Sunday, 31 May 2009
My skin is beginning to tingle and a reddish hue is showing through. This is caused by a phenomenon known as 'sunshine,' something many are well used to but the average citizen of this island only meets when abroad. Indulging in their Spanish breakfast, lunch and dinner of fish and chips, washed down by lager, while reading the 'Daily Mirror' or 'Daily Mail,' this specimen of Britannia's finest strips themselves bare revealing white arms, legs and far too much of the other bits for their own good. Forty eight hours after arriving the white has turned beetroot red, the skin is painful to the touch and the only cure is not sun cream, which has as yet not been purchased, but yet more lager following on from more continental dining, either kebabs or curry! These folk will laugh when told that the US of A has a 'culture!'
Today felt very much like a Spanish resort, except there was no seaside, towering hotel blocks or drunks. Instead the park, where I had gone to soak up a little sun and read a book, was hosting a brass band afternoon. This brought a surprisingly large number of the retired folks out for the day, an event they obviously enjoyed regularly judging by the way they all came well prepared, and a smattering of the usual park types. Crivvens, even the kids were behaving themselves! However the red burning skin was too be seen in places and even worse, the white stuff also! Now the sight of pencil thin white legs sticking out from under shorts that have been lying among mothballs for several months is one thing but fat ones are too much! A few passed by, and kept waddling along, but one pair lay down within my line of vision. From my bench, dedicated to the memory of someone or other, a very good memento in my view, I could see clearly fat legs baring all for the sun intake. I coped well with this, but when the red top was rolled up to reveal acres of white belly I swear I heard someone shout "Captain Ahab! Thar she blows!" But I could be mistaken. However the man at the next bench turned to me for no reason and asked if I was reading 'Moby Dick.'
After trundling up the old railway early this morning to make the most of the weather, enjoying again the robins singing in the trees, and there are lots of them just now, the blue sky, and even the folk passing by I came home to discover a strange event on TV. The 'God slot' on early Sunday morning BBC was filled with God! Because it was 'Pentecost' they dropped the meaningless debate show that bores the pants of normal folks and gives Nicki Campbell yet another few thousand quid for exposing us to his personality disorders and gave a church service. Now at Easter, the day the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah is celebrated, the Beeb covered a service from Southwark cathedral, the centre of the homosexual movement in the Anglican church. Instead of 'Preaching Christ crucified and risen' we were informed that homosexuality was all right and we should be 'inclusive,' 'non bigoted,' and 'welcoming.' The fact that the 'gay' lifestyle is one that destroys and Jesus came to bring life appeared to be ignored by the Dean. Of course Jesus wants homosexuals included and loved, but like everyone else as repentant sinners who understand what his death means! How sad that churchmen lead them astray to eternal loss! Today however the service came from a bouncing, too much in my view, church in Peterborough. here at least Christ was preached, sort off, and Jesus worshipped in spirit and truth. Folks from all backgrounds had found a new life in him, many being healed, changed and refreshed, and the stuffy, often boring service replaced by lively worship and folks enjoying being in Gods presence. What a change for the BBC!
Early night tonight, not for the bike ride tomorrow, but for the driving test, number two! If I fail this time there will be no more. Just despair, self pity, and a credit card filled to overflowing for nothing. Woopeee.
Saturday, 30 May 2009
I've been getting too cynical these days, but I'm sure nobody has noticed as usually I am so nice and hide it very well. However I decided just a minute ago to follow the prompting to 'stop hating everything' and say something nice. So I shall.
As I toddled up the old railway on my bike early this morning I enjoyed the early morning sun, remarkably warm for this time, the blue sky, almost cloudless, and the greenery full of chattering birdies. I also enjoyed the emptiness as all too often this is the time the women take the dog for his walk, I suspect the holiday means so many of them have gone of for a few days, how lovely- for us! An occasional jogger puffed by, moving slower than an MP admitting he fiddled his allowances, and one man, struggling on his bike up the slope like I was, passed by with a grunted cheery greeting. Few others were to be seen and that is how I like it. This way it is possible to stop and just sit there, breathing in mouthfuls of flying beasties, among the dappled sunlight and listen to the quiet sounds all around. A squirrel rustling the leaves as he chews on his breakfast and then scuttles high above leaping with no hesitation from one thin tree branch to another, the robins which seem to abound just now singing loudly from a branch, stopping only to observe my movement and then continuing happily. Wood pigeons chase one another, crashing about the district with similar consideration for the neighborhood seen in drunks leaving public houses, and a frog suddenly appears from nowhere sitting in the path, oblivious to the danger from great hairy lumps on bikes! In short, this old railway is just lovely!
