I had a odyssey over to Cheshire yesterday to retrieve my mother from my sister Helen’s home – A locale where she’d been residing for a week or so.

From my understanding, mum’s mission to the other side of the Pennines was to stop our Helen and husband Steve from eating flavoursome cuisine, whine about the music they listen to on BBC Radio 6, and to sully their TV screens with soap operas.

In a nutshell, Mrs S senior spent ten days replicating her West Yorkshire behavioural routine over in the predominantly affluent county south of Lancashire.

As a  consequence of this septuagenarian descendant of the House of York arriving on their turf to impose her will, the 15th century House of Lancaster forefathers of my Lancastrian brother-in-law Steve must’ve been spinning in their graves.

After all, they fought the War of the Roses to impose their rule on the white rose arm of the royal House of Plantagenet. Not let an old biddy from east of the Pennines ‘lord it’ over their descendants.

Some will decry the fictional scenario I’ve painted of spectres representing the red rose county in the 15th century war disapproving of my mater’s behaviour on their manor. After all, Cheshire is a separate county from their larger neighbours to the north.

As I said earlier, though, my sister’s husband is a Lancastrian so I’m utilising artistic licence. Thankfully, that doesn’t share any similarities to a TV licence which costs money and can lead to jail time for misuse.


I’m writing this narrative in an Oxford hotel room. My first time in the city which, along with  Cambridge, contain the most sought after university education in England.

It’s alma mater’s welcoming the greatest young adult minds in Britain and beyond. Individuals who congregate here to achieve a degree from an esteemed place of learning  that’ll light up their curriculum vitae (CV). An achievement that, if their work ethic supports, provides a lifelong meal ticket for the graduate.

Looking out of my hotel room window I see numerous young adults parading along the streets. Who knows, in one score and ten years these people below maybe top politicians, leading academics, captains of industry or some other top aspirational role like a contestant on Love Island (if it exists in 30 years, which hopefully it won’t).

For example, the young lady with dyed scarlet hair, who’s just slowly meandered past walking a corgi, may have aspirations to become a future Prime Minister of the UK. You never know, the corgi may also have similar hankerings to lead the country. Some may proffer the canine couldn’t do much worse than the current incumbent.

We’re in Oxford to visit Trinity college where my wife Karen’s mother studied in the early 1950’s. An era her mater often relates to with great fondness – A time when her ingrained heartlessness contributed to gaining a Masters degree in ‘Lack of Compassion’.

She’d also planned to study for an MS on the ‘Exhibiting No Endearing Features’ course, but was refused entry as administrators felt she and ‘Class of 52’ chum Margaret Roberts were over qualified.

Early impressions of Oxford are favourable. I’m particularly inspired by the fact some of my heroes studied within the boundaries of this historic metropolis.

Amongst those idols :-Playwright/author Alan Bennett, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, playwright/poet Oscar Wilde, spy king James Bond and impersonator Mike Yarwood.

Yes I know James Bond is a fictional character, but Ian Fleming did provide him with a literary title of Oxford graduate. Additionally, I’m aware Mike Yarwood’s only real tie to an Oxford university education was his impression of graduate and former PM Harold Wilson, but the fond memories the impersonation brings mean I’m leaving it in.

Anyhow, I’m going to bring this narrative to a conclusion now as I’m off on the city’s Inspector Morse tour. I’m keen to find out why someone who lived in such a beautiful city was such a miserable bleeder……. And yes, I knows he’s fictional too!

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