January 2010

Nicest part of the day was having a skype call with video streaming from Sirpa and her family in Finland. They all look well and it was really good to see them. It is the first time I have had a use for skype for months, and Sirpa had to call me on the mobile to fix it!

I also fixed up a phone discussion/interview for tomorrow with the Arts Council about funding for a Little Britton show. I also finished reckoning up my accounts for 2008-2009. A gross of just over £4000 and a nett of around £3600! I will try and submit the return via the IR website tomorrow.

So by tomorrow night I could be a happier man.

I also have the Walburgas event to organise and the card to create.

Did a mushroom, cheese and leek pancake today. Fried the mushrooms, then the leeks while cooking a pancake. Put former on pancake and added grated cheese. Folded and put under grill.

I also cleaned; yes, really! And did two laundries and the ironing.

The strangest thing of the day was the arrival of 40 or so e-mails at the same time. All but a few were ones I had written to 4 or 5 different people in 2006 and 2007. I my way through them and checking for the originals of a few, and found none, so I either trashed them and they have returned for some big cyber dump, or trashed and saved them elsewhere. There is no clue in the mails, they all appear to have been sent by me to myself.

It was actually quite odd reading sets of mails to Jenny, Richard, Dawne and Sirpa from 3 or 4 years ago. I was in the middle of writing for the Stedders Football & Real Ale Guides, went to help bury my Uncle Jukka in Finland, and signed off as a result, and was still in a strange relationship cum friendship. It actually all seems a very long time ago.

Went to Bradford’s meat market and bought a jointed rabbit (£3); and 5 pigs trotters for a single pound! I cooked the trotters in a court bouillon including celeric (needed to be used), carrots (ditto) and herbs from my garden. I may try making pork pies, as I will have lots of wonderful jelly.

Made an angel cake yesterday. I would have sworn I had made one before, but as I was creaming the butter and sugar with a folk I realised how much work it was, and I could not remember ever doing it before. The result was not as nice as the virtually fat free one I did recently (with beaten eggs and no butter or marg). It reminded me of a Garrison Keillor story about an aunt who made brilliant cakes but who was beaten in a competition because (a) the judge was whisky drunk, and (b) the winning cake was so greasy it left stains on his shirt. He gave first prize to a pudding! Well, mine was like a pudding.

I am still thinking about the York trip, it is good enough to be repeated in my head. I am planning to do a show at the National Early Music Centre, and used the cost of that as the basis of the proposal I sent to the Arts Council, but I am too late for their festival, and probably for any chance this year. However I talked to the new bloke at the Black Swan about his function room, and I have just wondered if I should do an Early Music Fringe Festival this year.

Doing a lot of mulling about this year’s Walburgas card. Have some poetry ideas but nothing visual yet.

Lovely, lovely trip to York wi Joe.

We went by bus, at my suggestion. Joe has this theory that me and buses equals free public entertainment. On the bus to York from Leeds it was not me loudly repeating words used by the gobshitingly loud Australian’s on a mobile. On the way back though my talking in the sleep made him and a lass smile, he says. The lass brushed past me and I said something in my sleep. She turned around and said Sorry love. Then grew a big grin when she realised I was talking from the land of nod. Joe reckoned she was right good looking, so I wish I could have shared the moment.

Going by bus meant around 4 hours traveling, instead of the 2 by train. Worth doing for the experience, but at a total saving of only £3 just not worth i unless you want to experience a bus, or see Tadcaster.

I had no plan for the day, but a few vague ideas, and that was grand. I finally figured out how the trains got to the first York station for a start. We were going to the Kings Arms, by the River Ouse, for lunch, but the river had burst it’s city banks. No houses actually flooded, but the riverside road under water.

Joe used to be a serious railway modeler, and today we both visited the York Model Railway Museum, by York;s present station (it does not seem to have it’s own website, so search). Brilliant! Art, skill and an expression of the human condition and experience, and you get trains, and other things moving when you press a button. It is a fiver in, but it is worth you giving it a fiver just to help it survive.

Spent £35 at the army surplus stall on the market. Soft, cold weather, top and an ex Navy gortes collored coat.

Joe took some good photos. It was his first pint for a fortnight as well. Golden Fleece (new to me, and good), Last Drop Inn (good baked potato and beer, but I just less able to stand it’s bad layout), The Black Swan (new, and much better, couple, and a possible site for a show), the Swan on Bishopthorpe (now my favourite York pub) and the Weatherspoons on Micklegate, but just so to lose liquid before getting on the bus (though we also added whilst there). We also did the dame in Leeds and Bradford on the way home.

