Monday, April 20, 2020

China China

Porcelain sculpture by
Ah Xian

So this is goodbye?
This is goodbye

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Pandiculating Psoas

Use Pandiculation To Heal Your Psoas and All of Your Muscles

Pandiculation, or active stretching, is a somatic movement that is typically associated with yawning, especially when you first wake up in the morning. But, it is so much more than that. Pandiculation is actually your nervous system’s wake-up call. In fact, it has been called “nature’s reset button” because it prepares your sensory-motor system for movement. And, pandiculation is critical to the proper functioning of your entire musculoskeletal system.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Crossing the Ditch

misty Easter jump

It was Sunday ; the mill was silent, and the water pressed idly against the big dam, opposite which stood old Zam Tapp's cottage. Zam was seated in the dark kitchen, a bucket of water between his knees, peeling potatoes; and lying in a truckle bed was his grandson. Travelling Joe, a boy of about 9 years old, small, wizen and partly paralysed. 

"Grandfer," said the boy, "carry me tu and fraw a bit and tull me zommat; tull me ywhat the wordel ba like out ther--ba it mortal wide?"
' "Ay, ay, lad;" Zam answered, raising the dying child in his arms, "wide and lonezome, wide and lonezome."

"But windervul vull o'' ditches," Joe said; "do 'ee jump they ditches, grandfer, when yer gaws tu and fraw tu wark:?"

"Naw; law, I ba getting owld," Zam answered, "I moastly walks 'longside."

There was silence for a moment, and then Joe spoke. "Grandfer," he said, "do 'ee reckon that they knaws more about 'eaven auver tu Merikey than they does yhere?"

"Tiz tha tother zide o tha wordel," the old man answered; "maybe they zees clearer ther."

"I ba mortal wangery, grandfer," Travelling Joe answered, sighing; "I reckon I cud zlape.:

Zam laid the dying boy back in the old truckle bed. "Shall I tull ze zommat from the Buk lad?" he asked.

The child shivered. "Naw, grandfer," he answered. "I wid liefer bide quiet."

He sank into a broken slumber, suddenly to awake with a start.

"Tiz turribul dimmet," he exclaimed; "but," and his face brightened,. "I zees things li'ke ditches;"

So saying, he died.

Found story Trove 1897
Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918, 1935) Saturday 3 July 1897 p 33 Article

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Travelling Joe's Grandfer -


It was Sunday ; the mill was silent, and the water pressed idly against the big dam, opposite which stood old Zam Tapp's cottage. Zam was seated in the dark kitchen, a bucket of water between his knees, peeling potatoes; and lying in a truckle bed was his grandson. Travelling Joe, a boy of about 9 years old, small, wizen and partly paralysed. The tall clock in the corner of the room had struck 12, and groups of people passed the cottage on their return from church and chapel. Zam, who did not 'howld wi' zich things,' eyed them with indifference not unmixed with contempt. , He "reckoned," he said, "thet ha didn't want no praicher to teach him tha way tu 'eaven; zalvation wez a kooris thing, and like cream, let it alone and twid come to 'ee; meddle and praying widu't fetch it."

To the boy lying there, his heart full of the spirit of adventure, and his life bounded by the truckle bed and the four walls of the small kitchen, the though of heaven was of piercing interest; it haunted his dreams sleeping and waking, it was his new America, the land which he would one day explore. To him it never ceased to be a matter of regret that the Crystal Sea lay in front of the throne of God; he would have wished it might have been in what he called "the dimmer part o' 'eaven;" a far border land unknown to the angels, and where even the eye of God fell seldom. And now as he lay and watched Zam peeling the potatoes, he longed unconsciously to hear the "loosing of the mill" for the sound of the great waters leaping forth was to him as the rushing of the river of life.

Zam's mind was occupied by the thought of his dead wife. "Eh! eh!" he exclaimed suddenly, "hur wez a windervul and at biling a tetty, wez my owld wuman, and when it coomed tu that last hur mind dwelt on it painvul. 'Vather,' hur zed, 'I reckon I've cooked 'ee my last tetty.' 'I reckon 'ee 'ave, moather,' I answered. Hur wez zilent a bit, then all-ta-wapee hur zot up in bed and ketched howldt o' me by that weskit. 'Tull Jane' -- thie wez yer pore moather - 'tull Jane,' hur zed, 'twez that zalt thet did it; twez all along o that zalt.' But law bless ee, zalt or no zalt, Jane's tetties wez niver a patch on hurn. I reckon hur hand wull ba moast 'out 'o biling tetties by that time I jines hur; but law, I doant complain, moast
like tez zweet stuff they lives on up ther; I niver cud stomach zich stuff mezult; but, bless 'ee, glory hez tu be paid for the zame ez that rest."

