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Published: September 27th 2006
There used to be hundreds of these, blackening the atmosphere (though at least everyone had a job)
This is the first entry and since it's about my hometown Shaw, is quite possibly going to be the least entertaining of all of them. Writing a little retrospectively, today I leave the leafy and prosperous village community called Shaw (near Oldham). Shaw has pubs, at least one kebab shop, and Warburtons bakery ("Warbies"). Folk from Shaw are known as ´Gorbies´ (rhymes with Warbies). The etymology of this term I have yet to learn. Oldham (correct pronunciation 'Owdum'), seat of racial harmony ( Oldham Riots
), is a nice place to grow up, particularly for those interested in the latter-day cotton industry. See Orb Mill in the photo for example.
But I'd be kidding if I said I have been depressed here....I'm in great spirits at this most auspicious moment in my time. I have just had an amazing summer: a few weeks in Copenhagen winding down after a tortuous freelance job was followed by almost a month floating about the Greek islands (see a couple of entries that I will put before this lot later) as pre-Americas warm-up
(and 'travel practice' trip for me and Sof!), then my Seattle/Vancouver sojourn. And now my final couple of weeks back in my home-town have even been blessed with some late summer sun. Here's me and 'me mam' in the leafy suburbs:
Apart from wandering around, the eldest of the three kids has his duties though.....one of which is helping my bro and budding musician Neil Penk move into his Salford Uni digs:
A student can't live on bread alone.....he needs BEANS too!
But more arduous tasks were lined up than that....I may even have volunteered. Here's my bright idea to rip down the paper from my mum's walls (4 layers going back to the '40s) and refuse to allow her to put more on. "It covers up all the cracks!" she claims....so I decide to FILL THEM ALL in, and by the time I'd taken off the paper (and the majority of the plaster underneath) I had a LOT of filling to do, then sanding. I turned her kitchen into a Death Valley dust-bowl:
One must protect the eyes. At first I tried simple sunglasses....
.... but swimming goggles proved far superior. And ever so more dashing.
Ever so slightly insane......
Anyway, after the dustclouds had settled, and my clothes were all in the wash.....I started work on the painting, realising that I didn't want to completely ruin them.....so went back to basic, primeval, work attire. ("Honestly!", I heard my mum say)
But finally, the Last Supper had to come, and brought the whole family together:
Irene and Vic!
Now when I say fish 'n chips, THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!:
The day after the tastiest fish and chip dinner ever, I travel to Manchester airport for a flight to Copenhagen, where my better half is from, and from where, on Monday, we leave for San Francisco, which they tell me is like Shaw, only bigger.
When i was buying my first ticket of this trip, the wisened old crusty behind the desk in his portacabin asked me where i was off to, given my enormous bag. I only told him Copenhagen. "You make me sick" came the reply, afterwhich I told him that in fact, I was just going to be there a few days before me and Sofie get the big plane to California. His face drew a blank at this, but then he told me he´d in fact been to san fran, which made me feel a bit less guilty. I stopped short of mentioning any further travel plans; I didnt want to finish the guy off.
Hey, here´s a link to a live camera of Market Street Shaw! : Shaw´s Live Camera Link
(pure unadulterated excitement)
"I'm leavin' on a jet-plane......."
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