Wednesday, 18 April 2018


As I wandered in the gardens gathering Vitamin 'K' (or is it 'D'?) from the sunshine I cogitated on Theresa May's handling of these Caribbean types who have lived here fifty or so years and are being chucked out by the dozen.  It seemed to my little mind that a woman who while spending six years as Home Secretary has forgotten that during her time she ordered advertising vans to drive around 'ethnic' areas plastered with information regarding how these folks should go back home.  Nothing racist in this, just obeying the 'Daily Express' and the like.  Somewhere along the line the records of such immigrants from the West Indies have been deleted by the home Office, Labour say she did this, now today she claims this was done under the Labour government, I wonder who to believe? 
The speed in which the Tories have apologised for such blatant racism reveals how much this situation has hurt them.  Even Brexit has been put aside, or is being hidden, by the fuss.  The poor Junior Minister who first had to admit the policy of dumping folks back home was wrong was bad enough, especially as she appeared not to care one whit, but the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, she who cavorted with an 'activist' at the Party Conference, she also has admitted the wrong although again without any heart showing through.  This is driven by the desperate PM, desperate to inspire her troops, desperate to keep her job, desperate to hide the Brexit failure.
All this and the Labour opposition under Corbyn can make no headway.  It makes you laugh!

Sitting under this tree I had my first take of warmth today.  All around the kids were screaming, mums chasing them, people happy as Larry as the sun shone properly for the first time.  The wind chill was a nuisance but I missed it sitting here.  The warmth forced me to open my shirt and let the sun pretend we were in the Mediterranean and not Essex.  It of course did not take long for the attractive young ladies to arrive.  They gathered around offering compliments like "He will never get that belly back in that shirt!"  And "Captain Ahab, the white whale is here!"  
I hope they all get mumps.  

I suppose it is a terrible thing, facebook stealing all our info, but when they merely use it to pass on to advertisers of whatever persuasion I remain unmoved.  For years I have used  Ad Block Plus on Firefox and Chrome and rarely ever see and advert.  One or two appear for seconds and then disappear but any advert of whatever nature is hard to see on facebook or indeed anything else.
The sight of the creepy wee man Zuckerberg facing the US committee ensured any love for him was lost.  His appearance reminded me of the weird types seen in some old US movies, the one who turns out to indeed be weird, or a gangster or a zombie perhaps.  He did not appear as one you would trust in any capacity.  He also gave the impression the US committee could do nothing about him or his actions, and he is right.  With so many billionaires working alongside him no Congress committee will get far in putting him down.  
However it is worrying just how much info people can gather through 'social media.'  Fine as long as you do not become opposed to the tyranny that rules and unfortunate of you do as they will know more about you than you do.  At this point I'd like to say "Hi!" to MI6, MI5, the FBI, Scotland Yard, the CIA and Mr Putin.  The Chinese we met when they had the Olympics and their lackeys watched for any disagreement worldwide and were always ready to spout the party line.  It kept them out of jail I suppose. 
At least they will not see the adverts.

Look, blue skies!!!

Monday, 16 April 2018


So much for getting out and about!
I got as far as the gardens!
Having forgotten to eat last night, I ate but not properly, I found I had no energy this morning for some reason.  Listlessly staring at the laptop did not improve things and only after a light lunch did I twig what was wrong.  Stupidity runs in my family but appears to stop at me.
The gardens were bereft of flying creatures, small kids were found aplenty spoiling the view, mums who need to diet strolled around with mobile clamped to their ears while little ones wondered whether to throw themselves into the pond.  I moved away at this point...

This boy posed for me however.
No idea what it is, don't say 'Butterfly' I know that but I know not what kind.  One or two other flying beasties were around as the chill in the air did not deter the Spring like weather.  In the next day or two it may get hot, probably because I am inside the museum tomorrow!

Daffodils.  Why more daffodils you ask?  Because there are myriads of the things blooming all over the place.  Most other flowers are as yet to small to make a real splash but they will soon enough.
There was little else to see as I passed by.  Too many kids to wander about with a camera these days. No activities of any sort to be worth taking pictures, nothing new in this small town today.
Of course most sweet little ones have gone back to school, the rest go back tomorrow.  This means the museum will be quiet and we have just finished one exhibition so there will be a mere half museum to see tomorrow.  It will take two weeks to set up the next one. 
I will sit and watch...

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Trump Cruising...

Apparently World War Three broke out last night.  A handful of spare cruise missiles fell on parts of Syria and Russia has now declared a 'Red alert.'  I suppose it would be a 'Red alert' wouldn't it?  
In fact, according to a BBC man whom I usually don't believe, this was stage managed for the people. The Syrians, well the Russians, would have been told where the missiles would land, no Russian, almost no Syrian would be hurt, little real damage would occur and, as the last time the west responded to chemical weapons being used, nothing changes.
However the media will shout and scream with almost as much ignorance as I, political lightweights will appear spouting the party line and most folks will go out and enjoy the sunshine, such as it is.
I was impressed by the appearance of our local MP spouting the Boris Johnson line, he is one of Boris's lackeys and now has a good job out of this, he was telling us we do not require a vote in the house by MPs who have no information on the circumstances of the situation. That means MPs are ignorant or info is withheld, I don't know which.  Either way the MP ought to spend more time answering constituents letters, which he does not, and less time brown nosing for promotion.

