Sunday, 30 January 2011

Friday, 28 January 2011

Rotten Week

It's been a rotten week so far. The bug has taken what little energy and the even smaller amount of sense that I had and gave me that drained feeling. I was supposed to call a place re a job but what with lack off oomph and the fact that I am not fit enough to work 40 hours again has combined to make me feel lousy. It is amazing how quickly fitness leaves and how hard it is to recover. Wednesday saw me determined to develop stamina again by walking. Two long walks in the cold wind, followed  by another yesterday and amazingly I even got the bike out for a while! However all I have are blisters on the feet and aches everywhere else. Since the snow started I have not been able to get the bike out. Follow that with the bug that never leaves and I have done so little exercise it is only the blubber in front of me that stops me blowing away in the wind! At the back of my head a voice is calling, "Get of your backside and DO something you fat slob!" I am glad it is being subtle! However nothing appears to arrive. The job market for an lazy good for nothing unskilled male almost at 60 is quite small these days. Honestly I have used my whole intellect in this fruitless search and....hold on, I think that may be part of the problem! What now? I just don't know and am quite fed up with this directionless life.

This decrepit looking building dates back into the mists of time. They say it was around in the 14th century, probably the last time it saw a lick of paint, and now serves as a small, character filled (which means what I ask?) hotel. Once a large manor house, and now almost unnoticed at the end of the High Street, it is only around the back does the true age of the building show. How often it has been rebuilt or renovated I could not say however it does seem sad that such a character is hidden away from general view and espied (lovely word) merely from the back end of the multi story car park. Several building round here are like this. The front may be Georgian but round the back a more Medieval side can be glimpsed. Chimneys, roofs and 'Gants,' passageways between buildings, reveal the Netherlands influence from the days of the weavers a few hundred years ago. Pairs of cottages renovated into one expensive house show traces of the farm labourers of yesterday, the occasional 'Big Hoose' reveals just how much money could be made from weaving!  Streets built by speculative builders working together spread out from the centre of town. 

In the 19th century a joiner say, alongside a  bricklayer and possibly a plumber, would join together and buy three plots of land in a newly laid out street. Together they would erect three houses, without architects help, and each would sell one and put the profit to his family and then buying more land to repeat the process. By this method much of England's housing stock was built. The 'Feu duty' in Scotland hindered this approach and anyone building went upwards, hence so many tenements. The Scots are much more egalitarian than the stand offish English and such dwellings grew out of the old 'Closes' and 'Stairs' of past times. Naturally the lower down the social order the worse the building, but that happens everywhere, and still does! The Victorians were not ones to dwell on the past. Buildings that stood in the way of progress were demolished. Just look for Berwick Castle and be disappointed. Robert Stephenson tore it down to build his railway station, and used the stones in doing so! Only the 'keep' of Newcastle itself was 'kept!' The train just misses this as it passes by.  Without listing orders on buildings, often a pain to some, many buildings today would be lost to our heritage. It is not possible to keep all old buildings but so many are worth noting that care is required. After all if every 'old thing' was to be replaced what would become of us?


Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Rabbie Burns poetry is recited on this night in places far flung from his place of origin. Scots have taken his works world wide and the talent he displayed shines through the long lost South West Scotland words he uses. In fact many of the words were not understood by the 'polite society' of Edinburgh at the time, although this did not stop the women of that society throwing themselves at him of course. Feminism comes and goes but human nature never changes. Rabbie was not at home in such 'high society' and preferred the company of his own district, and who can blame him? In between chasing or being chased by women, farming and then becoming a very slothful customs man he continued to produce poetry. Now that is something the working man of today would not comprehend! Poetry, while appreciated at 'Burns nights,' is considered a 'Jessie' activity by most. Few there are who buy poetry books or listen to the, somewhat dreary, poetry programmes on radio 4.  However mention a 'Burns night,' a few whiskies, a crowd of pleasant fellows and suddenly all seems acceptable, even when many words are easily pronounced but rarely understood! Haggis, neeps and tatties compliment the evening and all go home, somewhat unsteadily, but gleeful. Proffer a Robert Browning or a Byron poem at work the next day and be greeted with antagonism and once again the world goes on its merry way! 

