Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Something Different



The Clyde Puffers used to sail the west coast of Scotland to the isles delivering this that and everything.  Now long gone only one is left, taking tourists through the road to the isles.' 

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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Back to Work!



After my furlough I stumbled down the road, braving the gale force wind, and entered the museum once again.  Naturally all the bright young lassies were desperate for my return (yes they were!) and I settled quickly into the routine, making mistakes, forgetting names, losing things, overcharging customers (and that was only a 50p postcard) and forgetting where everything was kept.  
Back to normal then.  
Usually I was left on my own but today young Lee, an unemployed accountant, fills his time by volunteering and today he joined me and it was just as well.  The first customer wished tickets for an event, Lee knew where they were and I was supposed to know how to work the 'friends of the Museum' discount.  Naturally I got it wrong!  After much fiddling the lovely Jenny told us the simple way of 'doing it right' and the man was happy enough with things.  Lee had to correct me several times as I forgot what/where/why and so on.
Just like normal!


So now I sit here staring at the 'To Do' list and thinking of reasons not to do it.  So much requires attention, the museum requires something - even though they do not know it yet, the house requires lots of work, the body however wants to sit and stare.  The mind cannot even work out what to watch or listen to at the moment.  The news is filled with liars asking, nay pleading, for us to save their careers and I really do not posses the desire so to do!  A quick look at the candidates for election has made my mind up.  I will not be voting 'for' anyone but 'against' the man who will win.  We also have local elections on and I am positive who I will vote for there even though I know nothing about them!  I found one item of information re one woman, nothing whatsoever re the others wishing to be local Councillors!  A disgraceful state of affairs I say!  In a town as small as this you would think such information important - there again so few will vote normally at local elections and those who do so today will vote for a Party, not a candidate.  We have no other choice.  Again I am voting for a Party because the other Party dominates and opposition is a must - even if poor.


That's it.  I'm all washed up now....

Monday, 4 May 2015

Sea Sick, Too bad!



Since I was last here a couple of years ago I wanted to return to this car park and sit here watching the ships go by.  The sun glinting off the water, the sounds of the ferry's chains rattling, the water sloshing against the walls, the variety of craft that run back and forward on occasion ignoring the 'Give way to the Ferry' sign on the ferry.  The sun shone but there was a chill in the wind still, note the two at the back of the wee boat!  They have been out on a fishing trip and I wonder if they have caught anything out there apart from pneumonia?
There were over twenty cars on the ferry but I lost count as they came off.  A tourist bus, a 7:5 ton van and other large vans also travelled alongside a cyclist or two and foot passengers.  During the summer this place must be teeming!  The sands opposite filled with revelers and others indulging in things you keep kids away from, unless you are Ofsted of course!


Away in the far distance stands 'Old Harry Rocks.'  Once in the days of long ago these were attached to the Isle of Wight that is now far across the Solent.  I have clambered out along the top, in the 1980's, and it seems to me bits have been worn away since then by the storms.  There is no chance of my clambering over the brutes now!


Somewhat closer than in reality the distant Isle of Wight is clearly seen, even the southern end often shrouded by haze can be seen in the far distance.  So what happened to all that chalk land that has eroded?  I suspect someone somewhere has a mountain or two on their beach that they are not too happy about.


We climbed up to a high spot on the cliffs to gain a better view.  Down below the handful of people walked along the bright sand, sand that looks as if it has been relayed in time for the summer season.  The tourist income is vast and this long beach stretching from Christchurch to Poole more or less is a fabulous place to be.  Thousands consider it so and it gets a wee bit crowded.  There is very good support from lifeguards and council controls.  Mostly for lost kids during the day I suspect.


More fishermen!  They are also the only folks at sea it appears.  Usually this place is teeming with life.  Ferries to France, lifeboats rehearsing, small craft passing by, occasional other bigger ships in the distance heading for Poole.  Today little moved except a  dog or two and some people enjoying the sun. 


