March 2012

Another day of journey, with a chance to help people in a big way.

Got the 10.22 Grand Central to Kings Cross. A couple called Mick and Hilary joined my table at Mirfield. Turns out he was a massive J.L.Carr fan, or rather a fan of Carr’s Dictionary of Extra-ordinary English cricketers.. He knew almost nothing else about Carr, so after I sold him a Wayne Jacobs Little Red Head Book, that I just happened to have on me, I wrote the things he needed to find out more (The Last Englishman. He is also a fan of Peter Tinniswood. He is also in his local Probus club, and Hilary was chair of her WI, so I might get some talk bookings in Mirfield.

Just by chance I was arriving in London about an hour before Bev was due at Euston with all her grandchildren on the way from Chester to Essex. I met them off the train and took them to the Underground station they needed, which saved them, as Euston Square in not Euston and nothing in the station tells you where it is, or even that you need it for Circle Line trains. If I had not got to Euston by Tube I would not have found it either, and even getting there by Tube left me lost when I got to the street after following the sign for Euston Station. The was no sign I could see on the street, and the maps on the bus stop did not show it either, coz it was too far away. I found it, but it took time.

So Bev &c got to Liverpool St in time. I then decided to get the Tube to Whitechapel and the Overground to West Croydon. The Tube was Hammersmith and City, which leaves from the same platform as the Circle. I got on and after the train left an elderly, I think, Japanese lady asked me how to get to Gloucester Rd. I told he she was on the wrong train and had to get off at the next station and go back to Liverpool St. Then an American asked me about Tower Hill, and then it turned out he had been put on the wrong train by a twat in a uniform! I actually announced Aldgate East, change here for the train on the other platform going back to Liverpool St for Circle Line trains to Gloucester Rd, Tower Hill, Victoria and South Kensington. About a dozen people got off as a result, and one of the passengers left on congratulated me.

I even managed to plant some onion setts before I set off.

I worked the 15 hour shift at a polling station in Allerton for today’s by-election. I got a lift most of the way home and called in the Brown Cow, for probably the first time since the last election. One bloke said:
I remember you, you’re the puddled one!

The polling station was in a chapel at which I once gave my Matha’s Story – My mother’s escape from the Red Army talk to old ladies. It was a nice set up, a good team, and a fair day. We got a fraction under 47 percent attendance, the best for any polling station I have worked.

I think the Tory candidate was the only one who came in, and she told us her husband had bet money on her winning, and when she demanded why he said because the odds were so good. She gave the opinion (in the subtle way ladies do about their other half, when they are not addressing him in private) that he was a fool with his money. The funny thing is that George Galloway standing will have taken many Labour votes, so she might have a chance, but so might he.

I had no idea who George Galloway was but he was on top of an open top Southdown bus yesterday and I looked the bus up and found out about him. He has been on telly and did something to Rula Lenska, so if his luck holds he is in with a chance.

The bus was a Leyland Titan, I think from Dewsbury Bus Museum.

If you want to know more about the bus, or Galloway, then do a web hunt.

I set off to see Bradford City vs Crawley Town. I got to the Sparrow and took beer and leaflets to read during parts of the game too bad or grim to watch, and set off.

I had just left the pub when my gut spoke up, pointing out that while my brain wanted to go to the game my body clearly had other ideas, and not very nice ones at that.

I got home alright, and as I write City are losing 0-1. If it stays like that City could be in the relegation, to non-league oblivion, zone within two games.

Went to the big Idle Wickes d.i.y store. I am framing myself to o some work on Bev’s house but it is a really odd pre-war and I need to see stuff before I can decide if it will work. I especially wanted to see stuff called ‘spaceboard’ which is on offer. I cannot tell from the website if it will serve as a loft floor on its own. Turns out it doesn’t matter as the nearest store that might have it is Newcastle!

It had started out as a cold and misty Saturday but had warmed up by the time I had finished. I had started on the beer at Shipley Wetherspoons (a half of ‘Smuttynose Mild(?), a strange but good USA recipe for their beer festival. I was going to drink more but was dithering about going to see Bradford City as well. I think the sun and the £20 in made me decide to get a bus back to Shipley instead.

I got off at the[a href=”,Thackley,+West+Yorkshire&cid=2348044978513185606&ei=meduT5C-LIfN8QPn75y_DQ&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=placepage-link&resnum=1&ved=0CEEQ4gkwAA”%5D Shoulder of Mutton[/a], in Thackley because I had never been in before. It was very quiet. The pint of Spitfire was ok, but they i have one of the nicest pub dogs I have ever met. The landlord had no idea if Thackley F.C. were at home

Then went to the [a href=”,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=864&bih=439&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=great+northern+leeds+road+thackley&fb=1&gl=uk&hq=great+northern+leeds+road&hnear=0x487be391197f319f:0x39255a9122090b9b,Thackley,+West+Yorkshire&cid=14665117655560393597″] Great Northern[/a]. Much busier, but nobody knew about Thackley F.C. here either. The question got me talking to a bloke about cricket and rugby league though. He were great. Started his working life as an apprentice wool-sorter, one of the two most skilled jobs in the old wool industry (burlers an meanders were the other one), played league cricket for Idle, and knew a tailor in Idle who took his jeans up and replace the pockets for less than a fiver.