At primary school in the days of long ago we had to sing this Burns song. Occasionally some of us kept to the tune and I am glad as this became a favourite of mine in those bleak days of normal human existence pre political correctness. If you can find it somewhere have a listen ad see if I am right. Surprisingly it concerns a woman!

Afton Water

              Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
             Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise;
            My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
             Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

             Thou stock-dove, whose echo resounds thro' the glen,
             Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,
            Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear,
              I charge you disturb not my slumbering fair.

              How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighbouring hills,
           Far mark'd with the courses of clear winding rills;
           There daily I wander as noon rises high,
           My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye.

            How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below,
           Where wild in the woodlands the primroses blow;
            There oft, as mild Ev'ning sweeps over the lea,
            The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me.

        Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides,
        And winds by the cot where my Mary resides,
         How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave,
           As gathering sweet flowrets she stems thy clear wave.

           Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
           Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays;
            My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
            Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

1] Afton: a small river that flows into the Nith near New Cumnock.
16] birk: birch.
21] brae: hill.
also 'Neeps' are mashed turnips and 'tatties' as you know are potatoes.


Sunday, 23 January 2011

Songs of Praise


 Pam Rhodes learns about the historical importance of the city of Lancaster, and visits a school that makes its own sausages. The programme also features hymns from St Thomas's Church, as well as performances by Lexie Stobie and Tessera"

I was searching the TV for tonight and came across the blurb above for 'Songs of Praise.' I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at this. "Pam Rhodes learns about the historical importance of the city of Lancaster, and visits a school that makes its own sausages." '..visits a school that makes it's own sausages?' This programme is what remains of Christian broadcasting in the UK TV networks and the presenter is not bringing us news about Jesus and his suffering on our behalf, instead she is visiting a school to look at the sausage making! Are the BBC for real?

While this generation now flaunts their agnosticism and the professional atheists ram their unbelief down our throats there remains a right of believers to have some sort of representation on Sunday TV, but this sad caricature of worship fails them miserably! Few would return to the Reithian days but the one programme with specifically Christian content could at least be Christian. Maybe that is a concept a step too far for the controller of such programmes today. The controller at the moment I think may be an unbelieving Muslim, or was it a Sikh? Whatever he is his brief is to widen the religious programming to cover all faiths and none, although how you cover no faith is beyond me. In itself this is fair enough but what actually happens is , well nothing! A meaningless (cheap) discussion programme at ten on a Sunday morning that few watch, and a watered down 'Songs of Praise.'  Well worth the money that! Shambles is not the word.

'Songs of Praise' I think was once intended for those who could not attend their church on a Sunday, today it is a glorified choir practice. This programme uses its own hymn book, they gather choirs from all the churches in a specific area and practice them for a week. Whether these are Christian or nominal does not appear to matter, what matters is lots of faces singing properly and any genuine member of that church is shoved to the back, unless they are featured in the programme. While the singing may succeed,the praise fails. All too often we are left with lots of ageing women, possibly a children's choir, each individual focused, not on God, but on a choirmaster. That is not praise! Now I grant you many believers are to be found among those choirs, and many others seek their God, however this does not reflect the reality of Christian worship in the UK today. I wonder also if this brings the truth of the good news to an individual as well as it might?

Much better to drop this programme and spend several weeks interviewing Christians throughout the land. Not just those famous names but the everyday man in the pew, well seat actually today, and discover how Jesus himself has changed their lives, and not actually made it easier for them while doing so. Much better to watch real people in action that sing a few songs, often good ones, and glimpse individuals lives for a short moment, even if those stories are often touching indeed. The whole programme as it is gives the impression the church is for old women! This is not the case! Far too often those who appear are middle class men in fancy robes or purple vestments relating to few indeed! Jesus Christ is alive and well and changing lives of those who accept him. Throughout the country people are discovering that he is alive yet when they look at the TV screen they see the blue rinse set all too often and little to grab their hearts. 

Jesus Christ himself has come to bring life, real life, abundant life, yet I do not believe this programme shows this. While there are those who tell of what God has done for them all too often we find such items as schools making sausages! This I can tell you is fun but not abundant life! I do not disparage the programme as such, I am happy that there are many who enjoy this programme, however if we are to have a Christian show in the evening let's have a real one, let's reflect the church,in whatever denomination, really has going for it! Let us show the power of Jesus to change lives!

