Friday, 2 December 2022

Pigeons as Bored as I.

I passed this day of wild excitement by visiting the shops and buying the wrong things.  Clearly my limited memory is going.  Not only do I make tea and forget to drink it, visit shops and forget to look at the list scrawled to ensure I do not forget, but I also fill the washing machine, add soap and forget to switch it on.  I expect any time soon to be found wandering around a park far from home while a police helicopter overhead tries to find me in the dark by use of thermal imaging.  This all depends on me remembering to actually go out of course.
I passed the old water tower, now used as flats, adorned by the local pigeon population.  This appears to be their gathering place, I saw them flock for a while later, possibly because of danger, possibly because the boys were having a laugh.  When in London, the view from my window took in the church opposite where pigeons lined the long roof.  The square tower belonged to the rooks and the few wood pigeons remained in the trees.  At regular moments the birds would gather and chat for a while before returning to their food gathering duties.  All organised, no union required, and this went on for years, and probably still does.  
As you can tell, nothing else happened.
More football shortly, this is unfortunate as it means I cannot hoover the floor now.  Shame, it will have to wait another week...
All the posting appears to be done, and I am ready for Christmas, are you?

Thursday, 1 December 2022

World Cup Post Strikes

In spite of the postmen striking for the second day in a row I hobbled down to the Post Office and sent off two last packets, though that word does not cover the cheapness of the gifts.  The young lass smiled at me as always, though she was surrounded by two days worth of mail sacks full of items awaiting collection.  This was not helped by the man in the shop unloading a van's worth of items some of which were being dumped upon her.  
The strike continues, it appears to be having no effect on the Tory led privatised top bosses, the top man on £750,000 a year, who wish to amend the pensions, change the rota's, and altar every rule they can to save money and increase shareholders payout.  I doubt the workers, or indeed the railway workers and nurses also on strike for similar reasons will succeed.  The press is Tory controlled, the Labour Party (should it not change the name?) has distanced itself from the strikes in order to get the 'Middle England' vote, and it appears not a word about this was mentioned at PMQs!
Anyway, trudging back in the chilly sunshine I ate and slept.  Having cleaned some of the place today I was in danger of doing too much for my fat bulk.  With so much football taking time I have lots to do, and tomorrow will be another day of housework, possibly.          

Being the 1st day of December, the day I usually post my Christmas cards and parcels, I am a bit annoyed about the strikes.  Two items and one magazine are out there somewhere, no doubt being delivered soon, but I am becoming fretful regarding things sent and when they will arrive.  I support the workers, I understand how difficult life is for them at the moment, but it is a nuisance.   
So, I sit here writing cards, though all the posted ones are already awaiting posting, and these are mostly for the church people.  If I give these out early that forces them to present me with one!  No fool I!  

I know await the Costa Rica showdown.. In 45 minutes they will be playing their last game at the World Cup, against a desperate German side that are close to going out!  Costa will give their all, they may even score a goal, but can they possibly beat, and eliminate a German side?  We live in hope.