To avoid the heart strain caused by too much exertion in a fat slobs body I turned at the far end instead of continuing like my mind wanted to do. There are innumerable things my mind has wished to do in recent days that my body refuses to co-operate in, although some would say that is a good thing! For many years my mind and body were often in agreement as to what ought to be done, although innumerable others disagreed with us. Such is life! It must be stated that my mind is often at odds with my mind itself all to often these days. I suppose a combination of age and genetic stupidity are probably to blame there.
The mind was alert on the way back however when I came across, almost literally, a tiny blue tit which was shaking the wings and posting himself in the middle of the pathway. As I cogitated what to do here the mother, or perhaps father, appeared and began to feed the mite. Having completed the duty the parent flew off again to search for the next course. At this time of year the parents will be busy sometimes having seven or eight chicks to feed at one time! Thousands of caterpillars, insects of all kinds, and most probably peanuts from feeders in folks gardens, go towards rearing these delightful cheeky birds. Delightful is the word unless they have pecked their way through the top of your milk bottle of course! I wandered what to do with the little bird and as I was afraid he had yet to develop a fear of the outside world I gently place my front wheel around him as a form of protection. He just sat there trustingly! Another bike came towards me and I informed the rider what I was doing, he just passed by understanding what was happening and avoided crashing into the bushes at the side. The bird sat still apart from the fast shaking wings. i eventually coaxed him into the side hoping the woman with the big mutt coming along behind me did not let her brute near my bird. Hopefully he will have escaped into the grass and one day produce his own brood.
There, that's nice.
Friday, 29 May 2009
True Reports from British life .......!!! BRITISH NEWSPAPERS (it says...)
Commenting on a complaint from a Mr. Arthur Purdey about a large gas bill, a spokesman for North West Gas said, 'We agree it was rather high for the time of year. It's possible Mr. Purdey has been charged for the gas used up during the explosion that destroyed his house.' (The Daily Telegraph)
Police reveal that a woman arrested for shoplifting had a whole salami in her underwear. When asked why, she said it was because she was missing her Italian boyfriend.. (The
Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van, because they cannot issue a description. It's a Special Branch vehicle and they don't want the public to know what it looks like. (The Guardian)
A young girl who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth was rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coast guard spokesman commented, 'This sort of thing is all too common'.
At the height of the gale, the harbourmaster radioed a coast guard and asked him to estimate the wind speed. He replied he was sorry, but he didn't have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind had just blown his Land Rover off the cliff. ( Aberdeen Evening Express).
Mrs. Irene Graham of
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Why are TV adverts for cars so bad? They are all about image, nothing at all about performance, and none of them make any sense to me! Who buys a car because of the TV ad? What small minded cretin is convinced any car is for them when it is advertised driving across a desert, or in the fantasy world of the Audi advert? What does this do for them? One featured cars attached to balloons floating into the sky. Why? What cobblers! Just give us the details and....oh, of course, if we know all about them we would move on and buy a better car wouldn't we? So instead of facts we get 'image!' This car makes you look 'top dog' instead of a nobody! This car makes you look attractive, powerful, strong or manly, instead of the wimp like loser you really are. These adverts are aimed at men, and I thought women were daft!
Sunday, 24 May 2009
The sun is bright, the sky has been blue since four o'clock, and I rise at five thirty. After a disgustingly unhealthy breakfast I cycle along the old railway enjoying the silence, bar the birds of course, and the greenery around me. Returning through empty streets I wander around loosening up the stiffened knees and watch the beginning of life arrive. I was up so early even the paper shop had not opened! There followed the warmest day of the year, so they said. I believe them! I sat for fifteen minutes in the park watching the young mu...birds building nests and listening to their songs, and in that short time I was roasting! Lovely!
Today marked the end of the football season, bar a cup final or two, and I am in need of a rest from football. The emotional strain wears you out by this time, and a rest is required. Now we await new signings, sackings, departures, press speculation (or lies if you prefer) and soon will be looking forward to our next great anti-climax!
Get up early? Good idea but I'm completely knackered now!
Saturday, 23 May 2009
I was surprised by the warmth of the sun early on this morning, and as I crossed the park to look for beer cans left after the neds evening capers, I was also surprised by the fragrance emanating from this flower bush. I am not sure if this is some sort of rose as flower names beyond tulip and daffodil escape me. However the fragrance was very strong and really made the morning even more enjoyable. There can be little more enjoyable than an early morning with the birds singing, the sun shining and flowers giving of such a pleasing aroma. The day was indeed warm, even hot! Now that is the first time this year that this can be said. However there is a bank holiday on Monday so already there has been a warning of rain! Typical! However today folk made the most of it and I suspect they will do so tomorrow also.
