August 2010


Love is pretending to sleep instead of criticize lovers best mate Joe Ogden.
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Been at the Shrewsbury Fold Festival as a camp follower of Bev as she performed with Wayzgoose, and to try and make contacts for my own shows.

The car journey down was like none I have experienced since I was 8 years old.

It was a stimulating, productive and ultimately rewarding experience. Bev says she learnt a awful lot about me, and I do not think that it was awful either. I made some contacts, and my iPully drew attention.

The weather was turning cold when we got there in the late evening but we managed to get the tent up; and the fact I took charge was noted; though not the fact I was doing it to take my mind of wanting to throw up. We had cold, wind, rain and very bright sun while we where there, but the bad stuff was mostly after we had gone to the sleeping bag.

I had not framed myself to do anything other than watch Bev and drink beer, so what I saw was random. The Young’uns were a sea shanty group I talked to about possible use of my Net of knots poem.

My general thoughts are as below, as posted in their feedback.

Stewarding and general atmosphere was exceptional; and the toilet cleaning was heroic.

I went as a camp follower without any plan, and was too tight to buy a programme. That meant I wondered as unknowing as a cloud; and had a grand time.

The one thing I missed was the fact you had any open mics. The jam sessions, workshops and the like were obvious, so if I wanted to join I would have made an effort. The open mics were not. I would liked to have done some of my folk based poetry in a more formal setting than at strangers who had stopped me to admire my jumper.

The site map needs to be updated. The staff at the Hobsons choice bar told me they were still not on it after 3 years. It is obviously at a point were enough things have changed a little to make the whole map start to confuse.

It may be useful to have water points flagged, with actual flags. That would been very useful to us, having arrived in the dark,

Not having the bus running on the Monday was a pain. If that is not possible at the very least you need NO BUSES MONDAY. in big letters on the timetable. It would have saved me a fruitless wait on my way to the railway station when I left.

Had a phone interview with Rhiannon Edwards of the Hampstead & Highgate Express about the Pie & Priestley show. There should be at least a small piece with picture in next week’s issue.

Tickets are available.
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I have been taking a booze holiday, or rather a holiday without any booze.

After decades I have been revisited by glue ear. It is not painful or affecting my hearing badly, yet, but I am not cheering. Am using up leftover antibiotics.

I have been on my own and trying to do lots of fiddly stuff, including National Insurance and chores.
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Came back via Harwich, where I met up with Bev, and stayed with her sister Lisa and her partner Cath. It was a really nice few days and we were made very welcome by Lias, Cath and all their family, including the cats.

The trip there was very good. I changed from Jubilee Line to train at Stratford, and the largest number of different kinds of trains I can remember at any modern station. You go through a large amount of countryside, where about 2/3 of the arable fields were harvested, then come to the Port of Harwich, which has ships, components for massive wind turbines and even larger vessels to put them out at sea.

We were treated to dinner at the Tower Hotel and were well impressed. I asked for what I could not eat to be wrapped up for the cats, and got a tinfoil handbag from the redhaired waitress. The only downer was after we left, and me and Bev bought icecreams from the Coop next door, which were half melted and vile. The Coop is an abysmal chain, seemingly run by franchise holders who neither know nor care; and if they are not franchised they are an utterly abysmal organization.

We also took the ferry (1984 ex Royal Navy landing craft) to Shotley. where we had drinks at the Bristlo Arms (good beer but little choice) where we watched a Thames Barge and blokes who arrived in a Robin Reliant and walked off along the beach with a big bucket. I do not they built sandcastles.

We also had a drink at the Shipwrecker (loads of choice but poor beer and expensive) where I had several wasps seeking sugar off my skin, with one having to be rescued from my beer, and a very small black beetle going at hundreds of very small miles an hour.

Back at Harwich we popped into the Alma and talked to an ex-Merchant mariner who used to sail into Manchester Docks with newsprint. We also talked to families who were crabbing (fishing for crabs with bags of bacon on strings) on the pier. All the crabs were thrown back when the buckets got too full. I am certain the crabs will get whisked out of the water several times a day. I what to do it early of a morning and paint numbers on them, then ask people to report what they catch. The crabs cannot get much nourishment from a few seconds on a back of bacon, but reckon they get addicted to it.

In the evening we went to meet Cath’s family and have a Chinese take-away, a treat for me, as it is probably over a decade since my last one.

On the trip back we talked (and I mean Bev and me talked, and she asked the better questions) to a bloke who has lived Indonesia for years and is a Disaster manaager. He was off to see his mum in Grassington and managed to get through the barrier at Leeds, get and drink a pint, and get on the Skipton train in only a minute more than it took Bev to go to the loo and for us to get on the train!

The only shame of the whole trip is that I did not manage to sort anything out for a possible show, especially for the Sea Shanty Festival.
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Mother had a lovely 89th birthday, loads of friends visited (possibly the most people in this house in a single day for years), she had champagne in the morning and I finished cooking the duck dinner (which was really good). The shoes did not fit but she loved the cartoon I did of the family.

Dad was fine, and did not even react badly to the callers, which is a very positive improvement.
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I have just finished a cartoon, on cross stitch canvas, of my family; for my mother’s 89th birthday tomorrow.

She has been asking me to draw a picture she can cross stitch (or sew, or whatever those woolly pictures are called) for years. It is not easy. The pixel size is a minimum of 3 mil, and I have not done a lot of portraiture. So not a job I wanted, but need’s a good driver . The result is a good likeness for me and Basil, and OK for ma and dad, but it is all too small, I think.

