#Droylsden Day

So, I didn’t make it to Berlin

Long story, no I don’t want to talk about it!

So instead of sitting indoors and moping on such a glorious day, I decided to finally visit Droylsden.

What’s this obsession with Droylsden?

I hear you all ask. Well, Droylsden was the example of how little I saw of the Greater Manchester area in the 16 years before I swooshed up to Fleetwood. Now I’m back I am determined not to fall into the old trap of staying in my comfort zone and sticking to the places I know. If I went to Droylsden,  I was moving forward.

So today I moved forward.

My last little adventure was all about the journey. But I had a feeling this one was going to be all about the people, which was confirmed almost immediately, because

It turns out, it’s not that difficult to get to Droylsden.

Just two trams (change at Piccadilly). On the tram, I picked my first Sneaky Card. (click here if you want your own set, download and print for free – OR buy on amazon here)

Make someone copy you

is what it said.

So I did the easiest one of all, I yawned. Like clockwork about 30 seconds later, the guy next to me, yawned and I gave him the card. He tried to say that he would have yawned anyway, but I made him copy me heehee 🙂

He then chose the next card which told me to:

Learn an new word and tell someone what it means.

So I did

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And when changing trams at Piccadilly, I met Kath

IMG_3474   who then said,

Of course, Soma is Greek for Body…

So I learned two things 🙂

We had a lovely chat while waiting for the tram and she suggested that I visit the Marina in Droylsden. Information noted, I was going to put on my headphones, but she asked me if I knew Cheetham Hill. I don’t, but I was beginning to wonder if every one of my little adventures would start with someone thinking I was from Cheetham Hill!

It turns out she was trying to help a friend identify a street there. I replied that I didn’t and we parted ways. But not before she chose a new card.

Tell someone a riddle.

First, I had to find a riddle, I mean, who knows riddles these days?

Thank you Google, is all I can say to that.

So Riddle in hand it was off to… well get lunch, because I was hungry. Unable to chose which pub to have lunch in, I consulted Facebook, where my niece, Darbi , instructed me to turn right. which lead here:

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While ordering, I asked a young man, who I later called Positive Dave, for reasons which will become clear in a bit, my riddle.

What do poor people have, rich people need and if you eat it you will die?

(answer at the bottom, if you’re playing along!)

I’d barely got the first bit out before he gleefully said the answer. I gave him the card and we got chatting.

Me: So what should one do in Droylsden?
Positive Dave: Get the first bus out!
Me: no, seriously.
PD: get the next tram out.
Me: I’ve been looking online and apparently there’s only 4 things to do in Droylsden
things to do
PD: I’m surprised there’s that many. You should have been here a few years ago, there was all sorts, shootings and stuff.

And that conversation, right there, is why:

I LOVE BRITISH PEOPLE!

For any non-British readers, this is a  typically British response when people ask about their home-town. In all my travels, I have never come across a nation of people so willing to take the piss out of their own home-town.  Everywhere else in the world, people are proud of where they live and are eager to emphasise the good parts, to steer visitors away from the bad bits.

But you know, it’s kind of like your siblings, you can slag them off all day, but woe betide anyone else who does it in front of you.

Eventually after about a 30 second discussion, we whittled down the massive list 🙂 and decided that my next stop was going to be the Fairfield Monravian Settlement

After a short discussion about the dark past of Droylsden, which lead into a discussion of the TV programme Born to Kill  which I hadn’t seen, but Positive Dave filled me in – see I told you, you’d understand the name.

I asked Positive Dave to pick my next sneaky card,

Find a stranger who will take a picture with you

Which is probably an easier thing to do now than when it was written, thanks to our selfie obsession. So I got his mate Aaron to take a selfie.

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Aaron, then chose my next card

Give this card to somebody without them knowing

and I was off to find the Fairfield Monravian Settlement

Then,  I got a little side-tracked, because on the way to the Settlement, I saw this:

IMG_3507 And thought £15? Bargain, so in I went.

