22.3.36

Kaye says his father, a collier (now too old for work), always washed the top half of his body and his feet and legs to above the knees. The rest of his body was only washed at very long intervals, the old man believing that washing all over led to lumbago.

Communist meeting in the Market Place disappointing. The trouble with all these Communist speakers is that instead of using the popular idiom they employ immensely long sentences full of “despite” and “notwithstanding” and “be that as it may” etc. in the Garvin strain – and this in spite of always speaking with broad provincial or cockney accents – Yorkshire in this case. I suppose they are given set speeches which they learn by heart. After the visiting speaker Degnan got up to speak and was a much more effective speaker – he speaks very broad Lancashire and though he can talk like a leading article if he wants to he doesn’t choose. The usual crowd of men of all ages gaping with entirely expressionless faces and the usual handful of women a little more animated then the men – I suppose because no woman would go to a political meeting unless exceptionally interested in politics. About 150 people. Collection take for the defence of the young men arrested in the Mosley affair and realised 6/-.

Wandering round Barnsley Main Colliery and the glassworks along the canal with F. and another man whose name I did not get. The latter’s mother had just died and was lying dead at home. She was 89 and had been a midwife for 50 years. I noted the lack of hypocrisy with which he was laughing and joking and came into the pub to have a drink etc. The monstrous slag-heaps round Barnsley Main are all more or less on fire under the surface. In the darkness you can see long serpentine fires creeping all over them, not only red but very sinister blue flames (from sulphur) which always seem on the point of going out and then flicker up again.

I notice that the word “spink” (for a great tit, I think, but at any rate some small bird) is in use here as well as in Suffolk.

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