Birmingham Ninjas

Birmingham ninjasThe word on the streets says the tourists and sightseers are making a stealth-like and illegal comeback. Using skills adopted from the long forgotten Birmingham Ninjas (later to become the infamous Peaky Blinders), they have taken to hiding their smoked-stained and pollution grained second-city faces behind masks thickened to muffle their easily recognisable Brummy tones.

The police have reportedly denied this saying…(The Herald full report)

’ Stratford police were adamant this week that the town was not experiencing a significant rise in out-of-town visitors despite worries continuing to be expressed by local people on social media.’

Far be it for me to contradict our Boys in Blue, but I must disagree.

I was out on Sunday and the river paths were busy with a lot of what I would call ‘near-local tourists’ and by that, I mean visitors within a 20/30-mile radius. Of course, there is no way I can prove my observations but believe me there were rather a lot of outsiders out for an obvious jolly. And judging by the abundance of thick cheese and tomato sandwiches and loud references to ‘snap’, it was obvious where their point of origin was…Birmingham.

And I get that.

We all know what it’s been like to be locked down for as long as we have. Two words…Cabin Fever.

The thing is folks we are making progress. The plague is on the back foot and there’s only one thing that can make a complete hash of all the hard work and sacrifice people have made. That one thing? US.

The vaccination program is making good progress thanks to a very stressed looking Zahawi (never thought I say this but he AND THE NHS are doing a good job and the knighthood looks secure). So let’s take a deep breath and be patient. Not long to go.

Keep to the rules. Keep wearing the mask and just because you can feel Spring in the air Don’t Get Cocky.

OK, so you have survived (so far) but all it takes is a few idiots to think they are invulnerable and off we go again. More than ever lockdowns. More Brutal Lockdowns that will go on forever and prove more that a problem than the original Covid 19 ever did.

HANG ON IN THERE…NOT LONG NOW.

 

Peace, patience and er…parsnips.

The Stratfordian.

Shocked and Horrified

I have to say how shocked and horrified I am that Stratford upon Avon council have, verified by the Stratford upon Avon  Herald agreed to increase Council Tax.

No matter their excuses (see Herald), I am appalled that during this time of deep National and Local suffering that this bunch of heartless Tories have proved once again that WE ARE NOT IN THIS TOGETHER.

They should (but won’t be) ashamed of themselves.

shocked and horrified

It really is time that the residents of Stratford upon Avon started to think deeply about their voting choices.

Radical plan to cut cars and pollution (again).

Radical plan to cut cars and pollution

I can’t tell you how much my heart sank when I saw that old familiar headline regurgitated in The Stratford upon Avon Herald. ‘Radical plan to cut cars and pollution’. For a moment there I thought I had climbed into my highly polluting DeLorean and travelled back in time.

OK the words may not have been the same in the old editions but my first thought was ‘Here we go again’. And I was transported back to the seventies to when I first heard the magic word ‘Pedestrianisation’.

I remembered the experimental closing of High Street and I remembered a hot summer sitting on a bench outside The Garrick getting slowly merry and enjoying the wonderful lack of traffic. Nothing happened.

I remembered the experimental bus (was it electric?) that drove around Stratford promising a clean future for our kids. Nothing happened then either. 

Here we go again. 

This time they’re calling the radical plan to cut cars and pollution, ‘Sweeping Changes’.  Me, I’m calling it ‘Deja Vu’.  Believe it or not there are ‘Plans to dramatically cut carbon emissions’ (in the 70’s we used to call it pollution). And get this…surprise, surprise, there’s even plans (gasp) ‘to reopen the Stratford to Honeybourne railway line’.

Looks like someone’s be trying out those new-fangled ‘Brainstorming sessions’ at the Council House. Either that or they’ve been holding a séance. A communication with past/passed councillors.

It gets worse or better depending on your point of view and patience…

The Herald reports… 

‘Other suggestions include relocating road space to discourage single occupancy car use in favour of public transport …’ (surely they don’t mean…pick up points where people can leave their cars and hop on a bus to be taken into town? Wait….I have an idea. Why not call it ‘Park and Ride’? Brilliant, even if I say so myself.) 

