3BT – dogdamn soft, like a free charity shop, chatter

1. We go to the rescue centre expecting to meet one dog but end up meeting another one. We can’t stop stroking her back – it’s unbelievably soft.

2. In my mum & dad’s attic, I find games and toys from my childhood and John gushes that he had the same things too. We liberate an old chair, some board games, a soldering kit and vintage macrame shopping bag from their extraneous existence.

3. The drive home from Southport is always filled with chatter. Discussion in the dark.

Manhattans reunion: photos from way back when

At hideously-early o’clock (8.55) yesterday morning, a knock on the door awoke me from my slumber. Not expecting delivery of anything or anyone, I couldn’t be bothered getting up to answer since it was likely to be a spammer (we get lots of annoying salespeople around here). But, like with the cats I so utterly adore, curiosity got the better of me eventually. By that time though, there was a “we missed you” Royal Mail card on the doormat and the postman was halfway down the street and I had to chase after him barefoot and in my pyjamas. That was fun.

Anyway, the registered letter of horrid-awakening-and-cold-feet turned out to be my Manhattans Reunion tickets: the pieces of card which will whisk Andrew and me ten years back in time. I am still intrigued but nervous about this little event but on the whole looking forward to it.

For anyone that cares (and I know a number of people have come this blog recently through searching “manhattans reunion” or the like, so they might even if no one else does), that photo-booth picture up there is what I looked like when I frequented the ‘hattans all those years ago (mid-1995 to end-of-1997). Looking at it from this angle, I’m the one of the left; my right hand man, of course, being Andrew. Actually, that isn’t really what we looked like at Manhattans: that’s what we looked like at about 3am on a Monday morning at the Hartshead Moor services on the way back from V97 in Leeds after 48+ hours without sleep. We still went to Manhattans that night.

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Southport is on the map

The Google map to be precise.

On the default screen when you go to maps.google.co.uk – the level of scaling to show pretty much all the UK in one screen, Southport is listed alongside Liverpool and Preston – but numerous cities around the country, like Sheffield, York and Bradford, are missing.


One zoom point further out, Liverpool and Preston disappears, leaving Southport and Manchester the only noted locations in the whole north-west.


I realise this is probably because Liverpool’s name tag would run into Manchester’s (and other cities would have similar text spacing issues) while Southport’s name tag can just sit right out in the sea but still, I prefer to think Southport’s tourist board have paid off Google for the exposure and/or it’s a shout-out to the countless former Sandgrounders like me out there who really should go back and visit the old place more often.

Clowning around

Me as a clown, in the rainI went back to Southport a couple of weeks ago and hauled a crapload of my old papers and photos back to Leeds. It’s been fun, if a little strange, going through everything.

If I ever needed proof that I’ve always been a hoarder, this is certainly it. I have every letter sent to me by friends over the years (and there is a LOT of them – from friends I saw every day as well as those living further away), photos, newspaper clippings – whole newspapers sometimes – diaries, notes, drawings and many, many half written stories, screenplays and poems. One night I read through all the letters from one particular friend, sent over the summer after our GCSEs before we started college (to be writer-ish about it, the summer where everything changed but not much happened), and it put me in a really weird mindset – particularly as I knew within three months, she would no longer be talking to me. Other letters and accounts were similar: I probably only read them when I first received or wrote them and didn’t look at them again until now – hindsight is throwing a helluva spin on things.

I might scan in a heap of photos at some point but for now, I’ve just scanned in one. I picked this one because I have a tendency to mention it to people in passing which always results in them saying “…what?”. It’s from when I was a clown in the International Clown Parade (which was held in Southport in 1997). About ten minutes after this photo was taken, Norman Wisdom looked at me with such pity and like I was some sort of half-wit that I’ve never been able to forgive him.

(Apologies that the picture is slightly out of focus. Not my fault. Mother was the photographer at the time.)