Local Authorities

Robin: How come you know all about the Morris then Mr. Foreman, sir?

Foreman: Local Tradition. Now I need to say at the outset that this is not just your common or garden hearsay but it is real written down history which I have seen with my own eyes in a tea break. This was type written as well so it had to be true. The document was in the possession of Mr. John Horne, who was a very well respected person and shop-keeper in the Campden area. I used to work for Mr. Horne in the shop he owned, which provided seeds, animal feeds, pet food and general agricultural supplies etc. The job was handed down from my elder brothers (I had 5 of them) and so even that was traditional!!!

Robin: I never knew you had 5 brothers.

Foreman: Yes, and I was the youngest. That's why I'm such quick eater. If you didn't gobble your grub up quick in our house you'd have 5 hulking great brothers trying to grab it off you. It also explains why I look so scruffy 'cause I've always been used to wearing cast offs that 5 other chaps have cast off already. The eldest looked quite smart and then the next looked progressively more scruffy until the clothes got to me and by that time they were rags and tatters!! Mr. Horne had been a soldier in the First World War and he had been injured in action. Part of his left hand had been shot away. I won't say what the real story is out of respect but I do know. I believe that David Hart, who is the squire of the Chipping Campden Morris dancers, now has the original document. I don't know how Mr. Horne came by the document, it might have come from Lionel and Don Ellis who were great collectors of that sort of thing back in the 50s and 60s. These two gents were recorded by the BBC. This information was also avouched for by Mr.George Grinall (also Greenall) who had a school exercise book full of folklore and who knew just about everything about country lore and traditions.

Robin: Grinall ?

Foreman: Yes, he was the father of Gordon and Pancake. I must just put in a bit about Pancake's budgie. I used to call for Pancake every morning on my way to school and as he was ALWAYS late Mrs Greenall would invite me in to wait. The budgie used to have his fly around in the morning and so I spent the time teaching the budgie to say "Darby McGraw".

Robin: To say "Darby McGraw" ?

Foreman: Yes, "Darby McGraw". I read it in "Treasure Island" that Captain Flint's parrot used to say that so I thought I'd teach the budgie to say that too. Mr. Grinall was such a well known authority on local matters that he regularly lead walking parties around the locality on which he would tell people all about the countryside including both natural history and historical history and also some unhistorical history. I don't think he went into any unnatural history but there is quite a lot of that in Chipping Campden, believe you me.

Robin: What's unhistorical history ?

Foreman: That's what I'm telling you now. A third authority on the subject was "Tyler" at Strange's Quarry who also said more or less the same thing. I 'm afraid I don't know if "Tyler" was the gent's surname or if he was just called that because part of his job was splitting Cotswold stone into roofing tiles. I think he lived near Stow-on-the Wold in one of a group of cottages on the left hand side of the road on the way to Longborough from the Five Mile Drive. Sezincote is it?? Can't remember for sure.

Next: Digression 2 -Squash and Sticklebacks