It’s a Dog’s Life

I really miss the Parkrun, thought Billy, sniffing a lamp post hopefully. I wonder why they stopped it. I hope it wasn’t because I barked so much at the start. I was just so excited. All those smells, admittedly they weren’t all nice but most of the humans smelt friendly. Maybe, Patrick stopped it? Maybe, I should have let him win sometimes? But then he would probably have tripped over my lead, teehee that could have been quite funny.

Patrick and Billy

Patrick and Billy at Beverley Westwood Parkrun

A lot of the humans have gone away, it’s probably because of all the rain. I heard Patrick say  the bad weather was keeping them away from the Parkrun (when we had one!) And he is very clever. As for the ones that are left? Well, I think they may have fallen out. They used to mess about, always kissing and hugging, now they stand apart and don’t look as happy. I haven’t smelt a trouser leg for ages. Of course that doesn’t tell you very much about someone,  if you really want to get to know someone you need to smell their bottoms.

My friend, Rex (he’s a Border Collie and works with Sheep) says that Mother Nature has stopped Parkrun as a punishment. He’s always been a deep thinker. He thinks all the machines, especially the one’s that fly, have stopped working because they were killing natureAnd, he says a long time ago some beings called Dinosaurs were very naughty so she froze them all! He laughs and says some humans want to save the planet but they don’t realise the planet will save itself one day.

I know it sounds a bit silly but a lot of people are very sad because there is no Parkrun anymore. For some people it was their weekly challenge or a way to meet other people and have a bit of fun and other people used to like setting it up and making it nice for the ones that ran or walked it. Rex said it was good for people’s mental health (whatever that means)

They all used to shout my name when I ran past and I used to bark a lot, so I hope if it is Mother Nature that’s doing this, then the humans can do a deal with her.

Posted in Blogging, Humour, Life, Relationships, Running | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Not Really Poetry

I’m not a poet but I do spend a lot of time running, sometimes on my own and sometimes with my partner. This partner, although female, is not the aforementioned Princess. I guess she is my Countess, which the Princess appears to be happy about as she believes a Countess is lower in the ranking than a Princess. Anyway, as always I digress. So, yesterday I had a long run on my own because of you know what, shhh… and when I run alone the old brain comes up with all sorts of stuff. Some of it involves stuff I couldn’t put on here, give me a break I am still a bloke 😘 So in this little head of mine I wrote a poem, mainly because Saturday is Parkrun day and if you have no idea what that is? Then follow the link to a previous post, as I say I’m not a poet so I shoved a couple of photos in there to ease the pain. Hope you are all keeping safe and not yet contemplating divorce 😉

The people may be divided

But still, they are united

Parkrun is now prohibited

Alone, we have to run – uninhibited

And ensure we give a 2-meter pass

So, Mr Corona you can kiss my ass.

Posted in Athletics, Blogging, Freedom, Humour, Life, Opinion, Over 50's | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Oh! The Working Men’s Club

Picture this. A warm alluring bar, rich, mellow music, intimate seating and culinary delights to tease your taste buds into a frenzy.

Well, a Working Men’s Club wasn’t quite like that. When I was a lad this was our Sunday night out, down the Labour Club. You arrived at seven o’clock to ensure a table. You couldn’t sit at any table because families had their own tables, especially on a Sunday night. I’ve seen fist fights over ‘table territory.’  The McGlynn and the Robertson family? They would just glower at you, all night, but the Grimes’? – they would rip your lungs out, so you had to be careful.

The lino floor ensured strict hygiene could be observed. Beer, blood and occasional vomit was uncomplicatedly washed away with mop and bucket. Upon entrance your ears detected the eloquent sounds of Jack and Bill playing organ and drums and by the time you had downed your third pint of Tetley’s bitter people were having a dance and  ‘Sooty’as we affectionately called our host would have announced the evenings entertainment. He earned the name simply because he stood behind a box.

