Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Tuesday Tattle



As you can see it was another day of hustle and bustle around the town.  I am not altogether to clear as to whether these are heading for Mr Butcher or being used to cut the grass on rich folks lawns.  I do know the man standing at the side almost out of the picture is worrying the sheep, he keeps repeating "Mint sauce, mint sauce."
Lamb chops are far from my plate today.  Having been at the museum I was not in the mood for hard work by the time I returned home.  All that tea drinking was tiring me out!  Then there was the usual confusion in the morning regarding the kids, who all appeared happy.  Not clear if the boys who arrived were too keen on creating Easter Bonnets mind.  We now go through the long process of replacing the lass who left recently.  Do they keep the capable and popular girl who has been doing the job competently, and in a very organised manner since then, or do they employ someone who fits their image conscious minds?  The secrecy, the whispering, the needless time wasted would not go down well in certain other organisations I have known. Especially those with only a few staff and a capable management.  Be 'up front,' state your case and get on with it.  Not like that here it appears.  

However I limped home and returned to what I do best, I fell asleep.  I have now discovered seven people who died during the war, civilians all, and am struggling to know their stories.  How silly all this is, yet how interesting to piece things together.  Just along the road from me one February Saturday night in 1941 a German plane dropped a few bombs.  Three died, on 13 year old in a house and one unlucky 19 year old lassie who was passing at the time, probably hurriedly!  Many were hurt, garage destroyed, houses badly damaged and now a Sainsburys car park fills the space left!  A sad but not uncommon story that I wished to know for some time and discovered quite by accident.

I occurred to me that I forgot to add yesterday that while I sat pondering in the quiet, deserted cemetery, enjoying the sun, silence and passing birds fluttering by, a cat appeared out of the undergrowth.  It stared towards the large fir tree from where finches sang out to the world.  He did not notice me behind him as I watched his antics, I called and he turned and stared wide eyed, almost as if he had seen a ghost!  I thought for a minute I could hear his heart beating, pumping away to the dozen, but it was more probably mine still recovering from the bike ride downhill!  I noticed a large pigeon fly overhead and when I looked back the cat had disappeared. I hope he has recovered.  
 
   
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Monday, 14 April 2014

The Little White Dot



Can you see the little white dot in the far distance?  I saw it this morning and once again was touched by the feeling of loneliness this dot inspired.  As early as my bones would stand it I cycled off, against the cold north wind, down to Bocking Cemetery.  I was looking for one of the two remaining dead soldiers to complete the collection of fallen from the two wars. Unfortunately neither have the normal war grave tombstones as both are buried in family plots. From a picture on another memorial site, now removed as the owner has left the town and moved to bigger things.  I knew he was buried near a hedge.  There is no hedge!  It must be an ivy covered wall, the wall exists but his grave does not! The search is not helped by the council eco friendly idea of allowing the older part of the cemetery to go 'wild' for the sake of flora and fauna.  This helpful idea limits visibility of the stones that lie an inch or two off the ground.  Bah! Nothing found so I will venture forth after better preparation next time. Someone has a map of the plots in the council! 

      
So instead I pondered Private Bennett lying here alone, far from home, isolated in a pathway of freshly cut grass among a few local worthies and chirping birds and fluttering butterfly's.  I know his regiment was formed in Hamilton for 'Home Defence,' that is there was no intention to go overseas to fight.  This type usually comprising older, married men, with the simple intent of stopping Germany invading.  In 1916 the Division was transferred from their homeland to defend the south east of England, the most likely place for invasion, and spent some time watching Zeppelins pass by and drop a bomb or two.  The 2/6th Cameronians were billeted in Terling, a small village about four miles south of Braintree.  How I ask did this man end up in Bocking cemetery?  I can trace no information of any kind, and this is annoying me.  A while back I sent the information with photos to the Cameronians Museum but they could tell me nothing.  
Could it be an accident during training, that would be hushed up army style of course.  It may well be he suffered a pre-existent condition which took him out, and an injury of illness may have seen him placed in one of the local VAD (Voluntary) Hospitals that sprung up during the war.  That at least would explain why he was buried here.  


I sat for a while in the restful quiet, cheerful birds chirping and distant traffic the only noise. How was he buried?  Did a few orderlies from the hospital give him a 'basic,' but considerate funeral? Could it be that a detachment of his Company arrived, led by a piper perhaps, sloped arms, while pallbearers carried him to the grave.  Would the padre, and some say the Cameronians were mostly Catholics but I have no proof of this, would the padre say a few words about the 'resurrection and the life,' and 'he who believes in me will live?'  Was a rifle volley of blanks fired over the grave, a trumpeter blowing the 'Last Post,' and did the men march away, heads bowed, thoughtful perhaps, and leave their comrade alone, so very alone? 
Hamilton in 1916 was very far away.  Any family who wished to visit could do so, if they had the money, could get on a train, find accommodation, and take the time to travel so far.  Was he married, children perhaps?  So many questions and so far no answers.  
The war has left many men far from home and often alone and forgotten, so our Private Bennett is not alone in this.  Six men from the wars lie in this ground, one young woman also, another pile of unanswered questions there. As for Bennett, once he departed this life he ceased to worry about loneliness, it is the relatives and friends who have the stress.  His thoughts would be occupied elsewhere.


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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Hello Blossom



What a difference Spring makes!  Sun shining, blue sky, a wee bit chilly but lovely all the same. Not that I saw much of this as I was forced to remain indoors watching cup semi finals.  Quite why they don't fix up a telly in the park so I can watch in comfort there I am not informed.  When I think of it I am not informed about much these days.  Living as I do in my own little world it can be surprising to discover things occur outside my remit.  In any decent society I would be informed daily about such events, rather in the manner thon queen woman gets information in a big red box everyday for her to ignore.  


Long days are back again, how I enjoy them!  Rising around six (back to bed around 12) and now wandering around in the cool of the day while down under the cyclone rage through and rain lashes down.  It makes a change I can tell you!  I note however Perth is still suffering high temperatures and the have the audacity to grumble about heat!  Bah!  
Another Sunday passes, another evening when the kiddies go home rather than shout and scream their lungs out in the park.  Maybe they have forgotten tomorrow is a day off?  At times like this, with the sun just beyond the horizon, the sky a light blue still, and a hush descending over the land I wish I was bedside a lake, or the seaside.  That would improve things, as would a large steak and a few friends (whatever they are).  A cat purring at my side, worries put away, ah that would be nice.  



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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Friday, 11 April 2014

Classic Show



One of the UK's best comedians, famous for his radio then TV shows in the 1950's.
'The Blood Donor' was one of his best! Made even better as having been injured in a road accident he had no time to learn the script.  He therefore read the script off 'idiot boards,' throughout.


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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Bread, Bacon, Cheese and tea.



That was what I had for breakfast after I toiled up the old railway for another heart attack exercise time.  The problem with strenuous effort is that the hulking body that causes women to stop and stare requires fuel.  Now I had actually gulped down a fried egg sandwich before I left at six this morning, well 7:30 after I ate breakfast, but once I returned and walked to the shop for fresh bread I got tempted by the grub on offer.  

  
I have lived here 18 years now and still cannot get over the delight of passing green fields, country views, blue skies and the wide open spaces found outside the town.  Sometimes I wonder how and why we live in cities?  When the air is warmish and the beasties abound the mind is refreshed from all the gunk poured into it during the day.  


I returned to the gunk myself and continued searching for dead soldiers.  While interesting it drives my mind round the bend.  Happily I am on to something different tomorrow.  Life changes at Easter.  The kids swarm around the streets in packs, the girls with their noses in the air and their hair in a bun Victorian style, the boys trendy as always and as intelligent as a packet of peanuts!  


Is that house looking at me?
The politicians have taken the two weeks off to fiddle their expenses and travel the world on jollies! This means we will have less serious news, apart from the obsession with that South African murder trial, and the plane lost at sea.  The media forced to stay at home will be desperately searching for anything that will fill space no matter how insipid.  Hmmm maybe I ought to make a splash somewhere!  


Look, bunnies!  As I passed I noticed lots of bunnies making the most of the dew on the grass to have their version of bacon sandwiches.  This is not always a good thing as many farmers creep around at this time with shotgun in hand.  I heard several bangs this morning as I meandered along, young crops do not require rabbits says Farmer Jones!  Sad in some ways but if they are not culled they will destroy the farmers livelihood.  There were masses of them out today. As I wandered past the eggs, small eggs, packets of eggs, fluffy chickens a chocolate bunnies I wondered what has this to do with Easter? Even the 'Easter cards' had little about Jesus, indeed nothing but a flowery cross was on show, yet this is Easter, without him rising from the dead we would not be wasting money on all this chocolate!  Why are shops scared to say so?


