Manchester’s Top 9 Spots For A Good Read

Want to shut out the city and curl up with a book? Here’s the best spots in Manchester for bibliophiles…

Source: Manchester’s Top 9 Spots For A Good Read


As a big book lover, this list is amazing and I am definitely going to be visiting some if not all of these. Top of the list has got to be Chetham’s Library – I didn’t know it was open for public use – and next has got to be the reading room at John Ryland’s Library. How can you not be inspired by these places?!


Shipping Forecast

guidecatsfortheblindI drove to band last night and for a change, instead of listening to Radio 2 we listened to this CD which we had rescued from my parents-in-law’s bungalow when we cleared it out last year. We hadn’t got round to listening to it until the car journey last night and I have got to say that while thoroughly enjoyed it, Kevin wasn’t too keen.

He just couldn’t understand why I had tears running down my face laughing at listening to this particular track. It’s a parody of the Radio 4 “Shipping Forecast” and well, just listen and you may see why I was so tickled. Just a word of warning though – it might not be as funny if you aren’t British but nevertheless, give it a go and have a laugh. Just make sure you’re not driving first.


I’ve Got The Joy!

One of the joys of community banding such as we do at Todmorden Band is that we have a great deal of choice about what music we play at what time of the year. At this time, many – if not most – brass bands are preparing for the area contests, which serve as a qualifying round to the national finals held in September. The bands all have to play the same piece of music as proscribed by the contest organisers, so all fourth section bands across the country will play the same piece, all second section bands will play another piece and so on. It means that January and February are made up of rehearsals for this particular contest – it is a prestigious one to win, and so those bands who take part take it very seriously and practice like mad for it.

But at Todmorden, we don’t have constrictions on our music like that and as a consequence we can play music to suit us, our mood, our upcoming concerts etc and we don’t have to worry about every dot and every quaver.

We have our annual anniversary concert coming up in April and so we are leisurely picking our way through some pieces that may or may not see their way through to the programme that night. Last week was the same, and to be honest I think I pushed the band a bit and there were some sore lips still tonight from it! I thought I would be gentler with them tonight and so we had a bit of a quieter night.

Until the end, when we played this march (video below). It’s called “Goldcrest” and it is a Salvation Army publication. The trio is based around a certain hymn tune which I’m sure you will recognise. I do hope it makes it on to our anniversary concert programme in April and I am almost certain it will be on our parks programme too. After an evening of gentle playing, this was a fiendish piece to finish with – sorry chaps!

This is not my band playing it, but I do hope you enjoy this march as played by my friend Hiroe’s band, “Brass Neo” in joint concert with Hammonds Saltaire Band.


Wednesday Hodgepodge – 3rd February

I have been very remiss and not taken part in the Wednesday Hodgepodge for some time, and I am very glad to join in today. Thank you Joyce for your questions this week and I hope you feel better soon!


1. Describe love using all five senses-

Sight – my daughter’s face inches from my own when she deals with my chin. She must love me to do that.

Sound – a Christmas carol played in four part harmony by my husband, my children and me,  together.

Smell – my putting up with…well, let’s just leave it there!

Taste – a cup of tea made for me by my children or my husband without me asking for it.

Touch – a spontaneous hug (both giving and receiving)

2. February is Canned Food Month. What’s your favourite food that comes straight from a can?

Heinz tomato soup. It reminds me of childhood and it is my go-to food when I feel down or ill, and it is a must have accompaniment to my mum’s cheese and onion pie. Seriously good soup.

3. A principal in a UK school recently sent home a letter to parents requesting they (the parents!) dress appropriately when escorting their children to/from school (basically saying please don’t wear your pajamas). You can read the letter here. It’s gotten a lot of publicity, both positive and negative. Your thoughts? And do/did you ever make the school run (or hit Starbucks, Walmart, etc) in your pjs?

Ohhhh this story made me so mad when it dropped! There are a couple of layers and subtext to this story so I’ll try and be brief with my rant. I understand that mornings are rushed for parents with primary school aged children, but it is no different now that it ever has been, and if mums of yesteryear (myself included) could manage to get ourselves and our kids up, dressed, breakfasted and out to school I really can’t see why modern mums can’t do the same.

But that isn’t the argument here. What has been happening for a couple of years now has been this creeping assumption that it’s ok to “dress down” in public. The parents of this school have not just been dropping their kids off in a morning while dressed in their pyjamas, but they have been turning up to parent-teacher meetings, school concerts, reward assemblies etc like that too. To me, it smacks of a total lack of respect for the authority of the staff at the school and if the parents have a lack of respect, how can they expect the kids to respect them either?

