This is your life – A return to Calderstones School

So Thursday evening and it was time to take the eldest sprog to see Calderstones school as D-Day for choosing her senior school fast approaches. To be honest I think it was me who was more excited as it was a return to my old school I went to from  1984 to 1992. I have been playing footy in the Phil Hammond gym for the last few years and every time I play in there I think of Phil who sadly died at the Hillsborough disaster and I will never forget the school the Monday after that fateful day, the whole school was just numb in shock and all normality was suspended for that day. So first up it was time to report to Quarry wing to pick up some stuff that was being handed out for people attending the open evening. I remember as a child being in awe of the building and a quick look on the school website shows that the house at the centre of Quarry Bank High School was completed in 1867 although other dwellings had stood on this ground. The house was built for John Bland, a prosperous timber merchant, and the woodwork and mirrors of the entrance hall are most impressive even to present day visitors. This house was also purchased by Liverpool Corporation in 1920 with the intention to convert it into a school. I remember sneaking onto the roof as a child and there was indeed a cracking view. Would love to get up there these days and take some pictures of Liverpool with my nifty zoom lens. A quick walk down a corridor and a peek into an old classroom. Gone are the all in one wooden seats and desks with ink holes in. This is the new millennium and the classroom even had carpet. Onto the next room which was closed but one that was very close to my heart. Back in the day when you had to make your own fun up we had robbed a plastic orange from French class and this was now a ball in a game we called “Juice de orange” well it had been nicked from French !! One end of the class had a blackboard for a goal the other a pin board. The number of playtimes we spent in the class playing this game was numerous until one day a teacher confiscated our orange. Not put off by this we had a plastic onion off from French and created “Tear de onion” but sadly the physics of that ball wasn’t the same and the halcyon days of “juice de orange” were over. It was that great a game we still talk about it today and I was sad to have to text the lads after the open evening that arena juice de orange was now an IT room.

Below the old “Glass corridor” and part of Calder wing now all gone.

Glass corridor Calderstones school

A quick look at the swimming pool, though the old changies had gone and a story that once a tall teacher who couldn’t swim went for lessons on lunch hour and kidded everyone he could swim come back into my memory. Great plan until he was on holiday and kidding everyone he could swim but the found out it was a pool that just drops off instantly into a deep end and time for the about six foot six teacher to be rescued. I am sure that a teacher told us this story so it could be true rather than an urban myth ? Large parts of the school I went to have been demolished and rebuilt. Rightly so as when I went in the mid 80’s it was very dated then. Indeed the “new block” as we knew it or Morrison wing as it is now must now be about 25 years old and might get called the old block. When we first moved up to Calder wing in 1986 on the staff car park were a row of pear trees. It was tradition for the year above to attack the new year to the school and with me being one of the tallest I had the whole year above gunning for me. After many a play hiding, often just in bushes !! I escaped getting hit as the pears ran out. Oh what fun I would have next September when I was in 4th year. Well September come and we were all ready to get some ammo and to out great shock the staff car park had been extended and the pear trees had gone !!

Anyway back to the open evening and I was very impressed with the school and it is my number one choice for Elizabeth but the gaffer wants her to get into St Hilda’s. I personally can’t see anything wrong with a mixed school and I think that you will do well at Calderstones as well as coming out a more rounded person with a wide spectrum of kids attending Caldies. Outside the new canteen I spotted an old teacher Mr Mcdermott who taught me PE back in the day and ran our footy team with Mr Dyson. Our famous 6th form footy team got beat in the city final which we played at Liverpool training ground Mellwood, the closest I ever got to be a Liverpool player. Our team was Wimbledon in style having the two faster 100m runners in the school up front and a solid centre half pairing of me and a lad called Eddie Borrini. Another old teacher still there was Mr Cain who was my form teacher in 6th form and I swear it was the same room I met him in last night that was my old form room. Sadly no other teachers are still there. A shame as I was looking forward to see if Mr Neilson was there but he had left a few years earlier. I have many a fond memory of trips organised by Mr Neilson taking me to Berlin, Prague and Dublin on numerous occasions. The days when you could take a 6th form pupils for a pint and use the school mini bus for a jolly away.

