Week 24

31st May, 2009

White Rabbit Day tomorrow. Also back to school day for so many. By Sunday, we would be feeling distinctly fed up and looking for any reason why we shouldn’t go. Not any more. We are planning a trip to France the week after next. When we come back, we will do a day strawberry picking at our local strawberry farm followed by a day’s raspberry picking. Pauline will make brilliant jam. Instead of moping about tomorrow, we went for a drive on the moors.

Below you will see shots of the road we took for so many years to work. It is the old, pre-motorway, cross-pennine route. In the summer we would drive this road and the motorway in the winter. The landscape here looks as if a giant had grabbed the moorland and squeezed it in his hand. It is left in crumpled folds, carpeted in lush green grass and crimson and white flowering heather. Occasionally, the rock breaks through the surface. The eye would never tire of it.

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1st – 3rd June, 2009

While the country has been obsessing about Hazel Blears’ expenses and Brown’s likely successor, I have been pruning Laurel bushes in to ball shapes, manicuring the lawns, trimming the edges, all the finishing touches needed to make our house saleable. It has now officially gone on sale. We have tried to set a realistic price so we don’t find ourselves still stuck here this time next year. Apparently, the neighbours have been monitoring the regular visits of tradesmen – painting and decorating, windows and doors, carpets and curtains. They have been observing Pauline & I cleaning the windows, sweeping the patios, mowing the lawns, weeding the flower beds. They have said to themselves, “I bet they’re moving!” Today their supicions were confirmed as the official ‘For Sale’ board went up.

We were just having lunch and cheering at the news of Hazel Blears resignation when we heard a banging outside. Pauline jumped up and screamed when she saw a man banging a post into our front garden. “They’re selling our house”, she shouted. We madly set about tidying the house in case someone called to see it. They didn’t.

Had a lovely email from Cal telling me that she was going back to work and sending me some more photos:

An Irish Tent

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Irish Cannabis

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The Irish Pyrenees

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It just looks lovely. I can’t wait to drop in on her unexpectedly.

4th June, 2009

As a traditional grumpy old man, I have long been the bane of the Kirklees Environmental Health Department. They like to think that they are at the cutting edge of Waste Disposal. They try to enforce sorting of waste by their customers so that they can sell the materials on in a profit making concern. They give us two coloured wheelie bins, green and black – and each is collected once a fortnight on alternative Thursdays. I refuse to have a dog and bark. Who has got the time to separate rubbish? Well, Dustbin Men (and Tramps) of course. We pay them an enormous precept each year from which we cannot derrogate. Of course, the bottom’s fallen out of the waste material market which is really putting a strain on the SITA spreadsheet.

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5th June, 2009

Apparently it is Friday. I spent the whole of yesterday thinking it was Friday. I even went to the extent of ordering a takeaway for tea to recreate that ‘Friday Feeling’. Never mind, I shall have to try all over again today.

We drove over the Pennines to Saddleworth to the Whit Friday Brass Band Contest. I have lived in the area since 1972 and this is the first time I have been free to watch it. It involves bands from all the communities travelling from village to village playing their brass band music to the local population and being judged. There are ten or so individual competitions. Really, it is a good excuse to get together and share a drink in all the lovely Pennine pubs. For some reason, although it is always on Whit Friday, it is invariably dodgy weather. After days of glorious sunshine and high temperatures, today was cooler and changeable. Everybody started off drinking in the pub gardens but as the music started so the clouds darkened. Fortunately, most of the competitions were finished before the heavy rain set in.

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The house officially went on sale yesterday. Today we had a car trawl slowly past and back, checking it out. Why didn’t they just come in and offer us the full asking price? It would make life so much easier.

6th June, 2009

Leeds and Manchester Airports are not far away. Flights are rare enough to be more of interest than annoyance. We did get a bit annoyed when a helicopter flew back and forth low over our house the other day. Within a few hours we had a knock at the door and a woman appeared holding a framed, colour aerial photo of our house. She wanted £12.00 for it. Normally, I would have sent her away with a flee in her ear as all the other neighbours did but, on this occasion, I bought.

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This photo will go to Greece and join photos of all the houses Pauline and I have lived in together mounted above the oak settle from Oldham Town Hall. The irony of that ending its life on a Greek island really appeals to me.

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