Friday, 14 December 2012

Wheels and Me .....


 This was me when still at Convent School and before I started having more
 majorly conflicts with machinery!


Reading recently of my daughter Sian's journey on Martha's Vineyard on a tandem 24 years ago put me in mind of my own tandem experiences and others.

I would have been 17 years old and together with my first love we were duffel-coat wearing, CND supporting, Bertrand Russell followers with strong beatnik leanings.   We read James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Sartre, Francoise Sagan and The Outsider by Colin Wilson.   At the time, 1961, coffee bars were the place to hang out and our favourite was Birmingham's La Boheme.  Dark and moody with prints of real paintings on the wall and the constant gurgle of the first espresso machines serving up coffee in smoky see-through glass cups and saucers;  we would stay there for hours, smoking, talking and plotting of love and peace.

We got a tandem and together on weekends we left the grime of the city for the nearest small rivers and fields in nearby Warwickshire.   I lived in a very small bedsit in Handsworth and my new kitten came along with us in a basket on the front of this wonderful piece of machinery.   Also attached to us and the tandem were the fishing rods, keep net and bait.  Then of course, there was the picnic and flask of coffee.    The sun always shone and he taught me to course fish - my great achievement being that of landing a 2lb chub.   I was quite a success as a back of tandem cyclist.


In earlier times when I was 13 years old I was run over by a speeding motor cyclist travelling at a great rate along the Chester Road as my friend, Jean, and I attempted to make our innocent way across to the famed Sutton Park.   Broken legs with compound tibia and fibula fractures, kidney injuries and facial lacerations resulted but unbelievably my parents decided that it would be "too complicated" to claim compensation!   Oh well apart from my much-loved camel coat never recovering, I eventually did, and received lots of undue attention not to mention many gifts of sweets, chocolates, books and my first camera.  I should really have been warned right from the start that wheels and I were not totally compatible.

Aged about five years old and travelling at breakneck speed on my tricycle - yes that's what we all had until 2-wheelers with stabilisers were invented several years later - I whizzed past my mother and baby brother in his pram, past the gaudy flowerbeds of Handsworth Park, past the "Parkie", narrowly avoiding other mothers and babies, down the sloping pathway to the bandstand where I finally careered, landing upside down on the tarmac, to the accompaniment of the Salvation Army playing The Dam Busters, with bleeding knees and minus a couple of teeth.

There was a period from about 14-16 years of age when there was nothing I loved more than my second-hand maroon semi-drop-handled bar bike - there were no casualties during this time and it represented freedom, a total escape from parents and a happy and safe time often with both of my brothers beyond the suburbs of our home.

In the 1980's a friend visited on his Honda 90 motorbike.   When about to leave I asked could I have a go.  Why!!!  No sooner was I on the wretched thing with its accelerator on the handlebars than I had fallen asunder.  The lethal number plate on its, now illegal,  metal arc over the front wheel sliced neatly through my calf flesh.   This time Macclesfield hospital for the stitches but unlike my Birmingham experience no siren bleating just a deal of blood contaminating the passenger side of a friend's car.

For many years following and now a real grown-up, I have steered away from the 2-wheel vehicles.   Just once a few years ago I got my daughter, Kate's, wonderful black classic Raleigh out of the shed and with my husband took a rather stately ride along the Middlewood Way and home again in one piece.    I was told by an onlooker that I looked somewhat imperious travelling along with its sit-up-and-beg handlebars at a cautious, steady pace.

This year, 2012 and following the amazing British Olympics, we were so inspired by all the intrepid male and female cyclists that we took ourselves along to Decathlon and I bought a brand new silvery-blue bicycle - it's lovely, magnificent it has a cross-bar and it's for our 25th wedding anniversary and it's for HIM.   No more cycling for me thanks - I've learned my lesson!




Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Smacked Child

The Smacked Child



           She slapped me on the legs that day
                                  For all the world to see
"Spare the rod, spoil the child"
Was what she used to say
Whilst waiting for the bus to come
The No.22A

My legs were pink
My  face was red
My shame was everywhere
Please let the ground
Just open up
Please let me disappear

It's not about the pain you feel
                                                                              It's loss of dignity
                                                                                       It's all about the loss of self
                                                                                      About the loss of
                                                                                           ME!

                                                                                        by Meg Marsden

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Ballad of Nigel & Sian




Yeh he was Nige and she was Sian
And yeh she lived at 211
His house was posh
And dad was corporate

Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor

Yeh there was Nigel on the train
And Sian got on there too
She wasn't meant to go that way
The fate of Sian & Nige that day


Coach, carriage, wheelbarrow, mudcart
 
Yeh she was Sian and he was Nige
Doc Martins, denim, leather
Her house a terrace, his exec
But they just went together

Yeh he loves her
And she loves him
The Jam was up & jumpin'

The parents all met up one night
On velvet sofas all polite
Discuss their kids to keep 'em right
Yeh, yeh, The Kids well they're alright!
Says me, says you, So say The Who

Rich man, poor man, beggarman, thief
Oh first love is bittersweet
The Clash were out there clashin'
And punk was all the fashion

The photo's circa '82
And Nige is there
And me and you 
Yeh he was Nigel, Nigel Tate
Was it chance or was it fate?
He was bright & she was clever
This year, next year, sometime, never

And Siouxsie she was rockin'

Two, four, six, eight
Who do you appreciate
Love is here, love is there
Old love, new love, bittersweet & O so true love
First love, worst love
Love is bloomin' everywhere ....

Yeh he was Nigel
She was Sian
And mum, well she was looking on .....
Yeh, she was simply lookin' on .......

Friday, 15 June 2012

RAIN ON ME .....


RAIN


I wanna go out in the rain today
I wanna go out and I wanna say
Come bring on your clouds
Come bring on your grey
I wanna go out in the rain today
I wanna go out not wearing my hat
I want the raindrops big and fat
To land on my face with a thunderous splat
Not wearing a coat not wearing a hat
I wanna have puddles up to my thighs
I wanna have dollops that land in my eyes
I want no umbrella to keep me dry
I just wanna dance like that wonderful guy
Remember that one – they called him Gene Kelly
The one that I’ve seen umpteen times on the telly
To sing like him and dance in the street
To splash and to crash to nature’s beat
I wanna go out in a thunderous storm
But it mustn’t be cold, it has to be warm
Come pelt down on my body from my head to my toes
In the depths of the night when nobody knows
To be naked and free as God meant us to be


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

HAIR!


I was prompted to add this poem "Hair" written by me in February 2006 when I read my daughter's work online today titled in the same way .... I don't think she or anyone else has read it before so here it is as encouragment for anyone else out there who is not happy with their hair  ....

It came late - my acceptance of my hair
Rather like Alice Walker.
I remember identifying with her
When reading one of her many books
Admittedly hers was the negro woman's fierce curl
But even so ...

An early recollection
Maybe I would be about six years old
At primary school anyway.
The routine of the
Hairbrushing ceremony was daily
And lasted what seemed like an eternity.

I would stand
Legs itching as mother
Brushed and brushed and brushed
At the long, thick, natural hair.
I would fidget with impatience
Often resulting in a swift clonck on the head
With the Mason-Pearson brush
And a "keep still I've nearly finished".



Eventually it would appear almost smooth
And rid of all tangles or lugs
As they were called
Finally the positioning of the bow
The hair ribbon, on the side.

The ritual was univeral for those times
Brush, brush and hundred times brush
Morning and night
Suppressing what was natural.
This was what people did then - maybe it was hygiene
Maybe a hanging on to some deeply significant
Victorian sexual cleansing

Times change.
Now when a child is born
With naturally wavy, kinky, curly hair
It is not brushed.