I kept hearing the 'Beach Boys' song 'Country Air' as I pulled muscles all over my body.  It suits this place better than sandy Californian beaches I guess.  Not that I have seen the sandy Californian beaches, I did once see the shore at Southend however.  I breathed fresh air, listened to little birds chirp, almost fell over a dog or two and decided bacon for breakfast tomorrow and let the bike rest, it needs it.   
  
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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Change of Plan.



My day was well planned, I was involved from the off in my work and I exercised by playing Beatles songs and dancing (with the curtains closed) until I fell down (two minutes!).  Things were going well when the museum called. The afternoon talk required help, someone has to make the tea!  So changing my plans to suit I wandered down in the afternoon expecting a crowd for the tea and biscuits.  
There were three names on the list!
However with half term this was to be expected and Jenny did her bit by bringing her mum, dad and neighbour along!  With three members of staff it swelled the crowd!  The picture is taken in a manner to indicate a larger audience than actually arrived.  
It was good however.  The chap discussed the wool trade over almost a thousand years.  The wool made England rich, much off it exported to what is now Holland, Belgium and France, and if you wish to see what it does look at the Suffolk village of Lavenham!  Check for pictures of the place, a huge church paid for by wool exports.  The English parliament saw the speaker in the House of Lords sitting on a 'woolsack' to represent the wealth thereof.  
By the time of the Reformation things changed.  Protestant believers in what was then Spanish Netherlands were persecuted so moved to various parts of England.  Bringing their 'Bays & Says' they found welcome in East Anglia and the resultant operations lasted well into the nineteenth century.  This was the substance of the talk.  The separation of wool from the fleece, washing, weaving, turning into bays or says.  The bay was a standard length of 35 yards long and one and a quarter yard wide (You work it out).  This was hard labour work, it made much money, allowing for various wars, rebellion and the like that hit the trade, and made some people a great deal of money.  Those doing the dirty jobs got the least!  
This was an interesting story, especially as we have the remains of the old mills that took over once this trade lessened and many remain who worked at the weaving, in fact one visitor was a retired weaver, and he wished us to know this!
A good afternoon out, even if it ruined my day - again.

Good job I am not one to complain.....       

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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Work!



I headed off to the museum to work this morning full of the joys of sleep!Here I was, trudging slowly down the road while on a normal day I could be heading back to bed, life is so unfair!  The school holidays are upon us so we run little activities which many regularly attend.  So today we had eighteen names down on the list, plus mums or grans, and about a thousand appeared to be in the building!  It was good of course, they all enjoyed it, they always do, a  chocolate egg was presented to those who had correctly filled out the quiz form, none failed when I do it, and a general peace fell over the building after they all departed.  
Of course the early day is always a hassle.  Nothing is in the right place, no money in the till and people at the door!  Once the kids arrive, wee Jack always first, there is the name checking, payments, details etc and the form for a quiz type trail to give out.  Naturally the openings for mistakes, confusion and the occasion pain in the whatsit occur.  I coped well, by passing the problems to others! 

The best part was the couple from Illinois.  Her mum had lived along the road from the museum, which was then a school which she attended.  By 1939 she was 18 and soon the place was full of US servicemen and the uniform, she said, attracted her.  Hmmm, not the chocolate, chewing gum and nylons then?  She married one and hopped off to the States.  Strange to say her home there was less modern than the one here.  Outside loos, something she did not have here, revealed the difference between real life and Hollywood movies.  They survived, worked hard and brought up a family. Reminded me a bit of my own folks. Good couple who's few days here have seen them return with a few souvenirs and several hundred photos!  Foolishly I forgot to take one of them or obtain their name. Idiot! They were great representatives of America!  That's what the place is for I say, people like them, and that is why I like it. Not forgetting the amount of chocolate I also obtained today.....

We have chickens in the shop, small fluffy things, bouncing eggs, cards, and other Easter paraphernalia, nothing about Jesus right enough.....

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Monday, 7 April 2014

Monday Mumbling



Mumbling about nothing today.  Rain spoiled everything.  I wrapped my sisters cheap birthday present and sauntered down to the Post Office run by the nice Asians.  A cheery smile took my money and off the packet went.  On the way back the rain teemed down just to annoy me and soaked as I was I sought refuge in Tesco.  Upstairs the clothing department sold unsuitable hats at a price I could consider so clutching my bottle of milk I squelched my way home.
Nothing else happened.
Oh it did.  Firefox would not work this morning.  It worked OK last night, Google Chrome was working OK yet Firefox would not connect, it just kept claiming it was reset.  I searched for an answer which remained hidden and getting fed up forgot all about it.  Later when I switched back on it worked fine, it still does!  
Nothing else happened.
It should have happened but somehow when I looked at the clock it was four o'clock and the day had passed by.  Where did it go?  What happened there? Nothing!  
Oh wait a minute, I made soup.

