Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Smoke Gets in my Eyes.

The windows being open all sorts of aroma's pass inside. Tonight I am enduring the burning of what I believe may be garden rubbish, the first of the leaves falling from the autumnal trees or that kind of garden leftovers they don't think about turning into compost.  This happens annually, however I fail to see where it comes from, it arrives from the west but that way lies town centre and no-one to burn leaves.  Tis mystery all.
The smell of small fires in the open long after the fire has been ditched and left to burn out has been with me for many years.  I can remember the strong aroma when an uncle was clearing leaves in his garden way back when, and more so when on the rare occasions we went under the bridge taking the railway from Granton harbour into town and stalked Granton Beach, a beach which some refer to as 'Wardie Beach' but we never did.  
Here there was always at least one charcoaled set of embers to be found, the bouquet hanging in the still air, well, air as still as possible on that beach.  The beach was not great, many stones and too little sand, this hemmed in by the high ban, now removed, carrying the railway by.  The condition was not supreme, it was always somewhat dingy, this being the result of the Firth of Forth being a heavily used stretch of water in those days far off.  
In the far distance jutting out into the gray sea lies Newhaven Harbour, then full of fishing boats right up until the 1960's when they began to be replaced with rich men's playthings.  That is all that remains today.  On both sides of the Forth lay fishing harbours full of men risking their lives night after night, the 'silver darlings' have long disappeared and the cod and haddock dwindling but most boats today are smaller craft looking for the Lobster pots dumped out at sea the night before.  
At the time the picture was taken early in the 20th century the Royal Navy based half the Fleet at Rosyth and when my dad was growing up he could see such a collection of blue gray ships heading out to sea, Battle-cruisers, Cruisers, frigates, Destroyers and smaller ships abounding following them out.  Add to this the steamers from all over the world landing a variety of goods at Granton as opposed to the larger harbour the other side of Newhaven at Leith.  
The condition of the water may not always have been that clean as far as I can see but people spent time there and made the most of it.  Today, with the railway removed the area is cleaner, grass is planted in the rear, the space open and the sea cleaner as less ships pass by, a few large tankers and many small pleasure craft.  
The harbour behind has changed with one half being filled in and now crowned with large glass fronted blocks of flats with magnificent views and prices to match.  No more steam trains chugging past, fewer foul mouthed sailors, and one time warehouse or marine offices and lighthouses now turned into dwellings.  
However I bet people still build fires from driftwood, attempt to cook potatoes, and burn their fingers while eating them leaving the hazy smoke and its aroma to drift across the old breakwater and the new residences with the same freedom it has always enjoyed.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Day Out and a Horn Blast from 66514.

In a moment of madness yesterday I glanced at the clock, decided I could make the 11 O'clock train, raced off slowly towards the station, was 'sighed at' by the lass at the desk in the way you treat old people who cannot get the card out of the wallet, and jumped aboard one of the new trains that awaited passengers - sorry - customers.  Panting gratefulness I slowly recovered, fit?  Not yet.

The layout of the new train was different, the seats harder, the coach empty, and remained so until we reached the larger stations where London bound thrill seekers boarded en masse.  Two lassies even had the audacity to sit next to me and blether.  Tsk!  A decent journey in just about one hour as usual.

London termini have different faces to offer the traveller and none of them are very pretty.  Either of Liverpool Street station exits offer crowded streets, high buildings and masses of people.  The sky is rarely visible in this part of the world.  When you think of it the sky has not been seen much around here for probably two hundred years or so as this has been built up for many years.  

Naturally, knowing my way around, I took a short cut I had not used before through this dark alley.  The pub on the corner contained many rather too smartly suited men for my taste, could they be estate agents or Bookies runners I wondered?  Their outlook spoke of money the honesty of which I was unsure.  At the end of this short lane, which I avoided and continued through the more modern road in front of me, I noticed this:-

This was the one time entrance to what was 'Cooper's Wool Warehouse.' Opened in 1863 with the 'Merino Sheep,' which you correctly identified, on top of the gate now being a preserved monument, one of many such in London.  The building, like so many others here, was converted into offices in 1981 and recently upgraded.  Among the tenants are the City of London Police who helpfully block the end of the street with their vehicles.  

However I resisted the temptation to investigate and did not go that way wandering into this four sided ex-warehouse that I never knew existed.  On the other hand the warehouse and its employees never asked after me either did they?  Today a few eating paces, rather half heartedly operated, it may be they were just opening as it was just after noon or possibly preparing for an event, I did not wait to ask.  This does however reveal how much money is being spent around here, the Crossrail project apparently bringing many companies to swarm around Liverpool Street Station in the hope of living off the traffic this provides in some manner.

