Monday, 31 December 2012

Christchurch Priory



To get away from her indoors for a few hours out of the house he and I drove around the edge of town looking at the horrendous flooding that has occurred in this region.  Huge acres were covered in water, much more than in previous years.  The fields were covered in numbers of swans rather than horses.  Interesting to look at from the safety of the car, although not when the stuff swamped the roads, but not what I would wish outside my door.  Driving through some small interesting red bricked villages, never designed for vehicle traffic, we arrived eventually at Christchurch where we sauntered among the Boxing Day walkers braving the howling wind.  The swans eagerly gathered around those foolish enough to wear themselves out and sit on the sheltered benches for a sandwich.  The tide here was so high at one point it had actually reached as high as the benches, these were covered with the detritus left behind by the water.



Much wealth found around this area.  Even in the days of long ago this area was inhabited, it was well developed by the time the Romans arrived and later saw the Saxons move in.  It is thought a chap named Birnius erected a minster here around the late 600's.  This was demolished by the Norman chaps once they took over and in their humble manner they rebuilt the place in solid stone.  The church was part of the Augustinian Monastery which began in 1094 and lasted as such until Henry 8 dissolved the monasteries in1539 to find himself an heir. It Typical Norman stone arches stand proud and are always worth a look in my (very) humble opinion.



The 'quire' stalls are decorated with intricate carvings.  It was here the monks would worship during compline or matins.  Whether the constant construction and reconstruction bothered them I know not.  Today I notice the stalls have red cushions on them, I wonder if this was always the case?  



Christchurch took this name in the 12th century when the story of the 'miraculous beam' began.  Since the dissolution the church has served as a parish church for the area.  Just as well this is a wealthy area, the upkeep must be enormous.  It must always have cost a fortune to keep the fabric of the building in shape.  The number of masons and such like who have worked here must be enormous also.  The carvings found here are worth a look.  When in such places I cannot help but think of the thousands who have passed through for whatever reason in the past, some leaving their graffiti as they did so, others their memory is found on a tablet folks rich enough have placed on the walls.     



Today the vicar is a man who actually knows his God, something unusual amongst Anglicans I can tell you, however he is far from perfect, he is an American!  Imagine!   The Victorians naturally decided the vicar required a home equated with his status and a red brick house stands at the edge of the grounds.  As always I cannot ignore the lovely door, note the beginning of the yellow lines at the bottom of the steps.


What a way to spend Boxing Day, while stayed where she ought to, cooking lunch for our return.  What a great woman!  The one thing that keeps her inside at such times is the idea of passing by the waterside, especially in a cold wind.  She hates that.  Such trips ensure a constant supply of fabulous dinners.   

2012 ends soon and I will be glad to see the back of the year.  Hogmany will hopefully bring a better year tomorrow.  I hope so for all our sakes.   
   

Sunday, 30 December 2012

O Happy Week!



What a lovely Christmas time that was!  I was so happy I never thought about the missing laptop until I wanted to play around with the photos I'd taken.  Goodness gracious, who would have thunk it?  A whole week without reading the online Mail, grumpy folks on football forums, 
and spam merchants clogging up the web.  Wonderful!  Of course Mr Anonymous had left several thousand posts for me to remove but that has been done and the papers really don't need reading do they?  


I started on the Monday in the hope of missing much of the weekend traffic, and bar a pair of women gossiping behind me forcing the aged Walkman out of the bag the train was quite enjoyable.  Of course I had to change at the new interchange at Stratford and climb aboard the Jubilee line.  How long since I endured an underground journey I fail to remember but little appears to have changed.  Almost no English to be seen, which is not something to complain about, no smiling faces, no helpful gestures, no view out of the window after we left West Ham.  Glancing around I noted the majority no longer read newspapers, now it is ipads, tablets and the like.  My Walkman hid quietly at this point.  At Waterloo the one real problem was the daft idea to buy a coffee before boarding.  There I was suitcase in one hand, coffee in another, and no hand left to put the ticket through the gate!  A smiling lady employee used her key, rushed through, smiled and let me wait outside!  Grrrr!  However I managed to balance the £2.05p worth of coffee (worth about 15p actually) on the far side of the gate, maneuver the ticket into the slot and barge through without spilling anything.   

  
How lovely to stay in a clean house, warm, well fed, and not required to do anything but look out the very wide windows at the birdies squabbling among the feeders hanging in the garden.  The Robins, Blackbirds, Finches and Tits fed happily undisturbed, bar the intrusion of a Buzzard which spent an hour or two hiding in the corner until we decided it was better chased off.  Having found the garden empty on arrival, been fooled by a fluttering leaf to dive to the lawn the bird sneekily hid behind the garden shed and watched carefully through the windows at the feeders.  You may find it difficult to believe how enjoyable the garden scene is but I assure you he and I spent many an hour, with her grumbling in the background, discussing the activities of the feathered folks.  Of course it would have been better still if the sun had shown up a little more often, sulking behind clouds was it's major occupation most of the time. 

