One woman, she was a pest she was as mean as anything and she used to even only want about a pound of onions and half a pound of carrots, and 'Could they be sent?'.
When I first started, I used to shut the shop up and take the vegetables out - I couldn't do many at a time, because of keeping the shop shut, you see, and I used to come back and open it again . . I carried them in my hands, or take them in a bag or a basket.
And of course in those days . . they'd ring up - 'Send up - ' - and they'd want it at once, you know - perhaps they'd forgotten something they were cooking - oh - sent up at once, yes, oh yes, they were waited on hand and foot in those days.
You imagine you're in the bakehouse baking all that bread in the heat, and then you go in a horse and. cart to deliver it, you see - the hardships those days. Oh course they used to be covered in flour with their old slippers and trousers, and then they used to all dress up and go, and you wouldn't know they were the same - dress up and go in the horse and cart.
The blacksmith used to help load our baskets of meat up every Saturday morning, because they were heavy really. They wanted somebody strong, they always used to go to the blacksmith to get someone to help the men lift this basket of meat into the cart.
And on occasion, when I was about 13, I used to do the Fairstead round with the meat, and bring home about �20 in my pocket, with the horse and cart, in the dark of a winter's night, the horse taking its own head and seeing its way home . . I used to take half sovereigns and sovereigns - that's a thing you've never done!
We used to have teams of horses - on the road every day. We had five carts running from our shop at Witham - going all round the country delivering meat and getting orders and all that sort of thing . . when I was a butcher boy in Witham . . Monday mornings I used to go all round my area, and get all the orders, and used to take it back to the shop, and it was all - cut up ready for me Tuesday morning, and then I used to serve it out all the week - different orders all round these little villages . . Saturday was the best day cause people used to have the weekend joints, you see, so Saturday mornings I used to load my old baskets up and take them all out, and on bicycles at the same time - that was beautiful meat . . we used to carry tremendous weights, us chaps, round in baskets . . I'm talking about what I used to do in Witham when I was a little boy, when I was about 14 . . I done it all on my own.
There used to be a fox hunt . . and they used to meet on the Maldon Road corner - White Hart . . and we used to cart the meat about in between . . and I used to have half my meat stolen, by the foxhounds, every Saturday . . The huntsmen used to keep them in control a bit, or they'd've eaten me as well - see they'd never been fed, you see - the day before they go to the hunt, they don't get fed, and they were all raving hungry.