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

St Andrew

St Andrews Day: but where did he come from?
Andrew himself first appears with other Galilean folks at the Jordan where John the Baptist is baptising.  Large crowds were dwelling in the area, and Andrew, along with his brother Simon and many others later to appear in the gospels, were among them.  Clearly the sight of a prophet was enticing and clearly also they wished to hear and probably repent of many things.  Andrew himself had become a disciple of John and we are left wondering why a Hebrew fisherman would be so keen to repent and live a new life.  A fisherman's life is indeed hard, Andrew was a Hebrew with a Greek name.  This was not uncommon in Galilee as far as I know, far from Jerusalem, with traders and a wide variety of travellers passing through, the Galileans were more open to outsiders than their Jerusalem leaders, and still the Hebrews kept to the faith, in spite of many difficulties of the day.  So, why was Andrew here?  Clearly he felt some need to change his ways, a desire to be closer to his God, and possibly problems in his life of which we know nothing.  
Now the 'Lamb of God' had been baptised the disciples knew something was afoot.  When John indicated Jesus and cried ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’ Andrew and another of John's disciples decided to follow him.  They spent the day with Jesus and makes me wonder what was said.  Certainly Andrew was impressed by what he heard and immediately went to find his brother Simon.  "We have found the Messiah!" and he brought him to Jesus.  When Jesus saw Simon he said "You will be called 'Kephas,' Aramaic for 'rock.' (The Latin 'Petras' meaning 'rock' gives us the name 'Peter.')  This may have surprised Simon and Andrew.
Returning to Galilee the men returned to work.  I wonder what went through their minds?  Then Jesus turns up again, preaching by the shore.  Getting in to Simon's boat what he said inclines Simon to realise his sin, but Jesus raises him up.  Later, while they men were in their boats fixing the nets, a never ending job for fisherfolk world wide, Jesus called them to follow him.   Clearly their meeting with Jesus, his preaching, and the man himself enabled them to leave a decent employment to risk everything, including their lives, by wandering the land and leaving everything.  Some pull was very strong and Andrew felt this first.
Andrew was with the disciples from then on, though not one of the three who appear closest to Jesus. Yet Andrew is named as one of the twelve apostles, he is the one who offered the boy with a few fish and loaves when Jesus was asking how to feed the people.  And when the Greeks (diaspora Jews living outside of Israel) asked to see Jesus they asked Philip, who took them to Andrew, who then told Jesus.
Andrew appears only once more in the new testament, after Jesus had ascended he is with the brothers and sisters gathered in the room, hiding from the Jews, while praising God.
Very little information but we do see a man seeking a better religious life, finding the answer to his life in Jesus, and then offering himself by leaving everything and following him.  Clearly he had found a life such as he had not known before.
But what then?
In truth no official record has been found.  This is no surprise, Jesus is the centre of action in scripture, the works of the others are hidden from us.  There is some possibility that Andrew did visit the Black Sea area, even venturing into Ukraine and Russia.  The earliest manuscript appears to date to the 2nd century and there are rumours of him in Cyprus and elsewhere.  It is said he dies in Greece, and his relics have travelled about a bit as so many relics have done.  Whether these are indeed Andrews bones we cannot tell.  One story involves a monk landing on the Fife coast, luckily for him at St Andrews, and presenting the bones to the local king.  Another tale indicates the relics in Hexam, where Acca, the then Bishop, removed them when under pressure from his enemies.  He settled in Fife, though some claim Galloway on the west coast.
Does it matter?
It does to Oengus II who took to the field against Athelstan in AD 832 and called on God for protection as he was heavily outnumbered.  He promised, it is said, to make Andrew patron saint if he won, and the next day, with a saltire shape in the sky above, he won his battle and Andrew was appointed Scotland's patron saint.  It is also said by some that Andrew was already popular in Scotland, but does this matter?
Of course not.  Patron saints are dead people who some believe can hear prayer and give answers, or at the very least get Jesus to do something.  Scripture makes clear praying to dead people does not work.  You come to God the Father through Jesus the Son only.  Pray to him and answers may, or may not, appear.  Having a patron saint makes no difference to our lives, not one whit.  Why should it when we can talk direct to God himself through Jesus?  
Scots do not takes these tales very serious.  Bible readers can trace Andrew clearly, a man who believed and knew his God, but a day off for St Andrews Day would only be to worship Scotland, and to pull the nation together, few would expect a prayer answer from the great man.  I say great, yet we know so little about him?  Just reading the verses reveals the heart of the man, seeking God and finding him there at the Jordan standing in front of him, then spending his life following and proclaiming Jesus as Lord.   

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

The Beatles, Hunter Davies


In spite of the end to end coverage of the world cup, I have managed to finish a book.  This one, as you know, was published back in the 60s when the group were at the top of their game.  It has been reprinted and this one came out in 2017 so it covers, at the end, what happened at the end.
A big thick book, divided into sections  on each of the 'Fab Four,' both as they grew as a group and as they developed later, once 'Beatlemania faltered.
Now I appreciate my reader is too young to have known what is was to sit at the rear of a cinema while 'A Hard Days Night' was the film on show, watching both the film itself and the screaming wee girls who rose up every time Pauls face appeared on screen.  My objection to their hysteria was lost in the distance between them and I and the noise from the 'teenyboppers' themselves.
Males preferred John anyway.
We begin in Liverpool where the 'Quarrymen' began.  'The Cavern,' the 'Casbah,' and then the time spent in Hamburg are all offered in detail, detail according to the four themselves.  This included interviews with their families, who on the whole were supportive but soon fed up with the fans.  The tales appear quite open and as honest as possible considering the situation.  A situation in which every word uttered was interpreted and misrepresented by the media.  It was no surprise they hid away from the crowds at concerts, for many years.  It is no surprise they avoided interviews and if they allowed them refused to take them seriously.  The realisation that all questions were the same as last time, limited regarding what they did, wore, ate, and 'How long will it last,' brought a cynicism regarding the world outside these four.  
The touring years, from Transit vans to aircraft, hotel to hotel, did not allow for enjoyment much.  The cost of fame is not something most of us could endure.  It is too their credit they treated it all as a game, refusing to take anyone seriously, and distrusted all outsiders who wished to use them.
After the years of struggle and learning they progressed to an unwilling London.  Once however, they became big London was very welcoming.  London and the world and eventually the realisation touring had to stop.  They were tired, not writing new music, and needed to hide away in a recording studio.
New tracks, no directions, and the death of Brian Epstein, probably accidental, and then the trip to India with the Maharishi.  I think the same about him now as I did then.  George was already into Indian music, his mother loved it, and Paul and John influenced to some extent.  Ringo less so.
The 1968 book ends with them all in large houses (costing £20 - 40,000 at the time, around £2 -5 million today) appearing happy with their lot, at a distance from the fans, though the fans had also grown up by this time, and I thought a wee bit bored with life.  Having pots lots of money (don't mention 'pot.') does not make you happy if you have little purpose in life.  At the time they were still together and working on music.
Soon after things changed.
Yoko appeared, her outlandish Avant Garde style spoke to something in John.  His wife soon disappeared, John went into a new life, as indeed all were doing, and the 'Apple' concept went off its head!  Soon arguments, falling out, court cases and the results of bad management took their toll.  A split was required and the 'Beatles' came to an inglorious end.  
As time passed of course John was shot dead in New York,  George died, and Paul and Ringo survive, but must be about 80 now.   They continue, somewhere, money in the bank, living still the life of Reilly, but always considered a 'Beatle first, though this may not be how they consider themselves.
I liked this book, easy to read, very simple in places for the fans sake.  Good pictures, good interviews, but a sad feeling is left at the end.  Not only the break up of  a group of lads who were only being themselves playing music, but the wealth did not bring peace and love.  Even those we never knew around them, loyal and true, did not always end happily.  Some became successful one got himself shot dead in Los Angles.  And all who remained either died in due course or are old, like most of the fans.
The music remains however, music that opened up changes that may not have come without their innovations.  Music which attempted to change the world, but in the end offered just another failed enterprise.  We can now pick and choose which music to like to suit ourselves, the early 60s or the late, the music at the end of the Beatles or the individual tracks and groups that followed from them.  So much good music, much teenage angst, much outlandish and often written in a jumble of thoughts that needed more time.  
I will now go to my room with Beatles wallpaper, turn off the side light with the Beatles lampshade, get into my Beatles sheets under the Beatles duvet cover, and watch the football while listening to 'Rubber Soul,' or 'Sergeant Peppers.'
This books is good for all Beatles fans, well worth a long read. 

