Monday, 3 September 2012

Bread and Circuses

Week Ending 2nd September 2012

Monday 27th August

What can I say?  It was a bank holiday and therefore instead of luxuriating in bed till 11am , having a leisurely breakfast and then pottering around, I  woke very early, full of the joys of spring and could not for the life in me get back to sleep. I couldn’t even manage that semi comatose doze where you lay in bed all nicely tucked in, draught free with one ear listening to the radio and that smug feeling of “aahhhhhhhhhhhh” when you hear the hourly news being announced. Nope this bank holiday Monday I was up with the lark and raring to go.  Trouble was what should I do? The disadvantage of not having a car means to a certain degree the impetuous “lets go somewhere” , is replaced with the hmmmm of what can i do and where can I  go. Usually for me this either means a leisurely stroll around York or a bus ride to Harrogate, the aim of either trip is inevitably to worship at the cooks nirvana of Lakeland Plastics.  
I managed to murder two hours before 9am  by cleaning the cooker and scrubbing out two kitchen cupboards. In the process I found two sets of silicon chocolate moulds as yet unused and several sachets  of French dressing  ( I can cook for England but salad dressings however I make, shake or concoct them for some reason always taste vile. So I cheat and buy it)
Then after scrambled eggs and bacon I stagger up to the laundry with 2 duvets, assorted towels and throws. After stuffing two huge washing machines with the above and feeding them with pound coins and soap powder I indulge in one of my favourite hobbies – illicit reading of The Sunday Times.
I decided about a year ago I would stop buying Murdoch papers and after being a ST reader since I was 14 years old it has been a hard habit to break. Sundays without being able to oggle houses I could never afford and imagine me in dresses as worn by stick thin models I would never be able to get even one leg into has been tough! But like all addicts I have discovered how to get my weekly “fix” deviously without stumping up the £2+ to the newsagent; visiting the laundry usually means I can read a Sunday Times albeit a day or week  late, I silently thank the person who brings it in and leaves it but I have never actually met them.
The laundry is also time to catch up with the owner about local matters. Bobby seems to know more of what is going on the area than most people I know. In fact his laundry has the one and only notice board in the area on which the posters are up to date and changed frequently, (the council notice board in Richmond Hill still rather embarrassingly has a poster in it for a carol concert in December 2011.) So Bobby and I have the mandatory cup of coffee and community catch up –   I tell him that yet again we have had our wheely bins torched ( I think we have an arsonist close by ) and he tells me of his plans for ........... well sorry I can’t tell you as its  his business and confidential. (But I think it’s a great idea and offer to help).
After a quick lunch I nip into town to buy bread. This is not as easy as it sounds as I am gluten allergic and cannot have bread made from wheat.  A normal wheaty loaf is usually about £1.50 but the “bread” I eat is over £3 a loaf, tastes vile and crumbles like soggy sawdust. So instead of buying the fake bread I  impulse buy gluten free crumpets and pray they don’t taste like the bathroom sponge they seem scarily to resemble.


Back to work – YUK.   A crap, crap day. Sometimes I do not know why I bother. But hey at least the sun is shining!
I spent the evening with a large gin in one hand and a chocolate bar in the other trying to compose some notes for the anti incinerator meeting tomorrow at Civic Hall.  After one bar of chocolate and several gins the job is done and I practice delivering it to the rabbit who is sat on the mat in front of me looking slightly bemused, as far as he is concerned his mummy is talking loudly to herself whilst waving her hands in the air. .....Humans!!!


As a union rep I am often called on to provide a listening ear and usually I do not mind people unburdening themselves on me. One of the things they never tell you at steward school is that being a union representative is akin to running a small branch of the Samaritans, and the one thing they don’t prepare you for is the emotional side of the post. But this evening at 5 my patience is at a very low ebb as instead of listening to a member (who really did have a genuine grievance) I want to be at home having a shower and getting changed as tonight  is the first meeting of the alliance against the incinerator to be built in Cross Green. 
So instead of arriving at the meeting clean, tidy and looking as though I have had one careful owner I get there looking like something the rabbit has chewed with smeared makeup and hair  like a haystack in a prevailing wind.Shabby chic?  - probably not. 
The meeting is in the council chamber and as we arrive Cllr Grahame is trying to get the data projector and laptop set up. I volunteer to help and attached the leads that link the data projector to the laptop whilst chuckling to myself, i suppose he could have thought it was wireless... Ron really does need to grasp the technology nettle at some point.
I am invited by the chair to sit at the top table and as I sit down I try and pull the chair forward to discover it is on metal runners. Were there not about 30 people staring at me I would have spent at least a few minutes sliding backwards and forwards like a kid with a new toy,probably going “wheeeee!!!” . As I know a few people will be there who are comrades on East Leeds face book I try and put names to faces but fail miserably, is this due to poor vision, probably because at my age as well as things sagging and expanding it is rumoured the sight starts to go. 

