Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Monday, December 05, 2016
Thursday, December 01, 2016
Monday, November 28, 2016
Thursday, November 10, 2016
WH Auden Epitaph on a Tyrant
Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after, And the poetry he invented was easy to understand; He knew human folly like the back of his hand, And was greatly interested in armies and fleets; When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter, And when he cried the little children died in the streets.The prophetic voice from January 1939.
Thursday, November 03, 2016
350 years and a civil war too late for the Queen’s courts to broaden the royal prerogative. A short, sharp reminder of the limits of the profoundly undemocratic power that the executive craves, but which judges can reign in as a defence against the untrammelled exercise of political power. The deluded Brexiters who rejoice that we've 'taken back' the country, now need to learn another lesson - that Parliament is the supreme law-maker and has the right to control the work of government ministers, particularly when they think it better to do shabby deals in closed rooms that will have a profound effect on our lives and the economy for years to come. An appeal would be most unwise...
Tuesday, November 01, 2016
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Friday, September 02, 2016
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Called into the Coop garage and store in Ingleton this morning for some diesel on my way to Sedbergh for a day's walking. The man behind the counter was giving a masterclass in pure Yorkshire tyke upmanship, regaling a young couple with tales of his Three Peaks exploits.
Not only had he climbed Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent just last weekend, breaking off to bring a friend back who'd come down with sunstroke, but he was planning to do the route back-to-back, a double three peaker, towards the end of September.
The couple left, expressing their amazement at his prowess, while I was left pondering how - if the other three had turned up - they'd have told how they completed the whole thing half an hour before they'd set off...
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Friday, August 19, 2016
Monday, August 15, 2016
Monday, August 01, 2016
First drove through Exeter 30-odd years ago and got lost at Marsh Barton due to poor road signing. Today, in pouring rain, got stuck at MB again. Exeter has park and ride now, but nearest location to where we're staying turned out to be the dreaded Marsh Barton and it was full when we arrived. Extricating the car from there took nearly half an hour of bumper to bumper queuing.
Great city - shame about the roads.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Friday, July 22, 2016
Saturday, July 16, 2016
During the late 70s and into the 80s, I was a member of the Navy reserve. It was a good time, I met some great people and travelled, though only on the UK, unfortunately.
This morning, I noticed a reserve recruiting stall in Halifax- and also saw one of the matelotes on duty was someone I remembered from those far off days. We talked of mutual friends, and he introduced me to his companions, before asking if I'd consider rejoining. I was rather taken aback - and said that as I will be 55 next Wednesday, surely I was well and truly over the hill.
Apparently not, my former shipmate averred - before going on to reveal that he's 62 soon and into his 40th year in a blue suit.
Good on him. But I swallowed my particular anchor a long time ago, and, sad to relate some of our shipmates we reminisced about have sadly sailed for that other shore.
I salute their memory, and his long and enviable service.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Saturday, July 09, 2016
Friday, June 24, 2016
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Thursday, June 09, 2016
Monday, June 06, 2016
The Sun has pissed Brighouse off by insinuating, wrongly - as per usual where matters even vaguely 'European' are concerned - that the town's fourth 1940s' weekend was gatecrashed by people turning up in German uniforms.
One of the organisers has asserted that this is wrong. The only two foreign elements turned out to be a bloke in a Polish uniform and someone who claimed to be Norwegian, but who was asked to leave, just to be on the safe side. Dangerous thing, history. Don't mention the war- or the sodding great Christmas tree our erstwhile and ever grateful former Norwegian allies send every year.
Friday, May 20, 2016
An interesting late afternoon in Huddersfield's St George's Square with the Labour for EU bus tour.