Got a massive fried cod from Ebor Fisheries. First fish and chip shop I have used for at least a year (the last time may have been the same place on the last trip to York with Joe).

Quick note before a, comparatively, early rising to go to York.

Went to a birthday party of a really lovely person called Kath, at the Mill Lane. I gave her parsley (2 for £2.50 in Lidl) and drew a card with a bear on. Well received, but I knew nobody bar Kath. The keg bitter was £1 a pint (while stocks last) but all the people I knew, that were due to be there, blobbed.

Went to The Bridge. The beer was drinkable, and they had a really good band on called Flam (I think). Stopped till the end.

Snow still down.

In the days since the last blog I have:

Written a new CV and mailed it to Full Body and the Voice theatre company (at their suggestion) .

Wrote a proposal for a Little Britton show to send to the Arts Council. This took a lot of time (thanks to Jan for proof reading). I based it on paying commercial rate at the National Early Mucis Centre, York, and paying myself the same as the total cost of musicians (who would be arranged by harpsichord wizard David Wright). I do not know if it will get me funding, but I did get an e-mail wishing me well with the project from Robert Holligworth of I Fagiolini.

Registered with the next London Festival of Architecture. I did the last Britton show during the last festival. It was coincidental, but I managed to blag a pitch at the first Cheapside market for 400 years. I dressed as Thomas Britton, cried Small coalat bemused passers by, and acted as a one man events information point. Everything from:What’s all this then, and why are you dressed like that? to: Excuse! Where ist the Portuguese Embassy?. See this picture.

Sorted most of the details for Walbugas Day 10, though I still want to see the space before posting them; mainly because I want to do an exhibition of my work (a first). The bloke running the Delius Centre’s programme is called Sam, and is an ex-pupil of mine!

Nearly finished work for the tax return.


I need to put this on here, otherwise I will forget. I got an e-mail from the Inland Revenue today telling me I have a tax refund of hundreds of quid waiting to be claimed! I have a vague feeling they offered me one last year, but I forgot to ask for it. The strange thing is that because I am managing at the moment I would, instinctively, rather the IR did not notice me (I think I wrote this on here last year, so blogging about it obvious did knack all for my remembering).

This year, however, the refund is enough for a trip to Sweden and Finland, or a new PC laptop.

Two days sorting paperwork, on paper and screen, with probably many more to come.

As part of doing my tax returns I skim read a year’s worth of this blog. I seemed to spend the year being ill, getting drunk, and writing this blog with with my thumbs. It has got to be said though that I seem to be getting less stressed, and am finding doing shows easier, than this time last year.

Met Dave Pendleton yesterday to talk over his plans for an event on the 11th May, to mark the Bradford Fire. He has booked the cathedral and has a very good basic structure, which I can help him refine. I am not however producing it, which should save me a fair amount of stress. In many ways it should be far easier than the F.A. Cup do, but potentially much bigger, and that could result in more interference than last time.

Big news Walburgas Day 10 will be at the Delius Centre on Thursday 25th February. Details to follow.

Had an Arts Council email asking for, what used to be known, as heads of proposal for a Little Britton show. Have to produce some kind of a budget before the proposed meeting, and not doing one soon will probably mean no meeting. I have also the loss guarantee for the Walburgas to write and submit; and most importantly my tax return.

Then met in Titus Salts to sort out the Walburgas with Sam, He had been at BCB with Joe and others, and they came to drink as well.

Chris arrived with people from the library. I thought all my mates were going, and when I returned from relief I was engaged in conversation (the library service has been forced to withdraw 200,000 books, I then asked if I could join the group, and was rebuffed. No fuss, but that is what you get when you have complicated ‘friendships’ (and I have to mention the fact I got no Christmas card from Jenny, despite a promise to send something towards the southwest trip (if you do not know the background you probably wont work it out, unless you read the whole blog, and if you think you might try: STOP! Life is too short. Do something more interesting instead).

Made an almost perfect chicken, leek and mushroom pie (the next one will be closer to perfection. For a start I will not try and get the pie out of the tin whilst hot, and thus getting an oven glove damp from the jelly that takes a pie closer to blesséd!

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