“My Other World”

Our chair likes to wander the graveyard and spend some time with the people buried there. These are the stories he comes back with.

Here you can go directly to Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10

Tales From the Graveyard, Prelude – Hannah Ash

This pink granite grave is a very important one.

It is the grave of Hannah Ash, Headmistress of Roomfield infants from 1877 to 1897 …. the year she died.

This grave was the very first one to be adopted in Christ Church Graveyard.

Take a moment to scan the photos and look at the differences … this is what has been achieved in 5 months by a few volunteers, a group of friendly dedicated helpers, dirty hands, hard graft, scratched arms and quite a bit of bad language.

Hannah’s grave was a disgrace … it’s still a bit of a mess today, and there is little more we can do to it until that tree stump decays and is removed … but it now looks presentable and cared for and in time it will be fully repaired to the best of our ability.

That was my promise in this world to Hannah.

In my other world though, wonderful things happen around this grave in the dead of night.

When all is still and quiet

Hannah rises up and rings her school handbell, summoning all the little children to her side …… from the 4 corners of the yard they eagerly run with soundless step, flitting from stone to stone, the elder children helping the younger …. Little Eva, John Garth, sweet Grace Bell, the forgotten about Molesworth girls, the Greenwood brood – 7 of them beneath one stone, tiny Sarah Taylor … my favourite …. and a host of others … they all come silently running.

Hannah Ash smiles, gathers them all close, sits them down and tells them a simple story.

The waifs and strays of the yard listen in quiet awe.

Then this nighttime guardian of the young in the yard, gives each and every child a hug and they soundlessly return to their final resting places.

Hannah thinks of the young child she lost , almost a 150 years ago now, she says a quick prayer for all the people trying to help her and her class of forgotten youngsters …. then fades from view …. till tomorrow night.

I like my other world.

In this world though – Friends of Christ Church – Todmorden are trying to make a massive difference …. we are making a difference …. and if anybody has any complaints or concerns ….. well …. go take it up with Hannah and her young army of the dead.

Dead Yet Speaketh.

Tales from the Yard – a Further glimpse into my other world. Chapter 1 – The Other World.

This is the grave of little Sarah Taylor, and as most of you know , she is one of my favourites at Christ Church.

I dug out and uncovered her stone and as soon as I saw the inscription on the bottom of her memorial, she squirmed her way into my heart.

‘She was a star of comfort

For a moment given

Just rose on earth

Then set to rise in Heaven’.

Little Sarah Taylor is almost 3 going on 185.

She told me so …… because in my other world, whenever I am in the yard, little Sarah Taylor follows me around everywhere.

Many of you have adopted graves …. Little Sarah Taylor though …… has adopted me.

However, like every almost 3 year old , going on 185, she drives me insane with her constant questions.

“Where’s Uncle Kevvy”

“At work”

“Where’s Big Sarah”

“At work ….. oh, and we don’t refer to her as Big Sarah”

“Why not”

“Because we ain’t bloody stupid, that’s why not”.

“Oh, ok …. Where’s Auntie Lane”

“At work”

“Where’s Auntie Ali, Auntie Zandra, Uncle Tone, Auntie Ruth, Auntie Deb, Auntie Bren, Auntie Nik, The credibles , Auntie Kerch, Auntie Jan ….

“At work, Sarah, they are all at work”

“Oh …. Why are you not at work”

I grin slightly …

“I am Sarah ….. it’s a full time job answering all your questions”

“Oh, ok”.

On and on and on she goes …..”Where’s this, what’s that, why you doing that …..”

I love her very much …. But eventually my patience begins to run a little thin.

I squat down before her and look into her baby blues …. She stands there, scuffling her feet in the dirt, looking up at me with complete trust …. I have to smile ….. she beams back.

“Right chick, I have some very important, very grown up , and very very, very boring things to do, why don’t you go run along for awhile, and …. I don’t know ….. go play with some bones or something”

Her little face lights up

“Can I , can I really …. And i won’t get in trouble ……………… like last time”

“Of course you can chick, and no you won’t”

“BRILLIANT” she shouts and proceeds up the yard, skipping amongst the stones.

I stand up and turn awa …… I quickly whip back round …

“Hang on Sarah …. Whaddya mean ….. like last time”

But it’s too late, she has disappeared.

Ah well , never mind …. How bad can it be ….. She’s only almost 3.

I busy myself in the yard for an hour or so, then proceed into the vaults.

Someone has asked me to take a photograph of a family grave in there.

