Three Fur Coats

Originally published in Lancashire magazine The first time we saw granny, auntie Margaret and mum together in the American cast-off fur coats, that granny had brought back from America in 1950, my father named them The Three Stooges. He ached so much from laughing that he made them promise never to appear simultaneously in the…

Corfu 1988

Corfu 1988 We drive cautiously round the tight bend to a cluster of sleepy cottages growing out of a profusion of oranges and lemons.  Rusty olive oil tins monopolise every square inch of space, vomiting monstrous geraniums and pelargoniums.  Doors, window frames and shutters are painted in bright peeling blues and greens, with roses the…

A paddle up the Pennines 1977

A paddle up the Pennines 1977  Published June 2012 in Down Your Way as “Jubilee bunting spurs us on for big walk” To celebrate my fortieth birthday in 1977 I walked the Pennine Way with my late husband David and 12-year old daughter Vanessa. Sodden sheep lurking without intent behind dry stone walls, life-threatening peat…

Lakeland’s Last Box Standing – The AA in Cumbria

Lakeland’s Last Box Standing – The AA in Cumbria Originally published in Cumbria magazine July 2015 Braving the elements on Dunmail Raise, an exposed mountain pass between Grasmere and Thirlmere, is the yellow and black Automobile Association ‘sentry’ box number 487 that has stood its ground for eighty three years.  If only the box could…

Road to Freedom for Girl on a Golden Rudge

Road to Freedom for Girl on a Golden Rudge Re-published by kind permission of Down Your Way from their issue of June 2012 One extremity-numbing Saturday morning in November 1953 a friend and I set off on our bicycles for a weekend at Aysgarth Youth Hostel, a YHA buzzword on the strength of the warden’s…

Guide Dog on Samos

Guide Dog on Samos  April-May 1989  I’m not a huge fan of animals, being nervous of most dogs and squeamish about wildlife.  But just now and again I could cheerfully take a cute little pup or a fluffy kitten home with me:  like the winsome little mongrel we met on Samos. My late husband, known…

Miss Hartley’s Peanuts

Miss Hartley’s Peanuts  Originally published under Margaret Drake in Lancashire Life – 1970s  Miss Hartley, who taught third-year infants at Barrowford Council School (now Barrowford Primary School), was everyone’s favourite teacher.  In her classroom were a piano, a grand wooden desk on which she kept a box of Ink Eradicator and the register.  Huge windows,…