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  • Interviews and Storytelling: Mrs Gibbon

    [TRACK 1]

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Year 6 Colden School the 7th of July 2011.  We’re interviewing Mrs Gibbons.

     

    TONY WRIGHT:

    And who has the first question?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How long have you lived in Colden?

     

    MRS GIBBON:

    I came about….wait a minute….when I was about twelve.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you lived anywhere else?

     

    MG:

    I’ve lived all over.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Whereabouts?

     

    MG:

    Well I was born at Preston, and I lived at Longton near Preston for two or three years, and then I went to live at Parbold that’s near Wigan. And then eventually the war broke out and my dad was a farm bailiff on a farm -  we’ve always lived on farms -  and the chap that owned the farm, he had a son that was due to go in the forces and so he wanted to have him to have my dad’s job to keep him out of the forces. But my dad wouldn’t agree to that, so he left – he finished. He wanted to put him down as a farm worker. And then we came to Luddendenfoot and he got a traveller’s job, and eventually that run out, they took all travellers off for war work, and we went to live up in Blackshaw Head then. Yeah, so I went up there about 19… what would it be….42 happen, yeah, and so I came here for about two years then I left here and started work when I was fourteen.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What did you do for work?

     

    MG:

    I was a tailoress.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What’s one of them?

     

    MG:

    I was an apprentice for five years, making men’s suits, ladies’ suits or whatever, so that’s what I did, yeah, until I got married in 1960.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Who was your husband?

     

    MG:

    Who was my husband?  He was Frank Gibbon, he was a farmer and he lived at Horsehold and that’s where I’ve lived ever since, since 1960…..and of course I’ve got….I had four children; this one is the second one…..no, my grandson sorry.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you noticed any changes about where you’ve lived?

     

    MG:

    Well there’s one or two houses gone up in Blackshaw Head; they’ve altered all the school by the way since I came.  I think this one was a classroom actually.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What…..who was the headteacher when you came to this school?

     

    MG:

    It was a Miss Sutcliffe, a Miss Lillian Sutcliffe. She was a bit of a terror.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Who was your favourite teacher when you came to this school?

     

    MG:

    Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think I had a favourite teacher. [laughing]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Can you remember any of the classrooms?

     

    MG:

    The classrooms?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    MG:

    Yeah, well this was a classroom, and at each end was….at that end was the boys’ cloakroom, and…..I don’t know…what is there now?  Is there still a cloakroom, the boys at the end?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    I think it is, yeah.

     

    MG:

    Yeah, and I do know during the war, they put some like shelving up and they made dinners here, and there was, I don’t know….sacks of flour, and I do know that somebody had been into one of these sacks of whatever it was up there, and….I don’t know, t’headmistress had us all sat there, you know, ‘Who’s done that?’ like, you know, nobody would admit to it. [chuckling]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you ever get caned at school?

     

    MG:

    Yes, once I did.  That was at Luddendenfoot School……they told us we hadn’t to run round the middle where the coats were hanging, so me and somebody else started running around and the headmaster come round, so I got caned. Once, that’s only once!

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    When did you last go on holiday?

     

    MG:

    When what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    When did you last go on holiday?

     

    MG:

    What, now?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    MG:

    I went last year, didn’t I?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    I don’t know, did you?

     

    MG:

    Where did I go last year?.......Oh, I went on a cruise, down the Rhine.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Where did you used to go on holidays as a child?

     

    MG:

    Where did what, sorry?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Where did you go on holidays as a child?

     

    MG:

    In when?  When did I go on holiday when?

     

    CHILDREN:

    As a child.

     

    MG:

    As a child?  We didn’t used to go on holidays, no.  Well, when I lived at Parbold near Wigan we wasn’t too far from Southport, we just used to go for a day trip to Southport; apart from that we never went. We didn’t go away on holiday, apart from going maybe to visit grandparents, yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    When and where was your first place visited abroad?

     

    MG:

    Abroad?......Oh, I went to Canada, didn’t I, a few years since with your granddad, and then we went to South Africa the year after…..Yeah. Oh, I’ve been to Majorca and Menorca and...

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Was life different here when you were a child?

     

    MG:

    Yes, you do a lot more different things here than….than we did when I went to school.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What’s your favourite holiday destination?

     

    MG:

    Oh I don’t know, they’re all different.  I liked South Africa because it was so different you know. I liked the Amalfi coast in Italy, that’s nice.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Were they hot?

     

    MG:

    Yes, I like it warmish, yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What are your views on pollution?

     

    MG:

    On what?  On pollution?.......I don’t know….pollution…..well, I don’t know…..people should pick their litter up shouldn’t they?  Look after the place…..yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    ………are you worried about your global footprint?

     

    MG:

    Am I worried about what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Your global footprint.

     

    MG:

    I’ve never thought about it. [laughing]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What was your first job?

     

    MG:

    I’ve only ever had one job, and that was when I started tailoring and I was an apprentice.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you enjoy it?

     

    MG:

    Hm?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you enjoy it?

     

    MG:

    Well I must have done because I stuck at it from being fourteen to being thirty. [laughing]  There are bits you don’t like, but you’ve to put up with it, haven’t you?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What sort of clothes did you make?

     

    MG:

    Men’s suits – trousers, waistcoats, jackets……ladies’ costumes, jackets and skirts – it was mainly men’s suits that I made.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    As a child, what did you…..did you go out for meals at weekends?

     

    MG:

    Oh no, we couldn’t afford that, no.  My mother didn’t work, it was just my dad working, so…..no.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What did you do on the farm that entertained you?

     

    MG:

    What did I do on the farm that what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Entertained you.

     

    MG:

    Well….I don’t know about entertaining……you mean what did I finally do on the farm?  Bottled milk.  We had two milk rounds, and before I retired I used to get up at six o’clock in a morning and fill bottles of milk with my sister-in-law; we filled about six hundred bottles, pint bottles, and then your granddad and his brother used to go round Hebden Bridge and deliver it.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you used to drive a tractor?

     

    MG:

    I’ve had a try once, but your granddad didn’t tell me to put my foot on the brake did he [laughter] so I just…..hit something and that was it, no!

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What job did your dad do?

     

    MG:

    My dad?  Well he was always a farmer, we always lived on farms….and then at the finish up, when the war started, he went... he did a… we came to Luddendenfoot and… he was selling cattle medicines, and then that fizzled out, and he got a job with West Riding County Council which is Calderdale now, working on the roads.  They used to give them a length of road to look after and he got the length of road up through Blackshaw from… Edge Hey Green right to t’bottom of Pole and he had that length of road to look after, and then… and then he retired.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Has your quality of life improved?

     

    MG:

    Has what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Has your quality of life improved?

     

    MG:

    Has it improved?  Well I dare say it has.  I’m quite satisfied.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Can you remember your High School that you went to?

     

    MG:

    High School?  I never went to a High School.  This is the school that I finished at.  No, I didn’t go to High School.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Why didn’t you go to High School?

     

    MG:

    Well I think I was at Luddendenfoot and they sit for the…..O Levels don’t they, when you’re eleven, and I’d only just gone to that school and actually going from one school to another, sort of different courses that they do, and there was some at Luddendenfoot that I hadn’t done before, so that I missed getting into Sowerby Bridge Grammar School, so that’s why I didn’t go to Grammar School.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    So what did you do when you finished school?

     

    MG:

    I started work when I was fourteen.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you got any advice for children leaving school now?

     

    MG:

    Any advice?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    For children leaving school now.

     

    MG:

    Well I don’t know…..I really don’t know…….I don’t know. Everybody should get a job.  There’s a lot of people, youngsters, that haven’t got a job for some reason or other……

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    If you were going out for a meal somewhere round local, where would you go?

     

    MG:

    I don’t really know in particular.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you go out for meals often?

     

    MG:

    No.  Maybe once a year. [chuckling] No, I like having my family you see.  I had four children and then of course I’ve got eight grandchildren…..this is one, and brothers and sisters; I was the eldest of five of us but my brother died a year or two since, but….and they have families, and I like them to come to my house you see, and I have a big family gathering every now and again, so that’s what I do.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you got a big house?

     

    MG:

    Well yes, I’m the only one in it and I’ve got three bedrooms, a big sitting room and a big kitchen….yes, it’s biggish.  I don’t want to live in a little house so I don’t know what I’d do if I had to go in a one up one down; I’m stopping where I am.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you any hobbies?

     

    MG:

    Hobbies?  I do quite a bit of embroidery…..and when the kids bring their mending….yes, I do the mending. Oh, I go dancing every fortnight to Heptonstall.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What kind of dancing do you do?

     

    MG:

    Old time. Oh, I don’t jig up and down like you lot do!

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you sell your embroidery?

     

    MG:

    Is what, sorry?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you sell your embroidery?

     

    MG:

    Do I…?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Sell it.

