Manchester

O is for Other Things

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MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE

There are a couple of things to bear in mind when visiting the Big Apple.

The food is very cheap, and I have already marvelled at the “all you can drink” coffee that gets refilled for as long as you sit in a diner/restaurant, but what I didn’t mention is tipping.

The waiters/waitresses are paid minimum wages which is really low and they rely on tips to pay their bills (or so I have been told).IMG_5376

We always put a tip of between 10% and 20% onto the food bill no matter how good/bad the food was. The reason being as above, but also because the staff in New York were always so friendly, polite and helpful. If you need tips to pay the rent then of course you will be polite, but nevertheless it was a fraction of the normal food bills we have on the rare occasion we dine out in Manchester.

Prior to going to America I was told a few stories (surprisingly by people who hadn’t actually travelled over the Atlantic so no doubt were confusing  their facts with television). One story was that New Yorkers hate us British.

That may be so, but in no part of my five days in the City did I experience anybody being rude to us. In fact I found the opposite. Whenever we stood on a street with our map in front of us trying to find our next destination, every single time a New Yorker would stop and ask if they could help us.

Let me tell you if you were standing with a map open in Manchester you would be ignored and would end up having to ask for directions. As for London? – well the folk in London would never notice you as they never look up from the ground to make eye contact with anyone. And yes, I have experienced this in London where the code on the underground is to stare at the floor.

Secondly, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to make sure you have decent, comfortable shoes for walking around in. I didn’t fully appreciate how large New York City is and how much walking we would do, and I got blisters, sore heels and swollen feet. Thank goodness for the Nike shop who kitted me out with trainers that felt like I was walking on cushions.

Finally, plan your days. We didn’t end up doing half of the things we wanted to as we misjudged how much we could fit into a day.

But for anybody reading this who hasn’t been to New York yet – I am really jealous. It is fantastic, the most exciting city I have visited so far on my journey and I will certainly be back there to see her again.IMG_4777 - Copy

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The Liebster Award

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liebster
This morning I woke up to a message on this blog that I had been given The Liebster Award from a fellow blogger http://mccrazydailylessons.wordpress.com/

Thanks mccrazydailylessons for this lovely award. It’s always nice to know that somebody out there enjoys to read the “guff” and somedays the posts on this blog really are “guff”.

Having had a look at mccrazydailylesson own blog I discovered that the Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. There are rules that follow accepting the award.

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you for the Liebster Award, and link back to his or her blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions that your nominator asks you.
3. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers of your own, with under 200 followers, whom you think are as awesome as you – I’m a typical British person who doesn’t believe they are awesome, but hey I’ll go along with the rules.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. And finally… Display the Liebster Award logo on your page.

Well, that’s simple enough right? Below are the eleven questions that my nominator has asked me.

1. Where are you currently living?
Manchester, England.

2. Where are you from?
Preston, England which is approximately forty miles from Manchester.

3. Where would you like to be?
Playing on the beach, under the sun with my family.

4. Hopes?
That my children are happy in life.

5. Dreams?
To have a radio play commissioned, and to have a play performed in the future.

6. Fears?
Being incapacitated. I slipped a disk two years ago and it took ten months of physiotherapy to start getting my life back to come normality. I never want to experience constant pain like that again. I also don’t want to have to rely on people to put my shoes on, pick things up for me etc.

7. Do you like to travel?
Yes.

8. Favorite Sport?
To play is netball. To view is Formula 1, tennis and ice-hockey.

9. Favorite Movie?
I have many.

10. Country music or Rock and Roll?
Rock and Roll all the way.

11. Who is your number ONE?
I have three number ones in my life. Mr NorthernScribbler, first born NorthernScribbler and wee boy NorthernScribbler.

ELEVEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME
1. I am a Virgo.