I notice Mr Davis leaning against his shattered memorial. He is smoking his pipe, ghostly tendrils of tobacco smoke drift up into the air.

“You busy lad” he says

“Always Mr Davis, always , this yard is turning into a full time job”

He nods slightly, smiles , then thanks me for bringing his Great Great Grandaughter to see him a little while ago.

I tell him, it was my pleasure and that she will be visiting again soon.

He nods again and I bid him farewell.

He takes a huge puff on his pipe, coughs, then asks

“Look lad, I know you are very busy , but I don’t suppose you have seen my shin bone anywhere have you”

I glance down …. below his ghostly knee ….. nothing.

“Ah …. I can honestly say Mr Davis, that no, I have not … but I assure you , I will keep an eye out for it”

Mr Davis thanks me profusely.

I wait till he has hopped out of earshot …..

“Sarah Taylor …..LITTLE SARAH TAYLOR …. You get here this very minute”

I do so like my other world.

Tales from the Yard – a Further glimpse into my other world. Chapter 2 – The Real World.

I do so like my other world in the graveyard …… however, Little Sarah Taylor has to once again return to the early 19th century ,because unfortunately I have to spend most of my time in the real world.

Today in the graveyard, that has mainly involved moving a few barrow loads of soil, tidying up, taking rubbish to the tip and a few other bits and bats of general housekeeping.

I’m going to be honest , just for today, I have had enough of graveyards and I want to go home.

“Excuse me young man” …… I like her already.

I turn around …. She smiles.

“You look as though you belong here and know what you are doing”.

I laugh.

“No not really …. That’s just an act I have been perfecting for years”.

She laughs.

She …..is a striking older lady, 70+ at least, but she demands your attention and would stand out in any crowd.

Imagine Elvira, Morticia Adams and your Grandmother all rolled into one and you will be somewhere close.

She …. Is a vision of black and purple.

Long, black, crushed velvet skirt, bright purple calf high leather boots. Short sleeved black shirt with those lace things criss crossed from neck to chest.

Purple laces obviously ….. and quite loose

Around her shoulders … yup … a purple and black fringed shawl.

On her head a purple beret and pinned to it what looks like a silver brooch in the shape of a feather.

If this was Halloween, I would be a little worried.

She ….. tells me she has come from Tingley and that she has come to try and find the last resting place of her Great, Great Grandparents, that her sister is a member of a group called Friends of Christ Church – Todmorden and do I know anything about that group.

I tell her that yes, I do occasionally have dealings with that bunch of reprobates.

She ….. smiles slightly …. then says the most weird thing

“You have a very bright Aura young man”

I’m really, really, really glad now that it ain’t Halloween.

“Have I” …. I reply ….. “That is most likely down to the sunlight refelecting off my head”

She giggles and introduces herself to me as Katavia …. Which is a relief actually , because I was damn sure she was going to say Elvira.

Katavia asks if I know where the Devine grave is.

I giggle

“Are John Devine …. and his wife … your Great Great Grandparents then”.

“Indeed they are young man, do you know where they rest”

I try not to giggle again.

“Indeed I do Katavia and I shall take you to them immediately”

She clapped her hands together and quickly linked her arm through mine.

“Lead on young man , lead on”

She …. Is a playful, wicked old lady … and I like her.

We proceed through the graveyard arm in arm, she glances behind us at the church, smiles and tells me this is where she was christened ….. which is another relief to me.

We continue to the bottom of the yard.

She glances behind us at the church again, and tells me that this is where she was married over 50 years ago, that her husband has only recently departed and that she misses him very much.

I stop and give her a hug, then point out to her the Devine grave.

She ….. claps her hands together, then does something I have never seen before.

She …. Kneels before the grave, places her palms atop it and presses her forehead to the stone.

I’m a little embarrassed and I feel I am intruding.

I tell her it was pleasant to meet her and that I shall leave her to her ….. reflections.

She …. Thanks me.

I turn and begin to walk away.

What she says next, stops me dead in my tracks.

“You do know, don’t you young man, that wherever you go ……. there is a little girl following you around”.

Chapter 3 can be found here in video form

Tales from the Yard – A glimpse into my Other World. Chapter 4.

If you didn’t see my Little Sarah Taylor video the other day …. Why not …. because this post will now make no sense to you at all.

This is the grave of Sarah Fielden …… of Hebden Bridge.

“Oh oh” I hear you say …. and you would be correct.

Sarah Fielden …… of Hebden Bridge, and I, obviously don’t get along.

