Friday, 10 February 2012

Mam Blain's cottage, Norley

I found another house – and here it is, snipped from Three Parishes, Tom Wright's splendid collection of photographs and memories of Delamere, Norley and Oakmere, by kind permission of the publishers

This one is particularly special for me. It's Mam Blain's cottage and it stood on Ashton Road just at the edge of Delamere Forest. It was the home of Mam Blain who was a very well-loved woman of the forest. When my Mother was a child she lived for a while with Mam Blain, presumably because my Gran was ill, though I am only guessing. Mother always had very fond memories of her time there and, from what I can recall of her stories, other children too spent time there as foster kids, really, of Mam Blain. I wish I knew more about her.

When I started writing my current novel I had a vague idea for a character suggested by Mam Blain. Mam Tunstall, I've called her and her entirely fictional cottage must be somewhere near this one. During the early stages of writing, she was merely a background character, but she grew in importance until at last when Susan, my main character needed to... Well never mind. You'll have to wait for the book. But that's when Mam Tunstall took on a very special role. She isn't Mam Blain, she's not a fictionalised version of her. She's a character who has grown out of a very sketchy picture that I had in my mind. But I hope that she will be a fitting tribute of sorts to someone who was, by all accounts, a very good friend to lots of kids of my mother's generation.

1 comment:

Patsy said...

I love it when a vague idea for a character grows into a real person in this way.