Sunday, 31 July 2011



Lovely overgrown gateway to what once was a middle class garden I suspect. The remaining house, now offices, look mid Victorian and I suspect another stood here. The area behind was a school built, and ran by, in the eighteen hundreds by the Congregational Church, but by the seventies it had been sold and turned into the Council Offices. That in turn is now being refurbished at great cost. This may appear reasonable however a plan is in motion to move the council elsewhere!  The word "Bung," never crossed my mind, never!  The one time house may well have been demolished along with the school, possibly these were connected, but clearly nobody has ventured to attend to the garden for some time. Why is it that places that once were have a strange drawing power while places that now exist often do not?


Friday, 29 July 2011

Bill Shankly


The socialism I believe in is not really politics. It is a way of living. It is humanity. I believe the only way to live and to be truly successful is by collective effort, with everyone working for each other, everyone helping each other, and everyone having a share of the rewards at the end of the day. That might be asking a lot, but it’s the way I see football and the way I see life.

Bill Shankly


Thursday, 28 July 2011

Bridge over the Atlantic


There are still those in the world that refuse to believe that a bridge crosses the Atlantic. You can tell them till you are blue in the face but they still will not believe you. "Where is the evidence?" they spout rudely. "If I cannot see it, I will not believe it," they proclaim with all the assurance of an atheist about to be shot at dawn and receive one almighty shock. "No bridge crosses the Atlantic ocean, none whatsoever!"  But they are wrong. So wrong as one was built over the Atlantic in the year 1792 by John Stephenson or by Robert Mylne, depending on whom you wish to believe. It appears to have been designed by the great Thomas Telford and locals say that their man Stevenson (or Stephenson depending on who you talk to) did the work, and his name is recorded by 'The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) as the man, yet others credit Mylne. I suspect however it was local men paid a pittance who actually did the hard graft. They did the job well as with a little bit of modern strengthening the bridge is still used today, and forty ton lorries can cross it safely.  Though quite why anyone would take a forty ton lorry to the Isle beats me! Some folks do have strange tastes mind. 
The bridge crosses the Atlantic taking the traveler from the Scottish mainland, in the rain, to Seil Island, where it rains harder, and for longer. This is not a populous part of the world but makes for excellent, but damp, holiday excursions. The purple of the Fairy Foxglove guides the tourist, and how we love them, to the hills and sights of the island.  Make sure you investigate Tigh an Truish Inn - the House of the Trousers! 

There are other bridges over the Atlantic but this is the most important one.    
Secret Scotland


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cynic, me?


Amy Winehouse was buried today bringing to an end a sad story. I noticed however the cynical manner with which the media covered the tale. The one regarded as 'Shameful,' who suffered 'Horrors,' all of her 'Own Making,' has lost the 'SHAME,' tag and now it has become, 'Tragic.'  The 'Sad' life of  'Poor Amy,' now brings out the sentiment from the 'popular press.'  Sympathy oozes from the media (in spite of which they continue to take 'up close' pics of tearful mourners) as they recognise many are saddened by her untimely death. So it is out with stories of 'drink and drug crazed happenings' and in with 'tears,' for the 'poor girl.'
Please let the tabloid press be closed down, please?

Our 'Dave' has run for the hills once again!  While he is on 'holiday,' his right hand man, no not Clegg, don't be silly, has been left in charge. William Hague, the Foreign Minister, is covering for the Prime Minister, and as we now expect from 'Dave' a major event is being unveiled when he is not around to comment.  The major event, and major it really is, appears to be the end of the Libyan conflict and not by military force as 'Dave' had hoped but by allowing President Gaddafi to resign his position and yet continue to live in Libya!  
First he attacks and expects Gaddafi to collapse like the other North African countries have under the Arab Spring, this does not happen.  Then the Yanks have decided two wars have been enough and they cannot afford to even lend us their aircraft anymore ('Dave' has sold of most of ours).  Now the French, our co-conspirators in this daft attack, are urging talks with Gaddafi and the suggestion that he can stand down and stay in Libya comes from them, they have a presidential election coming their way soon haven't they!  So William has to inform the world, under cover of the Norwegian tragedy, that it might be possible for an agreement to be reached!  
How the mad president must be rejoicing! Reagan, when awake, attempted to kill him and missed, we have tried it and missed also, wherever he is, and now we offer peace terms!  Does anyone really expect him to rush forward and kneel before us?  He realises he has the nap hand, he is on top, nothing can end him now can it?  Half his nation may have been lost, possibly most of his people are against him, but he has survived again and the mighty west are now seeking an end to a war they ought not to have started and have clearly lost!
Still, another 'U' Turn for 'Dave' is part of his 'Big Society' isn't it?  A 'U' Turn a day keeps the er, well it keeps his staff busy hiding him in foreign land if nothing else.  Another failure for this mistake of a PM.  Just how did he get his job I wonder, how did he get into such a position?