We have never actually spoken, but we don’t get on.

Her stone used to be face down, it had either fallen or had been pushed.

A few months ago I flipped it back over and set it as you see it in the photo.

Now I’m going to be honest, I saw the name Fielden …. I saw of Hebden Bridge ….. and I probably said, “Right, that’s one I’m definitely putting back face down again”

My prejudices run deep, either in reality or for my own amusement, but they run deep.

Sarah Fielden ….. of Hebden Bridge, must have heard me.

Sarah Fielden’s grave ….. of Hebden Bridge, is towards the front of the yard and in view of the main gate.

So now, whenever I go into the graveyard … and enter my Other World ….

Sarah Fielden ….. of Hebden Bridge is stood by her gravestone and she glowers ,glares and grimaces at me ….. if looks could kill, I would be dead 100 times over …. Then she turns her back on me and fades from view.

She is lucky I even bother to strim around her grave.

Yesterday when I entered the yard, Sarah Fielden …. of Hebden Bridge was obviously there as usual, sneering and scowling at me ….. but she didn’t turn her back and she didn’t fade from view ….. instead she stuck up two fingers and flashed me a V.

I had to giggle and snicker ….. because now I knew exactly where Little Sarah Taylor got those 3 fingers from the other day.

Mystery solved.

I am going to have to go have a word with Little Sarah Taylor though, explaining that my prejudices don’t necessarily have to be hers ……. but first I’m going to give her a huge hug.

I do like my Other World.

Tales from the yard – A glimpse into my Other World. Chapter 5.

Yesterday I went into the yard with my trusty strimmer to cut the top half of the graveyard.

I managed to get about three quarters of it done …… before my trusty strimmer broke …. That’s fine though, I’m used to being let down.

Strimming is monotonous and even with ear protectors on there’s a constant hum and it takes a fair amount of time …. But it gives you time to think without interruption , and I really needed to think about a few things.

Within a few moments, I had crossed over into my other world.

I looked around for Little Sarah Taylor.

As most of you know from previous ‘Tales from the yard’ ….. in my other world, Little Sarah Taylor constantly follows me around when I’m in the yard….. but today she wasn’t there.

To my left I spotted the Molesworth girls, Catherine and Francis, with them was Little Doris Woodhead, sweet Grace Bell and poor Ralph Rowland.

I wandered over

“Hello Children”

“Hello Mr Toddy” they echoed in unison.

I smiled

“I don’t suppose any of you know where Little Sarah Taylor is do you”.

They gathered in a huddle, whispering.

“Secret” said Catherine Molesworth …. As the eldest, she had obviously been elected spokes-child.

“Excuse me” I said.

“Secret” they all retorted.

“Secret what” I asked

“Secret Mission” they all gleefully shouted.

“Let me get this straight” I asked them , “Little Sarah Taylor … resides just over there, about ye big, scruffy little street rat, always has a dirty face and hands, ripped clothes, looks like she’s been dragged through a hedge backwards …. plays with bones …. Follows me around, …. THAT, Little Sarah Taylor ….. is on a secret mission”

“Yes” they all shouted.

“Shite, that isn’t good” I mumbled.

“Awwww , you sweared” they all said”

“Aye, sorry about that” I replied “Sandra taught me”

They all nodded solemnly.

“Sandra swears a lot doesn’t she” , they all said.

I nodded solemnly …… they all giggled.

I returned to strimming

“BOLLOX” ….. obviously this is when my strimmer broke.

“Awwww you sweared again …. did Sandra teach you that too”

Once again I nodded solemnly … once again they all giggled.

I spotted Hannah Ash towards the bottom of the yard.

Hannah used to be headmistress at Roomfield school and looks after the children in the yard after dark, tells them stories.

I wandered over

“Hello Hannah”

She smiled at me. Hannah likes me, hers was the very first grave adopted in Christ Church, and it was my wife and I who adopted it.

“Hello Young man how are you”

I’m fine thank you Hannah … apart from breaking my strimmer”

“Yes” …. she scowled slightly ….. “I heard”

“Ummmmm ….. Hannah, do you know where little Sarah Taylor is”

“Yes” she replied

“Where is she then” I asked

“Secret Mission”


I began to wander off, Hannah called after me

“We all had a meeting young man , and we all swore not to tell you … we don’t want you going fetching her back”


To be continued I guess , as I haven’t a bloody clue what’s going on.

I drove home and began Googling replacement strimmer parts.

Tales from the Yard – A glimpse into my Other World. Chapter 6.