The different shades of blue in the sky intrigued me.  The sea was the same, various shades, changing as clouds passed over.  The blue above lightens as it heads towards the horizon, gradually the blue dissipates until it touches the sea.  The clouds remained small cotton wool like and insufficient to fill the picture, which is good.

Sick off the sea?  OK, no more now.


oops, sorry!


Sunday, 3 May 2015

Corfe



The tiny village of Corfe is famous for one thing only, Corfe Castle.  This magnificent ruin stands high above the village giving a clear view of the land around.  Those coming by boat or land through the Purbeck Hills could not avoid detection from the defenders.  Purbeck of course was famous for the marble quarried here, the 'Isle of Portland' also famous for the stone that was used worldwide.  This is likely to have been used as a defensive site from very early on, it is thought Romans used it and certainly the Anglo-Saxons built a wooden fort of some sort before in the late 11th century those Norman chaps made use of the stone and encouraged the local labour folks to help them, and a man with a big stick is indeed an encouragement to work! 
The English Civil War, which was not I understand very civil at all, found the then owners, Sir John and Lady Bankes on the side of the monarchy and almost the whole of Dorset parliamentarian.  After his death in 1644 the castle was again subject to siege and was taken by treachery and the parliamentarians destroyed the castle making it unfit for purpose, however it was not by that time as effective as it had once been.  The Bankes family continued to own but not live in the castle handing it over to the nation in 1982.  A nice tourist trap which we did not have time to visit but a few million photos were taken.

 
I am not sure who took all the fotos, however this one does show something of the normal Norman style.  In the middle was the solid square 'Keep' which rose three or four stories, the walls around and with rounded towers to aid defence.  It is noticeable how much some of the walls now lean at angles, not much use when defending yourself.  I would have got closer pictures but a woman would have asked me to pay so I stayed at a distance, I did however get permission from the various bodies concerned for this picture.  Note the slight haze seen from a distance, this covered the land and could be seen from the ridge above but not once in the village itself.

 
Corfe itself is basically two streets, East Street, the main road, and West Street which isn't.  The masses of tourists, and the place is so small a 'mass' quickly forms, find a post office with a friendly man in control, several pubs, a castle, a church and houses.  It is clear an effort has been made to keep the 'tacky' elements of tourism to a minimum, well done Corfe!  In the middle stands a cross erected in 1897 commemorating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, it makes a good place for tourists to block the centre of town!  The old houses and major buildings are all made of Purbeck stone as indeed are the walls around the farms.  These give a grandeur to the villages we passed through and reflect something of the wealth amassed in times past, long before further down the road Swanage was important. 
This part of England is called the 'Jurassic Coast' because of the fossils and remnants of dinosaurs that once roamed the area.  Cue jokes from women re their men at this point.  Certainly women living here around 6000BC would have said such things, probably with as much reason.  In those days people would follow the herds of deer from around here and walk all the way to what is now northern Germany.  Once the North Sea arrived they were trapped on this island and how their life must have changed.  Celts, Romans, Vikings, Normans and all have lived here at one time down to the present occupants of the land.  The present population affected, even though they may not recognise this, by all those who have gone before.  As many of England's Kings and their families made use of the castle the small village may well have seen many famous people pass through - for the last time, you know how blood thirsty English royalty can be.


We did not have much time here, a quick poke around the two streets, the church, the Post Office for stamps and a look at the houses, some of which contain bits taken from the ruined castle, and not even a sight of the steam railway that runs through here from Swanage, and we missed the train there also.


The church had one of these beasties on each corner high above.  How old they are and who made them I know not, probably a Victorian I guess, but each was different and ready to send rain water on passers-by.  


Among the passers-by are many hikers and cyclists as this part of the world attracts tourists who like the sea and country, a great change from the city many are forced to inhabit.  However the hills are just that and we saw one example of equality where a couple walked their bikes up the steep slope, that is she waked he pushed both bikes.  Typical woman!  The area is good for fit cyclists so I would avoid it but the views from the ridge are excellent.   




