Tuesday, 30 November 2010

St Andrews Day

Today is St Andrews Day, a saint ignored by the Scottish people for five hundred years since the reformation. He is of course of no importance today, even if the bones that monk carried with him when he landed on the Fife coast actually belonged to Andrew himself, but the nationalistic emotion is expressed through this day. Any nation treated with contempt by a bullying neighbour will magnify patriotic feeling, and the Scots pride has long been treated with contempt by English arrogance. So on a day like this, even with several inches of horrible unwanted snow making life difficult it is important for Scots everywhere to gather together, hail their nation and then go out and insult an Englishman for the good of mankind!

While Scots rightly complain of English oppression we are in a wonderful position in comparison to some in this world. In forgotten Darfur Sudanese aircraft still bomb and harass refugees, in the Democratic Congo women are still raped and men murdered by any of several rebel forces or indeed the national army itself. Many find their home to be no more than a collection of scrap metal walls or plastic sheeting, possibly lucky ones will have tents supplied by aid agencies after a natural disaster, many others will have less. While I complain about the cold I can still find heat at the touch of an expensive button, in North Korea, where it may get as low as minus 50% many do not have this luxury.

The 'Daily Telegraph' features a video of a woman so hungry and feeble she eats grass, and another fighting back when a bribe is demanded by a police officer. The mad mullahs in charge of this nation do appear to have gone too far in recent days, a change to the monetary system has left many bereft and rebellion is arising throughout the nation. While the state retains control the people once again face deprivation and starvation, and this in turn may encourage the military leaders, the ones with real power, to create a war situation in an attempt to save themselves. While the people starve and the powerful fret we can carry on regardless towards another 'Merry Christmas,' and all that brings. Hopefully the girl in this video is still alive by Christmas.....

                                 The Daily Telegraph North Korean Report  


Monday, 29 November 2010



This is a good shot of the early morning, at least MY early morning! Cold, snow covered, and generally miserable. Just like me I suggest! The several inches of snow up north do not make me jealous.  I don't like the cold and I want to be somewhere warm, beside the sea, and with a pretty young girl attending to my needs.

Fat chance!

He is 80, a multi millionaire, and recently they were attacked and robbed of jewellery worth £200,000.
I just wonder what a 31 year old lass would see in a multi millionaire who travels the world constantly, has a weak heart and has recently suffered a terrible shock? What does he see in a girl slightly older than one of his daughters? Does she perhaps share a love of Formula 1?

Wiki Leaks have revealed that political folk talk about one another and do not always like what they see! Arabs have been demanding the US remove the Iranian nuclear threat, US ambassadors have been offering honest appraisals of world leaders, and one of our Princes (just what does he do?) has been pretending he is his father and putting his foot in it. I wonder why the politicians are claiming Wki leaks are dangerous? have they something to fear....? This tells us nothing we did not guess already, it just brings it into the open.   


Sunday, 28 November 2010

Why It's Good To Be A Man...