Like my grand-daughter Pandora
With her curls
It is washed and teased a little
Encouraged even, maybe with a little
hair product.
And then allowed to do its own thing

Teenage years brought me much
Hair unhappiness
I hated its wilfulness
It was the 60's
The trendy sixties
Mary Quant, Vidal Sassoon, Cathy McGowan
All the idols and role models around me
Had these wonderful spiteful,
Straight, assymetric haircuts
Shiny, glossy and straight, straight, straight

I ironed my hair
Yes, unbelievable isn't it?
Over brown paper
I sellotaped it
I blew it straight with a dryer.
All to no avail.
As soon as I went outside
Any damp in the atmosphere
And bing-bing
Off it would go in natural naughtiness.

Admittedly in the 70's I was laughing
I came into my own!
All around were having curly perms
I just got the hairdresser to cut it to shape
Voila - my afro - yeh!

But even in quite recent years as fashions changed
I tried to suppress it
My hair was chemically straightened
But it fought back bit by bit and won
And became what it is today
And I guess for my years
I should say "oh lucky me"
A thick headful of wilful locks

Well, guess what
I truly have learned to accept
And love
My God-given curly/wavy/kinky hair
Which He chose to bestow on me
I think He gave it as part of my identity
My trademark

It took many, many years to get there
To get over the self hair-hatred
And now, and it's not a matter of pride
I'm happy with who and what I am
And that includes, quite naturally, my tresses.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Loss .....

                                                                               
Learning to listen

A singular boy
of wit and rare frailty
you move me with your
mystic poetry

on loan to us
in this harsh place
you stopped a-while
and gave such beauty
with your words, that wide,
tense smile

another Nick, Nick Drake
touched similar nerves
with lovely, wistful, tragic songs
and also stopped by briefly
to leave a special legacy

                                                          

and in the silence
when their songs are sung
we listen…

Like the erratic melody
of gales vibrating through a ship’s rigging;
an oceans thunder
each song sends echoes of a past

we hear the streets ring out
as each souls' song is heard                                                                       
and see Tall Ships sail beneath
a Northern Sky

by Meg Marsden
                                                                           

                             Dedicated to Nicholas Heiney’s memory (Libby Purves & Paul Heiney’s son)

"I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you're here
Brighten my northern sky."

Nick Drake lyrics

The silver sails sliced through the air
While twilight skies glowed with desire
But time's short course has dulled love's colours
And old visions are expiring
Visions are expiring

By Nicholas Heiney



Monday, 23 April 2012

The Art of Knitting

                                                

My grandma taught me to knit when I was about 11 years old and I took to it like a sheep to the field ... I knitted from then on, for my kids and their kids and then I stopped.   I was done with knitting for several years.

In 2009 whilst in Bakewell, Derbyshire I happened upon a bookshop sale and purchased a book at a snip of a price called Designer Knitting with Kitty Bartholomew ... An American, she and her teenage daughters modelled the sweaters and cardigans and she seemed like a bit of a rule-breaker and I found her an inspiration.  

Overnight I became a "born-again" knitter.   I realised that I could knit with anything - yarns of course, but also stripped-down sheets and duvets, shirts from charity shops, string and polythene bags.   There seemed no end to the fun to be had by knitting and also creating your own patterns and not following someone else's rules.
                                            
Bathroom, playroom rugs knitted from old sheets.


In April of 2010 I started a community creative knitting group in Poynton called The KnitGirls .... there were about half a dozen of us and we met in the local pub The Vernon Arms.   We have just celebrated our two years together and are now about 25 in number.   When we're seen clacking away as we talk, laugh and have a drink together I think others recognise that with the resurgance of interest in knitting, the amazing yarns to be found and the fabulous patterns and inspired invention of knitters that the image of rocking-chair grannies with pinc-nez and little tight bun in the nape of the neck should now be dispelled!