Can you see the Buzzard?


Some folks have difficulty finding one family, I have two!  How lucky to be able to find two families!  Not only that I get on with them.  I suppose I would not be there otherwise.  Work and poverty stopped me getting down there for years and it was a week of restful tender loving care - for me at least!  So much so that I spent hours watching the kind of TV I would normally abhor!  More than this I found myself enjoying what was on offer and getting involved with the hero's problems.  The feeble young Viking befriending the injured Dragon brought tears to my eyes.  Quite why he and the girl hero had American accents and the older Vikings Scots accents escaped us.  Do Americans not realise Vikings (who do not have horns on their helmets) come from Scandinavia   Look it up on the map!   So slouched on the couch, yet another mug of tea in hand, chocolates around, possibly home made fruitcake in hand, I passed the week amongst intelligent conversation and laughter.  Made a change from talking to myself.

A trip to Poole Bay to be blown away and around the corner to watch the ferry and sit admiring the view of the sea.  Gales of wind blowing folks hats from their heads while aboard the Swanage Ferry gave us a laugh.  The view gave us reason to sit and stare for a while.  There is something healing to the soul sitting and watching a view, either of the sea or the land.  Some wrongly call this 'spiritual,' what they mean in 'tranquil.'  We need deep inside to get away from the workshop or office, the sink or the routine and refresh the mind by sitting and just watching the almost still view.  Try it today!


The view of 'Old Harry,' the rocks at the far end of the bay from high above on Canford Cliffs was well worth a look.  'Old Harry' is the solitary rock sticking up at the end of the land in the centre of the top picture.  What a day to be there!  This has been a favourite view of mine since the day I first came here in the late 70's.  The beach below is clean sand, well controlled by the lifeguards, although only one dunderhead was actually swimming in the freezing water, and the long slow walk along the front is one I long to do once again, possibly next time.  


The view in the other direction, to the left gave a clear view of the Isle of Wight.  The chalk cliffs reflecting the sun.  Wonderful!  The flats behind us along Cliff Drive in Poole have this vista daily and I want it also.  Please lend me half a million and I'll pay it back  as soon as I can.    

Now I am back in the smelly home with a bagfull of dirty laundry. Rejoice, rejoice......   On the other hand I have dozens of the other photos to post, can you wait....?

I hope your Christmas week was a good as mine!


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Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas 2012


As I'm off (hopefully) for the week may I wish all my online friends

A Happy Christmas

And may this week be all you wish it to be!




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Saturday, 22 December 2012

Penguins




Dead Penguins - I never knew this!

Did you ever wonder why there are no dead penguins on the ice in Antarctica ?

Where do they go?

Wonder no more ! ! !

It is a known fact that the penguin is a very ritualistic bird which lives an extremely ordered and complex life. The penguin is very committed to its family and will mate for life, as well as maintain a form of compassionate contact with its offspring throughout its life.

If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into, and buried.

The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and sing: 

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"Freeze a jolly good fellow."
"Freeze a jolly good fellow."


Friday, 21 December 2012

The Shortest Day



At last!  The darkness has descended and the night has begun!  At last the days will begun to stay around that little bit longer.  At last the year is turning and Spring is on the way, after a couple of months of hail, snow, wind and freezing weather of course!  How lovely to think there will be more light, buds on trees, blossoms and gaiety all around once more.  The shortest day celebrated the fact by almost allowing the sun to shine.  The rain fell where it belonged, elsewhere, and when I sauntered around the town the clouds had a bright golden edge to them.  

I wanted to do a post full of insight and significance but the bug has worn me out again.  My little brain is dull tonight, and wasn't much better this morning.  As I did the women's work today, hoovering and such like, I left the front door ajar.  An ambulance paramedic approached enquiring for a shop selling hot food.  When I have a bug the mind often blocks things and as I attempted to send her to the bakers shops for overpriced pies and soup I could not remember the shops name, it has only come to mind now I write this, 'Greggs.'  It has taken all day to arrive, and possibly it has taken the ambulance crew all day to find the shop after my directions!  Why does this 'block' happen I wonder?  I am sure my mother had this, and I suspect it runs in the family, like debt.  

I am worried about my week away over Christmas.  I will not be able to take the laptop as they use Sky and not Talk Talk.  There is growing within me a sensation of desperation here.  A week without fingertapping on this wee keyboard.  A week without emails, a week without anon spamming me, a week without contact with the real world.  A week in which I will have to talk to people!  Oooooh.  I think I am off to bed, I feel giddy.....