I however, still convinced in the rightness of my decision to take a short cut continued on my way expecting at any moment to arrive at the road awaiting me and turn left as I planned.
I did not.
Instead I blundered on past those three storey London houses built in the late 18th and 19th centuries, all with shops at the bottom, almost all occupied thus revealing the vast amount of Bangladeshi's who now reside in this area.  
This part of London has always attracted immigrants but do not tell the UKIP people as this upsets them, especially those descended from Jews, Russians, Latvian's, Poles, Germans, Italians, and so on and so forth, they do get upset about Johnny Foreigner.  So many gathered about the TV last night to sing 'Britons (read Englishmen) never will be slaves, Rule Britannia!' I consider it difficult for Britannia to rule the waves when she only has seven ships and four are in dock.
The Jewish immigrants were famous in the 19th century, their furry hats and inward lifestyles upset many 'English' at the time.  You will recall how many Jews were bad men in Charles Dickens stories, think of 'Fagan' for instance.  These streets were also the 1930's hotbed of political action as the 'Blackshirts,' Oswald Moseley's imitation fascist army, clashed with left leaning folks who disliked his approach to the Jews and indeed everyone else. 
It was quiet enough on Saturday.

I continued to goof and went further away from my destination.
Many shop signs revealed the ownership and heritage of the owner, just as they have always done here.  Many were selling clothes of one sort or another, shoes, local stores plus cafĂ©'s and restaurants.  I continued in the wrong direction hovering on the shady side of the somewhat downtrodden, let's be honest, dingy streets to avoid the sun.  Lots of buildings required a good wash and brush up here while next door stood a plush restaurant or shoe shop.  I almost bought a bottle of water from a local store but moved on as the staff were on hands and knees sorting things out.  I obtained water for 59p at a plush local shop which was doing very well thank you, the butchers side helping his profits I suspect with Halal meat.  
Many object to Halal as they say cutting an animals throat is cruel.  Funny how no-one objected to the Jews doing this for Kosher meat until recently?  However, a man I knew worked in an abattoir and was perplexed by the amount of animals that were not stunned properly before death.  Handling a half ton cow which is desperate to escape does not lead to decent behaviour!  A properly cut throat they say is quicker, less frightening for the animal and offers better meat.           

Having left home on the basis that I was feeling as healthy as I have been for a very long time I was now beginning to find my knees thought differently.  Wearing the wrong shoes and walking on ragged pavements did not help either.  Luckily in the distance, and in the wrong place, I saw the tower of Christ Church, Spitalfields rising in the distance so there I headed across the very busy road.  Once glance at the front of the building reveals that this Nicholas Hawksmoor building was not built to the 'Glory of God' but to the glory of the builders.  It was one of Fifty Churches being built by the Church of England in the new outlying areas, only 12 were actually built, this one was chosen as the area was dominated by those Huguenots and their descendants who had arrived from Flanders and preferred their own more biblical chapels in the area.  An outstanding creation but not in my view what a church ought to be, the locals agreed with me also.  Those chapels now are often turned into Mosques by the latest incomers. 
As I recall the church was in the 70's a place housing derelicts in the crypt.  People forget the homeless, on Dossers as they were then called, existed in the past also.  London has contained many since the Romans built their landing place here.  
I recall a TV programme from the 1980's where the crypt was emptied, the homeless moved into the main building and an archaeological team removed the hundreds of coffins placed therein in days gone by.  A disgusting sight as I remember it but offering valuable insights into the lives of those considered worthy of being deposited within.  Rather them than me.
I was somewhat peeved as the church was closed on Saturday, possibly to allow the bell ringers to hammer passers-by ears.  Next Saturday, as part of 'Heritage Weekend' it will be open!  I will not be there!  The link shows it may be worth a visit for some, especially as the old Market will also be full of feeding troughs for the rich and hungry. 

This is what dragged me ought yesterday morning.  I came across a picture I took many years ago of this door and wondered if it still existed.  Desperate for a day out somewhere I decided, without proper thought, to go for it.  

This was my inspiration!  Taken on the old Minolta it shows little has changed in 30 or so years.  The obvious change is the new owners, note the name has gone, do not enjoy tourists peeking in the wndows and make use of the shutters today.  A great many homes in this area have similar shutters enabling the weavers within to continue their work while as much light gets in and cold weather is kept out.

A clearer view of the large windows while on the roof proper weavers windows on number eleven and a half.  Fournier Street has a place for sale if you fancy it, bigger than these being on the corner, this is a 'snip' at £2.3 million.  I must say the insides of that one are mostly original and well worth a look!
Braintree obtained its wealth from such people Courtauld's being the most successful  Many weavers had arrived in Bocking and many places in Essex many years before and for hundreds of years they were popular and successful businessmen.
I was glad to have wandered about here, even if my body lacked desire for walking.  The change of area, the sights, the memories and the blessed tourists all getting in the locals way made my day, unless I was the one getting in the locals way.  

