Back from the future: a poem by Robin Parker

This poem was written at an Overspill workshop led by poet John Lindley which the Langley Writers took part in in November 2019.

Back from the future

Eight immigrants,

Indigenous population absent,

Writing in refurbished

Community centre,

Heading for mists of history.

Riverside from Merseyside

Control Bowlee Park,

Control most of overspill.

Rest consisting of

Right to buy and

New private houses.

Bowlee Park Housing Association,

Sold to residents by

Dianne Oxbury,

In expensive video.

Estate saved by irony of

Sold-off council houses,

Refusing to allow

Bulldozers relentless progress.

Swathes of social destruction

Wreaked by absentee landlord,

It’s city starved by Thatcher.

Decay, decay, decay.

The lowest ebb.

Early nineties;

Middleton Central bye-election

Highlighting abject difference

Between Rochdale’s vibrant, occupied Hollins

And Manchester’s neglected Langley.

Far cry indeed from bustle of

The Folk on the Hill, where

Newly imposed residents,

Above town of Middleton,

Spilled into a new future,

Where Loach’s Stones Rained.

A film of mixed emotions

Of folk, poor in money

But rich in humour

Portraying, above all,

Community,

Community,

Community.

©Robin Parker

An Overspill estate called Darnhill: A poem by Katie Haigh

An Overspill Estate called Darnhill 

Darnhill started out as an overspill,

A place for families to make a new home. 

For me it’s where I went to school,

A place my Mum had attended before.

My mum grew up on Heap Bridge, 

When farms and fields were all around. 

Darnhill did not exist in her younger years,

Until the diggers broke the ground.

This was all before I was born,

When Heywood Community School,

Was Sutherland High. 

There were nine high rise flats, 

Each one was demolished over time.

My Grandma worked in the library,

She took me in early when I was kid.

I remember feeling very special,

Seeing where others were forbid.

Now as an adult I have family and friends,

On the overspill estate known as Darnhill.

I also attend a writing group,

At the library, creativity we fulfil.

Darnhill has a community feel,

With festivals throughout the year. 

It started out as an overspill, 

But now it’s home that many hold dear.

©Katie Haigh

Inspired by Langley writers Overspill creative workshop 21/11/2019

Now and Then – Langley

The neighbourhood is dark and dreary,

Boarded up houses, people weary.

Pensioners with nowhere to go

Families just putting on a show.

Everyone trying to do their best

Living their lives in this great big mess!

That’s what I thought before I found

Community centres all around.

Places of activity

Groups for them and for me.

Committees that challenge the ruling party

Fighting for an estate more worthy.

As time goes on I see the changes

Boards come off the empty houses.

People move in and are pleased as Punch

With a Langley that’s not “out for lunch”.

Improvements keep on coming

And Langley people keep on humming.

The neighbourhood is lighter and bright

The future assured and quite all right.

Committees that keep on challenging

Residents that keep on flourishing.

Everyone trying to do their best

Living their lives no longer a test!

 

Jo M.

In the same boat – a poem about Langley

We came in 55 from the prefabs

What a lovely house!

Gardens, indoor toilets and stairs for the first time –

we ran up and down them all day long

But winter in Langley was freezing

No central heating

so I’d

warm my legs by a stove in the mornings

drinking a cup of tea while the family was still in bed.

We were all in the same boat

 

They were just starting to build Langley and there were

No doctors

No priests

No midwives

And the buses full of smoking men going to work in Manchester

only ran to the top of Wood Street

where the bus driver would shout

“Debtor’s Retreat!”

That’s until Ted Briscoe, the bus inspector, aka ‘Lord Mayor of Langley’,

organised our 121 Langley Flyer.

We were all in the same boat.

