From then to now … end of the dream …


After the initial ‘first night’ nerves we began to think that we were going to make something of ourselves.  Lunchtime service was working well and we were getting a slight increase in numbers. But it was Menuthe evenings that were starting to show. Wednesday was usually the poorest night, but then again nobody seemed to go out on a Wednesday and Saturday was the busiest. Numbers were increasing by the week up to a point where it was necessary to book for a Saturday night. The biggest issue was the menu. It was far too extensive. As I remember there was about ten different cuts of meat to be served from the grill. Each of these had a choice of at least three different sauces or garnishes. For example beef steaks: there was rump, sirloin, fillet and T bone. Then there was lamb chop, Barnsley chop, lamb loin and lamb fillet. There was also chicken, ham, pork chop and pork fillet. All this made for a hard time for the grill chef (me) and the pass chef (K**h). It got so difficult that the owner hired an assistant to work Friday and Saturday.

The numbers were quite steady and we had a stream of regulars and then disaster struck. Disaster World cup 1986in the form of the 1986 FIFA World Cup. The final was on Sunday the 29th June, but the two/three weeks before gave us lots of problems. Have the games were played at 12:00 local time, which meant 6pm here in the UK. We first noticed that things were not as they should be was on the Wednesday to Friday of the third week before the final. There some popular games being played on those nights and were suffered with the number of covers. Saturday picked up, and we thought we would be okay.

The owner said that it would be fine if they big names played later in the day, but on Wednesday the 18th, England played and the numbers dropped dramatically. The following Wednesday saw the first of the semi’s. Again the restaurant suffered. But the biggest hit came on the Saturday the 28th. Although England had done the usual and had gone out the previous week, Saturday was a big day. It was the day that third and fourth place would be decided. By Friday night, the No Bookingsdiary should no bookings at all for Saturday. By 3pm on Saturday we still had no bookings and the owner was considering not opening. We did stay open but did not sell a single meal. As this was the days before big screens in pubs, even the bar was deserted. Bookings were down on the Sunday too, even though the final was later in the day.

We did not see the owner on either Monday or Tuesday, but Wednesday evening he called a meeting. His wife was with him, and they both had a very serious face. the owner announced that he had been with the accountant over the past couple of days trying to work things out. The bombshell was, that the restaurant was losing money and was being supported by takings in the bar, which as he said could not go on. He had checked the bookings for the Friday and Saturday and had decided that he would close the restaurant on the Friday night. Nothing anybody could say would change his mind.

We worked as normal as we could those last few days, but it was a depressing time for all. ClosedThe news had got out, and we had a few cancellations on both the Thursday and Friday. Friday night came and neither of the waitresses turned up and as we only had two tables of four booked, the owner decided to close after those tables had left. 

It was the end of the dream. Fame and fortune was not coming our way and it was a pretty hard time for K**h and me.

From then to now … the battle was over


I got the job! P*m was a little miffed about it at first, but it was soon forgotten and we worked quite well together for most of the time. There wasn’t any real problems although P*m was still getting a little bit of grief from some of the staff. We all thought she could handle it though.

We now move forward to 1986, K**h is one of the Assistant Head Cooks in the patient kitchen and people joked that we Margaret Thatcherwere taking over the place. I forgot to mention that my brother P*****p was also a cook and he was working in the Diet Kitchen. It was about this time, that the rumour machine began it’s evil work.  The rumours were “Privatisation”. The rumours were there before 1986, but it was then that they started to look more real. The Government at the time were looking to save money in what was called that ‘Ancillary Services’. These services were essentially catering, cleaning, laundry and portering services. It was a worrying time for all and people started looking outside of the hospital service for job opportunities. K**h and me weren’t really looking too hard as we had been told by the management team, that managers would come from the service. That turned out to be a lie eventually.

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I mentioned before that K**h’s father was a Senior Pharmacist, but didn’t mention that her mother was a pharmacist too. She often worked in a chemist shop in Knaresborough. The person that owned the pharmacy had a brother, Jo*n that ran a pub in Pudsey. The pub landlord was looking to expand his pub restaurant from a The Old Vicsimple lunchtime  menu to a more extensive short order ‘a’ la carte’ style evening menu. It kind of appealed to us both, as we were now beginning to get more worried about our jobs when it was announced that the laundry service was going out to tender later that year.

The restaurant was only open on Friday and Saturday evenings, and we decided to work a couple of evenings, just to see how it would go. We did about four or five evenings and realised that we could not do both jobs. Simply too tiring. Finally we ‘bit the bullet’ and  decided to take it on full time. We both handed our notice in at the hospital, much to the surprise of everyone, and two weeks later were the full time cooks (or chefs as we were now known) at the Old Vic in Pudsey.

