November 2011

Had the crown put on the tooth of nightmares this morning. I was in and out of the chair in less than 15 minutes.

I walked through Saltaire and drew a map for a nice orinental student from Leeds who was waiting for her friends.

It was a fine, dry day. The best for a while. Got to see a lot of it from a round the houses and moors trip to BRI via Bradford and Cottingley.

I went to South Milford on Friday for the first time in 18th months or more. I was South Milford Poet of Fete for the first two years of the newly resurrected village fete. I was asked to get involved because of my connection with J.L.Carr”, which the driving force (Laura) knew about because of me finding the film of best novel.

I had lost all touch with the village so the trip was to catch up.

The best news was that Don Bramley, farmer and author, was alive and well. I called him from the station. He invited me round but told me that I could have had lunch if I had been there an hour earlier. It was probably best that I missed lunch. I barely managed to eat what I was given seeing I was fed so much , I could not have managed to have eaten a full meal.

The bad news is that the decent bloke who was running the Black Bull has gone. I got on really well with him, and he seemed to be doing the right things very well, but running a pub is a grim trade now.

Laura has also gone, her husband got a promotion to run a Scoittish radio station, possibly BBC Scotland. That may explain why the Fete did not happen last year.

I intended to walk to Micklefield, but by the time I got to the edge of the village the hail was coming straight at me. It did not last long, but long enough for me to retreat like Napoleon from Moscow.

I then went to Ilkley, where I w2as delighted to discover that Vic is still running the Midland.

When I was ill, depressed or just feeling empty I used to play Civilisation II and read Pratchett, Priestley and Wodehouse. Since the death of the blue iMac I do not have a copy of Civilisation, I stopped reading Pratchett when I stopped reading Thud half way through; and I read Priestley only when I am attempting to sort a show out.

So now-a-days I play a really simple version of Solitaire and read Wodehouse.

Yesterday I finished Hot Water P.G.Wodehouse, Herbert Jenkins, 1932. A novel involving characters that do not appear anywhere else in the world of Wodehouse.

My favourite Wodeshouse’s are the short stories (he wrote brilliant ones throughout his career) and the earlier stuff (from 1917 to WWII).

So, as far as I am concerned, 1932 is mid season form for Wodehouse. I laughed very loud, several times, at Hot Water, but cannot remember reading it before.

The thing about Hot Water is the technique is breathtaking, but the whole thing is a little too much. I think there are 12 or 13 main characters (the fact I cannot be sure without re-reading says something). There is a stock Wodehouse American hero who is wealthy (another stock Wodehouse trait). He is engaged to a woman who wants to mould him. The heroine has a turned up nose (stock) who is engaged to a prissy author (…a man who wore side-whiskers and, if the truth were know, was probably a secret beret-wearer as well…. After a good deal of complicated, and usually criminal, action hero and heroine finish in the standard big clinch.

I love the book, but the facts that none of the characters are repeated elsewhere, but have identical brothers and sisters everywhere, and there are too many of them, means the plot is harder to follow than usual in Wodeshouse.

That may be why I like the short stories best. It does not matter if the characters never appear elsewhere, the plots are too short to have to remember who they are.

Things are getting strange. I will be on my own for a few days and not posting

In the last World War my father was a cabin boy on a Norwegian oil tanker. His ship was sunk by a u-boat. He was one of, I think, 5 survivors.

He probably already had mental health issues before he ran away to sea, it would be surprising if he did not considering what we can piece together about his appalling childhood, or rather his first years, he had little chance to be a child.

Even if he was not psychologically damaged before the war, the sinking shot his nerves to pieces. He never had any help with his mental health, and would have gone wild, literally, if it had been suggested he needed any.

He suffered from periods of jealousy which at its worse was paranoid paranoid schizophrenia.

My mother did not help him, she had her own traumas from the war for one thing, and like him thought men just had to pull themselves together. They never talked about what they were actually feeling On the other hand she did she leave him. In his final years he managed to lose most of his demons.

For a while I have been meaning to do a deep think blog about why my family is more than usually metal. I have been deep thinking about it. Then things happen that make me realise that my family is one amongst billions, and that I have a Swiss Army Life that allows me to get the stones out of the hoovesa of other mad family’s hobby horses; or at least gives me the illusion that I can, a little after I had been kicked in the nads and been left sore. and bleeding from the fact I had cut the ends of my fingers off in the time I thought |I knew what I was doing.