Earlier today I wandered into the yard at Christ Church.

Things have been a little hectic of late, lots going on …. wheels within wheels ….. it’s been wearying me, so I figured a little trip into my Other world would be a welcome respite from the vagaries and shenanigans going on in the real world.

As soon as I entered the front gate though, I knew something was wrong.

The residents of the yard were clustered everywhere in groups, conversing in hushed tones, looking worried.

Hannah Ash caught my eye and beckoned me over.

Hannah’s was the first grave adopted at Christ Church, she used to be Headteacher at Roomfield Junior School and she looks after the waifs and strays in the yard.

Every night she rings her school bell and all the little ones come running.

Hannah settles them down, then tells them all a story, before giving each of them a hug and packing them off to their nightly rest.

I like Hannah ….. but she always makes me feel that she knows every little thing I am up to, every little scheme I am concocting, that she can read my mind, and in her presence I invariably end up looking at the ground and scuffing my feet in the dirt.

I walked over to her.

“Hello Hannah, why is everybody so glum …….. who died”

Behind her in the vaults, Fred Davis giggled.

Hannah spun on her heel and glared at him.

“It’s not funny Fred Davis, not funny at all”

Fred mumbled an apology, looked at the ground and began scuffing his feet in the dirt …… I’m glad it’s not just me.

Hannah spun back round …..

“As for you, young man , you are not half as amusing as you think you are”.

I looked at the ground, began scuffing my feet in the dirt

“No Hannah, sorry Hannah”.

Hannah paused ….. that perfectly timed, efficient pause that …. most ….. school teachers are masters and mistresses of …………. “We have a problem, young man ….. it’s little Sarah Taylor”.

“Oh for f ….. bloody hell, what’s she done now”

Hannah glared at me …. I looked at the ground.

“Don’t cuss young man, it’s not big and it’s not clever”

“No Hannah ….. sorry Hannah ….. what’s she done”

Hannah paused again …… that perfectly timed, efficient pause ……. “It’s what she’s not done, that’s the problem, she just keeps herself to herself in the top part of the yard, not talking to anybody, not doing anything, she’s just moping around ….. she hasn’t even been to story time for almost a week now ….. could you go have a word with her, perhaps cheer her up”

I sighed and began to make my way up the yard.

Various residents caught my eye and nodded slightly at me.

I could hear whispers.

Henry Holt of Patmos “It be reet now, lads here”

Daniel Ogden of Todmorden Edge “Aye, lads good with her”

Sarah fielden of Hebden Bridge “Good with her, good with her, he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near that child , he’s a bad influence, an uncouth lout”

Matilda Williams, Roomfield Lane “You hush Sarah fielden, that uncouth lout, flipped your gravestone over the right way after it had fallen down”

Sarah fielden of Hebden Bridge “Aye, and when he read it, he said he was going to flip it back upside down again”.

Fred Davis of York Street “Snicker”

Fred Dennett, handbell ringer – “Ting Ting, shall I play a tune on my bells , cheer everybody up, Ting Ting”

Most of the yard “NOOOOOOOOO”

Hammond Metcalfe, Tin plate worker – “You ring them bells again, I’m gonna shove them so far up your ….. “

Jane Metcalfe – “HAMMOND, be nice”

I spied Little Sarah Taylor sat on the table top tomb of the Mills family, swinging her legs to and fro.

I made my way over …… “Alright, you scruffy little street rat”

She didn’t look at me …..”Not a street rat”

“Yes you are little Sarah, you’re my scruffy little street ra…….”

“NOT a scruffy street rat” …… and she defiantly glared at me.


We stared at one another ….. we both dropped our gaze to the ground at the same time.

“May I sit with you, little Sarah”

“Don’t care, do what you want”

“Aha ….. budge up a bit then”

Little Sarah Taylor, yielded about 3cms of space

“Aha” ….. but I was quietly proud of her.

I sat down next to her, began to swing my legs in time with hers ….up, down, up down.

I gradually put my legs out of sequence with hers, till hers were swinging up ….. mine were swinging down.

I smiled slightly to myself as slowly she brought her legs back in time with mine …… up, down, up down.

“Sooooo, little Sarah Taylor ….. what’s the matter”

“Nuffing, I’m fine”

I jumped up ….. “I’m really glad to hear that Sarah, that’s great , I have things to do now, so I will see you later” ….. and I began to walk off.

She cannonballed into the back of my legs so hard, she nearly knocked me over , little arms clinging tightly ….. shaking and sobbing so much, and it all came gushing out.

