Friday, 29 April 2011

Can we Now Get Back To Normal?

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Even the middle class, left leaning Guardian is dominated by this wedding.
OK it's over bar the fight at the party, the broken glass. several arrests and a whitewash covering it up until Wikileaks reveals what happened. For some strange reason the English Queen has decided not to go and made Philip stay at home also. Maybe she remembered he used to be in the navy? Soon this pair will fly of to their rich hideaway unknown to anyone bar thousands of paparazzi from dozens of countries. Goodbye.

The good side of such a wedding is the chance it gives some folks to enjoy a parade. The kids had a good time, the police get overtime for little effort, and the media can give a 'nice' story instead of desperately filling the news with nothing important. For many it is rightly a fun day out but I do find the women who follow such weddings somewhat cringe-worthy. Every time the groom looked at his bride hundreds of girlies exploded into sentiment. Every kiss was worth a photo and another gasp.  
Personally I suspect they have practised that often. The sentiment was honest but I did think it worrying that these women will be voting on how we elect our UK parliament in a few days, unless they forget while watching daytime television. Just as with Diana there are many living their lives through Kate. Hopefully she will keep a low profile otherwise the media will overdo the whole thing and the idolatry that arose then will return. People need something to fill that 'God' gap in their lives to give it meaning, and sadly Diana did this, I hope for her sake Kate avoids that burden.  I note also that ABC and CBS has this as their main story even though storms have killed around 300 in the deep south. I suspect they care little for the deep south mind you!
Two rich kids have got married, and she has married well. I hope it works and they have a good life. However I suspect the media will soon be interfering and attempting to break it up just to fill their grubby pages. Now we can get back to normal. I note the BBC has already begun to screen junk and with Saturday upon us at least the football will bring reality back to us all, hopefully.

Just in is this important comment from our friend in Aberdeen 'Kenfitlike.'




Wedding or no some folks had to walk their dogs, some of us had to cycle and some folks just had to get out and jog. With the blossom smelling sweet, the blackbirds, robins and finches singing it was an enjoyable (short) trip this morning. How nice to (almost) get away from everybody. How lovely to enjoy the Spring sun, when it eventually arrived. How lovely not to be bitten by any of the dogs that passed.


Stolen jokes.


What’s the difference between Iron Man and Iron Woman?

One’s a Superhero and the other is an instruction!!


What do you get if cross a motorway with a wheel barrow ?

Knocked over of course.


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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Thursday

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I had hoped to cycle up the old railway today but was put off by the somewhat windy weather, the desire to stay in my pit and the need to visit the dole office. I must be the longest there by now, I know this as the security man muttered "Usual?" as I entered.  I took myself of to Sainsburys after this and spent a huge amount of money filling the freezer.  I pointed out to the lass at the checkout that she would not be there long, she kept smiling!



The US has been hit by very bad storms as this BBC map indicates. Hopefully none of our friends will be involve in anything untoward, although I fear one or two may well be in the line of fire.  The UK would give this major coverage if we were not concerned with who will be designing her dress! The media always knows what sells as opposed to what is important.


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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Royal Wedding Build Up Post No 6

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Silly me I forgot to add the ring! The delightful Leazwell has reminded me that such things are important and desires that someone of wealth and influence purchases one of these for her.  Now while she claims they are available for $2 where she lives I myself could only find (among thousands of others) this beautiful (imitation) ring at a bargain price of only £6, details here.


I also must thank Mulled Vine for reminding me to post this:-




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Monday, 25 April 2011

Royal Wedding Build Up Post No 5

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   The next Air Chief Marshall

                                                                             
As the excitement mounts I can hardly contain myself, just a few days to go before another days off arrives! To fill in the time both BBC and the ITV networks will be showing hours and hours of a royal wedding. Now just in case you missed this a royal wedding is a time of great joy for the United Kingdom. Throughout the land rejoicing takes place, street parties occur, business men moan at the loss of workers, souvenir sellers con masses of daft women and a few dafter men, and a wedding takes place in one of the big Anglican churches between two folks who don't believe in God and conducted by a man who has forgotten who God is. All in all a wonderful way for any government to make us forget about the thousands joining me on the dole, the house repossessions, the selling off, of the NHS, a new Vietnam in Libya and a recession that will once again kick us in the teeth after we have spent millions on security for this wedding. The happy couple? A couple of Hooray Henry's who have been born into money, will continue in money and spend the rest of their lives being harassed by the grubby media looking for dirt! In site of the money I pity them. The nation is of course divided here. While most are content to see this couple get on with their lives a republican streak is growing within the UK. The royal family became very popular during the war because of the behaviour of the King and his family. In recent years that generation has died off and the present one has seen Diana and her kind reduce the royals to material for 'Hello' Magazine. The respect has gone and instead of nice folks doing a job they are all to often satirised.  Now I reckon some of them do a good job, if you like that sort of thing, but the media wish Kate to become another Diana. I wonder if she is a publicity seeker? If not she may find them looking for reasons to hate her instead of false praise floating her way. TV has several dramas, films, and other programmes telling the delightful story of this couple, their families, their study, how they met, who knows them, and all based on what 'friends' have said. The World Cup had less coverage and that was important!  If you have failed to record these programmes you can always buy yourself or your loved ones or someone you wish to avoid a souvenir. Here are some examples a quick Google has found.