Saturday, 23 July 2011

Season Starts Again


David Obua, Once much abused by the lesser intellects of the Heart of Midlothian support, he scored our first goal of the season today, and now that he is playing in his proper position, I suspect the first of many this season. Being played out of position has not helped this Ugandans performance, however I knew he had talent, and was shouted down when I said so.  I am being proved right! He may never be the greatest player in football but he does give his all and this is beginning to show through under JJ.  The diving Naismith may well have equalised, but we all know that was against the run of play, at least that is how it looked on radio. Anyway a draw at Castle Grayskull to start the season and a defeat for the wee team tomorrow to add the icing on the cake.  A decent start to the long, long, oh so very long football season.

Now here's a sad thing.  I clicked on the paper tonight and found myself taken aback by the headline "Amy Winehouse dead at 27." I was suddenly depressed by this, and I did not even like the woman.  To me she was a mixed up clot who spent far too much time appearing in the press, and rarely for any good reason.  Her music was stale, and while she had a voice it was wasted on her I thought. I first saw her on one of 'Jools Holland's Hootenanny's' one New Year and asked "Is this the future of music?" She pawed her thighs in a strange manner, all the world looking like a six year old, and her song was almost inaudible.  However the thought of her sudden death left me deeply depressed. The last thing I would wish was for her to die this way, probably a drug overdose, deliberate or accidental, and left me wondering why I could not do something to stop this.  Stupid question.  Had she lived next door I would probably have finished her off myself, but I did feel real unhappy at her death.  What a waste of a life, and what a sad end. 


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Edinburra Words


Stolen bare-faced from a 'must see' site Day by Day Photos

Recently the Heart of Midlothian forum 'Kickback,' often referred to by other terms, had a thread concentrating on old Edinburgh words. Most of these are still in use today, however language is a 
constantly evolving activity and words fall out of use and others take their place. Words used in towns and cities often differ from those used in smaller places, hence in Edinburgh the citizens are happy to announce they possess no accent of any type at all while in mining villages s was a mere mile or so outside of the city accents can be very strong indeed. Tourists, in their usual tiring manner, claim they can tell no difference, and English TV channels have been known to use subtitles on occasion for the citizens of Edinburgh, must to the chagrin of the population!  Clearly this would be acceptable in Glasgow, Aberdeen or a wee place like Dumbarton, but not at all required in Scotland's capital city, ken whit a mean like pal, you know?

Here is the list of words and other bits that I have compiled from the thread mentioned, most of  
them are easily understood but those dwelling in the colonies may well have difficulties. Let's face it they do not understand the difference between Lallans and English for crying out loud, there again neither do the English!  

