September 2009

A really relaxing day, but before I try and remember what I did I have to record some of the things Martin said about my site and blog last night.

I read it at work during my lunchtime and sometimes I am nearly peeing myself when I read it.

It’s a great site. It’s simple and does what it says on the tin.

When you die you will probably be recognised as a great British eccentric.

This morning I got a call from Daragh Corcoran of Radio Leeds to fix up a feature he is going to record about the UK Hat Throwing Championship. This will be at White Wells, Wednesday 7th October 2009, and will be a chance to practise your hat throwing. Please come along if you can.

I also got a mail from John Grosse about a possible Curry & Kipling gig in Surrey.
Then went to Keighley. Had a nice pint and a good chat with Roger in the Cricketers. Then bought pork pie, ox-tail and tripe at the market. Dropped a poster off at Reids Bookshop and went to the Boltmakers, where I only had 3 pints and a bit of a chat. I also learnt why my facebook page had vanished from a man in the pub, who was a thousand times more useful that shiteface’s so called help page.

The birch trees are just on the turn to gold, and today was warm and sunny, I feel the need to see them without a train or bus window in between.

Popped into Fanny’s Ale House on the way home and had a long chat with Marcus.

A really nice night at Rafters (I would have made a link to its beerintheevening page, but the site has gone proper shite now. I do not accept the pop-ups they have had for years, so now they have new pages opening instead, to milk advertising cash out of the work me, my brother, and thousands of others have done in the free reviewing of all the boozers.

Anyway, I left an offer of a free pint behind, because I had had just enough. Yes I bleeding well did! I walked out on free beer.

I was there because I got a call from Martin, who I met at the Polish Parish Club, which I wrote about here this time last year, because I did a Curry and Kipling there. There were a lot of other people there that I knew a little when I saw them, and better by the time I left.

Yesterday I also got a surprise mail from a bloke who came to my London Walburgas Launch 4 years ago! He asked to buy a Little Red Head Book!

I have only sold 4 tickets for the Curry & Kipling Show on the 8th Oct. (if anyone did not notice that that was a plug, that was a plug), but I am not worrying. Including the Bradford Cathedral show: City Heroes – Finding Robert Torrance I have 4 different shows and one, potentially, big event, in the next 6 weeks, and I am not worried? My hope is that this relaxation will result in all the shows being more enjoyable; and not just for me either.

I intended going back to Ilkley yesterday to catch Saturday shoppers with the pie, but I was just too tires, and not Still tired and emotional either. I decided to leave it until today. I did a little work, and some washing, and had a nice day.

PayPal button for the next Kipling Night is finally up on my bradwan site, and also available from Ilkley Pets, Leeds Road.

Realised this morning that it was still a cretinous part replacement bus service to Ilkley, with a journey time of 90, as opposed to 28, minutes. So stayed home. Only trip out was to do a heavy shop.

I have done some very good cooking this weekend. Yesterday I fried mashed, defrosted, frozen peas with onion, garlic and chilli. Added shredded white cabbage, beetroot vinegar, spices, sugar and peanut butter. Let it cook down, and added tripe pieces, cooked pasta and spinach. It was lovely, and the soup from it made an even better lunch today.

Tonight I cut cheap chicken legs, some to store some to cook. I took the bone out of the thighs, dried them and fried them with onion, garlic, mushrooms, seseme seeds, seasoning, basil and a little lemon juice, adding spinach near the end. I served it with rice cooked in the chicken water. Even better than yesterday.

Well now. It’s been 8 pints in 9 hours, or perhaps 9 in 10.

Signed on yesterday and started a poem for Viv Cooper in the dole office, as the rites were being performed. I will post something on here, even if it is no good enough for my own eye.

Today: Ilkley, White Wells to test hat throwing; Ilkley Gazette (they used the report I wrote); Riverside; Bat Tat, whose manger could be bothered calling me to tell me they were not going to bother putting on a duck dinner; Midland, where the lad who’d previously fiddled wi me pie welcomed me aas a friend’ Leeds to the Grove, Gary who drinks far too much; Bradford and to the Woodman, Sarah and Leroy.

I think that is about it.

Sunday 20th

Went from Ramsgate to Crawley today.

No trains running from Ramsgate towards London or Canterbury, so another spirit sapping replacement bus journey in prospect, but thankfully when Basil asked if he could have the car to drive me to the station and mentioned the lack of trains, his boss suggested driving me to Canterbury West, a saving of an hour on my journey.