I went and bought a local paper, discovered Tackley were away but Eccleshill were at home, but with little time to kick off I went back to the pub, where I heard a story about a wool bag (or sack, Bradford has its own word for something that was 12 foot cubed) accidently dropping on a Sentinel steam lorry and the bloke in it surviving because he grabbed the hot chimney, which kept the sack off, but burnt his arms. The lorry broke.

Bev had spent the day morrising in Leeds. I meant to go to a ‘save our Odeon’ protest, but decided to meet her off the train.

Me and Bev are watching Mythbusters, leastways I am while she knits. They are talking about the myth that government installs mind control chips into people. I said: ‘See love, my mind’s being controlled by a chip!’ She looked at me and said: ‘I’d ask for your money back.’

I had had a glass of rose with my mother before leaving yesterday, leaving half a bottle for her and my brother when he arrived to carry on [e]Ma Watch[/e].

Combined with the beer at [e]The Parcel Yard[/e] that made me relaxed for the train to Leeds. I was at a table with three lads from Pontefract who had been to see Paul Weller at Chalk Farm. I conquered my shyness when they were asking the guard about an onward ticket they had been mis-sold on the train down, and gave advice about getting their money back. The chatty one also asked about the best way to get cheap tickets to London and I was more than happy to advise.

We ended up talking about Rugby League, the were all Castleford fans. There were a young couple sat by the window on the table opposite and after a while the young lass climbed into the aisle, bumped into me, and joined the conversation. Turns out they were also League fans, she Wigan and him Leeds. It was nice to start something, and it made me want to go and see some League, although not Super League, which is a game played by lions and led by donkeys. I fancy Featherstone or Batley, or maybe Keighley.

The Pacel Yard is the new boozer at Kings Cross. It is a Fullers pub.

St Panras was ‘made new’ by extending down into the vast beer cellar, which was originally created because the Midland Railway, who built it, wanted to run their lines over the Regent Canal, so they raised the station up into the air. This vast space has allowed many shops to be there, but the biggest change are new lines to Europe, Kent, and for Thameslink. That has meant 3 new stations have been added, with entrances in different parts of the building. That makes it comfusing and involves lots of climbing.

Kings Cross has extended sideways. It was always two sets of platforms with folk hanging aroun at the ends. Now they can do that up the far big new side area. The Pacel Yard is up the steps at the north, top, end of this area.

Yesterday was the officially the first day open. They have a full range of Fullers beers, including the Gales beers, and some guests. The floors are recovered wood and it has tat kind ‘built old’ look and feels like an old station boozer, no bad thing. It has an upstairs restaurant. I talked beer to a bloke from Belguim and another from Quebec. I will be going again.

The improvement to Kings Cross station is bigger for rail travellers than the improvement to St Pancres. The old St P’s was dirty and only offered trains to Derby, Nottingham, and Sheffield. Now you can go to places full of strange people you cannot understand, and places other than Sheffield.

I have been given my brother a break from looking after mother. She is coping very well but we will not know how much use she will have of her left hand until the cast comes off at the end of this month.

Apart from anything else she is getting bouts of depression. The family are all manic depressive, but until recently ma had not realised, or maybe accepted, that she was as bad as the rest of us. Me and her had a long, long talk about all this and more yesterday. It was a productive counselling session that did us both good, but left me exhausted.

We had a visit from Katy from the local Occupational Therapy Unit. Ma probably should not have been sent home with a broken wrist; she certainly should not have been sent home without a ‘care plan’ which provided help with dressing, bathing and eating. The fact nothing was done, it was all left to us, and the OTU did not get informed for weeks will result in a report from them.

Katy is a diamond, and spent hours with me and ma getting to the root of the issues and sorting the short term issues she has funding for. Her greatest fix though was to gently but firmly make ma accept she had to change how she lived and thought. If she does the chances of her falling and breaking a hip or knee drop.

Had to go to Reigate today to buy a button lock safe. It not far away from where I am, but out of the way from anywhere I go, and I do not think I have ever been. It seems an ok place for a short trip. I did not look around but did watch Wales beat France in a good pub called the Red Cross. My dad would have been happy to see it, or at least the first and last 10 minutes, which is all the rugby he allowed himself due to his weak heart.

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