Oliver’s zoom experiences written by Oliver Cross

AS an attempt at normality, a group of locked-down regulars of the Chemic Tavern in Woodhouse, Leeds, hold regular Zoom meetings. These allow us to chat naturally on screen, even though we are all less than 10cm tall and have very little news to relay, unless you count what we had for dinner.

My partner Lynne, who is naturally sociable, enjoys it as the nearest we can presently get to intermingling; I enjoy it because it forces me to discipline myself. I have tended to let myself slip a little under social distancing, thinking nobody will notice if my teeth aren’t as thoroughly polished as usual or my hairs are somewhat misplaced, or I’ve forgotten my shoes.

But I prepare myself for a Zoom session as I would for a real visit to the pub; I smarten myself up a little and try my best to look interesting. I also, although this is for Zoom rather than the pub, place a few impressive things within the range of the camera, such as a Booker prize-winning novel, a gardening implement or a fashionable salad leaf.

I’ve toyed with the idea of carelessly leaving of small electrical screwdriver behind my ear, as if I’m using my lockdown time to rewire the house. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to own an electrical screwdriver.

My Chemic colleague Dibbs has somehow found a way of putting a background on to Zoom pictures, so when he talks to the rest of us, it looks as though he’s speaking, for example, from the reception desk of Fawlty Towers or having a pint at the Rovers Return, or travelling through space and time on the Tardis.

All of which are welcome breaks from reality, particularly the fantasy about having a pint in a pub, but I can’t understand why this can’t be done more generally.

Why should we be invited to look inside the working-from- homes lives of regional news reporters or epidemiologists when, instead of listening to them carefully, as we should do, we can’t resist criticising their wallpaper or choice of books, or thinking that, if they were so damned clever, why couldn’t they think of a more interesting wall colour than magnolia?

This could all be avoided if experts and journalists seeking credibility took a lead from Dibbs and electronically transported themselves into, for instance, the reading room of the British Museum, the Elysee Palace or, which I think would work particularly well at our Chemic virtual gatherings, the Situation Room at the White House.

Thank you once again for sharing this with us Oliver, I can relate so much. I placed a plastic plant behind me to break down the magnolia look :). Until next time…..

Take care

‘Monday Mind Workout’ – 1st June 2020 answers

Dear all, answers for yesterday’s lockdown workout.

1. to ritual ale – french vegetable dish

Ratatouille

2.drab glacier – anathema to Peter Kay

Garlic Bread

3.hot toe inhaled – classic English dish

Toad in the hole

4.abstracting hop area – a favourite for Italians

spaghetti carbonara

5.ape snack – Simply flour, eggs and milk

Pancakes

6.toot her chaplains – originates in this northern county

lancashire hotpot

7.needlessly each wee – made famous by Wallace and Gromit

wensleydale cheese

8. ma soak us – staple dish in Greece

Moussaka

Can you work out what these sweet treats are?

9A tint treat
Tarte Tatin

10.See ace heck
Cheesecake

11.A mack dearie
Madeira cake

12.Elm lie flu lie
Mille-feuille

13.Open at ten
Panettone

14.He tackle cocoa
Chocolate cake

15.Press outfit
Petits fours

16.Is it a rum
Tiramisu

Keep safe and well

‘Monday Mind Workout’ – 1st June 2020

Dear all,

This week’s Monday Mind workout are anagrams of various food dishes with clues to help to ponder over whilst having your mid morning cuppa. Best of luck!

1 .to ritual ale – french vegetable dish

2.drab glacier – anathema to Peter Kay

3.hot toe inhaled – classic English dish

4.abstracting hop area – a favourite for Italians

5.ape snack – Simply flour, eggs and milk

6.toot her chaplains – originates in this northern county

7.needlessly each wee – made famous by Wallace and Gromit

8 .ma soak us – staple dish in Greece

*Can you work out what these sweet treats are?

9A tint treat
10.See ace heck
11.A mack dearie
12.Elm lie flu lie
13.Open at ten
14.He tackle cocoa
15.Press outfit
16.Is it a rum

Answers to follow tomorrow

Shared Moments: Day 53 written by Maureen Kershaw

Dear all,

Day 53 – Today I am remembering perfumes of yesteryear and I hope you will too? My earliest recollection was “Soir de Paris” in its distinctive blue bottle which sat on my Mum’s dressing table for many a year, to be replaced by Goya “Gardenia” or “Black Rose”. I think Mums only wore ‘scent’ for special occasions and I suppose an obvious choice for Grandmas was lavender.

