Road-works Rant


Coming back from the shops last week I noticed that part of the road was being dug up. Most people are mildly annoyed to find road-works delaying their journey, but this is more annoying than usual.      

Ten years ago we got a letter from the council telling us that, as both the gas and the water pipes urgently needed replacing, they had decided to close the road completely for two months (although in the end the road wasn’t properly opened until the first week of November). and invite every service, gas/water/sewage/electricity/cable/phone/etc, to come and do any work which might need doing. They explained that it was better to get it all done at once, then resurface the road properly, rather than having the road dug up again and again, which I thought was fair enough.

So in the last week of May up went the cones, in came the diggers, and one of the main roads through town became a very long ditch.

Before long all the normally quiet side-roads became clogged up with cars trying to find another way to their destination. Nearly all the buses had to be re-routed, and my two stop journey into the town centre became an expensive three bus journey out of the town and back in again. Even pedestrians were inconvenienced, because there were only a few places were we could cross the road we had to walk miles out of our way to get to somewhere just over the road. Every journey took longer than usual, sometimes by more than an hour. Grass verges were churned up, trees were uprooted, and hedges flattened by the heavy machinery. Not to mention the noise and the smells.

It was chaos, but we all thought at least we won’t have to put up with this again for years … except … every summer since then somebody has come and dug up the road again. Every. Single. Year! In fact I would say that there has been more activity in the last ten years than in the previous twenty-five. The carefully resurfaced road now looks like a patchwork quilt again.

So when I see the diggers turning up yet again it really pisses me off!

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I’ve had a few people tell me that my grief at the deaths of some famous people is a bit odd. More than once I’ve read a comment along the lines of “You can’t be that upset about them dying because I’ve never heard you mention them before”

Well, I don’t mention air very often, but I’m pretty sure I’d miss it if it was no longer available. Some people are so much a part of your life that you don’t feel the need to mention how much a part of your life they are.

I was devastated when Richard Whiteley died. So much so that I surprised myself, I hadn’t realised that he meant that much to me. Until I realised that back in the harsh times of the late 80s watching Countdown with my kids had been one of the few pleasant moments we had. I will always associate him with sitting on the settee eating crumpets with my kids & groaning at his excellently awful jokes. I still miss him.

Another comment I get is “How can you miss someone you’ve never even met?”

Well I don’t need to have physically met somebody for them to be a part of my life. Those of us who didn’t have a happy childhood often sought escape in books, films, songs & TV shows. If you have never been moved by any of these things I can’t help but feel sorry for you.

I remember when I heard that John Lennon was dead, crying & thinking that I was going to miss him. That might not make sense to you, but I have missed him. I may not have actually met him, but that doesn’t mean that his words & his songs haven’t been a part of my life.

The comment which pisses me off the most is that I’m “jumping on the bandwagon of grief”

Well, barely a day goes by when my Twitter timeline doesn’t mention the death of somebody famous, many of whom I’ve never even heard of to be honest. I don’t comment on their death as it doesn’t mean anything to me. I am not a bandwagon jumper.

So, for your information, and in no particular order,  here is a list of some of the famous people whom I shall miss when they die:

  • Dennis Skinner
  • Terry Pratchett*
  • Clive James*
  • Julie Walters
  • Diana Rigg
  • Patrick Stewart
  • Germaine Greer
  • Johnny Ball
  • John Lydon (Johnny Rotten)
  • Ruth Rendell (Barbara Vine)
  • Victoria Wood
  • Ken Dodd
  • Stephen Fry
  • John Noakes
  • Lulu
  • Johnny Depp
  • Neil Gaimen
  • Brian Cant
  • James Burke
  • Joanna Lumley
  • Ron Ely (Tarzan)
  • David Bowie
  • Sandie Shaw
  • Siouxsie Sioux
  • Billy Bragg
  • Glenda Jackson
  • Anyone who has played The Doctor in Dr Who
  • Any of my Twitter followers – yes I do regard you as famous.

This is by no means an exclusive list, there are many others whom I cannot think of at this moment. Also it is, of course, subject to the investigations of Operation Yewtree.

So you have been warned. If any of these people die I will be tweeting and/or blogging about them, what they mean to me, and how much I will miss them.

*these deaths appear to be [un]fairly immanent, so brace yourselves!

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The Problem With Fight Club….

