Friday, 9 December 2011

Story about the Tippler toilet and the clouds of ash! (taken from my old blog written in April 2010)

The story of the Tippler toilet and the clouds of ash!





















The street in the photo is the one where I was born. East Street, Rawtenstall

You can see it on Google Maps.

The last house on the right with an outhouse attached, is number 12, where I spent my early years until I was 13 years old. The outhouse contained the toilet and next to it, the dustbin shed. There used to be a small wooden door in the outer wall of this shed, for the dustbin men, or the "ash chaps" as they were then known, to be able to open and collect the bin, and take it to the cart at the bottom of the street.
This was no mean feat, given the gradient!
I cannot recall what on earth happened in the wintertime, when the cobbles were frozen solid or there was snow covering the ground!
We had coal fires then, and each morning when my dad got up early, before he went to work, he would clear out the remains of the ashes from the previous evening and take them out to the yard to deposit in the dustbin.

The story goes, ( and the continuing saga of the volcanic ash, April 2010, has prompted me to write about it) that one morning after a night of little sleep, due to one of his young daughter's keeping him awake, he went off down the yard in a stupor, and duly deposited all the ashes in what he thought was their usual place!
He found himself completely enveloped in hissing steam and with misted up glasses!
By this time he had fully woken up, and realised what he had done.
He had thrown the whole of the still extremely warm ashes down the tippler toilet..........!!
I have added a link about tippler toilets which explains how they were made and how they functioned.
It used to frighten me when I was small as it was such a long drop down from the seat. I am not surprised then that children sometimes fell in! It was like some deep dark mysterious well. And when the pan at the bottom tipped the contents into the drain it made a noise that scared me stiff if I happened to be sitting on the seat at the time!
In winter our parents kept a small paraffin heater lit in this outside loo, situated down the yard. 
"Dolly tub"
And I recall that my mother's "dolly" tub for the washing, stood in there upside down, so an old orange box was on the top, in which was some sacking. Our cat Tommy, a black and white un-neutered tom, slept in in it. Even in the most severe weather, he never slept in the house.            

How we take all our mod cons for granted now!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Woodcroft. Church "Walking Days" and Rose Queens........'50's and 60's.

Sunnyside Baptist procession passing the Globe Slipper works. 1935
This is me outside No 12 East Street ready to go to the St Paul's Walking Day
Our small community of streets had a  rhythm to it, which included the local churches. The nearest one to Woodcroft was Sunnyside Baptist Church, where my parents were married in 1942. They then went on to attend the Anglican church St Paul's Constable Lee,  which had a school attached. This was where I and my other childhood friends began our education.
Looking at the picture of the valley now, most of the fields behind the streets to the right, as far as the factory, with it's chimney, in the distance, are now houses.These were the fields where we used to roam and play.The steep hillside in the foreground is still the same if you care to climb it! The view is always good from that vantage point. 
     
Looking towards the factory and the five streets situated just in front, which was known as the Woodcroft" area 

Sunnyside Baptist Church held a Rose Queen procession, and most of my young friends were on the lorry which carried the tableau.        