1.           Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
2.          Movie nudity is virtually always female.
3.          You know stuff about tanks.
4.          A five day vacation requires only one suitcase.
5.         Sunday Afternoon Football.
6.          You don’t have to monitor your friends sex lives.
7.          Your bathroom lines are 80% shorter.
8.          You can open all your own jars.
9.          Old friends don’t give you crap if you’ve lost or gained weight.
10.      Dry cleaners and haircutter’s don’t rob you blind.
11.       When clicking through the channel, you don’t have to stall on every shot of someone crying.
12.       Your ass is never a factor in a job interview.
13.       All your orgasms are real.
14.      A beer gut does not make you invisible to the opposite sex.
15.       Guys in hockey masks don’t attack you.
16.       You don’t have to lug a bag of useful stuff around everywhere you go.
17.       You understand why Jokes are funny.
18.       You can go to the bathroom with out a support group.
19.       Your last name stays put.
20.      You can leave a hotel bed unmade.
21.       When your work is criticized, you don’t have to panic that everyone secretly hates you.
22.      You can kill your own food.
23.      The garage is all yours.
24.      You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
25.      You see the humor in Terms of Endearment.
26.      Nobody secretly wonders if you swallow.
27.      You never have to clean the toilet.
28.      You can be showered and ready in 10 minutes.
29.      Sex means never worrying about your reputation.
30.      Wedding plans take care of themselves.
31.       If someone forgets to invite you to something, he or she can still be your friend.
32.      Your underwear is £5 for a three pack.
33.      The Cheerleaders are to be looked at.
34.      None of your co-workers have the power to make you cry.
35.      You don’t have to shave below your neck.
36.      You don’t have to curl up next to a hairy ass every nite.
37.      If you’re 34 and single nobody notices.
38.      You can write your name in the snow.
39.      You can get into a nontrivial pissing contest.
40.     Everything on your face stays its original color.
41.      Chocolate is just another snack.
42.      You can be President.
43.      You can quietly enjoy a car ride from the passenger seat.
44.     Flowers fix everything.
45.      You never have to worry about other people’s feelings.
46.      You get to think about sex 90% of your waking hours.
47.      You can wear a white shirt to a water park.
48.      Three pair of shoes are more than enough.
49.      You can eat a banana in a hardware store.
50.      You can say anything and not worry about what people think.
51.       Foreplay is optional.
52.      Michael Bolton doesn’t live in your universe.
53.      Nobody stops telling a good dirty joke when you walk into the room.
54.      You can whip your shirt off on a hot day.
55.      You don’t have to clean your apartment if the meter reader is coming by.
56.      You never feel compelled to stop a pal from getting laid.
57.      Car mechanics tell you the truth.
58.      You don’t give a rat’s ass if someone notices your new haircut.
59.      You can watch a game in silence with you buddy for hours without even thinking (He must be mad at me)
60.      The world is your urinal.
61.       You never misconstrue innocuous statements to mean your lover is about to leave you.
62.      You get to jump up and slap stuff.
63.      Hot wax never comes near your pubic area.
64.      One mood, all the time.
65.      You can admire Clint Eastwood without starving yourself to look like him.
66.      You never have to drive to another gas station because this one’s just too skeevy.
67.      You know at least 20 ways to open a beer bottle.
68.      You can sit with your knees apart no matter what you are wearing.
69.      Same work….more pay.
70.      Gray hair and wrinkles add character.
71.       You don’t have to leave the room to make an emergency crotch adjustment.
72.      Wedding Dress £2000; Tux rental £100.
73.      You don’t care if someone is talking about you behind your back.
74.      With 400 million sperm per shot, you could double the earth’s population in 15 tries, at least in theory.
75.      You don’t mooch off others’ desserts.
76.      If you retain water, it’s in a canteen.
77.      The remote is yours and yours alone.
78.      People never glance at your chest when you’re talking to them.
79.      ESPN’s sports center.
80.      You can drop by to see a friend without bringing a little gift.
81.       Bachelor parties whomp ass over bridal showers.
82.      You have a normal and healthy relationship with your mother.
83.      You can buy condoms without the shopkeeper imagining you naked.
84.      You needn’t pretend you’re “freshening up” to go to the bathroom.
85.      If you don’t call your buddy when you say you will, he won’t tell you friends you’ve changed.
86.      Someday you’ll be a dirty old man.
87.      You can rationalize any behavior with the handy phrase “F*#k it!”
88.      If an other guy shows up at the party in the same outfit, you might become lifelong buddies.
89.      Princess Di’s death was just another obituary.
90.      The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.
91.       You never have to miss a sexual opportunity because you’re not in the mood.
92.      You think the idea of punting a small dog is funny.
93.      If something mechanical didn’t work, you can bash it with a hammer and throw it across the room.
94.      New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
95.      Porn movies are designed with your mind in mind.
96.      You don’t have to remember everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries.
97.      Not liking a person does not preclude having great sex with them.
98.      Your pals can be trusted never to trap you with: “So…notice anything different?”
99.      Baywatch
100.  There is always a game on somewhere.


