I stop by at Lavenham to attend a session at the Village Hall, by author Phoebe Morgan, about How to Get Published.
And after making a numpty of myself, jumping on the Phoebe bandwagon by handing out my own business cards to her audience, I sprint on out into the wilds of the village.
My real intention is to locate the castle of my ancestors, Sir Harold Cooke & Sons., and from thence to reclaim my heritage. Instead I see a window display of secondhand books, and become distracted.
I’m find myself paying up for a ticket to nosy on into the Guildhall Museum.
Have to say I’m a little devastated to find I’ve paid £8 to see a replica of Sprog 3’s bedroom floor. Spot the difference!
Perhaps its time to put today’s sprogs to work: shearing, spinning, weaving and stitching. Would this make them more appreciative of possessions taken for granted?
Failing that plan, I may well resign from my current post as the family skivvy and move into the grandness that is Lavenham’s Guildhall. The Meeting Hall looks promising: the pamphlet describes it as of ‘small size’, but it looks large enough to me. Besides which, it was once the meeting space of the ‘powerful, wealthy’ and ‘elite’! Did Sir Harold Cooke II (circa. 1300-1350) grace this room with his presence? I ask one of the guides, but she hasn’t heard of the Cooke family of drapers, and tells me the Guildhall was built after Harold’s heyday!
In the absence of a Sir Cooke above ground, I head down into the depths of the underground.
Nothing much to report from the wine cellar, i.e. there was no access to the den of iniquity for the likes of an upmarket blogger called Jay Cool!
To the workhouse I ascend …
I’m mid-stairway and, determined to make it to the top. Yes, the back of my knees are playing up, but I don’t suppose they will give two hoots about my ailments in this place. I’m doomed!
But before I reach the top, I’m forced to pause for breath by the arresting sight of this lady. No idea who she was, but with those eyes, I reckon she’d get the lead part in a ‘When Frodo Baggins Faced-Up to the Prospect of Middle Age’; she’s a dead ringer for the actor Elijah Wood. Whoever she was, she was a stunner, and there’s something about her that knows it!
My energy recovered, I move on up to take a look at the next punter! Not sure he’s someone I’d like to bring back for a dinner party. Never was keen on a man with a beard, and this one looks a bit sheepish!
On entering the workhouse, I’m immediately put to work by Widow Snell. She tells me it’s sometime in the 1700s and that it’s my job to spin hemp, flax and yarn, and hers to make sure I get on with it.
I tell her that I’m just a poor Jobseeker, set loose by my last slave-owner with a measly redundancy package, and struggling to set myself up as freelance writer. Judging by her response, I think I said the wrong thing:
“In which case, ” she said, “you’ve come to the right place. Forget your idle ways, keep busy and you can earn breakfast, dinner and supper and a place to bed down for the night; just until you get back onto your feet, mind!”
I’m suspicious. I can hear an awful lot of coughing, crying and cursing, in spite of the array of medicinal remedies on offer.
But, on sighting an empty cradle, something tells me the straw-bedding on offer is more likely to be the lining of my coffin.
I turn my back on Widow Snell and move on into the 19th century.
Perhaps a little light lunch, with the Howe family could be on offer? Somehow though, I feel it would be rude to ask. The word ‘despair’ puts me off rather, as I realise that the Howe’s were granted a tenement in the Guildhall, after a stint in the workhouse, due to their status as poor and in need of charity.
If there’s any food to spare, it ought to go to the children. At least I have a working Hubby and my Jobseeker’s Allowance, to get by on. And, if my sprogs get hungry, I can always put their XBox up for auction on Ebay! (It’s okay, they are far too embarrassed by my existence to read this post!) Out of the kindness of my heart, I give the Howes a miss (i.e. there are no Howes on my family tree, so why stop by?)!
This is more like me: a typewriter, travel luggage, banjo and a quiet place to write tucked away under a stairwell. This is my future, all mapped out for me: Jay Cool travels the world, playing her banjo in return for food and board, before returning home and writing up her adventures into a bestselling travel guide.
Oh! No-one told me I’d have to eat rats in the bridewell, and then escape from the lock-up, before having any hope of setting forth.
And they certainly didn’t tell me, I’d have to steal my travelling clothes from the mortuary folk.
Still, needs must. I’m out of here.
Anyone coming along for the journey? Time is of the essence!
I thought not.
Copyright owned by Jay Cool, Sunday 17th November, 2019
Photo of Elijah Wood from Wikipedia Creative Commons, attributed to Dysepsion.
All other photographs by Jay Cool.
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