May 2010


Man full of beer warning!

Very good days, despite thieving pikey cant scratter bastards, probably driving an oranged striped, Shepa looking, pick up, nicking two fecling inches of lead pipe off the pipe that fed the cistern of one of the redundant outside toilets.

Yorkshire Water are parasitic scum, tossers, bastards and indifferent to need; which for water suggests drinking the blood of babies to stay alive is not far away.

I also discovered freezer issues, which might explain some of the time when I have not had full control of my own actions.

I do need a new fridge/freezer. Trouble is all the new ones I have found are either much taller than mine (so I lose somewhere to put fruit and new needles for my insulin pens), or I have a bigger fridge (no use to me) and a tiny freezer (I’ll have bo bread).

However: I did an instinctive fix by repacking, and it has flipping well worked.

Today I chased dreams, until my virgin (virgin are shit) broadband connection gave out at 11.00, for the third day running. Then I phoned people.

I wrote a full description of the last few days for my re=start interview, but I am chemically inca[able of cutting and pasting; so if I need to know what I have done since the last post I will have to check my ‘sent’ files.

The Re=start was the best I have ever had. I cannot remember his name, but he was good.

Then spent time catching up on my drinking at Salts, The Love Apple and the Delius (f.k.a The Thirsty Scholar). Talked at the barmaid in the Apple, and wrote a description of where the bluebells are, coz she said she loved them, and lived near Elland: then a few folk in the Delius, including a student from Cornwall, who said he was a Man U fan (So your a home fan then, being from Cornwell! Made his black Cockney mate laugh, a lot). I tell you what, once he got passionate his accent flowered (obviously the one he got whilst waiting for the bus to school, 3 times a year, or whilst getting cider drunk at 16 in the pub nearest his Emmet parents).

I got home to find my broadband connection was still unconnected, and called virgin (shite) media. I had called in the morning when it first went down, and put the phone down on her foreign accent, whereas when I called tonight, Alex and he even more foreign Scottish accent did what he should do, and well.

For the first time I saw a bird (magpie) drinking and washing from my ‘done nothing to, for, or with it’ pond. I always assumed it were cats that lowered the water level, before today.

I might go and sit and bat watch, and drink more, now. Or drink more, or not drink any more and go to bed, or not watch bats and watch drinks. or jusr drink, or not, It;s nice to have friends that will listen.

Tha would have been my final word, but my virgin (virgin are shit) connection is down again.

If I am off-line for more than 4 days, I am either ill, busy, drunk, not bothered, or changing from virgin (virgin are shit) media to a provider that provides.
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I have done no work today, I just did gardening, cooking and a bit of cleaning. I was stood in the garden when I heard the dole home visit officer pull up in his diesel (I found out they are given a choice of either a Ford Focus or a Vauxhall Astra, both diesels; and his Focus suffers from the same turbo lag problems as Roger’s Volkswagen. It’s the first bad thing I have heard about the new Focus, especially as it is a works car that is fully serviced).

The interview took less than 5 minutes, not including car talk time, and was just to confirm my basic details. I have no objection, but it has just made things complicated. I might have been able to get to London to talk about a Kipling show this week if I had not had to be here for it. Still, it has been good to be in my own house, and it is not as if I have been finding it hard to find pleasant things to do.

I dug up some horseradish and grated it with some ginger and stir fried both with sliced onions and yesterday’s braised beef. It was lovely but nowhere near as hot as I thought it would be.

Ilkley Literature Festival’s decision not to interview me was what I expected. I probably will do some kind of Ilkley Uncut Fringe, the trouble is that while I had some good support from the town, especially in terms of venues, I have nobody to help with the organizing, and it needs more organizing than I can manage to do it bigger tahn last year.

A little moth like butterfly we saw yesterday, which I did not know, was actually a Wood Tiger Moth, which, I guess, is where de Havilland got the name for the aeroplane Amy Johnstone flew to Australia in. The big, black flies in a cloud wanting to mate (such groups are called leks) were probably Large Ichneumans.
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It has been such a good weekend (apart from knock backs from the dodgy Keighley hidden history thing, and Ilkley Lit Fest) that I am struggling to remember it all.

I thought I idd a laundry on Friday, but having my own blog I discovered I did that on Wednesday. I know I entertained in the evening (bacon steaks on a bed of potatoes. shredded cabbage, onion and caraway seeds), and did another private P.G.Wodehouse reading; but what I did in the day is a blank at the moment.

Hang on. I went to Keighley to talk business with Roger, then called in at Mike Harrion’s in Frizinghall. That’s taken a weight of my mind.

Saturday did heavy shops at both Morrisons and Lidl. Also did guerilla gardening at the top of my street, and showed the widow’s children how to plant bulbs. Whilst I was working a woman turned up with a big smile. She set my looney alarm off even before she started telling a story of assault. She seemed non-violent, and friendly, and I am not proud that she heard or saw me giving an opinion that prompted her to come back and demand to know if I thought she was mad. The trouble is that she had been standing at the end of the ginnel for minutes, watching and listening, for her to know that is what I thought.

Today. Set off with Bev to repeat the bluebell walk of a few days ago, a trip into the unknown for her. We saw many butterflies by the River Calder, just above Brighouse; more species than I can remember seeing in one place, and possible more than Bev had ever knowingly seen (or had pointed out to her by someone that knew). Peacock; orange tip; brimstone; a small white (maybe a wooded); and at least two more I could not guess at.

