Bash a Burglar?

I note that Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip (Harry) Seccombe has admitted that the 101 service is a load of crap, (The Stratford upon Avon Herald 21st March & I paraphrase), which must beg the question, ‘this being so, are we within our rights to bash a burglar and take the law into our own hands’?

Speaking for myself, if I find,  for instance, a nere-do-well on my property without an invite, AND the designated service (i.e. The police) are unable to attend, I would feel perfectly justified, in an effort to protect my innocent family, in causing the footpad great pain using a blunt instrument of my own choosing.

What view would the Law take?

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Excerpts from The Book of Stratford upon Avon.

‘The William’. Chapter 1. V.1-9

1…and it came to pass that in that town a child of great wisdom was born. 2. Such greatness did God bestow upon him that in later years the people did build a temple to his name. 3. Pilgrims from many lands came to lay at this wise man’s feet plaudits and praise. 4. So much were the people in awe of the wise man that they forgot their God and lay the wise man shoulder to shoulder with God in God’s own temple to be worshipped with God. 5. And God was displeased and sent fire to destroy the temple to the wise man. And the wise man’s temple fell to ashes. 6. Such was the people’s blindness and deafness to the word of God that the temple was rebuilt once more in the wise man’s name. 7. And God wept at foolishness of his beloved. 8. Yet In his infinite mercy he granted his children another chance, wishing upon them the ability to see their own unfaithfulness and make good. 9. God, being in no great hurry and aware of the flaws in his creation, drums his Holy fingers on his Holy table and waits.

‘The Wheel’. Chapter 5. V 1-5.

1…and in this land they built a giant wheel for the people to ride. 2. And those that chose to revolve upon the wheel were taken to great heights to observe land and rooftops. 3. And the wheel did revolve thrice. 4. Whereupon the mighty wheel’s passengers witnessed the same land and rooftops they had witnessed before. 5. And the people were mightily and easily pleased.

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The Royal Shakespeare Theatre – Crumbs from the High Table.

Let’s get one thing clear. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is without doubt, world class. The quality of its output is second to none and its pool of talent, well-chosen. Its record speaks for itself and anyone who says otherwise is an ignoramus and probably related to Donald Trump.

The RSC likes to refer to itself as a family, which I’m afraid is where I start to experience difficulty. As one of its Stage Managers said to me…(I paraphrase)…

‘Back in the day when there were about 500 employees, I knew everyone’s name, we were close, we were like a family…now there are over a thousand of us and I know hardly anyone. I’m glad I’m leaving. The organisation has become faceless’.

I knew exactly what he meant. Although times of course change and the old RSC contained many shall we say, ‘work practises’ that needed to be addressed, it has become as my friend put it, ‘faceless’, an institution. Whereas there used to be an emphasis on ‘community’ or to put it more simply a desire to be part of Stratford upon Avon and all that, that means, what we have now are numerous different companies for different plays and a sea of red lanyards dangling from the necks of frequent strangers. The heart has gone missing.

There was a time when the RSC seemed mightily concerned about its profile in Stratford upon Avon. About how it was seen by the residents of Stratford upon Avon, theatre-goers and non-theatre-goers alike. There was a sense that the RSC was a hub. That part of its ‘duty’ (unwritten?) was to act as a missionary to all thing’s theatre. To spread the word. There was even theatre ‘seasons’ where locals/non-professionals (if you like), were encouraged to display their talents. Now, our pat on the head, our sugar lump is cheap tickets and if you are lucky enough to work for the RSC, a chance for your local theatre group to use the RSC’S facilities. (If this sounds like ‘sour grapes’, it is). And therein lies my point.

I am of the opinion that the Royal Shakespeare should do more. I believe, that there are 16 million reasons (£16 Million from Arts Council) why the RSC should step up to the plate and truly invite the local theatre community in. I’m sick to death of ‘Them and Us’.

And I almost gagged when the RSC put on *Miss Littlewood and then went back to their old ways without a flicker.

