Today is Marjorie’s birthday.   I take her a card and a pot plant.  ‘Oh you shouldn’t’ she says, doubtless thinking oh no not another pot plant as she adds it to the long row already residing on the windowsill,  given to her by her children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren..   She reminisces about her long life and tells me how much she used to like being a mill girl in Rochdale all those years ago. The noise in the mill was deafening.  ‘Like that ride o’ the valqueery being played on ten thousand frying pans’.  But  you got used to it.  ‘We had yards of fun. It were the comradeship wi’all t’other girls and the bit o’money that gave you independence.’  The world Gracie Fields sang about, I venture.  ‘Gracie Fields?  Too busy bathin’ ‘erself in ass’s milk on Isle ‘o Capri to bother about mills in Rochdale were Gracie Fields.  All golden trumpets and silk knickers were Gracie Fields.’


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