With the Heart of Midlothian taking the weekend off as it is cup semi final weekend I have spent time listening to the end of season promotion and relegation battles featuring teams with delightful names from out of the way places. The image offered by football team names is intriguing, 'Queen of the South' is a famous name even amongst people who have no idea they come from Dumfries in the Scottish borders.  'Partick Thistle' are much better known even though they do not play in the 'Partick' area of Glasgow.  At the end of the 19th century they moved between two or three grounds, as most clubs did, until they received help from Rangers football club to move to the new district in the north of Glasgow called Maryhill.  This allowed Thistle a good crowd in the new area and Rangers then obtained all the fans in the shipbuilding parts of Govan.  This also gave them the 'Ulster loyalist' approach as pretend protestants which in itself meant little until Celtic arrived in Glasgows east end and made a play for the Catholics in that area.  Both clubs have used sectarian bull to gather crowds ever since.  But you ask why is the name pronounced 'Celtic' with a soft 'C' and not 'Keltic' with a hard 'C,' nobody appears to know but stupidity might play a part.
Based in Paisley 'St Mirren,' pronounced and spelt 'St Mirn' by many,  are named after a man called Mirin who founded a church where Paisley Abbey now stands, he became the Paisley patron saint.  On the other hand 'St Johnstone' did not get their name from a saint directly but from the church in Perth where they originated.  This was dedicated to St John the Baptist and Perth was often referred to as 'St John's Toun' and the name came from this.  
Raith Rovers come from Kirkcaldy on the Fife coast but there was no town called Raith in times past.  Instead there was an area stretching across a few miles across Fife reaching to the west of Kirkcaldy area.  A Battle of Raith took place here in the late 6th century and a Raith Tower and Raith House sit close by.  'Raith' itself comes from old Scots and means a 'fort.'  A common tongue in cheek comment is to refer to 'Dancing in the streets of Raith' as this was said to have been announced by a sports commentator years ago, he might have been using sarcasm.
'Brechin City' come from Brechin a small town in Angus with a population of under ten thousand.  However having a cathedral, once a Roman Catholic and now belonging to the 'Episcopal Church' allows the townsfolks to make use of the word 'City' although this has now no official use.     
The Heart of Midlothian I must point out were not named after a book by Walter Scott!

One day I will be fit!  Since the turn of the year every time I attempt some form of exercise something, the bug, funeral, sloth, gets in the way, however this time I will get on with it and improve life.  For a start I have actually cleaned the fridge, as I said, and the oven is next, maybe, and as the weather appears to be improving I must get out and about making use of the bus pass and rail card.  I need to see the sea again, I forget what it looks like.
Of course last week was a washout but as the kids were on holiday it was not a time for wandering abroad.  From Monday, or Tuesday most of them will be locked up inside where they ought to be  allowing decent people to prowl the land upsetting other decent people doing similar.  
One problem here is that all the best attractions to visit are not on the bus line or train line, this is great of you have a car but not if you are impoverished and inept like me.  I also don't as yet feel like walking miles to see things but we will get out soon and find some better pictures than what we find now.


Thursday, 12 April 2018


Life, in this misty world today, was full of surprises.
For a start I was not sick, I had food, except bread, I did not need to rush out and no crabbit emails arrived.
Instead I slowly wandered about Tesco enjoying the need not to rush.  Of course I came home to remember what I forgot to buy!  
I then cogitated on Deuteronomy 7, the book that lies at the heart of our liberal thinking.  
Not that a Guardian reader will agree.
After exercising I counted the aches and went for a haircut.  What a surprise, I got in!  Instead of being crowded with kids being trimmed for next weeks back to school there was only a spotty teenager, scowl attached, awaiting a 'Number Two,' whatever that is.     
Naturally I felt cold wandering home with a lot less hair, and my mind was full of wondering where all that silver stuff had come from.  I also wondered why I have hair while my dad (who died at 61) has so little.  His hair was thin, possibly this was the old army back and sides showing through and his army need to cut hair that was not long.  My brother and I had plenty of hair and of course I retain my youthful looks.
The only disturbance was a call from the landlord's man while I was unavailable.  It sounded urgent.
I called back expecting to be turfed out, rent increased, damage reported, complaints made, and found they merely wished to send a man in to test 'energy performance.'  Naturally I pointed out there has been no energy performed here for at east fifteen years but it appears she was talking about the building.  I still fail to understand as this has not happened before and sounds like they have something up their sleeve.  It may lead to improved windows, these are 'listed' so cannot be replaced by plastic ones, and this certainly would increase the 'energy performance.'  These windows for the most part are original, 1812 I believe.  That is probably the last time they were cleaned.   I wonder what the man is up to with such exploits?
I have been ignoring the telly, the news happens but I have missed it today, Commonwealth Games are taking place somewhere but I have little interest, and other things are happening but if I ignore them they actually do not change my life in any way.  There is a story in there somewhere.
One thing I have noticed in the adverts that fill most screens is the way you never see black people together.  One add showed a black man suffering while coaching kids football, his wife appears at the end but she is white.  Another shows a black man on a train hand his 'tablet' to a child, who is white, yet another shows a sentimental mother dressing her daughter for her wedding - to a white man!  Why is it that a black couple are never shown?  There have been adverts for products featuring black or Indian families, why are they not shown now?  Did UKIP object?


Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Another Day Another Disaster!

The food poisoning I gave myself has had its effects.  Today I rose swiftly as a Lark with a headache and eventually set off for work late.  Once there I began my good work, organised the place as I ought and made my tea.  There was off course no milk so I checked my watch which said it was tn minutes to ten, therefore I should make it back in time for opening up.
As I slipped out the back door I noticed the group of 'walkers' who meet on Tuesdays at out gate heading off into the day, I thought it unusual they were going early.  I got the milk, paid the young lady, wandered back through the back door wondering why people were crowding the main door which I had not yet opened.  
As I made my way to the start I found the place crowded with people.  The girls had opened early I thought but was informed it was ten past ten and where were you?  My watch, which never fails, was twenty minutes behind!  Why?  
As the kids were arriving for the activity at 10:30 I found myself alone with the mums and kids, booking them in and passing them on.  A simple task but difficult if the eyes don't focus and you have to ask the kids to find their own names upside down on the sheet.  They always did straight away!  
A woman booked a ticket for an forthcoming event, a simple task I made a mess off by mucking up her name.  Then, having obtained her card details I attempted to enter it in the card machine, it would not work.  I tried again, and again, and again but it just bleeped and bleeped and I stopped,  sat back and pondered.  That did no good as nothing came to my pondering head so instead I just sat back.
The boss came through to check all was well and I explained the situation. 
Helpfully she asked, "Did you enter the price first?" 
I merely laid my head on the desk and muttered "I hate my life, I hate my life" as this appeared the thing to do.
The paperwork I was using states in large letters "FIRST ENTER THE AMOUNT" at the top of the page.
This I had not glanced at.
It worked next time.
The rest of the time passed in a blur as I attempted small jobs while dealing badly with mums and kids doing another of the holiday week adventures.  I canny mind which one ran out screaming though it might have been me myself.  I did not attempt to make coffee as I was afraid I might kill the machine.
I made my way home in due time.
The police helicopter found me in the fields nearby and returned me to matron....
I don't think I have had enough protein for my mind this week... 

p.s. I've just burned my dinner...

Monday, 9 April 2018

Mark is Listening

It comes as no surprise that facebook, like most other internet things into which we input our information, is being used to feed us even more information.  This knowledge has recently upset many of us as it interferes with our privacy to discover that supermarkets can sell our details to those interested in swaying our opinions on foodstuffs or politics, yes Mr Putin I mean you!  The fact that billionaires with a right wing outreach and no concern for their staff, yes Mr Amazon I mean you, make use of this information to lie to us though social media and newspaper comment columns in an effort to make us vote for Brexit can also be no surprise.  This after all is what the elite have always done as the attempt to get their own way, only the machinery is different.
Propaganda has for over a hundred years spewed out of the daily newspaper, almost all owned by some magnate of some kind, especially today, all they are allowed to print has always been what was demanded by the owner in spite of some editors considering they had they right to voice their opinions.  TV and radio are also a branch of the government, though not as directly as in Russia or Iran I venture, in the UK the programmes, almost none of which I watch, are offered by brainless middle class media folk on the up with no comprehension of what 'quality' means in TV, though radio can do well but you have to seek it out sometimes.  The news however, especially in the BBC has become very much a tool of the Brexit lobby, these 'loony lefties' as the Loony right wing 'Daily Mail' calls them spout the same nonsense re Brexit that the Mail does with no questioning allowed of government policy.  A farce and one we are lumbered with.
How worried ought we to be that such folks know that you 'Checked in' to Sainsburys on Monday or posted a photo of your breakfast yesterday?  Do you think that nice Mister Putin cares about that?  I doubt it myself.  It may well be these men have had an effect on the thinking of many  in various elections, mostly by stirring emotion rather than thought, just consider how many 'bots' you meet on forums that are negative but never argue the toss to see how effective they are at emotional threat, but on the whole the majority are already half way their if they are influenced by such propaganda.  People as we know read the paper of their choice because it tells them what they wish to read rather than anything that disturbs equilibrium.  
I do not worry to much at this however the information obtained would be a blessing to Heinrich Himmler and his Gestapo had he had the opportunity to possess such and the possibility of a police state in the UK is not as hard to obtain as some think.  Hitler took power in 1933 and by 1939 had complete control of everything, similar could happen here and much quicker.  
Who would be targets of such a state?  In my view Christians are the ones most likely to be targeted. Christians strongly, or ought to, strongly oppose the Politically Correct world in which we now live.  This upside down generation tat has flooded in during the last thirty years has not brought freedom to the masses it has merely allowed people to lose their freedom and indulge themselves in themselves.  That is not freedom.  Jesus came to offer Abundant life and today's cosmos opposes that abundance and offers slavery to self.  The control via the web offered to a right wing state, e.g. China, is great but in their mental outlook the Chinese view this as a form of security, as long as prosperity continues, in the west liberal values constructed since the Reformation give us a different outlook.  Freedom of thought has been fought for and is now being eroded, soon I think it will be taken from Christians altogether, who will stand then? 