     

    MG:

    Sell it – oh no I don’t sell it, oh no no no.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you got a collection?

     

    MG:

    Well yes.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Where do you keep it?

     

    MG:

    I don’t know – stuffed in drawers! [laughing] Or whatever. Well, tablecloths, I use them, and actually I’ve done two tapestries, two big tapestries, and my two eldest grandchildren are both going to be twenty-one shortly, so I’m giving them one each.  One’s... like of a lady, and the other’s a couple of parrots, so… I could have brought them but they’re too big and heavy to bring to show you.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you think Colden is a safer place than it used to be?

     

    MG:

    Is it what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you think it’s a safer place than it used to be?

     

    MG:

    What, Colden?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    MG:

    I think it’s fairly safe isn’t it?......yeah…..yeah……and where I live up at Horsehold, it’s quite safe up there.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you got a favourite place in Colden that you go to?

     

    MG:

    In Colden?  No, not particularly, no.  I used to live up at Blackshaw Head, at Davey Hall at the top of Davey Lane……that’s where I used to live.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you go to church or not?

     

    MG:

    Every now and again. Well I belong to t’Church Women’s Guild actually, that’s every month…

     

    TW:

    Have you finished your questions?

     

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes we have, yes.

     

    TW:

    Well there are one or two I would like to ask, and if any of you want to jump in and ask other questions, then feel free to do that.  One of the last things you said was you lived at Davey Lane and you had a….a dairy farm as well.  Did you know Mrs Clegg?

     

    MG:

    Yes I remember Mrs Clegg.  She lived down Davey Lane.

     

    TW:

    She had a milk farm as well didn’t she?

     

    MG:

    She delivered milk.  She’d get it from the dairies.

     

    TW:

    Oh right.

     

    MG:

    Yeah.

     

    TW:

    I see.

     

    MG:

    I didn’t…..we didn’t…..we wasn’t living at Davey Hall, t’top of Davey Lane when they were delivering milk. I lived at Horsehold; that’s where I went to live when I got married you see, yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How did you deliver the milk?  Did you deliver it in...

     

    MG:

    How did I what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How did you deliver the milk?

     

    MG:

    We had a Land Rover, and then eventually we had a pick-up….yeah.

     

    TW:

    Did you not have a horse and cart at some point?

     

    MG:

    They had horses and carts before I got married, and then I remember the last horse that they got, but they sold it and got a Land Rover….yeah.

     

    TW:

    You said that you used to fill six hundred pints of milk each morning.  How many cows did you have to get that much milk?

     

    MG:

    …..roughly about fifty or so……they’d be milked…..yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you have a favourite cow?

     

    MG:

    No I didn’t, I didn’t bother much with the cows at all.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you name them?

     

    MG:

    No they didn’t have names, no.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you have any pets?

     

    MG:

    Pets?  We always had a dog or a cat, yeah.  I like Border Collie dogs, they’re lovely.  Very intelligent… very one man dogs as well… yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you have any pets now?

     

    MG:

    No……no.  My dog was about twenty-one but she was poorly so I had to have her put down and then my cat eventually died…..no.  I’d like a dog but I set off a bit too much.  You can’t leave a dog so much, you know, so that’s why I haven’t got one, but if I was having one it’d be a Border Collie.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you have anything else on the farm, animal wise?

     

    MG:

    What, beside cows?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    MG:

    We’ve had pigs and….hens.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you sell the eggs or keep them?

     

    MG:

    Was what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you sell the eggs or keep them?

     

    MG:

    Oh, they sold them on the milk round. Oh, and then…..I started making butter….yeah…..so home-made butter as well.

     

    TW:

    Did you do that by hand?

     

    MG:

    Mm [yes]

     

    TW:

    How did you do that then?

     

    MG:

    Well we had…..a butter churn, actually that was….it had a motor on it, yeah, so we didn’t have to turn it, but…..but the rest of it was done by hand, and rolling it, you know, all that.  You put your cream in the butter churn and it goes round and round and round until it curdles, and then you pour the whey off it, and then you put clean water in it, wash it until it runs clean, and then put it on like a…..a big board with a roller on and roll it until you’ve rolled all the water out of it, then pack it up.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you sell the butter?

     

    MG:

    Did we?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you sell all the butter that you made?

     

    MG:

    Did I what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you sell the butter?

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    Did you sell it?

     

    MG:

    Sell it?  Oh yeah, they sold it on the milk round.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Can you remember how long it took?

     

    MG:

    How long it took?  What?  To make some butter?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    MG:

    Oh, you could be at it a couple of hours.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Was it tiring?

     

    MG:

    Just depended like how…..maybe how thick the cream was, you know, as to how long it took to go. Like I mean if you buy some cream in the supermarket and you want to whip it, it just depends how long you whip it before it starts curdling and then it’s gone to butter then. Like I think Christopher, I mean Nathaniel, did that last week…Yeah, he was whipping some cream and it went to butter, didn’t it?

     

    NATHANIEL:

    Yeah.

     

    MG:

    Yes. [chuckling]

     

    TW:

    I wanted to ask about when you were a seamstress.

     

    MG:

    When I was what?

     

    TW:

    A seamstress.

     

    MG:

    Oh yes.

     

    TW:

    Did you make a whole suit or did you just make parts of it?  How...

     

    MG:

    Oh no I made a whole suit, but the chap that I worked for, he cut it out; he did all the cutting, and then it was just given to us and…..you made the whole suit, oh yeah.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Was that in Hebden?

     

    MG:

    Oh yes.  I don’t know whether you remember… well I don’t think you would, because it’s, it’s sixty years since I lived there; I worked there after I’d say…Wheelhouse and Fletcher’s. It’s a jeweller’s shop now, by the pedestrian crossing in the middle of Market Street, just before you go round to Central Street School. It was a tailor’s shop was that, Wheelhouse and Fletcher’s.

     

    TW:

    Oh right.

     

    MG:

    Yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How many other people did you work with?

     

    MG:

    Well when I started, there had been other people there but they’d had to go on war work. This was…..in ’44 you see, the end of the war really ,when I started work. So there was one, just an elderly lady, and she started, I started with her…….and then one or two of them came back from war; there were no more than about four of us, and then at t’finish up, for t’last year or couple of years, I worked on my own because they all left.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    So when you worked at that shop, where did you live then?

     

    MG:

    I lived at Blackshaw.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    And how did you get to work?

     

    MG:

    On the bus in the morning.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    There was a bus then?

     

    MG:

    Yes…..half past eight bus in a morning….what was it……what were it….about fourpence ha’penny return, [laughing] whatever that is in new money! [laughing]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    If you hadn’t have done that job, would you have…what job would you have done?

     

    MG:

    …..I don’t know because I liked sewing you see, that was about…..the lot. But then my younger sister, she started nursing and I thought, ‘Oh, I could have done that,’ you know... but my first choice was for sewing.

     

    TW:

    Can you remember what your first wage was?

     

    MG:

    Yes I can.  Twelve and sixpence a week for the first year; twelve and six, so I don’t know, you can reckon that up in pence or whatever it is now, and then it went to……That were twelve and six; my second year was…..were it thirteen and sixpence? My third year was about fifteen shillings; and my fourth year was just short of a pound; and my fifth year……was it….did I go to two pound fifty? And that was it…..yeah. You see that was from 1944 to….for five years…..yeah, but I mean it was t’going rate then. Oh well I don’t know, for apprentices it was, but….I think it’s a lot more now isn’t it?

     

    TW:

    When you say you were an apprentice, who taught you the skills that you learnt, how to...

     

    MG:

    This…..this elderly woman and then some of the other workers that came back, yeah.  There wasn’t anybody in particular that was teaching you.

     

    TW:

    Oh right.

     

    MG:

    No.

     

    TW:

    Did you get small jobs and then build up to larger jobs if you...

     

    MG:

    Mm. [yes] I think I started on making button holes….I think that was what I started on.

     

    TW:

    Did you work to patterns then, or could you be a bit creative in how your sewing went?

     

    MG:

    No, no, my boss cut the…..suits out and I just made them up.

     

    TW:

    Right.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    After you finished your apprenticeship did you get a wage?

     

    MG:

    Yes, I think…..yeah, I think I started about two pound fifty, but then I think when I left….when I left work in ……in 1960…..I don’t know, I wasn’t getting a right lot then…..even then….it’s a long time since is that, isn’t it?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    When you were working, did you have anybody in the house, looking after the house?

     

    MG:

    My house?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    MG:

    Well I lived with my mum and dad….yeah, and my brothers and sisters.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How old were you when you left then, to go in another house?

     

    MG:

    When I got married?  I was thirty…..and then I didn’t go back to work after that….I had jobs to do up on the farm, like, you know, bottling and washing up, washing all the dairy tackle.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What jobs did your brothers and sisters do?

