PERSONAL, UNDILUTED VIEWS FROM TOM WINNIFRITH
6 days ago
16 days ago
I am told, by a fellow Northerner, that it is offensive to use the term Grim North and that continuing to do so may end up costing me £5 a month. I discuss this matter in more detail, explaining my reasoning and why I am actually a bit of a Northerner myself.
16 days ago
30 days ago
34 days ago
35 days ago
37 days ago
37 days ago
41 days ago
42 days ago
43 days ago
97 days ago
112 days ago
119 days ago
125 days ago
475 days ago
884 days ago
967 days ago
The first time I met my parents in law it did not go terribly well. I understood fully that a man who was at that stage worth minus £200,000 was, at 44, materially older than a darling daughter and who had been married before was not exactly an ideal potential son in law. Indian families want their daughters to marry up not to marry a bankrupt bum who is a proven marital failure. I understood.
My mother in law had been trying to arrange for the Mrs to get hooked up with a nice Indian dentist from Plymouth. That is the sort of son in law she wanted and at every level I failed to meet the required standard. It was bad enough when her elder daughter fell in love with a Greek, we all know what the Bubbles are like don't we? Now the younger daughter was dating a bum with no money who was also a Tory voted and had a dim view of the NHS. Did I mention tht my Mother in law was a doctor?
It goes without saying that when the Mrs broke the bad news that the boyfriend was to become the husband, the subject of a pre-nup came up pretty quickly. That was then.
There was a lovely wedding at a Byron family home in the grim North which the Mother-in-law worked on tirelessly. The financial position has changed dramatically since our first meeting 42 months ago. I have earned big brownie points by quitting smoking (unlike the bubble brother in law) and, fingers crossed and notwithstanding my advanced years, a grandson will arrive shortly. And thus a card addressed to both of us arrived yesterday.
In face the envelope was marked with the surname Winnifrith for both os us. That is how my parents in law view us. They also know that their family originates from Madras. The Mrs, being a deluded lefty, retains her surname and thinks her family come from Chennai. Whatever....I am with the in-laws on both matters.
If a daughter of mine announced she was dating someone who was in my position of a few years ago I too would have been horrified. How things have improved all round. The Mrs has enjoyed , an excellent presented and cooked, breakfast in bed and is now having a lie in with my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley. It is not going to be a full working day for them. Or for me.
1000 days ago
1058 days ago
1080 days ago
1176 days ago
The BBC's Question Time was from Bradford last night and my heart sank as I looked out an audience comprised largely of fat people who pretty ssoon showed that they were also - almost to a person - just plain stupid. It was all too predictable what followed as a questionner asked whether George Osborne's pre-election talk about a Northern Powerhouse was just vote grabbing waffle.
A silly Labour MP said how some Government department had just been moved from Sheffield to the South and asked how this would help the Northern Powerhouse. The audience lapped it up. Shuffling desks in the great State apparatus has nothing to do with creating wealth and prosperity but that was a point no-one in the room seemed to appreciate.
A woman in the audience who appeared to have an almost negative IQ and thus boasted that she worked in local Government talked of savage cuts in her employer's budget and austerity and the rest of the audience wet themselves with joy.
The odious careerist Amber Rudd for the Tories talked about investing in trains in Manchester & Liverpool but that seemed only to irk the audience from the other side of the pennines even more. One assumes that Ms Rudd, like myself regards all residents of the grim Northern welfare safaris as pretty much the same. But it seems that up in the Grim North the various tribes hate each other almost as much as they hate we in the hard working south. One would have hoped that a real Tory might dare to mention private enterprise but instead we only had Ms Rudd on the panel.
No-one dared put it to the audience that the North was once a great powerhouse not because of Government but because of wicked evil capitalists who established great factories and brought jobs, prosperity and wealth to the region. Government does not create such wealth but there was a consensus in the hall that it was the job of Government to do everything right down to wiping the arses of the ignorant lazy folks from the welfare safari.
If more Government "investment" did create real wealth, sustainable jobs and prosperity, then folks would have been hopping over the wall from West Berlin to the land of milk and honey in East Germany and it would have been West Germany that collapsed in economic ruin. But do not let facts get in the way of reality.
Some chap in the audience bleated that the only jobs being created in the North were in retail and distribution. The audience again wet themselves in approval. They were egged on but a battleaxe from the Lib Dems who agreed that what the Government should be doing is ensuring that there were real jobs, that is the manufacturing and industry of old. Gladstone must, at this point, have been spinning in his grave. Does his party really now believe in the commanding heights, that the State can create industry? It seems so and it seems as if the folks in the North would rather have no jobs than those which wicked capitalists create by risking their own capital if those jobs are not in the industries they choose.
