Friday, 9 December 2016
The 'troubles' in Northern Ireland that erupted in 1968, ending around 30 years later, still leave heavy scars both on Ireland itself and those who became involved there. The rioting, including gunfire soon after the beginning, soon led to the much unwanted deployment of British troops to police the area. No government wishes to deploy troops on the streets but clearly the many armed IRA men, soon replaced by the far left and more dangerous 'Provos' and then the various armed groups opposing them required strong action to provide what safety was possible in town and village. A great many police officers, soldiers and civilians as well as the terrorists themselves died or were wounded during the needless struggle, today many suffer trauma still from these incidents and wounds.
The media, that is Rupert Murdoch's vile 'Sun' reported the police in Norther Ireland (the PSNI) were investigating anew the killings by the British army. This has been taken up by the tabloids also and one 75 year old has been brought to court concerning the death of an alleged innocent civilian many years ago. The media claim is that some 500 British troops may now be handed court cases for action in the past.
A few days ago Theresa May who masquerades as a Prime Minister informed the House of Commons that there would be 'No witchhunt of our troops.' The 'Sun' story appeared soon afterwards.
The British army did kill 302 during the 'troubles' but as has been stated by the PSNI the majority of killings during this time, both in Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole, 90% were committed by the Provo IRA.
On inspection the PSNI make clear that the 'Sun' is shit stirring again. Ten years ago a committee was set up to investigate all deaths in Norther Ireland, this group were considered to be failing in their duty and the PSNI took over the review of all deaths. They maintain that all killings were to be investigated not just those by the British Army, this appears to be more sensible than the media story led many to believe. However those who served in NI during the 'troubles' question why the Tony Blair 'Peace Process' which ended the conflict for the most part allowed murderers from terrorist groups on both sides to walk free and many were offered 'Letters of comfort' assuring them that they will NEVER be prosecuted for their crimes, including murder! The ex-servicemen who walked the streets of Belfast and Londonderry always with the knowledge that a bullet in the back or a roadside bomb could kill or maim them at any time wonder why they are not worthy of a similar 'Letter of comfort' while terrorists are? These men carry the result of their wounds, the memory of men killed in action there and often with what is today called PTSD from the situations and sights they saw peacekeeping on was considered Britain's streets.
This nation has always treated ex-servicemen badly. The physical pain is treated then ignored, mental pain hardly accepted even today. Many soldiers sleep rough and have difficulty returning to a civilian life, the nation cares little, officially and unofficially.
It is time the nation as a whole, the devolved assemblies also, stood up for our troops. It is time they were cleared of all wrong in similar fashion to the terrorist and ignore the Irish who still wish to attack our men while they walk free. It is time proper medical care was available in the army, proper mental health encouraged and proper support, for life, for those who risked their lives to bring peace in difficult troubled areas. Soldiers can do much wrong, without their actions however much more wrong would occur, should those who send them out not support them?
Thursday, 8 December 2016
This, the second card to have arrived, reflects somewhat on the sender in my opinion!
Each year we exchange expensive gifts, this year I sent one of those small tubes of coffee costing about 20 pence, this is the reply! A card designed for those who send large cheques to their family and friends arrives and as the wording tempted me to believe in a fortune awaiting inside I opened it with much anticipation. Here is the result, one much used worn penny that may have found a home in her shoe for some considerable time stuck to a picture of an old man and his hat! I mean really!
In times past I have received a short length of glittering blue cord, a chocolate biscuit and a pencil that had been tied in a knot! When it comes to spending money on great gifts this lass has not yet started! I imagine her granddaughter will however be piled with vast amounts of gifts none of which will contain a hat with a penny inside!
And what does she mean by 'old man's hat' anyway...?
More old fotos!
I like this one, it speaks of the sea and journeying to far off places on an adventure of some sort. I am afraid the 'Brent' never quite managed that as it spent most of its life pulling and pushing boats in the Thames around London Docks. However the time spent near water is never wasted in my mind especially when there are few about, you can enjoy what views there are, note individuals working on their boats and just enjoy an atmosphere very different form that found in car laden towns. If I ever find the energy I may rush back to Maldon and see how the Tug is preparing for Christmas.
