Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Recession




Economic recessions, whether national or personal, have never been good. In times past such a thing as a recession meant real suffering in the UK. Today I am glad to say this is not the case, well it is not the case in that should actually starve.  Benefits provide for those who fail to find work and stop them either sleeping on the streets or starving.  Benefits certain 'Daily Mail' readers and cabinet ministers wish to bring to an end!  Some do slip through the net, sometimes this is their fault, sometimes the system fails.  Others see their companies, both large and small going to the wall as the recession bites, often through no fault of their own.  There are of course those who can take advantage of this, temporary workers agencies for instance, these come into their own in times like these.  These two cars were bought a year or two ago to provide transport for the owner of one such agency.  Six in all were obtained to provide transport for the top men in the company.  (incidentally my bike's puncture has now been fixed) It is a strange situation in many ways.  Companies do go to the wall, directors and staff often losing their homes because of this and yet others can run expensive cars, and they are not even members of David Cameron's Cabinet!  I note the man in the thousand pound suit is not yet troubled, we are indeed 'all in this together,' eh Dave?  There is an increasing divide between the have's and have not's, many suffer badly because of rising costs, especially concerning energy supplies, and yet as a nation we still run expensive cars, buy expensive clothes and look to profit by selling the house for an increase on what we paid for it.  We still expect to get what we wish, and whine loudly when cuts force us to buy what we need as opposed to what we want. (Tell me about that!) In the 1930's the depression led to soup kitchens and real hardship.  Rents could not be paid, clothes and food could not be bought, yet today we can retain expensive mobile phones, cars of some sort, and worry about our weight.  It's a funny old recession right enough.  The nation, indeed the west,  just got slack when wealth became common and when living of the fat of the land we still remained unsatisfied.  maybe we forgot what life was all about?  Wealth is good, I will buy a lottery ticket, however a wealthy nation becomes lazy, dull and self satisfied.  The media satisfies our demands for things to fill our emptiness with dumbed down pap and we lap it up.  Maybe the west in general required a good shaking, maybe we need to remember what matters?  I would be happy being shaken if we were 'all in this together,' but I suspect the usual suspects will come out of this alive.  Now, where is that mince.....?




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Monday, 27 February 2012

Friday, 24 February 2012

Lumbered


A young lass has lumbered me with what is called the 'Versatile Blogger Award,' for reasons of spite I believe!


The rules insist I must first post this :-



Then blether share seven things about myself.  Now as you know I am a humble and retiring sort, and sharing one thing about myself is difficult for one so shy, and therefore finding seven things to lay before you may be difficult indeed.  However I did make a start and considered what I could post here for your delectation. This at first glance appeared quite easy, however by the time I was working on the sixth item the detritus that makes up my life revealed itself starkly to my face.  The emergency services who talked me down of Marks & Spencer's roof in Chelmsford were very kind. The interesting white suit with arms that tie behind my back has been removed now the Valium is taking hold.  


Here instead are seven things that have crossed my numbed brain during this time.  Maybe some of those who bother to read, and being Friday few will be around, life offering them a break from the routine at last, those who bother to read might identify with dome of these things.  Help is available if you do, but please don't jump off tall buildings, it hinders the traffic, apparently.



The Bike!  Yes this bike is struggling a bit these days, it is about 15 years old, and that's older than my mentality.  The gears are not quite what they should be, my technical skill remains at switching on the light and turning a key in a lock, the mudguards have long lost the screws that keep them together (and replacements do not exist you must buy a new mudguard!) and the tyres are so thin that punctures come easily.  I was out for 15 minutes this morning and had one by the time I returned!  However that said one of the great activities open to most people whatever their age is riding a bike!  If you have quiet streets, a country lane, or a path by the beach it can be even better.  Some folks are into walking, over long pathways, hills and mountains and even deserts, but nothing beats riding a bike.  You cover much the same ground and at three times the speed. If the view is boring you accelerate, if it is excellent you stop.  The only hassle is rain, wind and motorists.  Oh and punctures!  One of the great joys, and I would do it more if my knees did not keep aching.  I will be out again tomorrow although I think I made a blooper fixing the tyre, it may go again!


