The weather forecast was good, so I nipped over the Pennines to visit Nelson. The forecast was wrong. By mid morning it was raining heavily. But I had a smashing time. The staff at Nelson Public Library were lovely and couldn't have been more helpful. They registered me for a borrowers ticket and found a biography of Sir Learie Constantine. Sir Learie was the Nelson professional from 1929 until 1938, asking CLR James, another Trinidadian - later cricket correspondent of the Guardian, and author of 'The Black Jacobins', which he started writing in Nelson - to join him in 1931. They lodged together in Meredith Street. Sir Learie later became Baron Constantine of Maraval in Trinidad and of Nelson in the Palatine of Lancaster.
Next stop the Town Hall, where a friendly encounter resulted in a free Pendle Guide and Street Atlas (retrieved from the basement). The rain continued to pour, but I had spotted the cricket ground on the street atlas and headed across the M65. Nelson Cricket Club shelters by the east bound motorway embankment. The club was in darkness, but I found an open door. So I wandered in. I pushed on the door to the bar and was welcomed by another friendly soul. He was waiting for workmen to turn up after a break in at the club the night before. He said there were mountains of material about Sir Learie and his time in the town waiting to be archived, but currently it was stuffed down the backs of drawers in bedrooms and attics across Nelson. He strongly recommended a BBC programme, 'Race and Pace'. He insisted I would like it. When I got home I found a podcast by that name. The memories of those who knew Sir Learie, and other West Indian professionals in the Lancashire League was heartwarming. I did indeed like it.
Thank you Nelson.
Thank you Nelson.