Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Strange Things

By strange I don’t mean weird but just sort of unexpected or coincidental. The first thing happened a few days ago when we’d been to the supermarket and were waiting at the traffic lights near Longton Town Hall. I glanced into the mirror and saw walking up the pavement behind us a strange apparition. ‘Oh, look’ I said to Paul ‘it’s a miner.’ Now given that over the last few weeks, because of the centenary meeting for the Shirebrook Pit Cage Accident in which my great grandfather was killed, I’ve had pits and miners on my mind, I thought that I may be hallucinating. The miner walked past the car, not a miner from any memory in my lifetime, more like the miners I’d seen in old photographs or on stage in a play by D. H. Lawrence. This was a pre-pit baths, pre-pit-helmet miner – the kind who used to go home covered in coal dust to a tin bath in front of a fire. Just the whites of his eyes and the pink of his lips were gleaming through the dust and dirt. All this drifted through my mind in the few seconds it took him to stop and pose, his cap at a jaunty angle and his lamp held aloft, for a scurrying camera man in front of the town hall. I then noticed his very modern day companions dressed in gleaming white tee shirts, carrying white plastic buckets and water bottles. I was intrigued to say the least but at this point the lights changed to green and we were on our way.

A couple of days later I opened the local newspaper and there he was again. This wonderful man had walked for ten miles taking in each of the six towns posing for photos at each of the town halls dressed as a Victorian miner and wearing a pair of miners clogs weighing 4lbs each. Why, you may ask. Well the man in question, Keith Meeson who runs the Apedale Heritage Centre near Newcastle-under Lyme, did it to raise money for a memorial to the fifty seven men who lost their lives on New Years Day 1942 at Sneyd Colliery. He has been campaigning for four years for a permanent memorial to the men and because of his walk he now has £2,000 and the memorial can be built. How dedicated is that?

Second coincidence is that today I’ve had a lovely long letter from a friend and it turns out we were both visiting family on the same day not more than a couple of miles from each other. Paul and I were visiting his brother and family and after lunch we had a walk around Rufford Park – my friend was such a short distance away with her family. We could have waved and said ‘Hello’ – now that is strange.


  1. Wasn't that awesome that you were in the right place, at the right time, to catch a sighting of this event!!!

  2. sissy, it was great to see him and then to later find out what it was all about - I just wish that I'd had my camera with me :)