Review of ‘Ron's Story : Memories of Old Taddington’, by Ron Beswick

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 3rd June 2002, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

RON'S STORY : MEMORIES OF OLD TADDINGTON

It is always a special treat to see a native Peaklander go into print. Ron Beswick's Story is a wonderful book of home-spun memories of Taddington and thereabouts, born in an age when a boy took pride in his ability to harness a horse and milk a cow, the butcher made his winter deliveries in a horse-drawn sleigh and there were still trains on the Cromford and High Peak Railway.

To sit down with the book is almost like having a fireside chat with the author, blessed as he is with a gift for entertaining and often humorous detail. When he tells you about the woman 'chasing maggots round the plate with a large spoon', don't doubt for a minute whether this is true - a similar mouth-watering (?) scene cropped up in another local book a couple of years ago. And yes, the maggots were for eating.

Ron tells little-known ghost stories, including some first-hand experiences, and an even more hair-raising undertaking when he had to paint the clocks on Cressbrook Mill, reaching them by a method which today would make Health and Safety inspectors blanche.

Then there's the pig in the sidecar, a resident monkey, elephants just passing through and human characters galore - a ranter, a lad who howled at the moon and a couple of scurrilous tales about Tideswell folk.

Of course the author's memories go back to the days before Taddington was by-passed by a new stretch of road. Gone now are the village's two petrol stations, the Temperance Hotel, many shops and a post office and craftsmen from shoemakers to saddle and harness makers.

So it is a bitter-sweet story which will be handed down through Ron Beswick's book, all the more valuable for not being an exercise in nostalgia but for just 'telling it like it was'. A beautifully written book.

Review by Julie Bunting


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