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Saturday, 2 May 2015

Swanage Sunshine



One thing the little coastal town of Swanage has is seagulls!  There are indeed lots of them living off the leavings of the visitors lunches.  There are lots of visitors as the town is only 25 miles by car via the ferry and a good day out on the sun for many.  While small it has spent millions recently doing up the promenade  which with the abundance of eating places, and a few attractions for the kids can keep some folks happy for a few days.  We brave men left the woman searching the shops while we fought the chill breeze on the pier.  


The pier is much used by divers searching the many wrecks around here and checking on the life we never see that lingers under the water.  It may look empty but a vast amount of life forms exist under our noses that only such divers meet close up.   Close up we met many from the film crew going about their business including a black security guard who being based on the pier with no shelter was wrapped up as if on an Arctic expedition!  Poor lad he had little to do at the time but shiver, we greeted him and giggled a wee bit.  Why I giggled I know not as I was as cold as he!  The ship had the name 'Jolly Rodger' on the stern (that's the back bit to you) and flew a Skull & crossbones flag high above.

 
We guessed this meant a kids programme was being made but could not be bothered to ask.  High above we see a little cloud but above the sea there was little in the way of clouds.  The Great Leader mentioned that as always the sea has little cloud while the land always has cloud above, indeed that was the case here.  Over the land a great mass of threatening black stuff could be seen but above the sea it was clear.  This is because of heat rising off the land perhaps, maybe a clever person can explain.



One eyesore remains in the town, this desperately requiring upgrading building!  Contrasted to the work already done this scar implied someone somewhere was hoping to cash in somehow! If you look closely you will not the hole in the wall isn't ans the windows on either side aren't either!  The pics are better seen on my Photo Blog but enlarging this gives a good view.  I am not really keen on murals myself, I see them usually as graffiti and usually awful graffiti at that.  This however was clever, artistic and vastly improved an eyesore.



Poole harbour contains the home of the Lifeboat institution the RNLI.  This marvellous organisation is responsible for saving thousands of lives year after year.  Each man is a volunteer, each highly trained, each worthy of praise.  The fishing boat alongside looks delightful but in a storm, which can arise quickly or possibly a weather warning be ignored, then little craft will be happy to see the unsinkable lifeboat approach.  Occasionally lifeboat men are lost at sea, they deserve any medal they get. 



There is a fantastic Heritage centre in the town, small but brilliantly laid out.  I was very impressed with it.  Like us all they lack money and over a hundred volunteers help keep the place alive.  There are four 'shops' inside.  Each one representing something of the past, each with a person inside, a dummy I mean, and this all put together by a volunteer!  Some man I say!  This was a small place but I loved it and was impressed by the layout, use of space and the volunteers I spoke to there, great people.  We can learn from them.


Our good lady pointed out that the seagulls feed off what the people leave, or have stolen from their hands, but surely a young bird walking around carrying his own plate was taking things a bit too far!  She had a point!
 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Thalatta! Thalatta!



"Thalatta! Thalatta!" "The sea! The sea!"
The cry of Xenophon and the ten thousand when the saw the Black Sea for the first time. To the sea faring Greeks this meant they would make it home from their expedition against Persia where they had been dragged into the wrong war and on the wrong side. It was also the cry that rent the air when I stood next to the great deep and breathed in the brine and rejoiced in the sun glimmering on the endless waves. Getting there however was not as straightforward as I hoped. 



To begin with all went well, the train was on time, the carriage was quiet, the sun shone on the green and pleasant land as we flashed along and even better nobody made use of mobile phones.
The change at Stratford would have been smooth if I could understand how to work the ticket machine, when things are simplified they are always harder to comprehend and I found that technology was not on my side this week.  Eventually however I sat in a tube train full of happy Londoners, cheerful, kind and ...oops, sorry I was deluded for a moment.  However I reached the station that French presidents try not to arrive at and boarded the train where a youthful London lass equipped with all the social graces of a nineteen year old Londoner sat next to me working on her texting.  Joy abounded!  
We moved, the five coach and therefore overcrowded train slowly made its way out of the platform.  The sun shone in our window, no-one spoke in the quiet carriage, an occasional bleep from a mobile or tablet was heard and we settled down for a happy journey.  The train slowly made it's way to Clapham Junction station where it ground to a halt five minutes after departure.  Enter the guards voice from the depth of the Tannoy, "A person has been hit by a train at Surbiton so there will be a hold up as both lines are blocked.  (This occurred at 11:34, one minute before we left.)  This usually takes about an hour or so."  Apologies were made, and resignation ran through the train.  Being the quiet coach we are not allowed to riot.
Having sat at Clapham for almost an hour we moved suddenly and without warning.  No-one believed all was well.  It wasn't.  We parked ourselves at Wimbledon station because it appeared we stood in the way of some 19 trains that could depart and avoid Surbiton, we could not.  The crowded masses on the platforms at Waterloo waiting for their trains did not bother us one bit but must have been a nightmare for the staff.  Here we sat watching the station staff run around like headless chickens, a very interesting experience as I, like you, have been involved in similar situations when nobody has a clue as to what is happening, information does not arrive and customers have steaming heads.  So it was fun to watch others suffer, in love obviously.
Was this an accident that a 75 'hit a train?'  That happened last week on the Tube.  Or was it suicide?  Now it peeves me that people kill themselves by throwing themselves in front of trains not for them so much as for the trouble their action causes others.  The train driver may well be traumatised by this.  He may get a day or two off work but will have to pass this way again and some folks find such things hard to dismiss from their minds.  He may suffer guilt for doing his job and being responsible for another's death even if he is not in truth responsible.  Then there are those who have the job of collecting the pieces from the track who may not be too happy about it either, let alone the thousands who are delayed by this action.  Indeed this is a selfish approach to suicide.  


The late arrival led to confusion at the other end but soon I reached the happy home where we sat scoffing while the birds hammered away at the fat balls in the garden.  What can be better than a small enclosed garden?  Well one by the sea I suppose.  Everybody ought to have one, humans need it!  However it is very difficult to get a decent shot through a window, especially when the brutes will not  stay in the sunny bit while flitting from one seed type to another!  This shot shows a really magnificent example of a fat ball!  I have also numerous pictures of blurred Blackbirds and the rear end of Blue Tits if that's your thing. 
How lovely to be able to sit in another's house and feel at home?  l don't often get that as I am usually kicked out but I did relax here and began to enjoy it greatly.  My second family who I owe much to and I realised I have known for a mere 44 years.  I should add that eating properly for a change helped a good deal, the food in this house is cooked by a  lovely woman, as indeed it should be!  Nothing in this home got burnt, not even when three of us men cooked Pizza all by ourselves!  
We also watched, in spite of murmurings from the corner, Bournemouth football club getting themselves promoted by beating Bolton 3-0.  Jolly good for this little club even though a cynical female woman failed to appreciate the magnitude of the occasion.  Such women still get to vote mind!  Think about that next Thursday!

  
Thalatta at last!  A trip over the chain ferry at Sandbanks to sit and stare at the sea, what more could you ask?  Well sunshine for a start and an end to the chill in the wind!  Running since 1926 and secured from the tide by two tough chains the ferry runs back and forth across the short distance  saving motorists a 25 mile trip round Poole Harbour. To one side stands the huge harbour area where a mass of sailing vessels and some very big Channel ferries base themselves, to the other side lies the Solent and out into what the English call the 'English Channel.'  Humble eh?  This is one of the delights of this area.  The views are fantastic and I find this sort of thing refreshes the mind.  Air, sea, breezes, sand and a few boats of various designs all combine to relax the heart.  That is why folks sit in the car at the parking bay and stare out to sea.  That is why others, braver than some, walk no matter the weather along the shore.  There is something about the sea that humanity requires daily, no wonder I miss it.  Of course some people do not like water, they will sit in the car muttering while the brave scout for dangerous fish, illegal immigrants or flotsam & jetsam.   None were found here as the water was clean as indeed are the beaches.  The area is quite upmarket, a house here would set you back from £2 - 10 million, but they are well done up.  I do not have one - yet!