Basil dropped me at the station in plenty of time (it was the quiestest he had ever seen the roads, but there again he had never seen them on a Sunday). I had time to walk to the nearest pub, even though it was a good way away, but my backpack was just too heavy to even think of it. I had a jar for ma of Sanctuary Honey (The Bees make it, the Monks extract it) and all the books I bought in Ramsgate but could not finish (though I did finish the very good Derail: Why Trains Crash by Nicholas Faith and left that for my brother.

The journey was ok. The turning of leaves to browns, reds and golds has just started and things were bright but not hot like yesterday.

Mother is fine, and dad is ok, but he had an minor accident on the way back from church. No damage and hopefully not the start of a pattern.

Monday 21st.

Did revisions on the Ilkley Fringe flyer but have still not put up a PayPal button for Curry & Kipling.

Opened the bottle of champaign dad had got to celebrate my birthday. Ma had some, then insisted on some more, which went straight to her head, but she did not fall or drop anything. I took a wash to the laundrette and bought and read the latest issue of Vintage Roadscene. I only ever see it in the newsagents nearest the Coop in Tilgate, and Vintage Roadscene is just the right length for a full wash and dry. Actually someone had left a copy of a Top Gear mag, so I read that.

Tuesday 22nd.

Back ‘home’ in Bradford. Viv Cooper\s funeral is Thursday 24th. in Crawley. If I was coming home just so as to not lose the cost of the pre-booked ticket, or just to do stuff for the Ilkley shows I would have stayed down to attend it. I may have done so even though I am due to sign on here at the same time as the funeral; I may even have been able to sort things so I could sign in Crawley (though not without much trouble). The fact I am writing this suggests I feel it is excuses, albeit more than adequate ones.

I left my mobile in Crawley. I should get it back, but until I do I cannot even call the people I usually drink with, because I only have their numbers on the mobile.


Blog 17.9,09

My school friend Viv Cooper died last week. He had been ill with cancer. A throughly decent man.


The below are obviously catch ups.

Thursday 17th

I called into the Betjemin Arms today, where the ever charming Yvette told me she had heard me on the radio! It must have been BCB, but she was really busy and could not remember details, but did say she thought it was really amusing; so probably the show with Joe Ogden, rather than the last one in an afternoon, which I do not think I even mentioned on this blog.

I am at my brother’s again, mostly to see Basil but also to find out if there is anything behind the Ramsgate 2010 Arts Festival. I have independently sorted out two possible venues and shows, but need at least somebody here to be promoting them to make them worth trying for. Both would fit an arts festival like a good sock. After a fair bit of detectve work and phone calls I have an invitation to meet one or more of the organizers,, but no at a set a meeting; leastways I have no definite time offered.

The train from Leeds was enjoyable. OI got talking to two American ladies and a couple from Wimbledon who had been visiting Skipton.

Walking from the station a couple of lads I would guess to be 14, came up to me on bikes. I thought one of them was asking me if I wanted a wee. I had gone down a side street to look at a building I had note noticed before, so it made some sense as a question; but not from boys on bikes. After I asked him to say it again 3 times it turned out he was asking Have you got any weed! They did not look stupid and desperate,, but obviously were.

Friday 18th

Basil seems very well.

The driving force behind the Ramsgate Arts Festival seems to be Harriet, one of the family involved in a swish and very well received restaurant called Age & Sons. She knew Basil because he had sold them a quince and cranberry crop, tey being very keen on locally sourced produce. When I talked to her on the phone a few days ago she declred my brother to be lovely, which surprised and pleased him.

The trouble is that they are so busy that getting to talked to her was a real trial. Also only one person in Ramsgate, the woman the tourist office rang, knew anything about it; and she provided useful telephone numbers.

I finally met Harriet and her chef brother Toby at the second attempt in the afternoon, very briefly, but I got what I needed to know. The festival is next August, they are already a limited company, should be a registered charity soon, and already have backing.

I want to do a show at the Sailor’s Church, and went into a yacht dealers next door, where the lovely Karen gave me a card and an introduction to the Royal Ramsgate Yacht Club; where I talked to the lady who obviously, but not officially, runs the place; and who promised to pass any show proposals on to people who could actually help.

I popped into the Artillery Arms, where Liza the landlady was having a nightmare time with BT. It was so bad I offered to pull beer for her, which she accepted. In the 50 minutes before she slammed the phone down I only served twice, but it nice to be able to help.

Later in the Churchill I got talking to young, pretty and very pieced barmaid Amy, mostly about her bad feet and, to me, obvious issue with a lack of pain receptors, especially in her feet. It turned out one of the regulars has been nagging her to go to the doctor for months, so I urged the other blokes at the bar to tell him, and remind her, she really has to go to the doctors.


