The GWR dinner time hooter


What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?


12:30 Dinner time - The Factory hooter sounds (12 seconds)


We ate dinner and tea,
Supper was a cup of Ovaltine, Horlicks, Milo or cocoa.
Listening to “Journey into Space” or “Dick Barton”.
Posh people ate lunch and dinner,
Super posh people ate luncheon.
The only luncheon we knew was pale pink pork from a tin.


Language and accent keeping us in our place.


Ate where you worked.
Rats feasted on the crumbs.
Labourer topping up three huge tea urns
Finds a rat floating on top of the tea.
Keep quiet, it’s still a cuppa to wash down
Sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof or newspaper.
“Wot’cher got?”
“One of spam, one of jam.”


Or down the tunnel,
Out the gate,
Whistling while wary of the watchman.
Cloth capped cyclists cascade home.
Time to hurry. Time is short.


Time to get dinner on the table.
A rhythmic weekly menu beat,
determined by coupons and cash.

Monday - leftovers

Cold meat, bubble n squeak, Daddies sauce.
Spong mincer clamped to the table turning out Cottage pie.
Or Rissoles, padded out with bread and onion.
Sometimes garishly green curry – made exotic with sultanas.


Steak and Kidney pie, pastry decorated with a leaf and flower.
Don’t trust that butcher’s sausages,
They’re all bread.

Wednesday – close to pay day, cash running short.

Liver and onions.
Devon Savouries’ faggots
Consternation over the curious caul.

Thursday – cash gone.

Egg and chips.
Two eggs for Dad.
Courtesy of the chicken in the back yard.

Friday – housekeeping and Dad’s beer money replenished.

Fish van in the street ringing its bell.
Fish and parsley sauce.
Yellow haddock poached in milk.


And always puddings.


“Summat to stick to yer ribs”.


Rice, Tapioca, Sago.
Apple charlotte, bread and butter pudding,
Suet puddings steamed for hours.
Bird’s custard flowed lava like from the jug
Wolfed down ready for the return


What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?


1:05 The factory hooter sounds (12 seconds)


Gulp tarry tea.
A quick fag.
Woodbine, Craven A, Embassy, Gold Flake
Patriotically supporting Swindon’s Wills’.
Fag cards for the kids.


Time with mates.
Everyone a nickname.
Lofty, Shorty,
Chalky, Ginger
Smithy, Jonesy
Foreman? – Buggerlugs


What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?


1:10 The factory hooter sounds (7 seconds)


Back to the dreary old grind,
Rivet, chisel, saw and machine.


What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?


1:15 The factory hooter sounds (12 seconds)


Time is money again.
Get the washing up done.
Put your feet up to Woman’s Hour.
Time to relax before tea-time.


What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?


Railway time!