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Month: April, 2014

Wooley Edge Services M1

On Friday I had the misfortune to stop at Wooley Edge for breakfast, this service station lies between Leeds and Sheffield on the M1 motorway. I can not describe the vile food I paid good money for on that day. The bacon was cold (the picture showed a bun crammed with bacon, I was dished up 2 undercooked cold rashers inside a stale bun. To say that I was physically ill after eating this would not paint the whole picture. I ended up with the runs as well as mild food poisoning so if anyone is travelling South on the M1 this is one services to avoid like the plague.

On a much better note, my 60th birthday weekend started with a bang, even the bad food could not diminish my thrill of at last going to Sheffield to visit the Crucible, home of Snooker’s World Championship since 1977, my girl had got tickets for the 10a.m. session on table 2, Mark Selby v Ali Carter, which was totally magnificent. In the afternoon because the weather was dry, although overcast, we watched the huge screen to see Ronnie’s session being shared 4-4 with Joe Perry. I felt that Ronnie could end up going out but luckily he had found his mojo again by the final session on the Saturday morning. It was great being in the Crucible after saying for years that I wanted to go. I have enjoyed this years tournament more than any other.

I had every intention of not spoiling my weekend jolly by the bad food previously mentioned and besides feeling a little ill I can honestly say that Sheffield was brilliant. I even stumbled upon a local hostlery, The Bessemer, which is a free house and they also do food. To say this food was the best I had eaten on Friday wouldn’t be fair as it was the best I had eaten out in a long time. We had a room booked at the Aston Hotel (which was hard to find) and the food there was not tried. However, the bed was really comfortable so sleep was enjoyed by us both. I cannot praise the hotel staff, the bar staff, the ambassadors and everyone at the Crucible (including Rob Walker) high enough for giving me the best birthday weekend ever. Tomorrow it’s off to see my dad for a few days before coming home to normality and boredom.

Sheffield home of British Steel

The snooker was a fantastic start
To get myself into a party mood
Rock n roll into my 60th
Good company lovely place and fantastic food

Crucible was just as good as being on telly
Except the atmosphere you couldn’t beat
The combatants took centre stage
Selby and Carter nothing between them

There were oohs and aahs all round the table,
The match went one way then the other
Frame by frame the play went on first with one
Then off with the other, no quarter given

If there was anything better than the session I watched
It was in another city and country too
The square outside had a huge screen on,
Watched Ronnie play Joe and share the session

Saturday started with Ronnie back on form, and
Playing safety as well as only he can two frames
Behind, he pulled one back then Joe took the next
Before Ronnie returned. At 11-9 it looked to be over

Until Ronnie came back and levelled the score
Frame 23 started with a fluke but 124 meant
Ronnie went in front for the first time
Frame 24 looked like going to make it square

But then Joe missed a shot and let Ron in
Once Ronnie was amongst the balls
You knew it was over for poor Joe
Ronnie had done what we knew he could.

The piper at the gates of dawn

Sorry, my dear friends and readers, I’ve been at College for a few days a week over the last few weeks with heaps of work to do in between as well. Hey ho, off to Sheffield soon, snooker in the morning at the Crucible Theatre before I go to Scotland for my birthday weekend, can’t wait. Gonna watch Ronnie before I leave, hopefully the whole session.

On a lighter note, has anyone else caught a little bit of a conversation and wondered what the people could have been discussing? I overheard a woman talking to her friend and caught an entire phrase, “Been up and down more often than a prostitute’s knickers” wonder what the topic was? I later found out they were discussing a lift which was a disappointment to me.

I was in a lecture hall the other day when the tutor, reacting to two groups who were continuing conversations while he tried to deliver the lecture. He said, “The thing about legislating that any violence done to a child is criminal is shown by the lack of respect shown by youngsters to their elders. We need to reverse this somewhat as people from my generation respected their elders. If you back chatted an older person they went and reported this to your parent who would give you a hiding, that fostered respect for your elders. Now kids threaten to call the police or social services if you even raise your voice. They think they can do as they please and no-one will stop them!”

This got me thinking of my youth (yes I’m older than I look) and how much different the youth of today are. In my day we used to wander round in a large group, the older generation knew they had no reason to fear us, no-one was either frightened to go out after dark, or even lock their doors. After all this was the time of community, everyone on our Estate knew everyone else so we all kept an eye on each other and knew a strange face. Nowadays people move around so much that neighbourhoods change constantly. You can never be sure if someone belongs or not.

Bye bye Johnny Johnny be Goode

Well here I am, sitting in my chair
My head in the clouds
Flying without wings in my head
How did I manage to get here

What will I do today, if anything
Why can’t I find the energy to move
What will it take to leave my brain
And get something done

The drugs aren’t working anymore
I feel in so much pain all the time
My head leaves the ground I float
I fly, I spin and turn leave it all behind

My mind goes where it will
I let it fly and spin so I sit still
I know when I return so will
The pain, I can’t avoid this

Positivity, yes

Is it possible to be
Someone different from me
Someone others can see?