So a few fond memories of my time in Calderstones. It really was like this is your life and the added bonus of seeing some old teachers. All I needed was a female voice to say “new balls please” and out walked Lisa Carter who when representing the school at tennis had what can only be described as a mobile Spion Kop behind her baseline full of 15 year old boys (including me) not there to admire her serve. The school has had a lasting effect on me as my love of weather stems from my 6th form geography project. Here we are 24 years later with a weather station, 8000 plus followers on Twitter and the odd radio appearance as Liverpool weather expert ha ha. So time will only tell if I return next year for a parents evening and if Elizabeth doesn’t get Mrs Fay’s first choice there can be no better second choice that is Calderstones. It has done me an my mates no wrong. I am sure there are many more Caldies tales to tell but thats yer lot for now but a last mention to two teachers who’s nicknames I remember “Mr Bacon Sarnie” real name Mr Mason-Barney and “Big Bill” Mr Robinson a tall teacher who’s first name we found out was Bill. Never forget him walking past the gym one day and he got hit full on with a snowball knocking his glasses off. He picked them up and in his distinctive deep voice said “who was that” he then realises there were about 100 kids armed with snowballs and quickly dashed for cover. I recall his love of golf as he chatted to us after register and I hope he is happily retired sitting off watching The Ryder Cup. For the record sir it deffo wasn’t me that hit you with that snowball.

Calderstones School badge

Peace

Fay x x x x x x

Birthday referendum. Och Aye jib us Scotland.

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to……….. you got the message. 41 years ago in Mill Road hospital I was delivered by caesarian section and 41 years later I am in the house were my mum spent some of her childhood. Only seemed like yesterday I had what hair I had left dyed bleach blonde in tribute to my early 1990’s hair style. Last September ended up being a month long celebration starting in Benidorm and ending in Edinburgh. Another year has quite literally raced by and the eyes of Great Britain are on Edinburgh today as the Scottish referendum takes place on of all days my birthday. Now my birthday is a two day public bank holiday in the republic of Faymondo.

Edinburgh bagpipes

Day one (18th) is the birthday bank holiday and I love nothing better than an election night staying up seeing what happens. A referendum is as near to an election as you can get and I will be staying up tonight to see what occurs north of the border. I originally wanted Scotland to stay part of the union as the block vote of labour MP’s would help our cause down here. But it was pointed out to me that this rarely has an effect on the overall result of UK general elections. I then started to look at things and thought if Scotland bails could this be the card that brings the house of cards down ? The “system” isn’t working for many of us. Could this be the kick up the arse needed. Voter turnout looks to be very high, could this have a knock on effect and turn voter apathy into a reinvigorated mass protest vote in our general election of 2015? Will this kick our arses south of the border and short of a revolution start the process of change down here. Regional government, the fall of David Cameron, a fairer state ? Even if there is a “No’ vote and the cynic in me says it can be nothing but that and the non provision in the law for a national recount makes me think it would be a narrow win for the “No” vote, ahem cough cough. Funny how the three party leaders seen their collective arses as it dawned on them the vote might actually end up a “Yes” Why are they so interested in Scotland ? So it should all be over by tomorrow unless we get into “hanging chad” territory and will my birthday celebrations carry on for 50.1% of people north of the  border  ? I for one have the fridge stocked with Irn Bru the biscuit tin with Tunnock’s tea cakes and caramel biscuits at the ready. I will be putting on my tartan hat with ginger wig attached and listening to my entire Deacon Blue collection and having a wee dram as well as any more Scottish stereotypes you can cram into one evening. Go on Scotland do it, I dare you what an interesting second day of the Faymondo bank holiday it would be sat watching the TV as the changes started. In this case “The revolution would be televised”

Day two (19th) is the memorial bank holiday. It will be two years since my dad died (blog here) something I will never get over. Losing a second parent changes you, I look at things in a different light now and strangely instead of looking back at times I now look forward and think right lets have this last half of my life. No messing about, no wasting time, no putting up with things or people, no more pretending. Live in the moment I suppose. Christ quite deep that for a Thursday afternoon and not a bevy in site (yet) Seems my dad has missed so much already. The truth about Hillsborough becoming public, Thatcher Dying, A Scottish referendum and Liverpool almost winning the bloody league (Doubt if I will ever see us go that close again) It would have been fascinating listening to his views on just that lot on the car journeys when I would pick him up from Clitheroe. Opinionated and quite annoying at times would sum him up. Sound familiar ? But a man who loved his wife and family so much. Hopefully that sounds familiar as well !! I miss you yer daft auld get.

So my new best friend Benny the Morkie is settling in well and it’s nice having another male in the house and I think he likes me. I have been teaching him to bark today (Yes I am barking mad) and having finally got Holly toilet trained without so much as one days gap the cleaning up of shit now continues in the form of dog shit. Nice a squashy like a little Mr Whippy ice cream ones as Benny has a mixture of wet and dry food and is quite a fussy eater, again sounds very familiar. Thats the food habit not little Mr Whippy ice cream ones. Mine are more like a double cone 99’ers !

