Irene Constantine

Written Contributions:

My Childhood

Beloved Water

I’m a Country Girl

My Childhood

In school I'm told, they've banned the cane.

Now it's psychology. Instead of pain.

In their field, there's nothing to show.

Where tiny fingers, once held a hoe.

If I close my eyes, I can still see,

One reluctant gardener, behind a tree.

Whips, and tops were often seen,

Where now grows the maypole green.

In the river no splashes, and laughs.

Today's swimmers, go to the baths.

Sunday trips to Bobby Garnett's back door.

Halfpenny snowballs, by the score.

Bought with half my Sunday school collection.

I hope my maker, remembers with affection,

The one that went in the right direction.

Busy bees now rest their head,

Where to me bible stories were read.

Through misfortune, and not desire,

We also lost the church with a spire.

For sometime, it was quite a shock,

To gaze upwards, and see no clock.

A call to arms in the station yard.

Poor dad's army tried so hard.

Ted Mellin was scared of his fate,

When on one occasion he was late.

My feet were looked after,

By old, and young Fred.

Tommy Thompson, cobbled in a shed.

Tom Ganes horses, worked ever so hard,

Coal round the village,

Trips to the church yard.

Walking along the road, elephants I've seen.

When the circus visited the village green.

Mister Rumney has gone, and his shop.

It's a problem getting a chop.

No longer a tailor, or Mrs Hall's.

I go elsewhere to buy my smalls.

Mrs Jowett made tasty things to eat.

Meat-pies, wi' a drop o' gravy,

And lots o' meat.

What would Daisy Mellin say,
If she were still alive today.
Her milk-float was a familiar sight.
From the bread van she would steal a bite.

Frances Leeming, pushed round her dandy,

It held the milk-kit, pint-measure, handy.

Milk was poured into attractive jugs.

Now it's bottled, and free of bugs.

It's sterilised,  pressurised, pasteurised,

I imagine it's also mesmerised.

We've lost our shops, and, our banks.

Today's children, still play pranks.

One constant, can be seen.

Still grows the village green.

Alice Irene Constantine  2008

Bobby Garnett's shop (post office now) was a grocer's, and newsagents.

Son Ray, grandson Bobby, great grandson John, now in charge of J W Garnett's Settle.

Busy bees belonged to Bill Askew, where Baptist chapel once stood. Methodist church had a spire.

We knew as children that home guard were comical.

My friend Florrie Dodgson lived in station house at that time.

Tommy Thompson had a shoe shop left of post office. His hut across from Boar's head.

Tommy Gane's horses (Margaret Miller’s dad) pulled the Hearse, sold, lived in small building,
           near church gate. They were both black, natural, not from coal.

Tailors Archy Jackman, cousin Fred coal merchant. That came by train, weighing machine
           and office in station yard .

Archy Jackman, and his spouse lived in Ribble Crescent. Where David Beattie lives.

Fred a bachelor lived top of station road next to Popays shop (large window) just on the corner.

Mrs Jowett lived shop next to Jean Collins Large window once there.

      Beloved Water

Born in white–rose country,

Ribble flows onward into red.

Through lovely verdant pastures.

Her flooding waters have fled.

Torturing herself, forming horseshoes.

Down here is often a lake.

Not a path I would choose.

River, why this route take?

Mysterious waters, darkly deep.

Migrant salmon, eel, and pike.

Does she here, a secret keep?

Nowhere have I seen the like.

Raindrops falling from the sky.

Pooling together early one morn.

Where below the black hills lie.

A little crystal beck is born.

Water tumbling down hill.

Playground of my childhood.

I love you, I always will.

My heart, my bone, my blood.

Bullheads, catfish, minnows, crayfish.

Hunted by heron, and mink.

Both enjoy a tasty dish.

Dippers play, cows come to drink.

Rhubarb leaves, and, monkey flowers,

Was a time when water- cress grew.

Gifted by nature, gentle showers.

Grassy banks, flowers of every hue.

A frozen beck, diamond white.
Many little feet, sliding along.
You truly are a bonny sight.
When you sing a silent song.

Little sister, greets big sister.
Hand in hand, for a while.
They go to sea together,
And kiss the emerald isle.

In St Mary's ancient church yard,

One day I sleeping, will lay.

My old bones there for ever.

Communion with well love clay.

Alice Irene Constantine  2008

I'm a country girl

I love the Long Preston beck, and Bookil Gill beck. I've Paddled from
mouth by River, almost to birth, (not all on the same day) past quick
sands, small stone bridge with a grassy top, Scalber force, across high hill
road, and towards hills above Settle. If you poke about amongst stones,
you might find some fossils. I did many years since. Bookil Gill beck is
much narrower, with a rocky bed. I once counted 15 duck eggs high on a
rocky ledge. No chicks born eggs eaten by a predator. There's mink up
there, I once photographed one. It came dashing down stream, hiding
behind rock in a hole there. Every time it peeped out I shouted mink coats,
and it went back in. Eventually I left it in peace.


Long before thee, and me were born. In October or November, salmon have been coming from Ribble into beck to spawn. We once cornered one near iron bridge, long gone, worn out by all the jumping about on it we did, I expect. Police came to school, frightening us to death. One parent said, my cat wouldn't eat that scabby old thing. Some salmon go further up the Ribble, And are stripped of eggs and sperm at settle weir. This was done years ago by the late Raymond Parker, who worked for fisheries. His stripping gloves were looked after by auntie Mary Gane. I expect she treated them to keep supple. Eggs etc were taken to Dunlop bridge to hatch and grow. The small fry 2ins long brought back to becks in area. I was once lucky to be walking along cow bridge road, past Mill Bridge, by the wooden bridge, was parked a pick up van. On the back was a large white tank (out size fish tank) I watched two men with buckets doing something in the beck. I waited until they returned to the container. This was filled with little fish swimming about. They were put into the buckets small sieves were then used to put a few here, and there at different points along the beck. Long Preston beck is a very clean beck, as many as 24,000 are put in, along its length. When the small fry become 4 ins smolts they go back into Ribble, Irish sea, and north to Greenland. That's a lot of wiggles for little fish, but I expect they get into currents, and are carried along. On Thursdays, David Kendall brings salmon to my door. There used to be poaching at spawning time, and police were vigilant, still are.

I liked fishing in the beck. You could buy a large jam jar from Bobby Garnet for a half penny. Those were the days 480 for one pound, the whole village could have gone fishing. Bullheads were easy to catch. There were gudgeons, minnows, catfish, crayfish (easy to catch) put a jam jar behind them, (they reverse in). Fish didn't like being in a jam jar. They jumped out, during the night, unless you placed a saucer or something similar over the jar. When a stone embankment was built downstream to stop erosion, the beck was drained between the two bridges Long Preston, and the railway bridge. They remove a few hundred fish. That's a lot of little fishes in our beck, more than the residents.

Alice Irene Constantine  2008