 

We had some really great times over the years

Not much money but there was a piano and a singsong

Entertainers in the Catholic Club

Church activities and trips back to where you’d come from

Lovely afternoons spent in Jubilee Park –

free sketched on a Sunday ’til it went dark

Dancing at the baths on the wooden floor put over the water and

marvelling at the Langley Festival elephant kept in the field near the motorway

With cinemas to choose from we could opt for

freezing feet at The Palace or

scratching at the Flea Pit.

We were all in the same boat.

 

Everybody knew everybody

And everybody got on so well

We were all struggling to make a better life for our children

We were all in the same boat.

 

A poem compiled from memories of participants in a reminiscence workshop at Langley Library, March 2008 from the book ‘The Folk on the Hill: Poems and Stories from Langley’. 

“A Good Community” A poem by Lucy Kilduff

This poem was written for and performed by 14 year old Lucy Kilduff at our Winter Overspill event at The Burnside Centre, Langely on 26th February 2020.

A GOOD COMMUNITY

A good community is somewhere everyone can share
It’s a place where people show they care
It’s a place where people go with the flow
Where we all help each other learn and grow

Its where people work and live
Where people don’t just take but they give
It’s a place where everywhere i go
There’s caring faces that i love and know

Every person is always treated equal
Prejudice behaviour may as well be illegal
We respect and support different cultures
We never act as though we are sick or vultures

We all support each other that’s what my community is about
And we would do anything to help each other disinterested in the amount

We appreciate the old and welcome the new
A good community

A good community is somewhere everyone can share
It’s a place where people show they care
It’s a place where people go with the flow
Where we all help each other learn and grow

Its where people work and live
Where people don’t just take but they give
It’s a place where everywhere i go
There’s caring faces that i love and know

Every person is always treated equal
Prejudice behaviour may as well be illegal
We respect and support different cultures
We never act as though we are sick or vultures

We all support each other that’s what my community is about
And we would do anything to help each other disinterested in the amount

We appreciate the old and welcome the new
We’re there for each other when we are feeling blue.
Together we are all a good team
And with each others help we gleam

I help my community every single day
will you help as well , what do you say?
A community listens to every single person that’s what they do
And for listening to me i’d like to say thankyou

By Lucy Kilduff

Lucy Kildoff at the Burnside Winter Event
Lucy (right) with members of the Langley writers

COMMUNITY & HOME: Poems written at Langfield Care Home, Langley.

The following poems were written in Langley by participants of the Small Things Creative STORY BOX sessions held in at Langfield Care Home on 3rd & 4th June 2019. The sessions used the Overspill theme to share stories of Home and Community with participants who were living with, or caring for someone with, dementia.

Community

Like a market

Wouldn’t go anywhere like that.

Too much.

Too busy.

Looks like a Roman building.

Does look Roman, doesn’t it?

Like Italy or Spain.

Greek or Roman. Two pillars.

Flats above a shop

Could be noisy.

I remember being in Newcastle.

I lived near the bridge – the River Tyne.

And a lovely park – Saltwell park.

It had 5 bridges. You had to pay a penny to cross over the bridge. Was it worth the trip? Oh yeah!

Take it with you.

Looking down and saying: “Oh that’ll do.”

Old house

Chimney pots

Smoking chimney pots – very bad for your health.

You got your fresh air at the park.

To me it looks like a café.

This reminds me of where I used to live.

Reminds me of the park in Langley.

Home Acrostic

H aving family inside

H igh chair

H appy

H appiness

O rdinary

O rnaments

O ranges

O ff – when someone comes to the door!

M y sister now lives in my flat

M emories

M other

M ouse……….

E ek!

E veryone is happy

E nd of the day

E xtra special people

Haunted Ham Shank

I’d live there, ‘cause I’m a silly mare

I’d live with my wife Joan, then I’m not alone

That might be better

I like that, ‘cause I’ve always fancied a bike

It’d be nice to go out at night

Be nice to live in the woods

I’d have a dog, then I wouldn’t be scared of the bears

We had a dog called Snoopy

Like a modern house

I like the reflection

The big tree is nice by the cottage

Then you find out you have an expensive electric bill

If you had a house you might get a mouse

I lived somewhere like that but it was a flat

I never had a garden so I liked living there

It was very quiet there

Set off a path

I don’t think we were allowed animals

COMMUNITY: Poems written at D’Oliveria Court, Langley.

