2009-04-01
1
April cools
<b>Ma’s home.  The only medical information was the fact she is allergic to hospital bedsheets!</b>

I am very, very tired.

Yesterday was an intense day as well.  Had another long meeting with the wonderful Mandy at Crawley Library.  I will be doing a show there on Sussex Day, 16th June.  I will get no payment and it will be free in (although there may be a charge if we go for refreshment), but it will be fully marketed, and Mandy will manage the guest list, and that means the show will have a lot of clout.

The provisional title for the show is <i><b>Kipling, Iron, Carr and Crawley</b></i> Ex Thomas Bennett boy Glyn Watkins celebrates Sussex Day with songs, poems, stories and pictures.</i>

When I got back after the meeting had a long chat with Linda, my parents’ cleaning lady.  Dad was there and he made some of the discussion about what I think needs to be done very difficult.  As I said to him, either things change or they will have to go into care.  Stubbornness has got them to their late 80’s, but them not changing things whilst they get shakier and weaker is not good enough.  Ma’s angina attack was almost certainly a result of her having to lift him out of the bath, when he could not get out, a few days before. 

He was shouting at me that him in the bath was ‘a million to one chance’, and he could look after himself, then told me to do dinner.  I refused.  I had told him repeatedly the day before that he was going to do dinner.  He then boiled a potato and cut up the bootleather steak, though I do not know if he cooked it. 

I then set off for the annual walk through the bluebell wood.  the <A HREF="http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/s/30/30852/Holmbush_Inn/Faygate">Holmebush</a&gt; in Faygate is a great as ever, and Martin welcomed me back.

Had a conversation about tapeworms with the barman and a couple, all of them duty cabin crew; and they told me about Lagos, which is even more expensive than Dublin.

I phoned Tamar from the usual field, but was still tense.  I wanted to do a poem, but only got one good phrase: <i>would an enemy</i>, from the many wood anemones.  I may go back in a few days though.  Only a very few bluebells were out, but lots of blooming primroses and violets, and several flowers I still do not know.  I also saw the first two new butterflies of the spring (as opposed to over-wintering small tortoiseshells), a cabbage white and a brimstone.

Stopped in the Norfolk Arms and had a great time.  I then walked into Horsham, had a pint in the Bedford, and met a bloke with a Bradford Bulls tattoo, who was born in Lidget Green, a mile from my house.

Got the train back and called on the new-ish neighbours, Ron and Sue.  I passed on the news of Ma, they gave me a glass of wine, and I told them stories.  Sue especially was laughing hard enough to choke.

2009-04-02
1
Moving
I have had a remarkably relaxing day today, even though I still feel stressed, and had a scene in Britain’s worst supermarket.&nbsp; My calmness was proved by the fact that I got my blood pressure measured at my parents clinic, and it prove to be fine for non-diabetics, and perfectly acceptable for diabetics who were did not have protein in their urine.

I got the test because my own GP wants to give me blood pressure tablets.&nbsp; He feels like no visit is complete without trying to get me to take tablets.&nbsp; The last time I saw him (I would have to read this blog to find when that was) he told me to book an appointment with him for exactly a month.&nbsp; His bad practice will only book appointments 14 days ahead, but my GP is booked 12 days ahead.&nbsp; I was due for the blood test tomorrow, but ma suggested I ask at their clinic.&nbsp; Their clinic was brilliant, everything about it was better than my clinic at Parklands (you could look it up, but I bet you find it sooner than the 40 minutes it took me to find a number, so I could cancel the blood pressure test).&nbsp; The test also meant I could talk to the nurse, who is a massive fan of my dad, about my parents.&nbsp; It was good.&nbsp; Dad did dinner while I was out as well (cold corned beef, boiled potatoes, carrots and cauliflower).