I noted it again today when wandering about the shops, the stress that comes with Christmas. People are often grumpy and inconsiderate while shopping, the woman are, men are always thoughtful I find, but at this time of the year when the 'season of goodwill to all men' is in operation I find that 'goodwill' is harder to discover than at any other time. The lassies at the checkout are a wee bit stressed with the constant flow of people but still happier and more considerate than many customers. I did find one or two decent folks today and while the checkout girl gossiped with one slow old dear I gossiped with a lass who has lost three stone by avoiding sugar! Sad to say she had to as diabetes arrived but it goes to show how much we can lose. I considered the two large Xmas puddings, the ice cream, the three small Xmas puddings and the many sweet things I have to stuff down this Xmas and considered a new diet after this is over. I started some of it today but will slowly remove the rest over time. How often have I began a new diet...?
Anyway it is a stressful time but it need not be. Presents must be bought for important people and folks always leave it too late. Not all are strapped for cash and buying things as the money comes in many can prepare throughout the year but don't and leave it all to the last minute, not a good idea.
The cheerful music, played over and over again until the folks in the shops speak through gritted teeth, does not help matters. Much is irrelevant to Christmas anyway, soppy and sentimental but meaningless in regard to Christmas itself. Most cannot be heard from the hubbub below and interestingly while many sing along few will consider visiting a church carol service and join in.
Ass it is the phrase 'Goodwill to all men' is incorrect. I believe it actually reads 'Peace to men of goodwill,' the word 'peace' probably being 'shalom' and having more than just 'peace' in the meaning. You can check it out for yourselves. So many phrases we use are incorrect and far from their original meaning.
Football will be on soon, must fly....
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Apart from a quick trip to 'Poundland,' I needed to check prices for Christmas presents for the girls at work, and the joy of cleaning the sink nothing else has happened today.
The dreich weather, gray clouds with almost no sunshine, a weary mind which forced me back to bed not long after my porridge, a very good breakfast they say, and a lot of time running boot scans on laptops there has been nothing to report or even question.
Of course there are major events unfolding, 'Brexit' has been brought before the 'Supreme Court (so named to aid Tony Blair in his US style 'Presidential' fantasies) this court must decide if this government can go ahead without a parliamentary vote or indeed by ignoring Scotland while doing so and begin leaving the EU. Elsewhere war and starvation continue while few bother to report it, tides rise and fall, Polar Bear wonder what they will be called when the Polar has disappeared, and the majority carry on regardless too busy with their own situation to care or do something somewhere to aid matters.
Just like me in fact!
I have however eaten well today. I began with porridge because Oats are indeed good for you. They say that this is one way to lower cholesterol and by adding Honey a good way to allow 'energy' to be available throughout the day. I am far from sure about the last bit! My energy lasts an hour or so and goes elsewhere. maybe I ought to cook a lot of it, let it harden and then chomp on it biscuit fashion. It might be difficult getting the right consistency mind, it might be difficult eating it of course...
However tonight I had a bit of STEAK! The woman next door is now searching for her cat...
Some may think these are old pictures, some would be correct! Nothing to see today out there. Dreich weather does not encourage outdoor pictures especially when there is little in this wee town to call attractive! I took my camera but the inside of the crowded 'Poundshop' was not really a place to start photographing things. As my hands were full of bird pellets anyway it made things all the harder. I met a neighbour there who has the same problem as myself, the birds will not eat anything but 'Poundshop' pellets. She found that by using a different kind of seed from that found in the shop the birds rejected that also. Imagine, we are henpecked by fussy Starlings! Who runs the feeding anyway I ask! During the breeding season it cost me £10 a week!!!! Good job I am kind and loving...
Monday, 5 December 2016
Just before eight this morning I dashed out in an effort to picture the frost lying across the grass over the road. This turned out harder than I thought as the park was freezing! As I wandered down the fingers became ice and i was suddenly struck with a desire to eat hot food and lie in my bed once again.
The sky however was wonderful!
I am unable to reproduce the colours I saw, the camera and my ham-fisted operation saw to that, but I think such mornings are fabulous. Few were about bar those hustling to work and kids yearning for the bus to take them to imprisonment in school for a day, even the dog walkers were missing, just one or two hardy folks, the rest being kept in by grumpy owners. Maybe it was too cold for even the dogs.
