Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Footballs Intellectuals

'It was a game we should have won. We lost it because we thought we were going to win it. But then again, I thought that there was no way we were going to get a result there.' - Jack Charlton

'We keep kicking ourselves in the foot.' - Ray Wilkins

'I have a number of alternatives, and each one gives me something different.' - Glenn Hoddle

'Of the nine red cards this season we probably deserved half of them.' - Arsene Wenger

'It wasn't going to be our day on the night.' - Bryan Robson

'Very few of us have any idea whatsoever of what life is like living in a goldfish bowl,except, of course, for those of us who are goldfish.' - Graham Taylor

'If you can't stand the heat in the dressing room, get out of the kitchen.' - Terry Venables

'I took a whack on my left ankle, but something told me it was my right.' - Lee Hendrie

'I couldn't settle in Italy - it was like living in a foreign country.' - Ian Rush
Interviewer: 'Would it be fair to describe you as a volatile player?'
David Beckham: 'Well, I can play in the centre, on the right and occasionally on the left side.'

'If you're 0-0 down, there's no-one better to get you back on terms than Ian Wright.' - Robbie Earle

'Germany are a very difficult team to play...they had 11 internationals out there today.' - Steve Lomas

'I always used to put my right boot on first, and then obviously my right sock.' - Barry Venison

'I definitely want Brooklyn to be christened, but I don't know into what religion yet.' - David Beckham

'The Brazilians were South America, and the Ukranians will be more European.' - Phil Neville

'All that remains is for a few dots and commas to be crossed.' - Mitchell Thomas

'Alex Ferguson is the best manager I've ever had at this level. Well, he's the only manager I've actually had at this level. But he's the best manager I've ever had.' - David Beckham

'The opening ceremony was good, although I missed it.' - Graeme Le Saux

'One accusation you can't throw at me is that I've always done my best.' - Alan Shearer

'I'd rather play in front of a full house than an empty crowd.' - Johnny Giles

'Sometimes in football you have to score goals.' - Thierry Henry

'I would not be bothered if we lost every game as long as we won the league.' - Mark Viduka

'He's put on weight and I've lost it, and vice versa.' - Ronnie Whelan

'If you don't believe you can win, there is no point in getting out of bed at the end of the day.' - Neville Southall

'We lost because we didn't win.' - Ronaldo

'I've had 14 bookings this season - 8 of which were my fault, but 7 of which were disputable.' - Paul Gascoigne

'I've never wanted to leave. I'm here for the rest of my life, and hopefully after that as well.' - Alan Shearer

'I'd like to play for an Italian club, like Barcelona.' - Mark Draper

'You've got to believe that you're going to win, and I believe we'll win the World Cup until the final whistle blows and we're knocked out.' - Peter Shilton

'I faxed a transfer request to the club at the beginning of the week, but let me state that I don't want to leave Leicester.' - Stan Collymore

'I was watching the Blackburn game on TV on Sunday when it flashed on the screen that George Ndah had scored in the first minute at Birmingham. My first reaction was to ring him up. Then I remembered he was out there playing.' - Ade Akinbiyi

'Without being too harsh on David Beckham, he cost us the match.' - Ian Wright

'It was a big relief off my shoulder.' - Paul Gascoigne

'I'm as happy as I can be - but I have been happier.' - Ugo Ehiogu

'It took a lot of bottle for Tony (Adams) to own up.' - Ian Wright

'Leeds is a great club and it's been my home for years, even though I live in Middlesbrough.' - Jonathan Woodgate

'I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel.' - Stuart Pearce

'My parents have been there for me, ever since I was about 7.'- David Beckham

'I was surprised, but I always say nothing surprises me in football.'- Les Ferdinand

'It was like the ref had a brand new yellow card and wanted to see if it worked.' - Richard Rufus

'There's no in between - you're either good or bad. We were in between.' - Gary Lineker

'Winning doesn't really matter as long as you win.' - Vinny Jones

'He's 31 this year: last year he was 30.' - David Coleman

'The ageless Dennis Wise, now in his thirties.' - Martin Tyler

'The Italians are hoping for an Italian victory.' David Coleman

'Peru score their third, and It's 3-1 to Scotland.' David Coleman

'If that had gone in, it would have been a goal.' - David Coleman

'Ian Rush is deadly 10 times out of 10, but that wasn't one of them.' - Peter Jones

'Neil Sullivan has stopped absolutely everything have thrown at him...Wimbledon 1, Manchester United 1.' - Mike Ingham

'Emile Zola has scored again for Chelsea.' - Radio 5 live

'This will be their 19th consecutive game without a win unless they can get an equaliser.' - Alan Green

'Martin O'Neill, standing, hands on hips, stroking his chin.'- Mike Ingham

'Such a positive move by Uruguay - bringing 2 players off and putting 2 players on.' - John Helm

'It's now 1-1, an exact reversal of the scoreline on Saturday.'- Radio 5 live

'The Uruguayans are losing no time in making a meal around the referee.' - Mike Ingham