Mid afternoon I went of to do some shopping, and get some beer in.&nbsp; I walked through the Hawth (wood) as preliminary scout for a fuller survey.&nbsp; I could do a lot with a good copy of a large scale map (but there are no good ones of the Hawth) but I saw any thought of doing it with a cheap 16m laser rangefinder from Lidl is a no hoper.&nbsp;

I had a paddy in ASDA.&nbsp; I am too angry a man, but over the last 18 months I have bought wine boxes covered in dust from ASDA; many things that were mis=priced, and not bought many other things because they were not priced at all; been taken from one end of the shop to the other by staff desperate to help, to a place that did not have what I asked for (the funniest was being taken to the computer section when I asked for pheasant or other ‘game’); and the one that made me very angry last visit, when I tried to use the self service till.&nbsp;

Today I was behind an old couple with a trolley.&nbsp; They had not put a ‘Next customer’ thing behind their shopping.&nbsp; I could not reach one because they were not moving forward, and there were only 2 of the fecking things.&nbsp; I had birthday cards (which took forever to pick, thanks to the staff member with her trolley in front of the cards I wanted to pick from, whilst she had the involved conversation with her fat friend blocking the other side of the aisle).&nbsp; I had to unpick the cards from another bag, so the 70 year old ‘assistant’ with bleached hair scanned 2 of my shopping as the old people’s.&nbsp; I said sorry, but the bleach woman tutted and told me ‘That’s what we have these for!’&nbsp; I lost it a bit then.&nbsp; I did not swear, but I did shout.&nbsp; I pointed out that the couple in front (who were already siding with the woman who should not have a job) had not put a separator on, I could not reach one, and that ASDA was useless.&nbsp; I then left everything on the till.

I then went to Sainsbury’s and did parents shopping, at the same price, but with much less stress.&nbsp; Then got cards from <I>Sussex Stationers</i>.

I then spent the next few hours in Wetherspoons.&nbsp; Met a very varied selection of mad people.&nbsp;

Came back to the parents.&nbsp; Dad asked where I had been, and then asked ‘Where’s the money coming from?’&nbsp; I asked him how much it would cost to pay someone for what I was doing for him.&nbsp; I then calmly asked the critical questions about him looking after himself, and he answered them seriously.&nbsp; I need to test him on finding things in the freezer.&nbsp; I have framed the tests for him to succeed, he has proved he can cope so far.&nbsp;

2009-04-04
1
just blog
Ma is feeling better, though still weak.&nbsp; Dad is calmer for her being home.&nbsp; She also seems to have sorted out one of his big issues as well, to do with how he uses the bath.&nbsp; I am doing the heavy work, including the cooking (today I cooked trotters for me and dad, with steamed cabbage and leek with orange for us all.&nbsp; I then made brawn with what was left of the trotters).&nbsp; So everything is calm.&nbsp; I feel happy it is so, but but not happy about, and within, myself.&nbsp;

The thing is though, over the last week or so, television, even more than alcohol, has been eating time I would be feeding depression with.&nbsp; Perhaps if I signed on and got a telly of my own I could suppress whatever it is that makes me do this blog, and all the rest of it.&nbsp; I am not suggesting it as a career move, but I do have to wonder if it is not enough.&nbsp;

2009-04-06
1
Calm
Apart from keeping alive the most basic human instincts can be summed up as <em>family</em> and <em>fame</em>.  Not having created a family of my own my parents are most of my family.  It is good they are still alive, and today has been the first truly stress free day for a while.  Makes a difference to my thinking, I can tell you.  I am not going to give up all all the things I have done over the last 5 years, but it may make best sense to think of bradwan and the rest as a hobby, rather than a pursuit.

The plum blossom is is out in the back garden, and the tree closest to the house fills the view when looking straight out of my father’s window.  It is a truly beautiful sight.  It has been very warm for a couple of days.  Have seen a peacock butterfly and a fritillary I cannot be sure of.  Primroses in the Hawth are stunning as well, but still only a few bluebells.  I got a copy of modern large scale map of the wood today and used is to start looking at the actual landscape.  It is only a section, and has no details, other than buildings and outlines, but just that is enough for me to see the wood in a totally new light.  I went exploring the small part I have walked through, and played in, from a young age.

Cooked Sunday dinner, with ma’s recipes, and it was very good.  The main was a Karelian dish which grandma made. 

<HR>
Small sirlion steak (stewing will do, but it will need more cooking), lambs heart, liver (lambs if possible but I could only get ox), onion, leeks, sage, rosemary, ginger, red wine, salt.

