Filed: Work

Gloria Oates

I went to the funeral of Gloria Oates today held at Manchester Cathedral where there was a congregation of hundreds paying their respects.

Gloria was my first boss in the NHS. She had worked her way from nurse to become AGM with North Western RHA in 1985, in between times having five daughters with her husband, Graham. You can read more about her career here, but suffice to say she was a formidable woman. Read more ›››

Don’t Cross a Pelican

Like Anthony Burgess, John Barbirolli and Morrisey, I’ve always been a fan of Manchester Central Library which sits prettily in St Peter’s Square in all its faux pantheon splendour.

It has a reputation as the noisiest library in the country, a result of it circular design which causes every heavy book closure, every sneeze and cough to echo round the main reading room like whispering gallery at St Paul’s. Not that I would know much about that because my visits are confined to the local studies section which resides in the outer halls. Read more ›››

Taking the Mic

This comment piece by Jeff Randall what is really wrong with the BBC: Read more ›››

Dimwit of the Week

I had to think long and hard about this one, the reason being that it’s the subject of a ‘live’ industrial case and I might be accused of prejudicing the aforesaid. I might be guilty of that, but I’m trying my hardest not to. If I am vague, or if this post suddenly vanishes, that is the reason why. Read more ›››


I had a trip to Liverpool today. I always want to call it Liverpuddle for no obvious reason. Certainly not for a derogatory one as my great-grandmother was born there, at Everton View, Bootle-cum-Linacre to be precise, so there is an eighth of a scally in my genes.

Unlike inland cities, Liverpool is a “dead end” by which I mean that if you keep driving to its centre you either end up at the Mersey or taking an unexpected and unwanted trip through a tunnel to the Wirral. Read more ›››


In my old job, getting out and about was easy. Two and a half million people live in the compact urban area that is Greater Manchester and with the M60 outer ringroad, getting about is a doddle — you’re probably no more than a half hour car journey from most places.

Things are different under the new regime. Overnight the patch I’m responsible for has mushroomed to an area that stretches from Crewe to Carlisle and from Saddleworth Moor to the Wirral and miles I’m driving have increased accordingly. By my reckoning, my mileage is destined to explode from a planet-hugging 8,000 a year, work and personal, to more like 12,000. Read more ›››

Flight Log

I should have been in London today. I didn’t make it. It was my first trip since the security forces thwarted the planned terror attacks on the US and it made me realise that actually the terrorists are winning if only by causing inconvenience and worry.

I got to the airport in good time, earlier than usual, and was pleased to see a clear check-in desk. Having got my ‘no liquids’ tag on my bag, I went the usual way to be met by steel shutters and a bored looking bloke. Read more ›››

The House

All is quiet and well in the Parrot household. Master P and his mates are gaming in the office, while Mrs and Miss P are watching BB. They claim it’s all to do with observing the group dynamics. Mrs P is a psychology graduate, Oxon no less, while for Miss P this is the new challenge in Sheffield. At least it’s their story and one they’re happy to stick to.

Me? I’ve spent most of the day with Andy Burnham as he talked about new hospitals being built under the ‘controversial’ Private Finance Initiative. I’ve been with some great people in Salford, which was something of a media circus, where Hope Hospital will finally get rid of some of the most crappy Victorian buildings with accommodation more suited to the 21st Century, let alone the 19th. Read more ›››