A classy Royal Wedding Tankard from John Lewis. This elegant cup tankard is a snip and £35 (plus p&p)



Possibly you would prefer a more realistic memento?  Mulberry Hall have the very thing. A strikingly lifelike limited edition Candle Snuffer, A bargain at £205 all in. Who could resist buying William to go with this and keeping a right pair on the mantelpiece to snuff the candles out before you go to bed? You will of course require candles after paying this much for these two! 


Relax in comfort through the over long hours of TV coverage with a John Lewis cushion. Just the thing to throw at passing males who wonder why you have lost your senses. A mere £68 plus p&p. 




Cynical anti royalists will not only be barred from ever entering Ibrox Park in future but may find £12 for a reverential thanksgiving plate worth a trip to John Lewis

However not being a cheapskate like some and very keen to possess an item that will not just bring the remembrance of royal nuptials to mind but is an investment also I personally will invest in this offering from the Royal Mint.



Not only the joy of watching them stare at one another in that locked box I keep under the floorboards but an item that will rise in value as they continue to fill the papers for years to come. Honeymoon period, children arriving, possible divorce, another child, King, rumours of split, depression, second honeymoon, attack by Fulham Chairman, death. All these will enhance my purchase and make an investment of £1550 plus p&p a real bargain. 

Oh yes, there was one other thing on offer but I cannot find a link. However I am positive one of you out there will know. Something for the (long) weekend I think.



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Saturday, 23 April 2011

Andrewsfield

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That great man Max had a wonderful post the other day concerning reporter Andy Rooney taking his place in a US B17 bomber as it flew on a mission over Germany in 1943. The beauty of such reporting, if 'beauty' is the word, is the first hand experience which nothing else can convey. A remarkable post!

This got me thinking about the many airfields that lie not far from my home. East Anglia, the region of England in which I am involved in Scottish mission work, is generally flat. This, plus its location on the east coast made it perfect for the many bomber and fighter squadrons that were required for use in the second world war. Close by are Wethersfield, used by the USAF until 1990 for a variety of operations, most concerned with the Cold War and now hosts the Ministry of Defence Police. Gosfield saw P-47 Thunderbolt fighters, Douglas 'Boston's' and 'Havoc' bombers fly on missions from there among others and closed in 1955. Rivenhall saw P 51-B Mustangs and B-26 Marauders at various times and was in use until 1956. Now it is reduced to being a mere gravel pit! Stansted was in military use until 1949 and is now very busy as London's Third Airport.

An excellent example of one such aerodrome is Andrewsfield.  Opened in 1943 as a base for bomber squadrons under the name 'Great Saling' a name change was required when Lieut. Gen.Frank Maxwell Andrews, the man in charge of all US troops in Europe was killed His plane came down in bad weather while on an inspection tour of Iceland. Great Saling changed its name to 'Andrewsfield as a mark of respect. This is the only named airfield. The airfield was used by both the US Eighth and Ninth Air Forces at times, and B17's of the 96th Bombardment Group flew one mission over Rennes, losing one aircraft, from Andrewsfield before being replaced by B-26 Marauder's of 322nd Bombardment Group. Constant missions were undertaken over enemy territory and the cost was high indeed. Only one aircraft, 'Flak Bait,' survived to the end of the war with 202 missions!

B-26 at Andrewsfield
 
After the B-26's moved to a base in France Mustangs flown by the Polish Wing flew escort missions and home defence sorties until early 1945. For a short time until the end of the war Gloster Meteor jet fighters were based here. Between 1948 and 1972 the airfield was allowed to degenerate. Unwanted by the RAF it slowly rotted away, apart from agricultural use, until the short grass strip was laid for the light aircraft that now use the field on a regular basis.