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Bright Lights



Howling wind, pouring rain, freeezing cold (this is the weather forecast) and in the shopping centre we have a man selling Candy Floss!  Now when young I LOVED candy floss, who didn't? However I just could not find enough pennies in my pockets (full of holes) when required so had to do without.  As it happens the man appears to have gone walkies so I am out of luck anyway.  I was hoping for pictures of people with brollies against the bright lights but it did not work out they way I wanted.  In fact it is very difficult to picture rain.  You can photograph umbrellas, rain drops, rain on windows, puddles etc, but rain itself, even when heavy, is hard to picture.  Another problem is that the photographer gets wet, and I can do without that thank you!


Roll on tomorrow, the Shortest Day!

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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

UK Sunshine



The TV these days is stuffed full of adverts crammed with smiling people offering things we don't need.  Glitter abounds among the adverts, whitened teeth constantly flash, fat red clothed overpaid men insult the intelligence by playing Santa (Father Christmas to the middle classes) and amongst the gifts, false happiness,  bright lights, and girls giving the 'glad eye' to the producer of soap operas, we find snow!  Snow!  The horrible stuff that blocks the roads, stops the trains, grounds planes, destroys industry, kills and maims thousands, and NEVER FALLS AT CHRISTMAS!  The chances of snow in the UK at Christmas anywhere south of Aberdeen is  as likely as my Grandmother playing professional football.  And we all know she preferred rugby!  Our weather, and years of experience proves this, is yucky almost all the year round.  Some times the summer is long and hot, sometimes the winter is full of snow, but only every twenty years or so.  The adverts, made in May, are full of the stuff!  Shopping centres full of those false smiles are surrounded by snow, yet not one damp patch appears on screen!  Sleighs fly through clear skies over a snowbound world yet never at any time does that blasted sleigh run into dark brooding clouds.  Nor at any time do the reindeer smash head first into one of the passing 'Easyjet' flights heading for Christmas sunshine, with real sun, in the Med.  This I feel is something of a shame in my view.  Today the shops are full of miserable unsmiling folks fighting over mince pies, Christmas cake and Turkeys.  The gray sky darkens as evening approaches (roll on the 21st!) and my picture captures the sun almost at the zenith.  No snow, just mirk!  

Bah!

AND another thing, why are adverts for perfume so bloody awful?  Each one makes less sense than the one before.  Either a slapper rolling around as if on some drug, a bunch of 'yoof' dancing badly to aboriginal music, or a blue tinted one where some bint fancies a bloke posing at the microphones.  Poor lass, such men are usually queens dear.  Read the Sunday papers!  Why do these ads have to be so obscure?   Could it be they like the 'wrinkle cream' and 'face paint' ads which are banal and meaningless, appeal to women?  If so take the vote from them now!  The cost of each bottle of this pong is enormous.  Huge profits can be made by the producers.  Many years ago at work I used to see invoices from the producers of these substances, the price they charged was huge, add to this the companies profit margin and overheads and lassies pay enough to clear the Greek debt by the end of January!  Someone somewhere is making a lot of money out of little. 

Bah!    

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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Megalithic, Mesolithic, The Past



I bought some reduced price books from the museum a few weeks ago and have been enjoying myself pondering life here several thousand years BC.  After the 'Ice Age' went away, and some occasionally fear may not have gone that far away, the land soon sprouted grasses, trees, animals and human life.  At that time the British Isles was connected to the European landmass until the melting ice caps flood water created the North Sea and flooded the area now known by some as 'Doggerland.'  Fishermen regularly collect bones of Mammoths and other long dead creatures from this area, the depth not being great.  

Peoples spread from the continent and made their way to the very tip of the land mass.  However it was not until around 6000 BC or so that they took to creating the many mammoth monuments that dot the land.  These often took the form of tombs, sometimes containing bones, sometimes not, and when bones were found these were often incomplete!  Later occasional pieces of pottery were to be found.  Different areas offered a variety of such tombs, some containing several niches, others additional tombs were added much later and the 'barrow' increased on size, often by a large mass.  Usually these comprised earth piled high, in northern regions stones expertly worked together creating very large barrows.  Many still remain almost untouched, others have been flattened by farming methods over many centuries.  


