July 2010


Ma saw a pair of legs going through a bedroom window of the house across the street. I called the police and they were here quick. Apparently it was the family’s kids messing about.

Apart from cooking a very good mutton curry, and picking raspberries and red currents I did almost nothing today. Thought about going to see Sussex vs. Gloucestershire at Arundel, partly because I wrote a cultural guide for it without going there (but I was never paid for it, so that’s all right). I just stopped here and watch Dave.
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Spent nearly all of today in Highgate, where J.B.Priestley lived for long enough to get a plaque. I was looking for a venue for Pie & Priestley.

I went to a full dozen places, and am tired. The best offer was from Avi, at only the second place, The Gatehouse. This is a Weatherspoons, which means potential nationwide coverage, and while there ere are lots of things to sort out, I will be trying hard to sort them quickly.

Honourable mentions to the Red Lion and Sun, and the Angel (which have no suitable room)’ T.O.C (an acronym on the pub sign, that I am not going to spell out, and which is probably too far down the hill); and the Rose and Crown (which is a restaurant, and too high end for this show, until the show takes off). I also went to the Spaniards, which was the busiest pub of the day; so busy I could barely talk to the bloke in charge; but enough to learn they could not do meat and potato pies.

I passed an 2 seat Audi, in Benjamin Street, Clerkenwell, with its nearside mirror covered in bird poo. I stopped to look up to discover a pigeon’s nest, and to wonder why the car had been parked for so long.

Another not about a previous day. On the way up to White Wells on Saturaday I stopped to look at the top of a 1950/60’s round, curved top, post box. It was under a big tree, and covered in more life than you will see on a helicoper safari. All if it seemingly walking aimlessly across the rust ridged and mildewed top. Fat, lumbering ladybird lavea, greenflies without wings running about, a few red spider mites, and at least two other animals. Nearly all would get to the edge, and then walk away. The only greenfly I saw caught was by a mite. I have never seen a ladybird lavea catch anything, and that did not change in the ten minutes I watched them.
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It turns out that the Department of Work and Pensions are nothing to do with Social Services, so this mornings visit was not a Social Services assessment; but it should result in my mother getting a Carers Allowance. I am not an ignorant man, but things for old people seem almost more complicated than I can manage; but it has to be said I have managed to get things changed for my parents benefit.

They also had the windows measured for a quote for replacements; so the icy draft straight to the back of my dad’s neck, and the upstairs window that will fall out if it is ever opened, will be things of the past soon, hopefully.

I few bits and pieces about past days.

I called in the Three Horseshoes Helion St, yesterday. The were two Cockneys and a Scot. We started talking about pies (guess who started that) and ranged across many of the ethnic delicacies of Britain; from pie, mash and liquor ,with jellied eels; through white pudding and haggis; to the glories of pork scratchings.

Before that; on the long West Yorkshire zag of the train journey, I saw a hedge of 5 herons flying over a new looking lake cum pond by the railway. I do not think I have ever seen more than a single heron in any one place.
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I finally managed to travel on Grand Central’s direct Bradford London service.

£69 return is cheaper than East Coast ‘off peak’ return fare by at least £15. I can also buy (or rather: have to bu) my ticket on the train; so none of the farce of havng to go to Leeds to collect East Coast tickets. It also takes only about 20 minutes more, they also sell good bottled beer. There also seems to be more space on the Class 180 than on most inter city stock.

But working backward: the train rattled (though mostly before it got to the main line).

The journey to the main line at Doncaster was through, mostly, new ground for me, but still got tedious (southwest to Halifax – southeast to Brighouse – east to Wakefield Kirkgate, then Pntefract Monkhill – then a massive curve to finally arrive at Doncaster to the south). The train did not stop then until London, so makes up time, but the fact that the train stood stock still for at least 30 minutes at stations and signals before Doncaster is much more noticeable than the fast bit to London.

Finally, while the fare is much better than the on the day price for East Coast, they offer no onward fares or on-line discount. There are not a lot of good deals for East Coast, but the total cost of a single to my parents is still less if pre-booked. Grand Central are also much more expensive than Megasbus.

So mixed feelings. I will be using them again in the near future; but I already I think Grand Central will be second choice to meagbus in normal circumstances, or first if I have spare cash and want to think.

If East Coast can be bothered to install a ticket machine in Bradford and reduce their midday fares (when their Leeds – London trains are not even a quarter full) then I would use them; if Grand central can either cut 30 minutes off the journey to Doncaster, or cut the fare, then they would be first choice.
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This blog will be posted after, possibly long after, it is written, because virgin media (are shit) is failing to provide me with internet access; this is on top of at least two days in the last fortnight when I had access slower than dial-up and a telephone line with so much noise it was barely usable.

Because I cannot get on-line I do not know what I wrote about yesterday, if anything. Roger came around to relieve me of a broken down vacuum and two inkjets (none of which the franchised refuse collectors will take) and a pile of books a couple of metres high, if they were in a pile.

We went to the Fighting Cock and drank in the sun (for the sake of his fags rather than the joy of sun)

Today I went to Ilkley.

Stopped less then ten times to pant today. I think I am coming up to the best I can manage without doing it regularly, or doing something else to improve my stamina.

Sorted out critical details for the hat throwing.

Then called in St Gemma’s Hospice shop to talk to the charming, Georgie and cute Hanna. We sorted out a possible joint marketing exercise. She sells hats and advertises my event. I tell people to buy hats at her shop. Depending on funding I may also be able to make the event a fundraiser for her.

I then went to the cricket club to watch a top of the table clash with Menston. Talked to a lot, and learnt a fair bit. I also had a lovely tea for £3.50, which included a kebab stick full of spicy prawns. When I left half way through the second half Ilkley were 84 for 1 with 24 overs, chasing 175.

I then went to Bradford Playhouse to see a short play by Joe, part of a set of 6 done in a weekend course meant to force writers out of their comfort zone.
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Note: Connection restored after a call to the little help desk, which I had to abandon because of noise on the line!

I got a letter yesterday, and a phone call today, from the woman who assessed my parents on Monday. Turns out she is not from Social Services, but is the woman attached to the parent’s GP. So my mother’s use of the phrase …from the welfare… )or ‘wheelfear’ as my ma says it) was as good a phrase as any.

The fact that the confusion (which I shared) resulted in me staying here worked out very well. I am now part of the communications nett, and everything the lass has power to do has been done; including the possibility of more money, and a free washing machine.

I am pushing things on with the Ilkley hats thing.

Yesterday I cleaned the grease from the kitchen extractor fan. It should be an quarterly job; rather than biannual. It was like the stolen grease episode from the Simpsons.

Seems like I have things to do.
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