come all the way from Anarth, I knew wiv ‘im ‘elpin’ we’d pick loads of ‘ops.

‘Ee came stridin’ across the poove, a big smile on ‘is face, ‘is trilby on and ‘is waistcoat all buttoned up, ‘ee always did look smart.

‘Well well, ain’t this kushti, Amy?Yer made yerself ‘at ‘ome, I see. What a luvley spread’.

‘It don’t seem that long ago that we were on rations Tom, and you know me I do like a nice bit of grub.’

‘Ee kissed ‘er cheek, bent down, tickled us gels and made us giggle. One by one the rest of our people joined us, wanting breakfast. They were just as amused at the sight of the table as me sister and me. We all knew that Aunt Amy liked to do ‘er own thing, we never knew what the next thing might be.

hungry finches
waiting for crumbs
as we ate our grub
a bell rings
it’s hopping time

Notes: Poove – field; Panni – water; Mesci – tea; Poshes – money; Hobben – food; Kushti – very nice.)