Parents would be involved in decorating the lorries which carried the Rose Queen and her attendants, and there would always be the great traditional Brass Band. There were several Brass Bands in the Rossendale Valley, and our local one was Goodshaw Band. It gave us all a feeling of excitement to see them marching and playing.
The first "Walking Day" of each year, would be the St James the Less RC church, the second Sunday in May, and everyone lined the roadside to watch the procession pass by.The girls in their "First Communion" white dresses and veils. After which they would be able to take part in the Mass.  
St Paul's Anglican Constable Lee procession.
In the Anglican churches which surrounded the town of Rawtenstall, each of the girl's Sunday School classes wore the same dress material. Not being party to the mother's decisions about it, I am assuming they all got together and decided which material to buy, and also who would make up the dresses. I remember each year going to be fitted for my dress, at the house of someone my mother knew, and to me she seemed to permanently have a mouth full of dressmaking pins! I had to stand on a chair, when I was younger to have the hem pinned up. The patterns were not uniformly the same, but the effect was pleasing.
The younger children walked in twos, between two long rope cords, which they held in one hand, depending whether they were on the left or right. You can see these in the photo above.  And sometimes small flower baskets were carried.
My dad, Leslie Smith, in his "banner " shirt and trousers. (1930's)  Before going to St Mary's Cof E church to help carry their banner.   
 Each church had it's own banner and the older boys dressed in white shirts and black, or white trousers, helped the men to carry them. In windy weather it was quite a feat to keep them upright. All of the local Anglican churches in Rawtenstall, then paraded along the main road, each from their muster point, eventually arriving at the town centre for a united church service. This was always in July. It was known as a United Procession of Witness. Each band could be heard, along with the Scout band of St Mary's Parish Church, converging on the piece of waste ground in the centre.The banners flapping in the breeze. These were laid against the wall of the Pavilion cinema opposite.
So the service commenced. Children fidgeted, and we all let our minds wander! Once it was finished, we  returned to our own church, and hall, and had a tea party, followed by what was commonly known as a Field Day. We would be accompanied to a nearby field which had been mown, and spent a wonderful late afternoon, having a mini Field Sports day. It was a special occasion in the calendar year.            
St Paul's Anglican Church leaving the Rawtenstall Town centre after a United Service of Witness

Sunnyside Baptist Church Rose Queen Lorry. 

As I attended St Paul's Church, I also  had a lot of friends who went to Sunnyside Baptist. Their Rose Queen procession was a grand sight. And this photo is an evocative reminder of summer days as kids, when the sun always seemed to shine. I can smell the freshness of the leaves on the trees and catch again the scent of bluebells in those woods.   

St Paul's leaving the Town centre after the service.  

The "First Communion" girls of St James the Less RC church parading along Burnley Road, Rawenstall. The 2nd Sunday in May.  


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Heather Dawson's letter about the recollections of her childhood in Woodcroft during the 1950's and '60's.

I really enjoy looking through the old photos which Peter Fisher has collected and put on smugmug. 


Playing in the fields by the little stream. All this is now covered by houses  

Recollections of days gone by, happy childhoods, and remembered dramas in the ongoing life of our community of streets. Take a look, and be transported back in time to earlier years. It is a superb history book. 
Of all the letters which were written to the Rossendale Free Press about those days, this is the one which captures the essence of how we lived. I have read it and re-read it. A different era.      
Heather's (then Dawson) letter to the Rossendale Free Press
So, as Ken Stott continues to film the now grown up children of the '50's and '60's, and prepare a DVD how we are all looking forward to the final complete version-
"Woodcroft"- Capturing History for the Next Generation".  
So far he has filmed people from the Midlands, the Isle of Wight, Derbyshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire, amongst others who still live in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire.
As I had a phone conversation with him only this week, he said he wasn't really creative!
Well, I got news for you Ken, my French friend asked me who had done the filming, having watched the edited version of one of the clips.
"It is a superb job," he said, (only you have to imagine that said in French!)  With the relevant Gallic expression!  

The Woodcroft Story of our 50's childhood. How it all began.

Leslie Smith at Crown Point. Lancashire. 2008
Text of Maureen Fisher's letter to the  Rossendale Free Press, in 2000, which set off a chain of others. Leading to a reunion in September 2001 

"I agree with your correspondent Mrs Wilkes- Rawtenstall market should be left alone. It is 31 years since I left Rawtenstall, and on my (sadly infrequent) trips back it is always a delight to find the market virtually unchanged from the days of my childhood. It is like stepping back in time and the more to be treasured for that reason. I hope that the council and public ensure that the market is preserved, it really is a jewel.
Another Rawtenstall treasure is Les Smith, whose witty letters never fail to amuse me and recall memories of when he lived near me in East Street. His daughter Vivien and I were best friends for the duration of our school days at St Paul's Constable Lee. My best memory is of the attic in her house, where we would troll about in dressing-up clothes to the strains of old 78 rpm records played on a wind-up gramophone.
Our favourites were "Rustle of Spring" , "The Cobbler's Song" and " A Bachelor Gay am I"
Happy Days!!"       