There are good things and bad in such weather conditions. The idea of walking around unencumbered by heavy anti-rain gear, the freedom from ice cold temperatures, and the sight of lassies wearing as little as possible. This however has two side effects. One reminds some of their age as the mothers of said lassies are younger than my nieces! The other is the unfortunate sight of fat women! I cannot get over the number of fat women in this country! Not only are there too many they dress inappropriately. Now some women have a stout build, others remain fat after having children, but surely these girls are fat because of slobbishness? There can be no reason but laziness for such sights. I know how hard it is to, lose weight, and the only effective method is eating smaller, better and exercise like it or not, so I cannot see anything other than the 'couch potato syndrome' at work. The thing is that these are women! I expect women to have some respect for themselves, they spend much of their time doing just that, so why do these girls wind up like Billy Bunters sister? One reason it seems to me is the chav influence. So many appear to be of the 'lower orders' it seems. But why should this make them slobs? It is more expensive to eat badly in my view than to eat better! I should know, and yet those lassies on low incomes appear to me to be the worst. It's all very sad, both for the lassies, their health and their families, and for those of us who have to look at them!
Friday, 22 May 2009
So you start the day with good intentions and by midday you begin to realise that some days are best left to themselves. This has been another of those. However, if true, this did bring some cheer.
"This was actually done by an Aberdeen fan......
Dons fan signs up on a Rangers forum, makes a couple of posts and no-one is any the wiser he's a Dons fan.
Then he makes a thread saying . . .
If you want tickets for next week's title decider away to Dundee United, read here...
Since the away allocation for Rangers fans of 5000 is long sold out. Tickets for the home end is the only solution.
But as we all know, if you’re not on Dundee United's official club/supporter database then you won't even be able to buy tickets for the home end.
Here's what to do..
Phone up the club shop. And ask to buy a pair of Dundee United kit socks. Don't even mention tickets for Sunday. They will become suspicious.
Then when they take your sock order, personal details and process your payment your details will then be stored on their system.
Give it a few hours until there's a shift change, phone up again and order your home tickets for the Rangers match and because of your sock order, you will be on their system and you will get your match tickets. It's perfect lads.
Turns out, there's no such database and all these Rangers fans have ended up with hundreds of pairs of Dundee United socks and no match tickets."
Thursday, 21 May 2009
The Oxford Online Dictionary describes the word 'Mistake' as :-
• noun 1 a thing that is incorrect. 2 an error of judgement.
• verb (past mistook; past part. mistaken) 1 be wrong about. 2 (mistake for) confuse (someone or something) with.
— ORIGIN Old Norse, ‘take in error’.
This is interesting. This morning, as every morning for the past couple of weeks all we hear about is members of parliament claiming allowances for mortgages, dry rot, clearing their moats, and floating platforms for the ducks in their ponds. Every single one who has appeared on TV has claimed all actions they took were within the rules and under advice from the correct people, adding "I admit I made a mistake," "Mistakes were made," and "It was an error of judgement, a mistake on my part." All then happily go on to state that the House of Commons must change, the system is outdated and needs reformed, something needs to be done. Not one has said "I admit it, I was grabbing as much as I could," or "I was on the take mate!" "Nose in the trough, too right pal!" Now these chaps may well have been within the rules, although pressurising the four accountants who had to control six hundred and fifty pushy MP's had nothing to do with it, and spending money on your boyfriends dry rot on his house in Southampton when you are MP for Luton over a hundred miles away was some mistake!
Several things come to mind. First there is the rotten system that allows them to fiddle it (should that read 'mistake' it?). Then there is the arrogance from those that knew they could get away with it. There is also the serious matter of how much an MP or member of the Scots and Welsh parliaments earn, do they really get paid enough? The system will be overhauled, some grasping chancers will be forced to stand down, but the arrogance of some will of course remain. How much they earn does need reviewing. I have thought for a long time that members of parliament ought to be on at least £250,000 a year! Add to this a decent allowance for secretary/researcher and running costs and we ought to have a better government. In Germany and France they are indeed paid more, I suggest not asking about the Italians, if we are corrupt just what are Berlosconi's mob like? The bigger the money, commitment to one job only, allowances made for keeping informed of their 'proper job,' and a better standard of member could be brought into the house. This cannot be bad for the nation. Some thing £60,000 a year plus add on's is sufficient, but when footballers can get that each week, and mediocre BBC interviewers get more and the Paxman's of this world almost a million something is clearly wrong! There will always be those that fiddle it but at least we could have better UK government this way. Until independence arrives of course.
