Shoes were all leather, in fact we wore more boots than shoes and long laced boots in the winter. All our clothes lasted a long time, so a new dress had to have a hem.
On Anniversary mornings we sang round the streets the songs we had learned. The first Sunday we went to Garmondsway because there was a tiny village there and we knew all the families. Then we went to sing to the Canon after his morning service. My father always knew him and was told the time to go to the Vicarage. I think the Chapel held 200 people and it was always full with extra seats on the 'flat'. We had games on the 'flat' at party time until we had the money to have Communion Table and chairs and a wood surround.
The Wesleyan Chapel had its Anniversary on the third and fourth Sundays in June. On the third Sunday my mother, father and I spent the whole day at Wingate. There were grocers there called Harrison and before I was born they had had a shop at Kelloe. My parents had become friendly with them and used to have the wine etc., brought from Wingate at Christmas. I loved to go to Wingate on this special Sunday. We had dinner and then we went to see the cows and get the milk, for Harrisons had some land not far from the house and a big shop. Sometimes the daughter at home, called Tizzy, would take me to evening Chapel with her. I liked her and used to hope Tom would marry her. We went into the shop to fetch goods back that my mother wanted. Mr. and Mrs. Harrison were more like farmers, I thought. It was a lovely day for a child.
I knew Lees' farm very well because that was where we got the milk, cream and butter. There were three brothers and three sisters and they each knew their own work. Looking back, it was a 'proper' farm for there were all the farm animals, a pond with trees, fields with good crops and with paths where parents and children walked round on Sunday nights in the summer. There were hedges with flowers and stiles we all could step over. Annie Lee came every Thursday with butter for us and for my grandfather's shop. I loved that butter on a new tea-cake on Thursdays. Once a year my parents and I spent the afternoon and evening at the farmhouse. The kitchen was big but we sat in the sitting room and ate in the dining room both full of Victorian furniture etc., etc. I was allowed in the dairy and really was petted. Their cream was lovely. There is none like it now in any shop. I do not know where the Lee family came from and I never saw any relatives. Their parents had been there because my mother used to say their mother had said she hoped none would marry and no one did. They were charming people and nowadays we would say they were very fetching! They looked the same age. No one looked older than another.
My father's parish was Coxhoe, and we often had farmers coming to pay their rates. They came as for a visit and were always given whisky. Coxhoe Mill Farm was in a charming area with trees, the pit stream and private fields in parts because of land belonging to John Wood of Coxhoe Hall. The land, trees, walls, hedges, footpaths and roads were all in excellent condition. My father had to go to the Hall. John Wood was not married nor were his sisters. I got to the Hall, but never in it. I sat in the trap. John Wood's house was lovely, a private residence. There was a farmhouse as one entered the estate at the Kelloe side and that was where the carved wall began. At the Coxhoe end, there was an entrance with a wall and a cottage. All this has gone thanks to the destruction of the Coal Board. Trees have gone too and the district looks a wreck. Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born at Coxhoe Hall.