Sunday, 27 November 2022

World Cup and Anglicans!

I wanted to get out this morning but the rain was teeming down.  I searched the weather men to find out what they were saying and found 'Light rain and gentle breeze.'  Lies!  All lies!  The rain teemed down, the breeze was wind, from the south and not so breezy, and so I remained indoors searching for second hand cars at cheap prices.  None were found, another dream shattered!  
Not going out I noticed a church stream on facebook from St James, Garlickhythe.  It would be easy to imagine this a made up name!   St James is just of the busy Upper Thames Street in the City of London, a 'Wren Church,' and one that claims to have made use of the Prayer Book of 1662 from then until now.  Hmmm...  Still, any port in a storm.   
I put up with this until 10 am when I switched on to the Japan v Costa Rica game.  This we all expected to be a rout, but happily instead Costa played well, especially under pressure in the second half, and even stole a goal towards the end and won the game one nil!  Naturally i missed the goal as I looked away at the time!  
This mean they are third in the table, Spain, Japan and now Costa have 3 point each, Germany in 4th place have 0 points.  Tonight Spain play Germany, a win for Spain, which is likely, will see Germany go out!   Costa have one more game, v Germany, if they lose tonight Costa are in a good position to embarrass them.  No need to open the brandy as yet Costa.
The recorded Advent service, the preparation for Christmas begins here, comprised the vicar, the verger, and a choir of four singing the service in a manner not likely to encourage vast numbers to attend.  Some of course prefer a religion that they can see.  In days of old there were idols to worship, some find it important to 'see' an object before they can pray, an invisible God who demands faith in him without such items is hard for many to accept.  I suspect this is also part of 'being English.'  This is what they expect church to be, a relaxed non obvious item church can be hard to understand.  In fact I was surprised when I first entered a Baptist Church and found no Black robed minister, no Beadle to lead him in, just a man in a second hand suit (it looked like) come from the back door and walk on and begin the service.  Nothing else makes sense now.  
Watching such a service, the elaborate Church, the singers, the young folks reading, I mentally compare this to the settings in which the bible originated.  A man dressed in fancy purple robes (no women will lead in this church I guess), candles for Christmas, middle class and excellent singers, I just wonder about the robed Abraham, David and Jesus and his mates, and this lot.  
Breaking off once again I return to watch Belgium v Morocco.  Again I find plenty to mumble about.  The close up of individuals faces, especially in the crowd, female referees!  Have they no pie stalls in Qatar?  Commentators and their mates exaggerating and talking baloney throughout.  There is always a lot to complain about in this house.  It's fun being a miserable old git!
The old git fell asleep and missed the only goal in the Morocco game also!  This is becoming a pattern.  
Maybe instead of watching more football I ought just to plan the week ahead, shop, spend, Post Office, spend, Parcelforce, spend, and maybe sort the Christmas cards out this time?  Maybe...