'Poland nil, England nil, though England are now looking the better value for their nil.' - Barry Davies

'West Germany's Briegel hasn't been able to get past anyone yet - that's his trademark.' - John Helm

'You don't score 64 goals in 86 games without being able to score goals.' - Alan Green

'It's headed away by John Clark, using his head.' - Derek Rae

'Celtic manager Davie Hay still has a fresh pair of legs up his sleeve.' - John Greig

'And with just 4 minutes gone, the score is already 0-0.' - Ian Darke

'The USA are a goal down, and if they don't get a goal they'll lose.'- John Helm

'I predicted in August that Celtic would reach the final. On the eve of that final I stand by that prediction.' - Archie MacPherson

'McCarthy shakes his head in agreement with the referee.' - Martin Tyler

'It was the game that put the Everton ship back on the road.' - Alan Green

'Lukic saved with his foot, which is all part of the goalkeeper's arm.' - Barry Davies

'Strangely, in slow motion replay, the ball seemed to hang in the air for even longer.' - David Acfield

'Sporting Lisbon in their green and white hoops, looking like a team of zebras.' - Peter Jones

'Forest have now lost six matches without winning.' - David Coleman

'When a player gets to 30, so does his body.' - Glen Hoddle

'I was a young lad when I was growing up.' - David O'Leary

'Home advantage gives you an advantage.' - Bobby Robson

'It's the only way we can lose, irrespective of the result.' - Graham Taylor

'We must have had 99% of the game. It was the other three per cent that cost us the match.' - Ruud Gullit

'The philosophy of a lot of European teams, even in home matches, is not to give a goal away.' - Alex Ferguson

'In a year's time, he's a year older.' - Bobby Robson

'The first 90 minutes are the most important.' - Bobby Robson

'Shearer could be at 100% fitness, but not peak fitness.' - Graham Taylor

'As I've said before and I've said it in the past...' - Kenny Dalglish

'He was a player that hasn't had to use his legs even when he was nineteen years of age because his first two yards were in his head.' - Glenn Hoddle

'I've seen them on television on a Sunday morning most days of the week.' - Jack Charlton

'People always remember the second half.' - Graham Taylor

'If they hadn't scored, we would've won.' - Howard Wilkinson

'Paolo Di Canio is capable of scoring the goal he scored.' - Bryan Robson

(I'm still sick!)

Monday, 30 March 2009

Deaths Door

Sniff, urfgh,drink water, aaaaaaaaagh, cough, hack, drink water, sleep, uuurrgh, sneeze, hot, drink water, cold, aaaaarrgh, sleep, throat, paracetamol, tissues, ooooooooooooooooooooh, drink water, headache, die, light, dark, sleep, sniffle, eat, drink water, sniff, cough, aaaaaaaaaaargh, all this water keeps me on the run anyway.........hot toddy, aaaahhhhh!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Man Flu

I hate the world!
I am cold.
I sniffle,
I shiver.
My throat hurts.
Nothing tastes.
I am uncomfortable.
Paracetamol is expensive.
My mind is dull.
Nothing satisfies.
Everyone hates me
(well that's not because of the cold of course!)
Nothing worth watching on telly.
I canny write poor posts even.
My knees hurt.
I'm broke.
I'm still cold!
Good job I'm not one to complain!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

In Flanders Fields

Another Trevor Royle book about Scotland in the Great War and another success. 'In Flanders Fields' combines poetry and prose from the many Scots literary works of the war. Following a concise introduction there comes a short biography of the individual writers and examples of their work.
In my view one of the most remarkable was the Scots born and English educated Charles Hamilton Sorley. A brief reading of his poems and letters reveals a lively bright intellect, no hatred of the enemy, and a refreshing honesty concerning the war. This man had a tremendous future ahead of him. However already reaching the rank of Captain, Sorley was killed by a bullet through the head at Loos on 13th October 1915. A great loss I fear to his country.
He was twenty years old.

Charles Hamilton Sorley (1895-1915)

When You See Millions of the Mouthless Dead

When you see millions of the mouthless dead
Across your dreams in pale battalions go,
Say not soft things as other men have said,
That you'll remember. For you need not so.
Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know
It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?
Nor tears. Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.
Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.
Say only this, "They are dead." Then add thereto,
"Yet many a better one has died before."
Then, scanning all the o'ercrowded mass, should you
Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,
It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.
Great death has made all his for evermore.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Irish Poker

Six retired Irishmen were playing poker in O'Leary 's apartment when Paddy Murphy loses Euro 500 on a single hand, clutches his chest, and drops dead at the table. Showing respect for their fallen brother, the other five continue playing standing up. Michael O'Conner looks around and asks, 'Oh, me boys, someone's got to tell Paddy's wife. Who will it be?'
They draw straws. Paul Gallagher picks the short one. They tell him to be discreet, be gentle, don't make a bad situation any worse. 'Discreet???
I'm the most discreet Irishmen you'll ever meet. Discretion is me middle name. Leave it to me.' Gallagher goes over to Murphy's house and knocks on the door.
Mrs. Murphy answers, and asks what he wants. Gallagher declares,'Your husband just lost
Euro 500, and is afraid to come home.'
'Tell him to drop dead!', says Murphy's wife.
'I'll go tell him.' says Gallagher.

