As the old folk song goes, Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street. Some of our neighbours are not at all inhibited, and on a couple of late, warm evenings recently, while Darby and Joan here were throwing the duvet off, we were entertained by the merriment outside. It’s been a bit of a heatwave, not as hot as London and the south-east, but still, phew, truly swullocking and no mistake.
We’re still trying to get out every day but there are times when staying indoors in the (relative) cool is quite attractive. And there’s always plenty to do, even if we’re not getting fresh air.
But it was perfect weather for gongoozling and we did some of that on the Mersey. One day, we think for the first time with near certainty, we saw two different herons.
This one, by the weir, was teaching some ducks how to fly.
I did talk to a binoculars-bearing bird-watching lady about the herons, at a reasonable distance of course. She said there are two pairs of herons along this stretch of the river. Old old male has dark chest markings that look like a long beard from a distance. There is a fluffy youngster that likes to spend time in the bushes on the island, so we’ve almost certainly seen him too, on occasion. The lady agreed that one thing we don’t like seeing is a heron bend over and pluck a ducklet from the water. One day, maybe we’ll see two or more herons in the same spot at the same time.
There are plenty of geese and ducks of course, they like spending time together in herds, flocks, gaggles or skeins.
The latest local attraction is a beer keg, held in place by an enormous tree branch that has been caught by the weir for a few days now.
It’s been a while, but we’re catching up on medical matters. I visited the dentist for the first time since March, the longest gap I can remember. That’s the gap between visits, not the gaps between some teeth although they were a topic of conversation.
I walked home from the hospital after the test I’d been waiting for was deemed to be the wrong one. Oh well, I took advantage of the steamy sunshine.
These things come in threes of course, and my third medical mission this time round was an unexciting visit to the pharmacist where I saw me on the CCTV. There was a queue inside but worse were the people squeezing by as they left, not following the one-way system.
Liesel and I have been wary of booking tickets for anything, indoors or outside, any entertainment, anything. But we did go to a local comedy event that was outdoors, socially distanced, and would involve as little interaction with people as possible. It was a bit of an experiment really: we knew that if either of us felt un-Covid-safe for any reason, we could just go home.
But there were just 100 people in the audience. The venue was The Albert Bowling and Tennis Club in Didsbury. We were sitting on the bowling green, in a marked out grid. We plonked ourselves down right at the back. A photographer took our picture. He said it was because the background was so nice, but I think it was because we were so attractive. We took our own picture too, so you decide:
I am very proud of my luxuriant lockdown locks but I think it will still be a while before I visit a hairdresser: that seems an unnecessary risk at the moment. Plus, the mask I wear is held on around the back of my head rather than around my ears, and I can just visualise it flying out the door as the barber cuts through the elastic.
This foreshortened picture of the stage is misleading, the people were spread out far more than it looks, in accordance with the latest guidelines.
Kev Rook organised this Comedy Outsiders event, and he introduced the MC, Russell Kane. He was brilliant, talked for over half an hour, mainly about some people’s reactions to having to follow simple guidelines in the face of a lethal contagion.
A Welsh comedian, Anna Thomas came on next, and she was funny too, and I’m sure one day, she’ll be allowed on for longer.
Top of the bill was Boothby Graffoe. As he told us, one of his reviews claims that he is under-rehearsed, but (I’m pretty sure) that is all part of the act.
It was the right thing to do, from a healthy point of view, to sit at the back, but as for taking photos, from that distance, as it became darker, meh.
We ordered drinks on an app, and they were delivered in due course by one of a small team of masked servers.
For the second half of the show, we sat at a table, on chairs to be clear: we’d assumed initially that they were reserved for club members or something, but Kev assured us that this was not the case. It was nice to meet him at last, after having bothered him on his Radio Northenden show so often.
There are two more comedy nights here, so if you’re local to Northenden, Didsbury, south Manchester, please think about coming along for a great night’s entertainment. Buy tickets here: Nodding Dog Comedy is Kev Rook’s other name.
Northenden as I’ve mentioned before is a place of contrasts. On the same walk, almost on the same street, you can see something really pretty and something really nasty.
I’m sure there’s a correct term for this kind of decoration: it’s outside a fairly modern building. I look forward to receiving information from my architectural, construction and botanical correspondents!
And then, just along the road, someone had a nasty accident.
Where’s that flock of seagulls when you need them? Not the 1980s group, obviously, they can buy their own refreshments.