Blogger and freelance writer from the north-east coast of England
A Most Amusing Grandfather
The front wheels of the car hung precariously over the precipice. A fall of rock below caused the vehicle to slide even further over the edge. As the situation looked increasingly hopeless, Peg Man soared towards the danger at the speed of a bullet, his white cape flapping wildly. As the superhero placed his head under the front of the car in order to push it back to safety, there came a distant call.
The Tar Barrel Festival, Allendale
As a resident of Northumberland, I occasionally see local TV news reports of a New Year’s Eve tradition that takes place annually in Allendale, a village in the southwest of the county. Known as the Tar Barrel Festival (spelled tar bar’l locally), the highlight is a procession of men in assorted costumes, known as guisers, each carrying a cut-down wooden barrel-end on his head that contains a blazing concoction of tar and wood shavings.
The Night I performed at an Iconic Venue
As a young man, I was heavily into the punk rock scene, and via my involvement in that, I produced a crude music fanzine called Aural Nightmares. I also attended many local gigs, starting off with mainstream acts, such as Chelsea and the Vibrators, but later branching off into the anarcho-punk sector, seeing bands like Conflict, Amebix and the Subhumans.
How I Quit Smoking
Looking back, I suppose it was inevitable that I would take up smoking. I’d grown up in a house full of puffers, and I’d been a passive smoker since infancy. When our living room underwent its annual redecoration, there were gasps every time, the wall clock was taken down, to reveal a circular patch several shades lighter than the rest of the walls, which had been darkened by a year’s worth of cigarette smoke.
The Angel of the North
Do you have a landmark that is always there to welcome you home after a long trip; a welcoming sight that lets you know your journey is almost at an end? This may be a mighty structure, like a bridge, or something less significant, like specific graffiti on a road sign.
How Halloween Has Changed
For a few weeks before the actual date arrives, on the last day of October, shops push all manner of Halloween accessories onto a public eager for scares. Such accoutrements as scary skeletons, creepy cobwebs and wonky witch hats, pack the shelves in the spookiest aisle in the store. Walking down such an aisle in some supermarkets is a more ghastly experience than a ride on the ghost train.
Wake Me Up When December Ends
Now, let me say straight away that I am not a Scrooge type and Christmas to me is not humbug. I do enjoy the day itself; the gifts, the food and drink, and seeing family and friends. That wonderful drowsiness that comes when laid out on the settee after a hearty Christmas lunch and a few glasses of wine is hard to beat.
Hands Up, Who Thinks Climate Change is Real?
Last summer, I took a seven hour bus ride specifically to attend an animal rights march that was to take place in London. I had been stirred into action by reports I’d seen about the fate of beagle dogs that are bred at a facility in Huntingdon, sold, and then used in all manner of horrendous experiments. A like-minded online friend had very kindly offered me a place to sleep, and so I set off.
The Lonely Boy of Saddleworth
There is currently a news story, bubbling under the headlines that suggests the remains of the missing, so-called Moors Murderers’ victim, Keith Bennett may have been discovered. He was twelve-years-old in 1964, when he fell into the clutches of the evil pair Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, who murdered four children, and kept their remains hidden from view by burying them on the vast expanse of Saddleworth Moor, in Greater Manchester. They also murdered a seventeen-year-old youth, but that proved their undoing.