The following poems were written in Darnhill by participants of the Small Things Creative STORY BOX session held in at D’Oliveria Court on 8th May 2019. The sessions used the Overspill theme to share stories of Home and Community with Memory cafe participants who were living with, or caring for someone with, dementia.

With thanks to the Alzheimer Society for hosting the session.

Our Street

Stella the keep fit instructor.

Pirate just moved in

With a budgie not a parrot.

Glittery hats – the party animals

Welcome to the avenue!

The Professor –

“If you don’t mind!

Got me strap n all”

PC Doreen to keep an eye on the rest of the street

No proper arrests

Just keeping an eye.

Nautical painter and decorator

Living near The Ship

A yacht on this drive.

A cowgirl with a whole herd of cows –

“I’ve got a funny feeling I know whose it is”

Lad in a cap

Too young to go in the pub

Kicked out by the policeman.

Mrs Bouquet

Paid to clean all the houses

Expensive or three pounds an hour.

The sensible observer from the end of the avenue.

“Unlucky for some.”

Wonderful

Interesting

Always something going on

Some earache

Never boring

Have to change our life

To be continued…

Togetherness

Friendship

There’s no answer

A mercenary collection

Easy to read

I like how it rhymes

Hangs all together

Says a lot in six verses

‘Protect from the gun and the knife’

I’ve lived in a few communities and they don’t get together

They just say ‘Hello’

But don’t get together.

In the army, they all stick together.

Pull together and fight.

We’re old enough to know what the fight was about.

Nice place. Growing up there were lots of families.

Open their doors for one another

Mix

Speak to their neighbours.

In a good community, you know who your neighbours are.

You have considerations for other people’s feelings.

It’s nice to have a community centre

A local pub!

HOME AND COMMUNITY: Poems written at Springbank Care Home, Heywood

The following poems were written in Langley by participants of the Small Things Creative STORY BOX sessions held in at Langfield Care Home on 3rd & 4th June 2019. The sessions used the Overspill theme to share stories of Home and Community with participants who were living with, or caring for someone with, dementia.

Not a very nice street

I’m the char woman!

£5 an hour – that’s cheap!

I’m cheap because I help my neighbours.

We’ve got a chef – from Nandos – chicken, rice and peas.

We once cooked a meal for Gracie Fields.

It was years ago now.

I used to build tanks.

David’s a pilot – flies planes – to Blackpool

In an aeroplane?

Carry on cruising Margaret!

All round the Med.

There’s been a burglary on the street – she’s got sticky fingers that one.

She’s taken the sliver candlesticks.

We’ve got Calamity Jane on our street

I bring in the horses – Yeehah!

And Jack the lad too

He spends all the time in the pub!

Community

Written in response to pictures of different community places and spaces

It’s a big block of houses

I’ve seen this on television.

Are these recent ones?

It’s alright but it’s the prices, isn’t it?

It reminds me of a train.

Flats – where people are living.

Depends on how thin the walls are.

You can hear your neighbours.

Tescos – where is it abouts?

A nice house.

I’d like to live in this one.

When I worked in a hospital – I had a flat there.

Doors

Cars.

Windows.

5 people.

The park – where the children play.

A nice housing estate wherever this is.

These look like maisonettes.

Home

Written in response to images of houses

That’s gorgeous!

In the middle of the forest

That one’s a modern one.

I’ve seen one like that on television.

That’s like Snow White that one.

That would be cosy.

It looks really nice – a nice area.

Everybody got nice curtains.

It looks a happy place.

Definite.

Big and cosy – nice at Christmas

(Not a nice electric bill though!)

Like the old homes at the top of our road.

