Prominent Stories from the free local paper, this week:
Lovelorn Pensioner in continued vain attempt to find long-lost amour through leafleting campaign ('she left to marry another man, from Reddish he was. It was 1936').
Cul-de-sac residents up in arms as Tesco Metro drags feet over promised 'No parking' sign. (no-one from firm HQ available for comment as we went to press)
Backstreet alarm as Bin catches fire. Emergency services quickly on scene to extinguish.
Spanish postgraduate students overheard swearing volubly in native language on park tennis courts. Passing Wolverhampton Polytechnic Modern Language Graduates Briefly Alarmed. Meaningful Glances Exchanged.
OK so I made the last one up. What I'm trying to say though is, nothing much happens round here. I mean, it's neighbourly enough (a woman jogged past yesterday and shouted a cheery 'welcome to the neighbourhood', so there you are: neighbourly) but there is a notable absence of the low-level hassle of the inner city to which we had become wearily accustomed. Maybe we'll get bored of the quiet eventually, but for the moment we're enjoying listening to the silence of the suburbs and standing in the park with a cup of tea, watching Frankie's remote control helicopter circle the basketball nets while small gatherings of floppy-haired teenagers in school blazers look on, unthreateningly.
We've still maintained a foothold to the old neighbourhood, mind you, in the form of the allotment (for now we are pretending not to have quite read plot rental subclause 6.2 on 'continued residence within the City Boundaries' and are hoping Edith the eagle-eyed membership secretary's spying network does not extend the length of the 192 busroute). This Saturday's two hour trip saw me clambering precariously atop the roof of the rickety shed with a roll of roofing felt and hammering fourteen to the dozen with half inch cloutnails, possibly to the consternation of the redbreasted robin who has built its nest on an inner ledge (also precarious, but then she does have wings) and laid three tiny eggs within. If anyone knows the first thing about when robin eggs are likely to hatch (or knows Bill Oddy's number) then let me know, as I feel slightly troubled to disturb them again and it would be useful to know when I will next be able to access the big spade without experiencing pangs of guilt.
Other unrelated news (this is a post of the 'Catch Up Notes' variety, in which normal rules about logical flow between paragraphs do not apply, by special dispensation of the management). One of the many Johns who occasionally inhabit the comment box down there has written a book- a novel- and as if that was not already impressive enough, it has been published, and there was a booklaunch in an academic Newcastle-upon-Tyne citycentre bookstore(with complementary wine and vials of so-called 'chocolate' the least said about which the better, although you would have to read the actual book to understand why I say that), and it is not every day someone from the comment box writes a book, let alone takes centre stage in an academic city centre bookstore after closing hours and reads pages from it for the delectation of approximately thirty-five literary-minded Geordies mostly garnered from his personal acquaintance, so of course I dropped everything and caught the first Transpennine Express north. And bought a copy of the book (even though a copy of the early manuscript is somewhere in the 142 boxes, but you know, free wine). And- oh- the book is marvellously funny and at the same time erudite and thought-provoking in a 'it's a big universe out there and we are all tiny specks in it and are here for seconds really, so we have a duty to enjoy ourselves and look after each other' sort of way, and the sort of thing Spike Milligan might have written had he been momentarilly possessed by the souls of Flann O'Brian and Patrick Moore, and takes place on the streets and poolhalls of New York and (entirely explicably)in a lighthouse, and concerns the eponymous Fontoon, a 'Confedaracy of Dunces'esque lighthouse keeper who lives on dollar hotdogs and longs to be a famous poet, the only hurdle being he has never written as much as a word of poetry (although he has dreamt up many volumes while chewing on dollar hotdogs on park benches). But then, one day in the city centre park, a man steps out of the bushes, with the immortal words- 'I've been watching you, and I'm impressed'..
Curious? Go to the website of small but perfectly formed Tyneside based publisher Dedalus and see more. Or better, click here.
OK. Catch up (and plug for much-beloved person from comment box who has written novel and had it published) over. And the sun has come out and this cafe is closing momentarily so we must make haste. Onwards!