Thursday, 28 June 2012

This Means Trouble

On the 28th of June 1914 Gavrilo Princip, along with several others, attempted to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  Princip succeeded where the others had failed, shooting both the Archduke and his wife.  As Ferdinand was heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Princip a member of 'Young Bosnia,' a group supported by the Serbian 'Black Hand,' organisation, this meant trouble, and trouble in a big way.
Europe had been creating empires for some time.  These spent their time being wary and jealous of one another, fighting over land stolen from the peoples of Africa, India, South East Asia and wherever material gain was to be found.  Military alliances arose in order to prevent their empires destruction by other military alliances.  Pride, patriotism, selfishness and arrogance mixed well, but careful forethought was ignored.  How the spirit of the air laughed!
By 1914 the generals of all armies at least knew a war was inevitable, human nature being what it is, they also knew that if a war of movement was not won quickly a stalemate would lead to a situation they could not predict.  Millions of men were armed and ready for war, whether regulars, conscripts or reserves, millions were being spent on enlarging the navies, diplomatic sabres were rattling everywhere and a small blue fuse was all that was required to ignite a full scale, and welcomed by everybody, war. So it was in 1914. The death of the Archduke led Austria to demand 'satisfaction.' Serbia was invaded as Austria led her forces in a war to gain revenge, the blue fuse was lit.

While the British parliament urgently debated the 'Irish question,' fearing a civil war in that land, Earl Grey the foreign Minister interrupted their discussion to mention the death of the Archduke.  He added that this could be serious, they concurred but thoughtfully did nothing.  What could they do but wait?
Within days of the Austrian invasion (and defeat in the first battle!) Russia mobilised, Germany therefore mobilised, France mobilised, and suddenly Europe was at war!  Tsar & Kaiser, Emperor and King, politicians from all sides, had lost control of a situation.  A few stoutly preached peace, most raced willingly or unwillingly for war, caught up in forces out of their control.  
By the fourth of August, unexpectedly, Britain was at war!  Seven days from the assassination of a man in a nation most thought little of even if they knew of its existence a war that would cost ten million lives began amid much cheering!  This war was to leave a legacy that still resides with us, a war that changed the world for ever!

A week is indeed a long time in politics.  That shot meant trouble indeed!

Franz Ferdinand   Gavrilo Princip  The IWM Podcast refers to opinions from that time, listen in!

This means trouble also!  This is the dead PC that caused me so much grief.  This occurred when the engine, seen in the top left hand corner, began to smoke.  I soon realised this ought not to happen and switched off.  A new engine, or power unit if you wish to be fussy, arrived and has, after much blood, sweat and tears been placed in the proper place.  It works!  The fan goes round, the chip fan goes around, the hard drive fan goeth around!  The motherboard does not switch on.
Grrrrrrr!  I lay on the floor crying "Why me, why me..." for some time - before being thrown out of Sainsburys.  I think things may be getting to me.

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


Wednesday, 27 June 2012


This building here houses one of those gyms so popular today with certain types.  Behind the darkened glass running along the length of the building, on the right of the picture, it is just possible to make out figures exercising.  These folks are using running machines, weight machines, stretching and straining and then returning to their cars to rush home and sit on the couch. As I passed, on my bike, I wondered if leaving the car at home and walking to the gym would be a better idea?  Maybe walking more, sitting less, and dumping the TV might be beneficial for the body and cheaper on the wallet?  Spending time at a  desk, in a car, on a couch I can assure you does the figure no good whatsoever.  I say this as  a lithe ten stone muscular chap myself  (pictures available for cash) but observing the people in this town shows me I am right.  The idea of paying money, and a lot of money at that, to exercise after a week of sloth might seem a good one, but is it really?  Do the girls who use the gym do so for health reasons or for their looks?  Are the men thinking a muscular body will bring the lassies rolling in, I have never found so myself, personality tends to be better I find, or not in my case.  Looks attract but many lovely girls are just poison, and muscle bound males are often as thick as their biceps.  I confess it is good to feel healthy, we all benefit from that, but less sloth leads to health cheaply.  Men digging holes in the road have cardiac responses of athletes, can we be surprised while working at such a job?  Builders must be of similar health, yet a muscle bound clot in a suit may be more trustworthy to some because of his outfit.    For me it's time to be healthy and I once again attempt to exercise.  I done five minutes yesterday, walked around the block, and went back to bed.  Today I left out the walk.....


