Sunday, 30 August 2015


I have been absent for a couple of days partly due to the sheer uselessness of Windows 10 and partly due to nothing much happening chez Epictetus.

Here, especially for those among you who have recently suffered 'grands désirs inapaisés' due to 'entre nos coeurs quelle distance, tant d'espace entre nos baisers', Rufus Wainwright sings Hector Berlioz:

And this is the Stones:

Friday, 28 August 2015


“I’m wearying to escape into that glorious world, and to be always there: not seeing it dimly through tears, and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart: but really with it, and in it.” - Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

I have been walking again. Today, in the most delightful company, it was Top Withens, supposedly the model for Wuthering Heights. It was a typical English, late-August summer's day, but thankfully the hail storm was brief if rather heavy. But, never mind that, it was a terrific day out; and did I mention that the company was delightful? Yesterday wasn't bad either, with ten miles or so up Round Hill and along to the Bronze Age cairn on Beamsley Beacon. The view from Old Pike:

You will be wondering how last night's game went. It was entirely representative of wargames at the Casa Epictetus in that a good time was had by all and we got the rules completely wrong. I normally have no shame, but even I am embarrassed by how quickly I had forgotten how missile fire worked. Notwithstanding that, Chris claimed that he enjoyed it and is keen to have a repeat. I think that another run through of 'To the Strongest!' is required before we hopefully move on to something else, preferably after re-reading and digesting the rules first. Interestingly he expressed an interest in naval wargaming, an area where my own involvement has so far stalled at painting the tabletop in the wargaming annexe a mid-blue colour.

Back to Haworth parsonage:

“I love the silent hour of night,
For blissful dreams may then arise,
Revealing to my charmed sight
What may not bless my waking eyes.”
― Anne Brontë

"Flirting is a woman's trade, one must keep in practice." - Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“You know that I could as soon forget you as my existence!” - Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Thursday, 27 August 2015

A Soul Ajar

 "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr

Somewhat out of the blue there is going to be wargaming. Having mentioned my penchant for figure wargaming one Monday night at the Otley Boardgames Club, Chris - the convener of said club - expressed an interest in learning more about it all. Where better way to advise him to start than by reading my blog? Well lots of better ways as it happens, so I told him to read James' Olicanalad's Games blog instead. Naturally, he was knocked out by the figures, the terrain, the photographs - in fact the whole thing - and invited himself round to take a look at my wargaming annexe. Circumstances have meant that it has taken a little while to arrange, but a window has opened and tonight's the night.

Obviously it's going to be somewhat of a comedown. Whilst my annexe is a reasonable enough location (having an entire building dedicated to one's hobby is kind of cool) the contents in it don't really compare with the legendary wargames room displayed in the blog that he actually read. However, and after careful reflection, I have decided that's his problem not mine. My own concern is what makes a suitable game for a newcomer to wargaming, with a strong background in boardgaming (Eurogames mainly), but, as far as I know, no particular interest in military history.

He has played Memoir '44, which is more than I have, so I'm not sure that C&C Napoleonics with figures would take him much further, even with the undeniable attraction of upside down paper plates as hills. However, I do think that a grid based game is the best place to start if we don't want to immediately put him off completely with turns that take forever while moves are measured. Similarly You go/I go games at least eliminate the chance of long stretches of inaction; for all its virtues there is an spooky inevitability in Piquet whereby the new player never gets any initiative. All that, and the fact that the appropriately marked cloth is still in place on the table, leads us to To the Strongest!, which proved a hit when played recently with more experienced wargamers. So the Romans and Ancient Britons have taken the field again without waiting for the reinforcements that have only got as far as being undercoated and I have been frantically trying to remind myself of the rules. So, is this the first step towards a lifetime of pushing lead and arguing the toss about flank attacks and arcs of fire? Or will he make his excuses and return to more peacefully themed games?

