We often hear about the butterfly effect. Where the flap of a butterfly’s wing in Northenden can eventually result in a cyclone in the Pacific Ocean. Or as some people would have it, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Well, there we were, Liesel and me, passing time on a peaceful Saturday afternoon, when the phone rang. This call was to change our plans for the next month or so.
We were preparing to welcome Liesel’s Mom to our home in a few days time. I was writing something very important, well, maybe not, when Liesel answered the phone. Her Mom’s house in Anchorage was letting in water. There had been so much snow this Winter, the roof could no longer take all the ice and snow. Water was coming in though windows and by any other route it could find. I don’t think Liesel even made the offer, she just said that she was flying over to help out.
Within a couple of hours, flights had been booked and in some cases rearranged. Liesel would fly to Anchorage the following day, and they’d both come back to the UK at the end of March.
Suddenly, our (very tenuous) plans for Sunday changed. Liesel called her cousin in Richmond, and thanks to Andi and Steve, we had accommodation close to Heathrow from where Liesel was flying out.
It took just a few minutes to pack. I was staying away from home for one night, and although Liesel’s away for a month, she has more suitable clothing in Anchorage. Several feet of snow and temperatures below -10°C do not sound very appealing to me.
We drove over to say a quick hello goodbye to Jenny and family. Martha was a bit sad that Great-Oma might not be here for her birthday (in April) but we’re fairly sure they’ll both be back by then.
In an exciting turn of events, we saw a couple of foxes in the garden, quite healthy looking animals too.
We drove to Richmond, nothing remarkable, a bit of drizzle here and there, a bit cloudy although we were driving towards the Sun on the odd occasion.
Andi and Steve took us on a bit of a pub crawl. Not because we were imbibing at every port of call, but we were looking for a pub that was still open for dinner.
We briefly visited The Prince’s Head, where they are still proud of being used as a location in the popular TV series Ted Lasso.
Liesel’s enjoyed the show and has recommended it to me, and I’m sure I’ll catch up with it one day, even though I’m not a big football fan.
We found ourselves at The Cricketers, near Richmond Green, the starting point for many a charity bike ride in the olden days. Here we ate a hearty supper and as luck would have it, it was quiz night. What a good quiz, too. We came second, losing by a single point. So close!
This pomegranate tree is, I believe, the only one in Richmond, apart from those at Kew Gardens of course. On a bad night, drunk men will attempt to climb it and, when challenged, will fall down onto the carefully nurtured flower beds below.
We drove to Heathrow Airport via Richmond Park, where we dropped Andi and Steve off to go deer-hunting. Well, deer spotting, I suppose. I hope they got some good photos and had a good walk back home afterwards.
I then dropped Liesel off at the airport, and set off for Kingston. I parked up and went into The Rose Theatre for a quick cup of coffee. The place was full of buggies, it was like a buggy showroom.
I’m no detective, but I think there may have been some entertainment taking place for mums and babies.
I wandered around Kingston for a while, noticing a few changes in the retail sector since my last visit.
I met Stella and Ian in Eden Walk shopping centre, and they haven’t changed a bit. That’s not their photo, by the way, that’s Anya and Hugo, age 14 and 4. Like us, chimps learn throughs imitation. They will observe the members of their communities, particularly their mother, to learn the necessary skills needed for their survival. They will also imitate emotions, showing a high level of empathy. At least, that’s what the plaque says anyway.
It was nice catching up with old friends in Apia Café. This was a new place to me. I realised later that a long, long time ago, Stella and I had worked together in an office just down the road from this location.
We walked over to John Lewis where I left them. I followed my nose to The Bentall Centre.
From here. it was a short walk back to the car park. From there, it was a long haul back home. 5¾ hours, again uneventful, apart from a couple of incidents resulting in very slow-moving traffic for a while. In one case, I noticed a burnt-out van. In the other, I have no idea what the hold-up was.
Please don’t accuse me of not being loyal to any particular radio station. In the car, I can’t get BBC 6 Music, or Boom Radio, but I did flit from Radio 2 to Radio 3 to Smooth (where they were talking about the upcoming Take That musical) to Magic (where they were talking about Brian May’s pronouncement that Queen never really liked audience members singing along) to Jack FM (where the music was, imho, much better) back to Radio 2 and 3 then to Radio 4 and then as I got closer to home, Radio Cymru, Radio Wales, Radio Stoke, CWR, Greatest Hits Radio and another one whose name escapes me.
Then ensued a great night’s sleep with some weird but fun dreams. Just don’t ask for details.
The next couple of days offered some fabulous sights in the night sky. Jupiter and Venus are really close to each other at twilight but Manchester’s clouds aren’t transparent enough.
And the Aurora Borealis, which unusually has been visible as far south as Cornwall, is absolutely stunning.
Thanks to Martin at Manchester Weather for tweeting this wonderful, colourful photo with the caption “The Northern Lights of South Manchester 🤣 Beautiful shades of grey and black with a sprinkle of drizzle!”
We’re being threatened with another Beast from the East, in other words, extremely cold weather and snow. I’d like to say, don’t worry, I’m used it it, I lived in Peterborough for six years. There’s nothing between Peterborough and the Urals, and I’m shivering at the very thought.
We’re not there yet, and I saw bits of the Mersey this week.
I never saw the heron, but the ducks and geese are out in force, probably getting excited at the prospect of Spring. Huh, they’re in for a shock. As are the daffodils and crocuses that will want to sink back into the ground.
I met up with Hayley for a coffee, and again, it was nice to catch up. Still no heron by the river though.
Back at home, I began the process of sorting out all the paperwork. It’s pretty much split equally three ways between keep, shred and recycle.
As I wrote this today, the soundtrack was Ken Bruce’s final show on Radio 2. I remember when he first turned up, decades ago. ‘He sounds just like Terry Wogan’, I said to my Mum. ‘Don’t be daft, he’s Scottish, Terry Wogan’s Irish’, she said, ‘they sound totally different’. Well, as usual, Mum’s right. And what a great last song to play, Ken: The Beatles’ Golden Slumbers, Carry that Weight and The End.
My own relatively humble radio show on Wythenshawe Radio this week was Mick’s Monochrome Music Mix, the theme being Black and White. Catch it here.
Meanwhile, how’s Liesel doing in Anchorage? Well, I hope she’s keeping warm. The leaks have stopped but the house and roof needs much more attention.
The depth of the snow is being measured in feet. And the size of the Ice Eccles (so dubbed by Martha) is just ridiculous.
Residents are advised to wear a hard hat if they go wandering around Anchorage.