Things were on the up … or so we thought!

From then to now … the start of something big


One of the things that was enjoyed during those early years was the local pub. For us in the Main Kitchen, our favourite port of call was The George. ItThe George was quite easy to get to, just a matter of out of the kitchen, through the loading bay, cross the road and we were Town Hall Tavernthere. The staff in the Staff/Private Patients Kitchen tended to head to their nearest pub which was The Town Hall Tavern. Both were Tetley houses which was the only local brewery in those days. It tended to only be weekends and birthdays that staff enjoyed a pint or two in either of these two pubs.

We normally only got a half hour lunchbreak, but often people started early and turned the half hour into a full hour. It wasn’t officially allowed, but we seemed to get away with it and I was a regular partaker. It was on one of these lunchtime forays, that I got to know the ‘new girl’ a bit better. She was called K***, and someone invited her to the pub one Sunday lunch. That ‘someHouseone’ then said they could not go, and totally out of character I said I would like to take her for a drink. We got on quite well, although I thought she was a little posh at the time. Her father was the senior Pharmacist which was a position that was Consultant level. One lunchtime led to another and before long, I plucked up the courage to ask her out in the evening. More evenings out ensued complimented by full days out. I was on a different planet. She was my first proper girlfriend and it was always going to end a certain way. Early November 1978 we were married. We bought a house in Bramley, just off Raynville Road. Life and work was really good.

However, by the middle of 1979 it became obvious that we could not work together in that kitchen. We were always on different shifts. An example would be K*** starting at 6:00am and me starting at 11:45am or the other way around. Days off together seemed impossible as the then manager could not afford to have his two ‘star cooks’ (his words!) off together. We decided to talk the the Catering Happy CooksManager about the issue. As luck would have it, one of the trainees that started with me had left his job in the Staff Kitchen, so there was a vacancy there. The so called interview went my way, possibly because I was the only applicant and I was soon installed in a different job. Days off were beginning to happen and I could often swap shifts so we started and finished around the same time. Everything was back on track.

Nearly over …


I refer, of course to the “Home alone … yet again …” experience in my last post. Well the week has sometimes flown by and then at other times it seems to have dragged a bit. I suppose the hardest part about the week was notAlone having anyone to talk to. S**** and partner came round on Thursday, but they only stopped for a meal before going for their Thursday swim. I went to the quiz-night at the local pub on Tuesday, but it’s been that long since I last went, there was nobody in that I knew. Seems that the pub in the next village that used to do a quiz-night has closed, so all their regular ‘quizzers’ descended on my local. I didn’t stop.

R*** has been marvellous! An absolute star. It looks like the fact that we told him K*** was going on holiday with his grandad Starworked. He was home by 5pm on Friday, and it took him until 10pm on Saturday before he asked where his mum was. I told him again and he hasn’t mentioned it again. I was quite amazed really, as it was K***s biggest worry. It goes to prove a point we have been making for a while. That is, if he knows what he is doing then he seems to accept it. Autistic people like routine and can get distressed if their routine is changed. With R***, it seems that his routine is able to change as long as he knows about well in advance.

It’s always difficult…


It was never going to be easy. People have different ideas of what a family holiday is all about. With 10 different people, although the same family there will always be some mild conflict with what people want to do each day.

This one has been exasperated with problems surrounding the accommodation. First there was a problem with the heating, to the extent that there simply wasn’t any on. Then the internet went down which meant that the heating,

which is controlled via the internet couldn’t be changed. Then yesterday, the power went off.  Luckily the evening meal was cooked, but 10 people trying to eat at a table with only one smallish candle was a sight to behold.

However, all is good now, but there is still an issue with the heating.

We went to the world famous Tan Hill Inn. It is the highest pub in Great Britain and also the highest point on the renowned Pennine Way. It was really busy, full of walkers and general tourists. Me and K*** just had a sandwich between us whilst S**** had one to himself. The food was okay, nothing special but we just went there for the atmosphere. It was a shame that the Tan Hill Ale just finished as we got there, but we had a nice pint of Timothy Taylors Landlord.

Strange but true …


The strangest thing about being “Home Alone” is the noises that occur during the night. K*** is away with her sister and niece and R*** is on respite until Friday. Usually, R*** has his computer and TV on all night and you can hear that as a faint background noise. Then there is your partners breathing and other sleep noises, which I won’t go into. But you get used to Sleepthose sounds as they have become part of the norm. Now, when those noises are not there, you begin to hear the other noises. The noises that you never normally hear or register. Monday night is an example.