On mornings such as this it is easy to see how many aircraft operate over this area. Many headed for nearby Stansted, others crossing over to Luton or on to the north or even those 35,000 feet up where I suspect it is far colder yet they head over the Atlantic to the Americas.
The trails fill the sky mixing with the variety of cloud that soars high above, very interesting patterns they make today. I love such morning, I just wish I had better things to picture alongside of the sky.
This sums up my day, a few pictures, back to bed, and little else to show for it.
Tomorrow there is the museum and even better lots of Fog! Now this is supposed to be with us all day so that might provide a picture, if I can get out...
Sunday, 4 December 2016
In spite of my frazzled brain I took myself to St Paul's today where one chap was being baptised.
For him this is a big step, made worse by having to speak in public when he is not that sort of chap.
Being from Zimbabwe he brought a lot of friends and family with him and Bishop Rodger having spent time in Africa knew what was required. He enticed the African element to participate and encouraged, nay forced, the rest to join in, which they did. It's not often you see such dancing in an
Anglican church setting. Celebrations over another committed to the Kingdom of Christ Jesus.
Not all were enthusiastic....
Some were determined to play...
Some didn't really notice...
I remained at the rear, taking the odd picture and ensuring I was missed when the offering bags came around...
Today I spent much time sleeping off the fuzzy head to no avail and sending copies of the pictures to those involved. None have replied as yet which indicates I have sent them at an awkward time or else to the wrong addresses.
Now what else is happening today? Well nothing as by the time I finished sending things it's tonight! Bah! I'm off to bed...
Saturday, 3 December 2016
Ah the dying suns rays brighten the darkest skies!
Actually it would be lighter but I set the camera to the wrong setting and this resulted. Good enough for me I must say. Doing that and pointing the camera at the sun gives a better picture as it hides the town beneath it, and that canny be bad.
I sauntered around half dead, I forgot to eat properly again, looking for unusual signs and views with which to entertain myself. This meant walking slowly, as I do, looking up dreamily at the buildings in the High Street and being accosted by folks rushing past on more normal Saturday duties. Tsk! The taxi driver I unwittingly stood in front of was most kind, he picked me up and dumped me at the side of the road after running me down in that side street.
I'm sure someone will know the significance of this flower (?) being placed at the entrance to the parish church. There is a similar but different one at the other side.
It may just be decoration but it is the first time I have noticed these. The advantage of actually 'looking' enables you to see what lies in front of you, the things that you ignore just because they are always there! I still don't know what purpose these met.
Opposite the church door stands a tree that is home to some sort of bird. Quite a large nest and it is only at this time of year these become exposed. I wonder what nests here? In one of the villages the zimmer bus passes through one tree has half a dozen very large nests visible high above the main road. Clearly home to someone, Crows possibly?
This does not respond to my day!
I found this in a small shop, once upon a time a pub, which sells variety of ice cream to the kids and teenagers also I suspect. Quite how it survives I do not know but it was open today and with a couple of folk inside. There were other words on the other windows but this one can be used again and again, about twice a year if the present is anything to go by...
The town has lots of 'Gants.' These are narrow alleys between buildings in the town centre mostly, the word originating most probably with the Flemish weavers in the middle ages when the arrived here to avoid persecution. Many moved down the road into Bocking and their trustworthiness was such that the 'Bays & Says' they sold far and wide were never checked on arrival as their honesty was without reproach. If it said so many yards then that is what you got!
There were roadsigns placed at the gants a short while ago to remind us of the town's heritage, many being rather obvious such as this one but others being somewhat strange to the eye.
Now work that one out!
This relates to a small pub that once worked from the back door of the building next door to the sign. There were an enormous number of pubs in this small town, in olden times many found them warmer and more social than their own rather poor housing, but others were cheap and not always so cheerful. I would not like to guess what this one was like, not what was on the menu!
Can you guess what this is?
Yes indeed, it's used by a small dance company!
This once was the church vestry, used for such meetings and indeed was used by the town council in times past I am told. Until recently a law firm stored their documents in here but they have moved to safer dwellings, I hope.
Friday, 2 December 2016
Another day of joy nears its end.
The gray clouds above made leaving the house far from tempting although the chill has gone from the air to such an extent I have removed two of the anoraks and three pullovers I wear when going to bed. I really need to set the thermostat again.