Sometimes I wonder if I can go on at this restless pace.......




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Saturday, 5 April 2014

Spring Crops



T'was bliss that dawn to be alive, or in the early morn at least. How long since I passed this way I canny mind but the crops are bouncing now. The sun shone and the peoples they were afar away, and may they stay there I say. I was forced out early as I woke up and saw the bright sun shining and could not resist the temptation to visit the countryside again. Also it will rain tomorrow as usual so I will remain covered by the ceiling.
Nothing else happened.



Nothing has happened elsewhere either.  The missing planes black box, which is orange, might have been found, maybe.  The Heart of Midlothian have gone down fighting, looking to renew next season amongst the lower orders.  This was not unexpected and causes no upsets. Avoiding liquidation is far more important.  In Afghanistan (remember that place?) they are happily electing a new president who will lead them to new fighting while pocketing vast amounts of donors cash. Isn't democracy wonderful?   The Afghans now get to select whoever will rob them blind and do nothing about their miserable lives.  



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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Fussing about Haze



The daffodils boobed their heads slowly in the early morning breeze, a blackbird took fright as I passed but not before tugging a three inch worth of worm from the earth, and the sun fought hard to break through the haze brought by the chilly east current.  Few ventured out bar those opening up their businesses or reporting for duty with little in the way of mirth revealed in their faces. Dog walkers passed unsmilingly, the dogs expectant of adventure in the fields as if this was a new adventure rather than a repeat of many previous days, from the main road the rush of traffic spoiled the atmosphere both romantic and physical, the hum of tyres racing past in the distance.  
I stopped to picture the haze in the only wide open spot available, the sun shone weakly high above brightening the land in spite of the pollution attempting to block its progress.  To my left a blue car packed a small tough looking wee dog into the back and motored away, the engine quiet as if afraid to wake the sleeping houses across the fields.  Suddenly I noticed a pouting adolescent heading for school stop to produce a bright yellow phone from his pocket and linger, still pouting, as he caught up on important news.  I resisted asking what sort of lad carries a yellow phone in case I broke some law and was more than uninterested in whatever his news may be.  As I forced the bike into gear amidst much clanking and scraping I noticed a large Vauxhall containing a woman and two smaller children parked in an out of the way place.  Quite what she was doing there I know not, it crossed my mind she awaited the school opening as it was yet long before eight, maybe she just liked rugby fields?  
Dodging one dogwalker and awaiting another as she persuaded her 'Scottie' to avoid walking through glass left by the kiddies the night before I headed slowly homewards.  The haze remained, broken occasionally during the day by brighter patches of sunlight which never quite gathered the strength to overcome it, yet much less than what occurred yesterday.  

News people require something sensational otherwise they feel let down. Yesterday the main story was the deep haze hanging over the south of England. The thick haze covering London was shown repeatedly by the news media, pictures filled the papers and the radio news talked of little else.  How these 'journalists' enjoyed this.  The pictures of London, and it is always London the picture, did indeed show the haze however it was not so thick here and TV pictures can be manipulated, and much talk and hot air was heard debating the causes.  There appeared to be three, everyday pollution from vehicles and daily life, clouds arriving from the east and would you believe sand blown all the way up from the Sahara desert.  Pictures of such sand were shown as it lay on cars and windows, murky shots of buildings in the distance suffering this outrage appeared, and indeed there is no doubt something was in the air yesterday, something above the usual defilement.  There again maybe that was just me doing the washing and the aroma of 'Daz' was filling my throat. 
The Sahara does indeed send sand to the UK on occasion, SKY news informed us it regularly sends its contents over to the Brazilian Rain Forests helping to ensure the continuation of such forests.  "This," said the man,"Shows nature taking care of itself." I thought it pedantic to ask why 'nature' had not taken care of the forests and jungle that once stood where the Sahara sand now lies, but thought that may upset him.    

