John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Monday 3rd June 1996


Visit to Mum and Dad in Thornton Cleveleys

From The Cooper Diaries:
Taxi was booked for 9.05am. J wanted a letter posted so I nipped out to the Robson Road post-box. By the time I got back, the taxi was already there, a little before 9.05. Train to Stockport, 9.29–11.52. I listened to The Two Towers on my Boots personal recorder / player. A bit disconcerting: when I changed tapes, the coming-out-of-right-only problem was evident again, till I pressed the lid of the player and got it to play both channels evenly. But that marred my listening pleasure. I had lunch in Stockport station buffet, and we got the 12.40 which was scheduled to go to Blackpool North. But it failed somehow, and at Manchester Piccadilly it didn’t stop at a through platform, it pulled into one of the terminating platforms and we had to get off. We were directed to the through platforms; and another, unscheduled, train came in, which I didn’t mind because it was smarter than the one from Stockport. What was the chemistry building of Salford University is gone now, as I expected, and as I think someone told me since I last saw it. For some reason the train stopped for quite some time just beyond Bolton, opposite the gasworks where a couple of gasometers are very noticeable. I say this because I don’t remember noticing them before, even though my 1965 account, based on Chris’s recollections, mentions the gasworks in connection with our journey into Bolton in January 1965:
What struck me most about the approach to Bolton was the number of bridges that the train passed under. The train comes past the gasworks, and then there is a series of several bridges before it comes out over a junction, “Bolton West”. Then it passes under the bridge carrying Trinity Street and immediately arrives at the station.
Approaching Poulton, I noticed that the trees of the small wood Trevor and I walked through on our “hike” were looking healthy again; they appeared to be dying last time. We arrived at Blackpool North only a bit later than expected, and Mum and Dad met us. Home: Mum and Dad feed the birds—there are wood pigeons, robins, magpies, sparrows, dunnocks, goldfinches, blue tits, etc. And a grey squirrel came, too, to help itself. Later on, Anthony came round. He’d been to Edinburgh to see Sharon who is a student there, and was on his way back to his lodgings near Manchester.
 Mum told the Biddy Horner story. When Uncle Jack was a little boy, the Horners had the shop across the road; and Uncle Jack, Biddy Horner and perhaps others were outside there. Did Mum witness the event; was she there, too? Biddy Horner had a tricycle (loosely called a “bike”), and Uncle Jack wanted a turn at riding it. “Let me have a go on your bike, Biddy Horner,” he said, but she wouldn’t let him. “Let me have a go on your bike, Biddy Horner,” he repeated, but she still refused. “If you don’t let me have a go on your bike, Biddy Horner, I’ll pee on you.” But she persisted in her refusal, so he hitched up the leg of his short pants and peed on her.
 My Mum’s Grandad, my Grandad Paine’s father, was a plumber, and he died of lead poisoning when my Grandad was 2.
 John Lunn died last year. The Lunns went on holiday with Mum and Dad once, and he was supposed to go and get help when something untoward happened but in fact just abandoned them and went back to the hotel.
 J went to bed, and 10-ish pm. I decided to go too. But I looked in one of the dressing-table drawers, the middle left, and got out the old photos that were there, so that absorbed me for some time.

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