History!  There are only four subjects kids need to learn at school, reading and writing, counting, geography and history.  Everything else should prepare them for the real world in whatever role they wish to participate in.  Lack of proper History teaching leads to myths, and all nations have them.  These myths are often propaganda that began during war time and have become part of the nation.  Often half truths and omitting those events that put the nation in a bad light myths can come to be a major part of a nations psyche.  You will know of many in your own land.  Factual history not only tells us the reality of the past, and we need to know this to see how we became what we are, but the truth enables us to develop a better structure for the future.  Some people slant history to their own advantage, though I have never known a Scot to do this, and politicians are very adept are taking portions that speak to the nations heart, whether right or wrong.  The study of History is therefor the most important and in these days one of the least supported by education establishments.  This is a pity.  History tells us about ourselves, and maybe that is why it is not too popular!  However I find it not only important but fun!  There is a strange and difficult to explain thrill to stand where a great event in the past, so long talked about, occurs, whatever this may be.  To be on a battlefield a hundred years after the war is not only safer, it aids understanding and sets the mind working.  To stand on steps Jesus must have walked on, and by working it out by yourself rather than trust a guide, is a thrill.  For some reason while watching 'Time Team' I found myself very interested in what once was the doorway into a store,  yet if I stand outside a warehouse today I find it less interesting than one stuck in the mud from 250 years before?  Hey ho, life is strange.  But history tells us about us, because wherever folks come from and whatever time they lived they are just like us, human nature never changes.


Blogs!  Yes I know there are a hundred billion of them out there, and that one third have not been updated for yonks, but they are a fabulous way to keep in touch, entertain, inform or just let of a scream into the world!  The last is what many people are indeed doing, yelling "I am here and I am important too!" to a disinterested world caught up in its own importance.  Writers, both serious and er, dilettantish, can state their opinions, sort the world, meet people, and I have met good people this way, and upset most off them, and widen the experience of life by crossing frontiers from a keyboard.  Lonely old folks, or indeed younger ones, would benefit by making n effort this way, much better than staring at a TV as many do, numbing the mind and killing and wasting the life experience of many. Blogs and bloggers, whatever their reasons, are excellent I say!  Oh yes and you can post your fotos also, which is another fabulous use of a blog, try it!


Dole!  There is nothing like being unemployed!  The lack of money, the debts that do not go down, the threadbare shoes, and the sideways glances from those that say, "Scrounger, workshy and lazy,' all these can wear you down.  Nothing is more objectionable however than millionaire Cabinet ministers (Yes Duncan Smith I mean you!) appearing in the press saying with an innocent expression 'The unemployed just need to square their skills with the vacancies.' all the while ignoring the fact that there are five unemployed, at least, for each one, and that most are unsuitable!  This from a man who is putting seriously sick people onto the dole just to save a few bob on sickness benefit!  Maybe it's my age but I don't care as much as I used to.  I have had enough of office politics, inept and often corrupt management, and the buck passing that work brings.  I want work, indeed a man needs to work, it is part of his makeup, but after all this time I wonder what to do?  I have on occasion found myself sitting in the park with a blank expression, having done all and having no idea what to do next.  Usually this is followed by tales of some nobody who finds a penny and within a year is a multi-millionaire and a member of the House of Lords.  I hate folks like that!  Sometimes I think I should have struggled on at work, although that did not appear good at the time, sometimes I wonder what is the point?  However, searching for dead soldiers, reading blogs and keeping in touch with the football brings me back to life again, unless we get royally stuffed of course!  Something will turn up, one day.


Edinburgh!  Scotia's darling!  My birthplace and the best city in the world, apart from the rain of course! The city has a thousand years of history for those who like that sort of thing.  The life of the everyday people mixing in close proximity to their leaders engenders an egalitarian attitude not seen in Englandshire.  This does not preclude a social structure of course, oh no, an establishment exists here indeed!  The castle towering over Prices Street has seen wars, indeed it was bombed in 1916 by a passing Zeppelin, royal births, massacres (of English mostly so that's alright), tattoos and festivals, and today ranks as one of the most visited tourist attractions in the British Isles!  The half million people can crowd in shops and offices, and some factories exist but not as many as in the past, and nowhere near as many as in Glasgow and the west, and finance still makes Edinburgh second only to London where money is concerned, although what the banks do with it is worth pondering.  To the north the Firth of Forth rolls into the north sea, and once watched as the fleet sallied forth on the Forth to defend the waves she claimed to rule.  They did not all return.  Behind Edinburgh rise the Pentland hills, with the odd historical site, a gun range and people of old age sauntering along in a manner that makes me weary!  The city has everything most folks wish for and these days is, they claim, full of jollity and fun, carnivals and exhibitions, young folks entertaining, with cafe's and bars, and an openness to visitors.  Sod that for a game of soldiers, I'll stay here where it's miserable enough!



