Good morning. This is John wondering if anyone else is just longing to go somewhere…?
A bit of Froud nostalgia to begin. It’s not what it used to be, nostalgia…
The photo is the North Western Road Car X12 Bradford to Manchester (Lower Mosley St). No bus company now and no bus station. That’s underneath the Bridgewater Hall. This is the bus my mum used to put me on to send me to my Gran, or my Auntie Hilda. I would be met in Manchester and taken by car (luxury for me) to Cheadle or Wilmslow to stay for a weekend, or longer if it was school holidays. You are now dreaming of either
a) going on a journey or b) sending your kids on a journey or c) both of the above.
My Gran used to spoil me, cream cakes, Kellog’s Variety Packs, toys from Woolworth’s, so that was a great destination. Auntie Hilda was married to Tony who sang counter tenor in St Anne’s choir in Manchester and drove a Morris Minor. They had married relatively late in life and had no children. So I was a bit of trial to Uncle Tony…
“Shut the door with the handle, not your bottom”
“You had Corn Flakes for breakfast. Why d’you want them for your supper?”
There was no doubt they both loved me dearly, but there was friction. I learned a lot there about accepting that other people, even family, do things differently, though I still struggle with that sometimes.
Uncle Tony used to take me to see football, so I could put up with most things. Altrincham, Macclesfield Town and—Yvonne, grip the chair arms—Manchester United.! My hero Denis Law. Self indulgent photo…
Altrincham and Macclesfield attracted crowds standing two deep in places, but Old Trafford was always packed. I was young and (relatively) small. Uncle Tony was six foot tall. This, in a crowd is useful. He could look at the tickets and read the signs. Yes, team, I was scared. Everyone was so much bigger and they all seemed to know where they were going. I felt I could be carried away in the crush.
True story. My usefully tall uncle told me to take hold of his hand. And not let go. I did exactly that, quite fiercely the first time, as I remember it, and he led me through the tunnels, up staircases, past the bars and refreshment stands, guiding me through the crowds. Then out into the brilliant light of the Theatre of Dreams to a seat reserved for me with a perfect view of that wonderful 1960s team with Best, Law, Charlton, Crerand I could go on, all misty-eyed. He had taken me to heaven!
True story. “I am the way” was 1st century slang for “I’ll take you there!” That was the response to a request for directions. No complicated instructions for us when we can’t see where we are, never mind where we’re going; no leaving us to make the best of a bad situation. Get hold of his hand and don’t let go. We used to have a poster saying, “Faith is only faith when it’s all you’re hanging on to.”
Posthumously, Uncle Tony provided the best story…Getting into the undertaker’s limo after the funeral, his brother asked the widow, “So, were it a bad attack?”
Have a nice and an I-must-remember-even-Man-U-fans-go-to-heaven kind of day…holding on to that hand. Traaaaaaaaaa.