Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Take a trip to Accordion Land.

Today's stroll took us past one of the many un-used shops in Northenden Village. If my memory serves me well this little outlet used to be known as 'Bar Mono'. I have never seen it open, but it seems that recently work has begun in earnest to make something of this empty dwelling. The 'Bar Mono' sign has been taken down to reveal the shops former guise as 'Accordion Land'. Crikey. I've heard an accordion once and it wasn't pleasant, so to think of a whole land of accordions makes my ears begin to bleed. Surely there was never a big enough demand for an 'Accordion Land'? It would have been best suited to just running the business on a smaller scale in your back garden as 'Accordion Shed' or 'Accordion Wendy House'.
From 'Accordion Land' we walked towards the river and towards what Ziggy and I have deemed 'The Biggest Shame in Northenden'. With these lovely summer days stretching out into the night, the attraction of drinking beer in the sun is an ever nagging urge. As we live so close to the river and spend a considerable amount of time walking Ziggy down there, we do often get that parched feeling that can only be suppressed by a nice pint of Guinness. Wouldn't it be lovely to have a nice, big, drinking establishment sitting on the river so that dog walkers, canoe drivers, wild garlic pickers and other folk may quench their thirst in the glow of the early evening sun? As a business idea, you'd have thought that this was a fail-safe notion. However it appears that someone already had the idea and it didn't work out. How in holy hell is the 'The Tatton Arms Tavern' a closed, wreckage of a pub?! It just doesn't make sense. It should be the jewel in Northenden's drunken, lopsided crown!! Yet here it stands, alone and abandoned. The hangover has long gone and you can no longer even smell the stale beer on the lip of it's welcoming door step. Tragic.
Wiping a tear we head for home. On a bus stop I spy a popular advert for a clothes company called 'Pretty Little Thing'. I've seen the poster on a bus stop in Altrincham outside work. On that occasion a chap (who shan't be named, but he works in the same building as me and I know his daughter, 'cos she used to work with me and I had a mate who went out with her) had wandered over to the poster and retorted "Ooooo I'd like to see my wife/girlfriend squeezed into one of these...." He was of course referring to the bright, neon 'bralet' that the model in the picture was squeezed into which made her look like some sort of 'Mummified Lollipop Lady'. At least he'd be able to see her when the lights go out, glowing like a belisha beacon. Here is a picture of Ziggy next to her legs. Shit shoes lady.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Kebabs that come back to haunt you.

Ziggy and I woke up to a beautiful morning and set off down Longley Lane towards one of our favourite ginnels at the bottom of Elmfield Avenue. Like all dog lovers, we do love a good ginnel!
Just after the ginnel lurks a stone freak of massive proportions. A true beast of the garden. When the mornings get darker and colder, the chilling stare of this chap will surely put the willies up me on a regular basis. Here he is peering through the long grass:

A truly gruesome man in his blood red shorts. I'm sure he keeps the intruders away and the slugs at bay.
I wandered along as Ziggy scuttled, doing his customary, morning urine dance and we turned for the village. Northenden is well endowed in the Takeaway department. It also has one too many defunct Takeaway units too, with their neon signs missing letters and letter boxes crammed with junk mail.  A sign of a Takeaway from yesteryear hovers overhead.
I wonder what Cinders Grill used to turn out? Anything special apart from the usual Kebabs, Pizzas and Burgers? Judging by the sign, probably not. This led me to thoughts of favourite all time Takeaways that are sadly no longer with us. Greasy, late night loved ones who dripped through our abdomens and slipped away. One night stands with Donner and her frilly, sodden, paper frock. My personal favourites were Monsoon's on Oxford Road. Everyone claimed it was rotten, but my tin-lined belly was never threatened. I once had three donner kebabs from Monsoons' in one 24 hour period. Halcyon days. Shan's in Fallowfield, another lost loved one. Mr Shan was a lovely bloke and the pissed up kebab fans were allowed to line the walls of his shop with Basquiat-esque scrawls of giant, people-eating, burger buns.
On the home stretch, I had promised to take Ziggy past one of his favourite Northenden buildings; The Haunted House of Royal Green Road.
The house, as far as I can tell, is still inhabited as the car that parks on the drive regularly moves, so someone must be visiting.  With it's smashed front bedroom window, this place really could do with a visit from Laurence Llewelyn Bowen. Cripes the ghosts must be cold in the winter in that bedroom. Here is a picture of Ziggy in front of the house shaking in his paws. 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The Loneliness Of A Swingball Playset.

