I haven’t been reading enough lately.
This is largely because I wanted to feel the sense of loss after I finished Sahntaram for a week or so, to ruminate on the tale a while before launching into something new.
And the new is oh so very different.
I was working up in Blackburn earlier this year and commented on its faded glamour having been a deep slide from a not very high position in the first place.
One of the lads I was working with went out there and then to buy me this interesting autobiography, The Road To Nab End by a guy called William Woodruff.
Woodruff was born and grew up in Blackburn from 1916 and saw minor booms, which meant that his parents could afford food and drink, to deep depressions when his gran starved to death. That’s in this country, within living memory.
It’s hardly a rip roaring tale, but it is very real, and all the more captivating for that. The grime, the smells, the toil, and the occasional luxury all hit home and are recounted so very well.
I’ve take this image from Amazon as I have just ordered copies for my mum, sister and a friend in the states, all of whom I believe will love it, in part as they are all a lot older than me and so a bit closer to the times Woodruff writes about.
People may well have been a lot closer to each other back then, by my God did they have to work hard to make ends meet. Pride was huge too, and going to the poor house for hand outs inhibited our man’s family almost as much as their poverty itself.
It’s an easy, flowing read. I recommend it.