Kathryn, my wife, is a volunteer at the local Guiding Association. She leads young girls into being responsible people who will hopefully surpass her. All with completely that very intention and all completely selflessly done.
Today she was recognised for five years of service with her group and we both went to a ceremony in Ripon where she was presented with an award. There was a good spread of food and, although I was one of three men in a room of women, it was all a very wholesome affair.
It was good hearted fun.
What struck me was that there were older members of the group who had been voluniteering with the local guiding association for 50+ years - I spoke to one of these ladies who remembers Kathryn when Kathryn was a Guide herself. It seems Kathryn has found a family who have adopted her. A family of well-meaning women who want to bring out the best in each other and all that they bump into.
There was a real sense of non-militant, independant “we can do it ourselves” amongst the people there. It was as if I was being indoctrinated in to a matriarchial mini-tribe. I really did like it though and I did not mind the indoctrination at all.
I have heard one point of view that not everyone should have the right to vote. After today I am starting to think it should only be women who vote and Meatheaded men should be denied the right to vote. It would have avoided Brexit …
It has been quite a busy w/e so far - a session around Allan’s for Friday night and a heap of Radio Station admin on the Saturday - but here I am writing about Culture Hop; the Craft Beer take over of Harrogate Theatre on a Saturday night. Am I qualified to write about this? No. Did I enjoy myself? Yes! Therefore I want to write about my own expeience of Harrogate Theatre’s Culture Hop; the craft beer take-over.
I will publicly state that if you want a balanced, educated point of view on beer you seek out the organiser, Rachel Auty or the writing’s of Nichola L. Bottomley. I do not know my beer, but these two women have the education to school me on what I drink …
It was not about quantity - it was about trying new beers and supporting a good cause; the Theatre. Culture Hop was a fundraiser for Harrogate Theatre and, I hope, a worthwhile one. Did it non-theatre goers through the door? Well, as someone who has not been to the theatre in (actual) years I felt that this building and the staff in it were connecting with a different community. I felt welcome … plus I will be checking out some of the more left-of-centre productions advertised in their distributed literature.
The beers were excellent and well kept - there was a friendly atmosphere that put someone with crippling social anxiety (like myself) at ease. I enjoyed it … + Beer drinking in a decadent environment = win.
It would get a bit too much for me to start listing the beers and musicians that I drank/saw - I am not that type of drinker. What I will say is that evening went smoothly. They catered to all types of drinker. My wife will be logging her beers tomorrow but I will be storing them in my memory, ready to revisit on a future occasion.
More credit to the organisers for ensuring that it went smoothly, it was a ‘Fun’ occasion and more power to Rachel & the team for putting it on - I can’t wait until the next one! So, if you like your beer and you are not afraid of Culture then I recommend that you keep you eyes open for the next Culture Hop. If I find out about it before you do then I will be sure to post it up here; you would be missing a treat if you did not go!
My dad is a farmer, a damn good one at that. He has reached the end of his full-time obligations and he is joining Mum in retirement. I wish them the best of British on that.
Part of dad’s contract meant that he got a house with the job - a perk, if you would, of working in agriculture. We have never owned any land, my dad is a contracted farm manager. So, when he retires he has to move on. I have every faith that a house would have been found for him and mum by the estate. But, they have bought a property further North.
Part of this is that I came to the farm this Sunday to help clear out what had been collected by me (and on my behalf) at Home Farm - there was a lot of stuff and some weird memories came back as a result.
The highlight of it was an old menu from the Furlong & Furkin and a Chairman Mao cigarette lighter that plays “The East Is Red” when you light it up. I now have a few boxes from my old room scattered about my own place on Dragon Parade, from the farm.
What will I miss from Home Farm? Will I miss it? “If these walls could talk” is a valid worry for someone with my illness - let’s hope I don’t leave any ghosts behind :)
I will miss the Bird-Life and the surrounding trees to the farm. The farm was located in Dark Walk Woods, Near Ripon. There was an abundance of birdlife that my parents fostered. They were always tending the birdfeeders and reaped dividends for doing so.
