Category Archives: Postcode

A Post I didn’t mean to write

The day dawned fair, and far too early. I wanted to turn over and have a lie in as it’s my day off and we weren’t going out but Julia had exacted  a promise from me the night before and so I had to get up and take her to breakfast before dropping her off for her first day of jury service.

I am a man of my word.

That meant I was able to get to the jewellers in time for a good two hours of moaning about the state of business before returning home to spend a couple of hours moaning about politics and sport with Number One Son. During this time he heated up last night’s beef rendang for lunch. I am eating well at the moment.

I also had an email to deal with this afternoon. My luck is really out as far as poetry editors is concerned as I just had another rejection. I thought the 3 haibun were all reasonable and had a good chance of success, but it appears I was wrong.

The rejection was accompanied by some notes, which was handy as it’s always nice (though rare) to get feedback. Sometimes it’s probably better to get feedback than it is to get accepted.

I don’t know if any of you have ever noticed this, but I often feel that once you have either posted your work, or hit the send button, it starts to deteriorate.

Even if it is accepted, the polished gem you sent never looks as good when it is printed. And when it is returned it looks even worse. I looked at what was sent back today and looked at the notes and wondered why I’d sent it. The first sentence of the first submission was just so glaringly wrong, yet two weeks ago it had seemed brilliant.

So, apart from writing better, I also have to start looking at everything with a much more critical eye.

Anyway, I had the afternoon off, so I set to work with the suggested improvements and have resubmitted them. Fingers crossed.

This wasn’t the post I meant to write, but it was what emerged on the paper as I started writing. I am not always master of my own keyboard. That, of course, means I have no suitable picture so I’m reusing the Dylan Thomas £5 coin photo. It’s a tenuous poetry connection, but it’s the best I can do. As I read the post where it originally appeared I see this is the second time I’ve used it as a random space filler.

Here’s more information about the coin if you want it -it is quite interesting.


Dylan Thomas Alderney £5 coin

Jute, Jam and Journalism

Today, I’ll start with DD4.

DD is Dundee, and Dundee is famous for the three things in the title. We went there on holiday just over ten years ago and I feel quite nostalgic about it. The kids were still young enough to like their parents and used to enjoy seeing new things. The wilderness years of teenagery and rebellion were still in the future.

We missed the Keiller factory, though we did see fields of fruit canes, which took care of the “jam” element. D C Thomson, publishers of many famous comics and annuals, are also based there. I say “famous” rather than “comprehensible” because it includes Scottish classics such as Oor Wullie and The Broons, which are distinctively Scottish in language. It’s a bit like reading Burns, but with the bonus of pictures.

We did, however, see the “jute“. In fact we saw a lot more jute than we wanted to, as we were forced to endure a lengthy film and display by a stern woman who seemed unwilling to let us go without forcing us full of information on jute. I suspect she’d once been a Gauleiter in the Jute Information Board or some such body.

Though we were interested in the jute, we were actually there for the Tay Bridge and the Discovery.

I’m not sure exactly which postcode it all fell under but Dundee is DD1 to DD4 so it will do. With hindsight we should have spent more than just one day in Dundee as there’s a lot to see.

It was a great holiday in some ways, and a low point in another. At the time someone owed me £1,200, and the recovery process wasn’t going well. After one particular phone call I made life hell for everyone, which really wasn’t fair. It’s one of those things that comes back to haunt me – bad parent, bad husband. Fortunately it was only for part of a day.

The debtor eventually came up with £600. Then he died, with no assets and a gambling problem I’d been unaware of.

He drowned after falling into a ditch and whilst in drink. (Gambling wasn’t his only problem).  There was some talk about a car being seen speeding away from the area where he was found. There was also a suggestion that I’d been involved. And that was why I sometimes tell people I was a suspect in a murder case. (I wasn’t, because the police never contacted me, but it makes me sound more interesting).

The interesting fact about DD4?


There are three towns in the UK with football stadiums less than a mile apart.

At three – Liverpool and Everton. Under a mile apart.

At two – Nottingham Forest and Notts County – the closest football league grounds in England, just 300 yards apart.

At one – Dundee and Dundee United – the closest in the UK – just 100 yards apart. Look at the map and gasp in wonder. They are close.





Time for more postcodes.

PE13 and SW4.

PE is Peterborough, one I know well – I’ve lived in several different Peterborough postcodes. Peterborough itself is fairly interesting, but it’s not in PE13 so you will have to wait for details of two queens, ten saints and the aircraft factory.

Back in PE13 you might be forgiven for gasping at the sheer emptiness of it. The Fens are basically a lot of flatness topped off by a huge sky.  I lived in PE15 once so I know this from first hand experience. PE13 does a good job of looking like it’s in the middle of nowhere, but actually it’s it’s just close to the edge of nowhere.

The interesting fact isn’t that I used to rear chickens in Parson Drove, or that I nearly hit a wall one night when driving with youthful stupidity, it is that Parson Drove was the site of the last woad mill in England – it closed in 1910. The last commercial crop of woad was grown in Lincolnshire in 1932. We did look at growing it when we were on the farm but, though it’s easy enough to grow, it’s hard work to extract the dye and nobody was interested in using it.

There are other interesting facts but I like woad because of its links to the body paint of the ancient Britons.

SW4 is in London – Clapham, to be precise. I know nothing about London. I’ve visited a few times but much of my knowledge is based on watching TV or blog posts of Derrick Knight. According to Wikipedia a Roman Road runs through it, which is always interesting, and Samual Pepys lived there for a couple of years. As he had his horse stolen in Parson Drove, which he called a “heathen place”, in 1663, this forms a neat link to put the two places together.