At Studland two brave souls wandered down the slope to the tea stall situated, as such things always are, at the far end.  In summertime when the heat is on and the beach huts crowded with revelers, while kids drown one another in the sea or bury dad in the sand this place must be mobbed.  It is not large but when crowded it would be a place to avoid!  Today however the chill reduced the numbers and we watched while this crow (or is it rook?) waited while the lass at the table fed him chunks of her lunch.  Usually timid he was keen enough to jump on to and off the table quickly while grabbing his portion.  Her wee dog considered grabbing him but she would not allow that.

  
I could have taken a thousand pictures here, often of the same subject but in different ways however some people muttered about 'having a life' and we moved on.  All told I did take 190 fotos although not all were a success and you lucky people will be spared having all of them shoved down the throat.  A hundred would be enough.  What's that you said...?  Oh!  Anyway, that's enough for now.  I have been forced to walk hundreds of miles, OK, well two at least and some of that up slopes, and my knees will not stop moaning, and I canny bide folks who moan.  So I am off to bed to rest up!          

Monday, 27 April 2015

Break



Right, I am off to the seaside for a couple of days.  I have the promise of rain, wind, clouds, cold, rain and cold rain and more rain while there.  I told you it was Spring!   Back wet, cold, sick and there is a possibility I may be a wee bit grumpy, late on Thursday.
Don't break anything while I am gone.

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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Spring in Essex



Gray skies, dead daffodils, drizzle and a cold wind from the north.  
While the blue tits and goldfinches flit through the trees, many still leafless, the branches shake violently as gusts of wind remind us that we live on the far north west of Europe.  The cheery weather people inform us the cold 'blast' from the north will descend this week to make things a lot worse. 
I need not remind you that later this week the month of May begins!
Bah!







Saturday, 25 April 2015

Not to be Forgotten Colonials



Much of this morning was taken up with watching the ceremony at the Cenotaph for the ANZAC Day commemorations.  The next few years will see many centenaries from the war and this was probably one of the most significant.  The combined forces of the Australian and New Zealand armies not only partook in an unglamorous conflict but by doing so they forged two new nations.
Until this operation there was a tendency to see themselves as an extension of the 'mother country' something that has occurred time and again down through the centuries.  The British Isles sent many to these to land masses, sometimes unwillingly, and it was the war of 1914 that brought the realisation that these two nations were just that, nations, not an extension of anyone else.
The Anzacs had a tough and difficult time at Gallipoli and later played a part in operation in the Sinai desert.  In 1916 they were transferred to the harder still fighting in France serving at Poziers on the Somme.  
The contribution to the war effort by the Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Indian and many other nations cannot be overlooked.  Too often however that is what happens.  Today the ceremony brought them to the fore and also added contributions from their former enemies the Turks!  They too cannot be ignored.  
Fighting soldiers are usually the first to be pacifists when war threatens but the first into battle when peace breaks down.  Those who know war are the first to avoid it!  These men are also the first to welcome gatherings like this where former enemies meet to commemorate and live new lives.

   
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Friday, 24 April 2015

Radio 4 and 'Today'


I know how he feels!
This morning the Radio 4 programme 'Today' made me feel quite bilious!  This is supposedly the main 'hard news' show of the day, beginning at six in the morning and finishing at nine when everyone is supposedly at work somewhere in England.  Note it is supposedly only England as the rest have their own versions of early morning news.  In theory the main news will be offered, discussed, politicians called to explain, foreign news explained, home news made clear.  All well and good, when it works and the presenters allow folks to speak and answer the question!  The anti-Scots pro liberal bias is well noted but recently they have begun to turn the programme into one of those TV versions of early morning news, the ones where almost no news at all can be seen and pop/film/authors/celebs fill the time dressing badly and talking about themselves.
Today 'Today' gave us what appeared to be hours of drivel re a soap opera being broadcast at the weekend.  The sound of James Naughtie, a man who sold out Scotland during the referendum to keep his many slots in Radio 4 and Radio 3, indulged himself slavering over an actress from this upcoming show.  'Poldark' is the name, a remake of a programme form the distant past.  the usual script, handsome men, pretty girls, clothes off and in the background an explosion, a bad man/old man/grumpy woman etc and nothing but vacuous bile all the way through.  You saw it when it was the Tudors/Victorians/shop owners/oil magnates etc and will be seeing the same again soon.  
Why was this dross on a news show?
Not long ago a man wrote a 'book' on Twitter for them, then we had poetry and on and on and on with things that have little to do with news.  If only we had a proper news service, better journalists instead of BBC clones and moved away from celebrity culture on news shows we might get more people listening.