'Bag off.' -   A term referring to meeting a young lass and having a good snog! 
'Bam.'     -   An individual who appears mentally unbalanced, e.g. Hibernian supporter. 
'Barrie' or 'Barry.'  -  This means 'Good,' 'Excellent.'      
'Basher.'  -   Ice cream slider with a tunnocks snowball inside. Much missed by me.
'Ben the'  -  'As in 'Ben the hoose' meaning 'Through to another part of the house.  
'Bogging'  -  'Horrible,' as in 'Horrible.'
'Bucket.'  -  'An Edinburgh term for 'dustbin.' I suspect 'Wheelie buns have led to the demise of this term.
'Choob'    -   'Idiot.'  As in Hibernian supporter.
'Choreying' - 'Thieving.' 
'Clarty.'   -    'Dirty,' 'unclean,' as in 'Old Firm Fan.' 
'Dreep.'   -    A method of getting down from a height, such as a window or a wall.
'Dreich.'   -   Bad weather, drizzle like cold rain. 
'Eejit.'     -   Another word for idiot. 
'Filly.'      -   The brown leather football used until the late 50's. 
'Gadgie.'  -    Person.
'Gardyloo.'  - The phrase used when emptying the loo pot out the window.
'Glaikit.'  -    'Gormless,'  as in 'Hibernian fan.' 
'Glaur.'   -    'Meaning 'mud,' as in my boots were covered in glaur. (Never heard of this myself.
'Gawkin.'  -  'Looking.'
A 'Guider' -  A homemade go-kart usually comprising wheels from an old pram and spare wood.  
'Loupin.'  -   Meaning 'sickening.'  Never heard of this!
'Loused,' -   Meaning 'finished work.'
'Messages.'  - As in going 'shopping' for the house groceries. 
'Mince.'  -   An derogatory opinion.
'Minging.' -  'Filthy,' 'Unclean,' 'smelling,' as in Hibernian or Old Firm supporter. 
'Peeve.'  -   'Drink alcohol.'  Not used in my day!

'Peevers.' -  Hopscotch' to some.
'Piece.'  -   'Sandwiches made for work.'
'Puff.'    -   'Meaning lifespan as 'Never in your puff'.
'Puggled.' - 'Tired,' 'worn out.'  As in me.

'Radge,' or Raj.' - See 'Bam.'

'Scud.'   -  'Naked.'
'Scullery.' - 'Kitchen.'  (National word surely? 

'Shottie.'  -  As in 'Give me a shot.' 'Let me have a go.' (Aberdeen term surely?) 
'Siver.'   -  'Drain,' 'gully,' or 'that grill thing' depending on where you come from, at side of road.
'Slider.'  -  An ice cream wafer. (national surely.)
'Sloppy Joe.'  - T-shirt
'Spraf.'  - Chat.  Never heard this.
The 'Store.' - the Co-Operative Shop.
'Square go.' - fight
'Sybies.'   - Spring onions.
'Wee hairy.'  - Adolescent girl. (Not used in polite company.) 

Some other regularly used terms 

"How no?"  -  "Why not?"
"The morn."  - 'Tomorrow.' As in "The morn's morn"
"Whot fur no?"  -  "Why not?"
"The back o' ten."  - "The time is just after ten."

There are many more, and others will come to mind later. Some words go back into the midst of time, some were brought in from far away by immigrants in times long past, some were made up by drunks in Dalkeith, language as I have said 'evolves.'  Different parts of the country speak with different accents and have been influenced by ancient contacts. For instance in Aberdeen and the North East they speak the 'Doric.'  while in Edinburgh and the central Lowlands, as you know, we speak Lallans.  In Glasgow they just speak violence!  It is important to realise that 'Blogger' is of course guided by the 'American' spelling of what they term 'English,' and it has been most upset by some of the words used here. That is of course just typical of American imperialism isn't it?


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Red Sky at Night





Well the Murdoch's faced the committee and discussion will continue for a while as to whether they passed the test or not. I did not catch it all, it does get boring, but I was interested to see Rupert clearly upset that he was not in control. He did not like the idea of giving account for his papers, and he did not accept responsibility at any time, no shock there!  I could not help seeing both as guilty men, good job I am not on a jury trying them, to me they appeared as second hand car salesmen. Rupert can see his empire collapsing. That is the trouble of building something so that you can control the world, it unravels eventually, especially when you are built on lies and half truths and dirt digging. I did laugh when he claimed the majority of his employees worldwide were 'ethical!' Ethical when sticking your nose into peoples private life? Ethical when holding members of parliament under your control by threatening to reveal their dirty deeds? Ethical in a paper built on sex and scandal?  The gloating of the other papers is worth noting, especially when they are just as bad. 