Friday, 6 April 2018


I heard a part of a debate the other night concerning class.  
Do the 'working class' still exist?  What class is left?   Is there any class?
In the past class was quite clear, there was the aristocracy at the top of the upper class, a growing middle class, especially during the 19th century, and the rest, at least a third of the nation who were working class.  Those at the top had all the money, all the influence and a real desire to keep it that way.  To ensure they kept it that way they gave out the impression that if you, the working class worked hard you too could reach the top, lies, all lies!
It was certainly true that individuals did climb from the bottom to the top by hard work but these were the minority, for the rest long hours, hard work and poor pay with limited opportunities to change.  There were many efforts to improve the condition of the working class at that time, usually from middle class churches and groups of men working together to support one another whereby carpenters for instance would contribute a few pence a week to the group and receive a small sum in return if sick or unemployed.  These men would gather in a pub once a week and pay their subs and have it recorded in front of everyone.  This explains why so many subs are called the 'Carpenters Arms' or some such name.
The growing middle class of the 19th century saw wealth greatly improve by 1900.  They also saw an increase in snobbery as it became important to mix with those of correct class and be seen to be in the right position, the place where you belonged.  Real class snobbery it seems to me begins with such middle class outlooks at that time.  
This of course continued into the 20th century but times were changing, working men had stronger unions, education was high, almost all men and the majority of women could read and newspapers and trashy books abounded in the way social media and trashy TV do today.  People always prefer the cheap and easy option!   However some claim the Great War eroded much class separation as Lieutenants and Captains, almost always from 'better class' backgrounds got to work in life and death situations with men from the 'lower orders' and a change in attitude was begun.  Harold MacMillan, later to become Prime Minister, was one man influenced by his men.  Always on the left of the party he became member of parliament for Stockton in the north east of England, a place that suffered badly during the depression years.  MacMillan and his wife ran soup kitchens to feed their people at the time and never forgot their suffering.  This explains Upper Class MacMillan's disgust at Lower middle class Thatchers worship of money in spite of the cost to the workers.  The daughter of a shopkeeper who worshipped money was never going to care for the workers.   Ah the lower middle class, the real snobs in society!  The ones who have not quite made it but clutching their 'Daily Express' still think that their hard work ought to get them higher up the social scale, are they right?

 Miners cottages Cowdenbeath

Today I say things are somewhat different.  In spite of the thousand or more foodbanks, the hungry children attending school or the many 'homeless' on the streets we still have the sixth richest country in the world, though Brexit will of course erode that considerably for all but the 'elite' at the top.  
My mother was born in 1915 and brought up in a two roomed miners cottage in Cowdenbeath.  Her mother died in child birth, the third wife grandfather had lost that way, and she shared these two rooms with her dad and the nine children he had produced.  There was no bathroom but they had a tap for water and an outside toilet, a cooker and a 'copper' a boiler for hot water.  The men planted veg in the grounds  to supplant the diet and as miners this gave them the opportunity to spend time outdoors in daylight.  In between they endured six months of the general strike and a few confrontations with police in the High Street.  These men were not troublemakers just men wanting a fair deal.  The authorities opposed this.  It is no wonder both the Independent Labour Party and the Communist Party had a centre in Cowdenbeath! 
Today things have changed.  Where once the 'Pug' pulled the coal trucks across the roadway hindering traffic to the marshalling yards now traffic wardens patrol ensure folks don't block the streets as they visit the supermarket.  Many houses are in good condition, mums house has long since been knocked down and new housing built, and many are no doubt bought by the descendents of Communist and Labour men who fought for equality and a decent wage for so long.
Do the people consider themselves 'working class' as they get in their cars, watch their colour TVs and holiday in the sun?  Are they 'working class?'  Do any work in smelly, noisy factories in overalls?  Or are their factories white , clean, quite places?  
Even the aristocracy is no longer the same.  No longer is a seat in the House of Lords guaranteed,  they keep their money and open their houses, unless offered to the National Trust, to make money.  While they are still well off their position does not have the nation regarding them as 'above us,' except for the readers of the 'Daily Express' and 'Daily Mail' of course.  Their the lower middle class fantasise on joining the aristocracy.  
The merging of the classes is clear even though people still tend to mix with their 'own kind' unless they can find ways of mixing with others.  I did this through the churches and living in London, those who continue to live in small towns, like this one, are slow to mix and merge though the society around them does influence them.  'Class' as it once was is no longer around, the rising economy has seen to that, but there is still 'class' division, especially where the people wish it!

