Gary Strachan – "Write" Said Fred

Off The Wall Essays From Deep Within A Capricious Mind

Archive for November 2017

Worse Things Happen At Sea!

Today marks the 150th Birthday of the shipping forecast on BBC radio. The broadcast, introduced in 1867, a consequence of sea-farers concluding it’s predecessor of harbour-masters exclaiming “I bet it’s chuffing choppy out there today, marra!”, was no longer fit for purpose as an aid to safe shipping navigation. In the days when it was frowned upon to calm boisterous children with Bailey’s infused bedtime milk, my parents occasionally utilised this daily broadcast as a strategy aimed at inducing pre-slumber […]

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An Unforeseen Storage Conundrum

Yesterday afternoon, I had a journey into Morley to pick up my dad’s ashes. I’m unsure why, but my inaugural viewing of his urn was one I found even more distressing than delivering the eulogy at his funeral. The sign of the finality ashes bring with them maybe triggered this increased level of sorrow. Alternatively, or maybe in tandem to this, seven weeks on from his passing, it’s finally hit me he’s not coming back. Distractions I encountered during the initial weeks […]

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Tea For Twenty Two

As a part of cricket playing recollections in my teens/early twenties at Gateshead Fell, today I’m moved to pen vague memories from club cricket tearooms. A domain that for generations has been predominantly the domicile of cricketer’s wives, mums and girlfriends. Warm-hearted volunteers giving up their summer Saturday afternoons, ensuring the teams/crowd are provided with sustenance, a warm smile and the occasional rollocking for the unhygienic prodding of cheese mix sandwiches. During thirty years of playing local club cricket, the quality […]

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Sshh, Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet….

For the first time in twenty eight years, Christmas Day in the Strachan home will be bereft of voices other than mine and that of my spouse, Karen. This situation not a consequence of a planned 24-hour sponsored family yuletide silence; an event which the missus and me had stubbornly refuse to participate in. Moreover, the fact that neither of our adult offspring will be home and other family members, whose company we’d ordinarily enjoy on 25th December, can’t […]

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Small Battalion, Big Hearts

Yesterday afternoon, I was in Leeds city centre with a team of volunteers collecting donations for the city’s St Gemma’s Hospice. Wrapped in several layers of clothing to counter the biting West Yorkshire cold, I spent three hours standing in various densely populated city streets with a collection bucket, witnessing the magnanimousness of our metropolis’ citizens. Undertaking this type of voluntary work gives you plenty of opportunity to mull over all things existential. For […]

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Definitely Not Dead Yet!

Yesterday evening, while perched in my seat on row 9 of the Sheffield Arena, thoughts manifested themselves of Phil Collins’ first major acting role as the Artful Dodger in the London stage production of Oliver! The epiphany of Collins’ fledgling acting career in the early 60’s made an unexpected visit whilst my wife Karen and I witnessed the ex-Genesis drummer/singer’s solo gig in the Steel City. When I say solo, I don’t wish to be disparaging […]

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Go Tell It To The Birds

Inspiration alludes me as I embark on today’s literary journey. Sitting ready to initiate my lexilogical voyage, at the moment the postcode of a topic destination eludes me. This absence of these metaphoric SatNav’s (GPS) instructions currently delaying me from getting this show on the road. As it’s not uncommon for me to start this creative process bereft of a subject, I’m not panicking just yet about currently being without epiphany. In fact, if memory serves me correct, […]

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