On the left of the photo is Butty Lamb’s wife, old Mary Lamb, my mother’s mother. Next to her is Charlie Baker, known as the ‘jaw bone breaker’. He liked to coor (fight). He has just married my mother’s sister Milly. While on the far right is my father, Edgie, who was best man at the wedding. The only problem is that Charlie Baker is already married, so it’s a bigamist wedding. Edgie said “the only time I was a best man at a wedding, it was a f*****g bigamist wedding”.
But there’s more yet. You see, with travellers they always had to get a little more mileage out of a situation. This bigamist wedding came to light, and all hell broke out. It was in most national papers. Everyone thought Milly was a poor damsel in distress, having a young child and no man. People rushed to help her. A lady in Canada must have seen the story in the papers and felt she must do something. Anyway, she wrote to Milly and started to send her loover (money). She also wanted Milly to come to Canada and live with her, bearing in mind she was well off. But no, Milly wanted more, she started to milk the poor old woman and started to demand more money. It did not take the old mort long to suss Milly out. She then broke all ties with her. Milly not only cooked the goose that laid the golden egg, Millie cooked the entire gaggle of geese. In the end Milly went on to marry ‘Potato Billy’ - but that’s a whole other story.
As for Charlie Baker, the bigamist, well, years ago he was a real “wrong ‘un”. One time he persuaded Edgie up to help him rob the railway ticket office on North Walsham station. Anyway, they laid in wait until an express mail train came roaring through the station. The noise of the train, they thought, would stop anyone hearing them breaking into the ticket office. Charlie Baker and Edgie break in and they chor (steal) a small tin box with the money in. The dinolos (fools) – there was only a little loover (money) in the box and to cap it all, someone had spotted them and called the muskers (policemen). Along came this musker, could he run. Charlie Baker got away, but Edgie who was on the short side, was caught. They soon found and lelled (caught) Charlie Baker. They were sentenced at Blofield Court House, and both got six months. Before their sentence the muskers put them together in a cell at Blofield, in the next cell there were two muskers who were listening to try and find out more about them. But Charlie and Edgie were too fly for them. The muskers came into their cell and wanted to know what “kaka, rokker Romany” meant. It meant “quiet, talk in Romany,” hence the name of this book, so the muskers never did know what the two were saying. After this Charlie Baker drifted away from Norfolk. He finished up living in Wales with his sister, but was soon lelled, this time for making counterfeit half crowns. There were some funny mushes (men) about, some were straight, some were crooked; take your pick.
Marshgate Lodge, Spa Common, North Walsham, Norfolk NR28 9LG
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