Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Halloween is one of those anomalies that the secular liberal west not only allows to exist but perpetuates simply for commercial gain. Originating in pagan belief in the days of long ago, amended by the Roman Catholic Pope Gregory moved 'All Saints Day' to November 1st to cover the superstitious rites with a church veneer, and continued as a kids event in some places until recently. I say until recently because in the last 15 -20 years the commercialisation of this event has exploded.

Growing up in Edinburgh in the 50's we saw Halloween as a time for 'Guising.' Dressing up and enjoying party games such as attempting to eat a treacle tart hanging from the ceiling, with your hands tied behind your back. Follow this with the other regular game, 'dooking' for apples from a basin of water. 'Guisers' would go from door to door performing acts at each one and getting a reward, I never got much and sad to say the act has remained unchanged since I had it translated from the original Greek! Time has past and what was once a bit of fun has become an industry! Shops abound with all sorts of costumes and paraphernalia. Pumpkins are seen everywhere reflecting the wealth now found in this country, in our day we used turnips, not good enough for the middle classes I fear! And pumpkins reflect the greater influence - America! The Halloween seen today is not the last vestige of a pagan past, now it is a reflection of US society. 'Trick or Treat' replaces 'guising' even in Scotland! Cards are sent to friends as daft as yourself, parties of kids in overpriced outfits abound, and the idea of 'witches' is given credence once more. While it reflects our wealth and the American influence it also reflects our stupidity.

In the early 60's Halloween was just fun, now it has an eerie edge to it. The acceptance of demonic influence is widespread, demonic like masks, pitchforks and the like are seen everywhere. Bats are supposed to be seen everywhere, and let's face it, we all know a few 'old bats', graves are opened and skeletons wander about, witches on broomsticks fly at midnight and ghosts and ghouls are seen everywhere - especially as the pubs close. What does this do? It encourages the world to see such a creature as the Devil as a joke, unreal and non existent. Christians can tell you otherwise. An unchurched nation has no problem with this, and to be honest most folk will not be influenced to a great measure by demonic interference, at least,no more than normal. But it does encourage folk to disbelieve in a Satanic being. He will be happy with that, and is most likely behind it all anyway. better to encourage folk to believe in a demon that does not exist than confront the one who does.

Should we get involved with such events? I don't think so. But no reason for Christian churches to have their own parties, with similar games, minus the witches, and an explanation of their beliefs aimed at those attending. parties are very biblical, feasts and rejoicing, happiness and fun are found in the bible. Rejoicing before YHWH is demanded in places! So have fun with him! And it doesn't have to cost a fortune on goods found in the recycling tomorrow!

Monday, 29 October 2007


Ah Tesco's, or the 'Happy Smile Club' as I like to call it. As I wander around I want to shout 'Is everybody happy?' But never quite get round to it. Today was not too bad, in spite of it being noon and the kids being on holiday. I think most of them were wandering around filling mum's trolley while mum put all of it back as soon as she noticed it. The rest were sitting in the fridge, climbing up the shelving units and just generally getting under the feet and up the nose like brats do. But they were at least happy!

Ah happiness, where does it go when you enter a supermarket? Here, in the midst of vast wealth, where goods from every part of the globe are displayed, where overweight, overdressed (well except for her in the gray outfit, doesn't she know it's October?), folk with large 4x4 vehicles and houses filled with stuff they never use and don't need, here amidst all this wealth folk never smile! They wander around lost in their own world. occasionally you will see a deliberate nudge used to 'encourage' someone to move a bit further up the meat counter, a glare when a trolley is pushed over a foot, and, when I am around, questions asked as to why it takes a woman so long to 'pay up and get a move on out the way woman!' The cry 'I didn't need a shave when I came in!' may follow this. But I am so irritable these days, age you know. But how often do folk smile? Ask them a question and in this small town some women will respond helpfully and cheerfully, others will regard you as a rapist! Suggest with a smile they move their trolley so one can pass and receive a stare that Margaret Thatcher would run from. I blame women's magazines myself.

I ended up with a checkout lass who, although she filled the small area given to her with ease, the 'healthy option' stuff she obviously avoids, had eaten her good nature along with her porridge. A smile, received a grunt, a helpful suggestion received a silence, a comment that I was sick and at deaths door received the question 'Why don't you knock then?' I muttered thank you as she through the card back at me and raced for the door. I am just glad she was in a good mood!

I did think of trying for a job like that, part time. But the more I look at the folks doing it I can see why they get so uppity - folk like you and me! Imagine having to deal with the public? I have done it, so I know why it is so demanding. I would kill if I was on a checkout, it seems easy but how wearing and boring it must be day after day and hour after hour. hard to smile then.

Of course after I walked the long way home I realised I forgot the milk......

Thursday, 25 October 2007

‘Bible and Sword’

‘Bible and Sword’
by Barbara W. Tuchman.

Just finished reading this excellent study into the connections between the UK and Israel from the supposed presence of Joseph of Arimathea to the British Mandate between the wars. As she was writing in the early 1950s it is not surprising that she ends her study at that point, the state of Israel was too new for historical perspective then.

Tuchman takes us from Joseph through the many pilgrims who travelled to the ‘Holy Land.’ A journey which was long, dangerous, and fraught with difficulties. Following on come the Crusaders, fighting less from ‘faith’ and more for a desire to fight someone somewhere. While she describes the English ‘Lionheart’ Richard, who spent almost everyday of his rule in the middle East, as a great general of his time, she omits his murders. One of the first recorded actions he took was to slaughter the nearby villagers, who though Arabs, were in fact Christian. Still, never mind eh?

