Monday, 31 March 2008


Soldiers are not unused to acts of courage. War gives ample opportunity for bravery, and many unknown hero's have fallen in wars throughout time. The companionship engendered in a fighting unit often brings out the best in men. Soldiers in all wars may enlist for patriotism or their nations need, some join for the money or adventure, but the tight knit unit often brings out a self giving attitude that cannot be replicated in 'civvy street.' No wonder so many servicemen fail to find the end of their time comfortable!

Here we read in the Telegraph of one such act of courage and outstanding bravery, a selfless act that saved another's life at the risk of his own. Lance Corporal Matt Croucher while serving in Afghanistan came upon a grenade released by a tripwire while on a night time mission. At his warning his colleagues took cover, although one man froze. Croucher then lay on the bomb using his backpack to suppress the explosion! The pack flew away,and Croucher survived! Atheists use the word 'miracle' at this point. His mates crowded round him as he was alive but concussed and with a nose bleed. The lance corporal stated 'It took 30 seconds before I realised I was definitely not dead."

He is not the first soldier to throw himself on a live grenade and save the men around him, but he may well be the first to survive! If anyone wants to know the meaning of words like 'courage,' or 'hero,' and 'self giving,' surely it is found here with this man! It appears he may be recommended for the Victoria Cross, the UK's highest award 'For Valour.' I think he may well deserve that.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Perseverance Award

Sicarii, that wise and thoughtful writer, has been kind enough to present me with this 'Perseverance Award!' This surprised me as I thought 'Perseverance' was an English knight from medieval times who was knocked off at Bannockburn. But it appears I was wrong! Once I had looked up a dictionary, and accompanying thesaurus, I realised it meant viz :-


1. persistent determination [syn: doggedness]
2. the act of persisting or persevering; continuing or repeating behavior;
"his perseveration continued to the point where it was no longer appropriate"

I think the last line sums things up perfectly! I am sure you will agree!

I will save this award, and at the appropriate time, following the description given by 'WordNet,' pass it on to the appropriate person. You know who you are!

Clean Hospitals

Once again we here a fuss about clean hospitals. Everybody shouts and complains demanding spotless hospitals. Now I agree but there are one or two things to remember here. In the eighties the Thatcher government decided to stop spending on the NHS. Her mad idea was to copy the American way and use insurance to cover health needs. As always she was too busy worshipping Mammon to notice that this is a system that has failed America! Not that noticing the fact would have changed her mind of course. One of her ideas was to cut down the numbers working in the NHS, still the biggest single employer in the UK. To this end the domestic work was privatised and put out to tender. The NHS bosses were instructed to accept the lowest bid! There was to be little consideration of whether the work could be done or not. This led to poor cleaning and care of hospital buildings, and a rise in the number of illegal immigrants operating as cleaners on exceedingly poor wages. I came across many at that time in London. It took some time for this system to be changed. However hospital costs continue to rise, and all those involved are at fault. Politically it became a game. The Tories wanting to sell it off and Labour claiming to keep free health care for all. Both lied and distorted facts to get elected, both failed the NHS.
Today this nonsense continues and we have seen the introduction of 'Deep Cleaning' of all hospitals in an effort to kill of the 'Superbugs' that infest such places. Yeah, that will work! When I first started in the Royal Infirmary in 1974 I was told that I was more in danger of catching something here than anywhere else, why? Because it is a hospital and it is full of bugs! What else can you expect in a place full of sick folk? As I recall I realise our domestic lass did catch a kidney disease, possibly from the hospital, maybe not. At that time we realised this was just part of life and accepted this. Why is this not the case today?
Today's spoilt generation has been led to believe that it can have whatever it wants. It demands that a hospital should heal their sickness and not pass on MRSA bugs to them. Any failure in this leads to a demand for compensation and yet more money is lost to the NHS and placed in the hands of the grasping public. A society that is afraid to let the kids play outside because of 'bad men' or too much traffic, or even worse, rain, cannot be expected to accept the very real dangers of hospitals, dear me no!
It is of course important for the NHS to ensure that hospitals are clean, and every effort ought to be made to ensure this happens, but the daft idea of bringing back 'Matrons' in the vain hope this will succeed has me laughing. Many Matrons were inefficient, and they did not do any cleaning, oh dearie me no! But bringing in more staff to clean the place will help so we can ask why is this not done? Cost dear folks, is the answer. Wages cost money. Those that run the place today will ensure that bureaucrats can continue to 'empire build' in their ivory towers, but they will not place sufficient domestics on the wards to keep the dirt down. Reduce the number of girls sitting around gossiping and having long lunches in Health Authorities and put the money into the hospitals! That is the answer, there is no other. It will never happen mind.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Wasted Week

