Tuesday 5 December 2023

Christmas Posting

A slow wander down the road led to the early packets being deposited into the care of Royal Mail.  The care is not what it was but what can you expect with a Tory government that cares only for making money for themselves?  Privatised Royal Mail, with precedence being given to parcels, cares little about actual mail today.  This is the reason letters are delayed, postmen confused day by day as to what role they will play, and an attempt to sell of Royal Mail parcels to the people who now run Royal Mail will come before the election.
Rejoice!  Rejoice!
Note the Post Office name!
The Jubilee Oak used to sit just up the road from this shop.  It sat in the middle of the road until they redesigned the road, chopped down the tree and the shops on the corner, which stuck out a fair bit, and installed traffic lights and dare-devil crossings.  
I suspect it was Victoria's jubilee, lots appear to have been planted at that time for jubilee, they did the same for the last queen.  How many were conveniently placed so as to block the clogged roads 70 years or so later?

Nothing else happened...

Monday 4 December 2023

SPQR Rings a Bell

This is worth a read.  
Bought through one of last years vouchers in W. H. Smith, not my favourite store, it took a while to read as I have several books on the go at one time.
Mary Beard, famous for her unkept appearance, which she emphasises for publicity, has studies the classics as they are called for over 50 years, so she must know something.  
Beginning at the beginning, Romulus and Remus, and all that, she attempts to discover what was in between the seven hills on which Rome was built.  The several thousand years or so of constant construction do however make this difficult.  We may never know what the actual origin of Rome was.
Mary attempts a brief history of Rome, through the Kings, the Republic, and onto Augustus time.  
The very nature of her task makes this difficult, all those years, far too little evidence in the far distant past, and the deductions of later historians who may not always be reliable do not help.
Cicero, Augustus, and other famous men, and a few woman, she would not miss them out, get a short hearing, and descriptions of housing, citizenship, punishments, Emperors, family life, wars at home and abroad, the Games, daily life for rich and poor, are all covered to some extent.  Even Christians are mentioned in passing, though it is clear Mary has little knowledge of their writings or purpose.  
All in all this vast book cover a vast number of years quite well.  As an introduction to Rome, at home and abroad, it is a good start.  Many areas require a deeper investigation and further reading suggestions are found at the back with other aids. 
Altogether a worthwhile book to read, but while readable it is not a short book!

On a dreich morning I forced myself out and up to the ironmongers shop.  Here I purchased a wee clock to sit beside me, I cannot see the time on the laptop as it is right in front of me, so I place a suitable clock slightly to the right and I can see that perfectly!  Why?  I don't know!
Anyway, I actually went for a new doorbell, one of those cordless ones that ought to beep when the postman rings the bell.  The previous bell was lying wounded on the ground the other day as it had taken too much punishment over the years from postmen, Amazon and Evri drivers.
So, I spent almost an hour fighting to remove the old one, who tightened that screw?  And screwing in the new one, back and forth until it all worked well.  A variety of tunes can be played on this one, almost all slushy Christmas tunes!  I just have the Bing-Bong thanks.
That done there has been no-one ringing it since, so I am yet to know if I can hear it if they do.  The suspense!  Of course I tried it, but the noise from the road made it difficult to hear.  It appears not so loud as the previous bell.  1st world problems.
They may not hear bells in Gaza today, too many bombs crashing down for that.

Saturday 2 December 2023

Saturday Struggles

I have spent the day attempting to sort out the mess caused by Christmas Cards.
The mess was caused by not having a wide enough selection, this was sorted today by finding several decent cards that would fix the problem.  Now I have a problem with too many cards to select from!
The family cards are done, this makes it easy.  Tomorrow I will hopefully put the rest in order.

Filling the couch I found three separate lots awaiting packing.  This is a problem, as one packet has already been packed, wrapped with an entire reel of brown tape, and awaits sending next week.  This leaves me three lots to sort.  This would be fine except there ought to be only two awaiting packing!  I have been making two lots for the one person!  How does this happen?  Now I need to restart as the box I have is not big enough.  I think next year I will demand they come south and pick them up themselves!

