Goosebumps and chicken skin

Salford Lads’ Club is a place that has escaped our attention until recently. I joined Liesel, some other WI members and a large group of others on a tour of the place. We met the guide outside the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester and we walked briskly to our destination.

Salford Lads’ Club

Its story is over 100 years old and many local lads have made themselves at home here. In particular, they are very proud of Allan Clarke and Graham Nash from the Hollies and Morrissey from The Smiths. Boxing and gymnastics have been popular over the years too.

Boxing ring

Liesel declined my invitation to go for three rounds in the ring, even though this was the first time either of us had been in the presence of such an opportunity.

Moz Mosaic by Mark Kennedy

This world-famous mosaic is arguably the highlight of The Smiths Room: it was previously located at Affleck’s Palace in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, another venue that has escaped my attention until now. But this is what’s exciting about getting to know a new city and a new neighbourhood.

Mick in a hat

Here’s a picture of Mick following Conservative government policy: rules are for other people.

We walked back into Manchester and then on the way home, we stopped off at Sainsbury’s. I had a quick look at the laptops in John Lewis but again couldn’t see what I was looking for, whatever that is. None of them come with CD players any more. Maybe I’m clinging to the past. But I’m not asking for a floppy disk drive or a punch card reader, just a CD or DVD reader.

The highlight of the week was William’s birthday party. This was the first time we’d met up with the wider family in nearly two years. We had a good time and more importantly, so did the birthday boy.

Alright William?
Bike, balloon and Batman birthday boy

It was good to see the other grandparents but I probably didn’t need to see the scars on Uncle Paul’s recently broken but now healing arm. Nothing personal, but that sort of thing is the reason I am not a doctor.

Superwings cake

We sang Happy Birthday and cheered as William blew the candles out in one go. Then we sat waiting expectantly for a slice of the cake. Martha came over giggling and presented me with the smallest sliver you can imagine. The other grandfather, Papa didn’t fare any better. What a swizz! We did receive a proper, decent slice in the end, but you can go off people, you know.

Another highlight of the week was meeting up with Jenny for a coffee one day. It’s been so long since we’ve spent time together, on our own, without children around. Let’s not wait another two years, Jenny!

Knowing the weather was about to get much colder, Liesel and I went out for a long walk along the river, towards Chorlton on a bright and sunny but noticeably cooler day.

Trees by the river

We saw a robin then we saw a man with a big zoom lens taking pictures of a different robin. He told us there were goosanders around the bend, and indeed we did see a couple of what I thought were mergansers.

Goosander or merganser?

Well it’s confusing because the Latin name for Goosander is Mergus merganser and my ornithological knowledge is as rubbish as my botanical expertise. Last week for example, I referred to our flowering plant as a Christmas cactus. Thanks to Ann, we now know it’s actually a Michaelmas or Thanksgiving cactus. In which case, its timing is spot on. How is it doing now, you ask?

Blooming marvellous

It’s very pretty, but while it looks sunny here, the temperature outside is hovering around 0° and it feels much colder thanks to Storm Arwen. Speaking of which, we must have had a mini whirlwind in the communal car park overnight, because the fallen leaves had all been blown into a nice tidy heap behind a neighbour’s car.

Arwen tidies up the leaves

So much for leave blowers. In fact, I’ve just decided my new years’ resolution. Next time I hear a leaf blower, I’m going to go out and reverse its polarity so it sucks instead. Much more useful.

Anyway, it’s Thanksgiving and once again, Liesel pulled out all the stops and gave us all a pretty substantial and very tasty Thanksgiving meal. This was after we’d picked Martha and William up from school and, as a treat, let them pick litter on the walk home.

Little pickles / Litter pickers

Yes, it’s a City of Manchester binbag and we’re picking litter in Cheadle Hulme, which is in Stockport, but I don’t think the authorities will mind too much.

Martha was very impressed with Oma’s peppermint pie, possibly because of its Peppa Pig pink colour. But it was very nice, and minty, and very different to the pumpkin pie that we’re still enjoying a couple of days later.

Sunset collection

We’ve had some pretty sunsets and we even spotted Jupiter one night. Saturn would have been visible if it wasn’t for the trees in between. Spot the odd pic out. Three are here in Northenden and the other is from Australia’s Blue Mountains: thanks, Helen, wish we were there with you!

Another highlight of the week was enjoying my first massage in nearly two years. The bones creaked, the muscles popped, the ligaments groaned, the second toe complained, but even my goosebumps had goosebumps at times. I’d forgotten just good it feels to be well and truly straightened out and stretched and poked and pummelled.

On a philosophical note: if there are numerous highlights in a short period of time, are any of them, in fact, highlights? Or do I just accept that I’ve had a very good week, thanks, even if the cold weather is now giving me chicken skin. And why is ‘goosebumps’ one word while ‘chicken skin’ is two words?

Let’s Dance! This was the title of my Radio Northenden show this week. Catch up here. It’s extra long this week because there were just too many good tunes to leave any out. A bargain for so-called Black Friday. Wythenshawe Radio WFM 97.2 will get the usual two hours. Proof that Radio Northenden is much better value.

Author: mickandlieselsantics

We are a married couple, one American, one Brit, one male, one female, neither of us as fit as we would like to be, well over 100 years old altogether.

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