Nothing has happened!
With the holiday weekend distorting the whole week, and the return of the bug leaving me feeble, and who noticed the difference I ask, the PC needing reinstalled, and that leaving problems, nothing has happened this week.
The long weekend throws everything out. I still think this is Thursday but it is in fact Friday! Maybe of course that has more to do with age than anything else.
The bug began early and I had the usual symptoms, although some have suffered worse recently. Still it is a nuisance, why me? I suppose it helps the diet, not eating much, but I do little exercise and I notice the stiffness whenever I stand up!
The PC had to be reinstalled. This means that while it is much more stable now I have no sound. This appears to be a common problem with XP installs. I await a response from the service man - probably, 'Here we go again!.' Amazing the difference sound makes. Not just because it makes a sound but the atmosphere at a football match is entirely different when seen in silence. I find if someone speaks to e when I do not have my glasses on I can't hear them right! In the same way I cannot follow a game when totally silent, much easier with crowd noise.
Another problem is the 'all in one' printer/scanner. It copies things OK, but refuses to accept it is connected. I cannot scan or print! This I discovered after writing a letter yesterday and then having to write it by hand afterwards. I could not read what I wrote, how will they? Use of the keyboard has left my poor writing illegible!
I wonder what will go wrong next?
Shall I go job hunting? Great, except when I log in I struggle to get connection!
I could not get connected yesterday morning at all, similar in afternoon. Just managed, after many attempts, to connect in evening. Real pain that. I did contact Pipex this morning by e-mail, I wonder if I will get a reply? I didn't last time. I am scared to log out now, but being on a cheaper tariff than before means going over it costs money!
Shall I go out, it's raining. Ah still Easter week then!
Just like being in Edinburgh this weather.
But I don't have the pleasure of the view over the Forth towards Burntisland. That I miss.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

The English, Arrogant or just Self Deluded?

From Dan Warren on the BBC site, 9th January 2003

January is a bleak, depressing month, brightened only by the occasional snowball fight and the fact there are no wasps.
But if you are an English football fan, there is at least some reason to continue living.
The recent steady flow of talented young stars has turned into an veritable torrent, with a new teenage hero seemingly unearthed every week.
A brace by 19-year-old Michael Tonge against Liverpool on Wednesday, while 20-year-old Neil Mellor was scoring at the other end, added two more names to this term's astounding production line of promise.
And future England manager Alan Shearer must be rubbing his sensible hands together in glee at the pot of gold maturing before his very eyes.


Chris Kirkland, 21 now, will be the world's finest goalkeeper by 2008, especially after another five years of shot-stopping practice at the back of Liverpool's attack-shy team.
Leeds' Paul Robinson, 23, is unlikely to be far behind his Liverpool rival and the two of them are likely to vie, Shilton-Clemence style, for the number one jersey for many years.


History has shown that every successful England international team has contained brothers, and Rio and Anton Ferdinand will form the bedrock of Shearer's defence.
Rio will be the team's veteran at 29, but Anton will possess the same assured approach and, let us hope, the same "funky" goalscoring celebrations.
Blackburn's Martin Taylor will be there to mop up when the siblings' rivalry causes them to lose concentration.
Ashley Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips will be devastating wing-backs, whose surging runs will leave Italians crying into their capuccinos and Germans blubbing in their bratwursts.


This is where England excel, with the maverick talents of Joe Cole and David Dunn backed by the steel and vision of Steven Gerrard.
With Dunn (28 in 2008) and Cole (26 in 2008) possessing maturity and talent, all England need is for Gerrard (27) to end his current run of form which is, unfortunately, rubbish.
All three will be at their peak, and the onlooking David Beckham, who will probably retire from football at 30 to pursue a rock career, will smile in the stands as his successors shine.


Rooney is but part of England's talent avalanche
England will have so much talent up front it will be embarrassing, and other teams may concede games before kick-off to avoid the humiliation on the pitch.
The original odd couple will spearhead the attack - Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen.
Off the field, the pair will fight like dogs, but on the field they will combine to create flowing football poetry which will reduce even the most toughened defenders to mere shells of men.
And to keep them alert, the likes of Liverpool's Neil Mellor, Aston Villa's Darius Vassell, Leeds' James Milner and West Ham's Jermaine Defoe will all be in the prime of their careers.

This array of 'stars, who do they play in their first game then, hmmm?

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Worker Dead at Desk for Five Days

This rings true with some of the places I've worked in.......

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Larry at War

Discovered this on the bookshelf last night, under a pile of dust. Long time since I acquired this book, but well worth it. Larry, or Terence Parkes was regarded by the late Alan Coren as "The only great silent comedian still in business." He was of course right! Larry's cartoons and almost all without words. Occasionally a man might arrive home and find a note on the kitchen table, "Gone berserk, your dinners on the ceiling," it reads. But his cartoons do not have the punch line written below as is normal, the normally speak for themselves. The book was published in 1995, long after the war had finished, although the 'SUN' may not yet have realised this. Far too young to serve in the war, but old enough to forever be affected by it this is Larry's view, and it is worth a look. Available in a charity shop somewhere near you!

Monday, 24 March 2008

I am Looking out the Window...