Thursday 30 November 2023


Andrew, as we all know, was a Scotsman.  Born on the Fife coast to a Hebrew couple who had been enslaved by the Romans and traded across Europe.  Having landed on the Fife coast they settled down to work under brutal rule, but not from the Scots around them.  Andrew was born in the wee village and by the time he was 9 year old had developed the game of golf by hitting wee pebbles around the sandy bunkers on the beach.  However, in time a fellow Hebrew trading along the East coast of Scotland rescued them and returned the family to Galilee.  
That is why St Andrews is called St Andrews.  He is also the first disciple bringing Simon and the rest to listen to Jesus while at Johns baptism at the Jordan.   It is difficult to believe that some people are sceptical about this story.  They refuse to accept historical fact.  Shame on them.
Andrew, the first disciple, a Scotsman!

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Sunny Day

It has been a difficult day.  Everything I do is going wrong.  I was tired last night but still awoke at 5 am.  
I fought this but had to rise at 6:30 in that half asleep way.  Whatever I touch has gone wrong since.  I am on a Browser, I try to click the star to save a link and instead press the 'X' and lose the Browser entirely!  I press the button to 'repost' on Twitter and find instead I am 'reporting a fault.'  I have tried to sort out Christmas cards but they keep going into the wrong envelopes, and then someone puts the wrong thing in with the wrong card!  Don't ask what I do when pouring the tea! 
I have left all this until tomorrow!   

I made my ungainly way downstairs to the basement to check the electric meter, I noticed how clean, neat and organised everything was round the building.  The man came along yesterday, clanging his steel ladders as he clambered up to clear the gutters of almost no dead leaves.  He sorted out the weed growth all around and did an excellent job there.  This is our first response to the inspection last week.  No doubt he will find other things to do also, but he claims he has to check the gutters in all her properties, and there are quite a few.  
I checked the numbers on the dial, stumbled up the narrow, slimy, basement steps, and made my way under a shining blue sky slowly upstairs.  I am just glad I went to the right door!  
Checking the crooks at EON I found I had used almost another 50% of electric in the past month, on heating!  It is time to get out the hot water bottles, make tea, use the rest of the water for the rubber bottle and place this behind my back.  This is cheaper than EON, better for me and cuts down the costs.
I mean I can afford to pay the grossly inflated price, which increases in January thanks to a crooked government, but we are being badly used by energy people.

"Hey Boy!  Tell them I am not going back to PMQs until they stop laughing at me."

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Tuesday Twaddle

The sun is remarkably low in the sky these mornings, at least on the mornings when the clouds clear to allow us to see him.  He is still shining now, several hours and one trip to Tesco later.  I'm sorry to say that up Aberdeen way they are having early sleet showers, but they of course are used to this, not us down here in the warmest part of England. 5c or 40f at the moment!

Another day, another royal 'Bombshell' book.
This one takes the side of Meghan and Harry, which goes against the grain for the London tabloids.  They have already decided she Meghan is bad and Kate is good.  The truth is that both are woman on the make, both run their husbands, and neither are anything like what the press has painted them to be.
Few people really know what the individual royals are like in person, our image is cloned from the press lies, books written by hangers-on and chancers, and a few public appearances.  The life led by anyone born into the royal household is not one most of us would welcome.  While we can guess some attitudes and personality of many royals we lack clear understanding of their position.  Some clearly have a 'duty' sense,' others, the younger ones, less so.  
And what of the future?   
Charlie might last ten years, which will annoy William, and especially Kate who I think is keen to be queen.  Maybe she ought to let the kids grow up first.  The rest will continue to annoy one another while fighting for position and a handful of wealth and 'prestige.'  Good for them.
But their days are numbered.  Scotland has for  along time considered the royals a waste of time.  Many elsewhere take a similar attitude.  While the folks around Balmoral Castle enjoy their presence, and the tourists who follow them, a recent survey reveals that 36% of Scots wish to keep the royals, 48% did not.  This of course may have changed month by month.  Charlie scooping up the cash from dead people with no next of kin did not go down well.  The royals millions, their jet set lifestyle, the cash spent on frocks, all tend to put people off when they are struggling to pay the gas bill.  
Add to this the disinterest in Scotland shown by Willie and his woman it is clear he will not make a successful King of Scots, not that he would car I suggest.  
It is time for a sensible debate regarding the royals, before Charlie goes.  There may not be a sensible debate after that time.

