Saturday, September 13, 2008

Great grandad resurrected

My splendid Kiwi grandson, Joseph, wants to know about his paternal Great Grandfather, ie, my father. Not because it is a school assignment, but because he wants to know. Bless the boy. Knowledge for its own sake! As rare as hen's teeth these days.
I have sent him some information with which I will not bore you. But I will tell you one story that endears me to my difficult parent. He was in charge of the maintenance of the Wrekin Brewery's many pubs, inns and hotels, and a perquisite of this role was that he acquired a lot of materials surplus to requirements. My mother told the story that a neighbour, visiting our house and noticing the new wallpaper on the living room walls, remarked: “It's SO much nicer than the wallpaper you buy.”
Another perquisite of working for a brewery was that my father used to get lorryloads of spent hops delivered to our house. They were tipped over the front garden wall and made a steaming heap with a very distinctive odour that could be smelled through the entire village. The smell is like a sweet version of manure and mildly intoxicating. Apparently an excellent fertiliser, but it was no surprise to me that we were not popular in the village. In an article written in the Wellington Journal many years later about the history of my village, Hadley, was the sentence: At number 51 High Street lived a man called Allsop. We have no other information about him. Well, of course not, because the only information available was wallpaper that had fallen off the back of a lorry, and a mountain of sweet horseshit.

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