Humour!  Jenny, an intelligent and able lass, whom I will not mention because she is the woman who lumbered me with this, appears to think I have a cynical view on life, me?  I fail to see why she links me with Anthony  Aloysius Hancock.  He was a great comedy actor who, using the writings of Galton & Simpson,  brought the nation to a halt once a week, whether on radio or TV.  It was claimed that some 25 million people would turn on the gramophone and listen into 'Hancock's Half Hour' in the early 50's. Later, along with Sid James, Bill Kerr and Hattie Jacques he transferred to TV and again stopped the world.  Hancock's ability to read a script and act it out first time perfectly, plus impeccable timing, made him a giant of the comedy world.  His talent matched the writers skill perfectly, their insights both into the subject and his personality and the world in general still makes the programme worth listening out for.  Individual lines have stayed in the nations memory for generations now.  The programme is broadcast still on BBC 4 Extra.  Quiet how anyone could say I was cynical like Tubbs escapes me I'm sure. Before we had TV the family would visit 'The Empire Theatre,' or the Edinburgh 'Palladium' for a variety show.  I used to laugh my head off all the way through these shows, right up to the end, until a David Whitfield type singer would appear and I demanded to go!  Few escaped my censure apart from Wee Willy Harris, emerald green Teddy Boy jacket and red hair,in 1957!  Or the man with the golden trumpet, Eddie Calvert. I liked them.  I would have loved to be a comedian and to that end I lacked only one thing, talent!  Oh yes, and humour!  Oh and wit, understanding, timing, ......  


God!  The one thing that keeps me from topping myself on gloomy days is the thought that this man Jesus not only died for me, he came and told me about it. Now I don't wish to give the wrong impression, there was no voice or manifestation, but Jesus broke into my life, and over (far too) many years has been trying to get me to trust him completely, and his life will flood mine. This has been a struggle, he has sweated a lot over me I can tell you!  Yet the Love of God is seen in his coming to seek me, and only I know how bad I am, and offers forgiveness and life, to me!  You see people also who have found this, a strange lot some say, but when the living God appears you must change.  Even sitting blankly staring after another joyless meeting at the job shop if the thought of Jesus love comes to mind all else is put in perspective.  I sometimes ever smile at strangers!  My twisted personality would be awful without his interference. In fact I would be dead by now.  As a teen I just wished to visit Edinburgh's 500 pubs, and chase women, no doubt had drugs appeared I would have gone for them like an idiot and been long dead!  Looking back it is clear he led me to London, although quite what I am to do out in this wilderness is less clear I can tell you.  The car crash in 1986 revealed God's hand.  We could easily be dead.  The healing afterwards saw Jesus at work in many ways, and his participation in the life of the church at that time was evident.  He is alive today and wishes to let us know him!  Nothing tastes in life once you have tasted something better!  Jesus is the best!





Oh yes, another rule of this was to list 15 pour souls to pass this on to.  However I do not know 15 souls, only a handful.  I will mention the names of some, and if you wish to pursue this or not I leave with you.  I select  first the great Max, then Soub, a man of many talents!  Mike, is a man who understands the world, RDG, a poet and a sweetie, and 'A,' who makes me laugh!  Rab also, a thoughtful and erudite man well worth reading. Feel free to ignore this if you wish. These things usually annoy me yet how can I resist a pretty face?  




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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Wednesday Evening



I was writing something for the blog but got so bogged down with it and the football commentary began on the wireless so I gave it up and posted this instead.  I thought it very funny and clever.  I did log on to the Twitter thing, not so much to post when I was drinking coffee, sitting on a bus or washing my face but to read what football players were saying about their injuries.  I have posted more than I thought, and thought far too little when I posted.  It seems that is all to often the way.  However I can add my short thoughts to the outpourings from various football reporters, I avoid the word 'journalist,' and rarely do they reply.  I think one at least has blocked me.  Oops.!  You would not believe how many people disagree with my opinions.  The 'Glasgow Herald' will not let me post unless a moderator passes my comment, asking questions regarding Rangers football club upset them, and the 'Daily mail' regularly indicates a post has been withdrawn following a complaint.  The 'Guardian' objects to their mods being referred to as 'Nazis' or 'fascists,' for some reason.  