This is rather a jumble of thoughts, what thinkest thou...?

Wednesday, 4 April 2018


I have a picture of Daffodils in the sunshine, sunshine being an unusual feature round this way at the moment.  The field of daffs planted by the council workmen and stolen, damaged and sometimes admired by the public are always a wonder to behold at this time of year.
However that is not why I post the picture.
I post the picture and realise I have nothing to say.
Now you may feel that is not an unusual happening around here also but my fingers were ready and willing to type words for me but the mind, ageing, slow and full of holes, appears to have nothing to say at the time of writing.  This is somewhat unusual as all too often words fall out of my gob long before the mind has formulated a reason for them.  At least that is what folks have told me down through the so many years.  
Today is always a nothing day while I recover from the hard three hours spent in the museum yesterday.  It was quite hard at times, the kids arriving for the activities required booked in, checked off, phones answered, problems dealt with and so on all at the same time of course.  Three of us managed to make a mess of this quite well yesterday but in the end the kids were all happy and delighted with the day, especially those who persuaded mum or gran to part with cash for a small treasure. 
My day began in sunshine and watching dogs happily bounce about the grass opposite while I sat on the end off the bed trying to get my eyes in focus.  I then ate something almost but not quite healthy and looked at Deuteronomy chapter 3.  This I now do instead of reading the gutter press each morning.  Deut, as friends call him, is more interesting than I thought.  It is however easy to read the gutter press early in the day it is not so easy to cogitate on something that requires thought long before the coffee kicks in.  It is also not too easy when the finger on the page points in your direction, I can do without that early in the morning. 
I cold bore you with details of my exercise regime but most of you would consider that a failure.
You may be right.
However today I again made the effort, as aches now remind me, and while not yet fit enough for the Scotland Commonwealth Games team I can now walk around the park with less squeaking coming from my knees.  Something must be getting done right. 
I could discuss Ronaldo's overhead kick last night that indeed took my breath away at the time.  He is not the type of person I would wish around me but it has to be said he manages to bring off the spectacular when it is required.  The Juventus fans also applauded the goal at the time and this got me thinking of how in the early 60's it was quite common for people, especially the rich sitting in the stand, to applaud a good goal by the opposition.  This may have been because at that time many people went to both Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian games in those days having season tickets for both, a common enough thing then.  Today this is less likely and fans like society in general are more polarised however I remember reading of one Edinburgh Derby game where both sets of fans applauded the Hibernian goalie Andy Gorum for a couple of outstanding saves he had made that day so it still can happen, most fans appreciate the good in the other side but say little about it.
There is so much I could say that would be as boring as what has gone before so I will go and read my newly delivered copy of 'Private Eye' and discover which politician is lying n his teeth, which hack is doing similar, which local councillor is filling his pockets, and possibly fond a cartoon that is funny for  a change.  

Monday, 2 April 2018

Football Commentators

I spent much of this afternoon grumbling about a football commentator.  This is not unusual.  These men, it ought never to be a woman, these men spend much time gathering useless information about the people involved in the game and then fill the time spouting this dross throughout as if they are attempting to appear knowledgeable about the game.  This does not work!  When a goal is scored I have no interest in being told that this is the first goal the man has scored since September when he scored against blah blah blah!  Tell me about the goal he scored today!  There is no need to inform us that this player or that once played for Manchester United's under 16 side, almost a million young men did so and only seven made it to the top!  I have no interest in the man's private life, his wage nor the seven clubs that 'may' be chasing him as most of this information is pure guesswork or straight forward lies from the hacks.  Just explain the game to us.  Explain the tactics, why are they playing 'three at the back' and not 'four?'  Explain why the opposition do not play 'two up front' and as the game progresses explain also why the co-commentator with twelve years experience at the top level cannot explain the tactics other than saying "He went for it, got his head to it, but put it over," in similar manner which thousands of us at home could happily do for half the money!   
I often watch games on BBC ALBA, this is great because the commentator speak Gaelic and I understand nothing of what he says thereby allowing me to watch the game almost undisturbed.  Now I have an idea, I have found a stream that in amongst the dubious adverts and malware offers me football coverage, of dubious quality, that uses no commentator!  This is brilliant as the crowd noise is heard but there is no constant whine of needless chat from someone who considers his voice more important than the game.  Let the TV people give us the chance to watch a game without commentators for a while, see how much they can save and how our ears will benefit. 
I look forward to the day.

