Milly and Me Try Market Day In Machynlleth

IMG_20180711_130356My brother-in-law has many many family members in North Wales, mainly concentrated in the southern part of Snowdonia.  My time here has been spent traversing Welshpool, Bala, Abergernolwyn, Dolgellau, Tywyn, Aberystwyth and earlier this week we popped into Machynlleth on Market Day.

It has been a long time since I potted around a market.  There are traditional market towns up and down the country.  I love to wander around and have a nosey.  I rarely need anything and usually end up buying something like a jar of honey or marmalade.

I bought Vegan Blue Cheese and Seitan this week.  Jury is still out on both of them I am afraid.  But I love how super-friendly everyone was.  My niece receives so much attention everywhere we go.  She is super gorgeous so I can understand.

IMG_20180711_124747plaqueWe also had a little look at some of the landmarks and points of interest in Machynlleth.

Have you ever heard of Owain Glyndŵr?

He was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales. Apparently many regarded him as an unofficial king. He instigated a determined but unsuccessful revolt against the English rule of Wales.  He fought fiercely and was a warrior through and through.  We are talking about 1400-1415, so Machynlleth has some pretty ancient landmarks.

IMG_20180711_122332Owain Glyndŵr called his first Parliament of all Wales at Machynlleth.  The photograph above is is the location where he was crowned Prince of Wales. He launched his national programme for an independent Wales. He envisioned an independent Welsh state with it’s own parliament and a separate Welsh church. He wanted two national universities (one in the south and one in the north).

Despite all of his efforts, it would be hundreds of years later when Owain Glyndŵr’s vision would be achieved.  Yet, he is held as quite the  hero.

IMG_20180711_130749We also visited a building which used to be a tabernacle and has turned into a concert hall and exhibition center.  MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art) I was asked by the lady at the welcome desk  if I paint – unfortunately she did not mean with emulsion or gloss paint (which I can), she was referring to water-colour or oil-paints (which I can’t).  She invited me to submit an entry to the annual art competition (which I won’t be doing) but hey, I will throw out her invitation to any budding artists who are casting their eyes over this post.

I have even discovered that they have a blog, one that is clearly superior to mine:  https://stories.moma.org/

Next stop was the vegetarian cafe The Quarry.  I had seen the reviews and most of them gave high praise to the Big Mach (the veggie burger) and the trifle – I cannot remember the last time I had trifle.  But I had no idea how much we would enjoy our lunch there.  Huge thumbs up for The Quarry – vegan/vegetarian cafe.

 

I love the small-town feel to this area.  Everyone seems to know everyone.  No less than forteen people called over to Milly as we wandered along.  Some were related to Milly’s husband, some were customers and some friends or neighbours.  We even bumped into one of my Dad’s friends from our home town near Liverpool.  He and his wife love this area for holidays.   All had headed to Machynlleth for Market Day.

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As we walked back to the car greeting more friendly folk who wanted to make a fuss of my gorgeous niece, I felt very content with our stress-free and rather delightful day out in Machynlleth.

Back at my sister’s sweet abode, I am settling down for my last sleep here before departing from Wales.  As  for when I will be back in London…well, it all depends on whether Djokovic beats Nadal tomorrow.  I will explain in another post.

Tomorrow, we are headed to Staffordshire.

 

Life Is One Big Adventure Of Discovery When You Are Only A Year Old

IMG_20180709_114323 (2)My niece seems to be developing certain little personality traits that make me wonder with fascination about her future.  At the moment she is collecting things -, all sorts of things – and is investigating everything in the hopes of making acquisitions.

I first noticed it when we were at the beach a couple of days ago.  She was picking up large round pebbles and piles of gritty stones to take home.  Alarmingly, after filling her pockets she decided she would pop a pebble into her mouth to carry it.

But now it is getting a bit personal.  She is always trying to grab my phone and the tablet I borrowed.   I have warned her that if she drops the tablet and smashes the screen, I am claiming her pocket money (whenever she starts to receive pocket money) as compensation.  She has even taken a fancy to my new sandals and she snoops inside my bag whenever she has the opportunity.

