Tag Archives: Manchester

Best Of Manchester Poets 3

27 Mar

I forgot to mention – I had a poem accepted for the latest Best Of Manchester Poets anthology.  That means I’ve had a poem in each collection.   Poems are judged anonymously.  

This year’s poem is called Tsetse Rat.  It’s one of my favourites of all I have written: it was inspired by the sight of a dead rat at the bus stop.

If  you happen to be in and around Manchester tomorrow night, the book’s launch is taking place at a free event at the Eighth Day Cafe, Oxford Road, M1 7DU, 7:30-10.  Poets in the book will be reading from the collection and it is hosted by Dominic Berry.

bap032_dominicberry_header_1000

Find Dominic Berry on Book A Poet

I can’t make it, unfortunately, because I’m feeling a little slimsy at the moment; but I was at the launch of the first anthology and it was great fun.

The book is available to buy on Amazon or from the publisher, Puppywolf, but you can read one poem for free:

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Tsetse Rat 

Poor rat and your pedestrian end:
was it death by cat?
I hope it was old age; you fell asleep.
Dark comfort in your long rest.

Dangerous praise to resent your passing,
forlorn corpse; scorned by
heels and prams and bicycle wheels.

Sleep peacefully, rat, on your dull part
of the dirty path; curled like an idle moon.

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The previous word was ‘rutilant’: Glowing or glittering with ruddy or golden light – what I do each time I have a poem accepted.  It never gets old.

 

Free Kindle Download: The Houses On The Green

30 Jun

My friend Eileen Simkiss wrote a book about Fifties life in Ardwick, Manchester. 

For this weekend only it is available for free download to your Kindle.

Why not take advantage?

Her website: http://www.thehousesonthegreen.com/

Day Of The Living Dead

14 Jan

Writing with my eyes wide shut

A so called "oxygen pass through" lens.

Image via Wikipedia

 

It’s dead o’clock on Saturday morning.  Been up since pre-dead a.m.  Getting the bus(es) into Manchester.  It’s early and dark and freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezing and I’m tired.  Winter has made its belated arrival.  Hooray for central heating, but I’m still sitting in fleecy pyjamas, thick dressing gown and a thin blanket around my shoulders like a Russian granny.

Spud has the opportunity to take part in a study for contact lenses for teenagers.  He might be in the control group with glasses.  He might not be suitable.  He might earn £135 + free glasses/lenses for six months of doing nothing but the occasional eye test in Manchester.  He has to have an adult present at those tests.  He wants the money, so I have to go with him.  I get nothing out of it except the warm glow of motherly self-sacrifice, and frost bite.

I could be in bed right now with a warm husband and a sleeping alarm clock.  Damn this maternal gene.

Read more Six Word Saturdays here.  If you’re awake.

POSTSCRIPT

As there were so many comments wishing him good luck, I thought you’d like to know that Spud was accepted onto the trial.  He won’t know which group he’ll be in until next week, but he has no preference. 

Good news for me: he turned sixteen today (Sunday), so I don’t have to go with him again.  Yay!

The Manchester Blog Awards

23 Aug
A map of Greater Manchester, with each metropo...

Image via Wikipedia

Calling all Greater Manchester bloggers: nominations for The Manchester Blog Awards are now being accepted, here.

I’ve nominated someone but I’m not saying who, because I don’t want them to feel obliged.

101/1001 (21) Another Late Update

21 Aug

I’m sure you’ll forgive me for not keeping to my self-imposed updating timetable when I remind you that I have young visitors; and that there’s really nothing to report.   It’s difficult to work on challenges when I have a full house.  I suppose that’s part of the challenge.

We do have two welcome new members of our beginning not to be so exclusive club:

Silly Wrong But Vivid Right and Vicrace Designs

You can check out the other members on the right; and while you’re doing that, think about joining us.

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As I have nothing to report, I’ll flesh this post out with a general catch-up.