They were often visited by Woodpeckers and all sorts of LBJs (that I can’t name). I fell into Field Recording (probably as a direct result of the sleepless nights at home farm listening to the dawn chorus) and found a lot of solace listening to the various visitors to the garden.
There was a down side to the house; it was so damn cold. Freezing. Let’s hope that moving house will help with my folk’s health. It was unheallthily cold in Winter and if it was not for the log burner we would have had problems …
I had a troubled time at home farm but I don’t think I would have recovered to the point I am at today, so speedily, if it had not been for the calm and peace at the farm for my extended stays there.
It was a retreat.
Yes, Harrogate is not a bustling metropolis - but the quiet of Home Farm was palpable. It was a constant. It was welcome. It will be missed.
Granted, there is an instant nostalgia of leaving a place you know you will never go back to again, especially if it rings with any emotional significance. But it is a location that has witnessed such turbulance this emotion is a difficult one to describe - all I can do is remove my head from my ar*e and wish my parents “Good luck & thanks for all of the fish.” If I was trying to classify the emotion it would be “Dankbarnostalgiezuentkommen.”
I have had a small hand in the start of Harrogate Community Radio - a station that began broadcasting August 1st 2019 online. To tune in head HERE.
Harrogate Community Radio is a grass-roots movement to give people in the local community a voice. To give everyone who feels under-represented a voice for change. The original ethos behind the Harrogate Community Radio movement is to unite the separate music scenes in Harrogate and bring about an umbrella for local producers, musicians, hosts and talent.
We feel there is a lack of opportunity in the local area for local grass-roots acts to get a foot hold — this is, where I hope we will come in; acting as a springboard to future, greater careers. We are a local media outlet led by the local community. A democratic outlet for local groups and bodies to have a voice.
We had an upset yesterday. Bill or Ted has passed on and gone to join the other one (the one that didn’t die yesterday) in the aquarium in the sky.
In 2012 I popped to Stottards on Commercial Street and came home with two Goldfish. Kathryn took to them. We christened them Bill & Ted.
Around a year later one of the gold fish jumped out of his tank when we were asleep (could have been Bill, could have been Ted) and we found him (her?) on the kitchen floor when we woke up. We named that one Bill (again). We were sure it was Ted who survived, they both looked the same but Ted was a fighter.
Six years later and the Goldfish of indeterminate identity has made his last journey. But, in life he was a noisy bugger - always blowing bubbles and banging against the side of the tank. When I would tap the side of the tank he would come and nuzzle on the other side of the glass. Kathryn would ask him if he want some food, out-loud, and he would excitedly bob at the corner of his tank - he was a cute fish.
When it was feeding time he would do a wobbly thing that made us know he was hungry. People say Goldfish have a two second memory but I reckon they have advanced cognitive powers. I mean, I how do they test a gold fish’s memory? Flash Cards?
Even if they do have flash cards to debunk the myth of a two second gold fish memory then the fish would be left there thinking that they are not going to stand for that crap much longer. “Oh, not that card again.”
So, farewell, Ted and Bill - you were there when we needed you.
Congratulations on another Earth Cycle, Kathryn - god knows you have had to work hard to get here. The people you grace with your presence are all the richer for knowing you and I am humbled to be your partner.
Today Kathryn is knee-deep in her thirties. She has risen to the challenge and I am proud of her.
Meeting up with my wife at Bias on Cold Bath Road, we went to Tilly Peppers and we were greeted like we had been not left it the eight months since we had last been - the proprieter instantly recognised us and is was great to be back.
We both ate a massive slice of cake and drank coffee - the staff put a birthday candle on Kathryn’s cake and said it was on the house. I went to settle the bill and I was told that somebody had settled the complete bill for us - quite who this mysterious benefactor was I am unsure but I am very grateful. It kind of reaffirmed that nice things happen for a reason - my wife is one of them.
