The Water Monitor.

This is a monologue that I crafted for an exercise with the local theatre group. I have been part of the group for a while. It is called Act your age … which of course we never do.
Press here to find the workshop.

Throughout the covid-19 pandemic we continue to meet up; with the aid of Zoom. One of the things we were introduced to was writing monologues. The tale below is one of my attempts at yet another new writing firm. This, may not work as a reading piece as well as it does a listening one; because of the vernacular. The pronunciation such as words that finish with ‘ing’, were spoken but the ‘n’ was the last sound made. I hope you see a young boy of about nine years old who lived in rural Victorian England. I will attach a clip of me reading it, but bear in mind I am not either nine years old or a boy, so a modicum of imagination is required on part of the reader and listener.

The sound clip is here. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gHPtCWbMaL60X9NZH5QLn8V26T0eRVn9/view?usp=drivesdk

The Water Monitor.

Good day, I am Walter, you can see I’m standin next to the well outside the schoolhouse. The teacher’s house. This week I am water monitor (whispers) for my sins. I slake the thirsts with my bucket, Miss tied the tin mug on a piece of string to my trousers. I am skinny after graftin all Winter, so the cup it pulls em down … my trousers that is.

This is my job now because the mister kept me too long catching the piglets, doing that made me late. These lug holes still burn where they was cuffed; look at it, it’s fat an sore …  Mr Pickles says, it will be blue the morrow.

Any way me cheeks glow under these rough trousers from Miss McCreedy’s split-cane, she is fierce is Miss … she don’t like the lateness of us urchins. Miss says it is ungrate\nfulness, that breads tardy children. She Pulls her arm high when dishin out punishment, swings harder than Mam when beatin her rug. See her arm go, with that cane. I ave hot ears, a hot backside and the rest o’ me is freezing.

The punishment of water monitor aint so nice in the cold, (Walter shivers) when you already done a day’s work before you get to the raggedy school.

I am standin , stampin my boots, tryin to get the chill off, waitin for another waif to want a drink. Then I show my strength, like a strongman at the Freak show. Liftin the lid, turnin that barrel to wind the chain, I hoist the bucket an fill the cup for thirty mouths. It is man’s work, (raises arm and flexes his muscles) specially when yer fingers is blue with cold.  I saw it once … that strongman, aint that the truth, with these very eyes I seen. In Piccadilly, Grandma took me … ‘The Harvey’s Freak show’ not many of these raggedy kids as been I know; Walter here (pokes his chest) will not forget that day.

At school we is taught writin readin an rithmatic. Miss McCready bangs a tune with her laced boots against the wooden floor, One Two, One Two, she keeps time as we chant like the old monks in the Abbey did. The only differing thing is, we chant tables and godly sayins. Miss McCready, every day she raises her voice to say, ‘cleanliness is next to godliness, and ‘the mills of God grind slowly but they grind exceedingly far.’ Those words make us raggedy’s fearful, so we are good. We has the reverend in on Fridays. The reverend puts the fear of God into us … for us own good of course. The word of God is so loud he makes the ink dance in the wells when he shouts it. My sister Winnie got er legs caned, four strokes, for peeing with fright at him. Miss called her filth, an stood her on the desk so all could see her shame.

 We work at school to be learn-ned. One day when she is six, Winnie will be doin the chickens, wringing necks, plucking and collecting eggs. The numbers learned will be needed then. At sunup, I get old Tom ready, he is the plough horse. I feed, groom and tack him up for work, then I feed the pigs, mend the boundary fences. In winter I breaks ice off the troughs and fill them.  Harvest time I cut the hay, work all night, till my eyes pain with the dust of it. Paa does the ploughing, plantin and such. If the Mister is pleased, he lets us use our house and small oldin as wage. Teacher hates market day, cause her schoolroom is empty. So Here we lives, we works and does family proud. Years will bye and still, when I have curled bones and no teeth or hair, this well will still give ice cold water.  I am knowin, it will still stand … next to Miss McCready’s house. But some other spinster will be Mistress of the learnin. I know this for there aint none over fifty in the church yard.

the church yard is from pixabay.

Have you learnt anything new in lockdown? did you enjoy my attempt at a Monologue? I love replies they are especially needed at this time xx thank you in advance, answers in the comments and I will reply quick smart.

The torture of Wash days Past

image

My mother ruled  the cleaning with the strictness of a sergeant major. No washing machines  in our house until 1968, why would she need one she had daughters… Laundry wasn’t ever done on a Sunday and had to be on the line before 7.30 in the morning, Monday for linens, the clothes washed every/any day except Sundays.

A Burco boiler with its tin lid and a large pair of wooden tongs sat in the washroom. Tongs were used to pull the boiling sheets and tea towels from the boiler which was cloudy with soap, in to the sink of waiting cold rinse water. Next to the Burco was a spin dryer that moved around at will, we would sit or lay on it to stop it from pulling the plug from the wall. (No we didn’t sit on it for any other reason). Wooden pegs called dollies were used to hold the items on the line and beware of  mother if you forgot to wash the line first. The line is a bit fuzzy, I remember it tied to a ring on the house and across to a post on the far side of the garden, I think a sort of bailing twine… A skinny long branch with a Y at the top was used to higher and lower the line. Being small I didn’t hang out, my sisters were taller so they did. I still fail to understand why legs were slapped for putting pegs in the wrong place. I apparently still hang out incorrectly, so  Mother said last year when we all mucked in the morning after Dad died.

Photo borrowed from internet no identification of origin.