I also bought her 2 pairs of smart but comfy shoes this afternoon at T.J.Hughes. Got a heavy shop, including a box of Hock (only 9% so less likely to go to heads than most), whilst in town.

Sent out more Pie & Priestley press releases, including LBC and Capital Radio. The pr has produced no response, so far.

I have almost framed myself to buy a computer that is not a mac, after decades of apple only. Bill Gates is still being damned for trying to enforce a monopoly, whereas Steve Jobs is still, at the moment, being treated like the people’s champion; yet Gates never sold hardware, but Jobs is selling hardware and software, almost all of which is licenced, and thus controlled, and profiting, Apple. He even stops third parties that do better software from being used on his iPhone/Pad/Touch, money millkers. The only man with more media monopoly than Steve Jobs would have been Rupert Murdock; but I think Jobs now stands alone.

btw. the computer is likely to be an Asus netbook with Linux, if I can find one with the right spec. I went looking for one in Curries.

As well as all that I made, probably, my best ever curry. Lamb mince, spinach and mushroom; with a little soya mince to thicken. Parents and the cleaning lady (who arrived in time for a share) all full of praise.
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In the morning I sent a lot of press releases, including some national papers, and called the Hampstead and Highgate Express. No action so far.

In the evening I Baked a new iPie. Looks well, but I have no camera here, so it will only appear the sites of people who photograph it. As an aside I discovered bluetack can be baked and stay usable.

I feel like I am going around in circles with getting new equipment. I still have not claimed my tax refund, and that is a fair bit. I can get a very light netbook with windows 7, and an OK projector for the price of a MacBook. On the other hand I never use pc’s, and I do not know how easy slideshows are to do on them (though they are a real pain on this iBook). I also do not know if I could do graphic with windows 7.

Turns out I was asleep in my socks, and really snoring, by 7.30 last night, according to ma’s testimony; so that is over a half day sleep holiday.

Apart from making gravy and going to the shops I do not think I have done any work, for me or my parents. Ate, drank (but not excessively) watched some tv, and relaxed. A programme about English Heritage (which I watched between flicking QI on Dave and Quest) took me back to my days as a founder of the J.B.Priestley Society. A garden at Kenilworth Castle which existed for 19 days for a visit by Elizabeth R I is being recreated becasue of the ‘vision’ of individuals in English Heritage, who, it seems, later married. The vision had no regard for sense, cost, or the consequences of building legally safe structures, rather than some wankers fantasy of authenticity. Both the contractor and the carpentry firm were facing massive losses because of the wankiness of the committee, and the people on the committee who knew what they were doing have probably taken to drink to cope with things like wankers demanding the introduction of fish to a pond only after the start of building.

I did some more work on my family drama (Hypo Family). Below is the scene I wrote today. It involves the Mummin family. The scene has the two aged parents and the youngest son, who is in late middle age. The son has just opened a bottle of Cava he bought at a local Spar (with ma’s money and blessing) and which he stuck in the freezer whilst he twittered. He pours and says:

Son: “I told you a friend was stopping here on my birthday, didn’t I?”

Dad:: “Man or woman?”

Son: “Woman.”

Ma: “I can sleep with dad and she can sleep in the spare room.”

Son stops pouring and is just about to speak.

“Or are you sleeping together? (Nod from son) That’s nice.”

I did think I might have the ma character start crocheting pink bedsocks as soon as she found her wool and needle, but thought that was too far fetched.
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I have just had a half day sleep holiday.

I Took the new iPie to Highgate, but on tube discovered it was broken! So I put it back in the box, which was good which was good, because the tube train to High Barnet was terminated at Kings X, and the iPie would not have survived the massive crush that followed onto the next train.

I have to get the 214 bus at Kentish Town. I found the great B&S DIY. Small, family run shop with ten thousand things needed in the home. They had Copydex, which would have been ideal, but was £7.49! So got a tube of Hard As Nails for £1.50. Used it at the Gatehouse to glue the crust together. It survived Highgate, and buses to Portland Place and Victoria Station; I had pint in Cock off Oxford Circus, and taught some nice Austrians about British beer. Started falling apart at Victoria train station though.

The downer was manager Avi at the Gatehouse was on holiday. I did talk to loads, but no definite sales. It was a fun but very tiring day for me, but hard to tell if it was productive. Just worked out the gross for a sell out will be under £400. I am doing it for coverage though.

Got back, had dinner, lay down and was woken by ma at 22.00. Got undress and straight back to sleep.
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Usual long trip I. Megabus was nearly an hour late picking up at Mayo Ave. Some group interaction,and I played big part in that. V v heavy rain on M1, but lost only another few minutes.

Time for one beer at East Midland Parkway. All trains through were running late because of scum bucket wire stealers. I am not a man to praise an increase in regulation, but I have suffered from a number of crimes fueled by scrap merchants, of all kinds, making it easy for bastards to fence stuff.

Because of the problems Meagbus were allowed on East Midland trains ( a first for me). Nowt good or bad. Seat pitch and space better than Penalino’s (sic?).

Talked to nobody on the coach but did talk with Jo on train, who was reading latest book from Terry Prachett. She admitted he was nolonger funny, she still loves his books.

At St Pancras showed Jo (and several others later) where to find her train. Then the Betjeman Bar. Made new staff (Daniel & the lass from Wolverhampton) laugh.

Bought a FT for first time in months, and enjoyed it loads.
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