Tag Archives: mam

Mother and Daughter

My mam doesn’t like her photograph taken.  She would only sit in the chair with her back to me whilst I took a mother and daughter portrait.  She asked to look at the photograph and then told me that I was very naughty.  She loves me really.

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The House I Grew Up In

This is the house I grew up in.  My mam always stands at the door to wave goodbye.  Love you, miss you.  Her words to me as we hug and I leave.  I was 6 when we moved here.  She was 42. Now she’s 88.

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Old age.   

​My poor little mam, hates having her photograph taken.  Went to her sons wedding and made it through even though her legs were hurting her so much.  She was shattered when she got home and was pleased to be able to sit down in her chair.  I thought at one point we were going to have to give her a fireman’s lift to get her from the car into the house but slowly and surely she made it.

Along the Cinder Path

Every week we went on picnics in the summertime.  Kids around would come and say, “Are you going to the picnic?”  “Yes.”  And you either got a bottle of lemonade or water, whatever, and took that with you.  And sandwiches, you know, and things like that.  And go off through the, what we used to call the meadows, they call them fields now, and go to different places.   Neddy’s well, there was a place called Neddy’s well.  At Neddy’s well there was a natural spring.  And the natural spring, my dad used to go there and you could get watercress.  And then he used to go across the bridge and down into the field, across from our house, and pick mushrooms.  But now from what I can gather its all built up with houses.  Well along that what they called the cinder path that’s the way I used to go to school.  Over the bridge, down the cinder path and up to the railway station.  Over the railway bridge and the school was there on the right hand side.  It was what was called a Church of England endowed school.  That meant that the church paid for the school where the church never paid for the Catholic school, the Catholic people had to look after their own.  And they used to go round their parishioners tocollect money off them to look after their church, the Catholics did.  I mean we used to collect money but we didn’t collect it like they did, you know go around the houses.  I used to deliver the church magazine at one time.  In one of the magazines, but I don’t think I have one, its got my name in.  It says about people who delivered the magazines and its got my name in.

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“I’d run up the street when the mill was about to close and stand outside waiting for my mother. And people coming out and saying, “Hello there, your mam won’t be long”.  And then maybe one would come out another different night and, “oh, your mam’s going to be a long time cause she’s had a smash.”

“And what you call a smash was the shuttle had come out of the reeds and broken all the cotton.  And they used to have to bring all them through the reeds again and tie them.  And if it was too bad a smash they would change it and start again, if it was too bad.  But if it wasn’t too bad they’d mend it and then comb it.  But that part when the cloth was taken off the loom itself it was cut out. ”

  • Iris Anson

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My Dear Old Mam

There is a two-fold thing happening in my life right now.  I’m taking photographs of my mam. Forever photos.  She’s 88 on Monday.  How much longer will she live?  Who knows.  Life is strange like that.  We can’t predict what is going to happen.  Or how long we  will live.  There is a sense of urgency to it too.  A kind of capturing memories for when the inevitable happens.  A last chance to make someone last forever.  When she goes I will lose a connection, a connection to a past that I came from.  That is a scary concept.  To have one parent is hard, but to have none.  Well it doesn’t bear thinking about.  Who will I ask about the past, who will tell me the tales that she keeps hidden.  So now I take photographs.  Of a life once lived.  A life that once danced and laughed.  A life that once experienced but now sits and waits.

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And the two-fold thing…….  Well I’ve been researching the family tree for my mam.  On the maternal side.  Trying to find out, for my mam, where her grandmother and grandfather came from.  And I’ve succeeded.  I’ve got answers for her.  Surprising answers too.  My mam never knew her grandparents on her mothers side.  I sense, a tale, of sadness, of rejection somewhere there.   My mam is very protective of her mother, was very protective.  Still is, of her memory.  I sense a story there.  A sad story, one which I will gently capture.  Things start to make sense.   Things from my childhood make sense.  Injustices, betrayals, rejection.  Answers, answers, answers, please.  But they will come.  Slowly, and gently.

Going back to my roots….

I took a break recently, well a long weekend. Back to my old haunt, the Lake District.  Just for a few days, recharge the batteries.  Back to the same place I’ve been going to since I was 13, that’s 39 years ago.  And a funny thing happened.  I promised my old mam that I would try and find out a little about her mums family, trace her roots back for her, as she did not know her maternal Grandmother and didn’t even know where the family came from.  I managed to get a copy of her mams birth certificate, something she hadn’t seen herself.  And taking the name of her mams mam (my mams grandmother, whom she’d never met) I traced the family back to Patterdale.  My great grandmother, Isabella Crosthwaite, and her siblings were born there. She lived there until she went into service and went to live in Kendal where she met my grandfather, William Nelson.  Isabella’s mother and father were called George and Sarah Crosthwaite.  Sarah was born in Patterdale too. How she met George I do not know but by 1856 they were married and living in the area.  He worked in the old lead mines that were dotted around Patterdale. By 1871 he was blind after an accident and they were living in a cottage named Elm How at the base of Hellvellyn.  I have no record of George’s death but Sarah died in 1879 and is buried in St Patrick’s church, Patterdale.

Why a funny thing then?  Well like I said I have been going to the same spot in the Lake District, Eastern end of Lake Ullswater, for 39 years.  Patterdale lies 10 miles away from Pooley Bridge, at the western end of Lake Ullswater.  So all the time I have been going ‘up the lakes’ little did I know that my ancestors had been born and were buried just down the road.

No wonder I have loved every minute I spend up there, and continue to do so.  Its in my genes.

Elm How Cottage

Elm How Cottage (at the base of Hellvellyn) Patterdale.