February 2010


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The family news is that my father’s diabetes has become so bad that he was put on insulin injections today. I strongly suspect that he has been suffering from dangerously high blood sugar levels for months. The hope is that once does are under control a lot of the other unspoken problems he has been having will get better. I will be going down soon to lend support.

I did an interview on BCB this afternoon with Tina and Alan. I am fairly sure you cannot listen again to it, but will post a link if I find otherwise. It was a nice interview.

Afterwards I bought £10 of pictures from Oxfam, for the frames. I used the string from one to tie all 2 toghether. I carried the lot to Sir Titus Salts for another meeting with Sam. I drank nothing but coffee.

Sam is keen to do a show with me on St. George’s day. It has attractive possibilities. I could do a lot of things I do in other shows, and have Sydney Smith and George Burrow as well.

I am now very tired.
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Thumb typing warning!

Though, to be fair, whilst I have shipped a lot of beer, it has been steady, over more than half a day, and I walked a bit, and took food at regular intervals.

Come back from the 50th birthday of Dave Little Brother, the best surviving poet of Bradford’s punk days.

There was curry, but more than half of the audience, know must be there because they know Dave, f’ing well talked whilst he was doing his poems. I made none verbal signage to some of the worst. I did not get really angry, and had something to talk to the legendary Ginger John about as a result.

Getting angry but not losing it has been a theme for a few days.

I assumed (and this is a paste) that I can certainly make sure you are invited to the … event. meant I would be invited to the event. No. I will have to pay a lot of money, but only if they can squeeze me in.

I spent a fair bit of emotionally challenging time yesterday trying to give advice about debt recovery to someone who asked me to visit when the children were there, but then did not want to talk in front of the children.

On the plus side the Walburgas Show is shaping very well. There are photos on facebook

I spent a very pleasant few hours in the Grove in Leeds, in order to sort out music with Dick Preston, the cittern player. It will be a much better show than last year; partly because I am applying lessons, but also because one of the lessons is that relaxation makes any planning easier.

I called in to the Commercial Inn on my way from Forster Square Ststion to Dave’s do at the Beehive. I had not been in for at least one whole decade. I had a bottle of pils, as there was nothing else I would want in my mouth. I then went to the Castle, which was good.
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It been a few days of mostly domestic jobs. The biggest one being defrosting the freezer. When I came back from the last trip south I discovered the freezer door had been left ajar. I had started emptying it for cleaning after Christmas, but when I finally got round to clearing it I had to hack what was left out. It took over 18 hours for the ice to melt!

I threw all the meat away and used the thawed blackberries I picked last autumn to make wine. I have one demijohn on the go, or rather, not on the go because there is nowhere in my house warm enough for yeast to work.

Yesterday I met up with Joe, Sam Collier and the cast of a show he is producing (Annie). It was a nice group, including flirty Amanda, and it turned into a long session but we sorted some important stuff for our show, and possible future ones. It makes a massive difference to me having a venue manager with wide experience co-producing. It means my workload is reduced enormously.

Afterwards I popped into rafters and met Ian Austin, John Duffy, and John Gibbons. It was like being back in MacRory’s in the 80’s. I did a poem for the lovely Michelle for her birthday, and bought her two packets of Ploughman’s Lunch (two cream crackers, a cheese triangle, two tiny pickled onions and a plastic spreader). She had never seen one before and I got a snog for the gift; though that might be because I told her I am having dinner with Colin Firth.
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I’ll do me best not to type with me thumbs.

Yesterday morning I finished sewing my own banner, In the afternoon me and Sam hung it outside the Delius Centre, and Joe came and took lots of photos.

I am now on a banner! Glyn Watkins’ – Walburgas Day Show 25th Feb 7.30 – Thank you for the splendid ‘Walburgas’ Ken Branagh – http://www.bradwan.co.uk

All the writing should have been 20 percent bigger, but it could not have been written better by anyone who was not an apprentice trained sign writer (and I do sometimes wish I was).

