Monday, May 29, 2006

After Richard

Still discussing the previous night’s performance of Richard III on Saturday we drove across country via Ipstones and Longnor to Buxton. We parked easily up on the park, near the war memorial and wandered down into town. After a meander round the shops and a coffee we went into the Pavilion to look at the Family History Fair. I was hoping that the Birmingham and Midlands lot would be there but no joy so my Hodgetts from 1841 backwards still remain a mystery. I’ve done all I can on Ancestry so have now to look at parish records which in turn means braving New Street Station to get to the archives and I’m not a great fan of New Street Station. We spoke to quite a few people on the many stalls on offer and generally enjoyed ourselves.

On Sunday we took a break from tiling the hallway floor to pop up into Hanley to watch the aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight fly over the Potteries Museum where a new statue of local hero Reginald Mitchell designer of the Spitfire had been unveiled. We stood opposite the museum in what used to be the burial ground of the Bethesda Chapel, now a lovely landscaped garden. There were loads of people milling around and it was great to see representatives of all generations eagerly anticipating the aircraft. A huge ‘whoop’ went up from the crowd as the planes flew proudly and sedately overhead and then a huge wave of applause as they disappeared over the rooftops into the sky beyond.

This morning we got up early and decided to walk around the lake at Trentham before all the crowds got there later today. We saw herons nesting, and the geese and swans were proudly displaying their little ones for our delight. After steaming hot coffee at the lakeside café we drove back home past the queue of cars struggling to find parking spaces in the pouring rain.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

'Weer it, enjoy it, and mek mooch of it'

So saith Lord Stanley to Richmond as he handed over the crown plucked from the brow of the dead King Richard on the Battlefield of Bosworth. This can only mean one thing and, yes, indeed, Northern Broadsides are back in town.

As we took our seats* the actors wandered on to the stage and began playing jazz, I’m always amazed by the many talents of the actors who make up this company and was to be even more amazed later on by an additional talent I’d not yet seen. Just before the lights went down I spotted the gangling, ungainly figure in black at the top of the stairs – here was Richard. Played wonderfully well by Conrad Nelson this Richard weaved and cajoled and simpered and struggled his evil way to the throne.** A throne he soon lost on Bosworth Field where White Surrey was replaced by a barrow and the battle was won accompanied by the wild clashing of drums, the swirling of banners and clog dancing. I did wonder why all the soldiers were carrying a spare pair of shoes over their shoulders and at the start of the fight
instead of armour they donned clogs and danced their way onto the battlefield, the noise of their feet getting louder and louder as the bitter struggle drew to its inevitable conclusion. After the battle there followed a wonderful choral display as The Earl of Richmond accepted his challenge. I love Northern Broadsides.

*my seat was against the main entrance and exit for the company and right by the ‘butt of malmsey’ so I heard the gurgles and saw the struggles in great detail.

** Of course, as much as I love Shakespeare, as a Yorkist I don’t believe Richard was either as evil or as deformed as Will portrayed him, but if I had lived in Tudor England I think I would have done the same.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A feeling of Disquiet

What a strange week. Well I was right about the rain, I really shouldn’t have taken the garden furniture out of its winter storage. No lawn cutting for a while as the garden is squelching in water again, no drought here then, just a spoilt garden.

When I visited the out patients to get my eye checked out I think that, apart from a couple of young mums with children, I was the youngest there. I was glad to finally get my appointment but I came away feeling quite low in spirits, I should, of course, be happy that I’ve not got any serious problems and that there are so many people far worse off than me, but seeing so many elderly people struggling to see and walk made me fear for the future.

I’ve been saddened also by a strange thing happening to one of my favourite web sites. I’ve been a member on this site since October 2003, not a very active member admittedly but I’ve visited it almost daily and enjoyed its ups and downs, but this week a temporary forum attached to the main site has gone absolutely berserk with people really being nasty to each other. I guess people are upset because things seem to be in limbo at the moment but it really has gone too far with only one person speaking any sense. I think once I know what is happening, and get the answer to one outstanding question I won’t bother again.