At the time the some began translating the bible into readable English others were developing trade with the middle east. Spices from far away India came through Muslim controlled Palestine and English merchants were not slow in seizing the opportunity for trade. Once however the reading of the bible became a staple in the land a new understanding of the Hebrew story left it’s mark upon the nation. This was to put the UK in the forefront of Jewish return to their God given homeland. In time there grew a belief among Evangelicals that the return of the Jews to Israel was necessary to hasten the second coming of Jesus. To this end there grew up a desire to encourage this, Shaftesbury being the leading light here. By the end of the 19th Century Imperial policy also became involved. The need to keep the Russians away from the India route, meant Britain was determined to control the fading Ottoman Empire. Faith and political expediency left Britain responsible for the return of the Jews.

Agreements made in war are often murky and based on temporary expediency, and soon all sides decided to misinterpret what did not suit them. The Arabs under Faisal agreed with the Jews arrival, then denied this. The Jews still came. Problems which arose in the 1920’s reappeared in the 50’s, and again in the days of the Bush dynasty, although this book, published in 1956, cannot cover this. By 1948 the UK pulled out and gladly left them to get on with it.

Tuchman, an American Jew is a well respected historian. Her books are long but remarkably easy to read. A great deal of study has gone into this book, and allowing for an occasional Hebrew bias, and her inability to understand that ‘England’ is NOT ‘Britain,’ something Englishmen do not understand either it seems, this book gives a wonderful tale of the country’s connection with the ‘Holy Land.’ For faith and adventurous reasons Britons men have travelled, suffered and died there. Memorials to our troops still stand there, pilgrims and merchants still travel regularly, and the UK government regards Israel as a friend. Christians also regard her as the land God gave to her people, but, rightly, all to often question her treatment of the Palestinians, while sharing their appreciation of ‘terrorism.’

But the underlying message for me is the way God works out his purposes. If he has decided to bring his people back to their land, who would have thought that it would require politicians of dubious repute, earnest evangelicals and, lastly, zealous Zionists. Zionists who fought just as hard against Jewish opposition as any other! Who would have chosen these people for this task. God works out his purposes in the world around us, and all too often we do not see this. In our own lives and in the world as a whole he continues to work, while we waste time in speculation and biblical arguments over the interpretation of ‘prophecy.’ Jesus would have us speculate less, and just live for him more. He will return at the appointed time, we must just live today and concentrate on our job, he can take care of the rest.

Monday, 22 October 2007

England and the English

The United Kingdom comprises four nations. Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. In the eyes of the world it comes all to often under the name 'England.' The sad thing is, it comes under that name also in the minds of far too many Englishmen! The Irish troubles are well known, and the separation of the six Ulster counties in the nineteen twenties was supposed to end the conflict there. It failed, only political means will do so. Wales was absorbed almost unnoticed a thousand years ago by the aggressive land grabbing English King Edward I. He tried this on Scotland also and was not just rebuffed but defeated by William Wallace. Robert the Bruce later confirmed Scotland as a free nation by defeating Edwards feeble descendant at Bannockburn. (At this point it is permissible to shout 'Hooray!')

Since then England wormed away at the neighbour to the north, with every intention of being the dominant partner. King James VI became the sovereign head of both nations in the 1600s, while the union of the parliaments was forced by economic and diplomatic strangulation in 1707.
The first prevented needless wars, the second was intended to destroy Scotland altogether. It failed! Scotland ignored the attempt to refer to her as 'North Britain' and remained proudly Scots, the people working with Calvinistic effort to build a new world. Scotland led the way in the 'Enlightenment' with Edinburgh becoming the 'Athens of the North' with her abundance of thinking men. The Scots worked throughout the now 'United Kingdom,' teaching in the churches and building what was to become the 'Empire.' They, along with the Welsh and Irish were found in every sphere, arts, business, sport, music and religion. Without them England would never have become the 'workshop of the world.'

Yet to listen to the TV or radio it appears we are all 'English!' 'We' they tell us, have suffered defeat in Russia at the football, against South Africa (where 'we' were cheated), and in the F1 race where Hamilton (a Scots name) failed. 'We?' Scotland lost to Argentine and it was hardly mentioned in the news of the UK media, Wales disappeared without trace or mention and the Irish were ignored. Why is this? Why do TV stations go 'live' at the airport to see the returning rugby losers? What is this self belief the English have? But wait a minute, is this self belief or emptiness? The English are seen as arrogant, over hyped, self worshipping folk, and not without reason. They really do believe their football team is one of the best in the world, and that they deserve to always be at the top table. They have a litany of complaints concerning the times they were 'cheated' these 'world cup winners' who were given goals when the ball never crossed the line. What is it that makes them so?