Inside I found Julie, who was having a manicure on her lunch break. Although, the amount of phone calls she had while sat there, I wonder how much of a lunch break she normally gets.

As I tried to secretly slip the card into her jacket pocket, I was seen by the nail technician, who was about to scream blue murder, but I managed to stop her as I went into an explanation of the sneaky cards and why I was in Droylsden. Julie was quite interested in this and asked about the cards and my blog, I just said inscrutably, knowing full well a card was in her pocket,

If you’re meant to find out about it, you will!

I hope you found it Julie 🙂

So with my nails now looking like this:

IMG_3483 Excellent Job, Joanne!

I asked my nail technician, Joanne to pick a card and I continued on my walk to the Settlement with a new task:

Secretly hide this card where it can be easily found

I first came to the canal and looked around for this Marina that Kath at Piccadilly mentioned, and when I asked a local woman, she pointed me in the right direction, laughed and said

Well, it’s not really a marina, it would have been lovely, but they ran out of money.

I took some lovely photos and continued on.

On my way, I found some more really beautiful things and as I was framing a shot, I heard a sound of pure joy and happiness behind me. It was unmistakeable, such a brilliant sound, I turned and saw a woman holding a pink mop and looking at it with a beaming smile.

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Now, I have never seen anyone in my whole life, so happy to be holding a mop,

so I told her so

and we had a lovely chat and she consented to a photo, but believe me the smile in the pic is nowhere near the beam that I saw when I first turned round.

Finally, I got to the Settlement and it was fabulous, but then again, I love architecture and old buildings.

Now, for any Droylsdonians (is that what you use?) who think that you live in a shithole (yes, I did hear that description), have a look at these pictures and you’ll see that actually it’s kind of beautiful

 

Tired from all the photography, I picked a new card

Sincerely compliment someone

and made my way back into town, where, of course, I couldn’t resist a sweet shop.

I spoke to Becky the owner, who only opened the shop a few months after she decided to “Just go for it!”

I am all about the just going for it! So I gave her a sincere compliment

“Becky, you are brave and you are a lovely person”

Then took some pictures in her shop

and decided to make my way home.

Before I left, she picked my next card:

Play the World’s largest game of Tag

Which I did after chatting to a nice woman at the tram stop. The lovely tram stop woman, picked

Defeat someone in a duel

So instead of going straight back on the tram, I decided to stop off in Piccadilly Gardens, mainly because the sun was still shining and who knows when we’ll see it in Manchester again!

I sat down, turned to the Ginger Lad next to me and asked,

“Do you want to play a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors?”

To my surprise, he said,

Yes, why not?

People are just so much happier and open when the sun’s out – another typically British thing.

I won!

And Ginger Lad said he had to go, because the sun was too hot for his pale ginger skin. (his words, not mine)

Before he went, he picked a card:

Buy Someone a Coffee

Which I did, for a lovely guy called, John Boyle.

Sitting in the sun in Piccadilly Gardens, listening to a band playing reggae in the background,  I heard all about how he came over from Creeslough in Donegal  and stayed despite his mother wanting him to return home.

He told me this poem which I thought was cute:

Mother dear,

We’re over here

We never will go back

What keeps us here

The pint of beer

The women and the craic

 

So after a long chat with John, I asked him to pick a card and said goodbye.

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The card he picked said:

Give this card to someone who fits your description,

which I thought would be hard, finding a short, fat, black woman outside of Cheetham Hill (remember, that’s where we keep them!), but luckily, you can make up a description, so I chose:

Wearing a flower – because I was wearing a flower
Polka dots – because there’s nothing more summery than polka dots and
Brown hair – most common hair colour- makes it slightly easier

Lo and behold, as I stepped on the Tram, I found a young woman who fitted the description, but when I gave her the card and description, she looked totally freaked, I indicated that she should read the card, but this didn’t seem to help, so I decided against asking her for a pic, so you’ll have to take my word for it –

unless she read the card, found this blog and confirms this in the comments, that is…

I then picked my final card of the day

Leave this card on the seat of a bus, plane or train.