And finally, then there’s this… 

Whether invented by the Council or The Herald, I’m not sure but ‘tis truly a wonderful phrase…

ACTIVE TRAVEL is the key…

I don’t know about ‘Active Travel’ but ‘Time Travel’ certainly exists

My brain hurts.

The Stratfordian.

Radical plan to cut cars and pollution

Just a little Prick

just a little prick
                 NOT MY ARM (STUNT ARM)

A very good start to the day today and after all the fuss it was just a little prick. Yes indeedy, today was my day to be  summoned to the hospital for a shot in the arm of the AstraZeneca virus beater. The first of two, I’m glad to report that all went well and I was in and out in a flash. I thought I would have to hang on for a bit to make sure there weren’t any side effects. But no, as I wasn’t driving, I was allowed to go immediately. It would appear that it’s OK to collapse in the street but NOT when in charge of a vehicle.

There were some people who were required to stay and as far as I could see most everyone seemed fine and dandy. There was admittedly a set of empty clothes smouldering on one of those plastic hospital chairs and a very distressed woman who appeared to have grown an extra set of limbs, but when I inquired of the nurse she told me not to worry ‘as it would pass’.

Unfortunately, there was nothing anyone could do for the gentleman who once owned the empty set of smouldering clothes but once again I was assured that this was an extremely rare occurrence and the next of kin were on the way to remove the debris.

I was advised to increase my pace and move swiftly on by a large er…doorman,  passing the pool of thick (and steaming) purple liquid and the gentleman whose socks appeared to be rolling up and down of their own accord, with barely a second glance. Then out into the fresh air. Hurrah for the NHS.

I’ve managed to walk from Stratford hospital through a fairly deserted town with no major side effects as far as I can tell. Although, (how can I put this)…to be honest, I have noticed a surge in a er…personal area that I am going to put down as beneficial, although of course only time will tell. I suspect (sadly), as the nurse told me earlier...’it will pass’.

So, to all those who are worried about the vaccination and to quote a well-known Carry-On film (Carry On Doctor?) again, ‘it’s only a little prick’ and it goes without saying, worth it.

May I also say at this point a HUGE THANK YOU to the team of volunteers at the hospital who made today and easy and quite pleasant experience.

the stratfordian

Thanks from The Stratfordian.

The Fat Stratfordian

the fat StratfordianYesterday, cunningly disguised as ‘The Fat Stratfordian’ (I wish). I got to escape what I have come to call my sheltered accommodation for an appointment with my local surgery’s Diabetic Nurse.

The mission was to discover why I had turned from a Greek God to a large and it has to be said, rotund gentleman, seemingly overnight. Or, to put it another way, why I could easily be mistaken for ‘The creature from Planet Lard’.

With my excuses in hand and well-rehearsed, ‘Honest it was the lockdown what done it’ I prepared for battle with the no-holds-barred Nurse C.

The Verdict. (She won).

The straight-talking Nurse C went for the jugular.

Basically, if I didn’t lose at least 2 stone by March I would become a died- (see what I did there?) in-the-wool Diabetic and on the pill forever.

Even, if the truth were told, this did not come as a great shock I still had to have a sit-down. So I got myself a coffee… (I do like the fact that a number of shops are selling coffee from literally their front doors. Long, (unlike the virus, may it last), and deposited myself on a backless (what’s that all about?) by the swan fountain thingy on the Bancroft, to do something I hadn’t been able to do for a long while, people watch.

I’m sure I’m not the only one to mention this but Town feels wrong. Everybody drifting along as though in a dream.

No-one appeared in the hurry you usually associate with Town centres (even Stratford upon Avon Town centre). In fact speaking as an expert on how people pace themselves in Town Centres, the rhythm was what I would call zombie-like. Very strange. Odd in fact. Although I have to admit that it has been so long since I have been around more than four people, it could have been me.

Anyway, from where I sat it was obvious that there were one or two illegal visitors. (Easily spotted because of their need for fish and chips and the way that they just didn’t fit). I was surprised not only by their presence but by the fact that they nearly all appeared to be in the most at-risk group, older people. Perhaps I wondered shockingly, they had given up and this was the most pleasant way of suicide they could think of. Death by sight-seeing.