I had woken up around 2:30 for some reason and was struggling to get back to sleep. My usual sleep trick of trying to focus on a single thought wasn’t working and I was just laying there, listening. The creak of the floorboards. The passing car. The screech of the owl. The cats fighting down the road. The neighbour taking his dog for a walk (not kidding.) The hum of the refrigerator downstairs. They are all noises which I don’t usually hear. Then just as you start to drift off to sleep, the wind blows and one of the room doors bangs shut. You know what it is, but it shakes you up a bit and you’re back where you started.

Then last night, I was late going to bed (reason below). It was gone midnight when I settled down, but was awake at 4:00 and just dozed until 7:00 when I decided to get up. Couldn’t stay in bed any longer.

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Went out last night. Went to the Red Lion in the village. It’s been a long time since I was there on a Tuesday night. Stopped going when I started to get worried how K*** would manage if Red LionR*** had a melt-down. But, as I was on my own, I thought ‘why not?’ Tuesday is “Quiz Nite” as they call it, so all the old faces I used to drink with were there. It seemed strange to see them again, as it must be a year since I was last in on a Tuesday. I didn’t do the quiz, as I’m not so good on my own, but it was nice being part of that crowd again. I was thinking as I walked home, that when R*** starts his new respite hours in July, Tuesdays will be one of the days when he is away every week. I think it is time to maybe start the “Quiz Nite” visit again on a more regular basis. Just got to convince K*** that it might just be fun.

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Eldest is coming round tonight. He has someone to see and something on with the drama group. He is not taking a big active role in the group this year as he is finding it a little tiring at the moment. So no “Murder Mystery” play and no Pantomime either. The group are still trying to get him to take a part, but he’s insistent that he wants a break this year. They’ll be going on to the pub, so it will be another late night. Then tomorrow, I’m out with my old school friend. But I’ll be driving back, so it may not be a late night.

A nice day out …


Today was my birthday! All together now … “Happy birthday to me etc etc”. So, in order to celebrate this auspicious occasion, K*** took me to Ripley Castle.  We’ve been before. Many times it seems. But, my memories63 of this place are a little vacant. There were somethings that I vaguely remembered, but most things were I could not remember. Now I’m not sure if me or my brain has gone a bit lazy, but there appear to be a lot of things that I simply don’t Ripley 1remember. I’m going to speak to my GP again, the next time I have my check up. He didn’t seem to think that there was a significant problem, but I think I’m going to ask for some tests.

Back to today. It was a very pleasant day. Not as hot as yesterday, Ripley 2but just warm enough for a nice walk around the grounds. It looked like there was some kind of event taking place over the weekend, as there were a lot of signs with the logo “Yorkshire Warrior” all over the grounds. I understand that this is something akin to an ‘Iron Man’ challenge. We then had a nice lunch in the only pub in the village, The Boars Head before heading home to await the return of the youngest who had been on respite for a couple of nights.

All in all, a good day.

Birthday and other things …


I went on my old chat site Monday night. It’s a site I used to use a lot a few years ago. It was before Facebook became really popular and I used to chat most nights. But as with all things, it changed, became a bit of a hunting ground for not so nice persons and I kind of lost interest. I go on occasionally, but the people I used to chat to have moved on and no longer use the site. Still it was good to have a bit of a laugh and to lead on the pervs a little. I’ll probably visit a couple of times this week and then lose interest again.

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It’s K***s birthday today, and it’s a biggie. The Big 60 … she doesn’t read my blog so she won’t mind/know about me mentioning. It doesn’t seem to be bothering her as much as the last big one. She got a little depressed when she was 50. I on the other hand had no feelings either way. When I was 60, it was just another day nearer me finishing work. And it did come with some good benefits. Haircuts are cheaper for one, and I can also order the pensioners meals in cafes and pubs. I hate leaving food and some of the portion sizes can be quite large. We shared a sandwich in a local café/bar on Sunday and to be honest, it was a struggle to finish it between us. Don’t know what it is, but I cannot get the weight down. When I came out of hospital in 2014, they had fed me up to get my weight back to the 10 stone that I went in with. Four years on and I’m now just over 12 and 1/2 stone. Well, saying that ‘I don’t know what it is…’ is a bit of a falsehood really. The weight comes from a combination of late night snacking and alcohol which is something I need to deal with. I can do without both and have done on occasions, but when it’s 5 minutes to midnight and you’re waiting for the youngest to settle, there is nothing nicer than a banana sandwich and a not-so-wee dram of whiskey. That’s the problem I need to deal with.

