Still we linger in Doncaster. Things, however, have taken an interesting turn. In his ongoing efforts to delve deeper into the eccentricities of British history, Husband stumbled across an interesting fact about the town in which we are currently staying. In 1822, it was reported in the London Observer that “more than a million bushels of human and inhuman bones” were imported into England (via Hull, because of course Hull), from towns that harboured the sites of Napoleonic battles and were thus littered with the bodies of soldiers and their horses. From Hull, these bodies were sent chiefly to Doncaster, where they were “[reduced] to a granularly state.” Why? Because dead bodies make good fertilizer and Doncaster was the seat of agricultural trade in Yorkshire. As this 1822 reporter said: “The good farmers of Yorkshire are, in a great measure, indebted to the bones of their children for their daily bread.” Firstly, this explains all the French-speaking ghosts. Secondly, this has given me a great title for a work of historical fiction: The Bone-Grinder’s Wife. With a sepia-tinged photo on the cover, cropped so as to just cut out the eyes, the title in italicized serif type, a blurb telling you what Ann-Marie MacDonald thought, and a purple sticker, Heather’s Pick, it’s what everyone’s mom is getting for Christmas.
Published by Ashleigh Kay
I divide my time between a variety of poverty-inducing ventures: writing for fun and writing for torture; watching far too many movies and reading far too few books. I have lived previous incarnations as bookseller, bureaucrat, filmmaker, zinester, student, and wayward traveller. I studied Film at Langara after seven years at Simon Fraser entrenched in English, Archaeology and about every other Liberal Arts and social science topic you can imagine. I am very good at Trivial Pursuit. I am related to Dr. Samuel Johnson, writer of the first English dictionary, which explains my perfect spelling and penchant for black cats. I once lived in a house in the South Hill neighbourhood of Vancouver with six people, four cats, one goldfish, and a vegetable garden for a front yard. We called it The Commune. It was where I lived with my husband before he was Husband, before he was Fiance, before he was Boyfriend, back when he was just Boy Roommate. Life was a sitcom and we were the “will they/won’t they.” We did. Once we ran away to England because we like having adventures. But we didn’t like it that much, so we came home again. I have the personality of a superhero’s alter-ego. Only I don’t fight crime. At least not yet. View all posts by Ashleigh Kay