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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Let Joy reign.....Pah!


I clambered aboard the somewhat rusting red doubledecker bus.  A handful of passengers, mostly aged women joined me.  We waited several minutes, time enough for two mothers with pushchairs to enter and jam up the passageway.  Soon we were off, blue smoke belching from the rear of the bus as the 'Free Bus' made the short journey to the shopping centre.  Here we dismounted our tired steed and dispersed towards the collection of 'outlets' where a variety of overpriced fashion chains attempt to fool people into thinking they are getting a bargain.  Many displayed large garish signs which promised, with all the authority of a politicians pre-election promises, 'Price Cuts' or 'SALE' and 'Many stocks half price,'  all lies.  
In days of yore when I was young we dressed in levi's and desert boots enabling us to look similar to Simon & Garfunkel on the 'Bridge over Troubled Waters' album, except on the occasion we wore cords.  Indeed I wore cords for about twenty five years, often 'Levi's' or 'Wranglers' or occasionally a cheaper option if possible.  Those days are gone as proper cords are hard to come by and those makers charge too much.  That said I wandered into a near empty Levi's shop to check the bargains.  They do not appear to go into garish window signs but inside I noticed that I could get two pairs of jeans for £99.  This was made to sound a bargain!  Fifty quid each!!!  I hitched up the grubby £5 Tesco jeans I wore and shuffled out the door glancing at the neatly piled offerings and their high prices.  They say Levi began making jeans during the gold rush, possibly true, certainly you need a gold rush to buy them today!
The building hid the biting cold wind and sunshine filled the space in the passageways.  A few people were rich enough to buy and others had the joy of trailing the kids with them.  One man brought his dog possibly as an excuse not to go into the shops and bore himself to death as she examined the goods.  A woman checking the stuff in a shop and pondering is not as efficient as a man I say.  No clocks can be found in these shops for obvious reasons.
I checked the jackets in the Barbour shop.  Again the store was neatly laid out and once again i had no idea what was men's wear and what were women's!  Most of it looked the same to me.  As a man was checking the far side I walked there and considered one or two items.  I love the way they display prices without any blushing.  £249 reduced to a mere £189, sounds like a bargain to me!  I continued to prowl through the price labels, difficult to read when in half light and wearing glasses meant for distance.  One jacket I did take a fancy to but decided opening a bank account just to get a loan was not quite what I wanted to do.  I could buy a house for less!  
The shopping centre I find somewhat depressing.  The prices are too high, it is of course aimed at women, the men's stuff if good is not what I am after and what I am after is too dear or not the right colour or size.  No wonder I check Tesco first!
My wallet opened only to buy a pair of cheap slippers which turned out to be half the price on the ticket which almost made me smile, I didn't as I wanted to look like many of the girls I saw working int he shops.  Three '3xl' T-shirts were obtained from a 'Sports Direct' shop where the two girls I spoke to were pleasant and efficient.  It was only while in there I remembered it was 'Sports Direct' a shop owned by the chap who runs Newcastle football club.  He is famous for making money and 'interesting' deals.  One or two deals have ensured he has a large hand in Rangers football club, owning the rights to run the shops, the rights to the logo's and is owed much millions for money he loaned them.  Quite was else he has his hand in is not clear.  An arrangement with previous board members meant he loaned five players to Rangers with accommodation and salaries to be paid by the Glasgow club.  Three of these men were injured at the time and have never reached Glasgow, one played, very well in fact, but damaged his hamstring and left at half time and returned to Newcastle.  Only one plays for Rangers.  Dubious deals in football are not new but the Newcastle owner is very good at them.  He has no fans either in Glasgow or Newcastle but as long as he makes money he appears to care not.
The T-shirts I bought I know shrink so I bough very large ones.  As I tried one on I realised it fits perfectly - which means once washed it will shrink like so many others!  Bah!
The single deck white once glorious but not so now 'Free Bus' arrived as I sat in the sunshine attempting to avoid the cold wind that kept crawling down my neck.  The handful of passengers clambered aboard clutching a few precious bargains.  We sped back slowly to the bus station where  we disgorged into the arms of other bargain hunters determined to lose their money on things they do not really require.  The sun warmed the day out of the breeze as I walked up the road admiring the blue sky, the glinting of rays of shiny things and listened to the chirping of birds high above.  
Naturally I was tired and after the repast that would be outlawed even by a hospital I wanted to sleep off my morning.  Naturally the men on the scaffolding were again working, one painting something above the windows and the other erecting even more planks and poles.  Crashing and banging, shouting, joking and far to much merriment in my view.  There is too much happiness around and I think we need more misery!  I must campaign for such and rid the world of joyful people, especially when I am tired!  This continued for a while and at the first opportunity I gathered my weary bones and wandered out into the busy roadway for some peace and quiet.  A walk round town, a visit to Tesco, kids and all, and back home helped me relax better than the workmen could. Now all is still, long tailed tits flit among the trees looking for supper, a few cars pass by, the sound deadened somewhat by the scaffolding, a dog chases an object thrown by the owner in the park and a form of peace has returned.  
Looks like that means it's time for football then, innit!