It's a slow day. I have the fingers twitching desperate to write something and there is nothing within. I could mention the snow drifting past while the sky appears to be filled with sunshine and light blue. I could mention giving up attempting to find sound on this PC since reinstalling XP. A description of how I made the soup might be possible, but I don't want to bring that up again. A rant concerning the emptiness of Easter television, but what else do we expect from the dumbed down telly people? The only programme I really enjoyed was on BBC4, a music prog covering Notre Dame Cathedrals efforts in developing 'Plainsong.' While having no knowledge of the Latin used I still enjoy the sound of such music. Lovely stuff, and well presented I thought. I could mention the thin layer of dust that covers everything here, except in the kitchen of course, the mice have scattered that. I could, if pushed, discuss the latest bank statement although my tears may cause this keyboard to short circuit. For another rant I may mention 'Slam' next door. I found three letters downstairs on Saturday, one of which was for the folks round the back. I left it there intending to pass it on to them the next time I went out. I did not go out after that and forgot it. Sunday morning, as the snow began to lie, I noticed it lying outside and went down to retrieve it. 'Slam,' had found it downstairs, realised it was not for us and just chucked it out the door! What is the matter with folk? But I will not mention this as it just peeves me. I'm tempted to buy a cheap 'digital camera' that I cannot afford so I can sell books on E-bay. Should I mention this? Not sure if I should as the books I want to make money out of are not selling on E-Bay! One went for £1 and the other did not sell! I am looking for £15-20 for them! Another idea bites the dust so I will avoid bringing it up. Hmmmm looks like we are back to soup again, and that reminds me it is time for my 'Flanders Stew. And that, as you know, is something, like a smile from my youngest great niece, that brings a lump to my throat.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

What I think of the 'Easter Bunny!'

Easter Morning

'Without the taking of blood there is no remission of sins.'

Strange how we fail to realise how our wrongs must be atoned for. Much better to push them aside and 'hope' they will be forgotten, letting all fear of judgement be pushed away and considered unreal. Deep in our hearts we do know right from wrong, and our conscience, however stunted, does not let us rest. Preferring eggs and shopping we increasingly ignore Easter, seeing it as no more than a minor Christmas. This way we miss out on the God who desperately wants to give us life abundant! The empty tomb reveals the depth of love, the distance God himself travels to bring us to himself. What sort of God is this that knowing our nature takes our pains just because he wants each and every one of us?

'Jesus died for our sins and rose for our justification.'

Saturday, 22 March 2008

A Mixed Saturday

Getting up early this morning I decided to wander around Sainsburys for the weekly fruit and veg. I knew that with it being a holiday weekend, and with snowflakes attempting to fall, that the market stalls would not turn out today. Naturally, as I left the store, I could see the usual veg man trying to erect his stall in spite of the wind fighting valiantly against him.
I then attended to the clean up and washing and all the other things that must be done on a holiday weekend when some folks are enjoying a break and I am plodding around looking for Somerfields own brand washing powder. Well it is actually a kind of purple liquid but you know what I mean.
Smugly satisfied with myself I then turned to the main project of the day, attempting to complete the reinstalling of XP that I began yesterday. All day I spent downloading, installing, scratching my head, installing, querying, and installing till the candle was near the end of its life. Naturally my work had not been completed, I still had to connect to the web and reinstall OE. Today that was accomplished, and some hours later Outlook Express finally allowed me to use it. It is one of the wonders of this computer world that instructions for a wide variety of computer hard and software come incomplete! However I had wisely kept the secret hidden away and, once I remembered this, Success was achieved.
The word success does not include sound of course. No sound whatsoever can be obtained at the moment. 'No audio device' it claims, although I do get a buzz every so often - not like that - so something makes a noise. Oh yes, and the 'floppy' still wants a disk inserted in 'A.' So that is lost also.
However I managed to make an almost uneatable soup out off a wide variety of near penicillin veg that I had lying around. That I used tonight to take away the taste of the 'Flanders Curry' that I had for lunch, with oatcakes. The dole office have never suggested I take up cooking for a living, which is just as well. I once fed beautiful young lass who worked for the environment folk at the council. She closed down my kitchen! While doing this I listened to Sky Sports as the season begins to draw to an end. My ears were anxious to hear the good news of our mighty hammering of Falkirk at Tynecastle today - it never happened. It seems instead we had a dreary nil-nil draw which does not suit us at all. There will now be a moment for sympathy.

Thank you.

An unusual thing did occur tonight mind, I laughed at 'You've been Framed!' One of the sequences had me in tears of laughter and that has not happened for a long time, tears of woe and despair oh yes, but laughter - no! Mind you some folks blogs have come close to it in recent days. Usually deliberately!

But as I looked out of the window I realised just how much I love Spring. The birdies flit cheerily through the trees, singing happily while they begin the breeding season, maybe that's why? The chaffinches and robins, dunnocks and blackbirds pour out their song brightening the dawn. One advantage when I was a postman was to hear the dawn chorus beginning as I cycled to work, marvelous that was. High overhead a kestrel may circle or hover while seeking out the tiny speck that is a mouse or vole far below. Wood pigeons coo irritatingly loudly outside folks windows long before the alarm clock has threatened them into life. Massed ranks of rooks or crows,(who knows the difference?) caw loudly high in the trees, and somewhere a thrush takes time off from listening intently for the worm and instead sings beautifully while announcing that this is his patch so clear off. Among the trees covered in budding leaves are masses of bluebells showing through the darkening floor. Daffodils can be seen in many places, and snowdrops and little blue flowers begin to appear. Lovely, just lovely. The sight cheers the heart, a lightness within accompanies the lightening of the skies above, and the sun climbing higher each day, ensuring the sky is that little bit deeper blue, and the whole world appears a better place. No wonder folk in Norway and Finland who suffer six months darkness each year go bananas! That is enough to turn anyone into a Viking invader!