     

    MG:

    What jobs did what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Your brothers and sisters do?

     

    MG:

    My brother, he worked on a farm higher up the road from…..from Davey Hall at Blackshaw, on a farm, and then he set himself up on….selling eggs….hens in battery cages they were then, and he died, maybe five or six years since, and he’d sold them all, and he finished up with fifteen thousand hens, you know, sold ‘em to t’packers, that’s what he did, that was my eldest brother.  My other brother is a joiner. One sister, well she came to work with me but didn’t last so long, and then she worked in different shops, shop assistant, and then my younger sister, she was a nurse.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Were you happy to do the farm work after…you said.

     

    MG:

    Oh yes, yes.

     

    TW:

    Did you like it more than the sewing?

     

    MG:

    No, no, I liked it just as well……yeah…..you see I don’t…..when I was born, we lived at Longton near Preston. Well I don’t remember living there, you know, we’d moved maybe when I were two or three year old, and then we moved to another little farm at Parbold near Wigan, and I went to school from there, to my first school when I was five……and then we moved to another farm, a bigger farm, [incomp] until we moved over to Luddendenfoot, so I’ve been to five schools.

     

    TW:

    Do you consider yourself Lancashire or Yorkshire then?

     

    MG:

    Oh well I prefer to be Lancashire don’t I? [chuckling]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What was the farm called?

     

    MG:

    Well the last one was called Parbold Hall, there was a big hall up there…..and….and the one before that was called Gillibrand……and I don’t remember what the other ones was called.

     

    TW:

    Is it still a dairy at Horsehold now?

     

    MG:

    No, it’s gone.

     

    TW:

    Has it?

     

    MG:

    Yeah.  My husband – well my husband died, and his brother added it onto his brother’s son that all the milk round went. They just have a few beef cattle, that’s all, that’s all they have.

     

    TW:

    So is there just them that live there now?

     

    MG:

    Just what sorry?

     

    TW:

    Is it just them?

     

    MG:

    Yeah.

     

    TW:

    Yeah?

     

    MG:

    Yeah.

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    Can you tell us about living up here in the winter times, those years ago?

     

    MG:

    Can I tell you about living what?

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Up here in the winters.

     

    MG:

    Oh….1947….I walked to work, was it for about six weeks?  Oh it were terrible, yeah.  Walked down, and down the fields, and come out at Jack Bridge and then go down Radley.  Me dad said ,‘It’s not safe to go down t’steeps,’ you know, because it had blown in. So that’s the way we always walked down and walked back again. Oh, you were walking over snow drifts. It was so….solid. Oh yeah, oh yeah. And then, if I was quarter of an hour late for work, getting into work for quarter past eight instead of eight o’clock and he happened to be there, he’d say, ‘What’s this?  Half time?’  That’s what I got after….and he only lived in Hebden Bridge, yeah, and I’d walked from Blackshaw, and did it for six weeks.

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    And walking back as well.

     

    MG:

    Oh yes….oh, I know.  But there used to be all…..lots of people doing it you see. You know, you’d catch up with somebody else, yeah, you wouldn’t be on your own…..no. It was horrendous, yeah it was, and me dad worked for the County Council then, and they started…..they started digging out at Cross Lanes thirteen times and every night it blew it in and they’d to start again, because you see they didn’t have snow blowers; they had snow ploughs just on front of the wagons you know, just like that, and that was all. It was all hand shovel work, and they had a group of…..Italian prisoners of war helping out. But, you know, it were terrible, it really was, apart from winters, like, when it snowed.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    When you were a child, what did you get for Christmas?

     

    MG:

    Oh…..well as luck had it, my granny and granddad had a shop in Preston, a paper shop, and she used to get toys in for Christmas, so we generally got something from her, but I know when the war started there wasn’t anything much….and I think I got a packet of hankies, fancy hankies….you know, perhaps an orange and a few nuts….yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How old were you when the war started?

     

    MG:

    How old was I?  I was nine when it started in 1939, so I was nine.

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    Were you evacuated anywhere?

     

    MG:

    No, oh no….oh no, the evacuees came here from Brighton.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    You were here not in Wigan then?

     

    MG:

    I was over here then, yeah…..and the evacuees came over from Brighton, and do you know I’m going to see one next week.  I don’t know whether you know……well he was called Peter Middleston and he was in lodge with Mr and Mrs Feather at Old Edge on there, and do you know he’s kept in touch with them ever since, and this will be about t’third time I’m going down to see him with one of the daughters that he lodged with, and he’s kept in touch with her, and he’s a bit….well he left school about two years before I did

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    And some of the Brighton evacuees have been up here haven’t they?

     

    MG:

    Yes they was evacuated from Brighton up here.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    They came and visited recently haven’t they?

     

    MG:

    Oh yeah that’s right he did, I believe he did, yeah….yeah, that were Peter, so I’m going down to see him next week.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you ever have to go under or in an air raid shelter?

     

    MG:

    …..well, [chuckling] we were given an air raid shelter. Everybody was given an air raid shelter. But my dad said he wasn’t gonna put that up – ‘We’ll be safe under the cellar,’ in the cellar under the….so if there was anything like that, we had to go down in t’cellar.  Now then, I can remember when we lived at Luddendenfoot, looking through the bedroom window with my mum, and you could hear the Germans coming over, and…because they had a different tone of engine to what ours were, and they were going over to bomb Manchester and Liverpool and that way; we lived at Luddendenfoot then, and…..and then later on, we heard one coming over, it were one of the Doodlebugs, and it cut out somewhere over….Mytholmroyd and it dropped in Halifax didn’t it?.....yeah…..I remember hearing that….yeah….yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Were you scared?

     

     

    Scared?  No not particularly I don’t think, no not really, because they didn’t…they didn’t get bombed round here did they?  No, they were going to bigger towns….yeah, so……yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Were there ever any bombs dropped near where you lived?

     

    MG:

    Here?  Round here?  I don’t think so……no.  I think there was an aeroplane – did it crash somewhere….up toward Egypt….I think there was an aeroplane there weren’t there?  Was it ours?  I think it was.

     

    TW:

    I think it was one of ours, but I have spoken to somebody else who lived up this part of the Colden Blackshaw area and they were... they were milking the cow and they heard what they thought was hail; it was actually bullets on the tin roofs

     

    MG:

    Oh!

     

    TW:

    So it did happen at least once.

     

    MG:

    Yeah.

     

    TW:

    But not that much happened here really, I don’t think.

     

    MG:

    I don’t remember it coming down, but I know it did, but……

     

    TW:

    Were there a lot of evacuees then, were there like ten or twenty or were there loads?

     

    MG:

    Yeah there was a few, yes, but some of ‘em didn’t last long you know, they went back again… yeah. There were one or two stopped, yeah….yeah…..not so many…..no.  They might be on those photos that you have…

     

    SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    We have some…

     

    MG:

    I have…..I have one of those booklets but it’s sort of all….fading and I couldn’t make out….I looked at it last night. I thought well it’s no good showing you them because I know that... because I know you have one here, because I’ve seen it. Oh yeah, we had a May Queen didn’t we. Yeah, well I’m one of them.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    We’ve got quite a few pictures in the archive box of the May Queens.

     

    MG:

    Yeahh…..yeah, oh well if you look on it I’m the third in on the back row – I’m the third one in…..[chuckling]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What sort of clothes did you wear in the war?

     

    MG:

    In the war?  Well me mum used to make our clothes….yeah. Well I don’t know if we went to jumble sales, or, you know, make do and mend and all that sort of thing.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How was the food?

     

    MG:

    How was what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    The food.

     

     

    MG:

    Sorry, what did you say?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    The food that you ate in the war.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    What was the food like in the war?

     

    MG:

    Oh the food, sorry, food…….Well, me mum was very good at conjuring things up, you know, so we didn’t go short of anything. Oh, and then we had a garden, so me dad used to grow vegetables and potatoes and things. We never went short; we didn’t go short at all.

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What food didn’t you like in the war?

     

    MG:

    What did what?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What food didn’t you like in the war?

     

    MG:

    Didn’t like?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yeah.

     

    MG:

    I can’t say that there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like but I can’t stick porridge… not from being little. Can I stick porridge? No, that’s the only thing I don’t like.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Why not?

     

    MG:

    I don’t know, I just don’t like porridge [laughing]

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How did you feel when the war ended?

     

    MG:

    Well everybody were very happy and then we had street parties as well, yeah. So, yeah it were a good job. As luck had it my dad never went in the forces and he never knew why he was never called up, because he never was. Whether it was with moving quite a bit….he just wonders that, you know; but he never was. He joined the ARP, Air Raid, ARP, whatever it is, Air Raid Wardens……but apart from that…..

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Do you remember where there were any air raid shelters in Hebden?