The other thing is the whining about MP's! This bothers me. Certainly for the unemployed and those on minimum wages £60k sounds a dream, however whatever wages they are on do they fiddle their employers? I know they do! How can folk who spend all day avoiding work, phoning their friends, e-mailing others, passing the buck and taking all the 'perks' going then complain MP's are bad? Pots and kettles come to mind.While I have worked with many good people I also know many members of parliament were not on the take, and attempt to do a reasonable job, as long as their party leaders are obeyed! It never fails to amaze me the answers MP's give you. 'Their party is always the one with the answer, the other is at fault and no we cannot help because it's their fault.' Maybe if we all started being more honest life would be better for everyone?
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Folks are funny are they not? If they steal from you they can always justify this theft to convince themselves they are right. If however you steal from them, dearie me they react with horror! No justification is possible in that situation. The English react like this constantly. Edward ! (Longshanks to you) stole Wales. he also attempted, on spurious grounds, to steal France. Even worse he attempted to steal Scotland! He failed! However his arrogance allowed him to kill, unjustly, Sir William Wallace by hanging, drawing and quartering him. This as you know was the English punishment for treason. Only an Imperialist thug could use this excuse for murdering a citizen of another country, guilty only of defending his people!
The English have followed Ed the Brute ever since! Even today we see their imperialist attitudes, and some of the barbarian hordes were upset when the truth about the English parliament was made known to them. Just look at the comments on yesterdays post. Completely ignoring the point, as always they hurled abuse and contempt with abandon. The reason, they know I was right! Truth hurts! Of course they, like the rest of the English, never joined the 'Union,' this was just an excuse to capture Scotland by stealth. The only good to come out of this was Scotland no longer being forced to spend so much time defending herself from aggression. Instead she defends herself from having to be the engine behind England's rise and yet be regarded as a second class citizen even yet! Only the other day the TV announced trains run from 'Kings Cross to Scotland!' I asked where is the station called 'Scotland?' Are we not in a 'Union?' Or have you forgotten, again?' I await a reply.
Those who commented show the usual signs. Only one has a blog himself. The others were, as is usual with such people, blogless. They do not blog, they merely search the web hoping to be offended. We will not see them again until the next honest post tells the truth they are determined to hide. Why are they like this? Because they have no nation. There is nothing but imperialism and football hooliganism to boast about. While the world welcomes Scots, Welsh and Irish, they feel contempt for the English arrogance and imperialism. OK, I admit Adolf Hitler had some respect for them, but that's another story. Ignoring the 'Daily Star' readers I will however commend to you Terry. He has one or two web sites which reflect his nationalistic English views. While his viewpoint is skewed by false English history teachers, and, more importantly to the conservative English, money! I recommend a look at his sites. he appears to be a decent enough imperialist, but possibly spends too much time with the others. Did you notice how one calls on another to visit and object to sites they don't like. This is to give the impression there is a lot of them, or even to bully folks into submission. You would have thought several hundred years off failed, but constant, oppression would have taught them by now, wouldn't you?
Terry has one site here
And his Campaign for an English Parliament one is found there.
He of course does not need a campaign, the English parliament is found here, where it has been for a thousand years (approx).
Monday, 18 May 2009
You have to laugh! Each night this week and last, there has been a five minute 'Party Political Broadcast' on behalf of a political party. The main ones had their say last week, and may have another according to the system used here, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats, and the daft...sorry smaller party's with more limited viewpoints, The Green Party for instance. Tonight however it was the turn of the 'English Democrats!' Their main beef (roast beef perhaps?) is that Scotland and Wales have their own parliament so why does England not have one? Incredible! They naturally did not say this straight out, they questioned the amount of money paid to 'Johnny foreigners' railways in Europe and asked why EU money is not spent here on ours? The speaker ignored how much we actually get back from what we pay in. Probably he, like the rest of us, has no idea about that. Then he returned to his real problem, the Scots getting 'our' money, and he quoted the 'Barnett Formula' a system used for dividing money between Scotland and England. "They get more than us," he huffed, stamped his feet and threatened to hold his breath until he went blue in the face, ignoring again the fact that this is not quite true.More English area get handouts than Scotland, and all get more than the Scots do. In fact only Norfolk, Surrey and London get nothing, but all this money talk depends on using the figures that suit you. The real fact is English oppression forced Scotland by economic bullying into a union they did not want, took away the parliament powers, and made Scotland subject to their over lordship! Since then Scotland has been considered second class and ignored by the English racists! They even changed the name to 'North Britain,' and when that was turned down they took to referring to 'Great Britain' as 'England!' They ED did not object to this? This is their problem, the domineering imperialists hate it when their country is regarded as no more important than all the rest. They consider invading India and Africa and the rest but do not let their folk come over here! The BNP are of course in the forefront of this racist agenda! The English Democrats may not wish to repatriate any 'coloured gentleman' but their institutionalised anti-Scots racism is seen most clearly in the picture of their leader standing their demanding an 'English Parliament,' while in the background is seen the Houses of Parliament, a place that has been, and remains, England's parliament! Since 1707 the members of that house have worked on the basis of 'England's needs and England alone!'