 Google maps comes into its own here. By inserting the town name it is easy to look around and find these, and indeed other, old airfield imprints in the land around here. Just how many were created through those turbulent years I do not know but from Norfolk down to London dozens, if not a few hundred, have left their mark on the land. I have some experience of war's leftovers as in front of our house were two huge Nissen huts that once housed anti-aircraft guns. This depot was established as defence against enemy aircraft flying up the Firth of Forth and heading for Rosyth, the Fleets base, or Glasgow, Belfast or some such area. However for the people of East Anglia they not only had the risk of bombing by German aircraft they also endured the constant noise of huge noisy bombers taking of and forming up high overhead on a daily basis. Even if their airfield did not fly that day others would and the constant noise must have had an effect on the locals. Some would say that in East Anglia many still reckoned the planes were big birds, but they are just being cruel, aren't they? 

The villages and towns round about had been used as a billeting area twenty years before during the Great War so numbers of servicemen arriving would not be a surprise. However many airmen were of course American and while movies had filled cinemas for years few had actually met someone from so far across the 'pond.' Not only that but they had money! It takes little to comprehend how a nation enduring deprivation after three years of war would be willing to accept these men into their midst. It takes less to imagine the local men's jealousy at well paid Yanks coming over here 'Over paid, over sexed  and over here!' The women flocked to them!  Nylon stockings and chewing gum could get a young man almost anything in those days!  Although it is amazing how many women appear to forget what went on during that time. Americans were welcomed in the main, and the British were well aware of how the RAF was suffering as it flew night after night on long missions deep into enemy territory. The locals knew that when those loud young men, often nineteen or twenty years of age, flew off they may well not return. 

Flying over occupied Europe was a risky business. Taking off in a heavily loaded bomber was a hard and difficult job. It took strength and courage. As the bombers crossed the enemy coast they were a target for enemy fighters, small specks in the sky closing in and five hundred miles an hour, with flashing lights on the wings. Each flash represented a bullet aimed at you!  German ack-ack was radar controlled and highly efficient. Black clouds would appear around the planes as they flew high, leaving a tell-tale vapour trail behind them. Each puff of black smoke contained shrapnel that could tear the nose of a plane, kill or maim the crew, damage an engine or bring you down. Over the target this would increase and other aircraft could at times cause risk to your own in the crowded air space. After the long steady run in to the target, when deviation from the route was impossible, the bomb filled aircraft was a sitting target, unable to defend itself. Dropping the bombs then running for home, once more under attack from air and ground forces, was equally dangerous as the run in to the target. The sight of fellow planes going down and being helpless as it twisted in the air would never leave many of these airmen. The lucky guys parachuted into prisoner of war camps, the unlucky didn't. Crossing the English coast would have brought great relief, but landing a damaged plane, often with wounded and pained men on board, was not a simple task. Many came to grief as they returned, Britain's weather not always helpful here. 

From what I can gather many made lifelong friendships and got on well except for the occasional jealous fist fight or mistake of referring to a kilted Scots soldier as 'wearing a skirt.' Such mistakes often led to Americans flying - flew through windows!  One bomber pilot spoke warmly of his attempts to integrate with the population. Mostly older men in the pub near his base. They suggested a game of 'Darts,' and he agreed. While he went to the bar for the aged, worn set kept there he noticed the locals dipping into their jackets for their own, finely honed darts. "As loser bought the drinks I reckon I kept the East Anglian economy going simply by playing darts," he later said. Around a dozen years ago it was not uncommon to see aged Americans with baseball caps encrusted with 'Eighth or Ninth Air Force' or some such flying group  wandering around revisiting old memories. No more today as these men are now in their eighties or nineties but survivors can search the web for blogs written by those who have visited, whether veterans or possibly their offspring tracing dad's story. Hmmm I wonder how many people I meet would like to meet their dad one day also? Some of course took back to Idaho or California a young woman hopeful of a life similar to the one portrayed in those movies that held them spellbound during the war. Reality was not always welcomed.

The RAF Bomber Command lost over 55,000 dead during the war. Bombing being the only way Britain could attack Germany directly until D-Day arrived in 1944. The US fliers lost around 30,000 in similar manner. Because of the accurate anti-aircraft fire the Brits decided to fly at night, in large, well spaced formations. The Americans decided their heavily armed places could do the job in the daylight with a tight formation covering each other. It did not work any better. However while some oppose the bombing of Germany, calling it a 'war crime' I can see no other action possible during the years 1939 - 1944 if Britain and her allies were to win the war. Few indeed who endured the blitz that hit so many parts of the UK thought the bombing of Germany should cease. Many did however feel compassion for those 'normal citizens' who endured as they had. When you sow the wind you do indeed reap the whirlwind!

When folks in Britain talk about the 'special relationship,' and this is mostly a media cry, they are referring in the main back to these war years. In spite of the sufferings it was surprisingly a happy time for many and the comradeship of that time has lived in their memories ever since. That is the reason many in Britain still refer to the war so often. The 'special relationship' of the locals and the US servicemen will endure in the hearts of many who lived through those days.

