• Well – fancy that 02 October 2018 | View comments

  • 2nd October 2018 | By David Jolley

    Skipping through the headlines and photographs in Friday’s paper I found that John Cunliffe died recently. I had not soaked up his name previously, but I knew Rosie and Jim and JC was the bearded gentleman who drove the canal boat they lived on. Even more, did I know, do I know, Postman Pat who was also a product of John’s imagination? The soft puppets and animated postie have filled many gentle hours with our children – and are there for our grandson. Lanre Bakare’s tribute to John Cunliffe tells us that he grew up as an outsider in a Lancashire town, where he was unhappy and bullied at school. It sets you thinking about how he might have been, or felt himself to be, an outsider. Perhaps the family moved into the town for work but were not from a line which had given generations in that place. Perhaps the family had unusual beliefs. But he had found his early life to be less that happy. Postman Pat came as a contrast to that and in celebration of good times in the Lake District – a world where every individual person and animal is appreciated for what and who they are. Everyday life is an adventure on a small scale. There may be worries and potential disaster, but mostly these are overcome with friendship and humour. Out of the adversity of childhood came something strong to support other children, and parents and grandparents.

    Another funeral closer to home saw the celebration of another Lancashire man – indeed a Manchester man. But it was only at the funeral that I learned that Ernest had grown up near the centre of Manchester. He and Hilda had arrived in our church community as fully grown retirees, moving into a modern house on a new estate. Ernest worse a neatly trimmed beard, long before the fashion for beards which has taken hold of currently fashionable men. His hair and beard remained dark brown. I wonder now whether he used dyes to achieve this. And the mystery of his background rested on stories of times on oil rigs and the Middle East. All true, it was proved at his eulogy. This life of adventure, glamour and success had happened from middle age because a heart attack which occurred at a time of great stress. Surviving this and returning to work, he deemed fit only for lighter duties. Lighter duties took him to training as a Health and Safety officer, something which suited his careful attention to detail to a tee. He gained experience and additional qualifications which made him a person to be headhunted by world famous companies.

    How wonderful it is to know more about the people we live with.

    We are very pleased with our park Health Walks, which are designed for older people and others who have lost confidence and practice in walking. As we walk, there is much talk – often of reminiscence – time for tea and a modest snack. Total therapy with not a great deal of pain.

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