In Stratford upon Avon there are small fringe theatre companies (only called fringe because they have no funds) who need help. And by help, I mean space. Space in which to rehearse, experiment etc. I know for a fact that the RSC has the space. I know that there are large rooms that lie empty for days at a time. Rooms, that small companies like mine would die for (yes, I have a small, very small theatre company) because we can’t afford the £10/12 per hour (going rate) that church halls and the like in the area, charge.

So, my plea to the RSC is to remember who you are.

If the conclusion is you are a business and nothing else, then hand back your arts council grant, cut your cloth, be honest and just go out to make a profit. If you still have the desire and haven’t forgotten about the healing power of theatre…help us out.

* FUN PALACES

In 1961, Littlewood and the architect Cedric Price dreamt up the ‘Fun Palace’, a radical space in the East End where local people could come together to enjoy and celebrate the arts, but their dreams were left devastated after issues with land and funding. However, in 2014 writer and theatre  maker Stella Duffy called a session at Devoted and Disgruntled asking for support to celebrate Littlewood’s centenary in October 2014. The response to the idea of creating local Fun Palaces across the UK was huge and Duffy co-founded the Fun Palaces campaign with producer Sarah-Jane Rawlings. Littlewood and Price’s vision is now an ongoing campaign for locally-led culture at the heart of community and an annual weekend of action, championing Littlewood’s words “I really do believe in the genius in every person.”

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Now I get it…Why Turkeys Vote for Christmas.

I’ve been meaning to post this for some time now but have only just stopped laughing.

Anyway, this is a picture from ‘The Style Book’ (*cough) in The Observer a couple of Sundays ago.

And it is Thanks to this amazing picture that I have had an epiphany. I now know where we are going, it explains everything. I am no longer a soul lost in the wilderness. I finally ‘get’  why Trump, Brexit, all the idiot politicians and social commentators home and abroad have taken over the world.

I now understand why we have so-called ex-pats voting for the ending of freedom of movement and their own downfall. I Understand now and at last, why so many Turkeys voted for Christmas. It’s not just them, it’s all of us.

We’re all fucking mad…

It all finally makes sense…and here was me, worried…tush.

 

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Peony Pagoda poorly positioned.

FFS.

All joking aside…what Council Knob-Head decided to build the Peony Pagoda down that end of  The Firs? #namethattwerp

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The Peony Pagoda Plot thickens…

I see this amazing gift from China has mysteriously began to cause accidents at an already traffic black spot. And to some it has also now become (even though not yet constructed), a ‘monstrosity’ AND an ‘eyesore’.

As indignation, dissent and anger rises from the most surprising of quarters, I wait for…

‘Unless the Council reject the placement of this gift, it won’t be long before The Firs is over-run with wandering, long-haired and flute-playing,🤜🙏 Kung Fu masters.’

pagoda

‘I look for The Firs. For it is there I will find the Peace I am searching for’.

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62 quid!

62 quid

feeling ripped off?

On one hand, I’ve always been a great fan of the cinema/flicks/movies and on the other, like many of my age group, I stopped going quite a few years ago.

The main reason I think was the fact that I didn’t like the ‘new system’ that came in. A system that suddenly decided that I could only go and see One Movie per sitting for my money. No more two movies side by side. Once I could get an ‘A’ movie and a ‘B’ movie (whatever that was) and a guarantee that I would spend much more than an hour and a half in a nice warm, dark environment, snuggling up (or worse) to someone I fancied, (oh what tales I could tell-with an interval for ice cream).

On Monday I ventured out to see the Lego Movie (2) (Film immaterial – I did it for my Grandchildren). And it took me about an hour of the same ads you get on the tele (only bigger and louder), to decide I wish I hadn’t bothered. When the main (the only) film eventually began, the grandchild whose treat it was,  spread his popcorn all over the floor just before falling asleep. Out for the count while the film he really wanted to see played out over his snores. The whole sorry exercise costing me...wait for it£62.

62 quid!

…and I wasn’t even one of the hungry hordes who seemed to ordering a constant supply of fried food. As ‘waitresses’ flitted too and fro in front of the screen laden down with trays of drinks, the odour of burnt sausages’ made me think I was at the mop, expecting any minute my comfy (and sticky) sofa might begin to revolve.