A vision of his grandmother's portly form arose in the child's mind as he lay and listened. "Grandfer," he said, "do 'ee reckon thet grandmoather took u wings natrel fust along?" 

Zam stopped peeling the potatoes. "Many's the time I've thought on thie, Joie," he answered sorrowfully, "and I ba moast afeardt hur didn't; tha noo-fangled wez alwiz contrary tu hur, and if ther wez wan
thing more than tother hur cudn't abide twez a loose veather in hur bed. Eh! eh! I wid dearly o' liked to o' gone along fust and put hur in tha way o' things a bit; but ther, if yer doant have things tu tha Almighty, who shall 'ee lave 'em to?" "Tha Laurd ba turribul mindful o' poor folk," the boy said, questiongly.
"Ay, ay, lad," the old man answered, "ther ba a deal o' tha wuman about tha Almighty. Ha wull pramise 'ee an ill tarn if yer doan't mend; but ha ba zlow tu lay it on -- zlow tu lay it on."

Joe was silent a moment, and Zam began once more to peel the potatoes. At last the boy spoke.
"Sposing grandmoather wez tu break hur wing," he cried excitedly, "what then, grandfer -- what then?"
The old man flushed. "Angels bain't for doing zich things ez thie, Joe," he answered; "ther's nort promiscuous in 'eaven. I reckon thet they thet ba noo tu tha trade flies mortal zlow fust along -- zommat like owld Varmer Rod's payhen; no hittin' o' theirselves agin a tray. Yer grandmoather kind o' thought o' thie o' hursulf, and jest avor her turned over in hur bed for that last time, hur looked up in me face kind
o' trustsome, 'I'll take it aisy, vather,' hur zed, 'and that Laurd wull do tha rast,' 'Eh! eh! moather,' I zed, 'ha woant forzake 'ee. Ha's bin a pore man hiszulf, an' knaws what tiz not tu ba larned.' Hur smiled,
but I zar tha tears in hur eyes. 'I shall miss yer hand, vather,' hur zed, 'tha valley o' tha shader ba turribul dark.' 'Tha Laurd wull walk wi' 'ee, moather,' I zed, 'his hand ba more restful than mine.' 'Eh, but
vust along,' hur murmured, 'vust 'long' ; then hur claused hur eyes, and died quietvul. Hur wez mortal murch a duman, pore soul. Conzarvitive to tha end -- conzarvitive to that end."

Later, when the frugal dinner had been cooked and eaten, Zam drew his big arm chair up to the fire and fell asleep. The Scroll to previous page
boy closed his eyes, too, but only that he might the more easily dwell in an imaginary world. He wondered what the far confines of heaven looked like, and whether he should find volcanoes there, and as he pictured the scene, he suddenly startled the old man out of his sleep. "Grandfer, grandfer," he cried excitedly, "'sposing 'eaven shid blaw up!"

"Bless that boy," Zam answered, looking anxiously at the small fire, "I thought vor zure tha kettle wez biling auver.''

"Naw, grandfer," said Joe, "I wez on'yj a-wondering what that dimmet parts o' 'eaven might be arter when God wez kind o' thinking o' zommat ulse."

Zam's deep-set eyes twinkled. "A bit contrary, may ba," he said, "but nort lightzome, Joe -- nort lightzome."

"Folk ba turribul spiritless up tu 'eaven," the boy answered sadly. "They baistesses now that stand avor tha throne -- do 'ee reckon thet they iver roar?"

"Wull," his grandfather answered, after a moment. "I widn't reckon on it, if I wez you, Joe--I widn't reckon on it; but," he added, as his eyes fell upon the boy's disappointed face, "who can tull what the
talking o' zich critters as thie wull be like-fearzome, no doubt,"

"And, grandfer," Joe exclaimed, with rising color, "if lame Tom wez there wi' hiz crutch now, and jest stepped on that taw o' wan o' they baistesses, then ha wid talk moral spiritty, grandfer, widn't he?"

"Eh, for zure, for zure, mortal spiritty, I'll be bound," Zam answered.

The flush of excitement died out from the boy's face. "Moast like 'twull niver happen," he said, in a sorrowful voice; "up tu 'eaven things ba painful riglar."

"Ba 'ee tired, lad?" Zam asked, as he rose from his chair and lifted the child tenderly in his arms. "Shall I carry 'ee tu and fraw a bit?"

Joe pressed his thin white face against the old man's breast. "Tull me about things avor I wez born,
grandfer," he said. "Tull me about vather; wez ha fine and upstanding?"