2. My Myers-Briggs score is I N F J which means I am the same personality as Emily Bronte, Martin Luthor King and Florence Nightingale. INFJs are insightful, creative, compassionate, and dedicated. INFJs have a unique ability to understand the emotions of those around them, and enjoy using this emotional sensitivity to create warm and supportive environments for growth.

3. I have four sisters – I am second eldest.

4. I am very competitive (middle child syndrome).

5. I enjoy drinking sparkling water.

6. I learnt to swim when I was thirty-three.

7. When I was eleven I won a poetry competition for Cadburys and had my poem displayed in an exhibition in London. Unfortunately I never saw it displayed, but the competition was through my primary school Manor Road.

8. I love music from the 1980s.

9. My geeky hobby is exchanging postcards with random strangers around the world http://www.postcrossing.com

10. I love the idea of @thehopefulnotes and will be posting my own notes when I visit the States.

11. I achieved my undergraduate degree when I was thirty-five.

I really tried to find another blogger who I follow with under 200 followers, but unfortunately that doesn’t apply to any of them. Therefore this is as far as the Liebster Award goes for me, unless I randomly select anyone with under that number of followers.

3 July : Aspirations #wpad

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aspirations

“When I grow up I want to be a bin-man” I used to say as a four year old. I soon changed my mind after the first time I watched the assistant in Booths, Garstang serve my mum behind the deli counter with luncheon meat.

I watched in awe as she took out a clear sheet of plastic, place it onto the weighing scales, take out her serving tongues and weighed out a quarter of corned beef. As she wrapped the corned beef up, printed out a sticker and sealed the bag I knew that being a bin-man would never be as glamorous as serving corned beef with metal tongues. When I got home I made paper corned beef, and borrowed my mum’s knife and spoon to make serving tongues. If I was going to be doing that job when I was old enough to work – I better get the practice in.

In my teen years I then wanted to be a primary school teacher. I’d always enjoyed primary school and did my work experience in one. Not sure I would ever feel fulfilled looking after a group of thirty kids all day but that was the dream. I also toyed with the idea of being a journalist until a careers advisor told me I would probably have to move to London.

London? That was the other end of the earth as far as I was concerned. I loved to write, but I also loved living in Preston and thought I would stay there forever.

I’ve ended up doing neither of those in my career, and moved to Manchester when I was twenty. However I still remember having those aspirations as a youngster when it feels like it’ll be forever until you are an adult.

As you get older the aspirations that you have change too. You realise that you are at work a long time in the week so it’s best to do something that you enjoy doing. I have had many jobs in the past many of which I detested and would be clock-watching every day and counting the days until the weekend. Without those naff jobs though I wouldn’t know what I will and won’t do in employment.

I’m not in that position now, so the aspirations that I have are personal ones.

In terms of what I would like to achieve creatively, the answer is simple. I’d like to achieve at least one broadcasting credit, hopefully in the medium of radio. I’m fortunate that I enjoy my day job, so a complete career change is not something I am looking at for the moment. However, it’s always good to be prepared and have a back up plan should things change.

The other creative dream is to have a play performed in the Greater Manchester Fringe festival in the next couple of years. With theatre being a passion of mine, I would like nothing better to be able to sit in an audience and see actors come to life in characters created by me, with dialogue which has been typed from my fingers.

One thing for certain, I won’t give up until I achieve at least one of these personal aspirations.

On a personal level, I have only one dream and that is that when my kids are all grown up and have families of their own, they will say that growing up was a happy time for them. I hope they feel that they were given opportunities to develop, experiences that shaped them and are thankful for growing up in such a loving environment.

It’s few years off that, but like any parent you hope that your parenting methods haven’t damaged anybody for life.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

aspiration

1 July : What I write #wpad

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Firstly I have decided to take on the http://www.writesofluid.com blog challenge again for the month of July. I participated in the June challenge right up to day twenty-five and then due to what I can only describe as pure exhaustion from not only the busiest month at work, but also a deadline for my MA, I couldn’t force myself to switching on my laptop for a few days.

