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a blog by Chris Barrow


I’m spending the weekend at my apartment in Manchester. It is normally occupied by my 20-year old son, Jon, but he kindly clears out for a couple of days now and then – and gives me a place for solitude and reflection when I’m in my home town visiting family. We also have the place up for rental at the moment and so I was delighted to find it spotless when I arrived Saturday morning – in all fairness, Jon is usually a pretty good “neat-freak” like his Dad – but we reached a new level in anticipation of a viewing! The apartment is an interesting blend of my desire for spick and span and his passion for music – hence my desk has become his mixing deck and I am relegated to the dining table. But this is a great place to work – and although it’s Sunday morning I’ve just had a good few hours of email catch up and a luxurious soak in the bath before the day begins. I’m going to go over and see my mother today – that will put a smile on her face and give her the opportunity to share with me her latest set of ailments. Walking around my home town of Hale, Cheshire yesterday I was horrified to see the town centre dominated by an enormous white metal container. This has been dumped by the local police to provide them with a portable police station from which to patrol the town at weekends and reduce the level of crime, drunkeness and violence. In the last 3 months, two of my sons have been beaten senseless by gate-crashers at house parties, one has been robbed at knife-point and my 14-year old daughter has had her i-pod stolen in broad-daylight. This is one of the most affluent towns in England (the highest concentration of Porsche drivers in the UK) and, at weekend, the little town of Hale has become a “strip” for all the deadbeats of Manchester to look for trouble. Friday night the portable police station arrived, along with mounted police, in an attempt to curb the rising tide of anti-social behaviour. A moment to pause for thought. My apartment is a mile away and in a secluded location just off Altrincham town centre – thank goodness.

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