March 2012

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.

A Lebanise does not sound right. A Lebon? A Lebaner? Any way I met one called Umar in a Wetherspoons today, alone with his colleague Antoinette from Bulgaria, who both work for Emirates. Antionette had asked for a local beer, and I moved over to try and help, which was more than the barman was. It is the Wetherspoons beer festival, and to be fair: that means every Wetherspoons has many beers the barstaff will never have seen before, so they would not know where they came from; but his suggestion of a wheat beer would be the least local ‘kind’ of beer, and I was the one that suggested the three sample third glasses for the price of a pint. Local has to mean real barley beer, and brewed near-by.

I caught the Grand Central 06.52 Bradford-Kings Cross train this morning. At Brighouse a family joined my table. They were going for a day trip to London, which this service makes possible. They took my suggestion of visiting the [a href=””%5DSir John Soane Museum[/a] (one of the best in Britain).

I travelled to The Royal Docks to check out the transport links and general area for a possible Hat Throwing Championship. It was a good trip in its own right, so even if hats are never raised I have seen something I never would have seen otherwise.

The links (Kings Cross-Northern Line-Bank-Docklands Light Railway) are good, but the DLR has grown, and grown more complicated, since I last used it. The guard cum driver (the trains are normally computer driven) give clear instructions but there are now lots of lines and none are colour coded. You have to know the last station on the line to get it right.

Victoria Dock was the worlds largest area of enclosed water, and may still be, but that makes the modern, ship free, developments feel a bit eerie. It is impressive, and the footbridge over the dock is right under the flightpath of London City Airport and must give one of the best views, anywhere, of planes landing, but beyond the excel complex I guess it is mostly quiet. South of the footbridge I saw less people than I would expect to see at one of my shows, or even in Bradford centre of a Sunday!

I walked to Barrier Park and back. This was the first time I have seen the Thames Barrier, and I was not impressed. The tide was very low, but even if it had been a high spring tide I think I would have still thought: [e]It looks much bigger on the telly![/e]

More impressive was discovering a memorial to the [a href=””%5DSilvertown explosion[/a]. It did not look cared for but did have an unvandalised information board, although that claimed it as the biggest explosion of its kind, which the wiki article says is not true. The site is now an anonymous industrial estate, where Royal Opera Electrical vans parked, as opposed to an industrial complex which exploded like a volcano in 1917.

The whole area I walked is almost totally pub free, apart from the fox@excel. The strange thing is there are enough people for there to be a primary school, but not enough for a pub anywhere near where the parents live?

The Fox is a bit posh, but good. I talked to the impressive events manager about using it for a possible book launch, as the pylons in the area had filled me with electricity which sparked the vapour of the to-be-written book.

After getting back from Ilkley I went to Bev’s and we went to Dave Pendleton’s 48th (he says) birthday. It were a good do, and cocktails were involved. Bev kept coming up to me and saying [e]I may be just a little bit tidily.[/e] And then winking. She was very quiet in the taxi home however. It were a grand night.

Last week I posted the below on [a href=””>ilkleymore%5B/a%5D

[e]The Midland Hotel is under new management, Winterhill Leisure, a name used by a company called Lancashire Leisure.

I liked the Midland and I have not been since before this change, but the new webpage looks like it is framing itself well. Has anyone on here been in?

What is it like now? Are any of the old staff still there?[/e]

I like ilkleymore, and I have done some good shows which sold well in Ilkley, but if you catch either the wrong way you might as well give up. Nobody replied to my question and nobody I know seems to care about the Midland, apart from those that drink there, yet it has marvellous terracotta tiling, a public bar and a lounge bar (once common, now rare), very good beer and a really good young manager who found herself in charge when the last landlords cleared off. As I said on the next message:

[e]All of the issues people have blathered to me about are either about people who were there years, or even decades, ago; or are to do with the fact that there has been almost no investment.[/e]

I called in on Saturday, and the Midland is still alive, but its fate hangs in the balance. A decision was supposed to be made weeks ago as to whether the place would have investment or closure, but it has not. Hope it stays alive.

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