Kathleen Ash

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Excerpt:

D: Did people bring their pets?

A: Yes. Everybody would bring the bones for the dog, or take the cat if the cat stayed down.

D: Did it wander?

A: No.

D: Must have been wonderful hunting for it?

A: Yes.

D: They must have been really lively the fields?

A: Of course. You’d get somebody start a song and everybody would be singing. It was lovely.

D: What sort of things did you sing?

A: All the songs of the day. “They try to tell us we’re too young.” Sometimes they’d sing the old songs. Not “Daisy, Daisy.” But of that era. That  was taken that day. She was 93 when she died. 1988. She died soon after that.

D: This photo must have been taken just before that?

A: This was that day; we’d gone down there for that day. 1987. There were some people there from Australia that day. They were absolutely fascinated. It was the machines that spoiled it all. That’s progress isn’t it? Or is it? Who knows?

D: Did you have any particular hop songs?

A: The most popular one was,

“When you go down hopping

Hopping down in Kent

See your Mother Riley

Sitting in a tent.

With a te_i_o, and a te_i_o, A te_i, e_i_o.

Some say hopping’s lousy You don’t believe it’s true We only go down hopping

To earn a bob or two.

and it goes on like that. When we were going onto the field, onto Whitbreads field, after we’d come out of the Bell, and a chap open the gate, and somebody shouted out, “Sing! Sing!” You didn’t know what to sing. So, ooh, “When you go down hopping…” You’d sing that as you go onto the field. But that was the hopping song.

D: That was the anthem of the hoppers?

A: Yes.

 

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