November 2011


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.

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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).

I used to suffer asthma as a child. Dust and mold would set me off, especially this time of year.

I used to do a lot of casual agency labouring, The deal was any work had to be paid for a minimum of 4 hours. I was often sent to places that had almost no work, but they would rather sign off a full day than admit to their own bureaucrats that they had not needed the already agreed budget.

When I was sent somewhere that had no work I was never happy pretending. If I have set myself for work I would rather work than not.

Having no washing machine to plumb in I decided to do cleaning that had not been done for decades.

I moved the bed head, of the bed I sleep in, away from the wall. I then vacuumed the floor and wall (the ancestral home of generations of spiders were destroyed) then mopped the wall and ceiling with detergent and bleach.

It did not take many hours, but I was wheezing by the end. Not asthma wheezing, more like a daytime tv American comedy show wheeze, but a wheeze never-the-less. I took sloe gin, and sloe brandy, and wine, and that seemed to work.

I also helped ma to start salting the brisket on the bone (6 Ilbs) and small blade of shoulder of lamb I bought at John Kearns in Shipley. It takes half a pound of salt, same of dark brown sugar (I got that yesterday at the same time as the Chinese take-away) with a teaspoon of saltpetre (which is vital if the meat is to keep its colour) mixed up and then rubbed into the meat. I mixed them in the big plastic box ma has then ground the meats against the mix. You then add just a cup full of water to the box and put a heavy weight on top of the meat. I washed a brick and put it inside a big tin baking thing.

The best bit of today’s journey was probably picking up an Annandale Herald on the train from Carlisle, which I got from Shipley to Leeds. Annandale is a bit of south west Scotland where not much has ever happened apart from the

There should be photos on Facebook in a bit, but probably not on wordpress, on account of wordpress being a pain, or rather more trouble, than Facebook. I may just give up blogging on wordpress and do it straight to Facebook.

Had a useful meeting about my business and plans to seek funding. Mike does not look at anything he is given, and does not remember what was written down on what he was given, but he does listen, and that makes his suggestions useful.

I then went to do some shopping, and managed to forget the wine yeast that I set out for.

Then to the Sparrow, to discover it was Les’ birthday. Drew a card and writ a poem:

No ones birthday should be on a straight & narrow
Too much of the year is toad under harrow
May a harvest of joy spring from your well ploughed farrow
& the gain of the grain bless the flight of your sparrow.

I then went to John St Market for a stand big (a big one) and Morrisons for candles. In Morrisons I would not have raised my voice if there had been an actual supervisor there when the slow, nagging and stupid till person said “There’s a supervisor there if you want to complain!

Then back to the Sparrow, where the pub sang a birthday song free of copyright as Les blew out the candles on the pork pie.

I also met the first ever Kiwi who talked big, like they were an Aussie!

Then went to see neighbour Yasim, and gave coaching in replacing a broken light switch. Her mother may have diabetes and, like Auntie Klaudia, she thinks only ‘sugar’ counts, and like Klaudia I made a the young lass translate that starch gets turned into sugar when you eat it.

We did lots of work around a house on Sunday, and I cooked slow roast lamb. I was very impressed. I love meat you can carve with a folk.

My own house is cold, cold, cold; to match the day. It feels like misery.

Ma has had her washing machine plumbed in, and had all the taps replaced with easy action levers, so that is one set of jobs I will not have to do. I will, however, have to teach her how to use the machine.

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