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Your questions answered

 I have found it easiest to collect all the questions received from readers and answer them in one post:
  1. I did know that the story about George Brown isn't actually true. Surprisingly enough, many things on this blog should be taken with a pinch of salt. Indeed, even when it comes to wargaming the only facts contained herein which you can truly rely on are that Peter will roll lots of ones, that James will change the rules half way through, and that no one will ever be able to agree on the definition of a flank attack.
  2. I did not know that carved mice by Mousey 'Bloody' Mouseman could be found absolutely everywhere. I am now considering writing the definitive guide to places that they aren't; which obviously won't include Peter's house.
  3. 'love is more thicker than forget' is not a grammatical error; it is a quote from e.e. cummings
  4. Ælfric's warning came in his introduction to the homiletic writings of Archbishop Wulfstan.
  5. Alan Bennett is still alive. (I know, me too.)
  6. K.T. Tunstall was born on June 23rd, 1975. (I know, me too.)
  7.  Потому что я претенциозный пизда
  8. a) Mind your own business, but see Robert Crumb's cartoon as a reference point. b) A courgette, a marrow, runner beans and some rosemary..Oh, and some Italian espresso coffee beans, but no octopus.
  9. Belgium, again. Or, to be more precise, again not.
  10. Job Chapter 19 Verse 23 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Geoffrey Brindley, R.I.P.

I would like to put on record how saddened I was to hear of the passing of the Bradford Jesus Man, Geoffrey Brindley. I was an undergraduate student at the University of Bradford in the mid-1970s and at that point he had already been walking through the streets for more than a decade. Unbelievably, until a week or so ago, in his late eighties, he was still at it; a seemingly permanent feature who one was never surprised to see anywhere across the district.

And now, sadly, he will walk no more.

Amores - 13: Epilogue

Patience, little Heart.
One day a heavy, June-hot woman
Will enter and shut the door to stay.
And when your stifling heart would summon
Cool, lonely night, her roused breasts will keep the night at bay,
Sitting in your room like two tiger-lilies
Flaming on after sunset,
Destroying the cool, lonely night with the glow of their hot twilight;
There in the morning, still, while the fierce strange scent comes yet
Stronger, hot and red; till you thirst for the daffodillies
With an anguished, husky thirst that you cannot assuage,
When the daffodillies are dead, and a woman of the dog-days holds you in gage.
Patience, little Heart.

                          - D.H. Lawrence

Monday, 24 August 2015

Ælfric warned us about this

I continue to receive carved mouse sightings; this time from a special correspondent south of the M62 - but not, she has asked me to clarify, in Cleckheaton - who tells me that Wakefield Cathedral is also replete with the buggers. Yorkshire is infested with Mousey Thompson mice.

I would offer a wargaming update, but it has been suspended again. I was intending to do some painting yesterday, but decided to go to the pub to see the excellent Dr Bob and the Bluesmakers instead. The chariot and Roman auxiliaries remain stuck at the undercoat stage. I am heading out shortly for some boardgaming which is occupying more of my time these days - possibly because it occurs at scheduled times rather than relying on any diligence or focus from me.

I haven't bored/educated anyone with some obscure 70s music for a while, so here are the Flamin' Groovies for your delectation and delight:

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Of More Mice And About The Same Number Of Men

I have been taken to task by my elder daughter; a not terribly unusual event to be sure. On this occasion it is regarding mice, specifically those of Mousey Thompson. Having described how I had gone far out into the Dales and seen them for the first time, she pointed out to me that the church of St John the Divine in Menston also has them. Considering that church is about 100 metres from the family home (until 'we were pulled apart because her mom did not agree') she asks, with the know-it-all attitude so common in the young, whether it wouldn't have simply been easier to walk round the corner at some point in the last twenty years. Possibly.

The latest exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute is by the late Paul Neague and I have been along to view it and mock. Like all shows at the HMI - and modern art in general - it left me baffled. Having said that, I found the the largest sculpture on display, Nine Catalytic Stations, to be rather peaceful. I have no idea whether that's what the artist was going for, but that's how it struck me.

You talk like Marlene Dietrich

I have also been to Leeds Civic Hall to see Agatha Christie's courtroom drama 'Witness for the Prosecution' performed in the round in the council chamber. The building was more fascinating than the play (it was obvious who'd done it from the off, the twists were unexpected because they were ludicrous and the actress playing Romaine was too young) and it was the first time that I had seen the ground floor. Opened by George V in the 1930s, it is very different to the 'epitome of Northern bombast' Leeds Town Hall which is eighty or so years older. Also interesting is the display of civic gifts received by Lord Mayors down the years. My eye was caught by that from the mayor of Ulan Bator, a rather fine statuette of a mongol warrior; I bet no one would have predicted the receipt and display of that object when the building was first conceived.


Saturday, 22 August 2015

How Does Love Speak?

