Windmill column revived memories of ‘Blind Jack’

DENIS Robinson’s recent ‘Gone But Not Forgetting’ column in the Dispatch about the old Hucknall windmill reminded me of my childhood days.

For we lived next door but one to ‘Blind Jack’ Haslam, who had bought the Sandy Lane site of the windmill and built a bungalow on the land.

Our immediate neighbours on the other side were Ronnie and Sally Greensmith, two wonderful friends and perfect neighbours.

Sally tragically died in a boating accident in Ireland. Ronnie became chairman of Bonser Engineering at Giltbrook, a company he had helped to create with the late Frank Bonser. Ronnie was also instrumental in setting up the Trust to restore and preserve Papplewick Pumping Station.

I remember, as a small boy, only four or five years old, Mrs Haslam, the wife of ‘Blind Jack’, knocking on our door and asking if my father could please go round and “sort out the electrics” because the bungalow was in darkness. I was asked if I would like to go and help.

On entering the bungalow, I stood at one end of the hallway while my father went off in search of the fusebox.

Shortly afterwards, I could hear this tap, tap, tap from the other end of the hallway. It got progressively louder. Suddenly I could see a white stick and a set of teeth coming towards me. I was absolutely petrified.

When the lights came on, there stood ‘Blind Jack’, dressed in all black and wearing a dark trilby hat, towering above me. An image that I will never, ever forget.



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