I only ever remember neighbours or aunts smelling, if at all, of soap or talcum powder. The soap was sometimes carbolic from household chores but who cannot forget the aroma of mothballs, a staple of many a wardrobe? My sister’s first perfume was “California Poppy” before progressing to Yardley’s “Bond Street”. The one which is prominent in my mind though was “Je Reviens” by Worth.Barbara had a silver charm bracelet, one of the charms opening to insert a tiny ball of cotton wool soaked in “Je Reviens”. I borrowed the bracelet in 1973 – and lost it. I daren’t tell her and some years later when we tried “Je Reviens” – by then half price and I’m not surprised why – my sister remembered the charm bracelet but couldn’t recall what had happened to it? I agreed – and changed the subject, but still feel guilty now.

When I started work in 1964 Avon fragrances were very popular. The heady “Topaze”, musky “Persian Wood”, the delicate “Here’s My Heart” and “Wishing”, all in their individually coloured jars. Those cream sachets had the strongest fragrance so were my choice. “Moonwind”, “Occur!” and my all-time favourite “Elegance”. Whilst learning to operate a PMBX corded switchboard the telephonist wore Revlon “Intimate” which I thought was the height of sophistication.

Years later a friend’s choice was Revlon “Moondrops” which could trigger a migraine without much effort – in the same category as Coty “L’aimont” or Yardley “Freesia” (my Mum’s favourite so I had plenty of migraines). I cannot always remember someone’s name from long ago as clearly as their perfumes. “Gingham” by Innoxa and lived in Drighlington or ? from Hull and always bought “Cabochard” duty free.

Jill I do remember though as a wearer of Estee Lauder “Youth Dew” – my that was strong. We would meet for lunch at The Milkmaid on Commercial Street and we laughed at our regular waitress who jotted down “Youth Dew” rather than the table number for where they deliver the 2 x Rarebits. Elizabeth Arden’s “Blue Grass” was consistently worn by Janet – as featured in Day 48 – she of spots and buying shoes at Dolcis. At an interview in 1974 I was asked by my Boss-to-be, if I liked “Tweed”? I said “yes” to which he replied “well don’t ever wear it here, I hate it!” I got the job and never wore it again……….to be continued……….

Such detail Maureen, your words bring back so many memories and smells back to life. Thank you, until next time…..

Take care

Shared Moments: Day 42 written by Maureen Kershaw

Dear all,

Day 42 – To continue on the subject of hair,  I think mostly my hair as a child was washed in Fairy household soap. The large green block cleaned just about everything, it was wonderfully soft and as it reached the end of its life, Mum would soak it in boiling water along with other bits of Fairy until it could be moulded into another block. We progressed to Silvikrin which, along with one or two others, came in a small plastic cube.

Fast forward to the 60s and hairdressing shops had become salons. A friend reminded me  of Muriel Smith’s which I didn’t visit, nor Geoffrey Oakes but two school friends went to the latter for our pre-show hairdos. We were to see Cliff and The Shadows at the Odeon and had the obligatory shampoo and set.

Beryl and Kathy went to Geoffrey Oakes and myself to  an upstairs place opposite the Red Bus Station. Beryl and I both had the same style for the occasion ‘the cottage loaf’ and I was not impressed that hers turned out better. Maybe it was the salon – hers on The Headrow, mine cheaper, round the corner on  Vicar Lane. The teenage comics of the day included ‘Jackie’ which I think was the one which gave a new hairstyle each week. Rollers of varying sizes were purchased  to follow the instructions, any straighter bits stuck down with sellotape.

The results as I recall were much the same each week and we could always tell who’d been at the sellotape by the tell-tale sign of mottles or stripes in our makeup, usually across the forehead. With the mid 60s came ‘Loops’ and a work of art. As with the bouffant look it took a lot of patience – and hairspray  to perfect.  If one was a bridesmaid the fashion was to have hair dressed in loops with individual daisies or rosebuds strategically clipped in. Oh we’ve all been there!

The poshest salon I went to was ‘Steiner’ in the Queen’s Hotel. I was in a play at the Civic Theatre and the role was of a middle aged spinster housekeeper. I thought it would be safer to go to Steiner in my lunch hour for suitable styling as the more modern salons may not have known how to tackle it. Besides should it be a disaster then I could run hurriedly across City Square, back to Quebec Street where I worked. The stylist on hearing my request that I needed to be transformed from a 20-something to ‘middle-aged’ said “It’s no problem. you’ve got an old face anyway”! I was mortified, the first and last time for Steiner but I did dine out on the story for a long time afterwards.

Names of such establishments started changing with the years. Tassy’s on Briggate and Essanelle, Schofields. I went there in the 80s and it’s where I had my ears pierced. My Mum was horrified and was convinced the procedure would damage my hearing. One had their hair styled by an Andre or Portia rather than Stanley or Joyce of yesteryear.

Hair rollers have changed over the years, who remembers heated rollers we boiled in a pan? Then came electric rollers, usually referred to as ‘Carmens’. Mine were Boots own brand but I still called them Carmens. Then there were the sponge ones which were OK but I must have replaced them three times before realising that by immersing them in water, they would restore their shape.