She is highly curious and seems to enjoy having her own little back pack to keep her findings as she is running out of room to keep her discoveries tucked into her socks.  Today she seemed to be collecting sticks.  When she is especially proud of her discovery, she presents it to her Mumma with great enthusiasm.

Today we decided to avoid the rain and watch “The Peanuts Movie” with her.  She grabbed the remote control and pressed pause and then ran off giggling.  She also absconded with the bucket of popcorn.  I love the little mischievous ideas that pop into her head.

Love her!  She has so much energy and is always investigating people and objects wherever we go.  Such a little adventurer.

Canolfen y Dechnoleg Amgen (That’s About As Much Welsh As You’re Going To Get Out Of Me I’m Afraid)

Just a stone’s throw from the cottage belonging to some family members is a site we have not been to for ages…and we decided as it is was close to the town we were visiting today we would take a visit with Little One.

Our destination today was the:

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Centre for Alternative Technology

Yes, that’s right, just behind the welcome desk which is on the same level as the car park, there is a cable car up to the rest of the site.  Here in Wales, they are very considerate of English folk who might not be use to walking up mountains every day.

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As if this not enough excitement for little one!  And for me!

It makes me laugh that when you read the information leaflet, it makes the center sound as interesting as reading the information on the side of a cereal box, or the back of a utility bill.

The reality is that not only is the center very interesting and of relevance to just about anyone at all who lives in a house, or uses electricity or takes showers or eats food…

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The VIEWS…the Center is worth a visit just for the views alone if you are really not interested in any of the information presented.

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I wish I had a better camera to take better pictures for you…there is nothing like your own eyes though to see Wales for yourself.

I took about fifty photos today of exhibits and my family as we toured the buildings displaying information, the gardens and all sorts of displays, and fun exhibits.  In addition we stopped off at the mostly vegan cafe and shared a vegan chocolate cake and a vegan lemon drizzle cake.

Then there was the playground…and the slide – my niece was in her element!  Oh she had fun.  A one year old child makes everything a hundred times more fun.

We learnt all about the origins of CAT (Center for Alternative Technologies), energy efficient construction techniques, how to conserve and make wise use of resources, including electricity and water, how to grow your own veggies and herbs, and there was a huge amount of information on all the alternatives to burning fossils fuels.

I don’t want you to tire of my holiday photos, so I will try to put together a little collage so you get the idea of what we were up to today.

Wish you were here with us in Wales!

 

I Cannot Compete With A One Year Old Child Who Can Walk Over Hot Coals

For the first time this summer I was at the beach today!  This is something my sister plans to correct this week so we have more days at the seaside planned.  Normally we are walking up mountains when I visit my sister, but partly because of the glorious weather and partly because of the addition to her little family, we are not being so ambitious about fell-walking right now.  I will be squeezing some walking in to the trip though.  You can’t really visit Snowdonia without paying your respects at some point to the hills!

Back to the beach though:

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Empty beach, looks perfect.  Little One was so excited!

As we stepped on to the beach though and my feet started to sink into what at first I though was sand, I realized it was more of a stony beach – a  mix of larger pebbles and tiny sharp gritty stones.  New sandals had to come off immediately as the stones would have scraped all of the rose gold from the leather straps.

So that left me and Milly walking bear feet and as Little One had shoes and socks on and her feet were also sinking into the stones, we allowed her to be bare footed also.  She loves walking.  She is so fast.  We were trying to keep tight hold of her which frustrated her in her excitement to get down to the water.

But this beach was not for the faint footed at all.  Warning: another feet photo ahead:

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All complaints about my feet can be forwarded directly to  Stephen T Stephen T the creator of Armageddon Cafe.  Stephen is now Official Visual Feet Complaints Handler.  He set the standard when he was brave enough to publish a photo of his own fine feet for the whole blogging world to see in his post below:

https://revelationsend.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/simple-things/

Now, I found walking on that beach excruciating, it just would have been more painful to ruin my beautiful sandals.  First there was the heat as the stones were baking hot with the sun’s scorching heat.  Then there was the sharp gritty material.  It was beyond any degree of beneficial exfoliating – it was torture!  I had to go slow!  I was gently nudging my feet into the stones so they were not on the hot surface but cooler stones below and then let the pressure of my body lean apply slowly so that I was not in too much pain.

