Inside the House

Most cooking, and certainly the washing was done on the ‘Yorkshire’ range in the ‘house’. I remember a brown Rexine settee, with loose cushions, and two deep armchairs, also a draw leaf table, and four dining chairs with Rexine seats, which could be lifted out to enable crumbs and grunge to be removed from time to time. The chair backs were high, with some carving in places, including a sort of knob on top of each upright, between which my Dad taught us to stretch various grades of rubber bands, to make a sound that I thought was lovely music; many of my games were with furniture- the settee had many possibilities as it was rather saggy and deep when the cushions were wrestled out onto the floor, making it a boat usually, but probably other more unlikely things at times. Dens were everywhere, naturally under the table, which always had a thick chenille cloth on it, with bobbles and tassels drooping down quite low; I well remember sitting under that table, feeling invisible, and waggling hopefully at a loose tooth.
We had a simple chest of drawers varnished brown, with seaman type handles of brass, which could be rattled up and down to make an irritating noise. I did it a lot because it felt nice, rather grown-up and business-like. I had the bottom drawer to keep my toys and treasures in and it usually smelt odd in there because my acorns were stored there. I wanted to keep them all the time, and wasn’t inclined to throw them out just because they were either covered in mould or growing long roots. There was a little old hand coffee grinder which my brother and I, helped by Dad, completely wore out by grinding loads of acorns and conkers for fun. I liked turning the handle, but didn’t like damaging the beautiful acorns.

My Mother and Father, Frank and Dorothy Townsend

My Mother, Dorothy Parker

My father, Frank Townsend


A Greetland Childhood


I can’t remember anything of my babyhood, unlike some people who remember sitting in their prams; probably it was best consigned to oblivion in my case. However, when I did get the knack, I stored away a great deal in my memory. If I tried to organize these recollections into any sort of order, I would not even get started at setting them down, so they’re going to be higgledy piggledy, perhaps to my regret, and annoyance for the rest of my days.
Early days
In 1931, I was born at Lindwell, Greetland, but remember nothing at all of the couple of years I lived there. The house had been my Dad’s family house (rented of course) and when his father died, he and my mother were able to get married and live there, as my Grandma Townsend moved out, probably up to Halifax with Amy and Edith.
I was told that there was a wonderful spring feeding the well, from which we collected our water; also that I nearly faded away as a small infant because my mother didn’t realize that I wasn’t getting enough milk until my weight was quite worrying. Another thing I was told was that I was always lively and awake, and destroyed or lost a shameful number of dummies, which my mother kept on replacing in the hope that I would suck and keep quiet.

My Grandparents