Saturday, 31 March 2018


Rather a dreich day for the market to make a special effort today.  Cloud overhead and spots of rain at times spoiling the market.  Several new stalls selling overpriced food to hungry customers, a bread stall selling bread at £3:50 a go, it's £1:30 in Tesco, and cakes etc at £2 a time.  I know the stuff is good but my wallet made me avoid the area where the food outlets gathered. I also avoided my fruit & veg stall as I feel guilty about buying stuff in Tesco during the week.

The last market failed miserably as poor organisation, including not replacing the organiser, led to many complaints and how these townsfolk like to complain.  A better effort even if the weather failed to comply.  I suppose as it is a holiday weekend we ought to expect such weather.

A collection of 'vintage vehicles' was promised and these few turned up.  I suspect more would have come if the sun shone but who wishes to get an expensive old vehicle covered in raindrops?  This mid 70's Bentley caught my eye however these were not among the best produced so I did not make him an offer.  I noticed the Morris Cowley at the end and it reminded me of the old matron at Maida Vale.  When she came over from the main hospital she drove her Sunbeam Car dating from 1926 which looked similar in general shape to this Morris.  I suspect it was a family heirloom but I forgot the history.  Whenever she arrived it was imperative to allow the wards to know she was here and then talk about the car/weather/life for a few minutes while they nurse hid things that ought to be hidden!  I'm sure she never guessed...

In the 50's these Wolesley's were the main police patrol car.  This was fine until Jaguar produced their Mark V (I think) seen above as the gangsters being chased had a huge advantage of speed over the cops.  Soon enough the black Wolesley's were replaced by Jaguars, white ones in Edinburgh.  The police were happy enough with this but criminals were not so keen.
A small improvement to the market, reducing prices for stalls might be a better one of course, and shoppers buying from them instead of Tesco might also be a good idea.  I, it must be said, went into Tesco, there I almost had a heart attack, there were NO chips!  The fridge was empty!  Looking around I found some hidden in a corner but the entire are was bereft of chips!  Someone suggested fish & chips eaten by Catholics meant they run out but that does not ring true, it does not happen at other times.  I had to stop shaking before I went to the checkout, imagine no chips!  I could die!
er, I am off to eat some now so I will have to die another way...


Thursday, 29 March 2018


I've finished a book!  This to me is a great surprise as I had six given to me at Christmas, and a large book token, and so far I had only read three small ones and one paperback.  I have been so lazy busy doing other things I did not get time to read properly.
I was a bit taken aback by this one.  While I have worked in hospitals I avoided things like blood and gore as much as I could leaving that to the professionals to clean up.  This book takes us into the macabre surgical world of the 19th century and tells of the wonderful discovery of ether, later chloroform, to knock people out while operations took place and then on into the efforts of one Joseph Lister to clean things up.
Operations, whether with or without ether, took place on filthy tables in filthy hospitals where the speed of the surgeon cutting a leg off was more important than anything else.  No one comprehended germs and hygiene was considered needless.  The operation was watched by medical students, several assistants participated and cleaning was limited to removing blood quickly rather than keeping patients healthy.  Many died. Many of the surgeons and students also died having picked up diseases from the patients who in many cases were of the poorest calibre and not very clean either.  The richer classes could be treated at home on the kitchen table as this was considered better.  Hospitals were for the poor.  
Lister learned much in London but moved to Edinburgh which was much better surely?  He learned much from the famous Professor James Syme who not only took him on as assistant recognising his qualities as a surgeon but allowed him to marry his daughter.  Later however Lister moved to the filthy Glasgow Infirmary leaving behind the filthy Edinburgh Infirmary which he had somewhat improved.  Glasgow was not keen on his ideas as numbers of patients treated meant cash and cleaning the hospital was not seen as important to the management.  
All this time Lister had been seeking to improve surgical results and his use of the microscope, much derided by many, and his later knowledge of the work of Louis Pasteur led him to understand germs existed, few wished to believe him.  He discovered, after many failures, that Carbolic Acid could be used to heal patients.  His experiments produced results but the medical world did not run after his findings.  How often science is proved to be true but scientists will not accept the results because they do not wish to hear the results?  It took years before people accepted his work and in the end all hospitals improved their cleanliness, surgeons and others accepted the existence of 'germs' and hygiene was improved in all hospitals.   Patients no longer entered hospitals expecting to die most now lived and hygiene and Listers use of carbolic acid on dressings that was responsible.  Clearly I have condensed a lifetimes work which took much long study, many experiments on patients, including his sister and later in life Queen Victoria, and long years of struggle against the perceived wisdom of the medical world.  Nothing is easy in this life even for a genius.
From his research others developed items such a carbolic soap and even 'Listerene,'  this was developed from several other uses that failed but has since become popular, and the Johnson brothers began to develop re-packaged dressings and became famous as 'Johnson & Johnson.  We owe much to the man who discovered ether for taking away the pain and we owe much to Joseph Lister, a humble man who treated rich and poor alike, for developing such surgical skill and after care that healed instead of killed.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018


