My grandmother was a hard-working, down-to-earth Londoner whom I dearly loved. She spent most of her days on her greengrocer's stall in the market. In all weathers she stood there from morning till late in the evening. As we got older we often went "up" the market to help and it was at these times that I saw her in action. She respected her customers and they loved her for it.
It was here in the market that I learned some of the Cockney slang. Gran had an "artful dodger" called Harry, who always paid his "Burton" on Fridays.We, the granddaughters, were the "dustbin lids" or the "God forbids" and were always wanting to have a "butcher's" at everything. Use your "loaf" meant we had to think something through. Sometimes it was a bit "taters" standing around in the market and your "plates of meat" were freezing.It was then we all had a cup of "Rosy lea".Most evenings the men went to the "rub-a-dub-dub" for a "pig's ear" and the "trouble and strife" tried not to get into a"two and eight"
As I got older I realised what a hard life my grandmother had had - not only working in the market but also taking in washing; 12 children of whom only four survived till adulthood; a retirement spent in the house of her oldest daughter where she did the housework and cooked the lunch every day till she was over 80 years of age. "Hard work never hurt anyone, ducky!" was her motto. I shall never forget her.