Tuesday, 28 February 2017

One hundred years of one house in Chorlton part 80 ...... on a cold wet February day settling down with the wireless

The continuing story of the house Joe and Mary Ann Scott lived in for over 50 years and the families that have lived here since.*

As the snow came down, 2017
Now however the rest of the day turns out the beginning has been pretty miserable.

The first bright promise of what might have been soon deteriorated into driving sleet which became snow matched by one of those heavy leaden skies which all but touched the ground.

And with no intention of going out I got thinking about what Joe and Mary Ann would have done with their day.

Of course given that this is a Tuesday Joe will have been at work but as a builder I suspect his projects will have ground to a halt, leaving him and his employees to sit in the office behind the house and ponder on what to do.

For Mary Ann there would be plenty to engage her time, from the regular chores of keeping the place clean to planning and preparing the meals for the day.

The house, 1974
And I guess all of this would have been accompanied by the wireless which offered up the choice of the Home Service which specialised in news and discussion and the Light Programme with its mix of popular music drama and comedy.

Both of these were the background to my childhood, although there did seems a clear division between mum who preferred the Home Service and dad who spent the evening with a book and the likes of Professor Edwards, the ITMA team and “Sing Something Simple.”

The possible clash of interests was mitigated sometime in the mid 1950s when we got a television set which mother embraced with enthusiasm leaving dad to the radio.

I don’t know if there was a similar divide of interest in the Scott household who got their telly about the same time as we did.

That said during the 50s and even the early 60s the television was very much something for the evening leaving the day to the radio.

Doing things, 1947
It was there while mum dusted, cooked and got on with all the other daily chores, and in turn it was what I listened to while reading, drawing or just “doing things”.

And the magico f the wireless particularly the Home Service was its ability to fire the imagination.

After all with nothing in the way of anything to look at you slipped into creating your own picture of what the characters in the dramas looked like and the landscapes they inhabited.

In my case it also gave me a love of the spoken voice and an appreciation of how a writer constructs a story or a talk.

And the master was always Alistair Cook and his Letter from America which was a weekly set of observations on what was happening in the USA.

It was so well crafted that during its fifteen minutes despite roaming over a variety of events, topics and personalities it always ended effortlessly where it began.

The same is true of those radio shows about Lake Woebegone by Garrison Keillor “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

They are perfect radio so much so that when I bought the books and read the same stories the magic was missing.

And I suppose that is the power of radio whether it is Radio 4 or one of those small community radios.

At which point I have to own up to bringing us to North Manchester FM  106.6 which broadcasts from Harpurhey out to Crumpsall, Moston and Cheetham.**

The outrageous connection is that along with Peter Topping I was in conversation Hannah Kate on her programme “about books, creative writing and publishing.”***

Each week she spends two hours talking to a guest author and this Saturday she got me and Peter discussing the books we have collaborated on, the ones I have written on my own and Peter’s paintings.

Before the snow
Modesty prevents me from saying more although the quality of our wit, thought and personality can be judged by following the link.

As you would expect the north of the city was a tad colder than what we are used to and there was more than a bit of rain but there was no snow.

And yes that is my stab at following Alistair Cook and finishing where I began, a conclusion which I accept I will have to work on.

Location; Chorlton and Harpurhey

Pictures; looking out from our house, 2017 from the collection of Andrew Simpson and radio image courtesy of Hannah Kate

*The story of house,

**North Manchester FM 106.6, https://northmanchester.fm/contact-us/

***Hannah’s Bookshelf, https://www.mixcloud.com/Hannahs_Bookshelf/hannahs-bookshelf-with-special-guests-andrew-simpson-and-peter-topping-25022017/

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