Which I did.

Phew, what a fun day. I met and chatted to so many people, not all of whom are mentioned here, but all of whom confirmed my long-held belief that people are basically nice,

everyone I smiled at, smiled back,

everyone I greeted, greeted me back

To the Citizens of Droylsden, I would like to say thank you for making it such a fun afternoon. I will return…

Most likely to have my nails done again, they really were that good 🙂

If you were given a card, or found a card, I would love to hear from you either in the comments here or on twitter –  @timebomb44

Riddle Answer: Nothing

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Cheer up, love!

I consider myself a positive person. I try my hardest to always find that bloody silver lining in even the most foreboding dark cloud. My life has shown me that no matter how bad you consider your life to be going, there is someone who is going through something much, much worse.

In 2000, I had an accident.

It was a serious accident which left me stuck in a hospital bed unable to move for 3 months.

Basically, I fell on a trampoline (not a garden one, a proper Olympic-sized one) and even though there was a trampolining centre in their area, the ambulance crews had never attempted to get someone off a trampoline, they’d done no training whatsoever.

In case you’re wondering why this was a problem. It was a huge trampoline and I was in a heap in the middle of it. I had severely damaged my leg and every movement was agony. In order to get me off it, they had to carefully balance out the weight, so that I didn’t roll around every time someone got on to it. This took a significant amount of organisation and complications meant that I needed two ambulance crews to get me off the trampoline.

It took over an hour to get me from the trampoline to the hospital, in this hour I managed to use up the gas & air reserves of two ambulances and I was still in such pain. As the second ambulance crew left for their next job, I remember one of the crew members say,

“We’re going to have to go to the next job without any gas and air.”

I remember chuckling a little thinking,

Was that me? Did I use it all up? I hope they’ve got some more

Gas & air is amazing!

Why’s that green giraffe staring at me?

(I was high as a kite after all)

About a month later, after multiple operations, sessions in the ICU and dying (briefly), I was on an orthopaedic ward with 10 other women, who had all had terrible accidents.

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One afternoon, a few of us were swapping our ‘how I ended up here’ stories.

When it was my turn, I hammed it up a little, going into the ‘nightmare’ of how long it took to get me off the trampoline, the pain when they accidentally caught my bum cheek in between the two halves of the stretcher, the pain of them putting the knee back in its socket, despite the gas & air etc. etc.

I really did believe I’d had the worst experience of everyone.

Until the lovely police officer opposite me started telling her story.

It was interesting, because we had previously worked out that we had had our accidents within an hour of each other on the same day, and we’d suffered almost the same kind of injury, both of us were lying in our beds with massive External Fixators holding our legs together.

Unlike me, her accident happened in the line of duty.

She was chasing a suspect, she jumped over a wall, landed badly and even though she’d pretty much crushed her leg bones in the fall, she still managed to catch the suspect. She was very matter of fact about it and the self-absorbed me thought,

“good story, impressive even, but nowhere near as bad as mine!”

That was until she said.

“And do you know what the worst thing was? The ambulance crew were held up and took ages to arrive, when they finally got there, they had no gas & air”

Just imagining the pain she must have gone through without the gas & air made my whole body hurt in sympathy. I thanked my lucky stars, quite selfishly, that I had had my accident first.

I would love to say that that moment changed me forever,

it didn’t.

I quickly forgot the lesson that no matter how bad you think things are, they could be much worse.

Then a month or so later, I heard these words:

“It’s highly unlikely you’ll ever walk again”

As the doctor swished open the curtains and disappeared, I remember feeling probably the worst I have ever felt in my life. Contemplating a life in a wheelchair, unable to properly get my head around it, the only thing I could think of was, my life is over! What’s the point if I can’t walk. I looked down at the massive metal structure on my leg and cried buckets.