This video is a short version of the 'Memphis Belle' film.  It gives a good glimpse of the role of the American bomber during this time. By the way James Stewart the actor flew at least a dozen missions over enemy territory during this time. Although I have no link for this I do know he remembered his time in the UK with fondness and never forgot his service.










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Friday, 22 April 2011

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Sadly the sun does not allow the brightness of the yellow rape seed to show in this picture which is a pity. With the bright sunshine all over England and Wales today, Scotland was cold and dreich as normal, the country would make a pleasant view from the air. The last time I flew at this time of the year vast acreage of rape seed fields could be seen as bright yellow slabs of colour. These fields stood out from the normal green and wheat coloured ones around them. A lovely sight. Much of this ends up as cooking oil, some being used to power vehicles in some areas! A couple of years ago a council bus service was using this and left the townsfolk hungry as instead of choking diesel fumes their noses were filled with the aroma of chips!  However as the cycle trip up the old railway and sitting in the park, reading my book and getting my arms sunburnt, nothing much else has occurred. 

Being 'Good Friday,' a name I still do not comprehend, I considered spiritual thoughts. This ended up as watching a BBC TV programme about Jesus which, unusually for the BBC, did not imply he was a fraud, a product of a passing Roman, or that God had a wife! Instead what I managed to see of this programme had only one major fault, actors! Why any documentary requires actors to portray historical persons in a programme is beyond me. This Jesus, and his compatriots, gave us a 'tour de force de overacting.' This gets in the way of the real Jesus and shows how little the producers really understand of the man. Still the archaeologists and professors, did appear to know what they were talking about although one woman had some rather strange opinions about John the Baptist! The programme continues tomorrow, and for once I am looking forward to a TV programme about Jesus, and that is unusual. I much prefer to read the book, it is easier to comprehend!   

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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Global Warming

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Global warming has hit the UK! The rise in temperature that was promised a few years ago has arrived! Three days running I have sat in the gardens soaking up the sun, something I am not used to doing I can assure you, and over the Easter weekend they are promising more of the same. This is unusual as bank holidays normally indicate rain or snow, also the normal UK Easter position. This also means I am itching as the skin reacts to the unusual new experience, men are walking around in shorts,(and that is not a delightful sight to notice), and women are dressing as skimpily as they dare, which is all right by me. 

This light weather means I wake before five in the morning and cannot get back to sleep. I listen to the blackbirds, which abound round here, singing out their warnings and delights as they build their nests and prepare for the chicks that are soon to appear. The crows and pigeons squabble over remnants of peoples leavings and a thrush serenades them as the eat. Sadly there are less Blue Tits and Greenfinches around, I suspect the winter finished a lot of them. The air is full of sweet fragrance, people appear happier than normal, and money is saved as the gas and electric are used less. I love this time of year!


He passes me most days. One day he is wearing the first team shirt, then next a T-shirt with the club crest on it. If the weather is cold he wears a thick pullover, and sticking out underneath is what is clearly a Newcastle shirt of some sort. He wears tracksuit bottoms also with the crest, even his trainers are white with black streaks! On no occasion have I noticed him without something from the Newcastle United club shop. This man must be in his forties at least!

Now I like my club, I understand how people can allow something like a football club to get a grip of them, believe me, but at that age to always have something from the team on you is going too far! Whether he still has a woman I know not but he did have two kids in Newcastle shirts the other week in the park, probably his. 'Geordies' are of course in a world of their own but that does not mean you always wear team clothes, summer and winter! The phrase 'Get a Life!' comes to mind.   


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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Royal Wedding Build Up Post No 4

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Kate goes shopping!  Every day there is one more picture as the excitement builds for the wedding. Are you as excited as I? No, I thought not. The tabloids are having a fit with excitement!  There is a whole lot of desperation regarding who will make her dress. I have no idea who will do that, but I suppose it will be costing more than the benefits given to soldiers who lose their legs in Afghanistan. Although it may be that I am a touch cynical in my dotage. Why are people so involved with this wedding? I understand women getting fixations for such things but when royals are involved the media go into a world unknown elsewhere. There is also the DVD's to follow that will sell the 'Daily Mail' and 'Daily Express' for years to come.


I clicked on a picture, of Alf Garnet of all things, and immediately a rogue antivirus opened up!  It started to run as if checking the system So I pressed the restart button to stop it. I ran my Avast! antivirus, Malwarebytes the anti malware programme and Spybot, all claim the PC is clean.
However, Google Chrome lost it's preferences, my NetMeter reset itself, and my Wallpaper Changer was wiped, although previous lists there remain it no longer lets me save new ones. A very strange result and I am left wondering what would have happened if I had not stopped this brute when I did or if anything is still hidden in there! 
Rogue antivirus programmes just begin running claiming there are many virus (virii) on your PC. Some will demand a high price to remove them, others just misuse your credit card. Once it began it cannot be stopped and often it will not allow you to download new progs to deal with it. I just press the restart button to stop it, and that appears to have limited the trouble it caused, or so I hope.  That's two in a week. Lucky me.
 

