Do you like driving around? I do. I know it’s bad and we shouldn’t do it; not just for the hell of it anyway. I do my best by to try and tie it into a trip.

I’m staying up in Manchester, looking after my mum as she recovers from an operation.  Over in Sheffield lives my lovely Zoe. So last night I drove there, and today I drove back.

And it’s one of the best drives you can do. It’s 80 miles long and 80 minutes long. And you only use two roads; the M62 and the M1.

How do I even begin to describe how joyous this journey is?

Of course, for me, it’s a win-win situation; either coming or going. On the one hand I get to see Zoe and on the other hand… Wait! Let me tell you about my mum’s car.

I’m using it while I’m up here, and, if you’re thinking of doing any driving around, I recommend you use my mum’s car too. Or, for the best, your own mum’s. Here’s why: Free petrol!

Also, you can have fun rooting through your mum’s cassettes. Who knew my mum had Home by Terry Hall? Most likely not my mum. I doubt she’s ever listened to it.

I should have known, since my writing was all over the old TDK thing (the other side was a hideous mix of M People and Blur; what was I thinking? Did I really make this compilation? Yes! When? IDK).

So… get into your mum’s Toyota Starlet, put in Home, and head off.

Here’s the main joys:

1- It’s a sunny journey. The weather is absolutely beautiful.*

2- No matter where you are;  on the M1 or the M62, coming or going; you can always see Emley Moor transmitting station.

It’s foolish to take photos whilst driving, so here’s one of the majestic big stick thing by Tim Green.

Emly Moor (Image: Tim Green)

It’s dangerous on so many levels to take photos at 70mph. It may well be illegal. That’s why I didn’t take these photos this morning.

not taken by me today, as I drove

Nor this

These pics bring me on to joy 4:

4- The bridges. The ones above are good, but they’re not the best. There are some truly beautiful bridges along the M1. I think they were built during stage 2 of the M1’s construction, in the 1960’s; gorgeous and simple asymmetric, white concrete designs. In need of a coat of paint, yes, but in the sun they still shine. I didn’t get any pictures, but take a look at them here at The Motorway Archive.

5- The M62. A glorious road from Liverpool to Hull; this stretch taking in the highest point of any motorway in the UK at Windy Hill. And also passing Stott Hall Farm, immortalised here by John Shuttleworth:

6- The pigs. I only caught a glimpse of them. But as the M1 joins the M62, look to your left, see the free range pigs.

I’m sure there’s lots more to enjoy.

Oh yes! One of those motorway lighting up signs declaring Think bike; think biker. Now, the thing is, the truth, I don’t really like that. It’s just that it reminded me of the original Think once, think twice, think bike.

Years later I adpated the slogan for my own entertainment, coming up with think once, think twice, think nice.

Here’s what I was listening to. Terry Hall proving he’s the best James Bond we’ve never had.

*not always.

Alien Cats on a Roof

November 22, 2008

alien-cats-on-a-roof

Today I have mostly been decorating. And soon I will visit friends, whose triplets are three today. Happy Birthday! So, not much time to write and not much to write about.

Last night, my mum went to see John Shuttleworth. She told me she loved it and that some of his fans turned up with pigeons on sticks.

Here’s two cats who could be aliens. Or could it be these two?

john-pigeon2

John Shuttleworth’s off on tour. The Minor Tour (and other mythological creatures). if you can go, go. John is the creation of comedy genius Graham Fellowes. But there, I’ve gone and spoilt it all now. Forget I wrote that. Go and see John Shuttleworth. Forget that he’s made up. He’s not. He’s real. And he will make you laugh, and maybe even cry.

I wanted to go. I’m a fool of a Northerner who lives down South. And his concerts in London are sold out. So I did the next best thing. I bought two tickets for my mum and her friend Cath to go and see him at the Dance House in Manchester. I hope they like him. Here’s John singing “Catch the Fox.” Come on!