It must be said that in these days Christianity is being pushed aside in an aggressive manner. Christians know the reason for this, and amongst other things showing Christianity in a poor light serves that purpose. However  God has as much right to be heard as anyone else, and while programmes cover all aspects of life the BBC must also provide a fairer representation of God in this world. No-one would object to such fairness being offered to Jews, Hindus or Muslims. Indeed religion is only mentioned during the news or laughed at in most other programmes so it is time for a fairer investigation of the actual effects of belief. That is not being given at this moment in time.


Saturday, 22 January 2011

Now I'm Not One To Gloat


However a quick scan of the Scottish Premier League shows that while the Heart of Midlothian lie in third place the wee team, the one renowned for their 'flair,' lies second from bottom, a mere three points above Hamilton Accies. This is so sad that I am having to wipe tears from my eyes as I write.  

1 Celtic....................... 22 16 4 2 46 14 32 52           
2 Rangers................... 20 15 2 3 44 20 24 47           
3 Hearts......................21 14 3 4 36 16 20 45           
4 Kilmarnock.............. 22 9 5 8 35 25 10 32           
5 I.C. Thistle............... 23 7 8 8 31 28 3 29           
6 Motherwell.............. 21 8 4 9 26 25 1 28           
7 Dundee United ........18 6 7 5 21 24 -3 25           
8 St Johnstone............ 20 6 5 9 14 26 -12 23           
9 Aberdeen.................21 6 2 13 21 39 -18 20           
10 St Mirren................. 21 4 5 12 17 35 -18 17           
11 Hibernian................ 21 4 4 13 21 37 -16 16           
12 Hamilton Accies....... 20 2 7 11 13 36 -23 13  

The defeat of Rangers did however show up the lack of depth in the squad. Kyle being injured left us short and while we eventually won that had more to do with the failure of the Ibrox side to take the several chances we gave them in the first half. The players failed in the tackle, failed to pass properly and appeared devoid of ideas at times. Rangers hassling crowded out the skilful ones and the rest were too busy making mistakes to help. The second have produced a much better performance and the game was very equal then. For a neutral it went from one end to the other but for the fan it became very tense in the last few minutes. I was happy to see the ref refuse to run after the blue bigots as they have done so often in the past. There were areas to improve but overall he was not too bad. However we need to improve for Wednesday, but we can win that also! The futures bright, the futures maroooooooooooon! 


Friday, 21 January 2011

Greenock Harbour


Victorian painting is not popular with some. However I find many excellent works there and this one by John Atkinson Grimshaw is one I like. There are one or two others on this excellent Golden Age Paintings blog, and I recommend it to lovers of fine arts and nice pictures. There are a variety of pictures, and lots of words for those that like that sort of thing, and very good it is too!

 Salthouse Dock - Grimshaw.


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Football Over the Ether


While twenty two men slug it out in the rain in Kilmarnock a great many people are sitting listening, or watching, in the comfort of their own homes. How wonderful! This game is available via the wireless on Medium Wave, although it may be the 'open all mikes' all in programme only. It can however be heard via the internet thanks to Sportsound's shambolic website,which is how I am listening on tenterhooks, actually I am on a second hand office chair, but as the butcher said when I asked for half a rabbit, "Let's not split hares!" The web has become a marvellous way with which to follow the football. Games worldwide, and sometimes pictures also, can be obtained this way, both legally and not. International fans of the Heart of Midlothian not only have 'Hearts World' struggling to provide an unbiased commentary on the game but they also get live pictures on occasion. 

To me this is amazing!  When I took up residence in the mouse filled condemned slum in London's Finchley Road I discovered that it was well nigh impossible to discover what was happening four hundred miles up the road. Saturday saw football results on the radio (did I have one then? I certainly had no telly) and the Sunday press had all the results. Reports of the games did not exist, with a cup final or old firm game as an exception and nothing was mentioned on the radio or among the population of the city in which I dwelt. Papers were available from the local newsagent. Papers from France, Germany, Italy and several other European nations. The Arabic press were represented, all the major papers from that region, and other from the US and elsewhere could be obtained a day or two after publication. None from Scotland could be obtained, although the Scotsman, then a newspaper, was then available in some areas. Later, once I had moved to a more salubrious basement in Kilburn (or was it when I had finally reached the goal of a back door in Notting Hill?), I discovered the Scottish Press could be obtained from Kings Cross station and the Sundays on a Saturday night before they made their way north. The joy of wandering about Kings Cross on a Saturday night is not one I wish to share with such gentle readers as yourselves! 