This is a story of a postman who used to walk around the villages north of the town.  He retired in 1833 having felt the job was beginning to get too much for him.  I am not surprised! 
"From May 1803, at 4 days a week till Oct1811, then until 1833 at 6 days a week, absent but 5 days with permission, 5 off sick. He walked 26 miles a day round the villages for 8,673 days, all 225,498 miles. Now 54 feeling himself declining and not equal to the task he retires."
Samuel Wyatt, walked from Braintree to Rayne, Saling, Bardfield, Finchingfield, and Weathersfield.  Simple enough today in the days of the motor car polluting the air but this walk does not take into account the state of the road, mostly mud tracks, nor does it mention the weather, hot in summer freezing cold and or wet in winter.  In between the villages and houses here and there would be little shelter during a storm.  Of course the villages were less well populated and the majority were if not in shops or skilled trade working on the farm and the amount of letters and parcels would therefore not be great.  However he still had to do the walking, up hill and down slope, day after day.  
I am sure he was fed and watered along the way, there are many pubs he had to visit and summer time must have seen him spend a penny or two in those places, however I suspect anything he drank there may be free and a jolly good place to rest awhile.
Today such places are divided between several postmen, each with his own van and with less chance of drinking time between villages.  One village a few years ago saw the postman walk ten miles around the village and the houses slightly apart, another that I delivered to took the postman in days gone by one bag and a long walk.  When I done that walk it took four heavy bags of around 20 kilos and today that also is done by van, the villages grow as fast as the towns.
This postman's job has similar conditions to many of that time, and he probably thought he was doing well as he was outside and master of his own work to some extent.  Those in factories would work 12 hour days, men, women and child, for a few shillings a week.  Not all employers were careful about their employees and keeping a job was not always easy.  Yet 96 or more hours a week was a common sight right up to near the end of the 19th century, around the world this is still a common sight in some places.
After he retired he got a certificate for good behaviour and as a memento, nothing is said about a reward.  I wonder what he did after that?  Did it involve walking?  He retired at 54 from the GPO as it then was and how long did he live afterwards?  He must have retained fitness for some time and I wish I knew more about him.  I had a quick search but he does not appear to have been born or died!  At least the post got through.


Monday, 26 March 2018

Old Photos

Stupidity runs in our family.  I fear for my idiot nephew if he has inherited the genes that have caused s much distress in this world.  I mean I sat for some time tonight fretting that I could not get BBC Scotland to work properly on my laptop.  There are two options and neither worked.  It took me some time to realise that what I was looking for was not taking place.  I wanted the Scotland v Hungary match live and I was indeed in the right place for this it is just that this is Monday night and the game takes place on Tuesday!
This is not the first time I have not realised what day it is.  Indeed the clocks went forward on Sunday and as I awoke I heard the man on the radio give the time, I therefore rose and some time later realised all the clocks were an hour behind.  It took about an hour before I realised the clocks had gone forward and I didn't know.
I wonder if matron will keep me in this week...?  

I had to look out a photo for a friend, OK for an acquaintance, and found several somewhat dingy pictures taken at the beach one pink sky night many years ago.  I wonder if I used the 'Zorki 4' but I suspect this was the 'Zenit 'E'' that my brother gave me.  A wonderful camera which was dying long before I got my mitts on it.  However it gave me much fun and sometimes properly exposed pictures, and the results of our time at the seaside was good considering the pinkish twilight.  

Browsing old photos can be a daunting experience.  While many good memories and people appear there are also many faces, some long forgotten, who bring memories not always pleasant back to mind.  Long lost loves, I have hundreds, good people who have moved or passed on, good places now altered for ever and bad places that still haunt the mind.  One unfortunate aspect is the undeniable fact that this shows me forty years have passed and I have wasted much of that time, this is one of the problems of getting old.

Another problem is the old albums as they fall apart.  Glue used on pics dies and photos fall out, those plastic covers on some albums, the covers that are supposed to keep the pictures there for ever have faded and come lose and whenever the album is lifted several minutes pass as a search under the furniture for fallen pictures ensues.  Of course once they are all digitalised this will not be a problem, unless the 'delete' button is hit by mistake.
Right, now I have left a morose emotion in your head I will retire to contemplate my naval while seeking sleep.  I need sleep for my mind requires much input from nourishment and sleep these days.  