     

    MG:

    He was up at Blackshaw, at the chapel, they used to meet there…..yeah….but….apart from that…..no….no…..that’s all.

     

    TW:

    The firm that you worked for in Hebden Bridge, that sounds like quite a small firm.

     

    MG:

    It sounds like a what?

     

    TW:

    Quite small.

     

    MG:

    Oh yes, yes it was, it was a man on his own.  He was a Mr Wheelhouse and the Fletcher was his uncle but he were dead, so it finished up with Mr Wheelhouse, and actually, just after I left, he started being poorly and he didn’t last much longer than that, and so... Oh well, good job I left – I don’t know what I should have done if it had... because it shut, the shop shut then.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Do you know where he’d have bought cloth from?

     

    MG;

    I don’t know.

     

    TW:

    Did you sew by hand or did you use a machine?

     

    MG:

    Oh both….oh quite a lot of hand sewing, oh yeah….oh yeah. Like if you turned something up, like a skirt bottom or something like that, it’s all hand done, oh yeah, buttonholes all hand done….oh yeah.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Can you remember how much a suit would have cost in those days?

     

    MG:

    No, do you know, I was thinking that and I can’t remember. No, I don’t know whether I ever knew or not. No…..no….no I don’t know.

     

    TW:

    Did you ever get to wear any of your own clothes…..any of something that you made?

     

    MG:

    Oh…no, not that I made at work, no, but I used to make all my own clothes, oh yeah….yeah, and….I used to make all my brothers' and sisters’ clothes as well….yeah….yeah….and I’ve done quite a bit for grandchildren an’ all…..so, that’s it.

     

    TW:

    Right.  Well we’d like to say thank you very much for talking to us.

     

    MG: [laughing] Oh dear, I don’t know what you’ve learnt! [laughing]

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Thank you.

     

    CHILDREN:

    Thank you very much.

     

    MG:

    That’s quite alright.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    We could keep going couldn’t we?

     

    MG::

    But I don’t know what else I could tell you.

     

    OTHER PERSON:

    Lovely.

     

    MG:

    I haven’t had a right hectic life

     

    [END OF TRACK 1]

    Read more

  • Interviews and Storytelling: Jack Lockhart

     

    [TRACK 1]

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    This is Year 6 Colden School, 7th July 2011.  We’re talking to Mr Lockhart, aka Jack.  So Jack, how long have you lived in Colden?

     

    JACK LOCKHART:

    Well I don’t….I live in Blackshaw Head, and I’ve lived there for about…..twelve years at that address.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you lived anywhere else?

     

    JL:

    I’ve lived in Charlestown and Jumble Hole, and Exeter, in Devon.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Where were you born?

     

    JL:

    I was born in Burnley.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How does it differ…..how is it different from Colden?

     

    JL:

    Burnley?  Oh Burnley’s quite different from Colden.  It’s in Lancashire for a start, and it’s….it’s a mill town and it’s…..it’s got a Tesco’s.  Colden hasn’t got a Tesco’s, it’s not in Lancashire, and it’s…..it’s a rural area rather than a town.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What took you to Exeter?

     

    JL:

    I went to Exeter to….to go to college there, to study there.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    …….what did you study?

     

    JL:

    I went to art college in Exeter and did Fine Art.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    ………can you describe your earliest memories?

     

    JL:

    My earliest memories……I have some very hazy early memories of living in Burnley, where we lived until I was two, and I lived on a rubbish tip in Burnley; we lived in a caravan and I can vaguely remember some foam mattresses in a shed and playing on them, bouncing up and down, and then the kind of general layout of the place…..and I remember a picture of some parrots.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    ………can you describe your school days?

     

    JL:

    My school days….well I…..I started out at school in Luddendenfoot, that’s another place I lived as well – Boulderclough – sorry I forgot that one, in Luddendenfoot, in a school called Blackwood Hall which isn’t there any more, it’s houses now, and I went there until I was eight and then I went to Hebden Royd School, so I moved schools at the age of eight and moved house, moved into the area here, and I think….yeah, generally happy school days, and then I went to Calder High as well, so three main schools in my school days…..I’ve got a lot of memories of them, but……I think as well as going to school in my school days I used to play outside a lot and play on bikes and play in the woods a lot.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What was your favourite subject in school?

     

    JL:

    My favourite subject in school depended on the teachers at the time I think, partly….I think I had favourite teachers rather than favourite subjects perhaps, especially when you go onto secondary school and you get to do lots of different….meet lots of different teachers and lots of different subjects, so….but I always liked English and Geography and…..Art and Designing, sort of DNT, sort of making things.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you have to do homework at your school?

     

    JL:

    Yeah, I don’t remember at Hebden Royd having to do any homework, but I remember at Calder High having to do homework, yeah, and I think…..I spent a lot of time, especially when you get later through the years, when you get into the fourth and fifth year I remember having to do quite a lot of homework and at weekends too, having to do homework.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What were your family like?

     

    JL:

    What were my family like when I was at school?  Well until I was thirteen I was an only child, and then when I was thirteen I suddenly had a sister, so…..that was a big change….my mum worked, and still works in Bradford, and my dad works, or did work, with theatre companies in Halifax.  He used to go off on tour sometimes and I’d stay with my mum, so sometimes when I was growing up, it was just me and my mum, and then my dad stopped touring as much and my sister appeared.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How was your primary school different to Colden?

     

    JL:

    It was lower down the hill…..it…it had a church attached to it which Colden doesn’t have……it has a river going underneath the playground which Colden doesn’t have – well it might have a little stream I suppose, the Colden River goes underneath the playground there…..I guess in some ways they might have been quite similar.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What school did you go to?

     

    JL:

    Which….Hebden Royd….well Blackwood Hall, which is in Luddendenfoot, till I was eight, and then Hebden Royd.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did you ever go with a theatre like your dad?

     

    JL:

    Yeah, yeah, I did, yeah, I still do that now.  I work with a theatre company that’s based in Manchester and we’ve got a giant inflatable pig that we do a show inside, and we go off touring with this pig, taking it to…..all over the place, a giant forty foot long pig.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What is the most interesting place you’ve been on a theatre?

     

    JL:

    Oh……..oh I don’t know….I went to this place a couple of weeks ago that was a circus in France that was like a council circus that was built in the end of the eighteenth century, and it was opened by someone called Jules Vernes, it was the Circus de Jules Vernes, and we had to eat our dinner in the elephant stalls where the elephants had their dinner……that was quite…..that was an interesting one.  Lots of interesting places, lots of interesting….arts festivals and stuff like that.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Where did you used to go on holidays as a child?

     

    JL:

    I used to go up to Scotland a lot because my mum’s family are from Scotland, so that was a regular…….a regular trip, and I remember going camping in France, and…….occasional trips to Majorca or somewhere like that you know, sort of…..self-catering holidays….never went outside of Europe, never been outside of Europe.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What was your first job?

     

    JL:

    My first job was at Gordon Rigg’s and I was…..doing very menial tasks, like sweeping floors and putting hanging baskets together.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What is your job now?

     

    JL:

    I work freelance now and amongst other things, work at the Media Museum in Bradford and I work with schools; I come in to do workshops and learn about animation, and theatre stuff.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you ever worked with Colden?

     

    JL:

    I have, I’ve come and done an animation workshop here last summer, just for a half day, where I worked in that room up there, so you’ll know better than me which class that is – whose class is that again?  Who’s in that room?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Miss Fox.

     

    JL:

    Miss Fox.  I worked with Miss Fox’s younger half of Miss Fox, in fact were any of you in…..you were not in that group were you?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    No.

     

    JL:

    No.  Miss Fox’s group.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How does Colden compare to the other schools you’ve been to?

     

    JL:

    Ah well….I’m very happy, because my son comes here as well and I’m very happy that he does because it’s just such a beautiful setting, a nice place to….if you’re gonna spend a lot of time somewhere you might as well spend that time somewhere beautiful, and I work in lots and lots of different schools and in lots of different areas; some of them are very poor areas in the cities and some of them are very posh schools that have their own helicopter pads and things like that, and…..this….this is ideal I think, an ideal situation.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you always liked the countryside?

     

    JL:

    Yeah, yeah, I’m happier in the countryside than in a city.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    If you hadn’t worked at the theatre, what job would you have liked?

     

    JL:

    Oh…..well………I’m not sure really…..I did want to be different things at different times; there was a while when I was just leaving school and I thought I wanted to go into advertising, but everyone said ‘no, that’s a bad idea’ so I kind of…..have come to agree with them eventually, it’s a very different world…..and at one point I wanted to be a policeman cos I thought no-one could tell me what to do, and I think after a while I thought ‘I’ll be in the army’ for some reason; I grew out of that……..

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Are there any jobs that you want to do now?