It is clear some weavers made more money than others, this chap has done well.  Of course he may have retailed cloth, or even better become a lawyer and dealt with officialdom on the locals behalf, that would enable an economic growth for him!

The comparison between the plush residences and the poorer ones round the corner spoke of London as it has always been.  These streets, not far from 'Jack the Rippers' area, have always been egalitarian.  Rich and poor side by side, a very London existence.  Stupidly I did not take more pictures of the rougher streets, Brick Lane in part being a bit rough, as there were so many parties of tourists around getting in the way, and I did not think!   Many parties were led by guides offering tales from the past, others might just have read the book 'Brick Lane' and come to see if it was real. No darling, story books are not real!  

I mused over the different building styles each century brought.  These may be late Victorian or Edwardian.  It was the tops of the building that attracted.  I have seen this elsewhere, is it meant to be Gothic?  Or is it just fancy brickwork to contain a room for the servant girl?  Note also all the shops are in business, no charity shop to be seen around these parts.  
It struck me as interesting that many clothes shops exist here today, many selling cloth of some sort, long years after the first weavers the area still has that connection.  Today, Sunday, just down the road Middlesex Street and the local area turns into 'Petticoat Lane' and attracts more than just tourists to its many stalls.
That market, and London has a great many of these, goes back to the late 16th century and a clothes market was there in the 1600's.  Spanish, Huguenots and Jews all spent time in the area and the market opens today on Sundays only, though nearby markets open six days a week.  Bring plenty of money and argue the price for stuff. 

Graffiti 'artists' I find usually leave only a mess however there are those in London that leave better images behind.  The quiet back streets offer opportunity for such around here.

Created in 1894 this building, Bedford House, once offered 'good works' to the locals, education, alleviating poverty and the rise of Quaker social action.  This lasted until 1947 when bottling plant moved in.  Since they left the place has slowly fallen apart.  Now squatted by 'artists' and 'students' who have repaired many parts of the building the owner, whoever that is, appears keen to let it fall apart, possibly to then sell it as the land would bring him millions!  Such a shame, nice building.

Before reaching Bedford House I was much tempted by the street stall selling curry and the like.  I failed to notice the prices but was sorely tempted to pay over the odds, something I do not delight in.  On my way back I accidentally ended up here once again and entered the opening opposite the curry stalls here I found Spitalfield's Market, once home of fruit and veg now home of  trendy London.  
Many stalls, the food ones operating at full speed, the overpriced ones selling garments, handbags and er, objects, less so while people stuffed their faces.  A very large market, full of the middle classes who have been told by their publication's this is where it is all at.  They might be right, if this is what you wish.  
Tourists abounded as I wondered what was the better part of the area, this tourist trendy place that I was become accustomed to in Notting Hill on a Saturday, or the real small shops and grubby streets I had passed through.  The area where people actually live and work had something more honest about it.  Life there being lived as it had been in this area since the 1600's, give or take a plague or two.  Immigrants, new food styles, new languages yet by the third generation they all cheer England on at cricket!
I don't!

I have a feeling this was an undertakers display, I chose not to enquire.

In the distance on the last picture three men are standing chatting.  Before them, hidden by the telephone box, lay a stall full of hats.  Trilby abounding I would have called it, they did not.  Guess who is the boss...
I noticed a stall calling itself 'The Naked Grinder' but like so much else around here that was not to be taken seriously...I found.

This is 'I Goat' a sculpture that is supposed to represent the waves of immigrants to this area.  Quite how I know not.  Standing on packing cases it looms high about the square.  Why?  No idea.

Artillery Passage once formed the boundary of the old St Mary Spital Priory closed down in the days of Henry VIII.  'Spital' is short for 'Hospital' and for around three hundred years after the end of the Priory the Archers and Crossbow men took over this space, hence 'artillery.'  The alley as such came with redevelopment in later days and offers a look into ancient London, many such lanes can be found in the 'City.'

The symbol of ironmongers was a Frying Pan.  These would be hung outside their door and the guess is that this now modernised wide open lane was once a grubby narrow passage which was home to many of those who worked that trade.

On the way to the station I hobbled by this shut coffee house.  Rather a mistake I thought, surely business would be good at the weekend with tourists about. 

I did rather like this however.

Back to stand staring at the board awaiting the platform number appearing.  On the way in I noticed Chelmsford Station now had a coffee stall on my platform, previously it was only available on the London bound side.  Therefore I decided to take the Norwich train and speed myself to Chelmsford, sip coffee and await my train which did not leave for a further 18 minutes after the Norwich service.
The Norwich speedy train trundled along.
It did not mention it stopped at Stratford to ensure someone insisted on sitting next to me.
We trundled on, I considered getting off and walking, eventually he returned to speed.  Some slow train in front hindering the express.  Tsk!  

