Bury your dead or Bury! You’re dead.

What a satisfying feeling it is to go to a football match convinced you don’t have a sheep’s stomach of a chance of winning and emerge 90 minutes later victorious. The bonhomme in the crowd, the opportunity to study the gloomy faces of opposition fans and gloat, the jaunty walk(or should I say race) along the main road with other departing fans. Totally satisfying!! L.S Lowry captured that walk in one of his paintings; a walk that’s driven by the momentum of restored hope.

As a Stockport County fan, I attend all our matches armed with boredom comforters like toffees, live frogs, a Build your own Viaduct set and that old stand-by, laudanum.

Yesterday’s match with Bury, classed as a local derby, saw us up against a club that had the best away record in the League. We, on the other hand, have a goal difference that could legally qualify for a bus pass.

We had been slightly cheered by the arrival of a new striker from Southend in the week. He was soon blooded, literally, when he collided head first with a Bury player minutes into the match and nearly knocked himself out, needing 4 stitches. 4 stitches increased to 6 stitches as the game went on. His poor father had travelled all the way up from the South coast to watch him play and must have been going through torture witnessing the dressing on his son’s head getting bigger and bigger. Our manager does not believe in taking anyone off until a major artery is severed.

His bravery was to be rewarded, however, as he got that all important goal and in front of his ol’dad at that. I think we may see him wearing head protection next week, possibly an improvised Egyptian saucepan helmet, in club colours, of course.

Following another Bury player biting the dust with concussion, the second goal came from our other striker, Anthony Elding, who hasn’t scored since he came to the club. So moved was he by the occasion that he kissed the Edgeley Park turf and ran half way round the pitch to celebrate. In the postmatch interview, it was obvious he had transformed into a maudlin drunk.  His moonwalk speech consisted of, “I really love this club, I really love this club………………………………………….” The interviewer was taken aback by all this raw emotion and momentarily forgot how many players there are in a football team. 

And so, dear friends, Stockport County moved off the bottom of the table and I put my frogs back in the canal and dismantled my viaduct for another week.

The Slow Train

Yesterday was picking-up day at Kirkby Gallery where I have been exhibiting my bags and jewellery for a couple of months. I sold pretty well and was fortunate to be asked to leave some work for the newly created Craft space. I was a bit shellshocked when I got there because the gallery was magnificent; very large and very modern, not what you would expect to find in a place like Kirkby (no disrespect to Kirkbyites).

The journey from Manchester Victoria to Kirkby was another matter.  Man Vic is begging for a refurb ( I travelled from Picc to Vic, as the stationmaster at Marple HILARIOUSLY put it). It is cold and dark and pretty characterless as stations go with more staff hanging around than passengers. The journey took me through the Victorian outer city grime but failed to deliver a pastoral film set once out of Manchester. Everything had that look of being powdered with the stuff that gathers on top of your wardrobe. I was also looking at the outside through windows that were dirtier than my own glasses, and that’s saying something. I think I should suggest to Northern Rail that they might consider a discount to passengers if they agree to clean their own window prior to departure – bring your own vinegar and shammy leather. 

I read somewhere that a futuristic architect had proposed to build a giant metropolis that ran from Manchester to Liverpool. The space is lying in limbo at the moment and begging for a bit of inspired planning. I nominate the Manchester to Kirkby rail route as the dullest and slowest journey in the whole of the UK rail network. If I was to compare it to food, it would be like sitting down to a plateful of pasta, potatoes, rice and white bread marinated in Night Nurse.

Dumbing down?

Geology students, sitting a rather important exam, were furious, according to the Manchester Evening News, when it was noticed the answers were stapled to the back of the exam papers. The headline;

“GEOLOGY STUDENTS ARE ROCKED BY EXAM BLUNDER”

The Burns Night Fiasco

I know that Burns Night has long gone but couldn’t rest until I had recorded our bizarre celebration this year.
We had a girl’s night out, myself and three friends, and decided to go to an advertised event at the Navigation Inn at Bugsworth Basin. The people of Bugsworth sound like an odd bunch because they decided several years ago that they were ashamed of the name Bugsworth and renamed it Buxworth. Hence the fact there are some road signs saying Bugsworth and some saying Buxworth – take your pick!!

Bugsworth Basin is a canal enthusiast’s heaven and the Navigation Inn, an old country pub that has been there since the canal was built, no doubt ( a ‘navigation’ being the old name for a canal).

The haggis was going to be brought in at 8.00pm so we were a bit concerned about being rather late. We had all made an effort and either dressed in kilts or something vaguely Scottish. As we pulled into the carpark we all had that sinking feeling as there were only 1 or 2 cars there. We walked into the pub and realised we were the only people there. As we sat down with a drink, the landlord and lady came over dressed in scruffy blue jeans and washed out sweaters welcoming us to the evening. I was rather miffed they hadn’t made the same effort that we had.

‘You are staying to eat, aren’t you?’, was the utterance said in a pleading tone.

‘Of course’, was our reply when we’d really been planning a quick getaway to another pub where we knew they were giving out free whiskies.

Duly the haggis was brought in by the larger than life Scottish chef and the knife was plunged in to the poem ‘To a Haggis’. Afterwards  followed a cringeworthy modern take on the legacy of Burns delivered by the landlord, which nearly had me lobbing the haggis at him with the knife still in it. The landlady delivered her response, which was mildly funnier, and then the pair of them scuttled off to watch Man United beat Blackpool in the other room. Accompanying all this was a 6 foot piper endeavouring to stand upright in the low ceilinged room and failing miserably. He tried to walk down the room playing the pipes but was stooping and giving a very good impression of John Cleese. The droning stopped abruptly and the Scottish chef  defined this in a way only a Scotsman could. The Chef then read several Burns poems, no-one, sadly, having a clue what he was talking about.

The food that followed was very good, especially the Typsy Laird, but the conversation with the chef tapered off until the financial disaster of the evening finally dawned on him and he reverted to discussing Lockerbie and friends who had committed suicide.

We all had another whisky and left like wee timorous beasties.

New Jewellery

Unfortunately the light was pretty bad for product photography so only a few images were worth using. I have done quite a large collection for Kirkby Gallery – pendants, earrings and brooches. Although the exhibition only has a week to run, what is left should carry on into the gallery shop. My next big making drive is for my Etsy shop, to try and build up a good showing of ready to ship sets of Prefelts. A Craft and Jewellery fair in the summer, which will focus mainly on jewellery with a few bags thrown in for good grace, will also be something which will demand alot of stock.

I love integrating beads and ceramic shapes that I buy from various artists on Etsy. Its great getting the right combination of colour and texture as I feel I have achieved here with the Raku Heart pendant.