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Mr Rose (Grandad)
Glossary

Glossary

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Grandad's morning walk
Commemorative mugs
View full size imageCommemorative mugs

Grandad always gets up early. In winter he wakes up before it is light, as soon as the fog horns start to sound on the river. Fog horns were sounded by boats when it was dark, foggy or when the air was polluted by smog. Grandad finds his clothes in the dark, on the chair by the bed.

He goes downstairs. In the dark, he treads on each step with care. In the kitchen he opens the stove. He pokes the embers. The embers start to glow. The kitchen is lit by a faint red light.

Grandad takes two lumps of coal from the bucket and puts them in the stove.

The kitchen floor is slate and Grandad's feet are cold. He puts his boots on and picks up the kettle. He goes out the back door into the yard.

Grandad washes his face at the tap in the yard. He fills the kettle from the tap in the yard. Back in the kitchen, he puts the kettle on the stove. The coal burns with a small flame. Grandad puts more coal in the stove. He takes two commemoration mugs from the shelf and pours some hot water into each one. He takes off his boots. Then he climbs the stairs, carrying the mugs.

Outside the front door of 27 Little Thames Street, Grandad hears horse's hooves on the cobbles. It is Charlie Elbridge the milkman with his horse and cart. Grandad fetches a clean jug from the kitchen. Charlie ladles milk from a churn into the jug. Grandad leaves the full jug in the kitchen and goes for his morning walk.

Hay Barge
View full size imageHay barge

At the riverside Grandad sees it is nearly high tide. Five barges have sailed up the River Thames in the night, with the tide. The barges are moored off the Deptford shore. Their brown sails are furled, and the bargees sit on the decks eating breakfast. They cut up loaves of bread, with large knives. The bargees have brought their wives and children with them. They will go shopping in London Street, the main shopping street of Greenwich.

The five barges have brought hay from the country, to feed the horses in London. The first barge is already at the wharf. Men are unloading bales of hay and taking them to the hay and straw yard in Thames Street. The cats in the yard watch the bales. The cats hope that some mice are hiding in the hay. A fat country mouse is a treat for a London cat.

Grandad stops at the wharf ‘You’re early, Mr Bromley,’ he calls. ‘Yes,’ calls back the bargee, ‘we sailed at 3 o'clock this morning with the tide, and an east wind behind us.’ When the hay has been unloaded, Mr Bromley will fill the hold with a cargo of second-hand tables and chairs. He will take the furniture back to the country.

The milk cart.
View full size imageMilk cart

Grandad walks on along the river front, to the ferry by Garden Stairs. The paddle steamer is crowded with people going to work. They cross the river to the Millwall docks every day. Nearby, there is a large hole in the ground. A steam crane lifts big buckets of clay from the hole. The crane puts the clay into a cart. When the cart is full, two horses pull the cart away. The hole goes down below the level of the river. At the bottom of the shaft, men are digging a tunnel under the river. They are digging a tunnel for people to walk under the river from Greenwich to Millwall.

A man by the crane has stopped for a rest. ‘Not finished yet, John Merritt?’ asks Grandad. ‘Just you wait, Horace Rose,’ replies the man. ‘Next year, everyone will be walking across the river with dry feet. Then we won't need old watermen like you.’ Grandad remembers that 50 years ago paddle steamers put the old watermen's skiffs out of business. Now it seems that this new way of getting about underground will put the paddle steamers out of business.

The time ball
View full size imageThe time ball

Grandad ambles on. He calls in at the office of Saw & Son at Bank Chambers. The clerk gives Mr Rose two gold watches. Grandad strolls into Greenwich Park and up the hill to the Royal Observatory. It is 1 o'clock. When the time ball falls, Grandad sets each watch to Greenwich time. He takes the watches back down the hill to their owners. Then Grandad goes home for dinner.

 

 
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Glossary

Glossary

Grammar Glossary

Grammar glossary: what words do


 
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