I remember wallowing in the ‘woe is me’ self-pity for days. Moaning to all my visitors that my life was over. Ignoring their attempts to cheer me up, by pointing out that I was still alive, which considering that I very nearly didn’t make it, should have been enough to snap me out of my funk.

But all this was to no avail. I was determined to sink into a deep pit of despair. I gave up on life, I gave up on everything. I couldn’t even be bothered to do the extra exercises that the physios had given me, with the hope of getting me back on my feet,

because what was the point?

After a few days of my depressed moaning and whinging, the woman in the bed next door, suddenly turned to me and spoke.

That was astonishing in itself, as she’d not uttered a single word before that.

“Cheer up love, things could be worse.”

“Like what?” I said grumpily? Not imagining for a second that there could possibly be such a thing.

All she did in response was lift up her blanket.

Underneath I saw stumps where her legs should have been.

Then she said, “Your leg might not work, but at least you’ve still got it!”

Then she laughed, a massive gleeful laugh and I felt like the most ungrateful person in the world.

That was the moment that changed the way I saw my life.

Whenever I start to feel even the tiniest bit down, I remember her lifting the blankets and I say to myself:

“Cheer up love, things could be worse.”

And then I laugh…


P.S. – Two things

  1. No, I never did own up to being the selfish person who’d used up all the gas & air

And

  1. Since my accident, ambulance crews all receive training in how to extract an injured person from a trampoline.

I Hate Dog Owners!

Yes, I’m going to have a little rant…


 

Today I had to grab Missy by her harness and haul her over my head, to stop a Staffie attacking her.

Not because I was worried about her being injured, btw.

Missy has never lost a fight in her life!

I’m just worried that she might unleash the ‘full wolf’!

Missy might look like a cutesy little doggie,

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(Ahh, look at her cute little face)

but when attacked she gives more than she gets.

Most dogs trying to take a bite out of Missy come away with a mouthful of hair and by the time they realise this, she’s grabbing them by the neck from underneath!

This is why, when walking around the park, I put her on a lead when I see another dog.

I repeat, I know that Missy can be scary and unpredictable when scared,

SO I PUT HER ON HER LEAD.

Unfortunately, in my local park, there are many idiot dog owners, who walk around with angry, poorly trained/untrained dogs off the lead. Off-lead dog walking is allowed. However,

I’m going to add this to my list of

‘Things you can do, but shouldn’t’

or

‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!’

 

In my very humble opinion if you cannot control your dog, you have no business taking the lead off.

And while I’m at it, shouting ineffectually at a rampaging dog is not control!

If it’s not responding after you have called it 20 times, call me cynical, but chances are

IT’S NOT GOING TO LISTEN TO YOU THE 21ST TIME!!

I could be wrong…

(I’m not, tho)

These are probably the same clueless, inconsiderate dog owners, who don’t pick up the poo – even when it’s slap bang in the middle of the path!

I’m not even joking, today there was a massive log of a thing right in the middle of the main pathway through the park.

Want my advice?

You can’t be bothered to train your dog? Don’t expect it to follow commands

You know that it’s an unfriendly dog? Don’t let it off the lead

Not prepared to pick up dog poo? Don’t have a dog

 

Rant over 🙂

Droylsden Can Wait!

Since I’ve been back, I’ve been struck by just how little I’ve actually seen of Manchester. It occurred to me that I know Berlin better than I know Manchester. I even managed to see more of Riga in a week than I had of Manchester in the sixteen years I lived here before being deported to the Fylde Coast.

I’ve never been to Droylsden!

I’ve heard about it, I’ve always thought it was an interesting sounding name, but I’ve never been there.

I decided that on the first really nice sunny day, I would go to Droylsden…

But then I thought, why don’t I just do what I do when I’m abroad.

The first thing I do in a new city is get on the first bus that I see, with the intention of travelling to its destination. But what usually happens is that I see something interesting and get off. Then once I’m done with whatever caught my eye, I would then get on the next bus I see and start the process over.