Only the blind self obsessed imperialist English would be so blind as to never see this.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
I canny stand any more of this! Since Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson won the thing in 1959 or whenever it was I can remember the 'excitement' as we waited with baited breath as the 'Eurovision Song Contest' approached. However in those days the songs were bland ballads sung by suitably famous faces. So unlike today! There was the innovation of watching simultaneously with several European nations something that brought us all together. Television was a wonder to us then, television which reached across the vast area of the continent was a fascination hard to believe now. The drama of the points total at the end was breathtaking - at least it took mine away. In fact the whole operation brought me, and millions of others, to tears. It still does.
Of course in those days the tears were caused by the knowledge that my selfish family wished to watch this malodorous tripe when I wanted to watch 'Scotsport on the other channel! How could they, I wondered, want to sit and involve themselves with this pedestrian output when I could be watching Partick Thistle play Kilmarnock on a gray Scotsport film? The tears flowed and the hard hearted family just ignored me and then blamed me for being a brat! I never understood that bit. Now however the tears flow because of the putrid and crass performances in front of me now.
You must understand I did not intend to watch this, I just had it on while I phoned my mother, (and there is another blog or three!). Act after act come on, lights flash, bright, coloured clouds of smoke rise and vanish, a singer, if male with his shirt open to the naval, if female showing as much flesh as she can (bar one fat one from Malta who actually had a 'normal' song and sounded good in comparison), surrounded by a bunch of dancers (always the same ones?) who gyrate in a choreographed fashion in time to what someone calls music. They all have that false 'clean' image. You know where the hair is exactly out of place, the shredded outfits shredded in just the right place, and the face carpeted with enough make up to paint the Forth Bridge (and the women are just as bad!).
this I long for Cream to appear playing 'Sunshine of your love'
or Jimi Hendrix to give us 'Hey Joe.'
Karl Marx, a hero of the working class who never done a days work in his life and was not working class, made the absurd statement, often misquoted, that 'Religion is the opiate of the people,' (unless I misquoted him) but surely this 'entertainment is today's 'opiate?' This mass of low brow entertainment which fills the TV and film screen, inundates the magazines and press, and confronts all of Europe at the same time, surely this is the 'Bread & Circus's' of today? Empty, bland, innocuous, and in small doses quite harmless and even enjoyable for some, surely we are drowning in the false 'all togetherness' of it all?
Enough! I am turning it off and putting on the Cream music!
Friday, 15 May 2009
07 01 Wake wearily to Gregorian chant from the CD in the too, too loud alarm clock radio.
07.02 Switch it off.
07.34 Get out of bed.
07.45 Drink large coffee in one big gulp.
07.59 Wake up.
08.00 Switch on TV for news.
08.01 Switch off rubbish news about bulimic girls and actors traumas.
08.02 Switch on PC.
08.05 PC finishes loading and check e-mails from my friends.
08.06 Begin checking Spam.
08.17 Clear Spam.
08.18 Begin reading the online papers.
08.24 Begin reading blogs
10.00 E-mail Blackberry Juniper. Remind her she is at work, I’m not.
10.01 Rude reply from Blackberry Juniper
10.02 Begin housework.
10.06 Finish housework
10.07 Coffee break. Read book on addiction. Like it. I may buy several more.
10.55 Job hunting begins.
11.28 Enter deep depression, gloom hangs high overhead, inadequacy knocks on the door, failure is written in large letters in my head, woe and thrice woe. The futures bright - but not here.....