Admittedly, being Easter, the weather would turn a tad chilly. There is a slightly cold front moving from the north, starting at the north pole and passing through Iceland picking up snow and ice on its way. Kind hearted as it is the front is leaving Spring snow all across the highlands and down the east coast of England. Some of it has been plastering itself against my window all afternoon! To be honest it is bright and sunny at the moment but I can see in the distance another huge dark gray cloud heading towards us. From the light blue sky above small sleet like flakes are drifting by, doing their best to grow up into snowflakes. Now in my humble opinion, if the ice flows are melting, glaciers shrinking, and the Maldives and other places beginning to flood maybe it would be a better idea to keep all this white stuff up there in the north where it belongs? Could we not persuade the weather folk to do something about this?
Clouds have always fascinated me in some ways and I can see why Constable put them in his pictures so often. I doubt he realised just how large a cloud could be. In the far distant past I flew home to Edinburgh and the whole journey was above cloud. Later that night the weather forecast showed the size of the cloud. The picture revealed one single cloud that stretched for thousands of miles from the Arctic to the Mediterranean, and from the Atlantic to the centre of Asia. What a size! Add to this the variation in the clouds, what the meteorologist will understand from them, and what they comprise, it just leaves me wondering in the same way I do when confronted by other elements of creation such as the sea, or mountains. Fascinating. Wonderful stuff, but I would really rather get sunburned somewhere in the Mediterranean!

I am however suffering that guilt that turns up every so often. The guilt caused by talking to my mother! My Mum is a wonderful person and does so well for someone who is 93. However while I want to keep in contact I really find less and less to share with her. My conversation is limited at the best of times, and she is trapped indoors too much at this time of year, and after discussing the weather, the 9 year old, what she eats, and nothing else really there is nothing to say. Women need to converse in a way men don't, and all to often this is plain boring, and add to that my life being very different for the family up north, and indeed everyone else on the planet, it is a very trying time. Until my sister died things were OK, she would call and talk for hours about nothing, and she was just around the corner, not 400 miles away! It is so frustrating, and made worse by here deafness. I am not going to spend all night shouting down a phone!
So nearly every time I call I end up full of guilt, and angry! I want to do more, and I don't want to spend time talking about her dinner for an hour-again! Excuse me, I am just off to gas myself!

Friday, 21 March 2008

Good Friday

What sort of God are you, that sacrifices yourself, for people like us?

'This is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us,
and gave himself for us, while we were yet sinners.'

Monday, 17 March 2008

Dumb Answers

Jeremy Paxman: What is another name for 'cherrypickers' and 'cheesemongers'?
Contestant: Homosexuals.
Paxman: No. They're regiments in the British Army who will be very upset with you.

Jamie Theakston: Where do you think Cambridge University is?
Contestant: Geography isn't my strong point.
Theakston: There's a clue in the title.
Contestant: Leicester .

BBC NORFOLK Stewart White: Who had a worldwide hit with What A Wonderful World? Contestant: I don't know. White: I'll give you some clues: what do you call the part between your hand and your elbow? Contestant: Arm. White: Correct. And if you're not weak, you're...? Contestant: Strong. White: Correct - and what was Lord Mountbatten's first name? Contestant: Louis. White: Well, there we are then. So who had a worldwide hit with the song What A Wonderful World? Contestant: Frank Sinatra?

Alex Trelinski: What is the capital of Italy ?
Contestant: France .
Trelinski: France is another country. Try again.
Contestant: Oh, um, Benidorm.
Trelinski: Wrong, sorry, let's try another question. In which country is the Parthenon?
Contestant: Sorry, I don't know.
Trelinski: Just guess a country then.
Contestant: Paris.

THE WEAKEST LINK (BBC2) Anne Robinson: Oscar Wilde, Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Archer have all written books about their experiences in what: prison, or the Conservative Party? Contestant: The Conservative Party.

DJ Mark: For Pounds 10, what is the nationality of the Pope?
Ruth from Rowley Regis: I think I know that one. Is it Jewish?

Anne Robinson: In traffic, what 'J' is where two roads meet?
Contestant: Jool carriageway?

UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE Bamber Gascoigne: What was Gandhi's first name? Contestant: Goosey?

GWR FM ( Bristol )
Presenter: What happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963?
Contestant: I don't know, I wasn't watching it then..

RTE RADIO 2FM ( IRELAND ) Presenter: What is the name of the long- running TV comedy show about pensioners: Last Of The ..? Caller: Mohicans.

