Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Hogmany 2008


So 2008 is ending at long last! I cannot say it has been the best of years, but there again it could have been very much worse! Compared to those who have endured war, starvation, sickness or deprivation of any kind I have nothing to worry about. How strange that while watching the refugees, dead bodies tanks firing and people being thrown out of their homes by natural disasters I find myself upset and peeved because I have spilt some milk! Just be grateful for being alive, almost healthy and having your daily bread I say! The daily bread is hard to acquire mind. Work has proved difficult, nobody appears interested in my shop window advert.

Useless individual seeks work

Will skive for cash!


I got few replies. Even less attention was paid to the many CVs I sent out. When attention was paid I got several replies containing words like,'Ugh!' and 'Reject!' and 'Don't ever call again.' I think they are trying to tell me something, however I have yet to understand what. The credit crunch does not help. Huge numbers of people will begin the year with redundancy! All this because the worlds economy was based on paper. I suggest we just call it quits and start again, who loses that way? I suggested this to our Prime Minister but he has failed to answer in an appropriate manner. However I did mention I used to drink in Edinburgh's 'Goblet' at the same time as he did when a student. I mentioned I had the photographs but he did not reply personally. However the two very large 'Special Branch' men he sent round to collect the pics were somewhat too personal for my liking! The year began with the Heart of Midlothian struggling with failure! The first game I ever saw was a 6-1 victory over Airdrieonians in 1962. I foolishly thought it would always be like that! When we lost 1-0 to a relegation bound Queen of the South a few weeks later I should have realised that cynicism was a Hearts fans life! However every fifty years or so glory will arrive. This season has seen some resurrection of our hopes under new (cheap) management and maybe the good times are just around the next visit from the bailiffs. I know we are on the right track as the usual bias against us has appeared in the press and from certain referees. (Yes Brines, I mean YOU!)

At long last, and in desperation I began driving lessons! This has been better than i had hoped in that on occasions I have been able to open my eyes and look in the direction I was speeding. The ever encouraging instructor (he encouraged me today by informing me the steering column was giving problems - we were doing sixty on the 'A' road at the time!) as I was saying the instructor claims I should be taking the test next month. Hmmmm
That is one thing I am enjoying, as long as those lorries keep their distance and women (Yes women!) do not use the left turn lane to suddenly turn right and expect me to know that is what they are going to do! One did this today and appeared to think her actions were normal! (Fill in the next line yourself!)

Apart from the ever present bug that has been with me since 1987 health has deteriorated because I do not have enough exercise. Reading too many blogs and laughing is not exercise! The bad summer limited the time on the bike also, that needs improving next year. My knees do ache and the cold does not help either! I was reading of a chap who was cycling on his 100th birthday! That is what to aim for!


This year what can I truly say is good?

God is good. Jesus has never let me down and is still with me in spite of it all! That speaks volumes for his patience, and also for the fact he has to lead in saving us, I would go to rot otherwise! I am sometimes taken by surprise that he called one like me! My family is good, and Christmas has left me much impressed by them once again. I am grateful to have such a family! I doubt they say the same about their mad uncle! Bwwwaaaaaaaaahahahaha! My family have always been a good lot, and I stand back in amazement at how some folks live their lives. Imperfect they may be, but typical of so many found in Scotland today.


The Blogosphere is good also! I have come across so many pretty young women with high intelligence and good looks who put me to shame with their clever, witty writing. So many men who write in a fashion that leaves me jealous of their writing or their lives! The enjoyment of reading such blogs is immense! These folk do not just write witty humour, they speak of their everyday lives and the world around in a way that is not found in media journals often enough. Good writing is all around us, and how much more is out there? In short, so many good things out there in a world, which while sick with sin, still contains many diamonds. I assure you,the blogs I read and link to here are all diamonds in my eyes! Thank you for giving me so much during this year!
Now burst into tears and
Have a Happy Hogmany!



Sunday, 28 December 2008

The Kinks








Looking for something to take me out of myself tonight I came across this! The Kinks on YouTube. I am not sure if they are legally there or not but I really got a kick out of placing the speakers next to my ears and attempting to deafen myself with several of their great hits. Their driving beat was a wow in the sixties and there is no doubt they were one of the best around. I wish I had been at their Edinburgh gig as one who was there claimed it the best seen at that time. I could believe it!
Mind you my ears are ringing now!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

The Day After the Day After Christmas



The day after the day after is full of relief for many, if it falls on a Saturday! No demand to indulge relatives, no need to exchange presents and pleasantries, and every reason to get back to normal. Stomachs can find themselves proper grub once again. No more rich foods and fattening sweets, back to fish and chips and yogurt. Women scream each morning on the weighing machine, then blame their men for allowing them to over eat, and then follow this up by demanding their men live on lettuce and fruit salad until several of their pounds have been removed! Men simply discover that the top button does not need to remain buttoned, so unbutton it in spite of her needless sarcasm, they do however find themselves wondering whether they should have believed Uncle Jimmy when he claimed 'Buffalo Grass Vodka' really was a 'vegetarian drink' because it was made of potato and grass!

The walk required after lunch becomes a walk to the shopping centre to stand in the freezing early morning cold while waiting for the shop to open and let your avarice be satisfied with the promise of glittering things at 50% off! Outside all the shops, on Boxing Day as well as today, gatherings of such folk stand, attempting to look disinterested but each with a pound sign glowing in their eyes. Parents pull their children away from the toys shelves informing them that they were given quite enough a day ago, while at the same time their eyes search eagerly for gold.

Bloggers fail to take time to write on days like this. The family, the time away from home, and having a life interfere with their real life - reading blogs and being filled with jealousy at others writing skills! Some will soon inform us of their broadening waistbands, others rejoice in the delight of a happy family gathering. There will be at least one who will claim they worshipped Jesus, but not many. Most will endure that strange experience that comes after the day is over, you know the one, a 'What now?' type question runs through the mind. An experience of emptiness which follows the big build up and there was nothing there after all. Kids tend not to experience this unless the gifts fail, but for adults if the family time has been a drag there is often a blankness hanging around. Sad really, but inevitable if one puts one faith in Christmas as such.

For myself I suffer from overeating and an inflated ego, something I usually keep well hidden I am sure you will agree! I said, I'm sure you will agree.....! Well I can comment on your blogs also remember!!! However for once I stuffed myself with Sainsburys Curries and 'Plum Duff Ale.' I ate so much I failed to start the pudding even yet. Chomping my way through an entire box of 'Cadbury's Signature' chocolate biscuits has not helped my teeth. This is worrying as I may soon have to meet my miserable dentist. I say miserable, and he is, at least to me he always looks 'down in the mouth!' I hope your indigestion has ended.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas

May your Christmas be
what you wish it to be!


Christmas
The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?

And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

By John Betjeman



Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Reading P.G.Wodehouse again



I dug this book out again as I was looking for some light humorous reading, and I had gone through all the appropriate blogs. It is a great read, especially the middle of the three books it contains. This contains letters Wodehouse wrote to his friend Townend the author of sea stories. Apart from comments on writing and criticism of one another's works, these letters reveal something of the humour always under the surface of the man. What better way to find it than through comments between two close friends. If you get the chance read this book!

