Archive for the ‘Did’ Category

We went to our local library in Alsager for an hour this morning, on National Poetry Day in the UK, to see and listen to W Terry Fox read some poetry. I consider it well worth visiting that link to some YouTube performances. It was a fine way to spend time and Barbara also enjoyed it. He talked quite a bit about Mow Cop where he lived for a time and still lives “down bank” a bit at Whitehill.  The event attracted an audience of about a dozen, two of whom had travelled from Crewe. It was a free occasion, funded by the Friends of Alsager Library.

Poetry has always been a minor interest of mine, humming quietly along in the background to a life, ever since that A Level course in Eng. Lit. at school with good old “Gabby” Hayes where he introduced us to the beauty of John Keats’ work. Alongside many of his own fine poems, W Terry Fox read Keats’ Ode to Autumn today, (read and hear here) which took me right back to those days in that particular seat in that particular classroom, as clear as if  I were there now.

I remember those times with Gabby (middle row, second from the right) as a bejewelled island in a murky sea of dark drudgery and suffering from the rest of my schooldays. There were only four of us in the class, as I remember, which added to the privilege and sheer pleasure of coming from a bookless and often cheerless home to that highly skilled introduction to classic literature over two years that probably helped to nurture whatever semblance of sanity I ever had. Thanks Gabby and Thanks Terry.

Poetry in Chicago? Well, here’s a poem by








Robert Pinsky featured on the excellent website of The Poetry Foundation based there; from such a simple thing like the next time you put on a shirt or skirt, he has fashioned simple but resonant words.

Someone local dropped off a cupboard at Age UK and Barbara could see through the scuffed, stained, old and dark polish and varnish to an attractive piece of furniture for somewhere. It looked pretty good in its original state but here’s a small gallery of some stages in its rapid transformation to quite a satisfying object.

Not bad before treatment, but crying out for some TLC aka Nitromors and Stanley blade - crude but effective.




"Advertising" the beeswax before applying it

The finished job, with the door folded away to reveal great shelves









The door is made of slats stuck to a strip of leather so it can roll down and around in a channel in the base. Not sure what we’ll use the shelves / boxes for yet.

Just a few more random shots to show some of the beauty of the wood and perhaps to evoke the response, “They don’t make’em like that anymore!”:

The brass door catch and lock. No key unfortunately, but looking good.


Better just read the instructions before applying beeswax


Pre-waxing door, showing the beautiful grain in the slats








A bit more buffing up now it's indoors....








...and there's the shine

Photographer: Barbara Mary Granter


Took a rail trip to Coventry last Monday to see if all was well with the Granter gravestone in London Road Cemetery. It was and after a few nice moments there I had a good look round at the Cathedral area,which includes the forecourts of Coventry University and the Herbert Art Gallery. The Gallery foyer featured this attractive grafitti:The History Centre holds Electoral Rolls but is closed on Mondays so I will return another day to try to establish when my Dad moved from London to Coventry, sometime before 1918.

We had a visitor to stay recently who brought 2 wheelchairs with her and it was interesting to say the least to observe the interaction of two female friends with physical disabilities. (Somehow I’ve just managed typos which gave rise to “fiends” and “diabilities”).

One of our neighbours had her 4th birthday and we went round for the celebrations including a barbeque.

With their new boxer puppy,

another visiting boxer and numerous children of all ages it all made for an enjoyable evening in familiar physical surroundings (borrowing light from our outside lights) but unfamiliar social surroundings.

Met up yesterday with two old student colleagues from Brighton days back in the 60s, for lunch at Salford Quays / Lowry Centre.   We took Dave, another friend from those days

Mag and Dave Futcher at the Lowry, Salford Quays








so there was lots of reminiscing and “Do you remember so-and-so…?” which with some reasonable food made for a great hour or 3.

Dave Clifford with the Futchers at the Lowry, Salford Quays










Mag Futcher at the Lowry










Later that day Dave and I went to the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent for the first of our season of orchestral concerts. The programme was a delight as usual.

Rushing out now to another meal with friends, such is the social whirl these days. Harrogate next weekend to meet up with two more friends, who are definitely not fiends.

We’re just back yesterday from a greatly enjoyable week staying in Beth’s flat in Brighton while she was in Greece with her boyfriend Sam and his family. Here they are:
After one day early on spent traversing the length and breadth of one of the “trendy” Brighton streets of shops – St. James’s Street – we found we were exhausted and kind of ‘frazzled’ from all the hustle and bustle of what seemed to us like a crazy level of overcrowded narrow pavements and barely accessible shops.
We reverted to strolling along the promenade in Hove and ending up at an excellent Italian Restaurant two days running. A much more pleasant way of enjoying the constant sunshine and sea breeze. Made us realise why ‘old folks’ retire to such quieter places and avoid the rat race of city life if they/we can.
We were glad to get back to what seemed like an enormous house after Beth’s (delightful) one room, one bedroom flat and Barbara has finally abandoned once and for all all thoughts of moving to Brighton or Hove. Great for a visit, but no property to compare with ours, which is now adapted in so many ways to Barbara’s needs and affords us so much choice of which room to use!
I think it’s called ‘counting your blessings’ and seeing that the grass is only sometimes greener elsewhere.
We’re harvesting runner beans like mad and tomatoes are ripening at a very consumable rate.
I’m having a ‘fasting blood test’ tomorrow morning (the GP /Health Centre nurse persuaded me, without mentioning how it helps their targets/budget account) to measure my cholesterol levels. Again. I ignored any advice the last time, when I was told the level was too high. All a very controversial subject, it seems.

Specification on bike tyres says inflate to 90 psi, but chickened out at 75. Seemed hard enough to me. Hummed along to the canal towpath at Rode Heath and joined National Cycle Network 5. Set off south towards Kidsgrove in glorious sunshine with a light cooling breeze which was to last for the next 4 hours. Left the towpath at this place and crossed over the main road through Kidsgrove onto the continuing route up the side of Tesco’s carpark and along the disused rail track to Tunstall. Good surface all the way. Stopped off in Tunstall Park in Victoria Park Road for a sandwich and people watching for a while. Looked over the memorial clock tower there to William Adams’ dynasty. Rejoined Network 5 and took in Westport Lake, Bathpool Park and both ends of the Harecastle Tunnel. The tunnel keeper at the south end provided me with this map, without which I’d never have managed and after a couple of more miles of varied terrain reached the original towpath and on to  Kidsgrove and home to Alsager.

Must have been one of the best days of the year as far as the weather was concerned and I was pleased to be fit and free enough to enjoy it in this way.

Image Gallery

Other Stuff