“It’s not fair, everybody here has someone, everybody, family members with them, or if not, a few plots away. I’m here all alone, no aunts, uncles, brothers sisters, granny or grandads, just me, alone, no family, nobody, no mummy, no daddy, just me, alone ….. do you know where my mummy and daddy is, Mr Toddy”

The hushed whispers around the yard got louder.

Susannah Crowther of Wadsworth Mill – “Oh dear, poor little mite”

Samuel Stell of Wadsworth Mill – “What?”

Murdoch Campbell, Manchester and Leeds Railway – “Wee bairn is lonely and missing her Ma and Pa”

Fred Dennett, Handbell ringer – “Ting ting, Shall I play a tune on my handbells , cheer everybo …. “

Most of the yard “NOOOOOOOOOO”

What do you say, what do you do.

I untangled her arms from around my legs, knelt down and held her close.

“No chick, it really isn’t fair, and I’m sorry … your parents moved away a long time ago, but I don’t know where they went”

She continued sobbing.

“I do know some people though …. They’re called researchers …. Bloody weird lot, mind ….. but I could ask them to find out about your Mum and Dad ….. would you like me to do that?

Little Sarah Taylor looked at me and nodded her head.

“I will do that then, in the meantime ….. would you like to play with some bones”

Her eyes lit up “Can I”

I winked at her “Yup”

“BRILLIANT” she shouted.

Sarah fielden of Hebden Bridge – “See, I told you, that uncouth lout should not be allowed anywhere near that little girl …… Big Sarah will put a stop to this nonsense”

William Augustus Conway, Vicar of Todmorden – “I think you will find, Big Sarah has no say whatsoever, over what those two get up to ….. and we don’t refer to her as Big Sarah”

Sarah fielden of Hebden Bridge – “Why don’t we call her Big Sarah?”


In the dark beneath National School’s irregular extension ….. which various bodies are applying for a retrospective faculty to make right …… almost 200 lost souls heard this roar ……. and wished they could join in.

“Little Sarah”

“Yes Mr Toddy”

“If whilst you are playing with bones, if you happened to come across the jawbone of Sarah fielden of Hebden Bridge and if you happened to ….. borrow it ….. and if you happened to misplace it for a couple of weeks ….. WELL , I would have to tell you off, but I wouldn’t mean it ….. do we understand one another”

“Yes Mr Toddy, pinch Sarah fielden’s jawbone , chuck it down the drain”

“Er no, that’s not quite what I said” …… but she didn’t hear, she had gone.

All across the yard I could hear ghostly coffins being slammed shut and battened down.

In the bottom half of the yard I could see Hannah Ash advancing on me, arms firmly crossed …… I beat a hasty retreat out the side entrance, back into the mundane world.

I have some researchers to sweet talk.

Tales from the Yard – A glimpse FROM the Other World. Chapter 7.

Hewwwoooo Everybodies, it’s me Little Sarah Taylor, almost 3 goi …… well, you know who it is.

Yesterday was a BRILLIANT day in the yard ….. the shed was delivered.

Old Pa Howard, Biggity big Sarah and Mr Toddy were there to take delivery of it and put it together.

I knews this was gonna be a massive laugh, so I called all the other children over, Little Doris Woodhead , the Molesworth girls, Grace Bell, Eva Davis, the 4 Uttley brothers, the Greenwood brood, little Ralph and many many others.

We all sat down in a huge semi circle to watch.

I knews it was gonna be bruddy good …. But I wasn’t expecting Punch and Judy, oh no.

Biggity big Sarah took charge ….. obviously.

She sorted all the bits out …. by left and right, back and front, up and down, by size and by alphabetical order and by everything ….. then she took charge of the instructions.

“Right” said Biggity big Sarah, “back right panel needs fixing to side right panel ….. GO”.

Mr Toddy and old Pa Howard rolled their eyes, but nevertheless screwed the two panels together.

“Good” announced Biggity big Sarah “Now attach that completed section to the right hand side of the base ….. GO”.

Mr Toddy and old Pa Howard rolled their eyes.

This is where the problems started.

“Which way does the base go round, it doesn’t fit this way”

“Turn it round then”

“It doesn’t fit that way either”

“It has to do”

“It might have to do, but it bloody doesn’t”

“It has to do”

“IT bloody Doesn’t”

We all watched on in rapt attention.

Mr Toddy asked if there was an assembly video online ….Biggity Big Sarah found one.

“Ah” said Biggity big Sarah”

“What” said Mr Toddy.

