Geoffrey Shryhane’s Wigan World

Geoffrey Shryhane
Geoffrey Shryhane
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SOMETIMES, you can’t tell it like it is ... chatter overheard when you should not, in fact, be “tuned in”.

I’m on the Manchester train to Wigan, when a woman of indeterminate years takes her seat behind me and before wheels move, she’s on her mobile.

It’s doubtful if she appreciates that the other passengers are going to be treated to her fraught family situation.

It went something like this: “It’s shockin’. Six month now and not a penny rent. I’ve told ‘er I’m coming to th’end of mi tether. Mi nerves is shattered.

“What can I do? She doesn’t gerrup til dinner time and then expects to be waited on ‘and and foot. ‘Get me this, Get me that.’

“I’m done in good and proper. Then she borrows £50 from ‘er dad and goes out and buys a microscope ... no I’m wrong there. A telescope. Says she wants look at stars.

“I tells her that she’ll be seeing stars when I knock ‘er in’tert middle o’ next week.

“She owes money here, there and everywhere. She’s ‘ad two letters from’t catalogue and is payin’ ‘um £5 a week.

“Here I am working and cooking and doing’t th-ousework while she sits in front of’t telly. I get on to ‘er all the time but she doesn’t listen. She won’t listen. She doesn’t know what responsibility is. But she will one day.” She then reacts to her caller’s comments: “Ooooooh did he? Ooooooh has he? Oooooooo will he? Well that’s awful. I’d tell ‘im if I was you.

“How did that start? Is it runnin’? ‘As it swelt up? Has ‘e been to’t doctor?”

The trains pulls into Daisy Hill and the woman with the world’s problems on her shoulders hurries away.

Truth is, we all enjoyed the free show.

“HEAVY hangs the head that wears the crown” (Shakespeare Henry IV Part II).

Well the Queen’s head seemed to be its usual upright position when she opened Parliament last week ... for the 61st time.

Glued to the telly box, I was riveted and more than fascinated by the Monarch’s great speech, announcing that her government would undertake a dozen bills before next year’s general election.

Everything seemed to happen like clockwork. Well, the format’s not changed since 1852.

To be honest, I’ve forgotten what’s planned. Forgotten except for one item. PLASTIC BAGS which have always been free from supermarkets. We get through and dispose of four million a year.

These days, some plastic bags are biodegradable but those from yesteryear last in the earth for 1,000 years.

It seems there was life before strong but flimsy plastic bags, but as JB Priestley might have said: “It didn’t add to much.”

I’m old and decrepit enough to recall those halcyon and carefree times in the 1950s when shops provided brown paper bags with string handles. How exciting were they? Me thinks there was a small charge, which encouraged shoppers to reuse them time and again.

The one fault was that sometimes, the string handles sometimes gave way and tins went rolling this way and that. So will the new supermarket carrier bag legislation be effective? I reckon it will. Six 5p bags per shop per week comes to around £15 a year.

Worth thinking about.