Category Archives: Proclaimers

Verbena Drive, no more

Anyone who has been following this for 10 months or more, will know where I’m talking about, but for the sake of more recent visitors, and those with less than lengthy memories…

Last August, about a year or so ago to the day, I had decided that before I exploded over my frustrations with finding a new job, I needed to let off steam, and just get away from it all for a while. Having visited Hollywood for 10 days in April (trip planned before redundancy, for 7 days at least), and fallen in love with the place, and not having done half what I wanted to, there seemed one obvious place to go for a 4 week getaway. Yes, back to Hollywood! However, given the length of my planned stay, and everything, I considered another option, renting an apartment for my stay.

So, having looked at AirBnb, I’d tried to book a couple of places that took my eye, with no joy. Finally, at about the 4th, or 5th option, I managed to get somewhere booked. I’ll admit it, the place had caught my eye earlier in the search, but given it was up in the hills, just under the Hollywood sign, it wasnt quite as central as I ideally desired. But in the end, maybe it was fate, or something, that was the place I finally booked into, for a glorious 4 week stay.

In truth, the place was as adorable as it looked in the photos, and I loved my time there. Yes, it meant I needed a slightly more expensive travel pass, but very quickly, I didnt care! I fell quickly in love with the place, the owners were a delight to deal with, all in all, a heavenly stay. My only sad moment was when it came to being time to leave, I must say. My pledge at the time, as Arnie said, was ‘I’ll be back!”, but sadly, I wont.

Earlier this week, I thought I’d see what they were charging for a months rent this year, not that I’d be going, but I thought it would give me a guide to the price for next year, maybe. It wasnt there! Now, as I hadnt put in any specific dates, even if taken at present, it should have shown, but no.

So, as they say, Google is your best friend, so I went on there, hoping to find more, but found something I didnt want to hear, as to why its no longer advertised. Yes, sadly, the owners have sold up, and moved on, happened in May, seemingly.

I know, these things happen, and all that, and why would they think of telling anyone who stayed there, that it was going to happen, but yes, it was a sad moment for me. My fondest memory is going to be that bed, and climbing into it, though the whole place was a delight, in all honesty. But now I know, I wont be keeping my promise to return, and thats a shame. Hopefully, if I do the same next year, I can find somewhere equally delightful. But no, I probably wont visit Verbena Drive again, all the same

The video, you could say there’s a bit of a clue in the title

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Catching up on things

Yes, you may, or may not have noticed there wasnt a blog yesterday, well, there wasnt really enough to post on, in all honesty. Very much a calm day, after the storm of Tuesday, shall we say?

It did allow me to catch up on a few things that needed doing, so there was some blessing from such a day. But be it sinus issues, a cold she had caught or whatever, on top of the tough day driving Tuesday, Kate was struggling with her health.

We went out to eat in the evening though, and ended up at a burger restaurant of the quality kind, unlike some bunch that have a clown (apt?) as their spokesman, and had a really good meal. Seriously, when did McD’s last cook a burger fresh, for everyone? So yes, in the US, eat at 5 Guys instead, just saying…

Jean Harlow would probably have wanted to ‘make eyes’ at all 5 guys, I settled for the 1 serving us, but not surprisingly, didnt work, no discount lol!

So this morning, after saying our goodbyes, Kate and I went our separate ways. Me, I set out to discover Kansas City, and its public transit system. Like most US systems (unlike ours), its cheap, and it works! I headed for the Country Club Plaza, and my only mistake was in looking for an indoor shopping centre, not an outdoor one. Ah well, they do generally call the indoor ones malls lol!

Beyond that, the biggest news event today was happening back across the pond, the Scottish independence vote. And no, I have no estimates on how the voting has gone, though it has been mentioned on the news over here at least.

Tomorrow, the last full day, I’m planning on going into the heart of KC, and see what its like, should be fun.

The video, well this is Scottish independence vote day, and this blog is coming from America, so…a live version, pretty recent

City to City

As some on here at least know, my regular commute is from my current home town, Huddersfield, to the place I work, Leeds. Today, I was fortunate enough to be finishing early, because of a sporting event tonight. Rugby league, the proper rugby, as we Yorkshire folk would call it, has a super league match between those 2 cities, and I should imagine the early evening trains, as well as being full of commuters, were full of rugby fans too.

No, I dont have any real problems with either (well, if commuters dont allow me to get a seat lol, but otherwise…) but the trains are overcrowded enough, thanks to Trans Pennine Express’s incompetence, without even more people trying to force their way on to the trains.