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Palm Sunday with Jesus

An interesting Palm Sunday.  Once these were 'religious services' soon forgotten.  Today we had one that the kids will remember for a while, one they enjoyed.  Resetting the seats to form a central area allowed room for Jesus to parade.  On arrival Jesus was not expecting to parade but the eight year old entered to be volunteered to play Jesus.  Dressing in white surplice, large beard and vast wig Jesus spent the entire morning parading (over the curates cloak) into Jerusalem while other kids, one or two quite old ones, waved palms and other suitable accoutrements and sang and cheered along.
The congregation was also forced into readings, songs, and short discourse all of which told the story of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem, an triumph that did not fool him, and brought about his death a week later.  How quickly people turn.  Those that love you today do not do so tomorrow.  Football managers and politicians note that daily.  Never rely on peoples opinion of you because tomorrow it will change when they decide you are not what they want you to be.
Jesus was not on for show, he did not come to gloat among his followers, he was however forcing the issue with the religious leaders and making them decide whether they would accept his claim to be the Son of God come to claim his people or not.  The leaders reject him knowing he was indeed God preferring to keep control themselves and in so doing lost their souls.
Many cheering him that day would do so also.
This week many will look forward to chocolate eggs, holidays but few will look to the reason for the season.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

XL or XXL?

Size is important!  What is more important is getting it right.  
Yesterday I bought a cheap (in M&S mark you) pullover.  The size claimed to be XL which would suit my feeble frame.  Once home I tried on this made in Bangladesh bargain t be reminded that what is 'XL' in Bangladesh is either 'L' or 'M' here!  I hobbled back today and exchanged for an 'XXL' size which in fact just does the job, however a 'XXXL' which was there yesterday might have been a better option.
Why don't things fit?  I am convinced that in the past things fitted better.  Of course cynics might say that is because my mum was buying for me however for fifty years I have bought for myself and things these days do not fit like they used to.  For a start there are different measurements to watch out for, M&S leg lengths come in 29, 31, & 33, while other folks are 30, 32, 34, which appears to me to make more sense, maybe there is a reason for this?
That aside the decision to outsource all clothing to the far east has seen a decrease in standards and all the main shops do this and then charge very high prices for their goods.  The sweatshop workers I am sure are happy to earn a few coins making clothes that are too big for them while the bosses line their pockets but not as well as the directors of our main street stores are doing I suspect.  'Primark' appears to be the only shop that sells similar goods at cheap prices and they still make a vast profit, where are the others going wrong?  Don't mention quality that varies little in my view.  
Sad to say that when 'XL' shirts are tight this means these things are shrinking after each wash or while hanging up in the cupboard they shrink even more, I wonder why...

Lucky for me all this is enabled by the Free Bus!  The council installed one of those shopping centres that specialise in 'Outlets' for big companies, outlet being another word for 'stuff that didn't sell.'  This would be useful if such folks reduced the prices to a sensible level however this does not happen.  'Levis' (or Wrangler) were things we used to wear constantly, either jeans or cords.  I wore such for thirty years yet today I cannot afford them and go for Tesco (far east) cheap ones, if they have any that fit!  The Levi shop here offers bargains such as 'Two Pair for £99!'  They appear to think this a bargain!  What gets me is that this shop has been doing this for several years and is still going strong, who is buying such bargains?  OK many of these shops are 'loss leaders' but even so someone is buying and considers themselves lucky to obtain bargains!  
Me, I'm going to look again at Tesco clothing....

Friday, 23 March 2018


Sitting here drinking my honey filled light Horlicks I am enjoying watching Scotland play Costa Rica.  Asalways with Scotland the word 'enjoy' is notto be taken seriously.  
For a start I have to seek out a stream to watch this game.  While England fans have the dubious option of watching their losers on ITV Scots cannot do this, I expect however STV will be showing the England game to rub this in.  So folks like me who canny afford 'SKY' have to seek out one of those horrid streams that convey the game to us poor folks, this I have found on malware full 'First Row' and a blessing to go with this is the lack of commentary!  No blethering numpty to fill the screen with needless words and talk about a different game from the one I watch.
Of course with another of the 'Old Firm' Glasgow Mafia leading the team it is no surprise to find many of his 'friends' in the side, including a goalkeeper who is second choise at his own team to a better Scots goalie who has not been brought into the squad!  We need not mention Charlie Mulgrew who has only one left foot and keptputting the ball onto hisright in the first half.  Overall this was nothing special as a game, Costa Rica are preparing for the World Cup in Russia while we are rebuilding once again and the result does not matter but individual performances do.  McBurnie at centre looked OK as did McTimanay or whatever his name is in midfield.  Both have lots to learn but did no bad.  McGinn of Hibs appeared and committed more fouls in ten minutes than most do in 90! 
We did make some chances and miss them, they only made one in the second half and hit the bar so in the end I am not to unhappy with this mishmash of a side mainly because theyoung lads did OK.
This is not the first time we have met Costa Rica, during Italia 90 we managed to laugh at this small nation far away and rejoiced at meeeting them.  We lost one nil.  This however has not led some, especially the hacks, to continue regarding such sides as 'small teams' while we are a big one.  That attitude has failed us so often in qualifying for tournaments that you might think it had gone, it hasn't and tonight will not see an end of such arrogance.