Since 1996 England has realised she is a nation, up till then she thought she was Britain, and regarded the little bits at the edges as parts of her. She is still stunned by the rejection she feels after the cry for freedom and equality that erupted there some years ago. How to respond? Why by feeling betrayed, resentful and by ignoring the wrongs the English as individuals and as a nation have done to the other members of the UK. She also emphasises even more her self importance in sport as a means of being a nation. But the English still do not really know what that is. Scots know what they are, as do the Welsh and Irish, but will the English ever understand? This is not to say there a re no good English, on the contrary. They share the 'Britishness' that close cooperation has brought, and many have never understood the true depth of feeling engendered by their racist attitude. An attitude most clearly seen in the impression given of Gordon brown the prime minister as 'another Scot!' Blair is seen as a Scot, a term he never used for himself, and one he obviously rejected, but to the Tories in particular, who are seen as the 'middle England party, that is what he is classed as. There are a great many shared 'British' attitudes, most are good, but until the four nations are recognised as such, and treated equally, there will always be discontent. A discontent that will result in great glee at the fall of the English supermen, whatever sport they play!

By the by, in the kingdom of Gods terms, is nationhood important? A collection of people under a geographic sphere, that is a nation, nothing more. Being proud of being a certain nation is neither right nor wrong. We ought to be proud we have a nation that does the right thing, and humbled by the many failings, and all nations have these. Stereotypes do exist, and always shall, but these are cultural and not part of the basic man. That never changes whatever the nation! Some nations have been badly led by poor leadership, and individuals have a responsibility before God to promote a decent society wherever they are, within their capabilities. So ensure you vote, complain, contact MPs or councillors or whatever is required to ensure a better nation. Respect for nations, like respect for individuals, and a true comprehension of where they are at appears to me to be a Godly approach.
I hope I am right?

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Clinically Obese - or Just FAT?

There is yet another report by someone or other informing us we will all be 'Clinically Obese' by 2050. This is not true, I will be 99 by then and I can assure you few men that age are obese! When I say '99' I mean years of age, I do not imply that I will have become some sort of ice cream and be wandering around with a 'Cadburys Flake' stuck in my head! However they have a point here the nation is obese, and there are many reasons for this. To this weeks researchers the 'environment' plays a part. From what I heard this morning they imply we sit around too much, watching TV, driving, lounging at work, or just being a slob. They have a point! Less stress appears to be put on the food we eat, and the implication I picked up is that there is little we can do about this. I beg to differ. I get the impression that we will, as a nation, do anything to avoid personal responsibility. Our genes make us predisposed to violence, crime, laziness, obesity, and anything else we take a fancy to. Our free will and personal choice to heave half a brick at a referee, or make off with someones wallet is irrelevant it seems. Can this be right?

The idea of changing words to make us feel better is an old one now. It goes back thirty or so years and, as you might expect, we picked it up from the United States of America. We began by changing the word 'scafe' or 'Dustbin men' to 'Cleansing Operatives. Of course by privatising that 'service' we stopped six men working half a day on a lorry and now two or three work half a day, that's progress! Other words changed also, 'secretary' was not good enough, so 'personal assistant' became the norm (and cost more for doing the same). In hospitals the term 'portering Services Operator' replaced the 'Hoi yew!' of my day, and so it goes on. Today the media informs us that we are 'Obese' or even 'Clinically Obese' as it sounds medical and more adult. This is like calling 'Santa Claus,' 'Father Christmas' because that too sounds adult, but in the end is just as stupid. Tell the kids to believe in a fat (sorry, obese) man in a red suit leaving something for nothing but ignore Jesus leaving Heaven and spending his life in sinless perfection before dying or your sin filled nature, oh no that's taking it a bit far eh? yes indeed let us tell the truth, we are not 'Obese,' we are 'FAT!' Yes 'FAT!' Not that is different you see. While 'obese' sounds clinical and even medical, 'fat' is just ugly! Large masses of greed stored in a dirty big pile, usually around the gut in men, leaving those who choose to wear their football shirts looking more than ridiculous, and leaving lumpy women pangs of guilt they will no doubt blame on others, that is 'men' or 'society!' Fat is ugly, I know, I have it! It is disgusting. Standing naked in front of the mirror I swear I could hear someone cry "Captain Ahab! Captain Ahab! There she blows!"

So, why are we 'FAT?' There are several reasons. We eat too much, do not exercise enough, and, well that's it really! Living in a wealthy country we become used to an easy life. The expectation is to have the best we can afford and eat what we like. The worship of Mammon has a downside, we encourage selfishness in ourselves and those around us, the life of ease and plenty is seen as 'the good life' and we end up stuffed but not necessarily happy. The food we eat is all to often pre-cooked. Chilled foods come, not just ready to heat and eat, but full of preservatives that add to the bulge that hangs in front of us. Food manufacturers are prone to add elements that give such meals 'morishness' and we naturally want more! More fool us.
Lifestyles lead us to laziness, and wealth enables a call to the 'takeaway' rather than spending time actually cooking for ourselves. Personally I hate the bother of cooking, after all, is that not what a woman was made for? It takes time to plan, shop, peel, scrape and prepare so that those who benefit can sit back, well nourished and forget to thank the cook for her work. But hey, that's normal life isn't it? That used to be before middle class women began to tell working women they should get a 'career.' Actually many working class women already had a job, and still do, it was the middle classes who thought writing for magazines or sitting behind desks telling others what to do was actually a career. It wasn't, it still isn't. However women work, children are all too often fed junk, grow up fat because mum, and dad, are couch potatoes, and will not take the time to look after themselves let alone the kids. It must be said there are many slim, good looking women who do just that,many working at the same time, but society today is stuffed full of laziness. I am a prime example.

