New Life; New Blog: Family And Football

With the demise, temporary or otherwise, of my son James’ team, Bury FC, I started taking him to watch a local non-league team by the name of Prestwich Heys.

A world away from the Premier League football that we could stay home and watch on the TV, it’s a real community club that values our support and attendance.

With no pretensions or VAR in sight, it’s proper football with proper fans, giving a warm welcome and an inclination to visit again – for the club quickly got under our skin to the extent that it has now become a family affair with both my wife and daughter also attending games.

We were having a great season, and then that damn Covid-19 virus arrived and everything was brought to a premature close.

In the meanwhile, a friend has started up a blog about all thing Heys to keep everyone still connected in these barren months. It isn’t on WordPress, but if you follow the link below you can enter your email address to subscribe to his posts.

So if you have an interest in non-league football; football in general; want to know what is going on in this part of Northern England, or to gain a glimpse of some of the things that I and my family get up to here in Manchester, UK, please follow the link and subscribe.

It’s a new blog and I’m sure the writer will appreciate the support of you lovely people.

His name is Rick, go say hello.

https://rickbarrett753.wixsite.com/website-2

Sunday Morning Check-In

It’s a pleasant start to Sunday, sitting in the back garden reading Raban’s Old Glory.

Continuing the Southern theme, I’ve got Bobbie Gentry playing in the background.

Not in person, of course, for as far as I know she’s still holed up somewhere over the Pond in happy seclusion.

I’m not sure what’s prompted this Southern theme. Maybe it’s the sunshine.

And, speaking of being holed up, I hope you guys are all okay in whatever part of this currently crazy world these lines find you.

Out of curiosity, where are you all? And yes, even you, Bobbie.

Seven Up/Ghost In The Machine

I’ve heard it said that saying “seven” brings bad luck at a craps table. Some players will refer to the number as “it”, while others refer to it as the devil. I think crap players can be a trifle dramatic.

If the stick man gives a player dice with a total of seven facing up, well that player may as well pack up and go home.

There was a US park ranger by the name of Roy Sullivan, who survived being struck seven times by lightning. He was astronomically unlucky to be hit seven times. He was astronomically lucky to survive seven times. It’s a question of perspective.

I’ve been notified by the ghost in the WordPress machine that I’ve just hit the seven year anniversary of City Jackdaw.

Seven years. I’d never have dreamt that when first starting out.

I can recall sitting on the couch with my iPad, back then, trying to figure WordPress out. I’d employed my daughter, solely for the expertise of her youth, to try and talk me through it. Amidst all of the head-scratching confusion, I received a notification: City Jackdaw had its first follower.

“I’ve got a follower!” I exclaimed excitedly. “Who could it be?!”

I eagerly sought out my new best friend: ‘City Jackdaw is being followed by City Jackdaw.’

“I’m following myself!!!!!”

How that happened I don’t know. Talk about an anti-climax. I also once accidentally liked my own post, receiving a mocking email notification saying: You’re so vain, you probably think this post is about you.

That conscious, goading ghost in the machine again. I’m not sure if you still get this type of email when you like your own post, someone give it a go and let me know.

Anyway, I’ve come a long way since then. City Jackdaw has come a long way since then. This jackdaw is no longer a fledgling bird.

Thank you for flying with me, friends both old and new. Let’s aim for double figures.

Work In Progress: Night And The City

I posted this a few weeks ago on my poetry blog, stating that I know that there’s parts of it that I’ll change, but it’s of interest to record the first birthing lines.

I’ve since deleted the opening three lines, it now begins:

the hulls and husks

of scuttled ships

shadow the sky

I’ve tweaked a few others lines and added much more.

I’ve also renamed it Rooftop Blues. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Time Span, From Me To You

Here the sun has set on 2019, darkness has fallen on the previous decade.

I don’t have any diaries on hand to consult, and have not the time now to go through all of my City Jackdaw posts and FB status’, but, from the top of my head:

On starting and finishing the decade-

my wife and I were foster carers and now we host students; we lost our dog Rydal but gained our dog Bryn; we lost some good friends but gained some new friends; our son James was born and my mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers; ups and downs; highs and lows; but on the whole a good ten years.

I’m not sure why we chop our lives up into segments and chapters, but we do.

I do.

Wishing you all a great new decade. Pace yourselves.

See you all in 2020.

Flies In The Ointment; Jackdaws On The Grass

Apologies are winging your way if I’ve not replied to your comments or visited your blogs recently. I’ve had a little fly in the ointment, so to speak, which is non-technical jargon for I’ve been having problems with WordPress recently and I haven’t a clue why.

I’m writing this post in the hope that it has now been rectified, and if it hasn’t, well, there’s only me reading this and you guys are none the wiser. Please let me know.

A couple of days ago, at a motorway service station, I was walking down a corridor, flanked the whole way by a glass window, whilst seeking out the Gents. At the end of the corridor a little girl was loudly banging on the glass. “Look, Daddy, pigeons!”

Her father, wearing the forlorn look of one waiting for his wife to come out of the toilet, a look I knew only too well, replied: “They aren’t pigeons, darling, they’re crows.”

As I passed them both I too glanced out at the birds.

Actuallythey are not crows, I thought to myself, they are jackdaws. 

And, with a certain smugness:

And I should know, being, unknown to you, the anonymous author of the City Jackdaw blog.

I didn’t say this, of course, for who was I to destroy the little child’s fantasy of her all-knowing father.

And besides, at that moment in time, I couldn’t even get City Jackdaw to work.

 

Check This Out: In Brigantia

This is an online interview with writer Linda about my new book In Brigantia

El Space--The Blog of L. Marie

It’s raining authors around the blog! Today, the amazing Andrew Murray (or Andy as many of you who know him and follow his blogs, City Jackdaw and Coronets For Ghosts, call him) is here to talk about his latest poetry collection, In Brigantia. (His first was Heading North, which we talked about here.)

  

Stick around after the interview to learn about a giveaway of this collection. Now, let’s talk to Andy.

El Space: Four quick facts about yourself?
Andy: Thank you! (1) I’m (at least) the fifth generation of Murray born in Manchester.
(2) My favourite place is Orkney.

 

Photos by Andy Murray © 2019

(3) A big Whovian, I once stumbled across a scene being filmed for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode, and was totally unaware of it until it aired on TV.
(4) My dreams begin while I’m still awake.

El Space: Please…

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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 Amazon.com 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.

*https://lmarie7b.wordpress.com 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.

image

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.