Ay up. We have been to the North and we have come back. I mean the North of England – well not even that really. We have been to Manchester. I am technically from Manchester way but we don’t get to go back very often This was a flying visit to see a concert in the Bridgewater Hall. For those who aren’t familiar with the Bridgewater Hall, it usually accomodates the likes of the Halle Orchestra or the Choral Society. On Friday night, it played host to a Northern Soul and Motown evening. The reason the event was in such an august setting was that there was a full orchestra providing a strings and brass background to some frankly brilliant songs. However, Northern Soul is basically music for the working classes and no-one should have been suprised when we working classes descended on the Bridgewater like seagulls on an open binbag.

Most people were very well behaved and if the doormen are not used to having a lady with several teeth missing insisting on showing them her tatoos, they certainly didn’t show it – much. She was so happy, it almost made me resolve to get inked myself. There was plenty of Northern bonhomie. The lady who sat next to us assured us that we could leave our coats with her at half time as she had no intention of going through our pockets. Ha. This was something that had obviously not occurred to us up until the exact moment that she told us that she would never do it. There then followed an awkward few moments when we weighed up laughing gaily while we checked our pockets or throwing our coats over our shoulders feigning a sudden chill and trying to change seats.  

The evening itself was fantastic. Lots of brilliant singers singing lots of lovely songs with some of the best acoustics ever. I am no expert in the Northern Soul department but Head of House is very, very (very) wise in this department and he was more than happy with the music. Phew. 

We did go into the City Centre for a bit of shopping (A bit! Remove this debit card from my hand now!!) I haven’t been there for ages but it did look a bit shabby which was a disappointment. Although, to be fair, the general ambience was not helped by a large group of workmen, trying to put up fifty log cabins for the Christmas Market while donks like me insisted on tiptoing through their carefully placed roof joists to get to Zara.

In other news, it is November 5th today and this means that I am acknowledging the existence of Christmas. Although, did I tell you that I have cancelled Christmas this year? Well, I say cancelled, I am not doing all the turkey shenanigans etc. Firstly, I heard an interview with a lady who said that she had never done all that stuff. On Christmas Day, they had a walk, went to church, ate bacon sandwiches and soup and fell asleep in front of Indiana Jones with a glass of prosecco. I wistfully announced to no-one in particular that this sounded lovely. HOH then said it was ok with him and he may be working anyway. Both kids will probably only be here for limited time. Aged Parent doesn’t have a say because she behaved very badly last year and also I think she is better if she ends the day in her own bed. So – there we are. I have done the full on dinner for twenty odd years now and we are paring back unless anyone else wants to take it on which I doubt. I may compromise and do something in the slow cooker – haven’t decided yet. Either way, it’s very freeing. (BTW, am not having a go at you if you like to do all that. I’m just not.) Anyone else done this? How was it? 

Lastly – is anyone watching The Little Drummer Girl? I haven’t read this so am at a bit of a disadvantage. (Although I had read the Night Manager but had to go back and re-read the end because they changed it completely) Anyway, really liked the first episode – but did not have the faintest idea what was happening in the second one. I mean, I thought I knew but then it seemed I didn’t. No one is apparently what they seem which is not unusual for a Le Carre but I am not sure what they are or who they might be pretending to be or not. Phew. Will stick with it though, partly because I like the frocks although there is an Israeli spy lady/Palestinian terrorist lady (not sure) with the most terrifying feather hair cut. I would arrest her at any airport she arrived at. She certainly looks like she is up to no good. Not all of the Seventies was glamour and velvet pants it seems.



  1. Angela Almond
    November 5, 2018 / 11:11 pm

    I keep falling asleep during LDG, Sundays are so busy I’m exhausted by 9pm. Felt nostalgic for the zoom ice lollies. My OH is very excited by the electronics, having spotted a Spectrum Analyser he worked on in his days as an electronic engineer at Marconi before he went off and did theology. There are some interesting fashions. I keep expecting Kevin Whately to turn up and take his wife back to Oxford. I have little or no idea what LDG is about. The red shirt woman seemed strangely androgynous. Bring back Monarch of the Glen, or Downton Abbey. They were much simpler to understand at the end of an exhausting weekend… One Christmas Day the vomiting started at 6am, and by noon, only myself and 6 Yr old left standing. We two had Marmite on toast for lunch and were quite satisfied with a simple repast.

    • lesleyps91
      November 6, 2018 / 7:03 am

      We had Christmas vomiting last year (the day before my cooking I must add) certainly takes the shine off. I think LDG seems very authentic – don’t know about electronics but I remember a lot of the clothes. Just wish I knew what was going on.

  2. November 6, 2018 / 1:53 am

    Last Christmas son took over and brought a ‘picnic’ lunch from M/S, where else, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Lots of interesting sandwiches, baby quiches, easy-eat thingies, and we ate it in the Cinservatory with crackers , of the pulling type. No frantic getting up at cock crow to wrestle with a giant bird, no peeling sprouts, just a nice family lunch.

    • lesleyps91
      November 6, 2018 / 7:05 am

      Many years ago, when I had been ill, we had a Marks’s Christmas dinner. Everything in foil trays. Was perfectly fine. Also think they do these little appetizing bijou bits and pieces very well.This is all very appealing.

  3. November 6, 2018 / 4:59 am

    After church I always have Christmas which consists of me and a well stocked fridge. I feel so smug!

    • lesleyps91
      November 6, 2018 / 7:06 am

      Exactly – well stocked with stuff you don’t need eight hours to cook I am thinking 🙂

  4. November 7, 2018 / 3:35 pm

    My husband is persevering with LDG despite having no idea what’s happening. I suggested he read up the plot on Wikipedia before the next episode.

    Wikipedia. Is it just me that thinks it sounds like a morally degenerate form of sexuality?

    Christmas — we stopped a few years ago and love the resulting peace and simplicity. It’s like it gave Christmas back to us, minus all the debt and anxiety. Those of us who enjoy a Christmas stocking buy themselves some nice things through the autumn, and put them away to unwrap on Christmas Day. Not me — that just sounds weird to me — but they like it.

    We make Christmas lunch special by the simple inclusion of sprouts, roast potatoes, and (essentially) gravy.

    • lesleyps91
      November 7, 2018 / 10:12 pm

      Yes, think I will stick with it although this is the first Le Carre I have watched before reading I think. It is an unnassailable truth that all things in life are improved by gravy

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