Humour, Uncategorized

Sunday Craik – the pity of it all

God spends quite a lot of time in the pub — sometimes he’s there when he’s supposed to be at chapel — that’s what I say to friends who ask where we are bound on a Sunday afternoon when the good folk are heading down the valley to the chapel.

Yesterday there was an added incentive (for the pub, not chapel) — Liverpool were playing Man. City in the League Cup.  It’s not that Alan supports Man. City (he would warm to anyone in competition with Manchester United  — it’s an underdog thing.  The landlord is an avid Liverpool supporter which adds to the fun enormously.

‘Can we have the Rugby on?’ asks Alan as we arrive.

‘There isn’t any!’ snaps the landlord.

‘Wasps are playing against ‘Quins on BT Sport,’

‘Can’t afford BT Sport with the pitiful amount you drink!’

‘Do Wasps have a ‘B’ team? asks Ikey, ‘Bee team’, he repeats, at which point a man in an overcoat, a knitted Balaclava and thick scarf runs into the bar and sexually assaults several ladies, it is the muffled titter running around the room — a tribute to My Dad — it was the only joke he knew!  No one takes any notice — they never did.

The landlord asserts himself by switching on the commentary.  That way he can follow the action despite all the distractions we can throw at him like the full glass of Stella I knock across the domino table due to the excitement of a penalty — it misses Alan almost completely.

As the match progresses the joy of winding up the landlord is irresistible — people who normally have no interest in football whooping with every Man City  tackle and berating the ref for every decision that favours Liverpool —  carried on a wave of affectionate teasing — warmed by our own mass action.  But Liverpool were never meant to lose.

If we want any more beer we had better shut up — during the penalty shoot-out there is a respectful silence — we have probably already gone too far.  The instant the winning Man City goal hits the back of the net the sound is switched off and program turned to Countryfile and someone says how Adam is a ‘really good farmer’ so everyone, relieved to change the subject, can discuss why he never has mud on his boots and where the puddles might have gone and why doesn’t he get a move on and swing that lamb.


Sheep farming

Gladys is a metaphor

You remember Gladys —


Left for dead but, given half a chance, she grabbed life by the teat and refused to die.

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  She’s still with us.

SONY DSCShe is at the bottom of the pecking order but is fearless and curious  (or bemused).  She is always last.  She’s the one that is missing, when one is missing — caught in the fence, or with her head stuck in a bucket, or wound  up in brambles, or trapped behind the gate, or stuck in the mud, or on the wrong side of the stream.  I’ve told you before that if you turn a sheep upside down it stops working,  shepherds call  this ‘being caste’.  Gladys falls over and becomes caste and frightens me to death, thinking she’s dead with her legs in the air.  I turn her over and off she trots.

When a stray dog approaches their field and the young sheep run together uphill (that’s the way to go) — Gladys runs the other way.

In Nature, she’s the one that would be picked off by the predator.  That’s  her role, her niche — she’s the sacrificial lamb .  I’ve told you before — sheep are biblical.

She’s different.  She’s the loner — the innocent — the vulnerable adult (just).    It’s my job to look after her.  She’s top of my list.

She is the unpromising success, the unlikely survivor, the loveable underdog, she is Kettering Town winning the FA Cup and a cat with nine lives.



Soggy Situation

There were three days last week when it didn’t rain all day (think about your syntax) — when  it rained, but not all day!  Otherwise there has been precipitation, all day, every day since the end of October.  That is why this blog has been so quiet of late — incessant moaning about the rain when you have chosen to live in a temperate rain forest would be tedious.

As wave after wave of weather drives down the valley smudging the view and the streams and rivers roar, it’s hard to get excited about the waterfalls when the lens of my camera is wet and the image fogged, is that just condensation or  camera-wobble due to shivering, anyway the shutter’s jammed — will it ever work again.


Last moment of respite from the deluge — in the Autumn.

There is a beauty, a vividness, in all this wetness, but lately it eludes me.

In the face of impending seasonal affective disorder we thought we’d have a little holiday, so off we set (not to somewhere warm and sunny) to Rossendale and Darwen in Lancashire — the home of the dark satanic mills of yore!


Darwen photographed by A F Buck in 1948 — note the air pollution!

We stayed in Hurst Green and mooched around Rossendale, to old haunts, now-derelict pubs of youthful exploit, new housing estates where cotton-mills and shoe factories had stood last time we visited. We were visiting the county archive, researching this rapidly disappearing industrial heartland and it’s characters, perhaps 10 years too late, but the archive was very helpful.  In the evenings we were cosy in the Shireburn Arms where the food was excellent and dawn in the  Ribble Valley was stunning.


We’re home now and guess what?  It’s raining!