Yesterday, there was no narrative forthcoming from the pen of yours truly. Understandably, attendance at the funeral of a good friend’s mother held dominion over every other action on 1st October 2020.
Coincidently, yesterday would’ve also been my mother and father’s 60th wedding anniversary had cancer not came calling for Malcolm Strachan in October 2017.
Thursdays funeral service at a east Lancashire crematorium panned out as well as these unwanted, but regretfully necessary, occasions play out. Augmenting this already unpleasant brew, the surreality borne from existing on Planet COVID.
Saying farewell to her mum Angela was an understandably torrid experience for my buddy Sam. Her tears flowing like the water fountain gracing the corner edge of her chromatic garden’s canvas.
Apart from a supportive hug while the eulogy progressed, yours truly helpless to make the situation any easier for the strong, engaging and loving lass from the red rose county.
Not knowing her mum that well, it became clear from the eulogy’s narrative that the strong work ethic, sacrifice and selflessness displayed by Sam had been genetically gifted from her late forebear.
Like many northern English women of her generation, Angela was deeply house proud and displayed remarkable stoicism when confronted by adversity. Occasions when undertaking multiple roles to ensure her brood didn’t go without life’s essentials.
Working class streets in post WWII Britain produced a breed of people whose mantra “What’s mine is yours.” ran through them like the lettering on a stick of Blackpool rock.
These oft stark environments a catalyst to kitchen sink drama plots which spawned in the 1960’s/70’s; stark scenes borrowed by the likes of movie director Ken Loach. His socially critically celluloid offerings candidly showing people from further afield the tough existences endured in the coal mining villages/mill towns either side of the Pennine Hills, in mid 20th century.
Although, born and raised in a working class northern environment, I’d never pretend to ever been exposed to the poverty and adversity portrayed in Loache’s films.
By the 1970’s, when I was in my fledgling years, post WWII shortages had diminished markedly…… God, we were even lucky enough to have indoor toilets at that juncture of the UK’s social timeline.
When post WWII years are discussed, much is made of the community spirit which existed in some working class areas of the UK. Among the claims to back this observation were revelations you didn’t have to secure your house doors in those close knit times.
I never personally saw that playing out in my childhood. Without carrying out the necessary research to suggest mine’s an informed opinion, I suspect doors being unlocked during those times would’ve been more a result of people having nowt to steal, rather than any communal love within the neighbourhood.
Burglars would’ve to be a bit simple to risk their liberty, or a criminal record, as a consequence of pilfering contents of a working class residence between 1945-1970…. That being said, house burglary at the time was a thing, just on smaller scale.
Even in the 1970’s, I’m struggling to think what the Strachan household had which was worth committing a felony for. We’d a rented TV but that was monochrome until 1973. We didn’t have a VCR until the 1980’s, we’d a 1950’s portable record player housed in a case.
Within the living room resided my dad’s music system (in three sections) whose intricate wiring would’ve negated against Raffles speedy getaway. I’d a portable audio tape player/recorder, but the fact its recording head was out of line meant you could only record on one side of the tape, making it the poorest of pilferers bounty.
That being said, the burglar would know that fact whilst in the act of stealing it. Despite never plying the jeopardous trade of house burglar, I’d wager nowhere within the heist is a plan to test if portable recording equipment is fit for purpose…… Let the fence test out nonsense like that before he moves on the stolen trove!
Anyhow, Angela was a one of the numerous unsung northern working class women who, like my mum, played a key role in raising the UK phoenix from it post WWII flames.
She’ll be greatly missed by family and friends.