Within our KnitGirls group at present there are those who are knitting intricate lace patterns, cable sweaters, trendy baby gear and several of us entwined in red, white and blue wool as we produce mounds of bunting to decorate the shops in our village for the Jubilee celebrations in June.

Last autumn whilst in New England with my family, I was so happy to have the pleasure of teaching my own grandchildren how to knit .... Elias, then 5 years old was captivated by the process and then his sister India knitted her own headband .... next there was Pandora and Ivy and some of their friends.  It was a precious time for me.     
                                

I now knit on public transport, in the car (not when I'm driving), at the seashore, in waiting rooms wherever - I'm into extreme knitting and totally proud of the art!   Apart from the pleasure of creating something lovely, the therapy of knitting should not be underestimated .... there has never been a day since that 2009 "born-again" moment when I have not picked up my needles and got caught up in that rhythm of knit one, purl one .... it helps to calm me down, gives me time to think more clearly and creates a happiness within - you should try it .....

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Doll




I was a pathetically girlie-girlie sort of child
I sang songs, made up dances, performed shows.
I loved my dolls and my pram - adored dressing up.

My favourite doll, Barbara, heavy and made of crock
was about twelve inches high - stout
sturdy arms and legs.
The limbs jointed and held in place within her torso
by hooks and strong rubber bands.
Yes, Barbara, was almost unrecognisable by the standards
of today's pneumatic plastic forms.

                                       

For a start
Barbara was a strange colour
Think American-Tan meets deep pink rouge
No lovely blonde nylon tresses.
Her short wavy hair was engraved upon her head.
No open and shut eyes
but painted-on eyes of china-doll blue
and carved eyebrows.
Her rather appealing mouth was etched in deep rose.

At least once, Barbara was taken to the
Birmingham Dolls Hospital for surgery -
broken limbs; too much doting attention.

In the post-war years much cared for toys
weren't simply replaced;
They were lovingly repaired.

On my leaving home at eighteen
barbara stayed with the family.
It seemed right.
She lay on my mother's bed -
Happy between the two pillows
and next to the satiny, quilted nightdress case.

She still wore the outfit - dress, knickers,
 bonnet, bootees knitted years previously
by Auntie Irene, my Godmother.

I was comfortable with that link to home
and although I said little
I always checked on Barbara on return visits.
I was content that there, she seemed happy.
I knew that, inevitably, in time,
she would come to live with me.

The one day she just wasn't there. ...

Where's Barabara? I asked mum
"Oh I gave her to Mrs So and So -
she has two grandchildren
and I thought they'd like her".

Of course, there was no malice aforethought -
that goes almost without saying.
So what was there for me to say.
I knew my sadness was disproportionate to my loss.
But I mourned the loss - which I do to this day.
I now have daughters
and they in turn, have their girls.

If I'm realistic, it's more than likely that a
heavy crock doll
would be of little interest to them.
But I'm not good at the reality game
And a lump forms in my throat as I recollect my happy hours
with Barbara.

I can only hope that her adopted
family treasured her as I did.



Saturday viewing - The Voice

                                         

I've never been a fan of the reality-talent-finder type show.   In fact I'm not too keen on any reality show preferring to watch some dark Scandinavian drama series such as the fabulous Borgen, The Killing or Wallander or the French-made Spiral  all of which with the English subtitles facilitate my increasingly cloth-eared state.  That will tell you something about me which may or may not be too healthy!

Whilst friends stayed with us over Easter they expressed an interest in watching The Voice as they had been following it for the last few weeks .... of course we went with it and this Saturday found, whilst on our own, a being drawn into The Voice .... this is what these shows do .... they insidiously get their tendrils around you and lo and behold you're caught up in the whole shebang and the next thing you know you're rooting like mad for Jaz Ellington!



Admittedly The Voice does have a preferable format to the X Factor/Pop Idol/Britains Got Talent routine whereby there was, to my mind, the indescribably awful build ups, deafening drum-rolling scene-setting, yawning moments of suspense and endless emotional sob-stories;  the contestants in this show are not known by name or seen by the judges and are assessed only by their voices alone.