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Saturday Sun and Football

 There was a pale sun shining through the thin cloud as I hobbled round to market this morning.  I went to obtain Thick Brown Tape for the pacjage I must send up north.  Luckily the cards I bought online from 'Etsy' arrived today, this means I can sort them out, send them off and finish others cards.  Only the one or two online shop left after this.  I boast to others about my good work, they are all very rude about it!  Apparently, though they have time, and have been aware Christmas is coming, they are not yet ready, many have not begun the task.  Naturally I rub it in, somewhat exaggerating my worth.  This does not win me friends.  
I had almost finished the bread I bought yesterday, this meant wandering into Tesco for a loaf, and only a loaf, but I accidentally bought other things, much needed, along with a, reduced price, bottle of Courvoisier Brandy.  I am not sure how that happened.  
When I got home I found I had forgotten the Brown Tape!

Even I am wearying with all this non-stop football.  At the last World Cup I believe we only had three games a day at this stage, just like the Africa Cup of Nations also had.  Now we have four games daily until the knockout stage, and it takes a toll.  The routine has gone, things are rushed to fit in, and then the game is often ignored as other duties arrive.  I would love this if I were 15!  
However, one aspect is the chance to get involved with a stramash on Twitter about English football hooligans.  Naturally I trolled a wee bit, but the English are so imperialist, it comes out when you correct the media in that they are 'English fans, not 'British!'  Lots of laughs here!  The lack of knowledge about Scotland and the United Kingdom is apparent and all too easily brought forth.  Still, now I have several English enemies I did not have before, and one or two new friends.  It's all a laugh really.

Friday, 25 November 2022

Money, Wales and Clever Great Niece

Another day of rushing about to spend money.
At least I have found a way to spend an unusual gift card I received some time ago.  It has taken several months to find someone who will take it online.  Tomorrow I spend it!  
I had to purchase Amazon cards for some folks Christmas and birthdays.  When I got a note from my niece to say her daughter was getting her 'Masters' online, which meant I had to put aside watching Wales lose to Iran and go online to Edinburgh University to watch her!  This formal extravaganza, full of pomp and more pomp, meant watcher a line of clever people walk up, be doffed on the head by the man in robes, and pass on.  Luckili Rhiaan came on quite quickly, so I could return to watching the poor football.
However this does mean I have to send her a congrats card, which means put an Amazon card in with it, which means more expense.  It also means her dad and mum will now loudly reiterate the phrase used quite often in recent years, "Get a job!  A 'Masters' in Archaeology will not make that easy.  Looks like McDonalds again...
Wales disaster means they must beat England, and this does not look likely.  Tonight England imperialists take on the former colony of USA.  Which side am I on...?
Stanhope Forbes

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Supreme Thrashing!

During the year 1707 the Scottish Lord's accepted many large bribes, retained their lands in England, and happily sold Scotland to English dominance without asking the people what they themselves wished.  The riots following indicated their position quite well I think.
Today the descendants of such Lord's have once again gone against the will of many Scots and bound Scotland to domination 'until England allows this.'   Any nation that has pride in itself will naturally be up in arms at this, not unexpected ruling, however, there appears to be online social outcry but little effective noise from the powers that be.  I wonder why?
The Scots government, led by the SNP, could as I understand it,
call an election based entirely on independence.  It would be good if those sitting as MPs in Westminster were also to resign their seats and force a by-election in each one.  Has Nicola got the desire for such things?  I do not believe she, her MSPs or her MPs have such willing.  Nicola enjoys being queen of the state, she cares little re independence, her power is more important, her MPs do not wish to lose £84,000 a year plus pension either. 
Once again Scotland is treated as a colony.  
Once again the Scots government will do nothing, while being well cared for thank you.
Once again England dominates a colony from which she dare not be free as she cannot pay her own way.
Once again Scotland loses out.
It is time for change.

I tried, honest I tried, but I could not watch Spain toying with Costa Rica.
As the thrusting, young, eager Spanish players warmed all over the unfortunate opponents I feared the worst.  Clearly this is not yet a Spanish side destined to win the World Cup, however, it is one with every chance this time.  
When the third goal went in and all over Costa Rica lunch was spoiled by the rioting natives I decided to join them, not in rioting but in looking away.  I returned to my Christmas shop.  Here I wished to make use of a voucher, from an unusual organisation.  I decided 'Waterstones' was the place to go online.  I searched, glanced back at the football to see the fourth goal go in, and looked away.  I sought books of solace, well anything really.  Every so often I glanced at the game, 5-0 now, I looked away.  I went through the rigmarole to pay and naturally the new voucher they say works is not represented here!  I paid anyway as well, I might as well.  With the post again on strike for two days they may be another Christmas present for me.
What?  Oh, 7-0 huh?  
OK, Costa were not going to win, this is the toughest group, and lots of goals will be sought at the Costa end.  Two more long games ahead for the goalkeeper...