The other thing that baffled me was the number of shops that were open. I was under the impression that only essential shops were allowed to do business. W H Smiths…. essential? I’ve was obviously missed something here. Possibly something about Toblerone being a necessity.

Anyway, curiosity sated and boredom creeping in, I began my long drudge home to Trinity Mead carrying extra weight and contemplating life as a one potato a day man.

Sad.

The fat Stratfordian.

Those were the days

those were the days

I was thinking the other day about the times before we became European. Those were the days.

Or, as I like to call them, the bad old days (yes, I’m a Remainer) before we became Europeans. Sadly, I think we have conveniently forgotten the trials of tribulations of the dark society that we were then and the grim days we lived in.

The streets of Stratford upon Avon (not London) were very different before we became European. Before European sophistication set in,

I seem to remember that our pavements were knee-deep in (white) dog poop.  In those days if you saw someone picking up dog shit and putting it into a black bag,  you were more likely to call Social Services than thank them for being good citizens.

Then there was the strong unpleasant scent of the unwashed Englishman.

Remember, before Europe and the invention of the shower, there was the stoic ‘one bath a week’ Englishman. I knew him well.

Friday night bath. Out on the piss and the rest of the weekend to lie in his own sweat and stale beer/cigarette smoke until work on Monday. Eeee…them were the days.

There was litter everywhere.

You couldn’t walk down High Street without becoming entangled in the discarded week-old copy of the Stratford upon Avon Herald, flying through the air enveloping everything in its path.

In those dark days the Herald was huge (easily 6ft x6ft). An airborne copy was without doubt a danger to life and limb. I know people who were near suffocated to near death by the local paper just going to the shops. We don’t talk about it much but there were those who were simply swept away, never to be seen again, God rest their souls.

Sophistication.

If you were labelled sophisticated before we became European, it meant that you had dined in the local ‘foreign’ restaurant at least once (Wimpey’s didn’t count).

Always hidden away down a side street you could tell it was ‘foreign’ because it had what was once a brightly coloured canopy. Years of the British weather had put paid to any gaiety it might have represented years ago. There was always a rain-stained menu and plastic flowers In the window alongside faded nets. Strangely, the flowers were always in a water-filled vase?

The restaurant kept odd opening hours. But no matter. It was where you went for family celebrations like anniversaries, birthday parties. With entertainment that included shouting insults at the swarthy waiters (because no-way would they understand you), followed by the traditional and intentional mispronouncing of the menu which the elders of the family (uncles, fathers) usually undertook in an effort to prove their seniority and knowledge of other cultures. The truth was they really had no idea what it was they were ordering. Especially the wine. If it wasn’t Blue Nun, they were lost.

As for the pubs.

If you got home at 11.00 you called it a lock-in. The beer really was warm and the lager (if they had any) was too cold.  Whatever you drank, it gave you a headache.

So, here we are,  Brexit is according to our lunatic Prime Minister, done and dusted.

And I have no choice but accept the decision made by a British people who appear to yearn for a return to pockets full of dirty copper coins, handkerchiefs, vests, Y-Fronts and toilet paper abrasive enough to take a layer of skin off your good old British arse.

Last one to leave, turn out the lights.

The Stratfordian writes…

the stratfordian writesI’m sorry if you had just become a keen follower and were perhaps even enjoying what the Stratfordian writes (the last version).

You have been let down.

I’m sorry if this sudden change on the Website has reduced you to tears and left you distraught, but I’ve been having some trouble (Betty).

I’d tell you what it was if I could understand it myself but suffice to say it’s to do with the dreaded Internet and is very technical, therefore beyond this tiny brain.. In short I have lost the contents of my last ‘The Stratfordian’ website.

So forgive me if I’m a little testy and short with you (5′ 6″). At the moment, I’m very angry and pissed off because It’s way past my bedtime (2.55/05.05) and I’m still at it trying to retrieve what I can.

BUT, basically, and there’s no getting away from it, I have to face the fact that I’m going to have to start again…so…deep breath…

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