Monday, 18 July 2011

Worn Out Monday


The problem with leaving the 'To-do' list is that it grows as each day goes by. There is always something else 'to-do' to add to the list. I solved that problem at the end of last week by binning the list and starting again.  Today I realised what women were made for!  Everything is done, mostly. The shirts are ironed, sort off, the cooking cooked, the place dusted and polished, and things in the wrong place have been returned to home, well mostly anyway. 
OK I admit there was a bit of cheating occurred, and the main repairs to the bits either broken or falling down are still on the list, that the tea breaks did endure longer than a woman's gossip over the fence and that rain above all kept me from venturing out, but at least an impression has been made. 
That will not need done for at least another two months anyway.


Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Lazy Sunday Post

A man was just waking up from anaesthesia after surgery, and his wife was sitting by his side. His eyes fluttered open and he said, 'You're beautiful.'  Then he fell asleep again.
His wife had  never heard him say that before, so she stayed by his side. A few  minutes later his eyes fluttered open and he said, 'You're cute..' The  wife was disappointed because instead of 'beautiful,' it was now  'cute.'

She asked,  'What happened to beautiful?'

The man  replied, 'The drugs are wearing off.' 

 Muldoon  lived alone in the Irish countryside with only a pet dog for company..  One day the dog died, and Muldoon went to the parish priest and asked,  'Father, my dog is dead... Could ya' be saying' a mass for the poor  creature?'

Father  Patrick replied, 'I'm afraid not; we cannot have services for an  animal in the church.... But there are some Baptists down the lane,  and there's no tellin' what they believe. Maybe they'll do something  for the creature.'

Muldoon  said, 'I'll go right away Father. Do ya' think £5,000 is enough to  donate to them for the service?'

Father  Patrick exclaimed, "Why didn't ya tell me  the dog was Catholic?" 


 Father  O'Malley answers the phone. 'Hello, is this Father O'Malley?'

'It  is!'

'This is the Inland Revenue. Can you help us?'

'I  can!'

'Do you  know a Ted Houlihan?'

'I do!'

'Is he a  member of your congregation?'

'He  is!'

'Did he  donate £10,000 to the church?'

'He  will.' 

Wife: 'What are you  doing?'
Husband: Nothing.
Wife: 'Nothing....?  You've been reading our marriage certificate for an  hour.'
Husband: 'I was  looking for the expiration date.'
Wife : 'Do  you want dinner?'
Husband: 'Sure!  What are my choices?'
Wife: 'Yes  or no.'
Girl: 'When  we get married, I want to share all your worries, troubles and lighten  your burden.'
Boy: 'It's  very kind of you, darling, but I don't have any worries or  troubles.'
Girl: 'Well  that's because we aren't married yet.'
------------------------------ Son: 'Mum,  when I was on the bus with Dad this morning, he told me to give up my  seat to a lady.'
Mom: 'Well,  you have done the right thing.'
Son: 'But  mum, I was sitting on daddy's lap.'
A  newly married man asked his wife, 'Would you have married me if my  father hadn't left me a fortune?'
'Honey,'  the woman replied sweetly, 'I'd have married you, NO MATTER WHO LEFT  YOU A FORTUNE!'
A wife asked  her husband: 'What do you like most in me, my pretty face or my sexy  body?'
He looked at  her from head to toe and replied: 'I like your sense of humour!'


Saturday, 16 July 2011

More Doors


The late Victorians and Edwardian's knew how to make an attractive doorway. In Edwards day there appeared to b an abundance of red brick which was used in houses like the one shown. 'Up north' in Manchester and other northern towns red brick was more abundant and appears to have been seen as something special by the architect, or builder, of 'Hillcrest' in 1904.  Of course then he would have had fewer houses around him and any photographer of the day may well have been more used to cycling up the hill and would not have been seen hanging on to the lampost as he considered how to photograph the doorway. He would also have avoided the car driver making rude noises as he past by.  