Today I walked to the Tesco on the edge of town. Not the longest walk, but far enough for me. This was part of my exercise programme, (having a doctor refer to you not as 'obese' but as 'fat slob' is an encouragement to this) and was accompanied by lots of sunshine, lovely indeed. As I strolled along I came across many unhappy postmen struggling to recover, financially and practically, from the recent dispute. How nice to see, that both going towards Tesco and on the way back, that they had not forgotten me. Vigorous greetings met me in both directions. This reminded me of the difficulty and danger faced by posties today. The letterboxes often have dangerous springs which catch fingers, sharp points on these cause injury, and of course dogs, and sometimes cats, sit quietly behind the door waiting to pounce on any finger shoved through the gap. I was reminded of this as I noticed just how many of these fellows of mine had fingers missing as they greeted me eagerly. I suppose at least they have lost a few ounces in weight this way eh?

Monday, 15 October 2007

The Morning Cycle Ride

Shrouded in gray damp mist I wandered off on my morning 'get fit' cycle ride. This consists of struggling along being overtaken by schoolkids on BMX bikes designed for jumping over skate board ramps, and old folks with zimmer frames meandering past me as I come to the hilly bits. However I ignored their comments as well as I ignored the pain in my knees. The ides of cycling was to provide stamina, long lost while looking for work (unsuccessfully so far), but all it does is revive the aches left from the postie job! Now I'm not one to complain but when I feel worse after the ride than before I feel something may be amiss!

Today I ventured along quite happily around the old postal round. Because of the changes to the postal routine introduced by the madmen who now run Royal Mail very few postmen were to be seen. The time changes have altered everything and I suspect the new, man on my old round would be far from ready to begin by the time I creaked past. Eventually postmen will work from 7-3, this means deliveries on most rounds will not appear till around 9 am or later. Still, folk complain when they strike but not about the loss of the service element nor the increase in prices which, soon to be, privatisation will bring. What a shame change could not be brought by sensible management!

But I digress again. I find I often digress these days, I am not sure if it is Alzheimer's or just being 56 years old that does it. They say that after fifty you spend an hour a day 'just looking for things,' I agree! Back to the bike. I pushed it along at a marvellous speed, for me, and noted the changes a year brings. The round covered a 'rough' area and some quite nice streets, although I always liked the folks there and enjoyed the work. Some folks have moved on, possibly more have failed to keep up the payments on the house bought from the council, the 'Right to Buy' idea being one of the stupidest of Thatchers reign. I noticed the fellow from No 6 must have moved, there was no broken windows to be seen, of course he could be inside again. The old woman who used to annoy me so much must have died, she would never have allowed them to knock down the fence so they could park the car in the lawn, and the Thomson's seem to have moved. She did not like me as she always complained of getting mail for next door by mistake. When I took over this occurred again, and she was real unhappy. The folks next door were not the nicest you see, and she worried they had her mail, an easy mistake a 6 and an 8 looking similar to a postman in bad light. Naturally I informed her that it was not me but the other chap and I would look out for her. Next day I gave her No 8s by mistake! How do you spell wrath?
However even after a year away other folks did remember me, and that is always nice is it not, it means I have made a mark in their lives, the bricks however all missed.

Another small point I noticed today was the Englishman and his approach to the weather. As the day started murky and misty, as the weather forecast told us it would slowly clear, and quickly come back again, how does the average Englishman dress? In shorts and T-shirt of course! He struts about in shorts designed for Greece, with his sunglasses balanced on his shaven head, designer polo shirt or grubby T-shirt with 'I'm with Stupid' scrawled across it, and thinks he looks cool! He must be, every other person you meet has a warm jacket of some sort on! Just because the sun is shining and the sky is blue does not mean it is warm. The sun is shining and the sky is clear and very blue at the South Pole but it is 40 degrees below! Tsk!

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Just Pondering Like

There follows a stream of consciousness. You may feel that unconsciousness would have been better. How ever I am going ahead with scrawling here my thoughts. The cynical among you, yes I mean you, are wondering whether there is enough ‘thought’ to share, and then would it actually have been worth the time and effort? The world will soon know.

Outside the window, through the stour thrown up by the vehicles of the Saturday morning shoppers running bumper to bumper on their way home, I can discern the sun once again giving life to the decaying leaves on the trees opposite. the fading greens on one contrasting with the rusty red of the tree on the right. dead leaves huddle together against the park fence, swept from their roost by the rain of the preceding days. The natural world goes about its business while humankind drive slowly and stress filled by, ignoring the beauty around them, full of anxiety about life and its delusions. The birds and the squirrels appear less concerned, and just continue feeding happily, or sit enjoying the sun. Simple pleasures are worth more than those procured from Tesco!

But life does need excitement! We are made for excitement, at least when we are in the mood for it. We look forward to things with great anticipation, longing for the day, hour minute that the great event arrives. Today we await the great football match between Scotland and Ukraine! The excitement and anticipation mounts through the day. What will happen? Can we win, will it be a great anti climax? With great hopes of adventure ahead when we win filling our hearts we refuse to contemplate the possibility of loss! Such events are not mentioned in the bible but happened then just as now. Whether great sporting events such as the chariot race, or small things like a birthday celebration, then as now hopes of joy were raised. What is it within us that is made like this? The idea of something good and pleasurable is attractive to us all, sad events and situations we would rather avoid. However we do indulge some such events, in other people. Soap operas and so called dramas play on this daily on our televisions. Nothing positive or constructive is found, only the baddie being found out, the wronged being made right, someone to hate appearing, and lots of needless confrontation. Yet folk question why the nation is full of strife? There are those who claim television does not lead people into actions, yet advertisers spend multi millions each year to do just that! Who is blind here?

