You May Need To Be Psychic

I went into Manchester today to use some vouchers that I received at Christmas. I bought three books, and, while reading a book that I took with me from home over coffee, I received an email from Amazon UK that a book I had ordered had been dispatched, and then received a forwarded email from that a book I had won on a blogger friend’s* giveaway had been delivered through my letterbox.

Can you guys discern a recurring theme here?

You may also see a coincidence below between the book that I won and one of the books that I bought. If not, I’ll provide clues maybe in my next post.

* this is Linda’s blog, who graciously highlights other writers’ books (including my own) and provides chances to win copies. Check out her great blog.

In The Pregnant Hour

This was Christmas Eve setting on the estate on which I live, viewed from the local church.


It is now 11.10pm, the frosting air punctured by flashing fairy lights and music spilling out from passing cars.

We are almost there. In this pregnant hour, from a deep Mancunian night, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, wherever and whenever this greeting finds you.

Thanks for flying with City Jackdaw.

Manchester: Festive Fire

I thought I’d share these photographs of a recent visit into Manchester city centre with you all. Having made this journey hundreds of times I could be forgiven for getting a bit blasé about it, though it’s not often I’ve been treated to such a dramatic sky. There is no filter as there’s no photograph of me. If there was I just couldn’t inflict an untreated snap of myself on you guys. This is the route into ‘town’ as we call it, awaiting us with its festive markets.

Shadows of my hometown at my back, we head towards the blazing city.

Halfway there. With bluffs of cloud and golden skies, the dusk of twilight is truly my favourite time of the day.

The monolithic towers framed in the distance, we reach the edge of the city.

We park up a five minute minute walk away. The fire of the sky reflected in the water of the ground, the elements greet our approach.

In Angel Square, now forever known to me as ‘Laura’s Place’, the juxtaposition of shadow and light continues as the sun slips away.

The low, white roof in the background is close to the scene of the Arena bombing in May of last year.

The Christmas markets in St. Ann’s Square. Roughly where this first stall is, welcoming you to the markets, is where the many thousands of floral tributes began last year in the aftermath of the bombing. Tributes to the twenty two victims.

How different the mood is now. Everything is altered by time. Even you and I, reading this line, maybe in different time zones.

Sending greetings to you all, in whichever city and time zone you find yourself in. Hope you got a good sleep!

Merry Car Boot Sale

Every year we are obliged to attend our children’s school Christmas Fair. There is a definite Christmas feel to them, the hall packed with festive crafts and all sorts of ruses to snatch away your money for school funds. Everybody goes and you get caught up in a slow moving circular tide of people, orbiting stalls, taking off warm coats while dodging appealing kids. I try my best not to make eye contact with every one of the teachers manning them, or my pockets would be emptied on that first clockwise circuit.

My daughter left that school to begin high school in September, and so yesterday we attended her first Christmas fair there. What a contrast! It was like a sparsely attended, poor man’s flea market. An unattractive collection of second hand goods scattered across tables, a car boot sale without car boots.

I spotted this book for sale on one of the tables, and thought it quite succinctly summed things up: