Saturday, December 29, 2018

Liberal England in 2018: Part 3


I was charmed by Hanging Houghton and found Cromford waiting impatiently for my plan to move parliament there to be implemented.

For the first time, as far as I recall, I was quoted in my favourite newspaper, the Shropshire Star.

I visited Trent Lock, Long Eaton, and Bonkers Hall - or Nevill Holt as they insist on calling it - and demonstrated against Donald Trump.

Back in Leicester I found the birthplace of the novelist C.P. Snow and a plaque in memory of the first victims of German bombing of the city in the second world war.

This was on about the hottest day of a very hot summer, and I then took it into my head to walk up the hill to Clarendon Park. There I enjoyed a beer that tasted so wonderful I will spend the rest of my life trying to recreate the experience.

I found that Vince Cable's exciting new ideas for the Liberal Democrats reminded me of the old Liberal Party and suggested that it is not good for governments to be afraid of their people.

You want a quote? I argued that Brexit is giving Britain the economics of the old Soviet Union:
There is a story we used to tell in the West to demonstrate the superiority of our economic system.
It concerns an official from the old Soviet Union who came on a visit to Britain.

Back home he was responsible for ensuring that the right amount of bread arrived in Moscow each morning.

When he arrived here he was asked if there was anyone he would like to meet.

He replied that he would like to talk to his opposite number - the government official who was responsible for ensuring that the right amount of bread arrived in London each morning.

And he was astounded to be told that there was no such person. 
Well, that is not true any more.


I blogged about The Magnet, a minor Ealing comedy starring a very young James Fox, and Lembit Opik became prime minister of outer space.

Buying the programme for the first theatre production I ever went to - Cinderella at the Watford Palace - led me to recall three encounters with Glyn Worsnip.

The village cricket ground at Gumley is crossed by a public road. I went to see how that works out.

Taking advantage of the local bus services before the Tories scrap them, I visited North Kilworth and found much more than I had expected.

Why do Oxford and Cambridge dominate British society? Because, under the Stamford Oath, it was illegal to teach anywhere else until the 19th century. It wasn't always like that: Northampton had a university in the 13th century.

Back at Gumley, I found the Motte, which may or may not be the remains of a Norman castle.


I began the month by finding that, via the late Mark Tavner, I had put words in Stephen Fry's mouth and arguing that David Dimbleby has destroyed political debate in Britain.

In Stamford, I found the remains of the medieval St Leonard's Priory.

Trent Cottages, Long Eaton, are threatened with demolition by HS2, though I doubt the line will get north of Birmingham in my lifetime. Anyway I went to find them.

Since that trip I have discovered that Trent Station, once an important Midland Railway junction, was not by the cottages but a little further down the line. So I will have to go back and photograph the arch that is the only thing that marks the site on public land.

At West Bridgford I photographed the lock where the Grantham Canal joined the Trent and was rather pleased with myself for knowing what I had found.

I was taken with Long Eaton library, while Melton Mowbray reminded me of what closed urban railways used to be like.

Choosing a song from Hair as my Sunday music video, I mused about music in that era:
I know what they say, but I remember the 1960s and the picture we have of it now as a musical wonderland is only half the story. 
Simon Titley used to say that if you picked a Sixties chart at random Ken Dodd was generally at number 1. And what I remember from the era is the songs from the shows. 
Seemingly by law, every request programme played Harry Secombe singing If I Ruled the World and Stanley Holloway singing I'm Getting Married in the Morning. 
And if you went to a friend's house their parents would have, not Ogden's Nut Gone Flake or The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, but the cast recordings of Oliver! or My Fair Lady.

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