The programme was usually the same. Jack and Bill played a few waltzes, quicksteps and foxtrots for the serious dancers and the rest of us waited for the main attraction, quite often a comedy dance band, which we called the ‘Turn.’ I remember the 4 Statesmen (photo below) who were hilarious and accomplished musicians. Eventually the ‘Turn’ had a break and we were treated to pie and peas and a game of Bingo. Oh we knew how to live 😉

We had Stewards who kept an eye on things, especially me. I was only fifteen when I joined (proposed by the President and seconded by John McGlynn, no less) So, five to six pints of hand pulled Tetley bitter was my limit. and if I misbehaved I would be hauled before ‘The Committee.’

I remember one particular Christmas party at John’s house where I was drinking half pints of whisky and orange – showing off in front of my new girlfriend – the Fitzgerald lass. I eventually passed out and was put to bed by Mary and Sue (John’s wife and her friend). I awoke five hours later, stark naked, in a strange bed, desperately trying to recall the preceding twelve hours. That evening – Boxing Day – I remember sitting in the Labour Club when Sooty announced that, “Mary and Sue would like to know if Charlie still has his purple underpants on?” I think that was the moment the Fitzgerald lass decided that all things being equal we possibly didn’t have a future together. Oh! those were the days.

Posted in 1970'S, Blogging, Dancing, History, Humour, Life, Opinion, Over 50's, people | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

To Flee or to Fight

The sun creeps over the mountain ridge, casting its first shadow deep into the canyon – far away in the distance a blur is moving fast with the speed and agility of a Pronghorn. Look closer and you see someone running in a dress?

Photo by Eli Duke/Creative Commons 2.0

When someone invades your country you can flee or you can fight. In the 16th century the Spanish invaded the Americas. The Aztecs and the Maya fought, that didn’t exactly work out for them, the Raramuri or as the Spanish called them, the Tarahumara, fled and hid in the Sierra Madre, home to the Copper Canyons. They were so good at camouflage Cortez and his successors never found them. In the 1890’s the explorer Carl Lumholtz rode past a village without even seeing it.

The Copper Canyons have always been quite popular with naughty boys, such as Geronimo and a few bandits. Although I’m not quite sure these days if Geronimo was naughty? One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and all that. 😉

But back to the Taramuhara, boy can these people run, 50-100 miles? No problem.

One of the things that assist them is their diet, they eat a lot Masa Harina which is cornmeal treated with lime (the mineral lime, not the fruit). From this they make Pinole (recipe here). Masa Harina is sold out in the UK, nothing to do with the apocopalypse it’s been like that for a while, so I am still running slowly 😉

Some say they are the best distance runners in the world, epitomised in Christopher McDougall‘s book Born to Run it’s an interesting debate and they do it all in sandals, eat your heart out Nike 😂

Posted in Athletics, Blogging, Freedom, History, Life, Mexico, Opinion, Running | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Sexual Awakening

If you have a disinclination towards sex, then it may be prudent of you to ‘click’ close now. One dark cold night last week I was reminiscing to an age gone by and ‘the sexual awakening.’ I was eleven or twelve (I know possibly a bit young and this could explain a lot) I was watching Star Trek, in particular Lieutenant Uhura, when something happened. I’ll spare you the detail but two things came into my mind. One – I’d done something really bad and was now Hell-bound for eternity. Two – I needed to do some research.

Kevin, our school expert, said he had stuck a pin in his testicles and a milky liquid had come out and he had also got his penis stuck in a milk bottle. He also had a habit of picking his nose and eating it. Having had a vasectomy some years ago I know the pin thing was a lie, I never tried the milk bottle experiment.

My research led me to a book called ‘Hells Angels.’ Not recommended as reading material for your 11-12 year old. There was something that puzzled me. Apparently, to get his Red Wings, these are similar to Scout Badges, an Angel had to commit cunnilingus on a menstruating woman? These words were definitely not on our school spelling list. Humph! More research. I checked the various meanings and and then drew my conclusions. It was all about monthly cycles, why some women could only go for a bike ride once a month was beyond me, and kissing a ladies ‘thing’. Obviously a competition where a lady sat on a playground roundabout, I was clever enough to know that a bicycle wouldn’t work. As she spun round, that was the cycle bit, the Hells Angels tried to kiss her ‘thing,’ haha sorted!

