Thursday, 31 July 2014

A llook back at the Queen opening the Corrie studios at Quays St

Here's a look back at the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh opening the 'old' street set at Quays St.

Britain in Bloom at 50

This year is the 50th birthday of the national competition Britain in Bloom.  Oldham has always done well and this year we did some displays at Daisy Nook to join in.  The theme was, for the 50th, growing for gold.  Amongst the displays the team created was a table and chair in flowers on the cafĂ© terrace with a gold teapot and cup.  Barrows of plants on the way to the history garden, a seaside scene and a beautiful paved blue garden with a streak of gold planting running through it.  The judges were looking at everything today - last year Oldham won so let's see how we all do in 2014.  We'll know in a few weeks time.

An Oldham Treasure

Another hidden treasure of Oldham.  This is the Lion's Den in Alexandra Park (named after princess Alexandra).  It's a metalwork shelter which was a popular meeting point for courting couples between the 20s and the 60s.  The park was renovated a few years back and is now again a popular place to visit.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Today we had a visit from teenagers involved in The Challenge.  It's a great idea where teens get to pitch for money to fund community projects.  So they come to us, learn a little about the business and then Andrew, my fellow Managing Director, and I listen to the pitch and give them tips before they actually go in front of the funders.  It's great fun - and there's a lot of talent out there.

We've also been involved with the Kingfisher School in Oldham - a superb place.  Look it up!

This Saturday there's a table top sale Daisy Nook in aid of Oldham Cancer Support Centre - come along between 12 and 4pm if you can.  Then the next major events are the August Bank Holiday animal encounters weekend, the Mikron Theatre Company with Troupers, our tribute to WW1 in September, the Flower Arranging Festival (in aid of Guide Dogs) over the first weekend in October and our fund-raiser for Help For Heroes over Remembrance Weekend in November.

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Christmas is coming

Each year at Daisy Nook we theme the shop for Christmas.  This year it's the royal family so we'll have a Balmoral themed area with lots of tartan and scottie dogs then there's a purple and silver area with two thrones.  We also have a Victorian section planned featuring lots of vintage decorations plus gingerbread ... well, you get the idea.  I could really do with Kate getting pregnant too - because we have a blue and pink section full of baby things!  I'll have to leave that to William.
It should be fun!

So, why's this on my mind right now?  Well, having bought all the stock in January it's started arriving at the centre.  Behind the scenes we are unpacking, pricing and re-packing tinsel, trees and decorations.  Most of this takes place in greenhouses and as we've been enjoying a heatwave this past two weeks we've been up to our ears in fake snow - but in very hot conditions!

Filming at Daisy Nook

This is the film crew from Channel 4's 'Come Dine With Me' at Daisy Nook recently.  Last Sunday this episode aired ...  and as followed by 'The Mill' which we also supplied many of the plants for.

When Chesney was little

Here's Sam Aston switching on the Christmas lights in Oldham some years ago plus yours truly.  Poor Sam hadn't done many personal appearances and when he came out on stage the sound of 15,000 screaming fans rather threw him.  I had to interview myself for ten minutes!

Always look up!

I always tell people on my guided tours to look up.  The best architect is on the top of buildings and you also spot some curiosities.  Look closely at my picture of a lamp in Oldham.  Can you make out two faces in the metalwork?  Either side of the lamp.  It's Gladstone and Disraeli - two British Prime Ministers.

RIP Dora Bryan

Another longstanding friend passed away last week - the delightful actress Dora Bryan.

Dora was born in Southport but raised in Oldham - and she achieved early fame at the Coliseum Theatre.  She married the cricketer Bill Lawton, a lovely man.

In one of the national newspaper obituaries she was described as 'sharp as a needle'.  I'm not sure they could actually have known her!  She was known as 'Dotty Dora' amongst her friends.

I remember going to see her at the National Theatre.  It was a very serious production and as she made an exit off stage she suddenly did the splits - it was most inappropriate for the play.  When I went to see her in her dressing room she asked if I'd noticed.  "I did them for you!" she said.

Dora hadn't been well for a number of a years - since Bill died - and she spent her last years in a home on the south coast.