John Brown built his house much earlier and with bricks made in his own works. Several houses around here have similar layouts and I think are quite typical reflection of well to do businessmen's houses of their day. Brown used his own bricks and additions to the plan however like almost all such homes they now are occupied by offices or split into several flats. All rather sad really however if they were in a better area they would be worth going on about half a million. The doorway has a Greek influence in the pillars which has gone by Edwardian times. The rounded doorway has become square and fashions change every few years, especially if people have money to throw around. It goes without saying that my fashion has not changed for some time.....

Friday, 15 July 2011

Cogitating Friday


Cogitating Friday is just another way of saying 'nothing happened.'  That ought to read, 'nothing happened again' actually.  I cycled slowly up the old railway in the early morning sunshine, I attempted to photograph beasties breakfasting on bright yellow wild flowers but the camera is not up to this, and I shopped at three supermarkets in a bid to save cash (but not while on the bike) and I failed to save cash!

Other than that the day has slipped by without me doing anything - again!  This whole week has been a waste. I don't know why I got up on Monday, and I had so many plans.

One plan included winning the Euro Lottery and the £16,653,000 pounds on offer. However a couple in Largs decided that not only would they win this money but they would then come on to the telly and wave the cheque in our faces. I am sorry to say that this is not a good idea in my opinion. Had I won you would not know, although my paying my debts and buying a new pair of socks might have given some folks an inkling about my wealth. Some say the Lottery people give good advice and few end up depressed or in trouble because of their big win. Occasionally you read of one who will have lost the wife, family squabbles, duped by conmen, or suicide because the money has wrecked relationships, but most appear to have survived OK.
The interest on this money is 0ver £9000 daily, not counting tax obviously, but if 'Vodafone' can avoid paying almost £6 Billion in tax and pay a mere £1.25 billion and with time to pay then this couple could work something with someone.  

The man next door has not emerged, or at least I have heard no sound from him. I have discovered he owes rent going back months. Isn't life sad when someone falls apart like this? Is he having a breakdown I wonder, what can be done?  Well nothing to be honest. He will either come to himself and seek help or end up forced to find help. "There but for the grace of God" and all that. 


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Wasted Wednesday


Up at twenty to six this morning to get the best of the day and enjoy the sunshine.  Out on the bike within minutes and forced to remember that bright sun does not mean warmth! My knees ached and I had no energy so quickly made it home again.  Around seven I saw the boys in the park sipping cans of cheap beer.  Quite why they gather there to drink amazes me. They harm no-one but it appears to me to be a downward slope when you start that. We also have one man in the town centre who stands shouting at nobody most of the day. I don't think he actually sees anyone outside of his head. Nothing to be done for such folks I reckon. Those living in big towns and cities would be happy to have only one such man around.

My neighbour appeared at around ten last night as I went to my kip. I saw him coming in and no police around today so they must have contacted him.  As the landlord has also been enquiring I wonder if my friend (and he is a good man) may end up with the park drinkers early in the morning?
No appearance today however.

Someone, and it was one ticket only, won £161, 650,000 on the lottery last night and it wasn't me.
Now I am not one to complain, but if the winner is not a very poor person with a huge number of unpaid bills, a landlord threatening them with eviction and a family suffering malnutrition, at the very least, then I am going to be annoyed! Why did they win MY money? I wish I hadn't started spending it now.....


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Tuesday Disturbed


Yesterday I had planned a day of action. The 'to-do' list was sitting on the desk ready to go, so I went.  Naturally my fat, weary body failed me and the day was ruined.