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Monday, 18 April 2011

80 year old

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The local news station was interviewing an 80-year-old lady because she had just got married for the fourth time. The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 80, and then about her new husband's occupation.


"He's a funeral director," she answered.
"Interesting," the newsman thought.
He then asked her if she wouldn't mind telling him a little about her first
three husbands and what they did for a living. She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years.


After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly,
explaining that she had first married a banker when she was in her early
20's, then a circus ringmaster when in her 40's, and a preacher when in her 60's, and now in her 80's, a funeral director.



The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had
married four men with such diverse careers.  
She smiled and explained,


"I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go." 






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Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sunday

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After perusing the papers it is clear there is little to read about today. The papers are full of words but mostly of routine things and ageing stories, nothing of the shock, horror variety to speak off. Although watching Hibernian lose to relegation bound Hamilton Accies did make me giggle so maybe that is a shock story for you. Bolton thrashed 5-0 by Stoke certainly is and Mr Wenger's Arsenal playing Liverpool and both getting last minute penalties was a bit of a surprise. But real shock news was not to be found today. Real 'scoops' are rare to find these days and papers are now filled with a variety of subjects to keep themselves going. Some have become gossip sheets asking "What is she wearing?" as if this was important as some meaningless celebrity seeks publicity. Stories, and most are just that, 'stories,' lean either to the 'hate' angle or the 'loveable.' Jade Goody was a good example of this. Her foul mouthed ignorant rantings enabled the tabloids to headline her outpourings and allow the reader to point the finger at her sin. The minute this villain found she was dying the press immediately turned and called her "Poor Jade" and at her funeral SKY gave this live coverage, with following helicopter naturally.  It is the same whatever the occupation, an individual is regarded as good or bad and the press scream indignantly or purr like a cat, if they think that is what the reader wants to see. Objective journalism is hard to find, even with the 'serious press.'


 I watched the football via one of those PC streams. This leaves me guilty as I know these guys who offer such things are gangsters on the make. Well, if not gangsters exactly, chancers at the very least, and doing very well out of it. I feel uneasy that I am lining their pockets on someone else's offerings. However at this moment I am unable to buy the pictures legally, Sky alone would cost around £50 a month and the man at the dole did not appear keen when I questioned whether this was possible. I choose to forget his actual words. However I forced myself through my guilt but still feel uneasy abut this. Had I been watching games not available here I may feel less worried, and Ukrainian football without an English commentator is far superior to listening to any football with one. The constant adverts blocking the picture also annoy, however watching the mighty Hibernian fail v Hamilton was snigger making. Maybe I should be kinder to those who struggle.....?




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Saturday, 16 April 2011

Culloden

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On this day in 1746, the Jacobite army of 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' was defeated by Hanoverian forces in the Battle of Culloden. This was the last battle on British soil. This was not a battle between Scotland and England but a civil war and the end of the Stuarts attempt to regain the throne of the United Kingdom.




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Thursday, 14 April 2011

ISP's

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The German vessels were nine miles away when the Royal Navy began firing. As the chase progressed huge shells soared through the air between the fleets. HMS Invincible suddenly turned into a ball of flame and sank within 90 seconds. Only six men were to survive. The battle continued into the night with huge shells flying miles to land on or near their enemy. Ships sank and others were damaged, still the fight went on.  As the Grand fleet pursued the enemy the phone rang. I put aside the plastic warships and climbed out of the bath. Dripping wet I went to the phone. It had stopped ringing and the caller was murmuring unwillingly into the ansafone. It was my sister asking advice about ISP's as her daughter had dumped placed a PC in her house for her to use. I excused myself, dried off and returned still with my mind in the North Sea of 1916. She declared at one point that her use of the phone was limited, although she took fifty minutes to say this, and we eventually decided what her chosen option ought to be. 


It is very hard to pick an ISP. Even though I have used this wonderful device for years I do not easily follow the lies offers that are proffered. Her daughter had printed out several, some which sounded good, but from this distance it is not possible to easily explain all the ins and outs of these companies. It is at times like this I wish I was back north. Each ISP offers cheap prices but then you require careful reading of the downloads, the allowance if there is one, whether a contract is required, if the phone is free all day or only at certain times, and so on. With different rates for 'Business' and for 'Home' and several offers for each the new user requires a lawyer to understand what they are reading. However she will eventually get something working, and then complain about the 'pap' that I keep sending her. I have wanted her to get this for years and while both her and her man will grumble I know they will be on the thing all day! How did we live without the PC in times past I wonder?




