Since the old mayor wanted to show pictures of post boxes while on his travels, we get occasional such pictures emailed to us. This one came in last week from the Mayor of Ruan High Lanes (I know!), it is another one fixed in a wall. It has VR at the top, it is old and valuable…. This one is outside St Rumon’s Church at Ruan High Lanes…………..I had to look it up, it’s outside Truro in Cornwall. These Mayors are popping up everywhere. There must be money in the job. Maybe one day I’ll go for Mayorship myself!
Chorley Borough Council were left reeling when our Lady Mayoress put forward plans from this new building at Riley Green. She suggests constructing this futuristic extension to Blackburn College. It will specialize in Animal Husbandry and general farming studies, she expects it will soon become Britain’s leading agricultural college. The land to be used is presently called the Pinfold and is owned by all the people of Riley Green. However students’ fees are expected to go straight to the Mayor’s Parlour Entertainment Fund.
The pictures from the top show a chill out room, the dormitory corridor, an individual en suite and the exterior of the college. If the plans go through, completion of the work is expected by April 2017.
From time to time we get visited by the Barn Owls.
Usually it’s too late at night for the Mayoral Camera to be effective. However last night, the Mayoress asked me to light her BBQ, she was having friends round for supper (The Mayor & Mayoress of Hoghton Bottoms). I was just finished with my chores when the avian visitors came on cue. I managed to take a couple of pictures though darkness was approaching.
A very good friend of mine died recently. Her husband asked me to write a few words and read them at the Crematorium.
Anyone who knew Beryl well enough, would know of her playful infatuation with rabbits.
Over the years we’ve seen sagging shelving, carrying the burden of yet another metal, pot or papier mache rabbit; we’ve seen display cabinets full of miniature bunnies and walls festooned with pictures. The garden was also treated to stone ones, tee shirts and pinnies to printed ones, and a must, of course, the 1000’s of greeting cards over the years bearing funny, bunny images.
Bugs and Bunny are two words that go well together, Bugs Bunny was rebellious and cute. Maybe like Beryl.
However Slugs & Bunnies are something else.
Slugs are common pests in town gardens, and are dutifully dispatched & disposed of as soon as possible.
Bunnies are common pests in country gardens and are dutifully dispatched & disposed of as soon as possible. Here I have a confession to make to Beryl……. something I kept from her, for over the 25 years we’ve lived at Riley Green. I shoot rabbits! In the words from our old school days, Beryl Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa!
Beryl & I were friends for many years, straining my memory back to her & Mick’s courting days and Saturday Nights out at the Top Rank with Petula Clark singing Downtown, Cilla Black’s version of You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling and Tears by Ken Dodd. Just what did we have to put up with?
Beryl was a skilful dressmaker, seamstress and cutter. Many times she would roll out a dress fabric on the floor and the lucky lass in need of some low cost garment, would lie on top of the cloth while Beryl cleverly cut round the silhouette, and in a very short time produced a flattering frock to be worn that night at the Top Rank, dancing to the strains of the Rolling Stones, Hey You, Get off my Cloud!
It was when Beryl came to work with me at Plumbs that more of her skills came to fruition & recognition. She’d been at Plumbs for a while before we actually worked together. It was in a small factory behind Bill Head’s motorbike garage, at Broomfield Mill (later to become the home of Unravel Mills). It wasn’t so much a workplace, more of a fun place where work was part of the fun. (I hope Geoff Plumb didn’t hear that).
At the time, Plumbs were developing a range of furniture and were also importing a unique Stretch Dralon Velvet from Germany. Due I’ve no doubt, to Beryl’s skills, our factory was given the task of producing the covers for the furniture, in this German cloth. The fabric was unbelievably expensive, at the time around £7 per yard, equivalent to about £80- £90 per metre today.
Beryl & I were under very strict instructions from the big boss, Tom Plumb, to individually hand cut each and every component of the furniture covers. This fabric was not to be laid up and cut with the usual tall reciprocating knife, …….strict instructions because velvet slides around when laid one on top of the other.
Well we did a week or two of hand cutting, piece after piece, all the same and all getting more and more boring! The Plumbs van would come each day, sometimes twice, and take away our meagre but much sought after offerings. Customer’s orders were coming in by the hundreds, we were producing only a precious few at a time.
