Aunty Maude (technically my great-aunt Maude) was one of Nana’s older sisters but despite her only being eighteen months older she seemed very much older to me. After Grandpa died she came to live with Nana and it was Nana who nursed her in her final illness when she was 83. She died in 1959 when I was nine. She passed away in Newsham Hospital which in those days was simply where people went to die. People would do anything to avoid ending up in Newsham as they knew what it meant. Their relatives also went to any lengths to avoid seeing them go in there so I assume Aunty Maude was past caring and / or beyond being cared for at home by her 81 year old sister.

Like Grandpa she was a background figure at Nana’s and I recall little of her except her small, round, thin metal-framed glasses as I visited her, sitting up in bed in the front bedroom in something very pink. She had quite a hard life but it was long after she had died that Mum told me all about that and in the early days it was her cottage on a hillside near Bodfari that was the main topic of conversation. By contrast Uncle Wardie – who died the same year as Auntie Maude is a far more developed figure in my memory and I have lots of memories of him. That suggests she must have kept to her room most of the time while she lived at Nana’s.

 Aunty Maude had been married twice and both her husbands had been less than one might have hoped for. The first, Will Noble, was a drunkard and she eventually left him but not before having a child, Tom Noble, who died in infancy. Ironically Will Noble’s death notice read ‘beloved husband of Annie Maude Noble’. He wasn’t! After Maude and Will Noble separated she bought a shop in the Shiel Road area of Liverpool – next to the Berwick Hotel and public bar in Berwick Street which her mother ran. (Aunty Chrissie took over the shop when Maude moved to Moel y Parc, Bodfari.)

 She then lived with the man who was to be her second husband, Jack Watson, but she couldn’t marry him until her first husband died. Aunty Edie – another of Nana’s sisters – refused to speak to Maude while she was living in sin and they never made it up again afterwards. Although Aunty Maude was happy with Jack Watson the rest of the family considered him slimy and only put up with him for her sake. There is no doubt he cheated on her and he even made advances to Mum.  He died in 1944.