How often we say to somebody who is reminiscing about the war years or about their childhood experiences, “You should write it down.” I was delighted to receive a birthday present of a book written by someone who has not only ‘written it down’ in flawless and evocative language, but also recalled my childhood in a remote corner of Yorkshire in the north of England.
Rosalind Tallett moved into the little village of Ingleton, at the foot of Ingleborough, from Leeds when she was a tiny child and her mother coped with rearing six little girls in one of the houses of the Model Village (as we called it then), the double circle of miners’ dwellings built on the outskirts of the ancient Yorkshire village in 1913.
She was five years older than me and remembers giving me a piggy back when I was crying in the infant school playground on my first day in the school she recalls in such detail.
Hers is an enchanting story of an industrious and loving mother coping through the war years with hardship and shortages and the loss of one small daughter. Rosie recalls each class in the local school, the vagraries of the teachers, the canteen, the harsh winters and children with only clogs and cut down clothes of older siblings. She became a real Dales child, using the dialect terms of the village that still echo the Norse that was spoken up the Dale.
She brings alive for us the areas village children played in; the tailings from the old open cast coal mines (forbidden territory and our favourite place for dens, battles and games), the open air swimming pool and the woods, becks and valleys of this ‘Beauty Spot of the North’.
Times were hard in the forties and fifties but Rosie paints a vivid portrait of a happy childhood and we feel with her when the idyll is brought to an end with a move to Lancashire.