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Xmas Post

Busy day.
I had to stumble down to the Post Office to post a wee packet to Edinburgh.  I arrived behind an attractive young woman with baby in arms.  Unfotunately, in front of her was a woman, clearly a regular, posting a bag full of packets of various sizes.  This appeared to be a usual occurence for her.  
We waited.
We waited.
We waited and we waited.
We chatted between ourselves.
The dozyy child did not join in, sleep was still upon him.
A woman with one envelope joined us.
We waited.
We smirked at the wait.
We waited.
Eventually the lass was finished and the queue rrejoiced.
My turn came and the friendly Asian lass smiled at me as usual, informed me of the price with a quizzical smile, grinned at my gasping, and encouraged me to pay for it.
I like her.  She has personality and works very hard.  This is a family run shop and they work long hours.
Then she has to deal with the kids and feed them all.
Even a 'Tesco Express' opening up almost next door has not killed them, though Tesco do not have a popular Post Office inside.
Back home I attepted to watch the first of four football games today.
All I saw was the end of Argentina's loss to Saudi Arabia.  Ths was difficult as I was already seeking a box for parcel number two.  All day was then spent, between fixing this box and cooking 'Slop Soup.' The soup has lived up to its name.
The packet, during Denmark v Tunisia, was coompleted, 'ParcelForce' arranged to collect it tomorrow, too heavy to carry to PO.  Then my poor dinner cooked badly while Mexico v Poland ran themselvbes into the ground for nothing.
Tonight I sit in the cold bedroom awaiting the heating to climb higher while watching Australia play France.  This is our team now, three Aussies play for the Heart of Midlothian and possibly will appear tonight.  Therefore we are all 'Roos,' now.
One at least appears, here we go!

Sunday, 20 November 2022

Sunday Readings

Jeremiah: 23:1.  ‘Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the Lord. 2 Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: ‘Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,’ declares the Lord. 3 ‘I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,’ declares the Lord.
‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord,
    ‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
    and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
    and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
    The Lord Our Righteous Saviour.

Today's Sunday reading according to the CoE features Jeremiah and Luke.  Always one from the old and one from the new testaments.  
Sometimes the speakers follow them!
Not being able to make it today, a result of rain and rusty knees, I read these passages and guess what the visiting speaker today would have said.  This is difficult as I have no knowledge of him whatsoever.  Indeed, as I must acknowledge, I have no knowledge whatsoever!
One thing is clear from a quick reading here, as always it is not what we do, it is what God does that matters.  The leaders have failed, it is the Lord who takes action.  Sin is the problem, it is the Lord who deals with it, at least for those who repent. 
The Lord creates, the Lord leads, and when we follow life is indeed life abundant. This, unfortunately, does not imply it will be easy.  Christians suffer the usual diseases, famines, and life problems all others have.  Christians also have sin within and have to fight sin daily in themselves.  No 'Holy Willies' in the Christian Church.  They also walk contrary to the thinking of the world. This causes problems with governments who wish to follow the world or just be obeyed.  
This passage begins with a warning to those leaders in Jerusalem around 600 BC, he could just as easily have been speaking to the CoE Bishops now under the leadership of 'Stonewall,' and influenced by the worlds outlook rather than scripture truth.  I wonder if their attitude is because far too many have a middle class, well educated Oxbridge background, and have risen too fast and too far in ecclesiastical circles rather than spend time on the ground at parish level, thus being removed from the man in the pew?  Mixing only with our peers limits our understanding.  This leads to the flock being badly led, God will take a hand once again, in the CoE as he has done in the past.
The Jeremiah story is amazing.  A very reluctant young man, forced into a position he did not want, who stood up in public and proclaimed the 'Word of the Lord' to the unwilling citizens.  Jerusalem had fallen far from Yahweh.  From the King down corruption reigned, God forgotten, society ruined, murder, crime, corrupt judges, and few worshipping Yahweh. He spent many years loudly abused and opposed by the majority of the townsfolk, laughed at and ridiculed, and almost killed.  Yet he preached on until the end when he was proved right.  They still rejected him!  
Because all people agree with a course of action, this does not make it right.
The people of Jerusalem were attacked by the Babylonians.  They did not change their ways, and ten years later they were completely destroyed by the same Babylonians, and many were removed to Babylon itself, never to return.  The Lord had spoken.
The present Anglican church has many who seek God, however, instead of following scripture they preach 'Love,' and 'inclusion,' and avoid 'repentance.  Repentance, the giving our self over to follow Jesus.  The CoE will end badly.
As is the case so often, when the Lord speaks into a situation it does not confine itself to the time, the whole old testament is looking forward to the Lords dealing with the nature we all possess, the Self, the sin sick self that puts itself on the throne and ruins life for all others. 
I know about that.
Gods answer, 'The Lord, our righteous saviour.'