Thursday, 26 March 2009


I received this message today.

We wanted to remind you that your BlogCatalog Premium Membership expires today.

It then asks me to visit the site and donate!
What Premium Membership?
Since when had it a time scale?

I do not remember any mention of this ending.
Could it be this is just a way to make money? They are out of luck pal!
I have no money. So if this ends, it ends.
My feeble blogs will remain where they are and my $6 a month
will remain where it is, in fantasy land!

Monday, 23 March 2009

The Flowers of the Forest by Trevor Royle

With 'The Flowers of the Forest' Trevor Royle has given us one of those 'must have' books for those interested in the Great War and in particular Scotland's part therein. Here we have an authoritative, detailed, well researched study on Scotland's reaction the the conflict. But why did Scotsmen enlist so heartily in this conflict? Half the men in Scotland eligible for service enlisted , something that did not happen down south. Work was plentiful, especially in Glasgow's heavy industry, Scottish independence was as important a topic as 'Home Rule' was in Ireland, yet when the call came thousands responded It is true working conditions were poor, but they were the same everywhere else and trade unions and political parties were blossoming among the workers. Also housing conditions were often poor, especially in the cities, although rural areas were far from glorious. There seems no reason for the turn out, bar the military heritage and fighting spirit, for Scotland to answer the call the way they did.

Royle discusses the early optimism and gradual disillusionment, the trauma in Gallipoli, the Scots enduring the heat of Mesopotamia and the major battles in France. At Loos in 1915 some thirty thousand Scotsmen took the field. Half of the infantry battalions taking part were Scots! At sea also Scots were involved even if not there in person. The Glasgow shipyards did their 'bit' in creating the Royal Navy and supplied many ratings also. Glasgow was the centre of what became known as 'Red Clydeside.' John McLean and others offered a socialist way of life to the workers and frightened a Bolshevik revolution was about to happen Westminster stepped in with a heavy, and thoughtless, hand. In fact no such revolution was about to happen, those in the UK, then as now, want fair shares for all, not totalitarianism of any kind. The coming together did have results however. Landlords increased rents for the shabby housing, even for those who had lost men or nursed wounded soldiers at home. The following rent strike, led by the women, produced a change in the law even if the housing conditions never improved.

The effects of the war changed Scotland forever. False patriotism died,a desire to fight for better conditions grew as returning men found Lloyd Georges promise of 'Homes fit for hero's' to be false, and employment scarce. The depression followed, and while men died from the effects of gas & wounds during the next twenty years a desire for lasting change grew apace. The war did not just kill millions and sour lives, it brought massive social change to Scotland, and this found fruition after the second war. The benefits sought in 1918 arrived thirty years later and today's population do not realise the debt we owe those men.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Mothering Sunday

Do you have a mother? Most of us do I find. I will make so bold as to say few of us have never had a mother. Oh I know there are orphans and that sort of thing, I realise that disaster, Lottery wins and sheer bad luck can take the woman away from us but in short we have all had one at some time or other.

If you are one of those lucky enough to have kept yours hanging around somewhere you will acknowledge that such beings have a few good uses. You will acknowledge how well they iron clothes, make the dinner, cuddle you when you fall, and bring presents abounding at Christmas. The down side is their unnatural desire to clear all the important useful things in your room and hide them, often in the cupboard but just as likely in the dustbin! They will cheerfully chastise you for little things like bringing great lumps of mud into the house and hiding them under the bed, breaking the odd window or two, and worst of all refusing to get up for school! Slight sickness may well bring sympathy but it also brings 'Syrup of Figs,' 'Calamine Lotion,' and that horrid red stuff the doctor insisted on, he probably had a mother, but I doubt it! The bad things however all to often appear to have brought a strange gleam of delight into her eye, as if this was a pleasurable activity, just like the time you fell in the pond and got soaked through. She was really laughing quite hard under that frown wasn't she?Lovable as they are I am convinced there was a streak of criminality in them all.

Mothers are indeed one of the most important people in your life. A good mother can only leave a strong impression with a child, even if it does not create a good human being. Adolf Hitler for instance was beaten somewhat by his father and his mother was the one who protected him. He carried her picture with him everywhere, and it was on the shelf beside him when he died. Mothers however tend not to produce quite so many infamous people but I reckon they all had one at some time in the past. Attila the Hun, Mao Tse-Tung, Stalin were all influenced by Mummy. Alexander the Great, some say, received the Kingdom of Greece after his father Phillip was assassinated by a man employed by his mother. Unfortunately the chap was accidentally struck down by a stray sword himself before he could reveal this. Tsk! These mums eh?

