Sunday 13th May 2012
Twas the the night before Monday and all through the house
the dust it was mounting, (there wasn’t a mouse),
the fridge it was empty the cupboards were bare
but there’s chocolate and gin so I really don’t care!
I need to start this blog with a disclaimer ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, its not just gin! However it is the alcoholic beverage most people associate with yours truly. Hold a bottle of gin in one hand and a rabbit (furry four pawed, tiddly pom pom tailed sort )before you get any ideas, in the other and play “Guess who?” and all of my friends and probably a significant number of my enemies would say ...........SARAH COVELL !
House Bunnies are by far the nicest pets in the universe and Gin was my parents favourite tipple so given I have inherited my mother’s looks and my father’s ability to hang wallpaper their combined gene pool means that gin and tonic too is my favourite drink; closely followed by wine (red, white, pink -who cares, I will drink it), amaretto, limoncello, port, cider and yes last but not by anyway the least coffee. I should also point out I have many addictions including chocolate & kitchen gadgets and should you ever lose me in a department store all you would have to do is wait patiently by the oil pourers in the cookware department and eventually I would turn up to oggle the latest glass or steel containers used for dribbling salad dressings from, for some inexplicable reason I find the lure of them irresistible. The other thing I should perhaps clarify in advance is that I have a very specific blind spot – I HATE TELEVISION. For 99% of my adult life I have not owned a goggle box. Since my time at college I have been steadfastly wedded to radio 4 and am also occasionally unfaithful with radio 7 (radio 4 extra is such a naff name and I figure if I still “hoover” with a Dyson and persist in calling Snickers ,Marathons )radio 7 is alive, well and emitting from a DAB radio near me today.
There, with that out of the way I shall commence the first of (hopefully) many weekly blog posts. With the 20/20 rose tinted vision that hindsight gives me I shall recall in some of its gory detail a week in my local community of East End Park; its ups, downs and all those bits in between that mean that life at the Covell HQ is usually far from boring. This isn’t true either, rose tinted may be a bit of a fib, it is sadly often true that I spend much of my week enveloped in the red mist of anger and frustration caused by watching my community continually being shafted by its minority elected politicians on an almost daily basis. If ever a community consistently gets a short straw East End Park and Richmond Hill is most certainly it.
As Monday was the bank holiday it would mostly be expected that 1. It would rain and 2. It would be spent lazily slobbing about. WRONG – a chance meeting in my local launderette on the Sunday meant at 10am complete with torch, camera and wearing sturdy boots I met the recently ex tenant of a local property. She still had the keys to the house she had left so let me in for a peep into the world of dodgy landlords and even dodgier houses. I had been warned it would be bad but even I have never seen damp and mildew so disgusting. Over the three floors of the property the stink of mould was rife and the walls in many places were black and slimy. This property is currently applying for permission to be converted into 5 bedsits and hey presto the landlord must be so confident of approval he has already added showers to the rooms and a kitchen in the attic. I urgently need to find out how the heck you tell a fire door from an ordinary one and also if damp and dodgy electrics is a fire hazard. Anyway after a quick shower and change of clothes to get rid of the pong of damp and dirt I spend the rest of the day pottering around, do a spot of shopping, sadly in Marks and Spencer’s as the market is shut and then go home to try and read the remainder of the book “The Snowman” before tomorrows bookclub.
Tuesday was spent in the main at work, but for some strange reason my diary had gone wonky so spent the entire day trying to attend meetings scheduled for Wednesday. The evening was spent at my favourite pub ( The Spring Close Tavern) at the COVEN Cupcake book club. It was our first birthday and one of our members made a magnificent cake – which sadly I couldn’t eat as I am allergic to wheat. This is the one and only negative aspect to the bookclub which was set up by COVEN in response to the council closing our local library down. I have to say it is doing very well and now has at least 20 members who meet monthly and discuss books, baking and community issues. From Tuesday’s meeting I learnt that it is rumoured that Centrebus have lost the contract for the routes in our area. I honestly don’t think I can cope with another change of bus company – it is so stressful catching buses these days when you cross your fingers and then cheer wildly when one actually turns up on time. I may at a later date have a rant about the no 62 bus.
Wednesday was again spent mainly at work but I did take my lunch hour in the trendy While Cloth Gallery next to my office. This was to meet with Lee Griffiths the community development worker for East North East Homes. We exchanged local information and he very kindly agreed to lend me a marquee for the Jubilee event at the pub. How the hell we are going to put it up I do not know – I still have nightmares about the COVEN gazebo at last years at Lark in the Park.
Thursday was work, work and more work. And I also lost a bet....... after reading the 1936 tender documents for Gipton Fire Station I was convinced there was originally only one pole and that it was made of brass. My “fireman past” took great pleasure in telling me on Thursday that he was in the archives looking at the plans drawn in 1935 and there were definitely two poles. Actually that reminds me I can ask my “fireman present” what the regulations are about what constitutes a fire door.
Friday too was work work , but in an office that was virtually empty. Things improved as the weekend arrived. 9.30am Saturday morning I arrived in Colton to have my fortnightly manicure. Aged 50 everything has sagged and expanded beyond recognition, my hair is tinged with grey and the wrinkles are slowly getting the better of my face cream. I do however have one saving grace – long slim fingers. So in an effort to age disgracefully I have commenced a beauty regime which includes shellac manicures. It was definitely a woman who invented this stuff – once it has been cured on to your nails it just stays there all nice and shiny until you have it taken off again (which involves having your fingertips wrapped in tin foil ) then once my nails are naked again I make the most difficult decision of the fortnight – what colour to have next. Since starting having manicures I have had them bright red, deep red, blue and steel grey. And now as I type this they are a nice shiny brown........ they are also shorter as they were getting a bit longer than was comfortable to wear them. The rest of me may be knackered but my nails are brilliant!
Sunday was spent slobbling out, listening to the omnibus editions of The Archers whilst wearing a facepack , doing my laundry and writing this – headphones plugged in to my laptop so I have been howling along to Jeff Buckley.
I shall for now leave you with a taster of what is to come, I have on a few occasions thought about writing a book – here is a teaser of one of my many started but as yet incomplete novels “No2 Incinerator- a ploy foiled”– Jane Austin eat your heart out.
“Other members of the LCC waste strategy unit are currently being held in a makeshift prison not far from East End Park. Although unconfirmed, rumours abound in the local Leeds branch of Amnesty International that the circumstances of their incarceration are worse than any of the many political activists currently held in China. These reports although vigorously denied by No2 Incinerator document that the prisoners are being held in a type 1 back to back with no central heating, inside washing facilities or proper insulation. The prisoners’ diet is said to be even worse with them being fed strict rations that consist of white processed bread, frozen chips and the occasional tin of baked beans procured from Lidls. Liquid sustenance is also strictly rationed as each prisoner is only allowed one 2 litre bottle of white lightening cider a day. (This is a far cry from the diet of some members of No2 Incinerator as one of them was recently spotted by a paparazzi photographer from Howdo  Magazine leaving Waitrose with a bag of shopping. In her defence the member said “I dunno wot the problem is – waitrose is aspirational innit). Entertainment is provided for the prisoners however with the Jeremy Kyle Show and Trisha available 24 hours a day in every room of the type 1 property. “
 Howdo magazine is the East End Park Edition of Hello magazine and is available at all corner shops in Richmond Hill. In the latest edition a resident of Cross Green gives a tour of there recently upgraded through terrace which has been renovated as part of a group repair strategy.