I couldn’t wait to tell Kevin, he laughed and enlightened me. Really, I mean really! He then told me that girls let you put your willy in their mouth. So, I asked my good friend Rosalie if she would like me to put my willy in her mouth? She declined, stating she would rather have a lollipop. Reporting back to Kevin, he said he did it himself. Don’t try this at home! The problem was that when you lean so far forward you ‘tipple tail.’ After ‘tipple tailing’ around the lounge, naked, for twenty minutes I noticed our Corgi dog staring at me. Head cocked on one side with a ‘What the F’ look on it’s face, I gave up! My research had been disappointing and I went back to playing football, grass fights and the occasional kiss with Rosalie for few years 😉

Posted in 1970'S, Blogging, History, Humour, Life, Opinion, people | Tagged , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Climbing over grit

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Originally posted on A Voice from Iran:
? Dear friends: You can purchase my book “Climbing Over Grit” Winner of “Canada Book Award” at; Barnes & Noble, Gardners, Bertrams, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon.com and all bookselling channels via hubs…

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Another Old Girl

That’s the best Curry I have had in 44 years,” I said. The waiter, quite possibly the owner of the Kashmir Restaurant in Bradford gave me one of those looks. I’m kinda used to them by now. He appeared to be thinking. ‘This bloke been locked up somewhere? Maybe he doesn’t like Curry? Maybe he’s just mad?’ 

I know that look, so I have learned to follow up my statements fairly quickly. I explained I had left Bradford 44 years ago and the Kashmir still does the best Meat Curry and 3 Chapattis known to man, ‘to be honest it’s a bit of a toss up between you and the Karachi,’ I thought but didn’t share. This was our final night of the Bradford research trek and it was my treat. In 1976 it would have cost me 60p for our meal for two, tonight it was £15, so still a bargain.

Earlier in the day I had checked us in at the Great Victoria Hotel. The villain (likable villain may I say) in the book uses this place a lot, so I thought I would have lots of questions for the staff about how the layout had changed since 1974 but thankfully not a lot had changed apart from the drink prices. This in itself was a blessing because most of the staff looked as though they hadn’t been born until 2004.

The hotel,  built in 1850 by the railway company, is an admirable example of Victorian architecture and typical of the ‘Stone City.’ 

 

The following day was spent investigating more old haunts, the Princess was curious about a sign that stated. ‘Anti Social Car Behaviour will be prosecuted.’ I explained that the council was trying to stop kerb crawling and people having sex with prostitutes at the side of the road. Well c’mon this is Manningham. So all in all a good bit of research and reassuring that after 44 years, not much has changed.

Posted in 1970'S, Blogging, Bradford, History, Humour, Life, Opinion, Railways, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Going Back, Haworth, the Bronte’s and a Sticky Toffee Pudding

I doubt there will ever be a Parkrun in Haworth and the Bronte Sisters must have had  calf muscles to die for!

IMG_5574

In 1973 many people thought the Hovis advert had been filmed in Haworth but it was actually filmed in Shaftesbury, Dorset with a Yorkshire voice over. I guess you can see the confusion?

See the blue sky in the photo? Well trust me, it rained all day but this was the Yorkshire Moors after all and as I remember Cathy and Heathcliff got very wet! (No it wasn’t a Carry on Film) As a boy I saw the 1939 film Wuthering Heights on the telly and presumed Cathy died of a cold, that’s what mum said. It was probably too difficult to explain to a six year-old that Cathy was histrionic and died of a mental illness. There again my mum told me her handbag contained, ‘Shim Shams for meddlers’ Hmm…

This wasn’t a Bronte tour and definitely not a review (you’ve learnt by now that reviews are not my forte?). But last week I mentioned I had been back to Bradford to do a bit of research for t’book and as the Princess had volunteered support, this was her treat. ‘Aye, a’knows ow t’treat a lass.’ to be fair there was Sticky Toffee Pudding involved!

After our little wander up and down I took her to see an old girl in Haworth who will be celebrating her 400th year in 2021, The Haworth Old Hall Inn, if you ever find yourselves in Bronte World (there are no rides or large mice) then this place is a must. The atmosphere was lively (it was Half Term), there was a log fire burning with friendly staff (no, there were logs on the fire, the staff were serving) and the food was gorgeous.