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Of some worry to the management was the number of people (28.57%) who willingly admitted to being freaks in the recent Friends poll.  At least you’re honest.

More concern was felt at the number of huge fibbers who claimed to have a life (35.71%). If that were the case, you wouldn’t be filling in fatuous polls now, would you?

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The number of compliments paid has fallen sharply after my begging letter.  Thank you. Especially to those who took it to the other extreme and offered gratuitous insults.  It’s nice to know you care.

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Finally, something I read this week amused me:

Space is important; vital, really, if you’re a newspaper: this week on the Stockport Express website, there was a headline that ran

Man who looted charity box in Manchester riots in the dock. 

But they ran the story in a narrow left-hand column and it read

Man who looted charity box in Manchester
riots in the dock

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Don’t you just love it?

Batman Live – A Review

18 Jul

Wholly spectacle, Batman!

Technically, this is a preview review.  I got free tickets from See Film First for the preview yesterday at the Manchester Evening News Arena.  The show starts tomorrow.  £79 for a family ticket but, if I could afford it, I would say it was worth it.

Apologies for the poor quality of the photos: we were asked not to use flash photography and I, at least, obeyed.  You can click on them to enlarge for a better view.

The directors came out before the start and asked us to make lots of noise whenever we felt like it, to let them know what works and what doesn’t.  They warned that there might be pauses, because this was a dress rehearsal to iron out any problems.

I have never seen a show like it.  The staging was fabulous: a backdrop screen using cartoons was seamlessly interwoven with live action.  Video played throughout, showing turning comic pages, screaming bats, the Bat Cave.  When Batman jumped into the fabulous Batmobile to ride to the rescue, he drove through a door in the backdrop and the video then showed cartoon of him tearing through the streets of Gotham City.

Things came up from the floor and down from the roof; mostly people, but ribbons and hot air balloons and hanging bodies as well.  There were cannons and magic tricks and pyrotechnics, and it was all the fun of the circus in which a lot of the show was set.

There was a constant soundtrack and it was LOUD, but it added to the excitement.  In the first noise pause, at a dramatic moment, a little boy shouted, ‘Batman!’ like he’d just noticed him.  It is possible, because there were acrobats and trapeze artists and lots of action all over the stage.

I didn’t go alone, Spud came with me:

Mum: Fancy going to see Batman Live?

Spud: Nah.

Mum: Shame.  I’ve got free tickets.

Spud: [Sigh.]  Okay then. [With its implied, If I must; and only because you're making me.]

He was not impressed to be the only teenager there with his Mum, until he noticed lots of teenagers and twenty-somethings in the queue behind us.  Once he had his own ticket and could move away from me, his street cred was restored.

Then he saw the Batman masks!  He just had to have one, and disgorged pocket money with haste.  Tried it on, found it hot, and immediately regretted the waste of his hard-unearned cash.  After watching the show, he confided that he secretly loved Batman and was so glad he had a mask as a souvenir.  Is it any wonder we parents don’t understand our teen children?

He didn’t wear the mask throughout the show, but plenty of people did.  Mostly children, and one twenty-something young man in front of us, who held his girlfriend’s hand throughout.  Perhaps he was scared, like the four-year old next to us who needed to go to the toilet every fifteen minutes.  His Mum suspected it was a fear-bladder.

There weren’t many problems and only one pause, when Batman suddenly went down during a fight scene.  Holy pulled muscle, Batman!  The lights went up after a while, and we were told there would be a wait of four minutes, but Batman was okay.  Lots of cheers from the audience.

Audiences are fickle: at four minutes and two seconds, the slow hand claps started, changing to applause when the show was resumed.

The only little problems that I’m aware of came right at the end; perhaps Batman was tired: when asked why he devoted his life to fighting crime, Batman replied, ‘Because my life would descend into random craos.’  And when he and the Boy Wonder made their final exit in the Batmobile, his cape got trapped in the door.  Kind of ruined the dignity of the superhero.  Holy way to spoil the effect, Batman.