Luke 23:33.  When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.’  36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’  38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the Jews.  
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’  40 But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ 42 Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.'  43 Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’

The Lord, a righteous saviour did arrive.   He came at a time when a 'Messiah' of some sort was expected.  He did not however, arrive as expected.  Born, probably in a cave used as a stable, round the corner from everyone else, out of sight.  Raised in an obscure, unimportant village way up north,  a mere jobbing builder of limited income.  Uneducated according to the 'Eton' standards of the Jewish leaders of his day, and a man indistinguishable from the crowd, yet here was the saviour.
After a short period teaching and encouraging repentance and faith in himself, this man from 'up north,' was then crucified by the Jewish leaders through the unwilling Romans.  Fear for their position, fear that he was the Messiah, and demonic activity saw to the death of Jesus of Nazareth.   
However, a closer reading of any of the gospel reports reveals Jesus, not as a victim of oppression but as one willingly laying down his self, taking the eternal punishment for the sinful nature we all share, and yet as he did so offering forgiveness and eternal life to all around him.  Few, while six in iron nails are thumped into their hands and feet would offer such forgiveness.  He was no victim like the two beside him, he was a man, fully God and fully man, laying down his life, his Self, for you and me, and all who would receive him.  
By this means God, Yahweh, had dealt with sin for all who come to him in repentance, that is those who change their ways and 'follow' Jesus.'  This is indeed a righteous saviour, one who did no wrong, upset those who do, and paid the punishment price for those unable to endure eternity separate from God.    
No wonder they sing songs like this...

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Saturday Market

Early this morning, I limped around the town as the stallholders for the Christmas Market set their wares out.  There are two markets, one on Wednesday, one on Saturday, and this has been going on since King John, of ill repute, granted the Bishop of London, who had inherited the land through the Saxon owners will, asked for one.   Some 800 years or so later the market continues, though there are some changes.  
Once a month, in an effort to bring in crowds and resurrect a dying Market, trade stall for 'fancy goods,' beer and gin, burgers and pizza, appear.  On a good day the seats will be filled with guzzling people.
The market is not what it was, at one time we had three fruit and veg stalls operating between the two market days, but now, with great Conservative Council intellect, they have raised the stallholders costs so much that no fruit and veg man now appears.  What is the point of a market without fruit and veg stalls?   Other regulars appear, the fish van, or is he a different man?  The biscuit man, how can he afford it, and the stall with batteries, toys and any cheap plastic thing that sells also continues.  One is left wondering what is going on?
Today however, was the Christmas Market, even though it is still November.  Small trendy stalls operate.  You know the kind of thing, women artists selling their art, home made cheese, chutney, gin, spirits, perfumes, cakes and candles.  Also a variety of expensive items, the type you buy for another at Christmas are on show.  These cover a lot of ground, dogs, women, kids, jewellery, wooden pens and toys, fancy coasters, or plaques with dogs in mind and home made tablet.  That stall I kept well away from, I have few enough teeth left as it is.
These stall are expensive, fancy gin for £36?  These delightful skulls on show, hand made by the artist, one with a brain on clear display, cost £30.  I wanted one for my niece, she has some sick ideas, but the price put me off.  I told the lass I would not pay that, however, I said I would post the pic and let folks know about her.  Someone somewhere will love these, they must do as she is here every month.  
The gray clouds did not disperse, instead as I was heading for home a drizzle began, the sort that ruin life for such stallholders.  Luckily, many people were already out so they could not escape and sought shelter under the stall awnings.  
This type of market does appear to bring people out, whether they are locals I am not sure, it is not a market the townspeople want.  Many miss the fruit and veg stall, being somewhat less romantically inclined than those offering todays luxury items.  
There are of course food and drinks on offer.  Many vans offer beer, Thai food, sausages (they are the 'wurst.') pizza, burgers and almost all fast foods that you like.   No prices were obvious.  I came home to soup and bread...

Friday, 18 November 2022

Tired Day

It was with great reluctance I dragged myself out of bed this morning.  Sleep had been fitful, tiredness heavy.  This remained with me until an afternoon catnap removed much of the weariness.  I have been tired greatly this week, however, I reckon this was indeed a result of the jabs yesterday.  They don't usually cause much grief to me but the tiredness and heavy feel must come from that.  
I had little interest in the media today because it is too much effort, however, cunning people reckon the present attacks on the Tory Party by the far right grumblers on Twitter etc, indicates the right are going to make another move to install their own Furher.  They wish to bring back Boris as he will obey their commands and reignite the Truss legacy.
Now I am about to eat my Steak Pie for dinner and visit 'Etsy' before retiring to bed to lounge for a while, or preferably until morning.  Several gifts have come from these small, but efficient, sellers.  I will look around to see what I can get to finish of my little box for up north.  I must say I think I have bought a few things via these people, so far so good.  A good opportunity for small business's, women especially working from home, and providing for customers who understand Royal Mails problems.