Questions remain regarding the ceremonies that took place at such places, no writing was left, and the lack of personal material implies we may never know what really went on there.  A few years ago a man from Madagascar was taken to one area of 'Standing Stones.'  He was informed that no-one could understand their meaning.  In surprise he mentioned that it was obvious, these were commemorating the dead!  That is what happens in his society, and it is a decent enough observation, although no other evidence appears.  Did thousands gather to remember their dead, the past generations?  Could it be that these Barrows and Standing stones were less to do with the solstice and more to bring peoples together?  Today we so similar.  Families gather at weddings and funerals.  Nations gather at Armistice Day, or around major national events.  Sometimes football matches can be used in this manner.  Did Stone age man use ceremonies, possibly sporting or other activities, and certainly feasting at some places, to unite the peoples of an area, sometimes a quite large area at that?  What a shame they did not write this down.  

What happened before such tombs were built is generally unknown.  Hunter gatherers left little in the way of memorials,and possibly were constantly on the move.  It would be a more static society that combined to erect large monuments.  Possibly these were stating this was their area to outsiders, possibly it helped them sink roots deep into the land through their ancestors.  Nations need a 'myth' to build their self esteem.  The Athenians held to the belief that they had 'always belonged in Attica,' even though historians indicate they actually moved in from the north some years before.  The 'Myth' keeps the nation together.  Whatever the reason almost suddenly things changed.  Possibly it was wealth, or an increased population, but most likely ideas coming through contact with the continent.  The large works, which may have taken generations to build, were no longer constructed.  These continued to serve as places for ceremonials however, but individual tombs began to appear, and these began to contain grave goods.  


All this changed when the Romans arrived.  Not only did the world around them become Romanised, the incoming gods accepted, but the arrival of Christianity saw the end of any connection with past ceremonials.  The Druids concerned were probably wiped out by Paulinus before Boudica began her revolt.  She and hers followed almost immediately.  Six, seven or ten thousand years ago people just like you and me wandered the land, hunting, farming, building shelters, developing tools, and going forth and multiplying, and evidence for that is found amongst some items left at the meeting places!  Did they have a philosophy?  Did they sit at the door of their round huts or cave dwellings staring at the sky and wondering?  Was the daily struggle such that little time was left for cogitation, or did they just wish they could watch TV and read the tabloid press?  One thing is sure, the women gossiped, the men boasted of their imported stone hammer from Poland, someone was proud of their expensive pot with intriguing design brought from far away.  Human nature never changes, whatever the culture.              

I find them fascinating, and several 'Time Team' programmes this week on one of the obscure channels have encouraged my fascination, with their existence in those days.  How trees could be felled by brute force and stone axes, flint could be made into a razor sharp knife, and deer antlers could be used to create the huge embankments and Barrows, and later hill forts, all makes me wonder at the human ability to make the best of the circumstances.  Great stuff, but I am glad I live in the days of photography and laptops myself.  Especially when the weather is rough.

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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Friday, 14 December 2012

Rotten Rain



Trapped by pouring rain today.  Snow, wind, ice, igloos and passing Eskimos, now rain!  Bah!
Still, I managed to finally almost get my Christmas dinner sorted.  I think I will be at sun drenched Bournemouth from next Sunday for a week.  I have not been there for several years and am looking forward to this.  On the other hand I am not used to being with people all day everyday and this will be a strain.  Also the laptop will not work as they are on a different ISP.  This means there is a distinct possibility I may go mad!  Of course I will save money on electricity and gas, and waste it on travel, them, and whatever I find to waste it on.  How will you cope without me? What?........oh!

A chap has appeared on TV playing Chopin's 'Etudes,' whatever they are.  This is something similar and the intelligentsia among you will appreciate this.

 


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Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Guilty, The Smug and the Suffering.




These are the guilty.
The coalition of Conservative and Liberal-Democrats who have wormed their way into power and smugly go about their business while the nation suffers.  

For instance, Culture Secretary Maria Miller is happily forcing gay marriage on both the nation and the Churches.  While this fascist like approach pleases some, mostly in parliament, she herself is now to be investigated for possibly, note the words, fiddling her housing claims.  Some £90,000 is the money involved.  An appropriate body will investigate and it may well be she is found innocent of all wrong.  We are right to wonder if the 'Daily Telegraph,' who were about to break the story,  claim that a No 10 junior informed the DT editor the running this story may be 'unwise.'  Hmmmm.  Oh yes, Maria is also leading the investigation into the possible new Press Control Commission, if there is to be one.  Two sides dishing the dirt.  Maria may well be innocent of all wrong, others however have been guilty.

