My World with Geoffrey Shryhane

Geoffrey Shryhane
Geoffrey Shryhane

I say I have but I haven’t really. I haven’t really got my head around the intricacies of computers.

And I’m so sick of seeing people leading their lives around their mobile phones, I’ve abandoned mine. I can live without it.

But when I break down in a blizzard on the motorway I’ll wish I hadn’t been so quick to throw out my phone. They say they sell simple mobiles at Tesco, so I might buy one… but only for emergencies.

That said, computers and these new do-everything mobile phones impress me no end.

Last week, a member of my family actually used his phone to send a birthday card. He tapped a few photos, brought up a suitable photo, tapped some more and pressed send. That was it. Done and dusted.

And next day the card arrived in all its digital and technological glory.

I mused it was a long way from those good old days when we had to go out, buy a card, write it, buy a stamp and trudge to the post-box.

And as Jimmy Cricket would say: “And there’s more.”

Another mate is able to access the security camera around his home on his mobile whether he’s at home or abroad.

And lots of users with mobiles can press a few buttons and turn the home central heating up or down.

Mobiles can’t make your dinner or clean the house.

But watch this space… it’ll come sooner than you think.

:: I’ve been lucky. And still am. As a theatre reviewer, I’ve seen many hundreds – perhaps over a thousand – professional shows in Manchester 40 years.

And if asked “what was the best show” I wouldn’t have to think. It’s one I saw recently and one which is coming to Manchester Palace Theatre from November 20 to January 28.

It’s Billy Elliot (I’m sure you’ve seen the film) which is set in a small town in the North East (it could easily have been Wigan) against the background of the 1984 – 85 miners’ strike.

And it tells the story of a young boy’s struggle against all the odds.

We see him struggling from the boxing ring to the ballet class where his passion for dance is confirmed.

He suffers rejection and ridicule – but he finally wins over his family and the community which changes his life forever.

It’s true I’ve seen some amazing and fantastic shows over the decades.

But Billy Eliot stands out as the best.

Yes, it is peppered with raw scenes and bad language often rules, but audiences (and it ran in London for 11 years) leave walking on air.

The timeless score is by Elton John.

Tickets are from £22.

:: As a kid, I heard mother telling a neighbour that I was strong. So, confidence boosted, I ran into the parlour and tried to move the piano.

It wouldn’t budge.

It was only later I realised she’d described me as “highly strung”. How’s that for a shamer. I felt a total fool.

Throughout my life, I’ve chosen (may be through sheer laziness) to slip into the background mists when it comes to moving large items.

Anyway, on the subject of the heavy items, I must reveal my exciting news.

I’ve bought a new vacuum carpet sweeper which has had fantastic reviews in the press. What a star when it comes to doing its job.

I never realised there was so much dust and grit in the carpets.

But there’s a but…

The truth is it weighs a ton and needs some super-strength to push all around the house. In fact, getting it upstairs is a full-time job in itself. I had to have a lie down. Honest.

I’m not the only one. Several friends say that while there’s an array of real lightweight cleaners, some of the “new” old style sweepers are too heavy.

My advice – try out new vacuum cleaners before buying. Beware of being landed with a heavyweight.

:: “I’d rather give it away than lose it.”

How often have you heard people say that as they hunt for those items that have gone walkabout?

It’s true, sometimes we find them. But often we don’t and years later the losses remain vivid in our minds.

My biggest loss – my wallet which had, for years, contained three £50 notes “for a rainy day”. I reckon it worked its way out of my pocket as, along with Mrs S, I picked strawberries in the fields just beyond Parbold. I also harbour a thought that the wallet is hiding in some crevice or other in the house.

Another loss – a Parker 51 fountain pen given to me by a wonderful former teacher from Standish.

Thankfully a small ad in the paper brought the pen winging back to my desk.

My most inconvenient loss was my address book (including the Christmas card list of addresses) which I appear to have chucked out when I cleared out the study.

On a job in Manchester, I lost my bunch of car keys and despite retracing my steps and later going to the police lost property department, they didn’t turn up. What a job borrowing the family’s keys to get duplicates.

Most precious lost – Mrs S wedding ring. We turned the house upside down. But no. So during a holiday in Criccieth I bought her another.

And then… the first ring turned up.

Tell me of your losses at g.shryhane@btinternet.com