All in all, it was a horrifying experience. The one grand-kid who remained conscious for the whole hour and a bit seemed unimpressed, while mister sleepy-birthday-boy has no recollection at all of the expensive birthday present and I still have a headache.

Never again. Netflix here I come.

62 quid!

 

 

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Gets my Goat – Advertising

I’ve never been a big fan of advertising (gets my goat) and have always considered it ‘the real Big Brother’, ‘the eye in the sky’. I think, as the years have gone by my fears with the appearance of Facebook and the like, my fears have become justified.

gets my goatOne of the things that really gets my goat about how these incredibly wealthy organisations operate, is the way they assume willy-nilly that they can interrupt our lives, when and where they feel like it.

I am not french

‘I am not French…’

Whether it’s a large billboard that dangerously interrupts our concentration when we are *driving, or (the one I hate the most), their (the advertising companies) desire to interrupt our thought processes when we are trying to sort out the latest episode of Poirot.

I made a conscious decision, years ago never to purchase any product that does any of the above and have largely stuck by that. Laughing in the face of all kinds of sparkling tit-bits, monetary offers and other temptations I have retained my anger at these devilish manipulators and refused to buy their soiled goods.

I have openly scoffed at their attempts in some sad ‘newspapers’ to seduce me into purchasing, ‘Chum elasticated trousers’. Their badly photographed plastic shoes without laces that look like dead pig’s noses have no truck with me and as far as pullovers (men and women’s) that were over-stocked in the 1950’s and have just been re-discovered in some forgotten warehouse down by the docks, well, you know where to stick them.

Sometimes, I am glad to say, advertising firms are hoisted by their own petard. Their efforts to become ‘our friends’ are pathetic and a wonderful waste of their ill-gotten gains. The ad below is a wonderful example of their own stupidity, bringing with it so many amusing scenarios and questions….

Have fun.fast cremation

* Has there ever been a prosecution for ‘distraction by advert?

 

 

 

 

 

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‘Skylight’ at The Loft Theatre Leamington Spa

Last night I spent a smashing evening at The Loft Theatre in Leamington watching ‘Skylight’ by David Hare.

Although the subject matter, Middle-Class Angst, is not dear to my heart, it was a brilliantly acted and directed piece. For the first time in a long time for me, the difference between Amateur acting  and Professional was sufficiently blurred not to make any difference what so ever. Too tight to buy a programme, I can’t remember the actor’s names but can at least point you to The Loft Theatre Company Website, where you will find all the information that you need for a very interesting evening.

A Great Bar too.

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Disgusted of Stratford upon Avon

In an effort to quell (‘quell’ – there’s a word you don’t see very often) my anger I found myself having to take a swift walk around the river (me – in my state of health).

‘’Why, gentle writer?’, I hear you say. ‘What has led you to this uncomfortable state of affairs? You, of such a kind, peaceful persona…why has the red mist descended, clouded and disturbed one such as you? A receptacle of kindness, love…why?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

First of all, I’m sick to death of this Brexit march toward obvious disaster. I’m fed up because no-one has come forward to tell me what is going to be good about us Leaving the EU. I have asked many, many times. All I get is pumped-up and THICK little Britishers telling me WE won the war so we should be able to get through this. So, my question still remains, WHY?

Also, I’m fed up to the nines, (‘the nines’, my mum used to say that, I have no idea what it means), with watching my daughter attempting to raise thousands of pounds to fight for justice in a Court of Law. A friend of mine is in the same boat. Justice should be a human right. Not something only, the rich can afford.

Both these cases are the Family courts and both concern Child Custody. In my friend’s case the court has already passed a judgement in his favour, but the other party is choosing to ignore it. Because of chronic underfunding within the court system, on-one is apparently able to enforce the courts verdict.

A Disgraceful state of affairs.

Finally, I know this sounds trivial, but this has really got my goat (Goat?)

After the Duke’s road accident, I couldn’t believe my eyes when John Sentamu The Very Holier than thou Archbishop of York released a creepy-crawly prayer for the Duke’s well-being.

