Tonight I am supposed to be industrious.  I am supposed to be marking.  However, I threw it all onto the kitchen table and will probably scoop it all up again in the morning.  Untouched.   Why? Because of old people.

Old people are everywhere if you care to look.  They are lurking in corners, wandering the streets.  They don’t want to be bothered.  They don’t want to cause trouble.  Don’t ignore them.  We need to scoop them up… and treat them like gold.  They are vaults of wisdom.  They carry more laughter and tears in their hearts than we have ever seen.

The lovely Sharon and I journeyed into the crisp night to visit these people.  We sat for hours and listened.  Listened to stories. Stories of laughter, life and tragedy.  From the big snow to cutting ropes the diameter of your car (with explosives (not really big scissors)).  We filled our minds with the history of our area.  We learnt how the mills and the factories made up the working days, weeks, months and years.  We even learnt how linen is made.  We sipped tea with thickly buttered fruit loaf. We learnt the intricate details of the flax including the bizarre language of words that we could not say never mind spell.

Time flew buy.  We left after what seemed like a short time.  I could have sat for hours and asked thousands of questions.  Under my arm I had a very large plastic bag filled with faded photos of ghosts, dusty books about spinning machines and a massive record book of the names of 11 year old workers written in turn of the century script.  I glanced at the walls, trees and hedges and tried to glimpse echos of years gone by.

It was that or mark exam papers.

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