Not What It Says On The Tin

Doesn’t Manchester look warm? 

False advertising-see you in court.

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Three Years Ago: Black Friday Blues

I didn’t even want to go to Manchester.

“You realise why there’s so much traffic don’t you? I asked my wife. “It’s Black Friday.”

“Oh I forgot about that! But it’s the only day I’ll have off before Christmas,” she replied. “We’ll see how busy it is when we get near the centre.”

“What we going for anyway?”

“Pyjamas for your Mum.”

“That’s it?! All the way to town for pyjamas? Why don’t we get them in Middleton?”

“She only likes them from Primark.”

I knew we were doomed as soon as she mentioned Primark.

About half way to Manchester city centre a car suddenly torpedoed out from a side street straight into us. I was leaning against the door and had about two seconds to brace myself before the collision. Appropriately enough this took place outside a funeral home. My wife works in the funeral business. Always on duty.

I clambered out of the car. “Talk about *#%~>$€ Black Friday! I didn’t even want to go to bloody Manchester!”

The other driver was distressed and extremely apologetic. I told her that it was okay-we didn’t have the kids in the car and nobody was badly hurt. My shoulder and hip was bruised from taking the full force of the impact, and I had to go to the local A&E department to be checked out. I had to hold onto the door handle all the way there.

We pulled up outside the hospital, me managing to close the door after four slams which must have attracted the interest of every traffic warden in the area.

Parked on a busy main road, as she got out of the car my wife said to me: “Pull my mirror in.” 

Really:


We don’t want a passing motorist to damage the wing mirror now do we? It’s best to be safe.

Happy Black Friday everyone. 

Let’s do this every year.

November

From my poetry blog.

Coronets For Ghosts

November


The wind in hollows unfrequented,
gathering the detritus
among bare-branched forms.
A copse; a corpse,
the land lies dead,
the grass sullen and yellow;
the day stunted and short.

We peel back the veneer
of discarded hours,
the gusts in our hair
and sombre halls,
confessing ageing sins
in rescinding echoes,
the shadows lengthen;
the evening falls




©AndrewJamesMurray

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Winter Coughs To Announce Her Presence

Officially it is not winter for five weeks or so, but the seasons sometimes blur the calendrical boundaries and fixed points that we like to attribute to them.

Yesterday was the first real cold morning of the year. Crisp and clear, a light frost covered everything, a promise maybe of what is to come. And, perhaps with a sense of the shift in things, it seemed that my Facebook feed was filled with photographs by people drawn to mark this liminal time.

An old school friend by the name of Dave Wright lives up in Inverness, in Scotland. He has two things up there that I don’t have: a decent camera and the northern lights.

He took this photograph as a cold dusk fell upon the land, he himself hunkered down for the night. The tree serves as a point of focus in an otherwise horizontal sweep.

image

And then, as he quite aptly described it: the moment the sky danced. 

image

Further south, across the English border (how we like to divide and designate, whether with land or time or people) another old school friend, Derek Bates, paused to take in the view from his works window. This was in Duckingfield, a town in Greater Manchester, with light struggling slowly over the bare hills, the low-lying land shrouded in mist.

image

To the east of Duckingfield, in my hometown of Middleton, the temperature stubbornly refused to rise. The mist appeared hesitant beyond the trees.

image

And then the school run beckoned, drawing us out of our heated home. Ignore that sun, it may as well have been a snowflake.

image

“It’s cold,” my daughter exclaimed as we hurried along the main road. “I can’t feel my legs.”

“They’re still there,” I replied. “Keep going!” 

No More

From my poetry blog, written fourteen years ago on the death of my father.

Coronets For Ghosts

This poem appeared in my book, Heading North. Though it 
doesn't explicitly say so, I wrote it on the 
death of my father, fourteen years ago today.

No More


No more. No more bleaching white

the nicotine stained flesh

of your fingers,

picking at the sterile 

veneer of cordiality 

amidst the well-thumbed

scattered deserts

from which ruins strive to rise.


No more counting down the markers,

elbows jostling territorially,

courting, sequential swans

rising in toasts, triumphant.

Your slow, inexorable withdrawal 

left behind a vacuum,

the equilibrium of a table

out of kilter.


No longer the trumpeted parading 

of the heir apparent,

the tedious repetition 

of vine and tongue,

reproduced seasoned lines 

framing the true inheritance 

and held to likeness.

Casual comparity no more. No more.



©Andrew James Murray

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When A Day Of Death Became A Bridge

It is now fourteen years since that day. R.I.P X

City Jackdaw

My Dad died ten years ago today. Although we mark it, the day itself is not significant.

There were days when he was here, then there are days when he is not. There is just a before and after.

Time appears cyclical to me, when I view the seasons, married to the differing stages of our lives, but we chart things in a linear fashion. That day ten years ago perhaps became a bridge, where plans/hopes/dreams pass by memories/regrets/hindsight , each moving in opposite directions.

What is known of us, that which survives us, becomes less and less as memories fade along with the number of storytellers.

The personalities and stories behind the details, enshrined in the remembrance of others.

I was going to publish some photographs here, reducing a full life to a handful of images, but instead I have decided the best way to honour him and the…

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