I seem to have gone a little off track here! So what is the plan for the day. Well, I don’t have a plan. Looks like it’s not going to be a dry day so a walk may be out of the question. We shall have a nice lunch somewhere and have a relaxing day. On Thursday it’s the main celebration day. We are going for an family meal at an Italian restaurant in Tadcaster, which should be nice. We’ve never been before, but reports have only good things to say. I shall let you all know.

It’s been a long week …


I’m referring to the holiday my wife is on at the moment. As I’ve not posted for some time, I’ll get you up to speed. Around the middle of April, K****s sister and daughter, returned from a week away in Gran Canaria. She returned with an offer that K*** should join them on their next trip. There was much discussion about this, with me having a lot of misgivings about the whole thing. Firstly, it’s a ‘beach, bar and pool type of holiday, which I understood was not the type of holiday K*** enjoyed. Secondly there was R*** to consider. How would he react, coming home from respite to find his mother not at home, and not going to be home for another 4 days. Then there is the cost. K*** tells me that it’s a ‘one-off’, but isn’t that waste of all the money it cost for a new passport? And what about all the new clothes … more expense. Anyway, she is back on Tuesday. R*** and me will both be pleased, and as I say, it’s been a long week. I had a list of jobs that I wanted to get done, which I managed to do in between the rain and the wind we had here. I suppose the worst part of the experience is the lack of conversation. I went to the pub a couple of evenings, but there is only so much you can chat about with people that you don’t really know. It will be nice to get back to what we call normality.

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I’ve been a bit lazy with this blog over the past couple of months. To be honest, I’ve not really had much I wanted to say. I wanted to stay clear of politics as that is all that people have been talking about for the past month. I know from past experience, that it is one way to ‘lose friends and annoy people. That is something I can do without any external help, thank you very much.

I tend to update this blog in the late evening. I thought, that this retirement (early) would give me lots more time to do things like this blog, but it doesn’t seem to have worked out that way. It still late at night, when K*** and R*** have gone to bed, that I think ”I must do a blog post”, and then I get distracted and end up not doing anything. I was going to look for a part-time job. That’s not happened. I signed up with a recruitment agency, but the jobs they have come up with are never appropriate. I promised myself that I would do more writing, but I don’t seem to have had any ideas that I could write about. I have done a fair bit of knitting though. A three beanie hats, five headbands, a pair of wrist warmers, a couple of scarves and I’m a quarter of the way through a sleeveless jumper. So I’ve not been sitting on my hands, so to speak.

I shall stop now as I don’t want to start rambling on about anything. I think I shall make a mental note to think about updating this effort at least once a week. I’ll put a note in my diary. See if that makes a difference!

Cold !!!!!


I’ve given up…the heating is on. I don’t usually put it on during the day, but I have succumb this once. It’s been really cold over the past two days. The ground frost never cleared at all yesterday, and it was quite P1010286eerie driving, early this morning, through the frost laden mist. Still hasn’t cleared yet. Just been out (14:30) P1010283and took a couple of photos in the fields. Should have gone first thing when I got back.

Talking of eerie, it was very strange picking S**** up last night. It was his friends birthday yesterday, and S**** had been invited to do what is colloquially called ‘The Garforth Gallon’. Basically, a pub crawl, where you have a pint of beer/ale/lager in each of eight pubs in the town of Garforth. For those who may not know, a ‘pub crawl’ is an expression used when you visit a number of public houses in one session. Anyway, he went out around 1pm, and was out all day and evening. I went to pick him up at around 10:30pm. It is not far, only about 10 minutes from home, but the motorway (M1) was quite spooky and quiet. I have not driven in that direction, at that time of night before, so it was an experience. When I got to Garforth though, it was very different ….busy, noisy even rowdy, with a police presence, larger than I’ve seen outside Leeds City centre. The police presence may have had something to do with the alleged murder that had taken place in the afternoon http://preview.tinyurl.com/7kj7u7a. Still he had had a good time, was able to get up for work this morning.

I have just finished reading ‘Little 15’ by Stephanie Saye and did a review on Amazon (UK) you can find it here http://amzn.to/xiNTLX. I very much enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to anyone. It is the only book, I have actually bought for the Kindle, and it was well worth it.