I don’t like flats.

This is a nice house.

And a bike – oh my god!

“Get on yer bike, Alice!”

That’s all we had – a bike.

I like the bungalow.

It’s compact – not too much work.

Nice neighbours? I’ll have two chances

Every house is happy – it’s what you make it.

D’you fancy having a swimming pool? Ooh yeah!

We could paddle

Get the wellies on!

Nice house

On my bike.

Where would you go?

Probably in the river!

Too small – this house.

Too small to live in.

I like the square one.

I like this one cos it’s more open.

Ooh look – my dream home.

HOME: Poems written at Woodclough Day Centre

The following poems were written in Langley by participants of the Small Things Creative STORY BOX sessions held in at Langfield Care Home on 3rd & 4th June 2019. The sessions used the Overspill theme to share stories of Home and Community with participants who were living with, or caring for someone with, dementia.

Home

I wouldn’t like to live there, if the wind got up you’d blow over!

That’d be nice, I’d like a swimming pool

I wouldn’t like to pay the electric bill

I’d have that grass cut in no time

This house would be easy to do the pointing

I prefer this cosy cottage

I think that’s too big, I don’t like it

It’s not so much the house you look at, it’s your neighbours and your family

As long as it’s nice and cosy and doesn’t cost too much to run

Neighbours are important, they’re there 24 hours a day!

Not at this one!!

Nice and clean

It’s maybe by the sea, nice quiet street

We’ll move in next door, I’ll be your neighbour

I’m gonna move in on Stannicliffe Road, it’s got a pool!

Nice house, but neighbours on either side, not for me. I like to be alone

They look like hotels, I don’t like flats

Far too noisy, too many people, no privacy

Heaven, homely, happy

H eaven

H omely

H appy

O pen the door

M y friends are here

M ore cooking to do

E at, drink and be merry

Husband and me

H usband and me

H ousework never finished

H ello when you get home

O h, I’ve got a cleaner

O ur family

M ore housework

M erry family

M y lovely orange curtains

E verybody’s happy

E astenders is on the telly

COMMUNITY: Poems written at Woodclough Day Centre, Langley.

The following poems were written in Langley by participants of the Small Things Creative STORY BOX sessions held in at Woodclough Day Centre on 3rd June 2019. The sessions used the Overspill theme to share stories of Home and Community and participants were living with, or caring for someone with, dementia.

Here we are again

Anything good on the menu?

No, only pancakes!

I don’t cook.

Me daughter does that.

I’ll have two pancakes with butter and jam

Strawberry? That’ll be 3 and 6.

I’ll just have the one

Can’t afford two.

It was lovely in Mexico

I’m gonna fly away

I’m only £10 for cleaning.

You’re cleaning up

I’ve been in Rochdale for about a week

I came to see the Seven Sisters

I’ll have Nutella and strawberries on my crepe.

We had a fast flight.

Rushed back to get back.

It was a quickie!

Parlez vous francais?

I’d rather do it myself then you know it’s been done.

We’ve ah da tip off that there’s gonna be burglars.

Make sure there’s nothing to inch.

Where were you on Monday 17th August?

What year?

Up at my daughters

Where does she live?

I think he’s guilty

I’ll  throw ‘em in later.

Creative writing in response to images of community

Seven Sisters

Rochdale

Look at all the people though.

The flats in Rochdale.

Hard to decide – but it looks like this one.

How many floors? Were there 13?

No – in the picture.

I’ll tell you – 12 storeys.

I’ve never lived in one of the flats. My daughter did.

I’ll go shopping – what do you want?

My house looks a lot better than that!

I’ve got 4 bedrooms

And we’ve had it all done up.

And we’ve got a garden cos we’ve got a dog.

By the sea – I’d like that.

Kids playing out.

The best thing’s the bar.

All British.

I think we’re the only country in the world who drive on the left.

Looks like flats in Rochdale.

What a long road – you need a car!