June 2012


Went to Brighton to see my oldest mate, Tony’s band Dirty Covers play at the Branch. They were supported by The Lanes. It was a cracking gig; Dirty Covers are a good covers band, I especially enjoyed the Sex Pistols; and The Lanes should go far.

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I have been to visit my brother at his monastery’s new site. It is a lot smaller but still big, and is half way up a Surrey hill; surrounded by trees, wood ant nests, and other wildlife (I saw a roe deer grazing from my window).

The place they moved from, in Ramsgate, was designed by Pugin’s son, and was never a good, or even fit, place for an enclosed order, and not much good for any order. Add the facts that it was split from it church by a busy road; that the monks did not own the church; that their order was not designed to run parishes but ended up with 7 of them at one time (and some of them did not get double figures taking mass, 200 is. apparently, the minimum for a viable Catholic parish now); and the fact that the building were built for hundreds; and you had an undeniable need to downsize.

Well the move was made, and after the stress of moving they seem to have settled well. One of the big changes with the new place is that guests have a separate block, so there are now very few ‘chance’ encounters with the monks. The guest-master deals with the guests and escorts them to the frater and back for lunch and dinner. It would be possible to stay there and only see the monks in church and the frater.

Basil was given permission to take me for a walk, and he knows every path within miles of the monastery, so we had a chance to talk; but seeing I was the only guest I was on my own for most of the time.

The strange thing is that I hardly thought about the rest of my own life while I was there. It was a retreat.

Had a really good day trip to Lewes. I was, of course, working at seeking venues, which all happened to be public houses, by lucky chance.

I actually sold more of my own books in a singe day than I have done for a few years. I like Lewes; it is full of intelligent people willing to buy good books.

I actually forgot my insulin, which is not a good thing to do, and curtailled my day, but I forced myself to stick to a protein and beer diet and survived.

Elephant and Castle; Snowdrop; Royal Oak. All good Lewes boozers that would be really good as a show venue. The Lewes Arms is another possible. The Brewery Arms cannot host my sort of show but is a cracking boozer.

It’s been a proper holiday.

Could not watch the solstice sun rise from between the tower blocks of Manchester Road, as I usually do; but did manage to watch it, and from a bed; which which is a place has more poetic symbolism than any Ieuan-come-lately druid can invent about Stonehenge.

Saw the night come as well, and took pictures of both events, but do not seem to have a twitter connection, or a cable to get them on this machine, so they will lay fallow for a while.

She had a doctor visit for a bad eye today, the drops I had to get seemed to be working straight away, but says it needs to be administered every 1 to 2 hours for 12 hours! Fine unless you have to start at 17.00 like I did. I am not waking her up every 2 hours tonight.

Trouble is that as soon as the eye got better she then went straight on to her usual bad gut problem, and she has so little stamina she goes straight from hyper to depressed with almost nothing in between.

Everything has worked itself out by the end of the day.

There is now a direct, X11, service from Bradford to Leeds via Pudsey (Pudsey being a big place just the other side of Bradford). This fills a massive, missing part of West Yorkshire’s a;ready shite bus services.

It don’t run on Sunday. So Pudsey Congs will not have me contributing to their profits by drinking their beer, and occasionally watching their cricket.

I ain’t going to Baildon (apart from anything else you pay in and the beer is keg and expensive). May have to be Woodlands, or doing work on my own house and garden, or sitting and thinking.

Went to Keighley; then to Boltmakers Arms, had good beer and conversation.

Then to Wilson’s for fish and chips at £3.60 (photo on twitter, I am bradwan1) which was a bargain and filled a hole very well.

Then the Red Pig, where landlord Bob (who has been there just over 25 years) remembered my name; I had not seen him for years, but I was one of his first customers.

Then The Cricketers Arms to meet Roger; he smoked, we caught up, and someone at the bar remembered me from the early days of the Red Pig.

Then back to Bradford and a rich and varied good few pints at the Sparrow Bier Cafe.

I met old City fan Viking (lapsed like me) in the Sparrow, who gave me the number of Darren, the expert on drinking beer at Bradford League cricket clubs. If I get up tomorrow, and frame me sen, I will go to the Pudsey Congs Priestley Cup quarter final game against Hanging Heaton tomorrow. I may drink beer.

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