Football discussion was often limited amongst the people I worked with. They were either not interested or supported only English sides or, believe it or not, cared for cricket! The sight of working men getting excited about cricket is one I am even yet not sure about. It was of course possible at times to discuss football with those who understood the game, and from as far apart as Montrose and Real Madrid! However this was not relevant to the Heart of Midlothian. However my life had more important things to worry it as I built my 'relationship with Jesus, although he may disagree here, and this included the eight years I did without TV and used books and the radio to develop my incredible intellect. ( Well people always say "Incredible!" when mentioning my intellect!). Today the use of satellite TV and the 'Dirty Diggers' money football coverage has developed greatly. At the same time more newsagents found a market for the sale of Scots papers, a sale which is dying now we all read these grubby papers on the web! Ah well!

I now feel closer to Edinburgh and some members of my family and to my football club than I have ever done in the past thirty five years! The personal computer has been a great benefit in these and many other ways, how did I ever live without it? Unemployment of this period of time with no PC would have seen me dead! Who said "Shame?"  News of the team is available as easily for me as for those in Edinburgh. Pictures are available, and contact with the fans, especially the decent ones, is a great help to understanding what is going on. Incidentally this also enables me to remember Edinburgh words that have sunk deep into the back of my big head, but that's another story. The question now is why are we losing? Do we care when we hear Hibs are losing another cup tie to a very low lying side? Yes! That enables us to keep smiling in the rain soaked circumstances.



Sunday, 16 January 2011

Just as I am


  1. Just as I am, without one plea,
    But that Thy blood was shed for me,
    And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  2. Just as I am, and waiting not
    To rid my soul of one dark blot,
    To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  3. Just as I am, though tossed about
    With many a conflict, many a doubt,
    Fightings and fears within, without,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  4. Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
    Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
    Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  5. Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
    Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
    Because Thy promise I believe,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  6. Just as I am, Thy love unknown
    Hath broken every barrier down;
    Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Saturday Recommendation!


I have just discovered a grand blog called the 'Braw Doocot!'  I recommend this to any Scot with artistic leanings. The authors taste covers architecture, grand houses, Railway posters, one of the best stolen and posted above, sculpture and I suspect a great deal more besides. I enjoyed my little trawl through this and think you will also. James Playfair's 'Egyptian Room' is a fantasy indeed!  'Doocot' by the way refers to the place pigeons were kept in days of yore to supplement the winter food supply. 'Doo's' being the Scots term for pigeons, as in 'Rock Dove's' I suspect. I notice also that there has been no post since April, maybe he will return soon, he is probably just blocked in by snow or the tram works!


Friday, 14 January 2011

Friday Frivolity

Got an e-mail today from a bored local housewife, 43who was looking for some hot action! 
So I sent her my ironing. That'll keep the lazy woman busy.

I got invited to a party and was told to dress to kill. Apparently a turban, beard and a backpack wasn't what they had in mind.

After a night of drink, drugs and wild sexBill woke up to find himself next to a really ugly woman.
That's when he realised he had made it home safely.

Paddy says to Mick, "Christmas is on Friday this year". 
Mick said, "Let's hope it's not the 13th then."

Came home today to find all my doors and windows smashed in and everything gone. What sort of sick person does that to someone's Advent calendar.

I've been charged with murder for killing a man with sandpaper. To be honest I only intended to rough him up a bit.

After years of research, scientists have discovered what makes women happy.   Nothing.

A lad comes home from school and excitedly tells his dad that he had a part in the school play and he was playing a man who had been married for 25 years. The dad says, "Never mind son, maybe next year you'll get a speaking part."

Just had my water bill of £175 drop on my mat. That's a lot.  Oxfam can supply a whole African village for just £2 a month: time to change supplier I think.
2 women called at my door and asked what bread I ate, when I said white they gave me a lecture on the benefits of brown bread  for 30 minutes. 
I think they were Hovis Witnesses


Thursday, 13 January 2011


The Brisbane floods have left around 40 known dead, and possibly many more to come after the clean up has begun. Rightly this has received a great deal of airtime on TV and radio in the UK. The connection between the UK and Australia is very strong and thinking about this I may well have a few distant relatives suffering from this flood as I had a long dead aunt out that way. I suspect news will filter through slowly from there. Because of the connections and of course the excellent live pictures and audio reporting, we have a great deal of detail to fill the otherwise 'quiet' news room in the early part of the year.