Christmas is going well.  The 2nd hand truck my niece wants for her kid, she always buys 2nd hand, has arrived here.  When I have finished playing with it I will post it on, eventually!  This afternoon I will do the cards that I have obtained, and hope to send some off by the 1st December, just to remind folks to get one for me!

A Supper Party - 1903   Julius LeBlanc Stewart (1855-1919)

Monday 27 November 2023

Monday Moan


I took this poor picture on Sunday morning as I limped down the road.  The sun was shining, the sky blue, and so were the faces of all who passed by as the wind blew cold from the north.  This morning, as is weather round here, the rain has not stopped.  
Typical innit?

Typical also is the web!
My best looking and most highly intelligent niece sent me a link to obtain a toy lorry for her sons Christmas.  This I obediently followed, only to be told to 'sign in,' 'register,' 'select a name,' 'Not that one, nor that one, nor that one... until I eventually got it in.
Then came the paying.  This involved a phone number, 'Not accepted,' other number, 'Not accepted,' several versions of both later, through gritted teeth, I ignored it, paid, and it went through!
A day or two later an acknowledgement that the goods have been sent tells me 'Evri' have the goods at their Hub.  This may take some time!
Add to this the way my machine blanks when I have more than one browser up.  That is I begin to write this on 'Edge,' because it has a much needed spellchecker, but when I search for something on Firefox the screen goes blank.  I was going to change to one of those high speed Fibre brands but the paperwork confused me so I did not bother.  maybe I ought to look again, but the problems will return.

Saturday 25 November 2023

November Xmas Market

Being November it is assumed the Christmas market will appear and so it does.  The crowds flocked to the overpriced hand made items on offer, and many listened in the cold to the Brass Band Blowing Bigly Boisterously.  It was not just the reindeer who appeared frozen.   

I sauntered among the throng, being pushed this way and that, all the while eyeing the price tags, at least those that I could see, while attempting to stay upright.  Who brings pushchairs into crowds? 
The sun was shining brightly, though it may not show it here.

Fighting off the offers of pantomime or a discussion with this months two Mormon missionaries, though afterwards I realised I ought to have indulged them, I ploughed on to pass by the stalls one more time.   

I then headed towards the museum, I needed to buy set honey and check out what was on show.  It is many ages since I last looked inside.  Nothing much has changed, just the latest exhibition regarding how the town grew in more recent times.  Not many in, the market was calling, and if they have the Xmas lights switch on tonight the shop will be open until late.  They might make  money tonight.

As you know these are wee Roman gods found when the shopping centre was being built.  As usual a 'dig' was organised and quite a bot of Roman stuff found.  Not much Saxon, it appears the centre area now was just farmland to them.  Some Saxon bodies are found to the west of this area however, none in the museum...

I stumbled home with my treasures to eat and read the new magazine that has now begun to appear on the supermarket shelves.  Proper journalism, not owned by the right wing.  Mind you at £4:50 I can see me reading their items online rather monthly.  

Thursday 23 November 2023

Season of Leaves and Chick Pea Soup

'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness?'  Not if you are one of the many men now sweeping leaves up from pathways, car parks, various buildings, or just clearing them from the gutter of a great many houses.  I was considering this as I watched these leaves fly off the tree opposite, aided by the 16 mph wind, according to the BBC weather site.  As the afternoon sun glints on the leaves, both in the tree and scattered on the ground all around, it looks marvellous.  For those slipping on them on the pavement a different emotion might be coming into view.
I recall at the hospital in Maida Vale the three or four trees we had the privilege of watching.  This was not considered a privilege as we swept up between parked cars day after day.  Of course it does not last, but if you were on the early shift you had most of the work to do.  How come I was on the early shift when leaves were falling I ask?  Tsk!  
This seasonal thing makes me wonder.  Why seasons?  Why not just have one season where things grow all year round and leaves fall, er, compactly?  Why cold and heat, why not just nice temperatures to suit?  There again some seasons are well worth having.  The sunsets and autumn colours can be magnificent.  The darkness less so.  Imagine darkness before electric light?  No wonder the ancients went home and locked themselves in at night, that is nightfall, none of this midnight day ending rubbish, I think that began with the Romans.  I suppose many societies had forms of lighting at night but only when gas and electric arrived could we pollute the night sky as well as we do now.  
Snow of course produces wonderful scenes, though it left me and my neighbour flat on our backs at different times.  Summer speaks of long days, joy and happiness, Spring however, in my humble view, and you realise how humble this view is, can be the best of seasons.  Looking into the bright fullness to come, the new life all around, lambs gambolling, buds opening, birds flocking in from Africa, and a happiness seen amongst people, even in big cities.
We now approach a proper winter.  The leaves fall, the weather gets colder, winds come from the north, and the gas and electric take a great leap upwards in January, the busiest time for these crooks!  Do we have a Tory government?  Do Ofgem represent the public?  Is the Pope a Catholic?  

