Lawn

Mowed Lawn

Barbara, my mother told me years later, never had new clothes. Her skirts, blouses and jackets were patched and mended.

I hadn’t noticed.

As a little girl I saw a glamorous, friendly woman with lovely dark hair.

Barbara lived in a small house with a large garden, at the end of our road. She and her husband had two young sons. My parents were quite friendly with them.

We walked past their house on our way to school. Often my mother would say, “He’s cutting his grass again“.

Barbara’s husband mowed and watered his lawn every morning before driving to the school where he taught. My parents found it funny. But my mother had noticed what was going on.

Barbara’s husband wore smart suits and drove a nice car. As a 1960s family, they were quite well off.

Listening to BBC Radio 4, Woman’s Hour this morning, I could see that lawn. I couldn’t see the mended clothes.

Waterloo Sunset, 2021

Waterloo Sunset

I had heard it too often.

Last week as Waterloo Sunset ended a show on Radio Scotland, you could almost hear me scream “I never want to hear that song again!”

Today, Suggs was on BBC Radio 4, talking about London’s docklands.

I laughed at his sea shanty – so 2021. Then as the programme came to its end, guess what he sang?

Waterloo Sunset, of course.

Well if you’d ever wanted to hear the sound of a woman eating her words, while doing a handbrake turn in reverse gear… that was me today.

I was fed up with a classic; thought it needed binned.

In fact it needed laundered.

Now it’s as good as new.

The Watch

Hallowe’en, 2020

Hallowe’en

A full moon at Hallowe’en is most auspicious. Will it bring evil or good?

And how will people know it’s Hallowe’en? The clock is stuck at midnight.

They’ll look at their telephones. Or in the watchmaker’s window. People are not allowed out anyway. Witches and ghosts are less worrying than the 2020 pandemic.

It’s been broken for months.

Since Lockdown, I think.

Not as long as that. But it’s the longest the clock has ever been broken. It was running two minutes slow for years. I definitely couldn’t set my watch by it.

My dear, no-one wears a watch now. Do you still have yours?

Indeed. The pin is broken, so I keep it in my pocket. I’m too old fashioned!

We’ve experienced so much. Things change.

I must say, if people are unafraid of spirits I would not have guessed. There are lanterns and charms in every street.

They chase evil spirits from their doors, even though they don’t believe. They don’t know true darkness. We remember when night was lit by dim lamps, and the moon.

The boundary between life and death was more apparent. We could see it and feel it.

Since you have your watch, how long till midnight?

Only three minutes. The moon is so bright.


The clock is stuck at midnight

Mummy, look!

What is it, Derri? Have you found something?

It’s a tiny wee clock, Mummy. Can I keep it?

Let me see…

Oh, that looks old. We need to find out who it belongs to. It’s a watch. An old fashioned watch. Ladies used to pin them to their dresses. The fastening’s broken. It must’ve fallen off.


104 Year Old Watch Found

On Sunday 1st of November, seven year old Derri found what she thought was a small clock. It was actually a very old watch.

This paper has investigated and we’ve found it’s owner.

But solving one mystery has led us to another, even stranger puzzle.

The watch belonged to Agnes Sharp.

Agnes was born in 1895, and died of Spanish Flu in 1919.

Agnes’ parents gave her the watch as a 21st birthday gift.

Agnes and her husband were two of the millions of Spanish Flu victims. The pandemic swept across the world after World War One. Our current pandemic makes this local discovery even more affecting and poignant.

If you can help this newspaper trace Agnes’ descendants, please email us.