"Ay, ay, lad, ha wez pleasant tu look upon," Zam answered, "but ha broak yer pore moather's heart for all o' thie. Ha wez turribul wild, wez Jim; good hearted anuff, but turribul wild; ha wezn't built for
marrying; ha cudn't stay pauking about in a little vullage zich ez this ba; ha zed thet tha wordel wez zsmall anuff, but ez vor tha village, ha' cudn't breathe in it; and yer pore moather hur cudn't get tu
understand thet nohow--hur reckoned thet if ha loved hur, ha wud stay; but law bless 'ee, lad, vor men zich ez Jim there ha sommat ulse in the wordel beside tha love o' wimmen-folk, tho' they pore zouls, can't gaw for tu zee it. But ha wez turribul fond o' hur vor all thie, and I cud zee thet it jest went tu hiz heart tu act contrary; but ha cudn't help it, pore lad--twez the nater thet wez in him fo'ced him on. Eh,
but they made a windervul handzome coupole that day they wez married; the vullage riglar tarned out tu look on 'em, and I thort tu mezulf thet twid o' bin a proud day vor my pore owld wuman if tha Almighty
had spared hur; but twez better ez it twez —better as it twez. Wull, they hadn't abin merried a skaur o' wiks avore Jim wez bin merricd a skaur o' wiks avore Jim wez riglar pining tu ba off; ha didn't zay nort,
; but wid gaw and wander about in tha wids. for haurs, and wan day ha didn't coome 'home; ha wrote from Liverpool tu zay ha wez starting vor Merikey. But that ship wez lost wi' all 'ands; ay, ay, pore lad. I
reckon ha zlapes zound anuff now wi' tha zay a-rolling a-tap o' him; ha cud niver o' breathed iv it had bin airth. But yer moather, hur niver forgave him vor it--niver; twez a Zunday thet that noos coomed, and Martha Snykes and zome o' tha naybours rinned up yhere ez fast ez they cud, pore zouls, reckoning thet yer moather wid like to cry all-tugether comfortabul, tha same ez it iz uyshil wi' wimen; but, law
bless 'ee, when hur zar they well-maining dumans cooming dro tha door, hur tarned hur back quat on 'em and marched upstairs. Arter a bit hur coomed down wi' a bonnet all auver pink roses atap o' hur
'ead and Martha Snykes wez thet tooked aback thet hur fell down wi' tha recurring spasams and drank ivery drap o' brandy ther was in that 'ause avor hur wuz brought to. Yer moather didn't throw a look at hur, but went off down tha strait tu charch wi' all tha naybours standing at ther doors and crying shame; but, law bless 'ee, hur didn't heed 'em ony more then tha geese on tha green. Ay, ay, for pore zoul hur wez alwiz wan for howlding hur head high; hur niver cud stomach tha contrary. Wull, wull, wimen's wimen, mortal strong in tha affections, but managing tu tha last---managing tu tha last. Them wuz terribul days, and yer moather's vace grew that hard I wez moast afeardt tu look at it; I thort, maybe thet when yer coomed things might o' bin diffurent;; I looked 'ee in tu hur, 'Jane,' I zed, 'ha wull want 'ee alwiz,' and
when I zed thie hur kained acrass at 'ee,
and hur vace changed back intu a wuman's
vace again; then all-ta-wance zommat
coomed auver hur and hur tarned hur vace
round agin tha wall. "Take 'im away,' hur
zed, 'ha ba nort tu me,' Her niver spoke
arter thie; ther wuz ony wan pusson in tha
wordel thet hur iver loved, and thet wez
Jim, and when ha died, hur wi' all hur
pride wez forced tu valler."
Later, when Zam laid the boy in the old
truckle bed, Joe looked up in his face,
"Vather wez mortal understandabul," he
murmured sleepily.
"But not tu wimeen folk," Zam answered, "not tu wimmen folk. Wull, wull," he continued to himself, "tha lad hez hit vather's spirut, ivery bit o' it; but ha wull niver break no wuman's heart wi' wandering--
tha Lord hez minded otherwise."

- # # #
It was about a week after the conversation recorded had taken place that Joe's uncle, Ben Tapp, came to Zam's cottage; but the old man was not at home, and Ben, who, after many years spent in America,
had arrived in England only to find that most of his relations were dead and he himself forgotten, sat down on Travelling Joe's bed in an exceedingly bad humor with himself and the world in general.

"Wall, Travelling Joe," he said, "thet be a darned queer start o' a name yer have fixed to yerself anyhow. They pins o' yars ain't extra spry at covering the ground, I should think, from the look o' 'em."

