April 2011


I have been catching up on jobs in my own house. I can see no more of my bedroom floor than I could last night, but my bath is the cleanest it has been for years.

There was a celebration last night of Bradford City winning the F.A. Cup in 1911. This was an exact copy of a City Gent event a decade ago; which was organized by Mark Neale, with a script written and produced by me. Neither Mark nor I would not want to claim intellectual property rights, but we both feel very let down that the guy doing the copy claims he and his new best pals made it all up themselves. He was involved but did very little, and ‘forgetting’ it is clearly a deliberate attempt to airbrush out what we did.

I have talked to Mark about this, and neither of is really surprised. Bradford City may still be relegated to non-league, like me and Mark have been relegated to non-friends.

Both myself and Bev have been doing a lot of physical stuff, mostly at Bev’s home and garden. I have been triming her bushes, folking and planting, and creating a wet feature.

Last night we spent over 12 hours in bed. We needed it.

I have been feeling somewhat depressed over the last few days, though having someone to talk to has made it a lot easier than times past.

Drew a birthday card for my father’s 88th. It is a freehand copy of the Welsh flag. I need to do a Karelian one for my mother’s 90th.
My watercolour and pencil birthday card for my dad.

I have seen my Bev dancing twice this weekend. In Otley yesterday, and Roberts Park, Saltaire today. Nice weekend.

Otley was at the Courthouse for a Green Day, which was toss. Last year they had stalls selling things, this year it was just groups giving leaflets. The cafe is run by volunteers, who are useless; so they are free but unsackable. The whole place feels like it is choking on its own worthiness; and there was a pathetic number of people to watch.

On the plus side I go to the newly reopened Fleece, where I had a very good Welsh cider and a splendid pint of Great Heck.

I also had two very good pork pies, Wilkinsons (who have a shop in Ilkley and have been praised here before) and the new, to me, Weegmann, who do a very fine pie.

Today was a lovely day and, despite physical gardening, and other things, it was the first day not feeling worn out, for weeks.

On the train from Kings Cross on Thursday there was a very young (mid teens) couple arcoss the aisle from me.Both had expensive hand held tech. He montioned that we were passing under the Eurostar tunnel, had to explane what Eurostar was. She exclaimed: Can you get a train to France now!?

The family all seemed well enough when I left. A few days earlier we were all coughing at the same time afer we had gone to bed.

Did the bluebell walk from the Holmbush to Little Haven. I did not have my mobile, so could not call Tamar at the Branagh office, but did have Basil with me for the first time; so learnt the names of a few more flowers.

Had signed back on; and that is going to be a nightmare; but despite that I am glad to be home, or at a home, one where I can spend time mowing dandelions.

My brother, Basil, is now helping with the work. He has never used a heat gun before, there has been no call for it in his monastery, but has turned out to be a natural born stripper.

I am missing Bev and was not feeling good about this job, but with the help of Basil and some new paints from Brewers (a proper shop for paints) there is now a prospect of a decent finish.

Yesterday I cut my dad’s hair and then vacuumed him to save him the trouble of brushing himself down outside. Ma was away at the Orthodox church at Brookwood. A nurse was supposed to come and give my dad his insulin, but none came. I injected it, but was not happy doing so. I need to remember to phone and find out what happened.

Ma came back from church with laryngitis. Today I forced her to stop talking, often. It is the least I can do for her, help her get better quicker, by not talking.

Hardly any phlegm this morning, but I have spent the last two days trying to catch up with work, and it is a bit of a styruggle; especially as the Homebase gloss (chosen for colour, not price) is like painting with runny shit. It is the worst I can remember using. 14 hours drying and it still moves and wrinkles when I pick the door up! If I had a car (and could drive) I would have taken it back this morning; but it is a bus and a thousand paces each way.

The only other diy store I can reach is B&Q, and they are not much of an alternative. They have no till staff, and no proper means of selling, and their Harris ‘premier’ (slightly more expensive than the cheap and cheapest brushes made in the same Chinese factory) sheds hairs fast than a dog with mange.

I have been doing most of the stripping and painting outdoors, in the sun. The sound of the hot air gun seems to do something to the blue tits! Though they are such argumentative little buggers that they make have been getting excited anyway, regardless of the noise.

I am trying to strip a 1950’s Taylor Woodrow fitted kitchen, prior to painting. It is a nightmare. Being sick is the worst. I am already two full days behind and still coughing, but even if totally well I would be struggling. There are up to 6 coats of paint, of all kinds. My shitty little, new heat gun keeps over heating(!) and even high grade paint stripper has not cleared a single door after 3 double coats.

Both my parents are ill, and more than usually willful as a result.

Bev and I went to London on Friday to meet my Finnish cousins Sirpa and Raili (who is a long lost sister of Sirpa). I had a bit of a cold, but I was very brave, and hardly mentioned it to anyone.

On the train up a couple of nice Canadian soccer moms, called Diane and Dorothy, got talking to us. I did not start it (No I didn’t!) but I did persuade them to join us at the Wetherspoons in Victoria to me the cousins. Images of children were shared, including the boys on a soccer exchange.

After that the family four got a bus to Trafalgar Square and had a bit of a walk round. The Finns met a shopkeepr so mad and rude you could not have written her as a Dickens character. She owns the print shop in Cecil Court. I was looking at a newspaper clipping (or a copy) from 1902 about the Robotizaion of the Army. It must have referred to the reforms of Lord Roberts, but I cannot be sure because the made cow sprung out of the shop, snatched it from my hand, put it back in the rack, and told me to use both hands! That was as nothing to the treatment the rest got inside.

We then waited for a Routemaster, which has now become the special bus (as in special needs) in the legends of Sirpaland. Alright, several other buses passed us going the same way, but we were going to ride a historical artefact.

It was a bumpy ride, but we did see the Lord Mayor of London on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral (Princess Anne was there too, but we only found that out later).

Next up was a visit to the Guildhall, where my mate Murray showed us round. It was a grand tour, Murray had me read out the speech of acceptance for a Freeman of the City, and we had a little chat about Colin Firth, who will be reading the speech for real soon. I told Colin the story of giving away my only copy of A Month in the Country, well Murray is the man I gave it to.

The rest of the day was a Docklands Light Rail train to Greenwich and a boat back to the Embankment, where another mad English person engaged us in conversation about Bazelgette, who designed London’s sewerage system. Me and him swopped information.

Saturday all four of us met at my parents for roast rib of beef. My dad was marginalized, but did not get too stressed, or kick off (he is getting too weak). A good dinner was had by all, and a good time by all bar one. It is lovely to welcome a new member to my family.

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