“They are fitting the panels to the base one by one, not pre assembled”

“So we disassemble these two yes”

“Disassemble back right panel from side right panel” ordered Biggity big Sarah ….. “GO”

Mr Toddy and Old Pa Howard rolled their eyes.

“Done” snapped Mr Toddy

“Right” announced Biggity big Sarah “Attach side right panel to base …. GO”

Old Pa Howard rolled his eyes …… Mr Toddy muttered under his breath.

“It still doesn’t fit”

“It has to”

“It bloody doesn’t”

Mr Toddy and big Sarah glared at one another.

Much conversation ensued, much arm waving, much swapping about of instructions, much scratching of heads.

We all watched on, completely enthralled.

Eventually Mr Toddy worked out that the panels were supposed to slide under a lip in the base, but that they wouldn’t quite fit because the lip was a half millimetre too low and they would need persuading a little.

Biggity big Sarah kicked the bottom of the panel with her bovver boots to persuade it …… Mr Toddy’s fingers were in the way …… Mr Toddy yelped ……

Biggity big Sarah said “Oh dear, I’m sorry”

Mr Toddy retorted “You bloody well will be”

Old Pa Howard said “Shall I go home and get a rubber mallet”

Mr Toddy growled “Yeh ….. it might not leave bruises when I thump her with it”

Biggity big Sarah snapped “You wouldn’t dare”

Mr Toddy and big Sarah glared at one another ……. and glared at one another.

Old Pa Howard went home to get a rubber mallet.

We all watched on in complete wonderment.

Biggity big Sarah said “Shall we try to put the back right panel in place”

“I spose” mumbled Mr Toddy.

Biggity big Sarah went to get the back right panel.

They both aligned it ….. Mr Toddy got his fingers out of the way …..Biggity big Sarah persuaded it with her bovver boots ….. the panel slid in.

“The bloody holes don’t align” groused Mr Toddy

“They must do” said Biggity big Sarah

“Well they bloody don’t”

We all watched on in awe …. This was brilliant.

Mr Toddy checked the panel ….. he sighed.

“What does that say”

Biggity big Sarah had a look “Back Left” she announced

“Which panel did I ask you to get” said Mr Toddy very sweetly ….

“Back righ ……”

“Oh FFS” they both shouted in unison.

Mr Toddy and Biggity big Sarah glared at one another …… and glared at one another ….. and glared at one another. ….

We all fell about on the floor laughing so hard …. I nearly wet my knickers I can tells you.

“We are going to have to take this panel back out aren’t we” announced Biggity big Sarah.

“You think eh” snapped Mr Toddy.

They tried to take it back out.

“Put your bloody hip against it” yelled Mr Toddy

“My bloody hip is against it” shouted Biggity big Sarah

“It can’t be” screamed Mr Toddy “When you put your hip against something it bloody budges , and this isn’t budging, ergo , your hip isn’t against it”

“FOCC OFF” bellowed Biggity big Sarah.

We all fell about laughing again.

Mr Toddy and Biggity big Sarah glared at one another ……. and glared at one another ….. and glared at one another …… and glared at one another.

The upshot of all this is, Friends of Christ Church – Todmorden have now disbanded.


HA fooled yous all.

Of course it’s not disbanded …. but just for a moment one or two people were jumping up and down in glee and rubbing their hands together , oh yes.

What really happened is, Old Pa Howard returned with the rubber mallet and Mr Toddy glared at him and said ….

“Give me that bloody rubber mallet”

And Biggity big Sarah glared at him and said ….

“Don’t you bloody dare”

Old Pa Howard was stuck in the middle and declared “ ER, I think it would be best if I was in charge of the rubber mallet”

Mr Toddy and Biggity big Sarah glared at one another …… then burst out giggling.

We all shouted “That’s the way to do it” ……. and beneath National school’s very, very irregular extension, at least 16 other children heard our roar ……. and wished they could join in.

The light faded, they called it a day.

Old Pa Howard and even older Pa Shaun returned in the morning and finished assembling the shed.

Mr Kevin now has somewhere to keep his lawnmower.

Mr Toddy now has somewhere to keep his secret stash of whisky.

Biggity big Sarah now has somewhere to keep her secret stash of chocol ……. OMG …. we’re gonna need a bigger shed.

It was a brilliant Punch and Judy show …. Just brilliant, we all loved it.

“What about the Crocodile and the Policeman” you all exclaim ….

Theys were busy preparing their retrospective faculty. 😉

Byes bye everybody , byes bye 👋👋👋 …… till next time.