I mention it because I saw a funeral today and felt this could easily be found in one of the 'Jeeves' book. At the far end of the street that lies just around the corner is found a Catholic church. Today there was a funeral, somewhat unfortunate at this time of year but there it is. This particular undertaker operates by walking in front of the hearse until they enter the main road. Then they remove the top hat, get back in the car and move off. Today there was a problem! The funeral procession got itself onto the main road and two cars lengths on it stopped. However behind the leading car came a small bus, full of mourners. Actually this was not full of mourners as the door opened and then there began the strife of ensuring the right people were on board and everyone was catered for. All the while the road was blocked and this Christmas eve!

There naturally grew a long line of traffic reaching back into the town centre, few realising why they were held up. Those at the front were aware of the problem, as were the motorists coming the other way, desperate to get those urgently needed Christmas goodies that will probably be unused by tomorrow night! The kerfuffle continued for some time and it was a wonder to behold the drivers of the cars, each and everyone fuming at the delay as first one then another got on, and then off, the bus! The drivers, and passengers, sat twiddling thumbs,none willing to blast the horn or shout 'GERRONWITHIT!!!' but each questioning why he chose this time to die! There is still a traffic queue outside, but whether this represents the slowness of the cortege or normal Christmas traffic I cannot say. I can however tell you that the undertaker in charge was a woman!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Gate



As I sauntered home from the massed ranks of happy smiling treasure hunters in the market place the other day I past this. Now I first noticed this gate a dozen years ago and ever since then I have been wondering if, what was then, the General Post Office asked permission to insert this telegraph pole in the middle of his gate, or whether they just did it one morning when the man was out? As this must have happened some years ago, and these dwellings house some of the rich and famous of the town I suspect he had prior knowledge. If not there is still therefore a slight chance that behind that bush which has arisen to fill the gap there may well be an ageing, and somewhat rusty, 'Humber' or some such.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

The Shortest Day



And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.
And the evening and the morning were the first day. Gen 1:5


This is the best day of the year, why? Because it is the shortest! From today the days get longer and the nights get shorter. From today we look forward to the arrival of Spring, warm weather and, being the UK, lots of rain! Still never mind eh? We are headed in the right direction and this makes me happy! Some folks may live in places where the nights never vary, in those regions where there is an almost constant warmth and allowance of daylight. How I wished I lived there! Of course it could be worse. In places like Finland there are six months of total darkness, then followed by six months of constant daylight. Now the latter part of that suits me! I suppose six months of daylight must affect an individual in some way? The darkness certainly does! The areas affected do see lots of suicides and depression as the months tick by I understand, and I can believe it. We w
ork better in natural daylight and flounder with the dark. No wonder so many there take to drink!

However, now we can rise in the darkness knowing that soon we will rise with the the dawn chorus greeting the rising sun. Blackbirds and Thrushes, Robins and Tits greeting one another in the early morning before any bar the milkman and postman have risen remains a favourite time for me. Their song fits the sky above - unless the weather interferes! Ah yes, the British weather! Caught between the Atlantic and the Cont
inent which leaves us with warmish rainy weather and lots of reason to grumble! Where would we be without that? However even Brits find it hard to grumble when their eyes meet a sight like this as they rise.


Saturday, 20 December 2008

Teaching Yankees the Facts of Life - Again!



Now I am not one to complain! Folks for miles around will tell you that complaining is not my thing. However, on this one instance I must raise objections to some of the absurd, ridiculous and completely 'up the wall' comments that certain nameless folks (like Fishawk for instance) have come up with in recent days. That 'crackhead' is not alone in misunderstanding the meaning of certain words, words like 'Football' for instance. These badly educated people,(do they have schools in the colonies?) appear to be mistaking the word 'Football' for a different word, words like 'Throwball' for instance, or maybe ' Vapid' or 'Boring perhaps? let me throw some light in your direction.

'Football' According to the 'Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary,'
(possibly not available in the USA)
noun
1 a game played between two teams of eleven people, where each team tries to win by kicking a ball into the other team's goal:
a football player/team
He's playing football.
Are you coming to the football match?
2 a large ball made of leather or plastic and filled with air, used in games of football

The 'CHAMBERS' dictionary says:-
football. noun.
1. Team game played with a large ball that players try to kick or head into the opposing team's goal.
2 the ball used in the game.
3 (the football) a football match, usually an official game between clubs in a league •

Oxford Un Press

foot•ball /'f{phon_capu}tb{phon_capo}:l/ noun
1 [U] (also formal As,sociation 'Football) (both BrE) (also BrE informal footy, footie) a game played by two teams of 11 players, using a round ball which players kick up and down the playing field (= the pitch).
Teams try to kick the ball into the other team’s goal: to play football
* a football match / team / stadium-

A quick glance at these 'world renowned' educational dictionaries shows clearly that 'Football' is a game played with the feet! Not, you will notice, the hands! Only the goalkeeper, because of his special position (the most important in the side) is allowed to use his hands. Now this is very important, the reason? Some, clearly mentally exhausted, individuals appear to consider a game in which a handful of 20 stone (That's nearly 300 pounds to you) primitives bash into one another for no apparent reason, while a slightly less well endowed, overpaid misfit catches said ball and throws it away can be referred to as 'Football!' At no time does he kick it, or attempt to kick the ball. He merely stands there until deciding to throw it of the (very narrow) field. The ball (oddly shaped) does not venture anywhere near his feet, unless of course he drops it while several nine foot tall delinquents attempt to crush him to powder. Skillful play indeed there! If the hero manages to toss the ball from his hands to another man dressed like a tank, that chap will endeavour to run over a very wide line carrying the ball, then he will cheer, even if nothing more than his broken toe comes near the line. He does not even have to put the ball on the ground! How easy is that? Yet somewhere in the vast continent of the United (unless they are fighting each other) States one individual thought hands were feet and feet, hands and called this murderous enterprise 'Football!'

And you wonder how George Dubyah got elected?


References to 'Football' go back a long way. There are mentions away back in the 15th century and in fact its popularity is reflected here as it was banned by Scottish statute in 1424! So many were playing football with Englishmen's heads that Archery practice was failing! Discipline was therefore restored from the top! Football games were played in towns up and down the nation at that time, and this variety of 'football' survives in several places where the 'Uppies' play the 'Doonies.' A quite violent game where bones sometimes break even today yet everybody joins in. In times past people died quite frequently! (By people died frequently I do not mean the same person died frequently, I mean different people died often, if you see...oh never mind.) Since the days of Adam folk have always kicked balls around, it is a natural thing to do. Balls are of course round and not oblong. Those are deformed balls. (Stop that tittering at the back!) It is a natural and enjoyable kids game that adults enjoy also. Why? I have no idea, but it is fun!

The more organised game appeared in the 19th century when the whole of the British Isles changed for the better (although most folk at the time wondered if a 90 hour week was a 'change for the better!). Organised football appeared early in the century and different rules applied. It was the posh English 'Public Schools' (Public in the sense that they were open to anybody who could pay the fees, so only the rich could apply. National schools were open to the public but were not 'public' schools. I hope that clears this up?) which formalised rules for the game in the middle of the century, and being both 'English' and 'Nobs' they took all the credit for a game developed by folks of all rank. (It was of course much advanced in Scotland but the English took the credit as they take everything else!) Harrow, Eton, Winchester etc decided they knew best, and indeed were in a position to impose their will, having all the money and power. The basic rules were gradually adopted nationally although many changes were made.

The introduction of a Saturday half day, along with increasing rail travel gave some impetus to the spread of the game! However many who played were not granted that privilege and had to be compensated for lost wages. So 'professional football' was born. Rugby football had departed before this when those (lacking talent or just boorish?) who felt the hands ought to be used invented their own version of the rules. This became, and remains, a predominately middle class game. This is because those in the north of England who chose this version required payment for lost wages as in football proper. The middle classes, upset in the later decades of the century at the loss of control of football proper, refused to accept the professional game as they were 'well to do' so 'Rugby League' came into existence. But that is another story! Rugby Union does have the advantage that you have the chance to watch your lawyer or bank manager get his head kicked in. Surely this is always gratifying in its own right?

By 1900 the majority of the Laws of the Game had become set, with only occasional changes. The game itself had been spread far and wide by Scots, Welsh, Irish and even Englishmen as they took over the world creating an Empire we didn't need, or travelling building railways worldwide which folk did need! The famous Milan teams were begun by an Englishman, which is why the English spelling of the name is used, Boca Juniors are said to have originated with an Irishman, and there are many South American players carrying names such as 'Pedro Manuel McCallister,' or 'Juan O'Higgins' and the like! Some folks did more than just build railways! The four home nations, as originators of the game, have equal representation on the FIFA board, something lesser nations object to, even though we gave them the game! How dare they!? Have they no respect for their betters? Some even suggest that only one 'British' side ought to compete! The ignorance of Johnny Foreigner knows no end! Tsk!

In the US, in between chasing the native inhabitants of their land, some did indeed attempt to pick up the rules of the game,like General Custer (reduced to Lieutenant Colonel for insubordination before his death) they failed! The skill and mental intensity required for 'Football' probably proving to be beyond American capacities. However a variation of the 'Rugby Code' (known as 'Rugger' by the poncy Public schoolboys. The word 'Soccer, never used by anyone who knows 'football', comes from 'Associated Football, SOC with the 'er' added on by the public schoolboys! These people ruled the world you know!) did catch, brains not being required to barge into your opponent and grind him into the mud! Brawn and a willingness to hurt and be hurt were more important! So much so that the 'Ivy League Universities,' known more for brawn than brain (how many top folk came from there?) happily took to 'Rugger' and by the early years of the 20th century had killed at least 20 of their fellows during the game! Changes were forced on them by law and the drab, dismal, armoured, grossly overlong, much over hyped activity that now owes its life to the television channels became the main game of the United States. What does that say about the populace I ask? Take away the marching bands, the hype, the half naked women...hold on, leave them, and what is left? Three boring hours of team, college, or town building, all wrapped in the flag! Is it not true that American Throwball is more about 'E pluribus unum' than sport?

So we all know and understand that 'FOOTBALL,' played with the feet, (not 'Soccer') is the game that rules the world. 'Throwball' is a local mentally stifling diversion, in which the townsfolk can enjoy watching their heirs get the kicking they feel they deserve, but political correctness no longer allows!Intellectually and physically demanding proper 'Football' may be, but it is a game that brings peoples of all kinds together, (except when playing Celtic or Rangers of course, all Scotland joins with whoever is playing them at that time!) Loved by thinking people of all ages everywhere, and while an emotional drag at times, you can change your wife but you cannot change your football team, it remains the most popular game in the world. Invented of course by Scots!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Several Things

Last evening, at the time folk call to sell you things, the phone rang. I put on my 'Disturb me if you dare' voice and answered. "Yes!"
"Is that Mr Adullamite"
"What do you want?" I grunted Neanderthal like.
They then asked me about someone in another flat. I growled that I knew nothing and that they left years ago. They caller rang off. Dialling 1471 I discovered they had 'withheld their number.'
It got me asking questions.
Who was this woman calling from some what I took to be a call centre of some sort? How did she know to ask me? My number is in the phone book, but how did she get my name? And what did she want the lass for? Questions as yet unanswered.
I was so upset by this that I fell asleep. I am sensitive remember.....


As we headed up the road the other day, to pass by the Ferrari's and Maserati's that gleam even in the dull, dreich, dismal day the instructor asked a simple, yet profound question. "Why is there 24/7 'Tanning Salons?' Do women wake up at two in the morning and find an urge to rush off and get a quick tan?" I had no answer. Apart from those that may offer, 'other services,' and considering those that just allow someone to sit under a row of glass tubes and turn needlessly brown, where do their customers come from? In the UK anyone suddenly turning into a Pakistani is usually regarded as a bit daft. Those that genuinely travel abroad in warmer climes can remain happily tanned but the type of lass, and some laddies, who find the need to darken their skin do make me wonder. There used to be an advert for a soft drink called 'Tango.' This featured a fat orange man who became a children's favourite. Those, like Jimmy Calderwood the Aberdeen manager, who appear to spend half their life under these things are quickly dubbed 'Tangoman!'Maybe he attends such paces in the dead of night?




Can I just point out to Andy Williams, and all those other happy go lucky Christmas songsters that this is NOT the 'happiest Tome of the Year!' Apart from statistics which show that more marriages break up at this time, and more family arguments are generated by the closeness of ones loved ones I need t point out one or two little faults in their songs. For one thing it is not a 'White Christmas,' and for most of us it never is. (May the good Lord be praised for that! Snow is cold, wet, slippery, causes accidents, this leaves pain and anguish, and snow also leaves lots of slush everywhere!) Also there are no 'sleigh bells a ringing' as there are NO reindeer are flying! Santa Claus (that's Father Christmas to the middle classes) does NOT exist! Now I agree Christmas pudding, a big dinner (cooked by a woman - that's what they were made for!) a nice bottle of wine, and a present or two are jolly, but this is NOT Christmas! As for a dirty big pine tree sitting in the living room! Well you can copy the fairy on top as far as that is concerned!

There is no doubt that human nature being what it is we need a mid winter festival. It ought to fall on December 21st, the shortest day of the year here, and indicate that from now on we can expect longer days and the promise of Spring! Woo hooooo! By adding Jesus to it someone lessened his arrival and with the gifts turned it into one big commercial trap! 'Peace on earth?' Not in the, nearly bare, Woolworth's shop this afternoon. 'Happiest Time of the Year?' Not judging by the British faces I saw today. Certainly friends were greeted warmly, and not everyone was as miserable as those that blog, er..let's move on.... However the songs do not reflect Christmas as it is, instead we have a meaningless fantasy land that leaves behind an emptiness. No wonder more suicides occur round this time! There is a life out there in the real Jesus, born in Spring when the weather was warm and the shops were empty, and he lasts longer than a few presents do.

I've had all the songs today. Listening to Gold Radio, which allows me some decent 'pop' music - from the 60's - and fills in the rest of the time with the 'bubblegum' stuff the wee girls ran out to buy! They have played all the usual, and some unusual Christmas songs, but there is no doubt which is the best of them all. The only Christmas song that we need! This one!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Tuesday



So I turned on the taps, as you do, and began to fill the bath. I put in cold water, then allowed the hot to fill slowly. Sitting at the desk I came perused the Scottish Premier League clips, including our victory over the green bigots - well, apart from their late equaliser that is! So I enjoyed our great display, wondered how Aberdeen could avoid a penalty for a foul similar to the one that obtained then a penalty, and laughed when even the TV cameras could not be bothered watching Hibernians dismal display.

I then realised the water was still running!
Have you ever attempted to pull out a plug when water is lapping over the sides and burning through your skin at the same time? I do not recommend this! Why is it that normally the tap (That's faucet to foreign Johnnies!) switches itself off and instead of a bath of warm delicious soapy water (no I don't drink it, I mea...oh never mind) I have a dribble lying pathetically in the bottom and I have to wait for ever for it to fill. Good job this bath only happens once a week I can tell you! I would use the shower unit, if it didn't fall down all the time, the water didn't go from sulphurous, burning hot to icy freezing cold minute by minute, and I didn't keep standing on the soap and find myself face down at the door. I'm so glad I am me, it makes life easier for everyone else!

I do however find the most relaxing place is in the bath. In recent years it has become the place to read books, cogitate, and talk to myself. Even though I now find myself talking to myself much of the time I prefer it it in the dimly lit bathroom. I must put a bulb in that socket. I have a pile of books in there and the biggest fear is dropping a favourite and ruining it. How much better to understand the world, past and present, by lying back and steeping yourself in culture and hot water? In days of wealth a few bright smelly candles would ease the pain of work, as I read historical works, or comedy by Wodehouse or Jerome. (That's Jerome K Jerome, not Jerome the ancient Bishop. I doubt he wrote light comedy!) There is little to beat this method of relaxation, until the water freezes over of course.


Which for no good reason reminds me of the three car showrooms we passed during yesterdays lesson in the big town. I had just eased my way through several roundabouts when he indicated these three. One was Ferrari, the next Maserati and the third Porshe! Outside each stood around a dozen cars,gleaming as much as they can in dull overcast Britain. When you consider they start are around £150,000 and go upwards you get a glimpse of the money available in the UK - for some! This reminds me of the P.G.Wodehouse tale, true story, of a film mogul looking for a writer for his latest idea. The story he wished written up comprised a man getting fed up with his ungrateful son and deciding to make him pay his way. In the tale he wishes to cut his ner-do- well son of with only $500 a week! The year was 1930! This film was never made. Did those Hollywood folk
never have a clue about real life I ask?


Saturday, 13 December 2008

Making Money



In a vain attempt to pay the bills and clear some of the ever increasing debts, I decided to search E-Bay. I came across an advert for this stereoscope outfit and discovered it sold for £25! Woohoo I thought, I have one of these wasting away in a cupboard. It was given by the lovely lass and once looked at it became forgotten. However it was clear there are collectors out there willing to part with cash for such as this, so I placed an ad!

Naturally having the competence of George Dubyah Bush I placed it in the wrong category! So once again I have listed the thing and once again I read 'No Bids' each time I log on. How is it I ask, that 12 year olds can sit at a PC and become millionaires within months while whatever venture I engage it comes to nought? I had a Wodehouse book for sale but could get nothing for it, unfortunately even though it is a classic and in short supply there was a slight damage and therefore collectors were not interested. Another dream of £20 failed to come to fruition.

On 'YOUGOV' the research folk site I have received £50 in times past for filling in the surveys. Now when I am desperate for the cash I notice I stand on £49.70! That is 30p away from getting the cash! 30p!!!!! It could take to next month before I get the next 50p survey, and then another month before the cash arrives! I could be suffering malnutrition by then! I really do not get how some folks find money at every turn. You know the ones, leave a shoelace and a box of matches lying around and next thing you hear they have used these morsels to set themselves up in business and now have forty stores nationwide, a Greek island for the weekends, and several million spare in the bank. Now I don't live for money, I just want to pay my way by doing something useful and having enough to spare for other things. Looks like I need to go back to writing that book, 'How to be an Idiot.' Hold on, I've lost that file! Typical!

I am in two minds as to whether it is worth attempting to sell the aged 'Delta Airlines' toilet bag, possibly from the 60's. I cannot afford to keep E-Bay in business while I head for bankruptcy! The overdraft is near its end, and if I cross the line the bank will send me a letter stating, "You are overdrawn on your overdraft, so we will increase you poverty by fining you £25." Only a banker can see nothing wrong in asking for more money from someone who has no money! As the £25 takes me further over the line next month I get another letter charging me money I do not posses for paying the charge on money I do not possess and increasing my lack of money possession not only by the £25 for overdrawing the overdraft but also adds,"The cost of each letter we write to you is £25!" I might just wander in to the bank dressed as a slave, chains and all and surrender myself! It would be cheaper than paying bank charges! (which I note have increased by £2 again! This (free) letter informed me this was because of the benefit (we wanted?) of mobile insurance and car insurance. Neither of which I need. Now I am a peaceable man, except when violent, and I am close to visiting the chairman of said bank, unless he has been ousted by the recent changes, and inserting the said letters into his wallet! Free of charge!

Anyhow a quick check, how I need a quick cheque, shows that I have £29.39 in the AdSense account. This does not pay out under £100 at a time. When it does I should get around £60, but with the credit crunch changing things all the time I reckon I will have around 47 pence awaiting me when it arrives. The Amazon account is just as bad - totally unused so far! Now I am content in that the good Lord has never failed me and I know something is just around the corner. As I said I don't live for money, but I do wish I could find a way to create some! Another five jobs to apply for and this mean another five failures! None are any good, all have fifty already applying for them, and two at least are somewhat dodgy!