 Today I rose early, avoided the bike and started on the 'To-do' list.
Soon the police were knocking on my door. They wished to meet my neighbour, not me and I let them in and I left them to it, although I thought he was out.
He was.
As he has been declared a 'Missing Person' the police must find and identify him before they drop the enquiry, so they smashed down the door, just in case he was dead. Have you tried to concentrate while two hulking big coppers shake the house with a battering ram? It is very difficult I can tell you.
Later, having bribed them 'News International' style with tea and half price chocolate biscuits I learned something of the tale.  He isn't missing, they just cannot find him.  He has been spotted in a public house this morning, for breakfast, but had roved on his way.
He did look scruffy when I saw him last right enough, but I thought he was off to work, it was around seven in the morning, and it appears he has no work.
He has still not returned home tonight and while the police (who keep knocking on my door) may have found and identified him in one of his watering holes, I fear he may be lying in a ditch somewhere! Surely not?  Mind you when he gets back and sees the state his door is in he may go off and find a river then!
But more, as the door was open two Jehovah's Witnesses walked in as the security conscious police had left the door open. I normally say 'Push of heretic' in a friendly sort of fashion but had began to read about them the other day (was I led into this). The was the usual twosome from the JW's, who are very active around here, one who was well trained in their 'theology' and a quiet newcomer. So I 'debated' against my better judgement in the hope of getting the quiet one to hear something different from their thoughts. This was not a good argument (and it bored the polis next door) as I failed to read all the info all the way through and relied on my memory of reading it years ago. This is not a good idea! I suspect however they will not knock on this door again. There are lots of them around here, and two Mormons walking around. These guys always cry "Hello!" being American and I always cry "Goodbye!" being me. Such chaps are forced to go 'on a mission' as if they don't there are fallouts back home. All very sad really. Mormons stand out as they insist on dressing the same as each other, very Mid West American and stand out in their blue suits, shirt and tie, among the scruffy English like a poppy in a wheat field.    

This unsettled my day, nothing has been done, or at least very little, and most of it has to be done tomorrow, police willing!

Good job I am not one to complain.....


Monday, 11 July 2011



I have done little cycling for a while and went hurtling up the old railway early this morning.  That was fine, although the bridge crossing the dual carriageway has grown considerably since the other week! Foolishly I decided to go looking for interesting pictures. This however meant heading up a new road for me, and UP is the operative word. This is supposed to be a flat county so how come everytime I find a new road it goes upwards? Not just upwards but upwards right to the top!  It was better coming down I must say.  How do the boys in the 'Tour de France' go up hills at thirty miles an hour? Who said "Drugs?"  Paracetamol doesn't help I can tell you! And the only thing worth photographing was this rickety old house. I say rickety but it probably costs around £700,000!  

This keffuffle deepens. Nick Clegg (He is actually the 'Deputy Prime Minister!) has said Murdoch should think again about buying into BSKYB.  This is like asking a drunk not to drink!  Murdoch must by this company as the paper media is losing cash hand over fist.  TV advertising is the way ahead and everyone knows it.  The fact that his people have been buying Gordon Brown's children's health information, buying info from the Queens protection officers, indeed buying the top men at the Metropolitan Police, and thousands of as yet undiscovered dirty deeds will not stop Dave Cameron giving in to Murdoch. It may be delayed, it may go undercover, but folk like Rupert tend to get what they want, and I wonder if 'Dave' is big enough to stop him?


Sunday, 10 July 2011



The 'News of the World' died today.
How long before the 'Sunday Sun' hits the streets?


Thursday, 7 July 2011

Phone Spam


One of the most useful things in my miserable existence is my ansafone! This stopped people in the past claiming "I called you" when they were clearly lying, and enables me to avoid answering the phone when one you wish to avoid is calling.  At the present time there are a few of those going around. The beauty of the ansafone is the ability to ignore the call and just dial 1471 here in the UK and often, but not always, obtain the callers number. Some withhold this of course.  

Mostly these are marketing call centres offering a variety 'home improvements' of one sort or another. One such is 0845 1113111. This I know is a call centre as I checked on 'Phone Spam Filter' and 'Who Calls Me?'   Both give similar results from unhappy recipients of these unwanted calls.  'Who Calls Me? also identifies 01235884270 as being a scammer claiming to represent Microsoft. The story is they have identified a fault on your PC and can help fix this. Lies, all lies!  Both these callers attempt to calls several times a day, and as these calls are usually computer generated shouting as the plumb on the other end does little to stop it. Mind you that can please some folk. 
'Pipex' my ISP was recently taken over by 'Talk Talk.'  This did not please me as the latter company has already sent a 'questionaire' indicating they will change the price range. Then I will be off as I pay enough and this service was good enough until they took over. The recent change has seen the connection cut several times and slowed to a halt almost yesterday. Top this I ask, well they did. Three time in 15 minutes I received a call via a Text message. BT pass these on adding lots of useful info, and after the message add the same again, and again! All in all far too long for me. The message said "Call this number urgently." That will be right! You call me you speak or buzz off I say. Again 'Who Calls Me' identifies the caller number  08712226608 as being from Pipex. What a way to treat your customers I ask!

