Friday, April 27, 2007


One year on - A tribute to mum.

Mum was an only child of Emma (formerly Hanson) and Gilbert Watson living her early life in and around Halifax - now West Yorkshire.

She married Geoffrey Cowan and had two children - Robert and Susan, before separating and divorcing in the early sixties. During this time she worked as a seamstress in Halifax.

Following this split from Geoffrey, mum had a very rich and enjoyable social life - which was unusual for that time - but is much more acceptable these days - she told me on many occasions about the things she did with her friends enjoying her life to the full, some of these were her best and most loyal friends - which she kept in touch with for many years - in some cases up to her death, most however have now passed on.

Shortly after her divorce she married Jack Bentley. Together they decided to run a series of clubs - including the Southowram Social and the Illingworth Liberal - I personally remember this was very hard work for her but at the same time very rewarding in terms of meeting people and socialising.

Mum had a full life in many respects, she did like the occasional drink ( or two or..) she had many many friends - particularly fellow landladies, who have unfortunately also passed away and so were not able to be present for the funeral - but I am sure they would have all been there if they could and they would certainly have had some great stories to tell - I remember one such story when mum and her fellow landladies visited London - to visit Gordon's Gin factory - I joined them for the evening celebrations at the hotel they were staying at - I have never seen so many women - including mum drink so much Gin in one evening - needless to say it was a great weekend for mum and her fellow landladies. The next morning they were all ready to go again and I do not remember her having a hang over.

Mum was a very hard worker ... running with Jack, many clubs and pubs in Halifax and Sowerby Bridge but latterly and most recently at The George in Todmorden, many of her customers were at the funeral.

Mum and Jack also managed the Town Hall in Todmorden for a number of years ..... she knew so many people who used the Town Hall, and with whom she worked . After leaving the George mum and Jack moved to Walsden where she lived till 2005.

Unfortunately Jack died in 2000 of cancer, mum and Jack had worked as a great team for well over thirty years, and she had cared for him in at home before he went into the hospice for his final few days. Jack's death was a great loss for mum, but she battled on in her own inimitable way.

She had so much energy which she put into not just work, but enjoying life, socialising ... as only landladies know how. Until 2002 she could be seen around Todmorden most days and she would always have a word with the many people she knew.

Unfortunately in 2002 whilst enjoying a day at the races in York she fell and broke her hip - I always said to her that she should give up being a jockey ... at her age .... This fall had a dramatic affect on her health and her ability to get out and about - she tried her best but she just was not as able bodied any more, and her general health deteriorated somewhat.

In 2005 she moved to the centre of Todmorden to be close to her loving daughter Susan, son in law Alan and grandchildren Colin and Emma, and Peter and Jennifer - who helped out frequently, this move was into sheltered accommodation which gave her the support that she .... unfortunately needed.

During this time she became somewhat withdrawn and to use her words in a broad yorkshire accent ... she "was stalled and had had enough" because she could not get out and about, and to be frank, I can understand how she felt after a lifetime of activity dashing here and there - mum was always on the go - that is how I continue to remember her.

It was on an ordinary Thursday - the 27th of April 2006 when Susan was taking mum to the doctor ... that her heart gave way this was when she left us - it was thankfully quick and I do not think she was in any pain, though the pain was there - for Susan who was close to her in her final moments.

One year on the memories are still there and strong ...

Goodbye Mum ... love you always and forever.

A loving son ... Robert

Monday, April 23, 2007


Life in Poole

Life is good -

we are now in Poole and enjoying the playground, as it was described to me recently when chatting to a couple we met when walking and exploring the coastal walks a few days back.

There is certainly lots to do, particularly on the seafaring side, though I haven't got into that yet.

The weather has been particularly kind, or it could be how it always is on the South coast, in fact on more than one occasion I got a bit sun burned.

Here's a picture of David, Martin and Suri at Corfe Castle, which we checked out a few weekends back.

Thanks to Geoff and Brod I now have a bike, which is great fun, there are lots of cyclists around here, with so many cycle routes, and it is in general fairly flat - oh and the drivers seem to be cyclist friendly - myself included of course - so it's good to back in the saddle.

I have even started a bit of DIY - with one room painted and it's almost complete.

I had forgotten how difficult it was to get contractors to turn up and do the work, first the tree surgeon agreed a price, and a date then did not turn up - and his phone just goes to answer machine - then the builder said we need to get the electric supply moved before he can start on removing the wall between the Kitchen and the Dining room - and BT customer services in non existent .....oh I must stop as I was nearly on a grumpy old man rant........

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