Almighty God, the Fountain of all Goodness,We humbly beseech thee to bless Philip Duke of Edinburgh:Endue him with thy Holy Spirit; enrich him with thy Heavenly Grace; prosper him with all happiness; and bring him to thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Yuck.

Seeping in the brown-nosing language of the old and best forgotten irrelevant language of the prayer book (there, I’ve said it), Sentamu *forgets the victims of the ancient Duke’s bad driving and seems to be angling for next years honours list.

*Although a lackey obviously reminded him that there were other people involved and a prayer for them appeared later, the whole episode still made me feel sick.

Enough already.

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You know what you can do with your Chinese Peony Pavilion…

Interesting to note that when I searched for ‘Stratford upon Avon’s Chinese Pagoda’ all I got was a list of eating houses. Of course what I should have searched for was ‘Stratford upon Avon’s Chinese Peony Pavilion’. However, my mistake and the results I received, neatly sums up the lack of good grace of some of Stratford’s citizens in their acceptance of this splendid gift from the People’s Government of Fuzhou Municipality in China, and the People’s Government’s attempts to continue the China-UK cultural exchange.

Rather than say thank you very much just what we needed etc, etc what we ended up with was a study in what the British do best. Complaining. And not only that, but that well-known sick-making British speciality…Complaining in an overly polite and well-spoken manner whilst wearing a hat.

A load of disgruntled Stratfordians complaining Brexit-like about their Council and the decision to place the thing (the peony pavilion) in The Firs Garden. We were even presented on TV with an embarrassing video documenting their pathetic objections (too embarrassing to show here). What we got was over-blown indignation that such a thing should be placed in ‘their backyard’. Classic Nimbyism. With the usual British attitude towards change, this group of puffed up complainers expelled enough hot air to float their own balloon. From, ‘this is too far off the tourist trail’ to a pompous, nonsensical statement on the lines of…

“Firs Gardens is a tranquil oasis. The erection of a pavilion, designed to be viewed by large numbers of visitors to the town, goes against the whole concept of this space and as it is nowhere near the other attractions in Henley Street area of town, is *doomed to be an eyesore that would quickly become neglected.”

The Firs is actually a nice spot. I taught my kids to ride their bikes amongst its selection of beautiful trees, homeless and the very drunk. To call it tranquil oasis is a little over-the-top considering it is totally surrounded by a couple of thumping main roads (not to mention the red-brick Police Station) If a Peony Pavilion will do anything it will brighten the place up, and I get the feeling that Marie Corelli who bought the Firs in 1910 and gifted it to the town, was eccentric enough to approve of the Peony Pavilion Placement.

It’s interesting to note that ‘ A Chinese pavilion is a type of covered structure without surrounding walls and is a traditional part of Chinese architecture. While often found within temples, pavilions are not exclusively religious structures. Many Chinese parks and gardens feature pavilions to provide shade and a place to rest.   

*Nostradamus?

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Bah Humbug…

On Friday me and specially chosen members of the brood went to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ and I have to say…I was underwhelmed.

Maybe it was something to do with all the publicity surrounding the project. Let’s face it, ACC has been written about in glowing terms by all the critics and the audience reaction has been positive all round. Seems everybody had a Christmas ball. That is until I came along. I’m sorry, but this curmudgeon was unimpressed.

Since I came back unmoved on Friday evening, I’ve been racking my brains to try to discover what it was about A Christmas Carol that left me so ‘empty’.

Of course, it’s a great Christmas story. In other words, a load of sentimental tosh designed to twiddle the Christmas heart strings. But you know that before you take your seat. I knew perfectly well what I was getting for my money, so it couldn’t have been that. I was even prepared to shed a few crocodile tears. But they didn’t come.

The acting was fine. A little too much poncing about for my liking. Too much striding. For me there’s nothing worse that actors striding (usually in tight leather trousers). Chest out, huge steps whilst declaiming to the far distance. It wasn’t that.

The music was fine. Even the ‘dancing‘ was tolerable.

