Trouble at t’Mill – Friday Fictioneers, March 2019

I have difficulty concentrating, enthralled as I am by the dexterity of her lips as she mee-maws her way wheezily through her memories.

She’s seen it all, but long before this northern town became infamous for the proclivities of its taxi-drivers and politicians, Alice sacrificed both her hearing and her lungs to Ellenroad Mill, labouring stoically in its noisy, linty environment.

“Times were hard,” she reflects, “but folk pulled together.”

She glances at her TV screen, where elected representatives of all persuasions  once again make a virtue of their naivety and treachery.

“Daft ha’p’orths…” she snorts, “…need their backsides tanning.”

 

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This week’s offering will have more relevance to the UK faction of Friday Fictioneers, who will probably recognise the town (my birth-place), the dialect and the politicians in question.  The photo is from Quarry Mill, a working mill museum in Cheshire, close to Manchester Airport. Well worth a visit.  Thanks to Rochelle for allowing me to share it with you, and for her continued dedication to our group.

 

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin'. Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Trouble at t’Mill – Friday Fictioneers, March 2019

  1. neilmacdon says:

    A timely and well-captured note about naivety and treachery

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tannille says:

    The sacrifices the working poor have to make to survive… Thankfully there is a strong community.
    Thought provoking. Well done.

    Like

  3. Iain Kelly says:

    I have taken to just turning the TV off when I see anything resembling an elected representative. I agree with her assessment entirely! It’s good that all the generations can come together and agree on something at least!

    Like

  4. ceayr says:

    Ah can just see thee in flat cap, lass, watering thy pigeons!

    Re the UK’s current political situation, if any of us had fictionalised it, our words would have been rejected as beyond credibility.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Sandra,

    While we don’t have the same politicians here in the States, we have a three ring circus. I could relate. Wonderful story told with your usual flair. Great photo, too. Thanks. .

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent depiction, though I’d probably not like to spend too much time with this character. Well done.

    Like

  7. pennygadd51 says:

    You’ve given us a lovely story with so many layers – the industrial heritage, the strength of a sense of community, political commentary, the idiosyncratic character who is so typical of the location. Super!
    I hadn’t realised you originated from Styal. I lived in Macclesfield during my early teenage years, and I cycled all over the roads between Macclesfield and Wythenshawe.

    Like

  8. granonine says:

    Interesting combination, that–naievete and treachery. I loved the voice of your character.

    Like

  9. Ay lass, times was ‘ard, but probably less so for us softies in the South!

    Like

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  11. I’m not from the UK, but unfortunately politicians are the same everywhere. Great story and I love the word “mee-maws”. 🙂
    -David

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      Yes, mill-workers used to over-exaggerate their mouth movements so they could be understood over the noise of the looms. Mee maw is a great word for that. 🙂

      Like

  12. Don’t forget they used to communicate with each other by a form of lip reading combined with shoulder/body movements…..lots of conversations without speaking a word 🙂

    Like

  13. tedstrutz says:

    You have yours and we have ours, Sandra. Kind of the same bunch. I really liked your photo and it got a story out of me, thanks.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      It was good to see you back on the squares again this week Ted. And yes, I guess they’re the same the world over. Maybe you have to be like that to want to be a politician.

      Like

  14. StuHN says:

    Well written historical fiction and current circumstances. They all need a good thrashing

    Like

  15. Dale says:

    ‘Twould appear we all have our share of “wonderful” politicians.
    Loved the voice and wish I were hearing it live 😉
    Thank you for such a great photo!

    Like

  16. Nobbinmaug says:

    You’ve created an excellent juxtaposition of the hard-working every person with the shady politician via a subtle backdrop. Nicely done.

    I had to look up “ha’p’orths.” I thought it might be Klingon or Dothraki.

    Like

  17. plaridel says:

    i guess in a democracy politicians are the necessary evil. we love to hate them and hate to love them at the same time.

    Like

  18. I am stunned by the process, and the way it’s been handled…. and there seems to be no solution. Maybe it’s fair to call it sabotage.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Everybody is sabotaging someone else. And no-one knows the meaning of the words loyalty or pragmatism. You’re rightly stunned. And I voted for one of this bunch, so imagine how I feel.

      Like

  19. msjadeli says:

    It’s what you say as much as what you don’t say that make this such a powerful piece writing.