Dealing with the riot – NOT


It got a little bit stupid in the pub on Tuesday night! All the ‘experts‘ on the reason for the riots were in and quite vocal. I’ve listed some of the reasons that were given:

  • they were all illegal immigrants and they should be made to get a job
  • it’s hoodies, and they should ban them
  • gangs

These were from one person, I may add. The first comment is quite ironic, as this person had said the week before, ‘they should kick out all the illegal immigrants, as they are taking all the jobs..’ Secondly, if you are going to bad hoodies, because they are a disguise, then maybe we should ban gloves, so fingerprints can be found. Ban trainers to stop the looters/rioters/gang from being able to run away fast. Ban mobile phones, facebook, Twitter, SMS, land phones, email, word of mouth….. all which were used to ‘co-ordinate the events. Also we should ban bricks, bottles, scaffolding poles, petrol, pieces of wood, matches, cigarette lighters, wheelie bins …. all were used. If fact let us ban everything, just in case it could be used.

The prodigal returns


Well, the eldest returned home on Saturday. Me and Mrs H, have been bringing bits and pieces back from his flat since early last week. Saturday was the ‘move’ day. It took three trips to shift everything home and by the end of the day, I was completely shattered !!!! However, it is quite amazing how much ‘stuff’ you can get in the back of a 2005 Ford Ka !!! With the back seats dropped, it turns into a small van, but I did struggle when we come to put in a ‘put-me-up-bed’. I just have to locate the coach screws for his TV wall bracket and he will be sorted.

Mrs K decided that It would be good for him (and me) to go to the pub on Saturday night, so that made the day even longer ! We met up with one of his drama friends, so it was quite a good evening. I can see though, that he will be wanting to go out on more evenings, which as he has no income yet, could prove a bit expensive. I’m only used to going out on Tuesday and Fridays. Still it must be strange coming home after 2 years of living more or less as you please.

Youngest has been a bit up and down since the school holidays started. He frets about things and this leads to him being a bit aggressive at times. At the moment he is fretting about the summer play scheme at school. He will enjoy it, he always does, it is just that he will say he does not want to go, and this will become a theme with him. His latest thing, is having his laptop and TV/video running all night. Problems this morning, when his laptop crashed with an ‘out of memory’ error. It would appear that he had 4 or 5 YouTube videos running on automatic reply, whilst recording the sound with sound recorder. Six hours later I turned the sound recorder off !!

Work is going quite well for the time being. The latest initiative is set to go live next week, so there is plenty to keep me occupied. I’m trying to make some of the reports more accessible to others, which on the one hand keeps me working, but on the other hand somewhat negates the need for me at times. It is a difficult balancing act.

Another late one …..zzzzzzzzzzzz


Another late night, last night. Or to be accurate, early morning !!! Eldest lad was up for his drama rehearsal and with R*** still on respite until Friday, Mrs H was up for going out to the pub again. We got back in around 23:45, had a coffee and a drink, then Mrs H went to bed. I stayed up with S**** for a bit longer before crawling up to bed at 01:45. Did not seem to be in bed for long !!

Dentist today. It will probably be just a check and clean, but you never can tell. My appointment is at 12:20, so lunch will have to be a late one today. I have some spare time.

I need to have a look at R***’s laptop tonight. His drive is separated in to two partitions, both the same size. However, he does not separate data from program files (he doesn’t really need to), so one of the partitions, named ‘D’ is barely used. This will be the one I will shrink down to about 75gb. I can then expand the main partition by another 100gb or so. Wish me luck !!

Nearly over ….


     The decorating is all done. Well, when I say ‘all done’ I mean the new flooring and the wallpapering is done. I’ve not done the paintwork, except for the window shelf. I managed to do that on Monday night, at around 9:30pm. It has been a long week. What with that and having to work all day Tuesday and Thursday morning, I’m quite shattered. S**** came up for the quiz-nite on Tuesday night, and I took him back first thing on Wednesday. The quiz was a bit of a let down. No prize this week, and no footie card. I do hope they get a permanent landlord/lady soon. The atmosphere is not the best at the moment. In fact, there is no atmosphere at the moment. It is the kind of thing that could kill the pub.

     R*** is back this afternoon. Hope he is in a good mood. I think he should be, but it is quite likely that he will want his Mum. Could be a bit of a difficult evening, if he does not understand that she will be back tomorrow. Fingers crossed. I don’t know how he has been, during his respite. I rang last night, and they told me ‘he’s been fine’ and then ‘he’s not eaten much’ followed by ‘we gave him some stew and mash, but he would not eat it’. How many times do we have to explain this to them. He will only eat certain foods. This is part of his Autistic condition !!!!! I think we are going to have to write to the centre manager and make a formal complaint or something. There is no wonder he always says that he does not want to go. I would not want to go if they tried to give me food I cannot eat !!

No pub !!


Well the trip to the pub did not happen. I thought it might be pushing it. He is still a little stressed with the loss of his PC. It is more or less his life really. That and his videos. Still it could have been worse.

The trees are all down. Very impressive ! The amount of light entering the house has now doubled.