     

    JL:

    I’ve still lots of things I’d like to try, to do; being freelance I don’t feel like I’m that fixed in what I do, so I feel like I’ve got flexibility to try out different things.  It’s nice to do manual work sometimes, you know, something quite physical, making things; I’d like to….grow some, you know, grow more food and…..build my own house, so I don’t know if that’s a job as such, but you know, there’s lots of things I’d like to do.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you got any advice for the children leaving school?

     

    JL:

    ……for the people leaving Colden this year?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    JL:

    …..have a good summer……and…….just kind of make the most of it really……don’t be scared of what’s coming next, and look forward to meeting lots of new friends and……good luck.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    If you were going out for a meal, where would you go?

     

    JL:

    Oh I would go for a curry, and I’d try and find an interesting curry house I hadn’t been to before…..somewhere like Bradford probably.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you go to restaurants?

     

    JL:

    I don’t go to restaurants very much, but I do….I have got more and more into finding good curry houses……because they’re quite cheap; I couldn’t afford to go for a…..to restaurants very much.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you got any hobbies?

     

    JL:

    I……..I like cycling…….playing with computers…….and……nothing…..not sort of typical hobbies really, I don’t know…nothing that I really think of as a hobby….just activities I like to do.  Maybe I should get one.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What changes have you seen over the years at Colden?

     

    JL:

    …….well I’ve only really started spending more time over here since my son’s been at school here, so in some ways I don’t think it’s changed…..although I’ve visited it before and I don’t think it’s changed – there’s not that much that’s changed really……it seems like.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you think Colden is a safe place to live?

     

    JL:

    Yeah…..yeah.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    If you could go to a different continent where would you go?

     

    JL:

    …….

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Or would you go at all?

     

    JL:

    I don’t know…..so many choices, so many choices……I would like to go to…….the United States, have a look round there; I’d like to go to…..oh a continent……North America…..I’d like to go to them all really….if I had to pick one to go to next……yeah, maybe North America.  It’s a hard one.  It’d be great…..it’d be great if work could take me there, or somewhere [laughing].

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What are your views on pollution?

     

    JL:

    On pollution?  I’m against it…….and…….I think it’s……something we’ve to be careful about really isn’t it, and …..but…..it’s not easy to change it sometimes.  We perhaps need a big……a big change to change the….to change how people……how people pollute things through convenience……yeah, but it’s not a good thing.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    ……………how do you help the environment?

     

    JL:

    ………..that’s a tricky one…….if a stream looks clogged up I’ll try and unclog it, keep everything flowing in the right direction….scraping some drains and gulleys….I look out if…..if you see rubbish out I’ll pick it up……..sometimes you can try and get involved in…..you know sort of…..getting people to think about different ways…..being its friend……and hopefully have a positive effect on it.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Do you recycle?

     

    JL:

    Yeah I do recycle.  I go to the tip at Eastwood, and sort the bottles out for when they come, like they did this morning.  I had to go out last night in my pyjamas with carrier bags full of cardboard and it was raining.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Are you worried about your global footprint?

     

    JL:

    Yeah, I guess…….bit of an issue.  Yeah, you don’t want to….be causing more problems than you’re solving……….any more questions?

     

    TONY WRIGHT:

    Is that the end of your questions?

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

     

    JL:

    Okay.

     

    TW:

    Well I have one or two which I’ll ask, and if you would like to join in and ask follow up questions, then feel free to follow up.  I wanted to talk about your education really and the creativity side of things.  Your father was in the theatre, so you were raised up with creative people presumably.

     

    JL:

    Yeah.

     

    TW:

    Can you tell us a bit about what he did, and why you made the choice to study Fine Art and not Theatre?

     

    JL:

    Well……I’m just trying to think what the first part of that was.   Yeah, I guess I have grown up around creative people like a lot of people have in this area, and…….my parents’ generation sort of were kind of…..doing a lot of interesting new creative work so I grew up around a lot of creative people and you know, although I did go to ordinary schools there was other parts of kind of education and creative education that I was involved in when I was very….from a very young age, mainly being surrounded by creative people, and…..so……the sort of theatre companies that we were involved with were more……more like visual artists than theatre types really, so it was creating events that happened in places

     

    TW:

    What companies were those?

     

    JL:

    IOU and Welfare State, and…..going to communities and make events happen that were art events, so I kind of grew up in that culture really, and……yeah, I did think for a while I might go into advertising and stuff but people kind of went ‘no, you don’t know yourself that well yet to make that decision’ and I was kind of happily steered into…..just carrying on doing that same kind of work really, in a family business.

     

    TW:

    And what did you study in Fine Art, I mean did you study painting or sculpture or 3D?

     

    JL:

    No it was a mixture of sculpture and video and….digital art really, digital sort of things, film making sort of things.

     

    TW:

    I see.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    When you were younger did you ever think you were going to be an artist?

     

    JL:

    …..I kind of….I suppose the role models were there for it to be likely I think, so it was….it was…..it was always possible, it always seemed possible, it was always likely and possible because most of the people I knew were artists.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Did anyone in…..aside from your dad, did anyone inspire you to go in to…..?

     

    JL:

    It’s hard to think of people in particular, I suppose…..you go to see….if you see a show or a theatre show or something like that, and you think ‘oh that’s amazing’ and then you kind of think ‘oh I’d like to have a go and do something like that’ so, lots of people, I would say lots of people inspired me……and the things that they made, and the things that they made inspired me to try and make something better, you know, or as good as…..as that.

     

    TW:

    And what theatre companies have you worked with?

     

    JL:

    I work…..at the moment I work with a company called Whalley Range All Stars who have various shows and……and it’s mainly the pig show that I work on, and I’m like a farmer who’s inside a pig…..we’re looking after all the animals, and shearing sheep and growing…..growing plants and things like that, and all the audience have to look inside the pig, but I also work with other theatre companies; I’ve sometimes worked with Horse and Bamboo, who are based in Waterfoot, and another company called Folkbeard Fantasy who are based in Devon, who do lots of things with film, video and theatre.

     

    TW:

    So what’s your expertise then?  Is it building things or writing the scenarios, or videoing it or...?

     

    JL:

    It’s a mixture of……building, making things and animating things, so I make the set for a show, I might have animation as part of it, so it’s kind of creating an animated……an animated space.

     

    TW:

    So are you talking about puppets?

     

    JL :

    Yeah including puppets, from puppets to…..computer animation sort of, you know, and making spaces and objects, and performing with them.

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    What’s this pig made out of?

     

    JL:

    The pig is actually inflatable, and it’s made of……a special material, and it’s got like an inflatable wall so it’s not just….the whole wall inflates and we’re inside that, and the front of it has got a big pig’s head that’s got….the nose moves and its eyes open and close because it’s got like a…..sort of mechanical…..head.  I didn’t make….I can’t take any credit for making or thinking up that idea, I’m just a farmer who’s inside it.

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    And you said the audience is looking into it?

     

    JL:

    The audience all have to…..to be able to see the show, the audience has to put on a pig’s tail so they’re like little piglets, and they all stand up at the side of the pig next to the pig’s nipples, and then…..the show starts and they shove their heads inside these holes, and from the outside it looks like the audience are all piglets, on this giant mother pig, but actually they’re watching the show that’s happening inside it, so they don’t realise….sometimes they don’t realise that people outside are enjoying watching them…..while they’re watching the show inside.

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What show is inside?

     

    JL:

    Well it’s these farmers and it……starts off, we’re asleep under some blankets and then we wake up and then we grow some sunflowers and…..we feed some ducks, puppet ducks, and….shear a puppet sheep

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    So would you do this show outside?

     

    JL:

    Yeah, we go as a touring

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    An outside show

     

    JL:

    Yeah, it happens outside

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    So that’s why other people see the piglets?

     

    JL:

    Yeah, yeah, so it’s…..it either happens at a festival or in a street somewhere or...

     

    TW:

    Is there any ecological message then to the actual story?

     

    JL:

    No, it’s not educational, but it does kind of….it’s got a very broad appeal because people have so strong associations with growing food and looking after animals across the world, so I think it appeals to people and…..and it’s kind of got a…a nice kind of rural….sort of…..sort of feel of connecting people back to food and things like that, so it’s overtly….it has no…..it has no message that it’s seeking to leave you with, but it does kind of….people…..people have an idea of, you know, ‘that’s what we kind of naturally do’ or something.

     

    TW:

    What will you do next do you think?  What will be the progression?

     

    JL:

    ……that’s the big question [laughing] don’t know…..survive!  I don’t know.  Hopefully more…..more….hopefully…..sometimes we do this show, we do about eighteen shows a day because it lasts ten minutes, so hopefully it’s not just that same show for ever, and new and interesting opportunities will present themselves, hopefully.

     

    TW:

    Are you gonna bring your children up in this creative….sort of mould, shall we say?

