My friend Eric

I was delighted to see my old friend Eric last weekend. Eric and I grew up on the same street in Upton - where my parents still live. But we had not seen each other for more than 40 years. Whereas he went to Liverpool University to study law and still lives in Wirral, I…

Second chance

How often do you fail at something important, and get a second chance?  As previously recounted in Useless Information, when I was a postgrad at Queen’s, back in 1983, I was picked for the University Challenge team. I've always been a fan of the show and I was fortunate to (still) be at college when…

What’s for tea?

We sat at long tables, arranged by house. The housemaster sat at the head of the table, with the senior boys around him. They dished out bangers, mash and beans, or connective-tissue stew with colourless cabbage and crumbly over-boiled spuds. Or mince, or generic white fish in white gunge with tasteless white mash and cabbage…

Association with football

Grampa Hugh Wight was always smiling. I have a photo of him as a goalkeeper with his local amateur team, in the ubiquitous jersey and cap. My grandparents lived in King’s Park, Glasgow, less than a mile from Hampden Park, where cup finals and international fixtures were held. At one time it was the biggest…

Surabaya Johnny

In 1961, at the age of six, I entered the English school system for the first time. No-one in our family had ever lived in England before. I had a generally happy time at Overchurch, a popular and progressive state primary around the corner from our house in Upton. My new classmates said I talked…

Thor’s Stone

Thor's Stone at Thurstaston

Thor's Stone is known to everyone who lives, or has lived, on the Wirral. The sandstone outcrop known as Thor's Stone It is a big lump of sandstone on Thurstaston Common, from where there are superb views of the Dee and across the Mersey. You are very aware that you are standing on a peninsula:…