Tales from the yard – a glimpse FROM my Other World. Chapter 8 – a brief pause…

Hewoooo Everybodies, it’s me 👉 Little Sarah Taylor, almost 3 going on 185 years old, oh yes.

Yesterday’s was a BWILLIANT day.

I spied …. with my little eyed …..Mr Toddy coming into the yard.

I was well excited because I haven’t seen him for bouts 10 days.

Mr Toddy was carrying the FOCCer Pickaxe of Righteous Justice (+10 Resolve). He stopped off at Hannah Ash’s grave …. she used to be Headmistres at Roomfield school, you knows, she tells all us children a story every night ….. and they had a very long conversation.

I was thinking “Oh bruddy hell, I’m for it now, I’m going to get a massives fick ear” because I was sposed to give Sarah Fielden of Hebden Bridge her jawbone back, and I haven’t. *snickers*.

I considered pegging it, but then I memembered what Mr Toddy had taught me.

He said to me “If yous evers get caught doing something wrong … yous stands up and takes your licks …… unless you can blame it on the Baptists or the bruddy Briggers ….. but if you can’t , yous stands up and yous takes your licks”

So I stood up …. Buts I put my hands over my ears …. No flies on Little Sarah Taylor, oh no.

Hannah Ash gave Mr Toddy a huge hug, then Mr Toddy began advancing up the yard towards me.

I thoughts “Oh oh, Fick ears time” …. But I stood up and I waited ….. albeit with my hands over my ears.

Mr Toddy smiled at me.

“BWILLIANT” I thought “I’m not going to get a fick ear” and I rans down the yard and gave Mr Toddy a massives hug ….. round his kneecaps.

He tousled my hair and said “Y’alright ya scruffy little street rat”

I hugged his kneecaps even tighter.

Mr Toddy said, “I have a surprise for you” , and he handed me the FOCCer Pickaxe of Righteous Justice (+).

It’s well heavy ….. musts be a heavy burden to bear.

I couldn’t believes it, me, Little Sarah Taylor almost 3 going on 185 years old, was going to get her picture taken with the FOCCer Pickaxe ….. just like so many of yous lot has.

I was very prouds, oh yes.

Me and Mr Toddy talked for ages, we walked around the yard , we played hides and seeks and catch and I spied.


Then Mr Toddy gave me a massive hugs and said “I have to go now chick … boring grown up stuff …. You have to tries to be a good girl ok”

I said “Okays …. I will tries”

Mr Toddy nodded solemnly and smiled then said “But don’t tries too hard eh”

I nodded solemnly ….. and we both giggled.

Mr Toddy left, I waved 👋👋👋…… then I realised he had forgotten the FOCCer Pickaxe ….. I ran after him ….but he was gone.

I rushed over to Hannah Ash …. She looked like she’d been crying …. Prolly because she hadn’t had her picture taken with the FOCCer Pickaxe …. And I said “Mr Toddy has forgotten his Pickaxe”

Hannah Ash smiled, gave me a hug and said “No Little Sarah, he hasn’t , he has left it for you to look after”

I was like “REALLY …. That’s BWILLIANT” but I was thinkings, I can dig bones up with that and plays with them.

I wents to sleep and when I woke up in the morning … guess what’s …… the FOCCer Pickaxe was still there ….. so it wasn’t a dream.

I picked up the FOCCer Pickaxe of Righteous Justice (+ eleventy billion million …. and almost 3 Oorahs) and proudly marched about the yard ….. all the other children rushed to see.

Little Doris Woodhead , the Molesworth girls, Grace Bell, Little Ralph and hundreds of others.

Little Ralph shouted “let’s play Soldiers” and everybody else shouted “Yes let’s do that’s” , and we all gots in a massives line.

I shouted “Scruffy little street rat graveyard squuuuuuad ….. quick march” and we alls set of marching across the yard.

Left right, left right, left right, left right.

“We don’t knows what’s going ons”


“Er, something something sposed to sing a song”


“We’re the Street Rats, we have no fear”


“You can’t see us ….. but we are here”


“One two three six”


Left right, left right, left right, left right.

“Biggity big Sarah, where are you”


“She’s eating chocolate till the day is through”


“Just one moment on the lips”


“Then it goes …. straight to her hips”




“Scruffy little street rat graveyard squuuuuad …. double quick march”

Left right, left right …… left right ………………………. left right …………………………………… left right ………….

“One two ….. three six”


“Biggity big Sarah is gonna kick us”


“But first she’ll have to buy …… larger knickers.


