After a relaxing day, we drove into Manchester. Time for a gig. We throughly enjoyed the performance by O’Hooley and Tidow at a fantastic venue, new to us, Hallé St Peters. The show was to promote their new record, Cloudheads, but of course, we’re special, and we received our CD, signed, a couple of weeks ago.
We found seats just four rows from the front and before the show proper began, we were digging the music, man, songs by Rodriguez, whose story is interesting but quite sad, really.
Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow sang songs old and new, told funny stories, and the audience was spellbound. Nobody was chatting and apart from a couple of glasses being kicked over after the interval, there was no disruption.
I had a quick chat with Belinda in the interval, told her I’d played their records on my show, and when I told her my name, Mick, she knew my surname straightaway. I’m not quite on the A-list, but getting there!
I received my postal vote: there are local elections in May. I knew who I was going to vote for, and, given all the election literature I’ve seen so far, I was beginning to think there was only one candidate standing. So what a surprise to see some others on the ballot paper. I was tempted but in the end, I didn’t vote for Sir Oink A-Lot, of The Official Monster Raving Loony Party, because, well, I’m not entirely sure he’s taking it very seriously.
In our local church, St Wilfrid’s, there was another celebration of Sir Edward Watkin. I paid Geoff for the book of his I’d bought a few nights ago and he told me about a painting that had hung at Rose Hill for many years. Someone wanted to sell it for charity, expecting to raise about £100. In the end, it was valued at £4 million.
Sir Edward funded some of the stain glass windows in the church, and they are indeed very bright, even on a cloudy grey day such as this was.
The Millennium Banner was obviously a labour of love. The wall hanging which stretches along one side of the church was made in 1999, mostly by members of the Women’s Group, to mark the turning of the millennium. It shows scenes and motifs from the history of the previous 2000 years, some very local, others national, global or even cosmic. Spoiler alert: this is how it ends:
I’d gone along because The Edward Watkin Society, also known as WatSoc, had organised the week of events. On display here today were several letter sent from or to Sir Edward. The handwriting was beautiful, and neat, but very hard to read.
While talking to someone, my phone went off. “Is that your phone?” “I think it’s everyone’s phone” I replied, because all of a sudden, the room was full of alarms.
Severe Alert, said my phone
This is a test of Emergency Alerts, a new UK government service that will warn you if there’s a life-threatening emergency nearby.
In a real emergency, follow the instructions in the alert to keep yourself and others safe.
This is a test. You do not need to take any action.
Needless to say, I took no action. But, being Brits, we all rolled our eyes and tutted at the inconvenience.
So why was I here at the church by myself? Because Liesel and Leslie were travelling south to visit cousin Andi and Steve in Richmond. Andi I think particularly wanted to catch up with her Auntie Leslie.
One morning, Liesel got up early and went for a long solitary walk taking in Richmond Hill, Petersham Common and Richmond Park.
They all visited Bushy Park too one day, where the deer wandered over to say hello.
Let’s return to the saga of my phone. To recap: I took my phone in to have its battery changed. That worked out OK. But, the fingerprint sensor no longer worked. I went back to the shop, he couldn’t get it to work, so ordered a new sensor. A couple of days later, the new sensor didn’t work either. I would have to leave my phone with him overnight so that some internal connection could be soldered. Couldn’t do it over the weekend because it was Eid.
So, as requested, I took my phone in on Monday with a view to collecting it the following day. It wasn’t ready. In fact, it wouldn’t be back until the next day. My doubts were now growing. I insisted I needed my phone that day. Tell me where it is, and I’ll go and collect it if necessary. He didn’t want to do that. He called someone and then told me to return in the afternoon. Good thing I didn’t have a job to go back to. He said if it wasn’t back by about 3pm, he’d deliver it to my address after closing time.
I felt a wave of relief when I picked up my phone in the afternoon. Fixed. The fingerprint sensor was now working. Where’s my case? I asked. What case? The protective case that I always keep my phone in. He couldn’t find it of course. I suspect it’s still at the other, top secret venue. So he gave me case off the shelf.
I didn’t pay for anything. By now, I was so peeved, I resolved never to darken his doors again. Whether incompetent or criminal, I don’t think I can trust him again. So much so, back at home, I checked the phone for malware. I also checked that no cash had been taken from any of the online bank accounts. He wouldn’t know my passwords, and he didn’t have my fingerprint, but, I have no idea how dodgy or technically agile he and his brother-in-law are.
Later, I realised the volume controls were no longer working. I use those to take screenshots and to take photos as well as adjusting the volume. I’ll be taking my device to a proper, qualified Samsung repair facility, where I’ll have to recite this whole sorry tale, probably.
Liesel and Mom returned but they didn’t join me for the the long Thursday walk. After which, at The Forum, I saw my mugshot on the noticeboard outside the radio studio.
At least one member of my family asked if this was a Wanted poster? Is there a reward?
And the excitement is building in the area as we approach Coronation Day.
I’ll probably tweet this nearer the time but when people ask whether I’ll be watching the Coronation on TV, I usually say “No, because, by coincidence, I’m going out to get a new hat that day too.”
The three of us did join the walking group on Friday though, for one final forced march, as Klaus would have said.
And, as it was Great Oma’s final day here in England, she treated us to a meal at a Japanese restaurant over there in Cheadle Hulme. Jenny and Liam brought a very excited but tired Martha and William. The children had been introduced to Japanese cuisine while in Australia over Christmas. Today, we all enjoyed our meals, even though for a long time, Martha and I were sitting in actual warm sunshine. Even Liesel was beginning to turn pink.
Once William got going, he demolished his plate of food, and both he and Martha are very happy with sticky rice, because it’s easier to eat with chopsticks!
This week, they celebrated ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, and, by coincidence, that was the theme of my Wythenshawe Radio show this week. If you would like to catch up on two hours of Aussies and Kiwis singing for your pleasure, you are very welcome to listen here.