How does Love speak?
In the faint flush upon the telltale cheek,
And in the pallor that succeeds it; by
The quivering lid of an averted eye--
The smile that proves the parent to a sigh
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
By the uneven heart-throbs, and the freak
Of bounding pulses that stand still and ache,
While new emotions, like strange barges, make
Along vein-channels their disturbing course;
Still as the dawn, and with the dawn's swift force--
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the avoidance of that which we seek--
The sudden silence and reserve when near--
The eye that glistens with an unshed tear--
The joy that seems the counterpart of fear,
As the alarmed heart leaps in the breast,
And knows, and names, and greets its godlike guest--
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the proud spirit suddenly grown meek--
The haughty heart grown humble; in the tender
And unnamed light that floods the world with splendor;
In the resemblance which the fond eyes trace
In all fair things to one beloved face;
In the shy touch of hands that thrill and tremble;
In looks and lips that can no more dissemble--
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the wild words that uttered seem so weak
They shrink ashamed in silence; in the fire
Glance strikes with glance, swift flashing high and higher,
Like lightnings that precede the mighty storm;
In the deep, soulful stillness; in the warm,
Impassioned tide that sweeps through throbbing veins,
Between the shores of keen delights and pains;
In the embrace where madness melts in bliss,
And in the convulsive rapture of a kiss--
Thus doth Love speak.

                                    - Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Friday, 21 August 2015

Of Mice and Men

I have been walking again, this time in Langstrothdale, where the Wharfe rises.

Mention must be made of the church of St Michael and All Angels at Hubberholme, pretty much at the point where Langstrothdale meets Wharfedale. Whilst the building is 12th century the pews were made by Robert 'Mouseman' Thompson and bear his distinctive motif. I'm afraid the photo is culled from the interweb rather than being taken by me. You all by now know the story of my camera and the Young Farmers Ladies Tug-of-War contest, so I won't repeat it (although I may just take a break for a moment's quiet personal reflection). Anyway, I think was the first time I'd seen such mice in the flesh as it were and they were fascinating.

The other noteworthy fact about the church fits into my recent theme of heavyweights of the past. It is the resting place of the ashes of John Boynton Priestley. One can't say that he is forgotten - in the past few years years I've seen productions of both 'An Inspector Calls' and 'When We Are Married'  and one of my daughters studied the former for her GCSE - although his novels don't seem to be read much any more. That's a shame, because 'The Good Companions' is a lovely, charming book and the plot of 'Angel Pavement' depends on a very accurately described accounting twist; possibly a minority interest that last point.

But as well as his literary output, and not overlooking the serious injury he received during the Great War, he held a place as a sort of public intellectual, making morale boosting broadcasts during the second war (credited by many with setting the scene for the post-war introduction of the welfare state) and campaigning against nuclear weapons. During my period as an undergraduate in the 1970s he was regarded as the greatest living Bradfordian in the same way that Alan Bennett might currently be regarded as the greatest living Leodensian. I can however proudly state that, while a student, I never once set foot in the J.B. Priestley library on campus.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

You can check out any time you want

Normal Wednesday night wargaming is suspended due to all the others having better things to do. I therefore repaired to the Otley Folk Club. Interestingly, given the previous post on this blog, one of the floor singers sang a song in praise of Nye Bevan. If I might be allowed a quick rhetorical question ["Permission granted" - RP], will singers at folk clubs in seventy years time be singing songs about Yvette Cooper, Theresa May or whoever the bloke is who's in charge of the other lot? I said it was a rhetorical question. Of course if Scotland becomes independent then Alex Salmond is a stone cold certainty to appear in a celebratory ballad. And Thatcher will no doubt be used to scare children for all eternity.

"This is my truth, tell me yours"

The main act last night were the Gerry McNeice Band, who not only seem to have a constantly rotating line-up between gigs, but also between songs. In any event, they were rather good. Highlight of their set for me was a most enjoyable version of 'Hotel California' with the iconic guitar figure being played on the flute. Special mention must also be made of one of the other floor singers who gave us an amusing and bawdy song about the louche behaviour of a girl from Cleckheaton, ironically lauded in the lyrics for her class and style. Now, while I may possibly have laughed along with the rest of the audience at the time, I wish to make it clear that I have the highest regard for women from the part of West Yorkshire which lies just south of the M62; the absolute highest regard.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Jez we can

Absolutely no on has asked me how I intend to vote in the Labour leadership election. I admire your restraint. However, it has done you no good because I am going to tell you anyway. I voted for Jeremy Corbyn of course.