One day Beryl said that we should lay up the fabric despite the orders from on high. This not only threatened our job security but risked throwing to the scrap skip, £1000’s of pounds worth of fabric. No pressure then! We experimented and found that placing the velvet in the lay pile to pile produced no slippage!
So when the customary van arrived for its meagre daily ration, and went back to Plumbs with a full cargo, it didn’t take long for the boss himself to arrive. Of course he knew full well what we’d done but after listening and inspecting, was soon praising Beryl……………”this was getting on top of production, pleasing the hundreds of customers, saving lots of money in wages,” and most of all, thankfully, keeping Beryl & me in our jobs!
All these years have gone by. Our last away days together were in Harrogate last summer, a week before the Tour De France came to town.We witnessed all the fantastic street decorations without the hustle & bustle of the Tour itself. Though Beryl was struggling then, she never bothered us with her woes.
The picture on the back page was taken in Harrogate, Beryl’s red scarf in sling form disguising that her arm had become useless. The very arm that had laid up that fabric at Plumbs and had so skilfully made many dresses and blouses for herself and for her many friends.
Despite all of her pain throughout these last few weeks she maintained her caustic wit. With a smile on her face her very last words to me were “And anyway stop staring at me you.”
I smiled back and kept on staring! Beryl we all love you, and always will.
Today is the first wedding anniversary of Steven and Lizzie, two of Riley Green’s modern generation, hard working, good to be alive youngsters, and both destined to reach the dizzy heights of becoming Mayor and Mayoress in twenty or thirty years time. The report has been kept on ice for a year because Hello magazine had exclusive rites to all the photographs. Now the contract is over and we are pleased to release some of the pictures for all to see. The Mayor and Mayoress were probably the principal guests at the wedding of the decade, if not century. I was there as escort and Mayor’s Parlour official photographer. For weeks there were rumours that the old Morris 8, often seen around Riley Green, was going to be used for the bride and groom as transport to the reception. But the closely kept secret revealed only after the wedding, proved it to be the brand new Gator below.
All of the bench ends in the church were decorated by Lizzie herself, and the heather from the fells of Dunsop was much admired by all.
The delighted couple came down the aisle with pride.
I sneaked in with the Mayoral camera, while the big “Hello” pictures were taken. Looks like all the men were skint after buying the fancy suits!
It was rather windy outside church, so it was mum saying “Hats off to the happy couple”.
The celebrations went on until late and all had a wonderful day.
Since winning the Annual Flower Festival, 5 Sunflower Category Gold Prize, the Mayoress has been extra cautious. Of course when the Mayor vanished that was cause for much alarm. Now with all the prize money and Tesco Vouchers to the value of £5 she insisted on me fixing up some extra security. Luckily our Riley Green Local, The Royal Oak had some surplus cameras etc.. seemingly doing nothing on their roof (well I think they were surplus). All I needed was a tall ladder and a few tools and lo & behold, the Mayor’s Parlour Chubbsafes Executive Fire Safe Size 65 is carefully guarded from night time prowlers.
And so another year has gone by. Each year the Flower Festival comes around just before the more frequented Southport Flower Show. As usual the Mayoress bids me to grow her some flowers which she then enters into the Festival Home Grown section in her own name!
This year there was a 5 Sunflower category. Of course once again, she won Gold Medal. The prize is a five pound note and a Tesco voucher for the same amount.
I must admit that the flowers looked very good.
I must not admit that I purchased them from Lidl, the rising fast German supermarket in Blackburn for only £3.00…
Riley green is alive with fat lambs at this time of the year.
Here is an inseparable pair of twin gimmer black lambs, not quite so common as white ones. Also on a Riley Green wall close to the Mayor’s Parlour sat this Grasshopper early on Sunday morning. It certainly would find nothing to eat there, maybe it was planning breakfast on the mayor’s Lawn.
Pictures, pictures and pictures.
She is very proud of her self grown Iris……..virginal white.
It stands proud in the mayoral Gardens.
When we were both standing proud in the garden the other night, the camera was called for and another sunset reminded us both of the old Mayor’s obsession with sunsets.
Since there is still no news of the Mayor’s whereabouts I think it’s safe for me to promote myself to chief blogger and bottlewasher.
The Lady Mayoress insists that I accompany her wherever she goes.
Riley Green has the only Hawthorn forest in Britain and she said for me to take the camera and show the flowers to their best effect. All three colours can be seen around the forest, white, pink & red. A bee got in the way of the red hawthorn flower!