But here's the thing ... the judges.   We have Danny O'Donague who I thought must be Feargal (The Undertones) Sharkey's much younger brother.   We have Will.i.am - a seemingly thoughtful and likeable black guy.   But now I must turn my attention to .... da-da drum roll ... the remaining two judges....  Firstly there is Tom Jones.   Well I think I'm in love.   Tom it seems has morphed into an utterly adorable, charming, sexy, mature man with an irresistible smile and laconic manner.   What happened to him?   Perhaps he is still the raunchy, thrusting performer at which middle-aged women feel compelled to launch their panties when he is singing but here there is no sign of the orange tan, the shoe-black hair or the overt sexuality. ... No, here we have a REAL man and I'm truly smitten.

                                    

 Then there is Jessie-J.   Now at this point I'm probably going to upset a lot of you ... but really isn't this woman whose speaking voice is pitched somewhere between Romford, Essex and the middle of the Atlantic ocean, just one of the most affected, camera-hogging, gobby women to be on TV short of Davina McCall?  "Oh no the camera's on me" as she waves her nail extensions underneath her false eyelashes in a mock-cry.   Let those who can sing - as I'm sure she does very well having sold 12-million records - sing.  BUT please don't let them loose to feed their egos on the unsuspecting public each saturday night.

                                                     

Oh well - it's the brilliant US Homeland on Sundays acted out by our very own Damian Lewis

                                                         

                           and as for Saturday evenings .... well there'll always be a good book to turn to.




Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Saturday viewing - The Voice


I've never been a fan of the reality-talent-finder type show.   In fact I'm not too keen on any reality show preferring to watch some dark Scandinavian drama series such as the fabulous Borgen, The Killing or Wallander or the French-made Spiral  all of which with the English subtitles facilitate my increasingly cloth-eared state.  That will tell you something about me which may or may not be too healthy!

Whilst friends stayed with us over Easter they expressed an interest in watching The Voice as they had been following it for the last few weeks .... of course we went with it and this Saturday found, whilst on our own, a being drawn into The Voice .... this is what these shows do .... they insidiously get their tendrils around you and lo and behold you're caught up in the whole shebang and the next thing you know you're rooting like mad for Jaz Ellington!


Admittedly The Voice does have a preferable format to the X Factor/Pop Idol/Britains Got Talent routine whereby there was, to my mind, the indescribably awful build ups, deafening drum-rolling scene-setting, yawning moments of suspense and endless emotional sob-stories;  the contestants in this show are not known by name or seen by the judges and are assessed only by their voices alone.

But here's the thing ... the judges.   We have Danny O'Donague who I thought must be Feargal (The Undertones) Sharkey's much younger brother.   We have Will.i.am - a seemingly thoughtful and likeable black guy.   But now I must turn my attention to .... da-da drum roll ... the remaining two judges....  Firstly there is Tom Jones.   Well I think I'm in love.   Tom it seems has morphed into an utterly adorable, charming, sexy, mature man with an irrisistible smile and laconic manner.   What happened to him?   Perhaps he is still the raunchy, thrusting performer at which middle-aged women feel compelled to launch their panties when he is singing but here there is no sign of the orange tan, the shoe-black hair or the overt sexuality. ... No, here we have a REAL man and I'm truly smitten.


Then there is Jessie-J.   Now at this point I'm probably going to upset a lot of you ... but really isn't this woman whose speaking voice is pitched somewhere between Romford, Essex and the middle of the Atlantic ocean, just one of the most affected, camera-hogging, gobby women to be on TV short of  Davina McCall ? "Oh no the camera's on me" as she waves her nail extensions underneath her false eyelashes in a mock-cry.   Let those who can sing - as I'm sure she does very well having sold 12-million records - sing.  BUT please don't let them loose to feed their egos to the unsuspecting public each saturday night.


