I was delighted to hear from reader Andy Brown who was inspired to get in touch after seeing my column featuring the Ryedale Folk Museum and the cobbler’s where my dad took me, not to get my shoes mended, but to get a haircut.

Andy said: “I loved your column…I can just about remember these old village tradespeople where you would get your bike puncture repaired at the garage or something mended at the forge or sawmill. I lost my dad this year and he was a truly frugal Yorkshireman. Utilising the local cobbler, if he had been entrusted to get my hair cut, would have been just the sort of thing he would do - that is if he didn't resort to the sheep clippers! Your recollections made me smile.”

When I was a child, two sisters, Minnie and Fanny Benson, owned the petrol garage in the village and offered a bike repair service where a puncture could be mended for 10p a pop. They also offered baby-sitting, a service of which my parents took advantage most Saturday nights when they nipped across the road to the pub. The sisters owned a succession of border colliers, all of whom were called ‘Lassie’, the logic being that they only needed to shout one name for them all to come. I used to beg them to bring the dogs with them whenever they looked after us. Minnie would turn up, dogless, because she knew my mum was not a fan. But when the coast was clear, Fanny would often arrive with whichever Lassie it was, and the dog would then bound up the stairs with me to settle on my bed.

Lassie would be taken home before my parents returned, and I kept her visit just between myself and the sisters, or so I thought. It was only later that Mum told me she always knew when the dogs had been because of the trail of hair they left in their wake.

I wonder if you agree when I say that most mothers have superhuman detecting abilities that make Hercule Poirot look like an amateur. On one occasion, when I was very tiny, I was rummaging around my mum’s bedroom drawers when I found a strip of little round sweets, possibly blue or pink, which looked very appetising to me. There were lots in the packet so I was sure my mum would not notice one missing and was mildly disappointed to find that they tasted of nothing at all. You can imagine my shame when Mum confronted me the very next day about the missing pill, warning me about the dangers of eating something that I didn’t know what it was, even if it did look like a sweetie.

Of course, I was too young to know about contraceptive pills, and the fact that if ‘Tuesday’ had been eaten by someone other than Mum, it would be a dead giveaway. Now that I am a mother myself, I understand how unwitting young children leave trails of forensic evidence behind them, and thus we mothers can perpetuate our mythical super-sleuth status.

In the same column where I talked about my visit to the Ryedale Folk Museum, I also mentioned my concern about preserving my dad’s study. Andy Brown had an idea: “I understand your dilemma with your dad's office. I always picture you leafing through his books and documents either for inspiration or to expand on your own ideas and have always felt you were the best possible custodian of his memory. But life does have a habit of needing to move on.

“Maybe the solution presents itself in your column - could your dad's archive be donated to the Ryedale Folk Museum? I know it won't be the same as having it with you but as your dad was such a key figure in preserving the folk culture of the Moors it would seem an appropriate location.”

I agree with Andy, and he might be surprised to learn that I did approach the museum several years ago with that very suggestion. Although they looked into it, at the time, they didn’t think they had an appropriate space for it, nor the resources to set it up.

I am looking at alternatives, though, and will warmly welcome any bright ideas!

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