Maureen Fisher. Front row at the left-hand side   
"Woodcroft" Reunion in September 2001


Reply from Peter Fisher, Maureen's brother. 
I read the letter from my sister ......and the replies .......
"The Woodcroft area was a great place to live as a child.The area from Rosedale Street to Newchurch Boot (factory) had a community feeling all of its own.
All the children played together..Sledging, building bonfires...and those wonderful days playing by the little stream that fed the lodge above Broadley's factory, a place we called "Little Blackpool".Many times we were told off for trying to build dams and endangering the factory's water supply.
There were two "gang huts" at the top of East Street. One was for the girls and one, rented for 6d a week, for boys.It was full of comics and I remember spending many hours there reading for all I was worth. When my mother or sister came to find me, I pretended not to be in.
From the top of  East Street to the top of Woodcroft Street were lots of pens, full of hens. A paradise for fathers and children. There was also Donald Howarth's garage. He kept his car spotlessly clean. I am  sure he spent more time cleaning it than driving it.
One particular memory is the Coronation. I think we were each given a mug and a spoon. It felt like we had each been given some treasure."

Peter Fisher on the right (front)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Delivering the milk. 1950'S

Add caption

MONDAY, 2 MAY 2011

Farmer Pickles returning from his milk round 


Some of the Dawson family out for a stroll on a cold day!
These fields are now built upon, and the old farm in the background a heap of rubble.
As children we knew every inch of this walk. The streets of our small community being to the left of the photo, back down the hill.
The farm belonged to the Pickles family, and they and another farmer, who also had a dairy herd, called Mr Clarke, provided us with milk.
Mr Clarke had a horse and cart, which he loaded with two large milk churns and he would clatter along the cobbles at the bottom of the streets, and leave the horse waiting whilst he filled a smaller churn which he would then carry to each house, where he poured out the fresh milk into the jugs, or small metal cans, waiting sometimes on the yard steps or walls. Each jug had a cover. Some of these were of material which was beaded around the edges, to stop it from slipping off or being blown about. Also good to keep out the flies! I do remember him coming up our back street with his larger "billycan".
Then if we were not at school we would ask him if we could have a ride in the small cart back to his farm.
It was situated in the distance, as the crow flies, of this photo.
I liked the feel of the pull of the cart, as the old cart horse wound his way back up the farm lane. There was a rhythm to the movement.
The old lane is long gone but I did manage to find the entrance on my trip there 2 years ago. All overgrown and only the impressions remain. The old stone walls which lined the route are able to be seen if you look carefully enough. The lane is called Reeds Lane, and in the 1940's my mum's brother and his wife and baby daughter lived in a cottage at the top, next to the

farm. It was called Reeds Cottage, and adjoined the barn where the horse was stabled.
If the horse got restless, they could hear him. His great hooves shifting on the stone floor.
And Auntie Lily would say, so the story goes,
" Not to worry, it's only t'orse"
Once the horse and cart reached the farm we would get down and then wend our way home down the lane and on through the fields.
Happy times.

2 comments:


Alan Leishman said...
In the mid 1980's we would play in the ruins of the old farm in the background of the top photo. It was in a bad state and would probably be considered dangerous now which I suppose it was. It seems incredible that it was simply abandoned along with all of the outbuildings and machinery. In the early 90's I would run home at night along the path your family are photographed on scurrying past the old farmhouse which seemed to take on a new life in the gloaming. I've ever seen tbe buildingin it's pomp Viv. Thanks for sharing.
Teapot said...
Actually Alan, it is not my family in the photo. We were the Smith family. This was the Dawson family. And thanks for the comments.:-)

Childhood games we used to play in the 50's.