A group of young 'Thick of It' wannabes handed out placards, stickers and balloons before a warm up speech by the town's long-standing Labour MP Barry Shearman climbed onto the plinth of Harold Wilson's statue. Having invoked the late Prime Minister's name as a blessing for the Remain campaign, Shearman handed over to Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, who made a rather strange speech. Referencing Godfrey Blood's infamous 'slut' speech before going on to say how she'd found 4 steak knives when she did clean behind her fridge, she then handed over to Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson. His speech tied Wilson's legacy of the 1975 Euro referendum, equality legislation and employment rights, before going on to contrast this with Tory EU disunity, the perfidity of Johnson's EU volte face and the dangers an EU-free, unrestrained right-wing Tory party would undoubtedly pose to employment rights and the manufacturing industries.
The speakers were accompanied by Linda, an MEP with unspecified surname and Paula Sherrif, MP for Dewsbury. Conspicuous by her absence was the clearly still unforgiven Jo Cox, MP for Spen Valley and recent Corbyn critic of 'Knifing' infamy.
Stage-managed to a tee, the event did at least provoke applause in the right places for a northern Labour audience, but a low turnout (why a Friday afternoon and only 24 hours' notice) might not exactly have the Brexiters quaking in their boots - even if Watson did take a couple of swipes at UKIP.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Friday, May 13, 2016
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Journey back from London saw me fall prey to guilty pleasure of listening in to the conversation of four people seated at the opposite table. Dressed in their finery, the two couples had been invitees to a Buck House garden party. Of the four, however, it soon transpired that only on had managed a glimpse of the Queen. All in all, it sounded quite a rigmarole to go through to stand around in the rain to munch on cucumber sarnies.
Thursday, May 05, 2016
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
How many carrier bags does it take to hold fish and chips three times, a sausage, three lots of curry sauce and a portion of mushy peas? I plainly thought just the one, because as it was handed over, I turned on my heel and left Blakeley's fish and chip emporium in Ship St, Brighouse.
On my arrival back at home, however, it was pointed out to me - somewhat harshly I feel - that my solitary carrier only contained three portions of chips and one fish. A hasty phone call to the shop revealed two further bags were still there. At this point the owner offered to bring them round for us, and I was able to thank him in person, albeit rather embarrassed for my momentary lapse into a senior/craft moment.
Monday, April 25, 2016
Not yet 10 and I've already had Twitter exchange with Ian McMillan on the dangers of food debris from onboard train catering.
Fear the rest of the week's going to be something of an anti-climax...
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Good walk today with Leeds Ramblers from Hampsthwaite to Birstwith in Nidderdale. A 5.5 mile circular walk in great company with fields full of lambs and dozens of wild rabbits on the homeward leg beside the River Nidd. They seem to like their Cricket in Birstwith, judging from the two matches taking place simultaneously in adjacent fields, the match in the field closest to the village centre had a bit of an after-thought feel to it, being played, as it was, on a strip of recently mowed grass to the right of a marked out rugby pitch,the fielders keeping an eye out for the H posts as they went about their task. On our return to the start on Hampsthwaite's village green, the group rounded off an enjoyable afternoon with tea/coffee and cake at Sophie's Coffee Shop and Delicatessen cum Bed and Breakfast further along Hampsthwaite's main street.. The scones were of an enviable height, and so substantial in heft and mass that a few dozen would provide an effective road block, should the revolution ever come to Nidderdale. The only discordant note of the afternoon was provided by the waiter when he queried my pronunciation of scone (forget the 'e', it rhymes with Ron - as enunciated beautifully by Michael Palin in his brilliant rendition of the Lumberjack Song,listen and learn my be-pinnyed friend, listen and learn...
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Monday, April 18, 2016
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
My Norman no-mates table-for-one dinner in a Bloomsbury curry house was unwittingly enlivened by the table chat of an early evening work outing. Six Londoners, all male, held forth on their favourite strip and lap dancing joints. Enlivened by a few Cobras, a couple of them then went on to describe the services they'd enjoyed from their favourite sex workers before the k member of the group broke into the hackneyed refrain about satellite TV owning benefit claimants. The conversation then took an unexpected turn as they then did a High Fidelity-esque list compilation of their favourite violent and supernatural films.
All in all, I prefer the Python parody. The London boys were a loud, grotesque throwback to Viz's Cockney Wanker character.