Cut the fat off the steak and keep.  Chop the fat, and put in a heavy pan on a medium heat to sweat. 
Slice the steak into thin strips (less than 1 cm).
Cut all fat and gristle off the heart and kidney and throw away.  Slice both (heart at least as thin as the steak.
Chop everything else.
Chop the fat, and put in a heavy pan on a medium heat to sweat.
When the fat has coated the pan put steak in to brown.  Add heart and stir until it is very lightly browned.  Take it all out.
Put all the veg in and sir until the onion has softened. 
Add kidney and cook for a few minutes.  Add rest of meat. 
Add half a glass or more of red wine.  Stir.
Stir, turn heat down to lowest.  Cover pan with foil if lid not tight, put on lid.  Cook for as long as it takes for the steak to soften enough to be pulled apart.  Turn heat off and leave for at least 15 minutes.

<hr>
I served this with potatoes and a hot salad made with a courgette cut into strips with a peeler, a little celery, and steamed over the potatoes.

The pudding was apple crumble.  Ma’s secrets are to use shop bought crumble mix, but mix it with ground nuts (she only had pine nuts yesterday, but they were grand) and to dot some ginger jam on the middle layer of apples.  I did not use any other sweetener, and the apples were still a little crunchy, but it was easily the best pudding I have made.

2009-04-07
1
Good news.
Social Services have called about mum and the state of the house twice in the last two days.  I talked to them both times, and my mother did once.  I had discussed what I thought needed doing with her, and and we had agreed the important things, and she passed that on very clearly, and I added my piece.  As a result they are now aware of my father and his major health problems; are fixing the handrail on the stairs in the near future; and doing a proper assessment of needs and critical improvements.  Perhaps most importantly I am also now listed as a significant other, and they promised to tell me when the assessment will take place.

The result is that I think the whole family has moved forward, and can move even further on for the better.  I am a lot calmer as well.  I have snapped at people recently, but on the other hand I have managed to do a lot, and not just here (the ASDA store is still pants though).

<hr>
<strong>Notes</strong>

I have been trying to sort stuff out, and need to note for myself that my blood pressure was <strong>142/80</strong>.  There is other stuff, but I will stick those on the next blog, unless something exciting makes me forget, or something boring, or I just forget.

<hr>
I walked through the Hawth again.  Holly is spreading very quickly through the wood, and making major changes to pathways.  I forced open one pathway, that I regularly took just last year, with my bare hands.  It was a good use of hand and mind, and I learned how holly grows.  It is a bit like bramble, in that new shoots use older ones as support, so they very quickly form a thick screen.  Unlike bramble though holly has defense on the leaf, not on the branch, and the branches are easily snapped when young.  So I cleared the youngest shoots first to give a clear grasp at older ones, and got through remarkably quickly.

The bird song is really loud in all the places I passed with trees, and that’s almost everywhere.  The nicest was a song thrush.  less of a show off solo tune than you get from a blackbird, but better playing. 

2009-04-08
1
Getting so much better every day
A very good day indeed.

The next show (as long as I do not come up with another one very soon) will be <I><B>Crawley, Kipling & Carr…&nbsp; (not cakes!)</I></B>, at Crawley Library, the evening of 16th June.&nbsp; I talked with Library woman Mandy Bright (a person whose surname reflects the owner better than anyone I can think of) today, and she came up with the bracketed part of the title.

Ma used to have a rotary drier, which rusted at the base and fell over at least 10 years ago.&nbsp; I tried to dig the buried support out soon after, but it proved to be concrete and big.&nbsp; I then hit the metal shard with the biggest hammers in my parents house.&nbsp; I reduced the spike, but there was still enough left for me to trip over when I was pegging out washing this morning.&nbsp; So after meeting Mandy, and starting to experiment with mapping the Hawth, I lifted the turf around it, and then lifted the iron and concrete mushroom out.&nbsp;

I then dug up and moved the peonies in front of the front door.&nbsp; It was one, or the only one, plant that was in the garden when we moved in, and is an old variety, and is the only thing ma wanted saving from any possible new path.&nbsp; June and Margaret (old friends of mum) both visited whilst I was digging, and both took a root with shoots away to plant.&nbsp;

I also helped cook, and vacuumed, watched telly, and went to Whetherspoons in the evening, where I met John, who told me of Kiplings Garage, on the site of Mr Kiplings Cakes, on the site of Daisy Fresh, on the site of Crawley Cakes.&nbsp; This was my first pub call since last Thursday, though alcohol has passed my lips since.

The brawn, eaten yesterday, was lovely, and the trotters that it came from cost a pound, and have fed two bloke for, so far, 3 meals and 4 snacks.