Union Jack flag and Saltire flying in Edinburgh

Peace and Och Aye jib us Scotland. I knew taking pictures of flags would come in handy one day !

Fay x x x x x x

£1 million pound woofin hell !

Let me get this on the record first, what happened in Manchester last night at the Manchester Dogs’ Home in Moss Brook Road in Harpurhey should not have happened. It is sad that 60 dogs died and even sadder the little rat who done it will most probably get his arse smacked at most. Having become a new dog owner myself in the last week I have been feeling some love now that I am in the dog owners club. But I just can’t get my head around what is happening. In scenes not unlike when our princess of hearts died the nation is having an outpouring of grief. Or should I say an outpouring from their collective purses and wallets. Only now do we look back on that Diana period as a weird moment in time, slightly embarrassed at what went on and I wonder how many people still play their “Candle In The Wind” CD single ? It was great that people deemed their lives expendable by rescuing dogs from the fire (Not worth it in my opinion) and it is also very commendable that people went around with blankets etc and I say that with true honesty. What I can’t get my head quite around is for a Just Giving page to be set up. What left me more confused was when I looked at the Just Giving page and £250,000 had been donated. Fast forward to this evening and the £1 million pound barrier has been smashed. £1 million pound woofin hell. How can this be when we have people living on the streets of our own country, people relying on food parcels and people on this planet who don’t have access to clean water ? It has seen the death of 60 dogs to prompt this fundraising. Most of those million pounds would have still been in their purse or wallet tonight if there had been no fire but the guilt trip wire has been tripped and the conscience alarm bells doing overtime. Shall we mass murder a few homeless people to kick of some successful fundraising, how about instead of stoning people we can throw the tin cans people were going to collect at the food bank them and then lash up a just giving page. “Text £5 to 80081355” and help the injured and families of the deceased of the tin can disaster.

In one way the actions of todays donators is a little heart-warming but it comes back to the cause. I always have had the motto “Sort the humans out first and we can then box the animals off” Now don’t get me wrong there are many humans that might well not come above animals in your popularity list but I do think creating a better society, country and even world for humans always comes before animals. So with 150 dogs surviving we are on a cool £6666 for each dog. Come on folks lets push it on and get £1.5 million making it £10k a dog. Each dog could set up a new life and a kennel in Spain with unlimited goodies. Let’s just keep on raising money and we could have it off and clear the national debt and get our country and society back on track. How about a charity single rushed out, would have to be “How much is that doggy in the window” we could even throw together a hastily arranged “Dog Aid” concert with a group encore of all the artists involved with a rip roaring version of “Who let the dogs out”

So the latest total is as below.

The MEN's raising funds for Manchester Dog's Home for MANCHESTER & CHESHIRE DOGS HOMES

 

So a quick look on the pets at home website and we can get

835,955 tins of chicken and rice Chappie

15,158 14kg bags of Royal Canin Vet Diet dry food

2,089,998 bags of chicken and turkey hearts doggie treats.

8,781 Scruffs Regent Faux Leather Sofa’s

208,998 sets of Wag-A-Turde multi stripe leg warmers

Ok you get my drift now, the madness will no doubt continue with another £10,000 being added as I wrote this blog. I await the fierce backlash of the animal lovers but leave you with this heartwarming picture of Benny the Morkie enjoying his new waterbed that moulds into the dogs body shape or more commonly known as my beer belly.

Benny on his waterbed (Beer Belly)

 

I have seen many a tweet along the lines of “The donations to the Manchester dog fire Just Giving page has restored my faith in humanity” well it is the complete opposite for me and another day of despair. I try not to bother about things but deep deep down I want a better world for everybody. I know I am pissing in the wind but it’s just the way I am.

Peace

Fay x x x x x x

The decline has started from the 051 to big old softy in 20 years.