"But things wull ba mortal diffurent up ta 'eaven, Uncle Ben," the boy answered. "Ther woan't ba no diffurence 'twixt me and t'other folk then, 'cept mayba I shall ba more rasted. I shall do a sight o'
travelling when I gets up ther. You see, Uncle Ben, tha Almighty ba powerful understand-zome, so I ain't got no cause tu be feardt when I gaws up avore tha throne, and I shall jest ax Him tu let me vind noo ways droo tha dimmet parts o' 'eaven. 'Dear Laurd,' I shall say, 'I knaws wat rasting ba like, and now I wid dearly like tu ba doing,'"

Just as Ben Tiipp would have tortured any helpless animal that fell into his power, so now, as he looked down on the boy's eager, pathetic face, a desire came into his heart to crush out its happiness.
"Thar ain't no such place as 'eaven, Joe," he said, leaning forward , and. placing his great hand on the child's crippled form; "'tis all darned rot — bunkum, as us says out in the States. And as for the
Almighty that yer talk so slick about, tha bally old 'oss has kicked his last kick. Nater hez played low down on yer Joe, and tied yer up to yer darned bed; but when death gets hould of yer, ha wull tie yer a
tarnation sight tighter, yer can bed yer bottom dollar on thet, Joker;"

.....and the man burst into a laugh of coarse enjoyment.

"Thar, young shaver," he added, as he rose from the bed, "thet's the opinion o' wan thet has covered a darned sight more miles in his life than yer have minutes, so stow it in yer pipe and smoke it,"

So saying, he left the child alone. But from that moment a change came over Travelling Joe
--he began to pine away, and the villagers said he was "marked for death;" but Zam, as he walked to and fro with the dying boy in his arms, muttered; "Better death than thet tha Union should 'ave him; better thet than thie--better thet than thie."

One day, when it was plain that Joe was more than usually ill, Martha Snykes came to the cottage ' "I jest drapped in, Zam Tapp," she said, sinking her stout form in the nearest chair, "to tull 'ee o' a remedy,
a mortal efficasious remedy, tho' I zay it ez shudn't, baing, ze tu spake, the inventor o' tha same. But, law, I've suffered thet turribul bad mezulf; what wi' tha recurring spasams, and a percussion in the head that just drones on continuel for all the wordel like the passon o' praiching o' Sundays, thet I can abear tu think of the pore child wi' death rampaging auver him, and that cure zo tu spake at at hiz vury door tha
zame baing nort ulse but a tayspoonful o' tha brownest o' sugar, togither wi' a tayspoonful o' tha strongest o'brandies, and let it be tooked zitting, natur liking a smoothness at zich times. I have alwiz
reckoned mezulf thet if thet child's moather had vallered my advice and tooked thickey remedy, hur wid niver 'ave bin
lying in tha churchyard at this yhere bles-
sid minet; tho' I won't gaw for tu deny
thet hur made a vine corpse, straight vay-
chers favoring the zame. The which I have
alwiz allowed, and many's the time I've
red ez much. 'Jane Vaggis,' I've zed, 'may
have acted a bit contrary in hur life, zich
ez tha wearing o' roses at mistaken mo-
dooty, hur looked hur part. Not thet I
would ever act contrary to them ez natur
hed less vavored at zich times; and when
my pore moather came in tu the last, and
what wi' dropsy and wan thing and tother
her wez meast tha size o' tha feather bed
that hur layed on, 'Moather,' I zed, 'if
yer 'ave a fancy in coffins, zay the wud and
I woant go for tu deny 'ee.' 'Martha,'
her answered, 'ony color but black, and let
the handles ba shiny'; and I guved her
halum picked out wi brass and ther ain't
a corpse in tha parish ez wez buried more
comfortabul. But ther," she added, as she
rose from her seat, "I must be gettin' along
'ome; law bless us!" she exclaimed, looking
down on Joe, "how turribul bad the pore
child does look; but there ha iz gwaying to
a home o'light, tlio' I alwiz reckoned me0
zulf thet 'eaven must be trying tu tha eyes.
Wull, I wish 'ee good day, Zam Tapp," she
added, "and doan't forget a tayspoonful of
the brownest o' sugars togither wi' a tay-
spoonful o' the strongest o' brandies, and
let ta zame ba tooked sitting."

"Grandfer," said the hoy when the door close on Martha Snyke's fat, comfortable form, "carry me tu and fraw a bit and tull me zommat; tull me ywhat the wordel ba like out ther--ba it mortal wide?"
' "Ay, ay, lad;" Zam answered, raising the dying child in his arms, "wide and lonezome, wide and lonezome."

