Mrs Heak’s rice

We did a lot of potato gathering round Jerretspass then. One day we were gathering spuds up the Connywarry Lane for Clowney’s and it came on a very wet day and we had to quit.

 We brought whatever spuds we had home and we finished up in Acton. It was pitch dark and the rain started again as we passed by Andy Heak’s door.

‘Come in or you’ll be soaked,’ says he.

So we went in. Mrs Heak was sitting in the corner sewing and she had a big pot of rice on and it looked great. So after a while she told Andy to stir the rice. I was sitting up to the fire and I said that I’d stir the rice.

When I was stirring it I picked up little bits of slack (very fine coal) and dabbed them into the rice. By the time I was finished I must have had two handfuls of slack in the rice.

Finally Mrs Heak finished her sewing and got up. She put out plates on the table and a big jug of milk. At that point I said to Tommy John,

‘We’d better be going!’

Mrs Heak said,

‘Not at all. Wait till you have some rice. There’s plenty for us all!’

But I didn’t want to be eating the slack so I didn’t stay.

Tommy John cursed me all the way to the ‘Pass for we were starving and he would have loved a plate of rice.

A few days later, I met Andy Heak. All he would say was,


You’re a bad article!’

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