Summer is kind of upon us. Wring out the rain from your underpants and part the black clouds and you can almost feel the ethereal glow of the sun. It's there somewhere anyway and it brings with it a whole host of activities and events. There's wrestling in beer gardens, all clothed in St. Georges flags, smoke pouring from billions of disposable BBQs, pale and stumpy legs tottering everywhere like Butcher's Choice sausages on drugs and to top it all every kid is armed with a Super Soaker. Yes, when it comes to a little bit of good weather, there really is nothing more paramount on a little person's brain then some hardcore, H2O violence. Apart from the obvious consequences being soaking-wet neighbours and drowned cats, these militant splash fests leave one of yesteryears summer activities rotting in it's wake. No I'm not talking about Scatch or the Aerobie. I am of course referring to Swingball. On today's morning stroll, Ziggy and I happened across this lonely and unloved article, set up in a neighbour's drive. It's all ready for a game! Sat in the middle of the drive panting like the family dog, just waiting to have it's rackets stroked and swung. However, just like the family dog, good ol' unfashionable Mr Swingball won't be played with this summer. He'll just sit in the drive and hinder Dad from parking his car there for 2 months before returning to the back of the garage, with his ball on a string bobbing in a crusty tin of creosote.

This week sees the anniversary of the Normandy Landings on 6th June 1944. On our walk through Northenden Village, Ziggy and I paid our respects by the cenotaph.

Wandering back home we happened across some sort of graffiti type tag. It reads 'W/shawe One Time'. I have no idea what this means, but I like the scary skull.


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Ladybirds of the night.

We wandered the streets this morning and came to a sign that screamed 'Prostitutes'. The sign didn't actually scream the word 'Prostitutes', it didn't even say the word 'Prostitutes'. In fairness, it didn't need to. No, it simply read 'Lady Birds', but we all know what it really means. It means 'Prostitutes'. Ziggy and I peered in to find a cage like door, leading to a corridor. God knows what lurked beyond the door at the end. But it no doubt leads to a dingy flat above the takeaway where Lady Birds make sweet, fast, expensive, plastic love to drunken slobs and hen-pecked drifters. This place was never going to be the site of a children's nursery or an insect zoo was it? I ran a quick Google search and found that Lady Birds is classed as a 'Massage Parlour' or a 'Men's Health Studio'. Ha! The website provides a full list of the Lady Birds available and as can be expected, we have the obvious names on the rota.... Demi... Candy... Coral... Nikita and Miley. Classy.

Ziggy and I moved hastily along lest we be tarnished as dirty dawgs and made our way back home via the weir on the River Mersey. Aloft a tall pole stands the beacon of Northenden and a symbol of the wildlife that live in this delightful little area. A large metallic heron sculpture hangs over us and reminds us that Lady Birds are not the only creatures flying around fishing for tit bits.
Past the lovely heron comes the crashing sounds of water. Ziggy likes to peer over the fence and look at the weir. I don't know why. I think the loud noisy water gives him a thrill. Maybe somewhere inside that hairy brain of his he imagines a pretty lady dog screaming for help as she struggles in the foamy water created by the weir. In a flash, Ziggy has thrown off the shackles of his harness and dived into the river to aid the dogsel in distress...
In reality we know this to be nothing more than a dog dream. Ziggy can't swim and he probably wouldn't risk life and limb to save a lady dog from a bubbling river. The poor boy cries his little eyes out when a bowl of warm soapy water gets poured over his head for a wash, so there is no chance of any acts of heroism coming from him.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Cruising the streets with my 'emergency' 5th poo bag.