"But windervul vull o'' ditches," Joe said; "do 'ee jump they ditches, grandfer, when yer gaws tu and fraw tu wark:?"

"Naw; law, I ba getting owld," Zam answered, "I moastly walks 'longside."

There was silence for a moment, and then Joe spoke. "Grandfer," he said, "do 'ee reckon that they knaws more about 'eaven auver tu Merikey than they does yhere?"

"Tiz tha tother zide o tha wordel," the old man answered; "maybe they zees clearer ther."

"I ba mortal wangery, grandfer," Travelling Joe answered, sighing; "I reckon I cud zlape.:

Zam laid the dying boy back in the old truckle bed. "Shall I tull ze zommat from the Buk lad?" he asked.

The child shivered. "Naw, grandfer," he answered. "I wid liefer bide quiet."

He sank into a broken slumber, suddenly to awake with a start.

"Tiz turribul dimmet," he exclaimed; "but," and his face brightened,. "I zees things li'ke ditches;"

So saying, he died.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Moss and Froud

A musical companion piece to 'The Lost Words - A Spell Book' by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, with new music from an incredible collaboration between Julie Fowlis, Karine Polwart, Seckou Keita, Kris Drever, Kerry Andrew, Rachel Newton, Beth Porter, Jim Molyneux.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Angel of Phthisis

The Glenn family at Sheffield, c. 1927 
(L-R Ronnie Glenn (1920-1983); Bill Glenn (1893-1970) Millie Glenn (nee Turner), Walter William Glenn (1917-1931), baby Mildred Joan (1927-2008).)

Walter William Glenn was born in September 1917, the first born child and son of Bill and Millie Glenn, after Bill had been conscripted into the Royal Garrison Artillery in the May as Gunner 163028.  Bill was a railway engine shunter.  He told a yarn about the goods yard where he was working in Sheffield, that a Royal Navy train was accidentally (or intentionally)  rough-shunted so that the wagon carrying the rum rations was split open.  Much of the grog was stolen and as a punishment, the authorities then conscripted anybody who might have been involved. Bill sailed to the front in November 1917.

Millie with Walter, a christening photo? 1917

Naturally fed, at the age of just 7 months, Walter weighed nearly two stone and was entered in a competition in Southport – he took first prize!  Dad, Gunner William, was fighting in France and had not seen Walter since he was a few months old.  Bill returned in 1919, to his relieved young wife and their son, to whom he was a stranger.

Walter age 2, in 1919

In the summer of 1920, Ronnie was born and later that year,  Bill, rejoined the railway and the Glenn family moved to Townhead-road in Wadsley.  By the time little sister, Mildred, arrived in 1927, dethroning the boys, the family were residents of  43 Victor Street in Sheffield, which is where the following account is situated:


For his 14th birthday, our uncle Walter  was given a bicycle. He had been told that he was not allowed to ride it until his father came home from work, but he mithered his mother so much that she let him go out early just to get some peace. Unfortunately, Walter lost control of his bike coming down a hill and hit a tram with great force, resulting in a complex break of his leg. He died in hospital four days later – it is believed he contracted septicaemia. [1]

“I am both a night owl and an early bird. So I am wise and I have worms.” —Michael Scott

It is not known when the bicycle story started, why it was told or who concocted it.  It first was put down in written form in 2004, passing from an English nephew to the Australian-born, bred and buttered niece [me], only when Walter's sole surviving sibling - Mildred at the age of 77 - began her slow descent into the fog of Alzheimer's disease.

The 2004 version seemed to echo a vague memory, from my childhood, of being told by my Australian mother, that I couldn't have a bicycle as "your father's brother broke his leg...some sort of accident, I'm  not sure!".

My kid logic circa 1966, accepted the story and I never mithered my parents (or Santa) for a bicycle nor learned to ride one, until I was 26 and 'arf years of age (late bloomer)  Never had much confidence in myself as the story of Walter's accident and broken leg had cast its shadow.  My father never spoke, to me, of his early years growing up in Sheffield.  He never told the story, to me, of his brother and their lives together. By the time I was born, it was all 30 years behind him and so much had happened in-between, dad having been an airman with the RAF and served in the Far East.  In Australia, when returned servicemen didn't want to talk, we knew not to push the matter, unless we wanted a clip round the earhole.  Dad would say, let sleeping dogs lie and I carried on with the  business of being a child growing up in the peace, quiet and warmth of Melbourne, whilst gazing wistfully at snowbound scenes in movies.  I didn't know then, I was a throwback.

The silence my Sheffield father kept - I have surmised tongue-in-cheek like - makes a grave look positively loquacious; even inoculated with t'gramophone needle!