But Little One!  Oh my goodness, her feet be made of steel or marble.  She was not bothered in the slightest either by the heat or the sharp stones, she was running and jumping and bending down and picking up handfuls of stones to collect.

I cannot comprehend how tough her feet  seem to be.  She was loving every moment and I was in agony all the way down to the sea.  I have a niece who could join the circus as a “Walking Over Hot Coals” act – do they have those in the circus?  It is so long since I went to the circus, I really am not sure.

The sea water was gorgeous.  A little cool to refresh us, but not at all cold.  Little One loved it!!!  She was so excited every time a wave came in towards us.  Squealing with delight as the water rushed over her toes.

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I feel a bit teary eyed that I am based in London so far away from Milly and her lovely family.  I would love to be around to see Little One growing up.

Aaaaaah sigh!

 

Cheerful Childhood Chums

I spent two nights at the home of my parents.  They moved to the village where Granddad was living a few years ago.  In the guest room are lots of pictures and other personal items that were in my bedroom in the old house.  This is one of the pictures on the wall – sorry about the reflection.

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Milly, Mandy and I are in the drawing along with three other friends.  The three of us in the middle were inseparable for some time and when the younger three left school they used to spend a huge amount of time with us also.

Goodness we were an incredibly happy bunch!  Looking at this sketch made my mind flood with memories of our adventures in our late teens and early twenties.  We travelled near and far away from our home town and made friends up and down the country.  Our teenage years and early twenties were rich with experiences I am sure none of us will ever forget.

Another friend of ours drew this for us.  Our friend in the middle (knee-length purple dress) was the first to leave home.  She was moving to Wales.  It’s her little dog that is in the sketch also.

Ironically, she is back up in our home town near Liverpool with her husband, as is our Mandy.  Milly and the two girls with short dark hair are all married and living in Wales.

Then there is me – long red dress, short black jacket – I think I had that exact outfit.  Me – the only one who has never married and has been living in the south of England for eleven years.

But today I am in Wales!  I am staying with Milly and her husband and my gorgeous niece who is so much fun.  Can’t wait to get outside and start taking photos for you.

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A Beautiful Location…A Few Ignorant Fools

fairy glenBeing home – and when I say “home”, I mean the town in which I grew up.  I left a long time ago, my heart left along time ago.  My true home now is where I was based as a full-time volunteer.  That is the place I belong.  However, I enjoy visiting the town I grew up in very much.  I have lots of fantastic memories and friends I can call in on even after all these years and know I will be welcomed warmly.

I have been spending the past two days catching up with old friends and visiting locations I have been longing to see.  I have been taking lots of photos and will use them at some point to create posts that I will hope will be of interest.

However, there are things that I have seen that have saddened me a little.  I was proud of the area I grew up in.  The countryside around this town is idyllic.  I would love to take you exploring the hidden footpaths that are generous with spectacular views and just provide a tunnel of shady green secrecy where you can stroll for hours without seeing anyone.  This is not a town people visit for the walking.  But it is blessed with beautiful places to walk.

In my late teens I started rambling all over Lancashire and Merseyside.  In the summer I would often leave the house at 5.30am and quite literally walk all day coming home well into the evening.  So long as I had water I could go on for miles although I did learn to pack a couple of snacks in my rucksack to make things easier for my weary body.  It was so good for me to fall in love with the countryside on my doorstep.

IMG_20180702_125837Every now and then though I come across something that kind of makes me cross.  Today it was when I was passing through a pretty glen with lush foliage providing welcome relief from the heat.  I could hear a stream bubbling excitedly so I stopped on the footbridge to soak up the prettiness and serenity of that little spot.  Then I saw in the water below, two shopping trolleys.

Such a beautiful and yet sadly some of the inhabitants of the town have dumped shopping trolleys and all sort of plastic and other rubbish into places that would have been perfect scenes of serenity and lush countryside.  Further along a remote public footpath there was an even worse example of fly-tipping, rolls of carpet, pieces of board that looked like some kind of Ikea furniture, an armchair and a fridge-freezer had been hurled down a little ravine.  Eeeeeed-yats!

