The Rag and Bone Man Blew a Long Blast by EVAN EVANS IT is VERY STRANGE how seemingly unimportant incidents sometimes affect our whole lives. It was really one of these that heralded my entry into amateur photography about fifty-five years ago. The majority of amateur photographers usually start their activities with the proverbial Box Brownie camera, but my initiation into this delightful hobby took a most unusual form, and I am very doubtful if anyone else can boast a parallel. I was a small boy of a mere nine years living in the cockle village of Penclawdd. It was in the year 1907. My father was a miner earning very small wages and money was difficult to come by, and I counted myself very lucky if I could get my weekly allowance of one penny on Friday night, which was Dad's pay night. A penny could buy a lot in those days. For this princely sum you could get four ounces of boiled sweets, and if your taste was a little more fastidious, two ounces of the best quality. I well remember the day when a rag and bone man came down our road, loudly blowing his long tin trumpet. This was the instru- ment that heralded my entry into the photographic world My mother soon collected a bundle of old rags which she gave me. I took them to the rag and bone man, wondering what would be my reward. What do you think he gave me in exchange ? No, not the usual monkey-on-a-stick, nor any other such common toy He gave me a small packet containing REAL MAGIC. It contained a small cardboard printing frame, a small glass negative of a very pretty little country cottage, some sheets of sensitive printing paper, or P.O.P. as it was then called, and a small quantity of hypo crystals for fixing, complete with full instructions. I was so interested that I soon digested the instructions, and was ready to try out my newly acquired magic. The negative and the P.O.P. were placed in contact in the printing frame, exposed to the sun's rays, and lo and behold! the magic worked there was a picture of the cottage on the paper My stock of P.O.P. was soon exhausted, and my enthusiasm was such that I became impatient. The time this rag and bone man took to come round again seemed endless, as I had a wonderful bundle of rags waiting for him. He came eventually, but to my great disappointment he didn't have any magic this time he only had monkeys-on-the- stick, cheap dolls and toy harmonicas which played about four musical notes when you blew, and none when you sucked Howe/er, my enthusiasm had been well fired by now and I started to find out all I could about photography.