January 2011

If you are reading this on my bradwan blog I am sorry for the fact it is late posted, and for the recent lack of site. Remember the blog also appears on wordpress.

Bev had a tooth out on Thursday. It was a capped molar, and had been giving her pain for a long time. Her new dentist took the crown off and had to then take everything below out. I have been trying to help by nagging her to take painkillers, and mopping out the hole with a cotton bud. Lucky I had a head torch handy. I offered to do nostril hairs after I had down, as I had a fine view and know where the good pliers are, but my offer was turned down.

We have been for two walks round Baildon, so I could point things out after reading histories. Yesterday we went up to the top of Baildon Moor. It was a fine day, though bracing, and the clime to the top was rewarded with bell pits and wonerful views. We went up along the edge of the golf course and came down via Hope Farm; then took a detour via the newly opened Cricketers Arms on Baildon Green,

We saw dozens of different birds, or rather: I saw dozens and Bev did her best to see what I was pointing at. I think there were linnets, because of pink sides, but it is very early for summer plumage. It was not a chaffinch, other suggestions welcome.

The Cricketers Looked well, and had 4 real ales (Tetleys and 3 different Saltaire Brewery’s).

Today we went down to Baildon Hall, on Hallfield Drive. It turns out I had been here before, to see Gordon Tetley’s Big Band when a toosy hotel the other side of Bingley double booked, and the band and the audience got taxis to Baildon. Bev, on the other hand, and never seen it before. It is on a dead end and cannot be well seen from anywhere except bang in front.

As we were looking at the Hall, or rather: as I was talking about it, I heard a cat calling a ‘come and stroke me, call. Ir was sat on a front step, and ran up as we walked up and I was doing cat noises. It took a good stroke. As we were walking away a different cat ran up to a garden front and demanded the same! I wondered it it had heard the first one, and like it was tired of living on a street with no strokes.

Spring is coming on. Primulas are out in the churchyard, blackbirds are fighting and bullying the songthrush of the birdtable, and the catkins are out on the hazel the table hangs from (so I guess it is not a table, a trey perhaps, or a bird bunk?).

Yesterday I submitted my tax return. Less panic than previous years, but much less ‘profit’ from art. Rest of the day was a complete write off.

I have done quite a few things today that I have not done for a while, including writing a sober blog that was not a catch-up.

I have not yet filed my tax return, but should do tomorrow, and I have not paniced at all about it. A big change from previous years. I also had to send evidence of saving to the dole wardens.

It was a sunny day today, and while not warm enough for a t-shirt, it was warmer than it has been. I posted the evidence and decided to walk down to the library for the first time in weeks, and do some research for no other reason than interest; a first for many long months.

I read up about Baildon in William Cudworth’s 1876 Round About Bradford. With the help of large scale maps from the late 19th Century, and a collection of old photos, I reckon I worked out quite a lot of stuff that has been puzzling about the area.

You obviously cannot come home unless you have a home, but even if you do, what home is less obvious than it seems. Home being a single house is probably a modern idea, and would not apply to many. To an ex-pat home is probably a country; to a great many home is probably a town or village left an age ago. As for me: I am not sure. What I am sure about is the house I have come home to is cold enough to make a summer’s day in Skegness seem balmy.

The return is from a set of train trips with Bev to seek work and see family’s. Pitching shows and seeing siblings.

First leg was to Harwich, Essex, to see Bev’s sister Lisa; and try and sell to the Sea Shanty festival. Second leg was to Ramsgate, Kent, to see my brother, Basil; and try and get a show into Ramsgate Week, and sell a show to the Royal Temple Yacht Club. Last leg was ‘home’ via Baildon.

The trip started with me meeting Bev at Shipley Station, where we sat in sunshine, drank (coffee) and ate (pork pies), and I pointed out birdlife and points of interest; and that’s is what we carried on doing. It were good.

Leg One

The journey down was relaxed, at least the way I remember it. Highlights were people watching at Leeds Station and watching a stunning sunset between Peterborough and Ely; the first time in a long time I have watched the sun sink below the horizon.

The only disappointing thing was that East Coast only offer 15 minutes free WiFi access, so a long held desire to follow the familiar trip on google earth was scuppered; in fact my first experience of using WiFi proved a disappointment. The only two places I could get on line were the two places we stayed; who both let me have a pass-word. South Eastern trains promised it but did not deliver; and everywhere else was no coverage or pass-word protected.

We were met at Ipswich by Lisa’s partner Cath. They are a nice couple, with three cats, and some fascinating relatives.

Friday we had fish and chips, with a fish the size of a shovel blade. Saturday we went round Dovercourt in the afternoon, which looks run down but had some really good stuff in the charity shops, and in the evening had chinese with Cath’s family; where the men had a heated debate about what bird was doing the dropping on Tony’s well swept driveway.

Sunday me and Bev walked along the sea-wall to Harwich. We went in The New Bell drank and talked. The pub is very good, but is up for sale. It is a venue for the sea shanties, and while I could not do a show there I did find out lots of stuff I need to know if I am going to do one elsewhere.

Next we went to the The Hanover Inn. Everyone looked at us when we went in, but we sat at the bar and joined the chat. At one point a bloke was told to stop swearing because There’s a young lady sat there!. There was a pause, I lent back on the bar-stool, and looked up and down the bar. It got a good laugh from everyone apart from the person who slapped me on the head.