But these are small niggles; not even niggles: I mention them to make my post interesting, and would have been annoyed without them, because all I can say is:

My Verdict: Holy Bat-tastic, Batman!

The best thing about the afternoon for me, however, was that, despite torrential rain all day long, we went from our house in Stockport to the centre of Manchester without being exposed to the weather for more than twenty seconds; we didn’t even need a coat: house – car – Stockport Station – Piccadilly Station – down to the trams – Victoria Station and the arena entrance is inside the station.  Travelling during a downpour without getting wet – now that’s what I call impressive.

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I Predict A Quiet

17 Jun
Sketch map of Runcorn, Cheshire, showing railways.

Image via Wikipedia

What would cause you to protest or riot for something?

Apart from the false imprisonment of my children – and possibly my husband, if I was in a good mood – nothing.  I’m British: I don’t do apologetic complaint, never mind protest.  I write a strongly worded letter and feel much better for it.

I bumped into a riot once, by accident.  I can’t say I liked it.  As a teenager, I went to Manchester to audition for the Manchester Youth Theatre with a friend.  It was the time of the nationwide riots against something or other.  I can’t remember what, but I bet it had hatred for Mrs Thatcher at the heart of it.  We had a summer of exploding protests, when staid young men and women became screaming thugs for the afternoon.  We are seeing something similar at the moment in Bristol, because of Tesco.  It’s not quite the breaking of the unions or the poll tax, but a supermarket too close to your back yard is certainly a reason to lose all common sense, I’m sure.

We had been to the auditions and decided to visit the Arndale Centre for some retail therapy (or ‘shopping’, as it was called in Days of Yore when I wurra lass).  As we walked up somewhere, a screaming, running gang of young gentlemen ran down, straight at us.  I grabbed my friend’s hand and dragged him onto the nearest bus, going anywhere.  When we got to anywhere, we had to walk back again, to catch the train home.  No shopping.  What a wasted opportunity.

Trains and a long walk featured once again in my teens.  I went with different friends to Liverpool.  Plenty of shopping and no riots – Scouse youth being better behaved than Mancunian youth.  So much shopping was done, we were late for the train, asked which was ours, and jumped on it just as the doors closed.

I think I was in charge of the travel on that day as well, which explains why we ended up in Widnes instead of Runcorn.  We explained to the man in charge that we had been directed to the wrong train and he said well, in that case, he wouldn’t fine us, but we had to get off there and we couldn’t get on another train without buying a ticket.  Did I mention we had been shopping all afternoon?  We didn’t have the fare for one of us, never mind three.

Did I mention this was in Days of Yore when I wurra lass?  No mobile phones to call parents who didn’t own cars to not fetch us.

Fortunately – fortune being a relative term – Widnes is right next door to Runcorn.  All we had to do was walk home.  Loaded with shopping bags.  In heels.  A mere three hours or so.  I was ready to start a riot.

Buy The Book (2)

12 Feb

 

The Houses on the Green is the story of a small community living in terraced property in the Ardwick area of Manchester, and is set in the late 1950s. 
Their homes lie on the edge of a clearance area and have been subject to a compulsory purchase order. The owner of the five properties, an ex-army officer, leads the fight to save them.  He is backed by the other residents: a young single mother, a Jewish couple who fled Austria just before Hitler entered Vienna, a hard-working secretary in the city centre and a slow-witted young man coping alone after the death of his parents.  Each of the characters bring their own strengths to the conflict. They take the fight to the Town Hall and encounter a planning officer with old scores to settle.  
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Set at a time when massive slum clearances were taking place in most major cities, the story is a realistic representation of life in Britain in the Fifties.
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Currently living on the edge of a reservoir in Stockport, Eileen has worked variously as a barmaid, interpreter, secretary to an MP and as a teacher. Eileen travels extensively, frequently alone, both in Europe and farther afield; Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Cuba. She has had work published in Good Housekeeping, was winner of a local short story writing competition and has had a poem displayed in Stockport Art Gallery. 
 
