It all started with a knock at the door.
I had my third son in May 1983. At that point I never really
expected that I would work again. My husband Alf was at Kellingley pit
and when the overtime ban started in the October, it made me think how
hard things had been in previous strikes. When the strike started on
March 8 1984, our Louis was ten months old. By the time of his first
birthday the strike was still on and we were starting to worry and
wonder how long it might go on for. One night I heard a knock at my
door, it was a woman from the village who I vaguely knew, she said,
“Things are getting serious Margaret, we’re going to a meeting, and do
you want to come?” The meeting was called by Sheila Capstick and Pat
Thomas; they were talking about food parcels and that. But mainly they
were trying to pull folk together, because they had realised there was
stuff going on in isolation in the different villages, but it needed
to be better co coordinated. It’s like there was a soup kitchen up at
Hightown Church, but I didn’t know about it and it’s just a few miles
away. We started to have bigger meetings at Swillington Labour Club. I
think that was where I first heard the term “Women against Pit
Closures.” Three months into the strike it started to feel like we
belonged to something.
I’ve never pinched anything in my life, that’s not the road I was
brought up. There was a
day when I looked into my purse and there was nothing in it, not even
a penny. Our Kirsty had
had some dripping n a crust for her breakfast before she went to
school and she hates crusts.
I had to tell her that crusts make your hair curl; she’d always
wanted curly hair.
In the supermarket I picked up one of them big tins of Goblin ready
stews. I looked round and
thought, ‘well they won’t miss one of these.’
I had my shopping bag open and I held that tin over it and then
something came over me and I put it back on the shelf.
I went down to my mam’s house and cried most of the way.
I told her what I’d nearly done.
My mam had one of them old-fashioned pantries and she reached
into it. She took out a
bag of strong white flour and said, ‘Come on, we’ll make some bread
like we used to do before.’ That set me off crying again.
Before I came home she gave me a pair of stockings, they were the
worst brown you have ever seen, but I didn’t have the heart to tell
A couple of short stories from the book, 'Wisdom of our Own' just
to wet your appetite for a good read!
To purchase, click on the link above and enjoy!