Once again I attempted Chick Pea soup.  This is usually OK, and today I added, amongst other ingredients, Turmeric Powder obtained from Sainsburys.  To this I added a wee bit of Cayenne Pepper, and other things.  Unlike the fish in the oven that I forgot while scouring Twitter the soup did not burn.  This surprises me however, for when I attempted to eat some tonight I realised I had been somewhat overeager with the ingredients.  Cayenne and Turmeric go together quite well but possibly not in the amounts that fell into the pot today.  That pint glass of water has come in handy tonight, and I may not require to put the heating on for a day or two, no matter how low the temperature drops.
Still, I suppose this is healthy...

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Bruce, Bleach and Blether

With Xmas approaching, you may have heard about it by now, I have been scouring the second hand book market for items suitable for the lassies up north who can read.  This is a suitable talent as it means they can explain the big words to their men.  
One beautiful and highly intelligent niece has always had a thing for King Robert the Bruce.  As a lass she forced her mother to trail around Dunfermline, where he is buried, and elsewhere looking for a sight of him, or something connected to him.  While it is possible she may already have this book dumped in a cupboard somewhere, I thought I would include it in the box I will send.
The late David R. Ross wrote quite a few books about Scotland and her people, this is the only one I have actually read.  It combines the history of the man with a tourist guide to places connected to him.  Ross has done his best to visit all the connecting castles, battlefields, houses and such like that are believed to have seen the great Robert pass by through touring them on his motorbike.  
The known genealogy is traced, his two wives, both dying before him, their suffering under the terrors of Edward I and his brutality, their imprisonment, and following successful births his son.  
Edward, like all Englishmen, consider Scotland to be theirs, they are very wrong!  Bruce endured much pain and loss, his brothers dying, sometimes barbarically under Edward's thuggery.  However no matter how he tried Edward could not control Scotland, William Wallace ought to have made that clear to him!  And happily Edward the Brute died near Carlisle once again attempting the impossible, to control Scotland.  Three cheers!
This book details the failures as well as successes.  The guerrilla warfare, the main battles 'God bless Bannockburn!'  and the suffering of those imprisoned.  What cannot be known, but only guessed at, is the response of the soldiers on both sides.  Some English Knights left writings, some Scots nobles, but the man in the army could not do this.  Enthusiastic they certainly were, and very willing to risk all for the cause, but we do not know what they actually thought, this is sad.
Edward II was disposed off by his wife and Knights, Edward III attempted war, and lost, and the ravaging of the north of England put many English nobles off the idea of war.  In the end economic loss, an understanding they could not win, caused Edward III to seek peace.  
Bruce then established his Kingdom and Scotland was able to flourish without barbaric English interference.  At least for a while, the inbuilt English imperialism and arrogance remains with us still!
The 1707 bribery and the intimidation at the referendum see Scotland stuck under the English Jackboot still.  This will not last.  Another Bruce will arise, and Special Branch will not defeat that one, and Scotland will once again be free!

Anyone wish to argue?