Ian Duncan Smith is the Tory hatchet man determined to make the sick work so as to stop paying benefits.   He went to a decent school where he failed well.  Failed academically and ended up in the army.  This used to be where the idiot son of the wealthy would be dumped.  Ian wandered about Rhodesia, which we lost, and Northern Ireland, carrying a bag for the Major General there.  He did not patrol the streets, or see action  it appears.    He spent time on the dole, something he now thinks criminal, living off the state happily enough (and claiming child benefit for all the kids when they arrived) until a state training course (free) enabled him to get work selling arms to beloved tyrants for GEC-Marconi.  Honesty and integrity not required here I suggest.  He then showed admirable understanding and vision by moving to a property firm where the market collapsed and he was thrown onto the street!  He then joined 'Janes,' selling gun magazines and worming his way up the ladder.  He decided to climb on the state employed ladder once again but his attempt to become an MP failed at the first go.  he eventually obtained the job that lines pockets and has wormed his way here into the cabinet.  From this position he is determined to get the 2,51 million unemployed into the 400,000 vacancies.  I mentioned his academic career failed didn't I?  To ensure those claiming sick benefit, under whatever name it is called now, he constantly implies they are scrounging, as he once did, and ensures ATOS claims they are fit to work, even if they are dying.  A man only the Daily Mail/Telegraph reader and the Tea Party could admire.

The suffering is interesting.  Note one ex-soldier.
Alex Smith, a Gulf War veteran (once described as 'hero' by the smug lot) has been forced out of work by an infection that has damaged his heart and leaves him '15 seconds from death.'  He awaits a second operation, the first installed a device which pumps blood around his body constantly.  A walk with the dog leaves him exhausted and he is unfit for work.  Until now that is!  Ian Duncan Smith and his ATOS friends have decided he is indeed 'fit to work.'  A man at deaths door?  How can this be IDS?  The result of this is his benefit has been cut, possibly they hope he will die of cold?  It sounds the Conservative way.  Daily we hear of such stories.  The man told he is fit to work who died the next day, the young male paralysed since birth 18 years before told to attend a job interview when he cannot move and is too mentally damaged to understand the letter!  It doesn't stop there does it IDS?

Today we read of Patricia Taylor.  She has been divorced, has developed cancer, lost her job and is unable to pay the mortgage.  The bank, Barclays, claim they attempted to help her but have now reclaimed the house and flung her out onto the street.  Over 50,000 are homeless, local councils cannot cope, the smug cabinet does talk about creating houses - for sale, but does nothing to stop this type of situation, which is increasing daily in this time of austerity.  Even America, the land of the greedy has under Obama refused to indulge in the austerity of George Osborne, possibly because Obama knows how the poor suffer.  Our cabinet neither know nor care.

How long until the next election?  How much government time wasted on gayboys and women bishops when the real imperative is improving the country?  Stop the tax dodgers (they have removed almost half the tax collectors from their jobs and wonder why so many, mostly Tory voters, dodge tax), spend money to save money, show some understanding and compassion, and then you may get a few votes.  I doubt that mind.   


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Jack Frost



At just before 12 noon on the 12th day of the 12th month of the 2012th year of our Lord I took this picture of our frozen landmass.  The sun was at its zenith and having had my hair cut shortly before I can tell you the suns batteries had run out!  The novelty of 12 noon on 12/12/12 did not occur to me at the time.  I was merely attempting to record the front covered country around us.


This sight as I woke explained why the air had been so cold during the night.  This sort of thing is fine up north, Inverness played Ross County where the temperature was -5 at 7:45 kick off last night, these folks expect such horrors, I don't.  However there is something fabulous about a frost bitten land when the sun shines upon it.  Another 24 hours and all this will turn to our more usual rain.  Oh joy!


Oh Spring, wherefore art thou pal? 

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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Monday, 10 December 2012

Friday, 7 December 2012

Friday Frolic



Who can frolic in sleet, snow and cold driving rain?
Bah!  Roll on Spring!




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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Horrid Winter, Horrid Politiicans



Disgusting!  No warning given that I would awaken to such a sight!  Disgusting!  Who sent this mess to us here?  It's a disgrace!  Thick snow all over the place and no reason for it.  Horrid!  Naturally the nation has crawled to a halt, not counting those who skidded of the road of course.  People will ask questions as they always do, "Why are we not prepared? Why does this happen? What is to be done?"  Daft people waste time answering such folks.  It's winter, that's why!  I'm moving to Australia where it never snows or rains!  How delightful!  

 

The smug face of Chancellor George shows how satisfied he is after announcing he is once more taking from the poor and giving to the rich!  That will please the 'Daily Mail' readers.  His plan is simple, reduce the money offered to those on benefits, and tax the rich.  However the tax is not a tax, just fiddling with the terms enabling the richer types to benefit while real cuts affect the poorest and disabled.  Our beloved Chancellor will be planning a holiday like last years (£10,000 ski holiday if I remember right) while his rich friends ask their accountants to fix their tax returns in a manner worthy of their huge wages.  Those on £67 a week like I once was will be happily wondering how to pay the heating bills.

