April 2012

I have grafted some apple twigs, called scions, from both my ma’s apple trees onto M28 rootstock. It is very late to be oing the job but the wild grown, and therefore genetically unique, one in her  front garden, which is my age, may have to be cut down this year, and the apples are worth saving. After much searching I found a grafting knife at B&Q. It is the right shape and sharp enough to do the job, unlike the sailors knife I got last weak. The truth is that it is so long since I used a sharp knife I had forgotton how sharp sharp is.

Went to Hyde Park church, Leeds, with Bev yesterday with Bev to watch her dance with Waysgoose Morris.  I have not seen them for many months and in that time they havr gaine 4 or 5 new dancers and it makes things better and more lively. Bev has grown into the group well.
It was a birthday party with bands. I talked to Chris Lawley from Watford, about his clay pipe and if they could be smoked upside down, as seen in some old illustrations. The answer is yes. <a href=”http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/upside-down-pipe”>A modern take on the subject is here</a>.

The new Kings Cross is good. The overbrige across the mainline platforms makes getting to the ‘top’ or down end of a train much easier; however it really needs a few more small departure boards.

All trains on Saturday into KX were late because of cable theft. British Transport Police have very little to do, and are hdisliked by the people I know and knew who worked for Network Rail. We need better legislation to make selling stolen metal harder to sell, but we also need BTP tp actually do their job. They cost money and only ever seem to get in the way of running the railway.

During the long delay I was ambushing people around the info desk and giving them advice whether they wanted it or not.

On the train north I sat with a couple of Portsmouth fans on their way to a game a Doncaster. They helped drink the train dry, and talked about working to bring the bankrupt club into fans ownership, even if it meant dropping out of the league. I warme to them and it was refreshing to hear after decades listening to many cap doffing, crack clearning sports fans.

Both my brother and the taxi river who took me from my ma’s house to the station on Saturday sai the lack of rain in the south-east was affecting the bluebells, which explains the poor display of the bluebells I saw the ay before.

This morning I just about finished removing the layers of mould in my mother’s kitchen and papering the, mostly bare, walls that resulted. It is a very small, and mostly cold, room. I used bleach, biological washing powder, floor cleaner, mould killer, lots and lots of hot water, and finally paint stripper. Last night I suddenly felt sea sick. I think the job and the feeling were linked. What I have not managed is any painting; a job best done when ma is not in the house.

I also blocked up the milk door/hatch, that had not been used since the early 70’s, when Unigate Dairies and the Co-op both stopped sending milkmen out in the very early morning in little electric milk ‘floats’. Unigate’s were 3 wheeled with organge and white.

Ma looked hospital grey today. Her wrist was x-rayed, and might need an operation, so the twat doctor that took her cast off was wrong. Her stomach and left leg are now working, but her blood pressure and sugar are really high. She is stuck where she is for at least the weekend.

I walked part of the way to the hospital from the Farmyard Inn (where I had a good gammon, egg and chips, with a small salad, for £8.50). there are a lot of houses being built in the countryside around the pub. The thing that struck me is that all the parts of the estate have massive moats, mostly dry, but the nation has seemed to have finally learned that floods happen, and clay and a lot of water makes mud with a lot of water left over.

Walking through the building I watched an orange tip butterfly drinking from cuckoo plants. My favourite butterfly. Like Unigate milk floats it it is orange on white (with a brown tip. The white is the primrose/cream/green white of the cabbage white, the whole being striking and gorgeous (btw. the cabbage white would be pretty if it did not eat cabbages, which, btwa, are poisonous to almost all plant eaters, and Bev after I have been eating cabbage, but she’s the one who cooks it, so my conscience is clear).

I also saw jays and a World War Two pillbox, one of many built in a panic in 1940 when Hitler was planning to invade, I think this one was part of the Ironside line. I passed two other identical boxes, which would have covered each other with rifle and machine-gun fire, but all with fire-ports so small nothing other than Boyes antitank rifles could be used against tanks from inside, and while the Finns killed tanks with this rifle the British failed to do so in France, which is part of the reason (along with the RAF managing less than nothing to stop the Nazis conquering France) why pill-boxes were built in 1940.

I passed the site of the blossom I raved about a week or so ago. Turns out the site was the southern part of a factory split by a road, I could tell by bridge for power lines that crosses a road to a field of rubble and a tree with blossom now gone. There is a stream by the road where I saw a wonderful display of primroses and a small fish; rare in a clay stream, sheikh are generally fast and bare, or slow and muddy.

I saw some bluebells but what I have not done is walk through my traditional bluebell wood. Things change, and maybe my bluebells are past.