Off to Wales next week for our annual reunion staying at Maesyfed as usual. Hope to shake off some of the troubles and disquiet I feel from all the above and enjoy being with friends who care about each other.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Can’t believe it’s a week since I last wrote anything for here. The last few days have gone by in a daze of lawn cutting, gardening, cooking, sorting things for the charity shop and trying and failing to get interested in anything positive and/ or doing anything positive, except, looking after my little cat who on Tuesday had to have six teeth extracted by the vet. She’s coping very well which is more than I am. Next week have my eye appointment – dreading this as I can’t cope with anything in or near my eyes, the day after I have the fasting blood tests. Then I must start to think about the annual ‘get-together’ in Penybont, week after next. This warm weather has induced that late summer laziness of body and mind usually gained from too many hours in the sun lounger but these haven’t even seen the light of day yet. I did get out the plastic table and chairs though and give then a good wash down. A sure sign that it will rain from now on.

Friday, May 05, 2006

One Reason to be Cheerful

Yeh! Thank goodness, my vote did count. I was fully expecting to wake up this morning to the devastating news that the BNP had won another seat in our ward, but joy of joys – labour held on to Longton North. I’d rather even have Conservatives than BNP and you will realize how strong a feeling that is when I tell you that I was brought up in a village not two miles from what used to be called in the grim eighties ‘the people’s republic of Bolsover’ so I was nurtured in ‘old’ style labour politics. Even though Labour lost overall power in Stoke I’m so relieved not be totally ashamed of the area I’m living in.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


We’ve been having a ‘clear out’ or ‘de-cluttering’ of junk accumulated over the years. I’ve been quite good at letting go of things* but I’m beginning to get to the real nitty-gritty now and have been dithering over a couple of things for the past week.

Bag one contained the photos, information panels and research notes from an exhibition I put together for our then local library to celebrate the Quincentenary of the Battle of Bosworth Field in August 1985. As I look at the mounted photographs of various Plantagenets and Tudors (all postcards from the National Portrait Gallery) and the ones we took ourselves of various Ricardian places, like Middleham, York and Leicester I have happy memories of putting the exhibition together and of struggling to type the information panels on my IBM ‘golf ball’ typewriter. This was a huge, noisy beast but I loved it because it had a golf ball with a script font which looked completely right with the photographs. I remember the opening of the exhibition and the wonderful case of Richard III related books the library put out to enhance the wall panels. I made the final decision – last night the bag went in the wheelie bin.

Bag two contains all Georgette Heyer’s novels in paperback. I began reading these when I was about thirteen years old. I was completely hooked and over the next three or four years I devoured everyone. They have moved with me on countless occasions but their pages have become yellow/brown with age, the paper is thin, brittle and brown spotted. I don’t think a charity shop would take them. So last night I chose my favourite two novels ‘Friday’s Child’ the first one I read and the one that got me hooked and ‘Devil’s Cub’ because as a romantic 15 year old I fell in love with Dominic Vidal. The rest – well, they are now in the wheelie bin.

*Most definitely staying are Belinda bear and Bruin bear, fluff the pink cat, my first Christmas tree (bought when I was 4 months old), all the old family photographs and papers and my copy of a Nottingham Playhouse programme of ‘Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’ signed by Ian Mckellan.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bank Holiday

The weekend started wonderfully as we made an escape for a couple of hours at lunch on Friday, a walk around the lake at Trentham then lunch at the garden centre café to celebrate our wedding annniversay.

Saturday we headed off to Buxton to shop at Hawkshead’s (20%) off weekend. I now have a lovely soft brown self stripe blouse which fits perfectly. We drove out of Buxton towards Macclesfield to find the Dunge Valley Gardens and had lunch and lovely walk there before setting off towards Macclesfield. We stopped for a while overlooking the Goyt Valley to watch and listen to the curlews nesting in the grassy pastures just beyond the road. I love to hear the strange evocative cry of the curlew and quite a few flying and calling together make for a truly unusual and magical sound.

Sunday we got up really early and drove to the Manifold valley. We walked for a couple of hours past Thor’s cave and on towards Waterhouses. When we got back to Wetton Mill the car park was full but we really enjoyed the coffee and home made cake from the Mill café before we returned home.

Monday was a wet, gloomy day so we stayed at home pottering around. The gloomy day, therefore was a suitable backdrop to the phone call I received in the afternoon. A dear friend of over 30 years standing rang to say that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It is very early days and has been caught early so she has to have a lumpectomy (sp?) followed by five weeks of radio therapy and course of tamoxifen (sp?). To say that I was stunned is to put it quite mildly but she is optimistic and positive and therefore so am I that she will come through this by taking one step at a time. Please God.