Hopefully you will have a better memory of the mother than some of these folk, although a few did 'do well' for themselves. During your teenage years in spite of selfish indulgence she is all that keeps you from bankruptcy. The mere fact that she charges a minimal rent along with cooking, washing and generally running after you, deserves your attention and adulation. As a teenager this will not happen of course, but it does later on when your brats are playing up and she is constantly encouraging them, in your opinion, to misbehave! Then there comes an appreciation of what the woman went through when putting herself aside your wishes were first in her life. As you suffer the same for others an admiration for the lass who resisted the powerful temptation to strangle you on several occasions rises within.

The rip-off day known as 'Mothering Sunday,' or usually now called 'Mothers Day' goes back a long way. I don't recall it from my childhood, times were harder then, however by the 70's it had become quite common. Anything that creates an opportunity for the card manufacturers and flower sellers has to be taken I suppose. The day originates in the English (possibly Catholic) Church in days of yore. People would return to their 'Mother Church' for reasons not obvious to me, and for several hundred years this was found in the nations consciousness. Some say young servants were allowed home one day a year, Mothering Day, and often a gift was given by the employer flowers or cake etc. (Jolly good employer this!) Whether any of this is true I do not know but it certainly is not a Scots idea. There bosses would never give you a gift!

Today this has become a day to celebrate mothers and women in general if you are a feminist, to send Mum a big tin of sweets (and eat them yourself) or bottle of 'Magners' ( and share it) or flowers if you can afford the things these days. It is also a day Mum knows just what you think of her. The one card out of three leaves her wondering what she has done to two of her offspring. The boy she tended so lovingly in sickness and cared for in health who forgets her ought to be filled with guilt and shame. I suspect deep down he is, and will show it just as soon as the football is finished!

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world they used to say.

This is so true!

Friday, 20 March 2009

Missing him already?

'The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.'
- George W. Bush

'If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.'
- George W. Bush

'One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.'
-George W. Bush

'I have made good judgments in the past.
I have made good judgments in the future.'

- George W. Bush

'The future will be better tomorrow.'
- George W. Bush

'We're going to have the best educated American people in the world.'
- George W. Bush

'I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.'
- George W Bush

'We have a firm commitment to NATO,
we are a part of NATO.
We have a firm commitment to Europe .
We are a part of Europe '

- George W. Bush

'Public speaking is very easy.'
- George W. Bush

'A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls.'
- George W. Bush

'I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions -- but I don't always agree with them.'
-George Bush

'We are ready for any unforeseen event
that may or may not occur.'

- George W. Bush

'For NASA, space is still a high priority.'
-George W. Bush

'Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children.'
-George W. Bush

'It isn't pollution that's harming the environment.
It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.'

- George W. Bush

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Blackberry Juniper

It was as I passed the canal at Little Venice that dark night on my way to the Open University tutorial that I noticed her. She was leaning on the railings looking up into the dark sky and gently howling. I stopped. This was not the lass I had come to know at these 'Mid Victorian Britain' classes. There she had been perceptive and alert, so much so she was constantly being slapped down by the magisterial tutor for getting ahead of herself, or ahead of the rest of us at least! I wondered if the family might be the cause of this worrying incident, possibly he has been reading philosophy books to her again and boring her rigid, or maybe the kid has been throwing bricks through the school windows perhaps? However the truth was much milder and indeed understandable than this. Blackberry Juniper was just howling at the moon as she does during every lunar cycle. As you know women's magazines fill lassies head with the idea that the moon influences their moods. Actually it is not enough vegetables! However high above in the clear, cold, dark sky hung a large bluish moon, strewn with left over NASA debris sending out it's influence over the tides and pretty young girls everywhere. I also have attempted to influence girls and tides in similar fashion from time to time and my only reward has been wet feet and rude girls asking questions about my footwear.
"Are your shoes wet?"
"No, why?"
"There's a big drip standing in them."

Blackberry Juniper (don't ask) has a brain the size of a planet and this is matched with her humility. She forgot to inform me that she received the high scores that led to the BA, and later an MA! I was informed of her BA scores by another. Talent, humility, good looks and personality, what more does a woman need - money that's what! As I write I know the lass is struggling to keep awake and smile at the brain dead creatures who surround her in the dank dungeon her boss refers to as a 'hive of industry.' Leaving the Orcs behind for thirty minutes in the middle of the day BJ can be seen standing with her neck craned, staring up into the sky high above the concrete jungle that is London. All around citizens of this city are seen doing the same, desperately attempting to find daylight in the darkness of the megalopolis in which they are forced to dwell.
Back in the Dickensian world in which her crust is earned, BJ takes advantage of the lull in the slavery to continue writing the novel which, one day, will bring lasting fame and oodles of cash her way. The fear of continually being harassed by the media does not bother her, "I will be in my Island in the West Indies anyway!" As long as the money keeps coming and her servants keep bowing at her feet she will be content. In the meantime in the real world she keeps her man in order, in spite of his natural 'man like' mistakes. The most recent, answering her question honestly!
He was idly flipping through the TV channels looking for something that was not aimed at a four year old cretin when she asked, "What's on the TV?"
"Dust," he replied.
The doctor was required to retrieve the remote control from where she put it!