The problem with Fight Club is its name.
It’s called Fight Club, not Fite Club, but Fight Club
That’s F.I.G.H.T – Fight Club.
So Americans DO understand that ‘ght’ is pronounced ‘t’
Which means there is NO EXCUSE for writing ‘nite’ or ‘lite’ or ‘brite’ or ‘rite’ (which is an actual word, but is a whole different thing to the opposite of left)
So just stop it!
Oh & put the bloody ‘u’ back into colour!
That’s all. Goodnight.  
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Scottish Independence Referendum

              The Hills That We Climbed                 Were Just Seasons Out Of Time.

To be honest a large part of me doesn’t want Scotland to leave the union, because without them consistently not voting Tory, Tories have a much better chance of forming a government. I really don’t want any more Tory mismanagement of our country.
But that is just me being selfish.
This isn’t about me, it’s about what is best for Scotland & the best thing for Scotland is to leave. If I lived in Scotland & had a vote, I would vote definitely YES.
It is true that England & Scotland have been united for a very long time, but most of that time it’s been quite an abusive relationship.
Some English people might take an exception to that statement, but no matter how much we may personally like & admire Scotland, as a country we have, over the years, treated Scotland appallingly. Not just the historical crimes of turfing people off their land to make room for grouse shoots & kidnapping their children to colonise Canada, but to this very day we are using Scotland as a dumping ground for our nuclear waste; most of which is now lost because nobody bothered to keep records of where it was buried.
To put it bluntly; Scotland is England’s bitch & has been for a very long time. This has to stop & there is only one way to do that.
If you are in an abusive relationship & you get a golden opportunity to leave; you should take it.
This is Scotland’s golden opportunity to leave & they have to take it.
In the last few days Westminster has been making promises, just like the abusive partner makes promises in a desperate attempt to make you stay. They are lies.
They may say that they’ll change, that they’ll treat you better, that they’ll never hurt you again. We all know that none of this is true.
Clegg has proved that a signed pledge means nothing to these people. Their pledges are worthless.
You might be worried about where you will go, how you will cope & what will become of you, but the truth is that no matter how difficult things may be to start with, nothing compares to getting your freedom back.
Will things be difficult for Scotland? Probably.
Change is never easy & I’m sure Westminster will go out of its way to make life as difficult as possible for Scotland.
Exs can be really petty like that.
If Scotland doesn’t vote YES in tomorrow’s referendum I will be severely disappointed.
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I’m sure there’s a button somewhere to make this a lot easier, I just can’t find it.
Anyway clink on this link & all will be made clear
The NHS is ours & NOT for sale!           
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To celebrate Hull winning City Of Culture 2017 I’ve decided to share my recipe for Yorkshire Yorkshire-pudding pudding.
If you think that Yorkshire puddings should only ever have gravy poured on them please try it. Trust me, it is delicious 😛
Take an individual Yorkshire-pudding, fill with stewed rhubarb, pour custard over it.
It’s as simple as that 🙂
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Acorrding to The Official Talk Like a Pirate Personality Inventory (TOTLAPPI) this be me:

The Quartermaster

Profile: The Quartermaster (The ship’s disciplinarian).You, me hearty, are a man or woman of action! And what action it is! Gruesome, awful, delightful action.You mete out punishment to friend and foe alike – well, mostly to foe, because your burning inner rage isn’t likely to draw you a whole lot of the former. Still, though you may be what today is called “high maintenance” and in the past was called “bat-shit crazy,” the crew likes to have you around because in a pinch your maniacal combat prowess may be the only thing that saves them from Jack Ketch. When not in a pinch, the rest of the crew will goad you into berserker mode because it’s just kind of fun to watch. So you provide a double service – doling out discipline AND entertainment.

If ye want to know what sort of pirate you be then board this ship aaarrhh!
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UFO My Story About The Day I Saw A U.F.O.