MONDAY, 30 MAY 2011


I
Maytime
Here I am on the right-hand side, at the top of my street, wearing one of my mother's old dresses.
It is 1st May. We used to borrow an old broom or brush handle, sometimes with the brush head still attached and go through the surrounding neighbourhood, where we would stop at each location, and sing..................as we
twirled around the pole, making a pattern with the ribbons.
"Dancing round the maypole 
Merrily we go
Hip-a hip-a cherry, to and fro.
All the lovely maidens on the village green
Dancing in the sunshine,
Hurrah for the Queen"
Our games followed a seasonal track.
In spring, when the evenings grew lighter, we could play out at after tea for longer during the week. We had tops and whips, with coloured chalks, and drew patterns on the tops, before using the tiny whips to set them spinning along the pavements. The original pavement I used is here, in this picture, on the left. As the paving slabs were so uneven, it was a work of art to keep the tops going. As they whirled around we could see each different "design" emerge.     
    
The bottom of my street is just visible on the right a little way along.These streets were our playgrounds, along with the fields at the top.
  
Skipping games
We had skipping ropes and used different rhymes as we skipped to the rhythm. 
Sometimes we used an old washing line.Two people stood at each end and turned the rope, saying various chants, such as: 
"All in together girls,
The cows are in the meadow girls,
When you hear your birthday
Please jump in"
Then as we each heard our own month, we would jump into the rope and there could be as many as 5 all at once skipping. Counting would begin, until the one by one we would "jump out" when we      
couldn't stand the pace anymore!    
If we skipped alone we had other rhymes, such as: 
"Blue  bells,
Cockle shells,
Eevy, Ivy, Over" 
Ball games
Individual games were always played either using the backyard wall, or the brick walls out in the street. I used to play "two ball" when you threw one ball at the wall and as it returned, you caught it as you threw the second one, and so on, in a regular beat.   

 I used to say
"Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Jews
Bought his wife 
A pair of shoes, 
When  the shoes began to wear 
Nebuchadnezzar began to swear
When the swearing began to stop
Nebuchadnezzar bought a shop
When the shop began to sell
Nebuchadnezzar rang a bell
When the bell began to ring
Nebuchadnezzar began to sing,
One, two, three, four, five.............................."    
These rhymes must have been handed down as I really hadn't a clue then who he was!!    
In another team game, someone would be chosen to stand with their back to the rest of us, and then would throw the ball over their shoulder.
 Whilst we would ask "Queenio, queenio, who's got the ballio?"
                      The person who had thrown the ball had then to guess which of us was holding it behind our backs. A process of elimination! The one holding the ball then stood at the front, and we would begin again.    
There was far less traffic then, and close communities "kept an eye " on their children. So we were ringfenced.
Group pastimes included "Hide and Seek", and "Tig" as we called it. 
Playtime at St Paul's Constable Lee C of E Primary School
This is the school at which the majority of us began our education. 
 We could use the wooden PE hoops in the play yard,at break time, until the advent of the Hula Hoop which swept the country like wild fire. And is still in use today.

We badgered our parents for one of the coloured plastic hoops,and proceeded to master the art of twirling it round and round our waists, and even necks, until the latter was pronounced "dangerous"
So we had to stick to waists and ankles!      
There are so many more games that we played, that I will save that for another time. 
But I think we were extremely healthy children, who had lots of fresh air and loads of exercise without even realising it!





Return to Rossendale................9 days and counting!





I just absolutely adore this picture.
In the course of looking for old photos for the proposed dvd of our old neighbourhood, Woodcroft, this  picture has emerged. The girl in the lane lived at the farm which was situated to the rear of the person taking the shot.
Locally always referred to as "Pickles'" farm.
This is Dorothy Pickles, the farmer's daughter. She has sent several old snapshots to Ken Stott, to be included.
I must admit to simply staring at it for ages, and being transported once more back to my early years.
Here is the very lane along which I used to walk, whether with family, or friends, or simply alone.
Turning left at the five-barred gate and following the track back down between the bordering fields, to our streets and houses, and home.    