A particular dislike of mine are Child Actors. The fact of the matter is that it is rare to come across kids who can actually act. Plus the fact their little voices don’t carry which I felt was a problem in this production. Also, they always look like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. So bloody sweet and innocent. Annoying. Personally, I think they (the RSC) would do better employing short people in the roles of children. However, the presence of children actors was not enough to make me dislike this over-done famous Christmas romp.

In the end I think it might have been the David Edgar script. It seemed rushed. Like he only took it on because it was a good earner and as the story had been done to death over the years he (David Edgar) didn’t have to put too much work into it. A dead giveaway that I might be right was the fact that the ending was very abrupt and sudden. I’m also a little suspicious that the Royal Shakespeare repeated themselves (same Christmas show as last year, albeit with a different Scrooge). Maybe they couldn’t afford a new Christmas show-Only joking.

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A Funny Old Day…

MORNING.

Just over a month ago I visited a recently taken over Stratford upon Avon Theatre & Entertainment establishment in an effort to find out about hire. Unfortunately, the very nice man on counter couldn’t help me as the person with the relevant knowledge wasn’t available. So I asked for a brochure. Anything that contained information that might allow me to know the price to hire a space to put a play on. Nothing available. ‘Fair enough’ said me to myself, ‘they haven’t been in business for that long so perhaps the relevant info was at the printers – I know, I’ll leave my card, so they can get in touch with me’. I did. They didn’t.

I visited again today, still keen for the information. This time no one on the counter. Empty. Deserted. I waited, telling myself…‘maybe they had been called away by er…nature’. But no. Nothing. I left. Seems a strange way to do business.

AFTERNOON.

Went, as I often do to the Other Place for a coffee. Found a nice seat not far from a Mother and Son having ‘words’.

I paraphrase…

MOTHER:             How’s your Japanese girlfriend? What was her name…oh yes…Iwo Jima.

SON:                     You know full well that’s not her name. That was a Japanese Island fought over by the  Americans in WWII.

MOTHER:             Anyway, how are your friends at University?

SON:                      What friends?

MOTHER:             I don’t know…Tom & Jerry.

SON:                      I have no friends called Tom or Jerry.

I know it’s bad manners, to listen in but I was enjoying the conversation and hoped, to be honest, things might escalate, but sadly they finished their food and left…

Only to return a few moments later. I settled in for round two.

Only to hear them repeat the same conversation, word for word.

You guessed it. They were going over the lines of a script.

When it’s on I do not know but I will most certainly do my very best to find out and definitely go and see it.

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Stratford upon Avon Rumour Mill set to rise to 11.

The streets of Stratford upon Avon are running hot rumour. The rumour being that the first of Mister Bird’s family projects is about to close. If true, and the MAYBIRD shopping centre is set to close* and give itself over to housing, then it looks like a large number of well-known shops will find themselves without a home.

Personally, I’ve always been of the opinion that Stratford upon Avon’s so-called (at least by me) ‘first citizen’, Tony Bird was the harbinger of doom when he built the Maybird out-of-town all those years ago. He caused and his baby is still causing the slow death of the town centre. But hey, when you have the kind of influence that he has, i.e.Local boy makes Good. You more or less can do anything that you like without too much opposition.

[Just as an aside, does anyone remember the rumours when the Maybird site was being cleared that it was going to be an athletics track?]

Assuming that there is some truth behind the rumours, AND using our imagination to pretend we have a Council with brains. I think that this could be a wonderful opportunity to revive Stratford upon Avon High Street. An all out effort to take the focus off out-of-town shopping and an open-arms-welcome-back to individual shops with individual owners could be the injection of energy that S-on-A needs. Innovation and surprise and a return to the days when shopping was a voyage of discovery rather that the drudge it has become. (OK, a little over the top but you know what I mean).

Let the Maybird get on with it is what I say. Let them move so far out of town that they fall off the edge of the world. While here in Stratford town centre we can welcome individuality back. No more stack ’em high mentality of the High Street giants. It’s a long time since we were ‘a nation of shopkeepers’ and I see nothing wrong in returning to the time when retail cared (when was that then? ED). The time is right. The big names are coming to the end of their lives anyway. They’re dropping like flies. Their lack of imagination and greed starving them of footfall and therefore profit so it’s just a matter of time.

