5a - Pets
 
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1a - Stambermill 1920s
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5a - Pets
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8b Rail Travel 1930s
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13a - "Owdum" 1944
 

 

 

PETS  etc.

Memories of Stambermill include the awareness that at Grandfather's house there was always a cat, and I can remember our having one at Yardley Street. They could be stroked, but not the wrong way, and if mishandled could retaliate. Their chief function was to 'catch mice' (pace Jerry!) and to be stoked up with boiled 'lights' and the odd bit of fish.

The boiling of 'lights' was a ritual kept to a minimum as the kitchen remained malodorous for hours afterwards. Thought - Why are they called lights? When we moved to New Road, my parents came back once from a visit to Broadway, which included contact with Mr. Morris the grocer, having been given by him, a kitten which was christened unimaginatively, but with a basic sort of logic, 'Morris Broadway'. I cannot remember what it was actually called, but I don't think it lasted long.

We did have the odd goldfish from time to time, but over a fairly long period, there was a canary in a cage. It usually fell to my lot to 'clean it out'.

When I was about nine years old we went up to Birmingham and brought back a black and tan puppy which had been bought in Birmingham market - not the ideal source of supply.

Father did not like animals, so this poor creature was forbidden the house, part of the shed being partitioned off as a kennel. As the pup was barely weaned, this was the first act of cruelty.

I do not know whether there were inoculations for animals in those days, but parents certainly were not aware either of their availability or their need. The result was that the pup contracted distemper very soon in its short life and had to be put down. The way in which this was done is hardly credible, but it is true. Father arranged with a local vet that the matter should be dealt with one morning. He was, of course, at work. So I was sent at the age of nine, on my own to the vet's with the dog on a lead to have him put down. I nearly broke my heart, and I had to go on to school afterwards. It was not a nice day.

Life since then has brought me into contact with various acts of cruelty to children, but this act of unthinking callousness I have bitterly resented ever since, especially as it was perpetrated by a man who made much of his public virtues. The iron entered into my soul and so, perhaps, began my increasing scepticism of, if not contempt for, his sort of religion. The sad thing is that he seemed to have no appreciation of my being upset and why.

At New Road we had from time to time, chickens, and white fantail pigeons which of course could be tended at a distance.

One Christmas day the mistake was made of feeding the pigeons before they were let out of the cage. Much effort was necessary thereafter to get them down from the roof of the chapel next door before Christmas dinner could be served. This caused Mother some annoyance, this being exacerbated when the chicken, keeping warm on a trivet in front of the fire, decided of its own volition to take a header into the ashes. I draw a veil over what followed, because I cannot remember - perhaps just as well!

I have vague memories of rabbits at some time whilst at New Road, but on the whole, the story of our animal associations is not a happy one.

The Estate of William John Green, 2004