Musings From The Padded Cell

Care In The Community

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
Dalai Lama XIV

Regular readers will know I can be quite scathing about my hometown’s newspaper, the T&A. In an age of spin and misinformation, add downright ineptitude and this only serves to bring forth the day when nobody pays any attention to anything written here.

With stories like this – Bradford drivers spend average of £12,000 ‘pimping’ their cars, study reveals – I shake my head in disbelief.

True enough certain of the city’s Audi and Golf drivers do like the odd shiny tailpipe and Trump-style windows even if matters like insurance and road tax tend to be ignored.

This is garbage from a once respected paper now barely fit for fish and chips.

Tales From The Scruffy

After my expose of the inmates of ‘Nob ‘Ed Korna I had to seek protection via a local safehouse – The Royal Oak in Eccleshill – but there was sad news.

Lady Caroline is leaving; persuaded back once before by the vulture capitalists who own the pub, this time it’s final. Running a pub these days is very hard.

A cocktail of rip-off wholesale prices, “market” rents and taxation, has accelerated the price of a pint way beyond inflation over the last forty years.

“A pint of lager has gone up 20-fold, or by 1,948 per cent, since 1973.” Meanwhile supermarket prices defy logic.

“Where can I find this Idlelord fella?” asked The Guvnor politely.

Back at The Scruffy, word had spread that there was a contract out on my typing finger. Pinned to the noticeboard was a sinister threat in the form of a rubber finger smeared in ketchup; would I be waking up fingerless, next to a horses’ head?

Confident that ‘Nob ‘Ed Korna would be empty, save for Fat Lad sleeping in the corner attached to his Carling drip, I made my way for Sunday Prayers to meet up with my second family; Big Al, Patch, Uncle Andy and Three Pints Steve.

“Did I mention…when I was in the fire brigade…”

The world’s scruffiest man, Captain Chaos, had made the trip across from exile in Posh Bradford – Ilkley – and was sat awaiting my arrival blending in effortlessly with the assorted deadbeats.

It was the first Sunday quiz of the year with a £100 jackpot to assist with deficit reduction plans.

Young Bet was flexing her bingo wings behind the bar, tattoos rippling. With a fresh coating of peroxide and slap applied, she was ready for her first stint of the year as quiz mistress.

In came The Students and quickly amassed several stools if only to ensure The Fishermen had to beg for a seat as usual. Having surrendered tuition fees, the EU and any hope of getting a mortgage, there would be no more concessions for the elderly.

Heads down they looked around the pub at the dishevelled occupants; if this generation really did have all the money how come they looked so down and out?

At the appointed hour in marched The Fishermen all in matching red sweaters. Arthur aimed his usual hangdog look towards Young Bet and nodded that the quiz could now begin before scowling at The Students.

Young Geoffrey sashayed gaily to the bar, clicking his fingers and gave a “Hi chick!” to a bewildered student who recovered just in time to save falling from her stool and giving up the prize.

As Young Bet came out from behind the bar, several pairs of ancient eyes became distracted, trying to remember what it was that they were trying to remember.

The quiz is a game of two halves, halted by the arrival of the free weekly feast which whips the locals into a feeding frenzy.

Groans erupted as Young Geoffrey had his pulled out was invited up to take his chances. A hushed silence – £105 on the line, the same day a footballer had been sold for £142m – what a world we live in, tension no less.

Having chosen his mystery question, Young Bet cooed gently into hairy ears as, head bowed and almost resting in her comfort zone, he edged up his hearing aid.

The Scruffy became almost becalmed though several locals launched bits of pastie at the silver haired contestant. It was raining mince meat.

“I’m sorry Geoffrey but that’s wrong!” announced Young Bet as several hats were thrown in the air and rapturous cheers erupted. I thought I saw a Mexican Wave start but that was only Fat Lad, woken by the noise.

The Students offered a silent finger to the crestfallen old man as the jackpot rolled over and he returned to consoling words from Arthur – “you pillock!”.

Teammate Charlie tucked into his nightcap of two pints of Carling as the defeated contestant picked pastry from his silvery hair. The feeding frenzy had cleared the last rubbery sausage.

And now the chill January winds beckoned us home to hopefully fight another day.

Footnote

Those wishing to take on the intellectual challenge of the quiz may wish to know the jackpot question and answer:
Which actress was famous for her roles in Coronation Street and Dinnerladies?
The answer is Thelma Barlow.

University Challenge has nothing on The Scruffy.

One Hundred Years Ago

“To improve education we must end class and monstrous spelling” reads a headline here from a century ago. You may have your won views on progress since.

Happy Fat New Year

Talk of diets and new resolve is common at this time of year; personally, I find talk of diets useless.

Activity is key and often underplayed. So it was dismaying to see this piece even if it only confirms what we already knew in the UK.

The article found in the US that “children’s participation in sport is falling, leading to concerns about their health…sports from football to basketball and baseball to volleyball have seen a sharp decline in the number of children playing on a regular basis.

The shift away from these and other sports has coincided with warnings that only one in three children is physically active every day, and one in five is obese.”

Those of us engaged in promoting youth sport have combated this for years in the UK. Interestingly, the article suggests two primary causes as parental pressure – dad living his dream again – and the affordability of sport.

Worth a read if only because we do have a tradition of following trends from across the pond.

Have a great weekend.

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