The Perils of Being an Early Adopter!

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Not one to shy away from trying something new we decided to go into manchester on our shiny new Metrolink to save the aggravation of trying to get through 86 sets of traffic lights on the way into the City Centre.

So that was the plan, so armed with my trusty I Phone I downloaded the app that told us how to plan our journey, how much it would cost and the frequency of the service. I must say this was very handy.

I discovered that our nearest stop was at Oldham Mumps and the tram would arrive at Victoria 16 minutes later. So what could possibly go wrong? We arrived at the station only to find that all the parking spaces were taken and the nearest parking was a quarter a mile away and would cost £4.00 for three hours. 

Me being a renown tightwad thought this was a bit steep seeing as we didn’t know when we would be back I had the brilliant Idea of going to the next station which would be in Werneth somewhere near the tram tracks (how hard can it be to find a station.?). So back in the car and we made our way down to Hollinwood were the makeshift park and ride facilities were a welcome site. So far the journey had already taken us three quarters of an hour and we hadn’t even got on the tram yet!

Challenge number three using the ticket machine what is essentially an ATM which charges astronomical amounts for tickets however having my wife, grand daughter and her friend with us I was warned by Ann to behave, not to swear at the machine and calm down, so I bit the bullet and paid my £10.20 for our tickets. 

The next tram according to the LED screens was due in twelve minutes so we waited patiently and to my surprise it turned up on time and looked all shiny and new, brilliant I thought until the doors opened  and I realised there are only a few seats so for the journey I was hanging from the strap like an elderly chimp performing party tricks at the zoo.

So is it progress? maybe I am being a little unkind and when the car park at mumps is finished then maybe it will be fantastic. My only concern that the tram was full going to manchester but almost empty on the return journey. My theory of it being an escape pod out of oldham rather that the vehicle which will regenerate the town may prove to be correct.

 

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Thanking my Lucky Stars

I am fortunate to have been born into a generation who are lucky enough not to have had to go to war or been poor enough to know what its like to go to bed hungry. 

My fathers generation lived through the horror of both of these things and to all intents and purposes it wasn’t that long ago. I was listening to an interview on Radio 4 with a 90 year old veteran who was a rear gunner in a Lancaster during the war. Listening him tell his story of what it was like to be shot down chilled me to the bone. 

I felt an enormous feeling of gratitude toward this man who in his twenties along with many of his comrades who were not quite so lucky, risked everything to protect our way of life.

So next time you are stuck in traffic or your boss is giving you a hard time, bear a thought of how much you really have to complain about, and if like me you you wake up and open your eyes and all your bodily functions are all still working you are quids in already.

 

Friday Night is Music Night

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Its been a busy old week. Full of students trying very hard to complete work before they leave the college and head off to university. Its interesting to listen in on some of the conversations about the choices they have made and the impending lifestyle change that leaving home for the first time will bring.

Rather that academic rigor being at the top of the agenda it appears that planning partying and nightlife is the first priority. The conversation I was listening into sounded more like a planning meeting for an 18 – 30 holiday to the Balearics. Perhaps I am more than a tad envious of the exuberance of youth and I wish them well in there future endeavors. 

Leaving the day job behind and suitably knackered I decide to sit down with a brew and watch the England – Sweden Match. This was like getting on a roller coaster, a scary ride of ups and downs so after to comfort my troubled soul I then venture out into the wet wintery weather to join the merry thong at the Diggle Blues Festival. It was a cracking night of live music with a great band.

The Majestic’s are a great six pieceband who do a great Blues number loosely based on La Bamba (I know I have never heard a blues version either before tonight), very enjoyable and with copious amounts of beer and some great company its been a night to remember. 

I am now sat here with the customary Cheese sandwich and coffee trying to fend of the death like feeling I will encounter when I wake up tomorrow. 

 

 

Never Work With Children and Animals.

Its not often I find myself short of words but today was one of those times when there are no words to describe what happened. The day started well apart from the weather which left a little to be desired after all I was shooting a typical Vets working day visiting farms and treating sick animals.

So after taking some very nice landscape shots of green fields (and they are green with the amount of water they have had recently), people with horses, cute lambs and then we visited a farm which specialises in Pedigree Cattle. 

So we got the gear out of the car, set up a great shot of The Farmer, the Vet and a Pedigree Cow and her Calf.

This calf was that cute it could quite possibly been single handedly responsible for me turning into a vegetarian. This little scenario looked like it was going to be the best farm shot ever (excluding the ones in All Creatures Great and Small which consisted of Christopher Timothy, a cow and a rubber glove).

So the scene was set and I was about to hit the record button when the cow turned through 180 degrees and produced an island sized dump on the head of our well manicured Calf. I stood transfixed to the spot, as I said speechless, I could’t have been shocked if it had done it on my head!

My clients found this very amusing, The farmer said something along the lines of never work with Children and Animals and walked away shaking his head. What I am more disappointed about is that the camera wasn’t running when It happened, I could have made a swift £250 on You’ve been framed!

 

The Long Walk

 

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Its been a busy old week. I have had to fit five days work into four days to enable me to attend the Saddleworth Whitfriday celebrations.

Friday usually starts with us being woken by Marsden Brass Band marching through the village playing Hail smiling Morn. Then I casually meander down to the kitchen for a swift coffee and a spot of breakfast before getting ready to join the rest of the village for the procession down into Uppermill for the the communal service on the playing fields.

This ritual has taken place in Eccles Hall for the past thirty or so years and myself and Ann have managed to keep out of each others way until we are ready to face the outside world.(we find its better that way then we don’t argue and spoil the day).

That is the normal ritual. This year was slightly different, It was Ann’s birthday and instead of being softly woken by brass bands and birdsong, my daughter and her partner and four kids burst in (must get that key back off her) and turned the whole experience into what could only be describes as bedlam.

It was as though the clock had been rewound twenty years, we found ourselves making copious amounts of bacon sandwiches and coffee, people arguing who is using the bathroom next and looking for sockets to plug various bits of technology into MY electricity supply.

Eventually  as I got into the Bathroom (last as usual) I was then chivied along by Ann who was telling me that I was making everyone late. (the cheek of it!). 

We joined the merry thong and dutifully walked with our family (carrying James for a mile or so on my shoulders has I am sure compressed my spine). I found my self thinking of the many times I had done this before and remembering the people who are sadly no longer with us or have moved away and a part of me for a short time felt a little sad.

That didn’t last very long though as the Band struck up and I watched the children trying to march in time, followed by the young mothers in there Sunday best trying to walk in very high heels, not a good idea if you are about to embark on a six mile walk through the pennines.

Above all this day is a time to join villagers, friends and family to celebrate being a Christian and come together as one united group of people for one day together in a manner that will probably in a few years time be seen nothing more that a group of mildly eccentric people going for a bit of a walk.

I am sat here at the computer having just cleared up after the family BBQ we had last night whilst watching the Annual Diggle Band Contest. Fifty Bands from all over the world made the effort to play for us without us needing to leave the house to enjoy the event. 

The organisation of this event is incredible and I take my hat off to Steve Scholes and his team of volunteers who make it seem effortless and I am sure it takes a great deal of time and effort in equal amounts. 

So after clearing up after the Eccles Clan’s annual BBQ I feel I need a rest, but alas no, apparently Ann needs to take me and my credit card for her Birthday present (apparently I always get the wrong size or colour), then we need to go and shop for even more provisions because some bright spark decided because we had so much beer left we could have another BBQ on Monday!

 

I have had this ludicrous idea

I have been working with a great photographer this week. Chris Willan a freelancer from Liverpool (don’t hold that against him) has taken some fantastic portraits of young people at the start of there careers. I am always impressed by photographers who capture the essence of the moment in the blink of an eye.

Whilst working with Chris I had this ludicrous idea which made me think about how I could try to get people to think more positively about our town. What if we took portraits of people and added a paragraph about what they do were they live. 

If you took say 500 portraits and found a wall big enough to put them on and get people talking about them, you never know people may get involved in other projects around the town.

So here we go I have set up a Facebook page www.facebook.com/MadeInOldham to see what demand there is, once we know there is a demand we will then get out with our portable studio and talented Photographers and take the portraits.

 I have been pitching again this week, with better results we will be televising Bury Council meeting on the 4th July live on the internet, a must see event (if you live in Bury). The last council meeting we televised was in Oldham on the same night as the European Cup Semi final with Chelsea, obviously a tough decision to make if you live in Oldham.

So now I am reinvigorated with my new found success this week, perhaps I am not quite ready for the old folks home yet.

 

Not My Greatest Week!

I have had what can only be described as a rude awakening this week. 

I realised some time ago that I have reached the age were most bright young things have started to see me as almost transparent and that my considerable skills are being dismissed as old fashioned. I accept this because I work in an industry which has always judged people on talent rather than the date on a birth certificate.

But the thing that has annoyed me more than anything else this week is that I was told my pitch for my latest project was “too northern”!

This came as a shock considering the content of this extravaganza was to promote a northern town. I now truly feel like the lunatics have taken over the asylum!