01614 777778 is an Asian attempting to scam insurance of one sort or another. Would anyone be daft enough to believe them? But I think the last number is the best one. They called and rang off as the ansafone message began, and I dialed 1471 and traced the number, which I think may be false! The number was :- 02538020308441235884270!


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Cynic? Me?


Now call me cynical if you must but I find the 'outrage' filling the media and spouted by politicians somewhat spurious.  Feigned shock and outrage fill the air as all sides of the House and even Rupert Murdock's 'News International' staff condemn the action of the man who 'hacked' into the phone of a young murdered girl.
What rubbish!
We all know that such 'hacking' has gone on for years, indeed must be standard practice in many news rooms.  The recent hacking of celebrities phones made that clear, so ought we to be surprised that a murdered girl or relatives of those killed in 7/7 are listened in to in this manner? Of course not. The press, and the Tabloid press in particular, have no scruples when dealing with their 'journalism.'  Intrusion is part of the deal, consideration for others doesn't happen. Just ask why there as so many close up pictures of weeping women on TV or in the papers? Because they consider this a 'good shot!'  Her pain is irrelevant and if they do not like the misuse of their tears who cares, not the media. The story is all, no matter what.
I do laugh at David Cameron. This man jumps from one bandwagon to another, each time showing less integrity than before, and he had too little to begin with. Today the intrusion into the girls phone is called 'Disgusting' yet his first meeting as Premier was to listen to Rupert Murdoch owner of the 'News of the World,' the paper at the centre of the intrusion. The influence Rupert has over all politicians means that his organisation, and any individual he wishes to protect, will escape censure here. 
Worldwide Rupert Murdoch had produced papers that aim for the lowest common denominator, or 'trash' if you prefer. Anything that sells is what matters, no matter who is attacked, no matter whether the story is true or not, any half truth will do if it sells! Even those papers considered to be among the 'quality' press have gone downhill.  'The Times' journalists for instance will not put fact before Rupert's bidding. Robert Fisk left that paper when he discovered that decent men would not print his Middle East story as it went against Rupert's wishes.  Quality journalism is hard to find these days, and if this man is involved it will never be seen in his press. 
The PM may well order an 'inquiry,' however I wonder who will lead it, what will be the limits and who can be called to account?  The word 'whitewash' comes to mind.


Monday, 4 July 2011



Now I am not one to complain but why should people dump their unwanted bronze in our parks? This heap of metal now adorns a park in central London and is remarkably more lifelike than the original was. Mind you this statue is more awake after all. Quite why anyone would dump this here after what this man did to the world is difficult to fathom. This 'B' actor cheerfully delayed the release of the US hostages from Iran so he could get the glory rather than Jimmy Carter who had won their release, he used the mentally subnormal Col. Oliver North to buy weapons from Iran to support a murderous far right regime attacking the democratically elected government in Nicaragua, (Democracy you will recall is one of the things the US wishes to thrust on the world, unless Hamas win of course). Reagan also claimed credit for ending the Cold War while we all know that Gorbachev ended this by renewing the Communist Party in the USSR, and while claiming credit where not due he allowed the IRA to collect money freely in the US and turn this into guns bought from Libya to kill British troops and police. A true friend to the UK indeed! He stands alongside FDR and Eisenhower. One man who knew he must support Britain while the Reagan's of this world traded with Hitler's nasty party, and the other who as a 'political general'  led the allies to victory in Europe (as long as he did what AlanBrook said).  There are hundreds of good Americans around today, dozens of famous and useful leaders in their fields both past and present, and we erect Thatcher's boyfriend ( though he often forgot her name).  I suspect this will no doubt be defaced before long.