Randomness ….


     Youngest lads computer has gone tits up !!! This is a serious problem. His computer is a major part of his Autistic life. He has difficulty coping without it. So all day we have had ‘new computer’ thrown at us, at roughly 10 minutes intervals. We will get him a new one next week. He has some money saved up, but he cannot understand why we cannot just get another now !!!!! Mrs H wants to get him a laptop, as she thinks that it will give him more room. I’m not too sure how he will cope with the keyboard.

     I see William Hague is condemned ‘enemy states’ for the rise in computer viruses in government and civil services offices. Claims it is a ‘cyber-attack’ on the UK. I do believe that the so called attack is a variant of the Zeus virus, that was doing the rounds last year. Then it was so called ‘cyber-criminals’ after bank account details. Suddenly those same criminal are now ‘the enemy’ !!!!!

     The guy next door has decided to cut down his leylandii. He did mention it last year, but was waiting until the nests had been vacated. He told us today that he was going to make a start, but by mid afternoon, he had nearly finished. It is looking good already.

     Youngest lads support worker is not taking him out tomorrow. That gives me an opportunity to take him out myself. I’m thinking a trip to the  Red Lion might be an idea. I’ve not mentioned it, as he tends to dwell on things, if he know too far in advance. So I think, after lunch, I’ll just say ‘get your coat’ and hope for the best. I’ll post from the pub if we get there.

Title .. what title …


     It has been a strange week. My hospital appointment, on Monday went without a problem, and we managed to get out for lunch afterwards, which was nice. A big upset on Tuesday though !! I went to the quiz-nite, in the village pub, and found out the landlord and his family were being moved on by the brewery !! They had only been given a weeks notice, and they had to be out by Thursday, ready for the new people to move in. It is, apparently, the type of thing the brewery does often.  So it was quite an emotional end to the evening. They have been in situ for just over 5 years, and I have been a regular now for nearly 3 of those years. To think though, I nearly did not go that night. Me and Mrs H went for a meal on Thursday evening, and called in the pub to have a look at the new people, only to find that they pulled out at the last minute, and an emergency relief was in instead !!!

     Had a really bad cold-caller this lunchtime. I picked the phone up, and the voice, which sounded like a child, asked to speak to the ‘homeowner’. I said they were speaking to them, and the voice said, that they ‘were doing a special promotion, in my area…’. I asked who they were, and the voice said ‘Space Kitchens’. I told the voice that I was not interested, and they just hung up !!!! No attempt to twist my arm … no questions as to why I was not interested, and most annoying of all, no thank you !!!!! Astounding!! I Googled the company, and found that there were very many dissatisfied customers. They did not even have a postal address on their web-site. Enough said.

     Youngest seems to have had a good respite session. Mrs H asked him last night, if he had had fun, and he said yes !!! Maybe he is beginning to settle down now. I hope so, because the next time is when Mrs H goes away with her sister for a week in mid February. That will be a crunch time I think. They still don’t seem to understand his likes/dislikes with food. Every place he goes to, think they know best, and try to get him to eat the same food as them. Well he will eat more different foods than he did say 5 years ago, but they claim he ate a ‘burger, with cauliflower and peas’ !!!!! I find that extremely hard to believe. He will eat a burger if there is nothing else, but for someone with his eating habits, cauliflower does not ring true to me. Mrs H said that the line was very bad, so they may have thought it was someone else that was ringing.

Long time … no see !!!!


   Well, it’s been a long time. To be honest, not much has happened, well not much of any interest that is.

   Eldest lad went back to flat yesterday. He has been with us since the week before his play, so the house seemed a little empty yesterday evening. i must add, the youngest is on respite this weekend too. Mrs H said she did not sleep so well, but then again, she never does when he has been here for more than a couple of night. On a good note, the nights at the pub will slow down a bit. It got the stage, where me and him were going out 4 even 5 nights a week. this was not good for the pocket, and the waistline !!!

   He will be back up at the end of the month for Leeds Festival 2010. I’ve bought the tent, and a couple of other bits and pieces, as we intend to camp at least 2 nights. Just need to buy a few disposable BBQ’s and food and drink, and we will be all set. I still have a few doubts about the whole thing, but I suppose I must ‘go with the flow’ as I keep being told. I don’t have to do it again, and there will be some people of the same age as me there, as I understand.

   Work is holding it’s own at the moment. The CE has created a forum, whereby staff can suggest how money can be saved. It is a good idea, but some of the comments and suggestions coming from the staff are a little controversial to say the least. In fact one idea, that staff work only 4 days a week instead of 5 days is totally bizarre. That would be equivalent to a 20% cut in pay !!!!! I cannot see that working. I have to say, that suggestion came from a woman, working part-time at two days a week. I hope she was including herself in that 20% pay cut.