I think it's time I went with a beat up old guitar and stood outside the shops doing my Bob Dylan impersonation. I certainly have the voice for it, or so I have been told - many times! In fact when I think of it, my dads last big gift to me was a reel to reel tape recorder back in 1968. I still have it somewhere in a cupboard, along with several very bad tapes made around that time. The shock I received when hearing my voice for the first time was bad enough, the greater shock came when I heard this awful voice singing so very badly - it was me! The dreams of rock stardom were put in the bottom drawer and locked away for ever. I should have known mind, after all, when in primary school and the school choir came along, the singing voices went to the front and the non singing were placed at the back of the crowd and told to mime. I was placed at the back and told not to mime! I thought it was just the doddery old teacher up till I heard my voice!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Teddy Bears


The news that Woolworth's were dying on their feet, partly because of the credit crunch and partly because they are not very good, caused the administrator to slash prices in an effort to cash in on the Christmas rush. Tempted by avarice and greed I wandered along yesterday afternoon and joined a thousand wildebeests rampaging, with pushchairs, through the wreckage. What the man who built a huge skyscraper from his store would have thought I dare not imagine. The animals blocked the passageways with their pushchairs, stood in the remaining space and wondered why folks, like myself possibly, grunted GERROUTOFFIT!!!! at them. There were only short lines of folk at the checkouts as most of the decent stuff had been removed long before. Empty shelves reflected the grasping hands that had fallen for the '30% OFF' signs and seen goods that folk didn't really want leave the shop just because it was reduced. The sight of such multitudes greed, reflected in myself, made me sick to my stomach. I was like the rest attempting to grab what I could. I pushed through the swarming herd, stopping only to swap one or two children from one pushchair to another, just to see if the mum's actually noticed when they got home, and left empty handed. Of course as the stampeding hordes had taken all the best available, which is not saying much in 'Woolies' actually, there was nothing worth grasping with my sweaty paws, and headed for Tesco as I knew they had been afrighted by Woolies sales technique and reduced prices also! I really did need a couple of small things for the kids up North, a noose and a set of stocks would be useful, and so I had a flimsy excuse for being there. So late afternoon found me grasping two chea...inexpensive 'Teddy bears' as I queued for a small eternity while other wildebeests shoved through the orderly queue in an effort to obtain glittering prizes that would ensure happiness this Christmas. I wonder if they know the number for the Samaritans? At the counter I had to fight with the lass as she, totally wiped out by non stop customers, wanted to sit and hug the bears herself. I needed the nancy boy assistant and two customers to help me get her hands off them before I could get out of there! The joys of shopping! That is a woman's world indeed!The observant will have noticed I have added a few to my 'Friends' & 'Favourites' list. This is all Joe's fault! Every time I read his excellent blog I also have to read the comments left by his ever growing fan club. Joe is of course becoming one of the 'Must reads' of the blogging world, and if you have not done so before I insist you browse his pages and those comments left by a wide assortment of lunatics. You will feel at home there! This is it Crotchety Old Man! So I updated the list and added many from his world, each one a gem in their own mind! Twisted, perverse, demented and unstable, yet lucid, witty and just what you appreciate. I recommend each and every one to your care and adoration - before the men in the little yellow vans come and take them away - again!



I was wandering around attempting to keep warm the other day and found myself following two lassies from one of the 'Care in the Community' homes. This place shelters around a dozen mentally , sorry, we call them 'People with Learning Difficulties' now. We used to call them 'backward,' or 'Slow' but now we need a fancy phrase to describe them, such is life! However I used to deliver to this place and am well aware of the girls living there. While one or two are real sad cases who need 24 hour care 7 days a week others are allowed to walk the streets. When I delivered this street I inevitably met one called Jane if I remember right. here was a somewhat large girl, aged about 23 maybe, but with the mental age of around seven. She often walked to shops and centres by herself, and was capable of doing so safely. However she also followed this postman when she met him. "I might get a letter postman, is there one for me, it's my birthday, any for me?" This followed me down the road. It is surprisingly difficult to avoid someone in a straight, and very long, street! It did not aid delivery!
Anyway, these two lassies had been returning from wherever and the more capable one was carefully holding the hand of the other, a very sad wee lass. Around them roared the uncaring world, a world their primary school mentality could never possibly comprehend, yet together on they went, the lesser totally trusting the other. Such trust and care for each other.

When I saw this I could have cried.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Blogcatalog Friends



The number of 'Friends' I have made on Blogcatalog' never fails to amaze me! I don't refer to those who I have added to my 'Friends' list, nor those excellent folk who waste their valuable time regularly reading my scribbles, I of course allude to those who call me 'Friend,' yet never read the blog! There have been several lately. Almost all of them selling something, or attempting to make money through me. Wrong idea there pal!

There is nothing more enjoyable to find an intelligent reader has taken delight in my mentally unstable viewpoint, and been so keen that they have decided to call again, leave a comment and add me to their 'Friends' list. Pretty young girls always welcomed. This always leaves a sense of achievement with me, and a doubt as to their sanity also. So far no-one has failed the sanity test, which is good. It is a simple test, if they walk the streets with out wearing a straightjacket they are fine in my book. (Not counting Glaswegians obviously!)

However it appears to me far too many do not read the blog, if they do they don't like it, nor understand it, yet they add me as 'Friend,' and ask, almost demand, that I do the same. Those who leave a message seem more interested in gathering numbers rather than reading blogs. There are a huge amount of blogs in the world and the best way to meet them is through 'Blogcatalog' in my view, but if folks just want to 'get rich quick' by telling me how to 'get rich quick,' they are wasting their time and mine! I want to read something interesting, humorous, or worthwhile, and while I want to have each reader click the 'Ads' to make me rich I will not demand this, nor is this the reason for the blog. I must say these folk are beginning to annoy me now. Everyday someone who just wishes to inform me of their sales technique leaves a message, quickly deleted, and I become one of their two hundred Friends.' How lucky am I? I add 'Friends' because their blog is 'top rated,' by me. I add 'Favourites' because there are only ten spaces in the screen I can see. All are worthwhile, all ought to be read, and all need to click my 'AdSense Ads,' to make me rich, but if they do not I am happy if they just feel inclined to read this, let's face it, sad empty bawling they find here.

But please, don't 'add ' me just because you wish to get rich!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Christmas Adverts



I cannot make up my mind. Is the advert for this fragrance the worst advert on TV, or is it one of those cheesy ones with groups of happy party goers stuffing their faces? Maybe it is one of the 'magical Christmas' ones that get up the nose in the way the 'Walton's' used to? It's a difficult choice really. This 'I Million' advert is full of fast images lasting a few seconds. Each portrays something young, modern, trendy, and it makes me want to throw up! Worse than the advert is that this is a 'fragrance' for men! Stone me, don't they make 'Old Spice' any more then? I can't get my head around how much this stuff will cost. Only football players and TV 'celebrities will be able to afford it, and yet the people who buy it will be the dreamers who imagine wearing this stuff makes them part of the 'In crowd!' Believe me, don't join the 'in crowd,' there is nothing there!
As for those happy, well dressed party folk. You know that they really would not pay £9 for a cake, even one with a Cognac filling. They would however contribute somewhere to a family get together that will probably descend into chaos. You know the idea,they all dress up, get stoned on cheap wine and occasional brandy and bash one another for a while. Instead of smiles there is bad feeling, divorce, prison and I have just remembered why I have not heard from my brother for a while! He must be tired of being 'detained at the Queens pleasure.' Though quite what pleasure she gets out of it I fail to comprehend.....
TV adverts attempting to stuff food down your throat, sell you trinkets you don't need but the family demand, and warn that your life is nothing if you are not doing what the 'best folk' are doing are annoying me again! Christmas trees, with no biblical significance whatsoever (burn them I say!). 'Peace on earth,' although the book actually says, 'Peace to men of goodwill,' so that changes it then, and 'a magical Christmas' experience, that leaves us empty and deflated afterwards. Family get togethers can be fun, and I like them, but a Christmas of greed, drunkenness and strife, is not what Jesus came to bring us.

