If you missed the news, we sold up in Padfield and migrated to the Howard Town Brewery Tap in Old Glossop in December after our friends, Stuart and Emma Swann, the Brewers asked if we could help out with their newly licenced Brewery Tap. I was kind of retired, apart from writing and singing with the Curragh Sons, so me and Joanie dived in. Keep us off the streets don't you know. Watch this space.
At present I run my art workshops and three course lunch at the brewery on Thursdays and we have been hosting, for the fun of it, and to get people through the door, a music session called Curragh Sun-days from 2pm to 7pm every week.
Moving was a mission!!!!
It seemed like a good idea at the time, to sell the wonderful Laughing Badger Gallery in Padfield, home to the Cellar Bar of high renown, and home to us, and maybe buy somewhere in Ireland, not to live there but to have a foothold on the west, the heartland, where the sound of the waves sooth the soul and the worried gait of a sanderling makes you smile. With my daughter, Niamh, safely at University in Liverpool, it simply seemed like a good time. But then the dread set in. How do you clear four floors and forty years worth of stuff and remain 'of 'sound mind'? Every piece a chunk of me and mine, paintings, books, furniture, enough memorabilia to fill three Irish pubs, and of course the amazing memories. But we did it, and amazing how much 'stuff' I always thought I needed, then realised I didn't. It was a kind of cleansing: charity shops, friends, skips and the tip, I thank you, and then of course there was my great pal, 'the bonfire of the insanities'. 'I must have been insane', I thought to keep these things, including a long curly fringe I cut off in 1973, I mean, what was that all about? There can be no regrets for what has been thrown, because I can't remember most of it anyway, and most of those 'treasures' stored in cardboard boxes, have now gone up in smoke along with the boxes themselves.
And so, three months on after first arriving in Glossopia in 1973, moving to Crowden in 1980 and Padfield nearly thirty years later, I've landed in Top Mossley with Joanie Lucy Edge, and her three daughters, Niamh Junior, Bria, Aoife, and a half-pint dog called Guinness. My new writing eyrie sees me daydreaming towards Dovestones and Pots and Pans, while out front the enticingly named Hare and Irontongue Hills beckon, with the tantalising Hoarstone Edge just beyond, and then, albeit out of sight, Dovestones, Indian's Head and my favourite little reservoir, Chew, the highest in the land, which of course would take me back towards Crowden and Bleak House where it all this writing nonsense began in earnest. My old stomping ground of Greenfield is out there somewhere as well, and my Irish band, The Curragh Sons, have graced (maybe not the right word) the stage in this legendary music pub for over thirty years. As I write in my new eyrie on the world, two crows are giving a passing buzzard some stick, but he doesn't seem too bothered, unlike the sixty or so jackdaws swirling around like a Christmas Snow bauble. There's a car alarm going off and in the foreground more houses being built, but there is some lovely architecture to gaze down upon, the old Wood End Mill chimney, not many of them left, and at night the lights are just magical. The simple joys, because these days I can walk along the canal from Mossley to Greenfield, watch this punk goosander on the way, and then get the train back and walk home via the Biblical, Jacob's Ladder, with a bag of chips. It's a funny thing moving after so long, but the people of Mossley have been great, and they've even got used to the Bearded-One saying 'hello' in the street. Of course the transition has been aided by the wonderful Fleece Public House, where Landlord Michael is a fine purveyor of at least four real ales each week, and then of course the newly re-opened and renamed San Giorgio Italian Restaurant, both two minutes walk from Joanie's. Those readers au fait with Genesis, the book not the band, will know that the mythical Ladder leads to Heaven
As the dust settles, and on reflection, the best thing to come out of sorting all the stuff out now, is that if anything happens to me, none of my children, Oisin, Culain, Niamh Snr, or indeed Joanie, will have to do it, what a task that would have been. I've given them a couple of keep-sakes each which I think they will cherish, including a pencil portrait of my Mum on O'Connell Street in Dublin when she was 18, a Celtic embroidery from her Irish Dancing Dress, and a decorative piece of brass from my Grandpa Will's horse when he was in the 12th Lancers during WW1. All priceless, although Joanie thinks she's got the short straw as she's only got me.