Ay ay ay!  If I were given the superpower of being anyone’s mum, I would take these fools and escort them to go litter picking and clear up their mess.  I would confiscate anything precious to them – phones, cars, lap-top, X-box, I don’t care…I would be completely ruthless.  Then I would take them stadium cleaning with me.  They would have to scrape the gum from seats and sweep, mop, dust and wipe until they had an idea of how much better it would have been had they taken their rubbish to an appropriate place.

That is not something I have not done myself.  I have helped to clean several massive stadiums, Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, Everton, Stoke City, Wolverhampton, Bournemnouth, Twickenham…as well as indoor arenas.  Actually I love it, a team of a thousand descend and work like an army of ants.  It’s quite a sight to behold.

Aaaaah…I am going to shrug this one off and concentrate on all the prettiness I saw today.

Cue holiday spam:

Oh if you had been free for the afternoon, I am sure you would have loved the panoramic views.  We had Winter Hill on one side of us and then the view from Blackpool Tower all the way down to Liverpool Docks and the city center.  My friends claimed the hills of North Wales were visible, but it was not a clear enough day to discern them with clarity.  Still I am sure they were there.

Manchester -In A Heat Wave

What you do when your feet start to suffer because of the icky sticky oooey goooey consequences of walking for miles on concrete paths in the city during a heat wave?  (I have been wearing summer dresses and ballet pumps.)

You head straight to the nearest shoe shop and beg them for help.  Lo and behold!  They found me these delightful sandals.  Let me hype them for a moment…Lovely thick chunky sole, great for walking, rose gold soft leather straps on upper of sandal that does not rub your tootsies.  OFFICE (that is the name of the shoe shop) you saved me from sore feet misery!

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At this point I must mention that it was Stephen T Stephen T the creator of Armageddon Cafe who inspired me to share my feet with you!  He was brave enough to publish a photo of his own fine feet for the whole blogging world to see in his post below:

https://revelationsend.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/simple-things/

If Stephen was brave enough, so am I!  (Any complaints about my feet can be forwarded directly to Mr Stephen T himself.)

Well this is Manchester in a heat wave:

 

I am going to admit that the heat is getting to me a bit now.  I have been guzzling so much water and oddly, it doesn’t seem to need to escape.  It does not bear thinking about.

Today we arrived at Victoria Train Station and saw the Manchester Evening News Arena for the first time since the explosion that killed twenty-two who had been attending a concert last year.

We packed a lot into our day in Manchester and we walked all the way down to the other end of Oxford Road – which was only possible because I had my new sandals.  We packed in shopping, museums, and a restaurant in the evening.

sorbet in coneWe also had time to visit a gelateria.  I was gasping at this point.  I had not eaten anything all day because of the heat but I was craving some wonderful refreshment.  They had three dairy-free sorbets.  I asked for a waffle cone.  I knew I wanted the mango sorbet for certain. In the end I asked for a big scoop of the lemon sorbet on the top because it sounded so refreshing.  Don’t tell my Goldfinch, it is our little secret.  It was so so delicious.  Totally did the trick and energised me for our trek down to the Manchester Museum and beyond.

I am preparing a post about my rebellious blip as a teenager.  I remember having a lot of mixed up emotions, but those emotions settled once I found something that gave me a sense of purpose and a positive outlook.  I was needed and useful and was able to work as a volunteer with hundreds of happy and interesting people.  Nonetheless, there were at least nine months when I was difficult for my parents.  It did not last, and it is buried history.  But the post I am working on will contain more details about my first affiliation with Manchester.

But right now I want to share a memory of Manchester that is still vivid in my mind over twenty years later.  It is an event which almost shocked me out of childhood and made me aware that no matter how much I looked for the positives, this world needs changes on a large scale.

One Saturday in June 1996, my Mum allowed my sister and I to go shopping inshopping Manchester on our own.  This was quite a big token of trust.  I was fourteen at the time.  My sister Mandy was twelve but she was already two inches taller than me.  I had been to Manchester before, but Mum did not know that (…I had gone with a school friend when we should have been at school).  So my parents were hesitant about allowing us to go, but I begged and pleaded.  I was about to start working in Manchester (doing little insignificant tasks and running errands) and I wanted to buy some clothes as I could not wear my school uniform at a record company.  My Dad realized that if I was going to have to catch the bus and then the train into Manchester every time I was working, I may as well have a trial run of going into the city and learning the travel routes.