I promise this was coincidence – this is the actual order in which we listed the parcels.


If memory serves me right, it’s time for ME8 to take centre stage.

That’s ME for Medway, which is a river that, in 1667, saw one of Britain’s greatest military defeats, when the Dutch sailed up the River Medway and attacked our fleet, which was laid up at the time for financial reasons.

Yes, in the middle of a war our fleet was laid up. Charles II was many things, but he was by no means a military mastermind. As Kipling says:

The moneys that should feed us
you spend on your delight,
How can you then, have sailor-men
To aid you in your fight?

Still, we’ve been beaten many times and managed to bounce back.

I know about this because my father, during his naval years, was a member of the Chatham Division.

However, ME8 is not central to the story of the Dutch Raid, which will have to wait until we send a parcel to Chhatham or Sheerness.

I’ve failed to find any but the merest nugget of gold, even after a thorough sifting of the Wiki entries relating to Rainham, Twydall and Hempstead. There are facts, for sure, but none that really grab me.

So here it is – the final straws I am grasping at (and the final metaphor I will be mixing!) – Hempstead was the site of the first food court in the UK, it has an Air Scout group and a pub called the Flying Saucer. Having read the Trip Advisor entries for the pub I may give it a miss. Even by my standards the reviews are a touch vitriolic!


M32 – a longer journey than I intended

I’ve just added some extra information to the Bolton post, as Derrick Knight provided some insight into his Bolton Marathon experiences. I knew, from reading his posts, that he’d done a lot of running, but hadn’t realised it took him so far north.

I’m now moving on to M32, KT18, BR6 and ME8. I’m going to have to get a move on as we’ve had a busy few days and am accumulating postcodes faster than I’m finding facts.

M32 is part of the Manchester postcode area, one of the few that have a single letter.

A lazy search for M32 brings up Messier 32, also known as M32 or NGC 221. It is a dwarf “early-type” galaxy and is around 2.65 million light-years from Earth. It’s in the constellation Andromeda and was discovered in 1749 by Guillaume Le Gentil.

He has an amazing life story and, to be honest, knew more about astronomy than I will ever know, despite me having 269 extra years to learn it.

However, as he didn’t do any of this in Manchester, it isn’t relevant.

The next reference is to a motorway near Bristol – 4.4 miles long, and one of our shortest. It’s also a catamaran and some sort of audio equipment.

M32 Manchester works better as a search. It’s Stretford, a town that has many things to recommend it – a record-breaking art exhibition, a successful football team, a Jacobite skirmish and the first planned industrial estate in the world. My favourite fact isn’t even that it was nicknamed “Porkhampton” in the 19th Century due to it’s production of pork (up to a thousand pigs a week) and black pudding. I’m fond of pork…

Actually, that probably is my favourite fact, though it is run close by the fact that it used to be such a centre of rhubarb production that rhubarb was known locally as “Stretford Beef”. I like rhubarb too.

KT18 is easier. It’s Epsom in the Kingston on Thames postcode area. If you aren’t into horse racing there’s not much of interest round here. We stayed at a hotel on the racecourse a couple of years back. The breakfast was excellent and we saw parakeets over Leatherhead Crematorium.

BR6 is Bromley postcode, and just a couple of areas east of KT. BR6 covers Orpington, which is famous as the town where the Buff Orpington chicken was bred, along with the lesser known Black Orpington and Buff Orpington Ducks. Despite strong opposition from the poultry I’m going to have to nominate the Orpington Car as the interesting fact.

It was built between 1920 and 1925 and nobody has seen one since a, possibly unreliable, sighting in Crossroads during the 1970s. Somewhere in a dusty barn the last of the line may be lurking.

ME8 will be dealt with in due course…

Another Day, Another Parcel…

Subtitle: Postcodes (3)

NE6 is in the area between Newcastle and Wallsend. The former is known for a number of things, and the latter for being the end of Hadrian’s Wall.

The bit in between contains Byker, which is a well-known suburb and titular home of Byker Grove. The programme, in the manner of these things, was not made in Byker, but Benwell,a different suburb of Newcastle, and a different postcode – NE2. Oh, the magic of showbiz!

QLD 4209, being in Australia is, you would hope, a bit more exotic than the north-east of England. Reference to Google shows it to have a dual-carriageway and a cycle lane. They have wheelie bins by the roadside. And bungalows.

To be honest, I’d been hoping for something a bit more exotic – a dirt road maybe, and a shack.

The fact for the area is that it contains a town called Pimpama, which used to be a notable centre for the production of arrowroot. If they had “marketing” and focus groups in the nineteenth century they would, I suspect, have chosen a different name.

It’s next to the city of Gold Coast. You learn something every day, and today I’ve learnt that Gold Coast is a city. I’d always thought it was a description of the coast. To complete this segment, and take us back to Newcastle, Gold Coast became the sixth largest city in Australia in 2007,  overtaking Newcastle, New South Wales.

NR29 is a Norfolk postcode, containing broads, marshes and some coastline. It’s only a couple of miles away from the Travelodge at Acle where we stayed for part of our recent trip.

The village of Rollesby is roughly in the centre of the area and has a rare round-tower church.

It may be my age, but I am more interested in churches with round towers than I am with the history of arrowroot in Australia.

Next: M32, KT18, BR6 and ME8.