My dad, Ron, had died in the December of 1983 - when I was 22 - suddenly and unexpectedly in the workplace: no lingering death for him, no shuttling between hospital and home.  Ron had died like a honeybee found nestled in the flower at dusk. Its last day spent exhausted and resting on clover petal, a full life lived.  Unsurprisingly, my thoughts turn to my father come December and it was on the twenty-ninth drop-dead-anniversary of  2012, that I pondered the photo of young Mildred standing next to Walter's grave.  Then I did something I'd not done before. I turned photo over to read  "Wadsley Bridge Cemetery" written on the back....

Quickly shot off an email to Wadsley Bridge Church, whose warden kindly checked their records:  "Sorry, Walter William Glenn isn't buried here".

Walter’s sister, Mildred Joan Glenn, with first grave marker, Wardsend Cemetery,
 c. 1932

It was about then that the penny started to drop that aunt Mildred's version of experiences she remembered from the first nine years of  her life - the muddled and misremembered - had never been corroborated or corrected via conversations with my father, Ron, (her seven years older brother) in their adult mature he had buggered off to Australia, having never returned to England at war's end.

The Coddiwompler
Ron Glenn, passport photo, New Delhi 3 December 1946
age 26yrs 5 mths

Almost a year later, when my genealogy work circled back to the Glenn stonewall, in September 2013 my Tameside cousin provided the necessary clarification :  Walter had been buried on 30 September 1931 at Wardsend Cemetery not Wadsley.  I am not embarrassed to admit, that it was love at first web site : Wardsend in the Snow, one of my beloved screensavers.

Prior to late 2017, I hadn't been on Facebook.  I quickly joined the Friends of Wardsend group, which was when the journey towards unearthing the truth about Walter's death, gathered speed with access to current visual images of Walter's grave and a flurry of emails with the Tameside tribe.

After viewing the photograph taken by FOWC of Walter's grave in November 2018 that I had emailed, cousin felt prompted to obtain Walter's official death certificate, which totally threw the bicycle story into the dustbin.  Oil beef fooked!!  We didn't expect this to not have emerged in the 80s or sooner...

Cause of death: Acute Miliary Tuberculosis of the lungs
Tuberculosis Meningitis

Walter, age 13 yrs, 9 mths
43 Victor-street, Sheffield


Everyone lived in fear of tuberculosis but it was not much talked about. Families preferred not having it known that one of the children had died of consumption; it meant something wrong with the family.
The hardest part of the disease, for both the patient and the family, was that it took so long to die. Even in its most malignant form, called galloping consumption, it went on for weeks, even months. The only relief was a curious phenomenon near the end, known as spes phthisica, when the patient suddenly became optimistic and hopeful, even mildly elated. This was the worst of signs; spes phthisica meant that death was coming soon.
Tuberculosis meningitis was always fatal, and the only function for the doctor was to see to it that the end came as peacefully as possible for the patient.[2]

Bill Glenn, second grave-marker, Walter's grave, Wardsend. c. 1950 

Walter is buried  in section NP 346. Two photographs taken by family, show that the first grave-marker had been replaced. The latter photograph also shows the grave of a young lass who died in her twelfth year of life.

THE ANGEL OF PHTHISIS : where the buck stops.

Youth grows pale and spectre thin, and dies.  - Keats

The dispelling of an erroneous perception of the Glenn family of Victor-street, may not have come to pass it it were not for the synchronicity of Sheffield Wednesday Fans - in 2018 - arranging for a memorial to be installed for old Owl's fan, Tom Wharton, who was buried 1933, near Walter's grave (two rows down, veer right).   There are probably people who don't 'get' what Friends Of Any Cemetery find so interesting or rewarding about devoting their free time to derelict and abandoned old places.  I turn to another old Tom for a clue :

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, 
no explanation is possible.
~ St Thomas Aquinas

Of course, for us, as Walter's niece and nephews, Pandora's pithos had been knocked over like a pint perched on paver at Piccadilly Gardens.  My dad - who was called Ronnie in England, but always Ron in Australia - had been a lad of 11 at the time of Walter's death with their sister, Mildred - my cousins' mam - a peerie lass of four.   We think, as tuberculosis was so contagious, it was unlikely Ronnie and Mildred stayed in the home, yet no stories have been handed down of them bunking in with grandparents or shuffling around the Turner and Glenn aunts and uncles.  Extended family, understandably, not over keen to open their doors to the angel of phthisis.  This suggests that Walter had been in hospital for a prolonged period; abruptly removed from his daily routine and maybe...just maybe in the Wadsley Parish Magazine, there is a mention of prayers being being offered for Walter's speedy recovery.

