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Books, The Library and Dancing

Books

This time I read The Salt Path by Raynor Wenn. An account of walking the south west coast  of Devon and Cornwall, from Minehead to Plymouth. Through homelessness and ill health, a true story of a couple, poor in pocket but with rich description of their surroundings. An excellent read.

The other two books were not up to much. Once again, I struggled with the small font in one. The other was a sorry tale of a motherless girl looking after young siblings while their father was in prison. It might have held my interest longer but it was due for return and I decided to look for something more cheery.

The Library.

My local library  is not a big library. Not like the new one in the town. Even that is small compared to the one we used to have in town. The council knocked that down and built a new multi-purpose council building with a library inside. So you are browsing at one side, and people are queuing to pay bills or question council services. If you walk right through this mayhem you reach the children’s library area. If I had small children and wanted to take them to that library I would not feel happy to let them browse one side while I was at the other end. I digress. There’s no car park, and it’s  nowhere near the bus station and multi storey car park.I wrote a poem about this library a couple of years ago. Must add it here.

So as I don’t want to drag library books around, I thought I would try the local library instead. Big car park, less traffic to deal with, same library card. What’s not to like?

Well it’s more like a community centre. Nothing wrong with getting best value from a space, to be fair. But library services are not well served.

So I go to scan in my returned books, but the red line on the scanner does not appear, so I go to the desk. As I’m there, I explain about leaving my card behind last time. When it’s found, there’s a misunderstanding and she tries to scan my returns back out to me. But we get that sorted and I go to choose some new exciting  reads.

I may write a poem about this library too! I am less than impressed with the shelves and the layout. The headers on one wall all say Information. But this covers books on cooking, fishing and other hobbies, and the biographies. If they have poetry books, it’s not obvious where they are to be found. In one area there is a group of people who are discussing something that sounds like “what’s wrong with this world and how it should be put right”. Behind the shelf where I am browsing there is a toddler group. The carers are encouraging singing, and then hide and seek games around the bookcases. This is not a quiet library.

I chose four books. Two look like they may be funny. Of the other two, one is about a psychiatrist and the other a family mystery about twins. I didn’t try using the scanner. Got them stamped with the good old date stamp and ink pad, and made sure I put my library card away in my wallet. The library will definitely be  the subject of a poem, soon.

I’ve joined a dance class. I am learning not to waddle. I have remembered one of the dances (I used to go a few years ago) and I have acquired a dance partner.

Stanley Ferry

Here’s a few pics taken on our trip to the aquaduct at Stanley Ferry, Wakefield. In the pic below, the river Calder can be seen flowing under the canal, which is formed of two sections – the arched being the original. In the distance is the road bridge, which is called Stanley Ferry Bridge, which used to be a toll bridge – see plaque above.

It was altogether a lovely walk alongside the canal, with blue sky and a springlike day – even though it was only late February.

Books, Magazines and the telly

Books

My plan for this year is  to read a fiction and a non fiction per month. My first trip of the year to my local library was  sadly disappointing. Not just disappointing. It made me sad. I came away with four very thin books. One based on a humorous effort of a grammar scholar – the font was extremely small and the content not funny enough to read more than a few pages. Next, a sweet story of petty crime and romance by the sea – right up my street, so that’s my fiction ticked. Then an autobiographic of a famous person that I’ve personally never heard of. Quite well put together but once more the text was quite small. I dipped in and out of it. The day before the books were due for return I realised I hadn’t finished it, and considered extending the loan. But I didn’t. No idea what the fourth book was. They all went back on Wednesday.

The second visit was fraught with technical challenges at the scanner. (it was out of order on my first visit) With the librarian’s assistance I checked all the books back in. A “new in” section tempted me to borrow three more books. They might all be fiction. The scanner could not read my card, so it had to be scanned at the desk, and the books all date stamped in the now, old fashioned, way. Coming home, I realise I don’t have my library card. I must have left it on the desk. This isn’t going too well.

Magazines.

Can I justify magazines as “non-fiction” reads? I gain facts, diet tips and recipes. I learn of  horrendous and heroic life experiences. I could, if inclined, knit a full length waistcoat. I will most likely just solve the sudoku and find-the-difference puzzles. I watch the news. Not sure how much is fact and how much is media spun fiction.

Telly

Well! Apart from the News and the Weather, I’m finding most of it a bit boring and samey. Come to think of it, so is the news and the weather! I don’t feel excited to watch anything. In fact I feel I should find something more interesting to do. And so here I am. Seriously though! I’m out all day. Mostly sitting at a desk. I don’t mind a bit of telly, but I don’t want it to be the focus of every evening.

So watch this place for where life takes me next. Or, actually, where I take my life!

Dad

This is a photo of my dead father. He died in 1974. He was 63. He was born exactly 108 years ago today, in London, within the sound of Bow Bells, which made him a true Cockney. He moved to Yorkshire in 1937 and worked as a railway signalman. In the war years he was in the Home Guard.

He was a parish councillor, a County Councillor and then a County Alderman. He became Chairman of the West Riding Education Committee. He presided over official school openings. He spoke publicly about his passion for education and the importance of good teacher training.

Because of his status and his accent, people thought we were posh, and rich. We were not. He was still a railway signalman on three shifts. On Sundays he worked 12 hour days, or 12 hour nights, to make up for the hours and pay lost through his council duties. He wrote with his right hand because he had been punished at school for using his left one. He wrote poetry. He made crosswords. He always used his left hand to draw. He smoked a pipe.

I didn’t see him much. I didn’t know him very well. After his death, the swimming pool he had campaigned for at Aston Comprehensive School was given his name. It’s gone now. But I’m proud that he made his mark.

January 2019

So much to do, and so many obstacles.

Happy New Year, then. If one can still use this greeting 26 days into this next orbit round the sun. Still, theres still over 300 days to go, and I’ve been known to start a diary a lot later in the year. I’ve also been known to write loads of stuff in January and not return to it till July! Good intentions, and all that.

So what are my intentions, good or otherwise for this year?

I will read more. I will read at least one fiction and one non-fiction each month. To this end, I bought – actually paid money, for two books. They were recommended to me through “friends like you are reading these books now” so I bought them purely on that strength. The first, a fiction set in WWII is a bit slow and twee. I’ve picked it up a few times and it’s probably good but I don’t have time to wait for it to get exciting. The second is about mindfulness, from different points of view. Yeah! OK to dip in to.

Lesson learned. I intend to go back to the lending library, where I can choose six books, read one, and return them all three weeks later. For free. Except for the car parking fee.

I need to make changes to my website. It needs an overhaul and a good sort out. So it might disappear and reappear in the next month or so but I am still here and open to comments (see contact page to email me)

I’ve got plenty of poetry in progress. Unfortunately it still tends to be on bits of paper all over the place. Even though I have a lovely new notebook for 2019 with an elesticated pen slot and colour match pen. Red.

So that’s where I am for now. Still at the day job. Still on a diet. Still aiming at 5000 steps a day, and reaching 2500 if I’m really good. Wondering where the next 300 or so days will take me.