The one aspect of this whole process that has worried me more than any other - and believe me there has been much to make me unhappy - is the Lilliputian nature of those standing. When I first became interested and active in politics, the Labour Party was led by heavyweights such as Harold Wilson, Dennis Healey, Roy Jenkins, Barbara Castle and many others. In 1997 as well as Blair and Brown there was the fierce intellect of Robin Cook plus others of gravitas such as Jack Straw, Mo Mowlam, Donald Dewar etc. Today, just to pick out two of the many pygmies involved, we have Chris Leslie posturing over his refusal to serve under the democratically elected leader of the party and Caroline Flint astonishingly having the gall (and lack of self awareness) to put herself forward to be its deputy leader. I choose to highlight those two in particular because I've had extensive personal dealings with both. Leslie is both patronising and arrogant, without either fault being excused by his experience or abilities, while Flint is, let's be blunt, a cretin. It's all very sad. And things appear to be no better in the other parties, except perhaps for the SNP.

I shall finish with a story showing that back in the day even the lightweights had more substance. It concerns George Brown, now largely forgotten, but in the 1960s the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Foreign Secretary and a drinker of heroic proportions. On a tour of South America he is supposed to have attended a British Embassy reception where his eye was caught by a figure in a red gown, whom he promptly asked to dance. "No sir," came the reply "I shall not dance with you. Firstly, you are very drunk; secondly, the music the orchestra is playing is the Peruvian national anthem; and thirdly, I am the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima".

Monday, 17 August 2015


Yesterday's post inevitably reminded me of this:

The late Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, also known for their work with the very much alive Alan Bennett, in fine form.

I used to have one of the ping pong ball firing guns featured in the clip. Happy days.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

On our way home

I went to the pub quiz for the first time in yonks last week. One question asked which spacecraft was piloted by Steve Zodiac; a straightforward enough question you might think, and yet it was met with blank looks all around the table. All together now: "My heart would be a fireball, a fireball..."

The series had many memorable characters such as Dr Venus (specially selected by the colonel to be part of his crew - and I think we know why Steve), Zoonie (did anyone else worry, even as a child, that keeping something that could talk as a pet was somehow wrong?) and many others. But surely the best had to be Robert the Robot, Earth's most advanced mechanical man.

If Google, Apple and the others want us to accept driverless cars, all they need to do is put one of these behind the wheel; it doesn't have to do anything, but its presence will reassure the passengers.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

A divine urge to bombard

I'm afraid that it's wargaming today. I previously excused myself from the subject when I explained that I was too busy having a blast. Well the blast has gone on holiday so until she returns it's back to the toy soldiers.

Talking of toys, we continued with James' completely over the top Seven Years War extravaganza. We are three weeks in with at least another week to go although sadly for once I can't point you to an illustrated report on the Olicanalad blog because James has also left the country. It will be early September before this is finished. The Russian infantry have defended stoutly, throwing the Prussians attackers back out of the church as they did earlier out of the mill; all of which seems appropriate and consistent with period. The Russian cavalry however, have been poor (again pretty realistic) and I think overall, barring some sort of morale disaster, the Prussians are bound to win. The scenario has worked OK, but some tweaks are required to the objective values and the rules for handling the entry (and exit) of forces from the table.

The last action here at the Casa Epictetus was many weeks ago when we refought Tewkesbury. I have only just got round to clearing the table in the wargaming annexe after that game and in doing so managed to drop a large box of bombards. The obvious questions are, was there much damage, and why on earth do you have a large box of bombards? Dealing with second point first - I like bombards, we all have our quirks. And there was some damage, which is being repaired. This has required the paints, glues etc to be retrieved from the cupboard and my thoughts therefore turned to preparing some new figures.

The last reference to that subject on here was even longer ago when I undertook to get some more chariots organised for my Ancient Britons. A rummage through the plastic mountain has turned up a single Airfix chariot so that has hit the painting table. I've also found some Roman auxiliary archers so it looks as if we will get to test the missile rules next time we play To The Strongest! in this period.

Friday, 14 August 2015

A very pleasant complaint for a man in London

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love." - Ernest Hemingway

I have been to London again (it rained) and have to report that Virgin East Coast managed to maintain their 100% record of delayed or cancelled trains when I travel with them. The excuse yesterday seemed to vary between an 'incident on the line' (a sad euphemism for such a tragic human story I always think) to Kings Cross having been evacuated due to the arrest of a man with a gun. Now I was actually on the concourse at the time of this supposed police action and I saw nothing; which on reflection possibly says more about my powers of observation than anything else.

