Sheffield’s got Soul


This has been my first “free range” week. I’ve kept myself very busy.

I’ve been setting up and promoting a memoir writing taster course to be held in Sheffield later this month. For more details, please take a look at my new business blog The courses will be held on Thursday 23rd and 30th May at the Quaker Meeting House in Sheffield city centre.

I’ve lined up some volunteer work in my local primary school. During my initial visit last week, I discovered how vibrant, creative and colourful it is, a far cry from my junior school, where we had to write with a fountain pen, sing endless hymns from a shabby blue book and the boys had to wear short trousers, even in winter. And this was in the 1980s, not the 1890s! I’m looking forward to starting work as a supply teaching assistant at schools around the city.

I’ve also made some freelance connections: I’m formatting and proofreading the novel of an writer with a wealth of experience. It’s a great novel and an honour to work on it. It was brilliant to meet the writer, Tom Webster, as he wrote many radio plays broadcast on the BBC in the 70s and 80s.

And tonight, I’m meeting Kweku of Ghana again and the other members of up-and-coming band The Allstar Revolution I’m going to be doing some press and publicity work with them and I’m really looking forward to their gig tonight at Haggler’s Corner, a quirky Arts Centre in Sheffield.

In between all of this activity, it’s been lovely weather this week in Sheffield and the spring is really starting to come alive. The woods and valleys are starting to turn a fresh green colour. The daffodils are starting to turn brown and crinkly but gardens are turning into a riot of colour. I’ve finally got round to planting some vegetables and salad leaves in my garden. Walking around Sheffield this week has been a pleasure, discovering shortcuts and hidden corners I didn’t know about, watching birds collecting fluff for their nests and seeing the first butterflies of the year. This is a good sign, as we’ve had some bad years for butterflies.

If you’re reading this and have never been to Sheffield before, you’re probably thinking of the Full Monty – a grim, post-industrial landscape, full of ex-steelworkers stripping off in a working men’s club. Well, to be honest, you’re not far wrong! A lot of the places I’ve been wandering to this week were featured in the Full Monty, from the park outside The Blake pub, to the back streets around Burton Street near Hillsborough (The Burton Street Centre was where they filmed the Job Centre scene). I saw the film again recently and noticed how green the city looks. It must have been filmed in early summer. That’s one of the things that makes Sheffield special. Wherever you are, you’re never far from a park or a green oasis. It was very different in the boom time of the steel industry, when the river Don was one of the most polluted places in Europe. Now its banks are lined with trees and it’s teeming with life (as well as the odd shopping cart!),_South_Yorkshire. It’s true that Sheffield is built on hills. Walking around here gets you fit, but there’s always a good view at the top.

I’m determined to spend time in my city and be part of my own community. It definitely beats driving 100 miles every day!

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