  
 
Eileen is a friend of mine and kindly let me read the book before publication.  It’s a real page-turner!  The book’s strength lies in the well-drawn characters.  I found myself really caring about these people and their fight.  So much so, I demanded that Eileen write at least one sequel, and preferably more. 
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If you have ever lived in or around Manchester you will enjoy the references to real places.
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You can purchase a copy from Eileen’s website
 
Alternatively, she is launching the book at Stockport Art Gallery on Sunday, February 20th, from one o’clock to three.  Pat Fox-Leonard will read excerpts.  If you would like to own a signed copy of The Houses on the Green, or to hear a good book read well, please come along.
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You can also read excerpts here.
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Come on Manchester, let’s do everything we can to support a local author!
 
 
 

The Laughing Housewife And A Cast Of Minions Proudly Presents: Who-He?

3 Feb
Toilet Paper Roll

Image via Wikipedia

Something that keeps coming up lately is back history: when I’m new to a blog I like to know something about the writer, such as age, family, hair colour, bank details.  The usual stuff.  Many blogs have running gags or themes; many writers have history that it’s necessary to know in order to fully enjoy what I’m reading so, prompted by Cin (not ‘sin’; I’m a good girl, I am.  Cin left a comment the other day about just this thing), here’s the story so far. 

Once done, I’m going to have a bash at making another blog page where this info will be stored.  Wish me luck and if you never hear from me again, know that technology finally killed me and I love you all, each and every one of my dear readers (that’s you, Tory Boy; and Robert).

The Laughing Housewife

That’s me.  In my late forties at the moment (how did that happen?).  Born in the capital of Ireland (Liverpool); grew up in Wallasey and Runcorn.  Emigrated most reluctantly with my family to South Africa at age eighteen.  You can read all about that at my other blog South Africa – A Love/Hate Story.  Don’t expect funny though; I wasn’t a laughing teenager.  It’s mostly poetry and angst and angst-ridden poetry: you think Spiderman was miserable?  Meet me.

I lived there fourteen years and came back to the UK in 1996.  I’ve got a degree in Literature from the Open University.  I’m married to:

The Hub

He’s from the capital of Crimeland (Wythenshawe, Manchester) but spent three years at my school in Runcorn, where we didn’t meet.  He lived in South Africa for eight years; had three years back in the UK; and then went back to South Africa in 1981.  We met in a car park in a tiny dorp in the middle of nowhere.  Ain’t life strange? 

We were engaged after three months and married three years later.  It’s lasted twenty-five years so far but I figure, if the three motif recurs, one of us will be free in eight years’ time.  Or even five, because we will have been together thirty-three years in 2008.  You maths wizards out there might be scratching your pencils right now but factor in that we married in the middle of a year and that you really don’t need to care about this stuff, and just take my word for it.

We fight a lot.  Squabble, really.  All day long.  Who said what to whom about when and why and where.  Stupid stuff, but we are both easily irritated; and irritating.  I hang onto him because he fixes the computer and even does it without moaning if it wasn’t me who broke it.  He moans a lot.  What I really love about him, though, is his ability to put down the toilet seat and replace the toilet roll.  Things like that matter after twenty-eight years.  He is forever leaving love notes for me and being romantic, but I try not to mind.  I must have not minded it at least twice, because we have two children:

Tory Boy

Born in Johannesburg, he is the first fruit of my loins and Conservative Prime Minister-in-Waiting.  Currently in his last year at Lancaster University, where he’s studying Politics & Philosophy.  That’s kind of our fault: the Hub was telling him while he was still in my womb that he was going to university.  The Hub and I are great believers in getting an education and thinking for yourself and all that junk. 