I just thought it right to mention this lovely woman, a friend of long standing, she has no chairs in the house, and one who has survived many days fraught with trouble and pain. A wise lass, when I suggested she run away from it all and marry me she said this could not happen for 'religious reasons.' I asked"Why?"
"Because you think you are god, and I don't," she replied.

Why can't more women be like Blackberry Juniper?

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

History Tour

It struck me quite forcibly yesterday that the areas we drive through, and sometimes across, have a long and indeed wealthy history. For instance we started by heading for Sudbury, after failing to complete parallel parking and reversing round a corner to any one's satisfaction, especially that ginger cats! With the sun shining, the sky blue, the engine swearing every time I chose the wrong gear we headed through the country roads populated only by retired gentlemen and white van drivers. Sudbury reflects the vast wealth that once made this area one of the most influential in England. The wealth came from wool! Whereas we tend to think of sheep, those white fluffy farm animals, as creatures who inhabit Scottish mountains and the English lake district, there was a time when this are was covered in them.

Before the sheep however there was Sudbury. It is on record as being mentioned as long ago as the year 799 when the bishop Aelfhun died there. Maybe he didn't like it? Edward III, one of those despotic English kings knew a thing or two about money and in the thirteen hundreds he imported a lot of Fleming's to weave the wool and develop trade. (That's Fleming's in folk from what is now Holland/Belgium, not some sort of rat like furry animal by the way) Wool's importance is shown in that the original 'woolsack,' sat upon by the Lord Speaker in the House of Lords contained Sudbury wool. Not a lot of people know that! Few care. Careering through the narrow crowded market with a thousand other vehicles takes the driver, who has no time to look, past portrait painter Thomas Gainsborough's house. I knocked once but he did not answer. He is of course famous for his portraits and it is said that when Mr & Mrs Andrews wanted their portrait painted he actually desired to paint a landscape. So he just stuck them to one side and filled the picture with their estate. Now a small market town bereft of sheep it remains in many American memories as RAF Sudbury was home to 834th Squadron (H), 486th Bomb Group (H), 8th Air Force during the second world war. Like the RAF the Yanks lost around 50,000 bomber crew during this conflict!

Swearing through the winding country route chosen for me, changing gear with every hill and speed limit that changed themselves within yards of one another I thought, we eventually dawdled through Long Melford at 29 miles an hour. Slow enough to avoid the dumper truck being unloaded in the town centre. Long Melford is a very long, and very wealthy, village that has stretched its way along this Roman road since even before the Romans decided to tread it. Made wealthy by the wool found in abundance here a thousand years ago the village boast two great manor houses, with their red brick walls very noticeable, and a huge fifteenth century church. You could not pull the wool over Suffolk folks heads in the old days. This area has been home to the ancient Britons, Angles, Saxons, Danes, Romanised Britons and the mongrel mob that now refers to itself as 'English.' Several thousand years of continual existence. From a forest covered land, through the middle ages and the sheep which brought wealth, nobles and abbots fighting for political power, the plague and the following 'Peasants Revolt' all passed through here, leaving a rich history and, in Suffolk, lots of cash still and that in spite of the credit crunch!

Free from manoeuvres I sped down the road back home, until we passed the 'community hall' car park. Forced by the evil instructor in there we practised reversing into a bay and bouncing of the pavement. I made out the word "Fail" escaping from his clenched teeth but was not to sure about the others. One more attempt on Friday, another on Monday and then the Test itself on Wednesday. Bishops Stortford does not know what it has let itself in for.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Spring is coming

Some say it is here.
Little blue and yellow flowers are appearing on the verges. The milder weather enables lighter clothing, only three jumpers and two jackets, sometimes no gloves are required! Today the sky was blue and only the last of the dirty big rain clouds darkening the sky as they head towards the continent irritate. The trees are beginning to bud and the birds are pairing off and nest building happily in the rather chilly sunshine. Their cheery songs brightening the day. Lassies wear less and do the best to make the boys look and the girls bitch. I expect the clocks will change once again (Spring forward and Fall back?) and the 'Daily Mail' will bitch about these changes costing the UK money. Ah Spring, when young men's fancy turns to thoughts of love, as if they had been thinking of anything else anyway? Young women had naturally been concentrating on domestic skills, developing business knowledge and complaining that men had it easy. They never looked at the boys, ever.

