February 2012

Yesterday I carried 11kg of stuff around Kings Cross and Clerkenwell.

It was one of those kinds of days that you can remember as being a joy, a grind, or both at the same time. I need to check measurements at the venue for Saturday’s show (The Betsey Trotwood) and went around some of the other pubs with leaflets. I had a far time, but was also carrying a heavy weight, physically and emotionally to some degree. I am good at engaging with strangers, but I am not reaching them through listings or media coverage. Until I do I will have to walk around pubs and talk.

In the Horseshoe a couple of lads suggested I post a flyer through the letterbox of a famous person who lives across the road, and they took me outside to point out the building. I wrote a card, but when I got there I discovered rich people no longer have letter boxes, presumably so angry people cannot shit through them. I had to put a stamp on and post it from Three Bridges.

Met Joe this morning to borrow a movie camera. Fixed up to do it at a Wetherspoons so we could have breakfasts. It was value, and I did not take it back, but most of what was on the plate was only just warm enough, and I can get more and hotter for the same price in Baildon. Like their curry night, it is value if you live in a posh part of the country, in Bradford you can find better food value.

This was, apparently, the first kebab shop in Yorkshire. The owner was working there tonight and his kebabs are as good as they were when he first opened in 1981 (2 years after I came to Bradford). The meat is fine but it is the salad and pickles (Umm.. pickles!) that make it. I used to eat them sat on a wall behind a club called Pickwicks (now no more), but carried tonight’s kebab home; which is just a little too far away for the kebab to be at its best temperature when eaten. Still better than the ones around here though.

I bought an ox tongue at John Kearn’s on Shipley Market Square for £2.50. It took a long, long time to cook (you do it until the skin can be easily pulled off) but I love the result. After cooking I pressed it under a lot of weight. The only thing that did not happen was that the liquid did not jelly. I guess I should have added thickener, or even better: cooked a trotter in the same pot.

Yesterday did 3 or so hours work on the Walburgas show this Saturday, but spent most of the day being very domestic with my lass. It was really nice, apart from the bit where I was frantically phone about my mother going to hospital. In the evening I unravelled a wool blanket and Bev crocheted squares for some local charity.

I am wondering whether I should start a different blog called:

State of the Ma

That would allow me to separately record my mother’s health, and whether she was presently in or out of hospital.

She is presently out, but spent a lot of yesterday in with a baldly broken wrist.

I do not have details of the accident yet. She was alone but called an ambulance. My bro Basil coincidently got there in the late afternoon after she had gone, unfortunately he did not have a mobile and that caused a lot of difficulties.

She got taken to the local Crawley Hospital, then got sent in a taxi to East Surrey Hospital, where 2 nurses and 2 doctors reset the bones by pulling and twisting. She then was told to clear off home. Basil was lucky that a neighbour was happy to drive because we could not see any other way of getting her home except by taxi, if the hospital refused to do anything about it.

Today she is in some pain but has already tried to crochet with her one working hand.

Graham Norton read the below out from me this morning. I sent it in response to a bloke on his Grill Grahamasking if he was allowed not to visit friends in the country who only had an outside toilet, after he had suffered a childhood trauma with an outside lay. Graham and Maria McErlane wondered how on earth anyone could be traumatised by an outside toilet. He is my story:

At the age of 7 my family went to Finland to see my mother’s many relations. All of them were living in summer houses built on granite, and all of them had toilets that were short drop to rock. The memories of the sights (and worse) still haunt me, and I was bunged up for weeks.
When we finally got to civilised Helsinki  and flush loos I went down the gents only to discover a mad Finnish woman was in charge of it. That was so traumatic that I locked myself in the loo and could not do anything, then discovered I could not unlock the door! and I could not ask for help because I could not speak a word of Finnish! I am having a flashback as I type, and it is not nice.

Met John, the mad accountant, and Noel in the Sparrow today. Beer was taken, including a splendid Robinsons’ bottled beer ‘designed’ by the band Elbow. I Know nothing of Elbow (or more probably elbow) but I liked their beer, so will try and hear their music.

On the way there I was on the bus listening to a group of two very young adults and children (it being half term, for my American reader(s) that is a short break in the middle of, what I think you call, a semester,). They were discussing where they should go, and if they could get there on the tickets they had. A young bloke across the aisle from me got up, walked to where they were sat, told he was an ex bus driver, and told them what they needed to know.

They had been talking of the Leeds Armouries for a while when the female adult said: Yeah, we’re going to see loads of old guns. At which point the two young lads who had taken no part in the discussion shouted: Guns? Yeah!

A little later the ‘almost, babe in arms said:

Chocolate potato!

Where have you seen chocolate potato? … It says cheesy potato! (much laughter).

I quite fancy a chocolate potato.

I went to Morrisions to buy a good chunk of parmesan (only £2.50) and then went to read the labels in the spirit aisle. There were a group of young students, I guess from China. They were buying their first ever bottle of whiskey. I offered advice and tried to explain the making of it. I asked if any were doing chemistry. A universal and shocked ‘No!’ followed.

I hope they enjoy their Famous Grouse half bottle enough to try the malts I was urging.

Went with my Bev to the hospital for a blood test. Afterwards we went to Orlandos, where we had a splendid meal. Good, straight forward food, done well. I had meatball starter, spaghetti bolognese, and most of a half litre of house red; adding the majority of the free bread, and Bev’s unwanted onions.

I could not finish my spaghetti! It was one of the few times in my life where I saw the sense in brandy after a meal; thought this time it was rum when we got home. I think it must help the stomach to forget you have tried to make it explode (and I did eat the free chocolate at the end: good job it was not a Waffer thin mint.

Later in the evening I trumped even my record shattering standard.

Earlier in the day I discovered my Kodak worst print I have ever owned ESP 3200 had given up even scanning; making it the most expensive shoddy black plastic box I have ever bought. Kodak worst print I have ever owned are a scum bucket company. Do a websearch and discover how they closed down their American plant and moved to the cheapest China can make, and lying by television.

I gave an illustrated talk to the Horton Bank Methodist Ladies Circle tonight under the title of this blog.

The show was basically a more focused version of the J.L.Carr shows I have done in the past. It was the story of Carr and the film A Month in the Country, with plenty of asides but almost no poetry. It was also the first time I had done a ‘talk’ with projected images.

It was a good night. The woman in the chair described it as Really entertaining; and I don’t think you paused for breath once! I had to carry a lot of stuff (I guess over 5kg) but it was good practise for Walburgas.

I was given a good cup of tea, some grand fruit cake, and a piece of cheese; something that improves fruit cake beyond measure.

For more on the background to the talk see this Daily Telegraph article, and this youtube clip (I get a name check at the end).

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