|Me in the fields in 1970|
|Lower Cribden side 1969|
I loved to read and listen to the radio. My mother used to complain that I always had my head in a book! Until I discovered a propensity for drawing and painting, and I graduated to covering the attic plain plaster walls with various bits of "art" using little pots of paint!
Most of our other pastimes were outdoors. If it rained we played indoors with our friends. Endless games of Monopoly and Ludo, or Snakes and Ladders.
As it is, today, the first day in February, there is still an anticipation of winter finally slipping away. So it was when we all lived in Woodcroft. My bedroom window at 12 East Street was at the back. This, however, although it overlooked the mill roof, had a wonderful view of the woods where we all played. I knew which tree came into leaf first, as it was the whitebeam, the colour stood out. But in early February the trees would still have bare branches. Somehow our thoughts would turn to the next seasonal event in our childhood calendar...... "swealing" as it is known in Rossendale.....the burning of the old pasture grass by farmers, to make way for the new.
|Burning old grass in spring.|
How we anticipated going out to the fields and watching the fire crackle and take hold. There was the unique smell of the old grass as it succumbed to the flames. We used to help it along.......! Gathering clumps of tinder-dry grass and using them as torches.Stamping out flames with our shoes if it got out of hand! Our socks becoming filthy with sooty carbon! The boys making crude torches to light with their matches, at which Health and Safety would be horrified today! Using their jackets to stop the flames spreading too fast. The smell, even now, if I come across a random moorland ablaze, is so evocative. It signalled the end of winter. Spring was on its way and lighter nights, brighter mornings, and at some point there would be a change in the wind. It grew softer, and the early wild flowers came into bloom. Coltsfoots, and kingcups, (marsh marigolds), being amongst the first that we spotted, gathering them up to put in a jam-jar on a windowsill at home.
So as the Woodcroft story is about to be finally finished and the dvd "Capturing History For the Next Generation" in the editing stage, I actually wish we could all just go back in time for one day, and see those fields, as they were, without all the new houses, play in the stream, wander the meadows and sledge down those streets!
It was a very special childhood.
http://anymoreteainthatpot.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/i-have-moved-to-new-blog-title.html (link to previous blog)