Spring, the Sweet Spring

from Summer’s Last Will and Testament by Thomas Nashe (1600)

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies iss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


Mesopotamia is, they say, where civilisation began. They appear to be right. here we see Jarmo a settlement going back to 7000 BC. From the information available (found here) there was a village of over a hundred people living there, farming, with domesticated animals and using items made 300 miles away. With no bus service and few cars available at the time walking, domesticated asses maybe or possibly river travel, were the only means of movement. It is amazing that folk travelled so far in such circumstances. There again we all know the desire to see what is over the horizon and that pushed early man a little further all the time. A wide variety of foodstuffs have been discovered along with various tools. It is easy to guess from looking at this small society the family groupings, the leadership required, and also the petty jealousies and ambition that runs through all human endeavours. "Human nature," as Thucydides said,"Never changes."

I don't know about you but I find such history fascinating. Clearly this was the result of many years development. Communal activity created the township, the buildings and organised the tasks. i suspect these people often spoke of the days of yore when the ancients walked the earth,the older ones informing all who would listen that it was "Better in the old days." No doubt the music of the day annoyed the elders, kids behaved badly and did not do what mum told them. Antagonism towards neighbours near and far may have caused small wars now long forgotten. However they would also have joined with local people to oppose larger forces from outside. Having said that there does not appear to be much in the way of defence in this structure, at least from what little evidence is seen here. I find this fascinating and not because I am old enough to remember them personally. Some say this proved Adam and Eve (and the rest of the bible) wrong. But does it? Six days or six billion years? Who knows, but there must have been an Adam somewhere.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009


If there is one word that annoys me it is 'Community!'
Used far too often by politicians, reporters and police officers, one used the word three times in one sentence recently, and used indeed because of intellectual laziness! It annoys me mostly because when it is used there can be no doubt it is utterly meaningless as there is no community!

The word first came to prominence in the nineteen eighties when the media became obsessed with 'black community leaders' and the people in the district became a 'community' whether they belonged to one or not. One thing is sure large cities do not possess 'communities.' the fact that people live in a small area does not bring them together, in London the only thing that brings folk together is the crushing endured on the 'Tube!' When the then Home secretary, the greasy Kenneth Baker, was seen on TV using the term it became standard for all politicians. Since then it has never been far from the movers and shakers, the very people who do not live in community outside parliament!

There are more suitable words that can be used by lazy journalists, such as 'area, district, neighbourhood, locality, populace' or even just 'residents.' However the word used in always 'community.' In my eyes community implies folk living together, not just in one district. It implies one section of the 'community' being just that, 'one.' All together speaking with one voice, caring for each other against the cruel world outside. It does not take much to discover that even when folk get along together well there is little community. Instead there is jealousy, falling out, dislike, antagonism, ambition, theft and so on, sin in all its form even among the best folk. If it happens within families it will happen outside the door also. Yet the powers that be refer to 'community.'

This is of course 'official speak,' a term that is poor english also but never mind now. It is the jargon that men fall into when attempting to inform the media of the latest news without actually saying anything that can be used and abused in any way. Politicians police and other officials fall into the trap too easily in such circumstances. Journalists, if one can use that word of so much of today's media, use it so often and never appear to give any regard for those around them. Do they really think a murder in a drug infested part of a run down town can be called a 'Crime in the community?' Is there any 'community' when folk are afraid to walk the streets in daylight?
Would 'area' or 'slum' not be more appropriate? But no 'Community' it is.

There is no 'community' in this world, only people, grouped together willingly or not and each one is different - up to a point that is. When will the movers and shakers accept this and treat us as individuals? When will they recognise society ( a better word) for what it is and cease to compartmentalise us to suit themselves? Well never actually, but that is just how it is.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Irish Jokes

A small two-seater Cessna 152 plane crashed
into a cemetery early this afternoon in Ireland.
Irish search and rescue workers have
recovered 300 bodies so far and expect that
number to climb as digging continues into the evening.

Rather typical of the type of Irish jokes we all hear from time to time. Some people get upset by such jokes, although Scots jokes rarely upset me at least if they are funny that is! There are those sensitive folk who think such things racist or unpleasant.Usually I find them to be white, middle class, liberal, females with as much understanding of life as a, well, a white middle class, liberal, female! Rarely do Irishmen get upset! John O'Toole is a good example. This hard working man and I used to slog it out together and on many occasions his humour would show through that beer stained brain of his. "Can't you hear me looking at you?" he said on one occasion, causing us all to wonder if he meant it or not. But not all took his easy going way. Having a female boss is not always the best situation to be in, and Vera was a lovely Irish woman who kept the eedjits in order when the broken leg forced me into the dreadful office. Apart from when I held her hand and told her how I loved her sparkling eyes when she yelled at me we got on well. She did get upset on one occasion however, the drawing of a boat with 'Irish airliner' written beneath. At least I think she was upset for I found myself on a barrage of office desk furniture. Maybe she was just 'touchy' that day?

