Feb 14 2014

Valentines day in Carnforth.

Carnforth, famous for where romance is never consummated. Carnforth, the ‘Before’ pic of a down at heel town in a pretty spot  but where the ‘After’ of mezze platters and chalkboards with ‘to begin..’ menus never quite happens.


But where a new Booths cafe is filled with people with appropriate haircuts for their age enjoying a Welsh Rarebit for £6.95.


Carnforth, squat, grey and stoic where the elderly beam and waggle a walking stick with a dog shaped handle at a strange child, where really good things can be purchased for a pound at a charity shop and if you are lacking in cash,  they will tell you to bring it next time in that old fashioned resolve and faith in humanity.


Carnforth, mired in Late Victoriana, where the rambling second book shop refuses (for now) to break in front of the invisible ubiquitous peril of Amazon. Where the landlord in ‘The Snug’, the tiny CAMRA wet dream of a pub on the station platform remembers me from last time- which was a few months ago- and they sell cheese, crackers and pickle for three quid and a pork pie for two quid and that is pretty much the food menu apart from the large jars of pickled things on the bar.

Where a stranger can  wander into the Brief Encounter refreshment rooms where the fire is always on and a gramophone is always playing, before noon and ask for two whiskies and a teapot of hot water in a voice that suggests Eton more than Lancaster  and then he leaves ten minutes later and you will never know his story.

Carnforth is Brief Encounter and Brief Encounter is Romance.

It is Valentines Day.

I finish my scone and go home.

Feb 8 2014

A lion looking regally towards a motorway near Barrow In Furness

I just don’t like the idea of a zoo and thus far I have not been to one. However The South Lakes Wild Animal Park certainly can’t be a zoo because it clearly states it is a Wild Animal Park and thus we will witness herds of wilderbeest sweeping majestically across the plain.


Also because it lies slightly more towards Barrow In Furness than the actual South Lakes, I presume that because it is February, fucking cold with a hint of torrential downpour and in the North West, that no-one else will be there.

I dislike other people.

 The  other main reason we are there is because it is ‘free’ with a one pound minimum donation as opposed to the normal eye watering costs of any ‘family attraction’ that is heavily glossily pamphleted.

I was not expecting a queue consisting of teenagers in deck shoes being sarcastic and heavily swearing at  each other but it gave me the middle-class Sophies Choice of whether to pay the minimum donation of one pound which the possibly still drunk teenagers were doing or support ‘conservation in action’ and pay more and not look stingy. My moral compass swings wildly between left and right during the queue- we are poor but middle-class- where does that leave us?

I end up bowing down to the many passive aggressive signs about ‘conservation in action’.

The teenager behind the till clearly does not give a fuck about my actually that not generous compared to the normal price donation.

This still keeps me awake at night.


It is  exciting to see a giraffe nearly having a piss on a reindeer but I do not want to spend a tenner on such an ammonia stench it is nearly as bad as being in my own home.


The primates are so awesome, naughty and human that any utter utter cunt that shoots them should be done for murder.

The ones that shoot the lions and tigers should be just fed to them.

The lion managed to look exotic,regal and sorrowful whilst staring meaningfully towards a large road nearby.  The royal family have never managed this.


I utterly identified with the Sloth with its rough dry hair and slow sad ambivalence. Its opposite was the pacing jaguar roaring against a window of excited sightseers, its pure fury at being watched causing more of an audience. I felt guilty watching it, a voyeur.

Never order chips at the Cafe Maki.

You will watch a confused young girl battle against the plastic fronds of palm trees, walking up and down, up and down with your overpriced chips (two sachets of condiments free, the following ones 10p per sachet ) becoming colder by the second as you frantically beckon and wave for your food underneath a over-sized leaf whilst  making frantic hooting noises and waving your arms in the air as people who paid the minimum donation of a  pound to enter the park, stare at you in horror and fascination and the phone cameras come out  as you gurn and scream, gurn and scream…