In the afternoon me and Basil got a bus to Margate and walked back to Broadstairs, mostly along the cliff top. Not a long walk but it was the hottest sun I have felt, possibly this year, and there was a need to get back for Vespers on time. We had a pint at a pub called the Captain Digby halfway along, but I was getting dehydrated and ratty soon after.

We were walking along a cycleway. A long haired, wild eyed, dark asian was walking towards us on our side of the path. A pair of cyclists came up behind us. One of them rang his bell.The asian looked at them and deliberately stepped in front of them. It was a pyschotic act. The bikers had to break abruptly but did not crash. I told them the man had done it deliberately. I turned around and the nutter had stopped and was staring as hard as he could. I needed liquid so while I did think about stopping to call him a dangerous nutter who needed to see his looney doctor more often, base instinct drove me on.

It turned out really well as a walk in the end. In Broadstairs I had walked passed the Neptunes Hall when Basil called if I wanted a pint. Within 4 minutes we where both outside a lovely pint of Shepherd Neame, and I was feeling human. Basil gave the opinion that so many many were declared unfit to serve in WWI because so many of them drank tea with sugar rather than beer. The thing is, until very recently in Britain, poor diets were poor in calories (still true in any famine). Beer did form a major proportion of working class calorie intake, and provided traces of other important things; none of which are present in sugary tea.

I have just noticed there is a blog missing from Monday. It is missing on both my blogs so obviously was not posted.

Briefly, to put the below blog in context. I wrote a report for the Ilkley Gazette and called two of the audience to get quotes. Both really enjoyed it, but one gave a long critique. Mostly fair, and I did not get defensive, so the self therapy by doing shows must be working.

Me and Joe got a lift to Ilkley Station but nobody could take us to Bradford I had to finish bang on 9.20 to get the last replacement bus; so the criticism about not having a broad enough range of Priestley’s work is hardly fair. As I said, if I had not have to rush off I could have answered questions and at least talked about the ‘missing’ things.

Priestley Night Report

A celebration of J.B.Priestley birthday, and a pie that defied Hitler, has been hailed a great success by the organizer. The event was organized by poet and showman Glyn Watkins, at the Riverside Hotel, in Ilkley, last Sunday, 13th September. He said afterwards:

“It was a lovely audience, and a lot of that was down to the article in the Gazette about me and my foot wide pie.”

Glyn’s one man show was based on a collection of readings from books and plays by Priestley, and included a wartime broadcast about a Bradford pie shop, called Roberts, that always had a giant, steaming meat and potato pie in the window, a pie that survived an air raid to steam again. As part of the celebration the audience tucked into meat and potato pie and peas.

Roy Long, who had travelled from Halifax with a party, said:

“We really enjoyed it. It was a good night out, and we really enjoyed the pie as well.”

Glyn’s next Ilkley show will be a National Poetry Day event called Curry & Kipling, also be at the Riverside, on 8th Oct. Details on his website

A really relaxing day. Therefore I could think about the show, and called Tamar for the longest chat for a while. I intend writing an assessment based on that, but if I do it will be at the end.

It was a lovely, warm day, very like the critical Saturday in Let the People Sing. I only had a short walk to see a diabetic nurse, but it was enough to turn a kindlier eye on what is within.

The reason for the visit was to get a new blood sugar test meter, I think I lost the last one at security at Brussels ‘South’ Airport. Even if I did not I have been without a meter for far too long.

I decided to treat myself to a magazine from the shop on Park Lane, and found a treasure: TRACTORr & farm TRADER at only £2.75. The shop’s location must have one of the lowest proportion of people interested in farm machinery it is possible to have, but they had two of the magazine’s on the shelf! It is brilliant. I never knew there were such things as Manure Centres, now I know the RABDF/ADAS Manure Centre will be offering free slurry and manure testing to anyone who cares to take their slurry (1 litre) and manure (1 kilo) to the Dairy Event and Livestock Show, Stoneleigh Park, Coventry, 16th and 17th September.

I have book Ilkley bandstand for International Ilkley Moor Baht ‘at Day, 10th Oct. So those that come to the talk about the history of the song who want to sing the original hymn can so so publicly, and then everyone can join in the folk song.

Show thoughts

It needs polishing, and some slowing still, but the basics are ok. Including the content. Criticism of what I did not do is not really fair; or rather I need to treat such as a request to consider, rather than a point that has to be answered or acted upon. A interesting thing is that apart from the fact his birthday was 13th September, I I said nothing about the person of Priestley that he did not write himself. I could hardly do more in the time.

