March 2013


I have been at my own house, deperately trying to get to the top of stuff.

I have finally got around to clearing the small room that suffered when my roof leaked. I had already thrown out the most damaged of the books and stuff but there was still enough mold to get me dry sneezing.

The main job was taking apart the raised single ‘bunk’ bed to give to Bev (she’s taking it with her when she moves). I cannot remember putting it up, but guess I must have had help, because it was a right bastard to get down. The hardest physical work I have done since carrying 20kg of loft boarding from Bev’s road to her loft. Things were not helped by the fact that the furniture, I put in after the bed, made getting to the bolts very difficult; or the fact my house is nowt but rat runs until I get rid of stuff and get some order back.

Anyway, I took it down to the main frames, which are awkward and heavy, and got the lot downstairs ready for my mate Roger to come round today to give me and the bed a lift; then it snowed. At times it is actually falling and melting at the same time, but falling is still winning. We cancelled the run. The chance of injury carrying the frames is almost 100% in this snow.

That means that while there is less in the small room my front room looks like a skip, I have barely room to get out of the front door, but not to worry, I will instinctively learn to do it soon enough, like I can instinctively get to the lavvy in the dark without stepping, or bumping, on anything.

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I am cat sitting for Bev. It is a warm house, with a cat! And a telly. I am watching a documentary about Graham Parker (and the Rumour). I saw him supporting Bob Dylan at Blackbushe 1978. I took my cousin Sirpa and met with Tony Bailey and Hugh Herzig (who I am still all still in touch with, but not as well as I would like). I hit a lass on the back of the head with a can when she got up, but as night follows day I got up for Graham Parker and got a can smack on the back of my head. The lack of lavatories where a big feature, esecially for Sirpa. She is a teacher now, married to a headmaster who spends his weekends helping the Finnish Army make sure they are as welcoming to the Russians if they want to visit en masse, as Finland was in 1940.

I wrote the below for a production of J.B.Priestley’s When We Are Married I produced as a fund raiser at the (then) Priestley Centre for the Arts (aka. Bradford Playhouse) after the last time it burnt down. It was sung by the cast at the end, to a Victorian ballad style tune I came up with, but could not write down.

Our love will rise, like a phoenix from the ashes.
Our love will rise, like an ever spreading tree.
Our love will rise, like the smoothest running sashes.
If you will join, my love, with me.

Let us blow on the embers of our passion.
We’ll fan the flames of the thing we used to be.
and cast a glow from love blazing, in a fashion.
If you will join, my love, with me.

Our love will rise, like a phoenix from the ashes.
Our love will rise, like an ever spreading tree.
Our love will rise, like the smoothest running sashes.
If you will join, my love, with me.

It is taking me longer and longer to recover from the long commute. I am alright if I have to do something within a short time of getting to whichever home I am at, but if I do, while I can just carry on going, it makes the next stopping point take even longer.

This is especially true of my official home. The fact it takes days for the house to warm up to even my normal low levels (15 C in the bedroom and 13 C in the kitchen) makes it hard to even start sorting, and I am not organized at the best of times, so my house and paperwork is turning into a potential tsunami.

I have been sorting though. I discovered an undated form for National Insurance exemption, two odd socks to add to the dozens I already have, the reason for the draft in the bedroom when the wind is strong, and some poems from years back. They should follow.

I paid £3 for a PlusBus ticket. These are ‘whole day bus travel’ tickets, but like shopping at Lidl, Jack Fulton’s or a Pound shop, you have to know the general price before you know if it is a real bargain.

The bus from Brighouse was less than £3, so I obviousky had to go out again to get the use if the ticket.

The Sparrow Bier Cafe. Met loyalty card holders Jadckie and Richard; and a Tina who kept telling me I was lovely, and then embracing me.

It is nice to be living.

Mother had the best day I have seen in months yesterday, which was a happy coincidence seeing I booked to come ‘home’ today.

I paid £3.95 for a pint of Castle Rock at the Parcel Yard, so I guess they have cut their prices.

I sat with a lovely mother and daughter combo on the Grand Central Kings Cross – Bradford train. The mother was called Sharon and was slightly less shy than me. We talked about loads, especially hair, and she showed me a picture of when she had feet long dreadlocks. She looked good in London so will obviously stand out in Bradford.

I got off at Brighouse and had beer, or rather: more beer (Withes IPA on Grand Central). I went in the Commercial and listened to chuffing tales about the local clubs (not the kind where people pay daft money to listen to young lads playing stuff off their laptop, but the kind where the people who play bowls claim corruption to the police when the bowling green they don’t chuffing own is sold off). It were like walking through a cultural car wash! I knew I were reet back in Yorkshire!

I then went to La Gourmet pie shop, where the slim, blond lass admitted to only ever going out with nutters.

I am thinking it’s about time to do the walk from Brighouse to Elland, but probably not tomorrow, probably. I could do with buying more pies though, and Brighouse is good for them. I might just nip down.

I then went to the Ship. I discovered the pub was built with timbers from HMS Donegal (1858). I urged them to celebrate the launch (23 June) or commissioning (23 Sept.).

I am now home and there are no dead mice in the traps, which makes a pleasant change. I may go out and celebrate.

I did butter, garlic and rosemary roasted half leg of lamb with roast potatoes and carrots, and pickled onion, ginger and red wine sauce today. The lamb was New Zealand and came from Lidl. It had a great flavour but was tough and gave my mother’s dentures a run for her money.

The triumph was pudding though, which I made up as I went along. I buttered a flan dish and lined it with half a packet of crumble mix I found in the pantry, then blind baked it and added a little grated cheese to the bottom. I then sweated a chopped cooking apple in butter; added sweet corn I found in the fridge, some sultarners, ginger jam, sugar, mixed spice and vanilla extract; then added egg and milk; poured the lot into the flan; sprinkled a little more grated cheese and baked it. It were gorgeous! The carer who came at lunch time had some and her pupils dilated as she was eating it.

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