Oh well - it's the brilliant US Homeland on Sundays acted out by our very own Damian Lewis

                                                         

                           and as for Saturday evenings .... well there'll always be a good book to turn to.


Friday, 30 March 2012

Wolf Love

                         
Into the wood she now ventures, all alone now, quietly enters
She all dressed in layers of clothing head to toe to keep her warm
Stepping gently, heard a crunching, all around she heard a munching
Like a wild pig truffle-hunting, hunting on the forest floor
“Wild hog”, she thinks and mutters, hunting on the forest floor
Cold sweat dripped from every pore

She had woken from her slumber, face all wet and fled her chamber
In pursuit of her prince, the gallant knight she did adore
Enveloped in her cloak and hood, and now entrapped in tangled wood
Then overcome with grief and sadness, sadness at the sight she saw
There her lover’s cap was lying, it was Henry’s she was sure
Lying on the forest floor

While Catherine in her frozen fear, saw a ghostly mist appear
Wrapped and trapped its tendrils round her, and yet it had a strange allure
Though she fought and started running, still the spectre kept on coming
Then she hear a grunting echo, echoes from the forest floor
Wild bear noises, echo, echo, owls hooting, charging boar
Echoes from the forest floor

There the ancient cabin stood, hidden, deep within the wood
Ill-fated lover’s meeting place, with ivy twining round its door
Catherine now with heart thump-thumping, in her veins the blood pump-pumping
Calling out for God’s protection – fearful now at what she saw
Dying wolf a-yowling, yowling, horrifying blood and gore
Lying on the forest floor

Catherine screeches out with fright, help me end this odious night
Please depart night’s darkest demons, our ravaged maiden did implore
Acrid odours whirling, swirling, telling her of something strange
All is silent, all is black, moon has fallen to the floor
Cold with fear and trembling, trembling, petrified at what she saw
Catherine crumbles to the floor

Then woefully, she realized, she recognized her lover’s eyes
Within their hut as wolf-tears fell, he tenderly stretched out a paw
And Henry yowled and yowled again, for love that could not be the same
With yellow eyes, their ghostly cries, echo, echo evermore,
The lovers now as forest wolves, entwined together on the floor
Lying on that forest floor
by Meg Marsden
(after the style of Edgar Allan Poe)


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Aberffraw, Anglesey

Aberffraw, Anglesey


pearly clouds bloom against the
untrue blue of a spring sky
a gushing sort of day
and a tide that seems in a hurry
with its roaring ebb and flow
glistening like quicksilver
in the sun.
 
the blustery, warm, southerly wind
blasts crazily against our faces,
against our bodies.
each step along the sand an exhilarating
assault course against the elements.

a dozen maybe, giddy dogs run
hither and thither
happy, with tongues lolling
a little spooked by the mad wind
running in and out of the sparkling sea
and returning, tails wagging, coats dripping
pleased with themselves as they
shake and spray their owners.
 
gulls are drifting on the thermals
oyster-catchers and curlews mosey along
the shoreline like high street window shoppers

the gushing gets stronger –
the force of the wind,
the heat of the sun,
the volume of the crashing tide
pushes up through my booted feet,
surges up into my belly, it’s joyful
it’s nature’s mad dance

even the shells, the mermaid’s purses,
the clumps of khaki-tinted seaweed
could well be caught up in a merry prancing
when my back is turned!
 
we’ve walked and walked and now
reached the rocks,
here we rest a little, catch our breath
collect driftwood, look towards the black
silhouetted mountains of, what we think is,
the Llyn Peninsula;

we talk of Henry, my father-in-law
and of Murphy our dog
of how much over the years
both enjoyed it here before they departed
to their respective heavens.

and now the wind is behind us
and the return journey easier
blowing, pushing us homeward.
I watch the marram grass of the dunes -
the dunes like so many gonks
with their sandy domes and tufted hair –
shine silvery-white then green
as they are blown.
and the shifting sand skitters like
horizontal smoke-signals
across the beach.

