PETER FROST and a pennyworth of winkles

As a young lad in working class London in the 1950’s winkles were the cheap Sunday supper staple for our family; served with brown bread and butter and a pot of tea.

As we extracted and eat our winkles there would always be the inevitable singing of the Winkle Song – an old music-hall number living far beyond its natural span.

In our part of London we still had a street trader ringing his bell, shouting out his wares and carrying his dripping tray of mixed shellfish on his head from door to door.

Today it’s not that easy to find winkles in Britain. They are still caught here but many are shipped off to Paris to be served as a pre-dinner delicacy that posh Parisians nibble as the sip their Kir Royale.

Much later in life an old mate Pat (now sadly gone) made the song his own – usually after a drink or two.

Another winkley memory is of my late mother-in-law Glad who in the kindest act imaginable would get all the winkles out of their shells herself and serve them to me laid out on a plate — luxury indeed.

Gladys would tell the story of her father who, if he disapproved of the young men Gladys bought home, would serve a winkle tea but not allow the young man a pin.

I still eat winkles when I can.

First released on the 22nd of November 2012.


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