I attended the JobCentre again as per usual. My regular man was off and I was attended to by a kind gentleman who carried a pot belly that made me appear thin! How glad I was to see him, so glad when I got home I stuffed my face! However I am on what is called 'New Deal, ' and after a poor job search with my chap I went to meet the 'New Deal' woman. Nice lass tries hard, looks bored. The 'New Deal' entails a trip  to the big town for a discussion with what I am assured is a wise lady I who will find me a work placement in the area. Several weeks on the trip has not appeared, the work placements are hard to find! I could have told them that! However as the majority on this system are young I guess they are getting priority. From today's short meeting it is apparent I may never see big town after all. In short this is a government idea, pushed through against the JobCentre's best advice, that doesn't work as there are NO JOBS!  I will be sixty in a few weeks, I wonder if I will ever work again sometimes. However I am not downhearted, I know who looks after me, in spite of all this, and something good will happen, eventually! In the meantime, back to Jutland!

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Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Dave

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I wonder if Dave is all right in the head? Not only has he constantly put his foot in it, the other day he claimed Oxford University only contained one black man while in fact there were many, but he continues with the Libyan escapade. Bombing Gaddafi when you think he is about to fall sounds a great idea. However when the man remains in place and the dubious opposition groups continue to look rudderless and incompetent things are beginning to go wrong for you. I reckon you jumped on a bandwagon and have landed yourself with another Iraq! Maybe spending less time on PR and more time on professional politics, like employing senior MPs in your cabinet instead of thrusting young self seeking gormless millionaires, would help? In fact I correct myself, some of them are older gormless self seeking millionaires! You are sinking my boy! 


With US know how removed the French and British fighter bombers are insufficient for the job. With much of the struggle now in town there is limited openings for the aiming of bombs. If you drop one n town you injure the civilians you entered this folly to protect, or at least that is the reason given. Obama made a wise decision, will you Dave? Talk now centres on supplying material to the rebels, although I thought we would not do this? Talk is also mentioning 'men on the ground,' possibly those men you sent redundancy notices to while on the front line in Afghanistan Dave. No ships, no planes, pilots running out, and the remainder overstretched. Sounds right for 3 Para and the rest to invade Dave. 


By the way, how many black Caribbean types from UK areas went to Eton?



I received an e-mail from a chap I have not heard off for three years. I was a bit surprised by his phrase, "Here is the link I told you about" as we have not spoken for a while, and thought I had accidentally deleted a previous e-mail, my mouse double clicks often. I clicked the link (subject was 'Ryanair' a notorious cheap airline) and have been struggling for three days to clear the brutes. thousands of files were infected. I knew there was a doubt but, but....but....  
Still most of it is fixed now, as far as I can see.  However as I run the various software to fight it each one takes well over an hour to run! Much time wasted. It was so bad that at one point I thought I might have to leave here and actually speak to real people! Phew, that was close. 


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Sunday, 10 April 2011

Sunday Trails

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I wonder how clear the skies would be if there were no aircraft high above. It appeared to me that all the 'cloud' seen in that picture was in fact the vapour trails from passing aircraft spreading out across the heavens. Even in the far distance little 'real cloud' was to be seen. Those planes leaving their trails here are  dropping down slowly to land at Stansted Airport or passing high above from Luton Airport.  High above we often notice those making their way to and from North America from Europe. London has Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted airports, plus Luton and the London City Airport providing this are with a constant stream of air travel. Only a short time ago plans for a second runway at Stansted were dropped, and the people in their expensive houses round about relaxed. I suspect that soon enough this plan will be resurrected at some point. In spite of those complaining about the pollution most people appear keen to travel vast distances and leave the pollution to others. There is of course no way we could avoid using aircraft in today's world. In the UK business men could not operate by train travel alone. When British engineering invented railways they laid tracks almost overnight throughout the nation and indeed the Empire. However as the population has grown and towns and cities have spread the amount of land available for developing rail lines has almost disappeared. A new fast line up the west coast is now to be begun but even that could never take business people from north to south and back in one day, only aircraft, apart from delays, can suffice.