Oh please come back, I am sane. I have a certificate to prove it.
It was a chilly, overcast evening at the tail-end of summer in 1979. My boyfriend Dave, his friend Mark, his friends brother Paul and I were hanging around the shops when we decided to go hang around in the park, the usual giddy whirl of teenage existence. The quickest route was across the school field, so off we went.
As we started crossing the field Dave and Paul were walking a few paces ahead in a heated debate about something, Mark & I followed behind in silence.
Being bored I looked up at the sky. Although it was still daylight the sky was quite grey, being completely covered in cloud, but I saw what I at first took to be the moon shinning through it, except it was too small. If the moon in the sky can normally be covered by a 10p piece, this could have been covered by a 5p piece. As we walked I mulled over whether it looked so small because of the cloud cover.
After a while, whilst still looking up, I nudged Mark with my elbow, pointing towards the sky and was about to say “Look how small the moon is tonight.” when ‘the moon’ suddenly shot across the sky and disappeared into the clouds.
I looked at Mark and asked if he’d seen that, he confirmed that he had seen something zoom across the sky. I told him that it had been stationary for quite a while & I had thought it was the moon.
He called to Dave and Paul to tell them that we had just seen a UFO. At no time had either Dave or Paul looked up at the sky.
That is my story about the day I saw a U.F.O.
It was an object, it flew and I have no idea what it was.
Underwhelming wasn’t it?
I think it’s safe to say that Steven Spielberg will not be bidding for the film rights to that, but what happened next had me really amazed.
As we carried on walking across the field I watched in silent wonder as Dave and Paul and Mark began talking about ‘the flying saucer’.
It’s flashing lights, it’s eirie red glow, its blue tractor beam, the strange noise it made, the way the beings inside had communicated telepathically with them and the stunningly banal message they had received from the alien visitors within.
By the time we reached the other side of the field those three had a fantastic tale of an alien encounter.
The optimum word there being ‘fantastic’!
Mark only caught a glimpse of the object. Dave and Paul didn’t even look up!
What amazed me more that the strange object in the sky was that each one of the FIRMLY BELIEVED THAT WHAT THEY WERE SAYING WAS TRUE!
This is the very reason why I take all the flying saucer, alien abduction stories with a very large pinch of salt.
This is probably closer to the truth.

This is probably closer to the truth.

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Facebook Censors Users during Media Blackout on Privatisation of the NHS

Facebook Censors Users during Media Blackout on Privatisation of the NHS.

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You may have got the impression that I’ve been very happy since Thatcher died, but in fact I’ve spent most of the last few days crying.
Her death has brought back a lot of memories, many of which I’ve done my best to bury over the years, so I thought I’d share a few with you.


Grange Comprehensive School. Wednesday 12th February 1975.

After registration, all us girls were told to go to the hall because Mrs Cornthwaite wanted to talk to us. We thought we were going to be told off for blocking the loos with sanitary towels. There was no internet back then, we had to make us own entertainment.
As it turned out Mrs Cornflake wanted to talk to us about history, specifically the making of, with particular reference to us & our ability to do so.
It was a bit of a rambling speech which I barely bothered to listen to let alone remember. The basic upshot of it was, that by the time of the next election most of us would be eligible to vote & now that the Tories had a female leader it was, for the first time, possible for us to vote a woman into the role of Prime Minister.
Not only was it possible, but she practically told us that it was our DUTY, as women to be, to see to it that this historic event came to pass.
I remember walking out surrounded by a general yammer of excitement about The First Woman Prime Minister. My best friend Thalma & I looked at each other & as one said “But she’s a Tory!” 
It was at that moment that I decided that whatever Mrs Cornflake thought, asking me to vote tory, even if it was to make history, was just too much. History was going to have to try again later.
I’d vote Monster Raving Loony before I ever voted Tory!
So on Thursday 3rd May 1979 I voted for the sitting Labour MP, I can’t recall what his name was.
He lost. Barry Porter (con) won & so did Margaret Hilda Thatcher. Thereby becoming the first female Prime Minister Of Great Britain. Which, if you don’t remember the 70s, was quite surprising at the time.
I like to think that Mrs Cornflake, in her retirement, had a sherry or two that night & gave herself a little pat on the back for the part she’d played in Thatcher’s election.
We had a woman in number 10. This is a good thing, yes?
Things were going to change now!

Between The Wars.

