Friday, 19 August 2011

Verse to theThe Wheelwrights' Shop



This was the first I'd seen dead body, and shook me dam well ridged,
Out with his tape and pencil, see how big to make the coffins image

This verse/blog follows on from the earlier blog about the village wheelwright  http://bit.ly/oVuNbk

These men Jim and Bill were the same age and era as my parents, they both retired in 1985 when there was no more call for traditional wooden carts and wagons, metal gates were being peddled by Gypo's in Transit trucks, and the tractors were matched up to three ton hydraulic tipping trailors. The age of the "thimble cart" ( a tipping cart with shafts and five foot wooden hooped wheels) some of these had been converted with a tractor drawbar, but they only carried just less than a ton.


The Wheelwrights' Shop

The wheelwrights' shop, was run,
by Jim Clark and his brother Bill,
A wonderful smell of new sawn oak,
varnish glue and paint as well,
Soft under foot with the sawdust,
and shavings that drop from his plane,
Inside of its door was painted like rainbow,
cleaning paint brush yet again.

The timber he needed he fetched,
Henry Venables Castletown saw mill,
Oak and elm, Beech and ash,
all were rough sawn to plane and drill,
Wheelbarrows carts gates,
and wagon wheels, all were made or repaired,
Some that his father had made
years before, nothing to compare.

On the way home from school,
we'd call to see what he was making,
And watch its progress each day,
 how and when and why we were asking,
From the fist piece rough timber,
 laid on his trestles to start,
To when he'd finished painting it,
name of the farm lettered and smart,

Jim he was tall with slight stoop,
 he's broad on his back and shoulders,
His cap was square on his head,
sept tipped back a bit when he ponders
Always a smile with his pipe in his mouth,
loved to have a natter,
It wore a groove in his teeth,
 and wobbled about when he chattered.

With bib and brace overalls,
and laced up leather tipped boots,
Short overall jacket hangs open,
 all washed and cleaned like his suit,
Minie his wife took pride in his turnout,
 never a scruff at all has he been,
She loved her garden not like Jim,-
Tarmac it over and paint it green.

Bill kept twelve cows and some calves ,
cowshed on the yard by the road,
Jim helped with the milking,
and mucking out to the ruck he barrowed,
Milk was carried up to their White house,
the lean to a dairy it was,
Three or four milk churns rolled to the kerb,
 hand over hand without pause.

Bill was quite short and stocky,
and smoked his woodbines all day,
Permanente smile and a grin,
always a joke and a pranks did he play,
He was in village cricket team,
wild batter and runner was he,
Other batter often got run out,
umpire he'd decry with loud plea.

He'd gather his cows on his bike,
six o'clock in the morning with woodbine,
Afternoon milking was three thirty,
back to the field at five for bovine,
He had to go down to the Floshes,
count his heifer on the meadows,
During the day he helped in the shop,
he painted the trailers and barrows.

At dinner time mid day both crossed,
 the road their houses retire,
For Bill he had an hours sleep,
on the heath in front of the fire,
He was the youngest of large family,
and slept cause there wasn't a chair
This habit remained with him,
curled up on the rug and comfy there.

Jim he drove their Fergy tractor,
on Satdee morning carted the muck,
They both loaded onto the cart by hand,
 in field they made a ruck,
In the summer they mowed their hay,
Bill he rode on the mower,
Clearing the blockage, pulling long leaver,
 that to lift and lower.

Jim he also made the coffins,
 for any villagers who died,
He was the first to know,
he lay them out and measure applied,
In one small cottage with not much room,
 he lifted off the pantry door,
With no one else about he asked,
for me to help lift body off the floor.

This was the first I'd seen dead body,
and shook me dam well ridged,
Out with his tape and pencil,
see how big to make the coffins image,
With his pipe in his mouth still puffin,
he talked to the person by name,
Eggcup under the head, big toes tied together,
hands on chest what a shame.

Coffins he made in the evening,
 the tapping his hammer till late,
His mother and wife they lined it,
now ready to load in his mate,
Bill in the meantime he dug the grave,
down to the previous coffin,
It'd been a few years since I was down hear,
bump with the spade to waken.

Jim and his father made many cart wheels,
 hubs spokes and fellows and all,
The hubs were made out of elm,
spokes and fellows were ash I recall,
When they were ready were
wheeled to the blacksmith,
He made the hot metal band,
to shrink round the fellows forthwith,

As the years went by, and cheap metal gates,
 trailers for tractors came in,
This cut down his work fancy gates did he make,
along with repairs within,
They both retired as age caught up
 and wheelwrights shop it closed,
An era had passed when they sold up,
 into history they were reposed.

Countryman


Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with he time, we have rushed through our life trying to save.
Will Rogers (1879-1935)

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