I was struck however by the lack of reporting on the deaths of over 250 people in Brazil! I came across this story only today and wondered why this was not mentioned before?  Silly question, they are only poor Brazilians living in shanty towns on hillsides prone to mudslides. Why should we car? They don't peak English, a great disadvantage, the TV coverage is not so good, and anyway, they are just going to lose any aid we send in some corruption somewhere, let's just pass by on the other side shall we? I am glad the Independent managed to report this tragedy as if this was as important as the Australian one which has cost less deaths but a great deal more money. 

The weather front that has crossed the southern Pacific and brought the heavy rain to Australia has also moved on to other parts of the region. The Philippines also endured heavy rain and this too resulted in many deaths from flood damage. Around a million people, mostly poor, are suffering and at least 40 have died. Not much reporting on this, there again the only mention of the Philippines concerns Islamic terrorism, floods or corruption, so why bother we ask? One nation not much reported now the Tamil Tigers have been all but obliterated is Sri Lanka. When part of the British Empire (are you standing to attention?) this land was known as Ceylon and a producer of much of the tea that we consume. Thirty years of needless conflict have curbed the tourist trade and the last time Sri Lanka received attention concerned the Boxing Day Tsunami of a few years ago. One wonders if that had happened at a busier time if it would have received such attention? Today the damaged area is not much better off, the aid having disappeared and those who suffered receiving less than they ought. Now again the monsoon rains brings flooding, and we know of at least 18 dead and large areas damaged but it does not affect us much so we can pass on regardless. Much more important to know what some celebrity is wearing or where he, she, or it shops isn't it?


Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Radio Voices


Listening to the radio you can tell much about the person speaking. You can recognise their class, if they possess any, their age is often easy to guess and it is possible to even tell their colour and nationality to some extent from their voice. However the picture of the person that comes to mind is never that which exists. When I was a lad, in the days of the BBC Home Service, the early morning news programme 'Today' was led by one Jack De Manio, a man famous in his day, usually for giving out the wrong time and various other gaffes! This highly popular presenter led this programme single handed from 1958 until 1970 when he was joined by a fellow presenter, soon after he left as the situation did not suit him and presented 'Jack de Manio Precisely on Radio 4 in the afternoons.  Although I heard his voice on many occasions as I stuffed toast in my big mouth preparing for the long trek to school and another day of ghastly misery I had an image of this man in my head. One day, much to my shock, I came across a picture of him and discovered he was nothing at all like the image my mind had offered me! Now, a short time since those days, I can no longer remember what my original image happened to be but it was nothing like the man himself. It is strange how we can identify so much about a speaker on the wireless but no matter how much information we gather we cannot tell what they actually look like, they never fit our image of them. Many benefit from this of course, and there are numerous folks who have the face fit for radio walking the streets today.

I popped into the library to get warm some education this afternoon and was seated near a heater browsing a book concerning photojournalism. However not far away there was a line of PC's, all occupied, and one twenty something male was willing to share his music at an annoying level. Had this actually been music it might have been tolerable, however the refrain 'Please stand up,' repeated constantly at various levels was, in my humble view (and humble is the word I am assured), unsuitable for a library. Moving along past the medical problems, masses of books lying to people about how easy it is to repair a car, or create your own business, I was enlightened by two schoolgirls gossiping about boyfriends in the library to study but doing so quite loudly, and I began to wonder why they no longer have signs saying 'SILENCE SOME FOLKS ARE READING YOU IGNORANT LOUTS!' like we used to do? Noise appears to be OK in such places now and this has been made worse by two things, one is the daft idea of closing 'reference libraries' where proper study was possible, and the other the modern design of new buildings which allow all noise to circulate. Our building has a children's library with no doors thus allowing the screaming brats to entertain everybody no matter how far way they are. Considering many events for the kiddies are held there and those deeply studying advanced maths, literary composition or pictures of nudes nature in photographic books find themselves repeating 'Mrs Tiddlywinks went to market' instead of something more useful. Libraries, like most of society, has no consideration for others these days. The purpose of the library, to educate and enlighten, appears these days to be to provide a service for those who wish to read the papers for free, dodge school or keep warm gossip away from schoolfriends. Sorry, but I wish the old days were back. 