Tory Boy spent his whole life listening to his parents argue about politics and issues of the day and who put the toilet roll tube in the wrong recycling box, so I suppose a career in politics was inevitable, given his megalomaniac tendencies: the first thing he’s going to do when he takes over the world is send all the teachers to Antarctica and put the toilet roll tube wherever he feels like.  There should have been a swear word-well in that last sentence [put the toilet roll tube wherever he swear word-well feels like] but he’s scared of his father and respects his mother so there isn’t.  He’s also a good big brother to:

Spud Bud

Like Princess Diana, I, too, have an heir and spare.  He was born in Alberton, South Africa and cost us a fortune because we didn’t have medical aid at that point and it wasn’t a natural birth.  It would have been cheaper to adopt.  Still, we decided to hang on to him.  Well, he’s family.  He worked out as a good deal in the end because he’s on a full bursary at an excellent grammar school here in Stockport, where we now reside.

Stockport

Features a lot.  As does the Viaduct, the railway station and the Stockport Express.  

Toby & Molly

Our dogs and the cutest Yorkies on the planet.  We have a fish tank and thirteen fish, four shrimp and two butterfly loaches.  Until recently, we also had gerbils.

Also, you will find that a lot of dead pet references tend to appear in this blog.  Pay attention because I may set a test at any time.  We have three cats and seven gerbils buried in our garden (my brother says we are on the RSPCA’s hit list).  We loved them all, but the Hub is daftly ridiculous about animals.

Neighbours

There are only two that I mention with any frequency:

The Boy Nik

An ex-addict who isn’t really a boy but talks and acts like one, and who I first met when he knocked on my door just before one Christmas to ask me to phone the nearest prison so he could visit his mate; and who has never stopped knocking since, for a hammer, a bin bag, a spade…umm, I’ve just made a connection here.  I’ll get back to you on this one.

Next Door

Housewife whose husband works away and who spends all her time hammering nails into our shared wall.  I think she’s building a secret extension in my lounge.

A Few Important Facts

Necessary for comprehension.

  • Maltesers – probably the single-most important influence in my life.  No Maltesers for Christmas sets the tone for the following excruciating (for my family) year.
  • The hub has severe CFS/ME and a host of other ailments which means he spends all his time in pain and a lot of time unable to do stuff; and by ‘stuff’ I mean if he takes a shower then that’s it for his day. 
  • As a result of his illness he hasn’t been able to work for many years.  He became ill when I had a baby and six-year old on my hands.  Before he learned to manage his CFS he would spend weeks in bed, unable to get up, so we ended up on benefits once our money ran out.  It’s one of the reasons I got my degree, so I could go back to work once the boys were old enough.  That plan didn’t work out so well because I graduated at the height of the recession.  Timing is everything.
  • Christmas and Maltesers must be done to excess; everything else is showing off.
  • We live in a council house on a council estate.  Expect a lot of posts about crime.
  • Poetry – I write it.  Deal with it.  Or ignore it, if you like: this is the internet, after all; how would I know whether you read my poems or not?
  • I’m not soppy.  Mush embarrasses me.  What can I say?  I’m British.  I’m so un-soppy that I even have a special category – ‘Feeling Sentimental’ (see right under ‘Category Cloud’) – for days when the hormones take over and a nice thought bursts out.
  • I make up words.  Did you spot the one under ‘Toby & Molly’?  I figure if Shakespeare could do it, so could I.  Pity I don’t have my own theatre in which to try them out, but them’s the breaks. 
  • My motto: you can never have too many Maltesers (the roof of your mouth is raw from eating seven boxes on Christmas Day?  Suck it up, you wimp!)
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And Finally…God

I’m a Christian – I know, incredible, isn’t it?  I wouldn’t have believed it if I’d been reading me, either.  I have a strong and enduring faith, but that’s not what this blog is about.  This blog is about poking fun at life: if something funny happens in church, you’ll hear about it; but otherwise, no preaching.