Could be searching for a needle-in-a-haystack there.....however there might be mention of other family so: "once more into the breach, dear friends, once more" the Bard crows!
Physicians in northern Europe generally believed in a noncontagious heredity 'tubercular diathesis'. It was common knowledge that the disease 'ran in families', sometimes for several generations. Moreover, the fact that only certain individuals developed the disease, although almost everyone was exposed to it, was used to argue against contagion.  Rather like saying that bullets do not kill, because not every soldier on the battlefield was killed by a barrage of bullets. [3]

From 1927-1931, children (and adults) were succumbing to the galloping consumption; Walter
being among the unfortunate 40 children (0-14 years) in Sheffield, whose deaths from TB had been recorded and whose sweet hereafter is to form part of a clinical demographic in medical history.[4]

In 1924, the number of deaths in children had been 82.  As there had been a demonstrated decline in tuberculosis mortality in children - a glimmer of hope, no doubt, was extended to Bill & Millie Glenn, by the doctors and nurses of Sheffield Royal Infirmary.  It was the random find of a birthday card addressed to Walter c/o The Balcony which was redirected to Victor-street, that  deeply opened the anguish of our grandparents, Bill & Millie, as there was nowt more to be done.  Not in those days.  Not before the Age of Streptomycin.  Walter had been brought home to die.

The Child’s First Grief

OH! call my brother back to me!
I cannot play alone;
The summer comes with flower and bee—
Where is my brother gone?

“The butterfly is glancing bright
Across the sunbeam’s track;
I care not now to chase its flight—
Oh! call my brother back!

“The flowers run wild the—flowers we sow’d
Around our garden tree;
Our vine is drooping with its load—
Oh! call him back to me!”

“He would not hear thy voice, fair child!
He may not come to thee;
The face that once like spring-time smiled,
On earth no more thou’ll see.

“A rose’s brief, bright life of joy,
Such unto him was given:
Go thou must play alone, my boy!
Thy brother is in heaven.”

“And has he left his birds and flowers;
And must I call in vain?
And through the long, long summer hours,
Will he not come again?

“And by the brook and in the glade
Are all our wanderings o’er?
Oh! while my brother with me play’d,
Would I had loved him more!”

Felicia Hemans, 1838

"Delicacy" was a euphemism for having TB.
 People would cross the street to avoid contact with a "delicate" person.[5] 

When the reality of what our grandparents, parents and uncle Walter had been through began to roll over me, I turned to the account Frank McCourt had given in Angela's Ashes -
"a cacophony of hacking coughs, bronchial rattles, asthmatic wheezes, consumptive croaks...turned noses into fountains, lungs into bacteria sponges."[6]
I thought of how every cough, sniffle, croak and wheeze of my childhood had been beaten out of existence with generous lashings of Vicks VapoRub before bedtime; an experience enhanced by the coat of my striped flannelette pie-jamas clammy clinging to my camphor-basted upper body.  It was enough to make the neighbour's eyes water.. three doors down.

Where had Walter been exposed?  As a member of the choir at Wadsley Church; as a scholar in a school whose name I do not know; (see notes below) at the local fleapit watching cowboys & Indians; at a footy match; at the fair....perhaps a glass of milk.  Recall that Walter had been naturally fed as an infant which suggests that his mam, Millie, and her mam, Rhoda, had an awareness of contaminated milk being a vector fo the TB. Furthermore,  Rhoda had buried two of her young children in 1901, Millie's next youngest siblings: had they succumbed to tuberculosis at Dukinfield....

Another hazard arose, ironically with technological progress in the 1920s. This was the mixing in 3,000 gallon tankers of the milk of 1,000 cows. If only one cow was diseased and excreting mycobacteria then the whole batch was contaminated because tuberculous milk can be diluted 10,000-1,000,000 times and still be infective.[7]

When had Walter first gotten crook.....what year, what season, what month?  How fast had the galloping consumption been; a Derby winner or an ambling Blackpool donkey...?

there used to be a fruit forest, a cubby house, a swing, and flowers.  
 The Oak Tree Ron Planted
 Reservoir, Melbourne c. 2016 (rental property since 1994)

And this oak tree that has grown from Walter's grave, it's roots cradling what remains of the Youth our uncle had been; my father's big brother, his partner-in-pie rustling.  How did the acorn get there?  A forgetful squirrel or had it been placed in his pocketses by my future dad, then a shattered and devastated lad.  If Walter was to be exhumed, would there be a dead frog in t'other one.......