The natural world is at one and the same time wild and dangerous. Animals live by the simple act of devouring one another, the wonder of birdsong is often a male warning others of his patch, the slow moving stream gently flowing past could be a wild dangerous death trap in winter storms. Yet each season has its own unique beauty, the song of a thrush is a delight, the view over the hills refreshes the heart. Just like us I suppose. We worry and fret, fight and devour yet there are mountain rescue teams, lifeboat crews, air sea rescue, fire, police and Paramedics who risk their lives for others on a daily basis. Parents who go through agonies for their child, teachers who patiently go over the same ground again, Samaritans who give a listening ear to the suicidal, and each day small and great mercies are seen in every place. This from a people who live among murderers and rapists, thieves and rogues. Ministers of religion, Christians and humanists, Muslems and atheists. Folk who kill for their religion or those who kill for greed and avarice, or maybe fun, and those who’s religion inspires them to good deeds, or humanists who are motivated to see justice for everyone, no matter what.

All around is good and bad, within us the same power, to kill and destroy, or to build and create. How fragile life can be, yet how glorious also. It’s a funny old world saint.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Oh Dear

Here we go, chain mail!

Yes my friend at has done the dirty on....I mean extended his circle by including me in one of those 'Tag' things that live in the ether. This bothers me greatly, not that I mind this from him, but he wants me to pass this on to 'three friends!'. This is difficult, as I have none! I suppose I can dum...pass it onto one other, maybe two, but I hardly know them. Hmmmm, what to do?

Mind you, I was praying towards contacting friends from the distant past recently. Folk I have not been in touch with for years. It was time to put right wrongs, and reconnect I thought. Today I found the main man looking for me on 'Facebook!' Dearie me, Facebook has a use after all. Sooo pleased to see him I flung a sheep at him, as you do. Well I thought as he being Welsh it would remind him of home. Though how many sheep are found in Port Talbot remains to be seen i suspect. Prayer answered. What fun!

Anyway, this asks for seven things my readership (yes, this means both of you) do not know about me. However as none out there no anything about me this could be tricky. I mean do I tell the truth, slant it politician style, or just lie? Let us begin.....

1) I sit at my desk at the window on the first floor of my slum. I hide behind a plant which fills the window but fails to stop folks over the road think I am watching them. I would if these glasses let me see that far!
7) I once fed and watered a sweet young lass who worked for the 'Environment Department' of the local council. Next day my kitchen was closed down, by order!
3) I originated in the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh at nearly 3 O'clock in the morning. Mum got a row from the sister as she was told to hold me in till later. Jings!

5) I am useless at everything. I even failed the scouts tenderfoot stage - twice! DIY means call the fire brigade. I can't drive, I can't cook, I can't sing, although I can switch on the Radio 3 when I need to. I know nothing, but I am very good at putting my foot in it. I would like a job writing a short attention seeking column in a popular paper, I would upset enough folk to raise the sales.

2) I have studied history via the Open University for three years, receiving a '3' for each year and a request to find a change of subject from the last tutor. This study has been suspended by over work, when working, and poverty when not.
4) I have several dozen videos of programmes I have collected over the years. This was used to great benefit when desperate for something worth watching on telly. The VCR machine is bust!
6) Maths is not a strong point.

Now to find three folk who will hate me for ever..........

The Ominous Comma Very funny blog
, a must read!
redfinger's forest deep Another good blog. I enjoy this one.

I love this also.
Catpaw - diary of an angry cat

Now they will hate me forever! Thanks Mulled Vine.........

Thursday, 11 October 2007

How to be an Idiot. No.26.

In the UK job searching starts with the newspapers and the Job Centre. In one we read the local work available, in the other an Internet search can be made of work opportunities nationwide. Both, I find, lead to dead ends! That however may just be me of course. Anyway, I have sought work through these means, and one or two others, diligently,in spite of what the folks at the Job Centre claim. What does the word 'Malingerer' means anyway? But I digress, I discovered another mode of idiocy this past week.

The job appeared ideal! Working a small machine making frames for pictures, or maybe just scanning documents as part of the process for a small friendly company not to distant and paid well enough for me. So I sit down and write! I compose a letter detaining my suitability for such work. It was good I thought, succinct and honest. I had the print out from the screen in front of me, and the one I obtained from the Job shop a few days ago. two different jobs available! Great! I pondered the chance of one at least being open for me, and I even began planning my day according to their hours.

The letter pleading my case, and I am told I am a right little pleader, appeared just so in my eyes. The references from previous work, and what passes for education from the dim and distant, oh so distant, past were clear. I checked the e-mail address and sent it to the Mrs someone or other as required, spellchecked for the third time,just in case, and after a brief run through sent it off.

Phew! That had taken all evening. But I was sure that if I was turned down, again, it was not for the want of effort on my part! That was a good letter,I felt smugly satisfied as I awaited the soon to be response. Deep inside I wondered how they could resist! OK others may be better, younger, experienced and all that, but apart from that, I was a very good option for this little job I thought.