Of course my parents gave me a huge lecture on safety.  Looking back, I guess allowing a fourteen and a twelve year old to head into a busy city without an adult was quite a big deal.  We did not have mobile phones.  But we knew how to use a pay-phone if there was any trouble. Both of us were tall and looked older than our age, especially Mandy.

victoria station.jpgWe were so excited.  We woke up bright and early that morning and set out on our adventure.  We arrived at Manchester’s Victoria Station at around 8.30am.  We walked from there along the main road to Marks and Spencers and then crossed the road and headed into TopShop.  I spent all my money in TopShop, River Island and Bay.  It was perhaps only half past nine when I realized I did not have enough money to buy any more clothes.  But I am pretty certain I did buy Mandy and I an ice-cream in a cone. Without money we had no idea what we would do for the rest of the day in the city.

We discussed it and decided we may as well just go straight home and then we could go out and play with our friends.

As we walked away from the Arndale Shopping Center in the direction of Marks and Spencers, I said to Mandy, “There seem to be a lot of police around this morning.”

Mandy’s reply, “Duh!  It is a city, of course there are a lot of police around!”

Wham!!  Suddenly a police woman had crashed into me and I was on the floor clinging with all my might to my shopping bags.  I was not sure what had happened.  The police woman helped me up and apologised.

police tapeWe were just about to turn right to head back to Victoria Station when a police man unravelling police tape barred our way and told us we were not allowed to go that way. We asked the police man which other routes would take us to Victoria Station.  He said he was not sure, but he told us firmly, “you need to evacuate this area immediately.  Just head in the opposite direction calmly, but you need to turn around and head away from here.”

Mandy and I were obedient, we were just a bit worried because we did not know our way around the city center.  As we hesitated, we saw people arguing with the same police man.  One man kept insisting he had to cross the police tape because he needed to return his library book.  Another man who was so enraged that he could not go past, started to rant and yell and exclaim, “it’s not as if there is a bomb or something!”

We felt sorry for the police man, but it was not long before other police staff joined him. Mandy and I started walking up past the Arndale Shopping Center again.  I can’t remember which road we turned down but eventually we managed to find our way back through side streets and down to Victoria Station.  We boarded the train back to Wigan and then caught the bus to our home.

When we walked through our front door…well, you should have seen the look on Mum and Dad’s face!

It turns out that we had caught the last train out of Manchester.  We had no idea until they told us and sat us in front of the television to watch the news, that a van that had been parked outside Marks and Spencers (a van we had walked past twice that morning) containing a bomb had exploded and had ripped an enormous hole out of Manchester City Center.  The shops I had bought my clothes in had been destroyed.

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There are a heap of videos online showing the explosion of the van.  I found them upsetting to watch, so I did not want to post anything that was too disturbing.  But here is a photo of the area Mandy and I had criss-crossed several times that morning, after the catastrophe caused by the biggest bomb that had been detonated in Britain since the Second World War,

It was such a bizarre surreal feeling.  I found it odd that Mandy and I had no idea of the danger, we had calmly left the city and had been completely oblivious to what was going on behind us.  Apparently, there were no fatalities that day, but there were two hundred people injured and just a massive amount of damage.  Manchester City Center became a construction site for the next few years.

I walked through that area again several times when I visited Manchester with my friends this week.  I have vivid memories of that day and I remember how they effected me for many months to come – I do think that event spring-boarded me into my little rebellious blip.  I just had a lot of mixed up feelings about what had happened.  I expressed it by being difficult for the next nine months.  By March 1997 it was all over and I never looked back.

Since that day I have worked as a steward at large events and due to two bomb scares while I was at work we have had to evacuate thousands of people.  I always took the training we had seriously and remember how clearly spoken and firm you have to be with people when you give them instructions to leave the area quickly but calmly.

