Ed Lines

THAT great Yorkshire word ‘thoil’ has been at the forefront of my mind – and my wallet – as the days tick down on our family holiday.
Many of you dyedinthewool Tykes will be familiar with ‘thoil’. For those who aren’t, let me explain. I might be able to afford to pay £7 for a pint of beer, but I can’t thoil it, meaning I simply can’t justify the expense to myself, no matter how much money I’ve saved up for my jollies.
Rather than savour each sip, I’d probably choke on the drink, out of sheer bloodyminded anger at someone taking the mickey by charging such an outrageous price for a beer just because they know it’s a 15minute drive to go find somewhere else selling it cheaper.
I know we Yorkshiremen are generally defined as being akin to a Scotsman, except with all the generosity squeezed out, but it isn’t that. I don’t mind occasionally spending amounts that border on the eyewatering (to me at least) if it’s an investment in quality or something I really want.
For what it’s worth, our holiday has been at La Manga, about halfway down Spain’s east coast. Do yourselves a favour, give it miss unless you’ve had a pools win. Actually, forget the pools. You’d need the lottery. Euromillions even.
Our apartment is ok, although I had to ask to be moved out of the first one, which was next door to some industrial air conditioning units, and had a lovely view of the bus stop which ships in all the cleaning staff.
Now we’re quite close to the tennis court in our ‘village’ (La Manga is on a huge site, made up of various villagetype areas, in and among three golf courses, 20odd tennis courts and seven football fields).
When I went to book the court I was taken aback to learn it would cost £13 for the hour – the same charge as watching one of the movies on the apartment telly. Is it me, or is that on the steep side?
Well, it’s sodall compared to booking one of the main courts at the tennis centre – £23 an hour!
I knew I should have brought a box of dominoes.
We were supposed to have wifi internet in the apartment but that transpired to be an ‘extra’ too – a minimum £45 charge for five days. The onsite security staff have got used to seeing me cruise up and down the resort, occasionally stopping to see if my laptop is picking up anyone’s (free) broadband signal.
Yes I know that sounds tight, and I could claim the money back as a business expense, but that isn’t the point. The service costs the resort owners pennies. They are taking the mickey. And I can’t thoil it.
A bucket of golf balls on the driving range? Nine quid! Four cans of Fanta that cost 35 pence in the supermarket came in at a tenner.
Upon learning that a round of golf was a ‘bargain’, apparently reduced to £75, I booked a teetime at a nice course just up the motorway, via my pal’s great website www.golfhub.com, which was half the price and included a buggy.
But in true Locky style I got lost, and the satnav delivered us to the middle of an industrial estate. So I turned on my fancy phone and enabled the GPS feature, though I know that costs quite a bit when abroad.
Before I knew it 80 emails had dropped in as well. I only used the phone for maybe five minutes, 10 max. I got a text from O2 this morning telling me my ‘data roaming’ charges for yesterday came to £40, though they did very nicely inform me they were capping my charges at that. That’s good of them I thought, as I dropped to me knees on the verge of a thrombosis.
By the time you read this I’ll be heading back through Spain and France with the car packed to the gunnels. I just hope we can make room for half a dozen fluffy white towels.
I’m not sure if I can get the flatscreen telly in without anyone noticing it’s gone missing though.
I DIDN’T always see eye to eye with Stephen Battye. Actually, I didn’t often see eye to eye with the local entrepreneur, who died so tragically nearly two weeks ago.
Stephen’s dry – and even wry – sense of humour, combined with a forthrightness that left even my own outspoken ways wilting in the shade, meant that I was never quite sure where I stood with him.
I almost always half thought there was a complete mickeytake lingering just behind that enigmatic smile.
What was always abundantly, overwhelmingly clear however, was the man’s massive belief in this little corner of God’s green acres, and his vision for a resurgent Dewsbury and Batley that he passionately drove forward at every opportunity.
Some years ago Steve played along with an April Fool stunt we pulled in The Press. He was happy to be quoted supporting our spoof development of Batley Beck into a Venetianstyle canal, complete with gondolas, running from Birstall Smithies to a new marina in Batley, and onto the Frontier, Redbrick Mill and finally into Dewsbury.
The only wonder with Stephen Battye was he didn’t commission architects into carrying out a feasibility study and actually turn our stunt into reality.
No idea was too hopeful or too ambitious if it meant returning past prestige to a district that has suffered more than its fair share of knocks over the years.
He toyed with political ambitions from time to time, though I suspect he might have been ultimately stymied and strangled by the pettiness of the people and the systems he would subsequently have encountered.
In a profession where words count for everything and actions nothing – and of which Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood is a dismal beacon of grasping and petty vacuity – Steve’s passion for getting things done would inevitably have been blunted against wall after wall of bureaucracy.
Sure there were schemes and projects that bordered appropriately enough on being batty, and which never saw the light of day, but if we could have bottled the imagination and passion with which he lit up every public forum, then there would be fuel enough to power Dewsbury and Batley for years to come.
Very few are the people who have contributed as much to our local quality of life, and with his passing a giant personality and presence has been sadly lost.
I’m sorry I can’t be at his funeral to pay my respects today, because even if Stephen Battye and I had harsh words for each other at times, it was generally only a disagreement of means, rather than vision. I think we both shared the same aspirations for two towns we held dear to our hearts.
My thoughts and prayers will be with his family today however, and I hope someone with imagination on a Stephen Battyelike scale can think of a fitting way to commemorate all that he gave to us.

Share this post