Saturday, 27 November 2010

Freezing Cold


As the mist cleared this morning we were left with a thin white layer everywhere! For one horrible moment I thought it had been snowing! Ugh, horrid stuff! We keep reading about 'Global Warming' and when we look out the window there is frost everywhere! Even my woollen gloves have to be replaced with the big ones, and that when I'm asleep in my bed! I will complain to my MP as I did not come to the driest county in England just to be frozen, it's a disgrace! This would not happen under Labour! 


Thursday, 25 November 2010

The First Salute


The first salute refers to the action of the people of St Eustatius firing a one gun salute at the entrance of the American ship the 'Andrew Doria' entered the harbour on November 16th 1776. This ship flew the flag of the American Congress and the reaction to this event, in Britain (referred to annoyingly throughout this book as 'England'), in France and among the Dutch, led within a few years to American independence. 

Barbara Tuchman is an excellent historian and one of her books has already been mentioned among my rambling as you will remember the excellent book, 'Bible & Sword.'  That book was well researched, easy to read, and packed full of facts, and such a delight I have read it twice. Sadly this book was not the same. Certainly it was well researched, certainly it was full of information, but I found it quite stodgy to read and a bit of a nuisance going backwards and forwards in places. While the maps were good, most important when discussing so many places rarely mentioned outside of their locale, and much of the information interesting, the description of the conditions aboard the ships of the line did not encourage me to enlist in the navy, and while there was much information concerning the main characters I was left feeling somewhat let down by this book. Maybe it was the nauseous American belief that independence brought a new 'democracy' into the world, and that the world was 'forever changed for the better because of this,' a fact that has been proved wrong worldwide outside of the States, maybe she just tried to get too much into one small book. I found it disappointing.  

The people involved are what you would expect from those days. Humans looking after number one whether to rise in the political sphere, serve the nation (by getting rich), or just fill an empty life by fighting a war. The British soldier appears as a somewhat rough egg, not the type to take home to mother and the American was less interested in his independence than he was in his farm and his wages. Both suffered horrendously in terrible conditions! The leaders did all right of course, that is democracy everywhere! Slackness in both governments, especially when money was required, slackness in leadership among the British, a quick eye for the smart chance by the French led in turn to their revolution, and while the Dutch were early involved they were more concerned to profit and argue among themselves than much else. In short while some see a wonderful event occurring what actually happens is just another war. Britain lost America, and most, other than King George III did not care, America got itself a myth to misuse, France received a revolution, and the Dutch got cash. 

Could Britain ever have held the States by force? No, too far away and too many involved. Maybe a better situation could have arisen if George had been less militant, many died for this attitude of his! Trade resumed and we got rid of many seeking a new life, but whether they found a better one is arguable. Europe returned to the usual wars and conflicts,and the States continued abusing black men, one another and then stealing land from the Indians. Barbara Tuchman ends with a thought, "What is this 'new man' the American," and continues "Revolutions produce 'other men' not 'new men.' Halfway 'between truth and endless error,' the mould of the species is permanent. That is earth's burden."

By the way it is very difficult to type here when my fingers are frozen! Who let the cold weather come down here? keep it in the north where it belongs! 


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Poor Little Rich Boys


Once again the poor little middle classes are revolting. The future lawyers, doctors, bankers and multinational high earners are complaining that they will have to use some of their high wages to pay for their education. What a shame! I feel so sad for the future big bonus earners that I might even consider sending them a food parcel for Christmas, unless I have frozen to death by then of course. When I was an imitation Hippy students wanted to end war and bring a peaceful revolution to this hard world, now these spoilt brats just complain because they will not earn as much as their fathers earned by over charging folks. Shame!


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Bankers, Ireland and Recession


A fuss has arisen concerning the Irish financial collapse. The EU is of course supplying money to help them out, with the UK paying a certain amount of that. The Euro itself also adds to the amount given to help the Irish and on top of it all George Osbourne has decided to offer a loan of seven billion pounds to ease their worries. We can do this he claims because of the savings we have made since the coalition stole power a few months ago. The savings? About seven billion funnily enough!  This has brought a lot of fuss. People complain that this is our money given to a foreign country and we need it here (Charity begins at home they say), and a resentment has arisen over this deal.  The Irish banks are in trouble and once again the cry is "It is their fault, let them suffer!" A cry most of us sympathise with of course. A cry made worse when we note how the bankers still give themselves million pound bonuses.

The fact is Ireland, the southern bit, not only shares a border with part of the UK, and much finance crosses over there daily, but our banks have loaned their banks millions also! The Sir Fred Goodwin's who retire on pensions of £760,000 a year (cut by himself to a mere £370,000 after the outcry) loaned vast sums everywhere and now it is all collapsing around our ears. The bankers have become targets and this is exaggerated by their refusal to loan money to individuals and small businesses thereby causing mayhem throughout the land. Houses are lost, businesses collapse and people are thrown on the scrapheap as a result. No wonder the banks are criticised and considered worse than robbers! However it does appear to be in our interests to keep the Irish afloat. Not only are they a major trading partner, if we play our cards right they might help us out by taking Celtic football club off our hands! Here's hoping about that one!

However a thought wanders around inside my twisted little mind. From my position here in the soup kitcchen I look at those sleeping in their cardboard boxes, muttering rude words about the bankers, and wonder a little. You see while the banks did indeed handle the economy badly we also are at fault! Who was it that believed we had a right to a bigger house? Who was daft enough to take on a mortgage costing more than we earned to pay for a house bigger than we required and filled with goods we did not need? Us! The public! We along with the banks, and our listening to those who tell us what our life ought to be, are just as guilty! We wished for a lifestyle we could not afford, and now we have gone bust! The banks did not tell you to grasp what was offered, but common sense, much opposed these days, did say don't borrow what you cannot repay (says me!).

The grasping banks, who charge huge amounts when the overdraft goes over, are indeed heartless money grabbers who care nothing for individuals who fail. Was it not the one time chairman of the Bank of Scotland who was noted for saying, "Don't listen to the sound of a different drum, just take the cash?" I bet he retired on a good pension!  We can rightly blame politicians and bankers but a bit of honesty is required here. The public believed they could spend, spend, spend, and did not consider that the job might fail, sickness would arrive and life would become difficult, and then when their world crashes down they cannot blame the banks and the recession situation alone but must accept some responsibility also.

Georges seven billion may or may not help the Irish sort themselves out, it might not even be enough to pay off my Visa card to be honest, but when I wander into the job centre, in rags, and get depressed at the lack of an opening for a creature like me I cannot blame the folk in the office, (apart from arrogant Graham who sits there in his suit being important and begging for a slap in the cakehole), I cannot even blame the banks, I must take my share of blame by not having a trade to fall back on, apart from criticising and moaning of course and being more adept at grasping the opportunities that have appeared and quickly vanished. Let the public winge about the banks and the politicians, we all agree with that, but let them show a bit more honesty while they do so.      


Friday, 19 November 2010

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Royal Wedding Build Up Post No. 1

I remember the day  in 1981 when Charles married the freeloader Diana. I had thrown out the telly some years before, I did without one for eight years and it did me no harm, but did manage to watch this 'great occasion,' and well remember bot her mistake in getting her words wrong during the event and his deliberate mistake to make her feel better. I did not question then why a man of his age and intellect, interested in the environment, architecture, world politics, effective charity work, history and art, should be marrying a lass who found anything beyond '19' magazine a 'bit orff.' However I watched the overlong process, endured the fawning commentary, and watched the delightful programme which followed.