Talking of political numpties I came across this cartoon in the Edinburgh Evening News today. Brian Adcock sums up Dave Cameron's approach to the governing of this country very well indeed! Cameron would have attended the ceremony today himself  but probably did not know who 'Ronnie' was I suspect.


Friday, 1 July 2011

1st July 1916

On the first day of July in the year 1916, after several days of heavy bombardment British troops advanced over open ground to attack the German defences on the Somme. A million and a half shells had fallen, their intention to break the wire and damage the defences clearing the way for the men following. The wire was rarely broken, the shells badly made and difficult to set were also of the wrong type for the job. Howitzers were insufficient in numbers but effective in damaging dugouts but as most of these were 40 or so feet underground this was to prove an impossible job with so few.

At 7:28 several mines were blown along the line, however Jerry knew this would happen as foolishly one was blown at 7:20 at Hawthorn Ridge and gave warning the attack was about to commence. At 7:30 officers whistles blew along mile after mile of trench and the British attacking force climbed out of their trenches into a hail of machine gun, rifle and artillery fire. Within minutes thousands lay dead, dying or wounded, many having failed to clear their own parapet or make it through their own defensive wire. Only in the southern section of the line was a clear advance made, elsewhere determined attackers continued, heads bowed as though facing heavy rain and not bullets, and a few gains were made in the enemy line. 

McCrae's Battalion, the 16th Royal Scots, along with their sister battalion the 15th, plus the Cambridge and the Grimsby Chums, remnants though they were, fought on in an attempt to keep hold of their part of the line. Defying flame throwers and repeated heavy counter attacks they succeeded, a few continuing and even making it to their final destination at Contalmaison, where they found themselves outnumbered and soon were made prisoner.   

Around 60,000 British men became casualties, approximately 20,000 were dead. 

General Haig had strongly opposed the idea of fighting in such an impossible theatre as the Somme region but had been overruled by London. "Do as the French say," was the command, in spite of the military opposition. The same had occurred a year earlier at Loos when Sir John French had been forced to fight there against his wishes. That too was needlessly costly. Blame is easy to offer, especially from this distance and the book 'First Day on the Somme' by Martin Middlebrook is the place to begin when researching what actually happened that day. This book is regarded as a 'classic' of its type and comes well recommended. 


An official cameraman was on hand to record the 'Big Push' and the Imperial War Museum has made this film available, excerpts of which are online. I have this video and while it is of course a silent movie it nevertheless conveys something of the attitudes of the day. When shown in cinemas later in the year women would faint, men weep, and occasionally one would cry out in recognition of an individual. Unlike today that generation had no idea of front line reporting and many refused to believe the tales told by returning soldiers. It is not difficult to understand why the United Kingdom became a very different place after 1918, society changed in a way unimaginable in 1914, and we do well to ponder how this war, and this battle in particular, has an effect on us even today. 

Some soldiers asked whether the losses were worth it, and it is difficult not to sympathise with them.  However had we not fought the French would have been defeated and we would have a Germany dominating Europe, and this would have caused a war between Britain and Germany sooner or later in any case.  That would have been a more difficult fight for us had that been the case. In that way it was worth it, however with 750,000 dead British troops, plus the 'Empire forces of India, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the rest losing another 250,000, plus about three times as many wounded it is hard to comprehend today whether this really was a war worth fighting. 

The last fighting men have gone now, only a few relatives and their memories remain. As I research the names on the local war memorial I am surprised by how difficult it is to find a record of many of them online. Not being a native of this town  doesn't help, as does not having the money to pay for research, yet I am still surprised how quickly these men have been forgotten.  Their houses have often been swept away, their relatives move on, and later generations are too involved in life today to remember them. Village memorials do not gather large crowds on Armistice Day each November as the village has been taken over by incomers and the families of the day have often gone into towns and cities for a better life. Few now remember those named on the memorial, even those from a later war. That all seems rather sad to me.