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A Wibsey childhood
Some of my Memories, by David Bland

I went to Wibsey nursery school - Mrs Dobson I think was the teacher and Wibsey Junior School. That was back in 1953 or thereabouts.
My best friend was John Moulson who lived next door with his sisters Barbara and Rita.
We climbed every tree in the school yard and I shinnied up the drainpipe to get all the tennis balls that were stuck in the gutter
There was an old mine shaft at the bottom of the field behind the nursery and you could drop stones down the edge where the slab that covered it didn't quite reach.
Old  Wibsey I lived with grandparents Medley and Edith for some time when my dad Arthur (their son) was ill and again after he died. Their cottage at 63 North Road Wibsey had a shared outside toilet, and I think the house was built in 1768, there were initials and a date over the front door. The walls were 3 foot thick in places. Grandad kept chickens in a hut in the back yard that later became my play house. I think many families kept chickens in the forties and early fifties because of the rationing from the war. Apparently every year, the government would give people with the appropriate facilities, fertile eggs to incubate. I remember grandad had a contraption, made from a piece of aluminium suspended on a wire from a wooden handle, that was supposed to tell the sex of an egg by the way it rotated or didn't rotate when held over an egg. I forget which and I never did find out if it worked but grandad believed that it did.
Grandad loved gardening, carnations and roses in particular. He always had a flower in his buttonhole and had a metal device, which held a small amount of water, behind his jacket lapel and fastened to the buttonhole, so that the rose or carnation lasted longer. He showed me how to take cuttings and to graft roses. He had a lovely climbing rose at North Road Wibsey with tight red flowers (possibly called Tudor Rose) and it covered the high wall next to the house with flowers for most of the summer. We sprayed it every so often, with DDT to kill the greenfly; I must have ingested gallons of the foul smelling stuff.
Medley was a Jack of all trades but he had learned carpentry from his father and his brothers. He always claimed that he was a wheelwright by trade, but as the horse and cart was superseded by motor transport, he tried his hand at various trades including dye house labouring, furniture restoration, road haulage mechanic and farming.
Before I was born Edith and Medley had been tenant farmers at Soil Hill farm, Thornton / Denholme. Medley was once bitten by a pig that he was taking to the slaughter house, he said that the pig was docile until that day, it knew where he was taking it. He had a bad scar on his hand and had nearly lost his thumb. They had 2 cows called Lucy and Mary Ann; they were named after sisters who lived in Wibsey, on Reevy Road (on the far side of Fair Road past the library). They lived with their brother Harry Smith - Lucy Ellis, Mary Ann, Alice and Evelyn Smith at 10 Reevy Road in 1950.
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