Musings From The Padded Cell

Into The Valley

“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.”
J.K. Rowling

I blame my old pal Patch for the pain about to be suffered by five daft lads as we walk the Dalesway over the next six days. Ahead lies eighty odd miles of slog, non-stop whining from Big Al and nappy rash.

“Let’s walk the Dalesway” he said “otherwise Our Lass will have me lying by a pool in Lanzarote sunning myself. You know I’d rather be with you boys!”

The ale must have been less watered down than usual at The Scruffy. Rather than doubt his sanity, we all agreed in unison. I am sure Big Al thought he was just being asked if he wanted another pint.

And so we began to draw up a list of similarly repressed men, desperate for a week away from wife, girlfriend or someone they’d yet to confess to.

Invitations were duly dispatched; soon we had six although this was to be a moving feast.

The road to redemption?

Swearing his allegiance to the cause, having never walked farther than Baildon golf course, Binns The Curator, was enthusiastic promising to get in training as spring arrived. Guffaws were silenced politely.

Spring duly arrived but there was to be no spring in The Curator’s step and he duly ditched us as departure day arrived.

Captain Chaos – JB – had also bailed several months earlier despite accepting the invitation. This was a massive relief for us, willing to suffer even Patch’s snoring rather than share a room for a week with the scruffiest man on the planet.

Having shared a room with Chaos on a previous trip I can testify that Hurricane Irma could not devastate a hotel room quicker.

Luckily we had Whispering Chris in reserve, a voice of reason and Christianity; it would be good to have God along for the ride as long as he liked a pint or two and could read a map.

The pre-tour rehearsals

Completing the party was serial exercise avoider, Leapy Lee, who, by dint of only having seen us once a year since his fifth marriage, had allegedly amassed enough “bonus” points to spend a week on the piss.

Rumour had it that he had actually told Lady Stephanie of Eldwick Towers that he was at a compliance conference. As 12 year-old son Jack is an avid reader here she still has time to assert her authority or at least demand a new Range Rover for his compliance.

As I have the topless shots from Lanzarote 1998 this is unlikely, although the proceeds from Reader’s Wives are unlikely to cover a barrister.

So we will meet at Shipley station praying for good weather.

A prayer will be said for absent friends unable to negotiate day release – Molly, Lynton and Winky – we will miss you more than your wives would have if largely for your secreted hip flasks.

Big Al is taking enough medication to warrant plastering a red cross; he could be like the Pied Piper of Bradford druggies.

Having a rucksack the walking equivalent of a tea-bag I faced tough choices. To enable room for my age-defying night cream and collection from Raymond Town Menswear Go Outdoors saved the day.

Child carrier included

There will be daily updates as we make our way to the soothing waters of Bowness; say a quiet prayer as we do.

Surely Not?

Startling news from the local rag this week – see here – of the most dangerous places to drive through Bradford.

“Five postcode areas of Bradford are among the UK’s top 30 ‘crash for cash’ hotspots in the county, according to a study. The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) has ranked the top 30 postcode districts for fraudulent scams.”

Who would have guessed it in Hapless’s paradise? To help you plot your route around our dear old city here is a helpful guide.


Roll on insurance renewal time!

One Hundred Years Ago

More tales from yesteryear here.

Pay At The Pump

I have had this whinge before and I shall have it again, that I am sure. The concept of pay at the pump is fatally flawed.

It is not intended for the average halfwit who can barely remember what fuel the car they own, have borrowed, recently nicked or about to voluntarily crash uses.

Nor is it intended for those who wish to conduct a five-minute conversation before finally discovering they have not got a clue what to do.

And for those who then disappear into the kiosk to do the weekend shopping then stroll back across the forecourt, I offer a silent V-sign from the calm and peace of my enclosed space.

DIY – Why?

I’ve been sprucing the old place up lately, inside and outside as the plantation seeks to achieve self-sufficiency just in case Hapless gets control of food supplies as well at City Hall.

Often I’m challenged as to why I don’t have a go myself instead of resembling a cash dispenser; the reality is I am utterly crap at DIY.

It was a godsend when the local Wickes shut last year. I’ve saved a fortune and no longer face days walking around in a daze waiting for “help” from someone usually as clueless as me.

Last year’s build of the new greenhouse passed remarkably well save for a puncture of my wheelbarrow tyre. I set off with great intentions to fix the tyre…then left it in pieces for nine months.

Last week I tackled this engineering challenge and – surprise, surprise – the job appeared done. The following day and the wind was taken out of me quicker than the tyre, as flat it was again.

It reminded me of putting up a mirror for a girlfriend, convinced I was not totally useless, unawares that I suspected I was and was really hoping that it fell from the wall and crushed her cat. That would stop the furry bastard suffocating me at night.

I have a drill but the most fascinating bit about it is the light. Last year a hanging basket came loose; I took one look, hit it with a hammer and found the whole lot on the floor the following day.

If the world is to keep turning then idiots like me should be content to pay the going rate and not clog up A&E. Personally, I blame DIY for the woes around Brexit currently as no way would we need all those nice imported doctors and nurses if B&Q never existed.

“Lads it’s going to piss down!”

And yet there is hope for I have discovered Ash’s DIY emporium only a mile up the road – see here.

It is like Open All Hours For Idiots but Arkwright Ash is very tolerant of the clueless, extremely cheap and unbelievably can find anything you want in his Aladdin’s cave of a shop. It is retail gone full circle.

Have a great weekend and spare a thought for five middle-aged idiots praying for a bit of Keeley sunshine en route.

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