My end of the week round-up of miscellaneous jottings - the accumulated fluff at the bottom of the drawer of my subconscious mind - unusually appears at the beginning of the week which means I'm either late or very early. Having always been a kind of half-full type of person, I think I am very early.
THIS summer we are having a whole series of house guests. At the moment our cousins are staying with us en-route to relocating to a new house in the country. Shortly after they leave, my niece and her family from the British Virgin Islands will be staying with us for a few weeks. We love having guests in the house - it's a bit like Kibbutz living for older softies - but there is one aspect of having a house full of people that does cause me some concern. It's our bottle output. We have these bottle boxes for recycling in which you pile all your empty glass bottles to be collected by the glass collector every few weeks. Before Collection Day the full boxes need to be left outside your house for easy access and the great local sport is to wander up and down the local roads having a good look at what - and how much - people are drinking. We all pretend, of course, not to be interested in such sins of our neighbours, but you would be amazed how many people suddenly discover they have dogs to walk on the morning the glass collector is due. The collector is due this week and our bin is already overflowing and therefore I am busy fashioning a large sign which I will attach to the box saying "IT IS NOT ALL OURS, WE HAVE GUESTS"
THAT dreadful word "austerity" seems to be constantly in the news at the moment. We have been warned on every occasion that times are about to get very hard and we are encouraged to find new and cheaper approaches to the provision of vital public services and infrastructure. The latest craze seems to be for something called "the Big Society" in which citizens groups and charities are encouraged to take things into their own hands. I was going through some of my vintage postcards the other evening and I came across one of Ramsdale Valley and the Valley Bridge in Scarborough. Reading up on the history of the bridge I was intrigued to discover that in the mid nineteenth century the local citizens of the Yorkshire seaside town decided they needed a bridge across the deep Ramsdale Valley. Not being able to afford a new one (there is nothing new about austerity) they acquired a second-hand one which used to span the River Ouse in York. Now I assume they asked permission before dismantling the bridge and moving it thirty miles to the east, but it does make you wonder. The thought of groups of local vigilantes creeping around at night in order to dismantle and re-locate bridges, schools, old people's homes and stretches of motorways is rather attractive although I am not sure that it is what David Cameron had in mind.
My GUILTY SECRET is not the empty bottles. Anyone who is even casually acquainted with me knows that I have a hefty ability to empty bottles of alcohol. No, the Good Lady Wife and myself have developed another guilty secret over the last couple of months, a passion that we regularly head up onto the tops of the Pennines between Huddersfield and Sheffield to sate. There can be found the home of the magnificent Yummy Yorkshire Ice Cream Company and their range of delicious farm-made ice-creams. There is no point in trying to describe the delights of this ice-cream : mere words should be reserved for describing the beauty of Helen of Troy or the vastness of the Grand Canyon. For Yummy Yorkshire Ice Cream you have to experience both the setting and the taste in order to appreciate it. So if anyone is heading to these parts from the four corners of the world, let me know and I will arrange a personal introduction.