Since moving here I have become a cloud follower. I often stand staring into the skies, very much to the annoyance of bus drivers on this road, fascinated with the shapes clouds offer, the shades available and the colours available at different times of the day. Hence the pictures taken in today's sunshine. Hence my observation of 'Easyjet' and 'Ryanair' (who charge me extra to observe them) as they pass by. It sometimes amazes me how quickly these craft move. Several flights a day can take one plane from Edinburgh to Stansted, then on to Belfast, back to Stansted and possibly out to Scandinavia somewhere next. One day, several cities, several countries. Try walking that in a day! Before railways were developed the only way to get about was to walk, ride a horse or take some sort of carriage. Fast walking could not only wear you out but still reached only three miles an hour or thereabouts. Horse can gallop, but not for ever, and what speed do they reach? Two or three times the humans possibly? The fact that Stephenson's 'Rocket' could reach a speed of thirty miles an hour caused wise men to say "You are all going to die!" They reckoned the air would be sucked out of the body. Trains today go somewhat faster, although commuters could claim this to be false! 


Using a system called 'Flightradar24' I was able to follow a friend as he flew one night to Nepal. I traced his plane as it left Heathrow and within ten minutes crossed the coast and headed into Europe. Driving could take around three hours to cover the distance, and would be troubled somewhat by the English Channel when it attempted to cross. Half an hour after take off my mate was deep into German territory and heading south. I took the only option, I forgot all about him.  The world is shrinking. When I were a lad Brazil and those other American land masses were on the other side of the world. My first job entailed writing chits for lorry drivers headed to places like Liverpool docks where a thousand cases of whisky, some lighter than when they left the Bothy, would take several days to travel across the Atlantic. Only the rich and famous could afford to fly and enjoy several hours of flight to a new world. Today people can spend a weekend in New York and can travel to Brazil in less than a day!  We take this for granted and the many nations walking our streets make us forget just how far away places used to be. Rumour has it that Heart of Midlothian wished to bring the Brazilian Vava to Tynecastle. People laughed at the idea. Not only was he part of Brazil's World Cup winning squad but Brazil was so far away, indeed on the other side of the world. Now even Dunfermline have had Brazilians playing for them, and that in the lower division. How times change and that air pollution following the jets is having an effect on us all.


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Friday, 8 April 2011

Racism

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Everyone seems to be in such a hurry to scream 'racism' these days.
 

 
A customer asked, "In what aisle could I find the Irish sausage?"   
 
The shop assistant asks, "Are you Irish?"
The guy, clearly offended, says, "Yes I am.  But let me ask you something.
“If I had asked for Italian sausage, would you ask me if I was Italian?
Or if I had asked for German Bratwurst, would you ask me if I was German?
Or if I asked for a kosher hot dog would you ask me if I was Jewish?
Or if I had asked for a Taco, would you ask if I was Mexican?
Or if I asked for Polish sausage, would you ask if I was Polish?"
The clerk says, "No, I probably wouldn't."
The guy says, "Well then, because I asked for Irish sausage, why did you ask me if I'm Irish?"

The assistant replied, "Because you're in Halfords Cycle Shop."

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Blue Skies

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This requires some explanation. Most people will of course realise at one glance what this picture represents. However for the population of Scotland it may come as a surprise as for them  the sky is at best a dull gray colour, and very often accompanied by rain, lots of rain!  Those in the west of Scotland find themselves coated with rainwater more often than those in the east. This, as you will appreciate, is the reason Glasgow was built in the west, the rain is the only way it gets washed! Edinburgh, being the capital city, home of government, financial centre, and 'Athens of the North,' (called such because of all the highly intelligent people who come from there) requires no such help. Edinburgh does however benefit, if that is the word, from the fresh breeze that arrives over the North Sea and begins its journey somewhere in the Russian Arctic. The east wind arrives in winter but when it leaves is replaced by the west wind which brings the rain left over from the laundering process. In short it is rare in the Scotland to actually see the sky! Therefore for the benefit of those lingering there please believe me that when (or if!) you leave the 'Red Lion' tonight know that behind that dark cloud is a blue sky, well it will be in the morning.
By the way, we often get such skies down here. Have a nice day!


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Monday, 4 April 2011

'The Good Book.'

