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Onion Johnnies (Mar 2001)



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Onion Johnnies (Mar 2001)

Post by Archivist » Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:00 am

From: Morag Black
To: threetowners@topica.com
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001

I remember the onion Johnnies though I've been told I'm dreaming! I always wondered how they managed to keep their balance. I'd a hard enough time without the onions! There was also an Indian man who went door to door selling things and telling fortunes. My gran bought something from him because he told her she had a lucky face!

We had tinkers come 'round every year to sharpen knives and scissors etc., and every year people lost clothes off the washing line. I thought it a small price to pay for the privilege of their visit!

Along with the rag man, the blind fiddler, (no jokes please!) the paraffin man and the man with the horse and cart that sold vegetables and an assortment of household necessities, it seems more like the 1800's! Gran used to get a bottle of methylated spirits to clean the mirrors. I used to love the smell.

Morag Black



From: "Alan&Elizabeth Scott" <alan@xx.co.uk>
To: <threetowners@topica.com>
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001

Gosh we are going back!! a few things i forgot, like the onion johnnies, the rag man (the wee sliding camera) !!a lot o lovely hills&waterfalls in the photo's They were MAGIC!!.I remember the tinkers, you don't see much o them noo. I also remember the ponies wee never got on one (too many weans), The hut you mentioned is still in use in Fleming terr, I have a few o the deckchairs from the old council, cause i gave out the chairs+ done the putting greens.
Bye the noo. Liz Scott.


From: "richard maxwell" <Dickiemax@xx.com>
To: <threetowners@topica.com>
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001

I too remember the Onion Johnny's, they came around Leven as well. I remember the mad scramble for clothes for the rag man who gave balloons for woollen stuff. I took my mum's best woollen cardigan once for a wee balloon. I think she had to go after the cart but I can't remember if she got the cardi back or not. I think my balloon burst after 5 mins. I remember the "packie men" with their suitcases trying to sell their stuff door to door, and the tinkies selling clothespegs. Our veg. man too used a horse and cart well into the late 50's. I used to get a lift part way down to school on the back of his scabby horse. Great days.
(Evie (Richard's Fife wife)


From: "Sally O'Connor" <salgeo@xx.com.au>
To: <threetowners@topica.com>
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001

Hi all, I to remember the onion Johnnies and the hawkers that used to come round the door wae their bundle oan their back ,that's where the saying ( you've an erse like a hawkers bundle ) came from ,but were we lucky or not, you could buy almost anything without leaving your street, remember wullie Howie wae his fish barrow, and Davidsons grocery van, the bleach man that sold pegs and poles and bundles of sticks, and Ross's milk that had orange juice and buttermilk and after a while rolls as well and at night the fish and chipvan wae his whistle, whit about the night raids tae the gasworks char tae fill your wee bag wae a load o char tae keep the fire going for a few days ,wi lizzie gibb and a few others it was like a wee meeting place am i gein too much away geo/sal


From: "David Young" <david@xx.co.uk>
To: <threetowners@topica.com>
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001

I remember the French man who used to come to door in Corrie Crescent Saltcoats in the early fifties. I was learning French at school and used topractice with him. When I eventually went to visit France, people thought I came from the north of France because of my very strong accent. All I did was impersonate the Onion Johnnie.

All the beach memories were wonderful, the sand artist, The last supper. He once told me I has artistic hands and would lead an artistic life I was about 12 at the time. I have now nearly completed 40 years in show business Then there was Sunshine Corner which has been mentioned before but new subscibers may remember it.

As well as wulks I used to prise limpets of the rocks when the tide was out at Saltcoats harbour and used them for bate when fishing. I actually caught some small fish in a pool just the other side of the harbour looking out to Ardeer and took them home for our cat. I also went out in Jimmie Reids boat round the bay and he let me spin for mackerel. Caught loads of them for tea and the cat. I see Jimmie Reid is still around Saltcoats.
Thanks for all the wonderful memories. Indeed we'll never see the packed solid beaches again. Those were the days!!!!!!
David Young.


From: "Sandra Haley" <sahaley@xx.net>
To: <threetowners@topica.com>
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2001
Subject: Re: [3T] Onion Johnny's etc.,

Do any of you remember Tommy Docherty and his horse, vegetable sales of the early 50's? I loved that horse. he lived over the wall from where I lived and seemed glad that this small person wanted to talk to him regularly, or, Fearless, the wee man with the pram who was in love with the rangers fitba team. The one who on a Saturday night felt obliged to let the world know of his dissatisfaction if rangers lost and who invariably ended up in front of the magistrate on a Monday am for 'disturbing the peace'? I found out only recently that beanie & boab lambie and my grandad, Charlie Martin, just some of the magistrates who didn't want to keep clapping 'fearless' intae jile, for the offence of shouting and swearing at busses, trees and the occasional building, and who were acutely aware that he certainly could not afford to pay a fine of any size, became creative. they 'assigned' a found pram to fearless so that to atone for his ongoing misdemeanours, he had to gather any coal he could find close to the railway lines and hand it in so as to benefit some poor family.

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