I left the train, allowed the crowd to depart, sought the coffee stall and found it shut!  Typical, 2pm and he had hopped it!  Do they not realise trains run on a Saturday?  There was nothing for it but to wait 20 minutes for the new glossy train.

I amused myself by attempting to capture this aircraft high in the sky, this was not easy.  Higher above, Stansted and Luton bound planes passed across the sky, all leaving long vapour trails to upset the environment lobby making use of such aircraft for their holidays. 

I never noticed this before, it must be new.  I had heard the story somewhere.  Marconi the Radio people along with a major Ball Bearing plant existed in Chelmsford during the war, important targets for the Luftwaffe.  Often Heinkel's would pass over on bombing raids.  One night a large formation of enemy bombers attacked and Moulsham across the river from the main town, suffered badly with some 50 people killed and a great deal of damage done.  As a troop train approached the town this signalman remained at his post, halted the train at a distance to avoid several hundred men suffering, all the while in a signal box that was seriously damaged and in danger of collapse.  
It is nice to know he is remembered this way.

As I awaited my saloon car I managed to catch 66514 as he sped through at high speed heading I think for Felixstowe.  He offered a friendly three tone blast as he passed 'God bless you sir' and hurled himself on his way.  He pulled many empty flatbeds behind him, only four or five were in use and I wondered if Brexit was hindering exports?  No similar train passed in the other direction, that way I could gauge the import side, it may just have been to gather empties for the docks of course.

Typical!  The good train was put elsewhere and I was returned on the aged 321 which I must say has softer seats, though that may come from 20 years use of course!  So it was home, sore knees and that coffee.  

Today I remained at home, too stiff to cycle down the road!  Once again enjoying the memory of the good things in London having avoided the bad. £800 a week rent for a studio flat, £2700 a month for one of the better class two bed flats!  The empty flat here is going for £625 a month! How do they afford London? 

Monday, 9 September 2019


Rain all day, busy trying to wake up all morning, exercising in an effort to kill myself in the afternoon, and Scotland losing 3-0 and it's only half time.  It is a dreich day.
There was a moment of laughter when Boris was put in his place by the Irish Premier.  Straight talking leaving Boris crumpled and almost but not quite ashamed.  Tonight he has lost his fifth vote in a row and is intending to close parliament down for five weeks to avoid questions on his behaviour.  They say his cabinet took fright regarding the 'breaking the Law' regarding ignoring parliaments wishes.  It will not do as it could land them in trouble also, even if Bojo is the one who goes to jail.  So his friends have made him see sense regarding lawbreaking.  So many questions regarding his behaviour and even the hardest Brexiteer must see this man is unfit for his job?
When I think back to the giant politicians, Brown, Thatcher, MacMillan and look at the puny representatives here now I find myself wishing even Thatcher would come back!  Gold grabbing, money loving and hard hearted she may well have been but we all knew what she wanted, we knew where we stood, we knew her cabinet were grown up liars, we knew there were things she would not like close parliament to avoid answering questions!  She would answer questions and not give a reply!  A proper MP.  Brown had some good intentions, and failed, MacMillan did want to give people a better life, and he built 3 million houses in the early 50's, not something Tories do today.
Now John Bercow the 'people's friend' is standing down.  He will soon be blessed with a seat in the Lords while Dominic works out how to get Rees-Mogg into the Speakers Chair!  Just so an unbiased Speaker will be seen.
The rain continues, it's dark early these days, summer has gone and Christmas stuff is already in the shops.  Oh joy....
(You can tell I have had a good few days...)

Friday, 6 September 2019

Boris, Eton Boys, and Family!

Thirty years of schoolboys attempting to outdo one another and get the top job have ended up with the entire world in a mess.  One man can make a difference for good or evil in this world, two Eton schoolboys jealousy of one another have given us Brexit!
For thirty years we have had lies spewed out of Brussels by Johnson and his cronies, known lies told not to benefit the people but to gain advantage for themselves.  The damage he and his friends in the right wing media have wrought might never be corrected.
Today we have a parliament led by Johnson and Rees-Mogg, under the tutelage of Dominic Cummings, which cares nothing for the damage to the nation, nothing for the hurt caused to people and are happily enjoying those benefits only people in Hedge Funds understand. 
Bojo has so far lost about 23 MPs, his brother and Three major votes all within a handful of days, a record that might never be broken again, unless he does something worse.  So he has run of to Aberdeen, a Brexit laced area.  The fishermen foolishly thought, like the farmers, that leaving the EU would benefit them, as if Boris understood fishermen?  Does he know they still exist?  He might find some support, as long as he does not walk the streets, but it will be lost if he does not keep his mouth shut.
Well done the SNP, holding back the desire for a General Election sufficiently to stem Boris.  Working with the opposition to ensure an election when it suits them is a great idea.   There are 13 Tory seat at the moment, most will be lost in an election, along with that East Dunbartonshire one of the lib-dem leader Swinson.  She will be out also.  It might be only Murray for Labour in Edinburgh, a Lib-Dem in the Shetlands and a Tory in the south west that are left if the SNP handle this right.  The only downside to the SNP in my view is Sturgeon, she of the chip-on-the-shoulder girly attitudes.  She has to go for Scotland to prosper. 