Monday, 10 January 2011

He's Shaking Hands Again!


Michael Portillo is taking another of his excellent 'Great British Rail Journeys' for the BBC.  Now I enjoy these gentle trips through the UK along rail lines old and new. These days I find more enjoyment from this than from a great many 'popular' programmes, most of which I consider to be rubbish! However as I watch I am annoyed by two things, and it takes a lot to get me annoyed! As the programme begins they waste two minutes and forty eight seconds telling us what is about to happen, and at the end of the programme another minute or so is wasted with what will happen tomorrow - JUST GET ON WITH IT MAN! 

The other thing is the more important one today, his handshakes! Portillo is constantly meeting people, getting off trains, in fields, at stations, in buildings and on each and every occasion he greets them with a handshake as if they had met for the first time, rubbish! Almost, but not always, they have waited for thirty minutes while the cameraman worked out his angles and background, then they march together full of false greetings, STOP IT!!! You are wasting time with false politeness and absurd realism. JUST GET ON WITH IT MAN!

I like this programme and Michael is giving us some good documentaries on both TV and Radio these days but for goodness sake cut the crap man!

I've finished now....


Sunday, 9 January 2011

King James Version


This year sees the four hundredth anniversary of the publication of the translation of the bible authorised by King James VI & I.  This has become known to most as the 'Authorised Version and to the Americans as the 'King James Version,' as they like the historical side to it. It is interesting to note that this programme, made by non Christians, uses the term 'King James Version.' The BBC is responsible for several programmes mostly concerned with the historic reasons for the translation and the 'poetic' language used therein. None in these programmes appear concerned with the God who breathed it at any time!

1611 saw the 'Union of the Crowns,' when James the Sixth of Scotland also became James the First of England. (Always known by the racist English as James I !) One of his problems concerned the religious strife since the reformation. Different Kings and Queens had gone from Catholic to Protestant and back again, usually without becoming 'Christian' in the process, and this caused much suffering and needless strife throughout Europe. This was amended in England by Elizabeth when she attempted a policy of 'tolerance.' However this met some opposition from Puritans (this term covered many 'types' of Puritan) and the other 'protestants' of various types. Their religion often meant less than the politics of the day and this created many difficulties for the King when he arrived. However in Scotland the highly competent James had already dealt with the Calvinist leftovers and his theological and academic knowledge was considerable. During the many discussions with the clergy concerning the nations future the idea of a new translation arose. James was not keen on the 'Geneva' bible used by many at the time as one phrase appeared to doubt the 'Divine right of Kings!' This helped encourage his desire for a new translation.

This was undertaken by the very best scholars of the day, working alone and in groups, each dedicated to a specific potion of scripture, then checked by others and rechecked and edited later by the 'top dogs' at St Paul's leading eventually to the 'Authorised' bible. When completed all previous versions were banned from use in churches throughout the land. Thus removing any wrong influence from previous versions, although this version took much from them. This was indeed a 'poetic' version of scripture with lines that were easy to read, and who's phrasing aided listening at the time. In the late 18th century the words were 'modernised' and the book was revised again in the 19th century. The words have indeed penetrated to all corners of the world, although the 'British Empire' helped here!

Many people know vaguely about a flood, Noah's ark, Jesus and Paul the apostle. Most know little else beyond this today. One reason is the media's use of the 'Authorised version' when quoting scripture which tends to give the impression the bible is for the past and not for today, most Christians of course have used more readable modern versions for thirty years or more. Society also is no longer forcibly 'nominally church going' so bible knowledge is dying. The majority of people born in the last forty years confronted with the quaint, but attractive, language of this version are put off as it is impossible for them to understand. This is a shame as the reason such books were translated was to bring the 'Word of God' to each individual, as opposed to the Roman Catholic manner of keeping it within the church of Rome. In the years following the publication the majority of the population were better educated by hearing this book than many today after ten years of schooling! Many learned to read, discovered they were important to God in spite of their place in society and as a side issue the language of the nation was altered for ever as this book represented what today we call 'Queens English.'

