Archive for the ‘The Gallery’ Category

A poem by Carol Ann Duffy sums up what LOVE is … it’s not the red roses, the scribbled love notes or other such sentiments but something much more simple.

Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.

Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

Love is … still going strong 25 years on. Something I am immensely proud of.

This the last Gallery prompt from Sticky Fingers for 2010. Before you pop over to see how others have interpreted the Love is theme let me wish you all a happy Christmas and hope 2011 is filled with LOVE, HEALTH & HAPPINESS. xx


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The following photos were taken at the launch of a new cinema in our town. We’d waited a LONG time for this to happen so it was a big event and definately worth a celebration.

I remember we celebrated but don’t remember too much else about the evening, I think the photos tell the tale.

Pop over to Sticky Fingers to see other celebrations.

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Paradise Lost

When looking for a photo to use for The Gallery theme of Black & White this week I came across this one. I did think twice about using it but here goes.

The photo above was taken in Mexico in 2008. Twigman and I spent a memorable time, along with 28 other people, as guests celebrating friends 10th wedding anniversary.

Friends and family members flew in from the US, UK and Europe to share this special occasion with the happy couple. They’d planned the trip together for months.

We were collected from the airport in a limousine and taken to Villa Mia, the most beautiful idyllic place I’ve ever or ever likely to stay at. Over the following four days we were treated like royalty. We were served the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted before or since. Frozen strawberry daiquiri’s and margarita’s were handed to us as we cooled down in the infinite pool. At dinner a Mariachi band played as the sun set across the Pacific Ocean.

The photograph was taken on the final evening. We’d enjoyed a wedding feast followed by fireworks off the nearby rocks. As half the guests were Russian, copious amounts of vodka and wine were drunk, everyone was in high spirits (one or two high on something else too). It had been the most amazing experience of my life to date.

I have unforgettable memories of my time at Villa Mia but when I look at the photo it makes me sad. The couple who shared their anniversary in this special way have since split up. And one young man in the photo is no longer alive. Like I said unforgettable.

This week as usual there are some amazing photos over at Sticky Fingers. Click here to see how others have interpreted the theme.

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I thought I was going to have to give Tara’s Gallery a miss this week but at the last minute I came up with this for Before and After.

The first photo was taken in September 1992, Katie’s (aka Goblet) first day at primary school. Being an August baby she was only just four when she started but her big sister Laura was there to show her the ropes. I remember a few months ago there was a flurry of tweets on Twitter from tearful mums who had dropped off their little ones for their first day at ‘big’ school. I must be cut from a different cloth because I don’t remember shedding many tears when mine started school.

The ‘After’ photograph was taken in 2010 at Gob’s Graduation ceremony in Bristol Cathedral.

The nervous graduands sat on a makeshift stage in front of a sea of proud parents and relatives, patiently waiting for their names to be called.

A constant worrier by nature Gob was extremely nervous, convinced she would trip up in her heels and fall flat on her face in front of the Vice Chancellor, or worse her peers.

I sat, with the rest of the Greene team near the back, searching the rows of expectant faces looking for my baby girl. There she was, seat 34, four rows back from the front. We caught each others eye and I gave her a sly wave of encouragement. And then something strange happened, the tears came, 18 years on!

As if I’d stepped into a time machine I was suddenly transported back to the many times I’ve sat nervously watching my three perform in class assemblies, harvest festivals and Christmas plays. While waiting in line to file in or for their cue to start, their searching eyes scouring the audience to spot mum and dad, once spotted, a wave and a smile was enough to reassure them all will be fine.

I never let on but I always had a knot in my stomach in case they forgot their words or tripped up. They never did. Twigman and I always left feeling proud as Punch. And yesterday was no different.

Goblet’s formal educational life is over, for now anyway. 18 years has gone by in a flash. And so my little Goblet, Butterbean, Foghorn, Katie or maybe it’s now time to call you Katherine, it’s time to spread your wings and fly.

Congratulations also to the other Baldwin Babes.

This is a blog I wrote in 2010. As I write this, Gob is on the other side of the world with her boyfriend. The intrepid travellers have spent the last three months exploring SE Asia, something she often talked about doing, but as none of the Greene team are particularly adventurous I never thought she’d actually go through with it. It was only when we dropped her off at the airport that I really believed it was happening. Now that was an emotional day I can tell you. I think Twig thought I’d sprung a leak. I had to keep telling myself, she’s only going on HOLIDAY, not emigrating.

We’ve followed their journey with the help of What’sapp, Viber and regular photos uploaded onto Facebook. They’ve visited some stunning places and seen some amazing sights and we’re looking forward to them returning in four weeks to hear all about it.


Before she left I gave her a card which said
No one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep.

Goblet, I hope the sights, sounds and smells that you’ve experienced on your trip will keep you awake for many years to come. xx

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Tara chose ‘Seasons’ for the Gallery this week. I’ve chosen three photos that sum up autumn for me.

Every November, Twigman and I return to our hometown of Manchester to visit my lovely mum and take the old girl out for a birthday dinner. We always combine this with a trip to the Trafford Centre for the annual Christmas shopping expedition.

The Trafford Centre is the sixth largest shopping centre in the UK and attracts 30 million visitors a year. As you come off the M62, approaching the centre, you might be mistaken for thinking that you’ve arrived in Rome. But no instead of the Eternal City it’s the ‘Spot the Celebrity’ city. Twigman got very excited when he thought he spied Hayley Cropper from Coronation Street parking her car. More excited even, than when he spotted Jarvis Cocker last week in Westfields shopping centre. Obviously transsexuals excite him more than bottom showing old rockers!

