Trench life in Hannah Hauxwell's farmhouse filled with kindness of others
Mr Jackson, who visited the farmhouse with a Yorkshire TV crew soon after the 1973 film had been screened, said: “The boxes were piled up in rows and you really did have to navigate them like trenches, just to get to the fireplace to get warm.”
Describing her death as “the end of an era”, he said it was Miss Hauxwell’s manner and “lovely red complexion” that had, in the early days of colour TV, endeared her to the nation.
“I had been warned not to eat or drink anything while I was there,” Mr Jackson said. “But I mentioned that I had a headache and she said she’d get me a glass of water and a pill. She drew the water from the stream and when she brought it back the glass was clean but there was green moss around the edge. She brought the pill down from upstairs. She said it was her mother’s and it had been there since 1933.”
Mr Jackson, who had gone to Baldersdale to paint Miss Hauxwell, added: “I can picture her now in those ragged clothes. But although they were rags, they were clean.”
During those winters, before fame came, Miss Hauxwell could go for 10 days without seeing another soul. At 46, there had never been a man in her life and there seemed no prospect of marriage.
“That’s something that one can’t just choose to do,” she said.
“A good marriage is a good thing if one is privileged to meet anyone. There’s all the difference in the world between a good marriage and being on one’s own.”
But, she added: “If it isn’t a success there can be nothing worse than being obliged to share a roof with someone you’re utterly at variance with.”
There was a rare hint of regret as she added: “One can’t go into a shop and say, ‘I want a husband’.”