Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Saddleworth changes #1

Diary of a genetically unmodified traveller: ‘Hasn’t it all changed’


Robert L. Fielding

Well, of course things ‘ave changed.  Everything does – that’s the only thing that’s constant – change!

And so it is with people, houses, pubs, factories, offices (called ‘Business parks these days), even bus services have changed.

In and around Delph, pubs are turning into Chinese restaurants (Cross Keys) or Indian restaurants (Rose and Crown).  I don’t say it’s a bad thing – far from it, but it is a change.

I remember when large parts of Manchester were being demolished – the pubs were always left standing – islands of refreshment in the midst of a sea of dereliction.

And shops – they’re changing too – website addresses emblazoned across the bottoms of windows – strange and inviting names – ‘Bay Leaf Restaurant’ – ‘Christoria Beauty Clinic’.

The oldest cooperative in Britain- craft shop, cobbler, café, picture framers – all under the same roof with the same door into the High Street – six businesses on three floors – since 1979.

Houses – more of ‘em – smarter, brighter stonework – window frames and doors made from clean hardwood or anodised aluminium alloy.

Buses – double-deckers only rarely – single-deckers mostly – and minibuses; mountain goats climbing out of Delph, up Stoneswood Road with names of their destinations on the front – Friezland Church – by a circuitous route – it would have to be, wouldn’t it?

Factories, or should I say former factories – some falling down – others like Lumb Mill (once the home of Compoflex from Asa Lees’s after the fire) – now split into so many units – all sorts of thriving enterprises – carpet stores and the like but sadly little in the way of manufacturing now.

A few things hardly change though – Jim Taylor out mowing t’bottom meadow before he stops for a brew at Thurston Clough Farm (Jim’s as fit as he was thirty years ago by the look of him) – Mrs. Taylor brewing up indoors - not quite everything changes, does it?

Robert L. Fielding


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