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Thursday Jabs

I received a letter a while back informing me of the latest jab for old people those in their prime.  I laid it aside as you do.  Then there came an email with the same offer.  Then, having ignored the previous mailings I received another letter and email.  I looked into this jab business, being caring about such things.  I went through the Booking procedure, then looked for a nearby jab centre.  Horrified I found there was one in a town 6 miles south, and one in a town 6 miles north!  Our town, the biggest and most important had only a visiting bus and that on a Sunday way down at the 'Braintree Village Shopping Centre.'
I chucked it.  
Later, much later, speaking to the wise elders at the village gate, I was instructed to seek further, as pharmacies were doing this also.  More letters ordering old prime people to the jab house arrived.  This time I obeyed and searched for Pharmacies local.  One up the road, of which I am not keen, was very busy, so I searched for a better place.  I found the place I got the last jab was free, booked myself in, and today I wandered in the rain down to their place, pressed the button on the locked door, grunted in the intercom (why have this if she did not know who was there), entered without being asked what I wanted, was greeted by a young woman, gave my age, received disbelieving looks, told the truth, and was taken through to the nurse.  This delightful black nurse, full of life and thoroughly enjoying stabbing people she said, jabbed me for the Pfitzner and then the Flu jab.  
In spite of warnings I have felt no noticeable difference since then.  There again, as I am always suffering the things they say occur after a jab I am unlikely to notice anyway.  So I am satisfied with the operation.  So simple in spite of what others go through, and not just because of Covid.  I have a friend who's mother is dying, possibly before Christmas.  His wife's mother may have gone before then, a cousin has terminal sickness also, a brother seriously depressed, and his church has several who may not last 6 months.  Another long time friend has just begun dialysis.  
I am grateful for my limited health problems.

That said, I have been knackered all week.  I took too much out of myself over the weekend and have not stopped long enough since.  At least tomorrow means nothing more than a walk, if I feel like it, to Sainburys.  Then it is sort out the Xmas stuff that has been left all week.  Time to pack and send off I say, before another post strike and before I run out of cash.  Then I plan the online gifts and sort the cards which are ready and waiting.
Good job I got a warning of a 10% rise in my pension.
The Chancellor announced his budget today, I did not bother to listen, already it has been torn apart, or praised to the heights.  As usual after a budget.  The very rich, such as Hunt and Sunak and his wife, are not paying much more, and the banks have saved money in a small move, hidden under everything else.
I am too tired to care tonight.   All will be well.

Monday, 14 November 2022

Remembrance Today

At two in the almost sunny Sunday afternoon the congregation gathered to pay their respects to the war dead.  Amongst them were many men, and a few women, who endured active service and saw their colleagues and friends suffer and sometimes die in action.
Before 1914 the wars Britain became involved in were far from home.  Colonial wars, Crimea, South Africa, and early in the 19th century fighting Napoleon in Portugal and Spain, before the end at Waterloo.  The public were not concerned much apart from the shortage of some goods, such as Brandy during Napoleon's time, and anyway smuggling was popular.  Soldiers travelled the world, fought and died far from home, as sailors had done for generations.  The public were involved only at a distance.

For many years people had realised war with Germany was likely.  Patriotism was at a high, even though History was badly taught, and the wide spread of newspapers, from which most people were informed, were at best propaganda, and at worst deliberately false.  
Being a soldier was a respectable occupation.  Since the middle of the 19th century the military mind affected all parts of society, so much so that William Booth's outreach in the east end of London took the name 'Salvation Army,' and not long afterwards the copycats at the Anglican church joined in with the 'Church Army.'   
The army had been reformed under the Haldane reorganisation, led by General Haig.  Now we had 25 Front Line regiments, of two battalions each.  One was stationed at home, the other abroad.  Also the various militia were reformed into the Territorial Force, ostensibly for Home Defence only.  These did however, allow men to play soldiers, learn the basics of warfare, and, in a time of few holidays, gave them suitable exercise at weekends and on general annual manoeuvres.  With a possible war looming did some men enlist in the Territorials in preparation for this?  
As any General knows, you plan for a war, prepare carefully, train your men, and off you go, and watch your plan disintegrate in the resulting stramash.  All things change once war is entered upon.  The UK found this to be true in 1914.  British opinion was led to expect a short war, a few months only they said.  This was considered likely elsewhere, even the Kaiser believed his men would be home by Christmas.  It was easy to forget that the Boer War, such a short time before, had taken some four years before it ended.  How dismayed were the politicians at the first war Cabinet meeting when Field Marshall Kitchener informed them the war would take at least three years and he must raise another hundred thousand men.  They did not believe him! The Generals understood what could happen if a war of movement was halted, no politician appears to have considered this a possibility. Nonetheless, when war was declared on August 4th men everywhere rushed to the colours, many afraid they would miss the excitement.

Come November 1918 opinions differed somewhat from the days of early excitement.  The surviving men who volunteered then were not the same men in 1918.  The world had changed, the war had been won, something people often forget, but at a great cost, both 'at the front,' and 'at home.'
The most reliable figures I have come across tell me that 704,803 men died in action.  Of these some 338,955 are as yet undiscovered or unidentified.  It is from this great loss that 'remembrance' as we know it springs.