The BBC programme The King James Bible contains a variety of artists reading portions of this book. Like other programmes in this series there are some explanations along with each programme again concerned mostly with the poetry of the words, the 'literary style' rather than the content thereoff. Still, Jesus speaks through this book to many, as he did to me, and he has never let me down in spite of my self centred life. Maybe he will speak even yet through these readings. They can be heard for seven days although I am not sure if this can only be heard in the UK. The bible is a book, actually a collection of books, that tell us about our relationship with God himself. Actually it is about his desire and longing for his relationship with us, 'we love because he first loved us,' and while used and abused by many it still changes lives for the better!


Saturday, 8 January 2011



The rain that decided to fall somewhat heavily last night left behind thick gray clouds this morning. At least by the time I dragged myself out of the pit of sleep the rain had ended and only the clouds with their occasional glimpses of blue were left. Proper winter has arrived at last, you know, the cold wet winter that we are used to. No snow or horrid stuff like that, we left that in Edinburgh where it belongs, just rain and miserable looking postmen pushing paper mache through the letterbox. However just in case it decided to snow I remained in doors most of the day venturing out only for veg, a losing Lottery ticket and my copy of 'Private Eye.'

Today is 'Cup football' day in Scotland and England so I was able to find myself bored by Arsenal cheating Leeds United out of a victory. I did however have the sniggers when I discovered the Hibs fans distress at their teams performance in the 0-0 draw with Ayr United. How football makes you hurt, although for some of us we are enjoying this season and have every hope of another cup win ourselves. Excuse me while I take up the 'smug' position for a while. To stop smirking I wandered across the park and pictured the bright evening sky provided by the advancing dusk    


Friday, 7 January 2011

Fat Slob


As the year has advanced so far I decided it was time for the first bath. I took my self off into the bathroom, blocked up the gaps that allow the cold air to creep in and spoil everything, cleaned the grime from the bath, and turned on the hot tap. This always makes me shudder as when the gas boiler lights the meter turns so quickly it would make anyone but a Conservative minister quake. Add to this the cost of water and watch the shareholders gather outside to applaud my actions. However I kept the light off to save money as I can bathe in the dark, I know where most things are, but was forced by the cold hanging about in the air to use the bar heater! How annoying! The electric, naturally, costs more than any other item used! The stupidity of selling off the nations energy for short term gain may be lost on a wealthy Thatcher but this now means we pay vastly more for a dubious service than we would have done under the crumbling previous system. Still, some folks make money from it, certainly the Conservative MP's and their lackeys, plus all those foreign power owners! In the nineteenth century Joseph Chamberlain,  who became one of the major movers in Empire building, nationalised the various Gas and water companies to benefit the people of Birmingham where he was Mayor. How come Thatcher could not see that as sensible?  How come her small shopkeeper approach put money before need?

The water rose as quickly as my overdraft as I divested myself of my filthy garments, hmmm might be time to use that washing machine, and then placed my lithe 8 stone body onto the scales. Then it was I heard a creaking sound and the platform on which I stood leant over to the left and a bent piece of metal flew out the other side and embedded itself into the cheap hardboard that forms the side of the bath. The dial raced round so fast it came loose. Hmmm I thought, did I overdo the Christmas sweets?  In this state the machine managed to inform me that I was now just over fifteen and a half stone of slob and not what I had been considering myself to be. This was a disappointment and means I must start those exercises I keep beginning and forgetting to finish. In fact lifting a few weights, walking - in a downpour - and running on the spot may well be good for you but doing housework is actually using more muscles. I think dancing to the Beatles early tunes also has beneficial effects - as long as no-one is watching! So that is now what I must attend to, however I think I may well have lunch first, just in case I am too weary to finish...