The Conservative lie is a simple one.  Based as you know on the idea of telling a lie over and over again until it is accepted as truth.  Thus the 'Daily Mail' and 'Telegraph' fill their pages with tales of scrounging lazy types, always working class, who refuse to work and receive huge handouts.  It can be exaggerated to the nth degree if the recipient is a black immigrant.  This tells those that still have a job, and they do exist, that they keep the scroungers in luxury.  In no time at all resentment builds up and wallah! Votes for the Conservative Party!  Maths tells a different story.  As mentioned many times before the unemployment figures stand at around two and a half million, job vacancies number around four hundred thousand, therefore it is not folks scrounging it is a lack of jobs.  Create a million or two jobs and most people will rush to take one.  However that is difficult, and indeed almost impossible to achieve during the depression so the Tories encourage disunity by blaming the lazy, the immigrants and anyone who fits their bill.  The reader of the right wing press wants to believe he is working to keep everyone else well fed but will soon change his mind - on the day his company collapses!

George satisfies the middle class right wing reader while taking from them and giving to those at the top, his type of person.  Since Thatcher this has gone on, attacking the poorest and feeding the richest.  The so called Labour government, who's leader made around twenty or thirty millions in recent years and has a very complicated tax dodging system going for him, claimed things were going to get better, and they did for him!  Now we have the worst government I can remember, shored up by the Lib-Dem 'fag,' and little hope of change while the world around us collapses, except for the top level of course.  

I'm so glad I trust in Jesus who never failed me through that horrible time.  Maybe this will cause others to do the same.  Things can only get worse for the next few years, not better and there is none who can lead us out of this.

               
On the other hand there is of course that 'British pluck' that sees black humour (a phrase banned by Rotherham council I believe) in every situation.  Some kids must have been out early today and made the most of the horrid, disgusting, foul snow to leave us these two creatures.  Hopefully not fashioned on the parents!  I am better prepared for the next snowfall, I bought a brush to remove the horrid stuff from the pathway today.  For years we have struggled without one because it was not worth buying (and a £2.99 that's a lot of money for me to spend) and naturally by the time I got home the horrid stuff was turning to slush and has gone.  Bah!


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Robin Hood?



This mornings 'Scotsman' featured one of the more important stories found in the papers today. The 'Tesco Express' shop in Inverness has been attacked by an intruder.  This Robin has decided to keep warm and find supper by entering the store to choose a few morsels.  Not only does he fly around the checkouts and loiter in the store he has encouraged a pigeon to do likewise!  This of course causes a health hazard and the 24 hour opening has been interrupted by closure of the store at eleven each night as the staff attempt to chase the birds out.

Not only is this happening to Tesco this December it also happened to another 'Tesco Express' last year also in Inverness.  On that occasion the robin, possibly the same one, entered the cafe and took tidbits from customers.  Another health hazard but also popular as you can imagine.  Some folks have birds in their garden, not that I'm naming names, others have to visit the park or wander into Tesco's in Inverness!  Mind you with the snow all around up there I'm with the birds, it's better indoors than out!

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Monday, 3 December 2012

Maudlin Monday



The weather forecast threatened snow but as always it lied!  The snow stayed where it belonged, up north!  Let the Yorkists and the Scots keep what belongs to them - bad weather!  Instead we here in the soft south endured cold, cold rain.  As I crossed the almost deserted park it was indeed dreich.  The rain was coming straight down as I crossed, heavy shopping in hand.  In spite of the lass on the TV claimed it had, "Passed into the North Sea."  Liar!  It passed down my neck girl!  At least there has been no need to keep the heating on today although I did retire to bed for a while to keep warm - just in case.



This bint is filling the news again.  For the next few months we will be fed a daily diet of babies, her health, photographs, speculation, nancy boy 'Royal Correspondents,' boring women informing the world of their opinions on the child, and ceaseless comparisons to Diana from the media.  The sad women who lived their lives through Diana, and now do so through this girl, will be on every radio phone in, every page of the 'Daily Mail,' and the other tabloids.  All the tabloids will be printing those well prepared 'specials' that have been sitting on their PCs waiting to go since the day she married wealth and fame.  I am tempted to point out that the Tories attack the unemployed who have too many children they cannot afford so how about this pair?  They live on benefits (his RAF wage will not pay his way), claiming handouts from the taxes we pay, and doing nothing for society but sell dumbed down papers.  Should we insist she gets a job?  The child will probably be given a Chav name anyway.....

   
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Saturday, 1 December 2012

Trees



Trees

I Tthink that I shall never see 
A poem lovely as a tree. 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest 
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast; 

A tree that looks at God all day, 
And lifts her leafy arms to pray; 

A tree that may in summer wear 
A nest of robins in her hair; 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
Who intimately lives with rain. 

Poems are made by fools like me, 
But only God can make a tree. 


Friday, 30 November 2012

November 30th




The wind from the north has spent the past couple of days howling through the gaps in my window frames.  Cold air fills the house, freezing the tea I was drinking no less than a minute ago.   Typing wearing Mitts can be difficult, so it's a good thing most of you read quite slowly.  As I sit here wrapped in a thick blanket I experience to the full what it means to be a Scot.  The weather is always like this up there!  Quite why the greatest nation in the world did not make its way down to the Mediterranean coast all those years ago is a question I fail to comprehend.   We would make much better neighbors for the Catalans than the ones they already exist alongside.  They would be much more tolerable than this lot here!

The point of all this comes clear when you realise that today is St Andrews Day!  Today the Scots remember their Patron Saint, St Andrew!  However ask the majority of this once Calvinist land what knowledge they have of him and few would know much.  The reformation of course removed the fallacy that a dead man could be prayed to or expected to look after one group of people rather than another so saints of any sort get ignored.   Quite right too!  However this could be a day for remembering what Scotland is about, Scots great contribution to the world, and Scots influence for good to one and all.  However let's not talk about me.  Scotland as you know has produced more genius's per head of population than any other nation.  The greatest Americans have all got Scots blood in them, Scotland led the way in exploration, benevolence, medicine, law, learning, and football.  What more could you wish for?  The Arbroath Declaration is the main inspiration for 'freedom' in this world.   A refusal to be cowed by an aggressive bully at that time has been the mainspring of human freedom ever since.  But you know all this and I merely humbly reiterate such for the benefit of the younger generation.

Andrew himself, as you know was brother of Simon, and is considered as the first disciple and the one who brought Simon, later renamed Kephas, Peter to you, to Jesus.  While this Peter became well known and ended up dying somewhere in Rome around 64 AD Andrew himself disappeared from history.  Around the four hundreds people began to collect bits of dead apostles, a finger here, a toe there, and stories of their healing powers began to circulate.  The place where they were stored brought pilgrims seeking healing and Spiritual strength which meant cash could be made by Abbeys and the growing number of monasteries around the world. 

Some say Andrews bones lay in Constantinople, a region Origon and others claim he evangelised.   Others make similar claims and these may contain an element of truth.  How then was he not only on the Volga but crucified at Patras in the Peloponnese?  Ah well, we will never know.   The story goes his bones remained there until moved to Constantinople by one of the bigwigs of the time.  They would interfere wouldn't they?  Later bits of him were returned to Patras, but I doubt it is worth a visit myself.  For some reason his bones ended up in Hexam, as you might expect.  Acca, the bishop, was chased from there at one time and moved himself to Fife,  he landed in his wee boat at St Andrews, a miracle that he landed at a town with that name!  Proof indeed that this was Andrew!  A later Pictish King decided to make Andrew the patron after winning a battle. However as the Picts died out (except in Fife where many still exist) maybe he got that wrong. 

Who really knows? In days of yore when few could read, and the bible was only in the possession of a few, often only one or two copies in the land, superstition easily arose and religion was second to church political gain. No change there then!  Lacking a biblical understanding people came to put their hope in 'saints' of many sorts, some even Christian, and in time all nations had their own personal 'saints' who would plead before God on their behalf. The new Testament makes clear that only Christ Jesus, the great high priest, pleads before the throne, and that using his own blood shed on the cross. By no other name can men be saved. A 'saint' by the way, is simply someone who receives Christ Jesus death on behalf of his rotten nature, believes Gods mercy, receives the Holy Spirit and finds a new life. Each Christian is in fact a 'saint.' No need for anyone 'special,' bar Jesus himself. 


Quite how folks endure the freezing cold weather beats me.  There should be a law against it.  Oh look, I've found a source of heat.  I wonder who this candle belongs to?

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Whitewash?



So we had the Leveson enquiry, set up by Prime Minister David Cameron, to inquire into the press intrusion and misuse of the individual, famous and unknownm has reported.  Hours, days, weeks of testimony from the famous and infamous, politicians, journalists, tabloid hacks, and Rupert Murdoch and his henchmen, and indeed famous henchwomen!  Actors, individual members of the public who were hacked and abused, footballers and singers, all have appeared and demanded the press are controlled!  Lord Justice Leveson listened, occasionally questioned, and has now returned after pondering the findings and come to his conclusions.