I did however venture out to visit the shopping centre as my brain fell apart and jumped on the crowded Free Bus clutching my wallet tightly.
What a waste of time this was!
This is an 'Outlet' shopping centre where shops dump the things they failed to sell elsewhere. As such you would expect prices to be lower and bargains abound. Not so! In the 'Barbour' shop I gazed at the small price tags wondering what the cut price of the jacket was, this was before I realised I was looking at the cut price! Some smelling salts later I mover to M&S. I suggest gathering a dozen 'Barbour' jackets and selling them at full price, this way you will gain enough money to start a football team! (How you get the jackets is your business) Luckily I saw none I liked and all other crowded and overpriced shops offered the same result.
What a waste of time!
Yet this centre has always been busy, new shops open up, others have been there since it opened 20 years ago (which shows how many items they fail to sell elsewhere) and I must say useful stores such as 'B&Q' and 'Halfords' exist on the far side of the business plantation.
Heading home to search the charity shops as the goods available there are far superiour than those in the shopping centre (well not today they weren't!) I wondered and not for the first time why the bus was empty.
On the way down it was crowded as always, this bus was also busy when it arrived yet whenever I return back to the bus station it is empty. What happens to them all? Do they get eaten? Are they kidnapped and sold as white slaves (or whatever)? Do they walk home? Are the lights seen in the sky aircraft from Stansted airport or aliens looking for victims to transport to Mars?
The 'Daily Mail' will probably report that as a fact tomorrow!
Tonight however BTSport do something unusual, they cover Scottish football! Indeed no sign of the green or blue bigots as they watch Dundee United beating the wee team up in Dundee. This will ensure I sleep well tonight after watching their victory. I'm sure you agree.
Here's hoping the sun shines tomorrow and lets me out!
Thursday, 1 December 2016
You could tell it was December by the chill under the blankets, the struggles of the heating to work properly and the thick, dull mist lying over the town. Eight O' Clock saw me wander past the many heading into town, few walking but countless others in cars clearing the mist one hand by their movement and adding diesel and petrol fumes to it on the other. I had to giggle as I saw them moving quickly into work while knowing that later today a long line of similar people will be slowly trundling back out again, grumbling against the hardship of busy roads. "Catch a bus?" say I to nasty glares and the question "What bus?" "The bus that would run if you had not all bought cars you canny afford! Vote Tory, lose buses, increase car ownership, increase pollution and the need for car ownership as there are no buses.
Watching the Heart of Midlothian take the grubby Rangers apart last night I was not in the least surprised to notice the Glasgow press ignoring the famous victory and instead playing this down, emphasising a disallowed (rightly) goal and wallowing in tears that their team had been beat. A more objective journalist would say the Rangers club ought to have died when it had the chance, the directors are failures and the chairman bogus, the manager out of his depth, his expensive players flops and injured at that, the rest inexperienced and out of their depth and the whole club urgently requires a make over.
They will not say this directly of course.
However the Heart of Midlothian will carry on as that sort of reporting has gone on since 1890 and before, nothing changes under the Scottish football scene. This team looked quite good last night however I felt a four goal win was what we required, just winning by two goals to nil was not enough in the circumstances. Hopefully we can do the same again in a weeks time.
You can tell nothing else happened today.
I wandered up to the shops for pillowcases, pillowcases of all things, red ones and black ones, that will brighten the odourous west wing. Then I sauntered the other way to upset the smiling girl at the Post Office as I posted my last parcel (have you done yours yet...?) and wandered back home testing my knees with a new exercise, walking too much!
The walk back reveals the weather in these parts. Cloudy yesterday, misty this morning, now as I hobbled round the pretty way far from traffic the sun shone brightly in a blue sky! Tomorrow we appear to be back to gray clouds!
The sun shining through the trees is a wonder. It is just a pity there is nothing new or exciting for it to shine upon! Most of this little town has been photographed from all angles and there is little new to find sadly.
The sun shining on the disused and now some form of accommodation water towers I thought would be a good shot but it was not quite as I saw it.
