1144 days ago
I see that Brokerman Dan, who will be walking 32 miles for Woodlarks with me on July 28, has tweeted about completing a 15 mile training walk. In the smug looking selfie that accompanied the tweet the old bastard looks fresh as a daisy, as if he had just strolled to and from the local corner store. If only it were that way for me.
1292 days ago
So yesterday saw Joshua go to his first proper football match - Brislington Ladies vs West Ham Ladies. A full photo report will follow later but the language from the Essex Girls in claret and blue was not very lady like. Listeners, I was shocked. On the markets I look in detail at Versarien (VRS), Greatland Gold (GGP), Velocys (VEL), RM2 (RM2) and as well as Nomates Neil Woodford I also have some Julie Meyer news, I fear that "Praise Be the Lord" may be about to send me a letter.
1328 days ago
I popped up to see my father in Shipston on Stour in south Warwickshire last night with a view to heading on to Oxford early this morning for other family business. At 2.30 AM I awoke and looked out of my window and there was nothing to see. By 6.30 AM the global warming was deep, crisp and even and it was still snowing. It is now 9.15 and it is still snowing and the Oxford event has been cancelled. The snow is now at least three inches deep on the roof of my car and the forecast is for snow all day. The best bet, methinks, is to head for the motorway now and go back to Bristol in time to catch West Ham ladies in action at 2PM against Brislington Ladies ( my local team) in the FA Women's Vase 2nd round. Come on You Irons!
1477 days ago
Sing & Sign is not to be confused with politically correct poetry. The latter is on a Wednesday at our local library or will be until, that place is shut down. As the Po faced poetry dominatrix explained this week, Bristol City Council is being forced to make big cuts. Well of course there is no cut in its donation to the Pride festival, the City council can afford a fully staffed press office, to fund Chess Tournaments and to make donations to very rich charities such as the Terence Higgins Trust as well as Womankind Bristol Women's Therapy Centre Ltd, Independent Sex Workers against Violence, the Hype Dance Company, the Bristol Zimbabwe Association and a whole raft of other valuable causes. But it must close down our library here in the white working class district of Brislington because of the wicked Tories. Whatever.
1680 days ago
I put it off yesterday, so traumatized was I after a session in Sainsbury's. At the local branch here in Brislington, it was not the staff but gormless young chavs half way between a hangover and a bender, who dressed as Santa or as an elf and roamed the aisles in search of cheap alcohol or mass produced junk food. Such is Christmas 2016 in Britain. It is a long way from a manger in Bethlehem and the poor shepherds.
2317 days ago
I am rather cross with my capitalist cat Tara. Whereas my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley treated the UKIP pamphlets thrust through our door with suitable respect by defecating on Nigel Farage’s face, Tara failed to respond in a suitable manner when the Labour party pushed three flyers through the letterbox. Bad Tara.
Thus the Mrs, a lifelong deluded lefty, thrust them into my hand smirking at the failure of Tara to follow orders and I dutifully had a butchers. There was one from a dreadful harridan who leads Labour on the City Council and thinks our pompous arse of a red-trousered mayor George Ferguson is awful. He is but her rantings made me feel almost sorry for the Mayor. The level of petty squabbling just made me want to see the whole lot of them at City hall strung up with eco-friendly piano wire.
Then there was a glossy pamphlet from our Labour MP Kerry McCarthy. Oddly I could find no picture of her party leader Mr Miliband on the flyer and cannot imagine why that is. She had a long go at the Tories for failing to tackle the deficit. You what? Suddenly the party that always runs out of other people’s money when in power is the party of Austrian economics? Pull the other one Kerry luv. Kerry also boasts that she has mentioned Bristol 200 times in Parliament in the past five years. Wow… my taxes are well spent on you aren’t they?
Finally there was a pamphlet from my local council candidate who was wearing a trainspotter’s uniform and looked about 150. By this point I was losing the will to live but comrade Mike Langley grabbed my attention by flagging up the real issue in this election: the seagull menace here in Bristlington. And
2364 days ago
Tara, who makes her video debut below, may not be related to Oakley but the two have lived together for all of their 13 years. She may be sleek and slim but she is the capitalist cat. Oakley does nothing all day and is thus sometimes referred to as Benefits Street. Tara believes that Greed is Good and thus eats far more than Oakley either from her food bowl or by snacking on human food whenever she can grab it. I guess she has a higher metabolic rate than Oakley and she also takes plenty of exercise patrolling the garden.
I first met the two of them in the Isle of Man after the sudden death of my previous cat Kitosh. His ashes travelled with me in the years that followed and are now buried in a wooden cat shaped urn underneath a newly planted thyme bush at the bottom of our Garden in Brislington.
At the MSPCA sanctuary as I wandered along seeking a replacement for Kitosh the sweet young kittens grabbed all the attention. But in one cage there were two much older cats Tara and Oakley. Well I was told there were two. Oakley
2374 days ago
Up and at it quite early I switched the kettle on and… boom… all power on the house was lost. Normally I am pretty good at dealing with the fuse box under the stairs but today I was defeated. Leaving the Mrs (still in bed with Oakley the three legged cat) to call an electrician I sped off in the car in desperate search of a place to work.
The Arnos Manor hotel in Brislington is a building I pass most days but have never visited. It offers an excellent Wedding service and the staff here have been delightful. I have sat happily in its bar mainlining lattes and tapping away since just before eight. Situated next to the stunning Arnos Vale Victorian cemetery – one of the major attractions of Brislington – I cannot thank the staff too much here for their courtesy and friendliness.
