“Shut up and stop answering me back,” is what my mother told me in the car on Saturday afternoon. I was sitting in the rear seat but I could see through the mirror that Heather’s face was a picture of satisfaction.
You will gather that my Mum is feeling better following her fall and subsequent (three) visits to the QE Hospital. I can’t remember what it was that caused her wrath with me on Saturday, but shut up I did. We were on our way home from lunch at the Blue Bell in Mickley. It had been on my mind that my Dad would have been 100 that day. I knew that Mum wouldn’t have forgotten it was his birthday, in any case it’s my brother’s birthday on the same day, but I wondered if she’d remembered the centenary landmark. She had of course and although we didn’t say much I think we were both thinking about the happy times. I mentioned it on Facebook and a friend of mine, Heather Mawson, has very kindly suggested that I write about my Dad on my blog. I’m grateful for the suggestion and I am going to add a potted version of a short autobiography he wrote for me about three years before he died. It was at this time that my brother and I took Dad to Eden Camp the modern history museum in Yorkshire, Eden Camp Naturally it got us talking about the war and his experiences, and during our journey home and I said to him, “You know Dad I wish you would write it all down for me.” A couple of months later he produced a neatly bound volume of several thousand words and photographs. My brother helped him with the printing and binding but he had typed it all out himself. I had no idea that he was such a good writer. I’m going to edit it and add a page here later on. I know he’s my Dad and I’m bound to be biased, but it’s really interesting.
Another port of call on Saturday was the Rosarama bead shop which is on the bank in Crawcrook, left hand side just as you leave the village to go towards Ryton. Rosarama The lady here is someone else in an ever growing list of folk who have the patience of saints as far as my mother is concerned. (Try as I might I just can’t seem to get on to that list.) She’s seen a lot of us this past week. On Wednesday afternoon Mum spent the best part of an hour in there choosing the beads and a catch for a necklace that this lady is making for her. The following day Mum changed her mind about the style of the catch and sent me back in to adjust the original order. By Saturday afternoon Mum had come up with further changes and decided that it was necessary for her to go in and explain in person. I thought it only fair to nip in first to give Rosarama the heads up and supply her with the opportunity to hide under the counter. People in shops are defenceless game when it comes to my mother, because they’re sitting targets, trapped there like those plastic ducks you shoot at in fairgrounds. Needless to say Rosarama was very good, I have no idea if that is her real name or not, only that she owns the shop and is very helpful. It’s lovely place if you’re interested in beading and jewellery.
I had to be up early on Saturday to go and get my roots done at Saccha’s in Ryton. We had a stack of rubbish to take to the tip, so Heather volunteered to go on condition (obviously) that she took my Micra rather than her own car, as tips are messy you see. Off I went to the hairdressers blissfully unaware that I had the Micra keys in my handbag. This state of contented ignorance didn’t last for long. Up to my ears in bleach I received a phone call from Heather demanding to know where the bloody keys were, and what the hell was she supposed to do? I helpfully suggested that she walk – I thought it was helpful anyway.
I tweeted last weekend about going to see the Heed and that come the weekend just gone I would instead be watching a bunch of overpaid prima donnas at St. James’s Park. Maybe I was being a bit harsh because I did enjoy the Newcastle United game against Manchester City, and going to a big football stadium is a fantastic event. The massive crowds, the build-up, the acoustics, everything is thrilling but it just doesn’t have the romance of watching a lower league team. It’s Heather who is the avid NUFC fan (I’m a Gooner) but I think we’re both changing our main allegiance to Gateshead FC and we’re very much looking forward to this Saturday when they take on Grimsby. I think it’s time to start saying “we.” In my blog last weekend I moaned about the prices of NUFC pies (£3 compared to Gateshead’s £1). I didn’t have a pie at SJP but I did ask for a cup of hot chocolate. The young lady serving said that they didn’t sell any at that particular bar, but assured me with a smile that I could buy one on the ground floor. Bearing in mind we had just climbed nine flights of stairs I opted for a cup of tea instead. Our friends Janet and Debbie came to the match with us. Debbie loves her football and is extremely knowledgeable but has too many commitments to go to games that often. When I handed her the tickets she sat reading them for a good five minutes, prompting me to get mine out and examine it for whatever it was I’d missed. It just seemed to contain the same seat, row numbers, and information about the turnstile entrance as it had the first time I’d looked at it, but it’s lovely to see someone so excited and enthusiastic!
It was a moving moment when wreaths were laid at the centre spot in memory of Liam Sweeney and John Alder who were killed on July 17th when flight MH17 was shot down. Manchester City and Sunderland AFC joined in the tribute, with Vincent Kompany and Jimmy Montgomery laying wreaths on behalf of their respective clubs, and Fabricio Coloccini for Newcastle United. There followed a minute’s silence. Football fans form a community whichever team they support, and it’s during times like these that the community comes together. For a full minute there was no black and white, red and white, or sky blue. Only people.