Well I nearly reached 41 before the penny dropped and the decline has started. It is roughly 20 years to the day that on one fateful Friday night I was taken to the 051 in Liverpool and as they say the rest is history. For the next couple of years after that night my life changed and without doubt it was the best period of my younger days. Twenty years ago I would come into my nans house (Where we now all live as the Fay family) after a great night at the o’five and it was that cold in my bedroom that you could see ice on the window on a cold night and I would often sleep in footy socks and a wooly hat it was that cold. Often I would just fall asleep curled up by the fire on the living room floor until about 8am I would receive a swift boot off my nan and I would scurry up to bed. Fast forward 20 years later and it is just past 2am (Clubs closed at 2am in 1994 kids) and I am in the same room, slighty better for wear and seemingly just as “loved up” as I was in 1994 but instead this time I am on the couch trying to pacify a puppy that is spending it’s first night in a new home after waking me up whining. I deffo prefer the 1994 story. With Mrs Fay having an important job interview on Monday I bit the bullet and went on canine duty. After all it was it’s first night away from it’s mother and siblings. (Am I really typing this) and what better for the dog than to have it’s new daddy (I am really typing this) to settle it. So I decided to go easy on “Benny’s” first night and this time Elizabeth gave me a boot as she had come down to let the dog out and I scurried off to bed for an extra hour. But rest assured sonny Jim the mean lean Barbara Woodhouse streak in me would be hitting you on your second night. So fast forward to the second night and I find myself sitting on the decking in the back yard encouraging Benny to do his business whilst also trying to tire him out a bit. Yes it’s nearly midnight. I don’t recall putting that much effort into raising my thee daughters when they were young. Quick bottle, fall asleep in daddy’s arms whilst he catches up on some Sky Plus back in the crib. Happy days. Instead I am now thinking tactics to try and settle this dog in which include putting some clothing from a family member in it’s bed. A hot water bottle and yes believe it or not I am gonna leave Radio Five Live on for it, though the tones of Rhod Sharp have sent me to sleep on many a long night.

The rapid decline is continuing as I find myself talking to the puppy, at this rate I will just be a blob of beer belly mass that is dribbling a force-fed Desperado’s. Though in just 48 hours with me I reckon Benny has already discovered a dislike to Roy Hodgson and Margaret Thatcher. Give him the rest of the week and he will be all over crazy David Icke theories and have a distinct hatred of any X-factor. To be fair though Benny is cute and I cant wait to take him our for walks and introduce him to the beer gardens of Liverpool pubs. It is now after the midnight hour so let’s see how night two in the Big Brother Fay house goes for Benny Madena Fay. Will it be a success or a surprise eviction ?

Benny the Morkie

Well the second night went like a dream and Benny behaved so we will keep him. Just the toilet training and needles to go now kerchingggggg.

Peace

Fay x x x x x x

400th blog : A Fay family announcement.

New baby and stork

 

Well as luck would have it today is the 400th blog and 400 moments of your life you won’t get back.  So it is nice to bring you a special Fay family announcement. So not content with a wife and three beautiful daughters I can announce that today I bring you news of an addition to the Fay family household. We have been thinking long and hard over the last couple of years since Holly was born (April 2012) and finally thought the time was right and it was a case of why hold off anymore. Lets face it me (41 this month) and Claire (40 in March) are not getting any younger so today it is time to announce a new member of the crew. Yes Benny the dog. Fourth kid you have gotta be having a laugh and anyway Mrs Fay would have to rely on a miracle from Jesus after having her tubes tied after her last ceasearian though with Mrs Fay being an avid attender of church these days maybe there might be a miracle, gulp ! So with our summer holiday out of the way it was time to get a dog.  So after a lot of searching we decided on a Morkie. What is a Morkie I hear you say. Well in old money it is a mongrel that your mates gives you for free because the mum got out one day and is now up the duff. In new money it is a cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese Terrier and comes with a price tag of £280 quid or give or take a few quid a brand new Xbox one.

So as you can imagine once we told the kids it was OK and we were gonna get the dog the levels of excitement reached fever pitch levels in the Fay household the likes of not seen since I had my picture taken with Jan Molby at a sportsman dinner a few years back. Saturday night had a air of chrimbo eve about it as the kids were acting like they had dropped a few blue smarties, thats the blue coloured children’s chocolate treat that allegedly sent kids hyper and not some slang for a new Gary Ablett’s that have come out. Sunday morning and what must have felt like the worlds longest church service to the kids they headed off to Altrincham to pick “Benny” the dog up. Boring Altricham fact it was the first ever Liverpool game I went to watch them play in the FA Cup in Jan 1981. With our dog technically being a manc I might have to buy it a little Liverpool FC coat to exorcise any manc demons from it. So I will now become the exact thing I despise. Luckily I have no Facebook friends but Instagramers and Twitter beware expect a whole lot of daft animal pics and I apologise in advance for my sickening behaviour.

Having debated what the family dog would be called over the last 6 months (Molby was rejected) we decided on Benny whilst on holiday in Benalmadena and the dogs full title, ahem cough christ this animal things has gotten right into me is Benny Madena Fay. It is however nice to have a male member of the Fay household and I am sure me and Benny will spend many a happy hour escaping the future hormonal house that awaits me with teenage girls and a wife “at that age” Funny enough my dad wanted to call our dog Ben but my mum said it was too common and decided on Nevis as in Ben Nevis. Scary thought is that the dog lives say until 12 I will be nearly 53 and Elizabeth might have left home !! So he has arrived and shit on the living room carpet within about 5 mins.

