Thursday, February 22, 2007

Scarborough - the Corner Cafe is no more

As the kids are on half-term and no work was demanding my immediate attention, we went to Scarborough for the day yesterday. It just so happens, that we made it to North Bay two days after demolition started on the Corner Cafe.

For the uninitiated - or perhaps those who only know the name from the Simon and Garfunkle song "Scarborough Fair" - Scarborough is a famous holiday resort in North Yorkshire, and the Corner Cafe has dominated the town's North Bay for the best part of a century.

No more, the Cafe closed last year and the site is being redeveloped into a leisure and accommodation complex. Perhaps this will rejuvenate the area, as the local Council hopes, but a little bit of Yorkshire history is now being turned into rubble behind the contractors hoardings.

Thoughtfully, they've left a couple of viewing panels and while the lads played on the beach, I joined a long procession of people who went to pay their last respects. After all, generations of us had our first Knickbocker Glory there or bought jugs of tea to drink on the sand from paper cups. It was a good day, just a bit different without the old Corner Cafe.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Disadvantages of homeworking

After 7 years I've finally found a downside to the freelance life. I'm lucky, good clients make sure I don't have too many quiet days and they usually pay early. The problem comes courtesty of my next door neighbour, ironically enough a fellow homeworker.

For the past month he's been taking out a chimney breast which is built into the shared wall between the two houses. And today - oh, joy of joys - he's secured the services of a couple of builders to get rid of the old hearth and brick up the wall.

I've had power tools, hammering; the walls and windows have shaken. I lost patience at lunchtime and went out for something to eat. Then a strange thing happened. I was in the cafe of my local supermarket (Tesco - I know, they're everywhere). Queueing at the food counter, I was next to group of 6 elderly men, some with obvious learning difficulties, and they're carer. To a man, they all ordered sausages, chips and baked beans and went to eat together. I looked across a couple of times while I ate and they were sitting together, enjoying the food and each other's company, just talking quietly, with an occasional smile or friendly gesture.

A small thing, but one that took the heat out of my fraught day. I was glad to share my lunchtime with them. Hope they have many more lunches out on the town together.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hospital Reading

I've just spent a couple of days in hospital; nothing serious, more embarassing for men of a certain age. To while away the hours, I took Arthur & George by Julian Barnes and found it to be an absolutely brilliant book. Barnes has taken the stories of two men, Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji - the former the famous writer and creator of Sherlock Holmes, the latter, a little known midlands solicitor - and created a work that examines spirituality, identity, nationality and race. Although concerned with events that occurred between 1893 and 1906, the work is intensely relevant for our own times when issues such as materialism and multiculturialism mean that Barnes' themes are never far from the headlines. Read this book as soon as you possibly can.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Size Zero at Asda

News that Asda intends to stock "size zero" in its George range has got the press in a lather. Looking at the shoppers in our local Asda, can't say there's going to be much take-up - still hooked on convenience and fast food to make much dent on the UK size 4s.