   Many of the suggestions seem to around the area of better use of resources. Things such as reusing old envelopes for internal mail, not printing emails and my suggestion, to use video conferencing instead of travelling to meetings. All small things, but ones that would be useful into the future.

   I am in a bit of a quandary at the moment. Through work, I am able to purchase Microsoft Office 2010 at a bargain price through Microsoft Home User Program. The problem is, whether is would be worth it, given the age of my PC (about 7 years old now). It is still running Windows XP, and I’m quite happy for it to do so. Office 2007 runs on my PC, but it is slow to start and I’m worried that Office 2010 would be even slower. I shall decide over the next few weeks. Watch this space !

Better late than ……..


   I did intend to post on Thursday evening. However, due to circumstances, entirely within my control (ie going to the pub again !!!) I failed to make it. The ‘play’ seems to be getting there, slowly but surely. Fingers crossed that on opening night, nobody forgets too many lines.  s**** has put a lot of work and thought into this. Just two more cast pictures to add to the programme and that is done.

   No win at the quiz-nite this week, bit in our defence, the questions were quite hard. Highest score as only 32, and we were only one behind on 31. The picture quiz, were all international football shirts !!! R**, who is not known as a football fan, got them all bar one!

   The work on the blog/website for the PTA is all but finished. I have just to update it with some links,and it will be ready approved. Once i get the go-ahead, I’ll put a link on this blog. There should be no problem with the newsletter, although, I would like to make it into a two page spread. I have a couple of ideas for non-PTA stuff, such as a word-search, Sudoku, crossword, that type of thing. It may add a bit of fun to what could become a quite boring piece of paper.

   I don’t think I will watch the football today. I’m interested in who will win, but I seem to have lost interest sine England went out. I feel that Spain will win, but secretly hope that Holland do instead.

   Very busy week at work, but it is set to be a bit quieter this week. I am off on Tuesday. Mrs H and me (possibly S**** too) are going to revisit the residential college, that we hope to get R*** into when he finishes school. S**** has never been, and I’m not too sure if he will go this time, but we will see.  

It worked …..


   The resizing of the partitions on the youngest lads PC went well. A lot better than I expected. Mind you, I did practice a couple of times with my portable drive. It took about an hour, but I’m well pleased with the result. Step 1 – completed.

   Never did get the bike ride. The wind was a bit too much. We did manage to walk to the pub.

   No pub tonight. Drama group was rehearsing, but the local is closed on a Monday, and the other pub, it a little too expensive. Still, quiz night tomorrow. Is another win in the pipeline ???

One more day ….


   This seems to have been a long week. It fact, it HAS been a long week. A few problems at work, and lots to do. Although I don’t think the last two late nights have helped much. Quiz-nite on Tuesday, and for one reason or another, it was gone half past eleven when I ‘staggered’ out of the pub. I did not sleep too well, and was up before six yesterday morning. Last night was just as bad/good. Got back in just after midnight, and the eldest wanted a whiskey (well I’ll blame him for it anyway) so it was nearly one o’clock when I went to bed. Thought I may get an early(ish) night tonight, but the youngest is still making one of his computer movies and it has not finished yet. It’s ten to eleven and there are still ten minutes to go !!!!

   The play seems to be going quite well, although I think they still have some way to go before they are ready. There are only a few more rehearsal dates, and from what I can gather, some people are going to need those dates more than others. Still, I have designed the poster and tickets, and have made a start on the the program. Printing the program is going to be the problem though. I can do the posters, as we only need about 15 A4 pages or so, and the tickets will take twenty pieces of A4 card. The program will take 2 double sided A4 pages for each program, and as we are expecting to sell in excess of 120 tickets, with a program for each, that is a lot of printing. My printer would not cope with it. We are going to have to find someone who will copy it for free or very very cheaply.

…and so to work (bleaugh !!)


   All in all, the holiday went very well. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were the best days for the sun. This must have been the first time, Mrs H needed to buy some sun-tan lotion !! We avoided the usual tourist traps, such as the Tower  Blackpool Towerand the Pleasure Beach, and tended to spend more time out of the centre of Blackpool. And there wasThe Big One no way, we were going to pay an entrance fee just to walk round the Pleasure Beach. I don’t do the big  ‘scary’ rides since I got my diagnosis (not that I did many before), and The Big One was never something I really fancied !!