It wasn’t a huge lunch as there was another treat planned for that very evening at the Karachi Curry house but that will have to wait until next week. Of course, with the place being so busy I was acutely aware of Corona Virus but luckily they only seemed to stock Sol and Kronenbourg in bottles.

Posted in Blogging, Bradford, History, Humour, Life, Opinion, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Should You Go Back?

The rain bounced off the car, then came the hailstones and yes; I realised how much I hadn’t missed Bradford. I was just a kid of barely 18 when I boarded a one way flight from Leeds/Bradford Airport to Jersey, that was 44 years ago. Apart from a brief day visit I’ve never been back; until Thursday.

Now I’ve deceived you, you’re thinking, ‘Ooh it’s great, just look at that architecture!’ Assurance is possibly required here? I decided to miss out the betting shops, the charity shops, the fast food shops and of course the One Pound and Less Shop. The Princess had never been in a One Pound and Less Shop! This is because we live in Beverley which is Posh, subsequently, we only have a Pound Shop. I showed the Princess the pub where I vomited on the Juke Box at 16 years-old and was thrown out. The infamous Red Light District on Lumb Lane. The place where I fought Billy Ashall and the school I went to aged 11-13. It was at this school that I was bullied; then I learnt to fight, pre-Billy Ashall of course. Ahh, Drummond Road Boys School.

My book opens with a scene in that playground, I’ll say n’more, so as t’not spoil it f’thee. OMG see, even my accent has reverted, anyways I think the Princess enjoyed herself, although that may be a little presumptuous. We then headed out for Chellow Dene which is a local beauty spot. As a child I loved this place more than school, possibly a little too much more than school, if you know what I mean.

Deep in the bottom of the photo on the right is Devil’s Cave, overgrown to a degree now. This is probably due to the fact that we as kids were always down there hunting the Devil or messing around on the top. Whereas today the kids are probably sat in front of an X-Box fighting monsters in caves. Oh well at least their mothers won’t be worried that they’ll fall the forty odd feet to their death, I guess. So. should you go back? In my case yes because this was research, my entire novel is set around Bradford in 1974, so it was good to get a feel of the place. The Princess gave invaluable support and after getting soaked for the umpteenth time asked me two questions.

” When you publish this book will there be a sequel?”

“Yes,” say I,

“Well do you think you could set it somewhere bloody warmer!?”

Have you ever gone back?

Posted in Blogging, Bradford, Humour, Life, Opinion, people, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

My First Valentine

I had considered a brooch but I wasn’t my Grandad and this was 1972. A brooch was hardly Rock’n’Roll. Gazing around the jewelers I was confounded by the amount glittering  remuneration a boy could extend to a girl and decided to count my money yet again. I had counted said money in F.Hinds and again in H. Samuel, now I was in Ratners. The young girl in the queue ahead of me curiously pondered a board of gold crosses.

“No,” she exclaimed. ” I want one with the little man on!”

“You mean Jesus,” said the sales assistant.

“Ohhh!” uttered the frustrated shopper in a tone that is reserved for teenagers and left.

The sales assistant picked up the board but I had been inspired. Choosing what I considered to be a ‘brama’ gold cross without a little man and within my budget I paid and left. ‘Brama’ was a 1972 equivalent to today’s adolescent word, ‘sick.’ At least we made words up!

Flick forward four nights to the school Boxing Club. You see I was convinced, as much as a fourteen year-old can be that, Susan ********* came to the boxing club every Wednesday evening to watch me. I mean she spoke to me and I’d shown her my prized Hells’s Angel photo. That’s me on a Chopper. So it made sense that she fancied me rotten? Didn’t it? The conversation was very short.

“Sue, will you out with me,” asked a little sweaty me (it was a boxing club!) and proffering the aforementioned cross. She took the cross. Heart thumping, hands sweating, I eagerly awaited the sound of angels singing and that first kiss.

“No! she said and walked away. “Thanks for the cross, though.”

Thanks for the cross? That was three months paperboy money!

Valentines Day? Huh!

Posted in 1970'S, Blogging, History, Humour, Life, Love, Opinion, Valentine Day | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments