Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Rain!


The expected rain eventually arrived, thunder bellowing and lightning flashing somewhere further over.  Jolly nice for those of us indoors suffering only occasional splashes of water, not so much fun for those hiding under the trees across the way.  Situating yourself under a tree during such a storm is not the wisest move, although there is no chance of cover elsewhere around here.  
The power appears to have diminished now and constant steady rain washes the months of mire from the streets, a very welcome event.  However, the cloud now makes the world a darker place.  We have ben used to bright days, brighter, sometimes colourful evenings, and now a dim grayness steals across everything indoors.  We are no longer used to this.  
I could easily survive six long months in the far north during the summer, permanent light would benefit me greatly.  The six months darkness of winter might wells see me dangling on the end of a rope!   How can people, especially young folk, cope with that.  Many years ago I worked in a commercial darkroom loading lots of Black & White film onto a bar which then went through the developing process.  No skill required.  However, at that time of year I went to work in the dark, worked indoors all day, and went home in the darkness.  This did not last for very long which is just as well.  Six months regular darkness does not enable happy people, no wonder Scandinavians drink so much!
Maybe I should try that now while the monsoon rain drumbeats on the kitchen window?

Paris Street – Rainy weather (1877) by Caillebotte

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Twiddling Tuesday


So far it has been a nothing week.  At least, I have done nothing.  However, with rain approaching, and smearing the earth last night, I decided to clean up the front yesterday before the rain.  That finished I have reached the decision that enough was done for the rest of the week.  OK, I had to visit Tesco, the staff might miss me if I don't pop in, and sit here playing solitaire for a few hours, but my back aches after yesterdays work, honest.  


As I sit here cogitating, listening to the rare sound of traffic passing by on wet smeared roads, I wonder how many accidents this will cause? I find myself enjoying the aroma of lightly wet leaves mixed with the cooler air.  The temp indoors is still around 80% it claims, but it feels more like a cold 70%.  Imagine, a cold 70%!


Those fussing about the heat did have a point.  If this is the result of the grasses in the park imagine what the food crops have gone through?  One farmer loudly gave away his onions, they were not possible to pick and make a profit so he called on people to help themselves or they got ploughed back in.  Many farmers, those not yet put out of work by Brexit of Liz Trusses failed ANZAC deals, will be in the same situation.  One reason I cleared up the front yesterday was because when the rain falls, no matter how poor, our front soon is awash with weeds!  Tsk!


It is rumoured the outgoing PM will be staying at Chequers until he is heaved out.  Difficult to know as he is hiding in Greece at the moment.  His furniture (and wallpaper) is being removed as we speak.  His replacement, most likely the inept Liz Truss, will be soon winning the never ending election, and then she will move here junk into No 10 at our expense, so I imagine she will spend the cash liberally.  The future looks bleak.  I wonder if she will last until Christmas?  

John Macvicar Anderson - Westminster

Saturday, 13 August 2022

City of London 2: Pathe

 

 The second part of this City of London film. 

 

Friday, 12 August 2022

The City, as Was


Nothing much has happened recently, apart from temperatures heading for the 90s and everyone being sick of the liars contesting the Conservative leadership.  More noise about high energy prices, indeed Boris reappeared at a meeting of energy bosses in No 10.  Nothing happened bar him getting a backhander or two I suspect.  He certainly did nothing for the cost of living increase, however, his lackeys at all levels are keeping up the pressure to bring him back.  
The drought has been declared, so I will cease from washing, though I have done one today.  Tesco and washing sheets, my life is so full!
At least football is back, though to be honest it means little these days.  So much around me has little taste today.  In fact nothing tastes, that is, it means little unlike in days gone by.  Age is having an effect.  I have no problems disliking things, so much I see is trashy and worthless, though my forefathers must have felt the same.  The 'shiny' things of the world mean less as time passes, though if I were to obtain a large source of wealth my ideas may differ.  This of course is unlikely.  So, I will just remain here, a miserable old goat.  A position, I have been told, that suits me admirably.


Atkinson Grimshaw - The Thames Below London Bridge

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Joseph Farquharson - A Flock of Sheep in a Snowstorm


With the temperature reaching towards 31c and that means about 92f, I thought some would appreciate a picture to cool them down.   This artist created several similar scenes, I suppose living up north he would find this an easy country view to notice!  He created so many such paintings he was known as "Frozen Mutton Farquharson." 
As you give thanks for not putting the gas on, as you reach for yet another ice cream, consider the sheep, and indeed the painter sitting there in two feet deep snow trying to finish his picture! 

Joseph Farquharson: 1846 - 1935. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Greasy Trump


Being the 'silly season,' the holiday time when politics and politicians are unusually quiet, the media has been desperate for something to fill the spaces.  Editors everywhere are glad Olivia Newton-John has died, now they have something to say.
Twitter was full of men of a certain age informing us of their first love, things like that I have no wish to know personally, but many who ought to have known better were in tears.  
For myself, a music lover, I was not a fan.  Having seen 'Saturday Night Fever,' when it came out, announced as they all are as a 'film not to miss,' and in my opinion 'with a rifle,' ought to have been added, I had no desire to watch a film full of 'pop' music and meaningless acting.   Naturally, we were all told it was one 'not to miss.'  Again I suggest the rifle.
The disease which took the lass is indeed unfortunate, sad to see a woman of 73 years dying like this.
The music, in my humble view, ought to have died in 1973, long before it came to the screen!


The good news today, also taking up some space, is that the FBI have raided the orange liar in his Florida house.  The hope, and it seems likely, is that they will find stolen documents, items to connect him to 'suspicious activities,' and something to land him in jail.  Whooppee!
Naturally the right-wing press have launched a support drive for him.  Nigel Farage threw in the 'Deep state' word, implying something is amiss.  He is correct, though of course he is the one amiss, and if they come for Trump, they will come for Farage soon.  That is something I look forward to.
'Deep State,' is another of these none existing phrases thrown out by those causing problems.  The implication is that secret organisations are doing them down.  This is true, but Trump and Farage are behind any such organisation, although we know there is in fact no 'Deep State.'  Just like the word 'Woke,' when you ask them to explain what it means there is silence.  Just point over there and say 'woke,' and the sheep will be happy.  This is an old trick going back into prehistory, nothing new in lying.  
Trump is determined to get re-elected, even though most of the US government will oppose this.  Our Donald, Boris Johnson, thinks he too can make a come back.  Both need to as they wish to avoid jail.
Personally I hope they fail and end up inside.  These men have deceived their nations, and the world, caused misery to millions, broken every law, opposed democracy, and unless stopped those paying for them will cause economic disaster to us all.


Saturday, 6 August 2022

Hitler's First War



This is an interesting look at Adolf Hitler's Great War.  
It is important in that little is actually known about the soon to be Chancellor's war experiences.  Partly this was because Adolf ensured much was hidden or destroyed, and others did not wish to be involved, certainly after Adolf's second war.  
The author has researched widely, seeking official documents where they survive, memoirs written before the Nazis came to power, letters, photographs and occasional interviews, all the usual, often hard to find, records that open up the background to any individual.
We all know Hitler was Austrian, we all know he managed to get himself into the German army during 1914, and we all know something of his family past.  This book goes some way to explain his role during the Great war from August 1914 until he was demobbed after the war.  We knew he served but had few details of what he actually did, whom he served with, and we also get some idea of what his officers saw in him.
Hitler enlisted in the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment (RIR 16), as in the manner of the Great War such regiments took their officers name, or the name of the man who originated such a regiment.  The 16th were named the 'List' regiment after Julius von List their commanding officer who was to die in action at Ypres.
Germany then as now is a federated state, a mass of small Germanic states working, in theory, together as Germany.  However, the Bavarians looked to their own monarchy rather than Kaiser Wilhelm for a lead, as I suspect other similar regiments throughout the nation did also.  
After basic training, some say very basic training, the regiment eventually found itself at war at Gheluvelt, part of the 1st Battle of Ypres.  This was a terrible battle, leaving Hitler's Regiment with 725 dead after the few days fight.  Once withdrawn however life changed for our Adolf.  With the casualties promotions were given out to replace the lost, and Adolf was transferred to a place of relative safety, Regimental HQ and classed as a despatch runner.  
Runners did indeed have a difficult and dangerous life, however, the German regimental runner was based almost two miles behind the line and his messages were deposited at the HQs of each individual Company.  From there the Company runner would take messages into the trenches whatever the conditions, while the regimental runner went back home to relative safety and warmth.  
In short, the danger of front line warfare never again affected Adolf Hitler, he remained where he felt at home, and in almost, perfect safety.  Certainly there were dangers from long range shells, machine gun and occasional rifle bullets, but the danger was considerably less than that of the company runner in the front line trench!  His front line service was a mainstay of his claim on others throughout his rise to power, and indeed a constant talking point until his death.  
Hitler did receive one wound in the leg from shrapnel from a shell that landed close by, he was in a dugout at the time.  Long after the war, a one time comrade wrote that this cost him a testicle, however, that author has been dismissed by most Historians as unreliable.  His work is confusing, often wrong, and as a man with criminal tendencies he is not a good source.  Likewise those who claim a degree of homosexual activity from Adolf and one of the other runners, this too appears nonsense.  
The author of this book goes into some detail as to Adolf's enjoyment among the company of despatch runners.  Not only comparatively safe but also this took the place of a family for him, and interestingly he never wrote home to any relative during his time in the war.  This company of comrades certainly appear to have left an impression upon him, an impression that added much to his organisation of the Nazi party years later.  
Hitler served his time, earning mostly support from his superiors, and indeed an Iron Cross 1st Class, recommended by a Jewish officer!  While many Jews did indeed serve in the regiment there appears to be no trace of anti-Semitism in the army at this time, certainly none from Adolf.
After the war Hitler joined with the Red Revolutionaries who took over Munich for six months.  This was something he appears to have almost scrubbed from history, certainly he never mentioned this to anyone.  Author Thomas Weber inclines to the view Adolf had no real politics at the time but was looking to a group that would be nationalistic and classless, and soon both Communist and Fascist groups would offer this.  
Working for an old army friend he came across the German Workers Party, and here he once again found a home.  The Weimar years were not good to a man who had decided a one party state was the answer for the nation, wealth and democracy obscured his hopes.  However, the great crash of 1929 soon left Germany devastated, a situation which politicians with easy answers and clear enemies can take power.  The party, now with National Socialist attached to the name, made inroads with a hungry population.  By 1933 when Hitler took control, to the surprise of many army men who knew him, the despatch runner was a life saver, to others a danger.  
The 20s and 30s were not a great time for Europe, Germany suffered greatly, Hitler soon offered a way of escape and huge numbers hoped for a better time through him, few were actual Nazis, and ever fewer understood he wished to create another war and even demolish the Soviet Union.
The research in this book is extensive and a great effort has been made to seek sources and investigate the findings.  Since 1945 much has been destroyed, many have refused to speak, or indeed consider what they were doing at the time, but the author does give us a clue as to Adolf's growing political outlook, his many, many lies and misuse of facts, even in his letters when at 1st Ypres, he was born an exaggerating liar, and by the way we get an inside into what makes people obey a leader who goes bad.  That alone is worth knowing today!
Published in 2011 the book is well worth a read.  Especially when obtained free on Amazon gift cards! For those interested in this subject it is well worth a go.


Thursday, 4 August 2022

Rome's Original Tituli



I obtained this book on the cheap via Amazon's Kindle, as early church history intrigues me.  However, I have only managed to make my way half way through and I have to say I am disappointed.  I hoped for a book that could offer guaranteed evidence that these are indeed the houses once used as gatherings for the Roman Christians in the 1st century.  Sad to say this is not quite what I have found.  
The author takes us round a variety of Roman churches, many dating back centuries, but there is little real evidence to be found that this church actually stands on a home once used by the early Christians.  It is certainly possible that the churches were, some 300 or so years later, built on houses said to have been used this way, folk memory can indeed be strong.  However, I am dubious about many of the claims made for the origins.  I am certain Peter did not 'say mass' in one of the houses, he may have 'broken bread' or taken part in an 'agape' meal, but here was no 'mass,' taking place, the author is limited on scripture, trusting only to the RC church teachings.  
The impression given is many tales may have had some origin in the past, however, these have been developed by many 'old wives tales,' and these are difficult to accept for those who read the scriptures.  Indeed, when you remember that for many years Rome refused to allow individuals to read the bible for themselves, and some Popes burnt bibles to stop this happening, you can begin to understand where many of the tales came from in past times.  Bible ignorance leaves room for fairy stories.  
Too much of the book is an adoration of RC architecture, detailing altars, statues and chapels.  The US author appears in awe of the RC surroundings, the very surroundings that leave me dead inside.  
It is possible some of the information in this guide book is correct, however, I would need to look at a better more historical tome to discover if it is possible to know for sure whether individual houses were indeed made use of by early Christians.  For some this book may be worth a look, for me it is too limited in approach and with too little historical evidence on offer.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Victorian Fishing Scene


What a good picture this is.  'The Mornings Catch,' by James Clark Hook, 1877.
This tells us much about the rough lives out forefathers lived.  Not just the danger of all night fishing in rough seas, often quite far out to sea, but also the hard work left for the women in the morning.  The fish has to be sorted, taken by creel to where customers lay in wait, and hopefully a good deal done, possibly door to door.  This on top of whatever house they possessed, possibly rented, stone or hard dirt floor, outside toilet, no running water, several children at that time being sent to school, and normal daily routine had to be followed.  
There was of course no pension, no welfare state, and people worked until they dropped, unless they, or a relative got lucky and made a fortune.  Fortunes in the 19th century could of course be made and lost within a generation.  Limited medicine, no painkillers bar chloroform, smoking, poor diet, though the fisherfolk and farmers could manage reasonably well, and most dead by their 50s.   
James Clark Hook 1819 - 1907, became quite famous for his sea pictures.  He painted so many they were known as 'Hookscapes.'  
I must admit I like sea pictures and this one, the view, the colours and the reflection of life in late Victorian Cornwall (at least many were painted there) appears true to life.  Painting however, does not indicate the smell of the fish!  In this way we are lucky.  


Sunday, 31 July 2022

High Church Morning

 


It was off early this morning to the High Church.  For reasons of economy, or something devious, our Low Church has been attached in a Benefice to this Bells without Smells church, all robed and organ blasted, very unlike ours.
I arrived in time, as I opened the door I heard a hand held bell tinkle, I entered to find the parade awaiting the off.  As the organ began the choir also began, the Beadle (I suppose) in front carrying the cross on a long pole, quite normal for such churches.  Behind him the berobbed choir moved, followed by the church warden holding high above his head  a red book, most probably a bible, behind which our vicar, now responsible for two churches, starred in the procession.
As they marched I slid in to my seat in the rear pew.  The church has the usual layout, two rows of pews, at the front on the left in a box, hidden somewhat by curtains in case we see him sleep, is the organist, in front one of those large Eagle shaped brass lecterns and a small table with a candle burning.  On the right another lectern, for the routine stuff, while the pulpit rises above for the preacher to overlook the congregation while speaking.  These stand in front of an imitation 'Rood screen.'  The 'Rood screen,' which once separated the clergy from the plebs, had above it a cross, a 'rood.'  This one was never complete as far as I can see.  The archway allows us through to the choir stalls, and I must say the choir was indeed very good at their job, and this also allows us to get close to the altar bearing four large candles and other items, imposing itself somewhat above us.  The Catholic version of such would never allow us to be behind the screen, we were always kept apart.  Many churches show evidence of how various conflicts from Reformation times affected the church layout, this one, being built in 1900 avoided such trauma, but has seen two world wars.
Bright windows towards the rear, emblazoned with three small heraldic signs, and a large sculpture of St Peter, though we cannot know what he looked like, comes forth from the wall.  A large wooden war memorial, commemorating the fallen and a previous vicar, fills much of the rear wall, almost impossible to photograph properly because of the oversized font that stands in front of it.  How do they make use of that?  
This church was built on spite.  The main church in Victorian days remains that today, a woman living in a very grand house on the edge of town was daughter of a previous vicar, and appears to have considered her opinions important.  However, she fell out with the vicar of her day, probably because he did not see her as important to a similar degree to herself, and so when she died she left thousands as a bequest to build this High Church.  Why not do so when alive?  Gladstone, one time Prime Minister, questioned why people left money to charity in their wills, "Why not give it when alive?" he asked.  Maybe she wished to avoid the grumbles that she may have faced?
A few years back, not long after I arrived in town the then vicar of this church was removed to a place recommended by Her Majesties Pleasure.  Or at least by a judge if not her majesty herself.  Sadly a collection of items on his computer were not fitting for his role.  Eventually, a man was found to take his place and he has, over some nine years I believe, built up a healthy High Church congregation.  They appear organised, keen, regular attenders, friendly and happy with their lot.  The credit for this must go to the vicar.  What a job he had at the beginning.
This morning the service I thought was too long, made us stand too much, making me aware of the pain in my back, and we followed the order in the yellow book, ensuring I failed to find where I was at the beginning, and made use of heavy song books which included the music for those who really can sing.  
I am not one of those.
The sermon was not clear, the acoustics are not great, the readings were followed via the weekly handout, and the prayers were from a quiet spoken lass.  As always in such places, the choir might chant, the congregation also, or a bell will ring, a halleluiah appear or some such, now and again, catching us lot out most times.  
I confess all this does little for me, though I did appreciate our own church all the more.  That is what a service ought to be, informally formal, with a controlled service, and making us all comfortable, rather than struggle with books and scripts!  
I did find Jesus speaking to me through one of the readings, and as we approached the Lord's Table.  This gave me much pleasure and much to think  about.
I left soon after the end, too many hovered about at the rear causing confusion, and as I walked a friend accompanied me chatting about his time in the US air force as a dog handler.  A Yank who came home when he was sent here.  Mind you, at that time we used Pounds, Shillings and Pence, and for him this took some doing to learn!  Home, a bad dinner, especially as I burnt my fingers and have had them in cod water since, and two poor football games to watch.   No wonder I am tired tonight.


Saturday, 30 July 2022

Saturday Slop

 


Surely this is what women were made for?
I had to iron today, a Saturday at that, as I found shirts for tomorrow were running out.  I managed three before I gave up.  How can anyone expect a man in my condition, (Lazy, idle, slob) to work so hard in such heat?  Not only this but my dinner war burning also thereby increasing the warmth in the room.
I noticed an advert saying 'Shirts Ironed,' and looked closer, £20 each!  That is more than they cost!  What a rip-off.  I winder if I can persuade the 12 year old round the corner to do them all for £20?  She needs the money doesn't she...?


With the 'Leadership Debate' still ongoing it is nice to see those Tories who wish one or another to win actually getting bored with the whole thing.  Every channel has a session with them, I ignore them all, we know what they are saying, and boredom, not excitement is the result.  Sunak will introduce private cities, crime and corruption, Truss will introduce lies, corruption and money for the rich, while standing on opposition, and Labour fall asleep, like the rest of us.  None of these people care or understand the country.  The fact that they don't care is more important.  What matters is their people, they ones paying for them, get what they want, the public can go hang.  The unspoken agreement found after the war that change must come, and change for the better, has long since died.  The 2010 Conservative government saw that off, Boris has brought Victorian days back to us all, and his people want him to return.


I like this.  This is an example of the clever advertising I have seen recently.  Another on Twitter came from Specsavers.   No cameras are allowed in UK courtrooms but 'artists impressions' are.  A picture of one from the two celeb slappers arguing showed a poor representation of one of the woman.  Specsavers used this picture calling for the artist to 'Pop in and visit us.'  Very clever.  We need more like this.


Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Camulodunum, Charity Shops, Gays in Gents, Hastening Bus Drivers, War Memorials, and Corn Fields and Blue Skies.


I hesitated about going out today yesterday, I was tired physically but my brain was needing a change of scenery.  Just being indoors I begin to go 'stir crazy.'  So, I trooped of early to catch the 10:20 bus.  We left at 10:28, and not just because of the Zimmer users.  I looked forward to green fields, waving corn, and gray skies.  At least the sky was often gray.  
We had not gone far, just about to leave the town border as a woman with pushchair and 3 years old attempted to leave the bus.  The pushchair was easy enough but the kid would not move.  Mum encouraged, demanded, apologised to the passengers, took his toy, but he would not leave the bus.  Screaming ensued, from him, while we all grinned and laughed.  Mum took action, slinging him screaming over her shoulder and forged her way off the bus.  Everyone laughed, almost all of us have either been the mum or the kid, as it were!


Having left 8 minutes late we naturally arrived one minute early!  Considering we faced three road blockages, one from BT Outreach replacing telegraph poles and digging holes, one from routine road works, and one from traffic blocking cars half parked on road and pavement.  Why not on the pavement, there is no-one around, it's a country house, why block a busy road?  
On arrival I hobbled slowly through one or two remaining charity shops.  Some have gone since I was last here about 4 years ago. It amazes me how things change so quickly.  What were charity shops were now doing good, but expensive business.  How can such shops survive here but not in our town?  
The picture?  I have no idea.  She stands there, marching all in black, along the street, why?  What or who does she represent?  I have no idea.
Having ensured sufficient water before I left I visited the Gents.  While clean and modern they are also these days a meeting place for gay boys.  I entered not long after what I assumed to be a normal man but found him standing right next to a another with several spaces empty.  I noisily, very noisily, used a not so clean cubicle.  A perversion, legalised for the privacy of your own home, now appears to be standard in this Gents as it is in so many others.  If such activity is legal how come they are gathering in such places?  Have they no clubs to meet in, no cafe's, why use this place in an underhand manner.  The man I followed had left as I made for the door, but the early arrival was still there.   I was tempted to say something but would only have caused offence.  At least offence I may not be too unhappy to cause.  However, I refrained and moved on.


Having searched more shops, Millets (nice hats with huge prices), Edinburgh Woollen Mill (Based in Hawick, full of old people and charging £210 for a Tweed jacket), and a walk through Waterstones without looking in case I bought something, I took the obligatory War Memorial picture.  This one says so much about the people of the time, the need to glorify a war in which so many died, the need to show off the towns wealth, and the link to fables as History.  I do however admire the statues on offer, though spiders have been making use of them these days.


I considered rummaging through the crowds, sitting in one of the overpriced pubs, or eating at a greasy spoon cafĂ©, but decided to run for the bus instead.  My knees had seen enough, nothing worth buying had appeared, and I was realising just how weary I had become.  So, obtaining, for £1:19, a bottle of 'Aqua,' a plastic bottle of cold Romanian water I made for the bus stand.  Romanian bottled water with a Latin name?  Well I suppose since Trajan took over what was then called Dacia in the year 106 AD, the Roman influence has been felt there.  The name, or one similar is attested some 400 or so years back but how Roman the people are today after the last couple of hundred years is anyone's guess. 


The water was almost cold, the bus was almost due, my task was to find it.  Once again the bus stops had changed.  Many people stood staring at the timetables while searching for their bus, their stop and soon their bus passes.  I was one of them!  After some time I worked out what 'Ac' meant, wandered slowly in that direction, found the bus waiting but without a driver.  Several waited, glancing at the watches, while the driver, sitting on a seat nearby, ignored them.  
The bus driver on the 10:20 was a happy soul, this one, when he arrived, was not.  Grunting to the boarding passengers he then treated us to a display of sharp braking, caused by going too fast and suddenly finding a stop required.  Consistently racing along when he could, only to sit in a suitable place and wait while the timetable caught up with him, and he even attempted to avoid one man trying to board as he did not wish to miss the green light at the road works.  We spent an hour being thrown forward constantly until we arrived, still breathing bus fumes in spite of all the open windows, at our destination.  We clambered off, but not as fast as the driver, as he headed for home.  At least we know why he was miserable, the end of a long, warm day driving a bus full of the public!


On the way, while bouncing back and forth, I attempted to make use of my little aged Leica.  This wee camera is old, full of dust, and I was looking through a filthy window that has not been cleaned for a while.  The results as you can see are not great.  I was however, glad to see the fields, though quite a few have been turned into expensive houses for the Camulodunum elite.  
On occasions the sun had shone, the clouds gathered, and after I got home the rain fell.  I let it, I was too tired to care.  I have to realise I am not fit, I and not 32 as I claim, and I canny do too much at the same time.  I must pace my wizened body better.  Last night I ate everything that lay around, finished the Brandy, and slept well.  Today I eat and sleep, while clearing up all those things on the laptop that are outdated or useless links that have long since died.  
In truth yesterday was a disappointing day.  The town itself was quieter than usual, I think they have stopped buses running through the main streets, the shops same as always, most people quite sociable, and half the bus drivers happy at work.  Imagine, not only did I walk through Waterstones without buying, I avoided the other bookshops, the charity books also, and came away with nothing.  I really was too tired!


Monday, 25 July 2022

Another Nothing Day


Another day where nothing has happened.
With Boris running around playing games and filling up his 'Bucket List' nothing occurs, especially as all the MPs are running from their second jobs to holiday in Hawaii or thereabouts.  What news there is merely slants towards either Sunak or Liz, according to what the newspaper owner wishes to see.  Liz is popular with all the press barons as she will be following whatever they tell her.  I suspect the plan is to allow her to fail and in a year attempt to bring back Boris.  We shall see.
Tonight the two inept cretins feature in a face to face debate.  I shall ignore it.  Nothing will be said, nothing can be believed, neither are worth having.  Much space will be given to this, and many of the 300,000 or so who can vote, including many unaccountable overseas, will provide us with a new lame duck PM.  
Where is the outrage?  Where are the protests?  Where is the media scramble for truth?
A coup has indeed taken place, and the public have slept through it.
Meantime UK weather appears, warm cloud, cold wind, sneezes common, and Englishmen in thin T-shirts pretending they are in Marbella.  At least most of the fires are out as the water levels are low and heat will be around for another week, maybe.  Firemen might get a night off this week.
And do not forget Covid is still around, but the medias are  keeping quiet, following the governments instructions.



Sunday, 24 July 2022

Sunny Sunday



Because of the heat we need to be beside the seaside.  
Of course I am not!

Instead today I had to hobble to Kirk in the great heat once again, about 76% at the time.  This was acceptable I suppose, a normal summer in the UK today.  

Church was enjoyable today.  Marina massaged my neck for a minute, Matt told me the tale of his wife, and I felt welcomed and part of the place, which is always nice.  A service which was unusual, intended mainly for kids, almost none of whom were to be seen.  The weather has taken many out, the summer holidays has a few still trying to cross over into France at Dover, and others will be sunning themselves in downmarket Espana.  This did not matter, we all enjoy the kids things more than they do anyway.  The leader today was not used to the job, he prefers to stay at the back like me, he took us through the 'Lords Prayer,' bit by bit and once again I was struck by the need to forgive all those many enemies of mine, avoid temptation (sorry Morag you must leave), and recollect how he offered me strength to obey and follow him many years ago.  
Why have I failed so badly to do this?  Tsk!
Revived sufficiently by a mug of tea and an argument with Gordon, who was meant to be washing the mugs, I once again trekked along the road in the increasing heat.  I forgave, eventually, a driver leaving the petrol station who refused to see me and almost got me.  I avoided the temptation of reaching for the sub-machine gun US style, and made it home for a bacon roll.  
Lunch time on a Sunday is often glorious like this.
There was also a mediocre football match on display, which I was forced to watch while I pondered furiously what to scribble tonight.  Nothing came.
  
I spent some few minutes posting once more on the new blog, concerning my late brothers time in RAF Sharjah during 1970/71.  These featured a holiday jaunt into the desert of Muscat to recognise the world they were defending.  Here RAF mechanics managed to get one of the Land Rovers waterlogged!  Britain need not fear!
Interestingly, or not as the case may be, after all that sunshine I see from my position, seated in my bed staring out the window while tapping on the spare (Win11) laptop that the rain clouds are gathering.  Does this mean summer is over for another year? 
Maybe I need a different kind of hat this week....?    

Friday, 22 July 2022

Broken Camera


The one problem at the moment (only one?) is the wee camera.  It has been working fine but with the warm weather I have been carrying the thing in my jean pockets.  The other day I took one or two awful pictures and the lens jammed.  It would not retract, and now just sits there glaring at me.  
Whether the weather had a part in this I know not, but being jammed in the pocket is not good.  I made use of all my brute force and ignorance, but this failed this time.  
A quick search of the web brought several videos regarding repairing G11 problems, so this is good.  
I will soon attempt to play with it and maybe get it back working.  After all, when I have put my technical abilities to work elsewhere I have discovered, er, failure!  Ah well.
This is a good wee camera for £40 pounds, and no replacement is available at the cheap shop I obtained mine from.  However, by rummaging among the drawers I have found the old Leica wee'er camera that might do for now.  This was given to me by my brother when working at Leica, made up from broken camera bits!  It was good at first but will be shown up by the other cameras around now.  However as it has been lying for a while it is a bit dusty,  and I forget how to use the bits on offer.  
Still, I am not one to grumble.
I note the programme to bring Boris back into power is under way.  Watch the press carefully.


Thursday, 21 July 2022

Housework Thursday

Busy day today, housework, some of which has actually been done.  I then set about posting some of    my late brothers pictures on a new blog.  I tried WordPress but found it so slow at posting pictures that I scrapped it and turned back to Blogger, where I ought to have started to begin with.  The pictures come from his time in the RAF in the Middle East way back when.  What was then a dusty airbase is now adjacent to Dubai!  The runway now forms part of a road way, nothing else remaining.  It has to be said life at the time was very different there to what it is now.  Whether the people at the bottom have benefited remains to be seen.
Having done enough of that to begin with I have prepared a simple tea, ignored the rest of the jobs awaiting, and scribbled this while trying not to do anything more, though I have ensured the rubbish has gone out, most important and the place smells sweeter now. 
I went nowhere, unlike like yesterday when filled with sausage roll I ventured out on a 38 bus, the correct one, to the Braintree Village.  The entire place is being modernised to fit the plastic 'village' concept.  It looks tacky.  The usual shops for the most part remain, the overpriced Levi's, (£115 a pair!), the usual girls shops, M&S & Mountain Warehouse.  M&S a disappointment as the men's section has shrunk, allowing more room for females clearance stuff.  Nothing of any kind there appealed.  The Mountain Warehouse, shiny new bright appearance, but same nothingness for me.  The only shop where I found myself wishing I had money was 'Barbour!'   Several of their items appeal to me, but a waistcoat costing £60, a reduction, puts me off somewhat.  Another failing trip in the sun, but at least I know the 'Village' has not changed, it is still, for me, a waste of time.  Maybe next week I will visit Camulodunum?   

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

A Glaikit Stupidly visits Dunmow Oxfam and Nothing in Witham

Monday morning, weathermen all claiming it would be hot, but I noticed it would  be only 30%C today, so I took a bag to the Heart charity shop and while there searched for a wide brimmed hat.  None were found!  Could it be they had all been sold, or possibly retrieved from charity bags before being taken to the shop?  I had noticed a hat which fitted while in Tesco earlier, but it really was designed for someone sitting watching cricket all day, a bit too pretentious for me I thought.  Other likely shops were of course shut, and the charity shops only had one suitable hat which was too small for my head.
Right, said I, I shall go to the 'Designer Village, and visit 'Mountain Warehouse.'  
However, after waiting in the Bus Park for a while I did not see a suitable bus, so I took the airport bus when it came and headed in the other direction for Oxfam in Dunmow!


I like this shop because the rich folks of the district always place plenty of good stuff in here.
I found nothing!
There were birthday cards aplenty, always good one in this shop, so I filled up on those.  But no suitable hat, nor indeed anything for men at all that I could see.  It appears men are not donating, I shall rephrase that, women are not donating their men's old clobber, possibly because they have already flung out all his favourite outfits and bought new ones.  
Only one other charity shop open in this town, a proper overcrowded, dingy shop, as they ought to be, same story however.  I mentioned to the lass inside that she was lucky to be out of such sun, "You should not be in it then," she said.  "Yes," I replied, "But I am stupid!"  Funny how quickly she accepted this.  Later I was to prove myself correct.  Other shops were closed, and the only one with suitable headgear is very expensive, aimed at the country gent, and that I am not.  I think he was closed as there appeared to be no-one at home.  Nothing for it but to sit and wait.


I sat and waited while taking lunch somewhat hurriedly in a small, but attractive pub, next to the bus stop, the 'Boars Head.'  I say hurriedly as I did not note the times correctly and ended up awaiting stupidly once again in the sun...  Eventually the 133 arrived, on time and driven by the same driver that brought me here earlier.  He drove well, but was not very friendly, he appeared to be possibly Vietnamese or some such, capable but with little English.  A good driver who needs to work on his repartee with customers, though it is hot in that seat I suppose.  
The advantage of the bus was the view of passing Wheat and Barley fields, some harvested, some in the process thereof, and all shining brightly in the sun.  As we passed through the small village (small village, large wallets) of Felsted  I noticed the Rooks, well spread out, chomping on the grass at the famous rich people's school.  Life goes on in the country, no matter what happens elsewhere.  These rooks can sometimes be traced back for hundreds of years as having roosted in one place continually.  


Having decided that I would make use of the 'Boars Head' for 'lunch,' next time I was in town searching the charity shops, I happily enjoyed the return journey, once again noting the rooks still in place, the cornfields, the green of the hedge rows, the half dressed women, some of whom only now reveal that they are actually female, the youths glued to their phones, headphones on, and almost all on the journey, bar the elderly who need it most, carrying water, by now somewhat warm.
The bus dropped me near my door, the driver did not return my grunt as dismounted.  In this area it is normal to thank the driver, most of whom return this greeting, something I never did in either Edinburgh or London, nor did we out in the country areas.  It is good however, and most drivers of all companies appear friendly and helpful for the most part.


At home I searched the fridge for food that was at the 'eat by' date.  So lunch/ consisted of using up four Chicken Samosas care of Sainsburys.  These are not as good as real Indian ones but will do. 
I contemplated lying asleep for an hour, I contemplated just continuing to stuff my face.  I contemplated nothing in the end. 
Then stupidity arose within me once again.
This will be a surprise to both my readers.
Maybe, thought I, I could get a bus to the 'Designer village' and visit the 'Mountain Warehouse,' and get a wide brimmed, safari hat?  Maybe, on the other hand, I ought to lie down in a darkened room?  Maybe I don't require a hat, just a brain?  Of course, to walk out again as the temperature rose to well over 90% would be an act of crass stupidity and only the lowest would consider this.
I caught the 15:20 bus.
I had checked the timetable, I knew the route, I knew what I was doing.  
I even looked at the front heading as we boarded, 'Witham via Stubbs lane,'  it read.  
I wondered for a moment as the other bus I saw earlier had 'via Designer Village'' but I put that aside as my mistake as this was the 38A.
We began the tour in the normal fashion but instead of heading for the 'Designer Village,' ('Designer Village' a replacement for 'Freeport Outlet,' but the same things, rejects and high prices) we turned up Chapel Hill and headed instead for Stubbs Lane.  A tour round the houses I did not mind, I have not been down this way for a long time,  and as we left the town, fought past lorries, vans and too many cars at the roundabout, we then headed away from the 'Designer Village' and out of town!  
I resigned myself to my mistake.  I must have read the timetable wrong.  This bus does not go to the, well you know where, and I decided to sit and wait, visit Witham, and accept my fate.  
However, while the bus does reach the terminus it travels all around the place.  We passed through as many small villages as we could, one bus an hour it appeared, and I was delighted with the country view, the passing cottages, often 'Jig-saw' perfect, large one time homes of the important people, often large barns now millionaire homes, and once again fields, harvested or awaiting such as we trundled carefully along the narrow, often blocked by parked car, roads.  Small houses built for farm workers 200 years ago, rarely have parking lots attached, those that do are often hidden behind bushes and not appealing to H&S lovers.  Once again, the driver, possibly a brother of the first man, brought along the same attitudes and similar careful skill in taking us to our end.  
16:00 hours and we had arrived.
As we passed some of those large houses in which dwelt large families accustomed to their position in life I felt no jealousy.  On the contrary I realised I do not want such needless wealth.  Comparing what I need, and what is on offer, it would be easy to find a decent place, large enough for visitors (which I never have) or family, and small enough to manage.  Who needs so much space as some have?  I suspect prestige, and living out a fantasy is often involved, as well as believing that you have reached a certain place of importance and this must be reflected in the abode.  Showing off may have a place also.  When I become rich, I will one day, I would hope to make use of the money, not just waste it on prestige projects like a little Boris Johnson. 