On the other hand I have five fingers these are opportunities tor each the powerful and the movers and shakers amongst us.  The web allows us to e-mail our MP's and I did send a comment to that idiot Ian Duncan Smith regarding his use of young unemployed as slave labour for his friends in Tesco's. Not too sure if that will get a response that one.  Every comment reveals our opinions of happenings great and small.  This can be a good way of informing these powerful people, even if they do not wish to care a toss about what we think.  The thought comes to my mind that the BBC does not have such a facility.  I mean I do not know the leading man/woman/confused gender who runs BBC1 for instance.  I would like to make my views knows directly, I wonder if it wishes to hear? So I suppose that such things as Twitter, blogs, forums have improved the knowledge our leaders, MP's, Editors and others, have of their peoples opinions.  It doesn't appear to make too much difference mind does it?



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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

St Paul's



Henry Dawson painted this view of St Paul's high above the Thames in 1877.  The river is full of craft of various types. Behind the artist many large ships would be unloading, lighters would be transferring goods from ship to shore, and I suspect that even at that late date some 'taxi' boat still crossed the river in places, not all bridges having been built by then I guess.  I say 'guess as I am to lazy busy to check for myself.  Until the early sixties when the dockers lost out to cheaper, more profitable, and less likely to be pilfered container ships the Thames was a busy, dirty river.  Today a few barges pass by, the tourist boats rip off the clients, and some private craft are seen.  The warehouses are trendy flats, office blocks avoid taxpaying as much as possible and the view of St Paul's is still possible, if you find the few places where a gap in the building reaching for the sky allows this. Dawsons view is better than today's, but the lifestyle of the people, as well as their health thanks to the NHS must be considerably better!    


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Monday, 20 February 2012

Now I'm not one to complain, but...




This is the scruffy, unkempt face of the Scotland team manager.  He presented it, along with a smile borrowed from a tired airline steward, to the illiterates that form the Scottish press football corps.  These devious lying cretins arrive with only two thoughts, "How can we make this seem bad no matter how good it appears, and how can we get him to talk about our club, Rangers?"  Today they gathered at Hampden pretending to care about the Scotland side. These worm like creatures would have noticed the three Celtic players but only one Rangers player in the squad.  This would have been alleviated by the three ex- Rangers and only two ex- Celtic players announced.  Of such childish sectarianism does the Glasgow media feed!  What would have missed their attention was the ever increasing number of players born outside of Scotland, some of at least one Scots parent, and others selected simply because they read 'Treasure Island,' as a kid or once ate an oatmeal biscuit without any butter to prove they were a man! And that only last week!


It is gone to far now, this foreign import of 'Scotsmen.'  We have reached a stage, although the media miss this as there is no mileage in it for them nor are they willing to think outside of the OF box, we have reached a stage where a halt has to be called to Leveins choice of foreigner. Do players like Murphy and Lasley not matter?  Are Dundee United players not yet ready? I am sure Levein does not wish to play young men too early, and with this I agree, however they have to start sometime, and if they are true born Scots they must get a look in somewhere, even in a friendly. We have to take a chance and develop young players, even if not ready, and use them for at least half a game.  Instead we bring in those not nearly good enough to ever get a call up for the nation of their birth, and indeed of their choice.  It is true some have done well and I do not suggest they be thrown out now they have played, but we weaken the development of young players without a sixteen team league, and by taking away their opportunities by filling the gap with 'journeymen! If we are to play such talents let them be Scots 'journeymen' I say, not English ones!


Maybe Levein is right when he says his job is to Progress into tournaments."  Maybe he is more intent on succeeding here and moving to a better job afterwards down in England, or even juts doing enough to keep his job as manager of the Scotland side.  We all know how trustworthy the SFA are.  Once the press turn against the manager he is out, unless he has Ibrox connections. I have nothing against the chancers players myself, it is just that they are NOT Scotsmen, had no thought for the most part concerning Scotland, and only heard of it when that ageing granny said "Wee," and "Scunner!"  Now they have the chance all players wish for, to play at International level.  Who can blame them?  However I could never put on an England shirt, how can they turn on their nation so easily?  Have they no pride except when lying about '66?  The idea of allowing sons of nationals born abroad is indeed a good one, however where it falls down is when the slightest connection allows you to play thus hindering the development of young home grown players.  This may keep a manager in a job, it may even bring success, but it is NOT right!


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Saturday, 18 February 2012

Half Time



Could it get worse?  I sit here listening to the game at Motherwell and the Heart of Midlothian are losing two nil at half time, I am freezing here with the north wind howling through the gaps in the window and now rain is lashing down storm like!  The only bright spot in this dull, damp, dreich, Dundee like day is the news that Rangers, in such financial trouble they might perish, have drawn a huge crowd to Ibrox Park and are now not only losing but have had a man sent off!  Every cloud has a silver lining I suppose!  
No it hasn't. Motherwell, two nil ahead, have a man sent off!  Now we have a chance to get back into the game, isn't this good?  No it isn't, we are three nil down..... The rain is still falling, the sky is dark, my fingers have frostbite, but I am not one to complain.....


