Slow moves to Pressure Drop. Or Five Go Mad in Clerkenwell

Monday evening and I still ache from Saturday’s exertions.  The joy of ageing! As some of you may be aware I missed the last train home.  This realisation was whilst I was travelling southwards on the Northern Line at 11:45 and I’d just pulled up at Angel, Islington.  I’m not going to get to London Bridge, Platform 15 in 8 minutes I thought.  So I considered the night train option.  The one that left London Bridge just after one and arrived at Hastings just before 8 am, with hours hanging around Brighton Station in between.  But wait, Jafer lives one stop away from London Bridge.  So I called him and woke him up at midnight and one hour later I was in his flat.


I got to spend a little time with him discussing the election and watching a replay of Football Focus before I set off and returned home 24 hours after I’d left.  Perhaps  I should have booked that Travelodge after all.

But what of the previous night?  Well it began with my arrival in London Bridge at 3:30 pm and a walk along the riverfront taking in the view of this


and this


before arriving in The Doggett by Blackfriars Bridge at 4 pm,


followed by a walk across the bridge and a stop in the Sir John Oldcastle by 7 pm and then The Three Kings by 9 and then the Betsey Trotwood a little while after.  On the way towards Clerkenwell we failed in our attempt to get into this place


guarded by this savage noisy beast.  The AA tells me I walked 2 and a half miles but it felt like more, maybe because I was getting more sloshed.  One place was so posh


Top quality handwash.  I would say the best boozer was the last one, or perhaps that’s the drink talking again.  At first Ben arrived


and we caught up about family, pets, work.  Then Yat arrived,


That’s him in the middle between me and Ben, at his own wedding, he was dressed more casually on Saturday.  As was Ben and I.  And I wasn’t dancing.  Trying to.  But failing.  But I’ll come to that.

After Yat followed John


and Andreas.


And a few of these were consumed.


We discussed the relative merits of Paul Weller’s material, I’ve gone off the Style Council but have grown more appreciative of his solo material and The Jam.

Films, like John I’ve never been a fan of sci-fi.

The NHS, one of our other halves works as a midwife and it’s not uncommon to work 12 hour shifts without time for even a sandwich.

Future Islands.  A great group.  Perhaps Andreas will now become a fan too.

Yat told me I’d put on weight.  Well yes, since 1981 I have.  But not since we last met sixteen months ago.  I remain a steady 13 stone.  And when I’m 12 I shall expect loads of compliments.

John reminded me that I hadn’t invited him to my wedding.  Repeatedly.

In 1991.

I’m not planning on renewing my vows but if I do you’ll be invited.  You’ll be the first one on the list.

And I’m sorry.

But so glad you’re starting to heal from the pain I caused.

Too slowly.

And yes I did come not just to your wedding but your stag weekend in Bournemouth.

As I said previously we finished up in The Betsey Trotwood where we got a table near a stairway that led to an upstairs function room.  Which on Saturday night was hosting a hen night with lots of women wearing sparkly outfits.  Very distracting.

The music included a number of tunes from Toots and the Maytals.

download (1)

And I slow danced my way out.

All in all a lovely few hours and hopefully not too long till next time.  When outside The Doggett we were approached by a rough sleeper asking for spare change.  We all obliged. One day that could be us.  It’s the right thing to do.  And that instant response from all of us is a display of the best of the human spirit.  And though we didn’t talk politics much, what I heard made me feel something is stirring.  People are coming out for Labour who I’ve never been certain have done so before, or at least not without the same level of enthusiasm and anger at the Tories.  And not just my friends.  Family members too.

Things I recommend; Ska.  I defy anyone not to shake their stuff to it.

Things I don’t recommend; bad timekeeping.












Unfulfilled potential

Good morning all, the sun is out and I’m off to London later to catch up with John, Andreas, Yat and Ben.  We’re coming up to 30-40 years of friendship and our last meeting was too long ago, January 2016.  Friendship nourishes the soul and it’s an essential part of my battle to maintain positive mental health to stay in touch with all I know and love.


I will be thinking of my friend Robert Lucas who is on the other side of the world and perhaps we’ll have a toast to him. Continue reading “Unfulfilled potential”

Where has the Conservative Party gone?

