Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas pork pie problem solved at Alan and Sons

Christmas Eve was always a sad day for Glynis. It is her late mother's birthday and she would get quite upset at times.

Glynis always insisted on having all the shopping and present distribution done in the days before so she could spend Christmas Eve preparing food and getting ready for Christmas Day.

Today has been especially hard for me as the smells of Christmas Eve, all the baking and the turkey and the gammon cooking were not there for the first time in 32 years.

But all our children and grandchildren have been here today and we are all having Christmas dinner together tomorrow. Although Glynis used to do all the cooking I am capable of it myself and I know Mark and Kelly will help. The only difference is that it is all getting over and done with at once in the morning and there will be no baking this year.

One thing, however, has been solved this year which has been a problem for us since we moved to Redcar in 1984.

We always like a large pork pie at Christmas and when we lived in Whitby we had a choice of either Botham's or Johnson's. It was something I always enjoyed at Christmas when I was young. My mum and dad always made sure we had a large pork pie. I think we got them from the Coop Butcher's in Starbeck. This was managed by a Mr Mitchell and I went to school with his son. Both of us also started out as apprentice electricians in 1965 and attended Harrogate College of Further Education together on day release. I wish I could remember his first name.

Obtaining a nice pork pie at Christmas has always proved difficult in Redcar for some reason. We have often gone without rather than buy one that has been stuck in a fridge at one of the supermarkets. I am not criticising our local butchers. I have had hundreds of nice pork pies from the likes of Goodswens, Newbolds and the other one near the town clock whose name escapes me at the moment. Perhaps we never ordered one because they were in town and we did our shopping in the supermarkets.

Very recently I have been getting them early in the morning  when they have been freshly delivered to our local Wine Lodge in West Dyke Road. You can't beat a nice warm pork pie straight out of the oven  for breakfast. Specially when it saves me cooking bacon.

Even more recently I have had them from the new butcher's Alan and Son's in Roseberry Shopping Centre. They are baked on the premises and are piping hot at 8.30am, when I am on my way to work. They must also do another batch because I have had them at lunchtime as well and they are warm too.

I was annoyed at first when I saw this butcher's shop opening up because Glynis and I had understood that the empty shop space was being reserved for a post office. It was, we thought, only a matter of time before someone invested in a post office in this shopping centre. There was talk of a local residents' group setting one up and combining it with a hairdresser.

Glynis would have loved this new butcher's, which opened up just a month after she passed away. It is stocked with the type of things we liked from a butchers. It appears to be doing a roaring trade judging by the huge number of large pork pies waiting to be collected when I called in at 8.30am this morning to collect mine. She would have been delighted that the Christmas pork pie problem has been solved.

I gave a good portion of this pie to our lad Steven and his wife Debbie to take home with them today and by the time Mark and I had a slice for lunch there is only a third left for the rest of Christmas and they are all coming back tomorrow. I wish I had bought two.

Alan and Son's excellent pork pies are like the ones we used to get from Johnson's in Whitby. They are made with bacon and these were my favourite. Glynis's favourite was Botham's which are made with pure pork. Glynis always insisted on us getting a couple of Botham's pork pies whenever we were in Whitby and they are a treat. I often had one with a bag of Fusco's crinkle cut chips.

Johnson's, however, closed down now quite a few years ago. I have heard rumours that their pork pie recipe was bought by Goodswens. Whether that is true or not I don't know but they certainly remind me of Johnson's pork pies.

Friday, 16 December 2011

More scurrilous Labour smears against the Lib Dems in Coastal View

Coastal View free newspaper has long been in the habit of publishing verbatim the scurrilous exaggerations and twisted logic of recently elected St Germain's Ward Councillor T. Learoyd but they surpass themselves in issue No 18.

Apart from the fact that there is no balance in any of the articles they publish, no journalism or even a hint of impartiality the subject is so childish it beggars belief.

No Liberal Democrat Councillor would laugh at the disabled and no decent person would suggest that they did.

I was not present at the meeting, due to my bereavement. It is I think the first time I have ever missed full Council, but I am absolutely sure if my colleagues were laughing they were laughing at Councillor Learoyd and the bizarre remarks he makes. He reminds us of Citizen Smith in the 1970s comedy sit com. His comments are based on the same 1970's rhetoric which was bonkers then and is even more bonkers now.

Councillor Learoyd is desperate to smear hard working Lib Dem MP Ian Swales and Lib Dem Councillors. He keeps accusing us of anything and everything and Coastal View publish it all for him verbatim. His bizarre allegations about the Lib Dems are often for things his own Labour colleagues or the Labour Government have done or were responsible for. Whatever it is twist it round and blame it on the Lib Dems must be his motto.

When we protested at not being allowed to respond to Cllr Learoyd's attempts to blame the Lib Dems for the last Labour Government's cuts to the NHS, we walked out of the Council chamber in protest whilst Cllr Learoyd made his allegations and then came straight back in, no more than five minutes. Councillor Learoyd photographed what he claimed were the empty seats, even though some of the Lib Dems were already back in the room by then.

No body made a fuss or photographed his empty seat when Councillor Learoyd was missing from the Cabinet meeting that discussed in private proposals to sell off Council land and property. Nor did we photograph his empty seat when the Council was debating the budget and the 3.5% Council Tax increase being imposed on us by the Labour Council. Ducking out of the meeting and letting the decisions be taken by others is the same as voting for them.

I feel sure the electors of St Germains Ward will not thank the Councillor when they find out he has let them down so badly.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Lib Dems slam Labour Council Tax increase

Labour today announced their Christmas present to the people of Redcar & Cleveland – a council tax increase of 3.5%.
This comes despite the Government’s offer of a 2.5% grant to all councils which will freeze their Council Tax next year.
Refusing the Government’s offer means Labour have lost the area £1.4 million – that’s over £10 for every single person in the borough.
At today’s meeting of the Council the Liberal Democrats put forward an amendment which would have meant a Council Tax freeze. But Labour voted this down.
Lib Dem Leader Cllr Glyn Nightingale said:
“The 3.5% rise will be built in for future years – so this is not just a 3.5% increase for this year, it is forever.
“Labour Councillors constantly complain about the impact of the budget on local people, but this Council Tax rise reduces people’s incomes all round. So it hurts the people they are claiming to protect.
"Less money in people’s pockets means less spending in the local economy, which in turn means less employment.
“It’s short-sighted, contradictory and politically motivated.
“It’s a good job that pensioners will be getting the biggest ever pension increase of £5.30 a week in April.
“The Council’s scrutiny revealed that many budget changes were reforms that were unrelated to any cuts. Many were sensible, overdrew or did what other local councils were doing already.
“If the Council Tax rise made the Council smarter in its working, the Lib Dems would support this budget. But it doesn’t – so we can’t and we haven’t.”

Monday, 12 December 2011

Labour Cabinet in turmoil again

Yet again Council Leader George Dunning’s leadership is in tatters as a third resignation since May leaves a key area of Council activity with no Cabinet Member.
By resigning Cllr Learoyd has walked away from his responsibilities to local people. He has clearly been unwilling to tackle the problems of the Adult & Children’s Services Department which is overspent by £6 million or respond to the independent Audit Commission’s damning Audit Letter on his portfolio and his competence.
Lib Dem Group Leader Cllr Glyn Nightingale said:
“Cllr Learoyd has been more interested attacking the work of our hard-working local MP Ian Swales than to tackle his Cabinet responsibilities. He has repeatedly put his extreme views on national politics, often well out of tune with his own party, ahead of service to local people.
“His decision to resign shows a failure to make a serious commitment to do his real job. He is clearly not prepared for the tough decisions and responsibility the job demands.
“The Council Leader must sort out his administration, its priorities and do what’s right for local residents. The Council needs to do things smarter and get the basics right. I have little confidence this will happen with or without the distraction of Cllr Learoyd's presence in the Council’s Cabinet. Cllr Dunning cannot afford any more internal Labour problems.”