It's cold, the dinner is burning, we lost, life is cruel, it's being so cheerful wot keeps me going....


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Friday, 17 February 2012

Invincible



I have been engaging my dim intellect on a search for this ship today, 'HMS Invincible.'  I was actually not really looking for the ship, I know where she lies, but for information regarding Acting Leading Stoker Henry Samuel Goodchild.  The centenary of the beginning of the Great War arrives in August 2014 and I am trawling around for one or two local men named on the war memorial for the museum.  Goodchild is one of them, as his parents lived in 72 Manor Street, just around the corner from me.  


There is little concerning him online as far as I can see although the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site does tell us his parents address and that he was a native of Gorleston on Sea, up in Norfolk near Great Yarmouth.  A quick glance informs me this was a poor little town that survived on fishing in the 19th century as far as I can see, life appears to have been very hard and the inhabitants poor.  I presume that this brought them all the way to this area, I suppose at the turn of the century, in search of a better life. Quite what that employment would be I can only guess at. Henry Samuel's employment was as a stoker on his Majesty's Battlecruiser 'HMS Invincible!'  This ship was built in 1909 yet by the war she was far from being the most modern amongst the fleet.  Newer ships were faster and had updated equipment.  However she saw service at the Battle of the Heligoland Bight and a major part in the 'Battle of the Falkland Islands' where, along with the 'Inflexible,'  she sank both the 'Scharnhorst' and the 'Gneisenau.'  However after playing her part during the 'Battle of Jutland'  she herself received a barrage of shells courtesy of the German Navy, from both the 'Lutzow' and the 'Derfflinger.'  German gunnery was accurate and several shells from each hit the ship.  One pierced the 'Q' Funnel and the resultant explosion made its way to the middle of the ship. 'HMS Invincible' was rent asunder and withing 90 seconds all that remained were the front and rear ends of the ship sticking out of the water.  Six men in the Control Top firing the guns, were flung clear and were found clinging to a raft cheering on the other ships in the chase, they were the only survivors. 


So this morning I attempted to develop my limited knowledge of both the battle itself and Acting Leading Stoker Goodchild.  I found out that he was only 'acting,' and this shows not only that he was capable and trusted by his superiors, but also the cheapskate way the services promote.  'Acting' means you possess the rank but not the salary, and many men, even of quite high rank, find that later the rank may be withdrawn and you revert to a previous position. Not all accept this with good grace!  A stoker is usually considered but nothing other than shoveling coal into a boiler, an extremely hard job, however there was skill involved as the coal had oil sprayed onto it to increase the burn rate, and stokers had to attend to the engines as well as the boilers.  He may well have had some technical skill therefore.  Somehow I must discover when he enlisted, was it before the war?  He was 29 when the ship went down so maybe the enthusiasm of 1914 called him to enlist. Gorleston was by the sea and possibly he had always hankered for the sea again, and pride in the Royal Navy was high, far too many men volunteered for the Navy in the end.  It is always possible that he had already tried the fishing at Gorleston, maybe that made the family move!  So all morning I searched the web, being sidetracked here and there, until I discovered nothing other than it was afternoon and I was getting nowhere.  My eyes had begun to shrink into black dots by then and now I find I'm still writing about it now for goodness sake!  Enough! 





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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Woolpack Inn



This fine old building is the Woolpack Inn, Bocking.  Or at least it was in times past.  Today it is divided into three 'cottages,' the far one selling for just under £300,000 if you are interested.  The two outer buildings have dates of 1590 carved into them, the old Woolpack is dated around 1660,  There are of course many 'Woolpack Inns' around these parts.  Wool was England's greatest export for many years and until recently the Lord Chancellor sat on the 'Woolsack' in the House of Lords, this to represent England's wealth!  Today the speaker sits on a pouf!  Very apt!  Not sure what the carvings are supposed to represent but there are many in this long road.  An attractive road apart from the constant traffic that thunders down here throughout the day and night. The houses are very old and attract the 'best' type of resident, I do not live here. A man named Savill bought the pub in 1779 and his family were still running the place in 1841, it appears to have closed shortly after this as old photographs show the buildings as housing.  There were many more public houses in the past, partly because of the poor water, partly as eating places, and partly because the English are drunks I tell you!  1590 to 1660 concerns Raleigh, Shakespeare, Marlowe and Elizabeth as Queen.  James VI & I became King of two nations and he called it 'Great Britain' for the first time. We have the gunpowder plot, English settlers at Jamestown, plague, fire and war.  We can speculate as to how the residents of this area dealt with those occurrences but I wonder if the needs of the moment meant more to them than national events?  News spread very fast, although slower when  there was no 'Twitter' service, and people in small villages and towns would have been aware of much outside their own area.  Most surely would not have wandered that far from home unless war called, wouldn't they?  I wonder?  The house has recently been sold, if next door cost £300,000 then this would be more, I didn't make an offer.


