Geoffrey Shryhane’s Wigan World

Geoffrey Shryhane
Geoffrey Shryhane

IN the end, it might be a man thing.

Let me explain. A catalogue dropped through the letterbox extolling the virtues of many hundreds of their products .

I tell you. I was that excited I almost had a dizzy do.

The said catalogue was full of amazing items – a bowl for housing a half cut onion and egg poacher pods.

How did I live without them?

I spent half an hour thumbing through the booklet (it’s true, I should get a life) and began to wonder how I had lived without such essentials as bamboo tongs for toast extraction, a banana bag, and oven hob covers featuring pets.

I realised I was getting wholly excited considering such life-enhancing products but like the soldier I am, I ploughed on.

There were balls for keeping drainpipes clear, balls for catching lint and pet hairs, and tropical fish stickers to brighten up the bathroom.

The anti-snore nose clips caught my eye, as did a little machine for sucking out ear wax, and a cheeky little plunger for getting hair out of the sink drain hole.

How have I lived without such goodies. And there’s more ...

What about some prickler strips described as a “harmless barrier against intruders? And life is so much better with a “hose hanger”.

And what about a show-biz style shower head that changes colour as the water temperature rises. Real red carpet stuff. Call the paparazzi.

I’ll be stripping off and making out an order before you can say “hose hanger.”

AT a glance, the headline might have been from an old American newspaper in the days of Al Capone. It told of a masked man shooting his victim, of knife crime, blooded noses and black eyes.

Forget Al ... the crimes are happening right here in Wigan.

What’s happened to our once-innocent local streets? And to be honest I sometimes think the world once familiar has, to a great extent, been utterly destroyed. Never mind “I think.” The truth is we all know it has.

Gun crime, knife crime and yes, murder, is all part of local life. And we mustn’t forget the carnage on the roads.

Is this a cry for those seemingly simple days half a century ago when life somehow was so much simpler? And a darned sight safer.

It’s true there was the odd fight outside the Saturday night pub. The town’s extensive club land scene also had its elements of “when the drink’s in the wit’s out” violence. In my time – and it’s not my time any more – people in pubs seemed to be more interested in singing then fighting

Long ago, policemen patrolled our streets day and night and acted as an effective deterrent.

It might be an exaggeration to say that lots of Wiganers went out without locking their doors. Cynically, others say that they’d nothing to pinch anyway.

I’M having a minute sitting under the escalators in the Galleries.

There are some other oldies having temporary rest, wrestling – not literally – about which mop bucket to buy from the Market Hall.

The man says to his wife: “Wiggin’s not same now. Not by a long chalk.”

His wife: “Nowt’s bin’t same sin they pull’t down’t th’owd arcade.”

Husband: “Dust need a mop bucket?”

Wife: “Well hawf and hawf.”

Husband: “That galvan that gelvon ... that metal bucket’s still aw reet.”

Wife: “Yeah but th’andle’s goin.”

Husband: “Art sure? Wiv ony ad it fir six month ... mi mother’s bucket lasted fir ‘ears an ‘ears. Now that’s wot I calls a gud bucket.”

Wife: “Well, that’s just like yer mother. Her only mopped once a month. She wuz a proper dirty bugger.”

Huband: “Aye that’s true. We had muckiest ‘ouse in’t street.”

Wife: “It were all them kids. Kids ruins ‘omes. Was it more untidy than dirty?”

Husband: “Proper mucky. Yer feet stuck to’t carpets.”

Wife: “Bloody ‘ell. Let’s go fert new bucket.”

Follow Geoff on twitter @WiganWorldGeoff