It must be said that I remember more about that programme than the wedding. Possibly it is because when you have seen one wedding, and I have seen lots, then you have seen them all. This however was worth watching. It was a long programme to fill in time as most of the nation was waxing lyrical about Diana's dress, her hair, her words, her.....zzzzzzzz so the BBC just shoved on a long documentary about Namibia, or South West Africa as it was once known. This excellent programme covered the vast desert area along the Atlantic coast, including the area known as the 'Skeleton Coast.' This featured many ships that had fallen foul of sea, wind and strange currents and ended up beached along here. Some of the crews no doubt remain here still! This huge country contains a mere two and half million people, and appears to have very little to maintain itself, apart from tourism, agriculture and mining for gold, diamonds and uranium of course! Only Mongolia is more sparsely populated and half the Namibians live below the poverty line, and many of them suffer from Aids!

Aids was of course of little interest in 1981, then it was a disease for the sexually loose still to discover, and this programme ignored such things to concentrate on the wildlife. The wildlife is what really sticks in my mind on that wedding day. Now I appreciate that many of you will associate weddings with a bit of wild life, but a drunken hedonistic evening is not what I have in mind, well actually it is. You see in one part of this divergent landscape there grows a type of fruit, the name of which escapes me, which causes the animals to gather every year. This in itself is not unusual however the cameraman was able to record a fabulous piece of the aftermath. This unnamed fruit falls in abundance and while the greedy elephants, chimps, zebra's and rhino's chomp away merrily the stuff begins to ferment inside them. Shortly after we are left with a gathering of drunken animals. Now in my mind 'drunken animals' brings to mind Rangers and Celtic fans laying waste the land as they pass, as Manchester can confirm, but these drunken animals do nothing of the kind! They just danced! The chimps were seen cavorting around fallen logs, the elephants swinging back and forth and I have a feeling the rhino was dancing. The whole variety of creatures were having a ball and no trouble was captured on this occasion.

However, the morning after was pictured. The rhino sat still and his expressionless face told nothing, but his eyes spoke of headache and weariness. Daddy elephant was not rejoicing and the lion looked somewhat depressed. The chimpanzees glared from red eyes, and this was black and white TV, at the world around them, and all the animals were heard to mutter, "Never again." But I bet they did! 

Anyway Charles put the bint to the use for which she was bought and had two (?) children and dumped her for someone he actually loved. If only he had married her in the first place,what a better life we all would have had!     

Max has asked a pertinent question, "Why do the women all seem to have to wear hats all the time. Is it just a tradition? And do the hats HAVE to be outlandish, or can the also be regular hats? Do earmuffs count as hats?"

Indeed why do people wear hats these days? Does anyone know, or indeed care? In the fifties it became the thing not to wear hats. Generations untold had worn head gear of some sort for whatever reason, and suddenly we were more concerned for our DA haircut and, in the UK at least, happy to get our heads cold and all to often wet in the dreadful weather. Throughout the sixties few but the older generation wore hats. My dad always wore his cap, and kept his good cap in the wardrobe for any special occasion he may have attended. I can recall as a child spending what appeared to be eons in shops while mum tried on hat after hat, each discussed with a wide variety of other women involved in the same event, while my mind froze from boredom. Yet rarely did we wear any form of headgear. There was a fad for army bush hats around 1969/70 but this was a fad, nothing more. Yet about 10-15 years ago I started to wear a cap to keep my head worm in winter, and to avoid the hysterics of others I changed tack and began to wear one of those awful American baseball caps. Since then I, and many others, are never seen without one! Why the change? It is still fashionable for trendy tough guys wannabes to shave their heads and act macho, but so many others wear caps and in times past we would have thought this somewhat unfashionable! Why did we change?

Women of course are always changing their minds , let alone their hats. Fashion comes and goes and hats were always worn for weddings or 'fancy do's,' but not for everyday wear. That appears to have changed. certainly some women look very good in hats, and a few I know would look better in a Yashmak, but that's another story. The days of a headscarf over hair covered in curlers appears to be dead, although it was popular in British films of the early fifties, and a lass is more likely to wear a baseball cap which doesn't suit her because it fits in with those around her rather than something that actually suits. The weather being kind of windy and containing much rain makes it difficult for a self conscious girl to know what to put on her head today. A hat keeps her warm but might fly off and cause embarrassment while it may also spoil her hairdo! A brolly will be chosen even though it will turn inside out, although she will not notice how many eyes she removes with it of course! Hmmm such a choice to make!

