Wednesday 8 April 2009


Let's start from the beginning, 12th June 1972, when I was born in Crumpsall Hospital. Not the most glamourous starts in life. It's a rather sprawling hospital with new bits added onto rather scary looking Edwardian building. As much as I was born here, I don't fancy dying there - so I do try to avoid it as much as I can - even went to not so great lengths to have my most recent and only op at Fairfield Hospital in Bury. It was a partial thyroidectomy if your wondering - cracking scar too. Anyway I was born in Crumpsall.

Other Crumpsall connections:

Baptised at St Anne RC Church - a rather large and uninspiring modern build church. Spent most Sundays until the age of 8 trying not to fall asleep during the service - failed miserably to the consternation of my mother.

Had my holy communion there too. There was a major fashion faux par that day - Me and Angela Gill wore the same dress. Except I looked better - was taller, wore an underskirt provided by my mad Italian / Ukrainian neighbours that made the dress look better, had a tiara and was generally prettier. She did bully me though - moo that she was.

Nursery - Abraham Moss. Very awful 60s confection, that was raised to the ground in a stunning fire in the 90s. There was a lovely middle class nursery nurse and I used to copy how she spoke. She liked the fact I was learning the alphabet at such a young age. My mother made the mistake of sending my brother to a nursery in Cheetham Hill. She was horrified he was beginning to develop a manc accent, especially as I had such a cultured accent.

Abraham Moss swimming pool. The site of one of my first dices with death. I didn't consider the fact I could not swim wasn't a good idea when I decided to jump in the main pool, without armbands. I would have nearly drowned if my cousin hadn't hauled me to the surface. Still remember looking up at the surface of the pool thinking how do I get up there. Spent the rest of the session sharing armbands with my cousin Martina. I am still somewhat foolhardy.

St Anne's RC Primary School - my first school. Another badly designed school from the 60s - concrete upon concrete, with the obligatory portacabins near the railway line. Fairly fond memories - my cousins went there and Martina was in the same class. We used to get separated for talking too much - I apparently had a really deep voice as a child and so it used to carry. My voice is no longer that deep - I think I changed it at an early age as it caused me to get into trouble with talking too much. Nearly split my head open on the climbing frame - a health and safety nightmare that would not be allowed today, but great fun at the time. Got bullied by Angela Gill and her mates - should have hit her, the cow. Instead followed Mum's advice and walked away. That is why I find it difficult to deal with confrontation today.

Crumpsall Park - used to go there with my cousins who lived in Crumpsall. Fell off the roundabout and got chased by the parky.

My cousins - Lived on Moorside Road, near the park. It was a madhouse and they were great fun. First saw my brother in their house when he came out of hospital. Apparently I pushed through them and said 'He's mine!' I have long regretted that statement. They were in and out of Crumpsall Hospital so often, my dad on a saturday night would not have a drink until after 9pm, because he knew my cousins were in bed and he wouldn't be called upon to take them to hospital in his van. The hospital staff knew them by name. It was a cousin related incident that resulted in my first trip to casualty - I was chasing them and ran into a wall and knocked myself out. Got sweets at hospital - hospitals were great in the 70s. Mani from the Stone Roses lived on the next street I believe. Sadly my cousins left Crumpsall and the UK in 1978 and went back to Ireland after the death of my baby cousin Martin. They were my life, I missed them loads and a part of my heart broke the day they left. That was the first time I felt really lonely.

Chinese Chippy on Lansdowne Road - did a fab beef curry. Always remember the suspended celling with it's enclosed lights (very 70s), newspaper wrapping and the chipper machine behind the counter. My dad swore by the curry's especially when he had a cold as he said the curry would sweat the cold out.

Learnt to drive in Crumpsall with a mad ex-merchant seaman driving instructor. The instuctor had a rather bad case of road rage once. He jumped out of the car when someone cut me up and chased after them on foot. It was a bit of a sight and funny in retrospect. Passed on my second test in 1995 - I think the examiner had a good christmas and was rather generous as he passed me after I had made 16 minor errors - I think.

Crumpsall - now

It's got a tram stop, lots of speed bumps, Landsdowne Road had a face lift back in 2004 and sadly had it's own terrorists. It's a very multicultural area now. Crumpsall Hospital is a scary place and even my consultant agreed with me on that. Still it isn't as bad as the MRI in Manchester - you get mugged for your morphine there. As much as I have fond memories from the 70s, it's a place I would rather not visit on a regular basis as it has seriously gone down hill since then.

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