Friday, 1 April 2011
The end of an extraordinarily busy week this week, catching up after a week off and then having another day off today to make a long weekend and using some time off I have accrued, I am ready for roast beef which I can smell cooking away.
I went to visit a lady today to give her a reading and she lives in one of the more run down estates in Hull. The 1960s and 1970s houses (and some more recent into the 1980s) are not particularly well maintained by the council and some even less well kept by tennants. There is a fair amount of dereliction and some properties are boarded up with vandalised roofs waiting to be demolished to be fair for a new start.
However, on the run up to the street, there are long wide grass verges which are covered in tens if not hundred of thousands of daffodils - a solid mass of bright yellow. I wish I had time to stop and take a photograph it was splendid and gave a real lift to the soul. Lunch followed with my parents and mother made a home made chicken soup (not as good as mine mum - sorry) but never-the-less, it was lovely.
I took her a bunch of flowers and a strawberry cheesecake from a well known store. The beauty of visiting one's parents if you're lucky enough to still have them around is that being my age, the stuff you talk about from the past seems such a long time ago. I was asked if my youngest son, who is still at university is going to renew his fishing licence because he loves to go fishing with my dad. He has renewed it indeed - he will enjoy sunny days on the banks of ponds and lakes.
The subject then turned to fishing stories from the past, my past. As a young man or teenager from the late sixties into the seventies, my grandfather Cyril used to like sea fishing, jigging for mackerel in particular. Jigging by the way is not an offence, its a line with several hooks on with lures, usually feathers which you jiggle about up and down and you often catch several mackerel in one go.
We used to go out in rowing boats from Bridlington harbour in East Yorkshire about a mile out to sea from the harbour wall. Now when I say rowing boats - there was nothing sophisticated about these seemingly ancient wooden craft, just seats and oars. No life jackets, no engine, no cup for bailing out water, no flares - in fact bugger all. Thinking about it now makes me shiver because the water a mile out to sea was never the same as the calm still water in the harbour.
There were three incidents I recall, the first was fishing on the finishing line of a yacht race, that was interesting as yachts whizzed past us (I couldn't understand why someone was firing a cannon on shore every time a yacht passed us!) The second one was where grandfather caught what looked like a telecommunications line, quite thick and heavy - I have no idea how he ever dragged it to the boat, but he stood up and the boat nearly turned over (I'm sweating writing this).
Finally, I recall going out on a lovely calm day and asking grandfather where land was because a fog had come in and land was nowhere to be seen.
How we got back I have no idea to this day. The fishing trips in our fragile wooden craft were often made with Mr Allison, my grandfather's next door neighbour - a bigwig in the council and my uncle Les - so trips were always a laugh with him around.
I've just washed the car because it was supposed to be 21 degrees this afternoon in east Yorkshire, but the wind has taken the edge of the temperatures and my gauge says its just 16 degrees. I've lost the wash leather so 16 degrees is warm enough for the car to have dried clean but streaky.
A farmer bought an old, run-down, abandoned farm with plans to turn it into a going concern. The fields were grown over with weeds, the farmhouse was falling apart, and the fences were broken down. During his first day of work, the town vicar stopped by to bless the man's work. He said to the farmer, "May you and God work together to make this the farm of your dreams!"
A few months later, the vicar stopped by again to call on the farmer. Lo and behold, it was a completely different place. The farm house was completely rebuilt and in excellent condition, there were plenty of cattle and other livestock happily munching on feed in well-fenced pens, and the fields are filled with crops planted in neat rows. "Amazing!" the vicar said. "Look what God and you have accomplished together!"
"Yes, vicar," said the farmer, "but remember what the farm was like when God was working on it alone!"