There was Mother’s relatives. The Parkes family at Stourbridge. Nellie Parkes was Grannie Stevens’ sister. The Parkes had two sons and a daughter; they were in quite a big way in the butcher trade. They lived in a beautiful house in Stourbridge.

On Dad’s side we used to go and see Uncle Tom. He married again. He had a second wife, Aunt Charlotte, who we didn’t like very much. We never knew his first wife, who was the mother of Irene and Cissie. She drank herself to death. Tom was uncouth and I understand she was a very well educated woman, who came from a good family. The Manley’s, they were a Wolverhampton family. Mother said that he really broke her heart with his behaviour, coming home drunk, I suppose. He drank too much. So did Grandad Harley. I think that was the main trouble between him and Grannie. When he was in his cups, she used to go out around the customers collecting the debts, and then when he came to look at the books, he found out these people had already paid and that she had spent the money!

I remember when she started up in business, she stole a horse off him. Or was it a boat? I think it was a boat. She took it from Cleveland Wharf to Can Lane and that’s how she started up in trade herself.

On Dad’s side there was also little Elsie Harley who lived at Sedgley with some relation of her mother’s. Then there was Albert Harley. He and his wife kept a pub somewhere near Stourbridge near the river. Would it be the River Severn? I remember Mother saying that it was such a bad winter in the eighteen somethings that the river froze over and they skated from Wolverhampton to Stourbridge.

It must have been on the canal. They all skated, because Grannie Harley said that Uncle Albert’s wife at the pub cut so many sandwiches that the knife became frozen in her hand. Anyway, she’d got money in her own right. All the way down the line there seems to be money - people of a good station in life, which I am very proud of.

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