May 2011


Today I persuaded my 89 year old mother to buy her first ever pair of jeans (she needed more pockets than women are usually given). I also had my dad risking heart attack by speeding up the stairs shouting about being the ‘resident’ and not wanting to lose the bath tub, as me, ma and Sue from Facelift Home Improvements talked about the possibility of having a washing machine in the bathroom.

I probably will not be able to come back down for months, and getting the first proper washing machine in this house is vital, and needs me here to sort out the details, so there is stress here.

The last two days should have been four days, and it has been hard work, but it is my flesh and blood, and there is drama, comedy and reward. After all you should know where you are with family, even if you cannot stop from getting annoyed with them.

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My dad has just had a massive diabetic hypo. I have seen one before but thought it was general illness. This time I tested his blood. My hope is that next time he knows what is happening, because he would rather fall and break bones than admit to an illness he does not understand.

When this kind of thing happens it makes wonder if I should move back, it is not as if my art or ‘career’ prospects will suffer for not being in Bradford. My unstressed reasoning is that I will do what I have to when I have to. My stressed thinking, like I have been having for the last few days, is that being with my parents would be a film noirnightmare, or an escape route.

I will await developments, as I have been doing for all my life. If one of them falls seriously ill, or worse, I will step up to the mark. Anything more morally complicated will have to wait.

I also made a crying baby and a bus driver laugh, and both waved as I got off, at least the Crawley bus driver did, the baby on the Gatwick – Three Bridges train thought about trying a wave, but did not yet have the synapses to be able to do it.

I had planned to go to my parents today, and was at Bradford Interchange station sat on the Grand Central direct service to London, when the guard announced that no trains were running on the East Coast main line south of Doncaster. He gave a personal guarantee that he and the driver would get us on a train at Doncaster to Sheffield, where we could get a train to London. I got off, and trains are still not running as I write, and may not run tomorrow.

The worst thing though was that I know someone who is driving from Bradford tomorrow, and within a few miles of my parents; but there was zero charity or kindness there, let alone a lift.

The radio show was ok, but it was held together by the guests. The guy hosting it had come prepared with copies of news stories he wanted to discus and he talked us through them. I nearly left then. As I pointed out there was nothing funny and little local. Who cares what I think about international news items none of us knew much about? As I told him, if the audience are not interested in local news why are they listening to Bradford Community Broadcasting.

Instead of introducing everyone at the start the host asked questions of each guest, and unless you are introduced you should not talk on this kind of show. Also he wanted all discussion to go through him, so not a round table. So 13 minutes before I got a word or mention, and he held up his red pen at me latter to stop me trying to rescue Corrine from Horworth Cat Rescue from a long question about Bradford City; of which she knew little. He also demanded that I do a poem without notice; which is bad manners and management.

On the other hand the guests were good and interacted, and the host was steady, but frankly boring, and that is likely to be what the show is if none of the guests talk to each other.

Afterward I finally found The Sparrow Bier Cafe. It is good and much needed at the top end of Bradford.

I am due to be live on BCB’s lunchtime roundtable radio show tomorrow, 27th May.

I must have had the same cold as Bev, we were ill for the same length of time and both had one full day in bed, and nearly all the symptoms were the same; apart from phlegm, which I alone had.

Me saying this is not just about me and my family’s need to disgust. It is actually a bit of a challenge to the way I have measured my own illnesses. If I did not have phlegm it was a cold, if I did, it was something worse. It is obvious to me now that that is too simplistic, and probably wrong. This time I must have got an an infection on top of the cold. Lazy doctor’s would explain it by diabetes, and most women probably by the fact that I am a man.

I spent the illness at Bev’s house, so I had warmth, cats and a telly.

I spent the last couple of days helping to move Bev’s ma from a bad but big granny flat to a smaller and much better one a few hundred yards away. The closeness was worst part of the move. A removal firm were hired, and the assumption was it would be easy to do in a day. That was very wrong, especially as it was also decided to clear the old flat, rather than pay the council to clear it.

I spent the big moving day at Bev’s so the stuff Bev was taking (including a bed to pass on) could be brought, and to let a woodworm checker in. I doubt I could have added anything but frustration anyway, and certainly could not have made the job do-able in a day.

I was called in on the second day to rescue a display cabinet, that had had a glass shelf jammed solidly askew, which I did with my Swiss Army knife and furniture polish. That allowed a couple of the dozen boxes of ornaments to be unpacked. I also put shelves up, smashed things with a mallet so they could be taken to the tip, and carried stuff to the new flat because there was only one car.

I then walked from Charlestown to Baildon carrying Bev’s tools and stuff I was taking away. The result was me downing a pint in one for the first time in ages. It was in the Malt Shovel and only the non-talking barmaid noticed.

I think I helped a bit. It actually went a lot better than I would have imagined, and serves as a benchmark if I have to do the same for my parents.

Bev carried a cold through most of last week, and I seem to be coming down with flu.

Made a chocolate box treat to aid recovery. Cut ginger cake into squares. Melted plain chocolate, poured onto greaseproof paper, cooled and cut into squares. Glued chocolate squares to cake with ginger jam. Whipped fresh cream and dolloped on, and added a fresh cherry split in half. It was very good.

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