Later, clearing away the deep layers of papers, books, cups and assorted detritus that appears like magic every so often on the desk I picked up the Job centre form with the job details printed in large black letters. It just happened that the name at the bottom was different from the name I had sent the e-mail to. Hmmm,two folk running the show I thought. On further examination of the two item details I discovered, much to my shock and woe that it was in fact two different companies, working in the same compound! I had addressed my details, really suitable for the first business to the second one! Woe is me. Do I try it again? Shame faced and embarrassed I pondered why I had mentioned my famed organisational ability, my attention to detail and my efficiency.

I sit here now, staring at the park opposite lacking the will to live any longer.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Writing Blogs

Yesterday, while busily going about my day, I had a wonderful blog post going through my mind. Now at this moment I cannot remember what I was doing at the time, but there again I cannot remember what I intended to write! At the time I thought it excellent. It was informative, relevant, humorous and I thought worth posting. I got the first couple of paragraphs into my mind when something distracted me, I think I may have been hiding from the rent collector, anyway I lost it! try as I may, like a dream that leaves an imprint in your mind when you awake, but disappears forever deep into the gray matter, it has gone.

I wonder if it concerned my 94 year old mother? She has developed a back problem and the pills the doctor gave her make her unwell anyway, as is often the case. Was I going to bore you with her details, how she is doing well for her age, until now? Does she know Jesus, and does the church she has attended since 1936 really evangelical. You know the type, they want God but water things down a bit, doubting miracles but seeking Jesus anyway. Was it about the guilt I feel being 400 miles away and having no money to visit? Could it be about the guilt I feel when speaking to her? Her conversation is now limited to her world, which gets smaller all the time. And there is no connection to mine, especially as she informs me of the goings on amongst people I have never met, nor heard of nor am interested in! Who are they, and why do I care of they are of to Italy with their boyfriend and have no job?

I don't know if that was interesting enough to waste a few minutes of your life reading, so don't do it! What? oh.... Ah well, Maybe I was going to fill a post about rain? Yesterday it rained all day, almost. For reasons I fail to understand folk in this island act as if this was either unusual or criminal. Either way they can talk about it for days! Mind you, I live in the driest county in England, well so they said when I got here. They also claimed it was flat! Anyone who has cycled around this town delivering post will be very quick to indicate the mistake in that statement! The rain busily knocked the leaves of the trees making the streets greasy and the street cleaners life murder. However, late in the day the sun decided to show itself and as I walked across the park I saw the glorious site it presented. To my right the sun brought out the colours of the rusting leaves. A golden glow came from the trees, a more heartwarming glorious site than any man could produce, and it was all free! Such a simple pleasure, watching the remaining green leaves protruding among a vast array of yellow, rust coloured and golden leaves. A wall of splendour that had been hidden all day behind a gray mist. That is worth posting about!

Is it age? I enjoy watching the autumn colours and feeding the squirrels in the park as much as I enjoy watching the football team winning or listening to good music. Simple pleasures are longer lasting. Mind you, so has this post, and I have had nothing to say........

Monday, 8 October 2007

Words mean So Much

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me." That was one of the common things we used to say as kids, usually after someone calling us names had just hurt us! Words, as you know, mean so much. usually it is not the words themselves but the way we use them. In the UK it used to be common to describe any Asian who was seen as 'Paki.' Paki as in short for Pakistan. In Edinburgh in the seventies it caused no offence, except to that nice Mr Kyaham who insisted he was "Indian and no bloody Paki!" No-one of Pakistan descent worried about it. later of course it was used in a derogatory fashion by neo right wing groups and fell out of use. 'Jock' is a term for Scotsmen, and I think should always be viewed as complimentary. After all, what can be better than saying "I am a Scotsman?" However on occasion even that word can be used to hurt and insult rather than compliment.

Words are often misunderstood. When she asks "Does my bum look big in this" and you honestly answer that it does, she will deliberately use that as an excuse to remain stonily silent for several hours. Women seem to specialise in misunderstanding words in such situations. A "Yes" often appears to mean "no" and if you misunderstand and accept at face value here word all sorts of trouble can arise. Possibly women and words needs to be for another time?

Politicians and words are marvellous, the emphasis on the 'lous' part. If they lose a vote they will claim they have actually got everybody on their side! In 1968 I remember a Communist being elected in a council seat I think in Inverness. "This is a sign that the people are turning to us," said the leader of the Scottish Communists, ignoring the Scottish Nationalist Party winning 368 seats on the same night! To reach the top in politics it is advisable to avoid truth and stick to being devious. No one wants an honest politician anyway, they might expect it back from the citizens. That would never do!

One day every idle word we utter will be brought back to us,as I discovered when I found some things I wrote a hundred years ago. How frightening is that? Did I really think those thoughts and say those words? What else have I said in all these years I have drifted through life? The mind boggles at the cobblers I have come out with! Anyway I found some folks who may also regret the words they have used, but at least they give us a laugh.

Moving from Wales to Italy is like moving to a different country - Ian Rush

I never criticise referees and I'm not going to change a habit for that prat. - Ron Atkinson

"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff." --Mariah Carey

"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life," -- Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign.

"Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances." --Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina
"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record." --Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

"As God once said, and I think rightly..."
- Margaret Thatcher.

Think before you speak, you know it makes sense.....