The family history has kept me amused these past few days.  I ought to have been fixing the broken things, painting the bedroom and sorting those other cupboards but I accidentally  got hooked on my grandfathers first family.  I decided to write them up individually thus giving me a better idea of each of them and this was an interesting experience. 
At 15 he is in Edinburgh studying rail mechanics intent on being a driver.  
At 21 he is working on the farm and marrying a woman.
The woman he marries has mental problems.  

Not long after the first child he is placing this ad in the local paper, there is trouble afoot.
So to Edinburgh in 1880 a few children later so something must be working.
He drives trains now, lucky man!
But one daughter, now 13, lives far away in Newcastle, possibly to avoid mum. 
Near centuries end tragedy strikes twice and brings a response.
1891 Mary is born, 1892 Mary dies of Bronchial Pneumonia.
!898 eldest son, 24, is found semi-conscious after taking a 'large dose' of Laudanum, the usual Victorian pain killer.  But was he a habitual user?  l ask because he is now with another aunt in Berwick, a sister also, was he in their care?
The next day he dies.  A post mortem claims a blood clot in heart is the cause. 
By 1901 mother has gone, she is in the Lunatic Asylum at Dundee, one of the best in it's day.  
Family rumour of poison might be true.     
1904: Sister in Newcastle marries the lodger.  In Dundee mother passes away.
We are running out of family.
Two years later father marries again thus making widow Christina my grandmother.
Three children arrive.  
Two sisters join brother who has been working in Birkenhead.
1910 one marries an insurance clerk and runs of to Edinburgh, Liberton no less. 
1911 Granddad has left the home, Grandmum and three kids, plus three from previous marriage remain in Dalry. 

Granddad is in the workhouse! 
Queensberry House before and during the Great War was the Workhouse!  What a size! There must have been a fair few old folks in there.  Today it has been spruced up and serves as offices for the Scottish Parliament just behind it.  
One sister remains in Birkenhead until brother emigrates to Canada then returns to Edinburgh (I think).

1914: Brother in Canada joins Canadian army.
1916: Brother in Canadian army dies at Ypres.  Remembered on Menin Gate.
1917: Father dies from apoplexy at Queensberry Hoose.
1922: Sister married to Swede dies aged 43 leaving him three teenagers.  
1928: Insurance accountant loses his wife to cancer.  
Not many left!
1933: Insurance man, doing nicely thank you, up in Liberton, marries eldest sister.
1936: William, the brother who went to sea, served through the Great War on sloops in the Mediterranean, based in Malta, dies.  He is reported as 'presumed drowned,' while serving on an untraceable ship (merchant navy).  
1943: Insurance man dies.
Is eldest sister alone?  Is there anyone left?
She dies while living in comfortable surroundings in Ayr during 1954.
No wonder my lot are a bit strange....

One thing that conjecture brings is the image of the eldest sister.  My aunt and one sister were brought to mind as I wondered about her.  I got the impression of the elder sister who has to keep things going while the family dither. The other girls appear normal as does William the sailor who never married, as sailors who served abroad for three or so years at a time never did.  So many parts of my family can be seen in my mind here.  However the mother appears to have given one or two problems to the family.  Maybe that is who they moved so often, though that was not uncommon with a growing family.  If only we knew more.


Tuesday, 3 September 2019

War, BBC and Sounds.

Eighty years ago today Neville Chamberlain informed the nation that "This country is now at war with Germany." Listen here.
Many inform us that Chamberlain was quite successful as a chancellor of the exchequer during the 1930's.  While they attack his appeasement policy towards Adolf Hitler they accept that he also introduced money to pay for both a Fighter Defence and a Bomber Command.  Money was also found to strengthen the Royal Navy and yet he failed to provide monies for the army, possibly that was sensible as the British Army in 1939 still appeared willing to fight the last war and had not developed modern strategy or tactics.  
Chamberlain's great failure however was less his appeasement rather than his failure to understand Hitler.  Adolf just wanted to win the last war, his whole policy was to take over the land mass to the east and enslave any who opposed him, Neville never understood this.  Neville also had been successful and this many say led to his belief that he alone could bring the world situation to a peaceful conclusion.  His arrogance would have been worthwhile had he understood his enemy, he did not.
By 1938 Chamberlain was beginning to understand his failure.  The merging of Germany and Austria, the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the threat to Poland brought home his failure.  He did however have the courage to stand up to Adolf in the end and threaten war if the Germans did not leave Poland, a coward would not have done this!  
So early on a Sunday morning, some churches rigging up wireless sets so the congregation could listen, the British state heard Chamberlains words.  Nobody rejoiced, no flags waved, all understood the situation and were aware of the cost.  
In Germany few rejoiced, indeed the Nazi leaders gathered together to listen to this news and afterwards silence reigned.  Goebbels turned to von Ribbentrop and snarled "Now what!"  Teamwork and shared responsibility was not a Nazi virtue.