2009-04-10
1
Where am I?
By the time you read this my <a href="http:www.bradwan.co.uk">bradwan site</a> will probably have passed the <strong>10.000 hits known to me</strong> mark.  I may talk more about this later this blog.  There again it may be added to the ‘to do before extinction’ list.

It has been a very important, and successful, visit.  Lots of things have changed.  Either of my parents could be dead in minutes, but so could we all, and I have helped all my family cope better with the future, rather than bury themselves in a past; me more than anyone.  If I have to come back ‘home’ I am in a better psychological state to do so.  It would not be easy, but I have very little of importance to keep me in any other place; or keep doing any particular, including this.

Physically, it all caught up with me yesterday.  I did some work, and walked with mother to the shops after dinner, on her longest walk since leaving hospital.  She coped much better than I expected, and feels much better for the exercise.  Afterwards I was a wreck though.  I could barely keep my eyes open, and was in bed soon after eight.

Today I cooked kedgeree, and ma did an apple pudding (mine was better!  Though not as sweet).  Then Matt came round, took me for a drink, and waited whilst I did a big shop at Sainsburys.  I then had to go out to get the milk and bread I had forgotten.  I called in at the Tilgate, where I left a pint of vinegar which they claimed was Speckled Hen.  I walked to the Charcoal Burner where I met a Phil and Sara-Jane, and Sara-Jane knew Matt very well.

2009-04-12
1
Back, back home
Came back yesterday.&nbsp; Felt numb.&nbsp; No emotion at all, was in bed by 8 and slept the clock round.&nbsp; Digging the woodsedge out of the front garden before I set of was not the brightest thing I could have done, but it is something I will not have to do next time I am down.&nbsp; I talked with the taxi driver taking me to Three Bridges, and that was the last conversation I had on the journey.&nbsp; I had no alcohol either on the way, or since.&nbsp;

Today I relaxed by cleaning (a change is as good as a rest!).&nbsp; It is early, and I am off back to bed.&nbsp;

One little thing: the I saw best thing on telly whilst I was away, it is a new BBC childrens show called <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jwqnz">Timmy Time</a> by Aardman.

2009-04-13
1
Hope new life blossoms with hope for you
I have slept for 24 of the 48 hours after coming ‘home’ and me and Joe had a grand trip to Marsden, via Brighouse, today, including a canal trip and stops for beer in Huddersfield, Halifax and Bradford.&nbsp; So we got the use of our rover ticket; and had a cracking time and all.&nbsp; So I reckon that counts as a rest.

2009-04-18
1
Blog blog
I usually write this blog as a text document and then post it on the blog here and the ‘shadow’ <a href="http://www.myspace.com/bradwanpoet">myspace site</a>.  That means I sometime do not know when my last blog was, especially when it has been several days.

I know that since the last blog I have been a potentially crucial Arts Council funding seminar, and had another, pre-planned, trip to the parents, and I could probably do with recording a lot for my benefit, and I write this mostly for me.  But I also need to write out some stuff about my web presence as part of trying to think things out.  The parents are much better than I hoped, so the lovely journey, the good meeting with Kate, the sorting of the Crawley Show, and all the vital stuff I got from the seminar, will wait, or go unwritten.  <B>If the below bores you then I urge you to skip it and call back in a few days</b>. 

This blog always appears here first, apart from the very few occasions when everything is down, and that has happened very rarely recently.  The truth is though, that those sites are, at present, largely an archive, and some parts are a fossil.  I write the contents in html, and but I am only interested in the product, not the process.  I can post pictures, but have to cut and paste code, or re-read the idiots guide, every time I do it.  I do not mind doing it, but do not enjoy it.

I do need a web presence, and Roger has created truly remarkable web architecture for the bradwan sites, but I have to wonder if properly using social networking sites would be better.  In terms of impact, as far as I can tell, I am getting half the hits on bradwan I was getting 2 years ago, and the google rankings for all but bradwan and my name seem to have dropped.  Me doing so little is an obvious big fault here, but apart from creating new content, all the things I could do to increase my web presence requires me at least making some effort; and these last few weeks has brought home to me that there are far more important things in my life than websites.