I never put colour on my hair in my youth, or ‘rinsed’ it as we called it back then. However at age 15 I went with my sister to her local salon, Stanley Allen on Burley Hill for ‘flashes’ (In our hair not flashes from Stanley). These days of course they are high/lowlights but this was 1965. Simone was my stylist and always wore Scholl sandals, most hairdressers did and I bought some from Grattan’s catalogue.

My work colleague Brenda and I used to go to the Mecca in the County Arcade at lunchtimes  as the Leeds United players went after their morning training. They always seemed to date hairdressers so we would change upstairs on the bus from Kirkstall to town into nylon overalls and Scholl sandals. Our pockets would have a row of hair clips and steel tail combs. We’d dance to the sounds of the 60s in front of the players, trying not to show we knew who they were – then go back to work. We never got anywhere but it was great fun!  I was able to re-enact this on stage at the West Yorkshire Playhouse two years ago in ‘Searching for the Heart of Leeds’ and BAFTA winning Writer Mark Catley said I made his job easy as I wrote the scene myself.

My major disaster with hair was ‘flashes’ – in reverse. A little shop on North Lane, Headingley, long gone unsurprisingly. It was 1973 and I came out blonde with dark flashes. I was horrified. That night I was singing with a double quartet at the Parkway Hotel and had to do something quickly so bought some purple concoction to put on after shampooing , and although it toned down slightly it was still neither “nowt nor summat”. At least it toned with our lilac evening dresses.

The following morning I travelled by train to  a ‘Gershwin’ BBC recording at Preston Guildhall. Two things stick in my mind, besides the wonderful music of Gershwin; compere Pete Murray tripped and fell onstage and I got wolf whistles on Preston station. Do blondes really have more fun, I asked myself? My hair was like straw and needed much Vitapointe which was a task in itself, trying to use the correct amount. Too much and it looked Brylcreemed. Oh the memory! Shortly afterwards I started wearing wigs. Surprised? No.

By Maureen Kershaw

Wonderful Maureen, this brought a smile to my face, thank you again……until next time

The Shows Must Go On

This week’s show is ‘Hairspray Live’ featuring Ariana Grande

Streaming from 7pm Friday 29th May and available for 48 hours.

Watch it on YouTube

“The story of Tracy Turnblad (newcomer Maddie Baillio), in 1962 Baltimore who wins a spot on a local TV dance program and ignites a campaign to integrate the show. The three-hour live event is directed by Tony Award®-winner Kenny Leon and features choreography from Tony Award®-winner Jerry Mitchell. The all-star cast includes Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, Ariana Grande, Derek Hough, Jennifer Hudson and Martin Short. (Original Title – Hairspray Live!) – 2016 Universal Studios.”

Covid19 Scam Alert issue 9 29.05.2020

Dear all, please find attached the latest newsletter from West Yorkshire Trading Standards. Please also note the trending scams. One being the new NHS Test and Trace scam. The NHS will not be asking you for your bank details.

There have been further reports of scams, doorstep Crime and business complaints all relating to the COVID-19 pandemic here in West Yorkshire.

This news alert will give you an indication of the current situation here in West Yorkshire.

Take care

Click on link:

WYTS Weekly news alert issue 9. 29.05.2020 – Copy

Snapshot in Time: ‘Keeping Busy’ in Woodhouse, Little London, Centre of Leeds and Montserrat!

Dear all,
Our friends and neighbours of Delph View and Craven Road have shared some more pictures of themselves keeping busy: baking, drawing and playing skittles.
      
Sylvia has shared a picture of her going for a long hilly trek in Montserrat just before the lockdown, she made it! Sylvia is now trekking around Little London and will send us some pictures in the coming weeks. She has also sent you a picture of the view she had when in Montserrat. Loving that Sylvia, thanks again for sharing your view with us.
 
And finally one of our members has been busy making more homemade Jam. It is tasty! Thank you for your kindness and generosity. We are sharing it I promise!

National Theatre at Home – This House

This week’s play is This House by James Graham and it streams from 7pm today (Thursday 28th May)

Watch This House on YouTube

“It’s 1974, and Britain has a hung Parliament. The corridors of Westminster ring with the sound of infighting and backstabbing as the political parties battle to change the future of the nation. This House is a timely, moving and funny insight into the workings of British politics by James Graham (Ink, ITV’s Quiz) and directed by Jeremy Herrin (People, Places and Things).

You can watch This House from 7pm UK time on Thursday 28 May until 7pm UK time on Thursday 4 June 2020. It was filmed live on stage at the National Theatre in 2013.

The running time is 2 hours 40 minutes with a very short interval. It is subtitled. The play is suitable for ages 14+ with some strong language throughout.”

National Theatre at Home. Enjoy world-class theatre while we’re closed