The debate has continued at a lesser pace as western winds arrive tomorrow to clear the air.  It has caused the usual talk, this 'natural' event, but as far as I can see there is no movement in actually doing anything about the worst element of the haze, car fumes!  No politician will suggest 'Electric only cars in cities,' nobody will suggest developing and investing in bus and train travel to limit pollution, certainly not while an election is being held in 2015.  Yet those dying from chest complaints, asthma and other problems exacerbated by the haze might vote for those that do suggest it, and then actually do something about it.  What's that?  You heard no such suggestion from those able to do something?  I am surprised about that.

So the media has had its fill of pollution news, interspersed by the Clegg v Farage debate. However as Clegg will be removed from leadership of his party after the election, if indeed he retains his seat, and Farage at best will gain only handfuls of seats from the Tories the debate was at best irrelevant.  Since Cameron took power four years ago they say the Conservative Party has lost half its membership.  His same sex marriage ideas, the ignoring party wishes and dumping unwanted dolly bird candidates on local parties was never going to win friends with that lot.  So UKIP, Farages anti Europe party, will now gain some of their support.  This has already happened at the last local elections as a warning to Cameron that went unheeded, such as voted then may not vote UKIP, they certainly will not vote Cameron!  His job also is on the line.  Two real debates remain, Cameron and Milliband the leader of the failing Labour Party, and Cameron, as Prime Minister debating with Alec Salmond the Scottish First Minister. Cameron knows he would be thrashed by Salmond, a proper politician, this then will never be allowed to happen.  By 2015 of course Scotland may have lost interest in an English election (Westminster cares little for Wales and Northern Ireland also) and be preparing to go her own way.

 


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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

School Bell



While some folks have spent their days lounging around some of us have been worked off our feet!  The brilliant idea of Friday to return to exercise, followed up by cycling for an hour on Saturday and Sunday mornings was very successful.  The muscles responded very well and ached in all the right places and one or two I had forgotten about.  However instead of relaxing in a hot bath for the whole of Monday I found myself at the museum for the annual stocktake.  This, as you may guess, was a 'bit mixed.'  I admit I had easy bits to do but saying this the lists were confusing and there was much to-ing and fro-ing going on from all of us all day.  Some things that had been counted clearly had items removed and required recounting, others were straight forward except for the odd one or two there appeared much later elsewhere!  This was not helped by questions asked being answered and then asked repeatedly again!  Still that is done now and someone else has to go through it all and work out the mistakes, missing bits and the query regarding the one book which in fact should be one hundred!  I found them all but no-one believed me.  Next time I am in they will be on sale!!!  


One of my pet projects is to establish a folder with one sheet of information on each of the subjects folks ask about when they pop into the museum.  To this end I have been acquiring info from the website, writing a thing or two myself happy in the knowledge that we er, have the knowledge to hand. Naturally the only question today was about the school that once populated the building and that is a subject I know nothing about!  Tsk!  Why don't they ask about things in the file?  So that goes on the list of 'things to do,' an ever growing list I may add. we were able to show where answers could be found but could do nothing about the memories of his childhood spent in terror at the school back in 1960. It appears he did not have a happy time.  School memories never fade. 


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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Wot?



I passed the happy smile club there yesterday morning as I wandered round for my veg.  By veg I mean a trip to the market for fruit and veg, not a visit to the MP or local politician.  The sun was attempting to shine and I had just got off my bike after the first dawdle around for a while and was attempting to stop my knees from freezing up.  Today made it twice I have been out on the bike, already I am fitter, according to the aches from the muscles that I had forgotten about, and they threaten rain!  However I am in the museum for two days so I care not a jot.


As expected the last Edinburgh 'Derby' match resulted in another win for the Heart of Midlothian.  The Hibernian contingent, knuckles dragging on the ground as they arrived, were for reasons unclear convinced they would succeed where they have failed so often before.  They failed again!  To make matters worse for them the expectation was a victory would result in the Heart of Midlothian being relegated to the lower division.  Money fiddling has meant the team playing the entire season with the Under 20's forming the bulk of the team.  However the wee team from Leith have gone home unhappy as we once again defeated them.  Relegation may come but after today it is a thought that Hibs might find themselves joining us.  Tee Hee!
Read Mike Smiths thoughts, Edinburgh Reporter. 


I have been so slothful and lazy overworked that I have not been reading folks blogs.  When I have I have not commented, thinking I will do so later and later never arrives.  My mind is falling apart, nothing is going right and I am sure I have read posts then discover I have not.  I must get more sleep.....