After Tilly Pepper’s, we went to St Wilfred’s on the Duchy. The occasion was that there was the Museum of The Moon on display.
Mesuring 7m in diameter, the moon features detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface - at 1:500,000. This means that 1cm of the lit sperical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface.
The soundtrack accompanying the moon was composed by Dan Jones - I admit I could not really make it out due to children running around screaming - but the sculpture was great and we made the most of our time awake.
We then went to Leeds.
Temple of Boom was the venue we went to. there was a heap of band on for not much money at all. It was a great gig and the highlight was the group Corrupt Moral Alter, from Liverpool.
Yes, the music was more for Kathryn - but - then it was her birthday treat. I really got something from the event though. The headline act were Noisem. But, I really thought the bands before them were something special.
So, we are tucked up safe in our small flat in the Dragons. Kathryn is so tired she has not even had the chance to open any of the gifts she received. It was a good day.
You know about The Parish News? It is my main radio show - it gets broadcast on Resonance EXTRA, the arts station in London. But, have you heard about Roots Conversation?
Roots Conversation is the dub reggae radio show presented by me and Allan, as Guerrilla Dub System, and DJ Scooby from the Sound of Wonder radio show. It is a right laugh. We get to play all of the music that we dig as artists and the music that has inspired us to make our own tunes. In fact, you can listen to the episode we recorded on Thursday night here -
As you read previously in the Blog - things have been a bit upset here. Grannys funeral was last week and we went up there as a family to lay her to rest.
I won’t go in to the details but it was a good service and by the end of it we were smiling again, catching up. Here is a photo I took from the three day break. The rest will be shared wit kin and kept private.
The Summer Solstice marks my great friend Allan’s birthday - this year he was closer to sixty than fifty - yes, there is a bit of an age gap but mentally we are both around 19 years old so that doesn’t matter much.
The day of the Solstice was spent trying to whip my iTunes catalogue in to shape - with the recent announcement of iTunes being made redundant I may be seen as p*ssing in the wind.
However, iTunes was about cultivating a collection. Big online streaming sites were all about the greed. You had instant access to all of the music yet chose to listen to the same stuff.
itunes took looking after.
Maybe it was one final hurrah until the software is rendered obsolete, but I got something from it.
The evening was spent at a party in Creao Studio. Creao is Allan’s recording studio and has been the scene of quite a few adventures. We partied hard, we partied well.
Allan fell asleep and I recorded my radio show - here it is:
So, yes, I am worried abot the state of Apple’s music app. I am worried that it will turn in to an app for streaming rather than curation. Steve Jobs screwed over the Artists through the creation of mass-marketed downloads. Maybe now he is trying to post-humously screw over the customer?
I’m sad but acceptant that I will not see my Gran for a very long time. I could wax lyrical about Summerlands and the like. But, I am coming to the round to the fact Granny Dornoch lost her battle yesterday afternoon and she is now at peace.
She had a very tough life and a tough passing - she raged against the light until the end and cheered everyone up for knowing her.
She leaves a brother, two daughters & a son - and a gaggle of grand-children & great-grandchildren, who were all completely devoted to her.
She was such a loving person who made you feel like you were the only person who she wanted to see. She was loved. And, she loved.
I have deleted Ijo Pona as it existed and started afresh.
Ijo Pona is dead! Long live Ijo Pona!
The older version of this site was a Wordpress build - it became very heavy and not at all responsive. All rather cumbersome. So, I elected to start afresh - there will be less rants about white socks and the cricket in this Blog. The site you are looking at now is built using Blot. It seems quite elegant although there are a few bugs from my Wordpress build that I need to iron out before I launch in to this whole heartedly.
Plus, it is a blog run on my Dropbox!
First Impressions Of Blot
I like it. I like it a lot. It is a lot cleaner and a lot more lightweight. Responsive and quick to load on mobiles.