There was one image I really wanted to share with you:

 

It felt kind of special seeing this little red fella again.  You may not be able to make out words on the plaque, but basically they indicate that this red post box survived the bombing almost undamaged.  During the rebuilding of Manchester City Center, it was relocated and then once the construction had progressed enough they brought the same post box back to it’s original site.

I hope I don’t need to explain the inspiration this little red fella gives.

This post is dedicated to all those who face a catastrophe and have to keep going.  Some of us may have needed to take a bit of time out to get our heads around what has happened.  But now others will look to us as a pillar of strength and inspiration for what we have survived (almost undamaged).

Sadly, the explosion last year at the Manchester Arena did result in twenty-two fatalities and many more injuries.  I know it must be tough for those who were there that night.  I remember my own emotions back in 1996.  How much more so must those who lost loved ones in 2017.

Oh for a world that does not have to deal with fear and terror.

All my love….from Caramel in Manchester…xx

 

 

A Lorra Lorra Laughs In Liverpool

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By the time I reached Liverpool with some friends who I grew up with, I finally started to feel I was relaxing.  It has been a long time since I have had a two week holiday.  Maybe ten years or so.  Normally I spread out my annual leave and have long weekends or take a random day off because a friend is passing through London and wants to see me.

At first I still had the pent up “places to be, people to see” rush rush mode switched on inside me.  But after a couple of days of realizing how incredibly slow the public transport routes are, I accepted you can’t rush outside of London.  I am not insured to drive anyone’s car at the moment.  In London, I don’t miss having a set of wheels at all. But outside of London, you have to accept a different pace enforced by the schedule of the buses and trains.

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The day in Liverpool was great fun.  We did a bit of a whirlwind tour of some of the locations I was keen to see and then we relaxed with a phenomenal feast in a restaurant up in China Town.

My ear was delighted to hear very strong Liverpool accents again.  I have a few friends in London who grew up in Liverpool but their accent is blending with a southern hue. But hearing raw scouse is fantastic!

If you are a tourist visiting Liverpool, I am more than happy to recommend to you a visit to the Albert Docks.  It was so pleasant to be near the river on a blistering hot day. Walking through the colonnades provided plenty of much needed shade.  There are great museums and a myriad of little shops and cafes.

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This photo came out rather blurry I am afraid.  The boat was just moving so quickly, I found it hard to focus.  It was packed with passengers at their leisure who were waving at us.  It looked so colourful in the sun today gliding along the River Mersey.

We did not take any boat trips today…we had too long a list of other places we wanted to visit.

Liverpool seemed very vibrant and lively today.  I think we were as well.  We laughed so hard, I felt I had a pain developing in my side.  I notice immediately the propensity Liverpool people have to laughter.  They truly like a chuckle and it is so easy to ignite what turns out to be a conversation of pure comedy.

And we were singing, we sang songs we knew off by heart that “The Beatles” were famous for.

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It is so so good wandering around a place that you have been visiting since childhood, arm and arm with friends who you have known since childhood.  To have no time limitation because you are on “holiday” and can explore and play like a child.  Oh we did!

I don’t want to overload you with holiday spam!  But, if you can tolerate a few posts about my travels around the North West of England and North Wales this week…while I am on my hols!  I would love to show you around.  I could do my whole “Tour Guide Barbie” thing and tell you facts and figures that would probably give you more of a laugh than impress you.

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We had a lorra lorra laughs in Liverpool.

 

Ay Ay It’s Wigan Pie!

My day out today (which was in Madchester – sorry Manchester) took me through a town I used to frequent frequently.

Wigan – what can I say about Wigan?  Apparently, it is famous for pies.  For years I have seen a dark blue van drive around with the phrase: “Ay Ay It’s Wigan Pie!” on the side of it.  In this sweltering heat, the last thing I could face right now is a pie.  However, normally, they are quite a favourite of mine.  Although a rare treat nowadays due to the calories in the pastry. These days if I was going to tuck into a pie it would be on a bed of green leaves, not the pie, mash (or chippy chips) and mushy peas (with gravy) that I remember buying as a teenager from Wigan pie shops.  It has been a very long time since I allowed myself that kind of indulgence – my hips will not allow me to even imagine it now.