On the other hand the <a href="http://www.myspace.com/bradwanpoet">myspace site</a> is rubbish, because myspace is rubbish (and it is owned by Rupert, seed of satan, Murdock).  I have not changed the homepage there for 6 months, and all it is is a shadow blog, and a poor one at that, and I am wondering if I should get one elsewhere (which would be my third).  I have also tried creating shadow sites, but the best effort was on my ‘free’ blueyonder space, which is now owned by virgin (second only to myspace in terms of owners) and is almost as worse as useless. 

If I cannot be fussed working on my own site, it would seem daft to work more on shadow sites though. 

This does link with the Arts Council stuff, in that the most important thing it helped me with was with thinking about my own efforts.  I can do most of the bradwan stuff as a hobby, instead of trying to make some money, but seeing there is only me doing it I need to be better focused on costs and benefits regardless; and monetary costs are the least important aspect of any such analysis I do.

2009-04-20
1
My dad is 85
My father’s 85th birthday today has been a really nice day.&nbsp; With Basil being here as well, we have all sorted quite a lot of outwardly trivial, but internally vital, stuff out.&nbsp; I opened the bottle of Moet et Chandon that ma bought at the local Coop, and we all toasted each other, with deep warmth.

I think I lost a blog since the last one, trying to fill in gaps in the last week, but if I did it was probably long winded, like the one before.

The daytime weather has been very warm, and the apple blossom is out front and back, and the front tree set flowers before the last of the greengage blossoms fell.&nbsp; Me and Basil walked through the Hawth wood yesterday, and saw a peacock butterfly and several speckled woods fighting, as well as the fruiting body of slime mould, a fascinating life form.&nbsp; We also discovered that the shaw on the playing field edge of the ‘new’ wood contains an outgrown coppice that could easily be 300 years old, and a conjoined beech and oak tree that Basil reckons as rare, and he is a man who would know.

We went to the local Wetherspoons, and had a Finnish beer called Sinebrychof Porter.&nbsp; We sorted stuff out, and I talked to two Delta Airlines crews from America, who would have been impressed enough with my knowledge, but were astounded that basil knew their towns, but more about the geography and history of them than they did (though, to be fair, Americans seem to either be proud of their town, and stay there, or proud to achieve, and stay anywhere.

One thing that made Basil laugh was my description of someone I had been trying to do business with, as: <i>So powerful she is not even chairwoman of the organisation.</i>

2009-04-21
1
I found myself down by the dockside, remembering the old days of LIVERPOOL AND ROTHERHIDE
A flecking good day.

Working backward:

Good mail from American cousin Mary Beth, which I am a little too fresh to read, seeing it has documents.

Popped into the Charcoal Burner on the way to this home.&nbsp; Talked to the new barmaid, and discovered she was Bev Cooper, that I went to Bishop Bell and Thomas Bennett schools with.&nbsp; She is looking well.

Had beer in Clerkenwell.&nbsp; Anne, the perfect barperson, and a massive scorer in most other areas, has gone home to New Hampshire, but I did manage to force my conversation on almost everyone who came to the bar.&nbsp; The Spanish lass having the birthday did seem impressed with my origami present, as did double gin drinking <a href="Fasionslant.blogsot.com">Bianca Pal</a> (if the link does not work, google, or give upo like I would).&nbsp; Before that Richard at the Horseshoe laughed at what I told him when he asked me what I had been up to since the last time I was in.&nbsp; I did the <i>Little Britton Festival – celebrating the musical coalman of Clerkenwell Green</i> in this good pub.

Before that I spent quality time with Kate, who, sort of, offered me work.&nbsp; We met at East Croydon, when I was leaning on the railing by the phone boxes watching the pigeons, and she was in one of them trying to ring me.&nbsp; Went to the Spittlefields Market alternative fashion show, where I talked to the wonderful Edna Holmes, who is the first person I have met who remembers the Blitz.&nbsp;

I got a lift to Three Bridges from Basil, after the whole family had enjoyed the mutton, srag, dopiasra curry I had cooked, the best I have done so far.&nbsp;

The sun was shining, the light was clear, I saw new stuff, met old friends, and could not have enjoyed it any more than I did.

2009-04-23
1
This happy breed
I dunno if days get better than this.&nbsp; I have had no sex or money today, so the answer is probably yes; but if I keep my expectations reasonable then: no.

Today is Saint George’s day, and, the tourist industry’s Shakespeare’s Birthday (now rebranded Shakespeare Day on account of the claim for the date being so smelly).