I made the trip to meet with a group of bankers. It seems that they had advanced a large sum of money to someone. let's call him Jack, for the purpose of buying some magic beans and had taken as security a charge over the beanstalk that Jack intended to grow. They now find that there is no money, no beanstalk and, for all intents and purposes, no Jack. Another triumph for the banking system.

Speaking of London, I have recently got to know someone living in West Yorkshire who, at the age of 42, has astonishingly never been there. It may be for the best though; my friend - a non-drinking vegetarian whose main hobbies are knitting and growing vegetables - is very innocent and has led a sheltered life. Some people are just not ready to be exposed to the sort of goings on that one finds in the big smoke.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Infamous Grouse

As it's August 11th I have taken the opportunity to walk on Barden Fell before the mass slaughter of tomorrow.

That's Skipton just above the tree on the right

Monday, 10 August 2015

You don't need teeth for kissing girls

I've had a request that if I am going to insist on filling a wargaming blog with music videos can I at least put up one that has some wargaming relevance. Of course the obvious choice in 2015 is 'Waterloo' by Abba, and this blog has a well known fondness for Agnetha.

Any excuse

But, striking out in a different direction - and a year early anniversarywise, here is Tom Russell singing about Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus, New Mexico in 1916; an event that I at least have long wanted to recreate on the tabletop.

And here he is again, accompanied by Nanci Griffith, with a song about human relationships. Wargamers, look away now.

Sunday, 9 August 2015


I don't know what everyone else's experience of Windows 10 is, but I'm really unimpressed. The 'improvements' seem to amount to a heavily reduced battery life and making bluetooth too complicated to use. On a more positive note I have had a response from Ofcom regarding my complaint about BT's inertia selling of their sports channels. It's a boilerplate reply because they have obviously had a fair number of similar objections raised. In a massive turn-up for the books I find that I am actually fairly happy with what they say and with the actions that they have made BT undertake.Who'd have thought it?

The ratio recovers

 Once again moved by Jeevian afflatus I have taken to the hills, with the bonus this time of a ride on a steam train. That's Oxenhope in the background.

Well my heart knows me better than I know myself
Over the summer I seem to have spent more time checking out bands on in local pubs. They vary in quality and it's not made any easier by the outfit playing often being completely different to the one advertised in advance. Worthy of mention have been the Guiseley Brothers, although sadly the music didn't live up to the excellent name, and a bunch last week who did an astonishing mélange of 'Whole Lotta Love' and 'Black Horse and a Cherry Tree', switching seamlessly backwards and forwards between the two as the piece progressed. Mind you, they also did just the worse possible version of 'Space Oddity', so no one is perfect.

Anyway, the reason I go to watch these bands is just on the off chance that I come across someone like these:

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Пусть он землю бережет родную

The epic Seven Years War scenario created by James to get all his toys on the table has rumbled on for a second week. There are plenty of photos - and a brief commentary - over on James' blog. It was a very enjoyable evening for the Russian commander and the umpire, but less so for the Prussian player, Peter keeping up his reputation for abysmal dice rolling. On one occasion he spectacularly failed major morale on all six commands at once. The worst troops on the table - the Cossacks - had another belter of an evening; the best troops - various Prussian guard units - ran away at the earliest opportunity.

Your bloggist celebrates the performance of his Cossacks

Sadly, the Russians aren't ultimately going to win. The lateness of the arrival of the reserves plus the incompetence of their placement (although in my defence the major morale rules have meant that opportunities to finesse entry points have been limited) means that the Prussians have done all the attacking and are best placed. My only hope I think is that my cavalry win the anticipated melee on my left without suffering too many losses and can threaten the Prussian rear. Of course, I do have more Cossacks on the way....

Friday, 7 August 2015

Proverbs Chapter 28 Verse 13

I have been to Temple Newsam, and admired various rare breeds of livestock, birds of prey etc. The estate, owned by Leeds City Council, has various historical connotations of possible interest to wargamers: the Temple bit comes from the Knights Templar for example and it was the birthplace of Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. The picture gallery contains some interesting seventeenth century battle scenes, with lots of cavalry firing pistols at each from close range. However it was another painting that caught my eye the most.

'Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery' - Gaetano Gandolfi

Now I'm no theologian, indeed now I come to think about it I'm not even a Christian. But that story (John Chapter 8) has always seemed to me to get to the heart of what the man was on about. I understand the subtexts of Jewish versus Roman law (remember this event took place only days before his own arrest and appearance before Pilate); of the Pharisees' real aim of finding evidence of his guilt rather than that of the woman ostensibly accused; and even of the gender inequality of the adultery rules of the time (married men were allowed to consort with single women - the married woman restriction was more of a property issue than a moral one). But, rising above all that, is surely the simple message: acknowledge one's own wrongdoings rather than judge other people's.

As the philosopher whose name I have assumed, wrote not long after the events above "When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger."

Thursday, 6 August 2015

love is more thicker than forget

I loved you first: but afterwards your love
    Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
    Which owes the other most? my love was long,
    And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
    Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
    With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
         For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
         Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one. 
- Christina Gabriel Rossetti

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Who's gonna furrow your field?

This blog has once again been blessed with a non-wargaming female reader. Regulars may remember Elkie Brooks' biggest fan who took me to task for the perceived lack of respect that I showed to that lady, although from memory all I did was acknowledge that she preferred to take to the stage refreshed. I believe I was very complimentary about her singing.

Anyway, the new visitor has observed that readers only leave comments when I am complaining about something, whereupon there is a wave of people piling in to also moan and grumble. She has deduced ["Hmm," says the Rhetorical Pedant "I'm pretty sure that you mean abduced."] that I and all my readers are grumpy old men. How rude and how inaccurate.

Blog readers are as puzzled as I am

In the aforementioned blog comments there was a request for me to identify myself among the walkers pictured on Hare Head. Now the requester is not the sort of man to mess about with; by his own admission he regularly dines on raw alpaca. However I'm afraid that for reasons of security I prefer not to be recognisable. Apart from the obvious and ever present danger from enraged husbands I have an additional concern: I have already bought a ticket to an Elkie Brooks concert this autumn. And we all know how fierce her fans can be.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Bring it on home to me

I have been to see the excellent Lisa Mills in concert at the Caroline Street Social Club, which is a proper Phoenix Nights style working mens' club complete with bingo going on in the other bar. It proved however to be a very good venue (except for the lack of alcohol free beer) and was packed.

Ms Mills hails from Mississippi and currently lives in Mobile, Alabama so I'm not entirely sure what she made of Saltaire (indeed her website claims that it's in Wales), although as it's a World Heritage Site I hope that she found time to have a look round. Being typically keen to please as Americans always are, she told the audience that it was as hot and humid in Bradford as it was back home. In the interests of accuracy I must point out that it, er, wasn't.

Still, one doesn't come to see her for meteorological reports, one comes for the voice; and what a voice it is. She has toured with Big Brother and the Holding Company as guest lead vocalist and Janis Joplin is a reasonable starting point for describing the type of singer she is. Mills was happy to take on songs closely associated with artists such as Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Sam Cooke and demonstrated the vocal chops to justify that. Her repertoire covered blues, gospel, soul and country and she was equally adept at them all. She has worked with people such as Andy Fairweather Low, who I last saw in Eric Clapton's band, and Albert Lee, who I last saw in Bill Wyman's band.

Anyway, don't believe me, judge for yourself. I chose the first song below, partly for the lyrics (listen carefully Crumb) and partly because the original idea for the song came from the CFO at the company owned by her brother. That's right, it's at the intersection of accountancy and the blues; a bit like your bloggist really.

The second song that I've chosen is a cover of Irma Thomas' "It's Raining", because, as we know, Ms Mills also dabbles in weather reports.

Sunday, 2 August 2015


I awoke this morning to find that my computer had taken it upon itself to start using Windows 10. On the plus side my copy of Office, which had stopped working completely a month or so ago necessitating workarounds with OpenOffice, has burst back into life. On the minus side, using Bluetooth now seems to require about twenty steps and all my default programmes have been reset to, guess what, Microsoft's own version. Such is progress. While I'm chuntering on I am also pretty pissed off with BT who have tried to charge me £5 per month for BT Sport which I neither ordered nor want. I have complained to Ofcom in a futile gesture, which will achieve nothing and doesn't even make me feel better.

It  is a tradition of this blog to occasionally include a photograph of your bloggist on top of one of the high points along the Wharfe Valley surrounded by women of a certain age. In an unwelcome development the following - taken on Hare Head - also seems to include a fair number of men.

As was pointed out to Bertie by his gentleman's gentleman in 'Thank You, Jeeves': Physical exercise is a recognised palliative when the heart is aching.

I was very sorry to hear of the death of Cilla Black, but, let's be honest, she couldn't sing so here instead is some Yusuf.