But to cheer myself up over my lost svelte figure, I will allow myself the occasional treat as a reminder of the good old days when I could eat anything because I easily burnt off twice the calories during a hockey match or an eight mile run, or a basketball game, or several hours of thrashing up and down a swimming pool.  My pies of choice nowadays are the scrumptious Higgidy range:

Good grief – they are yummy!  My sister says they are posh pies.  Perhaps they are, I don’t know.  But they taste great, no matter where they went to school.

But getting back to Wigan.  If you are genuinely interested in exploring the town, then I will take the liberty of recommending a visit to Wigan Pier to learn all about how this town was built up.

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To be honest, I am no expert on the town.  It is actually a place that has a lot of interesting history, if you are interested in the industrial and social history of England.  I studied Modern World History (wars and politics and treaties) instead of Social and Economic History where I would have had the opportunity to learn more about the mills and factories and trade routes that shaped England,  So I am afraid to venture my limited and foggy understanding of the role that Wigan played in the cotton industry.

wigan rugby clubAlso, I remember Wigan being a very popular rugby town.  Rugby League that is, which I have been told is significantly different from Rugby Union – don’t ask me to explain the differences. But I recall that Wigan were very successful all the way through my high school years.  I went to a school that was near to Wigan.  Our home town was sandwiched between Wigan and St Helens, which are two big rugby towns.  Either side are the cities of Liverpool and Manchester, which have very popular football teams.

My main memory of Wigan is the old Olympic style Swimming Pool.  It has to be an outstanding memory in my mind because I won so many races there during swimming galas.  So it was a very special place to me.

This is how I remember the pool:wigan swimming pool

However, I am sad to say it no longer exists. Which is a strange feeling.  Any location that used to be your beloved playground, your sacred ground, your moment of victory is dear to your heart.  So to hear it has been demolished is saddening indeed.

That is one of the lessons you have to learn as you are growing up, growing older.  Things will change.  Especially man-made things!  I mean there are so many things that are reliable, the sun rising each morning, the spring arriving at long last to bring back colour and life everywhere, the moon drawing the tides steadily in and letting them ebb out again.

But bricks and mortar…there is no point becoming overly sentimental about those losses.  But the memories will last long long after the bulldozers have had their way.  I have already done a little reminiscing about the golden days of school in another post.  I am embarrassed to say, only one person (besides myself) “liked” this post.  I guess I can understand it is hard to read about someone else’s first days at school when the only school days most people can bear to think about are there own!  But here is a little passage from that post which will explain my love of the old Wigan Olypic-Sized Swimming Pool:

Life at school became a bit more interesting when I was asked to leave the rest of my class one morning each week and join the children in their last year of primary school who had weekly swimming lessons.  My sisters and I were part of our town swimming club so the headmaster wanted to see whether I swimmingcould keep up with the children three years older than me. Sure enough they entered me, in my first year of juniors (Year 3) into a couple of the races in the county swimming gala. I was swimming for the school competitively with the Year 6 kids.  Our school won so many races in the county swimming gala and I remember winning mine. The headmaster was delighted with me. We had a number of awards on display in the school lobby after that swimming gala.  Ours was a small school, so it seemed quite a victory that we had won so much.

During the six-week school holiday I had been allowed to borrow a book from the school library.  It was Heidi.  The headmaster had told me that I must be sure not to lose it, I must bring it back at the end of the holidays or else I would not be allowed to borrow a book again.  Can you imagine how devastated I was when my Dad broke the news one morning….our school (which by now I had grown to love) had been burnt down by three boys?  Two were fourteen years of age and the other had just finished year 6 – he must have been eleven. 

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2018/05/04/first-day-of-school/

So, it was actually at quite a young age, the age of seven that I learnt that places that are special to you can be destroyed.  I must not allow myself to be overly weepie because the old Wigan Olympic Sized Swimming Pool is no more.

I need to cheer myself up though….maybe I could face a pie afterall!

Ooooooooh – look what I found at the supermarket on the way home!  It even says on the box they are “Rather Cheerful” – how could I go wrong with these?

Higgidy Pie 7

Learner at Love

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