|In Remembrance in Pilsley|
On Thursday, I spent three hours scrubbing our decking and the paved sections of path just behind our house. They can all be treacherously slippery at this time of year - especially if you have allowed a thin layer of lethal algae to accumulate. I was knackered after all that exertion and flopped on the sofa to watch "Tipping Point" with a well-deserved mug of coffee.
|The afternoon train to Norwich.|
Seen from a footbridge
south of Danesmoor.
But with fair weather forecasted for Friday, my main reward for the vigorous cleaning job, was a walk in the countryside. This time I drove to the village of Higham south of Chesterfield.
With boots on, I set off northwards towards Stretton, before turning eastwards at Ain Moor towards Pilsley. It is so hard to tell these days but once this area was peppered with dirty coal mines. They are all gone now and Britain's last remaining deep coal mine at Kellingley will cease production next week. I think of those legions of brave men - my great grandfather and grandfather on my mother's side included - who went down into the bowels of the earth to hew the black diamonds. Day after day they diced with death.
In Pilsley, two pit wheels are now a lasting memorial to the work of thousands of colliers. The parish council have had a plaque made to go along with the old wheels. This very simple inscribed sentiment upon it caught my eye - "TO PILSLEY MINERS THANK YOU FOR THE WARMTH AND THE LIGHT". That was real work that was. Sitting on one's arse in a call centre, gazing at a computer screen is not in the same league. Not by a long way. I for one doff my cap in humble respect to all underground coal miners past and present. In many ways they were braver than soldiers for they were in peril every day of their working lives. But there were no medals for them, no patriotic annual parades with royalty leading two minute silences.
From Pilsley it was onwards to Morton and thence to Stonebroom. Then westwards into the fading sunlight dodging puddles in the lane to Shirland, then back to Higham and the car. Three and a half hours of plodding.
|"The Sitwell Arms" in Morton|