Remind me, what year is this?

Out for a meal with friends last night, lovely little eatery, The Canteen in Swanage town. One of many pleasing aspects was that we simply split the bill 8 ways, too often I’ve been out for meals which lose something at the end when people tot up what they’ve had and it pisses me off. Two things evolved during the evening; one that Sal suggested and we’ll be dressing up as glam rockers on New Year’s Eve. The other from Nick that we float off our Christmas trees tied together and set them aflame in Swanage Bay at New Year. Gave Tim his birthday presents: 2 of the new Ladybird books for adults, Mid-Life Crisis and Mindfulness. My favourite in the Mindfulness one was something like: Abner now lived in the present. He used to live in Milton Keynes.

Kate and I spent today doing things Christmassy,  Kate very happy as it is all in such stark contrast for her from last year. She then did pretty much everything, like most mothers/wives/women!!!

As I mess with temporality by writing that after chelski are beaten by the mighty Foxes tonight, tomorrow’s headlines will write of chelski’s relegation prospects. Tee hee.

And reading Mr Larry Elliott’s article today crystallises my thoughts and understanding of what is happening in our benighted land, (you like Mr Elliott don’t you Martin?). Anyways, he writes of the closing this Friday of Kellingley colliery, the last remaining deep coal mine in Britain. For me, as for Mr Elliott, it conflates many things. In the 1970s Martin, Ian, Jim and myself went down a mine in Nottinghamshire as part of our studies for a degree in physiology. We went down a long way, we crawled the length of a working coalface; it was pretty frightening especially for me as we’d stopped half way along the coalface. We were underneath mechanised metal pit props which were holding up a mile or so of rock above us. They began moving, one after the other; they’d drop down, move forward then move back up to keep up with the massive coal cutting machine tearing back and forth in front of them. Behind I could hear the now unsupported mass of rock crash down. It was dark, noisy, claustrophobic and, as I thought about being in a small space with millions of tons of rock above me, a tad frightening. We weren’t supposed to be amidst the hydraulic props when they moved, the miner who’d taken us down had explicitly told us that any message given by the person in front had to be passed on to the person behind them. I was behind Martin.

So Martin and me were on our own, contorting ourselves around and between the mighty steel supports of the props as they manoeuvered their way down then forward. When we eventually crawled out into the shaft at the far end of the coalface our guide the miner man was very angry. I learnt a great deal that day. Coalminers literally fuelled this country’s industrial revolution, their jobs were dangerous and damaging in so many ways (if you ever get the chance visit Big Pit in Blaenavon, it’s an eye and mind opener). Over many generations the miners formed unions and eventually managed to get an almost decent wage and relatively safe working conditions. thatcher, the tts and the kleptos ‘sorted’ them out in the 80’s.

And now we return rapidly to working conditions more reminiscent of 1815 than 2015. The unions are marginalised and more folk are working in places like the sports direct workhouses, I know they term them warehouses. But they work in workhouse conditions whilst the bosses steal ever more. This is tory Britain, this why I get angry, this is why I believe them evil. Up the workers.

I need a Kliban.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

PS any chance that anyone who reads this load of bollocks has any idea of the whereabouts of Dave, my old mate Jim’s partner when he died?



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