[From Manx Quarterly, #9 1910]
GOOD FRIDAY CUSTOMS IN LAXEY.
It was Good Friday, and old Phil was coming up the "gill," as he termed it, when he stopped to discuss the doings of the day.
He was dressed in his "Sunday best," and appeared in excellent tune with himself. His coat, a sort of modification between a frock coat and tail or morning coat, was cut in free and ample style, and made of dark-blue faced cloth, bound in broad dark braid, and fastening with large black buttons. Vest and pants were of like material, cut in the same ample style; a large felt hat, approaching nearer to the "chimney-pot" variety than to the bowler kind; a turn-down collar of Gladstone shape, with black tie made into a bow, and a huge spotted red handkerchief, completed his attire.
" Been having tea with the children as usual, Phil?" I said, on meeting him. "'Deed, yir, man ! I hevvin' missed for nigh on seventy years, as I can reckon on, tho' folks don't bother now to plaze the childher lek they did none so long ago. Laxa is lek a Tynwal' Fair now on Good Friday, man, but they're all down to see the races in the Park. There's thousan's of these from all over the Ilan' to see the racin', jumpin', an' cyclin,' an' all the res' ov it, thar iss norm bit lek the times we used to hev wiss the lil wans. It wor a great day when I was young, tho' an' the childher used to reckon on it, as Good Friday an' anniversary Sundays wor the big days of the year. What a bilin' of eggs there wor in them times ! We used to gather the goss flowers a-bloomin' at Good Friday, or we cud buy a pennarth of logwood at the dhruggis's. The goss made them a fine yaller, an' the logwood a gran' dark colour wise a reg'lar shine on, man, an' wise a taller dip-they used to get lots from the mines, but you navvar see them now-you cud write your name an' the date on them afore you put them in the pot to boil, an' out they'd some rale luvely. Then on Good Friday the fun there war thryin' to crack some othar faller's eggs! The wan whose egg was harder' an' didn' break got the othar for the 'atin', an' fine feedin' they wor at that. Then, man, there wor the walkin' in the procession, big buoys an' gels as well as the lil vans used to walk. They're at the racin' now, I'm thinkin', the big wans-they're too proud to walk wise the school nowadays. In my time it wor dif'runt. The weather, too, was always fine on Good Friday; hot as summer. man, an' the lil wans were mortal proud in their new frocks an' hats, an' boats that sweaked too. Gough? the boots wen: no use without the sweakin' ! I tell yir, the precession didn't need no ban'--there wor music enough in the boots to kape them goin' gran'. Then, after that, came the big tay in the warehouse in Oul' Laxa, where you cud ate your fill of buns an 'curran' cake. Some of the childher would fill their pockets as vell ar the gels, too, wern't above hidin' a lil bit undher their pinnies to take home in their hankies for 'atin' on some other day. sakks sakes, man! it was'nt every day as there was a tay-fight like that I'be bigger buoys would dhrink tay till they nearly bust, an' their skins were as tight as mollags, an' afther that they used to play rounders on the beach wise the gels, to shake it down. There were penny sails, too, from the harbour out roun' the buoy in the bay, an' I hev seen the "Pilot" wiss twenty lumps of buoys an' gels in his boat doin' the thrip in gran' style.
"When it would be gettin' dark the grown up wane would wandher over the beach to the rooks: a-goin' a-coortin', man! There wor always a smomher or two afore the gels want up to the singin' at the consart in the chapel. That consart did always seem to begin too soon lek for the buoys. They would rather a hed the gels a-coortin' than lissen to the spakin' at the fallers from Douglas or anywhere else. Gough, man! it wor the gels an' their singin' that took the buoys to the meetin'.
" Bur I mus' be movin', man; so good everin', or I'll be late for the meetin' to-night."