So yesterday, I got up and the sun was flooding into the windows of my little house,

which btw is another thing that I appreciate after years of tiny-windowed ancient buildings

This was the day.

It’s was too late to do a proper day adventure, but I could at least do a test run.

So I walked to my nearest stop and got on the first bus.

But this time, instead of waiting until I saw something interesting, I thought it would be fun to be guided by numbers, so I asked my Facebook friends to help.

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So there I had it. I was going to stay on the bus until I saw something with the number 42 then I’d get off.

It occurred to me that this was the first time I have ever got on a bus in Manchester! I’ve been on trams, but never the bus and you know what? I enjoyed it.

I really like the dirty industrial side of cities, I find it beautiful. So I took some photos.

This is my favourite

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Before I knew it, I caught sight of a number 42 and I really intended to go back and take a picture of it, but the bus kept going for ages before getting to the next stop.

Anyway, there I was, off the bus trying to decide whether it was worth walking all the way back to get a picture.

Just so you know, it wasn’t… so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

But as I was considering my next move, I looked up at the bus stop.

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There was a number 42 Bus!!!!!!

So of course I had to get on it. which lead to the strangest experience of the day.

I went to show my pass to to driver and he said, quite forcefully,

I’m not going there!

Now, I was totally confused by this, who was this mind reading driver? How could he know where I wanted to go when even I had no idea?

Sorry?

The driver sighed impatiently and said

Cheetham Hill, I’m not going there!

And then I realised, he wasn’t a mind-reader, he was just ever so slightly racist 🙂

I am a black woman, so of course I want to travel to Cheetham Hill, that’s where we keep all the black people in Manchester.

I should have felt insulted or annoyed, but instead I was just chuffed that I looked ‘Urban’ or even ‘Ghetto’

(I’ve always wanted to be urban and ghetto, even for five minutes!)

which means I must have lost my Boarding school teacher vibe, so I just said, in possibly the worst West Indian accent, ever,

Ya mon, me no need go home, me wan rock down to, electric avenue

Yeah, I know,

I ran out of stuff to say, so I went for the Eddy Grant song…(Listen here)

He was a little bit confused by this, I feel, because he then said

I’m going Piccadilly Gardens

Just wanting to mess with him a little more, I said, in my best RP voice

Of course, that would be jolly spiffing all round

and walked away, guffawing like a female Brian Blessed

I decided to get some more numbers

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I kept an eye out, but didn’t see any 65s before I got to the bus’ destination. But then my stomach started rumbling and realised that I had been directed to one of the best places to have lunch

Piccadilly Gardens

So after taking a few pics

I decided to have lunch and can I just say that Mexican food is probably my favourite type of food, so of course it had to be a burrito

Then it was back to the task at hand.

I had to look for a 65

After wandering around for a bit, I found this

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Which tbh, seems a bit overpriced, but it took me to a tram stop, where I got on the first tram that arrived.

Which took me to East Didsbury and I would love to say that I went in here

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and found the perfect film to watch. That would have been a great ending to my little adventure, but unfortunately, the only film I wanted to watch started in an hour and I’m not committed enough to hang around, just so I’d have the perfect ending.

So I went back to my numbers, A friend on text had sent me a 7 and on Facebook

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I’d been given a 6

I combined the  5 & 7 and found this

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I was really excited that I was on my way to Cheadle until someone asked me for the time and I realised that it was getting close to Rush hour and

No way I  want to be part of that

Luckily I then saw a bus which would take me back to Salford. On the bus, I felt that I hadn’t properly finished my quest as I had a 57 and a 6 left to work with

So I looked out for a 57, which again was too far away to go back to, and jumped off the bus. Right around a corner I found a 33 bus which coincidentally would take me right back home.

I had an absolute ball, and the next sunny day, I will have another one, but this time combine it with a game of sneaky cards  (SneakyCards-Print-N-Play)

So keep an eye out on Facebook, I might need colours next time.

Before I go. Just a couple of pics