On the strong and enduring faith bit: the Hub reckons if it was that strong I wouldn’t have married what he calls an ‘agnostic’ and I call ‘a rabid atheist’.  The Hub is really annoying sometimes.  We have learned not to argue about religion (much), but everything else is on the table.  Unless he feels like winding me up and we fall out over the monarchy (he’s against it) and I swear I really am killing or leaving him this time.

Happy reading!

RIP, Mr Postlethwaite

4 Jan

You may have seen in the news yesterday that the actor Pete Postlethwaite died, aged sixty-four.  The media has been full of his movies and his Academy Award, but his most memorable performance, I think, was in Lost For Words, a tv movie from 1999 in which he played a son dealing with his mother’s dementia.  He was superb.

Postlethwaite was born in Warrington, just up the road from Runcorn, where I grew up.  I never met him, of course; I just thought I’d throw that in.   He started his career at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre, where my own one-act play was performed (starring students, not Oscar [copyright]-nominated movie stars).  I did pass him on the street once, however: he was appearing as Prospero in The Tempest at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre.  I badly wanted to go but couldn’t afford a ticket (to see why I didn’t throw a hissy fit about that at the time, read today’s post on my other blog).  I was in Manchester for the day, for a thing Spud did with his school at The Royal Exchange, and PP passed us as we entered the building.  Amazingly, his nose was bigger and more purple than it looks in the photos.

Annual Review

31 Dec
Bramall Hall, in the County of Greater Manchester.

Image via Wikipedia

The last day of the year seems like a good time to re-hash the last twelve months – not much point doing it next March, is there?  I won’t include links to previous posts because I don’t expect you to go and read them again; I’m just glad you showed up at all today.

On a personal level, we acquired a new dog and six fish (now, sadly, five fish).  I went on a back-to-work course; had a work placement and one interview but still no job.  I was in the audience for the first leaders’ debate and was given a new kitchen and bathroom by my landlord.  The whole of my downstairs and part of my upstairs has been re-decorated this year, and it’s all hidden by the Hub’s ever-growing mountain of crap.  I discovered I am two inches taller than I thought I was; and Glee.  I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary; witnessed a police siege in my street; and won £100 in shopping vouchers.  The Hub’s CFS/ME got steadily worse and he was diagnosed with anaemia and restless leg syndrome, so I doubled my fun-poking efforts.  I became a pirate for a week; had several colds and infections and a wisdom tooth extraction; and still claimed to be as healthy as an ox.  Have you noticed that you never see oxen anymore?  Spud had three holidays – two courtesy of friends – and Tory Boy helped win the election (sort of) and saw the Pope’s back while interning in Westminster.

The general election threw up my favourite quote of the year:

Paddy Ashdown: 

The British people have spoken; now we just have to work out what they’ve said.

As far as the writing goes, I was published in several poetry ezines and two collections; was counted part of the Manchester blogging scene; and saw one of my poems turned into a piece of art work.  I took part in April’s NaPoWriMo and November’s Poetic Asides Poem A Day challenge; performed at Bramhall Hall with Manchester Camerata; and at Stockport Art Gallery with its vanishing audience.  I completed an excellent creative writing course at a local college and was a founder member of Stockport Art Gallery Writing Group.

My blog was given a makeover and I had three guest bloggers.  This blog is growing exponentially.  In March I was thrilled to reach the magic figure of 5000 hits; in the nine months since then I have had over 21,000 hits with the figure at this moment standing at 26,671.  I started a new blog for my South African poems and sometimes it gets as many as three readers a day. 

Not a bad year, overall.  Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share it with me.