Good Saturday morning to you all.  Jafer is returning home later this evening and tomorrow we’ll watch Palace v Hull together.  If we lose we’re at huge risk of relegation because we might have to beat Manchester United in our last game of the season at Old Trafford.  But we’ve beaten Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal this season so it’s not completely beyond us.  My mood this week has improved.  Next week I am meeting up with Ben, Yat, John and Andreas for a few drinks and a catch up.  They’re friends from my teenage years and we get together once a year and keep in touch via social media etc. the rest of the time.

My post last week generated quite a response and I am thankful for the support you expressed about my disgust about the mud slinging at the parents of a missing child. However neither the person who made the post nor their many friends who voiced support for the views they expressed have opted to have a debate with me about their opinions.  Silence is their response. Continue reading “Where has the Conservative Party gone?”

A little more empathy

A lovely sunny morning on the south coast but there’ a dark cloud following me.  The results from Thursday’s local government elections confirmed what the polls were telling us.  The Tories have more councilors than before and Labour and Liberal’s and Scottish Nationalists have less.  The Greens and Plaid Cymru also improved their position.  The losses for Labour are offset by some positives.  Their candidates were elected with over 50% of the vote in the Liverpool and Manchester region without the need for second votes to be counted.  That is to say you rank the candidates 1 to whatever and they first count your first preference and then eliminate the least popular candidates and disperse their second votes until someone has over half the vote.  Labour also increased the number of councilors in Dundee, Doncaster, Northamptonshire and Norfolk.  The good news ends there.  Oh, and my local area of Castle and Braybrooke in Hastings re-elected Godfrey Daniels, a Labour candidate, in the East Sussex where the results were as follows;

Labour                    1,848     58.6%

Conservative             684     21.7%

Liberal Democrat      371    11.8%

Green                           252      8.0% Continue reading “A little more empathy”


A slight malfunction in my routine last night and I wake up at 5 am, and stay awake.  It’s something I do every so often, go to sleep without my sleeping tablets.  Not the perfect start to a weekend after what has been a busy week at work but one where progress is made towards supporting vulnerable adults into accommodation.  Soon I’ll have the joy of another Universal Credit application….

Continue reading “Ssssshhhhhh!”

Hair loss and perspective

The ageing process doesn’t just mean hair loss, weight gain and increasing health issues (though I’ve managed to escape 2 out of those 3).  It also means you gain something important called perspective.  The big story this week is the announcement of a General Election by Teresa May.  I make a conscious effort to be positive, it doesn’t come easy to me but the alternative is depression, which is worse.  I would like to be positive about the outcome of the forthcoming General Election.  But it’s difficult.  My own life story is in a small way tangled up with Jeremy Corbyn’s.  I lived in his constituency.  I was a party member in it and I campaigned with other members to get him elected for the first time in 1983.  I’m active in a different way nowadays.  I no longer knock on doors on election day trying to get the vote out.  I just try and have an influence with family and friends and anyone else I come into contact with on a personal level.  And I also try and do so through social media and my writing.  Jeremy is not perfect and I would be suspicious of him if he were.  He could be a better leader of the party.  And there are members of Parliament who could have done things differently to.  Divided parties are not usually successful and what will be will be with regards to June 8.  Afterwards I expect Corbyn to reflect on the outcome and make a decision about how best to serve the interests of the most vulnerable members of our society. Continue reading “Hair loss and perspective”

The allure and illusion of a progressive coalition

I was signposted to an article today about a call by the Green Party co-leaders for a pact between Labour, Liberals and themselves.  With opinion polls forecasting an increased majority for the ruling party it is easy to see why non-Tories might find this an attractive prospect.  So lets try and look at this objectively.

Do the non-Tories even like each other?

The Liberal leader has already ruled out a pact as has Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn.  It is only the Greens advocating this.  Let’s look at the voting figures from 2015;

  • Conservative 11.3 million 36.8%
  • Labour 9.3 million 30.5%
  • UKIP 3.9 million 12.5%
  • Lib Dem 2.4 million 7.9%
  • SNP 1.5 million 4.7%
  • Green 1.2 million 3.8%
  • Others 1.1 million 3.8%

Continue reading “The allure and illusion of a progressive coalition”

We beat Arsenal!


Happy Easter to all but let’s not forget about those who have to work bank holidays and weekends.  Such as care workers.  This week a study said 900 a day are leaving their jobs, and 60% of them get a job in a different setting.  One worker said

“It’s upsetting and disheartening when you find out that people earn more than you do in a supermarket just for stacking shelves.”

Is this the best as a society we can do?  I think we can do better. Continue reading “We beat Arsenal!”