The BBC insists that its Question Time audiences are representitive. If that is indeed the case then God help the North for it is doomed. Please Can Nicola Sturgeon press for independence for an enlarged Scotland, taking in everywhere North of Coventry, as soon as possible?
1214 days ago
1310 days ago
1319 days ago
1319 days ago
As you know I try to gain a real cultural understanding of life in the grim Northern post-industrial welfare safaris by watching Corrie. But even after this crash course I am still sometimes at a loss.
And so today my pal the convicted bank robber Dan Levi tweeted that he was going to “rip me”. I wondered what exactly the Lord of the Manchester slums meant by this. Apparently in the slums of Manchester this means to “laugh at” me.
In common or garden English the slum boy is going to be ‘avin’ a bubble at me. Now why could he have not put it this way so that we could all understand?
1633 days ago
1638 days ago
1768 days ago
1823 days ago
In the end the Mrs could bear it no longer and left a day early to secure the release from cat prison of her two “puddings” Tara and Oakley. For the last five days of the holiday it was “only four days to the puddings” and only “three days and 16 hours” to go.
Every time we ate in a restaurant and were inevitably surrounded by a bunch of scrawny Greek cats we would both throw them bits of food to ease the guilt of confining Tata and Oakley to cat prison. “Should we order an extra portion of whitebait just for the cats” we asked ourselves.
And so at ten am the doors will open at the cat prison. The Mrs will, having arrived back in Bristol at 1.30 AM, having been waiting impatiently outside for quite some time. The reunion will be joyful. I am expecting – and am happy to pay – a huge roaming phone bill – as text images of Tara and Oakley are sent over this morning. By 10.30 the cats will be back home, being pampered with treats and sitting with the Mrs as she catches up on two weeks of Coronation Street.
Did I mention that the Mrs is hooked on The Street? I really do not understand it at all. I guess it is something for those from the Grim North only.
1912 days ago
Of course Oakley will always be Oakley and later this week we look forward to the installation of a dog flap which allow the obese but adorable creature to venture outside without us opening a door. Currently he can get no more than his head through the cat flap.
The Mrs has fallen in love with Oakley and has started calling him “Darling”. That used to be my name! As an alternative she is calling him “Pudding” which given that she is from the Grim North must be a reference to something that comes in a large portion and is very thick.
My own recently coined nickname is “Benefits Street” on the basis that Oakley spends the whole day in bed, will occasionally do a mess on the carpet because he thinks he has rights without responsibilities, while now and again popping downstairs to demand an extra-large hand-out from the Food Bank.
2244 days ago
64 days ago I wrote of my visit, no pilgrimage, to Grantham, the birthplace of Margaret Thatcher, the most remarkable Prime Minister of the last century, if not of all times. Grantham is an unremarkable little town and it is Thatcher that is the only reason to put it on the map. Yet there is no statue to this great woman in the town and that is something Labour councillors wished to rectify. Yes, you read that correctly. Well done the people’s party.
Yet when it came to the vote on a Tory run council not one conservative voted in favour of the idea. Are they ashamed to honour the greatest leader of their party and the most famous person from their town? Do they not appreciate the economic advantages of talking up Thatcher town in terms of attracting increased visitors? Or are they Call Me Dave Tories who would rather spend the cash on a statue of Tony Blair or a new centre for hosting civil partnerships/helping Romanian immigrants claim benefits/windmill on the town hall roof?
If you find yourself in the Grim North and wish to visit Grantham you too can – as I did nine weeks ago – stand outside the small corner shop where Lady Thatcher was born and grew up, with just one small plaque on the wall to note this fact. And if you see a local Tory councillor while you are there remember to kick his stick away and tell him why he is a total scumbag.
2308 days ago
I find myself temporarily in the Grim North. The folks here all seem to have shoes, I have not yet been mugged and although it is a Sunday there seem to be plenty of folk off to work and Church. I have yet to see a whippet. It is all rather surprisingly ungrim.
But I cannot stay here long in case I catch the welfare addiction so I shall be heading back South soon. But before I go, since I am within ten miles of Grantham I feel I should pay a brief visit to the birthplace of the last Conservative PM Britain enjoyed. I hope to post a photo report later.