Benny the MorkieBenny the Morkie 2

 

Todays blog was sponsored by Pets At Home, Pet Insurance, Pet Toys, Pet food and any other bastard pet pound this new addition wants to lift from my wallet. On the plus side I have a dog to go dogging and remember folks a dog is for christmas and not for life where as a brand new shiny xbox one would have been for life and not just christmas ???

Peace

Fay x x x x x x

Birthday madness and musical grooming

So the end of August signals birthday madness in the Fay household and this year was no different. How the years race by as Elizabeth turned 10 on the 27th and Charlotte turned 7 on the 31st. Charlotte having the unfortunate title of youngest in the year all because she was a planned ceasearian and by sneaking her in the school year we could save on nursery fees. Always thinking ahead here or as some might say “you proper mingebag” So for my 10th birthday I reckon my mum bought me off with an extra tenner to avoid any parties and it would have been an artic roll as a treat with one manky candle found in the bottom of the kitchen drawer. Things have moved on since 1983 and now my daughter and a few friends were going out for a meal in Est Est in Aigburth with a few of her friends and family. Wow just wow even on my birthday I only get a treat of Damon’s in Speke because it’s free for me if you take my passport and you get a free cake as well. Post meal it was a sleepover in ours for Elizabeth and her mates and needless to say the noise lasted past midnight and things finally settled down in her loft room. It’s been 10 years that has raced past and it seems a long time ago that she was born five weeks early and weighing in at just over 3 pounds she was such a tiny ickle thing into the 10 year old (going on 13) young girl she is today (pic below)

Lizzie Fay 0-9 years

So onto birthday number two and what can be only described as a one direction birthday with a 1D cake, 1D bouncy castle and the Pièce de résistance a life size cut out of Niall from 1D. Now this takes some getting used to and as I walked into Charlotte’s room to say good night to her on her birthday Niall was on the floor nice and comfy with a pillow and a blanket. Next day he was just left in her bedroom doorway and as I come up the stairs I genuinely shit myself and thought somebody was in the house. Anyway with all this 1D madness it’s good to school your kids in good musical taste. One thing I will remember though is Danny Baker saying don’t hog the music in your car and let the kids have their music even if it is 1D and we all start our musical journey with some dodgy music, Boney M, Jive Bunny and Technotronic are a few of my musical skeletons in the closet but then flourish into more weird and wonderful tastes. If you hammer your kids with your music from an early age it might put them off music for life and how much would they miss out on. That said though our kids pick up on my music and are currently into The Tea Street Band. We were walking at the bottom of Lark Lane on Thursday and the lead singer from The Tea Street Band walked past. I mentioned it to the girls and they were made up they has seen a pop star ha ha. This morning on the ballet run Charlotte requested “Monica” (Correct title Santa Monica) by The Tea Street band and repeated it and with the power of Twitter the band liked both tales. I had to break it to them though that Niall was the one and tweeted them a picture of our life size Niall but on the positive side he is holding the latest Tea Street Band vinyl album.

Niall 1D life size cardboard with Tea Street Band vinyl

The good music vibes continue as as I was writing this blog I was playing “Proud Mary” by Solomon Burke which Elizabeth came up to me and said I love this song. So the kids can have their JLS, 1D and other such what I can only describe as rubbish but from listening to that rubbish they can go onto discover a whole world of music either listening in the house, watching live or as Elizabeth is learning the guitar. How I regret giving up guitar in school as it wasn’t cool to play an instrument in the 80’s and I packed in to avoid any more stick from the kids at school aghhhhhhh. I am going to my first gig with Elizabeth later on this year. She likes, again from listening to me play it the Henry Priestman album so we are going to see him play in Liverpool. So Ok it won’t be up there with her mum taking her to see JLS at The Echo Arena but hopefully planting the seeds for when I am an old man and she says “hey pops I have got a treat for you I am taking you to a special one off reunion of The Tea Street Band 25 years from their first LP release” Cant wait until I am 65, be a boss little gig that !

One final thought I got a taxi home slightly the worse for wear last weekend (I blame the caramel vodka) and I noticed that the cab was just full of camera’s and the driver had a panel on the front dash with 6 views on. Gone of the days of a cheeky fondle in the back of a cab then. Though the only thing I normally fondle in the back of a cab is a burger and chips these days.

Peace

Fay x x x x x x