Greg Scott: We're looking for a word that goes in front of 'clock'.
Contestant: Grandfather.
Scott: Grandfather clock is already up there, say something else.
Contestant: Panda.

Phil: What's 11 squared?
Contestant: I don't know.
Phil: I'll give you a clue. It's two ones with a two in the middle.
Contestant: Is it five?

Q: Which American actor is married to Nicole Kidman?
A: Forrest Gump.

RICHARD AND JUDY Leslie: On which street did Sherlock Holmes live? Contestant: Er . . . Leslie: He makes bread . . . Contestant: Er . . . Leslie: He makes cakes . . Contestant: Kipling Street ?

Presenter: In what year was President Kennedy assassinated?
Contestant: Erm . . .
Presenter: Well, let's put it this way - he didn't see 1964.
Contestant: 1965?

Phil Tufnell: How many Olympic Games have been held?
Contestant: Six.
Tufnell: Higher!
Contestant: Five.

FORT BOYARD (CHALLENGE TV) Jodie Marsh: Arrange these two groups of letters to form a word - CHED and PIT. Team: Chedpit.

Presenter: Which is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world?
Contestant: Barcelona .
Presenter: I was really after the name of a country.
Contestant: I'm sorry, I don't know the names of any countries in Spain .

Presenter: How many toes would three people have in total?
Contestant: 23.

Jeff Owen: In which country is Mount Everest ?
Contestant (long pause): Er, it's not in Scotland , is it?

Girdler: I'm looking for an island in the Atlantic whose name includes the letter 'e'.
Contestant: Ghana .
Girdler: No, listen. It's an island in the Atlantic Ocean .
Contestant: New Zealand .

NATIONAL LOTTERY (BBC1) Question: What is the world's largest continent? Contestant: The Pacific

Presenter: Name a film starring Bob Hoskins that is also the name of a famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Contestant: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Steve Le Fevre: What was signed to bring World War I to an end in 1918?
Contestant: Magna Carta.

JAMES O'BRIEN SHOW (LBC) O'Brien: How many kings of England have been called Henry? Contestant: Er, well, I know there was a Henry the Eighth ... er .... er ... three?

Eamonn Holmes: There are three states of matter: solid, liquid and what?
Contestant: Jelly.

RICHARD ALLINSON SHOW (RADIO 2) Allinson: What international brand shares its name with the Greek goddess of victory? Contestant (after long deliberation): Erm, Kellogg's?

Girl: Name a book written by Jane Austen.
Boy: Charlotte Bronte.

Searle: In which European country is Mount Etna ?
Caller: Japan .
Searle: I did say which European country, so in case you didn't hear that, I can let you try again.
Caller: Er ... Mexico ?

Ulrika Jonsson: Who wrote Lord of the Rings?
Contestant: Enid Blyton

PAUL WAPPAT (BBC RADIO NEWCASTLE ) Paul Wappat: How long did the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel last? Contestant (after long pause): Fourteen days.

Eamonn Holmes: Dizzy Gillespie is famous for playing what?
Contestant: Basketball.

Jeff Owen: Where did the D-Day landings take place?
Contestant (after pause): Pearl Harbor ?

Daryl Denham: In which country would you spend shekels?
Contestant: Holland ?
Denham: Try the next letter of the alphabet.
Contestant: Iceland ? Ireland ?
Denham (helpfully): It's a bad line. Did you say Israel ?
Contestant: No.

PHIL WOOD SHOW (BBC GMR) Wood: What 'K' could be described as the Islamic Bible? Contestant: Er . . . Wood: It's got two syllables . . . Kor . . . Contestant: Blimey? Wood: Ha ha ha ha, no. The past participle of run . . . Contestant: (Silence) Wood: OK, try it another way. Today I run, yesterday I . . . Contestant: Walked?

Dale Winton: Skegness is a seaside resort on the coast of which sea:a) Irish Sea, b) English Channel , c) North Sea?
Contestant: Oh, I know that, you can start writing out the cheque now, it's on the east coast, so it must be the Irish Sea .

Melanie Sykes: What is the name given to the condition where the sufferer can fall asleep at any time?
Contestant: Nostalgia.

LUNCHTIME SHOW (BRMB) Presenter: What religion was Guy Fawkes? Contestant: Jewish. Presenter: That's close enough.

Chris Moyles: Which 'S' is a kind of whale that can grow up to 80 tonnes?
Contestant: Ummm . .
Moyles: It begins with 'S' and rhymes with 'perm'.
Contestant: Shark.

Wright: Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character clad only in a loincloth did he play?
Contestant: Jesus.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Life Goes On.....

So, deciding that the laptop needed replacing I considered my options. Dig out the old PC that lies gathering dust awaiting repair maybe? Well I asked my postman mate who is famed for his ability at fixing PCs to fix it for me, and when I mentioned the fault his eyes widened, he mumbled some excuse and avoided me for weeks. I saw him recently and informed him I needed this PC fixed urgently and, as you might expect, one week later I heard he had obtained a transfer to the Shetland Isles! Whether this was because of his personal life, his desire for a closer look at the 'Northern Lights,' or his unwillingness to tend to my needs I am unsure.

