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.