Just did an impromptu King's Cross tour guide routine for 2 Californians on a viewing platform overlooking the plaza and Regents Canal. One thanked me for using miles as a distance measurement. Had to explain that we always use them. Feel a bit ashamed for pointing out the spot where Churchill fell in as he was chased by King George for farting at teatime but you can't be nice to them all the time, can you?
Sunday, April 10, 2016
Came home from pleasant week in Cornwall to a re-hanging blind situation. I'd set off knowing the fitting connecting blind to ceiling had come off, causing the blind to fall and hit spouse on the way down but gave the issue little thought until I ventured into the back bedroom soon after we arrived home, to find the blind laying on the bed. So today, out came the drill and rawlplugs. To get a good 'fixing' I tried to drill up into the top of the window reveal, only to find that, even using a masonry drill bit with the drill on 'hammer' setting, I was getting nowhere. Then I spotted a second hole at a right angle to the first, that allowed for a wall fixing alternative.
Things went swimmingly for a while. New hole drilled, fitting screwed to the wall. All that remained was to re-hang the blind. And that's when disaster struck. Attempting to lever the blind into position between the two retaining clips, I managed to snap the flimsy plastic connector on the left hand side (see photo), sending the blind back down onto the bed, to the accompaniment of several choice Anglo Saxon epithets from my self as balanced on the bed in the recently acquired knowledge that the re-fitting is going to cost more time and money.
I need a holiday.
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Spent a pleasant couple of hours cycling around Portreath on north Cornwall coast. This is, or rather was, mining country and the area is littered with former mine workings and engine houses pepper the landscape. Many of the mines were linked by a tramway that took the ore from the inhospitable - and frequently storm-tossed north coast - to the more sheltered and deep waters of the Carrick Roads at Devoran, between Falmouth and Truro. Bike rental from Elm Farm at Nancekuke came to £30 for three adults. The Farm also has a cafe, licensed bar and a camp site. Good times in Cornwall.
Monday, April 04, 2016
Had a interview for work at a university with a big white tower in Leeds last Thursday. Four member panel questioned me for an hour for a job I was more then amply qualified for. Got the rejection this morning. Apparently I can 'phone next week for feedback. Hope no-one waits in for the call.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Friday, March 11, 2016
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Monday, March 07, 2016
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Tuesday, February 02, 2016
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Overheard a man walking past a peace vigil in Huddersfield the other day. He looked at the banners and anti-Trident slogans and then said out loud 'you'd let ISIS just kill us all'. Paying billions for US missiles won't make a blind bit of difference to IS, not that the pavement field marshall seemed able to grasp the finer points.
Monday, January 18, 2016
Monday, January 11, 2016
One afternoon after school as we wandered around Woolworth's record department, my mate Carl tried to explain to me how David Bowie had 'killed' Ziggy Stardust, but that it was OK because they were the same person. And that Ziggy Stardust wasn't real anyway. He then took me way out of my depth by saying that Ziggy was from Mars and bisexual. How could he be from Mars if he wasn't real? I asked, not unreasonably in my opinion; think I used my follow up question to ask what a bisexual was. Carl got annoyed at this point and I think either stormed off or hit me, possibly both. I wasn't a fan, you see (we didn't even have a record player at home) and some kids even had Aladdin Sane by then. He probably didn't know what a bisexual was either. After all, he had also said he knew what condoms were for, but this turned out not to be for contraceptive purposes, rather to prevent you from catching a scary sounding (but entirely made up) disease called Red Knob. Memories of that conversation still make me want to crack up with laughter, which isn't appropriate today of all days because, over the intervening years, I've learned that David Bowie was a great talent in music and art and that he'll be sadly missed. China Girl and Heroes are my favourites and will be played in tribute when I do the ironing later. But what happened to the Spiders from Mars? Were they despatched by a huge rolled up intergalactic newspaper or humanely removed by interstellar transport under a tumbler shaped starship with a heavy-duty detachable cardboard safety deck...?