The second option entailed the computer shops around here. One being a small dingy place run by what I guess is an old lag who learned about computers during his time inside. No doubt he would do a good job, but what would this cost, and where is my watch gone anyway? Along the road lies a more reliable company, well established and growing in size, however I may be cheaper buying a new BMW Series 7 like the owners rather than pay what they will charge. So, without complaining I obtained a PC on E-Bay for £140. At last a superior machine which will help in so many ways to make my life worthwhile.

Naturally it has failed to work properly!

I set the thing up and immediately it worked. I happily added those things that took up so much needless space on the old machine and sat back to enjoy – except for the floppy disk that would not work. It keep saying 'insert disk in 'A,' ' after I had inserted disk in 'A.' I have a lot of floppy disks and I want to know what is on them! At this moment I am still being held in suspense! A few days later I played a disk on the CD-Rom and it stopped for no reason. However I did download some stuff onto disk and all seemed well again. The PC mind is clearly female! Then while playing Simon and Garfunkel the CD-Rom stopped playing a second time and promptly disappeared! Maybe it was the wrong CD?

However the service chap has been helpful, and among other things has sent an installation disk for me to reinstall XP pro. Not having a clue I just stuck it in and let it run and hoped. To my surprise the CD worked, and it installed, I thought. It made no difference, except the CD reappeared – and the sound disappeared! The floppy remains dead. No doubt the proper tech engineer would uninstall the XP first and reinstall properly, but I am wavering about this as my tech ability is akin to Britney Spears ability to keep out of the news, none whatsoever! I now sit here downloading billions of different views in the 'Easy way to fix it' type message. I cannot say I am encouraged.

On top of this my exercise programme, cycling, stretching, walking and complaining is now hindered by the rain which has escaped from the north of Scotland and is depositing itself down here in England's driest county. The farmers who have desired rain for the crops growth will no doubt appear on telly tomorrow complaining the rain has damaged the farms. As a professional complainer one must admire farmers who can complain far more resolutely than even a taxi drivers can!

Now this weather is not too much of a hazard as I am knackered from walking too far after too little exercise and that is not a good idea. However, encouraged by some famous pop star, of whom I had never heard, speaking of coming down from 15 ½ stone to 13 ½ like I want to, I am encouraged to continue. Tomorrow, if dry enough, I will attempt to cycle up the old railway, then continue the fruitless job search. Ah the job search, how do you find work for a 56 year old, no-nothing idiot? The folk at the job shop have given up! The lottery fails me, and God is not indicating anything obvious – except get up and look, but where boss? Hmmmm, I think I need my lunch, then I will consider this again – unless I fall asleep.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

I Hate You Moo-Dog!

In my little mind I have always seen Moo-Dog as a blogger slightly above the common pack. Articulate, witty and divesting the day to day struggles of that much downtrodden member of the species – man! This, I always considered, a man who bravely faces the adversary that fate decrees for him with wisdom and humour. In short a man to respect and esteem! No longer!
Underneath that kindly witty exterior lies a black Irish heart! This has been well hidden through his blog so far but at last what lies beneath has leaked out. In spite of my endless support (well, abuse on his comments maybe) he has reached deep into the pit of mischievousness and Tagged me!

It is at times like this I cry like Ian Paisley cry 'Never!' Never!' 'Never!'
But I do it anyway.....

He says,'Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.'
'Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.'

Seven! Where will I find seven folk? Three would be enough for tagging surely? This must have begun with a woman, no man has that much to say.......

Fact 1. In 1974 I worked as an orderly in the 'Trauma' ward of the Royal Infirmary.
Eight patients died that year..

Fact 2. While walking along Westbourne Grove some years ago I had Eric Claptons 'Pretending' running through my mind. At that moment I confronted Eric Clapton! He looked at me, realised at a distance I was was dreaming I was he, and escaped into the '7Eleven' nearby.

Fact 3. I detest and loath and hate and despise and disdain and scorn and snort at Soap Operas!

Fact 4. I once stood in the enclosure at Celtic Park and shouted 'GOAL!' when we scored.
This was the one and only time this occurred......

Fact 5. The first single I ever bought, for 6s.8d, was Tom Jones, 'Green Green Grass of Home.'
'Stupid boy!'

Fact 6. I bought a 'Bullworker' in 1969. Had I used it for '7 minutes a day' as advertised, I would now be a muscle-bound oaf! I am not muscle-bound.

Fact 7. I don't know seven bloggers who would let me tag them without reviling me.
Ah well, no change there then!

The Chosen Few :-

Mulled Vine. Because he would do this to me!

Scottish Diary.
Because they have so many interesting facts that need to be revealed.

Channel of Healing. Because there is humour there!

Sicarii. Because he also would do this to me!

Oddness Because this man also has great humour and a wonderful blog.

Auld Reekie Rants. Spite!