I keep on all the time dwelling in the long ago ~ worrying how Ron had felt at "this period" and at "that time."  My flesh creeps thinking of his losing his brother of 14 when he was 11 ~ they must have been good pals.  I was 4 and do remember a few details.  Then he had to go through the trauma of mum and dad's divorce and all the terrible trouble which was involved ~ he would be about 15. The two tragedies happened rather close together and he must have gone through Hell ~ I didn't realize what things meant, as I was eight.[8]

Ron became a dad in his 41st year of life, the age when some blokes are bouncing their first grandchild on their knee.  Dad scrounged up an oak sapling from somewhere, during one of his fishing trips, planted it in backyard of my childhood home, 55 years ago, where it still stands, tall and strong, casting deep shade so welcome in the harsh summers, but crowding out the many trees in the fruit forest.  Dad was a house-painter, fisherman, forager of mushrooms and blackberries, and minor league hoarder, not a horticulturist.

A tale of two oaks. A narrative of two brothers.  A true blue account of how breathing life into an abandoned Victorian cemetery has worked a  kind of darning in the hearts and minds of those whose narratives were forged in Sheffield.

Tuberculosis is no longer the killer of the flower of youth in the west, but it still kills millions worldwide, and stalks the marginalized, elderly and the socially deprived.  Within the grounds of Wardsend will be scores if not hundreds of folk who died with consumption and perhaps there were protocols surrounding the burial of the contagious dead.  TB was and is a deadly reality.[9]

We look toward each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.
John O'Donohue [10]

My name is Anita Joy
I am the only niece of Walter William (Liam) Glenn

Credit for narrative and images go to the living grandchildren, in Australia and England, of Bill and Millie Glenn, who after believing the tall tale about the birthday bicycle for a large chunk of their lives, came to the forlorn conclusion that there's probably no Santa Claus, Easter Bunny or Hogwarts either:  San Fairy Ann!!

[1] Personal email AGJ to AJG 12 Feb 2004
[2] The Big C - Lewis Thomas, The New York Review of Books, 9 November 1978
[3] A History of Medicine by Lois N. Magner
[4]  The Mortality from Childhood Tuberculosis in Sheffield, Possible Causes of Its Decline by John Lorber, M.D., M.R.C.P., Senior Lecturer in Child Health, University of Sheffield. Nov 21, 1953.
[5] The TB Curse Lives On. The Irish Times 11 May 2004
[6] Obituary: Frank McCourt : A responsibility to write. July 20 2009
[7] Atkins, P.J. (1999) 'Milk consumption and tuberculosis in Britain, 1850-1950.', in Order and disorder : the health implications of eating and drinking in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. , pp. 83-95.
[8] Letter dated 21 Feb 1984, from Mildred Glenn, following Ron's death on 12 Dec 1983. 
[9]"New estimate suggests a quarter of the world's population has latent tuberculosis", University of Sheffield,
1 November 2016
[10] John O'Donohue. Excerpt from 'On the Death of the Beloved'


8 Jan 2020: AGJ confirms that a birthday card for Walter (dated the 23rd, addressed to the hospital and redirected to Victor St) is from the boys at the Morley St school; a short walk to the west of Victor St, where Walter and Ronnie were scholars. Now named Rivelin School.  A brief history a Sheffield historical site gives the alternate name of Hillsborough School.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Friday, November 22, 2013

Revoking the Pass

image credit

"It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it … and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied … and it is all one". ~ Charlotte Wood

“There is a theme that runs through responses that I receive from children of a narcissistic parent(s). The child is subjected to unbearable levels of ongoing abuse–scalding criticisms, withering humiliations in front of other family members and alone, routine secret physical beatings and other horrendous acts of brutality including psychological and literal abandonment. When the child lets family members know what is happening to him, this person is not believed. When the victim of a narcissist tells the truth about his dreadful pathological parent, he is not treated with kindness or understanding. The family is shocked; the victim is treated with disdain and often told he/she is the sick one or that this is all lies to get attention. The narcissistic mother or father gets a complete pass. A masterful coverup takes place and remains ongoing. The child victims become family pariahs. Often the suggestion is whispered that they belong in a psychiatric institution or are in need of intensive psychotherapy.” (Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D, author of Freeing Yourself From the Narcissist in Your Life) 
An abused child will often make the mistake of thinking the enabling parent is kinder and more loving than the NPD parent. The child thinks that because she has to think that for the sake of her own survival. (A child’s psyche would hardly be able to bear the idea of two NPD parents.) The truth, however, is that the enabler often causes his own brand of damage.

If you read blogs from ACoNs, they often refer to the other parent (the non-NPD one)
as the “flying monkey.”