We then met a bloke with a dog. The dog looked very resigned once the bloke got talking. I did manage to force my recommendation of Elland Wood on him; but did do the walk he recommended, and we did discover a secrete bluebell wood below the railway between Elland Junction and Brighouse. We had to leap across a raging torrent, or rather hop across a sluggish stream; and then had to retrace our steps when the pond met the railway, but we, or rather I, nmade discoveries in the shade.

Then the Barge & Barrel (best quote:I arranged to meet her outside her house, and she never showed up!) and the Malt Shovel (Man’s voice That’s why I’ve grown a beard, to keep lasses off. Woman’s voice Well it’s not working love! I’m puckering up. The same man said he walked to Brighouse because: Nobody says owt to yer; but if you walk on’t canal every bugger smiles at yer an says ‘Ave a nice day.’… Feck off!’

It were a shared adventure and a lovely day.
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A grand day out.

Walked from Brighouse to Halifax via Elland Wood. Best ever carpet of bluebells. Pictures were taken, but no painting done. I felt overwhelmed by them, and for the first time ever I felt intoxicated by the scent of wild flowers.

I also spent time taking photos of a mud patch where a steam crossed the path. People had thrown down planks, I guess for a cycling event (supposed from other evidence). This had caused the steam to run across the pat and sink into it. Sometime today, however, somebody else had spent 47 minutes carving a new, straight, channel with a pointed branch, and rearranged the planks, and added stones and sticks, and walked away a happier man; as I would have done if I had done it.

Not a single butterfly in the wood, but thousands of hoverflies (my favourite). If my camera had a quicker shutter I would have a photo of 6 of them on the same sun lit leaf, but got a photo of a blank leaf by the time it had shutted.

I also got a greater spotted woodpecker close enough to spot by banging a stone on a tree, though it took longer than it did when I saw it done on the One Show.

Had some beer in Halifax, including a first visit to the Cross Keys (Siddel, I think). I resolved a while ago not to walk past an open pub, as long as I had time and money enough. It might not be open much longer. Good pub but no handpulled. After that the usual Shears, Pump Room, Three Pigeons (in that order because the Pigeons has moved its opening from 3 to 4 o’clock).

Then home for 9 minutes before going to a Parish Council meeting, at which I made useful contributions, and got asked advice by a Muslim bloke, who’s name I have forgot, about getting pure honey. Unfortunately I know all of my brother’s monastery produce was sold last year.

Then The Delius Centre fo an Open Floor (the mic was not working, so I made the title up) evening. The first there. Namecheck for young songwriter Johnny and his guitar, and Bruce Barnes, and Tina, and Joe O; who all performed.

I was set to go for a walk through the bluebell woods high above Elland today. I had some watercolours, a map, and two pairs of socks on. At the last moment I gave it up for laundry.

A 4 machine wash (praise to the Zanussi of Jenny), and all of it ironed, plus the ironing left over from previous washes.

I also did clearing, with the aim of turning the small room back to a walk-in wardrobe. I discovered/recovered my safety helmet; two pairs of trousers that still fit; 2 white shirts; and a programme wot I wrote for probably the last thing I did at the Priestley/Bradford Playhouse.

Yesterday morning I did a 100 word application for a ‘storytelling’ ‘job’ on a project known to the press as something like Keighley’s hidden history. 100 words was the limit, obviously to avoiddrudgery wading through ten pages of answers. I felt a narrative in poetic form welling up, and sent the below. You need to know Keighley to get it all.

Keighley Hidden History

From Keighley to cougars.

From cyclists to cricketers.

From brown cows to black sheep.

From volunteers to their worth.

From cooks to crooks.

From making of bolt’s to the making of steam.

From spinning a yarn to cutting your cloth.

From Timmy Taylors to Tinglary Tommy.

From men that sold matches to keep alive,

women singing for pennies to live on, 

and the boy who lay down to sleep on Old Year’s end between the gargoyles and river,
who died frozen by New Year’s dawn.

From sun on the hills to ice on the waters.

Your hidden history is here.

Second blog written in 11th May, written 7 or so hours after the one before.

On the afternoon of 11th May 1985 I was stood, singing, on the Bradford End, at Valley Parade, watching Bradford City Vs Lincoln City. City had won promotion to the ‘old’ Second Division away at Cambridge Utd and won the Third Division Title at Bolton Wanderers. I had been at both games.

At 3.42 we saw a few wisps of smoke in the main stand. 4 minutes later the whole stand was blazing.

The year before the ffire and the few months after would probably count as the worst time in my life, event if the fire had not happened.

None of the 57 victims were people I even knew, let along loved, so time has largely healed my scars. There was a big media fuss about the 20th anniversary, which I did not like; why the 20th when there was nothing for the 19th? And that gave some distance; but today’s anniversary was almost exactly half my present lifetime ago; I almost did not remember; and that was a shock; a very real shock.

I probably would have gone out for a walk, as I did in the years before the 20th. As it was I realised what date it was in early afternoon, cancelled a business meeting; and stood in my garden in the rain.

Almost by chance I looked at the time on my mobile at 3.42 and then again at 3.46. The Four Minutes From Hell seemed, for a moment, to be as real as they seemed in the waking nightmares of the time that followed the fire

The moment passed, as all moments do.

If all the victims had survived the oldest would be 109 years old, and the 3 youngest would be in their 36th year.

Those of us left to remember


Should always remember


Those who are not here


To share the wealth

we have gained

Written about the 11th May 1985. I was on the Bradford End.

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