Today I went to Ilkley to ask about the in’s and out’s of doing a big event. Lovely day. Saw the chickens by the canal on the way there, and drank beer, and gave out Walburgas’, mostly to good looking women, but not exclusively; and the business plan that got me the money to start as a poet did point out that the key audience for poetry was women, mostly middle aged and middle class ones. That is true, but most poetry written by blokes is done to impress women, or moan about how hard the poet is suffering; usually in the same poem, which is why most poetry is not very good.

Got some honeycomb tripe and a sausage roll from Wilkinson’s, and then went back for a second sausage roll.

On the way to Ilkley I saw a lapwing being mobbed by gulls, I am sure young herring gulls.
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Today I painted and sewed a cloth banner for Walburgas Day. In doing so I honed several skills, and learnt a few new ones. At one point I was sewing through cloth and cord with one hand, whilst pulling the cord, tied to a door handle, tight with the other. Like a sailmaker, though a soft one using thin plastic backed nylon and nylon cord; rather than heavy canvas and hemp.
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Today I: received confirmation of loss guarantee for the Walburgas Day Show 10; started wine making; and received an offer of marriage..

Well, I’m back home. Yesterday I sawed bits of lawson cypresses off. Poetic and good with my hands; or at least good enough to be able to saw tree branches and not lose any part of my hands.

I came back by Mega Bus, owned by Stagecoach. Now I do not remember ever being made angry by Stagecoach (Yes, I know my memory is getting bad). and they are cheaper than National Express and that is how I returned.

It is an odd combination of train from St Pancras to East Midlands Parkway; then coach to Mayo Avenue Bradford. It is still not as good as going all the way by train, and the the total travel cost between Bradford and Three Bridges is not as bad for train if booked well ahead, because the bit from London to Three Bridges is cheaper than paying on the day, like I have to if going by coach. Still; there are big plus points for Mega Bus:

1. It is an even shorter walk to the train from The Betjemin Bar (Eeeiiiii – eeiiiii – eeiiiii than it is to Kings Cross.

2. Because the coach does not go to L**ds, and the first two thirds is by train, the journey takes less time.

3. Because the first two thirds is by train there is a chance to drink Guiness, or Strongbow, or if you have no sense of taste: Carling or John Smiths, made smooth with fartgas’. A train is also better than a coach because you can empty your bladder without snapping a tendon or being made to smell like you have just arrived from a swim in the 19th Century Thames.

4. East Midlands Parkway is right next to Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station; and thus significant pylons.

5. Where I live is downhill from Mayo Avenue; and there is a big Morrisons there where I can buy milk, and very reduced shellfish platters, and very reasonable bottles of cava, and hardly see anyone even uglier than I am (so a gentle reintroduction), and get a taxi home for a quid less than one from the station.

WARNING – The following passage will be written by a bloke who knows a bit about trains, who can easily rediscover his masculine side, and it may contain words such as ‘EMU’ and ‘125’.

The train part was the one to Nottingham; which reminds me of a minor quibble. The booking could be clearer. Someone who had never been to St Pancras could be utterly confused; as there is nothing on the website to tell you where to go, or that you will be traveling on the train to Nottingham.

The train was a 125. I saw reconfigured 125’s I had never heard of (5 cars including both driving car’s luggage space turned over to seats) but I think mine was 8 car. When I sat down i thought Ooo! That’s lovely and soft and bouncy. Almost immediately I was taken back to traveling by some trains in the Southeast of England in the 1960’s. and very early 1970’s. There were trains (EMU’s) with no doors between one carriage and another (thus no toilet); and even trains with carriages that were divided into individual, isolated, compartments. All of those kinds of trains were painted and decorated the same; and pretty much smelled the same (why is ‘smelt’ not a word?); but they all also had very bouncy seats.

The reason some old Southern region trains had bouncy seats was to try and make up for the fact that if you traveled on one it felt (not felled?) like the train had octagonal wheels.

Today’s 125 was a bit bouncy, but much less than the coach, and I still like the 125’s. I think they had, and have, the best seat pitch of any standard class train in the UK; certainly any I have used regular in the last decade.

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