Only a Cranky Owd Foo'


A poem by Samuel Hill 1864 ~ 1910

Only a Cranky Owd Foo'

Aw wonst know'd (as a lad)
An owd friend o' mi dad;
He liv't - well, it matters not wheer,
But he'd ways ov his own,
Un' when they geet known,
Th'foaks abeawt thowt it wur queer.
Neaw, foaks i' these days
Han sich different ways,
An' don't do as th'owd 'uns use't do;
So his nayburs combin'd
An' becoom o' one mind,
An' they co'ed him a cranky owd foo'.

pic This funny owd brid
Very funny things did;
Some neets he'd be starin' at th'stars.
An' aw've yerd him mysel'
Th'earth's distances tell
Fro', Jupiter, Venus, an' Mars;
Th'dimensions o' th'sun,
What comets had done,
An' aw'll bet he believed it wur true;
Meteoric expulsions,
Atmospheric convulsions;
But, then, he wur cranky, th'owd foo'.

pic He gather'd yarbs up,
An' brew'd 'em for t' sup,
An' th'doctor ne'er went to his heawse.
lf a cauve had gone sadly,
Or a tit wur ta'en badly,
Or owt fro' a moke to a meawse,
Foaks 'ud run to his place,
Begin pooin' ther face,
Till he said, "Aw'll try what aw con do,"
An' seldom he failed
To tell what they ailed,
An' cure 'em, this cranky owd foo'.

pic He'd some brids in a case,
Stuff'd with tact an' sich grace,
Aw'd use't for ta think they wur wick:
There wer things, too, he'd shot,
Not far fro' th'owd spot,
An' some 'ut he'd kil't wi' his stick.
Ther'n a cuckoo, aw know,
A kingfisher, an' o',
A snipe, an' a weasel or two,
A green-legged wayter-hen,
An' a wee stumpy wren,
O' winged by this cranky owd foo'.

pic He'd a fern-case, where grew
His pets - not a few -
Polypodiums, dryopteris, an' th'rest;
While a gronfeyther tooad
Pick'd up fro' some rooad,
Kept deawn th'little insects wi' zest;
Cystopteris frigilis,
Osmunda, regalis,
Weel tended, they flourished an' grew,
An' wur'n often admired
Bi thoose who satired
Ther grower, the cranky owd foo'.

pic He'd friends sometimes coom,
An' they'd ceawr i' th'front room,
An' talk into tweeleet an' Past,
Till th'moon rose i' th'sky
An' beamed fro' on high,
An' th'gable-eends long shadows cast;
But - th'meetin's are o'er -
They'll hob-nob no moor;
Th'owd brid's flown away into th'blue,
For it's well aw remember,
One dreary December,
King Death summon'd th'cranky owd foo'.

pic In a corner 'ut's still,
Close to th'church upo' th'hill,
'Neath a meawnd o' coltsfoot grown clay,
Six foot deep at least,
Th'owd brid's in his neest,
An' his fithers are meawtin' away;
If it's true what foaks sen,
Ther are one or two "men"
Neaw slowly descendin' loife's broo,
Who visit that spot -
Maybe true, maybe not -
For the sake o' that cranky owd foo'.

Further Reading

Richmond Hill Dairies, Pemberton - These pages contain some personal memories from my youth and my association with Richmond Hill Dairies, a local business I grew up with and remember with some affection. A well known and important feature of the local community in its day and part of the heritage of Pemberton, this is my attempt to commit some small snapshot of its history to print, I hope these pages paint a worthy picture.
Mind Your Language - A humorous poem by "the bard of Haydock" George Anderton, inspired by memories of a trip to Bad Canstatt, Stuttgart Germany with the Haydock Male Voice Choir in 1975. This publication will bring a smile to the faces of not only those members who were there at the time and know the people involved but the wider population of Haydock as well who speak the language.
Wigan and the American Civil War - Wigan Coal and Iron Company, The Right Honourable John Lancaster MP for Wigan, the Confederate Raider Alabama, USS Kearsarge, Cherbourg and the yacht Deerhound all feature in the last great sea battle of the American Civil War.
Wigan Old Bank 1792 - A tragic boating accident on Windermere and a surprising journey through the social history of Wigan during the reign of Queen Victoria, highlighting the relationships between four families who played an important part in the commercial development of the town.
The Brocklebank Line - Daniel Brocklebank (1741-1801), shipbuilder and mariner, a brief biography, and some background detail of his family and the shipping line he founded.
Little Ships at Zeebrugge - An account of a heroic attempt to block the port of Zeebrugge during the first World War, to protect supply routes into the UK by denying enemy submarines based there access to the open sea.
A Cricket Calypso - A short biopic of cricketer Cyril Washbrook and a snapshot of his career including his role in the West Indies tour of 1950 recorded in the lyrics of the Cricket Calypso.
Not Much of a Warrior - Wigan RLFC in the fifties and sixties, through rose coloured glasses. A golden age of legendary players and memorable moments, along with some personal memories.