Clearly the Press Complaints Commission has failed, clearly the press have got out of control, clearly a body is required to independently rule over the press.  This must be a body agreed by the press, independent of them, and secured by law!  The world rises to agree, with only three objecting.  One objection comes from the newspapers themselves whining about 'freedom!'  A freedom to do as they like.  The papers have all lost half their readership in the last ten years, TV, radio & the internet taking over, no wonder they are desperate for dirt on the famous.  Money talks and unemployed hacks can be very upset.  A second comes from the readers who feel that the private lives of the rich and famous, no matter how vacuous, are their business.  And a third objection comes from the Prime Minister himself.  Yes the man deemed not to have been influenced by friendship with the editor of one of Murdoch's papers, in spite of his close contact with her, the man who set up this enquiry as a PR stunt, the man who now fears the 'Daily Mail' and 'Daily Telegraph,' turning against him, has suddenly discovered he is not keen on passing any of the Lord Justice's findings into law!  Who would have thunk it eh?  To bring the law into being would have the media ruin him, and his chances of continuing in his job are feeble enough.  He is in a bad position.

Naturally the opposition suddenly find themselves in favour.  Naturally Nick Clegg, the man who sold out to Cameron just to pretend he was in power, has disagreed in a vain effort to save his job after the next election.  No chance pal. Naturally these new buddies will now demand a law, one that keeps press freedom to question and investigate, but also allows the politicians to curry favour with the media.  Naturally those who suffered, and one couple saw their son commit suicide after lies were published about him, naturally these people are not best pleased with Cameron's response.  What is important here, is it not those abused and hacked by the press?

I have done my bit.  In fact I did this yesterday.  I e-mailed my MP, Tory lackey that he is, and made clear that I wish for a press that is free to investigate and demand, to objectively question the powers that be, but one that is controlled from abusing the innocent, living of 'kiss & tell' stories, and one that is forced to be objective.  In a few days time I will receive a standard reply, full of bland acknowledgement and not altering his position which is to support Dave.  However by writing he knows how I feel and calculates this is also how others will feel.  Nearer the election I would mention the UKIP Party subtly!  

What happens now Dave wishes to whitewash the whole affair?  We will have to wait and see.  Which also reminds me of the other enquiry, you remember, the one asking about Tony Blair and the Iraq war.  Whatever happened to that whitewash report I wonder?     

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Now I'm not one to Complain, But....



I awoke this morning to the World Service, 'Outlook' was offering us yet another sob story, just what I need when darkness covers the land.  Day after day Matthew Bannister indulges himself with tales of woe, rape, torture, suffering and anguish, mostly from women, doing his best to imitate one of those women's magazine's that live on that sort of thing.  Just what is it about such mags that they sell by trauma?  Who can forget the cover headline 'MY LOVER WAS AN ANORAK?  The stories follow suit, 'Doctor healed by face,' 'My child was black,' 'My hair went gray.'  The women of this world appear to require an hour's emoting over another's pain rather than having a life, why?  If someone is suffering try to help them, if you can't do anything why enjoy their pain? 

The only shock 'Outlook,' is that a man presents the programme.  Later, as I dozed, we come to 'Farming Today.'  Now you might think that an occupation dominated by males would have a suitable presenter but no!  Only women are allowed to lead this one.  Two were involved today, too much for one I ask?   Of course a woman is producer!  After the torrential rain that has flooded the farms and destroyed much of the crops it would be reasonable to expect the programme to be dominated by sodden farms, but no!  The first story concerns the 23,000 women now involved in farming!  Gosh, it was always men before because the work was 'heavy,' now women are involved because of machinery.  I suppose the farmers wife of days gone by does not count?  I suppose they never worked a tractor or pushed cows about?  Today however women work on farms because it is 'light work!'  I think some women may object, the men certainly should.  So men do the hard work, women the easy, and they get more pay, this is a femail guide to equality I suppose?  

Talking of high wages and little work have you noticed how News Sports broadcasts are almost always presented by women?  All channels, on both TV and radio men are blatantly discriminated against, any objector is howled down, often by the men in the media!  The men that is who have yet to suffer being replaced by a floosie.  The 'Daily Mail,' that pillar of objectivity and high standards, daily offers us a report of a hard done by woman and her suffering at work.  Her wages are always less, the 'glass ceiling' against her, and men have it easy.  Not the men who have to do her work while she is off work yet again of course!  Those kids make a good excuse to miss the difficult days.  The feminist lobby object to hard facts from male commentators asking if men on oil rigs suffer in any way, or the difficulties of those digging holes in the road.  Femail concern is not offered these men.  The other day some men, names withheld, commentated somewhat cynically on the report that women in their 20's now earned more than their male colleagues of similar age.  The result was an outbreak of misandry.  Not one misandrist suggested equality meant equal pay, they just took the money and ran!  So if a woman gets more than a man that is OK to them.  

Men are suffering discrimination at work in every sphere, apart from those that require hard work, and it should cease with immediate effect I say!