Nobody Seems To Speak Of Fred Handford – Not Even His Wife

The Stranger In My Life
Janet and Fred at Ball Beard Farm

5 March

One of my favourite people calls me on my mobile.

“Helen, Catherine from New Mills library here. I’ve just realised that I knew Fred’s wife quite well, lovely, sweet lady named Martha Handford. There are so many Handfords in the area I didn’t realise when I first spoke to you that Martha was Fred’s wife. I never knew if she was divorced or widowed since she never spoke of her husband but all I do know was that she was a lovely lady.”

Not for the first time I thank my lucky stars that everyone seems to know everyone else in the village.

“Now I wouldn’t want you to write anything bad about Martha and she’s long dead of course but when she was alive I believe there was talk…”

“Talk of what?” I ask.

“Young women,” said Catherine, “At Ball Beard Farm; well – one woman at least.”

I talk around the subject and push gently but there is no more information forthcoming.

Once again, the young woman is never actually named.

Read Janet’s Story here, in full.

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