and with wild, whipped up hair,
the salty taste of sand upon my tongue
the grittiness in my ears
and on my face
I am as one with the ocean
buffetted by the wind
warmed by the sun
and kissed by the Irish sea.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Just Seven Cottages

Having lived here for the last 25 years caused me to dwell a little on this brick-linked row of seven so-called Victorian cottages built  in 1856.  Their pocket handkerchief front gardens were originally edged with cast iron railings until severed for use in munitions in 1914.  Some of the cottages still have their original little garden walls with amputated iron stumps clearly visible and over which they have shiny new railings and gates looking very smart and "Chelsea Mews".
                                            Up until 1856 most of the houses in the village of Poynton had been built for, and sometimes by, the coal mining community.   But in 1845 the steam train came to Poynton and its main line was linked to the coal pit tracks and the seven terraced cottages were built principally for the railway workers and their families.  Right next to the railtrack two semi-detached buildings were erected here on Lostock Road, one the Station Office and the other the Station Master's home.   There was a level-crossing to get from the Midway area, as it was known, across the track to Lostock Hall Farmlands to the west.   One historian commented at the time on "the hateful railroad"  presumably regretting the move from the rural to a more industrialised livelihood.  Nevertheless, it was agreed that the miners and railroad workers experienced a better standard of living than the textile factory workers or agricultural labourers.



Lostock Terrace was its given name then and if you look carefully it is possible to still see this name on the old road sign above the middle house - No.10.   Now the sign for Lostock Road is on my wall at No.2.  Why the name was changed I have no idea.

I also would love to know why each one of the houses is a different size.  Was the house I live in the last to be built and perhaps there was room left over to make it the largest?  Or was it the first to be built and the builders ran out of space as they progressed along the row?   Why were they then numbered from 2 - 14 rather than 1 - 7 or 1 -13?  Is the No.13 a clue due to the suspicions around that number?  There could never have been houses built opposite because Poynton Brook runs parallel ... these questions continue to intrigue.

Upon completion the cottages were rented out to their workers by the Railway Authority and sold in 1912 to a private purchaser until eventually one by one they were bought by individual owners.  No.4 was the last one still being rented out at a peppercorn rent up until 1994 by "old Tom" (Worthington).  He had some tales to tell.  The outside lavatory, no hot water, mangle, tin bath, still evident then, and the pigeon coop told their very own stories. 

I wish I still had that strip of garden apparently allocated to each cottage back then and stretching to the rear for 80 yards.   I can see in my mind's eye the green bean rows, onions and radishes alongside the sweet peas, carnations, hollyhocks, autumn chrysanthemum and dahlias with, maybe, the pigeon loft at the end as bird racing was a great pastime in this area back then.   "Old Tom" mentioned above, still had some of his favourite pigeons when we came to live next door in 1987.

I can visualise Victorian mothers in their day clothes, skirts and petticoats trailing the cobbled London Road, basket on their arms as they walked northwards to the grocers, butchers and drapers.   Up until 1998 the Midway Bakery was just a few yards away and was in thos days a thriving little shop for those who were not making their own bread but also, later on, for the new motor-bus drivers stopping at the corner of Lostock Road terminus for their break.   It is now an antique pine shop.    The women may well have turned south towards the farms to purchase eggs if they didn't keep their own hens,  or maybe for vegetables which they didn't grow themselves.   It was not unusual for households in Poynton to keep their own pig as bacon provided a hearty breakfast for miners.

