I remember my granddad, Thomas Henry Cartwright was a big man. 6ft tall, and when I remember him, quite fat. He loved food (obviously) singing hymns, my nan and of course his four precious grand-children: Barbara, Paul, Jane and Lynn (me). He taught me how to make paper kites, grew fragrant tea roses the colour of pale, pink, china the smell of which I can remember to this day and in the days when money was tight, made me a cricket bat out of wood and black tape. I remember too, his grey-pea stew with nuggets of fried bacon and onions, the making of which always took 24 hrs and the split pea soup he would make for me on Saturdays. He took me shopping to Bilston town when I was too young to go to school and I remember being with him as the steam from trains emerged either side of the bridge near Heath’s greengrocers and buying local butter in a pat from a stall in the old market. Bilston market was a ramshackle place with stalls on a slant back to the wall, where stallholders stood or sat in front of their wares and where the old wood was covered in flaky, corporation green paint revealing dark stained Victorian wood .
But the story I was reminded of today while talking to a client was a memory from my little granny, Violet, his wife. At 4ft 9 inches tall and 7st ringing wet, they presented a contrast as a couple. She told me about when she and granddad were first married. Thomas Henry had been playing football for the work’s team and Sankey’s in Bilston and his legs were aching so he asked my gran to rub on some horse liniment. Horse liniment I understand, was the equivalent of “Deep Heat”. She rubbed it into his thighs and as he stood up his thighs clapped together trapping his sensitive parts and covering them with a heat- producing embrocation. My granddad’s face turned purple. He raced outside grabbed the tin bath filled it with water and dunked his whole sensitive parts of his body in the cold water for relief. A gentle man by nature, he wouldn’t have been cross for long.