Category Archives: People

Smoke

I once lived with a smoker. It was horrible. Thankfully, I don’t live with one now.

I couldn’t do that again.

That might seem shallow, but the smell isn’t nice. To a non-smoker, it’s pretty disgusting.

Best mates

This afternoon, I met my two best mates for a drink and something to eat.

We last did so nine or ten years ago.

We’re all grown-up now and we’re different people. But it was nice. We probably shouldn’t wait so long before we see each other again.

Andrew

Andrew is a hero. In South Shields. In McDonalds, where I went to pee. On entering I found security guard protected toilets; also, a young girl warned me to take care because strange things were happening in the Gents.

I barely hesitated, because my need was great. On entering, I found the boyfriend of the girl outsite, unbuttoning a man’s jeans.

I should say that he’d been asked to do so by the wearer of said jeans. Unfortunately, the jeans gentleman also wore jogging bottoms under his outer layer. Apparently, he’d anticipated below zero temperatures.

Worse still, his underlayer involved a tie-cord. Which was firmly fastened in a knot.

Andrew (the boyfriend of the girl outside) asked me for assistance because he bites his nails and struggles with knots. I also bite my nails and find knots an impossibility. I was mid stream at the time too, so helping would have been a challenge.

On leaving the Gents, I located my second in command. Andrew, who followed soon after, confirmed that the knot was undone.

All ended well. Although I suspect the multiple layered man might not have fastened himself back up sufficiently (he seemed to be wearing weed-scented aftershave).

Should I ever bump into Andrew again, I shall buy him beer.

The Machine

I’m watching the Machine on BBC4 right now. A film about a mill in India.

The place is dark, wet and hot. It’s a twelve hour day for the workers. The machinery is powered by electricity, but that’s generated from coal.

While the heaviest work seems to be carried out by adults, kids are clearly part of the workforce.

The operation resembles early industrial Britain.

And it’s something of an eye opener.

Kids

The high level bridge is my most favourite bridge. Its restoration over a decade ago was remarkable, turning an old blackened monster into a thing of beauty. 

In recent years, though, grafitti has made something of a mess of the structure. Apparently, the estimated cost of a clean-up is around £40,000. Removing the mess would probably be a waste of time, however. The underlying cause would remain and the grafitti would doubtless return. Kids. 

It may have seemed cute in the beginning, but the addition of hundreds of locks has attracted lovesick teenagers. Who, in addition to leaving a token of their undying love, leave the names of their loved ones, friends and words of youthly wisdom. 

Personally, I’d remove them all and throw them into the Tyne. Along with any returning teenagers. 

As an aside, there’s an interesting trick of light in the first picture. I was alone on the bridge. 

Little Glasgow

I know I’ve mentioned this previously, but it’s weirdly cool that there’s a little oasis of northern-ness in the south. 

Currently in Wetherspoons, Corby.

The carpeting is still of the tartan variety. 

Darlington

Why do people:

a) decide to end their lives on a railway line

b) walk across or otherwise mess about on a railway line

On arrival at Darlington station, passengers on my train were informed that there had been a fatality on the line, so the train would remain at the platform for at least an hour. 

Which is pretty inconsiderate of the suicidal and/or foolish person. This has happened to me god knows how many times over the years, but never when I’m not in a hurry to get home. 

Learning from past experience (the last time this happened, my train was delayed two and a half hours just outside Peterborough station), I left the train and found a pub. 

It’s not the nicest of pubs, but Guinness is only £2.40 a pint. 

Several other people seem to have had the same idea. I guess a suicide is good for business. 

The Angel Inn

The Angel Inn, in Leeds, always reminds me of an old mate, with whom I lost touch a few years ago. 

He was, probably still is, a nice bloke. The Pub is a nice pub. Well, it’s a Sam Smith’s pub, so nice, fishless beer is always plentiful. With a gap between trains, I called in for a pint of stout (a mere £2.30). Then had a second. 

While I could have easily stayed longer, my only mate in Leeds is in Croydon right now, so a return to the station was in order. Via the Head of Steam. 

Where a man brought flowers to me. 

Returning to tbe Angel Inn, I should mention that it’s in a cool location. 

I should also mention that the flowers were a form of advertising. I may have thanked the man for bringing flowers for me. He may also have said that I he did so because I appeared to be ‘sad and alone’. 

Sowts

When shopping in Asda, Peterborough, my second in command randomly declared that she needed to purchase some sowts (which could perhaps also be pronounced sowse). 

Now, my second in command has lived in the northeast for a few years, so our once occasional communication issues are now quite rare. Many attempts were made to convey the meaning of the word to me, but all failed. After a lengthy laughing session, my second in command found a way to explain the nature of a sowts. 

Bath salts.