WHAT’S THE CONNECTION: ME, D H LAWRENCE & THE DEATH OF MY PET DOG?
rujokinggrandad.co.uk BLOG 18th March 2018
THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY
On Friday, with friends, Mamma and myself walked from Hucknall over the fields to visit the D H Lawrence Birthplace Museum at 8a Victoria Street, Eastwood. The walk was five miles each way.
The walk was filled with adventure, memories and inspiration, covering all areas local to D H Lawrence and myself.
I am ashamed to say that even though I am a huge D H Lawrence fan and studied some of his work and the places he wrote about in my English and History exams as a 16 year old, I have never visited the Birthplace Museum. But I recently saw Michael Portillo visit it on his Great British Rail Journeys TV documentary.
The museum was excellently set up. A very knowledgeable lady guide, Carolyn Melbourne, took over an hour and a quarter to show us around the house. She told us of the life of D H Lawrence and his family describing how they lived in this house and later properties in Eastwood, mainly between 1885 and 1912. She brought the family alive making you feel as though you were actually visiting them at their home as their guest, which was so inspirational.
Carolyn inspired me so much that when I got home I had to order the book D. H. Lawrence: The Early Years 1885-1912: The Cambridge Biography of D. H. Lawrence: Volume 1 by Professor John Worthen. But at 692 pages I fear I may have bitten off more than I can chew.
Alot of what I saw brought back memories of my grandma’s house, especially the wash house. My grandma still used a dolly tub, a washboard a posser and a mangle up until the late fifties to wash my grandad’s dirty overalls. And she always used the Dolly Blue, her whites had to be pure blue/white.
As the guide described D H Lawrence to us I realised I have lots in common with D H Lawrence:
- I come from mining stock, as did Lawrence. My grandfather was killed in a neighbouring pit (Underwood) to the one Lawrence’s dad worked in.
- My grandparents lived and my father was born in the next village to Eastwood. Langley Mill.
- I have a love of the creative written English and books.
- My mother was not a teacher as was Lawrence’s but both my daughter’s are.
- I have a love hate relationship with the area of Eastwood, Beauvale, Moorgreen, Greasley, Brinsley, Underwood, Cossall (& Kimberley & Nuthall). Mine may be slightly different to Lawrence’s as I really, really love certain areas and those I hated I have warmed to over the years.
- He was a mediocre student coming 13th in his class of 21 at English. I did slightly better I came 13th in a class of 30 although I did not gain a scholarship to Nottingham High School but then again never had a go at it, may be if I did I would have won one.
- Lawrence was a sickly child with chest and respiratory problems. So was I, losing time from school as I suffered with asthma.
- Lawrence wrote hundreds and thousands of words in every genre and type of writing, whether published or not, thus was his love of writing. Me to a ‘T’.
- He had a passion for Italy and Venice. That has to be my most favourite place on the planet.
- Lawrence’s published works did not take off until after his death. And it was probably 30years after his death before he was fully accepted as one of the best ever writers and his name became a household name.
So come on all you publisher’s out there, don’t miss out. Get in there first. The early bird and all that malarkey. Sign me now and capitalise when I die!!!
Whilst in Eastwood and Hilltop lots of long buried memories came flooding back to me of my links with the area. Unfortunately so many sad memories, and memories I’d rather forget were rekindled.
There was Greasley Miners’ Welfare for starters. Some of my earliest memories are based here. I was about 3 going on 4 years old and was a page boy at my mum’s cousin’s wedding. The wedding was held at Greasley Church and the reception at Greasley Miners’ Welfare, Dovecote Road, Hilltop. I hated it and the black velvet suit I was forced to wear. I was so embarrassed as I was constantly cajoled to hold the 8 year old bridesmaid’s hand for photos with the final humiliation of being forced to dance with her. It scarred me for life.
Next we came across the Lawrence Vet Centre, Nottingham Road, Eastwood. This rekindled horrible memories long since blanked out. Long, long ago in 1957 this was not called the Lawrence Vet Centre it used the surname of the vets in residence. It was just before my 8th birthday. On a Tuesday evening, after tea my dad took me and my/our pet dog Panda on the five o’clock bus (I recall so vividly the time) from Nuthall to this vets’ surgery in Eastwood to have her put to sleep. I remember knowing exactly what was going to happen, so it had obviously been fully explained to me. But I don’t remember that bit.
I do remember finding it funny, my dog on a bus.
My dad left me outside the Vets, quite normal to do in those days, you would not dream of it today. He went in with Panda and came out without her.
I knew what was going to happen to her. She was to have an injection – I knew all about injections I had one twice a week at the doctors for hay fever – and she would die. That meant she went to heaven to St. Francis, the Jesus for animals.
I was heartbroken seeing my dad without her. Even though I fought them intensely, big boys don’t cry, I sobbed. My first experience of someone very close to me dying.
To try and cheer me up my dad promised to buy me a 78rpm record of Oklahoma which had just come out. I was mad about records even then, playing them on our wind-up gramophone.
The time was 5.45pm the record shop on the opposite side of the road was due to close at 6.00pm. They did not have the record in stock, so dad ordered it.
I never got that record. A week later, Valentine’s weekend 1957, my dad left us changing my life forever. I never, saw him again (ending up as the equivalent of someone very close to me dying) or knew of his where abouts until Mamma tracked him down in 2015 (he died in 2001).
The D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum, 8a Victoria Street, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire Postcode: NG16 3AW
The Museum is usually open Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am to 4.00pm by guided tours only.
Visits to the Museum are by scheduled timed admission only, for small groups of up to 8 people. We are also sometimes closed due to a large group booking or an event. Please make sure you check that we are open on the day you would like to visit and that there are places available on the tour you wish to attend, by calling us on 0115 9173824 and booking a ticket.
Tickets with the following entry times can be purchased:
The 11.15am and 2.30pm admission tickets will be available first and then the other tours will be available when these have been filled.
If you want to keep your day flexible you can just drop in and we’ll see if there’s space on the next tour, but to guarantee admission, at a time to suit you, please call us in advance to book.
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
A day without smiling is a day wasted.
Happiness is…walking in D H Lawrence’s Nottinghamshire countryside
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
The dyslexic devil worshipper sold his soul to Santa.
Love is…sometimes all there is
TRACK OF THE DAY
Oklahoma Soundtrack LP – Original cast
Highest Chart Position: No.1 28th September 1956 for 2 weeks
And No.1 again 15th June 1957 for 1 week