Friday, 5 October 2007


Murder! two lads who beat a man to death have been jailed for a minimum of twelve and a half years. What does this tell us about our society? Does it speak of life as being important? Or is life so cheap that twelve and six months jail can satisfy justice? Now I have been against the death penalty for the simple reason far too many folk were hanged in times past before their innocence was proved. Add to this the criminal is then brought face to face with their maker. The second death is not something to be treated lightly, even for a murderer! However it remains a singular fact that in the UK today far too many sentences appear lenient.
In Inverkeithing a while back,two neds beat a man to near death, set fire to him while alive, and walked away. One received a minimum of Fifteen years, the other twelve.
Was this justice?

Someone is murdered, for no good reason, and leaves behind a wife and children. Their family lose a breadwinner and loved one. Friends miss a friend, a business needs to replace a worker, the problems with housing, insurance and legal factors appear to stretch into infinity, and the repercussions of such an event are in the end incalculable. Is a dozen years in prison justice?

I suppose in some ways we should be glad these culprits have been caught and jailed. When serious crime occurs the police do appear to make every effort to solve the case and bring the offender before the courts. The police in this instance cannot be held responsible for the sentence given. However their responsibility lies with curtailing the many lesser crimes committed on our streets daily. Here they all to often fail, and fail spectacularly. Today a man has been in court for catching three youths, part of a gang of around thirty, who had been throwing paving slabs around his home. The police charged the man who confronted them with assault! After a year of trauma the case came to court and within thirty minutes he was cleared! The police inspector heading up the case claimed he had to operate 'within the law' and
take action. No action was taken against the three youths, nor it seems any of the other yobs! I wonder what the inspector thinks a policeman's role is in today's society? Whose side is he on?

Until the late eighties, when the compensation culture and political correctness began to emerge, the police confronted by such a situation would have sided with the householder, taken the youths aside and made it clear what would happen if they did not desist. Often this could be an excuse for thuggery, more often it was an excuse for old folks and others being free to walk the streets without worrying about ned's. Of course the parents share responsibility. As PC culture grew so did the selfish attitudes around us. There were many contributing factors to this. Thatcherism and the growth of greed played its part, but this was less because greed was new, it had always been there, the cultural cohesion decayed as alternative lifestyles came to the fore, societies recognised disciplines disappeared and we are left morally bankrupt because we are spiritually empty.

A society that does not know where it is going, has no unity, and no purpose leads to confusion over what is right and what is wrong. 'Each did what was right in his own eyes,' is a phrase from Israels history concerning a period when there was no one emphasising the law. We are in a similar time today. If we as a nation had a clearer understanding of right and wrong there would be no problem with justice. If judges 'in wrath remembered mercy' we would have better sentences on criminals, more treatment, mental, chemical or whatever, for those who require this, and a more stable society. We would have stable families, and that is the centre of society, and youths less undisciplined by their parents.

How sad those days have gone.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Television, Why is it so Bad?

Now if a TV station offered you a certain type of programme you would understandable expect to watch such programmes, surely? Yet in recent days the station calling itself UKTV History has singularly failed to offer us history! Why? Instead we are confronted with a series of soap operas masquerading as history and failing to convey anything of the times they represent.

We have recently been subjected to 'Dunkirk,' which claimed to represent the actions from that time and obscured the facts behind a tour-de- force-de-overacting from men who clearly had no conception of what war is like, cameras that moved constantly, obscure camera angles, needless close ups, and left this viewer with no knowledge of the events although a growing desire to fix bayonets and fire a Lee Enfield .303 at the producers of such tripe!

This was followed by 'Rome!' A production with yet more actors found unfit for a run in 'Coronation St' or 'Eastenders!' Toga's abound, as did blood, overacting and sexy women, were there no fat ugly women in history then? And, as a passing thought, why is there never a drunk smashing the jukebox or being sick in the background, or fighting with the barman in such pubs? is the beer watered down perhaps? The reality conveyed by Rome, and by the fall of Pompeii, or indeed any other 'historical drama' is NOT history!

History requires an uncovering of facts. These facts are then interpreted and explained, usually argued over, as all historians are always right! But actors never give facts! Instead the viewer fails to see Henry VIII as he was, he has the image of an actor, using today's feeble acting techniques, and is left not with Henry but a famous actor! This nonsensical approach reached a new level when a stature of William Wallace, the Scots freedom fighter, was revealed and found to have the face of Mel Gibson the four foot six Australian bam who attempted to portray the six foot seven ginger haired hero in the film 'Braveheart.' He failed spectacularly! Actors and representation of folk from the past fail to give us history, they give us soap operas,and usually therefore concentrate on the bits the small minded wish to see, fights, arguments,and of course, lots of sex! The idea of allowing the real person to appear is smothered by the need to sell the programme, and what sells better than a naked breast or two?

Well that sells to me anyway!

As UKTV shows yet more episodes of 'Sharpe,' a lot of cobblers set in the Iberian war against Napoleon, I look to other channels for either entertainment or information. What do we find early in the day? news programmes that are as dumbed down as possible. BBC breakfast News is like it's ITV counterpart, more interested in the goings on in Britney Spears confused life than in thousands dying in Darfur. More attention is spent by Lorraine Kelly on a handbag than on the collapse of the economy. A child's eating habits, caused by a lazy mum more concerned with her so-called 'career,' is worth fifteen minutes debate, the threatened invasion of Iran by the dunce in the White House may get a passing reference in the news bulletin - unless a cricket player breaks a thumb of course! Sky, both News and Sports follows the same pattern, dumbed down news, repeated ad nauseum, short and simple as the audience cannot concentrate for more than a few seconds. Are they following the audience or pandering to them?