Have come back from the Bulls Head in Baildon, where I sang harmony to Scouse Paul and his five string guitar (it came from the same secret place as the Australian hat, down the corriedor I’ve never been down).

Turned a tv on when I got back to my kiop and discovered Quadrophenia. Not seen it since it was in the cinema. It is good. All the tricks that makes British ‘hard edge’ films so shite now. look good from when they were young. I never had a fight on Brighton beach, but I did crawl sobbing across the foot breaking rocks after seeing in the new year by going for a swim, with mates, but my mates did not need glasses; although I do have to admit that I did scrap the face of a man in Brighton on a cement rendered wall. He and his friends had followed me and my mates. The bloke did take the slowest swing I am ever likely to see.

Did the Brighouse – Elland walk. Saw an otter!

Got a First (bloodsuckers) Bus all day ticket on Manchester Road.

As usual I got a pie at Jones the buther (pork, apple and stuffing) and salad sandwich at the Yorkshire stylee deli.

Maybe because it was late autumn light I could see into the canal at lots of places, for the first time, but did not see a single fish.
Got a great bacon butty from a van near the Avocet factory/warehouse, at the end of the water sking lake. It is run by a really chatty young bloke. He had been so busy he had had to go buy extra bread.
Then onto the River Calder there was a group of youths in open canoes. The couple of lads at the back were slightly faster than a parplygic, but only as long as the paraplygic had never tried canoing before.

I sat down to eat my butty at the usual place, across the river from a massive, concrete, railway retaining wall. I had finished eating when I saw a wake in the water at the far side of the river, going up stream. I thought water vole, but it jumped on the bank and showed itself to be a big, black otter. I jumped up and said “Bloody hell!” It got back in the river and vanished underwater. I did have a tree partly blocking my view, but it is a small tree, and I would have thought I could see where the otter came up, but I did not.

I popped into the Barge & Barrel, had a bit of a chat. There was a gang of aged yobbos, all connected with the pub trade. Chris, ex-owner of more pubs than I have had squid dinners, was particularly entertaining.

I got stopped in Bradford today by a bloke who declaimed: “It’s Glyn isn’t !?”

Turns out to be Rich, who have not seen more than twice in 20 years. We lived in the same bedsits in the mid 80’s, including the one where Rich discovered old Fred hiding in the big bathroom cupboard, which explained why a hole appeared in its doorframe just after I got a girlfriend who visited and used the bathroom.

It were good to see him, and he got a free history of my oesophageal haemorrhaging, which made him laugh, and made the pains in his stomach even worse.

Returned to a cold house.

Got up an hour before anyone else in the house. A previously rare event.

My father’s ruling emotion was fear. He did his best but anxiety was the thing that most affected him, and conflicts were regular. Anger or retreat. That meant there was always a state of tension within the family.

As dad got older and increasingly most of the anxiety left him. Last year and the year before that was probably some of the most relaxed of his life. He he did, however, became totally dependent on my mother, most obviously to inject his insulin. She coped, but it was very hard work especially his last few weeks.

Since my father died ma has started relaxing and changing. Me and my brother guessed it was going to happen. Things are mostly a lot easier. Getting the washing machine would have been impossible while my dad was alive; and not having my mother getting up at 06.00 anxious to cook me breakfast is a relief. The strange thing is that she is arguing more, which shocked Basil, but the arguments are open, and about things that need sorting out.

Went to London again. Got the wrong ticket (day-return rather than capitalcard) which meant I would have to walk or pay (I walked), then, half way through a pain au chocolat I discovered I had left my insulin behind. That meant I had to go on a beer only diet. I obviously got a bag for the half eaten pain au chocolat, and when I did get my insulin I was surprisingly low. Having to walk probably helped, especially as the bridge across St James Park lake was shut, I did see parakeets on the detour though.

Went to The Society Club to check it as a possible venue. Met the owner, or co-owner, Robert and scratched 4 of the 5 dogs that were there. Good place. It sells coffee and cakes, and books, and has been open for a few scant weeks. I strongly recommended it.

On the way to and from The Society Club I called in at the Phoenix near Victoria (Geronimo Inn. OK but frightening minimum spend on room hires, so no show there); the Dr John Snow (Sam Smith’s, so cheap, and good, but no real ale); the Blue Posts (been before with a mate, not friendly and Abbot ale only); the Crown and Two Chairmen (best boozer of the trip, good beer and friendly); and the Porcupine (good boozer but because of its shape its atmosphere is too dependent on the mood of the staff, today it was a miserable Pole).

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