Monday, 8 December 2008

John Cumming 1930-2008



On Saturday John Cumming passed away after a long and sad illness. He was one of those rare players who can actually be called both a 'Legend' and a 'Great!' Along with Dave McKay and Freddie Glidden John formed the backbone of the Great Heart of Midlothian side of the nineteen fifties. John was renowned for tough, but never dirty tackling. Bobby Murdoch, who went on to run the midfield for the Great Celtic side of the sixties, spoke of his introduction to Scottish football. "The ball came to my feet and I found myself lying ten yards away. I had been tackled by John Cumming. Not a foul, he played the ball, but it was like a tank!" That summed John Cumming up. He was a man who played the game, and was well respected by all.
He earned two League Championships medals, Four League Cup winners medals, and one Scottish Cup winners medal.
I saw him many times as he ended his career, mostly running the reserves. Playing at centre half he always encouraged the younger players, the cry of "Haud it Haud it Haud it!" still rings in my ears. Respected by all he scored an own goal at that time and brought the house down, with laughter! He was approachable by fans and always had a good word for all who came near him. He was a great man and a great player.

John Cumming, sadly missed.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Brother Can You Spare a Dime, well, a Pound Coin or two actually?


It was when I was looking up the AdSense site, in the desperate search for wealth, that I began to cogitate on what it is like being skint. Yes skint! Broke, penniless, impoverished and insolvent. (Insolvent does NOT mean I have run out of glue by the way). Now for some of you this is an experience you cannot understand having been born into opulence, wealth and gracious living. Your purse (or his wallet) has always been a bottomless pit with servants aplenty to acquiesce to your every craving, or at least most of them that are allowed. This is not, and never has been my experience. This is where the idea of placing 'Google Ads' and an 'Amazon' widget comes in. My dream was to obtain sufficient funds to buy a refill for my ballpoint, with possibly a potato or two for my tea. Investigation however, reveals a paltry $23 in the account so it looks like a pencil stub will continue to be used for some time, especially as nothing will be paid until $100 worth is reached! Now while I am happy to wait, (Oh yeah!) the overdraft is somewhat less so and again I return to pondering the nature of poverty.

Like Charlie Chaplin in those old films I have discovered that eating old shoe leather does not satisfy the inner man. And as I wander down the street, head bowed in case there is a coin or two lying about, I have a tendency to keep my hand in the pocket where my money used to reside.This constantly reminds me of the paucity of my situation. I miss the slight jingle you sometimes hear when coins clash together in the pocket, and then I find myself dreaming of the old days of pound, shilling and pence! Ah L.S.D. (not that kind) l loved how those big old coins would jingle-jangle as I strolled along, head high and not a care in the world. Young, handsome and rich, what more could a girl want? Actually, now I think about it, they were not slow in letting me know just exactly what they wanted, and who they wanted it from! However I digress, the fact that coins made a lot of noise did not of course indicate a lot of wealth. When decimalisation came in (on the 15th Feb1971) I was probably on £9 a week! This may have seemed a lot at the time, but when we went to that 'disco' (That's 'Club' to younger viewers, and 'dump' to those that remember it) we had to buy the girls a drink. (and one knows how much Edinburgh girls can drink!) Now pints of lager were two shillings and sixpence, the lassies,naturally, wanted 'Brandy & Babycham' at five shillings a go, so a round cost fifteen shillings! As you know there was a mere twenty silver shillings in a pound so we made sure we only bought one round each! Those girls were never grateful enough to make it worth our while either. So much for 'Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker!' Ogden Nash was clearly earning more than £9 a week when he came up with that! Anyway, any chance of success with those lassies would have brought on a recession far too quickly for my liking!

Today we specialise in small change.The five pence piece is so small it easily falls into any hidden recess and brings joy only when fingers are used to prise the things back into the world. Excuse me while I rummage around a recess or two. I days of yore I found a small coin when removing pews from a church. (legally honest). This was a 'Groat,' a coin worth fourpence, and was circulated in the middle of the nineteenth century. It had lain undisturbed for over a hundred years! Similar to many folk sitting in church pews today I must add. The first thought was the discovery of great treasure, but the condition was such that it was actually worth about six pence today! An elder (a loving, caring, honest man) 'borrowed' it from me and I have not seen it these twenty years! I must say pound coins have also shrunk in similar manner to the value it represents.Today the shape is hard to distinguish from ten pence pieces and old folks, like my friend Mike S, easily confuse them, but not when with me for some reason. As for pound notes, it is possible the Clydesdale Bank in Scotland still issues them but I don't actually know for sure. No one else does these days. I do have a 'Bank of Scotland' five pound note on my wall that has 'Use in case of emergency' written on the front. However the 'emergency' arose long after the note itself was withdrawn from circulation. Typical.

However it is possible for handsome young men like me to cope with poverty, and even in the coldest winters one can thrive. A day spent in the library not only keeps the fingers from developing frostbite but gets one an education also. Many hours can be filled by looking through the shelves at the young ladies on the other side, or at least until that menopausal old bat comes from behind the desk and throws you out. Wandering around supermarkets, and other large shops (not Woolworth's as their going bust brings ones own pauper state to the fore) can keep warmth in during winter, and wandering around the park in summer can be beneficial as the small kids tend to drop sweets quite a lot, (at least if you come up behind them suddenly they do), and lunch is served!

I was chatting to a man next to his 'top of the range' Landrover (£60,000) quite late on, at the far end of the darkened car park, about the nature of poverty and how to deal with it.In the course of our discussion, shorter than I expected I am sorry to say, I indicated that while he had a large five bedroom house, several acres of land for his horses, a wife adorned in expensive fashions, holidays in Guam and Hawaii, and a wallet inside his 'Saville Row' suit stuffed with twenty pound notes, all I had was this meagre carving knife! I showed this to him, I placing it just above his belt so he could see it properly int he poor lighting such places possess), and he was so touched by our discussion that he very kindly 'lent' me the contents of wallet! A very nice gesture I thought, possibly resulting from his kind heart and realisation of my desperation I suppose. He was a nice man, but I was a bit surprised at his speed when leaving the car park.

Of course many are worse of than me, and I survive with the help of such donations, but even in the west folk struggle to survive. In the USA some 37 million are in poverty, and they have jobs! The wealthier a society the more we want, and the more advertisers inform us of things we really do 'need!' The 'credit crunch' will bring home to many what life is really like. For fifty years we have developed a constantly growing economy, with occasional concern for the 'poor starving elsewhere.' Maybe this will shock us into a better comprehension of the value of money? But somehow I doubt it, human nature being what it is.


Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Things You do!



Of course, had I been 'middle class' and a 'Daily Mail' reader, I suspect I would have headed that as 'The Things One Does.' However I didn't but I did manage to have a bite at the middle class 'Daily Mail' reader so it's not all bad! On Monday, in between grabbing the wheel at the big roundabout,("What lorry where?") my instructor asked if I was feeling fit. Naturally I went through a long list of aches and pains, and covered the many sufferings this never ending 'bug' wishes to give me. He cared not a jot! So this morning I found myself, in zero degrees I should add, wandering the streets sticking his leaflets through folks doors. He had come upon a sad problem, too many of his pupils have passed the test and now he has run out of work. I had suggested his kids, and his latest woman, should be out there doing this, but as I have mentioned before, he cared not a jot! However it was fun, and almost like working again!

