Caught by the River

Thankful Villages Vol. 2 #8

Darren Hayman | 23rd August 2017

Darren Hayman is back, with a second volume of songs resulting from his Thankful Villages project. The eighth village is Cromwell, Nottinghamshire.

It was a long chain of people that lead us to Dennis’ door. I know Judith Pudden and Marjorie Goss guided me in the right direction.

Dennis was very pleased to see us. Dennis loved company. It was a struggle to set up for recording quick enough. Dennis knew the value of a story. It was a social currency like cake or tea. He spoke and made us warm.

Dennis had worked on the rivers all of his life. I could have picked as many as five of Dennis’ stories but the one I chose was this tale about death on the weir.

Dennis was always known as Bill on the river.

Marjorie said it was his ‘river name’, and Emma said there was no such thing. I wish there was such a thing as a ‘river name’.

When we left, Dennis said, come again, please come again, drop by. He had stories left to tell.

We went further into Cromwell. The church was decommissioned; the doll museum was closed too.

‘I think you can phone and make an appointment,’ said a neighbour, with little conviction.

The River Trent and the weir are tricky to find from the main street. We drive down a winding lane that becomes almost too narrow for a car. The landscape opens up to reveal the magnificent weir.

The village is limping on but the weir thunders with life.


Thankful Villages Vol.2
is out now on Rivertones. You can buy a copy here, or listen on Spotify.

Previous Thankful Villages posts on Caught by the River/ Darren Hayman on Twitter