On Thursday, the next extremely thin edition of the Stratford upon Herald comes out and we shall know the truth. I can’t wait.

*Rumour has it that the shops on the Maybird will actually be relocated somewhere in the wilds of Bishopton.

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Nest of Vipers

As we are all aware the new year is a time to reassess. A time to look a little deeper into our lives and see what can be changed for the better. Unfortunately, and at the moment we are in very strange times what with an idiot in the White House and a government in the UK that has given up the ghost. All of which doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room if you care about the hardships some people have to live with and the root causes of those hardships.

I am lucky. Although I live surrounded by a Nest of Vipers (Tory Country) I’m OK. I’m older now and don’t have the same bunch of worries I had when I was up-and-coming. I like living in Stratford and have learnt to put up with the Tory hierarchy who dread change and live for profit. (My part in this devil’s bargain is to oppose in whatever way I can their local decisions). It truly pains and puzzles me how such an attractive market town like Stratford upon Avon doesn’t give a shit and as though to prove it votes Conservative constantly. If Stratford upon Avon had its own rock it would be blue all the way through.  Like they say around these parts, ‘put a blue-ribboned donkey up for MP for S-on-A and it would be voted in’. [See Nadhim Zahawi…boy do I have to grit my teeth and zip it whenever there’s a local sighting of our over-ambitious Member of Parliament (even worse when he’s pontificating on TV].

Anyway, if you are wondering what the point of this ramble is? I can only say, confusion. And a need to let it all out.

I , I guess like so many others and should the chance arrive, want desperately to do the right thing. Yet, for perhaps the first time in my life I feel democracy has let me down. Given the chance to vote whenever the next general election arrives (sooner rather than later?) I really don’t know who will get my cross.

Once a life-long Labour supporter, they can now go run. Corbyn, for me is a massive disappointment. His ineptitude, wetness and inability to grab the moment in Parliament is astounding. And don’t get me started on his support for Brexit. I honestly don’t know what to do. Lib Dems was a possibility but one look at Cable’s voting record is enough to give me the runs. ‘Bedroom Tax’? Really?

I really didn’t want to ramble so early in the new year so for that I apologise. As far as Stratford upon Avon goes, it looks like you have me until my last breath. You are officially my home town. And, in answer to our keen Lib Dem rep, Dom Skinner’s question, ‘how can we improve Stratford?’…Easy. No more statues. (See Tony Bird).

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Onward…and over the cliff we go…

I’m sorry to be so transparent but thank God that’s over. 2018, unless you won the lottery was, shit.

The world had the idiot Trump to contend with and the UK has Brexit and a robot for Prime Minister. The sad thing is, it’s not over yet. 2019 is where we pick up the pieces and try to repair the damage that’s on its way. Trouble is, we don’t know how bad it’s gonna be. Like waiting for a storm. We know it’s coming and we can do our best to be prepared but this is something new, we know it will cause problems we just don’t know to what extent.

I’m angry. I was quite happy plodding along being a European, I like most people didn’t have a complete 100% knowledge of how the EU worked but it felt good. I knew in terms of employment laws the EU was at the forefront of making life for workers bearable and that we had come a long way since the dark days of sending children up chimneys. I knew that the unlike so many of the idiots (leavers) the UK was not at the the mercy of the EU and was aware that the UK had a voice amongst the 27 and could veto if necessary. The fact that so many voted leave because of lack of knowledge and a built-in laziness to find out where we stood in all this this, really pissed me off. The long procession of ‘little Englanders’ on TV who really believed that leaving the EU would cut back on representations of Islam (and brown people) AND at the same time thought that the British Empire still existed made me sick. The level of uneducated viewpoints was, unbelievable. Anyone on the outside looking in would be forgiven for thinking that UK citizens all leave school at 10 to take up work in cotton mills. Appalling. Shameful.

Anyway, on a personal level, I was reminded of my own mortality with a heart problem. I’m still a bit shaken up and have been trying to get my head around the fact that we are only here for a short time. A bit morbid I know but hey, that’s how I roll (the pills help). If there’s a good side to this then it’s I’m more driven than ever to get some plays on this year.