Midway children would not have had to walk so very far to get to school as this was located on Park Lane and known as Vernon School - later to become the Folk Centre and now called,  I believe, The Youth & Community Centre.   The public house was where The Vernon Arms is now situated and the local Smithy next door and so it is apparent that the Midway district lacked little and was more than a small community on its own, rather the hub of Poynton village.   No.2 Lostock Road was (and still is) known as The Town House - travelling from Macclesfield via Adlington this was virtually the first residential building reached when entering Poynton.
The fustian works which operated from the still-evident property on London Road South opposite the Antique Pine Shop was a thriving business which provided hat trimmings for the prodigious Christy Milliners.  There was also a smaller family business of fustian workers functioning from one of the Lostock Terrace cottages.
                   
There were a number of toll bars along the main turnpike London Road - which runs at right-angles to our cottages - one of which existed at the Lostock Terrace junction.   Until the steam trains, transportation of people and goods was either by barge along the canal or by horse-drawn wagons on the roads.   As far back as 1652 there was mention of a man by the name of  Pickford who was a carrier and certainly 100 years on there was Matthew Pickford whom it would seem descended from the same line who was a great entrepreneur and responsible for the famous Pickford Haulier Company.    He was called a waggoner then and was responsible for transporting materials for the road building operations.  He then widened his experience and eventually there was little that the Pickford family were not prepared to remove and replace.   The infrastructure was growing rapidly.

The railway had dictated the emphasis in Poynton up to 1887, thus when the Railway Station was moved to its present site at Chester Road, so the focus of the village changed.   Now there was also a Smithy on Park Lane and in 1897 the Jubilee Fountain and Lampstand was erected celebrating Queen Victoria's Jubilee.   Fountain Place became very much a focal point which provided people and horses with refreshing water and also gaslight at an increasingly busy junction!
We learn therefore, that up until the late 1800's the Midway area had all the necessary craftsmen - saddlers, wheelwrights, blacksmiths and shoemakers.   The clogger as he was often called, worked all hours to keep the miners well shod for their sometimes dangerous work.   Often he would loan a clog or clogs overnight in order to mend the miners own ready for collection on his way to work the next day.
                       
The Smithy by 1910 was kept very busy not just shoeing horses but selling and mending the now popular bicycle.   By the early 1900's a few of the first motor-cars were around and with the internal combustion engine many changes were to be seen.   By the year 1900 the population of Poynton was around 2,500.   Shrigley's Garage on London Road South (later to become Poynton Car Sales & now flats) was busy with sales and repairs and in 1927 there were the first motor omnibuses.   The terminus being situated directly outside the garage.   Apparently about this time No.2 Lostock was operating as a sweet shop and cafe where the driver and conductor could have their refreshments.

So by the 1920's we have increased forms of traffic and we have the trains passing along the westerly end of Lostock Terrace/Road towards the main station and we also have the daily 'bus stopping at the terminus before heading off for Macclesfield or Stockport.   I expect that is why we have outside No.2,  a bench - for passengers to wait, then the waste-paper bin which even when we came to live here was a wire mesh balanced inside of a wooden frame but is now a vandal-proof (?) moulded plastic job.   Opposite there is a post box and up until a few years ago next to that was a telephone kiosk.

In 1932, presumably because of the fast increase in traffic - now there were more motor-cars, more frequent buses, bicycles and of course, still horse-drawn tradesman's wagons for delivery of milk, bread and coal, - the first speed limitations were enforced so Lostock Road had a 30 mph sign erected at its junction with the main road.   After all, this was the point at which you entered - the Gateway to Poynton.

Sadly by 1935 all the coal mining had ceased - the pit owners had expected there to be 100 years worth of coal mining and consequently the miners had to seek new employment and companies such as BUKTA, Baxter Woodhouse Taylor and later Lightnin Mixers provided jobs for many in the area.

                                        

These seven cottages have now experienced many changes and only they know how many different families have lived within their walls.   What happiness, tragedy, sadness and success have they witnessed?   The railway workers have long since gone, there are no pigeons and there have been many changes of ownership over the last few years ..... I still feel a tenderness when turning the key in my front door and experience the specialness of this, No.2 Lostock, my home.

Meg Marsden/March 2012