Roamer: Readers share stories about ships, cars, classified ads and classroom quips

Fuzzy 1950s picture of IB 49 driven by Belfast garage owner Ronnie Jennings
Fuzzy 1950s picture of IB 49 driven by Belfast garage owner Ronnie Jennings

It has been some time since any readers’ jokes or amusing tales have been shared here, an oversight that’ll be addressed in a moment.

It has been some time since any readers’ jokes or amusing tales have been shared here, an oversight that’ll be addressed in a moment.

But first to several updates on previously published ongoing stories.

Early last year, following a spate of communications and discussions about old car number plates, Simon Thomas wrote: “Attached is a poor-quality photo of the car IB 49 on the London to Brighton Run in the late 1950s. Ronnie Jennings is driving the car with Hector Graham in the front passenger seat. Ronnie and his father Fred had a garage on Brookvale venue beside Belfast Waterworks and had many exciting cars there over the years.”

Simon admitted that he “spent rather too much time there looking at the cars.”

The story of IB 49 re-emerged on this page recently and another vintage car enthusiast Jim Morrow now peruses further into its lengthy logbook.

“I have gleaned the early facts about this vehicle from a grandson of the first owner who was a noted G.P. in Lurgan in the early 1900’s. He was Dr T. B. Pedlow and the car is a 1904 Alldays and Onions! This firm was making metalwork

equipment up to the late 1950’s and may still be in existence.

“IB 49 was eventually taken off the road (when I saw it the engine was partially dismantled) and passed on to T. B.’s son Dr Bob Pedlow who traded it to a local garage owner. It was, I believe, bartered for some items which were rather scarce during WWII rather than being sold!

“Eventually, in the 1950’s, it ended up with a good friend of mine who ran a small garage business. It was in a rather rough condition but it did have the wicker panniers (for umbrellas?) a thick wooden rimmed steering wheel and the number plate IB 49. I think the engine was single cylinder but unfortunately I have no idea of its capacity.

“My friend never found the time to start restoration and sold it on to the Jennings who restored it as seen on the photograph. My regret is that I did not make a photographic record whilst it was at my friend’s premises. I trust this is of interest to your readers. Do you know the present whereabouts of IB 49?”

Perhaps a reader can offer Jim Morrow the answer to his query via Roamer’s mailbox.

Now to an update on the Pilot Boat Rosa, previously called Cormorant, and mentioned here over a year ago. She was an old Irish-built sailing vessel, converted into the Belfast Pilot moored off Carrickfergus in the 1940s/50s.

“I attach a photograph of a painting of the Schooner Pilot Boat Rosa, an old painting that I’m currently restoring,” wrote John Sawers, a member of the famous Belfast Sawers fine foods family business.

John, who has been in Africa for 41 years, directs a mining company in Nairobi.

His letter continued: “this painting was acquired by my grandfather in 1909. I guess Rosa was built about 1890-1893. The picture shows her under full sail off Greypoint, Helen’s Bay, where I was brought up.”

Mr Sawers ended his letter on a nostalgic note: “Northern Ireland is calling and I need to get back and enjoy all it has to offer. As an aside, I am an honorary member of Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club having been a member for 55 years! Sailing is in my blood.”

Finally today, some News Letter readers’ japes and jokes that have been waiting in my mailbox for some well-deserved smiles.

Such as the following advertisements that actually appeared on the classified ads pages of newspapers, confirming, said the reader who provided them - “British humour is different!”

In the two advertisements offering free puppies to a good home, one pup is “half Cocker Spaniel and half neighbour’s sneaky dog!”

An ad offering another similarly cross-bred pooch boasts “its mother is our Kennel Club registered German Shepherd and its father is healthy, strong and nimble, capable of leaping over our high garden fence in a single bound!”

A rather poignant advertisement mourns - “Wedding dress for sale. Worn once by mistake.”

“Must sell. Very cheap. Almost new!” exclaims an announcement offering “a washing machine and spin dryer for sale.” An explanation follows - “going to first offer of £98, the annual subscription for our local nudist colony.”

Another begins innocuously “For sale by owner.” It tenders a complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica “in excellent condition. All 45 volumes for £200 or nearest offer. No longer needed. Got married. Wife knows everything!”

Also awaiting a smile or two is a compilation of classroom jokes from Roamer’s mailbox collectively entitled “Children know best.”

A little primary school boy was asked by his teacher “How do you spell the word ‘crocodile’?”

The wee lad replied - “k-r-o-k-o-d-i-a-l!”

When the teacher said “No, that’s wrong” the boy responded indignantly “Maybe it’s wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.” (With the stress on ‘I’!)

During a class about standard household commodities the teacher asked a little girl called Winnie “name one important thing in your house today that wasn’t there ten years ago.”

Winnie replied proudly and succinctly - “Me!”

And finally, Roamer’s favourite anecdote from the list of childhood quips is about the teacher who asked Billy “why do you always get so dirty?”

Billy provided a compelling reason - “Well, I’m a lot closer to the ground than you are!”