At last I can look forward to breathing fresh air once again.  No more bleach on every suitable surface!  The landlords woman came today.  She was quite happy considering she got locked inside one flat.  I wondered if he in flat No 6 was having a strange turn, but it was the broken locks on the door meant she could not get out.  When I found her she was with two locksmiths attempting to put right all that flats locks.
She came, she wandered about taking a picture here a picture there, all the time telling me to stop licking her feet.  I am off the opinion she ought to have removed her shoes first.  The inspection was short, friendly, and we discussed one or two things, but not the things I remembered long after she had departed!  Why is it always like this?  No complaint was made, not even from other tenants!  
The bar of Christmas chocolate donated to her also made her happy, always a success with women is chocolate, and she left me with no threats of drastic action, as yet anyway.  Now, I must uncover all the hidden things and put them right before she comes back!  
I could not discover what the game was.  I canny understand this inspection.  Of course during the previous years the boys have been working on the flats so problems have been obvious to them, if any. Now I just await any comeback from this.  Back at HQ they will inspect the pictures, lay plans for the cheapest option on any proposed action, but so far all appears well.  However, as we get on well, and her man is one of the boys who fix things and he is good, and the mess has been cleaned up, it all may pass over.  Also she never mentioned anything out of place, so maybe all will be well.  
Unless something is afoot down at HQ.
It is however, difficult to move when you expect a visit and the place is clean.  I was scared to touch anything in case I had to scrub it again!  Now I can relax, but I actually like it clean, I wonder how long it will last?


Subscribing to this young lass would be good, if that is you find this interesting and entertaining.  She is very clever, she told me this herself, and mum and dad are so pleased after spending so much money educating her!

Monday 20 November 2023

Another Monday Morning

 That is how I reacted this morning as I woke to face another hard days work.  I have rattled through another long list of things that required doing badly, and as such I went on to do them all badly.  The last time the place was this clean I had just moved in.
Funnily enough, if you find this funny, the reading for yesterday, Zephaniah 1, was all about the day of judgement coming unexpectedly.  It would fall on Jerusalem and this could be read as the actual last day of earth also.  This fitted well with the looming Landlord approaching.  

My day was not encouraged by seeking out some old items on the 1/5th Essex regiment.  One of the lassies grandfather served with them and I sought out a piece that may be of interest.  There were several things, so I edited them, posted them on a 'Word' page, and added a longish piece discussing their deeds in the middle east.  
I then clicked the 'X' button, and it all disappeared!
I use a different writing system usually, and that would ask if I wished to save or not, 'Word' did not ask and it went!  I thought it may have gone to their store in the sky, but no.  So, having edited this for around an hour and a half I then had to do it all again.  I was pleased.  
The longish item was new to me, I could not remember this from before.  It was as I read it, the bad English showing up well, that I realised I wrote it.  The mistakes were eradicated, the spelling also amended, and in the end I was pleased somewhat with the material I had plagiarised. 
So, off it went and soon I may get a reply offering threats.  Women can be so touchy...

What else happened?

Thursday 16 November 2023



It's been a busy day.
The warning came yesterday by email from the landlord.  'We are doing a house visit next Wednesday.' 
My mind is already full of conspiracy theories as to why this is happening now.  Is this because they are thinking of selling up?  I know he is unwell and not keen on continuing.  Is this a ruse to increase rents, for me and at least one other?  Is this because the young plumber last week considered my loo a disgrace, and now wishes to redo it for a fee?  Who knows.
This did mean that I must now do all those little jobs that I have ignored and hoped to leave until March or thereabouts.  So out this morning for paint, and half the window frames have been dobbed this morning to hide the mess left by Jack Frost and his mates.  The broken bits will soon be glued back together, and the loo tidied up, to some extent anyway.
Chocolate must be left 'lying about' as a bribe, ' For the grandson,'  As this is always difficult for a woman to refuse.   So, I must paint, glue, clean, and bow the knee, and hope to find out what is going on.  Funnily enough, I awoke this morning with a 'feeling' that I was going to move.  Clearly this is not trustworthy, but you never know.  The moving I did today will offer me more strained muscles in the morning when I return to finish what I started today.  

Tuesday 14 November 2023

SPAM David Cameron


After a hard week the last thing you wish to do is saunter out to the club for the men's meeting.  However, I managed to make it just the same.  The solitary pint of 'Brown & Mild' would see me through the evening.  I would have had another but the lads glasses were getting low so I hesitated until I was sure they did not wish another, but they looked dry, so I remained seated...
A good evening putting the world to rights, sat alongside good men, even complimented on Sunday's efforts, though nobody could remember what I said.  The Barmaid was happy to have us, there were only 4 others in last night, Monday being the quietest night, which is why we go then, and she told me the week before there was only one in, and he left early to allow her to close up and go off home.    
I got home late.