After a weekend of what can only be described as pure relaxation I am ready to get that brain into gear and those fingers engaged again. Having a daily challenge is just what I need and the prompts for July look rather stimulating. And, of course every new follower that I get for my blog gives me a few minutes of feeling good about myself – and everybody should have something in their lives that makes them feel thankful.

Onto challenge number one What I write? Let me tell you that whatever it is that I write, it’s always a lot easier when I have done some of this – see photograph of me in Florence……….Adventure in Europe 2012 527

What I like to write are scripts, as I enjoy writing dialogue and thinking of ways to show the audience what is going on in a story without having to write dialogue for it. That isn’t always easy. Creating characters is always exciting, as you start out with perfection. A name, age and sex of a character which you then start chipping away with flaws, hang-ups and obstacles until what is left is a fully rounded person who is going to drive a story through those flaws rather than having them happen. It sounds simple, but getting the characters right for the story is taxing.

I wrote a radio script late last year which I really enjoyed as writing for that medium is different from television and stage writing. Radio writing is something that I intend on going back to after I have completed my MA project. I’m attending a one day writing for radio workshop in London in a couple of weeks and am hoping to get some inspiration for a future project from there.

I write plays, although I can’t really call myself a playwright yet as I haven’t actually finished one yet. I have two plays which have been performed in a read through by actors, but finding the time to complete them is another matter.

I write theatre reviews for http://www.publicreviews.com and http://www.thegoodreview.co.uk

Reviewing for theatre has enriched my life more than I could have expected. I’ve been only doing it for six months but I have experienced some wonderful shows, and some not so great. I have met actors, writers and other reviewers through it. It’s a great way to see lots of different shows and not have to be a financial burden. Through this I have discovered the Manchester fringe scene which I wasn’t really aware of before, and it has given me the incentive to firstly try and write a complete play of my own, and to also get it put on in Manchester. Reviewing shows is also gold for a writer as it enables you to see many stories being told and be able to analyse why some work and some don’t. Hearing other writers voices also helps with having your own voice.

Finally the blog http://www.northernscribbler.com although it is often hit and miss whether I post anything.

For now though, my focus for my writing is for my MA in Television and Radio Scriptwriting. Passing the course is my priority for 2014, after that who knows where the scribbling will take me.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of July.

Self-promotion : Challenge 23

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It’s all well sitting behind a screen and dreaming that one you’d like to see your play on a stage being performed by actors, or listening to a piece of radio that you wrote etc. This will only happen once you get your name out and the internet is a great place to start.

The goal is visibility. Name recognition can lead to industry awareness, respect, paid writing assignments, and greater creative control over your career. That would be a nice goal to aspire to, but I still need to pay the bills and working full time in the day job will be a reality for years to come. Somehow, Hollyoaks or Corrie aren’t going to come knocking, unless I can go to them with some credits to my name.

The first stop was to get some work published online so I sent off my CV and examples of written features. Two e-zines took me on as a features writer so long as I could contribute three articles per month. The first time I saw an article that I had penned published online with my name next to it, well that was a nice feeling. Always great to see your name next to something that you have put heart and soul into.

The next piece of advice I was given was to start a blog. Having no idea what I would write about, the only thing at the time that I felt confident writing about was running. My first blog title Sweaty Betty was born. I wrote in that for approximately nine months. Due to a serious back injury which affected my running, I neglected this and felt that I wasn’t in the position to blog on that subject given the current circumstances with my health.

I don’t know about other people, but thinking of a name for a blog is not the easiest of things to come up with. I rattled my brains for weeks to think of a catchy title, that would not only sum me up, but also be a reference to what my interests were. I wanted the blog to reflect my journey as a struggling writer, and then The Northern Scribbler was born.

The blog has only been live for nine months, but already has over 1800 views, and I’m pretty sure they are not all from my mum and the other half. It’s always a massive compliment when a complete stranger decides to follow my blog, as they don’t know me and they have taken the time to sign up to an email notification everytime I post something. I currently have 42 people who have signed up to following my blog and I appreciate every single one of them.