   We did Lytham and St Annes twice, which was good. Only real problem was R*** and the charity shops. He was looking for an kids old video, from the early nineties, and charity shops are where he usually find them. No luck this A Tram !!time, so it was a bit stressful at times. We also walked the promenade from the south shore to the north shore a couple of times.  Tuesday to Friday wasn’t too bad, but Saturday was very busy and crowded. But they did bring out the heritage trams on Saturday,which was good to see.

   One thing that worked well. I had downloaded a number of kids videos, from YouTube, and installed them on his iPOD Touch. He loved them !!! That enabled us to sit and have a drink at some of the pubs. He was quite content, to watch his iPOD while we relaxed a little. A stroke of genius, even though I say it myself.

   So it was back to work today. Lots to do, but quite a satisfying day. There had been a couple of problems last week, but between them, it had all got sorted. Made for a better atmosphere, not having the guilt thing. Thanks to K***n and D**n.

A busy weekend ……


   Eldest to here yesterday, for the local music gig. I thought, when we got there, that it was going to be a bit of a flop. There was just very few people there !! However, it picked up around 09:00pm, and it turned out to be a good night. Although, the headline act did not turn up, and did not let the organiser know. Not good !

   Lost of jobs to do today, in preparation for our holiday. We go tomorrow, and are back next Sunday. Youngest is not that happy about going, but fingers crossed it will be okay. He went out with his support worker today, and that seemed to go well, so who knows.

   It would appear that England won by the skin of Japans teeth !!! This does not bode well, for when the real football starts !!! Have I wasted a £1.00 on my England aerial ‘bobble’ ????

   I downloaded an album for Amazon today, which took me back a few years. I have no idea, what made me think of them, but at one time, they were my favourite band. A band from the 70’s called Be Bop Deluxe. Really did bring back memories of seeing them in the local pub, before they hit the big time. I remember buying their first album, Axe Victim, and playing it night and day. It still sounds good today, although that could be just me.

   May get chance to blog by email during the week (if I remember how) on my mobile. Just don’t hold your breath!

Tired and working too hard …… (my excuse)


   Quiz-nite on Tuesday went very well. That ‘spare part’ feeling had dissipated somewhat. The two people, in the group that don’t usually acknowledge my presence, did this week. That made it a very pleasant evening. However …… getting home at 23:45, and then deciding to have a brandy (or two) is not a good idea. Wednesday morning, one was very delicate to say the least. I should know better, but …… then along comes drama group night, with the eldest at home, and the same happens again !! Whiskey this time, but not as much to drink though, so the old head was in a better condition!

   Strange character in the pub though. He was the only one in when I got there, and gave me a very slight nod of the head when I said ‘good evening’ (am I getting paranoid about this …) He just sat there drinking his beer, looking straight ahead. This carried on even after the drama group turned up. It is such a friendly pub, that we tried to include him, but to no avail. Just sat there. Each to their own I suppose.

   Work was interesting yesterday. A number of us got presented with an award for excellent sickness record over that past year. A tiepin of all things. even the women got a tiepin !!! No imagination at all. It is a bit of a joke really, as it is supposed to demonstrate our “commitment, dedication and professional attitude” to the job. In fact, it was a celebration of good luck really. Good luck in the fact, that the days when I felt ill, I was not at work anyway. It is hard on people that have to have time off work for life enhancing surgical operations. They get no reward! So to me it seems a little unfair.

   My work PC is still out of action. I have decided that when (if) it gets fixed, that I’ll just stick to the lap-top. Makes my desk a lot cleaner. I’ve an interesting job to do tomorrow. It is not really our area of work, but the boss has decided that we can do the work. In the current climate, I’m happy to keep my hand in at anything.

… and so to the weekend


   An early start to Saturday !!!! Youngest up at 04:00am. What he usually does, is turn on his TV, then turn over and go back to sleep. Not this time !!! He sometimes does, what I call ‘droning’ ie making a continuous groan. That is what he did on Saturday morning. He never really went back to sleep. As a consequence, Mrs H an me were a little tired to say the least.

   Tried to watch the film ‘The Boat That Rocked’ last night. What a disappointment. I think we were both expecting a ‘Notting Hill/Four Weddings..’ type of movie. Sadly mistaken. We did not find it funny at all. I used to listen to Radio Luxemburg and Radio Caroline, when younger, and thought that the film may invoke some old memories.

   Better night with the youngest on Saturday night. He still awoke at around 05:00am, but thankfully he went back to sleep. He is out with his support worker for most of the day. Surprisingly, we did not have the usual ‘no out’ that we normally get. He either wanted to go, or accepted that he was going. This gave me a chance to get to the pub for a short while. Now I’m playing catch-up, and doing the jobs I should have done whilst I was out !!!