picFarthingale Publications:... Is a hobby web site containing articles of local interest to Lancastrians, some favourite walking and cycling routes, selected words and poetry, and some writings of more general nature as well as the authors own picture gallery. Access is available via the homepage and menu at the head of the page.
picLocal Interest: Richmond Hill Dairies; Mind Your Language; John Lancaster Wigan MP; Thomas Aspinwall Miners Agent; Thomas Aspinwall Obituary; Upholland Telephone Exchange; Thomas Linacre School Wigan; God's Choir; Scot Lane School Wigan; The Lindsays of Haigh; Dust Upon God's Fair Earth; The Nurburgring 1960; Wigan Advertisements 1960; Wigan Soldier Missing in Action; It's a Funny Life; Private Thomas Whitham VC; Isaac Watts 1674 - 1748; Wigan Old Bank 1792; The Brocklebank Line; John Byrom 1692 - 1793; The Holy City Liverpool; Jubilee Park Memorial, Ashton in Makerfield; Little Ships at War 1918; A Cricket Calypso; Not Much of a Warrior; Peveril of the Peak.
Walking & Cycling: Moss Eccles Tarn; Abbey Lakes to Coppull Moor; Chorley Ice Cream Walk; Douglas Valley Dawdle; Three Counties Cycle Ride; Haigh to Borsdane Wood; A Lancshire Linear Walk; Blackrod or Bust; Cycle the Sankey Valley; Cycle the Monsal Trail; Wigan Circular by Bike; Freshfield to Crosby; Irwell Valley Trail (Bury to Rawtenstall); Irwell Valley (Bury to Salford).
Words & Poetry: Only a Cranky Owd Foo'; Martin Chuzzlewit; Dover Harbour; Rogue Herries; The Heart of Midlothian; King Cotton; The Family Man; The Pickwick Papers; The Fair Rosamond; The Fair Rosamond Comic; A Legend of Montrose; When Winds Breathe Soft; The Wreck of the Hesperus; God Bless these Poor Wimmen that's Childer; Dombey and Son; Aw've Turned me bit O' Garden O'er; On Th' Hills; Four Favourite Poems; The Darkling Thrush; The Glory of the Garden; The Rolling English Road; The Antiquary; Hymn Before Action; Dust upon God's Fair Earth; Mind Your Language; Jeff Unsworth's dialect poetry; Martyrs of the Arena; Th' Coartin' Neet; Boat Song; Toddlin' Whoam; A Lancashire Mon; Calm is the Sea; The Bride of Lammermoor; Redgauntlet; A Tale of Two Cities.
Wallgate Chronicles: Chronicles: Hugo Boss comes to Wigan; In the footsteps of the Manchester Rambler; Fun with Trigonometry; Surprise at the Philharmonic; The Marriage of Figaro; Cat Bells; A Walk in the Hills; Eay Times Uv Changed; Fidelio; The Ravioli Room; Desert Island Discs; Travels in Time 1960; Travels in Time 2010; The Spectroscope; The Bohemian Girl; Bookcase; Barnaby Rudge; Romance on a Budget; The Battle of Solferino; The Getaway Car; The Switchroom Wigan; The Force of Destiny; Adolphe Adam; The Fair Maid of Perth; Ivanhoe; Semele; Lohengrin; The Old Curiosity Shop; Hard Times.

picThe Langdales from Moss Eccles Tarn