I would have noticed as a kid living in Kirkmoor Road. Just down the road were the fields, Back Commons, as they were called.
Past Jackson’s Bobbin Works, when bobbins were in demand for the many mills in Clitheroe, now a residential close. And past a larger house that belonged to a gentle Miss Holden. And opposite the stile leading to thefields, a bungalow that belonged to a jovial Mr Hothersall, a partner in Hothersall and Forrest, renowned auctioneers in the town.
And on into the fields with my little doggy, on the not-too-distant left the cottages of the King family – Royal, who was well-known for his ability to clear rat-infested barns and buildings, and a gentle, casual Owen, and a sister. They are tragically remembered for the death of 12-year-old daughter from polio, recalled on a metal plaque on a memorial bench outside St Michael and St John’s RC Church.
But the magic of Spring began for me on the way to Brungerley Falls. The path was lined by a ditch and on its short slopes I would explore to discover the magical purple colour of delicate little violets and other magical little flowers, primroses too if you knew where to look.
What does Spring mean to me now? As I drag my ageing limbs from the warmth of duvet covers and electric blankets, and the enveloping gloom of winter, into the increasing brightness of the new season. Noise! The whirr of grass cutting machines.
I recall in recent times a sturdy young man who would push his heavy machine up and down the avenue, cutting our grass verges, and would pause outside our house to mop the sweat dripping from his brow and indulge in an iced orange drink. For not too long though, or malicious voices would phone the borough council or county council offices!
That sturdy young man was Simon Entwistle, who has moved on to other pursuits, now celebrated in photos in local newspapers and even on television, for his ghost walks. But yes, the avenue is still kept tidy now, and regularly.
Who does it? The verge in front of our house is always neat and tidy, but it’s not the council that does the work.
I notice a young man, an obliging neighbour, who unassumingly pushed his machine up and down the avenue, and the whole estate? I opportunely offer my thanks.
Does the borough council or the county council – or whatever public body should be responsible for this task – offer the young man a token, or even an acknowledgement of appreciation?
St Chad’s Avenue, Chatburn.