Leg Two

The cheapest faire to Ramsgate was from Ipswich, changing at Colchester and Stratford. This is daft because Dovercourt is the same distance from Colchester and Ipswich, and Colchester is much easier to get to by train! We were lucky to get a lift from Cath’s parents, Tom and Mary, otherwise it would have been a pain.

This part was the only really stressful bit for me. I thought Colchester Station was one of the worst signposted I had ever used, until I got to the abomination that is Statford (domestic) and Stratford (international). These are separated by a building site for the next Olympics, and linked by a bus, a half mile walk, and two signposts. God help you if you have never travelled through London before; and God help anyone who has to use the gimcrack, one lift and one escalator, joke of station laughingly called international. I can see people drying here when someone in a crowd trips on the stairs.

The train to Ramsgate was one of the new high speed jobs; but the free WiFi did not work, so I could not check details of the meeting at the RTYC, and we had to change at Ashford because of the delays on previous changes, so were an hour behind. I appreciated the train better on the return; it is very fast and smooth, and the seat pitch is good, but the is one toilet and no catering.

We got a taxi to the hotel (The Comfort Inn, £40/night for both of us), did a check and change, and made it to the yacht Club in time. It was a good meeting. Bev used to think me introducing here as my manager was a bit of a joke, but she does manage to stop me when I am talking too fast and explain the important bits to the, often bemused, listener. I have probably missed the chance of producing a new sea show as part of Ramsgate Week, but selling them Curry & Kipling is a real possibility now.

The hotel had a four-poster bed, and I got lots of bruises while Bev had fun. It had a self at the bottom that Bev noticed when we first sat on it. She said it might be dangerous, so obviously I twatted my shin on it the next day and caused much amusement to the audience; but the posts gave a much bigger laugh. I waked the same spot on my right thigh 3 times in a row on a corner of one end post, so I tied a towel around it; and promptly waked my left thigh on the other end post. Bev was biting a towel and her shoulders were shaking, obviously sobbing in sympathy.

Meeting Basil the next day was a highlight for us, and probably Basil. We were invited to dinner at his works, where we had a mavellous steak and kidney pie, and watched a white squirrel in the garden. Later we all went to the Artillery Arms (best pub in Ramsgate) and the Belgium Bar. After Basil went back Bev and I walked on the cliff top, looking at the moon shining on the water.

Leg Three

Sold a Red Head Book to Andy, on his way with his mate Brint to see Arsenal trash Leeds. Well when I say sold I actually got two and a half tins of Wife Beater lager, three cans of Strongbow and a large packet of beefy Monster Munch. He also asked me to name the cultural highlights around the football clubs he could remember, and praised me to his mrs on the phone. After they got off to meet a mate at Wakefield we got talking to Carlisle fan Martin, who married a Bradford City fan.

Good trip.

The next one of these will probably be written on my new Acer Aspire One netbook. After, I think, close to 2 decades of Apple I have got Gated windows, 7 in this case. Apart from having a pointless Android start-up option, and both Thunderbird and Windows Live failing to work properly with btinternet, it seems the beans. It will take a while before I discover how much I can do with it, and I doubt it will totally replace the ibook, but I can now travel kilos lighter than before.

I went to pick it up from Huddersfield; and while there discovered the Grove (see last post).

Must mention clouds like searchlights sweeping the sky above house that the sun was setting behind, which me and Bev saw on a very short walk around the top of her estate (that’s housing estate, not a landed estate, or Toyota estate) on Sunday.

Lower brain-stem blog. Lot of drink taken, some still within.

Just beeen talking to Hugh about his just like a near death experience. The experience being of everyone thinking he was going to die, until they discovered he wasn’t. Apparently not many people have rung him to say anything, let alone that they were glad he wern’t dead.

Went from Baildon to Deighton this morning to pick up a netbook (the first Windows machine I have ever owned, I am not going to try it out until I am sober, probably). Called in at The Grove on my way there, and back. Twas well worth the visit.

Over the weekend Bev was suffering from toothache, and the flu she denies she has ever had. I ministered. I cooked and did laundry. She read books and argued less than the average.

Two bits of shocking but ultimately good news.

Got a message today from one of my oldest friends Hugh Herzig. He was in hospital over Christmas for a possible life threatening brain heamorrhage. Thankfully it turned out to a relatively rare and benign kind; but he had to go through a lot for that to be decided.

Also got a phone call from my mother to tell be she has two stomach ulcers, both at an early stage. Since Robin Warren and Barry Marshall proved ulcers are nearly all caused by a bacterium (Helicobacter pylori treatment is easy; and the ulcers explain a lot that has been going wrong with my mother.

I have been doing chores, mostly without intending to. The biggest was sorting a bedroom, started by trying to match some socks. I ended up pairing between 40 and 100 odd ones, and only 4 were mine, and revealing long covered floors in the process.

It is definately going to be a year of changes for me, or possibly accelerating changes.

Saw the old year out with Bev, she opened the door to let the new one in and I went out in my underpants to first foot her, carrying a piece of slat from her garden.

Earlier I had talked to an interesting man in Wetherspoons called Gavan about all sorts. What with the heavy beer with him and the Cava with Bev it was a well oiled day.

Next day Bev’s ma came around and I did well, despite not being at my freshest.

I have spent a few days carrying stuff backwards and other stuff forwards. Bev now has one of my old printers and the new microwave from Lidl, and I have her old microwave. I used the old one mostly fro coffee and defrosting, but if I do end up doing a teaching course, or even working, it will be doing that a lot.