I have permission to do two shows, though the second was supposed to be tonight, if the first sold out. I have talked to the Clarke-Foley Centre about doing a daytime Priestley show as a joint venture, with their old folk getting big discount. I cannot imagine the agent objecting, but there are very few rooms available at the centre, so it may not happen. If it does it gives me a chance to polish the show. After that I doubt I would do it again until, maybe, my next birthday.

I told Tamar about the Ilkley Festival Uncut Fringe. She said that for the first time it sounded like I was busier than they were. I first talked to her to ask about Ken Branagh’s opinion about A Month in the Country 4 years ago, and she has been a rock.

Well it is just after 8 o’clock of my birthday morning.

I face a 80 minute journey to Ilkley to do the show, because of engineering works which Rail Track could not even be bothered to announce on their timetable site (obviously because nobody cares about trains serving Bradford). I also have to get a train 3 hours before the show in order to get there in time, there being only a 2 hourly service on a Sunday.

I am doing all this because the woman who had promised to give me a lift has blobbed. I am not angry, leastways I won’t be if she pays something towards the food cost for the ticket she booked but had not paid for.

If she does not cover cost then this whole show will have lost me at least five pounds on a gross of about £200. Though if anyone wants to buy a ticket tonight there will be food for them and I will be in profit.

Taken in isolation almost none of my shows make any sense economically. In terms of career development, the way I usually talk about them if challenged, they make more sense; but not much when I am depressed. I got a good article in the Ilkley Gazette (which I largely wrote myself) for this and what follows, but I got a full page in the ,A HREF=”Well it is just after 8 o’clock of my birthday morning.

I face a 80 minute journey to Ilkley to do the show, because of engineering works which Rail Track could not even be bothered to announce on their timetable site (obviously because nobody cares about trains serving Bradford). I also have to get a train 3 hours before the show in order to get there in time, there being only a 2 hourly service on a Sunday.

I am doing all this because the woman who had promised to give me a lift has blobbed. I am not angry, leastways I won’t be if she pays something towards the food cost for the ticket she booked but had not paid for.

If she does not cover cost then this whole show will have lost me five pounds on a gross of about £200. Though if anyone wants to buy a ticket tonight there will be food for them and I will be in profit.

Taken in isolation almost none of my shows make any sense economically. In terms of career development, the way I usually talk about them if challenged, they make more sense; but much when I am depressed. I got a good article in the Ilkley Gazette (which I largely wrote myself) but I got a full page in the Daily Telegraph 5 years ago and have not had a sniff of the nationals since. On the other hand I am suffering much less from depression now, and I suspect the shows are a form of subconscious self therapy; and I have learnt and applied much. Tonight’s show will be the least fraught, and therefore hopefully the most enjoyable, for me at least.

Had a late flutter of butterflies in my garden over the last few days; a painted lady and a red admiral. The fact I am noting them here shows what a poor year this has been for them here.

A very full day in Ilkley. I got asked a lot of questions by a gang of young and pretty people as I was waiting for the train back to Bradford. One of them asked how much I had to drink, and to show off I said Only 8 or 9 pints. When I actually counted up on the train it turns out that is what I had drunk; and I have not opened the can of Strongbow they gave me to drink on the train.

They did try to nick me hat, but the redhead did say nice things, and asked if I had ever had sex with a redhead (no), and insisted on knowing what I had been told (they tasted different). I got one of the best laughs of the day. I think her boyfriend said the taste was splendid. They blond lass is sure to end up running a school, or an industry if she cannot be fussed. She asked in a good headmistress voice: Have you ever had a girlfriend?! To which I replied: I’ve had sex!. To which she replied: That’s not the same, is it? Marvellous . She is a power granny at the age of 20, and the world would be a lot safer if it was run by grannies (though saying that, what I know of history suggests a grannyocracy may have a lot of evil men destroying thins, but who are kind to their granny’s).

Earlier on I had performed a part of When We Are Married on he steps of the Midland Hotel, for beer. I would have done it with my own beer, but a really smart woman who had been having a smoke outside followed me in and got her hand down for a pint. The performance got the best laugh of the day and all.

Talked to a lot of folk. Have now sold enough tickets to turn a profit, all of £4, including the tenner sponsorship from the angelic Jan. I obviously do not do this to make a profit, and the experience I am having is only sold at a <i?market where none may come to buy, but having more cash than keeping needs would a bit more often than annually,

Went to a lovely birthday dinner at Joe’s the day before yesterday (sorry if I have already said this. I have a feeling I have wittered about Thunderbirds very recently. I have forgotten what I was going to write anyway). Was On BCB’s afternoon show yesterday as well. Got an e-mail from Andrew Edwards from Radio Leeds, and a follow up from a producer, but not for Sunday’s show.

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