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Paul Gilhooley  May 2016
Paul Gilhooley May 2016
Widnes aint much, but to me she’s sweet home,
Safe refuge from wherever I roam,
Many may claim that she’s ugly and ******,
But open your eyes, and she’s really quite pretty.

From down by the snig, to up to the Crown,
There’s pubs a plenty where sorrows can drown,
The Globe, The Coterie, now Pesto of course,
But to all us old locals, it’s still the Black Horse.

Town centre drunks, laugh while they rant,
Old ICI and their Paraquat plant,
An industrial past, its dirt and its grime,
A ***** old river, her sludge and her slime.

Of nature reserves, we have quite a few,
From out of our wastelands, something wonderful grew,
Wildlife thriving where once we dumped *******,
Now even the Mersey lives once more with fish.

The factory smells that insulted our noses,
Spike Island, proud host once to the Stone Roses,
Paul Simon himself, when loneliness found,
On one of our stations,  wrote Homeward Bound.

The Beatles once played our dear Queens Hall,
Derelict now, no more curtains to call,
We love our music live and loud,
We truly are a passionate crowd.

A sporty town, but leagues our game,
Tho’ recent years have been quite a shame,
Myler, Karalius, Davies, Offiah,
Crowned World champs, our status climbed higher.

Proud we cheered in old Naughton Park,
The cowsheds, cold, smelly and dark,
The glory days, they came and went,
Old fans speak in sad lament.

The whole town’s roads, my how they’ve changed,
Drivers sit there now, all deranged,
Confusing sets of roundabouts,
That lead us there, or thereabouts.

Morrisons, Aldi and now a Tesco,
Asda Halebank, well that had to go,
A curious accent, not manc or scouse,
Just hear us speak with Woolyback nouse.

W’s in words, like one, two, three, foewer,
And entering homes, through a front doewer,
It’s hard to explain in a few lines here,
But a few minutes in town, and all becomes clear.

Bowling, cinema and now an ice rink,
The town is recovering, back from the brink,
There’s Costa, Next, Boots and Wilkos,
Who else is coming, no one quite knows.

Widnes has changed in my 40 years,
But filled with hopes now instead of fears,
Change for the better? Let’s wait and see,
But no matter what, she’s still home to me.

© Cinco Espiritus Creation
Poem written about my beloved home town.  She aint much, but she's home to me.
Got Guanxi  May 2015
Got Guanxi May 2015
One year on....

My Nana has unfortunately passed away after a valiant fight against cancer. In this passing we have lost a lovely woman who meant the world to our whole family. Me and my cousins affectionally called her 'straight Nana' as when we were younger we were lucky to also still have our great gran around who we called 'curly Nana' this was based on the fact that Nana Pauline has Straight hair and her mother had curly hair. In all my years I've have never heard even a choice word said against her spirit or character which is truly a rare commodity in this day and age.

She lived a full life and had three amazing daughters and a step son who she raised as her own. Thirteen grandchildren one being myself and five great grandkids. Thankfully we recently all got together and she was able to see her whole family together for the first time. I could see how happy it made her that day to see the legacy she had created and more importantly that we all were in a good place before she left us for the final time.

'May the wind always be on your back and the sun always upon your face and may the winds of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars '

My mother was very young when she had me so the support that my Nan gave her as I grew up was vital. Without her me and my mum would of struggled but we always had a safetynet of support that we could rely on that was invaluable to us both. I know this notion is appreciated by my aunties and cousins too. We all share our own individual special memories as well as collective moments too that we will never forget. I would appreciate it so much if anybody has any memories stories that they wish to share as I know they will help us all as a family as we cope with this difficult time.

Cara: ". I once mistakingly rang there (labour club) instead of nanas house looking for mum, nana answered anyway, and passed me on to mum! Good job I got the wrong number! 

Her husband John is a great man who was with my Nana for her last 20 years. He is a part of our family and I hope he knows that we will always be here for him and I look I will look forward to his Sunday Dinners in future and having a beer in the back garden in tribute to our usual routine. I know I'm not alone when I say we are always here for you and we love you
and respect you so much. If you ever need anything please do not forget that.

She had a a gift for poetry that was exposed when she made her way to Facebook. I would always giggle at the little dittys she would loving, yet embarrassingly post to our Facebook walls with affection, nailing little pockets of the personalities of the protagonists each time she wrote them. Reading back some of these small potent poems know I smile as a proud Grandson and I'm happy we will all each have our own little prose to refer to in the future. 