City to city, in this case, should take just under 20 minutes. I say, should, because we’re talking TPE here, and their timekeeping is about as good as their provision of carriages for passengers! To be honest, apart from the trains betweem them, the 2 stations have little in common. Huddersfield’s station is still pretty much the original look, which makes it well over 150 years old. The internal offices are a bit more modern, but the building has a generally old fashioned look. Oh, and despite have platforms numbered up to 8, there are only 6, no platform 3, or 7. I presume both disappeared with the mass line closures of the 60’s, but dont quote me on that!

Leeds station, is very modern, less than 20 years old, and it shows! It does its job, but in terms of atmosphere, there’s only one winner! At least Leeds actually has platforms all the way from 1 to 17 lol!

Shopping wise, Leeds has never grown on me, over all the years of my life, not just since I moved back up here. Probably just a personal thing, I guess? Huddersfield is nicer, but as regular readers know, Wakefield is my favourite around here.

Yes, as some might point out, both places are also in the same division in football, but as I dont care for that sport, lets leave it there! ūüėõ

No prizes for which team I want to win tonight, though neither are of course the team I support, thats Keighley! But, one is my home town, so…

2 videos for the price of one tonight, so take your pick. The first is the genius who wrote this song, and sang it originally, but is clearly mimed

This is the Proclaimers live, from the Gerry Rafferty tribute concert

Yes, Huddersfield to Leeds, isnt 400 miles, more like 15, but who’s counting?

I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 475 more!

Yes, I know, thats not quite the line in the song, but according to the Iditarod website, thats the distance those teams of dogs will be ‘walking’ this year. Thats right, on Saturday, the big parade in Anchorage, and then on Sunday, the real race starts, from Willow, to Nome. For the leaders, about 9-10 days, depending on conditions, for some, nearly a week more, in temperatures way below freezing!

This year, its the northern route, so the ghost town that the race is named after, will remain quiet and peaceful, until next year at least. Though even so, one or two of the checkpoints on this route have a population count of less than 1 anyway! These days, its hard to imagine somewhere going from being a thriving town, to no one, but thats the gold rush, and Alaskan weather for you!

The irony, given all the freezing weather, and snow that has been dumped on the main 48 states of the US this year, that at one point a few weeks back, the concern was whether there was enough snow out on the trails for the dogs to run. Eventually, just over a week ago, the call was yes, and the regular route will be run. In case you’re wondering, they were going to restart further north, from Fairbanks, and then eventually connect to the traditional route further along.

I know I’m not from that part of the world, but contemplating such a run is way beyond my comprehension. For some though, its a way of life, and I admire them for doing it. Doesnt mean that one day, I’d love to be in Alaska, at the beginning of March, and see them off though. Suspect it wont happen before I retire though, and by then, the marathon flight, and the cold might be too much for my old bones anyway! But for now, I can still dream, that one day…Would also be wonderful to see the finish at Nome, but suspect thats even more steps too far lol!

The video, yes, the clue is in the title for those old enough (like me) to remember it. A live version though, just for a change

One last thing before I let you go. One hero of the Iditarod wont be running this year, the multiple winner, Lance Mackey, because of health, principally dental issues. I know, I mentioned it a while back, and a few might have given then, but at this rather apt time, the link to his fundraising campaign is

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/3g2Dd

Letter From America

Yes, this really is, from my suite I’m staying in here in Boston for the week. And yes, there were only 2 songs that came to mind for this blog, Simon and Garfunkel lost out, no prizes for working out which song. So if you want to go and find it…

But in all honesty, it could only come a distant second to this song, which if its based around the Scottish clearances, rather than the major Irish one, well I dont begrudge the Proclaimers that in the slightest. Yes, the Irish potato famine is about to raise its unruly head here lol!

I know, I was born in England, and all that. Doesnt stop me hating the English for what happened to all those poor¬†Irish people 150 years ago, or slightly more. Equally I dont claim great historical knowledge of the events, only what I’ve read in various places, and seen monuments to in the West of Ireland especially. Its hard, at this distance in time to know just how badly the English treated the¬†Irish at the time, but generally reports state it varies from very badly to horrifically!

Did I lkose any relatives in that time, either to famine, or the mass emigration in those awful ships to North America, no idea. But I suspect I must have done, and indeed but for a quirk of fate, I might be an American writing this, and not understand cricket in the slightest! Instead somewhere around the start of the 20th century, both of my ancestral families came to England.

I guess hating the English for what happened then is a bit harsh, life and times were very different, and so were attitudes, but all the same… There is Irish songs about the treatment of native folk by the English, but none provoke the same feelings for me as the Proclaimers song about the Clearances in their country.

So therefore, supporting the Celtic statement of English hard handedness in the past, I present

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-OzdiaJZkw