Saturday 5 August 2023


Welcome to a rainy South Manchester. I am supposed to be watching cricket later today but it looks like it will be a total washout because at the moment we are being soaked by a storm that is likely to last most of the day. 

You wouldn’t believe that we are in the middle of summer.

I may as well answer some silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1.  What do you have hanging on your walls?

I have pictures hanging on the walls, all of which have been picked by Mrs PM. Here is an example of one of them:

If it were up to me I would choose differently but that would involve shopping and agonising over pictures so I am happy to let Mrs PM do what she wants. The saying “Happy wife happy life” applies perfectly in this situation.

2.  Have you used an outrageous excuse to get out of jury duty?

I have, so far, managed to avoid Jury service (as it is called in the UK). And thank goodness. I don’t fancy sitting in a court room listening to a trial and then having to deliberate with strangers about somebody’s fate. 

In the UK it is mandatory if you are called up and I believe there is little you can do about it unless circumstances are extreme. Hopefully they will keep passing my by when choosing people.

3. Where do you like to go shopping (not for groceries)

I don’t like shopping at all and when I do, I do it online – even for clothes. We have two major places where you can shop here in Manchester. The city centre is a shopper’s paradise and there are lots of crowded shops, especially in and around The Arndale Centre, a huge shopping mall. Also, there is a place called the Trafford Centre which is a self-contained huge shopping mall about seven miles outside the city centre.

Both are horrible crowded places, but the city centre has lots of other things that can distract you from shopping. 

If you forced my hand it would therefore be Manchester city centre but it is unlikely as I will do it online.

4. What was the last movie you saw in a movie theatre?

I saw The Flash

I love a good superhero movie. I enjoyed it.

5. If you wrote a note and put it in a bottle to throw out to sea, what would the note say?

It depends where I was. If I were trapped on a desert island it would probably say “Help! I am trapped on an island (just like Robinson Crusoe). If I were on holiday I probably wouldn’t write such  a note. 

6. What decision have you made in your life that you regret?

At my stage of life I am quite happy and that is a result of the decisions I have made so far. Changing any one of them might have led to a different and potentially less happy life. I am going to be boring and say none.

7. What is in your junk drawer?

I don’t have a junk draw. However, there is stuff that Mrs PM might call “junk” in the house. She thinks I am a hoarder. I’m not and I have proof. 

In the next month or two we are having the back room and stairs redecorated, with a new carpet, new sofas, new flooring and lots of potential upheaval that I am not looking forward to at all. As part of that exercise I have been sorting out my “junk”. One of the things we have done recently is to have the loft boarded with a membrane to hide the roof and a new hatch and ladder to make access easier. I had a load of football programmes up there as well as old school notes and university notes. I aim to write a blog post about it soon. 

To cut a long story short, I am in the process of sorting it all out as well as other stuff like old photos, old records and old personal stuff and then put it all up in the loft, which is now clean and quite spacious. 

The bulk of it is now boxed up and is sitting up in the loft – in four storage boxes – yes that’s right just four reasonably sized storage boxes. 

Hardly hoarding when there is room up there for about forty or fifty of these boxes. 

I reckon I probably need four or five more when I empty the cupboard under the stairs. 

And I have thrown away some stuff too. 

It will be a lot tidier and less cluttered in the house by Autumn. 

8. Have you ever gone to a high school reunion?

No I haven’t. However, I have reconnected with two guys I have known since the age of about five and went through junior and senior school with. I haven’t seen them since 1981. I found a reference to an old school photo on Facebook and one of the guys commented:

“Do you remember Plastic Mancunian? Look at his magnificent hair in this photo?” 

The photo was taken in about 1976 and shows me with a huge mop of blonde hair. I laughed and commented back and now we have reconnected. One guy still lives in Walsall but the other is an artist in Cornwall. 

These guys are probably my oldest friends (even though we haven’t seen each other for over forty years). 

It would be good to see them, especially the artist as he was probably my best friend in junior school.

As for university, we have a yearly reunion – this year it was in Amsterdam. I always love them because even though we are all 60 years old, we devolve into the people we were back in 1984 and have a great laugh.

9. Would you rather receive the GOOD news or the BAD news first?

Definitely the bad news first. I like to think that every cloud has a silver lining. 

10. What are your top 3 pet peeves?

Where do I start!

