Chapter Twenty


With Harriet’s new job her week days had a comforting routine to them. Awake and up at six in the morning, wash, dress, and eat breakfast. Out of the door by six-thirty if she was walking into work, or ten minutes later if she was cycling. Once at work it was just following a simple weekly rota of tasks, a quick run round with a duster and cleaning spray, clean the toilets, vacuuming carpeted areas, and mop the hard floors putting out wet floor signs. That usually took just over an hour, maybe a bit more, to complete to Harriet’s satisfaction.
A check of the office diary, conveniently reproduced on a large dry wipe board on the wall showing the week’s bookings, and then start relocating furniture, projectors, play group or exercise equipment from the store room to the three community use rooms. Harriet found this part relatively quick and had a routine for moving things that worked for her. This was assuming that the people using the rooms left the equipment and furniture where it should be and Harriet didn’t need to go around hunting for it. The remaining time was restocking and refilling various consumables and then putting away the wet floor signs. Harriet was usually able to leave fairly soon after nine thirty, though some days it over ran a little. Overall it made up for the days when there was less to do and she had time for a quick cuppa and a chat with the staff before leaving. She wasn’t going to count the few minutes either way.
It was a physical job, but no worse then Harriet was used to, and it was done quickly. As an activity it was a good way to wake her body and mind up each day before she got home and started working on a woodwork project or some design work.
Her current workshop project, aside from her bedroom furniture, was to make some pretty Christmas ornaments to surprise her friends. It was nothing complicated, more tokens of appreciation for all their support. Most of it was just shapes jig-sawed from planks, sanded and painted to look like a row of Christmas trees, a sleigh, a row of stars and baubles, snowmen…
Each one had a heart carved in the base next to the recipient’s name to show them how much she loved them all. It was all too little to really express her gratitude, but she hoped, and knew, that they would all be appreciated. Making the ornaments was a good way to fill her morning before lunch, the sort of job she could pick and put down easily as the mood took her and there were enough pieces to work on that there was no time wasted waiting on glue or paint to cure.
Harriet then had the afternoon to herself. Often she would spend it in the workshop working on furniture for herself, the bed side tables were coming along gradually and a chest of drawers were being planned.
With the early starts to the days, Harriet was often in bed early, tired and happy, while Adam and Amanda stayed up watching the television, chatting, catching up with the news and current events.


It was while looking at the little production line of Christmas ornaments that Harriet decided that it might be time to resurrect her dormant Twitter account. Harriet hadn’t used it at all for a long time, she had found herself venting about how bad she was feeling at the time and not only did it feel like it was costing her friends and followers but also Marie was reading it. Harriet opened the account on her phone, and then realised she needed a password reset as she couldn’t remember the old one. But with the reset email she was back in. It was a mess, and one that Harriet felt quite embarrassed to read. All that painful history was a part of her, but not a part she needed to hold onto. She took a deep breath and decided to delete everything, all of it, tweets, notifications, followers, and following, leaving just her friends. She blocked Marie and all Marie’s close friends and family, and the cafe account. They didn’t ever need to see her account now. Her account name also needed to change, a silly cutesy name with numbers on didn’t really cut it for a serious account about her life and her woodworking. Various options of her name had already been taken by more well known people called ‘Harriet’ but @HarrietMaker was free. Harriet grabbed that account name quickly before the Twitter algorithm decided it was now popular and started adding numbers to it. So there it was, Harriet’s ‘Egg’ account was set, and live, and active as ‘Harriet Board @HarrietMaker’. Now all she needed to do was to sort out her biography, an avatar image, and a header image. It will do for now, and maybe I can have a website later, she thought.


Daisy continued her research at the library. She had become quite a regular there and was recognised by the staff who were very helpful in pointing her towards useful books that she might find interesting. There was a sizeable history section in the library, and an even bigger railway section to work through and the librarians were very good at letting her know which were relevant to local history.

She wanted to find out about why the railways were so keen to get to Theraton in the first place. With a bit of reading she found that Theraton had been a market place for many hundreds, if not thousands, of years due to there being a river and an old Roman road that crossed the river at a bridge. People would come to that bridge, either by road or by water, and trade goods on the bank, eat, drink and stop over.

That there was a river, a road, and a bridge right at this point seemed to be important in attracting these traders and so Daisy decided that it would be a good place to start.
And so she made her notes…

During the ice age, glaciers swept down through the country following the paths of least resistance, ploughing through the land leaving huge shallow valleys between harder rocky land. One such glacier had carved out the land where Theraton now stood leaving a flatish plane. There was a rocky area to the west that remained after the glacier retreated and that is now the National Trust woodland. In its lea is the land that became Higher Theraton. The east side of Theraton was mostly flat land that was later farmed and grazed by early people because of the river Uffta. The river had changed course many times over the flat land since the ice age ended, flooding and retreating over thousands of years leaving the land fertile.
When the Romans came and built roads up and down the country the valley was a good spot to cross the hilly terrain. Then they got to the River Uffta and found a suitable place to cross it. But also as the river was big enough for boats back then the bridge crossing lead to a small dock to sail goods in and out and so a small Roman settlement formed.
(Check for evidence in the museum.)

It was only a small settlement that did not last long as the Romans soon left so there is little in the way of impressive archaeology. Nothing much changed after that as farming, and the trade in food, animals and other goods still happened because travellers used the same routes the Romans did. Then the Vikings invaded and eventually this part of the country fell under Danelaw. During the late 800s AD the settlement grew through trade and became more important locally. Towards the end of Danelaw, in the 950s AD the market and the surroundings were named Thyra-dale, a valley to commemorate King Gom of Denmark’s wife, Queen Thyra, who had died.’
(There is no evidence that Queen Thyra ever visited Thyra-dale, or even the country, so she couldn’t have been shopping here, haha.)

By the early 1000 AD the settlement grew and market place was known as Thyra’s-town, which became Thyraton and then Theraton as it is now known.

Theraton continued as a rural market place, trading livestock, wool, grains, and skills. Travelling journey men with craft and trade skills also came through looking for new places to work and selling their wares and services where they could.
(Maybe that is why there is a technical college here – will research that.)

Goods and people came and went using the route of the Roman Road, crossing the river at the site of the original Roman bridge, and on small boats up and down the river.’

‘It is not known when the Roman bridge was first replaced, or how often but it is likely to have been replaced many times over the centuries using the original bridge supports. It was most recently completely rebuilt, adjacent to the site of the Roman bridge, in 1790, and is still in use. Some stones that may have been the foundations of the Roman bridge can still be seen. A second upstream bridge, made of iron, was then built in 1856 as part of the construction of Market Theraton Station and soon after carried a narrow gauge rail service. More recently a down stream pedestrian bridge was built in 1991 increasing trade at the northern end of the town centre shopping streets.

Daisy felt that researching a town as far back as the ice age was pretty good going.
Shame Queen Thyra never visited, that would have been a fun thing to find out, she thought. Ingrid and Fran will be disappointed!

(Chapter 19 here)
(Chapter 21 here)

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