The Prodigal Son

I know I have bid you farewell for the weekend, but I just wanted to share this with you. Even if bible stories are not your thing, the way the story is told with sand is amazing. I would get it everywhere-in my hair, my eyes, and that’s just doing a smiley face!

Mushy Cloud

If you have never seen this before, you will be blown away I promise. Even if Bible stories don’t do it for you, the sheer talent and artistry will move you in this video. Give yourself 10 minutes to sit and watch this. It’s worth it.

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Claws For The Weekend:Followers

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…and the other one has a restraining order against her. But that’s enough about the wife.

In the real world, or rather the virtual world, I am thankful for all of you Jackdaw spotters, and hope you all have a great weekend.

Attract lots of followers-I’ve got one going spare.

In fact she’s going ballistic.

See you on the flip side.

Faded Views

I’ve not posted any old photographs for a while, and when I saw these three, of my home city of Manchester, being shared on Facebook I thought that I would share them with you.

As you know, I love these old black and white pictures, and if there is a local connection then so much the better.

Dirty Faces, Scabby Knees, Jam Buttiesphoto (76)


Typical kids on a typical Manchester street, 1947. Could have been my Dad’s street-he would have been seven at this time. Kids played out, got mucky, took supplies of jam butties and water, and, did you catch that first bit –they played out.

So They All Rolled Over And One Fell Outphoto (77)


Bed time 1947. I’ve heard all of the stories: everybody crammed into one bed, coats on top as covers, ice on the inside of the windows. We today, with one-switch central heating, able to stretch out (starfish) in a bed toasted by an electric blanket, sweltering away like a boil in the bag Kipper, we just don’t know we are born.

Swinging Six…er…Fiftiesphoto (78)


Kids’ play, Manchester, 1950’s.

It was on a lamppost such as this that my Mum broke her collar-bone on. Or, rather, off. Not having the luxury of a rope swing or seat, she jumped off a wall to grab hold of one of the ornamental arms (here just out of view, being near the top), caught it with one hand but missed with the other, did a somersault that any trapeze artist would have been proud of, and then crashed onto the hard floor.

Days later, a neighbour asked my Gran: “How is your Lilian? She didn’t half hit the floor with a bang!”

She replied “She is okay, but she has broken her collar-bone. It is disgusting that people will just drop banana skins on the floor,” (that old slapstick chestnut, or rather, banana), “for someone to slip on.”

The neighbour, leaning on her door jamb and folding her arms in full busybody pose, said:

Banana skin? She was swinging on the lamppost and fell off.”

My Gran, formidable and widowed, bringing up three children alone, later said to my mum “You just wait! I won’t hit you now-I will wait until you’ve had your plaster taken off!”

There’s nothing like a mother’s love  when you are hurting is there?

The Irk and Angel meadows

My ancestors lived in this area, my Dad played there as a kid (football on the flags that covered the mass burial ground from one of the many epidemics of the time) and I worked nearby. Always good to come across a great post about somewhere you are familiar with.

brian scott photography

Irk_Valley 004

The Irk, a narrow, coal-black, foul-smelling stream, full of debris and refuse – Friedrich Engels , 1844

According to The New Gazetteer of Lancashire (1830) the Irk had more mill seats upon it than any other stream of its length in the Kingdom.” and that “the eels in this river were formerly remarkable for their fatness, which was attributed to the grease and oils expressed by the mills from the woollen cloths and mixed with the waters.

Irk_Valley 001

The Area has been rundown so that now the area only has one of the last independent paint manufactures in the UK, still family run since its foundation in 1930, a few smaller units doing various industries ranging from wood yards, tyre recycling to dog grooming and kennels. the rest of the land now turned over to car parking for the office workers in the nearby city centre.

The area has been earmarked…

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Play The Game, Don’t Make Eye Contact

The other day I was in my local library, showing my daughter Millie how to use the new scanning machine to check out her books. Such are libraries, twenty-first century style.

In the middle of my fatherly demonstration I heard a very deep voice coming from behind me:

“Excuse me, excuse me…sir. One moment please?”