High above the housing a plane from Stansted airport heads into the sky above us. At that time of night it may be too early for those heading for the sun therefore I wonder if it is the commuter plane for Edinburgh, Glasgow or Belfast. It may be heading to Frankfurt or Warsaw, or some distant unheard of airport where it is cheaper for the airline to land. Once only the rich could fly and now almost everyone has done so at least once.
I would fly to Edinburgh if I could avoid the delays at the airport. On occasion I have been there early and there has been a delay as a window has cracked on the flight we should take. The replacement was held up by fog this morning in Glasgow and was on its way to us but held up by air traffic control. Over three hours extra we waited - patiently - and eventually made it there.
On another occasion we were also very late in taking off and on arrival at Edinburgh the plane dropped t 700 feet and rose again as the landing indicators on the ground were off and we were again in fog! We landed from the other end as the passengers decided if we had to continue on to Aberdeen!
The flight is off no more than an hours duration so the waiting on the ground makes the journey seem long. The view is good mind, usually I find I fly in bright sunshine watching the land below for anything interesting. I love the view as everything is very different from the air. There again I am easily pleased.
Wednesday, 30 November 2016
Each St Andrews Day the sky clears and high above travellers heading from Europe to far of lands such as Canada, USA or Luton Airport helpfully form a Scots Saltire Flag in the sky above us all. It is a gift from above we ought all to be grateful for.
There is a growing movement that suggests that this day ought to become a national holiday in Scotland, I am sure all will be glad about this bar the Banks which work to London time of course. They can work to London time if they wish but as the Bank of England keeps indicating the Scots Banks are not being run properly I can see their point of view. A far cry from the days the Banks in Scotland were trusted and even then the one time chairman of the Bank of Scotland, long before the corruption of recent days, was famed for saying "Don't listen to the sound of another drum, just take the cash!"
The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has been contacting foreign powers with the intention of having Scotland remain in the EU rather than run into poverty with England and has recently been rewarded with support from the Republic of Ireland. I am sure some of her supporters back in her hometown of Irvine, Ayrshire, would be less happy about this than most of us. Supportive words have been offered from other states but there again Nicola you must never trust a politician!
My eatables tonight will represent the Scots diet of today - Moussaka, a Greek dish obtained through the helpfulness of Tesco who reduced its price because of the sell by date. Scots of course have always been happy to contact Europe, some have even lived there and refer always to the friendly nature of the natives whenever they mention that they "Are NOT English!" Historically Scots have traded with northern European states since this land was occupied and there is no reason for this to change. We have much in common with them, and here I do not refer to a liking for too much beer, but so many things in Scandinavia and Scotland ring true. Holland and Northern Belgium also as well as Germany have much in common with Scotland and long may this remain true. I know these places well as I flew over them once, in the dark, and once with cloud cover! At least I have eaten their cheese and drank their beer, and Belgian beers strength must be noted before consuming by the way!
The English on the other hand are divided re Europe. In the south they consider the Continent to be isolated if there is fog in the channel, in the northern parts they can often be similar to Scots in their approach. It is the 'Little Englander' in the south who led to the Brexit decision, his papers spurring those up north to support him by lying in his teeth daily about immigrants. Interesting to find any poll that asks Brexit voters whether they enjoy a Curry takeaway or not?
Scotland must have strong ties with Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia and we must not let English navel gazing take that from us.
A pot boiler! Or at least a boiler going to pot! Today it runs smoothly, switching on at the right times, heating the radiators and even the water if I wished to make use of it. Today it runs well but when I required it early yesterday morning it was a different story!
I came through into the east wing and found all the little red lights shining brightly as they ought. So confident in their heat I turned on the tap at the bath and proceeded about my business. Later I plunged my hand into said bathwater to check it was not too hot and instead it was freezing cold! The brute had switched off! I fiddled with the thermostat and waited, and waited and waited! The little red lights would not light. No matter what I did this brute would not switch on. One red light appeared for a while, joined by another but seconds later they were gone.
My entreaties, not particularly considerate ones as I was in a hurry to get ready to leave, did not work. Speaking forcefully to it in a full and frank manner made no difference so I added a kettle or two of hot water to the tepid bath which remained tepid as I made use of it. I was pleased I can tell you, I was so pleased....
