One warm, sunny day, whilst a group of us children – all neighbours – were playing in the lane, a ragman came along with his horse and cart, and asked us if we’d like to earn a balloon each… we were so excited by the idea. The ragman told us that if we’d go into the empty houses in Wreigh Street and collect any metal: fire grates, etc., and bring them back to him, he’d give us all a balloon each… talk about easily pleased! we were away like whippets, looking for every piece of metal we could find – even cast-iron sash weights from the windows. After struggling back and forth for a while, we eventually emptied each and every house of metal and were very pleased with ourselves. The ragman – a man of his word - gave us our balloons and went on his merry way… and what fun we had with our balloons.
Some folk might think that kids today might not be so easily pleased by the thought of playing with balloons… well, my young grandkids and I have great fun; sometimes we fill balloons with air, using a hand pump, draw faces on them and then try to keep them off the ground by tapping them with our hands… but, best of all, I use the outside tap to fill the balloons with water then let the kids stand on the lawn and throw them at each other… and me! Listening to the squeals of laughter and excitement brought about by a few pence-worth of balloons is worth more than gold, and is great, harmless, bonding, character-building fun!
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