It's funny how the net catches all of us - I looked at what you had included about me and noticed the email after it from Ross Sharp. I must have seen it before but it never registered...now I see his cousin Charlie Palmer, who was lost at Markham, was part of the Golden Valley Palmers.
My Mam's family were the Inwoods of Golden Valley and I spent a good chunk of my childhood staying with Mama and Grandad, or with my Uncle Jim, who now lives at Cotmanhay, but lived in one of the cottages on Turner's land near Codnor Park reservoir, or my Uncle Bill who lived for a time in the Toll Cottage on the Coach Road near Police HQ Butterley Hall. Golden Valley was tiny and we all knew each other! Grandad Inwood also worked at Brittain Pit so he may well have known Ross's other relative who worked there. Grandad was what is politely referred to as 'quite a character'! He was a bampot! Here is some of the daft things he did:-
He used to be a so-and-so for trading and swapping. Being a highly proficient musician he was never short of a bob or two for a drink - and drink he did! -but he had a habit of going to the pub with one instrument and coming back with another. He surpassed himself, though, when he came back from the pub with a donkey!!! A real, life, very ill-tempered donkey on a rope!!! Not surprisingly Mama wasn't overly keen on adding a braying donkey to the bantams, rabbits, etc he already kept in the garden! No problem...off went Grandad to lead the animal on a 14 mile walk all the way to Nottingham where he promptly sold said donkey at the Goose Fair!
There are many clippings in the local press of an amazing period when you could hear a Nightingale in the woods between the Newlands Pub, Golden Valley, and Brittain's Pit, near Forty-Horse Field. Birdwatchers came by the charabanc load from all over the country. Crooks' shop, the Co-op, and the Newlands never had it so good: teas, sandwiches, drinks. It went on for ages until a wily local threw a tin can full of pebbles up into the tree where the bird seemed to be - and down came my Grandad! It didn't cure him of his bird imitations though!
Finally, one Easter, for a bet, he undertook to ride a domestic wringer - a mangle as we called it - down the hill from Turner's Farm, over the railway bridge, down to the valley proper where the road started to rise up over the canal bridge outside the Newlands! If you've never seen one of these things, they were about 5 feet high or so, with two huge wooden rollers between which washed clothes had water wrung out of them, all driven by a big wheel with a handle to turn it. Its frame was almost always heavy cast iron and in order that it could be moved there were iron runners, casters one on the bottom of each leg. There would have been no way of stopping it once it had the momentum created by gravity going down the hill and absolutely no way of steering it - a problem since there was a pronounced curve to the right as the road crossed the railway bridge!
He did it, he survived it, and they paid him, and he had a good liquid Easter!
What a man!
And this is the man everyone says I am "the spitting image" of!!
Ah, well. Enough reminiscing. I just hope you get a laugh out of his antics. He was brilliant. He could sing, he could clog dance, he could play anything (including spoons, bones, even tuned glasses or beer bottles, piano, harmonica, accordion, harmonium, euphonium, whatever, just give him a couple of minutes to master it) he even had a little working five-note harmonica key-ring that he kept pinned through his lapel buttonhole and would play just to amuse himself or us.
David Anson MA Hons
For the past seven years I have been involved in the research and preservation of certain aspects of the history and culture of coal-mining in Britain; my particular interest being folk song and music.
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