     

    JL:

    ……….haven’t really…..got a strategy for that, but it’s probably likely, so hope so

     

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Has the recession affected you?

     

    JL:

    This session?

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    Recession.

     

    JL:

    Oh the recession……I think it’s…..I think it’s worrying and yeah, less money around, so……and….perhaps less opportunities for people to see things and to go out and do this pig and…..that kind of work does rely on funding for festivals and things like that, so hopefully, fingers crossed, people will still get…..still want to have festivals like that, or still can afford to…..and hopefully schools can still afford to come to workshops, or afford to rent coaches to come to workshops and all those things – it’s lots of little ways, it…….it erodes your chances to kind of just do what you fancy doing.

     

    TW:

    The…..the question that was almost said was, how has this affected you, this session today?

     

    JL:

    Yeah…well you’ve asked some pertinent questions, so maybe it’ll make me think about…..it’s been a chance to think about some things in the past and some things in the future, so I’m sure it’ll spark off some thoughts that may lead somewhere, may lead somewhere….it’s been enjoyable, I’ve enjoyed it.  I didn’t know what to expect, and…..I’ve enjoyed it.

     

    TW:

    Right well we’d like to say thank you for speaking to us and allowing us to ask those questions.

     

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    Yes thank you.

     

    JL:

    Thank you very much, right well, have you got more to do?  Is that done today?

     

    [END OF TRACK ONE]

    Read more

  • Interviews and Storytelling: Mrs Debbie McCall

     

    [TRACK 1]

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    It’s Colden School, 7th of July 2011, talking to Mrs McCall.

    TONY WRIGHT: First question?

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How long have you lived in Colden?

    MRS MCCALL: I’ve lived round here since 1999, so twelve years.

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you ever had a favourite place to go near Colden?

    MM: I like Hardcastle Crags; I like walking down to Hardcastle Crags and I like the area around where I live. There’s lots of fields and paths and walks round there, and I like Hebden Bridge as a town, I think it’s a really nice town to live near.

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How has it changed since you’ve been here?

    MM: I think Market Street has got much more trendy, a lot of shops which weren’t there when I first came. There were a lot more second-hand shops, and shops that were boarded up so I think that’s changed quite a bit since I arrived and the main street around St George’s Square wasn’t pedestrianised so all the buses came down the centre of town. Now you walk up there. I think that’s a huge improvement. It all opens up to the river now and before you were in traffic all the time.

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Where were you brought up?

    MM: I was born in Belfast in Northern Ireland and I lived there till I was 10 then my family moved to Hartlepool in the northeast of England. I’ve lived in various places since then. I lived in London for a while, for four or five years, and then I lived in Spain for a year. Then I came back and I lived in Leeds and then I lived in Munich in Germany for four years and that’s when I came from Germany to Blackshaw Head.

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What was the difference between here and Ireland?

    MM: Well I was quite young when I left Ireland. When I came over from Ireland, what I noticed was none of the houses had hedges in the estate that I lived in. I lived in a cul- de-sac, and I came to estates there and they had no hedges at all, I thought that was very odd. There were a lot of net curtains that nobody seemed to have in Ireland.

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page

    1

    The pavements were different because they were all slabs here, and in Ireland we often had tarmaced pavements with little white chips in them, little bits of chalk. Those were the things I really noticed as a child, and of course I was a real oddity because my accent was very different from everybody else. I got quite a lot of stick about that when I first came over. It’s not so strong anymore.

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Can you describe your school days?

    MM: What age? When I was at primary school?

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Yes.

    MM: I went to a school called Strathearn in Belfast.....and I had a sort of moss green coloured tunic uniform with a tie and a beige shirt. We called the classes P1, P2, P3, P4 right up to P7,so when I came to England the forms were all called by different names so that was very confusing to me.

    We had a very strict teacher called Miss Simpson. She was the deputy head and she used to wear those black gowns teachers wore then. It was a nice school and we had to walk a little crocodile in pairs for our school dinners to the senior school which was along the road and further away. In year five and year six we did exams at the end of the year, we had strict exams.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    When you were in primary school, who was your best friend?

    MM: My best friend was a friend called Rosalind Moore and she lived in the same street as me, and we were in the same class at school.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    How was your primary school different to Colden?

    MM: Well you don’t have a uniform here do you?

    [SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    No.

    MM: You don’t do exams at the end of the year. You do the SATs thing, but not formal

    exams, They were very strict exams with people walking up and down the passageways and looking over our shoulders while we were working. My school was an all girls’ school as well, but actually there was one boy in the entire school but I don’t know what that was about. He was called Michael, but it was a single sex school.

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page

    2

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Did you have any homework?

    MM: Yes, we always had homework. We had to learn tables, had to do spellings, had to write stories sometimes. Yeah, we got homework every night.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What was your favourite subject?

    MM: English. I loved writing stories, still do sometimes.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Who was your....who was your favourite teacher?

    MM: My favourite teacher was Mrs Graham, she was just a very kind, gentle person.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Did you have any computers then?

    MM: No, no computers, no. No whiteboards, just blackboards and chalk, pens and paper, no computers, no calculators even.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    When you was in primary school, where did you used to go for walks, like for trips?

    MM: Do you know I don’t remember going for any trips from primary school. When I came to England I still had two years in primary school when I came to England and we went to somewhere near Helmsley. I think it was called Flamingo Park or something. That’s the only trip I remember but I don’t remember doing any trips at all in Ireland.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Where did you used to go on holidays as a child?

    MM: When I lived in Belfast which is a city in Northern Ireland we went to Donegal every year. It is on the north west coast of Northern Ireland and it’s absolutely beautiful. It would take us about three or four hours to drive there and that’s where we went for our holidays.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Where was the first place you visited abroad?

    MM: Spain. I went to Spain when I was about 12.

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page

    3

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Where was the last place you went abroad?

    MM: Last year I went to Spain; I’m very fond of Spain [laughing]. I lived in Spain, I can speak a bit of Spanish and we’ve got a cousin who lives in Madrid so we go to Spain a lot.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What was the first job you had?

    MM: As a teenager I weekends in a department store in Hartlepool in the stationery department.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What did you enjoy about it?

    MM: I’d sort all the cards, you know, the birthday cards, the Christmas cards. We used to put all those in order and make sure they had envelopes and because I’m a person who likes organising that was right up my street. What I hated was....sometimes they would put me on a little section for selling cameras and I didn’t know anything about cameras. So it was always terrifying when I was put on there. I was hopeless.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    If you hadn’t been in the department store, what would you have liked to do?

    MM: I think at that age I would probably have liked to have done something working with animals probably. I wanted to be a vet, but I went off that idea.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What has been your favourite job so far?

    MM: That’s an interesting question. Well my most interesting job was when I worked as a probation officer. Do you know what a probation officer is?

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Yeah.

    MM: Working with criminals in the criminal justice system, and I liked that because it was very varied. One day you’d be meeting people in your office and meeting their families. Another day you’d be visiting people in prison, another day you would be working in courts .There was a lot of variety and lots of interesting people that you met along the way.

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page

    4

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Have you got any hobbies?

    MM: Yes. I do lots of reading and I’m a big gardener. I love growing veg and I keep chickens. I sing in a choir in Hebden Bridge .I do quite a bit of baking, that’s what I’ve done just before I’ve come here today....and karaoke [laughing]

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    If you were going out for a meal where would you go?

    MM: In or around Hebden do you mean, or anywhere?

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Anywhere.

    MM: Our family quite like Pizza Express, we go there quite often, and we like Wagamamas if we’re in big cities. If we choose as a family those are the top two we go to.

    In Hebden I go to a place called Greens which is a sort of veggie place, I quite like that and the Stubbing Wharf because you get great big enormous portions of fish and chips [laughing]

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What is your favourite thing to eat?

    MM I eat quite a lot of fish because I don’t eat meat, so I like....tuna.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    And what do you like to drink the most?

    MM: White wine [laughing]

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Are you worried about global warming?

    MM: Yes I am because I worked for a project you might have heard of in Todmorden, the next town along from Hebden, called Incredible Edible. I’m not working for them now but I volunteer for them and that is all to do with worries about climate change and the environment. In particular it looks at food and where our food comes from, and how we can produce as much of our own food close to home. I’m very involved with that.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What is your favourite animal?

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page

    5

    MM: A cat. I’ve got two cats at home.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What changes have you seen over the years at Colden?

    MM: At the school?

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Yes.

    MM: Well all the new bit, the pre-school bit, that was.....what was it Mrs Scott, you’ll remember, was it a caravan?

    MRS SCOTT: Porta....

    MM: Portakabin, yes, a draughty, leaking portakabin and now we’ve got that fantastic building there, and the play area wasn’t here, the veg beds weren’t here, so the building’s changed quite a lot. I think those are the main things I can think of really. Staff haven’t changed that much since I became involved with the school.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What are your views on the recession?

