#oneaday, Day 70, Milton Keynes

OK, so my home football team Peterborough United beat MK Dons in the playoffs. Also, AFC Wimbledon have gained promotion.

A while a go now I entered a poetry slam, billed as Peterborough vs Milton Keynes. I wrote the following poem, and thought it was worth sharing now these events have happened.

Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes

Is a place I’ve never been

I just know you steal football teams

And have roundabouts in your dreams

And concrete cows, and you had a wooden tower

That Look East talked about for almost an hour

Because from the top you could see – a snow dome.


A snow dome.

But I’ve never been to your snow dome, because I live in Peterborough

Where for many years we have had a dry ski slope

And on hot… warm summer days we can slide down nylon.

And if we want snow, we can go round the back of the ice rink

Where there is a heap of the stuff that little kids can pile on.

Oh Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes

Is a place I’ve not been near

Because I don’t need to go to Ikea

We have got the warehouse here. And they deliver.

Our best festival is all about beer

And the council tax is not too high.

So keep your MK

I’m from the PE

Real cows beat concrete

Parkways beat roundabouts

Longthorpe Tower beats your wooden thing

And we don’t want to be on Look East anyway

Oh Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes

We were both New Towns in planners’ dreams

And maybe one day I’ll come down

If you get to be a city, and not just a town


Since I wrote it, I have actually been to Milton Keynes to have a document endorsed. however, I don’t think Milton Keynes has been made a city, so I am not going to return.

#oneaday, Day 68, Bank Holiday

So we’ve had a bank holiday or two in the last few weeks. I was lucky enough to be able to take 3 days of annual leave to get eleven days off. These were mostly spent relaxing, although there was a list of things to do- most of which didn’t get done. I did get my eyes tested (new glasses needed) watch a load of movies and see my parents which was all good.

And today is my wife’s birthday. She is currently in the garden doing something to some plants. Tonight we are off to see Evita which is her birthday present. I seem to Have Done Well.

And then tomorrow back to work – which will be very odd, seeing as how I’ve not been there for nearly a fortnight. I wonder if anything dramatic has happened? Could be a good blog post if it has…

Anyway, apparently there have been discussions baout the timing of bank holidays. Apparently the government want to get rid of the early May holiday – which is associated with international workers day – and move it to St Georges’ Day. This year that would of made no difference. It also seems we have the fewest Bank holidays in Europe which seems a bit sucky as we also work some of the longest hours. So lets have a full independent enquiry into Bank Holidays, and get some more – 4 day weeks rock….

#oneaday, Day 67, Film review – Limitless

So yesterday I made use of my Cineworld Unlimited card. It really is a good thing if you enjoy going to the cinema – but like gym memberships, you have to use it to get the best value out of it.

Anyway, the movie. Limitless tells us the story of a guy who manages to get hold of a new drug which boost the amount of his brain he uses. He is a struggling writer, and within two days he finishes his book. Things start to go awry when the guy he got it from (his ex brother in law) is murdered – and the killer was obviously seeking the stash. The film then follows him as he reaps success whilst trying to secure a steady supply.

It’s an enjoyable movie with nice cinematography when the drug kicks in. A few twists and turns and well acted. That being said, it was not amazing – I wouldn’t rush to see it again or get it on DVD. For me, it did what it needed to do on a Friday evening. 6/10.

#oneaday, Day 65, Daily bread

Today I attempted to bake bread for the second time. The first time was an absolute disaster – it didn’t rise or cook properly – we put this down to not enough yeast, and with a tweak this time it seemed to be much better!

Not only did it rise but it was very tasty. So far I have tried it with spread, jam, and plain – jam wins.

#oneaday, Day 65, Marching on together

Saturday 26th March 2011.

400,000 people took to the streets of London to let the coalition government know that we did not agree with the cuts they were making, and that an alternative was possible. I was there as a youth worker and trade unionist with my union, which is also a part of the Choose Youth coalition – services for young people have been particularly affected by the cuts councils have been forced to make by a reduction in government funding.

It’s now about a month since the march and rally. In the days that followed there was lots of discussion, particularly around the violence that took place, the arrest of UK Uncut members at Fortnum & Mason, and around ownership of the day when there was condemnation of the actions taken by some groups. This led me to read more about protests, and I discovered what a black bloc is, among other things. (It is a group who wear black so they can come together, but are not an organised group like UK Uncut).

In the coverage that followed I was on the front page of the Observer and page 5 of the Sunday Mirror. I was a part of something, that whilst did not create an immediate government U urn I think raised awareness of the issues with the public. Certainly the slowing down of the NHS Bill was an embarrassment to the government.

Now I was fairly near the front, but even so by the time I got to Hyde Park it was time for me to leave. I didn’t see any violence or trouble, and it was a very positive experience for me – the biggest march I have attended so far, and as I passed Downing Street with a banner, a more experienced union comrade turned tome and said ‘Remember this, you won’t the chance very often.’