For those of you who really wish to know how, and indeed when, to wear a hat you will find advice here on the Suite 101 site. Good luck to you but in this weather I am sticking to my ageing cap.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Royal Wedding


I'm sick of it already! How much more gushing pap will we have to suffer 
before they decide to crucify one or the other I wonder? 


Monday, 15 November 2010

Five Years Ago


I started this blog.
The world was a different place then. I was working hard, money was jingling in my pocket, people smiled at you as you passed and muttered "Good Morning."  You could leave your door open and no one would break in, policemen looked like Jack Warner and caught criminals instead of slapping their wrists, and I thought the world needed to know my opinions.
Not all of the above is correct!

I suppose the desire to have my opinions heard was the reason I started this. I have found that these were not always popular! In fact some people have been downright forthright in their opposition. On the other hand I have discovered an enormous number of good people out there. From the four corners of the world, having disparate views, writing about a wide variety of subjects they have been jolly good sorts all round! I am glad to have met them!

I intended to make a serious point with a touch of humour. Sometimes I thought it was almost working and sometimes this failed. I have never attempted to stick to one subject, except moaning of course, and have likewise favoured with my presence blogs covering many areas, some surprising to me, and keep links to these excellent blogs and their excellent people. Most I visit daily at the moment, some when I feel like it. All teach me a great deal, many make me laugh, all reveal a variety of lifestyles, some lifestyles I would never wish to emulate, (isn't that paint?) and some make me jealous with their intellect, talents, lives, and photographs!    

I discovered all this as I looked for one particular item, which I never found, on previous posts and was surprised to discover five years had past. Doesn't time fly when your having fun, or getting old? Anyway so far it has been a lot of fun, whatever you lot think, because I have enjoyed shoving my opinions down your throat and indicating to you all your mistakes! That's what friends are for after all! So I intend to continue whether you like it or not, so there!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Remembrance Sunday


Up and down the land groups of ex-servicemen and their relatives along with members of the public have gathered to 'remember' the war dead. Most will have concentrated their thoughts on those they knew or had some connection with, few will not have let their minds run on to our one time enemies also. The names on the memorials once belonged to men who fell in the two world wars, now they are beginning to have names from more recent wars added to them or placed alongside. This modern generation is once again realising the cost of war. During the years of 'peace,' since 1945 we fooled ourselves into thinking war happened elsewhere, now today's generation is suffering also as conflicts bring the truth close to home.

During the sixties, we of the 'baby boomer' generation, or 'accident' generation as my mother referred to it, we who had grown up with the aftermath of the war wanted to live a new life. All things military were pushed aside, banning the 'bomb' and making 'love not war' were what mattered. It actually was more 'make tea not war' but that's another story. The 'Cold War' caused millions of casualties but in Africa and South East Asia where America had made a fool of itself. A culture clash, an age gap between those who served between 30 and 45 could not be closed during the late sixties 'hippy' days. Now this has changed. The Irish troubles, the Falklands dispute, two wars against Iraq, the second certainly not required, and Afghanistan, have all brought home the role of the services today.  In my teenage years few walked the streets in uniform as conscription had long gone and jobs were plenty. Why enlist to be bullied by a sadistic corporal when life was outside your door? The wearing of poppies was not important as that was a long time ago, let's move on was the attitude.  I did enquire about the RAF and realised I could not get what I wanted there, lucky as I would have been thrown out had I attempted it. However a serviceman's life was only for the tough or those who sought adventure or travel in those days. Once again however the soldier is respected. Once again people are proud to wear poppies. Once again soldiers can wear their uniform in the streets. (This was stopped during the Irish troubles) Now people show respect when dead soldiers are buried near home.