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Monday, 13 February 2012

Camulodunum



Camulodunum was very cold today, in spite of the weather man claiming the cold snap was lessening.  Here we see the wall forming the first defensive barrier.  Behind the land slopes up to where I suspect another barrier once stood.  Well it would have had I anything to do with it!




Not exactly straight!  Age has indeed wearied this wall which has lasted many years.


 

The variety of stones includes many slim red tiles.  These are Roman bricks I believe but I am too busy to check it out and I wonder if this forms part of the wall created as part of the new defences after Boudicca's revolt. 

   
Can you make out the thin layer of ice that lies on top of the river?


I wondered what this was at first.  The design and brickwork was typical 1950's and must have appeared very modern at the time.  It forms part of the Fire Station and while I am unsure as to whether it is a chimney or part of the training routine I found it strangely atmospheric of its time!


I was amazed by the lamp standards in this area.  Very dated and very badly maintained.  Much more attractive than the concrete type that appeared in the 50's, or would be if painted once again.

My meeting there was once again with a different person.   Yet another has walked off to tour the world and I am now on my fourth worker, and I suspect this will change to another next time I trundle along there.  Still this lass has plenty of common sense and a great deal of the females normal attitudes, she nagged me, browbeat me and was totally unreasonable in her demands!  However I am much encouraged by the news that the employment situation will worsen and 'bosses are losing staff' claim the press.  It did not mention where they lose them however.


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Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Skies are Becoming Lighter!



At five this evening I noticed the clouds outside were still light gray.  This was because the days are getting longer and soon Spring will Spring into view and once Spring has Sprung life will be better, and cheaper, than it is now!  Soon this horrible white stuff that still lies in heaps around us will melt, allowing the media to complain about floods everywhere.  Once gone it will not return, at least not like this, and life will once again be beautiful, apart from all the reasons to grump of course!  No more gathering around a candle wishing I could afford a box of matches.  No more wearing woolen gloves with the fingers cut out, in bed, and walking the streets to keep warm as it is colder inside than out!  Daffodils are already sprouting, Easter eggs are lining the shelves of supermarkets waiting for Valentines Day to pass, and offers of holidays in the sun are flooding the spam markets.  The days are getting longer, the geese are getting fat, let's put a £20 note into my old hat!


Well that was  worth a try.........



  




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Friday, 10 February 2012

Isn't Life Great?



This is a sink.  In the sink lies a bowl.  Inside the bowl lies, just visible, a frying pan. Now it is not unusual to see a pan in a washing u bowl, but this one is different.  This is a symbol of my life today!  You see I used the pan to fry some mushrooms and tomatoes to go along with my fish, chips and beans, a nourishing but unspectacular chow the other night.  The pan was later stored away at the bottom of the oven, some oil still inside, awaiting further use. Last night, using all my intellect to the fullest effect, I decided that eating the remains from the bag of oven chips would equal my tea because I was too lazy busy to fix anything that required effort.
It was while I searched the web for dead soldiers in the fields of France and Gallipoli that I began to actually taste the aroma of war. The burning smell from the shells and destroyed buildings was very clear to me as I Googled.  It was as if I was there!  I was!  The frying pan was burning and the house was filling with smoke and all was danger!  I ate in a calm atmosphere, eyes nipping with the smoke in the air, doors and windows open, and a cold draught going right up my kilt!  The smell still lingers today, even after a lot of elbow grease has been involved.  
Life will be better from now on, I wonder if I bought that lottery ticket.....?





Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

What the Dickens?