Look how the light breaks
All the colours of the rainbow
Are there in the white

We know we feel we hunger
Love is pleasure and danger
Sex with a stranger?

Can we see, can we feel can we touch
The moment in a tear
The seconds in a year?

We try to hide the bad side
As we walk life’s highway, ride
The wind, don’t try to bide

The handmade blade, caught in a smile
On we go just one more mile
There it is, yes, caught in time

Boy versus girl in the World Series

Here I am, been contemplating life, love, faults and strengths. Funny isn’t it, how when someone dies you start looking at your own mortality, and the mortality of those nearest to us who are getting on in years. At my age, I think I’ve known more tragedy than anyone ever should. If we are living longer (and all the signs are there that we are) then surely we are beginning to conquer death? Not so. We have made strides to conquer illness and disability but we still have a long way to go to extend life beyond 110. Not everyone reaches their maximum potential, and I should know. Possibly better that some devote their lives to find answers and, if not cures, methods of limiting the ravages some of these diseases cause.

On another topic, this planet has changed a lot in the last 60 years, we’ve gone from a State which took care of those who paid into a national scheme, and compulsory armed forces service for 2 years, where homosexuality was a crime, lesbianism was kept hidden although not perceived as a crime. Sex before, or outside, marriage was frowned upon and women did not go out to work. Now, 60 years later, changes have been made to incorporate everyone, regardless of age, sex, physical bias, sexual preference into a more tolerant society. Some argue this is a sign of weakness and advocate a return to the dark ages where there was no tolerance for diversity. It’s diversity that makes us better individuals, shrinks fear and hypocrisy so they can be left in the past.

If we try and get to know our immediate neighbours, talk to strangers online to find out how they live, their customs and culture, then we will find ways to overcome prejudice get along and generally make this world a much better place for us all. We should take care of all those displaced by war, natural disasters or an epidemic. Science is not supposed to make life better for the rich few, we should all embrace science and take it to the masses. 60 years ago computers were massive beasts with very little memories, they had to be kept at an optimum temperature and had very poor storage options. Today almost everyone has, at the very least, got access to a personal computer which is 100 times faster, better, and smaller than the NASA computers which put a man on the moon.

To what end are we using technology today? For the most part, it’s being used and manipulated by those politicians trying to keep us out of harms way for military applications while those of us in the know, who have always embraced change and helped to bring about the technical revolution see it as a chance to change beliefs that this religion is better than that religion. This colour is far superior to that, this race is bigger and better. All of this is complete bull and, if we can conquer our fears and prejudice then this planet is capable, and also the human race deserves it, of knowing a lasting peace. Yes people being people a few will get into fights from time to time. Instead of locking them up we should train them to box or wrestle. The only ones our jails should incarcerate are those who commit crimes against humanity, killers and paedophiles whose crimes cannot be tolerated. Our children deserve a childhood to play, learn, grow and question the natural world. Free from worry, free from stress and in an environment which is not hostile, where they don’t have to worry about death, abduction and parents can feel assured they’re being safe while still having an opportunity for cuts, scrapes broken bones and all the other facets of learning what is possible, overcoming obstacles and being part of a society where all are equal, everyone can see beyond differences, looking for answers to new questions and not bothering about the limits placed on them by political correctness or health and safety regulations. Children should be kept safe, yes, wrapped in cotton wool? No, that is counter productive.

Thank you so much for reading, however, I need to know the views of others, pro or anti, this is my thought process but what do you think? If we offer up our thoughts to the world then we have to be prepared to listen to others. Those “others” should offer their opinions, whether you agree or disagree, after all change comes after ideas have been listened to and debated so that a workable consensus can be achieved.

April, Spring, new beginnings

I feel a spring morning while washing my hair
The weather changes and it’s getting warmer
The days are getting longer and summer soon
Will be here, will this year be better, calmer?
How I long for the weather of my youth
When all was well, no need to hide

I feel the change in attitude and fear
Winter was long, violent and yet mild
Rain washed hills down into valleys here
Like a river of mud and boy was it wild
Reminded me of a pit village in Wales,
Coal sludge moved and covered a school

Oh how I miss those days of old, when I didn’t
Have a worry nor care
We ran, we laughed, we cried together, it all seems
Like a lifetime ago, what happened to my friends,
My hopes, dreams and tears of joy?
They’ve all been replaced with pain and grief

I feel alone as I sit in my chair, everything changes
Nothing will last, as I ponder my life I find it strange
That a lot of my friends died yet I’m still here
Why have I lived to reach 60 and not they?
Makes no sense since I’ve lived to excess
More so they say

Now here I ponder, muse and wonder
What is life going to do next? Can I survive into old age?
The fire is burning low, I’ve fought my last fight
Here my days are turning to night
I keep going but don’t know why
Especially when I’m so ready and willing to die