Some rather greedy people were noted for setting it out of the place but everybody returned to the house for a farewell feast of ham, and pease pudding. It was a disgrace if you could not be buried with ham, for that was one time when all relatives could meet. It was generally said if there was one death there would be three, or if the corpse was soft it would call a companion. A christening also had certain rites to be observed. The carrier of the child took a small parcel of christening cake, rice cake, and a small piece of silver, which was given to the first child they met of the opposite sex of the baby. The first three houses the baby visited also had to provide its gift of three things, sugar, salt, and a silver 3d piece so it would always have food and money. Perhaps the old folk fancied themselves as fairies giving the child wishes.
Leek clubs, quoits, handball, and chess, also whippets were all favourite pastimes of the men, but looking at some old newspaper cuttings, it was found that Dr. Barbara Moore is not the only one to walk many miles, for a youth of 17 walked 450 miles in Canada and America to seek work before eventually coming home to his Trimdon grandparents. This was in 1932.
The men were just as superstitious as the women, for many a man in fore-shift has turned his back on the pit and returned home after meeting a woman in the middle of the night. Perhaps it was the men who threw out the bees’ wine when it was rumoured it was a cause of cancer. It is not known exactly what this bees’ wine was, but everybody who had a huge pickle jar was able to beg a bit of bees’ stuff, place it on the mantle shelf and to feed it with sugar, when it was continuously on the move. When the liquid was drained it made a pleasing drink. Perhaps it was like the ginger beer plant craze that swept the area in 1958.
In the days when children wore camphor bags to ward off colds, we had many local words which we now ‘ spell phonetically.
Lousin out Sneck
Gansey * Some words in this list unreadable – sorry
Gie thee a meeting
Dander or Paddy i temper
Hap – Wrap
CracKet (from the time when people took their crackets outside
to sit on, and have a crack with their neighbours).
Curious superstitions and sayings which are local are “Never cast a clout till May is out.” May blossom should never be brought into a house, knives crossed will mean a row, as also will shoes if they are put on the table. A stranger on the bar, a stranger comes to the door. A knife dropped on the floor, a man comes to the door. A cat sitting with its back to the fire means bad luck. A black cat crossing in front of you “\vhen outside means good luck. Never walk under a ladder.