Friday, April 10, 2009

A good Friday ...

... to make some final connections and look forward to this Friday cocktail.

What you see above is a close-up of the shoes, clogs in fact, that weaving women  wore at work. the two images below are of a child's clog I've owned for years and it's so old the leather is friable and beginning to turn to dust.

You can see that the sole and heel are one piece of wood, hand hewn, the leather upper is nailed to the sole and perhaps really, really interesting is that the clog is shod in the same way that a horse is shod with metal. If you compare it with the girls' clogs in the detail of The Dinner Hour you can see that the closure of mine is different. The weavers are wearing women's clogs with a strap and mine has a metal closure with a high tongue - a man's clog.

Imagine the noise early in the morning and late afternoon when crowds of cotton workers went to and from the mill - the clatter of steel on millstone grit cobbled streets, and you could strike sparks with those clogs if you kicked the stone in the right way. 

Weavers living in the same neighborhood paid a retired man, known as the "knocker upper," to knock on door knockers each morning to wake them. Then you'd see and hear them going to the mill, the older women clad in shawls for warmth (as you see in the previous post about this), shortly after, once the looms were running smoothly, they'd be back home, if they lived around the mill, for breakfast and then back again to work. The number of looms a woman ran was a much admired sign of hard work and female prowess. 

And they also raised families. 

At the end of every Saturday night in the working mens clubs the women would say when asked if they wanted a final drink - and I can hear it still - "I'll 'ave a benny, cock." ("Cock" being the local version of "honey".)

So, in honor of those women, the looms they ran, the families they raised and the raucous sense of humor they shared with me I give today's cocktail - which isn't in fact a cocktail at all but ....

... a glass of Benedictine. 

A few years back I read that almost the total production of Benedictine went to my home town, so popular was the drink with those women. Men did not and still do not drink it and neither do they carry umbrellas. 

1 comment:

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