I got a mail form Mandy in the late morning inviting me to join the volunteers reciting Shakespeare at Crawley Library’s celebration of Shakespeare Day.&nbsp; I, and a small childrens theatre group, turned out to be the only volunteers, but I did two stints, and loved it.&nbsp; The chance to accost strange women and ask them if they fancied a sonnet was heaven sent.&nbsp; I produced a leaflet for Sussex Day to hand out before the first stint (and put the right day on those I printed for the second), gave advice about play writing to a str§iking woman, and nobody that I trapped made rude noises or threw things, which is all I can ask for in an audience.&nbsp; I did sonnets and Henry V, and slipped in my own feast of Crispin poem, and a few others.&nbsp; Being able to declaim:

<I>Cry God, for Harry, England and Saint George</i>

In my best voice was worth more than money could buy.

I heard my first grasshoppers of the year, and gavbe ma a good telling off for licking her fingers and picking up the meat she was about to carve.&nbsp; It could have become a Ramsey Kitchen Nightmare then, it would have even a few weeks ago, but after ma stormed out, I laughed, carved, served up, and we all had a grand dinner.

I also went to the Jubilee Oak, and later the Charcoal Burner.&nbsp; Much more of a sense of belonging than I am used to.

The shocking news, which is at the end deliberately, is that I called Viv Copper to ask if anything was going on this weekend; and he told me he was back in the Royal Marsden Hospital with a relapse.&nbsp; Anyone who knows the hospital will know what it does, and anyone who knows Viv will care.&nbsp; Ma is preying for him, and not just because he used to drive them to the shops for the dial-a-ride service.&nbsp; He is a musician and organiser makes things happen in Crawley, and is a genuinely talented man.&nbsp;

2009-04-24
1
Bluebell again
I did the bluebell walk for the second time today, and the bluebells were the most intense I can remember, I also found a snooker table sized patch of cowslips in <a href="http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=wad&q=faygate&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl">Tamar’s Field</a>.&nbsp; I did call her, but could only leave a message.&nbsp; I also tried to sketch bluebells, but only had a pencil, some coloured pens, and pastels.&nbsp; With my level of skill and understanding I needed coloured pencils to have any chance of doing justice.&nbsp; I will try and scan what I did, and then add more pen and pencil, and post on the <a href="http://www.bradwan.co.uk">bradwan site</a>.

The Frog and Nightgown was open!&nbsp; And ex-Halifax bomber pilot Jim is still alive.

Pitched up a fascinating rock from the roadside.&nbsp; A piece of sandstone wrapped with hard shale.&nbsp; The sandstone must have dropped into mud many, many years ago.

Got the bus from Roffey to Horsham, where I bought a Gooseberry and a blackcurrant bush from Wilkinsons, and a good weight of vegetable.&nbsp; It was the first time I had been shopping there for a long time, and I hated it.&nbsp; Too much money and too little sense has turned it into a pimp’s car of a town.&nbsp;

Carrying the shopping and planting the bushes left me too tired to go to the Charcoal Burner to say hello to Viv, and I did not feel like any drink.

2009-04-26
1
Cava Sunday morning
Sunday morn.&nbsp; Ma is cooking shoulder of lamb, and I am finishing the vintage Cava I opened and shared out amongst the family.&nbsp; Yesterday morning, after some thought and research over the previous few days, I wrote the article about Arundel Kate, and sent it as a draft in the evening.

Finished writing at about 2 pm.&nbsp; Checked the BBC Football Conference page, and decided to go and see Crawley Vs Histon.&nbsp; When I got there the carpark was empty, which is unusual on a match day, even at Crawley.&nbsp; Turns out all Conference games this weekend are being played on Sunday (not sure I will be there, on account of discovering a ticket is <I>£16</i>.&nbsp; That is 3 or 4 quid more than I paid last season).

After the usually deep thought (or dither, the choice of word depends on whether it is me doing it, or somebody else waiting for me to finish doing it) I went for a walk to the Charcoal Burner, via <a href="http://www.crawley.gov.uk/stellent/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&ssDocName=INT142411">Tilgate Nature Centre</a>.&nbsp; It were a grand walk.

The site of the wooden huts built for the Canadian Army camp, built early in the last World War, and later used to house men building Crawley, including my dad, has been turned into a recreational centre, with huts.&nbsp; They cannot be the same huts, but it looks for all the world like an army camp, apart from the lack of any windows.