Of course I came across the old problems postmen face daily. Dogs barking, gates which are shut, take ages to open, are covered in grime and rainwater, and get you a volley of abuse if you leave the thing open! Who needs a gate anyway? It is only a psychological barrier against the world and IT DOESN'T WORK! Many Englishmen are fearful of immigrants, especially black ones, coming here and taking the jobs they don't have and running of with the wife they now detest. Oh the problems of being such a person, and you defend your kith and kin with a dirty, rain covered gate! Well done! Women complaining that putting a leaflet through the letterbox, which 'clangs' loudly, wakes their child as if this is your fault, is another interesting problem. I have an answer to this but apparently this is illegal now. Pity. Letterboxes with a stiff 'brush' behind it in a vain attempt to keep out draughts also keeps out leaflets and mail. yet these folk complain their mail is bent! Some daft folk also have a metal plate, which 'clangs,' behind this brush. Are they all mad I ask? Paving slabs which rise up to me you and holes which hide until you find them are not helpful. And what can be said for the cat? Running to you as you come up the litter strewn path, this was not the best of areas to leaflet, little puss rubs herself into you, meows kindly, and as you walk away without opening the door and letting her in gives you a look that would make Margaret Thatcher tremble! Naturally I saw few postmen at work!

It almost make me feel like I was working again! My fingers went from frostbite to almost thawed in less than an hour, my knees ached, the sun went in and dark brooding clouds came over, threatening rain, and I felt like going back to bed. Yes indeed, it was just like being at work once again! I still have two thirds of his leaflets here! How many did he give me? I shall do more tomorrow, if it does not rain, and then I hope he will give me a free hour, or two!

Monday, 1 December 2008

AIDS



As I lay on the floor, brandy bottle at hand, staring at the ceiling and my mind whirring with roundabouts, 'A' roads, and people driving six inches behind your backside, I thought of Annie Lennox. This woman, who made her name with a pop group in the eighties, had been spouting on about AIDS and how bad it all was on Breakfast TV, the BBC I think, difficult to tell as they are all the same! She decried how awful it was, how something needed to be done, how we tended not to mention it, and she got right up my nose!


Yet another 'celebrity' telling us how she has 'raised' a million pounds towards AIDS charities, and demanding something is done! Can I ask how much of her millions were put into such charities? I suspect those who inform us of the horrors around us may appear to care, but it seems to me, care more for the pound in their pocket than the ones needing the cash! We are all well aware of the problems caused by AIDS, we all know of charities, at home and abroad, which deal with this. However do these 'celebrities' really care for the suffering I ask? or do they actually care for themselves through the people? The number of pop singers, film stars, and TV personalities seen in recent years seeking help for AIDS sufferers, gives an indication of concern, but concern for what? You see I do not believe such folk are concerned for the other, there is no 'Love your neighbour' here, but they are concerned for themselves! Rarely do such people show concern for kidney patients, or those with liver disease. heart problems do not concern them much, neither does Multiple Sclerosis or a wide variety of other diseases. No what really concerns such folk is the danger that their loose sex lives may lead to contracting AIDS! As long as they indulge such liberal attitudes several diseases are open to them, and this one kills!

Nothing funny in this, nothing funny in the disease or the attitudes shown. Let me show you an example. Robert Mapplethorpe was a photographer known only to the 'chattering classes' until his death from AIDS in 1989. From that day on he was a hero! His books, full of naked men, he was homosexual, sold to the trendies (only they could afford the price!) and from being almost unknown he became nationally renown in bookshops, newspapers and magazine articles. All because as a homosexual he died from AIDS. However, did anyone 'love' him? If they met him would they have liked him? Who can tell? How many others have become famous from dying of this illness? Without dying, would anyone have really cared? Princess Di, that royal hanger on, made a lot of fuss of AIDS patients. Can you remember one name from all those she was photographed with? You remember her publicity however, don't you?

On Saturday, while the Heart of Midlothian were destroying the vile beasts of Rangers Football Club players wore armbands concerning World AIDS Day. One Hearts player, David Obua, is a Ugandan. I wonder what stories he could tell concerning the damage done to his nation by AIDS. I remember a Cliff Richard film, from around fifteen years ago, showing a school run by Christians which contained around 150 children all of whom had become orphans because of AIDS. The church had to support them as no-one else could. A dying woman was shown, this was the grandmother, the sole survivor of her house, attempting to care for the grandchildren while dying herself! The parents had already died.

What is the cause and what is the cure? Is the cause a virus that spread from monkeys? In truth I neither know nor care, but I have an idea of the answer, it's marriage, and marriage as God intended! One man, one woman committed for life! That is not the easiest answer, but the alternative, while attractive to most of us, leads to many complications, and as we see, many diseases. A true marriage commitment is hard indeed, but so is moving from one to another, taking advantage whenever it is offered, and in general enjoying a hedonistic life. It is attractive, at least to me, but loose sexual behaviour destroys in many ways. AIDS is the most serious as it kills, silently and with no chance of survival. Had Africa followed this behaviour there would be no epidemic, no deaths, and happier people.

That said, after thirty or more years in which Africa has been the superpowers plaything, while leaders kept all the available cash to themselves and we in the west enjoyed our wealthy lifestyle it can be no surprise that any belief in a moral life would be regarded somewhat cynically in far too many places. Who can blame those with little to live for when they enjoy any pleasure, whatever the risk, I can't? While medical research strives for an antidote, it would be a pleasure indeed to see pop stars encouraging a healthier lifestyle, and then donating their money to those who search for cures or bring what aid they can. However, I suspect they may be too drunk or to busy finding a new 'partner' for their next publicity stunt!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

St Andrews Day



Scotland's Calvinist background has meant St Andrews Day had no meaning whatsoever. Today however, while St Andrew himself is of no importance to the majority of the populace, the day has once more found a place. Scotland, and independent nation dragged into a Union in 1707 by English aggression, has never submitted to an English yoke. This does not mean a union is not possible, and indeed beneficial, however it does show how the arrogance of England has never been accepted by the Scots. The union could work but only if England and the English joined in. Something they have never done! To them 'Britain' equals 'England.' An unacceptable idea to a free people. Indeed there was a serious intent to call Scotland 'North Britain' at one time, and when that failed, as it would, their arrogance's in the South merely chose to refer to Britain as 'England,' an attitude common around the First World War.