Walking straight on along the path brought us to a small wooden bridge, which crossed the stream running off the hillside. Here we would spend hours, once we had negotiated the barbed wire when clambering  down to play on the banks.
It was in a hollow and so unseen from civilisation it seemed to us........
Our own world.
I loved it.
That stream had such clear running water, and in it were minnows and sticklebacks.
We fished with jamjars and on one occasion, I had the fiercest looking water creature in mine. It was fighting with a minnow, and round and round they went in my jar. I very excitedly took it home to show my dad. He pronounced it to be a dytiscus beetle, or diving beetle, which apparently have voracious appetites, and eat tadpoles and small fish!
So, I took them both back and released them..............
I also loved caddis fly larvae.
Here in this photo the larva is crawling out of his home made shell, constructed of old bits of gravel and sometimes broken twig stems which have fallen into the stream. I used to watch them for ages, meandering their way along the underwater stems of grass, or on the stream bed.
Dad told me when he was at school, they would put the shell-less larvae into a fish tank, and then drop in all kinds of bits of beads and twigs, of small coloured gravel, and marvel how painstakingly the larva constructed their shell-homes.These were then veritable works of art having multicoloured additions!

The big woods, in the background, amongst which you can just glimpse Crawshaw Hall, was where the land owner, Cicely Brooks, resided.
We would play in amongst those trees.
One day when galloping along under the tree canopy, with my friend to whom I was tied with a skipping rope, having become, magically, "Flicka the Horse", a tv series in the 1950's,and my friend holding my "reins" we suddenly came face to face with Madame Cicely.........................who was not best pleased!
Normally we kept well away from the immediate environs of the Hall and gardens, but had strayed a bit too far this time!
All my friend could think of to say was "I'm a Girl Guide" and showed her the Company belt around her waist.
Cicely, supposedly, having something to do with the Guides.
Well, if she did or not, we had a real ear wigging!

The spire of the church in the distance, St John's Crawshawbooth, was just a short distance from the main entrance to the hall itself.
Did it put us off playing in the woods again? What do you think? ;-)
But most of all I can smell the fresh air of the fields, now covered in houses, and feel the icy coolness of the water in the stream on my bare feet.
 The sound of the wind in those trees in the woods, and remembering the ever changing colours of the leaves. In spring the whitebeam was always out first, and the tapestry of all the many shades of green as others followed, before the dirt and grime from the factory chimneys and myriad coal fires, dulled their transluscence.
And in a little over 9 days time, I am going back once again, to rediscover old haunts and history.    

Links to old blogs

http://anymoreteainthatpot.blogspot.com/
http://musingsofateadrinker.blogspot.com/  

THURSDAY, 21 APRIL 2011




" I have often walked down this street before"!!



Peter Fisher has a superb set of old photos which you can see on the web. As I browse through them, all my early childhood comes alive.
Our world was in these streets, which you can see here on the Land registry plan.
East Street,in the first picture,where I was born,  (The house on the left with the wooden fence and small conifer),Thorn Street, Woodcroft Street, Rosedale Street and Terrace, Burnley Road, and Westwood Terrace were bounded by the main road running along the valley, and in the east by fields and beyond the fields the hills.
On the map the plans for the first new houses can be seen, to be built on the fields in which we played. The factory lodge is visible at the top, with the stream which fed it with water from the hillsides.
As you look down each street from the top, you look out over to the hillside opposite and the woods which belonged to Cicely Brooks, and always known as Brooks' Woods.
Of course we used to go and play in there, keeping well away from the big Hall and its owner! It was a magical place then, in the days when we used to make our own fantasy world.
Each street aside from those by the main road, was very steep, but the gradient became less challenging as you progress towards Woodcroft Street from East Street.
Brilliant for sledging in the winter, but as you can see, extremely challenging when sledging down our back!! Olympic Bob sleigh teams had nothing on us!!
We had to make a hair-raising stop at the bottom, or cannon into the brick walls of the yards of the houses on Westwood terrace.
But I digress..................how can you condense so much history into a small space!!
As I had my trip down memory lane in June 2008, I wondered how on earth the dustbin men ever managed to collect the bins from our street! Let alone the wheelie ones which now have taken over............I lived at No 12, but we couldn't see a bin with that number on to have the statutory photo!
And after all these years from the early '5o's when my childhood began, to this day, those of us who lived there still talk about it with great affection, and still share our history together. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished DVD being made by Ken Stott.

