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'.
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;
But, then, he wur cranky, th'owd foo'.
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'.
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'.
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;
Weel tended, they flourished an' grew,
An' wur'n often admired
Bi thoose who satired
Ther grower, the cranky owd foo'.
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'.
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'.
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.
The Langdales from Moss Eccles Tarn