Lance. Because he is a good man, and will not be nasty to me like the rest will!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Paul Raymond

Paul Raymond found fame with his 'Raymond Revue Bars. In 1958 he discovered a loophole in the law that allowed him to open a 'private club' thus allowing male and female 'strippers' to entertain the customers. They became popular, especially with the rich and famous! In spite of opposition from officialdom business boomed and Raymond built an extensive property chain in the centre of London, eventually owning 60 of Soho's 87 acres. He also bought the 'Windmill Theatre,' famous for it's nude 'performers,' and comedians during and just after the war. Many of these became the stable of British comedy for the next thirty years, the comedians that is, not the nudes. Later Raymond added famous magazines such as 'Men Only,' and 'Razzle,' which became became top sellers. I used to buy mine for the gardening tips you know.

During the great heatwave of 1976 I ran about the city on a Suzuki GT185, like I worked for 'Hari Kari' motorbike messengers. Quite how I survived I will never know. Our job was to deliver photographic material to a wide variety of, mostly pig ignorant, customers. Among them the magazines just mentioned. To deliver these meant entering the 'Windmill Theatre' stage door, the place now having become 'The Raymond Revue Bar,' and climb endlessly to the top floor editorial suite. Here in a windowless large room I expected to see a stream of buxom beauties being photographed, I was disappointed. The nearest thing was a scatter brained blonde who having failed to measure up for the photographer was forced to work, it looked as if the whole enterprise was beyond her, I wondered how she kept the job? The 'revue' downstairs consisted of naked male and female dancers romping over the stage to the delight of the audience, or so the 'Evening Standard' would have me believe, I never went myself. Package delivered I returned down the twisting stairs, passed the group of male dancing boys who clearly would not be in danger of troubling the lassies, unless they pinched their clobber for a night out. I would squeeze past and ignore them, hoping they wouldn't come too close!

A few years later again I came across Mr Raymond. This time a once only trip to his penthouse to deliver the groceries! This expensive St James block, just behind the 'Ritz,' where he never offered to take me to tea, was graced with a marble floor at the entrance and both I and the driver, it takes two to deliver when you expect to meet gorgeous dumb blonds, stood expectantly at the door. It was opened by an ageing Spanish woman with a hair lip and poor English! How disappointed were we? Very! All men, even porn merchants, realise that looks are not everything, and when it comes to keeping the house a dumb blonde is of no use whatsoever!

Raymond's personal life was not a success, he had a son by his partner in a previous stage act, for whom he paid £1 a week in maintenance, and his wife bore him a son and a daughter. He became estranged for his son, his wife divorced him after one of his longer affairs and his daughter, the heir to his empire, died of an accidental drug overdose. Something he never got over, some believing he blamed himself for her death.

In recent years he rarely ventured from his penthouse, his ex wife claiming he had said 'He felt people only wanted to know him because of his money,' his property business alone thought to be worth £650 million. Paul Raymond's life had started in impoverished Liverpool but ended in an expensive penthouse alone and embittered. Here was a man who had everything but a life! It just left me so sad that there are so many more out there just like him, filthy rich, and powerful. Men who consider themselves the movers and shakers of the world, but in the end they all to often end up like Paul Raymond, alone.

What a waste of a life.

The Telegraph

Friday, 7 March 2008

Edinburgh or Auld Reekie to you!

Reading Serizys blog earlier I was reminded of this mans excellent writing about 'Auld Reekie,' or Edinburgh, pronounced 'Edinburra.'
The foto she included gave an image of this fine city as a pace of gray skies and drizzle. There is much truth in this! Even here, in England's driest county, we started the day in fine Edinburgh fashion, gray, drizzle turning to rain, and a chill seeping through to the string vest.

The temperature is always slightly higher down here, and the constant wind blowing from the West is not missed! In days of yore we would spend some time attending 'The Goblet,' a hostelry in Rose Street frequented at that time by the friends of Gordon Brown when a student. It is not outside the bounds of possibility that the man himself would leave aside his studies, and he studied hard, to spend an evening amongst us lower orders. If only I had a camera at Hogmany!!! Alas I never had, but I could make a fortune out of the 'Daily Mail' today if I had. When leaving this place of refreshment we would saunter down to Princes Street and turn right straight into a howling freezing wind that came from the North Atlantic via Paisley. We knew it came from Paisley because of all the badly written hoax begging letters the wind carried along with it. Couple the icy wind with drizzle and we have a form of sleet unknown in Siberia! I miss it....

Of course Mike Smith reminds me of these good days in his blog, although I doubt the famous Mrs Smith would let him ever go to 'The Goblet,' and certainly not with us! However, if you wish to read the writings of a man famous for his notable tome 'Follow The Hearts,' I think you will find this author a worthwhile use of your time. Keep up to date with 'Auld Reekie,' without advertisements for house renting, here.

Israeli Shooting

Another day another shooting in Israel. Of course this one involved Israelis so there are lots of cameras to be found at the scene. This picture one of many in the 'Telegraph' today. World leaders join in the cry of 'outrage' and speak of 'the need for a peaceful solution,' and sympathy, rightly, is offered to the relatives. How often this happens, in the past from suicide bombers, the other night from an individual working alone.