And we all fell about laughings on the floor, as did every other resident of the graveyard.

Beneath National School’s very very irregular extension …. somes people are even saying illegal extension …… almost 200 trapped, forgotten about and neglected souls, heard this great outburst of joy …….. and wished that they could join in ……..

Tales from the yard – a glimpse into my Other World. Chapter 9 – where do they rest?

Today (Feb. 7th 2024), Sarah and I have been to St Thomas church, Sutton in Craven and St Mary’s church in Carleton.

In one churchyard we were looking for the graves of some of her ancestors and in the other we were looking for the grave of Little Sarah Taylor’s, mother and sister ….. we were unsuccessful in both endeavours.

Little Sarah Taylor’s mother must be in an unmarked grave and as near as we can tell from the dates of other stones around, she most likely rests beneath one of the green patches in the first photograph.

It’s still been a good day though.

I found the graves of Fanny Hallam, Fanny Hodgson, Fanny Howe, Fanny Smith, Fanny Bedford and my favourite of the day Fanny Longbottom.

Then I found Kitty McAuliffe.

THEN I found Private CC Cockshott *snicker* ….. I shouldn’t have giggled really, since he paid the ultimate price in the Great War.

I then found his name on the war memorial …. his first name was Charles , I bowed my head a moment and apologised to him for snickering.

I found Selina Whiteoak and Elenor Tempest …if I’d have been around in those days , I would have attempted to woo and marry either one ….. and taken their name ….. I quite like the sound of Todd Tempest.

I found the grave of the giant Phineas Edmondson and the beautiful white marble cross to the memory of Jane Parker of Hanlith …. this was my favourite grave of the day and it made for a great photo.

The sun shone through the church onto a small stained glass window …. It looked beautiful.

The church clock ticked over to 12 and the church bell echoed around the graveyard 12 times.

Then I chucked Sarah in the stocks.

It’s been a BRILLIANT day.

Tales from the yard – a glimpse into my Other World. Chapter 10 – where they do rest.

I was wrong the other day when I put forward the hypothesis that Little Sarah Taylor’s mother could possibly be buried beneath that badly eroded Gill gravestone at St Thomas’ church in Sutton in Craven.

SEE , it’s quite easy to publicly admit you were wrong isn’t it.

Try it sometime. 😉.

I wasn’t too too far away though, but I cannot take the credit.

That post I did came to the notice of the Old Spider Queen Researcher Sally.

It seeped into her Sanatogen multi vitamin riddled mind, it gradually awoke her from her state of torpor. Gnarled, arthritic, wizened fingers resting on the keyboard began to slowly uncurl ….. creaking, cracking, tapping, searching, untangling the threads of the web, weaving them anew into skeins of truth.

The Old Spider Queen Researcher delved deep into the burials record database ….. yeh I don’t know what it is either ….. and 20 months of experience has taught me not to bloody ask researchers questions.

The Old Spider Queen though had noticed ‘ah’ at the top right of the badly eroded Gill stone …..and in the burial records database for St Thomas’ church ….. at plot 789 …… the first person buried in this particular plot ….. Susann’ah’ Gill.

“Aha” cackled the Old Spider Queen, as she noticed that 2 plots away at 791 were buried Little Sarah Taylor’s mother and two younger sisters.

The Old Spider Queen messaged me this information … all that was needed now was to work out if the graveyard was set out left to right or right to left.

I asked her to provide me with names buried in plots 785 to 795 …. and drove over to the yard today (April 14th 2024) and had a look.

At plot 793 were buried the Tempests, and a few spaces to the right of the badly eroded Gill stone …… I found the Tempest Stone.

The yard was set out left to right.

Slap bang in the middle between the two stones of the Gills and the Tempests, the unmarked grave of Little Sarah Taylor’s mother and two younger sisters.

It seemed fitting to mark it with the FOCCer Pickaxe of Righteous Justice (+) and take a photo ….. so I did.

20 months ago a stone at Christ Church, commemorating a little girl who died almost 185 years ago was hidden and neglected, covered in clinging choking vegetation …. nobody knew about her, nobody paid her any heed …. nobody cared.

Today, you all know about her …. a lot of you care, and tomorrow if you wished, you could drive over to St Thomas’ graveyard in Sutton in Craven and with very little difficulty exactly pinpoint the unmarked resting place of her mother.

I’m bloody proud to be a FOCCer …… I hope you are too.

We do bloody good work ….. don’t get in our way.