Musings From The Padded Cell

To Hull And Back

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
Dalai Lama

Recently I was nobbled by the long arm and invisible eye of the law. The penalty for my recklessness was either take the points or elect for four hours of torture at a speed awareness course.

It was the end of a working day, an early winter gloom descending, as almost fifty of us gathered for the training equivalent of water boarding; at £78 a head this looked like a good wheeze. Rows of pissed off people sat as if awaiting major dental surgery.

Dog tags adorning us like criminals, it was ironic that the training centre sits adjacent to the Bradford ring road where each day locals attempt to break the speed of sound courtesy of vorspung durch technik and cocaine.

We were funnelled off into two rooms; I made for the back to reserve an anonymous space to snooze, my old tactic worth sticking to. Despite my attempts at splendid isolation, I was soon surrounded by fellow inmates.

The young lad next to me was wearing trendy ripped jeans – scruffy bastard – and a coat the like my mum used to lag her boiler with topped off by a giant furry hood.

I instantly categorised him as a drug dealer called Raccoon Head, making an note not to be so judgemental if I ever escaped.

There were two trainers, both jolly chaps, doubtless still seeking careers in stand-up. A bubbly chap from Barnsley implored us to get to know each other which was a bit hopeful as most hoped never to see anybody again.

I couldn’t see Raccoon Head and me off shopping together anytime soon.

We were fifteen minutes in and had not even started; it was almost two hours till a comfort break and I feared I would not make it. I wondered if I could get thrown out if I made a puddle.

The other tutor was an Asian Tommy Cooper, a jolly chap although nobody in the room could understand a thing he said apart from his strap line: “Int dat right, yeah?” It would be a long night with Tommy Khan.

The room was warm enough to grow cannabis and, as I began to dehydrate and hallucinate, I swear plants started to grow from the furry hood.

They asked us to turn off our phones and I hoped he could find all his. Apparently people record these sessions but for what purpose I could never imagine.

By now the “expert” in the room had surfaced. Fat Trucker seemed to want to interrupt every sentence and tell us that he drove to Hull and back every day.

“I’ll be up at three to start my shift” he grunted although God knows how he sleeps as he never shut up.

Having checked our driving licences – unusually for Bradford we all had one – we could finally begin with a guided tour of Hull’s traffic blackspots. Raccoon Head slumped forward; had he overdosed or collapsed under his thermal barrier?

Nigel next to me had a tattooed arm that could only have been done by a blind man. As I studied it to wile away a few more minutes I reckoned my ‘F’ grade at O-level Art had been harshly dealt.

It soon became clear that I was in the company of a bunch of misogynists as Barnsley suggested we share the women out. Soon a future in Westminster was looking appealing to the unlucky ladies.

We were asked to consider what makes you speed. Several men, unlikely to win New Man 2017, spurted out “t’wife moaning!”

Fat Trucker piped up “me ex-wife’s waters burst!” ; could this get any worse?

Barnsley then suggested that somewhere in the room there would be someone “sulking” not wishing to be there. I sensed I had been rumbled and that writing a blog simply to survive four hours of this might not go down well.

Tommy Khan took us to the promised land of tasteless coffee and weak tea with not a biscuit in sight. Given the money this was raking in a packet of chocolate Hob Nobs would not have broken the bank.

“Are you all ‘avin jolly good time?” asked Tommy. It struck me that about this time I would be watching Traffic Cops and that incarcerating a room of largely middle England was hardly representative of local driving standards.

We began again and, for a while, it appeared Fat Trucker had fallen asleep, most likely dreaming of the M62. Raccoon Head started to drum the water glasses with his pen which I soon imagined lodged in his skull.

Whatever useful knowledge we could have picked up was lost as the temperature reached Southern Hemisphere levels and Tommy Khan recited whole passages from The Highway Code. I half-expected to get into prayer mode.

I resolved that next time I would take the points, never ever visit Hull, book Tommy for a slot at the cricket club and break my usual dry Monday rule.


Crashmap allows you to find out information about road traffic crashes on Britain’s roads. This is based on official Government data and even includes Hull.

Just to prove I was awake.

Concreting Bradford – More

Despite the fact that the Government have confirmed what most of us knew already concerning the Council’s plan to build over 42,000 houses in the district, the idiots at the asylum continue on their path.

Putting aside the stark reality that the number of completions needed is pure fantasy, the danger to what appeal we have left as a district – our green belt – is obvious.

As I wrote over three years ago. Bradford Metropolitan district is a large sprawling area not often cited for its beauty. However, some 70% is green space.

There are huge areas of brownfield sites, largely in inner Bradford. What Hapless Hinchcliffe and her cronies dare not admit is that they can barely give these sites away to developers, terrified of offending their core vote.

Instead, they allow developers to cherry-pick what sites they like – see here – and here is what will happen just so you read it here first. The developers will rip up every green field they can before fleeing the city, job done, fortunes made.

Inner Bradford will remain an economic and social desert a testament to weak, unimaginative and inept leadership at City Hall.

The Perfect Poached Egg

The first entrant to my weekly search for perfection comes from young Phil Baxendale of Idle.

Place a large lightly oiled piece of cling film in a ramekin and gently break an egg into the centre. Lift and twist the edges together to form a pouch. Place in boiling water for around two minutes. Lift and unwrap and serve perfect poached eggs!

One Hundred Years Ago

More from this excellent record – see here. In a week with yet more disturbances by young yobs in our village, contrast the differing qualities of men lost a hundred years ago.

And Finally

News that “a former college site in the centre of Manningham has been put up for sale with a price tag of £1.5 million” brought this comment on the T&A message board from Realistic Ron.

This would be an ideal pied de terre for one of the C.E.Os of the numerous blue chip companies whose corporate headquarters Bradford is home to. This would then justify making a cycle path on Manningham Lane to speed the high roller’s short journey to the City centre.

Classic stuff.

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  1. Phil Baxendale says:

    Love the “Young “ comment!
    Thought it might of been “old and fermented 100 year old egg!”

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