Thursday, July 26, 2007

Farewell to the ‘Flickering fire.’

I have explained before that Iris lived in an older type house that had been her mother’s home for some years before she died in 1971. After her death, the tenancy was transferred to Iris who had been living there since 1960. When I ‘moved in’ for four days a week, we decorated all the rooms and replaced the old furniture bit by bit. I wrote about this some time ago. (“A much-needed refurbishment,” April 1st 2006)
Iris was a little reluctant to get rid of the old coal fire as she said it always looked warm and inviting. I didn’t push the point because it would have cost an arm and a leg to pull it all out and replace it with either a gas or electric fire. The decision, however, was made for us by the local council who had a refurbishment project under way for such older property as this. Iris was offered a choice of either a new maisonette or a complete modernisation of her present house; she chose the latter.
The upgrade consisted of double-glazing, central heating and a new bathroom suite. There was nothing to pay, apart from a rent increase, which was understandable and we both agreed that it would be nice to have a constant heat source instead of having to lay a fire after a day’s work. The whole conversion would be done over a period of seven days and interruption would be at a minimum. (It was said!)

When the workmen arrived a couple of weeks later, they started on the house next door. We saw that their kitchen was out of action, there was no hot water, no heating and a film of dust covered every surface! We decided that when our turn came, we would leave them the keys and take ourselves off for a few days even if it meant digging into our annual holiday time.
Work started on a Thursday, if I remember correctly and we managed to live with the upset for the first couple of days but by the weekend, we realised we’d be better off out of it! We farmed Smoky out to some cat-loving friends and we spent a week in
London where Iris originally wanted to go before the Paris trip last Easter. She was absolutely fascinated by the Underground system and her first sight of Big Ben lit her face up! We spent the best part of a day in the Tower of London and I took great delight in telling her some of the history about it.
I told her, of course that ‘Big Ben’ was the name of the bell and not the tower and I recounted the story of how Sir Benjamin Hall had raised the question in Parliament as to what name should be given to the huge thirteen and a half ton bell. Someone suggested “Big Ben” after Sir Benjamin and the name stuck! I think that this was an apocryphal story as the incident was never recorded on the official minutes. (Hansard) The bell first rang out on May 31st 1859.

Incidentally, after two months, the bell cracked and had to be ’stitched’ and a lighter hammer replaced the original one. The result of the crack can be heard even now, every time the bell is rung on the hour just as the initial sound is fading.
We spent a couple of days in the
East End of the city with some friends of mine and Iris was highly amused at some of the characters she met.

We returned home to find new windows, a new central heating system, a new bathroom suite complete with a separate shower cubicle and a pot-plant left by the workmen in return for our leaving tea, sugar and cans of soup for them while they had been working.
Iris remarked that the shower cubicle looked big enough for two so that evening, we just had to try it. While it was big enough for two (just!) with a bit of a squeeze, there wasn’t a lot of room left for anything else other than washing! The only sad thing about the conversion was that there could be no more poems about making love in front of the “Flickering fire.” Several of my verses have mentioned it and it really was a romantic setting. However, having a spot of nookie in front of a radiator didn’t have the same ring to it somehow!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Downfall of a nationalist

The ex-leader of Sheffield BNP has fallen from grace and descended to an all-time low. Following his replacement as local organiser, he took up with a woman 20 years his junior and began an on-off relationship.Since then, he has completely changed. His daughter fled from home three days after her 16th birthday to escape from years of sexual abuse. He told everyone that she had stolen £1,000 from his bank account and left without saying a word. This was not true. Her father did indeed know she was going away and he even got her a suitcase out of the loft for her to use. The story of her theft of the money was utterly false! Since then, however, he has tried every way to get her back home, even to the extent of contacting the police, the FBI and the US Immigration Department.

His daughter, now 16, has every right to be free but he doesn’t see it that way. She is now happily settled with a caring loving family and has been accepted into the local community.
His new girl-friend suffered two pregnancies in four months; each time, he took her for an abortion. Some nationalist!
While she was recovering from her second termination, he went off on a ‘Gentleman’s holiday’ to
Thailand with some friends. It was there that he associated with transvestite prostitutes. (Ladyboys)
It was only through chance that his girl-friend, now his fiancée found out about it. This hardly cemented an already rocky partnership but she still moved in with him after all that!
Every shred of his nationalist principles has left him; every bit of decency he ever had has also gone. Below is the sort of creature that he was associating with on his
Thailand trip.

He is still, after all this time, trying his best to make his daughter's life a misery but he fails to understand that his control has completely slipped away and he has lost her forever. His daughter and her new family have proved once and for all that love will always defeat power and corruption!

And this was the man I once called a close and loyal friend!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Back at last!

Hi folks...
Due to the crass stupidity of Talktalk, I've been off-line for about two weeks now.
I have several posts waiting to be published and I shall be putting them on the blog in due course.
Many thanks to Sarah for monitoring the blog while I was away.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I just thought that I would leave a posting to let all the readers of the blog know that Graeme is having internet trouble and does not know when he will be back online. I hope that it will be soon but that is down to his ISP. Please keep checking back to this blog, as I'm sure he'll post again as soon as he is back online.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Have you ever been to Bakewell?

Bakewell is one of the most beautiful market towns in Derbyshire nestling in the Peak District. It has a wealth of lore and legend and is famous for its Bakewell tarts; although they call them puddings there!
There is a plethora of “Olde Tea Shoppes” and antiques shops around and there are quite a few decent pubs in the town as well. There is a flourishing outdoor market with fresh produce on offer at very reasonable prices. All in all, it’s a very good place in which to spend a day out.
There is just one problem……. Parking!!!!!
Parking in Bakewell is nigh on impossible unless you use the public car-park across the river away from the town. It’s a good half-mile from the hub of things and takes all the pleasure out of going there. Besides, if I have to walk half a mile from the nearest parking slot, my interest in the place wanes immediately!
Traffic wardens in Bakewell have an inbuilt Radar system and will swoop out of nowhere to slap a ticket on any car that dares to park on the street. As far as private transport is concerned, Bakewell is a no-go area!
It’s a pity because I often go there to get meat from a purveyor in the market-place. The meat is of excellent quality and I usually get three or four large joints and a load of steak. I shall be going back there shortly to stock up on meat and also to get some nice tender liver for the cats. Tiffi goes crackers about liver and no doubt our little furry baby, Amber, will be just as keen once she’s tasted it. I shall be taking my younger daughter with me (Fran) so I suppose I’ll get stung into buying her lunch. She usually ends up getting a meal when I take her anywhere. Crafty lass, is our Fran!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

More Amber…

Amber is now starting to explore her surroundings and is taking an interesting all sorts of things. She has been wormed recently and this resulted in her not wanting to tish!

However, yesterday, I’m pleased to say that she had her first tish . Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the litter tray but under the table….. Guess who had to scrorm (lovely descriptive word) under the table to clean it up? Not to worry; that’s what kittens do.

More pics…

"I'm waiting for Graeme to come here."

"Wot's all this then?!

Hey, don't tell Tiffi but I'm in her place!!!"

Amber is now becoming really kittenish. She climbs up my knees and onto my lap then jumps across to Barbara. She is eating well and occasionally has been seen finishing off a few scraps that Tiffi has left!
B succeeded in getting both Tiffi and Amber together on her knee and a state of armed neutrality existed. They aren't exactly buddy-buddies yet but there's no real animosity. I reckon that time will smooth the differences.

More pics soon!