    Like

  20. Love her voice. Nicely written.

    Like

  21. Loved the voice as well as the choice of words. Superb writing, Sandra

    Like

  22. draliman says:

    Alice has the right idea. Let’s send a backside-tanning squad to parliament right now!

    Like

  23. Abhijit Ray says:

    Another life sacrificed at the altar of bad work environment.

    Like

  24. Violet Lentz says:

    My vote goes to Alice. She’s probably the only level head in the race.. Very well done Sandra. Loved the voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. subroto says:

    “..need their backsides tanning”
    Now who would not agree with that sentiment where politicians are involved. We need to make a list.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Naivety and treachery, two words that could only be used together for one set of people… politicians.

    Great story!

    -Rachel

    Like

  27. Politically correct. Very nice.

    Like

  28. 4963andypop says:

    Nice contrast of times, “manufactured” hardship vs real. I wondered about deafness being a result of work in such a mill, as well as about the things the workers’ lungs were processing with greater or lesser success. Great picture–it’s such a stunning angle.

    Reminds me of a BBC show I saw on netflix a few years ago about cotton mills in the north of England, North and South., based on a book by Elizabeth Gaskell. We have no idea of how far we have come!

    Like

  29. Ha! Would love to see the last line happen.

    Like

  30. This clearly articulated that it is the people who make the sacrifices and effort to progress modern society.

    Like

  31. Times have changed and not in a good way. Hopefully voices that remember when politicians sought to do good rather than line their pockets will not die out. Good story, Sandra.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I’m not sure what drives people to enter politics these days. It certaintly doesn’t seem, in a large number of cases, to be the will to do good, from what I can see. Thanks for reading, Sascha.

      Like

  32. gahlearner says:

    Politicians are perfectly described. I like the voice of the narrator, and the suggestion that politicians should actually face the consequences for their crimes should become universal law. Thank you for a great picture, Sandra.

    Like

  33. lisarey1990 says:

    Very layered write with a thought-provoking edge. Very nice write.

    Like

  34. A great piece. And interesting capture of dialect.
    We live within spitting distance from Quarry bank Mill and are frequent visitors both to the mill itself and the woods and formal gardens. Of course this is Tatton parliamentary constituency which gave us Neil Hamilton some years ago, and now a cabinet-resigning, Brexit flip-flopper who is an advocate of the Bedroom Tax and the Universal Credit Scheme. Your old mill worker would just love to meet her.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Ah! the fragrant Esther. I feel your pain. 😦 A marginal, but very marginal improvement on Mr Hamilton. Yes, I would have loved to spend more time at Quarry Mill – we went on a cold December day, but said we’d go back again when the weather was better. I particularly enjoyed the old Apprentice House. Thanks for reading, Patrick.

      Like

  35. Growing up, I just thought were hard of hearing and wheezed. I wasn’t until I lost most of my hearing that I found out that it could have been prevented. I preach to the younger generation, but as usual, they are deaf to my pleas.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I suppose ear-defenders and dust-masks are decidedly non-cool. So’s wheezing and bellowing “speak up”, but they’ve yet to learn that. Thanks for reading.

      Like

  36. magarisa says:

    What a difficult life she has led. I love your description of her “mee-mawing her way wheezily through her memories”. Those poor lungs of hers…

    Like

  37. What a relatable story for everyone, except for the politicians, who no doubt remain clueless.

    Like

  38. Margaret says:

    Once again I’m full of admiration for how well you write, Sandra. This one is no exception. I just love the local flavour you’ve provided in the story and your comment replies. My British fibres are zinging as I read. I visited UK last year and now I’m starving for more. Doing ancestry research is feeding that also. So thanks for the fix you provided me with this week.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      These are unsettled times in the UK, Margaret, with a population divided as never before. I’d postpone your visit until after the dust settles, as hopefully it will. It’s good to study where you came from, and I’m glad the story meant something to you. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Lynn Love says:

    wonderful story, Sandra, from her mee-maws to wanting to tan the hides of all the useless politicians parading across her TV screen. A lovely evocation of a life and history that are fast disappearing. I grew up not far from Penny, in the Peak District and know Quarry Bank Mill well. They always used to take us there on school trips to learn how kids used to live and work in such places. That and Eyam, the plague village! Wonderful photograph

    Like

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