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

How Old?

                                                                       Young at Heart
                                                                         Slightly older
                                                                       In Other Places
                                                                          Don't Worry
                                                                    About Your Health
                                                                          It'll Go Away
                                                                           I'm Retired
                                                                 I was Tired Yesterday
                                                                I'm Tired Again Today
                                                                            At My Age ....
                                                                    Happy Hour is a Nap
                                                                        Live Each Day
                                                                    Like It's Your Last
                                                          One day, You'll Get it Right
                                                                           Life is Easy
                                         It's the Freakin' People Who Make It Difficult!
                                                            I Always Cook With Wine
                                                Sometimes I Even Add it to the Food

                                                                I'm Speeding Because
                                                            I Have to get There Before
                                                             I Forget Where I'm Going
                                                                           At My Age
                                                                        "Gettin' Any?"
                                                                         Means Sleep
                                                                Be Nice to Your Kids
                                                              They Will Choose Your
                                                                      Nursing Home
                                                              I Believe in Having Sex
                                                                    On the First Date
                                                                  At My Age, There
                                                               May Not Be a Second
                                                   The Only Trouble with Retirement
                                                     You Never Get a Damn Day Off


Monday, 25 June 2012

Big Town Again

'The Marquis' is a pub on the North Hill created out of a 16th century dwelling.  Timber framed, black and white frontage I didn't bother picturing as the sun hid at the time.  The doorway caught my attention, pub doorways do catch some of my readers attention I know, and this featured two faces, one carved into each wooden corner.  Whether for decoration or some other reason I fail to say because as usual I can find no info on this building online, just details of the pub itself.  However it appears they have preserved much similar woodwork inside.  I have to plead poverty of course and walk past in spite of searing hunger and exhaustion.

The plastic pipe is not 16th century.

This big beast is 'Jumbo!'  He once supplied the towns water but now is undergoing renovation as a home for some lucky (wealthy) person.  I cut off the bottom as it is hidden behind wooden fencing etc belonging to the developers.  The last time I looked every ledge all the way up was home to the pigeon, masses of them, and I suspect the first job will be to insert netting to prevent that if someone will actually live there.  The view from the top must be fantastic!  The town spread out beneath you, the river leading to the estuary in the distance, the roads running off in all directions and the rain clouds hiding all this from view!  The Romans were not keen on the weather either!

The Romans were keen on building however and also they became very keen on defence at this spot.  What is shown here are the remains of a Roman Gateway known today as the Balkerne Gate. Having invaded successfully in 43 AD the Romans settled down in their small city then known as Colonia Victricencis (City of Victory, but you knew that.)  This settlement was unfortified at the time, which was unfortunate as the Roman in charge upset a woman after her man, the local King, died.  He took all she had, raped her daughters and killed one or two.  As we all know that sort of thing means trouble.  Boudica decided to vent her wrath by burning  Colonia Victricencis to the ground, along with all therein. The only building to survive was the base of the basillica, this now forms the base of the 'castle.' Rome was not best pleased. After removing the Queen of the Iceni and her threat a wall was constructed around the town. She visited in 60/61 AD and the walls have been dated to around 65-80 AD. Lucky for us this almost complete gate survived by being hidden by overgrowth which preserved it in reasonable condition. Around a hundred years ago the structure was dug out and forms a real historical connection to the Roman era we have all read about. During Victorian times the then owner of the pub next door demolished half the wall to allow his guests to see the new railway. This brought him much in the way of custom then and abuse from history lovers today! It was then the pub became known as the 'Hole in the Wall.' The floor of the gateway has been somewhat modernised to cope with visitors and occasional repairs have taken place but most of the wall dates from the first century and reveals the Roman thoroughness when it came to defence. They did enjoy their engineering did the Romans.