    MM: On the recession.....well I think most of us are paying a very high price for bankers and other people with a lot of money. We’ve taken a lot of risks and made a lot of mistakes, and we’re paying for it and they aren’t most of the time.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Do you think Colden’s a safer place than you used to live?

    MM: Yes it’s a very safe place. Belfast was a very dodgy place to live because there was a war on when I was there [laughing] so there were lots of parts of Belfast we just didn’t go near because people were fighting. Most of the towns and cities I’ve lived in, you know, you have to be kind of careful about what you had in your car and you have to lock your house when you go out. Maybe I shouldn’t be saying this, but I don’t do that when I go out [laughing], I feel really safe where we are, that’s part of the reason that we live here, we don’t have to worry about this kind of stuff, touch wood.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Have you got any advice for children leaving school now?

    MM:

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page

    6

    Work hard.....get the best qualifications you can because that gives you the biggest choice for what you do when you leave school. The harder you work at school and the more qualifications you get, then that gives you much more choice about what you do, and do what you love and what you feel good about.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    How many children have you had, and got at Calder?

    MM: Two.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What are your views on education?

    MM: I think education is really important for the reasons I said before, because I think it gives you lots of choices about what you can do later on in life, and I think it should be fun. I sometimes worry there’s a bit too much sitting at desks writing stuff out.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    How has the quality of life improved?

    MM: Well...what, over the last few years?

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Yes.

    MM: For me and my family do you mean?

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Yes.

    MM: Well there’s pros and cons to this really. I think we have more choice about the kind of things that we can buy, and everybody’s got a lot more stuff than they used to have. But perhaps we don’t need as much of it. In the shops you can buy a whole range of things, whether it’s food or whatever but sometimes that’s because we’re not paying properly for other countries to produce it for us, sometimes people are suffering for that. However, generally speaking, we don’t want for very much most of us do we? We’ve everything we need.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What is your favourite supermarket?

    MM: I don’t really like supermarkets. I try and avoid them, so I try and shop locally if I can. I grow some of my own food, and my big thing from Incredible Edible is about buying food that people from round here have produced and grown themselves.

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page

    7

    I go to supermarkets if I need things like great big boxes of washing powder or something like that. They’re cheaper there, but if I can avoid going into supermarkets I don’t go to them because I think they take away business from lots of other people who are working really hard to produce food and goods for us.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What is your job at the moment?

    MM: I’m not working at the moment. I’ve just finished working for Incredible Edible where I was called a Food Inspirer, and my job was to go out and inspire people to grow their own food and cook their own food and generally just get involved in cooking food in all different kinds of ways.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What is your favourite TV programme?

    MM: I’ve been watching The Apprentice because I think it’s hilarious, and [laughing] we watch Come Dine With Me quite a lot, but I try not to watch too much telly. I watch comedy most of the time but I try not to watch too much telly.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What is your favourite thing to bake?

    MM: To bake?

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Yes.

    MM: I make a very good Victoria sponge cake or a big meringue covered in cream and lots of fruit, lots of berries....

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Would you say that kitchen is big or small?

    MM: I think I’ve got a good sized kitchen, yes. It’s big enough for us, that’s for sure.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    And is your house big or small?

    MM: I think it’s kind of medium. It’s big enough for us [laughing]

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Are you worried about your global footprint?

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page

    8

    MM: Yes I am. I try hard to recycle. This morning I’ve just had somebody come round to see if we can have some solar panels on our roof, and we bought a smaller car because we want to use less petrol. Sometimes when you live in the country it’s a bit tricky because if there isn’t a good bus service and you’re at a distance from things. Sometimes you use the car more than you would like to really, and then the thing about food and buying food locally, that’s to do with my carbon footprint as well. I try not to fly, maybe just once a year for holidays but not little weekend flights and that kind of stuff.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What are your views on pollution?

    MM: Well I worry about pollution and I think we’re too reliant on the car really. It would be really helpful if the government would give us lots more good public transport so that we can all travel together instead of millions of cars being on the road.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What is your favourite type of public transport?

    MM: Trains. I like sitting on a train looking out of the window.

    TW: Have you finished your questions?

    [CHILDREN]:

    Yes thank you, yes.

    TW:

    Well I think I’m going to ask a few and if you want to ask some others following on from what I’ve asked, then feel free to join in, okay? I was curious about.....you said you lived in Spain and in Germany and, was that to do with work or.....why did you move to these other countries?

    MM: We decided we were going to take a year out so we saved up, me and my partner, and saved some extra money so we’d have some when we came home. We just finished our jobs and went off in a VW camper van to Spain for a year. We drove all the way down there, down to the south, and we camped for a few months and then the van blew up, so that was a bit of a problem [laughing] .We were there for a year, just because we wanted to try something different and just have a different experience. While we were there we taught English to various Spanish students and then when the money ran out we came home. We came back to Leeds because my sister lives in Leeds and I have friends who live in Todmorden so we came back to the north, having previously lived in London, and my partner got a job in Munich.

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page

    9

    So I was working in Leeds for a while and once he got a permanent job we decided we would go out to Munich and we were there for four years. Then I had my first baby and we decided we wanted to be near our families so we came home.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What was your favourite country to live in?

    MM: Spain, yes.

    TW:

    Did they have a different lifestyle over there then to here?

    MM: Yes they do, a very different lifestyle. For a start it’s lovely and warm for most of the time. There’s a different pace of life.....most people kind of go to the shops daily so there aren’t masses of big supermarkets in the towns; there’s some out on the edge of the towns but most people shop locally in the towns. They just live outdoors a lot, your sit outdoors drinking coffees and tea and people are out for walks all the time, it’s a bit more chilled out really I think and that’s nice.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    How did you feel when your camper van blew up?

    MM: I was devastated because we were living in it [laughing] so we had to go and find a flat. We’d gone to collect some friends from the airport and as we were chugging up a very steep hill it just suddenly burst into flames outside a café. We jumped out and in a panic we couldn’t remember the right word for ‘firemen’ so Daddy was shouting - for bombers not firemen when he jumped out, [laughing] . Men ran out of the café and started thrashing it with bits of twig and flames were coming out and David was going ‘my camera’s in there, my posh camera’s in there’ so we went back into it and I said ‘don’t go, leave the camera, it’s going to explode’ and I’ve just remembered you’re filming all this [laughing more]. Anyway eventually, I can’t remember how we put it out but anyway it was stuck on the side of the road and it ended up in a garage. I think it got towed back to the UK in the end, but yeah, it was a disaster, a complete disaster.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Where were you living when you were trying to find somewhere to live, after your van blew up?

    MM: Well we were in a town called El Puerto de Santa Maria right down on the south coast. I t was like a little seaside town and then inland there was a bigger town called Jerez, that’s where all the sherry in the world comes from, and we eventually hiked around and we found a little flat so we lived in a flat, which actually was a lot better than the camper van I have to say.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page 10

    Would you like to live in Spain permanently?

    MM: Well, yes I would love to live in Spain permanently but my family and my friends are over here and that’s the tricky thing when you move away and live somewhere else, that you miss your friends and your family, and you really might just see them for a couple of weeks a year and that’s a big thing so eventually you want to come home. All friends and family could come out there to visit me a lot and I would be very happy living somewhere slightly warmer, and I could grow all kinds of exotic things that I can’t grow here – passion fruit and melons and....peaches and lemons and oranges, and that would be fab.

    [ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN]:

    What is your favourite Spanish food?

    MM: Well I don’t eat meat, so lots of the fish stuff they do I like. My favourite is prawns in all different shapes and sizes and it’s absolutely delicious. The other thing they do is alcachofas, which is artichokes boiled up in a nice sort of soupy thing and very tasty. The only thing I don’t like about Spain is bull fighting, that’s.....hideous.

    TW:

    Are they as aware of sort of global warming and you know, the ecological things that are happening in the world, as we seem to be in Britain?

    MM: Yeah I think they are; I think there are certainly pockets of places where...of course they have a massive issue with water problems in lots of areas. In the south of Spain they have huge droughts every year and forest fires and that’s because we pillage the land with golf courses and God knows what Incredible Edible who I worked for, have a kind of partnership with another similar sort of project that grows its own food in Granada. We had visits from lots of....eco tourist people who came over from Spain, so you know I do think there are lots of pockets of places where they are really trying hard to do something about it.

    TW:

    Right. How did Incredible Edible get involved with Spain then?

    MM: I think it’s just somebody who has a connection with somebody else and you know, the whole networking stuff. One of the women, one of the main drivers of Incredible Edible in Todmorden has a very close friend in Granada and that’s how we got together.

    TW:

    So, was it Mary Clear who started Incredible Edible?

    MM: She’s one of the four founders, yeah.