11.29 Lie on floor staring at the ceiling, mind blank, and future blanker.
14.03 Inform Blackberry Juniper I am still free and she is at work.
14.04 Decide to finish my first novel.
14.23 Return said novel to charity shop where I bought it.
14.25 Walk through town hoping the pretty girls will throw themselves at me.
14.43 Decide 'Specsavers' has lots of potential female customers.
14.45 Wander into public gardens.
14.46 Find first crying child and Mum ignoring the beast at entrance.
14.47 Find first dosser at first bench.
14.48 Find first polystyrene milk shake/coffee cup spoiling plant life.
14.51 Find first student couple groping in the bushes. Must bring camera next time.
14.53 Find first squirrel to feed. No nuts, (not the squirrel, nor me), I forgot to bring them again!
14.54 Squirrels throw stones at me in disappointment. Tough lot round here!
15.07 Knees aching I wander towards home, I stand at roadside waiting for traffic to stop so I can cross.
15.21 I cross.
15.32 Home. Check e-mails. Blackberry Juniper still rude.
15.32 Check Spam
15.56 Clear Spam.
15.57 Coffee break.
16.45 End coffee break and resume work search.
16.46 Go back to lying on floor staring at ceiling.
17.12 Consider having a bath, wonder if the horse trough will be empty.
17.19 Read last Blackberry Juniper funny and entertaining e-mail and go back on the floor and continue ceiling watch.
18.15 Get off floor to eat what passes for nourishment around here.
18.32 Wish I’d stayed on floor.
19.40 Look for TV football. Find none, (verbal joke ‘What was she doing there?)
19.46 Switch on TV. Soap opera, turn channel, soap opera, turn channel, soap opera, turn
channel, cowboy film, turn channel, Dumbed down news broadcast, groan, search all available channels, go back to lying on floor.
20.22 Read blogs.Laugh, cry, get entertained, even educated, become jealous as they are all better written, wittier, and put together so well. Humph!
23.05 Go to bed.
Sunday, 10 May 2009
I just glanced casually, as you do, at this report on the situation in Sri Lanka. As is normal I grasped the gist immediately and got on with my awfully important life. However it struck me that here was a war, and one that has been ongoing for around thirty years, where people are at this very moment being blown apart by shellfire, shot, raped, abused, starved, and caught in the general effects of a crossfire which they are unable to escape. And I just glance at this news and move on.
The picture features a conflict which erupted in 1947 when Britain left the Indians to their own affairs, and quite right too! Straight away there was a Muslim/Hindu split with much violence and Pakistan and West Pakistan (which also splint from Pakistan later, again with much violence). Kashmir, a large state to the north, was ruled by a Maharajah who was left to decide whether to join India or Pakistan. He chose India but most of the population being Muslim conflict, of one level or another, has been continual ever since. Many thousands have died, many more injured or dispossessed, yet little is seen on the news as Iraq and Afghanistan are more important - too us!
World wide, as we sit in comfort, stuffing our fat faces, warm, content for the most part, millions live in war zones. Death is an ever present reality, many suffer the results of loss of home and family, wounds and abuse. The future depends on far off uncaring governments or charitable organisations working in the area, but for how long? While thirty seconds of a news programme is given over to their story it will quickly be followed by more important relevant information, concerning bulimic teenagers or drunken actresses.
I am quite warm this evening, the music playing is cheery, the umpteenth mug of tea has been drunk, and yet somewhere in the world someone is being blown apart, shot or having their throat cut. I, like the rest of the world, think "Oh dear, how awful" then forget them.
Friday, 8 May 2009
Yesterday afternoon, when walking the streets looking for dropped coins, I saw the wonderful sight of two swifts chasing one another around the skies. How wonderful to see these delightful birds. They speak of Summer and happiness. They bring enjoyment to life as they gather in groups are race at high speed between the houses, screeching loudly and thoroughly enjoying themselves.
It never fails to amaze me that these seemingly frail birds arrive here after an epic journey from central Africa! Just imagine the difficulty! From the hot Serengeti up over the Sahara Desert, across from Morocco to Gibraltar, through Spain and France to the UK. Personally I would rather have the heat of Nigeria or Uganda myself, rather than the usual Atlantic rainstorms that cover the UK. However these birds often carry are are known to go as far as the Arctic Circle, allowing for 'global warming' which is moving it south of course.
These birds endure great heat, storms over the desert, danger from larger birds who have learned to enjoy a swift or two for lunch, and then travel through the European nations where shooting unarmed tiny birds can be considered 'sport' by men who's brains have not evolved beyond the Neanderthal, although some would believe they still exist in Glasgow! Eating airborne spiders, and other delicious (they say) insects, the birds not only fly all the way, they can actually sleep in the air! Quite how they manage this is beyond me. Sleeping at work, on the bus, in church and even standing up has been done, but not in the air. While in their Spring and Summer residence they apparently also mate while in the air, although there is something worrying about people who spend so much time researching this sort of thing. Swifts however only sleep with half their brain while in the air, the other half being awake. Now that I can understand!