Such a major event in a life, and participating in a war that is won is about as major as is possible, leaves an affect on an individual and a nation.  The UK still carries the success as well as the aftermath of the second world war.  The aftermath saw an improving society, better housing, the NHS, schools, education for all and improved laws in the work place.  The memory of the war was ever with those who fought or came afterwards.  As the empire died the boast of a great past increased!  Today, as a small nation stronger in the EU than alone, many wish to return to that past. However the past has gone and the UK cannot survive alone.  The war has influenced many to vote for leaving the EU as they reach for an imaginary past, most who do so were not born in the war and never saw the suffering caused.  Interestingly those who now lead the Leave campaign care little for the war and never mention it, they care for position, fame and vast fortune as they line their pockets while subjecting the nation to austerity.  
The soon coming election, based on Boris's promises of money for education, NHS and everyone else, all too soon to be false, will fool many who wish to be fooled.  The opposition, is there one? will offer similar lies also unfounded.
Looking at all this maybe it would be good if the EU did go to war with the UK, well England at least, and send their bombers over here once again.  England deserves that!
So I woke this morning and stumbled through to sit at my desk staring into space until I woke enough to have breakfast.  I looked for Radio 3 to find some noise and discovered that 'the page is missing' and was redirected to BBC Sounds the new, expensive and absurd replacement for the popular and efficient iPlayer.
What sort of con is this that my link is sabotaged for the sake of the shockingly poor 'Sounds' mistake?  They say £10 million was spent adjusting the iPlayer to create 'Sounds' I wish I had been consulted as I could have saved them several million. If they continue to replace my links to justify this I may be tempted to scribble a note to someone in the BBC, they will ignore it but they will notice it...
After a search I have replaced the links and hope this time it will remain untouched by BBC executives failing at their job.
As I am on I might as well mention 'The Political Butterfly Effect' which was broadcast yesterday.  This featured the phenomenon of noise in the wrong place.  It appears that talk on Radio 4 must always be accompanied by needless noise drowning out the words and hindering hearing what is said and enjoyment of decent programmes.  I realise these producers come from the 'Punk generation' but they do not have to prove it!  Yesterday we were supposed to be in the House of Commons bar so they supplied appropriate sounds thus rendering talk useless.  These drink loving producers spend an enormous time in such places so must realise that nothing can be heard in them unless your ear is up against the speaker!  Radio 3 talks do not require needless noise why so on Radio 4? 


Saturday, 31 August 2019

Boris & Dominic & a Glasgow Jolly!

Javid is happy with Boris in spite of Boris's rottweiller sacking his chief advisor and several other (female) members of the backroom staff.  Javid complains to Boris but does not resign, just as he would never resign no matter the problem, power is a drug after all. 
We know understand that Boris the Bumbling does not have any idea as to how to run the country but his bully boy Dominic Cummings does.  He indeed is the unscrupulous power behind the throne.  What is to be done?
Clearly Boris needs him, clearly this heavyweight thug will succeed if the others let him.
That is the problem, he unsettles people and other cabinet members do nothing because they wish to keep their job!  Almost all the 'big beasts' opposed suspending parliament, none have come out and disagreed with the actuality.  All have avoided the press, all, like Boris, have run away.
Meanwhile thousands waste their time protesting in the streets at the undemocratic parliament.  This will make no difference to those in No 10.  The opinion of the people is of no importance no matter how often they quote "The will of the people," knowing all the while the referendum was fixed by Domminic's £350 million to the NHS, and "Take back sovereignty" lies.
The future is not bright.
Matthew 24:6      

Glasgow in the rain is a delightful place to have a riot.  Friday night saw a march for 'Irish Unity' led by the 'James Connelly Republican Flute Band.'   Would you believe it the march was stopped by a  crowd of 'Loyalists' leading to an exchange of smoke bombs and other delights.  The Glasgow Polis intervened while items burned and cars and windows suffered as attempts at 'unity' were rendered futile.
An Irish march.
In Glasgow.
On a Friday night? 
Who would have thought...?