Childhood friends of the 50's and 60's

WEDNESDAY, 20 APRIL 2011


Childhood friends of the 50's and 60's

In June 2008 I spent several days staying with my dad in Rawtenstall, and managed to arrange to see 3 of my old childhood friends.
We all used to live in the area called Woodcroft, a community of several streets bordered by a factory to the north and a playing field to the south. It was situated in a narrow valley on the the main road between
Rawtenstall and Burnley. Bounded by fields and hills.
The old streets are still there.
And every time I have been there to visit I usually pay it a sentimental call.
We had a childhood that most children couldn't even dream of today. Such freedom to roam the hills, catch sticklebacks in the stream, climb trees, play out in the streets, or in one another's homes.
My sister, Shirley is writing her own blog about the special times we all spent as children in that neighbourhood. http://woodcroftfolk.blogspot.com/2011/03/letter-to-free-press.html
It was such a close community that a reunion was mooted in 2001 September and around 130+ people came along.
Lots of laughter, meeting up with folk we hadn't seen for years, or those with whom we had kept in touch.

In the photos I took, are the 4 of us. Left to right:
Susan, me, Maureen (née Fisher) and Val. 
The picture was taken in front of the same window where the Coronation group was assembled in 1953.



See if you can possibly spot us all in the picture above!
We all went for a walk tracing our favourite haunts, trying to pinpoint their locations, and some of them have not changed. The first picture is more or less as it was then. The view is timeless. Cribden and Little Cribden hills in the background. We knew every inch. I loved climbing to the top, looking out over the valley of Rossendale. The feel of the spiky grass when you sat down for a break.

The sound of the skylark in spring. There was always a cuckoo, and I knew that summer was on its way. Spring carpeted the fields and hills in buttercups, daisies, mayflowers, kingcups by the streams, bluebells in the woods across the road, sweet smelling purple and white clover.......... the rhythm of the seasons had a pattern we followed. Our games matched the time of year, sledging in the winter down the steep streets and hillsides, "swealing" grass in spring.
The farmers sometimes burned off the old pasture, to let the new grass grow. In that area it was known as swealing. It had a very distinctive smell. And we from time to time helped the process along! Then had fun stamping it out!! Health and Safety eat your hearts out!! Paddling in the nearby stream everyone knew as Little Blackpool, community bonfire, courtesy of Mr Pickles the farmer. Church "Walking Days" very much a feature of the North I always felt. These were at Whitsuntide and were known also as "Whit Walks". The church congregation adults at the back, and the Sunday School girls' classes wearing special dresses and the lads in white shirts and dark trousers, usually with white pumps on their feet, at the front. Some of them designated to carry the church banners. It was quite a sight when the brass bands processing in front of each church converged on the town centre for a united service on the spare ground. Other churches had "Rose Queens" who rode on a decorated float with whitewashed tyres, garlanded with flowers.