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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Clear Sight


 
I see the world clearer now.  By that I do not mean I have read and understood all the propaganda spewed out of the various political parties, no siree.  No-one understands those, not even the writers let's be honest.  I did however receive the Tory leaflet through the door today, personally addressed to me.  This tactic of personally addressing such leaflets is motivated by a desire to convince the householder that he is worth something to the candidate, nobody believes that!  So a glance at the picture of the smug git was enough to put me off.  Certainly he has abilities, clearly he has some experience of life, there can be no doubt he suits this Tory dominated constituency but will I vote for him, I doubt this very much!  He did not reply to my Twitter tweet asking him one question, only the Labour man managed that to his credit, the two others I asked also failed to answer. Today's media is quiet on the election however, just another Cameron fear story re the SNP. Nothing regarding policy, just one of Clegg's promises that mean nothing so it shows the Conservative Party are struggling indeed if their media are quiet.
However we get away from the point!

The point is I can see clearer now.  Indeed I see better than I have seen for ages.  You see work has begin on the outside of the crumbling building and scaffolding has been erected for the men to (slowly) do the work.  Naturally one is off at the hospital for some results and the other is off elsewhere today.  All we have is a couple of scaffolders erecting even more poles and planks remarkably quietly.  This erection allowed me to make use of the scaffold to clean my windows!  You see owing to several problems, sloth being the most obvious other than the weather, it has not been possible to actually clean the windows without much stress and hassle.  Today however I clambered onto the scaffold and removed eons of dirt from the outside of the glass.  It strikes me now I am sitting watching the gray clouds gathering outside that I forgot to continue and clean the inside also. Oh well, another job for tomorrow.  

 
Where do 'bluebottles' come from?  You know those big blue flies that race in the window flying around seeking escape and usually leave by the way they entered?  I ask because each day this week I have had one on the window that will not go to the open kitchen window but wanders around the front one.  This forces me to get up and open it and chase the brute around until he leaves.  This window remains closed because of traffic noise yet it is this one the beasts insist on visiting.  Maybe once I clean it they may find it less interesting.