The sun was shining as we strode out on our little 60 minute adventure last night. A spring was in Ziggy's step as he pulled me towards his first toilet stop. The boy is like a pressurised bottle of fizz ready to explode after having baked the contents of his bowel for a good 5 hours. Lovely. My rule of thumb is always carry 5 poo bags. I have known the little machine to lay 4 turds in 1 walk. Therefore the 5th bag acts as a spare or in case I personally get caught short. Be prepared, that's what the Cubs taught us.
We headed out to the River Mersey for some rolling in wild garlic and I took this little snap of the happy chappy shortly before he very nearly did a kamikaze roll down the river bank and into some rather rambunctious rapids.

The Mersey banks are alive with buzzing and the whiff of the garlic is strong. Ziggy rolls in the corpse of a dead magpie, which amuses him no-end and propels me to hurtle towards him, arms flailing, head shaking violently like a mad man. It's no good. He's rolled in it and before I can get to him, there's half a decomposed wing hanging out of his gob. Horrible little beast. It doesn't take long for him to realise that the wing tastes like a zombie and it falls from his mouth. He gets a drink from the river to wash the death from his mouth and the lead goes back on the harness.
We get back onto tarmac and come across this secluded, abandoned public toilet. George Michael would regard this sort of thing as a 'love-nest'. If this is the option, then I'd rather use the 5th 'emergency' poo bag. No thanks George. No thanks.

The wife and I have so far frequented only one of Northenden's drinking taverns. We had a couple in the Crown Inn on Ford Lane. My sort of boozer. Old tele in the corner, warm Guinness and token, red-faced, old bloke talking to the wall. Fantastic. Next to the Crown Inn is Northenden police station, which looks suspiciously vacant. On the side of the outside wall is a large banner detailing the force's latest crack down. Knife crime? Nah. Rape? Nah. Village drunks? Nah. It seems Northenden's priority is stubbing out 'Off-road bike nuisance'. Operation Motorcross aims to 'crush' this obscenity into oblivion. Brilliant, so while the bobbys are off chasing kids on mopeds and toddlers on balance bikes, I'm left to fend for myself with just the 5th 'emergency' bag full of poo to swing at my attacker. Eat shit mate.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

New dwelling in Northenden.

It's been a while, but in fairness the iphone 3GS does tend to struggle taking photos on a dark, wintery morning. Never fear. We're back! With a new camera! A new home! Lots of new/ordinary/odd/beautiful/shit things to see! Welcome back to my dog walking blog!
For existing readers, you will know that the majority of my posts in this blog were based in and around the suburb of West Didsbury. My dog, my girl and all our worldly possessions have now upped sticks and bought a house further south in the little Mancunion village of Northenden. It's not all pound shops and randy pigeons round here ya know! We found this nice little house and this is where we live (as you can see, my Daewoo is still standing):

Today's walk was a quick one through the familiar territory of the village and along Palatine Road. 6:30am is a little early for alcoholic refreshment, even by my standards, but Ziggy seemed happy with the prices and happy hour will surely come a calling once we've plucked up the courage to drink in this brazen saloon. £2.60 for a Guinness?! Cripes! I was paying nearly a fiver for the black stuff on the set of "The Only Way is Made in Didsbury". We should have roughed it down at Escape 2 long ago Zig.

I'm all for kids getting involved in making things and designing things. However there is a time and a place. If we're talking, say, a 'Get Well Card' for Grandma, then yeah, getting a 6 year old to make a nice card with a lovely picture of Grandma wearing massive pants and smoking a pipe on the front is a nice thought. A lovely gesture. Home-made and arts and crafty. Or, if we are talking about making a sign for a 'Bring and Buy' stall on the front of your drive, with the letter B's accidentally, but cutely, written the wrong way round, so it looks like the words were written by someone with a blindfold and no hands. That's cute. Plus it tempts people in to look at the un-buyable tat on offer.... However I draw the line at using your child to make a sign to try and sell the family's Tattoo Parlour. They could of at least let the kids run wild with the tattoo needles and let them etch the sign onto the bare back of the owner who is selling. That would have been more fitting.