TWO

THURSDAY WAS market day. Chaps with round red faces like pumpkins and dirty smocks and huge boots covered with dry cow-dung, carrying long hazel switches, used to drive their brutes into the market-place early in the morning. For hours there'd be a terrific hullabaloo: dogs barking, pigs squealing, chaps in tradesmen's vans who wanted to get through the crush cracking their whips and cursing, and everyone who had anything to do with the cattle shouting and throwing sticks. The big noise was always when they brought a bull to market. Even at that age it struck me that most of the bulls were harmless law-abiding brutes that only wanted to get to their stalls in peace, but a bull wouldn't have been regarded as a bull if half the town hadn't had to turn out and chase it. Sometimes some terrified brute, generally a half-grown heifer, used to break loose and charge down a side street, and then anyone who happened to be in the way would stand in the middle of the road and swing his arms backwards like the sails of a windmill, shouting "Woo! Woo!" This was supposed to have a kind of hypnotic effect on an animal, and certainly it did frighten them.

-47-

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Coming Up for Air
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • 1 1
  • One 3
  • Two 11
  • Three 19
  • Four 25
  • II 37
  • One 39
  • Two 47
  • Three 64
  • Four 77
  • Five - Fishing! 93
  • Six 102
  • Seven 106
  • Eight 129
  • Nine 145
  • Ten 154
  • III 167
  • One 169
  • Three 202
  • IV 207
  • One 209
  • Three 232
  • Four 241
  • Five 249
  • Six 261
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