excerpt from 'My end is my beginning' pp. 53-54 (383 words)

excerpt from 'My end is my beginning' pp. 53-54 (383 words)

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My end is my beginning

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For a long time I never knew the name of our Cottardale pub just across the river from the church; it was “Just Lottie’s”, and was kept by a huge woman who must have weighed all of twenty stones.


The great event of the Cottardale year was the letting of the ‘poor pasture’, on New Year’s Eve, the rent of which was distributed amongst the elderly poor of the parish. This began with a short servive [sic] in the church, followed by an auction in the inn. Our very loveable parson […] was the auctioneer, and sat in one room known as 'The House of Lord’s', with his two wardens, who at intervals would take bids from the company sitting in another room known as ‘The House of Commons’. The auction was open as long as a tall candle burnt on the bar. Just Lottie, helped by [Bridget] a young but distant relative who lived with her, provided huge dishes of sandwiches and cakes, with coffee in moderation, and her customers consumed quantities of drinks of various kinds; and sang any rollicksome song with a chorus such as Polly-Wolly-Doodle, Little Brown Jug, There is a Tavern, Simon the Cellarer, or sentimental ones which made Just Lottie weep:-


No mother to guide him, 

In the grave she lies low,

Cast out in this wide world,

Was poor little Joe. 


Or someone would recite ‘Over the Hill to the Poor-House’ and Lottie would weep copiously […] It must have been a most entertaining evening with Abram Kayley’s mimicry, John William’s dialect readingfather’s Cottardale song, Bridget’s singing, for Lottie’s help was always known as ‘Birdie’ because of her beautiful untrained soprano voice: her boy friend gave excellent recitations of dialect poems. 


At midnight ‘Auld Lang Syne’ would be sung, and someone would let in the new year, but the fun would continue. Finally everyone gathered outside and sang:-


For she’s a jolly good seller [repeat three times]

And so say all of us (repeat 3 times)


She keeps a jolly good cellar [repeat three times]

And so say all of us (repeat 3 times). 

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excerpt from 'My end is my beginning' pp. 53-54 (383 words)


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