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

How to be an idiot No 48



For the idiot the kitchen is one of the wonders of the world! Here he will find so many areas in which to make his mark that he may well begin hyperventilating at the thought of what lies before him. Let us notice how an idiot deals with the microwave. He, his spouse or indeed his nurse, has produced some excellent home made soup. All our hero has to do is place this in the microwave oven to reheat the stuff. Simple enough! Well no actually. You see  a suitable dish is required for this job and Mr Idiot has already placed some soup into a china bowl and watched as this cracked apart and flooded the microwave with his dinner. Next he used one of those tinfoil ones that hunks of expensive meat arrive in. This resulted in an electrical storm such as those usually found only in the Serengeti National Park! However after much practice and a few words of advice from the woman in his life (Why isn't she doing this? That's what she is there for!) he chooses a suitable container, sets the time dial and stands back. Several minutes later he anxiously removes his soup and begins eating. This quickly ends as he discovers that he has set the time dial but not the temperature and is now eating tepid soup. He rushes back to the brute and inserts the soup somewhat angrily into the thing and sets both time and temperature correctly! Just to ensure success he adds another minute and retires grumping as he does so. Hunger is beginning to produce some irritability it appears. As the 'ping' sounds he rushes to the oven, grabs the door open and retrieves the soup. He does this in such a manner as to allow his now, 'piping hot' lunch to spill out and cover his the fingers! His screaming of unholy oaths encourages the container to be dropped onto the floor followed quickly by the contents. Standing by the freezer, his hand thrust inside in an effort to lessen the searing pain against the ice, he contemplates both the mess on the floor and his beloveds "Have an accident?" 
"No thanks, I already have one," he mumbles from behind the freezer door.
The red marks on the fingers disappear after a few weeks.

Ah, the freezer! While we have our hand inside it is noticeable that the ice has indeed began to clog the freezer cabinet. This calls for Idiot once more to show his qualities. The idiot looks upon such work as a bit of a nuisance as he has better things to waste his life upon. However to ensure the fridge freezer runs smoothly it must be defrosted every so often, about once every ten years or so, and now is the time to do this! He has in his mind a freezer compartment completely cleared of ice, the contents aligned in a practical order, and the machine running with a smooth gentle burr throughout the day. He of course deludes himself!
Mrs Idiot, not an idiot in herself but daft enough to end up with him, she would tackle this problem in a simple manner, after all that is one of her jobs innit? She who must be obeyed would have ensured the contents of the freezer compartment were allowed to run down before the operation began, she then would switch of the freezer, leave the door open for thirty minutes and then, in a smooth swift manner, remove the ice which has by now gathered on the floor of the compartment. This naturally is too much for an idiot.

His first step is to empty out the many frozen items found within. The second is to run around the floor retrieving the frozen peas that were in the upside down bag at the front, and also put back those garlic bread lumps that she insists on feeding him.  All items are dumped on top of the freezer cabinet in a higgledy piggledy fashion These include that green odd shaped thing  he found in the corner whatever that was! 
Work may now begin.
The idiot, who may or may not have switched the thing off, will grab a knife or some other dangerously sharp object and attack with a will the ice flows sufficient to worry shipping in the north Atlantic that has been allowed to dominate the brute! He cuts and thrusts with this impliment, shaking the cabinet and within minutes the floor is once again covered with frozen peas, hamburgers, and frozen peppers. These escapees will take several days to collect having found the strangest of places to run into, and even then will be discovered many weeks hence, usually sqashed and smelly, under his slippers. The pies which have removed themselves will be returned to, probably, their boxes whether covered with dust or not. With today's shop bought pies this may well make them more nutritious!

The chasing of the peas will not introduce any wisdom into our hero's mind. He will continue to cut and stab at the ice which slowly is beginning to give way, just as the remnants of  contents atop the freezer are also giving way and colapsing around the floor once again. His efforts to catch them as they fall enables the idiot to knock over the bottles at the side, breaking one and allowing the sauce therein to mix well with the floor beneath. While doing this the knife will enter under his left thumb and the red stain may well remain where it lands for some time before noticed. Much, much later, the ice removed, the floor mopped, the freezer is switched on again, that's if it had been off in the first place. The idiot has a large lunch. This is not because he requires one after his exertions but because he has taken so long to do the job that that most of the contents have begun to thaw and must be used immediately! His dealing with indigestion will be dealt with elsewhere!

Shall we regale you with his ability to place plastic items on the electric hob and turn on the wrong switch? Do you wish to know about his desperate opening of windows and doors to remove the acrid taste of plastic from the home? Is there really a need to detail the long and arduous struggle to replace the melted kettle, that bowl he never understood the purpose off, or his scraping the hot plastic from the (new) hob surfaces? I don't think so. Mr Idiot and his beloved, that's her holding a half empty (cheap) vodka bottle in one hand and a golf club in the other, need to be left alone to discuss his desire to be helpful around the house. I think it better we left them alone to do this, don't you?