Today, we have been repeatedly told by the media, commemorates the two hundredth year since the birth of Charles Dickens.  I find myself saying,"So?"  Why is there such a fuss about a man who made his living by writing story books?  Dickens was obsessed with two things, one was his 'suffering' as a child and the other was the theatre.  Put together he produced books which told stories that adapt easily for the stage or screen and are filled with pathos, often concerning small boys and their suffering.  I give you that he could write well when he wished, his first chapter of 'Bleak House,' is a marvel and makes the reader imagine he is struggling up and down the slopes of Holborn. The third chapter takes the reader into a slum dwelling and fills the mind with a very real picture of the dingy dwelling.  The book gets thrown away by the reader who finds the intervening chapters more slushy than the streets of Moscow during a thaw! 

Why is he so revered?  Possibly because his books have been turned into television and film events more than his actual writing.  Possibly because once a book becomes a 'must read' it is forced upon the world even by those who have never read any of them.  Other authors have more depth, more interesting tales, yet remain less popular.  I am surprised by the amount of praise Dickens receives when had he published such works today the PC lobby would have the social services on him, the police would be removing his laptop and the media would be crucifying him as a danger to children.

It's a funny old world saint!

                                    

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Monday, 6 February 2012

Failed Trip



I checked the rail website this morning and fund some trains were still running.  Someone called from the meeting place but left no message on the ansafone, usually this means it is a female!  I called back, at great expense, and asked for the appropriate person. She was in another part of the building and I had to call a different number, at great expense. Here I discovered the woman I wanted only to discover she was not the woman I wanted.  She was another woman who had stood in for the first woman who was, wait for it, back in the first part of the building. I called once more the first number, at great expense, and found the woman I wanted, or rather didn't find her as she was with somebody else.  I left a message and wondered how to pay the bill.  


Checking the website I looked for updates on the train troubles, sadly while many lines out of Liverpool Street were suffering delays, by stalled trains, frozen points and lost trains, my line was clear, for the most part.  I checked the site before I left, the train was 'On Time!'  After slithering down to the station, the feet damp from leaking shoes which were attracted magnetically to all slush puddles en route, I discovered the train was running but a mere seventeen minutes late.  I joined the queue who were glancing anxiously at the timetable screen while fingering their wallets.  I paid my money to the friendly efficient man in the ticket office and took my place on the platform. 


Only one other was there and he was only there to make a call on his mobile away from the others.  The others rested together in the waiting room, a waiting room equipped with a coffee and 'stuff you need on trains stall.'  I wondered what the connection would be like?  I wondered if it would arrive on time? I wondered where the yellow went when I brushed my teeth with Pepsodent? A female voice descended upon my ears from somewhere unknown.  The voice intoned the details of the train, but not its whereabouts. "The ten o'clock train is cancelled," she informed us with ill concealed boredom. It was possibly the thousandth such call she had made since her shift began and it was beginning to show.  "The next train to depart from Platform 1 (Platform 1? There is only one platform?) will be the eleven o'clock."  As my meeting was timed for eleven fifteen and I would arrive just before she left for home I obtained a refund, along with the rest, and struggled home via the slush. I informed the lass I would not arrive and she cared less for this information than I care for a woman talking about her baby.  


I did the washing instead and fell asleep.  Something tells me this was more productive than visiting Camoludunum would have been.




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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Snow is Horrid!



It all went very quiet for a Saturday night last evening.  Around ten I got off my butt and looked out of the side window to find the threatened snow had ceased threatening!  It was falling all night, small flakes drizzling down but to thin to be caught in the picture. 
  

I crossed the park trudging through almost six inches of snow (although the weather folk always talk in centimeters now for some reason!).  Not much if you are in Canada but a lot for this neck of the woods. Naturally the world has ceased to operate so it is kind of lucky this is a Sunday.  If this is not cleared by Monday there will be massive disruption, the media full of dire warnings, late buses, trains, and hospitals full of people falling over.  Which reminds me I am on the train at ten tomorrow, or maybe not as the case may be.  Two dogs were in the park this morning and in spite of the snow one insisted on chasing a stick which it could not find in the depth of the snow!
  

The bustling town centre early in the morning.  It is probably not much better at bustling tonight.  


The entire atmosphere changes in these conditions, for a start it was warmer than the past two days when there was no snow, and all sound is softened by the snow, all except the cries of the fallen of course. 


By the morning it is possible that all this will be nothing but mush of course.
  
The News Biscuit sums it up very well



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Friday, 3 February 2012

Thoughts to Ponder





My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn't.

I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.

Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.


You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me

I'm not a complete idiot -- Some parts are missing.


Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

God must love stupid people; He made so many.


The gene pool could use a little chlorine.


Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?


Being "over the hill" is much better than being under it!


Procrastinate Now!


