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I have lived around Manchester all my life. I started work at the Ship Canal in the days when the docks were full of ships from all over the world. We didn’t appreciate at the time that we were a part of the nation's industrial heritage. The paintings of Lowry, and particularly Anton Vallette, have been a big influence on my writing. There is a permanent exhibition of them at the Manchester Art Gallery. The paintings are so atmospheric. Those times should never come back, but I have a slight nostalgia for the swirling fogs and soft-edged, soot covered buildings. The stories and places of Northern England are our heritage. I try to do justice to them and to lives lived in our towns and streets.