The back end is a joy to write with - the “Kitchen Sink” editor of Wordpress (and Gutenberg to that point) were not to my taste. The whole build of Ijo Pona (when it was a Wordpress site) was not what I wanted - I wanted something sharp and clean. So, I chose Blot. It doesn’t have an interface.
Easy to install and easy to set up - it is a bit utilitarian (if Brutalism was utilitarian) but I like it. Yes, there is not the choice associated with Wordpress - but then I am not after choice - I just want to write short blog posts.
Hopefully I will not regret making this choice.
The blog posts are all written up in Markdown on a text editor on my Mac. I then drop them in to the associated Dropbox folder and then I am good to go. This means I will always have a copy of my Blog posts when to hand.
I gave considerable thought to running a Anchor blog - but I guess that Indie-blogging is yet to get a foothold over here in Harrogate. However, I will make a stand for it and try my hardest to keep blogging independantly and in Dropbox.
There was the option to import all of my old Wordpress posts in to Blot, using a script written by David Mirfield. But I chose not to - I have been going through a rough time over the past while and I did not want the bad posts about that reverberating and haunting me further down the line.
So, onwards and upwards! I look forward to sharing my adventures with you.
Last night was such good fun. And, now I am the richer for friendship and I have bagged myself a print of a fantastic painting by John McClenaghen! I will try and gloss over the dismal failure we all face at the hands of Pound-Shop-Mosley and his Yahboo politics. Today only, I will be quiet and I am not going to rise to defend all of the people who he threatens, but, I will Lactose the Intolerant if I get the chance. We voted; I will leave it at that.
After exercising my constitutional right, I hot-footed it to 17 Cold Bath Road for 7pm. The shop I visited was Bias. Bias Harrogate is a woman-led independent clothes shop & I help out every now and then with a bit of design and I sometimes help with their website. So, if you want to see their website please visit www.bias.store.
I was not there for the elegant clothing, I was there because there was an Art Event on the night. Four leading artists, who all have a local connection, have donated a piece of their artwork for a friend, Rachel, and the Bias Team to raise funds for Saint Michael’s Hospice. Tony Brummell Smith has donated a signed limited edition print of ‘Al Ponte Antico’ which hangs in the Hotel Venice in that fabulous town. Alan Coulson has donated the signed artist’s proof of his great portrait of ‘Honest Thomas,’ which featured in the National Portrait Gallery BP Portrait Award exhibition in 2017. John McClenaghen kindly donated “Field Diffraction” and Kitty North donated “Moonlit Night.”
The main event took place on Thursday 23 May at a ticket only Private Viewing, taking place from 7pm and 9pm. There were nibbles, beer art and friends — it was a hearty do. The paintings are still showing in Bias and there is the opportunity to buy them by bidding — If you are aesthetically curious head to Bias and check out the Art. It’ll make your day & all proceeds go to Saint Michael’s Hospice.
Kathryn joined us after looking after a hound (Milly) and I had to break it to her that I had bought a print of a painting by one of the artists featured in the Event. Thankfully, she loved it! Thankfully, the beer had not worked it’s magic yet and it was not one of the main pictures being sold off — but — a smaller print. Separate from the main, featured images yet still raising money for Saint Michael’s Hospice. I really got a good look at the works on display. Including the ‘main attractions’ there were several prints commissioned by Maiden Bridge Art Gallery to mark the Millennium. The print I purchased was a millennium print called “Flying Colours August” by featured artist John McClenaghen.
You might want to see the artwork on display at bias. To whet your appetite — please head over to the Bias Harrogate blog HERE and you will be able to see pictures of the pictures. It was a really good evening — normally I feel like a fish out of water in the company of polite society … normally I drink too much and start cracking inappropriate jokes. However, I always get such a warm welcome at Bias that they put me completely at my ease. And, I am sure you will receive just as warm welcome when you visit to see the artworks.