My natural mother’s sister, Bessie, was very much like Sylvie in that she liked to talk, and so the conversation flowed once they started chatting.
Having become friends, Bessie sometimes visited Sylvie at home. It was on one of these visits that Sylvie was wearing a white skirt. As she turned around to put the kettle on, Bessie noticed black hand marks on each buttock of the skirt.
“Sylvie, what on earth have you done to your skirt?” she said. Sylvie looked down and without a hint of a qualm, just laughed, saying, “Oh nothing, that was Nutty Slack, the coal man, he just called in!”
Bessie had told me this story as one of her memories of Sylvie and I was unsure if it was completely accurate. When I repeated it to Sylvie’s older daughters they burst out laughing and straight away confirmed it. On seeing my face, they added, in between fits of laughter, that it had always been well known, gossiped about, and absolutely typical of Sylvie.
Not that she had any qualms!