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page 11

    TW:

    Were you part of it from the beginning then?

    MM: No I’ve been involved for about the past two years and then I worked for them for the past nine months, and now continue to volunteer for it, yeah.....not from scratch, but

    TW:

    And do you think it’s working well?

    MM: Yeah, it’s fantastic. It’s staggering that they’ve got to where they’ve got to with a very small amount of volunteers and the kind of joined up thinking they’re doing is just amazing. They’ve got a massive new project in Walsden, they have a poly tunnel and ducks and chickens, and you should all go and have a look, it looks great.

    TW:

    Oh really, whereabouts is that?

    MM: Just as you go out of Walsden towards Summit there’s a big pallet factory on your left hand side, and Gordon Rigg gave them their land, as s part of their land, the garden centre, and so there’s a big fenced off area there.

    You can see it from the road, call in – you’re welcome to go any time .There’s lots of community beds there so people who haven’t got a garden themselves can do their own food growing .They’re hoping to be selling salad foods next year so it’s got to be economically self sufficient too, and ducks and chickens.

    TW:

    Are you doing something with bees now?

    MM: We’ve just won £44,000 pounds from the Jubilee People’s Lottery for a bee project, and that is going to be setting up some hives in and around Todmorden, buying the bee suit and the whole kit. We will be sending people on training courses to learn how to look after bees because they’re so critical in pollinating plants and helping plants to grow, and then lots of information around the town about what we’re doing, about what bees are and how important they are and lots of signage. And there’ll be a little bee trail going round Todmorden

    TW:

    So is this just for people in Tod or is it for anyone in the Upper Valley?

    MM: Anyone in the Upper Valley I think, yeah. Incredible Edible’s all about spreading it out – Incredible Spreadable Edible [laughing]

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    How did Incredible Edible get its name?

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page 12

    MM: Mary Clear was one of the first people. There was a group of four people sitting around a table saying ‘what can we do about global warming?’ and we decided we had to pick on something that you can do something about. They focused on food and as they were sitting around the table, Mary’s daughter came in and said ‘why don’t you call it Incredible Edible?’ and there it was – it’s a great name isn’t it?

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Were you a keen grower before you got involved with Incredible Edible?

    MM: Yes, I’ve always been trying to grown food. Even when I was in Spain and I had a tiny little balcony I had a tomato plant on that balcony. In Germany I didn’t have a garden, I just had a balcony and I grew food on there so yeah, I’ve always been into growing. When I was little my dad gave me a little patch of ground in the garden in Ireland and that’s where I started off, growing peas and beans in there and it’s never left me really.

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What is your favourite type of fruit or vegetables?

    MM: Well to be quite honest I don’t really eat a lot of fruit, which is a bit naughty, but veg I like. Peas and beans, and growing them fresh. I like asparagus and potatoes – I’m Irish. [laughing]

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    What is your favourite thing to grow?

    MM: Well at the moment I’m growing lots of rocket, you know that salady leaf that’s kind of a peppery leaf. Normally I grow that and it bolts immediately but I’ve got a fat crop of that this year and fruit. I’ve got lots of blackcurrants and redcurrants and I’ve just made loads of jam so I’ll get a real kick out of all that. And the thing I’m excited about this year is I want to grow some big pumpkins for Halloween. I’ve tried them before and they’ve never worked, but this time I’ve planted them straight into my compost heap and they’re growing really well, so fingers crossed I might have some pumpkins for October.

    TW:

    How was it that you came to Colden then?......in ’99, how would you get here?

    MM: It was because I had a friend who I was at college with, who lived in Todmorden, so I’d visited Hebden Bridge a few times and come to the area a few times to visit him, Then my sister ended up in Leeds and I wanted to be close to her, so that’s why I came here.

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page 13

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    I was going to ask why did you come over from Ireland because I missed that bit?

    MM: My dad got a job over here. My mum died when I was eight and I think my dad just wanted to make a fresh start somewhere else and of course there was the Troubles as well .There was a lot of fighting going on, and I think Ireland wasn’t a great place to be bringing up two girls on his own, so he came over to Hartlepool of all places [laughing] which was when I came over in 1970.

    TW:

    What did he do? What was his work?

    MM: He worked for a business that made cardboard boxes; he was a sales manager selling cardboard boxes, there was a massive cardboard box factory in Hartlepool.

    TW:

    So you didn’t follow the family business then?

    MM: I didn’t go into boxes, no [laughing] – I recycle them!

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Are you planning on selling any of your vegetables that you grow?

    MM: No, I do a bit of swapping, although the campsite, do you know the little campsite down in the pub car park?

    CHILDREN:

    Yes.

    MM: They’ve sent an e-mail out today saying ‘has anybody got any produce we can sell at the caravans. I’ve got lettuce – I don’t know whether you would want to eat lettuce when you’re camping, but I might do some of that, and the village is having a Food Festival in a couple of weeks’ time which you should all come along to . It’s at a barn at the top of Davey Lane, and people will be bringing all their own produce that they’ve grown and cooking it that day and making things and will probably be there to eat, so that’s a nice way of sharing out all the stuff we’ve got.

    TW:

    Are you part of any other sort of growing group or you know, organic group besides Incredible Edible?

    MM: The group that’s doing the Food Festival is called the Blackshaw Food Network and that is a bunch of us getting together. Similar to the stuff that Incredible Edible does but on a much smaller scale, just saying ‘how can we do that in this little patch where

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page 14

    we live?’ –A lot of people up here have got a bit of land and if they’re not using it, they could lend it or lease it to somebody who might like to grow food up here.

    That just started last year and it’s just a tiny little group of people doing stuff, and we do this sort of swapping produce thing. I’m also a member of BOG which is Blackshaw Optimistic Gardeners, and that’s not just about food, that’s for people who are keen gardeners in the area and there’s lots of us.

    It’s a really fantastic group and in summer we go around and visit each other’s gardens and have little bits of food to eat and a little drinkie together. In the winter we just compare notes because there are some very, very experienced gardeners there. We try to learn from each other about what’s the best way to grow things in quite tricky conditions. Up here you know, it’s wet and windy and....not warm for long enough, so it can be a challenge, but it’s good to share all that knowledge together.

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Am I right – were you doing some work with willow – were you growing willow?

    MM: Yes I grow willow and I sell that, and people use the willow – well you know you’ve got the willow dome in the....in the kids’ playground over there – for that kind of thing. But other people can make sculptures out of it – tunnels or different kinds of things. So I grow willow at home and I sell that usually sort of February or March every year. It’s like a weed – once you put it in it doesn’t stop.

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    Do you have different varieties?

    MM: I don’t, no, I just have the one....mad variety that grows metres and metres in front of your eyes

    TW:

    So you’ve not been part of the Nut Wood group that also grow their own there?

    MM: No, oh Nut Wood.....no, I’m not part of that group. I know what you mean, no, but I’m not part of it.

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Are you or have you ever been a vegetarian?

    MM: I’m very pro vegetarian. I eat fish, so I’ve been a fish eating, non-meat eating person since...oh I don’t know, for about 25 years or something.

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    Is that for any specific reason?

    MM:

    Mrs McCall 07-07-11 trans Page 15

    Well when I started it was because I didn’t like factory farming and I didn’t like the idea of meat living in horrible conditions before it came to my plate. If I knew something was well looked after and brought up properly – I don’t mind if it’s organic or not, I just think as long as the animals are well cared for.

    Actually last Christmas I had a turkey from Jonathan’s farm – he had turkey then – and that’s the first meat I’ve eaten for a long while, it’s easier to find meat now that’s from a better source

    ANOTHER PERSON:

    And it’s local.

    MM: And it’s local, yeah. It’s the same for all non-meat eaters, the smell of a bacon sandwich can push you to the edge sometimes. [laughing] Everybody else in my family eats meat, it’s only me that doesn’t eat meat.

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Would you say that you’re a good artist?

    MM: Well not a good artist. I had a go – I’ve been to some art classes and done little bits. I can draw a bit but I’m not.....fab. I’m more a wordy person.

    ONE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN:

    Have you got a DS or anything like that?

    MM: No. Kerry and Sinead have got DS’s but I’m.....not really interested. They bought me......is it Brainteaser or something.....to do on DS but I never got round to it.

    TW:

    Have you finished asking your questions then? Yes thank you.

    TW:

    Right, well I would like to say thank you very much for allowing us to talk to you.

    MM: Thank you. I’ve had a lovely time, thank you.

    [END OF TRACK ONE]

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About Us

Wild Rose Heritage and Arts is a community group which takes it's name from the area in which we are located - the valley ("den") of the wild rose ("Heb") -  Hebden Bridge which is in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

Get in touch

Pennine Heritage Ltd.
The Birchcliffe Centre
Hebden Bridge
HX7 8DG

Phone: 01422 844450
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