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,…

New Forest Snake Catcher

New Forest Snake Catcher Published Countryman magazine June 2011  The old man had a huge forked beard and wore a large hat with an upturned brim.  In one hand was a tall pronged stick and dangling from the other were some kind of metal traps.  The shabby attire included a substantial long jacket and leg…

‘We’ve gone on holiday by mistake’

‘We’ve gone on holiday by mistake’ WITHNAIL & I In the thirty years since it hit cinema screens Withnail & I has achieved major cult status.  It is recognised as one of the best black comedies the British film industry has ever produced.  A word of warning: it is definitely not for those with a…

Swanside Packhorse Bridge

Swanside Packhorse Bridge, Rimington, Lancashire GRID REFERENCE SD 78496 45380.  Grade 11-Listed Lancashire County Council takes care of this genuine packhorse bridge, which has been well serviced and repaired over the years.  I would date it 17th century, and believe it would have replaced an earlier model.  The major building period for packhorse bridges was…

Precious Time

From choice I’d have preferred a store voucher, instead of a carriage clock for my mantel shelf, when I retired for there is something strangely perverse in giving a tick tock of any denomination to mark the occasion.  It’s almost an insult, considering a person’s entire working life has centred round the need to arrive…

The Wrinkled English Woman  on Patmos

I was so mad I could have Riverdanced on the spot in sheer temper.  To make matters worse I was minding my own business at the time.  Before she delivered the blow I could honestly say that not only was I happy I was at peace with the world – but let me rewind to…

France – Normandy – Saved For A Rainy Day

Saved For A Rainy Day Despite William the Conqueror invading England in 1066 we do not generally speak French, apart from using thousands of French words we inherited like “impossible”  and “serviette” that invaded our mother tongue.  They are pronounced as we think fit since it is not the wont of Brits to learn other…