Christmas is now done and dusted and we look forward to a

new year. I was lucky enough recently to have sight of a wonderful set of memories (running to around 90 pages) of a former Cockermouth resident, John Rennie Sharp (sadly, no longer with us) born in 1930 at Crossgates, Lamplugh, who moved to Cockermouth when just a few months old. His father was a ganger platelayer on the railway, whilst his mother had been in domestic service during the 1920s. The family lived initially on the Gote and John spent a lot of his time as a child playing on Sandair or paddling in the River Derwent, sometimes watching the salmon negotiate the man-made salmon leaps in the river as they travelled upstream to spawn.

Cocker Bridge, into premises that had been the former Thomas Wilson’s hat factory (a factory that had been producing around 4,000 hats a week in its heyday). This was the building that lay behind what used to be Rydiard’s shoe shop, now Colin Graham Antiques. Jimmy Anderson was the Sharp family landlord and a plumber, who used part of the building for his workshop.

With a new year upon us it is a good time to mention John’s memories of the family’s own New Year celebrations:

John Rennie Sharp’s house

John Rennie Sharp house was the building to the left of the little bridge over Skitter Beck, where it enters the River Cocker.

When John was five or six, the family moved to

“The New Year (Hogmanay) was also a special time (I suppose it was being close to Scotland). We always visited relatives and friends for a customary drink; mine was either ginger wine (homemade) and occasionally, port or port and lemon. Just before midnight virtually the whole town congregated on the main street to celebrate ringing in the New Year and ringing out the old. The local Brass Band (the Mechanics) would play music and people would dance around the old clock which stood in the middle of the Main Street. We then visited relatives and friends, wishing them the compliments of the season. There was a ritual of letting in the New Year (first footing); the first person to enter the house had to be male, tall and dark preferably, and he had to go in the house with bread and coal, signifying food and warmth for the year ahead. He must never be roaring drunk. He would exit the house by the back door

to let out the old year. He then came back in to wish everyone a Happy New Year. We’d then celebrate until the early hours. One year, someone who was very drunk let our New Year in (no bread, no coal). I can’t remember who it was or how it happened. That was the year [probably 1940] we had a fire – he regularly got the blame for that ”

Old ‘Neddy’ Clock, Main Street

Let’s hope for better luck than that, however you celebrated New Year!

Please get in touch with any thoughts, memories or photographs.

Gloria Edwards

Telephone: 01900 823966

Ken and Lynda Dinneen are Lapidary Artists and Rock Hounds Ken is a Lapidary, Lynda has taught Jewellery Design, Silversmithing, and Lapidary Art, as well leading many mining and

Rock Hounding tours in and around the western United States. Ken and Lynda work from their studio on the east flank of the Central Oregon Cascade Mountains in Sisters, Oregon.

Sooner or later, you knew we would come around to fossils. Well Gov, it’s sooner! Not just any old fossils either but especially UK fossils.

So, there are two major types of fossils... ’Body Fossils’ and ‘Trace Fossils’. Body fossils look like what the organism looked like when it was living. Petrified wood, opalized crocodile, insects in amber are all body fossils. Trace fossils are the remains of a trace of the living thing, like a footprint, or track, or another example; coprolite. Petrified poo, which tells about what it ate.

Race fossils show about what the organism did or how it behaved. Do you remember all the fuss in the news a few years back, (2015 I think it was) when a dinosaur backbone, (what kind of fossil?) dating to mid- Jurassic period was found on the beach at Whitby after it fell out of a cliff face? Yikes! You’d not want to


be hit on the head by that bad boy! By the way, they named the dinosaur Alan and the last I knew, they were still looking for the rest of him.

Spider in amber

Moving on... petrification is the process of turning a once living organism into rock, or stone. Of course, as a ‘hock

hound’, those are the ones that I am Dinosaur feather

always excited about but to be fair, all fossils are fascinating. Some fossils never become stone, like flies or spiders trapped in amber. They are simply preserved. The most incredible thing ever found preserved in amber was found in Canada in 2011. A piece of Cretaceous amber with preserved protofeathers from a dinosaur. The

colors of the feathers were preserved as well; grey, white, red, and brown. Imagine that!

This year, we will look at petrified wood, petrified sea shells, petrified small plant and animal fossils and both body and trace fossils in and around the UK.

Fossil in sedimentary rock

Visiting Saltcom Bay, Whitehaven, Parton Bay, Penarth, Gileston, - well actually, the list is so long and the collecting so good, that anyone should be able to find some wonderful specimens during a day’s outing. Combine collecting with a fantastic picnic and what more could anyone want? Well, mild, warm weather would be helpful... low tide... ok, maybe a few more requests but all-in-all, a wonderful way to spend the day with your favorite mates.

Summer is coming, so plan your adventure well ahead of time and until next time...

Happy Hounding! Lynda Dinneen

ISSUE 422 | 25 JANUARY 2018 | 9 Bracklesham Turritella fossil

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