With a riot in Bristol a few days ago, it seems that civil unrest – and questions over how this is policed – is not going away, and may even be on the rise. Do I condemn or condone violence? I can certainly understand the strength of feeling – personally I don’t think it is the best way to get your point across, but when the democratic route stops working… Most change usually comes about from acts of defiance or violence. The public at large though will generally be against it – even more so if direct action affects them. The prevalent attitude seems to be that we should be thankful that we have jobs etc etc. Polls seem to swing for and against the cuts, but I think it is only now, as the impact starts to be felt, the job losses hit home and services disappear that the public will get really agitated – and now, it might just be too late…

#oneaday, Day 63, Eating out

Tonight in a change to my usual schedule I ended up collecting my wife from the train station and we went out for dinner. We visited The Bridge Brasserie in Chippenham. I’d walked past a few times, and it looked like a nice place. As we had come straight from work I was a bit worried we might be turned away – me in my trainers and fleece – but the place is very relaxed and we were welcomed and given a table.

We selected cocktails which were 2 for 1 – I had a mojito which was great, hadn’t had a good one in a while and my wife had a honey martini which was also great. Front of house and cocktail expertise was provided by Chris who was very friendly without being overbearing.

I selected the rosemary chicken terrine with broiche to start, Mrs had scallops (which she usually does). Both were great, a good starter size and very tasty. I was also very impressed with the seasoning of my salad on the side – which is often neglected.

Main was rib eye steak for me – which was beautifully cooked and again brilliantly seasoned. The boxty cake was slightly charred – not sure if this was deliberate but it still tasted great, as did the mushroom. Dr Otherhalf had the sea bass with crab risotto and was initially disappointed at the size of the fillet – very chefily trimmed – but once she had finished her risotto – which was delicate and complimented the perfectly cooked bass – she was full.

We didn’t opt for pudding as it was in impromptu night out, but would definitely recommend – we’ll be back, maybe to try the bargin set lunch.

#oneaday, Day 62, Oh to be young…

This picture was taken on New Year’s Eve in either 99/00 or 00/01. The pub is the Brewery Tap in Peterborough. I don’t recall the name of the young lady who was a friend of someone I was out with, probably from uni.

We are engaging in a tequila body slammer. She is licking salt from my neck, will shoot her tequila and then grab the lemon from my mouth. There are several photos of various combinations of my friends doing this. As you can see from the table, this is not the first alcoholic drink of the night. There is also a photo of someone timing us whilst we swill something in our mouths – presumably AfterShock.

If we say this was 2000 into 2001, then it was ten years ago. I now have less hair – bald patch, eyebrow managed by my wife and sideburns kept more trim (see this post). If I tried to drink those sweet sickly alcopops now (with the given you can no longer find them) I am sure that enter into some kind of sugar based coma. You are much more likely these days to find me with a pint of best bitter.

So photos where it looks like I’m kissing someone I’ve only just met – a thing of the past.

#oneaday, Day 61, Preparing to March

Well I have arranged my travel for Saturday to journey to London for the TUC March for the Alternative. I have thought about what I will need to take in case of kettling (unlikely if you stick with the main event I think) and other supplies.

This will be the biggest march I have attended so far in my career as an activist. Arguably it is the most important. What is the alternative? In short:

  • a crackdown on tax avoidance
  • a Robin Hood tax on banks and finance
  • policies and time to let economic growth and full employment raise the tax that will close the deficit

I am not a deficit denier – I just don’t think that the Tory-led coalition are tackling it in the right way – it is too much, too soon. The retail price index is at 5.5%. Youth employment is massively high. People I know are living in fear that there job will be cut by councils forced to make hard choices by the government, destroying services for communities. This all set against a back drop of £1m missiles being launched and a Royal wedding being planned.

So my message on Saturday to the government will be to stop, collaborate and listen to, and work with, the people of this country – no one voted for the level of cuts and change we are seeing. We need to apply the brakes before we break Britain.


#oneaday, Day 60, Host with the most

This weekend we hosted a 6 nations final/ St Patricks Day party,  which included the first BBQ of the year – it always was going to too, rain or shine…

Our house is quite small, so we only had a few friends over, some from London, some from Bristol and some neighbours. Much booze was consumed, food was eaten and merriment enjoyed.

What makes a good gathering though? We didn’t have gourmet food – although the BBQ food was not burnt on the outside, raw in the middle. There were no fancy cocktails or very expensive wines – we mostly drank real ale, cider and Guinness. We watched rugby, some trashy TV (Take Me Out) and played Lips on the XBox. Everyone was relaxed – some a little too much, but they were kept in check by there partners. We have received much praise and thanks for our event, and I think the secret was probably a small focus (rugby) with nothing too complicated (drinking games) getting in the way. No dress code, bring your own booze and just enjoy.

Now to plan my 30th with the same success….