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A Potter's Moll: This Way Up

...The funeral I attended produced a lovely story from one of the other mourners. The previous time she had attended the Crematorium, the deceased was a second hand dealer and a bit of a joker and when the coffin arrived it had big stickers on it saying ‘THIS WAY UP’ and ‘Lot 59: BOX & CONTENTS’. Apparently everybody burst out laughing and clapping...

The inimitable Liz Robison tells of humour where you would least expect to find it.

Do please visit the Web site of Liz's internationally-famous husband, potter Jim Robison
http://www.jimrobison.co.uk/

Regular readers may have noticed I missed a fortnightly column recently – apologies. Funerals and family problems contributed to a distinctly un-Christmas feeling in the Robison household.

I felt positively Scrooge-like as I ran the gauntlet of charity buckets and loud, tinny musak as I entered a local grocery store. ‘What a terrible din!’ I declared. You can bet they had me pinned down as a real kill-joy.

A visit to the theatre to see stand-up comedian, Jeremy Hardy was a tonic. I had not realised he is Jewish and therefore able to tell the best Jewish jokes. He said ‘Jesus Christ had not intended to start a new religion – New Testament is not like New Labour, you know.’

The funeral I attended produced a lovely story from one of the other mourners. The previous time she had attended the Crematorium, the deceased was a second hand dealer and a bit of a joker and when the coffin arrived it had big stickers on it saying ‘THIS WAY UP’ and ‘Lot 59: BOX & CONTENTS’. Apparently everybody burst out laughing and clapping.

Baking, cooking and making chutney have been good therapy lately – as well as making the kitchen smell divine, Madhur Jaffrey’s Apple, apricot and mango chutney is heavenly and cakes make great Christmas gifts. (For an agnostic I am using a lot of ‘holy’ words!)

I must have made hundreds of mince pies in the last month. We offer them to visitors to our pottery gallery in the run up to Christmas and people always comment on the fact that they are home-made. I sold some to boost Welsh society funds, I gave some for refreshments after our choir concert . No one else seemed to have made their own; they were all shop bought.

A bad choice recently was attending a folk band evening at the theatre. I thought it would be a change from the usual Christmas music. It was! But songs with twelve verses sung in a nasal tone accompanied by different squeeze- boxes don’t do it for me. By mutual consent we skipped out at the interval.

By contrast a concert by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in the marvellous Huddersfield Town Hall was thrilling. Under the leadership of their young Russian conductor, Vasily Petrenko, they achieved astonishing sounds and textures. The Peer Gynt was spine-tingling.

It made me recall that the Liverpool Phil’ was the first orchestra I ever experienced. From my secondary school in Birkenhead we marched in crocodile down to catch the ferry boat to Liverpool and then marched up Bold street to the Philharmonic Hall. I can vividly remember the thrill of ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’ and ‘Peter and the Wolf’.

To finish on a seasonal note: a little girl was looking at the crib in a church. With a puzzled look she said to her mum, ‘Where’s the kettle?’

‘What kettle?’ asks mum.

‘The kettle a-blowing,’ she said.

Hopefully, more from me in a fortnight.


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