I am all for dressing comfortably – I have stomach problems and after several operations I can’t wear tight bands around my waist any more – but there are other, smarter, options than pyjamas. To wear pyjamas to school is pure laziness and there is no excuse I’m afraid.

4. Crew neck, V-neck, turtleneck, scoop neck…which is most prevalent in your wardrobe?

I can’t stand to wear turtlenecks AT ALL, and I have a mixture of crew neck and v-necked tops throughout my wardrobe.

5. I read here recently a list of four things to avoid so you wake up happier. They were late night snacks, hitting the snooze button, social media just before bed/upon waking, checking emails. 

Are you guilty of any of these behaviours? Which on that list do you need to work harder at avoiding?

I don’t snack late at night (I’m not really a snacker to be honest), I only use the snooze button at the weekends when I have to be out of the house at a certain time and it only usually gets pushed once or twice, I am guilt of the social media thing (both at night and in the morning) and I don’t bother with emails until I’m at my desk. I don’t think I’m any less happy waking up in the morning because of social media topping and tailing my day but if there is anything to improve in my routine it would be that I think.

6. Share something you remember about a house you lived in as a child? Of all the homes you lived in as a child, which did you love best?

I grew up in a house that saw all three of me and my brothers were born in, and the best thing about it for me was when my youngest brother was born. It meant that I could have the boxroom to myself while my two brothers had to share, and the best BEST best bit was that my dad built me my own bed in it.

7. Your favourite movie based on a true story?

“The Great Escape”. I know it was only loosely based on a true story, but it is of my favourites of all time.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Today is the feast day of St Blaise, a 1st century Turkish physician who is the patron saint of wool combers. When he was alive and practising, he healed both humans and animals before moving on to take care of spiritual healing as a priest. It is unclear why he was tortured to death, apart from his connections with Emperor Licinius, and he was beheaded after being beaten with hammers and hot metal combs. Sounds a horrible death and a bit extreme for someone who appears to be so gentle and to whom animals were drawn for healing and comfort.

As a crafter who uses wool regularly I will say a prayer of thanks today for his life and for his faith in the days around the time the Bible was being compiled by the first council of Nicea.

st blaise



View From The PamCam


I am usually fairly disciplined when it comes to separating study and leisure time, but today has been a little different. I’ve not been well today, renal/biliary colic has been “distracting”, shall we say. So I’ve not done much studying I can’t settle down to crochet, I can’t concentrate on reading and as a consequence, my little work table looks like this today.

All four pairs of glasses in use, notepads, study books, wool, drinks, snacks and general mess.

Ah well… Gotta have a down day now and again hey?!

Only The Seeds

travellerOnce upon a time, a pilgrim set out on the long journey in search of peace, joy and love. The pilgrim walked for many weary miles, and time passed.

Gradually, the young, lively steps became slower and more laboured. The pilgrim’s journey passed through landscapes that were not always happy ones. Through war. Through sickness. Through quarrels and rejections and separations. A land where, it seemed, the more people possessed, the more warlike they became 0 the more they had to defend, the more they needed to attack each other. Longing for peace, they prepared for war. Longing for love, they surrounded themselves with walls of distrust and barriers of fear. Longing for life, they were walking deeper into death.

But one morning, the pilgrim came to a little cottage at the wayside. Something about this little cottage attracted the pilgrim. It was as though it was lit up from the inside. Full of curiosity, the pilgrim went inside. And inside the cottage was a little shop, and behind the counter stood a shopkeeper. It was hard to judge the age – hard even to say for sure whether it was a man or a woman. There was an air of timelessness about the place.

“What would you like?” asked the shopkeeper in a kindly voice.

“What do you stock here?” asked the pilgrim.

“Oh, we have all the things here that you most long for,” replied the shopkeeper. “Just tell me what you desire.” The pilgrim hardly knew where to begin. So many desires came rushing to mind at once.

“I want peace – in my own family, in my native land and in the whole world. I want to make something good of my life. I want those who are sick to be well again and those who are lonely to have friends. I want those who are hungry to have enough to eat. I want every child born on this planet today to have a chance to be educated. I want everyone on earth to live in freedom. I want this world to be a kingdom of love.”

There was a pause while the pilgrim reviewed this shopping list.

Gently, the shopkeeper broke in. “I’m sorry,” came the quiet reply. “I should have explained. We don’t supply the fruits here. We only supply the seeds.”



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