Tilgate Nature Centre has been developed really, really well.&nbsp; It now has as many animals as you would get in a small zoo, but still feels like it is part of the local ecosystem, only less asthma inducing than in the days when I had to ‘run’ past it practising for the Thomas Bennett mob run (which they banned asthmatics from taking part in in my 3rd year!).&nbsp; An otter saw me looking at it, climbed out of its pond and came to within a few feet (I think to check I had no fish).&nbsp; I pointed this out to a young lad pushing his sisters pram past, and he thanked me.&nbsp;

I also saw the usual squabble you get when a small child is throwing his sandwich to the duck, only these waterbirds were rare and exotic species.&nbsp; Still enorous fun though.&nbsp; The largest pair looked a bit like black necked swans, but much smaller.&nbsp; They were still four times the size of the aggressive little duck that was bullying and pecking one of them.&nbsp; The other did make some effort to keep the angry little sod away, but did no more than threaten.

Earlier on I saw a small child tearfully refusing to go down an alley between two building.&nbsp; I walked up to it and its mother, and saw a male turkey by the steps at the other end of the alley.&nbsp; I walked up to the stairs, stopped and looked at the turkey.&nbsp; It looked up with one mad eye, and fluffed out in a threat display, but like the partner of the bullied waterbird it was all show.&nbsp; I climbed down and looked at some love birds.&nbsp; A grandad took my place and looked at the turkey.&nbsp; He was joined by his very young grandson.&nbsp; All three of us looked at the turkey, who fluffed his feathers, and climbed down the stairs, obviously feeling it was a job well done.&nbsp; I reckon that turkey was a bouncer in its last life, and had had been so true to his dharma that he was reincarnated as the male turkey at Tilgate Nature Centre.

I then walked along the Tilgate/Furnace Green edge of Tilgate Park (past the allotments my dad grew a massive annual crop of moans on decades ago, and the only place I have seen a slow worm, and where Sorrel Clement used to live, the woman than made a lisp such a turn on for me).&nbsp; I watched the final scores in the Charcoal Burner.&nbsp; Bradford City won, but so did Dagenham & Redbridge, so they cannot make the play-offs.&nbsp; It is like hearing that someone you once loved so deeply you thought you could never live without them, has been sent back to prison.&nbsp; Most people would be happy to see an abusive ex get punished, but some people, like me, just wished they sorted themselves out, you you could be friends again.

2009-04-28
1
You’re working!!!?
In the last two days I have done two writing jobs which should bring me £160 plus telephone costs.&nbsp; The first was the Arundel piece, to which which Kate responded: <i>

Thank you very much for prompt delivery of Arundel copy.&nbsp; It reads very well, I enjoy your sense of history and I appreciate your thorough source-giving.</i>

Soon after she offered me a job interviewing Southern Discus Driver Philippa Roles, who drives a train, and threw discus for Great Britain in the Beijing Olympics.&nbsp; I was sent the questions, and fixed up to phone Philippa on her break, and did the interview, wrote it up, and sent it within an hour.&nbsp; The response was:

<i>Wow, thanks ..&nbsp; I appreciate your speed and style is good and conversational.&nbsp; </i>

I enjoyed both jobs enormously, and unlike the pittance I got for the 40 hours it took me to write the poem for <i>The Art of Trees calendar</i>, and the messing me about offers that followed, this was a proper job, with clear requirements, response to my questions, and feed-back.&nbsp; It is actually more, per hour, than I got paid for the <i>Football and Real Ale Guides</i> (though lack of experience meant I spent more time writing the <a href="http://www.bradwan.co.uk/page.php?page=cultural_guide">Bradwan Cultural Guides</a></i> for those than I would now).&nbsp;

I also did a very big shop, and cooked the last BBC, Saturday Kitchen, tall chef’s, with stupid cars (I bet he’s glad to be sucking on the teat of telly now), 3 way chicken.&nbsp; Cutting up a chicken to go further was done by <i>The Food Programme</i> years ago, and in some ways theirs was better, but tall man’s version was, just, do-able in almost one go.&nbsp; I roasted the bone thighs for the chunky pate with lemon last night.&nbsp; I should have boiled the breast on the bone at the same time, because taking the meat off the bone involved pain.&nbsp; I tell you what though, boiling the breast and frying it made all of the family, who have never like the dryness of chicken breast, realise it could taste good.

