Liquorice Fields, memory and progress

Red hair she had and golden skin,
Her sulky lips were shaped for sin,
Her sturdy legs were flannel-slack’d
The strongest legs in Pontefract.

John Betjeman – The Licorice Fields at Pontefract

The evening meal passed off without incident and nobody has been in touch with threats of legal action so I’m assuming all is good. It wasn’t my best planned meal but people seemed to like it, the plates mostly came back empty and we got it on the table while it was still hot.


By the time we’d tidied and got back home it was just past 11.00. Number One son was already in bed after a trip to the theatre (oh, the student life!) and we had a sandwich because it was all we felt like. That means it’s minced beef cobbler for tea, with thyme and mustard dumplings.

This morning called for a trip to the Citroen dealer, where we looked at cars (including one where my head touched the roof and the sun visor cut into my forehead). That figure hugging second-hand car could be mine, it seems, for slightly less than a brand new Berlingo.

It’s a sobering thought that any car I would like costs far more than I can afford. And any car that I can afford isn’t necessarily one I would like. It’s only a box on wheels and if you strip out the frippery (and the computer) it’s technology from 100 years ago or more – just a stagecoach with an internal combustion engine.

Meanwhile things like trays for your change become design features and they no longer have spare wheels. I note that the cup holders on the new Berlingo are now much shallower than the ones on ours – meaning that although they will hold a cup they won’t hold it at 30 mph whilst cornering.

That is what they call progress.

This afternoon we did the apple presentation at a local care home, where people were mesmerised by the Applemaster and started giggling after an inch of apple juice, as if it was a gallon of cider. A 95-year old lady told us about the first time she went to Goose Fair (in 1926) and another told us what she remembered about her father growing liquorice in Pontefract – one of our once great (though slightly strange) industries that have fallen by the wayside. Checking for links I see that one man is looking to restart commercial liquorice growing. Good to see.

Sadly, each time we go back it seems like one of the old characters is missing.

7 thoughts on “Liquorice Fields, memory and progress

  1. Helen

    I’m keeping my current car for as long as I possibly can, considering how many times I’ve had a puncture (the spare wheel comes in very handy). The cup holders also have a reasonable depth, though I need to do something about coffee splashing about (more about cup than car design).


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