While watching them cavort around it brings real pleasure as they do appear to have a good attitude to life. This from a bird that might not land for three years after leaving the nest! That some do land is clear as they have nests for the young in holes in various places. For two or three years one nested in the space reserved for the fan in the bathroom. There was a small hole in the wall for the fan to kick out all the smells I produce, however there was a space that allowed the clever bird to squeeze past and make a nest in the attic. Arrival to feed young would be heralded with a noisy screech which, if unprepared, would find the individual had sat in an appropriate position! While delightful to watch their approach to noise control was minimal. However once inside they cared for the chicks in silence. Unfortunately the recent work on the building closed of this opening, and I for one miss them. I hope the birds found 'a decent hole to go to.'
Read more at the RSPB
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
One thing about small town market day s the number of yokels who arrive from the rural areas. You can tell the men at a glance. For one thing they are strangers whom you never see in the normal run of things, and in a small town you often see the same faces day by day. For another they look like country folk! We live in politically correct days in which stereotypes are not allowed to exist. We are not allowed to recognise swarthy Mediterranean types, blonde Teutonic Germans, or badly dressed loud Americans, but they do exist no matter how much we deny this. The stereotype of the somewhat gormless bumpkin, out of place in town, appears here on market day. They usually wear flat caps, have uncut hair, and jackets that were bought in a sale one January not long after the English queen took her throne. Their boots are not fashionable, and have not been since Gladstone left office, and the men all too often have bicycle clips just above the ankles, even though the wife brought him to town on the once a week bus. Without a tractor to get around on, a spade or saw, or any other violent looking implement in his hand he feels awkward and as out of place as he feels. He is of course right to feel this way. His lady often is no different from the regular run of girls in town, and one is left asking how on earth they got together? Cynics would put forward the theory that as close relations it was a family duty to marry one another but they are just being rude!
Of course their accents give them away. Not only are some of them so loud they would deafen Italian women talking to Spanish señoritas but it sound like 'The Archers!' As country folk round here they only use vowels of course! Aye EeeOOOhhhh IIIIIIiiiiiiiiiii YOUUUUUU is the sound when the men talk, although they do tend not to talk unless spoken at by her. Often she is asking why he is looking at the 'Bull' and not listening to what she is saying about the stalls.
In the past I delivered to a small village just outside of town and there was a very strong 'village' attitude about the place, not always a bad thing of course. One male had all the indications of a life spent working in the fields. he also retained the surly inability to smile when passing, a 'grunt' may have escaped him but it could just have been deep breathing. This creature had a wife, of similar age, and every month the book club box would arrive for them. I looked at it one day, and considered the couple in all their glory as I read 'The Romance Book Club!' I suppose with Farmer Jones's ploughman in the house she didn't find romance too often there. At least not when he brought the oxen home for tea!
Monday, 4 May 2009
However there are occasionally little things which can interfere with my normally quite, demure, reticent attitude. Today it was rain! It threatened to rain last night, the weather girls (who never return my letters, except that one who sent her lawyer and two police officers round) promised big black clouds and abundant rain all day and all night. They lied! When I arose the clouds were gathering joyfully overhead, attempting to rain but failing to fulfil their potential. By eleven of the clock when I eventually squeezed my corpulent stomach under the steering wheel of the imitation Maserati in which I endeavour to learn the rudiments of safe driving the sun had come out! Now normally this is good, and while appreciative of the situation we were soon to find problems.
While coursing through the back roads of the county, round bends and sharp turns on roads that grew over hundreds of years possibly because of the drunkenness of the locals, taking in with the corner of my eye the ancient timber framed, brightly coloured houses, fields of bright yellow rape crops, and the woman driver three inches from the rear my boot, "Why don't you just sit in the back seat dear?" While doing this it started to rain. Here it comes as promised we thought, heavy downpours, flooded slippy roads, and the occasional daft motorcyclist (twenty seven were killed on these roads last year!) ahead. Wrong! It merely left big drops of rain on the windscreen which grew in number until I had to switch on the wipers. Normally this has been no problem, however Spring being Spring and the seasons specific delights revealed themselves and we discovered just how many dead flies had met their maker on the windscreen! As the wipers made their weary way back and forward, back and forward, back and forward, we not only found ourselves falling asleep, asleeeeep, asleeeeeee BEEP! BEEEEEP!!! but we also became aware that we could see nothing for the streaks of fly remnants everywhere! This mucky blemish naturally occurred as I reached tight right hand bends hidden behind high hedges and aged buildings or hindered the view as cars appeared from narrow lanes that emerged behind Inns that had encouraged Englishmen for centuries to misshape the roads as they made their weary way home. Squirting water onto the screen helped for almost minutes as the blades worked double time and helped in no way as I struggled to go through villages whose roads were not built for more than one bullock cart and three drunk Englishmen. The drunks remained but the Bullocks have long since been turned to soup. As we neared home two hours and much sweat later the instructor, somewhat too eagerly I thought, mentioned that the sun was showing itself again. I was glad we were on the long, almost straight, road home as it allowed me to glance upwards and glower in the skies direction.