2009-04-30
1
The Nightmare of East Surrey Hospital Returns
Ma’s back in East Surrey Hospital, though she called a few minutes ago (it’s 09.30) to say she was being sent home.&nbsp; so I am now clueless as to what I’ll be doing next.

Yesterday I went with her for a foot clinic check just after 10.00.&nbsp; She had an angina attack and was sent for an ECG.&nbsp; The Doctor decided that seeing she was having so many attacks after being discharged from East Surrey at the beginning of this month she needed sorting (especially as the follow up appointment she was supposed to have, never happened).

I got a taxi home to get my insulin and pack an emergency bag for her, and took a taxi back to the hospital.&nbsp; The Doctor, decided she should go to East Surrey, and we waited until 16.45 for the ambulance to take us.&nbsp; We got there at 18.00.&nbsp; The casualty department is a shambles.&nbsp; The ambulance crew were told to take her to Medical Assessment (where she was last time) but they were told to take here back by the woman in charge.&nbsp; They were rightly complaining about being forced to do a porters job.&nbsp; The staff at casualty were rightly complaining about her being sent back to the appallingly overcrowded, laughably named, Rapid Assessment Unit.&nbsp; I ended up giving ma her tablets (which she would not have had if I had not been there), wheeling her to the toilet, and pushing her to the consulting bay the doctor (from another unti) who finally saw her at 22.30, had to find for herself.&nbsp; I got back here, by bus and walking, at 23.10

I am very, very angry.&nbsp; If she had been kept in for 2 nights and a 24 hour ECG, or had had even a proper drug review, the last grim 24 hours would have been time well spent.&nbsp; If she just gets promised an appointment, that could have been made for her at Crawley at 12.00 yesterday, it will have just a massive and pointless stress.

2009-04-30
2
Sunshine after…
You need to read the last blog to make the best sense of this one.

Ma got sent home from the hospital in a taxi driven by an ex Bennett boy from Broadfield, although she almost went to Shoreham in the wrong taxi.&nbsp; She says she is feeling much better for the trip to hospital, and has lost the depression she had had before, which is good.&nbsp;

Dad is worrying me much more as a result of the last day though.&nbsp; I want to fix things so I can be reasonably sure he could cope on his own for a short while.&nbsp; I was always sure he could cope on his own for at least 36 hours, and maybe double that, but he had a lot of small accidents in just the 12 hours I was away from the house yesterday.&nbsp; Not important in themselves, but leaving a big puddle of oil on the larder floor that seeped into the kitchen, and forgetting to put a filter in the coffee machine he has used every day for over a decade, has to make me wonder if how long he could look after himself without coming to harm.

I need to think about what to do about the pair of them, but I am enjoying the challenge.

I talked briefly to Kate this morning, who I did not realise was editing the magazine I have been writing for, although she will not be paying the invoice.&nbsp; She said she was not going to use one of the things I wrote as an extra, so it is at the bottom of this blog in <i>italics</i> (sorry Sirpa).

I also got a lovely surprise e-mail from Richard Stedman, who I have not heard from for ages.&nbsp; He is still the person to have paid me the largest single amount of money for writing (or any other ‘creative’ activity) by a big margin, but I spent a long time on that job, whereas for this latest one I did in 6 hours!&nbsp; And Kate wants to use me again.&nbsp; I really hope she does, but franchises mean there may not be more than the issue I wrote for.&nbsp;

One result of the mail from Richard is that I am thinking of adding to my <a href="http://www.bradwan.co.uk/page.php?page=cultural_guide">bradwan Cultural Guides</a>.&nbsp; I have always had the feeling I should either do more with these than just post them on-line, or do more on-line so as to benefit from posting them, but at least I am thinking of bringing life back to one of the most Jurassic parts of my web sites (and that suggests I am less depressed than I was).

PS.&nbsp; Me and ma agree that the new version of BBC’s Country File is rubbish.&nbsp; Today we all watched a new ITV programme called <a href="http://www.itv.com/Lifestyle/Countrywise/default.html">Countrywise</a&gt;, which has done a brilliant job of doing all the things the BBC used to do on Country File before they moved it to prime time and decided to make it just like every other BBC programme!&nbsp; (omG, I am blogging about the telly!&nbsp; I must have been here for longer than I though).

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