Visiting my mother in my native town of Pudsey, West Yorkshire today I took a moment to photograph my first school, Greenside Primary. I attended it from 1961 until 1966. In fact, it was also the school my mother attended when she moved with her parents to Pudsey from Leeds in 1939. It’s still a primary school today and one of my brother’s grandchildren attends it.
Among my most vivid memories of Greenside are the snowy days. We created immense (to us) icy slides the length of the gently sloping tarmac- coated playground. Playtime breaks were spent whizzing down these achieving feats of balance and speed, like a landlocked simulacrum of surfing.
There was a seasonality about our playground activities. Conkers in the autumn, slides and snowballing in winter, and at some point when the weather was warmer and the ground drier, marbles would be brought out.
In September 1966, for my final year of Junior school ( Year 6 today) the whole school decamped to a brand new school with its own playing field about half a mile away at Southroyd. This was just slightly closer to the house to which my family had moved earlier in 1966 than Greenside is. I don’t know what happened to the Greenside school building immediately after that move but it wasn’t long before it was operating again as a primary school as it continues today. No doubt the growth of the population in Pudsey in the mid- 1960s and 1970s required the additional school places.
Pudsey became one of the fastest growing towns in the West Yorkshire conurbation in the latter part of the 20th century. There were numbers of new homes built on brownfield sites previously occupied by industrial plants such as tanneries, woollen mills, and light engineering workshops. When I was a child it was nothing unusual walking around outside to be met by the greasy smells, incessant whirrings, and occasional bangs and blue flashes of local industry. It seemed there was a pub and a chapel at every significant street corner, and some in between too! The former I aspired to visit and frequently succeeded from the age of 16 upwards, the latter not so much. Whatever Primitive Methodists and Strict Baptists were I was content to remain in ignorance of them. I was unconflictedly Church of England! Decommissioned pubs and chapels were demolished and new housing built. At one site a former graveyard is covered over now by an innocuous cul-de- sac of modest detached homes; providing a complete visual erasure of its previous awe-inspiring appearance.
All-day drinking laws have not had the effect of slowing down drinking which Government advocates of the law said they would according to a new report. Instead most areas report a worsening in alcohol-related incidents and an increased cost to the tax-payer. See this report from MSN News
The culture of drinking amongst British young people is deeply embeddded and has been for many years. It has got worse over the last quarter-century as drink has become relatively cheaper and more easily available. Giving people even more opportunity to get off their heads on a daily basis was never going to change that culture and now we have the evidence to show that it isn’t working.
Instead town and city centres across the country have become no-go areas for most people several evenings a week as they are filled with groups of drunken youngsters tottering and staggering around, screaming, cursing and vomiting; or lying comatose across the pavement.
Documents attached by email are the bane of life for a busy committee member. My local school governing body for example regularly attaches upto twenty different documents to the email sent before the meeting. But there is another way. This is to share the document by simply giving the weblink to its location on the internet. And an easy way to do this has been provided by the amazing people at Zoho – the online applications people. The Zoho viewer application allows you simply to upload your document and then grab its URL (internet address) which you can share in an email or blogpost. Try it here.
I spent most of Easter Monday indoors reading and sorting out my books; and re-listing some old books for sale on www.greenmetropolis.com – the second-hand paperback book site where there’s a standard selling price of £3 and usually no extra for postage and no commission charged. And also on the second-hand section of www.amazon.co.uk where you can see how many copies of the same edition are being offered for sale and prices can be as low as 1p, but there’s a standard £2.75 for postage, and commission is charged.
I tend to put the low weight paperbacks on Greenmetropolis, so there will be little postage to pay when I sell them; and the hardbacks and heavier paperbacks on Amazon.
It’s a bit dispiriting to see hardback novels by prize-winning authors, like Nadine Gordamer, going for 1p. I’ve also listed a lot of old “Christian” paperback classics like Choose Freedom by Michael Green, or Knowing God by Jim Packer. There’s little chance they will sell – but this is their biblical second chance. After this they go for pulping. You, Me and Jesus by Cliff Richard (in full colour) has probably been snapped up by all the fans who really need it – judging by the fact there’s 50 copies already on Amazon available for 1p each!
On the other hand if you want a hardback copy of the late Cardinal Basil Hume’s spiritual classic Searching for God – which I have just listed – you will need to shell out £39. These are scarce it seems – still nourishing its many first-time owners with its pearls of wisdom. Alternatively you could borrow it from your local library (..do people still do that these days?).
I guess I don’t need Amazon second-hand book prices to indicate for me which brand of spirituality, that of Cliff, or that of Basil has the more enduring appeal; but both have played their part and offered their different books for diffferent types of reader.
A happy new year to any readers! Especially any who have come through the new “Anglican Bloggers” group on Facebook.
I love these early days of January. It’s not only because the days are getting longer and lighter; and not only because Christmas is behind us for another year. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy Christmas when it comes – but the whole build-up through December seeems to take over normal life. But mainly I love early January because it’s full of possibilities of a new way of doing things. Last year I might have failed to crack old habits like not keeping an eye on my bank statement, eating too much, not exercising enough, failing to to do something about my carbon footprint, forgetting to write letters, not cancelling subscriptions for papers or websites I never read, not sorting out my filing cabinets – not filing basically – not backing up my PC etc etc BUT this year everything could be different. We’re still only a few days into it so even though I haven’t started to tackle any of those things yet I still might! I am luxuriating in the possibilities these days hold!
About this time I surrender to the inevitability of the advance of Christmas. For the next week it simply takes over my life. Not only do I have family preparations for the great festival but also church ones too. Basically I might as well put on hold any serious work on other things until January.
I read in the Christmas edition of New Stateman magazine a piece by Richard Dawkins, the celebrated atheist. Despite his antithesis to religion he still prefers to call the season Christmas rather than simply “holidays” which is what the Americans do. Of course using the phrase “holidays” is not a secular as it appears because the word derives from the idea of “holy” days. Dawkins also wants us to remember 25th December as the birthday of Isaac Newton because he is one of the greatest scientists ever. This looks to me suspiciously like Dawkins is falling prey to the same spiritual needs for investing time with meaning that faith commmunities are meeting when they designate certsain days for the commemoration of the saints!