Peeve number one: Our current government. We have had thirteen years of Conservative rule and this bunch of charlatans have taken us out of the EU, crippled people with austerity, screwed us all with their reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic, treated us like idiots with incompetent Prime Minister after incompetent Prime Minister, created a cost of living crisis, almost destroyed our economy and are now leading us down a path towards isolationism under a jingoistic flag of “we’re British – we will prevail!”. We will get a chance to get rid of them next year and I can’t wait.

Peeve number two: Work. I get paid to work but I am fed up of my career. It has served me well and given me the opportunity to travel a lot. There are reasons that I won’t go into now and the bottom line is that I can’t wait to retire. It’s almost time. 

Peeve number three: The cult of celebrity and TV personalities who seem to have been infected by a weird virus that makes them seem perpetually happy. We’ve had a few recent “incidents” where some of these people’s egos have made them think that they are far more important than they actually are, incidents that I don’t care about but that make national news. I don’t care about these people, I don’t care what they did and I don’t want to hear about them constantly. When I watch the news and there is a war in Ukraine or a cost of living crisis I expect to be told about that, not some egomaniacal celebrity who has done something dodgy to upset another egomaniacal celebrity. I would name these people but I don’t want to give them even more publicity, no matter how small. I just wish they would go away.

11. Are there famous people from where you live?

Yes. I have seen a couple of them in my local area on one or two occasions. I don’t know exactly where they live (and I don’t want to know really) but I have seen them in pubs and restaurants. 

12. What kitchen gadgets do you use most?

The cooker, the microwave, the kettle, the toaster and the dishwasher (not really a kitchen gadget but it lives in the kitchen so to me it counts). 

13. Who was your elementary school best friend?

We don’t have elementary school in the UK but I looked it up and our equivalent is called junior school. As I said above, it was the guy who is now an artist living in Cornwall. We went to the same senior school too but after we left we lost touch with one another. It’s good to see what he is up to at the moment. And he hasn’t changed that much from what I can gather. One day we may meet again but given that he lives almost 350 miles away in a rural area of England, it seems unlikely. But you never know. It would be fun to catch up.

14. Choose an animal and tell us 4 things about that animal.

I am going to choose Star(dust) the smaller of our two cats. 

First, she is really friendly and often flirts with the neighbours. She often goes into their houses (even though one of them has a small dog). Earlier this year that same neighbour had a builder doing some major work in their kitchen and the builders all though that Star(dust) was their cat because she would pop in and just watch them while they worked.

Second, she is not scared of anything. Mrs PM calls her a tyke, i.e. a cheeky and mischievous creature. She will go anywhere and explore anything. We have had to buy a fire guard to stop her from climbing the chimney. 

Third, she has what Mrs PM calls a “ghost miaow”, i.e. she miaows but makes no sound. When she does make a sound it is really high pitched. 

Fourth, she is adorable and loves to lie by my side when I am watching TV. When she does, she almost melds with my leg and purrs really loudly.

Here we are together.

15. What is your favourite pizza topping?  What do you never want on a pizza?

I like meaty pizzas, the more variety of meat the better. 

I’m not a fan of spicy pizzas so I try to avoid jalapenos.


Elephant's Child said...

Love your stories about Star(dust). When a neighbour was having extensive building work one of our cats was fascinated. When they were doing the roofing she climbed in for a look see. And was shut in the roof. The work was so extensive that the neighbours moved out for the duration so there was no-one to let her out. When we finally found out where she was I had to ring the builders at eight o'clock at night. When they came back she hid from them, and led us all a fine dance.
And she went back the next day....

Bev Sykes said...

Nice to meet you face to face!

Your pet peeves bother me to, but they seem like more than "PET peeves."

Bev Sykes said...

You and Pandora both posted the same cat picture!

Lisa said...

I love meat on my pizza, too! I hope you will post pictures of your house after the updates!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Ha ha - that's what cats are like. We are having some flooring done soon and I will tell the guy that he has to watch out for Star - she will get involved somehow - I just know it.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

Yes - I mentioned that to Pand on her blog.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lisa,

Yes I may well do that.




Roger Owen Green said...

Last week, an Internet "influencer" promised some Xbox thing (I think) in NYC. Caused a riot. I had never heard of him. He was arrested along with a few dozen others. Very strange.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Roger,

That does sound strange. This "influencer" business makes me laugh!




CountryDew said...

The wizard and his familiar. :-)

I agree with your pet peeves.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

Star is the wizard (chuckle)!