Friday, 30 August 2019

Anglican Books to Explain their Church

Both these books attempt to describe Anglicanism the Church of England, how it came about, what it stands for, what it is.  Both are decent attempts but in the end the answer to the question 'What is it?' remains 'A mess!'
Paul Avis talks in vicar speak throughout.  His terminology, though understandable, is just a bit too middle class academic for me.  This did not make it hard to understand nor enjoyable to read but it was a wee bit too high-faluted for my liking and I think the 'Sun' reader might get a bit lost therein.  
Paul attempts to explain what a church is, most people in England do not understand what it does or what it stands for these days, how Anglicans see the church as a gathering and reflects on how this 'Reformed Church' has a wide and varied make up.  Some history, some problems for today and an unhealthy (in my mind) desire for 'Bishops!'
Mark Chapman goes over the same subjects but I must say he does so in a more readable manner.  As his book is 'a very short introduction' he covers a lot of ground very well.  The 'Divine Right of Kings,' the Prayer book or books, continual interference in the church by Kings and Queens and Parliament, the Reformation struggles, not helped by the death of Edward VI and John Knox being refused entry after his excellent item 'A trumpet Blast against the Monstrous Regiment of Women,' something I think aimed at Queen Mary but managed to somehow upset Elizabeth also.  Had the King lived England might have had a proper church not unlike Scotland had at the time.
The rise of Evangelicals in the church followed by the introduction of Anglo Catholics in the 19th century are covered with the varying social changes that saw the rise of non denominational churches accepted in England.  
A discussion of the 'Global Communion' fills several pages all of which leaves us wondering what holds this lot together?  The Archbishop of Canterbury has no 'Pope like' authority, the demand for self rule refuses that, theology in the liberal west has been opposed by biblical authority in Africa and India while also rejecting 'colonial' attitudes.  Thus Anglican does not mean 'English' in many parts of the world.  It also does not mean Christian either abroad or at home!
The lack of authority from one source goes back to  Henry VIII, he was authority, other monarchs followed this pattern and biblical authority, the only real authority, was often pushed aside, either to maintain 'communion' or to avoid upsetting people.  
The result is a mess in which an Anglican church can do almost anything, preach anything and yet remain Anglican even if it is totally opposed to the Anglican church down the road!  
Having read the books I now understand to some extent why St Paul's here runs the way it does.  No proper church would run like this, the theology would be clear, the care of souls also and fly by nights just wishing for christenings or marriage may not be lucky, Anglican churches must on the whole accept them and offer what they wish up to a point.  
The only benefit from the books is that I can comprehend the mess Anglicanism is in while admiring so many people who do know their God continuing to follow him as best they can while attempting to run the local church properly, under the guidance of the ever present Bishop or Archdeacon (whoever he is!).  
I have not even considered the fancy dress and parades either...


Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Spring Ceaning, Football Programmes and Boris!

Yesterday afternoon I took a break from sorting my important paper file and stared out at the 30 degrees of heat seen through my dirty window.  The view was marvellous, sunshine improves the most hideous of places, the rusty leaves beginning to appear reflected the light, near naked people sweated across my view, I remained indoors half hidden behind piles of ripped up old papers.
The afternoon previous had seen me deep inside the store cupboard, the one full of things kept 'just in case.'  The reward for that afternoons work was four bags of recycled items dumped outside and one of total rubbish!  Why did I keep these things?  The electric kettle that did not work properly but remained just in case was dumped after several years of space filling.  Cardboard boxes, useful for sending things north, were dumped as nothing goes north these days bar birthday cards and store cards, piles of plastic bags kept for wrapping things going north, a sisters idea, have found where the recycled stuff is collected from and just what to do with a computer keyboard that came with my first computer in 1997 I have no idea!
However the store cupboard now contains important things, a box full of various electric cables which must be useful one day somewhere, recycled bags awaiting use (where did they come from?) and proper 'must keep' items that now have plenty of space, apart from the huge roll of bubble wrap that I kept - just in case I send things north!
There is a satisfaction in sorting out a cupboard.  In fact I was so impressed that before I began the huge file of urgent important papers going back four years I cleaned out the 'Brexit store' cupboard also.  Now the gleaming kitchen stands in contrast to the filthy oven which also demands work.
I looked away.

For some time I had wondered what had happened to old reserve team football programmes that I once possessed.  Monday Holiday in that store cupboard explained that.  In the bottom of a box filled with now recycled items there lay a pile of stored programmes, once at the centre of my heart, not at the bottom of a box! 
Naturally I cried as a man ought to do in such circumstances.
Some ten years ago when my mother died I had a large box filled with programmes collected over the years.  Most concerned the Heart of Midlothian from the sixties and on but there were many odd jobs in among them also.  What to do when clearing the house?  The answer was easy, I put aside some which meant something to me, a cup final, first 'big game,' and the like and we passed the rest, including a scrap book or two, onto the neighbours grandson who at that time played for the Heart of Midlothian under 12's.  I am unclear as to whether he made it, if so are free tickets abounding? but I do know he was delighted to have that box dumped upon him.  A quick look though those programme seller websites reveals it is probably he who is still trying to sell them at £3 a go.