From Moat Road, to Winterslow Avenue, Clover  Croft and finally your home in Widnes - I'll always remember each place fondly for reasons as they represents different periods of my life as I've grown up. My blue bear and parties, your back garden at Moat Road. Snowballs and magic tricks, teddy football at Winterslow Avenue. Clovere Croft was a place of refuge in my teenage years, your naughty rabbits and old school cooked dinners and misbehaving Malig. The dog who you took in and never left your side. The Labour club, where you worked hard and played hard! The beautiful garden you have created that will grow and remind us of your colourful nature as the flowers grow and bloom each year. I know John will tender them with care and think of you with a smile as he listens to smooth FM and remembers all the great times that you both spent together there. 

'if winter comes can spring be far behind?'

As a woman she was truly beautiful, a short stunning blonde. Her three daughters each different in ways but each a  reflection of there mother in their own unique ways.  Looking at them now they are all testament to her gorgeous genes and gentle, kind nature.

Nana was the most amazing crossword completer I have ever met. I was consistently surprised by her ability to finish these crosswords as she watched daytime TV and it was one of the small funny things that made me really proud of her. She filled in the gaps that was synomomus to her life.

Each of her daughters have fought through hard times and she provided a back bone of support that helped them reach the stability and happiness in their lives today. I know she said to me personally how she had comes to terms with her fate and that she was especially happy my Aunty Julie has found happiness with a good man like her sisters. I feel this represented the final piece to the puzzle for her and as usual she was able to complete this before she left. She took great solace in this fact - and so she should. It made me feel a small element of contentness when she told me this during one of our last conversations together.

To all my cousins now is the time to step up and being there for your mums. I have no doubt you will be.  I am proud of you all and you all have a special place in my thoughts. You all have great qualities and potential and it's been a pleasure to watch you all grow up into fine young men and ladies, even mothers.  Please never hesitate to contact me if you need to talk or share your thoughts. I know we will remain strong as a unit and we will get through this tough time together as a family!

In closing I want to thank my Nana just for simply being her. I will hold you in a special place in my heart forever and you will never be forgotten. Each Christmas I will toast you with a Jack Daniels (Nan would always buy the guys a JD related present every year) I will never taste that whiskey again without a passing thought for you as it passes my lips. I know I will not be the only one with this sentiment.

Even as a close family - I still hope this brings us all together and that we use this experience to better ourselves in our own personal ways. Fight hard to reach your potential and stay true to your essence and the person you desire or have chosen to be. It's these times that expose what really matters to you - embrace those thoughts and do not lose them in grief or forget them in time.

I am so proud of you.
Goodby Nana. I love you.
Your Grandson,
Nathan x
this was difficult to revisit but it's important to remember those you love most and don't take a fleeting moment for granted.
Down in the village where I grew up
That sat on the eastern shore,
Viking marauders had once shown up
To raze, to pillage and more.
They cut a swathe through the countryside
And the least that they did was ****,
To leave descendants with flame red hair
From Skorn, to the Widnes Cape.

You’ll see the genes they left in our eyes
That startle you when we stare,
A brighter blue than the summer skies
Will follow you everywhere.
Then some had come to settle and thrive
While the local folk would cower,
They left their mark in the village park
By building a Norman Tower.

I don’t know when they added the clock
It must have been later times,
I only know that as I grew up
I lived my life by its chimes.
It boomed on out through the countryside
Would even sound through the night,
We found it safer to stay inside
Than risk a dying in fright.

The strangest things had happened at night
That seem aligned to its chimes,
When ghostly shapes would gather and fight
Drawn back from previous times.
And men were found by the Norman Tower
Their faces twisted in fear,
Their bodies hacked, stabbed in the back
But the swords were never there.

It almost always happened at ten
And just when the chimes rang out,
I’d lie abed, counting the chimes
And hear a desperate shout.
It got so bad that a friend and I
Decided to hide and see,
We climbed at nine to the top of the tower
To check on the mystery.

We hung on over the parapet
That, castellated in stone,
Would let us view, if anything new
Appeared at the final tone.
The vicar rode outside on his bike
Just as the clock struck ten,
And suddenly there, in front and behind,
An army of fighting men.

They knocked the vicar clean off his bike,
And sliced a sword though his head,
Then hacked and ****** through his mortal dust
To leave him lying there, dead.
My friend cried out, on seeing the blood,
He couldn’t disguise his fear,
While I shrank back, with them looking up,
I said, ‘They’re coming up here.’

He made a dash for the tower stair
Intent on getting back down,
They must have met at the halfway mark,
I found him dead on the ground.
The coroner said that he simply fell,
He wouldn’t listen to me,
He ruled the vicar was murdered in
What seemed was a mystery.

But someone must have listened to me
For shortly, up in the clock,
Somebody wedged the workings tight
With a huge old hickory block.
There hasn’t been but a single chime
From the tower clock since then,
Those ancient hands still stand in a line
At just one minute to ten.

David Lewis Paget

— The End —