I Have a Degree in Liberal Arts; Do You Want Fries With That?

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance


They call it PMS because MadCow Disease was already taken.


He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless dead.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it uses up three thousand times the memory.


Ham and eggs. A day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment for a pig.


The trouble with life is there's no background music.


The original point and click interface was a Smith and Wesson.


I smile because I don't know what the hell is going on.

"What is the point of this Blog? What am I trying to say?"








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Thursday, 2 February 2012

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Lynch Mob



Sir Fred Goodwin became powerful at the Royal Bank of Scotland during the good times. The money flowed and nobody knew nor cared who he was.  However the crash came and the world banking system went into meltdown and the exploits of Fred and his kind came to public attention as front page news.  Fred retired on a healthy pension of £760,000 a year, causing public outcry as people were beginning to feel the pain of recession by then, especially the 20,000 who had lost their jobs under his control!  His house was attacked forcing him to move into a more secure accommodation costing a mere two or three million, depending on whom you choose to believe. After some debate his pension was lowered to a mere £360,000 annually and he went of looking for work as a taxi driver at the weekends. Recently the bankers habit of awarding themselves multi million pound bonus's, even while the bank shares are losing value and thousands are being dumped on the streets, individuals and small to medium businesses are failing to secure much needed loans.  An outcry has arisen with bankers now considered among the low in society, alongside estate agents, MP's and tabloid journalists.  

To this end a lynch mob has attacked leading bankers receiving the odd million or two bonus and a campaign in the media has seen a chairman or two refuse to accept his bonus and others forced to turn theirs down, although we all know this will be made good to them all in the end. For Sir Fred Goodwin this meant that an uproar has demanded he be stripped of his Knighthood and return to being mere 'Mr' Goodwin. The cynic in me finds this somewhat unsettling in a couple of ways.  Apart from the fact that he keeps the money, position attained amongst his peers and while disgruntled will not otherwise be bothered,it smacks of jealousy and spite rather than justice.  While Goodwin appears to possess the face and character that makes normal folk wish to slap him hard  the lynch mob approach does not bring back the billions wasted worldwide.  In the end it shows merely that once again the PR PM Cameron is responding to a public outcry in the 'Daily Mail,' while doing nothing to end the bonus payment culture that lines the pockets of those who pay vast sums into his Conservative party.  Oh, could these be linked perhaps, surely no!    

When the editor of the 'Daily Mail,' one Paul Dacre I believe, who is paid £1.65 Million a year complains about a banker £1.2 million wage plus a million pound bonus I begin to wonder what kind of bonus Dacre receives let alone the other benefits he gains from mixing in the same company as the bankers. It has been said that Dacre has earwigged Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and now David Cameron in an attempt to be made a member of the house of Lords, if so could this be for the sake of the nation, to benefit the world by his opinions or just for the sake of pretentious emptiness, I wonder?  Goodwin and his kind participated in the great downfall (that began in the US) was encouraged by governments short sightedness and mostly by the public's greed, the one cause rarely mentioned.  The demand for loans far outstripping what we could repay (I can talk!), mortgaged to the hilt and the loss of jobs has brought our world crashing down. Vengeance, not justice, makes us attack those responsible, but only the ones we know about, while we excuse our own mistakes and join other greedy, selfish men who give even less than bankers and take even more from us, as in the case of the media they take our soul itself, and we hang out Sir Fred by removing his Knighthood and feel a strange satisfaction by this.

Goodwin was guilty, other bankers and financial men are also. However the behaviour of many well paid bonus takers attacking another is not a way out of the troubles we are in.  A failed PM satisfying a lust for vengeance does not reveal either leadership nor an understanding of a solution to the economic downturn.  The media liars appealing to the lowest common denominator, and the 'Daily Mail' certainly is this, does no one any good either.  Where do we stop here?  A Knight in England in the past was knighted because of his service to the King, while in Scotland all Nobles could and did give Knighthoods to those they chose.  Today this honour comes to those who have reached the highest levels of the Civil Service, or an MP who has voted the way he was told to vote for twenty years.  Singers and anyone who keeps in the public eye can today become a Knight, even an actress or two can receive the female version by being created a Dame simply by lasting at the top, and earning vast sums on the way, no matter how mediocre (Judy Dench!?).  The nation does require to commend those who deserve such awards but what about those who have, like Goodwin, turned out to be 'Bad 'uns?'  Do they also have the reward taken from them?  Where do we start?  How many would lose theirs?  Goodwin and his kind may have been wrong but a lynch mob does not return us to a state of normality!