Tesco today announced a loss of £6.9 Billion.  This has much to do with clever accounting that failed and opening too many large stores where they were not wanted in the first place.  Many stores have closed, jobs lost, others threatened.  The books are now clean and we move on they say.
Considering the manner in which prices have grown so sharply, I spent £35 now where I spent £20 before yet they make losses?  I find it hard to believe.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Birds, Tacitus.



After much stress I managed to actually grab a picture of one of the birds.  These brutes sit in the trees above me singing away yet I cannot see them!  They know this and sing louder for spite!  Then if I get a good idea of where the brute is it moves to another branch.  The leaves are small still and only some blossom is around yet it is so hard to see these songbirds.  This one came down twice and moved so fast the camera failed to focus on him.  I'll get a decent shot one day.


Well that's another Tacitus finished.  'The Histories', detailing the year 69 A.D. when three men, Galba, Otho and Vitellius, became emperor for a wee while.  All ends nicely with the three men dead and Vespasian on the throne and he was the only one never to reach Rome during the crisis.  
His armies, and those Legions quick to support him, overcame the Legions and individuals who did not.  The oath taking for one and then another Emperor became confusing to me and I think to many soldiers.  Add to this the peoples dominated by Rome, the Germans, Gauls, English,Africans and the rest sometimes came to support Rome sometimes attempted rebellion.  As always individuals took their opportunities, the losers usually dying, and money was made and lost.
In the end it was just like today but with war involved.
Tacitus was not at his best when writing this book, his 'Annals' is much better written and in this book he spends too much time informing us of the bad guys bad actions and glorifying Vespasian and his men.  It was a wee bit like reading the 'Daily Mail' from that point of view.  He may have been right but it is not quite 'History.' 
I enjoyed this as the three Emperors were merely names to me, now I have one impression of their nature.  Tacitus also reveals how the Romans saw the Jews. They, and the Egyptians, were considered to reject true belief in the 'gods' and the Jews did not even have a statue of their God in the Temple!  The Romans thought the Jewish morals very strange indeed.  
Tacitus reveals something of the Roman outlook, the common people he refers to as 'riff-raff' and has no faith in them in any way.  His attitude is denigration at its best, 'snob' would be a good term for him, I wonder if he went to Eton with David Cameron?   Slaves were the lowest of the low, his opponents, or at least Vespasian's opponents were always immoral, the senate full of flattery and hypocrisy and few there were regarded by Tacitus as noble.  The army, that highly disciplined organisation was very much falling apart much of the time.  The leaders were corrupt, the officers either failures or killed by their men and it all appears to be exaggeration by the author to make his men look good. 
Still it was worth a read.      


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sensative Cat



The tale told by Lee on her latest article included a reference to her cat.  This tale regarding a cats perceptive understanding of a human was intriguing.  The cat knew something about the man humans could not identify however Lee also found him somewhat disagreeable.  This got me thinking, cats and indeed dogs still have instincts developed over the years we have lost.  Watch a bird at a bag of nuts chomping away, all the time the eyes are looking for enemies, the ears open to sudden noises and the escape route chosen just in case.  The Blue Tits and Robins are always on the alert as a moments hesitation and they are lost.  While humans require some degree of care at all times we civilised people (I use that word loosely) are less alert to the small signs that our pets often notice before us.  Ears, smells and noise not recognised by the human is detected long before by the cat, dog or budgie.  So it was he cat noticed a problem with the man and made his excuses.
However we have not lost all such talents.  Women can note things about other that men can never begin to imagine.  I recall one speaker from long ago and how one woman told me how she did not trust him, clearly to her there was something not right.  He was clearly arrogant, full of himself and he had many talents but other than that I and others noticed nothing.  Later the story came out and he was removed far from us.  Something in his manner spoke to the women, either attracting or repelling them, I never noticed.
However in days of yore I used to meet with a lass weekly and we would discuss many things including those we knew.   It transpired that we saw different things in the people around us.  Male and female perceptions and probably bias telling.  It led to a more rounded understanding but we never informed those we discussed of our conclusions.  Hopefully we were right!