The Mrs has just wandered in. A little man
2380 days ago
As you know I have guided West Ham to the brink of Champions League football by studiously paying no attention to every game played and avoiding going anywhere near a match or even watching on TV. When I have weakened and thought about attending a game, suddenly The Irons stop playing like Brazil and start playing like a Hackney Marshes side. I must warn you that with the Hammers travelling to my home City of Bristol this Sunday for an FA Cup game, my resolve weakened.
My daughter is in town and I tried to buy a pair of tickets off an online site. Luckily www.ticketbis.net offers the most useless service on this planet and treats potential customers like shite. I was promised calls back, I harried, a bloke called me asking for my business and said right now go buy tickets online only to find there were none. This company is run by a bunch of total wankers from Liverpool. The sooner the welfare safari that is scouseland is towed off into the Irish Sea and sunk the better. I heartily advise that you never use this company ever, not even to buy a stolen hub cap.
So no tickets. That prevents an almost certain cup upset. However I should warn you
2403 days ago
For some reason I dozed off between the end of Skyfall and the tome to go to midnight mass. As such when waking up on Christmas day the stockings of myself, the Mrs and the cats were opened in something of a rush. Santa clearly thought that we had all behaved well in 2014. Clearly he does not know about how Oakley, the three legged cat, likes weeing on the inside doormat. And thus we were all well rewarded and after a splendid breakfast cooked by yours truly we wandered off to St Cuthbert’s Brislington.
Built in 1933 this church could easily hold 350. As it was with the Mrs and I in attendance there were 15 in the congregation plus vicar and organist. It is not as if midnight mass at Brislington is packed – there cannot have been more than 35 in attendance in 2013. One fears that a couple of cold winters could see just the mrs, the Vicar and I attending Christmas day 2018. We were the youngest in the congregation by a long chalk: what is happening to the C of E?
It is just that Christmas has become one great big godless consumerfest celebrated across the world by folks of whatever background. My 13 year old daughter Olivia – deprived of the alternate Christmases promised by her mother Big Nose 10 years ago, has never once attended Church on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. That I rather regret.
The Mrs and I do not take communion as I am very much lapsed in my faith and the Mrs has grave doubts. But we try to think of what Christmas is about and it is not as the Radio DJs insist on saying “all about family and friends”. However much the PC brigade insist otherwise Christmas is about Jesus. The fact we celebrate this festival and the traditions involved are down to Jesus. We give each other presents because we are celebrating God giving us his only son, whether we regard that as fact, belief or fantasy. To deny the involvement of Jesus in Christmas seems fatuous to me.
The sermon was bland enough but at least this C of E vicar managed to resist the urge to pray for peace in Palestine, the C of E codewords for “all power to Hamas”. And with that
2458 days ago
One of the attractions of the house the Mrs bought in a Bristol suburb last Christmas is its almost Mediterranean – if small – garden. It sits wedged between the house and my office, aka a large abandoned garage which is now starting to get a bit nippy. On that matter, I remind my rentier landlord (aka the Mrs) that she has yet to provide her exploited tenant (me) with the heating she promised. Truly, the deluded lefty has become a wicked capitalist exploiter. I digress.
The garden came with a lovely rhubarb plant, a fig tree but its main produce is grapes from the vines that snakes around the edge and onto anything it can find to climb along. And so the grapes were, some weeks, ago harvested by myself the Mrs and some of her deluded lefty mates.
How many deluded lefties does it take to harvest a vine? Five (plus myself who was let off grape picking as I was chief cook for the evening.). Of the five, that would be one to play the guitar, two to complain about Thatcher and austerity and the other two to pick the grapes.
The grapes were crushed (not with bare feet it is too bloody cold for that) and left to ferment ad then strained and now sit in two demi-johns. You will note that they are marginally different colours. I cannot remember which is which but one is the top liquid, the second was liquid plus a lot of strained grape material. It matters little. The initial tasting was “interesting”. Bottling takes place shortly and Chateau Brislington should – in theory – be drinkable by next spring. In practise…I have my doubts.
2575 days ago
One of the attractions of the house that the Mrs bought in Bristol last December was a vine that is now threatening to take over the back garden. We have hacked it back a bit but it is unstoppable and bunches of what are very clearly grapes are now clearly visible everywhere.
I have no idea how to nurture this plant but it seems to do very well by itself. I also have no idea of how to turn grapes into wine but it cannot be that hard surely?
Rooting around in the garage, aka my office, the other day I stumbled across a bottle of rose wine left by the former owners from the 2013 vintage. It was marked clearly “drink in the summer of 2014.” The Mrs and I are dutiful folks so obeyed the instructions and much to our surprise it was quite drinkable. A bit on the strong side but who are we to complain.
The 2014 harvest takes place on my return to the UK in the first week of October. Apparently our vine can produce up to 16 bottles a year of Chateau Brislington. That then is the Christmas presents sorted…
2804 days ago
An email just in from the Ewok (the Mrs) conforms she has exchanged on the sale of her flat and purchase of a grown up house in the fairly respectable Bristol district of Brislington.
On Friday the buyers of the flat tried to pull out having discovered a clause in the leasehold agreement (supplied two months ago) which spooked them. Good work by the Ewok and her lawyer dealt with that but one working day before exchange was due it was an unpleasant moment.
Now we are all set to complete and move well before Christmas. Hooray.
PS In case any companies thinking of suing me for libel are reading this, the house is 100% owned by the Ewok, I am merely a tenant with no assets at all.