It is hard to get up and to work on time these cold January mornings, and my first nostalgic picture is a sight familiar in my childhood.
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This man would use canes on a long pole to rattle our window panes and be sure we got out of bed and gave him the signal that we were up.
If you did not get to work on time, your pay was reduced or you got the sack.
Simple as that, so without mobile phones, alarms and the like his job was vital
I have written before about Plough Monday, but never about Dystaff Day, January 7.
A Knocker-up (sometimes known as a knocker-upper) was a profession in England and Ireland that started during and lasted well into the Industrial Revolution and at least as late as the 1920s, before alarm clocks were affordable or reliable. A knocker-up’s job was to rouse sleeping people so they could get to work on time.
As men resumed their work on the farm after the 12 days of Christmas, so those women working in the cottage industries of flax spinning resumed their work with the dystaff, the symbol of their trade. Hence Dystaff Day.
Now do you ever remember getting my second picture as an item in your Christmas stocking?
A jar of marmite was. twice in mine and so good it was and still is today.
Even having it now in 2018 brings back nostalgic memories of yesteryear.
My wartime poster speaks for itself. You may well remember the formation of “pig clubs” in your locality. People clubbed together to use a spare bit of land to rear pigs on and share the bacon.
At least two of the weinds in Garstang were put to this use.
By 1945 there were 7,000 such clubs in England.
On a recent visit to Longridge, I saw the plaque which makes up my fourth picture today. I hope you enjoy reading it now.
The professional live theatre rural community production in Bleasdale just before Christmas was a tale in which a glamourous lady, brocaded and dressed for the Christmas ball and her two assistants performed acrobatic feats, globe walking on snowballs, china plate spinning, musical saw playing, hat juggling, dance, and much audience participation.
My fifth picture is from this event which was so impressive. The team hope to be back in our locality soon.
After your recent response to a Coronation Street picture I used recently, can you name the characters and actors and actresses in this picture today?
My seventh is of the first Blackpool Pleasure Beach Railway. It was the first 15 inch public narrow guage passenger railway in the world. Note the rails and sleepers were just on sand and shells.
When John Houghton of Catterall re-built this original locomotive for the late Geoffrey Thompson I was allowed to take over the controls for a dummy run and the experience was both nostalgic and heavenly.