Now I understand why such programmes exist, but I do not want history reduced to a mere numb drama, I want proper news with real explanations and comment, I want Television for those who have a life as well as those who don't! yet all we are offered in the main, is Dumb TV.
I am told it is worse in the USA - woopee! That tells us how Reagan got elected then!

Will this situation improve? No! Ratings talks, money talks, adverts are aimed at the majority and the majority want 'pap!' Money comes from adverts so the independent channels, and Murdoch's Sky, will always follow money. The BBC with the 'public service' element has an opportunity to give quality, aimed at the smaller audience, and does this in Radio 3. But seems unwilling all to often to reach out .I suppose it is more important to be a secular liberal and ensure your face fits inside the Beeb, and also ratings make you famous.

Great! I'm depressed now, I think I need some dumbed down telly to cheer me up - there is plenty of choice......

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Tub of Lard!

Now I am not sure where the copyright for this picture originates so if it's yours let me know won't you? However it goes well with my thoughts that arose while watching a BBC2 prog about fat tubs of lard improving their diet, and this encouraged me to do the same- again!
Just how many times have I returned to the raw veg and fruit intake diet? It happens every so often and you find yourself cutting celery, carrots, tomatoes and peppers into strips, adding a tin of mackerel and brown bread filled with healthy bits, and with a dash of
mayonnaise (light) you start full of zeal. Of course this keeps you on the run for a while but sheer lack of time, and the effort required means you soon find yourself stuffing buns bought cheaply when Salisburys are near closing instead of Bulgar wheat and watercress.
Somehow it seems more satisfying.

The scales lie and tell you that you are nearly 16 stone- minus a pound or two, but you just convince yourself that is because they need oiled. In fact you are the one that has been oiled - with lard!

Such an improved diet does lead to a better all round feeling, instead of just an all roundness, and is worth while I say. It does make me feel better in every way, and makes me more keen to find some form of fitness to accompany the health. Amazing really, I used to walk
everywhere in London, for hours, with no problems. Now I can hardly walk without the 'postman's knees' strain aching away. It was while I walked for two hours round the forest and decided it was stupid aching like that when I realised that was the end for me as a postie. The arthritis was a bit of a surprise and a worry but the creaking knees are a nuisance.

Now this diet has already had benefits and I have only been at it a short while, days as yet, and already things are better.
But already I am sick of peeling carrots and chopping green stuff! This is hard work! Cutting, cleaning, scraping, shredding, slicing, no wonder today's mums buy ready made meals for the kids.No wonder the kids are less healthy than we were with our mums potato soup instead of a quick burger and chips!
That potato soup kept us alive and done us more good than what is on offer in far too many houses today. Women want a career but what is more important, children or career? Kids first and when your career collapses they will be big and strong and able to keep you! I can understand the effort needed in cooking is a trial, I hate it.I just want someone else to cook as it holds little joy for me, but the eating is something I can usually manage however. What on earth makes men want to become cooks? Are they mad?

Anyway, 'eat well and prosper' as someone once said.......

Monday, 1 October 2007

Dictionary of Cynical Quotations

Some years ago, when visiting my Spiritual Mentor and his family, they presented me with a copy of this book,'Dictionary of Cynical Quotations.' What me, cynical? I had never realised how cynical I had become. naturally I reacted in the correct manner - and blamed them!

But in the United Kingdom today we have a cynical approach. Much comedy is based in a cynicism, and not just with today's life, it has been created here over many years.
The improvement in the condition of folks in the UK in the nineteenth century, and it was an improvement, came along with a strong sentimental streak. This was destroyed by the Great War, as indeed were many other 'myths' of daily life. The 'British' had developed a black and ironic humour, much used in such times to keep folk going, and one of the blessings this country possesses. It was much needed during the period between the wars when the 'homes built for heroes' never arrived and when work disappeared. The depression and poor housing, the Jarrow Crusade' and soup kitchens, all these have left a mindset in the UK that will never disappear. Add to this a second war and the time is right for sarcasm to arise!

As wealth grew apace during the years of peace
(peace? 50 million or more dead since 1945 in various wars! Peace eh?) the inevitable happened. We have become fat and empty of values. I wonder if this is why a cynical attitude arose, and grew in the years of Margaret Thatchers rule? Possibly it was the 'British' personality added to the cruel Tory attitude of the eighties in which people were less important than money! Since the war and attitude, of hidden by various domestic squabbles, existed in which, generally, the 'service' element existed. This was by the late seventies seen as corrupt, and they have a point, and needed radical change. The change reawakened the lust for Mammon that lies within us all, cynicism thrived, especially with politicians and 'leading people.'

The 'Cynics' originated in ancient Greece, the word coming from the word KYNICOS, the adjective for dog. Cynics, it appears took the dog as a kind of badge! Diogenes was a leader among them who rejected the world's view, and often in somewhat crude ways! Their story is quite interesting if you wish to strain your mind trying to understand them, but worth a go one quiet rain filled day.
Anyway I was given this book as I appear to have a cynical view on the world, and I thought I was loving and kind.

However I recommend cynicism, especially when listening to politicians, news reports on the telly, and indeed anywhere else, and when reading adverts that offer to make you rich or beautiful or famous for £19.99! Cynicism has a value. But it can be misused, we can disbelieve facts when they are presented out of habit. Use it wisely.