The question "What to do with the bodies," caused much wringing of hands and cursing throughout the land.  Some people, at least those with money, broke the law and brought back their own loved ones, their 'heroes,' rather than follow the final decision to bury men where they fell.  Outrage abundant.  Bodies were collected, I think those doing the job, many soldiers themselves or often Chinese labourers, were paid six shillings a d ay for the often gruesome work.  Scattered bodies, small cemeteries, were collected together in large organised places near where they fell.  These today, run by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, are peaceful well tended resting places revealing nothing of the conflict that caused their creation.  
In the UK however, many did not have a place in which to commemorate their dead.  So by the middle of the 1920s local war memorials sprang up everywhere.  Large cities and towns created often huge memorials, local towns and villages did their best, even if it was just a plaque in a church.  On these were graven the names of the dead, alongside slogans such as 'Our Glorious Dead,' 'Not Forgotten,' 'They Died so we could be Free,' and the names of battlefields they fought over, 'Mons, Ypres, Loos, Somme, Cambrai, Passchendaele.'  A glance at such memorials tells much about the town or village where they are found, and the great cost to the population of the time.  

The return and burial in Westminster Cathedral of the 'Unknown Warrior' in 1920 was much heralded by many.  Women especially believed, some through dreams and visions, that this was their husband, son, brother.  Thousands lined the streets as he was paraded through the city.
At the same time a Cenotaph, made from wood, was erected in Whitehall.  The empty tomb lying at the top symbolising the missing.  This idea, copied from the ancient Greek fashion, was highly popular and within a year a more solid cenotaph, made I think of Portland Stone, was erected.
As the memorials closer to home began to appear in city, town and village, the locals turned out to 'remember' their was dead.  Many an Honour Guard on duty at the opening or remembrance ceremonies could well remember and speak of the situation of those named on the memorial.  Often not willing to discuss this publicly in front of the families.  Many names were of course their brothers.
Occasionally in the following years some were able to travel to distant parts to stand alongside their dead.  The majority however, were struggling to survive themselves without the 'Homes made for heroes,' that had been promised.  Thousands of ex-servicemen, especially the wounded, were more or less abandoned to their fate.  
The wives, mothers, children of the dead, and possibly those who so eagerly encouraged enlistment in their locale, now had a place where they could annually remember the sacrifice of their own.  An event continued until their own passing.

 Flanders Fields are at the right time ablaze with red poppies.  During the 1920s the idea began in Canada to commemorate the war dead by the wearing of a red poppy each year.  The idea carried on and now is controlled by the 'British Legion,' (In Scotland 'Poppy Scotland.') and is used to raise money to support their work with wounded servicemen.  It remains highly popular, and while some refuse to wear them, others have designed white, blue or black, poppies for reasons of their own, the Poppy is worn by the majority of the population during the two weeks up to the Remembrance Day on November 11th.  
It is something of a shame that it has been highjacked by many for reasons of their own.  Some consider it encourages or supports war, others, mostly the English Brexit fraternity have taken to it in a big way.  This is not to commemorate or remember, for them it reflects a historic past in which 'England' (not Britain) ruled the world.  A society that has seen Irish independence, Scots nearing independence and has nothing of note within itself bar a failed Brexit, desperately uses anything, the poppy included, to give meaning to their lives.        

There are questions these days regarding the meaning of remembrance.  Many voices are heard today claiming 'it was so long ago,' and people who served are now dying off.  "What is the point?"  Such people need to understand how History affects them today as they themselves are a product of these two great conflagrations that rocked the world.  As it is, in the crowd gathered at this memorial were many who knew an uncle or father who left to join the war in the 1940s.  Others have researched their family tree to find out more about grandad or great grandad and his war record.  Relatives of the dead still gather, remembering stories told by aunts and uncles re the one who did not return.  In spite of the time people still remember.  Indeed, since 2014 many more have taken thought to the war dead, and more so when they have relatives who have served, and sometimes died, in one of the UKs more recent actions, Iraq, Afghanistan, or at the 40th centenary of the Falklands Conflict.  The war dead are not just dead in the (to some) distant past, they are family and friends of many gathered at memorials on Sunday.  The two world wars affected each of us living today, at least indirectly, the lesser wars, which will continue until the next global one, affect many of us daily.  We would be foolish to forget those we have lost.

Saturday, 12 November 2022

PayPal Troubles Again

So, having called the 'PayPal' voice and struggled to get nowhere, after the phone line, still crackly, was fixed, I went online and signed in, using the landline to verify myself, and attempted to change the main number to the mobile.
This was quite easy, I went through the system, fixed it in, but it did not show a change, and logged out.
Yesterday, I spent a huge amount of money on Christmas tat gifts.  I used 'PayPal' to pay for them, and attempted to verify myself via the mobile.  Sure enough both the numbers showed up, sure enough I logged into the mobile number, sure enough it did not work!
It is always possible I made a mistake, I have made them before now.  It is also possible 'PayPal' is attempting to kill me.  However, I made use of the landline and spent money.  Today, two of the 'Etsy' lassies claimed the 'goods are in the post,' and I believe them.  Hopefully the two other shops also reply quickly.  I would like to finish this during the coming week.  
If 'PayPal' let me...