Witham, six miles from home, is a world away from Mid-Essex.  This is London overspill territory.  Less than an hours commute from Liverpool Street, it has long attracted those who wish a life while taking London money.  Sadly many less desirable types have also arrived, all brought along with them the London attitudes that are loved worldwide.  There is a word of attitude difference between the towns, though the few people I spoke to there were as friendly as you like yesterday.  However, it was few people as arriving late many shops had shut, and being Monday others had not opened.  I wandered about, catching the sun, knees weakening, body failing, and therefore noticing nothing new about my condition.  I contemplated the 'White Hart' for third lunch, but thought I would check timetables first.  Ah, 16:21 is my bus, thirty or so minutes to wait.
Having checked all the shops, not much to be found here, I obtained a cool water bottle, not quite cold from Greggs.  I thought how funny, this famous bakers and I buy a bottle of 95p water and ignore the cakes.  I have not used Greggs for 20 years, I might never, having little need for them, but they are a formidable success.
Few famous people in this town but Dorothy L Sayers, an author of many books, had a home here until 1957 when she passed away.  She stopped using the house at that time.
I stood at the bus stop, in the shade, watching the women pass by reading the advert over and over. There is little to recommend Witham, this bus stop and car park does not help.  
16:21 the timetable said, and again it was the bus tour of the country I awaited.  The 38A would take me home and deliver me to my dinner.   
I waited.
I waited, checking the time.
I waited.
16:21 came and went.
I waited.
I waited for some time before a 38A, clearly the one that would collect me and tour the nation before dropping me of miles from my door, stopped across the street at the terminus on the other side.
I waited.
The driver, a woman, got out and walked to the 39 Bus behind.  
I  waited.
She spent 15 or so minutes gabbing to the driver.  
I waited.  
Eventually she headed back to her bus, I crossed the road to enquire if she was mine?  I had better rephrase that, I asked if she was the bus I wanted.  "Yes," she said, "But...."
It appears Miss Stroppy was not happy at driving a bus in what she called "40% of dangerous heat."  
Other buses managed I noted.  Short wearing Miss Stroppy was clearly a union girl, and was waiting in 'management' to answer whether the bus would run!  I noted the old couple, laden with shopping across at the bus stop, I would have pointed them out but she was off back to the 39 bus to attempt to avoid work.  What about the passengers I thought?  That couple carrying shopping will find it hard to get home.  I doubt she cared.  My work experience indicated that she was indeed a union girl, and I suspect quite used to finding conditions difficult.  
Earlier I had hesitated walking up the road towards the station where a choice of train or bus awaited, now I stumbled up the hill.
I say hill, because the station when built cut through the hill in normal Victorian 'nothing will stop us attitudes' in the 1840s.  It may be this which revealed the hill was once the beginning of Witham being an Iron Age settlement.  Typical of Victorian engineers not to worry about this.  By 913 AD Old Witham was founded next door to the station.  A Roman temple also was found not too far from here.  The 'Knights Templar' were given land here in 1148, as you know, and realised they could only make limited use of the old town, though they must have used the church there, so they were granted permission to  open commercial premises on the London Road to catch passing trade.  This is where the majority of todays town is based.  
Knights Templar knew how to make a few bob.  
No bus was appearing, and as I arrived people were flooding out of the station, indicating the London commuters were not all working from home.  I pushed in, paid £5:30 for a single ticket from a long suffering lady, I was too rushed to search out and use my Railcard, and took the lift downstairs.  I checked with the young lad trying to keep the toddler happy if this was my train.  "Yes," he said, "It's says so up there." and laughed.  I had not thought to look at the sign now found on all trains telling you where you are going.  I made a feeble excuse and chatted about the kid, who was enjoying the train.  I found a seat, collapsed into it and soon we were on our way.  The ten minute journey saw the end of my, now warm, bottle of water.  I left the train, mixed with the locals most of whom also began their journey at Liverpool Street.  I do not consider travelling an hour a day on a crowded train much fun, let alone when forced to do so for London wages.  However, when in London I often took much, much longer to get home from say North Finchley than many of these people would have done getting home today. 


Witham Station often has fast express and fast Freight trains hurtling through.  At 9:27 on the morning of September 1st 1905 the Liverpool Street to Cromer express passed through.  As the express hit the crossover tracks a rail had been loosened by men working to insert ballast under it and had not completed the job as the train arrived.  The rail worked loose, with the speed of the train derailing the 14 wooden coaches and hurtling them across the platforms at speed.  Ten people died, including one railway worker on the platform, and 71 were injured.  The worst, so far, accident in Essex rail history.
I had considered leaving the train one stop early as this would drop me off at the 'Designer Village.'
Sense overruled.  
I left the station realising what had gone wrong.  As we passed yet another new development for £400,000 houses we passed the 38A going in the other direction.  A wee while later we passed another!  This made no sense as they run at hourly intervals.  Then I realised, the other bus was a 38 and on the front were the words 'Via Designer Village.'  Fool!  
I checked the online timetable today and saw indeed two buses, and I had managed to not only get on the wrong one in the first place I failed to get back on the same wrong bus later, as it was "Too Hot and dangerous."   
As I wearily, and I mean wearily, climbed up what now became an enormous hill towards home a 38A bus, with driver, came round the corner.  That driver is yet wondering why that nutter on the corner was waving his fist at him.


As I ate my frugal 'eat what you find and eat it again' meal I contemplated the day.  This was difficult as my eyes were closing after I ate, with the pint of Gin & Tonic I was drinking, and yet another pint or two of water to follow.   It had been good to see the countryside, to be outside, to meet people and go the wrong way, so somethings were worth while.  Maybe next time I will do things differently?  
However, with the warm nights sleep can be fitful, last night slumber began around 10:30 and lasted unbroken until 5:40.   
Today, when the ParcelForce man arrived at lunchtime with my Forres Pies I mentioned to him it was 106%F.  I also gave him a bottle of cool water, which may be the best tip he gets today.  I noticed the van had another dozen boxes on board!  How hot was his van?  Of course these men are all franchised today, this means that if they do not deliver they do not earn money.  Unlike Miss Stroppy he cannot grumble it is too hot and dangerous, he just has to continue, concentrate, and hope for cold drinks everywhere.  
31.5 indoors today, and facing north I do not get the sun directly.  That I suppose is 107%F...
I sit starkers and frighten people each time I rise from the seat.  Good innit?