There is however one question to ask, is there a danger that this can become a bandwagon for all to jump on, or proper respect? For instance at the small town of Wooton Basset, close to the aerodrome where British troops bodies are returned, now stand in silent salute for the soldier. It has become the thing for the hearse to stop and family and friends to put flowers on the vehicle. Flags are lowered and people stand in silence, except for the photographers desperate to find a crying wife or child of course! Is this respect, or has it become a circus? TV crews from around the world have attended here, is this really respect or are we using 'our boys' to sell papers and newsreels? At Tynecastle Park today the supporters of the Heart of Midlothian turned up to commemorate the men of the Hearts team who enlisted during the Great War. Seven did not return, others died between the wars, many were seriously wounded although some returned to play again. Since Jack Alexander published his book 'McCrae's Battalion,' it has brought many more younger fans to attend the service, a service which has happened ever since the memorial at Haymarket was erected in 1922. This has brought home to them what our forefathers have done. However, if they did not support the Heart of Midlothian would they come? If these were Hibernian players would they be bothered?  The point I am aiming at is why do we wear the poppies and attend services? Most will be right in offering 'remembrance' as the reason, but I wonder if there is the beginning of a band wagon. More TV coverage has been seen in recent years. TV companies insist that all wear poppies, in case someone complains, and a minutes silence occurs in most places at 11 am on the 11th of November in most public places today. How much of this is respect and how much not wishing to lose face? Difficult to tell with some. A response to public demand is one point even though a great many ignore the silence, sometimes deliberately.    

It strikes me also that today we have lost the 'stiff upper lip' of just 'getting on with it,' that our forefathers possessed. After the war that was the only possibility for returning troops. few received any help unless they had real difficulties physical or mental. Yet today there is a cry for 'counselling' after someone breaks a nail let alone suffers grief. I agree that much more is required for returning servicemen but on the other hand we live in a pampered society that needs to be told to stop wearing your heart on your sleeve and keep it to you and your alone. Questions asked by 'journalists,' and I use that word loosely, are based on emotions not facts. An experience can be related and the first question asks about the persons 'feelings.' Surely we ought to know instinctively what those are, or are we stupid?  The emotions, the tears, are more important to television than the story. This does not reflect a society that can cope well with wars results.

At our local memorial people had placed about a dozen small crosses around the display. I looked this man up in an attempt to discover his story. This is done firstly by visiting the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site and searching their records. Almost immediately I came across his record, the first time that has happened!

The 'Battle of the Ancre' 13th - 19th November 1916, was the last battle of what we refer to today as the 'battle of the Somme.' 'The Somme' was of course famous for the huge loses on the first day of the battle back in sun drenched July, however by November steady heavy rain had made the ground a quagmire and this battle may have been more to impress the French than achieve an actual breakthrough. The 1st Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders, I suspect this man belonged to the 1/7th Gordon's but cannot be sure at this moment, were part of the 51st Highland Division and their job was to attack north of the river and along with their comrades take several lines of German defences. In fact they appeared to attack over part of what is now known as the 'Newfoundland Park' area.The weather, the mud and the stout defending made this a very difficult and hazardous occupation. Success was achieved and eventually Beaucourt  was taken, but at what cost?

8493 Lance Serjeant George Christie (That is how it was spelt in those days) died on this day and it is likely, but not proven as yet, that he died during this attack. The Gordon's were a Territorial Force and at 31 and a Lance Serjeant it is likely that he had been a member of this unit for some time. It may be he had previously served in the army and like many others continued in the Territorials afterwards. Who knows? 
The problem with such memorials is the lack of information available. We know when he died, can speculate where, and we know his parents came from Knockenbaird Croft, Insch, (still in use) and that his wife lived at Victoria Buildings, Alford. The building is still there also and now appears to be the Co-op! Both places are in Aberdeenshire, the main recruiting ground for the Gordon's. The other question is who put this small cross, one of thousands placed at memorials throughout the land, into our memorial? I am sure that whoever it was Lance Serjeant George Christie would be appreciative of the thought.