Another of the extra-ordinary characters who visited The Stair each week was the rag n bone man.
He would ring a bell and announce his presence. Pavlov in action yet again-as soon as I heard his cries I rushed into the bedroom pushing Anne and Iain out of the way to grab the nearest item of clothing. As mentioned by Liz Blades, 6/6 The Stair, yes sometimes it was my beautiful little blue coat so lovingly made by my Nana (Grandma Jo) or the leather jacket brought back to me from New York by Ken Hoffmann that was handed over in exchange for a balloon.
The irresistible magnetic draw for me was the large, old, battered suitcase full of colourful toys, trinkets, puzzles, jokes and yes, balloons which lay inside the open suitcase in the back of his van. Aladdin's Cave was not too strong a description because in grey and white Oxgangs this was indeed colour on a small canvas. One couldn't wait to get to the front of the queue and see and be instantly transported to this wonderful world that lay inside the rag n bone man's magical suitcase-a veritable box of delights!
Balloon or a balloon? I'm sure John Masefield would have understood!
Postscript: As mentioned in yesterday's comments exchange Mrs Anne Hoffmann will give the real version on the rag 'n bone man. And, as tantalisingly alluded too, more on A Man And A Suitcase in a future blog!