The Wallgate Chronicles
Hugo Boss comes to Wigan - A sideways look at an eventful 40th wedding anniversary trip to Vienna and a bold experiment to capture the essence of the dialect of the south Lancashire coalfield communities.
In the Footsteps of the Manchester Rambler - A circular walk from Hayfield via a section of the Pennine Way, Kinder Downfall and the moorland site of the mass trespass in 1932 in the struggle for the right to roam.
Fun with Trigonometry - Indulge in a little fun on a winter's evening and brush up your mathematics, you never know, one day it may come in useful when the grandchildren get stuck with their homework.
Surprise at the Philharmonic - An account of a pleasant evenings entertainment at Liverpool's iconic art deco concert hall and an interesting precursor to a metaphorical "Journey to Rheims". A marvellous introduction to this seldom performed opera by Rossini relating an eventful journey to the coronation of the French King Charles X and further testament to the phenominal output from the pen of this talented composer.
Cat Bells 2004 - A Lake District walk from Portinscale to Cat Bells, Maiden Moor and High Spy above Borrowdale returning via the Newlands Valley.
A Walk in the Hills - Memories from a holiday at the Belsfield Hotel, Bowness on Windermere and an eventful day exploring the countryside between the two lakes, Hawkshead and Ambleside. A circular walk crossing the ferry to Sawrey, over Claife Heights, passing Moss Eccles and Wise Ean Tarns to Ambleside returning by lake steamer.
Eay Times Uv Changed - The lamentations of a cash strapped father struggling to cope with the increased expectations of the younger generation and the demands of modern life.
Fidelio - A personal view of a fine opera by a favourite composer.
The Ravioli Room - Shades of 'Saturday Night Sunday Morning' in a Standish food factory! "Silent Worship" would have been a more appropriate title for this sad tale of unrequited love, set in the early 1960's, however George Frederick Handel and a score of others thought of it first so I must respect their copyright.
Desert Island Discs - Waiting patiently for so long to be invited to take part in the legendary BBC radio 4 programme and gradually coming to accept that it may never happen, I have decided to take matters into my own hands and create my own version. I hope you will indulge me and imagine the voice of Kirsty and access the likes of youtube for audio versions of the pieces selected.
Travels in Time - A sad tale of broken dreams and disappointment and a salutory lesson in the dangers of nostalgia as the author foolishly tries to pursue past pleasures and relive a rail journey first made almost fifty years ago.
Clandestine Project - Building a spectroscope using a diffraction grating and miscellaneous waste water plumbing items, and a surprisingly successful outcome despite many delays, trials and tribulations. Attempting to make up for opportunities squandered during physics lessons in the fifties and sixties hopefully this will prove a useful tool and give hours of endless fun exploring the properties of light and other interesting applications possible in the average domestic kitchen.
The Bohemian Girl - An opera in three acts by the Irish composer Michael Balfe, libretto by Alfred Bunn first performed in London in 1843. A very light "feel good" opera with an up-beat, tuneful and popular appeal, it contains many memorable arias and a story line to warm the cockles of the heart on a wet Sunday afternoon. This little Irish masterpiece compares well with the operas of Rossini and the likes of 'Il Seraglio' by Mozart and is well worth listening to.
Bookcase - An attempt at book review focussing on four historical novels, 'The Fortress' by Hugh Walpole, 'Dover Harbour' and 'King Cotton' by Thomas Armstrong and 'The Fox of Maulen' by Hans Helmutt Kirst. Whether you select reading material on recommendation, have favourite authors or prefer a surprise from the library book sale, these titles are sure to interest. The first three with their wonderful but slightly dated language are not an easy read and some are sadly out of print, however good second hand copies are still around and finding one will prove very rewarding and well worth the effort.
Barnaby Rudge, a review - Less well known perhaps but nevertheless a fine book by Charles Dickens. A gripping tale of mystery, romance, mayhem and tragedy set against a background of the Gordon Riots of 1780, we follow the fortunes of the Rudge, Vardon, Willet, Chester and Haredale families at this time of great uncertainty and turbulence. Several story lines run through the narrative but the main plot concerns the adventures of the central character Barnaby Rudge, a young man with learning difficulties, his pet Raven "Grip" and his long suffering mother.
Romance on a Budget - 'Or the wrong way to a woman's heart, an alternative version of a wedding anniversary trip to Vienna documented elsewhere on this page in another form.
The Battle of Solferino - A significant event in the second Italian war of independence between the forces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and those of Piedmont Sardinia and their French allies. Reports of the carnage in the aftermath of the conflict are said to have resulted in the Geneva Convention and the setting up of the Red Cross.
The Getaway Car - A sad tale about the risks, pleasures and disappointments (mainly disappointments) of motoring in the late 20th century and how the slings and arrows of misfortune can sometimes amuse.
The Switchroom - A snapshot of life in a pre subscriber trunk dialling 1960s telephone exchange.
The Force of Destiny - A short synopsis of this fine opera by Giuseppe Verdi, rather a grim storyline and probably not for the faint hearted, but with superb music and libretto it is a composition worthy of a place amongst the best in the genre and well worth a listen.
Adolphe Adam - A short profile of a talented French musician, composer of such masterpieces as the ballet Giselle and the beautiful Christmas song "O’ Holy Night”.
The Fair Maid of Perth - A synopsis of one of the lesser known novels of Sir Walter Scott. A "page turner” affording an interesting insight into 15th century Scottish history, a thoroughly good read and highly recommended.
Ivanhoe - Another great novel from the pen of Walter Scott, set in the north of England in the middle ages at the time of the crusades in a strained political atmosphere between the indigenous Saxons and the Norman invaders.
Semele - A brief description of this fine opera by Handel. The storyline taken from ancient Greco Roman mythology and concerns the mortal princess Semele and her adulterous affair with Jupiter the King of the Gods, appearing in human form as a handsome young Adonis, but being divine able to transform into a multitude of guises.