Geoffrey Shryhane’s Wigan World

Geoffrey Shryhane
Geoffrey Shryhane
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IS it true? Does everybody have a heart-felt desire to live in Standish?

Looking at a table of developments – both approved or still before the authorities – it seems Standish is THE most popular residential area in the whole of Wigan.

Today Standish is a busy district, and no longer the quiet village it was when your Wigan World writer lived there in the 1960s.

I loved living in Standish – but without doubt it has changed. One negative it that it’s gridlocked as people go to work and return home. And a vast number of new homes have been built in the last 35 years. It doesn’t take much imagination to know that some residents are furious.

So what is the position with Standish housing applications today? Read on.

Land behind Almond Brook Road – earmarked for 298 homes – has a decision expected later this month.

Land behind Pepper Lane and Robin Hill Estate –300 homes – application due soon. Land at the former golf club on Rectory Lane – outline permission granted for 250 homes, and a further 260 homes on a site off Cranleigh have been refused: An appeal hearing is due in July.

Land to the north of Rectory Lane – outline permission for 150 homes. Plans submitted. Land off Old Pepper Lane – 39 homes under construction.

Land at Bradley Hall Trading Estate – Outline permission for 148 homes.

Land off Lurdin Lane, Chorley Road – Outline plan for 110 homes refused. Appeal hearing set for July.

I DON’T know about you, but I am not fond of “end or eras”. In fact, I don’t like them one little bit. Get me a hankie.

I’m still pining for the Dickensian Observer building in Rowbottom Square in the little ginnel opposite Wigan Post Office on Wallgate. And we left there in 1966.

Sentimentality has its silly sides.

Some of us have never recovered from the closure of Wigan Woolworths. Or the former Market Hall, or the cobbled Market Square, or Lowe’s store, or the town centre cinemas, or Walter Hurst’s clog shop at Hindley.

There’s more ....

We miss Grimes’ Arcade (still boarded up). We miss the Old Arcade. We miss Pooles’ cafe on Wallgate. We miss Smith’s bookshop on Mesnes Road. We miss the Whit Walks.

And from last weekend, there’s another part of Wigan life folks will miss, with the closure of Colin de Rouffignac’s antiques business in Standish.

Colin was in business for 40 years, first on Wigan Lane, and then moving to Standish a decade ago. Now the lease is up on the premises.

Amiable, helpful and ever amusing, Colin admits that in recent years, the “backside” has fallen out of the antiques trade. Brown furniture and paintings have fallen out of fashion as homes have gone minimal.

At 66, Colin said: “Perhaps the time is right to go, but I’ll still be doing a bit of dealing from home.”

Colin had planned to hold a “goodbye” exhibition of the work of J Lawrence Isherwood. Alas, there was insufficient time.

In the future, Colin will keep his hand in by dealing from his home in Roby Mill.

OLD Eric leaned on his spade and wiped his brow.

“You could make pots owt o’ this clay,” he moaned to his mate Cyril. “I tries improve soil but clay ‘eaves back up.”

Cyril, strong tea gurgling from an old Thermos estimates:“Nowt’ll grow. I’ve gid up. I does a lot better in owd plastic buckets. And tha’ knows wot? I’ve grown some beltin’ pratos.”

Eric: “Buckets, eh? I ner thout o’ that.”

Cyril: “Well ‘av a try.

Eric: “Dust know, im ore yonder – tha knows, ‘im ooze a proper know-all – ‘e towd me folk can grow owt i’ clay.”

Cyril (expressively) “Gee-ore.”

Eric: “True. An’ ‘e’s proved it. He sez ‘e adds cinders. Well ‘e does ‘av a coal fire so cinders is no problem.”

Cryil: “Cinders. Why, if Percy Thrower were alive, I’d write to im. An’ yeah, I’d send a sample.”

Eric: “Didn’t old Percy say th’answer lies in’t soil?”

Cyril: “Aye ‘e did. Wor a mon. ‘e knowed everythin. He had proper thingy fingers.”

Cyril: “Dust mean pro-
ductive?”Eric: “Nooo – green.”

OLD photos. Some in good old black and white and others in colour with green skies.

It’s true, it took a long time for cheap colour printing to achieve reasonable quality. Now the photos printed by Asda are almost as good as from any professional laboratory.

And did you know, that if you have one hundred 6 x 4 inch photos printed at the aforementioned supermarket, the cost falls to a tenner?

And while the photographic world has converted to digital cameras, there are some serious happy snappers still prefer to use film. I tell you not a word of a lie.

The principle is perhaps the same with writers who still bash out their words on a clattering manual typewriters.

Anyway, the latest statistics reveal that of the digital photos we take, we have just 11 per cent printed.

Well, that’s not too surprising because in the old days when we pointed the Box Brownie at little Betty, we most likely took two shots at the most. The second one in case the first one was blurred.

Today, with digital the king, we probably take about 25 of Betty on a photo card which holds 4,000 images.

But which is best for the average happy snapper – film or digital?

Time for an experiment. I took 24 photos on film and the same 24 photos on my digital and without a shadow of a doubt, the digital photos were superior in quality.

Lots of folks print their own colour photos ... just a pity the paper and ink are so expensive.

Follow Geoff on twitter @WiganWorldGeoff