I’ve been taking part in @sofluid June writing challenge this month. I decided to participate as my entries to the blog were very sporadic and I wanted to spark some life into the site. As a result of doing this challenge the creator of http://www.writesofluid.com wanted to feature me in an interview about the challenge. This was a really nice request, I’ve never been interviewed for anything before – except jobs, and quite a compliment to be featured next to “proper published authors”.scribbler

Finally, in order for me to gain a greater knowledge of stories and structure I decided to become an online theatre reviewer. It’s a great way to see live shows and Manchester is rich in the arts industry, both with our fantastic The Lowry, Opera House and the Royal Exchange Theatre, but also it has a large fringe theatre scene which seems to be growing. Being part of this is such a privilege, and is also a cost effective way to see lots of exciting plays.
This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June.

I love Manchester Day

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Manchester is my home.

It’s been my home for the past 16 years after I left my previous hometown ofPreston.

Age 21, pregnant and madly in love I drove down the M61 to set up home and start a new life inManchester.

Who would have thought that as well as falling in love with one of it’s sons, I would also fall in love with the City.

 

Manchester is home to me, Preston feels like a distant memory.

My children were born here, I was married here, I went to college and university here and all my jobs have been here.

Yes Manchester– you really are home to me. I like nothing better than taking the tram into the city on a weekend, strolling down Deansgate, sipping coffee and looking at the wonderful buildings.

Today is I love Manchester Day and I for one am in full support of this. I have been wearing my t-shirt with pride and even writing at work with my pen. I would have loved to have stayed in the city tonight for the celebrations – an injury and childcare issues got the better of me.

What a wonderful way to celebrate the city’s response to the terrible riots a couple of weeks ago. It gives the people of Manchester(and our neighbouring Salford) how proud we are of our city.

All Mancunians whether born or adopted should get involved with the cause. Proceeds from the sale from the t-shirts go to Forever Manchester and RECLAIM – two fantastic causes.

The celebrations continue well into the weekend with the Pride parades and my highlight will be watching Formula 1’s Jenson Button racing down Deansgate on Bank Holiday Monday.

I am proud of this city, I just hope that the gutter rats who tried to sabotage it will learn some respect and eventually fall in love with the great city too.

I ♥ Manchester.

Rise up and prevail Manchester

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I am sat here watching Sky News, waiting for new information and hoping that my glorious city can be saved.

Manchester.

I was hoping that this wonderful city could stand up and be different from London, Liverpool and Birmingham. After all, we spent years rebuilding after the bomb of 1996 to make it the vibrant, exciting city that it is today.

Sadly, most of these thugs probably were not even born when we were hit by the bomb. They have no idea what goes into working hard and building something from scratch.

All they seem to care about is their MTV gangsta culture of fast cars, plenty of bling, mobile phones, designer clothes and shoes. They model themselves on Rihanna and Kanye West and embrace the “reality TV star”.

They have probably never learnt to read or write, had any role models growing up, engaged in sports, had a stable family life or done a days work in their lives. 

These are the minority of young people who give other young people a bad name. The ones who think it is okay to set fire to people’s businesses and homes, who think they have the right to steal from the hard working trader.

I have watched in disgust tonight as my city is once again pulled to pieces. However, this is nothing political (these thugs probably have no idea about politics) – it is just pure greed and a thirst for being on TV and on social networking sites.

This generation are the by-product of the boom of the single parent in the 1990s who would get pregnant to get a council house They have no solid family life, no morals, no dignity and have been dragged up rather than raised to be respectable.

I have been glued to Facebook and Twitter myself tonight and everybody is united in the disgust in this behaviour. The decent people want the army to be moved in and the TV cameras turned off while the army does their work.

For all decent youngsters – thank you for not joining in with this thuggery and hopefully the hardworking, decent part of society will prevail.

I heart Manchester.