After spending several hours traipsing around and not getting anywhere except realising that we could get most of what we wanted on Amazon for half the price, we headed to Pret a Manger for their delicious Christmas sandwiches, that I look forward to every year, only to find that they weren’t on sale until two days later! I was not a happy bunny but had to remind myself that tis the season to be jolly!

The following day we woke to a beautiful cold autumn morning. It was the perfect weather for a walk down memory lane. The country estate of Dunham Massey is where Twigman and I spent many hours before we were married and even more when our children were young.

In the days when money was tight and taking a family of five to the cinema or theme park was out of the question, we would wrapped the three of them up in warm layers and head off to Dunham Park to see the deer, and if funds allowed an ice cream for good behaviour.

This time it was only Twigman and his best friend Pip. It may be that I’d not noticed before, too busy keeping an eye out for my brood falling in the duck pond or standing in deer poo, but the trees this year seemed more vibrant than ever. The park was packed full of families young and old enjoying this beautiful autumn Sunday. Despite the many dogs, bikes and occasional jogger we still managed to get up close to this gorgeous creature.

By the time we got back to mum’s we’d worked up an appetite for our late lunch. We usually take mum to our favourite restaurant in Didsbury called The Lime Tree. It was here that Twigman nervously proposed to me (we’d been married 10 years already). I’ll save that story for another day.

We decided to try somewhere new and my niece Rachel recommended French restaurant La Boheme in Lymm.

My mum was celebrating her 88th birthday and although she’s recovering from a nasty chest infection she’s a tough old bird and still has all her own teeth and most of her marbles.

She may not be a spring chicken anymore but for now she’s enjoying her autumn days with her abundant family. Happy birthday mum and here’s to many more. xx

Don’t forget to pop over to Tara’s for some more seasonal pics.

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Show me the funny was the request from Tara this week. Am I the only one who had to read it twice, just to make sure?

August is the month we celebrate Goblet’s birthday and so we often combine this with a family party, usually with a theme.

In 2008, the theme for Goblet’s 20th birthday was ‘Someone or Something from the last 20 years’.

So ladies and gents I give you –
Geri Halliwell, Katie Price, Mad Cow disease!! and Amy Winehouse.

I also give you Russell Brand and Sister Maria.

And Borat and Quentin Crisp.

For Goblet’s 21, it was children’s characters.
So I give you Hong Kong Phooey, Andy Pandy, Barbie and Pink Panther

Peter Pan & Pink Panther

Cruella deVille & Mickey Mouse

And Pinnochio and Hong Kong Phooey

And the winner is…….BRUM

I hope my pics have made you smile, if not I’m sure there are plenty more photos over at Sticky Fingers to make you chuckle.

Please also take 5 minutes to read my earlier post to raise awareness of Breast Cancer Awareness month – Busting out – is it all over?

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Tara’s prompt this week is the colour RED, based loosely around Halloween. She asked us to bring out our little devils, and as my little devils are all big devils, I’ve decided to write about some grown up RED DEVILS.

The grainy photograph of three friends was taken in 1977, the year I became a teenager.

If you look closely you’ll see that sewn onto my flared jeans is a badge with a RED devil on it, the mascot for Manchester United FC. Tracy has a badge with the United right winger Stevie Coppell pinned to her denim dress. These souvenirs were to commemorate Tommy Docherty’s 1977 FA Cup winning team.

Sally, the girl on the left, was athletic and sporty. Tracy and I on the other hand were more into spectator sports.

We lived in Sale, a suburb of Manchester roughly seven miles from the hallowed turf of Old Trafford, and on rare occasions we would be lucky enough to get tickets to go to watch the home games. Dressed in red, white and black waving our scarves we stood in the Stretford End and cheered on the team. I could lie and say we were there to watch the skilful play and completely understood the off side rule but no, we enjoyed being among RED hot males when the RED Devils scored! It was always disappointing when the day ended with a 0 – 0 draw.

In the 70s, Sale was a popular place to live for young footballers kicking off their careers. I remember how excited we all were when the young curly haired left back, Arthur Albiston moved into the three bed semi opposite. Lou Macari and Stuart Pearson lived just around the corner. Each Thursday, after school, I would carefully post a copy of the Sale & Altrincham Messenger through their letterbox.

21 May 1977, United ended our arch rival Liverpool’s hopes of a unique treble by winning the FA Cup. The year before the boot had been on the other foot with a shock defeat to Southampton.

The next day, Tracy and I, along with many thousands of others lined the streets to see the RED Army return home with the precious silverware. With Martin Buchan pinned to my left breast and hero of the match Lou Macari on my right, we cheered and waved our scarves as the double-decker bus carrying the heroes made its way slowly along Chester Road to the awaiting crowds in Albert Square, Manchester.

A week after the triumphant match a brand new shiny RED Alfa Romeo appeared in the driveway of Arthur Albiston’s house, his reward for 90 minutes on the pitch. Very soon after the young Scottish player moved house. Maybe for a rising RED star it wasn’t quite the thing anymore to be living among the fans.

A few weeks later, there was more flag waving celebrations, and this time the rest of the country joined in to celebrate the Queens Silver Jubilee. I977 was also a time for jubilation for this 13 year old. It seemed that overnight my long awaited boobs finally appeared.

Sadly a few years ago Tracy lost her battle to breast cancer so, a slightly tenuous link but onto a paler version of RED, 29 October is Wear it PINK Day for breast cancer awareness month.

So love your boobs. Give them some TLC, Touch, Check and Feel.

I’ve blogged about my friendship with Tracy before here.

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