‘Crumplefoot’ Tommy is referred to in the first chapter of Barefoot on the Cobbles. Although we do not actually get to meet him, we form an impression of his character through his wife and daughter. The ‘Crumplefoot’ nickname is supposed to refer to an injury to his foot, that he sustained whilst at sea. I have probably used this nickname anachronistically, as I suspect he was not injured until later in life but it was too evocative to ignore. Thomas is in his late thirties at the point at which he appears in the story. His wife, who was also his first cousin, has just given birth to the eighth of their nine children. Tommy was in the merchant service and also worked a fishing boat from Bucks Mills. His injury was obviously not life-limiting, as he lived to the age of eighty nine.
‘ ‘Why tears maid?’ asked Albert, moved by the plight of one of Crumplefoot Tommy’s ever-increasing brood.
‘Me da fetched me one.’ The tone was philosophical but she scarcely stifled a rising sob. ‘He said I woke the bebby but I niver.’ ’
Barefoot on the Cobbles will be published on 17 November 2018. More information about the novel can be found here. Copies will be available at various events in the weeks following the launch or can be pre-ordered from Blue Poppy Publishing or the author.