• Dilos-kcor 29 January 2018 | View comments

  • 29th January 2018 | By David Jolley

    The new shape and organisation of the Guardian has drawn me into reading more attentively. The Saturday Review section has often been whipped away to the Big Green Recycle bin before I even scan it; but the January 20th issue in the new format included an article which caught and held my eyes:

    ‘Made in Accrington’. Jeanette Winterstone gives an appreciation of the town where she grew up and found her early education: ‘Prose A-Z on the shelves of the Accrington public library’, supplemented by lectures and weekend courses at the Mechanics’ Institute.

    There is a photograph of the most ordinary of streets which features an original version of VW Beetle driving away from us, and a double decker coming toward us, while people walk the pavements or linger at shop windows. We know that street because we drove down it on the mission which brought us Tilly, our brindle whippet, from a strong lady who posts letters by morning and walks whippets the rest of her day.

    Professor Winterstone lists Accrington’s finest: cotton mills, engineering works and the Nori brickworks. Accrington Brick is the best you can get. Our house has Accrington Brick for its front wall and the corners. The house is 110 years old and the bricks remain untouched by the time – perfect. She smiles in letting us see that ‘Nori’ is ‘iron’ spelled backwards. Was this a mistake – or a branding brainwave? Surely it has to be the latter.

    ‘The idea that things could be backwards or upside down and still rock-solid appealed to me’.

    Absolutely and it appeals to me too. Something about honest-to-goodness strength in shape and constitution just has to be right despite its modesty. Contrast the nonsense revealed by the collapse of the fantasy world which Carillion had built and the extraordinary story given to me this week of services for people with addiction problems who live in Manchester but have to travel to North Wales if they require inpatient care.

    How on earth did we allow these crazy arrangements? How can we get a grip and return to back sense which will work, be economic and will go on working?

    Nori – Bricks as hard as iron. There used to be an organisation which called itself ‘RATS’ – a self-inflicted putdown for its members who were all STAR performers in comedy, magic, the theatre or films. RATS put on shows to raise money for deserving causes, the stars taking no fees. Great stuff.

    I hear there is talk of changing the name of the specialty of Old Age Psychiatry (OAP – see!). OAPs (Old Age Psychiatrists) have been with us since the specialty was established 1989. The name succeeds various alternatives which were used by individual psychiatrists working with older people, ‘psychogeriatician’ being perhaps the most popular. I do know that some people feel unhappy about being referred to an expert whose title includes the word ‘old’ or ‘geriatric’ – but this is all stigma. Accrington Brick and Professor Winterstone tell us to put a hard face on it and own what’s ours.

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