Sir. Though I appreciated the respectful address,  it didn’t fit me well. I turned to see a man sat at one of the computer consoles, pointing towards me. “Are you English?”

When I told him that I was, he beckoned me over and asked for my help. He wanted me to check over an email that he was drafting for spelling mistakes. Actually his spelling was excellent, using words that most people rarely use. It was the grammar that was a problem. The words were all jumbled up, some of the sentences not making sense.

“I am from South Africa-can you make this sound better?”

Feeling under pressure to make sense of my own language when it was difficult to understand exactly what it was that he was trying to say, I read and re-read the lines, aware of an increasingly impatient little girl beside me. Time marched on. The guy kept turning from the screen expectantly to me. Where were the librarians when you needed them? Replaced by damn scanning machines.

I asked him twice what it was that he wanted to put, before it sunk in. In a nutshell, he wanted to send an email  to a university in America, and the gist of the message  was :

You asked me to write to you to apply for a place on your course. I applied in good faith, but did not get that place, so I am suing you. Please reply with an answer that will make me happy.

Right then. Okay.

I deleted a couple of words and jumbled some others around for him, then returned to the scanning machine with my daughter. I placed her books onto the tray, then..

“Excuse me please…..just one moment”.

About turn, shepherded Millie back over to his desk again. “Yes?”

“Can you do something with this bit please? I want their reply to please me.”

He was pointing to the line about suing the university. ” sounds okay.. ”  Just what type of response would please him? Did he expect a change of decision about being accepted on the course, or did he want compensation? “When you say you are suing them…?”

He broke into a huge smile, “It is all a game!” Deep chuckle. “I write to them, they write to me. It is all a game we play!” The chuckle was loud and drawn out, other people began to look, and I felt Millie’s hand in mine.

I smiled, backed away, got Millie back to the machine, and checked her books through in record time. I don’t think she had a chance of understanding any of it. I would show her next time.

We brushed quickly past the guy as we headed for the door when, suddenly, behind me, I heard:

“Excuse me, just one moment please!”

Millie foolishly began to turn, but in one movement I placed one hand on her left shoulder, propelling her through the door, my right hand swiveling her head back around, face front, that fast that she could have got whiplash.

“Keep walking Millie, and never, ever make eye contact.”

“What was that man talking about?” she asked as, with my help, she descended the front steps without touching them. “And what game was he playing?”

I tried to explain, again struggling to make sense in my own language.

After our close call escape, we dove into the local McDonald’s. While drinking her milkshake, Millie flicked through one of the library books that she had loaned out. As I tried to have a coffee in peace, the conversation from the table in front started drifting my way. Basically, a girl of about nineteen was telling an elderly woman who could have been her gran all about her sex life with some lucky, nameless beau. I don’t know if the woman actually was her gran-I know I would never have dreamt of talking to my gran in that way. But she looked bored to tears, eyes drifting around the restaurant while the nubile nymph animatedly went on, not even attempting a play at discretion.

I guess it is the lot of every new generation to think it is the first to discover sex. And the role of the older one to keep its common ground of lost moments close to its thermal covered chest.

It is all a game. All a game we play.

 I don’t know when City Jackdaw turned into Dear Diary. I guess Notes On A Life’ includes our most mundane moments, as well as our ‘Finest Hour.’

Still waiting for that one. Can’t see it arriving in McDonald’s.

New Year:Start With A Song


(I originally posted this on New Year’s Day in 2014. Now it’s become a routine. Since then I’ve changed my mind and come out of the closet: I like the Abba track!)

I didn’t bother doing a Google search, these three songs were just off the top of my head. I realise I won’t be catering for everybody’s tastes, so if you want you could totally ignore this post (how dare you) and put on your own favourite new year themed song to dance your way into the new year. Dancing is not my thing, though, I’m far too self-conscious. I may tap a foot if I’ve had enough to drink. And then I would probably stand on someone else’s toe.

Out of the three my favourite song is probably the U2 one, although I do love Jeff Buckley-he died way too young, just like his father. With the Abba one you also get a video, although the party isn’t exactly what you would call a rave. More like the weary after-wake.

Catch you later. We’ve got a whole year ahead of us, Jackdaw spotters 🙂