The shock of David Cameron returning to government, albeit via the Lords, indicates something about the Tory Party today.  It reveals the dearth of talent left on the more sensible side of the party, the word 'sensible' not to be taken to accurately.  It shows the need for a calmer figure to appear, it shows that the baby eating former Home Secretary was a hindrance Sunak was keen to remove.  
This does mean she will seek to replace him, though one voice from the meeting of what is now called the 'New Conservatives,' made clear 20 attended, 7 others on Zoom, and few, if any, had written to the 1922 Committee demanding an election for a new Leader.  The incompetent Neo-Nazi is their front runner!  That said, she may be popular in the party, but independent Polls, that is those not done by the right -wing media, claim she is very unpopular in the country, and that counts with the coup conspirators.
Meanwhile Sunak with his gentler money grabbing chancers is trying to offer something new.
Fat chance.
David Cameron did bring us the Brexit referendum which he lost, war in Libya, austerity through Osborne, and general decline, all because he was fighting Boris Johnson, and not doing his job.  His Lobbying will also cause him troubles.  Some say he cannot be questioned by the House of Commons as he is in the Lords, but surely the ex-ministers, the wide array of talent in that House are far better able to question him than the demented squirrels that represent Labour in the Commons?  David Lammy anyone?

Sunday 12 November 2023

Remembrance 2023: Braintree and Bocking

A long day.
Before 7:30 I was printing of several sheets for today's remembrance at the church.
I was doing the remembrance bit, so I ran off what I had come up with to ensure others knew what I was doing.  Then I had to write the prayer as I also had intercessions to do.  I was not happy with the half hearted manner in which I scribbled them down and printed them off.
I hobbled in dying shoes to church and was greeted as always by pretty young girls (of dubious age). 
Then discussed with the relevant people the organisation of the morning, and collapsed into my seat.
Sadly, there was no Brandy available from the medicine cupboard.
The time came, I done my piece, very nervously, babbling somewhat as the time was not rushing up to the 11 am hour.  I actually called out the memoriam at 10:59, and could see the man trying to play the 'Last Post' checking his watch.
We got through this, adding the national anthem (English), remembering to say 'King' and not 'Queen,' though I did not sing at all, and then I departed back to my place.
Not long after I was again at the front, less nervous, going through what I thought were poor, badly thought out prayers.
Then it was all over.
As I wished to rush home and eat before heading to the Town Remembrance I made for the door.  Three women stopped me, both praising my efforts and taking solace from my words.  There were stories unheard to hear, but I was rushing out.  How I wished I could have stayed and heard them all talk!  Typically these women do not do emails, so I canny find out more!  It will be forgotten next week.

Just after 2pm I was limping around the Gardens watching the service begin.  Having been running around (this is not to be taken literally) all week, and today's efforts at church, I was far from bright and cheery.  Indeed I almost missed the beginning of the service and interrupted everything!

I made no effort to climb up high as I usually do, the shame of falling flat on my face in coming down again put me off somewhat.  So, from a distance I snapped out of focus shots, and tried to find interesting pictures.

Such a shame the autofocus caught the women at the side.  His yawn was what I was looking for.

I browbeat one or two so I could picture their medals.  I want pictures of todays, and recent soldiers on the page so we realise that remembrance is not just about the dead from long ago.  We must remember those serving now, and those who served both between the wars and since 1945.  There are few memorials to them.

As always the Fire Service was represented.  

And as always a strong police presence was to be seen.

The service followed the usual British Legion pattern.  However, I noticed the crowd was well down on last year.  Many come of course, just to see their kid march.  Not all care about the war dead or what they see as wars from long ago.

Before it ended my flabby bulk was telling me to go home.  So, I trotted slowly up the hill, up the stairs, and began sorting the pictures.  Some of these I then put in the Braintree & Bocking Great War website, as I had promised the medal wearers.  Naturally it did not work, and much cursing was to be heard before it went up successfully.  I also added to the WW2 version but will finish that one tomorrow.

A young lady from the Sea Cadets came along, reflecting the various organisations many young men and women join before continuing on into the armed forces, if they are up to it.  Even if they do not enlist they will have had a great time for the most part and most likely avoid the dangers of having nothing to do.   
So, until next year.