So, with a new year’s resolution rattling around my head that says ‘keep the blog up‘, I wish what readers I have a happy 2019 and do your best to survive what’s coming.

Ian. X

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CLOSED UNTIL THE NEW YEAR…see you then.

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3 stents later…

3 stents laterFor those of a nervous disposition (snowflakes), turn away now…

First of all, I have to say to sorry to myself for not keeping my blogs up to date. It was something I promised myself right at the beginning. At least one post a week. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control (or were they?) that particular target has not been possible. Due to recent developments in the heart department, I have had to take a break.

As my follower will know a few weeks ago I had an angiogram to discover the cause of my breathlessness, my angina (in this case painless, yet uncomfortable). It was discovered I had a mildly furred-up artery and therefore needed an invasive procedure, in this case a stent.

Coventry Hospital here I come.

I ought say at this point that although initially nervous I wasn’t too worried. I knew that the procedure was the same as the angiogram. An insertion of a ‘wire’ into the artery at my wrist, then up the arm turn right at the shoulder and onward into the heart. Easy.

As it was the angiogram was simple and better still, even without something to send me to a better place, I never felt a thing. OK so the new procedure was different insomuch it would be carrying a payload ( *a stent) but so what? There can’t be that much different.

How wrong I was.

Apart from the fact that it took probably three times as long it was the most uncomfortable and invasive piece of ‘fiddling about’ I have ever experienced, I did not like it one bit.

OK, so it wasn’t painful as such but imagine having someone pushing about in your interior and you feeling their every move. Worse than that, being asked to take huge breaths so the manipulator can manoeuvre his way through the many twist and turns of your blood vessels so he can find the main route to your ticker…’right so go down here, turn left at the junction and straight across…when you get to the McDonald’s pull a sharp right over the level crossing…’ That’s what it was like and it seemed to go on for ever. Add to this the surgeon’s cries of…’pressure on…14….20’ and that was my day. Horrible. I felt like an on-line game. Exhausting and a little scary.

Any road up, **three (3) stents later (all varying sizes)

three stents laterI was done and returned, clad in my rather fetching paper suit to Rosie who was napping in my bed space (except you don’t get a bed now, you get a rather snazzy ‘easy boy’ chair like Frazier’s Dad has in er…’Frazier’.) Then follows a three/four hour wait to check that you don’t bleed out or explode. You are wearing a pressure bandage over the entry wound in your arm artery that allows you hand to match the colour of the paper scrubs you are wearing and you are freezing cold. Tea, biscuits and sandwiches do not help. You just want to go home and die.

Battered and bruised (internally) and feeling sorry for myself I am at home and sleeping well away from the house hub-bub in my converted garage. I have to take a week off (from what I’m still trying to figure out) without any exertion. I’m still a little uncomfortable after 4 days but notice improvement every day. There’s no sign of ‘the new man’ everyone says I will discover but I’m hopeful.

There are two things that I will always remember about this experience and both are really nothing to do with the op.

ONE:

The fantastic care I received from the Staff. The doctors, the nurses, the porters, everyone. There’s something magical about human beings in Caring Situations. The sheer humanness of the people involved. Beyond words.

TWO:

The diversity of the people involved. God knows how many different races and religions looked after me. There was laughter, kindness, humility. The whole world was there and for one or two moments I will always treasure they were just there for little old me.

You know what? I feel sorry for the racists and the haters who judge their fellow men and women by the colour of their skin or their faith.

There is something wrong with the haters biological/psychological makeup. They are lacking something. It’s almost as though they missed out on a vital component as we progressed from ape to man. And the sad thing is…THEY REALLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE MISSING.

  • A small Russian motorbike.
  • **three (3) stents. The surgeons assures me the number of stents used is nothing to do with the progress of ‘the disease’ but more to do with the artery itself.

Peace out.