I washed a wall down today. Parts of the fittings had not been wiped for at least a decade. I have just rewiped some bits with neat bleach to try and get rid of the mould stains. The strangest thing is that I have had no allergic retains. If I have grown out of that then perhaps getting old has benefits.

Went to visit ma via the Angel in Woodheath, via a really complicated set of buses, including one that went through the posh, gated, estate of flats made out of the old Redhill mental hospital (or lunatic asylum, as the old sweary bloke in the Angel insisted it be called). The Angel had no real ale but I still enjoyed drinking a bottle of London Pride and Courage Light there. I got folk talking about the old hospitals of the area, so you can guess the general age of the customers, even before I walked in. The pub still has Ind Coope signs, and they must be getting rare now. Angel, Woodheath, with rare Ind Coope sign.

Ma is almost ready to be sent closer to her home for rehab, and was quite perky. The fact a bone setting doctor was due to look at her wrist meant I could not stay long, and had enough time to get off the bus at Horley and call in at the Six Bells. Blossum and Ents on the way to the Six Bells, Horley

In the Six Bells I talked with a barmaid who does special effects make-up, and Brian from Brisbane, how has Danish and Prussian ancestors. He was really surprised to learn that Castlemain XXXX, his local beer, which he thought was shit, had once been a national brand in England. Six Bells, Horley

Me and my bro Basil drove to see ma today. She has tested negative for bum buster bugs, and was showing us how she could kick her bad leg in the air, so she’s getting better.

It was good to go in a car to the hospital, rather than sit on buses. We could watch an extra 2 hours of How It’s Made and Man v. Food. We could also stop and buy things ma needs for herself, her house, and garden; like a microwave, and fruit, and bagged manure, and beer (warning: one of the previous items is not for our mother). The beer choice was made better by going to a Morrisons near the hospital.

We went past the site of old Redhill Hospital, and Basil talked about walking there, across the common, from the nearest bus stop, to visit me; something I never did. I had thought about walking the grounds of the hospital ma is in now to see if I could recognise anything from my walks in the grounds 40 years ago; but seeing the grounds is now a housing estate a mile away the best I could have got was delusion.

When I saw her this afternoon Ma said she had significant stomach storms this morning, but then moaned about being ill and not able to do anything, which is a sign she is feeling better.

There is a complicated cycle of The Big Bang Theory repeats on two channels I can watch now. I saw the one where Sheldon gets cats. How can Sheldon fill his room with cats and not break his room-mate agreement with Leonard? If it covers what they must do if they gain super powers I would have thought pets would be there as well.

More importantly: how did the production crew get all the cats to stay still while they filmed? There

Yesterday, in the Farmhouse pub there was a couple with a baby in a pram. She was inducing female aaaahhhhhh!s. I stuck my head in the mites line of vision, smiled, and got a smile back. I think there was a little jealousy. The mother said:
It’s because his a man, she smiles at her dad when she sees him, but I hardly get noticed! I bet her first words will be ‘dada!’
I said:
Well a dada’s are a treat, mama’s just there.
She laughed at that.

My ma’s still there.

She was bad yesterday, and said she could not manage to pray, a shockingly bad sign. She was still exhausted today from the stomach ills, but her praying and her left leg have both started functioning.

All this is good practice for me if I have to start commuting. I bought a weekly bus season ticket today. If I had got it on Tuesday I would have saved £8 so far, and if mother gets moved closer I will be having to go on trips out, to get the use of the ticket, but that adds to experience.

All the staff on ma’s ward have fallen in love with her, and wave as they pass the open door of her isolation room. I am encouraging them to ask her about how she saw Hitler, and how she had a hail of bullets pass just over her head as she bent down to wash clothes outside in a bucket. The cute Irish nurse guessed that ma got up and threw a stone at the Russian aircraft that shot at her, which shows good insight (she actually waved her fist and swore).

Maybe the best thing about doing the 3 hour plus round trip to East, of hell &, Surrey Hospital every day for 4 days running is seeing the blossom on some trees at the crest of their way. The best is on the east side of the A23 south of Salfords. It is a pink cherry standing in the middle of the concrete, I guess that once served as floor to industrial walls. It was glorious on Monday, and I had plenty of time to look at it on account of the massive traffic jam caused by the road works, but seeing it is not overseen by Bradford Metropolitan Council the job was finished today, but the crest has started breaking.

Ma has the runs, and so is in a room she will not leave until tests prove negative. When she is fit to move she should be moving to a hospital that can give her the therapy she needs to be able to walk, hopefully near enough for me do stuff and she her.

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