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A Particular Breed

Photograph of two coal miners covered in coal dustIn your own words: life in lockdown image including a picture of two coal miners and the title: "a peculiar breed”

A Particular Breed


"They be strange times that's fer sure" she heard him announcing to someone over the garden wall again.

His arms pleated across the top of the gate, yellow fingers measuredly tapping his sleeves, faded overalls stained with oil and grease, frayed trousers tickling the scuffed toes of old steel capped boots... she never understood why he permanently wore a woolly hat, even in the stifling heat of summer... that was until he didn't and she saw the shiny misshapen egg emergent from a ring of grey curls..

Forthright, brusque, brutally honest ....yet with a stoic quiet compassion, a kindness hidden just below the surface if you cared to scratch for it.. and hidden still deeper, lest it be mistaken for weakness, a profound love of nature and the landscape bequeathed to them, these were the foresters she had come to know..

Hard working, industrious and practical, skills borne out of necessity, poverty and strife.. fingernails bearing the traces of  soil, oil or grease.. working hands like the gnarled branches of trees..

 As she listened to the two men chattering,  the realization slowly dawned on her..... that these practical skills in isolation, could not ensure their survival......  The fossil fuel that ignited their purpose  and drove them to acquire these skills was the glue that bound everything together... the need to be heard and listened to, to be acknowledged...  it wasn't much but it was everything..

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