“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
As the onset of Spring teases us gardeners back into potting and planting mode, I thought I’d take a trip to see my gardening Guru Ken. At the local allotments – my church – tutorials are accepted with gratitude and plants cadged shamelessly.
Keen to get cracking – frost what frost – I knew I could rely on wise counsel and a weary shake of the head.
We were discussing life critical topics such as when it was safe to stick one’s dibber in the ground. He beckoned me closer in conspiratorial manner.
“We’ve got some new shit” he winked “top stuff this…I’m not shitting you…I’m telling you!”
I was a bit taken aback but as I looked over to the hut, there was more traffic than the local MacDonalds after Idle Girls Slimmers World.
Oldies were scurrying backwards and forwards, heads down with suspicious eyes darting sideways as notes changed hands faster than parts of Bradford I could mention. Fully laden wheelbarrows were bombing up and down like black VW Golfs.
Finally Guru Ken explained all. The police had busted a local cannabis den and had recovered some of the finest shit on the street – in more ways than one.
“It’s Dutch” said the Guru “the best shit a Euro can buy! Pure gold this shit!”
I was beginning to wonder what my two quid annual membership had got me into. The shocked look on my face prompted further explanation.
Apparently the industrious local botanists don’t bother with B&Q; they cultivate using only the very best compost around imported from Holland with more than a trace of irony.
Plod’s recent bust had taken a haul of cannabis worth over a hundred grand and a couple of pallets of premium shit too.
With a street value of thirteen quid a bag – the compost that is – Plod had sold the lot at a knock down price to the old boys and so a fiver a bag it was. I looked inside the hut inquisitively.
An elderly lady looked me up and down informing me that I would have no problems with my personal growth this summer. An old man with a mad-eyed stare tried to run me over with a fully-laden barrow as the Treasurer deliriously counted a wad of grubby tenners.
I counselled them that if word got out they were peddling shit of this quality there would be an Audi convention in a flash outside the gates. Best to make sure all and sundry knew what kind of shit they were in.
So I stashed my treasure in the boot and await tomatoes the size of footballs this summer. That is, of course, if we ever get the greenhouse up.
There were a couple of interesting pieces reflecting the state of the city’s housing market in the local rag recently. And, as ever, the message boards offered a wide spectrum of views.
Affordability was covered in this article and, depending on your stance, you could interpret this in two opposing ways.
Bradford was quoted as the UK’s third most affordable city to live in. Against a national average of house prices to earnings nearly seven times in Bradford the average was put at 4.4 times earnings.
In York that figure was put at 18 times – incorrectly – by our dear old local; the figure is actually 7.6 times. What the map above clearly demonstrates is the well-known North-South divide.
Now you could take the view that Bradford is a shithole where nobody wants to live whereas in York the streets are paved with gold. Of course, neither view is remotely correct.
Affordability can be an economic benefit to a city but only if you can persuade its inhabitants to spend what they earn where they live not where they work and play. But it does force choices and can be a catalyst for regeneration although not in isolation.
Bradford’s challenge is obvious to most; there are not enough reasons to keep that spending within the cities boundaries. We still have no entertainments venue to rival major cities like…well…Ipswich and York.
And affordability will also reflect lower wage levels. So much for the continuous claim by Hapless Hinchcliffe that our young population is an economic positive; it is but only to low wage employers.
Concreting the more desirable areas of the district will also not help local people as I have commented many times, pushing prices out of reach of locals.
Equally, the Council’s plan for over 40,000 houses during the next decade is mad when over 4,000 remain empty.
Hapless might though want to seriously reflect that this affordability issue. Even if born more out of negative factors, it may just be something her dopey council could turn to its advantage, if only people had reasons to spend in Bradford.
Bad Sweater Festival
I was dragged to the Bradford Beer Festival last Friday which, you may be surprised to find, is not a place I would normally seek out.
No problems drinking beer but surrounded by hundreds of fat blokes in handmade Christmas sweaters drinking flat beer akin to rocket fuel is hardly my idea of Nirvana. There were t-shirts on sale too for those completely in love with the charity shop look.
Still, as a showcase for the incredible resurgence in brewing the event is a proven winner but perhaps preaching more easily to the converted.
One Hundred Years Ago
More local news as it broke a century ago including a pay rise for the local grave diggers! Read on…