Before the pub landlord intervened the gate was double in size and would possibly have been dedicated to the Emperor Claudius.  He had visited while claiming the victory of 43 AD and then received the surrender of the Britons there.  He then hopped of home before he caught cold.  He also named his son Britannicus, and hoped he would become heir, however the lad  was bumped him off later to prevent this.  That nice Tacitus tells us more about that intrigue.  This gate, the oldest and best preserved, faced west and lined up with Londinium, a place you may have heard off.  The opening on the left, a round room, possibly became the guard room but I wonder if anyone actually knows?  Do tell if you know.  The lads needed somewhere to hide when Joe Public was around didn't they?   I love the red bricks used by the Romans.  There are vast numbers on this wall, and indeed on many ancient buildings throughout areas they dominated.  These strong bricks have been reused in houses, walls and church buildings and stand out well.  The soldiers would have been the ones building the wall.  This kept them occupied in between bashing any who may have decided to rebel.  In 'Agricola,' Tacitus tells of his father in laws work in taming this island.  he is accurate in every detail I am sure.   

You wish a close up?  Sure!

A few modern bricks inserted to stop collapse in places but the nature of the structure clear from the top of the gate.  The road outside sinks away but this came from a more recent development, nevertheless the wall plus the previous ditch dug by the Britons left the defenders high above anyone who wished to attack.  The name Balkerne comes from 'baulk,' as in Roman times the gate was baulked up, closed up and sealed, other gates having come into preferred use it seems.  Road widening and later building or renovations have removed almost all traces of previous gates.  One or two remnants remain but nothing as good as this gate.  During excavations in the sixties when the road works were undertaken archaeologists discovered a great deal about the Roman occupation and later times.  They decided to make use of the gate and as the roadworks involved a bridge over the roadway many people pass through today.

More, much more, can be found at Camulos and that is worth a read to those who find such things fascinating.  I recommend this.


Friday, 22 June 2012

How to be an idiot No 89.

Like debt 'idiocy' runs in our family.  Great Granddad Robert was after all the one who looked down the muzzle of his gun at Ladysmith muttering "I can't see the problem," before getting a close up view of what the problem was.  Granddad also used the term "You and who's army rather loosely," in the 'Red Lion,' before discovering just who's army those Gordon Highlanders belonged to.  My dad cleverly bought my Mum to improve the intellectual gene pool.  She often said she had never had a drink since they met back in 1936 and I begin to wonder why?  Dad of course was famous for going with his mate to enlist in 1925 and finding himself alone in China after his mate was rejected because of 'flat feet!'  He also managed to create me!  

My education in stupidity goes back a long way. Putting my hand into a tape recorder in 1968, to have a feel of the bits inside, while leaving it plugged in and allowing the back of my hand to touch something live was a shock that remains with me to this day. While at primary school I helped my mother clean up after tea by pouring the old chip fat from the chip pan down the sink. It took dad three days to clear that lot. Having watched as the room was decorated in lovely Heart of Midlothian coloured wallpaper I proceeded, as eleven year old's do, to cut open a discarded golf ball to see what was inside. What was inside appeared to be hundreds of tightly woven elastic bands surrounding a small whitish ball. As I stuck the blunt knife in the ball it exploded releasing a stream of white gunk that flew up the newly papered wall. The phrase "I think I am in trouble," arises around this point.

Numerous other instances of idiocy have arisen, the times I have attempted to pick up a tray with bare hands taken straight from the oven, getting on a bus to discover it was going in the wrong direction, indicating to females that their bum is 'blocking the light,' suggesting another should redecorate three days after she had just done so, all these could be construed as idiotic. As does walking home late at night as the Notting Hill Carnival was ending and finding thousands of young black youths coming the other way yet making no attempt to avoid them certainly was a piece of idiot behaviour that startles me yet!

So it was no surprise when, tired as I am from the bug, rising early, and suffering malnutrition from the scraps I scavenge from the back of restaurants, it is no surprise that last night things went haywire. Once more the evening arrived, this time the evening of the 'longest day,' although the clouds and rain made this difficult to verify around here - again! The evening arrived with a promise of European Championship football! Now it has become my habit since obtaining this beastly laptop that hates me to go to bed and watch football in the evenings. The man below gets disturbed by loud noise such as coughing or breathing, and certainly was not happy when I played Lynnard Skynnard that time I thought he was out! So to avoid the axe through the head again I take the beast to bed and watch football in comfort. Very different from the days of long ago when watching football from a damp, cold terracing brought bronchitis and head wounds from flying beer cans, and all that for a poor mid table finish at the end!