Shivering I took my skinny seven stone body through to the kitchen and made an unhealthy breakfast, I ought to have made porridge but I was afraid the microwave might blow up. So naturally as I sat there, hair combed, shaved, almost dressed and checking the time before the off the blessed boiler sprang into life! All the little red lights came on one after another! One, two, three, four, five...six, all of them smugly pumping hot water around a soon to be empty dwelling.
Since then the boiler has worked perfectly and obeyed each and every command. When I next attempt to bathe my physique, on Sunday next as usual, I suspect funny boy will play up again.
Tuesday, 29 November 2016
It's Tuesday evening so it's nice to know my working week is over!
In spite of the busy schedule I find I am unwanted for the rest of the week, I did offer but was rejected, and so I have nothing to do but to enjoy myself and watch others suffer, what joy!
Today we were quite busy as not only did we have the Christmas browsers, the exhibition visitors and a school in for Victorian teaching, all 80 of them, and then we had various other things to keep us busy such as making tea.
One task was to proofread a draft of the next 'What's On' brochure, wisely as many people as possible do this, and we two sitting in the front delighted to add red ink to the pages. This made us aware just how easy it is to make mistakes while spelling, especially when the wee red line underneath speaks American rather than English! We found spelling mistakes and one or two other things not quite right made when attempting to do several things at once, as is the normal way in a busy environment. Last time out the proofreading was rushed and several unfortunate occurrences led to grumbling. We have avoided some by our efforts unless we too have made mistakes.
I then went to Tesco!
Sometimes good ideas can be a pain. A wee while back a French judge insisted that all sites in Europe carry a warning that a 'cookie' will be placed on the PC of the viewer. This was not news to many of us but it is clear now as in Europe every new site you enter a warning of some sort from the host indicates a 'cookie' and asks if you accept this or not. A good idea but a pest especially when the laptop has just been cleaned using those anti malware, anti virus or just emptying the cache as everything has to be put back in and the warning comes up on EVERY blog you read! A good idea but sometimes it is annoying.
If only the french judge could deal with spam instead!
Monday, 28 November 2016
I have even less to say today than I had yesterday having spent the day indoors doing the occasional things that required doing weeks ago. Now after several weeks I have cleared the stuff of the couch and found proper places for it, and begun to fill it again with other stuff. I have as yet to clear the dust from it however.
I did however manage to clear up one or two items on my 'to do' list of dead people to research. This gives great satisfaction despite the fact that this information will never be used in any way whatsoever as far as I can see! Still you never know and it is interesting.
The other day I checked the names on those wee crosses left at the memorial and much to my consternation and indeed amusement I could find no details of those mentioned. It could be memory has led to people putting the wrong name, date, regiment on the cross or it could be all of the said men have been missed off but I doubt that somehow. Mistakes have been made but something is wrong here I say. At least Ingram has had the decency to die at the Somme as advertised but most of the others appear to have been misinforming the locals. I however know little of Ingram and it is too late tonight to look into him.
You will of course have noticed that Fidel Castro has died. For many years the bad boy in US eyes and a man they attempted to kill with exploding cigars amongst other things survived until he saw the end of the United States, that is he saw Trump arriving and decided his job was done.
Castro was another little rich boy turned revolutionary, his friend Che Guevara was revolutionary also but only good for knocking things down, he failed in the work of building up, Castro built up his nation, decent education, hospitals and other things with one bad side effect, a lack of trust.
In the beginning, and I suppose as long as the CIA kept trying to kill him, he imposed a tyranny on Cuba, understandable at the time but clearly going too far as time past.
With the right wing nutters in the White House attempting to kill him because rich Cuban exiles in Florida told them to it is clear he had enemies aplenty. However having rid the previous tyrant is no excuse for imposing your own Communist style tyranny. This is a shame as Cuba could have been an example for many nearby states to follow. It is said Castro had 600 attempts on his life, clearly not very good ones as he died in his 90's, and we are left wondering if the US really wanted rid of him?
The best way to deal with Castro was not to stop trading with Cuba but to encourage it. This would create wealth in Cuba, allow the US 'soft war' to reach the people and encourage them to demand that sort of life rather than the one offered them. I reckon this would have changed Cuba by the 70's if not the 80's had it been tried. Once Communism fell then the doors were open but the dafties in the US could not see it.
I was not a fan of Castro, remove a tyrant yes, replace him with an ideology that fails the people, no!