The meeting goes as well as can be expected and of course as I have had a mandatory  dig at labour and Cllr Ron Grahame in particular Ron  finishes with “You have shown your true colours Sarah” This is bullshit as I haven’t supported Ron since approx 11.30am on Friday 16th December 2011 when he voted through cuts in provision in the fire service after saying he wouldn’t.  What makes it worse is he was afterwards interviewed by a journalist and he defended what he had done saying the cuts were necessary and he did what was right. Five minutes after the journalist had hung up Ron rang him back and said he could not talk as somebody had been in the room. He explained he had never had a three line whip before and had to do as he was told even though he didn’t want to. That is when any particle of faith I had in Cllr Ron Grahame left the room, and I can guarantee you it is never coming back. When somebody dies in a house fire in my area because the fire service do not get there in time to save them, that death will be on his head forever.
After the meeting I and a few others went to the pub – you can’t beat a large gin and tonic after a healthy debate. We all agreed it is time to put the pressure on and that leafleting the leader of the councils home turf maybe a good idea – let’s show the people of Kippax what being under the plume of an energy from waste incinerator will be like.


Team meeting at work today, where we are supposed to say what we have done in the previous month.  Sensibly I divert the attention from me by asking where we are going for our Christmas “do”.    Mission accomplished, unfortunately this means i am now assigned as chief Elf to Santa, bah humbug!


Walk past newspaper stand to see headlines of yet more cuts in fire service provision, of course I will role up my sleeves and fight them. Send email to “fire man present” suggesting that he has chosen a really crap time to become brigade secretary- get snappy response “Thanks for reminding me!”  - if I thought he wasn’t up to the job I would feel sorry for him but that man has more integrity in his little finger than most people have in their entire body and my honorary union is going to be in a fine pair of hands. Shame I can’t say the same about the fire service which seems at  present to be run by a suicidal maniac with the financial common sense of George Osborne!
At 7pm after discovering  there is virtually no food in the house I catch the bus to Tesco’s at Seacroft which seems to be overflowing with scantily clad women with spray tans that make their legs look as if is they have a  40 a day fag habit. These women are struggling down the booze aisles in high heels with boxes of barcadi  breezers or WKD, obviously with the desire  to get tanked up at supermarket prices prior to falling in the gutter in the early hours of  Saturday  morning . Clutching my gluten free sausages, bread  and bag of salad I beat a hasty retreat stopping only to buy a cheap acrylic poncho as it is freezing and I am in a T shirt with no coat. I will be honest and say Seacroft bus station at night is one of the few places i dislike being, it is full of foul mouthed youths which make me extremely uneasy. 

As I get off the bus to return to East End Park I see the little Fire Response Unit belting up York Road and make a note to myself to ask if it is incorporated into the statistics for Gipton Fire Station.


Have lunch with my dear friend Patrick whom I am glad today after a mini stroke is looking much better than i have seen him in a while
The rest of the day is spent sat on the sofa reading the bookclub book. "Shades of Grey" isn’t quite what I was expecting - its much tamer than I thought it would be and I am strangely disappointed. (as I have said before if I want fiction I read LCC executive board minutes)


I would say it was the usual humdrum day but it wasn’t for predominantly three  reasons:-
1.       After hunting all round the house I can only find 5  individual socks and not one matching pair  - I decide to chuck them all in the bin and go to M&S on a sock buying trip – never say I do not live life in the fast lane!

2.       After purchasing socks in various colours I went to the famers market in Briggate and after trawling up and down the stalls looking at cakes, biscuits and sausages I cannot risk eating as they have wheat in  I was attracted to the Chilli Devil Stall. I came close to buying chilli marmalade but in the end chose “Citrus Cascade Chilli Sauce”. Why ? because all the rest were coloured red and this was yellow.  “It’s a bit hot”  the man said as he took my money......... A BIT HOT is the understatement of the century. After sparingly putting it on grilled turkey for dinner and greedily scoffing a large chunk it blew my newly acquired socks off and  I am hoping my tastebuds and throat  return to normal by  Tuesday! It is the hottest thing I have ever tried and the bottle is now sat in the back of my fridge where it is going to stay for a very ,very long time. I have blisters in my mouth and am typing this whilst sucking ice cubes from yet another G & T (which was purely medicinal you understand).

3.       I have been invited to go to the circus by somebody I would never have dreamed of inviting me out. (and I am secretly chuffed to bits cos its really sweet he asked me, and yes I am blushing furiously)

Sunday night was spent ironing clothes for work, planning my packed lunches for the week *and listening to the radio
*this is a pointless task as 9/10 I forget to take my super healthy nutritionally balanced packed lunch and end up eating Sushi from Sainsbury’s. Or if I do take it I have eaten it by 11am and then go to Sainsbury’s for sushi. QED. 


  1. Interesting, amusing and very well written!

    1. Thank You - i intend to blog every week now my interim hiccup is sorted. Lots to blog about next week as its bookclub, friends of kirkgate market and the inner east area committee.

  2. Not enough about rabbits

  3. Ok - more about rabbits it will be - shall i start with rabbit pate or stew?