The first half of the game went much as some expected. The Czechs made a good start, fell away and Ronaldo spend much time posing for the cameras. "He lifts his eyes to heaven more than the Pope does," said one commentator. However come half time, and after my mug of cocoa, I then decided to publish a quick post. Now the beast does not like watching TV and publishing posts at the same time that much, it strains the memory, so I put up a short but deeply profound post. I decided not to review it as the teams were returning to the field. I posted the profound and found the profound had another of those format problems. That's three in a row. I then went back and fixed it, but found the format had altered another area. This was fixed but not fixed. Time was running out and the game kicking off. Again I fixed the problem and again another fault arose. Grrrrrrrr!

I was of course using only one browser to do two things. One tab had the football (BBC1 iPlayer) and the other had Blogger. Now the BBC website has been getting updated recently, and a fine old mess they have made of this! The iplayer has this week added a large button allowing the viewer to go back to the beginning of the programme, a button that is far too big in my opinion and needs alteration. The laptop keyboard not helping here as the letters are too near one another.  Switching from the mess that now was Blogger to the football to check progress I accidentally touched the return to beginning button. This took me back over an hour and a half to the beginning of the whole show!! So I attempted to 'fast forward' but this only went half way through the first half. By now my language was something akin to Arkkadian! Vile thoughts of retribution on the iplayers designers head filled my mind as I closed the tab, began a new one and fought for the football again, this time succeeding and at the right place. Once more unto Blogger and once more attempt to update and once more (amid much yelling that possibly made my neighbour go out for a walk in the rain) I failed. I decided time was against me and I must delete the whole post! This I did. But I had not done so! Oh no, the professional idiot had deleted the futile post from the day before and had not yet perused the one comment thereon! I deleted the profound, but by now less interesting, post informing the blogger and iplayer geeks what I considered them to be. More gnashing of teeth than even Ronaldo could offer after diving and claiming a penalty was my lot by now! Incidentally my description of the BBC web designer by now would make an ideal experiment in one of those hospitals that specialise in psychotic killers. My consideration for the man who set up the Blogger was along similar lines. Returning once again to the football I found it difficult to concentrate on the shirt pulling hordes as the room was by now filled with steam that had emanated from my ears.

After Portugal scored an excellent goal. making me glad there would not be an extra thirty minutes, my head would not stand that. I lay for an hour and tried to ponder my reactions. Was the tiredness was more than I realised, the bug was a pest right enough, is blogging late was really a good idea, should I have used two browsers, and was it really cocoa I had been drinking?


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Nothing Happened Again

Nothing happened again today.  After breakfast, during which I read good blogs and enlightened my mind, I trundled the bike around the streets at about 6:30.  The sun shone, the early morning rush, seven cars, three vans and four bikes, rushed hither and thither beginning the day without a smile.  I was ignored.  It is amazing just how many people are on the streets at that time. Later the excitement intensified as I bought bread and milk but suddenly the day has passed by and nothing has happened, again.  Where did the day go?  The list of things to do is still there, undone, yet I cannot see what happened today.  It was there stretching out in front of me and suddenly it has passed me by.  What happened out there?  I ate, I read blogs, I .....I must get out more.....

An update on Jerry discovers that he has failed to die is in fact better than thought.  His wife claims to be a nurse and has decided he has not had a stroke but has had a reaction caused by Diabetes.  Of course she also controls the insurance forms so believe that if you like!  He visits a doctor tomorrow, so will be asking for money the day after!  Hopefully Obama will give the Yanks a proper NHS before he leaves to stop the poorest paying through the nose for medicine.

Nothing else to say, nothing goes through my mind bar the hope that England get stuffed enjoy their game tonight.  I suspect the England flags seen adorning passing vehicles, not as many as usual I note, will soon be in the rubbish bins as per normal after these games.  The English really do build themselves up for a fall at such times.  They genuinely believe they belong among the best in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.  They laugh at the theft of '66 yet whine still about a non goal from two years ago.  Tsk!  Tonight another anti-climax approaches and I will watch intently, unless I fall asleep.  I might have some fun this time tomorrow however, asking folks where their flags have gone.  Once I am out of hospital I will post again. 

Nope, as you can see nothing of moment to say, nothing has happened, nothing worth blogging, nowt, nil, zilch!  So I leave you with a picture of an ex-army lorry for your entertainment.

9:40  Bah!  Linesman again accepts English gold!  Bah!

Monday, 18 June 2012


Today is the 150th anniversary of the great train service called 'The Flying Scotsman!'  Begun as far back as 1862 because the English government were desperate to keep in touch with Edinburgh, they knew how desperately England needs Scotland.  In those far off days the trip from one end to the other, a distance of some 393 miles, involved three separate trains from a variety of rail operators.  The General Passenger Superintendent of the Great Northern Line (GNR), one Walter Leith, decided that it would be a good idea to a through train all the way.  His idea was adopted I imagine after much in fighting between companies, and the service, at first known as the 'Special Scotch Express,' the 'Flying Scotchman,' or the 'Ten O'Clock,'  began on this date in 1862.  One hundred and fifty years which have seen dramatic, fast paced change in this world, and railways travel played its part in speeding that change.  Railways revolutionised the world and the lines laid down then affect us still. Soon known as the 'Flying Scotsman,' at precisely ten o'clock two trains departed, one from Edinburgh's Waverley Station and one from London's Kings Cross. In 1862 the journey took ten and a half hours, and while this appears a long journey, broken by a thirty minute stop at York, previous journeys by stage coach could take up to a fortnight! Two hours were taken from this time within less than twenty years thanks to improvements on the railways. Heating, dining cars, and corridor trains were introduced with the new century although the stop at York was less. I strongly suspect the heating and corridors were the most important items to most passengers.

During the twenties and thirties rail companies competed with one another for custom. Rail times between London and the north came down and trains developed an expertise in comfort for passengers. At one time along with comfortable compartments, high class food, radio, cocktail bars, there was even a barber. In spite of this railway companies still lost money even after the great merger in 1924. At that time all small companies, all losing heavily, were combined into four regional organisations. It is said Churchill wished to nationalise them at that time but no Conservative government would dream of that! However by 1945 no other alternative was available and nationalised 'British Railways' came into being.

Most of us link the name 'Flying Scotsman' to the famous engine of that name. However she only came into being in 1923 and took the name from the now famous service. This engine cut the journey time to eight hours in 1928 by running non stop. A second train crew were carried and a pathway through the tender allowed them to change drivers at an appropriate spot thus ensuring there were no stops on the journey. This engine also became famous for the first official recorded speed of one hundred miles an hour in 1934. The engine continued in British Railways use until 1964 when it was retired. Since then it has gone through many private owners hands.

For a time the alterations to Britain's railways caused by Conservative governments inability to spend money to save money has meant this famous service was interrupted for a while.  However the present operators 'East Coast' and departs at the early hour of 5:40 a.m.from the Waverley.  This service stops only at Newcastle and is in London in just four hours.  For one who used to take a train from Kings Cross at eight in the evening, snuggling down into the ageing compartment coaches and arriving at Waverley Station at three in the morning  I find the four hour journey quite appealing.  I should add that the night service did not inform passengers it stopped at Waverley, it was bound for Aberdeen and carried few passengers and I suspect has long since ceased to be.  The cheap tickets, booked in advance, were considerably less than the near two hundred pounds I would have to pay for the privilege of rail travel today!


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Sabbath Day

Some of you may be aware of the existence of Jerry the Rebel down there in Missouri or Arkansas or one of them cowboy areas of the US of A.  His well read blog 'As the Crackerhead Crumbles' may well be known to you.  It may also be coming to an end.  Poor chap has been somewhat unwell (as well as being clearly sick in the mind, which is why I like him), he has been somewhat unwell for a long time.  This has now left him with a lack of feeling down his side and it is possible he has had a bit of a bummer here.  He may not be posting for a while, and if you never glanced at his quixotic (what?) blog make sure you do now, before it either ends or his wife takes over!  