All nations have neighbours they refer to as 'daft.' In this case I suggest the influx into Britain during the Irish famine in 1842/3 probably is where the Irish began to be regarded as stupid. A great many hungry folks came from outlying country areas, black houses roofed with turf of a type not seen in England (Similar existed in the Scottish highlands), and for the most part speaking Irish Gaelic, it would have been easy to regard them as dumb! Their lack of sophistication, lack of knowledge of the 'modern' towns, and unsure of the ways of the people around them would leave them open to abuse. Today it is a gentle humour, banter in fact, in the 19th century it was more aggressive. The Irish like the Jews arriving in London earlier, were immigrants and that always causes opposition. Muslim and African immigrants today, and in many cases Poles and East Europeans suffer in a similar manner today.

Scots jokes are of a different kind. A look through old copies of 'Punch' magazine show that before the Great War Scots jokes were mostly concerned with drink!

Tam is seen shaking hands with his three friends and is asked
"Tam your no leaving so soon are ye?"
"OH no ahm no leaving yet.
Ahm just shaking hands when I can still recognise ye!"

Many 'Punch' cartoons were of this type. Quite a number featured the 'Gamie' or 'gillie' sarcastically encouraging the hunter, fisherman or golfer on his way round. Later however the idea of the mean Scotsman appeared.

Possibly this was the fault of Aberdeen! (Can anything good come from there?) During the 19th century British towns and cities grew apace and as wealth grew so did civic pride. If Huddersfield built a new town hall Bradford had to build a better one and so on. Aberdeen built Union Street! This long street was created with granite stone, which cost a fortune. The story goes that Aberdeen then became bankrupt and to this day tales of mean Aberdonians abound. I of course cannot tell any, although on my last trip there I noticed the 'Pittodrie Bar' was celebrating their hundredth year. The celebration involved selling beer at the same price as on opening day in 1898! A wonderful idea! I went along and found the place deserted! I was surprised as there were hundreds of men outside. Naturally I asked the barman, as I paid my penny halfpenny for my glass of stout, "Why are they all waiting outside?' He glared at the door and in thon strange dialect murmured "Och min, they will be waiting for 'Happy Hour.'

I reckon Harry Lauder,who was knighted after his many efforts entertaining the troops during the Great War, was responsible for the mean Scotsman. Watching an English singer in an Edinburgh music hall he decided he could do better. He invented the man in a kilt, crooked walking stick and notorious meanness which lasted all his career. He went so far to obtain great publicity in New York in the twenties by tipping the hotel doorman a sixpence! The doorman cried blue murder, as Harry had paid him well to do, and publicity was assured. It is not just 'B' celebs who know how to get noticed!
His act has left all Scotsmen, the most generous folk in the world, with a reputation of miserliness. While some are indeed careful with their money, and with recent news of the Scottish banks being run by money grabbing incompetents who can blame them, all Scots remain the most generous in the world.

er..., must go, I see the landlord has come for the rent and I must stop typing in case he realises I am in.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Early Mornings

A woman was shopping at her local supermarket where she selected:

a 2 pint bottle of 1% milk,

a carton of eggs,

a carton of orange juice,

a head of lettuce,

a large jar of coffee and

a 1 lb. package of bacon.

As she was unloading her items on the conveyor belt to check out, a man standing behind her watched as she placed the items in front of the cashier. While the checkout girl was ringing up her purchases, the man calmly stated, “You must be single.”

The woman was a bit startled by this proclamation, but she was intrigued by his intuition, since she was indeed single. She looked at her six items on the belt and saw nothing particularly unusual about her selections that could have tipped off the bloke to her marital status. Curiosity getting the better of her, she said “Well, you know what, you’re absolutely correct. But how on earth did you know that?”

He replied, “Cause you’re ugly.”

This story crossed my mind as I attempted to purchase the 'shop soiled,' 'reduced price,' and 'Basics range' products this morning. It was as I took up position to pack the bag at the checkout when the woman before me spoke as she slowly put three items into her bag. "They say the Arctic ice will all melt by the summer." I looked at the girl behind the desk, and she returned the blank expression. Ignoring the woman as I waited for my selections rejected by decent people to arrive I heard her repeat the point and this time asking me (thrice) what I thought. I was forced to volunteer an answer. "No" I responded in my grumpiest London style 'Go away and leave me alone' voice. She then slowly left continuing to talk to the checkout girl as she moved on. We stared at each other. "I don't think it will melt by summer," she said in a low voice full of wonder. "No, I don't either," I replied courteously. We struggled through the deal and I moved on wondering about the ideas that fill folks minds. I was still full of wondering when I returned ten minutes later having to change the coffee beans I bought for the coffee powder I ought to have got, idiot!

Now this woman was serious. I don't believe she said such things for a response, although she may have been lonely and that can inspire desperation in some. I think she believed what she had heard. Possibly had she read it somewhere. a woman's magazine perhaps? Maybe today's 'SPORT' was pushing this idea in an attempt to fill space usually reserved for the awfully interesting goings on among the 'B' celebs of the day? It got me thinking how stupid we are at believing whatever we read. It was of course ever thus!