The town where I grew up had four main employers. Two oil refineries, a car manufacturer & a papermill. Virtually every household had somebody working in one of these. Some had the whole family working in one.
In 1980 two of these closed, within a fortnight of each other, suddenly & completely. Due entirely to Thatcher’s moniterist policies.
The town was devastated. Hundreds of people, many of whom had worked there since they left school, were suddenly unemployed.
I’ll never forget going to sign on & seeing the queue stretch out of the building, down the street & around the corner. It was full of middle-aged men who had never been, & never thought they ever would be, in a dole queue. They were all suited & booted, nervously laughing & joking about ‘new starts’ & a ‘change of career’.
The poor sods, they thought they were going to be given a job! I felt so sorry for them. The truth is that most of those men never worked again.
The reality that was about to hit them was that there were no jobs to be had. None. Nothing! Every week more & more people were being made unemployed as Britain’s manufacturing base was cynically dismantled to prove a political point.
I watched those men crumble, a little more every week, week after week. They visibly shrank. It was a terrible thing to watch.
I think some people don’t understand what grinding poverty can do to you. How helpless & hopeless it makes you feel & how it wears away your humanity. How inadequate it makes you feel to put your kids to bed with nothing but ketchup butties in their belly, to constantly be robbing Peter to pay Paul, to feel that there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
Then on top of that to be branded ‘the enemy within’, to be told that you’re a ‘moaning minnie’ for not being able to endure the unendurable & finally to be told that your misery was ‘a price worth paying’ to let the rich carry on in the manner to which they had become accustomed.
You see it wasn’t enough for Thatcherites that she brought decent, hardworking, law-abiding citizens to their knees, they also had to be repeatedly kicked in the face for being down there.
For some of us the eighties weren’t about Wham, yuppies, shoulder-pads & deedly boppers. It was a time of abject poverty & relentless misery.
If you watched The Boys From The Blackstuff (if you haven’t by the way; you really should) & thought that it was over the top or exaggerated in any way, let me tell you that it wasn’t. It was a very accurate portrayal of what I & many others suffered under the Tories.
I personally know of people who ate their pets because there was nothing else. People who’s relationships crumbled & died, entirely due to their circumstances. And I knew of plenty of people who were pushed into depression, self-loathing & self-destruction.
A lad I went to school with threw himself under a train, because he thought he was worth more dead than alive.
I can’t even bring myself to write about all the wonderful friends I lost to AIDS & how the right-wing press treated them, but that was all part of the Thatcherite ideal of everybody marrying, having 2.6 children, working in the city & buying a semi-detached in the suburbs.
To be different was to be wrong.
The crimes of her government were many which is why I cannot sit back in ‘dignified’ silence & watch her being canonised by her cronies.
Her only achievement was that she was the first woman Prime Minister.
Well …
The Duke Of Wellington was the first Irish Prime Minister;
Disraeli was the first Jewish Prime Minister;
Lloyd George was the only Prime Minister who’s mother tongue was not English;
Pitt The Younger was the youngest Prime Minister.
These are just trivial facts which say nothing of what sort of Prime Minister they were.
She was NOT a great Prime Minister, she did NOT save this country, she sold us down the river.
I will not stand by & let them re-write history!

The Last Straw.

On  28th November 1990 Thatcher left Downing Street having been deposed by her own party.
I was in a very good mood that day, it felt like an early Christmas present. She was going. She was, politically, dead. Ding dong.
I watched the live broadcast from outside of number 10 as she dove away for the last time.
The camera zoomed in on her face & it was clear that she was trying unsuccessfully to hold back the tears.
That was the moment when I truly came to HATE that woman.
How dare she?!
How fucking dare she?!!
After what she’d done, after all the lives she’d destroyed, the pain & misery she’d inflicted on so many to feather her, & her friends’ nests, to bolster her political image, how dare she, how very fucking dare she cry like a snivelling little spoilt brat?
You pathetic, spineless, self-centered, self-obsessed, selfish bitch of a woman!!
“Awh, but she lost her job.”
Actually, no she didn’t.
She got demoted. She still had a job, a very well paid job. She was still an MP.
So I repeat, how dare she cry as she got in the car with her millionaire husband to drive back to their mansion in the countryside & start her new life of lucrative book deals & TV appearances & lecture tours?
I sincerely hope that she died in pain & agony, filled with fear, because then maybe she got a little taste of what she dished out to the rest of us.   
I can do no better than end on a quote from Nye Bevan, the Minister Of Health who spearhead the creation of the NHS in Clement Attlee’s post-war government:
“That is why no amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party that inflicted those bitter experiences on me. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.
They condemned millions of first-class people to semi-starvation. Now the Tories are pouring out money in propaganda of all sorts and are hoping by this organised sustained mass suggestion to eradicate from our minds all memory of what we went through. But, I warn you young men and women, do not listen to what they are saying now.”
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