The outrage is clear, the cry for revenge fills the air, mourners speak of 'animals,' and many ask the simple question 'Why? Little has been said so far of the Israelis killing over a hundred Palestinians last week!
There is far less 'outrage' over the Israelis killing of Arabs, 'Why?' For far too many people, Christians included, there is a foolhardy temptation to say one side is 'good' and the other 'bad!' In one of his excellent books Robert Fisk pointed out that in the Middle East there is NO good side, they are all bad, and he is right!

For Christians there is the temptation to support Israel because they believe God has brought his people back to the 'promised land.' Whether this is true or not, God does not give Israel the right to treat Arabs, many of whom are Christian, badly. At no point does any scripture instigate a policy of genocide in today's world! Outrages, such as this one, must be condemned, but so must the abuse, and there great abuse, of Palestinians. The leadership of Israel has always been non religious, and if Jews wish to follow God in returning to their land this must be done in a manner God can approve of, quoting Old Testament stories does not overrule the words of the Messiah!

Yes it is a hard situation, and no, you and I do not have a clue what to do about it, even though a great many, mostly American, like to pretend they do. God is in Christ working his providence out, and his plans will come to pass. But not by driving tanks through Gaza, and not by ignoring Hamas. Time for honesty from Israeli leaders, time for a laying down of guns and rockets by Arabs. Time for a change of ways from all concerned.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Spend,Spend, Spend, what you don't have....

“Life! Don't ask me about life!” So said the depressed robot in “the Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy.” I know what he meant. The laptop has been slowly falling apart in recent times, just like me, and last week I decided something had to be done. The old PC that has been lying here, deceased, for some time could be repaired, but that would cost near £150 or so, what with parts and labour.' The choices around here are slim and the postie who repaired PCs has had himself transferred to the Shetland Isles! All that just to avoid fixing the PC! So last week I came to a decision, I either had the old one fixed and spent money I did not in fact possess, or I bought a new one, hopefully cheaper, with money I did not possess. To the latter I sped like a man heading for his execution! I landed up on E-Bay and after a few days pondering spent £140
( plus P&P) on a new PC. Gulp!

Since Monday I have been striving to fill the thing with all the necessary bits, not an easy task, especially when I have forgotten so many of them, and now the installation of the programmes was harder than I remembered! However most things, bar the 'floppy' drive actually work, and the other wrongs will work themselves out – maybe. I did e-mail the chaps at the other end and fixed one wee problem, however when I mailed asking about the floppy drive I have, as yet, received no reply. Typical! However once again I can waste time spewing my spleen on the blog, send unwanted e-mails to others, (just leave your address and my junk will follow) and even look for work! I managed to transport several things over from old machine but the links have not arrived. Thousands of them, gathered over time, full of important info – gone! Never mind eh? Not the greatest PC you will find but hopefully will do the job! If only I could do a job also....

One important announcement however.

There are reports of a lorry carrying cheese overturning on the M6 and shedding its load…

Police are warning motorists to drive Caerphilly

Monday, 3 March 2008

Las Vegas













Saturday, 1 March 2008

Cowboy Movies

Every time I change the channel there is a 'Cowboy Film' showing! For a while all I was finding was yet another episode of 'Friends,' and who watches that anyway? Women of a certain age I would guess. But Cowboy films? Who watches them these days? They are all the same, follow the same script and have as much relation to the actual American West as I have to a nuclear scientist!

Now when I was a kid I loved 'Wagon Train' on the telly, but I was only five or six when I came across it and since then I have watched several million 'westerns' and discovered just how unrealistic - and boring they are! if they are not firing 'six shooters' which appear to contain five hundred rounds, they are fighting bad men who want to steal their ranch. Always and ever there is a woman, usually one who is extremely well proportioned for a lass chasing cattle around a ranch hundreds of miles in size. Their hair never appears out of place which must be a miracle in such circumstances. Of course there will be a scene in which they cross the river, Indians fall off horses when shot by a 'six shooter' at a hundred yards range, and there is always a fight between the hero and the baddie. No one ever gets fingers in the eyes or kicked in the cobs during such actions, every thing is done fair and square - and a nasty man is always punched hard enough to fall over the bar and break the mirror!

Dross! Unmitigated dross!

John Wayne made a name for himself masquerading as what some call the 'All American hero,' and we call a complete doughnut! You may recall John Fords answer when asked 'How did you make Wayne a star?' He said, 'I give him as few words as possible!' No wonder. Yet his image has made him the 'typical' cowboy, and he was nothing like the real thing. He also played the war hero, spending his time film making in Hollywood when others were fighting Germans and Japanese. Jimmy Stewart flew a bomber over Germany on at least a dozen missions, John Wayne made poor quality films and became a star.

The Buffalo Bill Circus at the turn of the century went a long way to create the myth of the west that was encouraged by the silent movies of the day. Tom Mix and others developed this story line in spite of the facts being available to them, if they cared to look. But I suppose reality in movies would make them either too boring or too awful to show to the public. So we get the 'bread and Circuses' from Hollywood instead. Ignore facts and give the people cut down, bland or distorted truths as it is easier to cope with. But please stop showing this rubbish on telly after the kids programmes have finished!