Posted in family matters, Stratman, the pain | Leave a comment

Stratman’s solution to the rapidly approaching shopping Armageddon

elton john bootsQuite a few years ago now when I was cool and even though I say so myself, was admired by many for being at the height of fashion, I used to buy a lot of my clothes from a place called ‘Oasis’ in Birmingham.

Basically, Oasis was many shops within one. It, if I remember correctly was a couple of storeys high and absolutely (in its heyday) crammed with market stalls. The thing was, although it looked like a market and indeed, had that market feel about it, (apart from the strong scent of Marijuana) it was better than a market. What I’m trying to say here is the fact that Oasis didn’t sell tat, the usual market fare. Not only that, it was the place to be. It was fashionable and an entertainment in its own right. There was music, colour, choice and quality.

If, for instance I wanted a pair of ‘Elton John’ high-stacked boots (see above) then, Oasis was where I had to go to get them. Or maybe, by way of a change I wanted my Levis flared more outrageously than usual, then it was Birmingham and Oasis where I would head. It was instinctive. I knew there wasn’t a Hope in Hell that quaint old Stratford-upon-Avon would stock my Levi loons, so it was the price of a train fare (6 Groats and a dustbin lid) to Brum.

Oasis was not only an Aladdin’s cave full of stuff from London, it was also quality. Of that there was no doubt. AND…it was also a day out.

Now, you may be thinking that I’ve lost my marbles by all this harking back to my lurid past but there is reason behind my madness. And it was the not surprising news that Debenhams is looking to close a high number of stores on our boring old high streets, because they say, the nature of shopping has, (like it always does), changed. Rather than blame themselves for their complete lack of initiative, imagination and forward thinking, once again we’re told it’s down to the internet. Whatever they see as the cause of their demise, there’s no argument from me about the state of our town centres. Empty and Boring. Devoid of independent thinking.

So…anyway, I’m thinking, if Debenhams has to go (in Stratford-upon-Avon?) why not fill the space that it leaves empty, with independent retailers? Make it like the Oasis of my memory. Bring in the retailers who can not only outdo the Debenhams Dullness but also the cheap as chips, low quality marketeers we have become used to every Friday in the rain. Retailers who can give us quality but sell it to us in a different way. Shopkeepers with imagination and an attitude that makes us feel welcome and willing to open our wallets and purses for them. Shopkeepers with style and less of the bland corporate approach.

The other benefit being the fact that with enough shop-keepers on the ground floor upwards, there’s hopefully enough profit going around for everyone to chip in with rent for perhaps a more adventurous and understanding, Landlord.

So, there you have it.

The Stratfordian’s simple solution to the rapidly approaching shopping Armageddon caused by Brexit and the change in shopping habits.

You can thank me later.

Stratman.

Posted in change, Eureka, shopping, stratford-upon-avon, Stratman | Leave a comment

‘Tartuffe’ at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is Brilliant. Go see.

tartuffe at the rscOn Tuesday evening me and a buddy went to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (The Swan) to see ‘Tartuffe’ (The Hypocrite)…and boy, it turned out a fabulous evening. I haven’t laughed so much for a long time (it must have been good because the American woman sat next to me stayed for the entire first half even though it was obvious she didn’t get the humour/humor).

For those in the know, the play was written by Moliere (17th Century) and so I’m told it went down very well at the time (sort of). For your information the show has been re-written and the action transported to a Pakistani Household in Birmingham…(from here on in my lips are sealed).

If you want to know more…

1. Read this from the writers and…the RSC

2. Go get tickets.

Before I go, just some notes for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (who are always banging on about bringing in new audiences) and especially their publicity department…

  • Don’t be so up your own Back-Side.
  • If you want more people to come to your shows, especially this kind of show, don’t be so bloody exclusive.
  • Spread the Word Far and Wide.
  • Tell people, (all sorts of people) what they are going to get.
  • You are in ‘Show-Business’ so SHOW…resist the urge to ‘keep it in the family’.
  • Get out more.
  • Maybe a newspaper ad might get it to a wider audience?

So once more. This is a great show and a wonderful evenings entertainment. Go. See.

Stratman.

Posted in entertainment, stratford-upon-avon, theatre | Leave a comment