When the Soviet Union was in full swing there were constant reports of sightings of UFO's in the distant parts. We also hear now and again of young girls who have visions of the Virgin Mary in Latin or Catholic countries. While in the UK there was a time when every week there was someone sighting Elvis Pressley working in a burger bar, usually in Rochdale or Halifax or some other unlikely place. There are always people who take these stories seriously. Conspiracy theories abound re the Kennedy killings, 9/11, the sinking of the 'Titanic,' and every, major event in the world! Is this because we are lacking intelligent leadership from the top, an honest media or are we just stupid? I go for the latter as we have all fallen for something like this, and we keep that info to ourselves in case folk laugh! That seems the best way.

I feel guilty now about the woman in the shop. Maybe she was lonely and just needed to talk to someone. Maybe she is a bit daft, either way I should have been kinder. After all, next time something daft is said it could be me saying it!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Another Rip-Off!

This ad has just fallen into my 'in box' from Thornton's. "Mothers Day gifts! Mothers Day? Another chance to show how much you care, just a few weeks after throwing cash away n your loved one (bet she didn't!) and not long before Easter! Great! Just what I need, another excuse to obtain another letter from the bank for being overdrawn! Woopeedo!

Was it always like this? I am sure we used to just boil eggs and paint them and roll them down hills when young. maybe a thin chocolate egg to go with it. Mum's day was unheard of when I was young I'm sure of it, and later we did not spend that much. Now it's a card and a box of chocs or flowers. (Chocs are cheaper and I use Thornton's for this, and a better idea if you are actually with mum!) This after your woman has emptied your wallet on Valentines night (no wonder Valentine got killed I say!) .

Add to this birthdays and other personal and family drains on your wealth (wealth? Ha!) and one is left wondering what it all means. I know what it means, it means someone (Hallmark, various chocolate sellers and Interflora) are making money even in a recession. Anything can be celebrated this way. Especially where women are concerned. Blackmail comes in here. The lass will say she does not mind, but woe behold whoever forgets her birthday, Valentines card or worse, chocolate egg! Something should be done, I will write to my MP!

Monday, 2 March 2009


I noticed I have again touched on 15 stone! This in spite of cycling and walking more in these few sunny days. There is no excuse, I made pancakes the other day, far too many, and my version of flapjacks. Very healthy indeed. However some fool ate them all. I once again begin to look like one of the round toys found in budgies cages. Only push me over and I don't roll back up, I just lie there like a beached whale. Long walks tomorrow, especially as I have sat at the PC since Saturday attempting to rebuild everything, that growling sound was not a grizzly bear that was my patience running out.

Nothing else has happened again! Having my head inside this motherboard means I have seen and heard nothing, barring the driving today that is. How nice to see the sunshine on the fields, how less nice to be asked by the instructor, "Why are we sitting in this field?" At least we missed the cars. I have not even rushed to hear about the great prime minister meeting the great American president. Once again the talk will be of the 'special relationship,' and once again it is total sham! While the US and UK will always work together, the special relationship means little to most Yanks, and the UK are somewhat cynical about the whole idea. Churchill & Roosevelt may well have got on together, they had to at that time, but both nations worked for themselves first. That's life. The good side saw us lead the US to victory in WW1 and it was a British victory - apart from the Soviet effort obviously. Field Marshall Alan Brooke was the man who actually won the war, although Churchill forgot to mention this. The bad side of course saw Bush and Blair through away everything and, like any bank director, walk away as if innocent. Blair still operates as a 'peacemaker' in the middle east for crying out loud! Brown and Obama will work together well, but nobody knows what to do about this recession!

Must close and look for something to complain about.

Sunday, 1 March 2009


So after the problem with the sound yesterday I recommenced work on this today. I clicked on something previously downloaded and everything collapsed. The PC would not get past the XP screen. It would not open in safe mode, it would not do anything!!!!!!!

Now I am not one to complain but I finally, after some time possibly days, I lost it and have reinstalled XP. This lost everything that was on the PC was lost, except those I have already downloaded. So I have spent time, too much time, searching for and reinstalling all the lost programmes and muttering somewhat wildly.

Of course the top bit was the Validation by Microsoft of the XP. It failed! Somehow it passed this in days gone by but now it has failed, why? I will tell you why, the E-Bay seller has been using illegal XP on all his PCs. I have since discovered others in the same position as I. Now I have no OS and do not know what to do - although screaming is barred as the noise disturbs the man downstairs and the police as they drive past.

Am I downhearted I ask? Using the cry used during the Great War. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! is the reply.
However, worse things happen at sea.

Oh yes, last day of the month and I have just searched for and discovered my overdrawn status has been overdrawn again. Another 20 fine looms. Oh yes, and some of the "@# are in the wrong place!!! I canny wait for the driving tomorrow......................