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'The Good Book' is a work put together by philosopher A.C. Grayling as what he calls a 'Secular Bible.'  It appears his intention is that this work will encourage people to live a more positive godless life. Grayling sees himself as the 'velvet' opposition to religion, unlike the more 'direct' Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens. While he makes no mention of God in 'The Good Book' the other two writers positively oppose the very idea of God. They have tapped into the market of those who wish to find evidence for what they do not believe, this book will no doubt also find buyers there. Catching the end of his interview on the radio this morning I heard him read out what he calls his 'Ten Commandments. These told the reader to be good to others, be tolerant, and consider the good things. All good and worthwhile I thought but then considered the world around us and the majority of the content found on the news programme that invited him to discuss his book. The majority of the programme features war, distress, crime, and all those bad things that people wish to hear about. Not much positive or kindly there.  I may be doing Grayling an injustice as I cannot remember them all but I did see a flaw in his 'Ten Commandments.'  Human nature! That is what is missing here. The bible, 'God breathed' as it is,  does not misunderstand human nature, instead it exposes our corruption to the world! Nothing sordid is hidden, all the sins and vices you require are to be found there.  Human nature is corrupted by the Self. The desire to be good and caring is all too easily cast aside and self takes over. Our 'Self' is the centre of the world. It wishes to be God, it always demands its own way, and while capable of much goodness will always be the centre of the world, even amongst those it loves.  The bible makes clear that not one person is immune from this and all require a new nature. That 'Good News' presented by the bible and revealed in the New Testament is that such a new nature is available but only through Jesus, his death on the cross for our old nature and his rising again to offer us a new one. Nothing else will do! Only the living Jesus can transform any individual, the good news is that he is always willing to do so. Even you and I can discover this, Grayling ignores this redemption for whatever reason. Maybe he has not read the real 'Good Book' for himself? 


Grayling is to be admired for attempting to offer something positive, and humanists like he can be good folks to be with. His failure to understand the depth of his own human nature is not unusual even amongst those regarded as 'great thinkers. Human nature blinds us to that which we do not wish to see and our rebellious hearts refuse to allow the need for Gods saviour to find acceptance with us. 'The Good Book' will sell, many decent people will attempt to live it, and hopefully many will realise that the real 'Good Book' actually has the answer to why we cannot live the decent good life, and that answer is Jesus himself, the Lord of all.   



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Sunday, 3 April 2011

Sunday

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Today is 'Mothering Sunday' in the UK.  'Mothers Day' is one of those 'Days' that are inventions of the florists and card manufacturers who line their pockets from our guilt. Valentines day is another excuse to keep small, and large, businesses busy during otherwise quiet times. Brave people ignore such money grabbing excuses and are free to inform the world that they do not require special 'Days' to show their care and gratitude to their 'loved ones.'  Most of us obey as we know that 'she' will remember! 

As it is almost two years since my mother died I am spared the need for cards or chocolates, an expense I can do without.  It is strange how often I think about my mother however. Not just the fact that she is not there but when something happens on TV or in the media I can often 'hear; her response. What makes this more intriguing is that yesterday was the sixth anniversary of my sisters untimely death. I often hear her in a similar manner as we used the same expressions (usually complaining about something) and I suspect this is an attitude that goes back many generations in our family!  I have heard from Australia a namesake giving evidence of this. That is frightening if we ever have a family get together! I don't wish to be there!    

One thing needles me about Mothers Day is that I can only regret not doing anything for her. Since she died I have come to a much better realisation of just what she gave up for us, how she endured the difficulties of raising a family of four on a tight budget, dad struggled to get good work, and yet at her funeral a large number of people turned up, people who genuinely missed her.  Mothers Day gives me that 'if only' feeling, and as I have it often enough I do not wish anyone else to endure it.  If your Mother, or even your sister, is still around then I urge you to make the most of them.  The 'if only' emotion is one of the worst to endure.

   

Dawn

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Well, almost Dawn....
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Saturday, 2 April 2011

Dusk

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Red sky at night flashes across the world for a brief moment and disappears within minutes. 

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Friday, 1 April 2011

April Fool

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I have scoured the morning papers online for 'April Fool' stories and cannot find any. Usually each paper has one story that dumb people like myself fall for unthinkingly, and while that may well be the case this morning I fear it is not. Instead I fear that the majority of the tales offered in the media today are so banal and obscure that I find it impossible to tell the difference between them and the 'April Fool' tale. I accept the world is a mixed up place. I concur that weird news happens daily. I realise that life throws up strange offerings. However I fear that the media these days is so desperate to shock that any old pap is printed just to draw our attention. This morning I failed to notice the difference between the daily offerings and any 'April Fool' story. Of course it may just be my boneheadedness revealing itself once again.


It will cause some concern and distress to some of my readers when the news that Rangers Football Club, already officially £29 million in debt, may have to add to that debt after the tax man asks for a little bit more. Indeed there appears to be reasons for tears as the chairman, one Alastair Johnston, indicates that the club might even end up in administration. My twisted and perverse memory reminds me that Livingston Football Club suffered an immediate relegation to the third division for similar failings, I wonder if my memory is correct?  It would be, shall we say, 'unfortunate,' if a club such as Rangers Football Club, a club renown for the 'dignity' and propriety' that emanates from their marbled halls, were to end up playing third division football. Cynics might begin asking questions regarding the 'loyalty' of their fans. The players would certainly be offski!  Still other cynics would add that the 'Masonic' handshake would avoid all sorts of disagreeable outcomes in this instance. Still, it is something to warm the heart while dreaming about such good fortune, isn't it?  


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