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The prompt for Big Tent was to write a list poem.  I was inspired to write a haiku by today outside:

A Stockport Winter

dull grey cold muddy
miserable the same as
a Stockport summer

North And South

29 Dec
Margaret Hale

Image via Wikipedia

One of my Christmas presents from Spud was a dvd of the BBC production of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (not to be confused with the delectable Patrick Swayze’s Eighties mini-series).  It stars Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale and swoon> Richard Armitage as John Thornton.  Set in Victorian Manchester, it is about blurring class lines and, of course, love.

I put it on last night, intending to watch for a couple of hours and then go to sleep; four hours later I finally turned it off.  It’s a wonderful adaptation and well worth a look if you enjoy costume drama.  You can get the dvd for a few pounds from Amazon (Spud isn’t made of money, you know).

It is one of the few adaptations I have watched before reading the book, where I preferred the book’s ending to the film’s – and I loved the film’s ending.

Strongly recommended.

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If you want to read about racial divides instead of class divides (though they are sometimes the same thing) go to my sapoems blog.

This Time He Really Is Going Up For Adoption

15 Nov
Robert Winston

Image by dionc via Flickr

Spud went on a school trip today to Manchester.  It was for a series of science lectures by famous scientists who have all been on the telly: Sir Robert Winston and four others I’ve never heard of.

The thing he found most fascinating was that women are 0.5% more closely related to chimps than men – who, interestingly, are more closely related to sloths…having seen the state of his bedroom, I believe it.

He has had great fun all evening, making oo-oo noises at me, and when I told him to eat his dinner, he said, ‘Yes, monkey girl.’  I went ape. 

Redressing The Balance

9 Nov
Stockport railway station

Image by Ben Sutherland via Flickr

I wouldn’t say yesterday’s post was unfair to Stockport because I told me no lies, but I think it’s time to tell you about what’s good here.

We have the country’s only hat museum, based in our famous Hat Works Museum.

We have a much-admired Victorian viaduct.

 

When the railway station was built, the foresighted land owner who sold his land to the railway people had a clause inserted that all trains to and from London & Manchester must stop at Stockport Station.  It means we have one of the best services in the country – a train every ten minutes to Manchester, and every half-an-hour to London.  Or it was the best service, until the last couple of years when the powers-that-be decided to ignore a legally binding contract because it had become cost-ineffective.  Sometimes now we have to wait forty minutes for a London train.

We are part of Cheshire, but also part of Greater Manchester (when it suits us).  Think of us as a geographical Venn diagram, having a share in Manchester Airport but a much-coveted Cheshire postcode – much-coveted by Mancunians, that is, who pay more with M postcodes for home and motor insurance, presumably because everyone in Manchester is a scally and everyone in Stockport is a Premier League footballer (no class, but loads of dosh).

We get a lot of wet weather but not much severe weather.  That’s something, I suppose.

We have our own pyramid. 

 

If you look carefully at the photograph, you can’t see my house: it’s just out of sight on the left of the road at top right.  Another centimetre and you’d have me.

Six pyramids were planned but the developer battled to sell this one, so one it is. 

If you watch Life On Mars, when Sam is on the roof of the Police Station – which was filmed at Stopford House, a council building – you can make out the pyramid in the distance.  A tiny error only we Stopfordians we know: it wasn’t built in 1973.

We have the oldest school in the country, Stockport Grammar, founded in 1487.  My American readers might be interested to know that the NBA basketball star John Amaechi went there.  So does Spud, who’ll be lucky if he grows tall enough to wash John’s knees.

I’m sure we’ve got other good stuff, but I can’t think of anything else, so I’ll stop on a high. 

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There’s a new post in my other blog, http://sapoems.wordpress.com if you care to take a look.

Well That’s A Relief; Now What?

6 Oct
Peripheral blood film of a patient with iron d...

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Good news, sort of: there is no sign of cancer in the Hub (though they didn’t look at his soul; I don’t think they have a camera for that).  They biopsied a polyp but they tell us that’s routine.  However, if no news is good news, it’s still no news; there’s no explanation yet for the Hub’s anaemia.  He will be called back for a discussion at some point and he just has to keep taking the iron tablets. 