Scots independence from England had been in the middle of the nineteenth century when Conservative politicians (no less) felt Ireland received more money than Scotland. (Tory policy is always money dominated!) The growth of independence saw an attempt at a 'Home Rule' bill which was hindered by the outbreak of the Great War. It must be added that in spite of this, and at a time Scotland was in full employment and economic growth, Scotland responded wholeheartedly in support of the war. Unlike England, half of the men of military age enrolled, most suffered as the Scots divisions fought in every major battle during the conflict! In the twenties an independent movement continued, and again the depression and Second World War brought this to an end. However after much institutional English racism, not allowed against blacks in the BBC and elsewhere, but acceptable against Scots, Scotland once again has a degree of self rule. Nationalism grows when people are mistreated, or worse, treated with contempt, as the Scots have been by their English neighbours. This is a pity, as for the most part, Scots would work well with a people they have so much in common with, but it has never been an English habit to regard anyone but them selves as important. One example of media racism was noted, not against Scots, but the other Celtic nation Wales, today. The report on the BBC regarding England's loss to New Zealand at rugby concentrated on England. The report on the Welsh defeat of Australia spoke not of 'Wales' but of a 'Northern Hemisphere' victory! The commentator would not accept a Welsh win over an English defeat. Unconscious maybe, but reflect the racism that lies at the heart of England.

What about St Andrew himself? Well as we know Andrew was Peter's brother, and Peter, and he were appointed apostles by Jesus himself by the lake of Galilee all those years ago. That Andrew continued with Jesus during his earthly walk is clear, but what then? No-one knows! While it is true there are a myriad tales of his exploits, writings and deaths, (he apparently died in several different manners) nobody actually has any real idea of his story. There are tales of his bones being kept in Constantinople, and by various means working their way to Britain. From Hexam, where there stood a major Abbey, a monk brought them to Scotland and told the inhabitants there, Picts as it happens, the bones in the bag were St Andrew himself! They must have been amazed as a town of that name now stands on the Fife coast. A sign in the sky of two long streaks of white on the deep blue background (possible airline passing over) at that time became the Scottish 'Saltire' flag. The flag of St Andrew!

Who really knows? In days of yore when few could read, and the bible was a closed book to many, superstition abounded and religion was second to political gain. No change there then! Lacking a biblical understanding people came to put their hope in 'saints' of many sorts, some even Christian, and in time all nations had their own personal 'saints' who would plead before God on their behalf. The new Testament makes clear that only Christ Jesus, the great high priest, pleads before the throne, and that using his own blood shed on the cross. By no other name can men be saved. A 'saint' by the way, is simply someone who receives Christ Jesus death on behalf of his rotten nature, believes Gods mercy and Holy Spirit and finds a new life. Each Christian is in fact a 'saint.' No need for anyone 'special,' bar Jesus himself.

Have a happy, though frozen, wet, dreich, St Andrews Day. That's how Scots have become used to celebrating it. Only Scotland could find it acceptable to have a saints day in the middle of winter! Why not July I ask? Because it would rain then also. that's why!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

WoooooHoooooooooo!




WooooHoooooooooo!!!! We stuffed them good! Great first half against the overwhelming arrogance of the blue bigots! Two goals in a minute or two, their defence run ragged as it should be, and then an accidental own goal while Karapidis was being fouled by Scotland's cry baby Kris Boyd! Daft approach in second half where we let them into the game, although Rangers had not the skill to take advantage, and the crass stupidity of Lee Wallace (a Hibs fan) in getting himself sent off. However that apart we were tremendous!
The future,once again, is bright! The future is
MAROOOOOOOOON!


Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Christmas Cards



It's all Sir Henry Coles fault! Instead of writing Christmas messages he decided to send a Christmas Card instead! He had helped develop the 'Penny Post' with Rowland Hill and clearly was a man of talent. Talent which taught him how to avoid writing Christmas letters needlessly and his idea, which must have appeared clever at the time, now means we, that is you and I, have to trail through shops full of women to select, buy and post, at great cost, cards to friend (and foe on occasion) alike. Cole thought his card such a good idea that he printed over two thousand of the things. He sold his card at 1/- (a shilling) a time! Remember that in 1843 you would be lucky to earn 15/- a week. (20 shillings to one pound). Clearly the middle class were able to buy, but a quick read (?) of Dickens books reflect real society at that time, at least the bits that spoke to his poverty when young, and 'A Christmas Carol' probably spoke to many clerks who came across it!

I have just returned from being barged around by thoughtless women, and one man out of his depth, intent on looking at EVERY SINGLE CARD before not buying one. I have also looked at every single RELEVANT card and been, on the whole, disappointed. Far too many are slushy, some religious, others just plain unfunny or smut, and that is all too often not funny either. Cards for Mum are the worst. If my mother ever got a card with 'Love for my dear Mother' on the front she would think I had turned funny. Flowery slush is abundant but she has lived 93 years in the real world so she wants something amusing or worth looking at. I tried the 'Just what you want for Christmas - ME!' card once, but that brought a rare degree of sarcasm that need not be repeated. However,'Next year, just try money,' was an oft repeated phrase I noticed. For the younger kids I wanted 'Happy Christmas Brat!' but it appears these are not stocked by any card shop round here. I bet they would sell mind! I think I will suggest this to one of those companies that makes millions from poor suckers like you and me. (Notice that in the UK we can still have 'Happy Christmas' in our cards, not the PC, 'Happy Holidays.' That is what you call a democracy! Until the fascists change it of course!

As for the price! if I wanted to I could pay a fortune for cards, and we do! These folk have us over a barrel. They know that we MUST buy an expensive card for Mum, wife, concubine, daughter, someone important and so on. They realise that if Aunt Jessie sends a card she needs one back, and if we have a business large or small cards (and bribes) MUST be sent to ensure the customer comes back, especially in these world wide recession days, (Thanks for that American Bankers! Enjoy your bonuses!). I discovered however, that simply by not sending cards to those you feel send one to you because you send one to them because they send one to you is a circle that can be broken by 'forgetting' to send them one this year. The next year 'Glory be! you both save the cost as they don't send one because you sent one because they sent one and all are glad. Far too many cards are sent this way, and much dosh can be saved by a Christmas note over the e-mail to many of those you feel may still hope you live well and prosper (is that a biblical phrase, and why are my fingers joining together?) Now I send to those that matter, and in return receive almost no cards back. This, I am constantly being reminded, should tell me something, but I can't think what? When I first got the PC I decided to make my own cards and save money. I ended up paying almost three times the amount I usually spent! Never again!

It is of course nice to receive a good, funny, card stuffed with £20 notes at Christmas, and one year I hope to actually see this happen outwith my cocoa induced dreams. It is nicer to find suitable cards in one shop and avoid trekking around several of the female dominated areas, and they are, pushing aside the one who has clearly died (laughing?) which perusing the stock, and if an appropriate card is found, finding one that is not bent, spat on, or covered in some brats sticky fingerprints! It helps also, I discovered, not to trip over the lassie kneeling at the drawer under the shelving while attempting to replenish the stock. Such language from a lady! I bought a lot of (Cheap) cards from the hospice where my sister died, as I thought this would save money. Oh yes it does, but the kids need their own cards, different from the adults, Mum needs that special card, and then there is another who appears out of the blue and I begin to wonder where the money is going! Sir Henry may well have gone off and bought a stationers after he sold his card, but I would still like to have a word or two about him and his invention. I bet he did this just to encourage folk to use the 'Penny Post,' and by this means rise up the hierarchy at the General Post Office. For myself I hope he got rickets!