The next photo is an old friend of mine Janet, in the lane to Pickles farm. I used to go with my dad at times to get some more milk if we had run out. If we went at night he took a torch and it made a pool of light around our feet when it was particularly dark. In moonlight everything was bathed in silver. The trees looked so different. Sound seemed to be

magnified...................the swish of the wind through the grass and the leaves rustling, as we crunched along the stony lane. Lights twinkling behind us from the houses we had left behind.
So many, many memories, so many stories! And now it is proposed to make a kind of Living History DVD, with Vox Pop's interviews and old photos, interspersed with a commentary.
So, I hope that it does our childhood proud. It is absolutely worth the effort.



The picture below is of the Sunnyside Baptist Church Rose Queen float in 1960.


WEDNESDAY, 23 DECEMBER 2009 Capturing history for the next generation.....



More Childhood memories.

St Paul's C of E Church, Constable Lee, Rawtenstall, Rossendale, Lancashire. 

After I was born in 1948, I was taken to this church to be christened. There are old photos of my parents standing on the church drive, holding me in their arms. It was my first introduction to St Paul's. I grew to love the church, as it stands on a steep bank, leading up to the fields and hillsides behind.
It was just behind the C of E Primary school, where eventually I would begin my education. The church and school being linked. 
My memories of the church are coloured by the seasons of the year. 

At Christmas time, I would step inside and feel the warmth and musty smell generated by the old coke-burning boilers. It came up through vents in the tiled floor.
The large Christmas tree at the front sent out a wonderful pine scent, and with the organ softly playing before the beginning of the service, it was an oasis of tranquility. The lights on the tree twinkling and reflecting in the few delicate glass ornaments with which it was decorated. 

The timelessness of singing carols,

The sense of excitement that Christmas Day was approaching

And even now, for me, Christmas always begins with the Children's service in the morning, and the Carol service at night. 
The Sunday School which I attended there when I was older, rehearsed in time honoured fashion, unitl we all found ourselves in the front pews, (in my case a bit nervous!), ready to say or sing our pieces. 
Eventually, I graduated to singing in the choir when I was 8 years old, until I was 15 years old. It was then began to learn how to sing the traditional anthems, and the Christmas oratorios. We only sang parts of them, but it introduced me to a love of singing in four part harmony. 
We were very fortunate to have a wonderful choir master, called George Allen, who was well known in our area, for his sonorous bass baritone voice.He sang solos for productions of Handel's "Messiah" and listening to him sing was a delight. 

The Stained Glass Window.

One thing I did love very much was the stained glass window. It seemed to me to evoke a distant land, one which was far away, and the depiction of the shepherd and the sheep was not a wishy washy sentimental thing but something which stirred in me a feeling that there was a bigger story to be told.
Each week I would walk up the curving drive as it wound it's way up to the top of the small hill where the church was situated.
And each season was different.

In the spring the budding trees were just beginning to get ready to burst open and unfurl their new leaves. In the picture of the drive you can see the gatepost at the bottom and the end of the row of houses which bordered the schoolyard. I find myself remembering the scent of the early flowering redcurrant, or "ribes" to give it its name. It had a distinctive pungent scent and to this day when I smell it, it takes me back down memory lane. There are one or two small bushes in the picture, with the daffodils. A pinky red splash by the path. On warm summer days we could walk home by going through a small gate at the back of the church into the field paths and I absolutely adored the view of the hills opposite. Cribden and Little Cribden as they are called. They had and still do have, a distinctive shape.

The sun went down just behind them and in November it sometimes looked like a huge, flaming, deep red ball, resting for a while at the summit before slipping out of sight.
There was a richness in my childhood, which surfaces in images and impressions like tapping into a huge underground vein of valuable ore. Those of us who lived as children in that neighbourhood still talk about it and some of us are still in touch, 50 or so years on. We tramped the hills, played out in the streets, and fields, and made up our own entertainment, indoors and out. We were very privileged.
A lasting legacy of parents, teachers, church, and a more simple way of life.







(In the last picture the shape of Cribden Hill can just about be seen through the foliage of the trees and bushes.)