It was a long day yesterday.  The Hub was to be given a sedative and had to be accompanied home afterwards; I don’t drive so we had to get a taxi to the hospital: two buses and a fair bit of walking are two buses and a fair bit of walking too much for the Hub at the moment.  He’s not breathing well – a combination of the anaemia and a chest infection; his pallor gives the word ‘grey’ a bad name; he is in more pain than usual because he had to come off the anti-inflammatories; and he has the ongoing CFS/ME, of course.  He is one sorry little puppy.  He’s so unwell, we haven’t had an argument in days; never thought there’d be a day when I missed his pig-headed shouty view of the world; but I do. 

 

Still, enough about him.  I had a horrible day too, but nobody wipes my brow.  While I waited for him, I had to read two books and the paper, drink tea, eat crisps and chocolate and sit on a chair deemed too cruel for use by the Spanish Inquisition.  That was a long three-and-a-half-hours.  Well, it would have been, if I hadn’t had two books, the paper and lots of snacks to keep me going.  Why don’t hospitals add a library or a tv room or something for family & friends?  Even a comfortable chair would help.  But no, it’s all spend the money on the patients; look after the patients; make the patients comfortable while they wait two hours for their procedure. 

We arrived twenty minutes early, so that bit was our fault.  They took him in early and made him wait over two hours, so that was their fault.  They prodded and questioned before the Big Probe and gave him paper boxers to wear under a girly gown.  You check in your dignity along with your valuables when you go into hospital; luckily for the Hub, he’s used to that, appearing in my blog every day.  He said they pumped him full of air and he lay in a ward at some point, having a fart-off with the other testees.  He swears he did one four minutes-long.  At last I have competition!  

 

Pardon my vulgarity; I was not brought up that way, as Rizzo would say that Sandra Dee would say.  Of Irish Catholic descent, I come from what my mother called the capital of Ireland, Liverpool; and we are a refined lot.  We always say ‘please’ when we ask for your wallet and jewellery; and we never steal your tyres without resting your car on even piles of bricks.   

 

It must be the Mancunian rubbing off on me after all these years, though I don’t think it does take years: Tarik the taxi driver, who told us he hasn’t been here that long, had a fund of horror stories to share about his life in Levenshulme; most of which seemed to involve being on his break and eating pizzas and kebabs while he watched young men knock out their drug addict girlfriends and youths insult grannies and generally behave in an anti-social but all-too Mancunian manner. 

The taxi driver going home was Stockport-born and bred, but he talked just as much.  So much, in fact, that he forgot to turn on his meter until we were halfway home, and had to ask us how much he should charge.  I gave him a decent tip.  I wouldn’t have normally, what with being Scouse and knowing the value of a penny; but my husband had just been told he was cancer-free and I was in the mood to celebrate.  Now, if I can just rile the Hub so he yells at me, we’ll all be happy. 

* 

The prompt for this week’s We Write Poems is What’s for dinner?  I haven’t been in the mood to write poetry this week, so I dug up some old ones on the same theme. 

A Recipe For Torture 

Starter: 

Too many cooks
Not enough broth
 

Main Course: 

Four planes
Dead thousands
One paralysed nation
 

Stir until hatred reaches a peak. 

Desserts: 

One concrete cell
One bucket of water
Two bare feet
A dash of electricity
 

Throw together and watch carefully
as your suspect surges the walls.
Look on in satisfaction.
Extract information.
Discard waste.
 

Please note: No guarantees can be given that
following this recipe will produce the desired results.
 

  

* 

Recipe for Contentment  

Ingredients: food,
good film, children home, husband,
dog.  Mix well.  Relax.
 

* 

How To Bake A Cake  

With care and good scales
or you’ll fail.
You’ll burn it;
flop it; scrape
it off the
plate and pop
it in the bin,
   to your children’s accompanying wails.
 

  

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