These trips not only educate me in the way of the idiot driver, and we have met a few out there, but I can glance at the centuries of history that we pass in between crunching gears and ignoring speed limits. The picture is of Long Melford church and the red brick 'Trinity Hospital' (Old folks home to you & me) an ancient loooong village that was there when the Romans passed through, contains two huge Tudor houses and masses of red brick walls and rich Suffolk folk. This area was once the breadbasket of England (that's England as opposed to the UK folks) and wool was the reason for the wealth. The people of this area not only provided the occasional king, many nobles who thought they should be king but they also enjoyed the god Mammon so much they have managed to keep their grasping hands on much of the wealth ever since. They also eat bread, as there is always a bread van parked in an awkward position when we pass through.
Spring being the best time of year it is wonderful to see the white flowers growing at the side of the roads, the green fields, some of which appear to be well ahead of schedule, and the views over the gently rolling landscape as I miss the turn through watching the gently rolling landscape and plough through Farmer Jones bright yellow crops. Small birds attempt suicide as we pass by flying low over the roads, large one dominate the sky, rooks and crows jealous of their territory and a Kestrel high above watching minute movements of rabbits or voles or anything that spells lunch! At least today, being a holiday, there were no tractors with their huge tyres pushing us into the verge, no women driving huge 4x4's as the schools were closed and dad, if he is still around, drives his expensive vehicle, and we managed to avoid those who headed for the coast or the big garden centres that attract shoppers on such occasions like the instructors windscreen does.
A good day in the end, we survived!
Sunday, 3 May 2009
Saturday, 2 May 2009
Just after seven this morning I switched or the wireless. They were talking about people arriving back from Mexico. While offers of early return had been made to hundreds of UK citizens (Where did they get the money from?) only eighty had bothered to take up the offer. The programme then began to talk about this, as indeed all news programmes have talked incessantly about 'Swine Flu,' for days now. (Why is it not called 'Pig Flu?') Sky News have almost nothing else to talk about, the BBC likewise, the papers have panic headlines on the front page and hospitals are preparing for millions of deaths (750,000 in the UK alone some say).
And yet how much do we actually know about this 'Flu?'
There is almost no information that we require being given out just the number of deaths expected, the number of masks being obtained (32 million) and how hospitals are acquiring the anti vaccine in readiness. But I still don't know how this is different from the flu that kills 12,000 every year in the UK, or the one that flattened me last month. Too much screaming 'Don't Panic' and not enough calculated information.
Where would the desperate for cash news media be without a panic?
Consider where the flu started, Mexico! Near the US border thousands have been killed by gangs intent on smuggling drugs into the USA and yet 149 die from this flu and it is a possible pandemic! Now a sober assessment would agree that this indeed is a possible pandemic, but it would also talk of the thousands who died in Mexico from other diseases, often caused by poverty, smoking or just being fat! A few years ago the 'Sun,' that vile tabloid paper, had no news to speak off. No actress was getting divorced, no anti politician headline was available, and no other actress was getting divorced so they found an almost true story and built it up. 'Killer bug eats people,' they screamed! And there was some truth in this. A bug, found in hospitals does indeed get into the person and kill them from within, there is as yet no cure. Eight people have died they claimed, and they were right. However around eight die every year in the UK from this, and they missed this bit out! It was well known to the NHS and no cure had been, or indeed has been found, yet the exaggeration of the story hindered many from entering hospitals to be cured of their diseases! Folk withdrew because of this scare, which if never printed would not have bothered them. 'What the ear doesn't hear the eye doesn't see,' kind of thing.
The same with 'Swine Flu.' Of course it is dangerous but do we need hours and hours of coverage on this every day? Do we need panic instead of knowledge? Do we indeed need to worry as yet?
I am sick of 'Swine Flu' and I have, as yet, not even caught it!
p.s. I read the other day 83% of those who catch it survive. It was a fact hidden in one of the panic stories!