The football memories mix with historical realities as we peruse the programmes.  The fact that the Hearts (pronounced Hertz at that time) produced programmes at 2d a go for reserve games in the 'North Eastern League and for 'A' team games in the 'C' Division indicates just how many people would turn up at Tynecastle Park in 1950 to watch. 
1950, a time when my mother had discovered an 'accident' was on the way, offered my dad just under £7 a week to deliver milk by horse and cart.  A time when the huts, used by the Royal Navy during the war and now abandoned, in the school field behind the tenement in which we lived were filled with people, often young couples, desperate for proper housing.  1950, five years after the war, was also a time of confusion for many as they fought to re-establish their lives after service overseas and with children who grew up while they were away.  People were grateful for the NHS and other improvements that arrived at the time yet managed to grumble against the government constantly, how unlike our time today?
The programme for December 2nd 1950 calls all Hearts supporters to attend the ANNUAL BALL on the 11th at the New Cavendish Ballroom. Dress informal, which means lots of demob suits put into action, while at 15 shillings a ticket just how many Hearts fans with pregnant wives and children could afford to attend that? 
In the middle of the page between the team line ups we see an add for RED HEART RUM an Edinburgh favourite while inside an add claims

       Doesn't Help
       It Just
This did not stop the programme editor taking cash from Red Heart Rum however.
Two banks advertise, The Bank of Scotland proclaims £115 million in assets while the Edinburgh Savings Bank claims the best Defence is to open an account with them and save regularly.
On the other side is stated

     DO YOU
Church of Scotland 

They would not advertise like this today, especially playing Celtic!
(Interesting however that so many football teams grew out of churches up and down the country.)
I wonder if William Scott, Gents outfitter still exists today?  Leith Street has changed too much for that.  Certainly THORNTON'S once a pricey sports outfitter in Prince's Street has long gone.
Also advertised was the 'Pink News,' the coloured paper that brought reports of games played every Saturday.  Rushed out at high speed they often contained mistakes, reports mixed up and some times in places upside down, but were the first with the reports of games played far and near, a must read in every city that produced them.  Indeed throughout the country sports 'Pinks' and 'Greens' were devoured each Saturday night and remain much missed though modern technology has done away with them today.
Incidentally the young winger playing in that game was one Cumming.  This was the great John Cumming who went on to dominate the midfield alongside Dave MacKay during the 50's earning more medals in his time than any other Heart of Midlothian player so far.  His comment when suffering a head bleed in the 1956 cup final v Celtic was 'Blood does not show on a maroon jersey' and he returned to the field carrying a sponge to wipe away blood.  This is now a much loved Heart of Midlothian slogan.
In 1963 I attended the Heart v Raith Rovers game,  game in which the great Jim Cruickshank allowed a feeble shot to run between his legs giving hope to the enemy.  We won 2-1 and I have collected the autographs of Roy Barry, Alan Gordon, Danny Ferguson and several other Hearts greats even if I canny read their writing today.  This makes me wonder what is the point in autograph hunting?  What did it do for me?  Nothing really but it might increase this programmes price by 50p.  This was a game Hearts had to win as previously at Paisley goalkeeper Gordon Marshall had been taken off with a head injury and Willie Wallace the kind of small centre forward took his place.  The ten men lost by 7 goals to 3. The 60's programmes reflect the growing wealth, 'we never had it so good' indeed, we never had it at all and I have kept that line up ever since.  The better quality programme, still with adverts for beer, banks, and Thornton's, now included photo's and much more information, mostly as such info always is, irrelevant.   
With the news that Bury FC have lost their place in the English league I find a programme featuring Bradford Park Avenue a club which also died during the 60's in similar fashion.  I believe such a club exists again today taking the name and is somewhere in the northern leagues hoping to recover their place one day.  The league table for December 1965 however shows this club in 10th place in the 4th Division, now League Two.  Not bad for a struggling club?  However the list is interesting as several clubs listed died later, Aldershot disappeared, Barrow are now somewhere in the Northern Premier,  Stockport County have just been promoted from that division, Halifax and Wrexham along with Hartlepool all reside in the National League today.  Several others also faced death by relegation or chairmen's ineptitude.  Several Scots clubs went through similar in recent years and have now sorted themselves out, well except Rangers of course, and more sensible accounting takes place now for the most part. 
We have to ask why such clubs disappear when often they are healthy enough when new men take over?  Inept management, bad luck, injuries or corruption all play a part.  However surely there must be a way to ensure such clubs do not die?  A football club has an emotional appeal business cannot compete with.  Once it has a hold little can remove this.  If only we had a government interested in what the people require...
Having collected these programmes I never look at them yet I am unwilling to let them go.  Part of me in in many of them, games I have attended, important events elsewhere, historical events recorded, all have a meaning as they lie in a box unattended.  Indeed I wonder if there is one from the first game I saw, it appears not but if one came along would I buy it and add to the pile?  
As I ponder this I notice the oven looking at me, I ignore it...