Friday, 25 July 2014

The Things You Remember

In the early '80s there were two gay Cumbrian trawlermen who had a smart top floor flat with a great view north over The Mount and further on across the bay to Cumbria.

But imagine being a gay fisherman in Fleetwood! For a town to be more insular it would have to be on an island.

These blokes were rock hard and the big one was scarred by a snapped wire hawser right across his back. They had great stories including one slowly delivered about being trapped in an air pocket inside an upturned boat and almost no oxygen left and rolling a cig from your baccy tin and lighting it anyway. Then hearing the knocking of the rescuers on the hull.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

I Scored Four Courgettes, Man.

Every season we're in happens to be my favourite, but yesterday summer scored particularly high when we stopped at a garden gate in Scorton, (Lancs, UK), to buy 15 dahlias for £1.00 (dropped into an open topped honesty bucket), and I collected 4 courgettes marked "excess produce - help yourself". I've converted them into 1ltr of very good spicy courgette soup, more than half of which has already gone.

In our much too small garden there's a rhubarb forest next to the compost bin. I've just stewed some rhubarb - our third cropping this year - and now I find I'm beginning to wear the determined-to-look-unexcited grin of all those allotmenteers who at this time of year and right on through to October walk past our house laden with good quality, probably organic, and almost entirely free food.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Mynydd Illtud

For about six months in 1966-67 our family of four lived at the Mountain Centre on Mynydd Illtyd (nowadays "Illtud"), near Brecon, (Powys, Wales). For the first three months we were in an old immobile Bedford coach with our lolloping labrador puppy, then we overwintered in two rooms while our furniture went mouldy in the basement that became the cafe. (During this period my dad threatened to resign from his new job as national park warden if he received no help with housing. Tudor Watkins, our Labour MP, liked my dad and used his contacts to direct us towards a converted Congregational chapel coming onto the market at Cantref. My parents paid too much for it - £6,000).

Meanwhile I went to Libanus school and rode my new Dawes bike all over the common, out to Forest Lodge along Sarn Helen, sometimes even up to Storey Arms after school.

And Idwal Jones' mum at Llanilltyd farm used to give us Welsh cakes and, before the cattle grids came, children used to open the farm gates with a hand stuck out for sixpence from the cars that came to the Mountain Centre carrying 12,000 visitors on a fine weekend.

Across from the farm and encircled by pine trees was Llanilltyd church - now long since demolished. And Llanilltyd farmhouse looks unoccupied and the barns and yards little used, if at all.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Farming Today

Did you find recently yourself even briefly caught up in the romance of two farmers driving tractors towing 30 tonne trailers loaded with four days of almost certainly imported cattle "fodder" at 30mph for 230 miles from Yorkshire down the A roads to Somerset to give their loads to more farmers making unnecessary use of the wrong kind of land so as to grow cows that can be killed at 30 months, although they can live for 30 years, so that you can eat those cows, or they can be "milked" so that you can unnecessarily drink their babies' food, before those babies are made into meat, and their mothers too?

Doo doo-bee doo.

Ferraris are red,
Bugattis are blue,
I'd rather a campervan.......,

Doo doo-bee doo.