Before seven this morning I had managed to trundle up the old railway for the first time this week. I was so early there was not one dog walker to be seen before  I made my way back.  The sky blue, the vegetation very well fed by the rains, and a lovely wind blowing me all the way home.  Just a small touch of green is something we need each day.  Quite how I survived London I sometimes wonder.  The sights, sounds and smells off the country are required to keep us mentally and physically alive I say!

On the way back I was once again intrigued by the sun shining through the water at the nancy boy fountain.  The green spot is sun interference, not a lamp on the fountain in case you wondered.  A strange fountain, erected in the thirties, but the sun playing on the water is magnificent I reckon.  

I had intended to photograph the chimneys on this 'Arts & Crafts' type house a while back and managed this morning when all was quiet.  I had not realised that all three chimneys were so very different.  Whether these were used by the builder to show his talents, a permanent advert or 'spam' if you prefer, I know not, but they do make me stop and think when looking at them now.  Three totally different approaches to the same simple job and each a masterpiece in itself.  Well done to the builder, whoever he was!  Sadly I have no note of his name and this building does not appear to have been listed!  

A 'friend' of this blog has sped this on to me as he claims the female readers of the blog would benefit from studying this carefully.  This 'friend' added his thought that 'Ironing,' 'cooking,' 'cleaning,' and other 'female jobs,' could be added to 'sewing,' and the ladies could benefit themselves by practicing the advice found here and benefiting their man by a wise use of sewing when the football is on so as not to disturb what he referred to as 'their Lord and Master.'  When I enquired as to why this was not posted on his blog he muttered somewhat and came up with, "Too much on there at the moment."  Not sure if I believe him.  

His address can be made available for the correct amount....... 


Saturday, 16 June 2012


I'm in a quandary here, according to that excellent man Max this blog needs to be entertaining, something people enjoy, something they like, otherwise I will not get rich from the Google ads posted here.  People, especially those spending money, will only come here if the want to, and if they like what they find.  This indeed leaves a quandary!  Surely no-one comes here because they 'like' it?  I thought I was part of some Blogger punishment routine!  What do people wish to read?  What do they like?  What would they enjoy?  I ask these questions regarding this site, not what they really like, enjoy or read in private at home!  I am not publishing the stuff my readers read at home thank you!  There again why should I publish what they want?  I do not read their blogs because they write what I like, I read them because I like what I they write, and have come to like the person behind what I read.  They write for themselves not me, and this works fine.  I suppose that is where the great enjoyment arises.  

If therefore I were to make attempt to make money I must act like a daily tabloid and write what readers want, even if this is half truths and downright lies, features half naked celebrities bonking other celebs, and scandalous tales of rape, murder, conniving politicians and such like.  I am not sure that would be an audience I wish to gather.  I am convinced that may well sell adverts but not to me.  I would rather read the ads than such bile.  For me, I prefer the thinking, erudite, normal folk who pass by here, and I am not sure they wish to read tabloid gossip, well not here anyway.  So, the result of this quick cogitation leaves me spouting bile, writing off the top off my head, misspelling words (UK style), mistyping rambling thoughts and ideas, and being corrected by my superiours day by day?  Yeah, that seems fine to me.  So, no more  enjoyment, just more of the same!  Good eh?  What........oh!

There again I am surprised to a great extent that I managed to survive this long, what with those early days of malnutrition and post war austerity.  Mince and tatties was all we could afford, and then only if dad grew the potatoes in that plot just outside our cardboard box.  Quite where Mum obtained the mince was never clear but Dad never liked that butcher fellow.  Of course we were lucky!  Some folks had it tough, like the people up the road living in that hole in the road.  Real bad when the rains came I can tell you, and in Edinburgh rain came two days out of three in them long gone days.  It hardly rains at all there now in comparison.  I suppose they and we were lucky, having running water I mean, in the south east of Englandshire that dried up come April and hosepipes for the rich were outlawed.  We never knew what a hosepipe was until 1970.  How we longed for the fish van coming up once a week from Port Seton.  Sixpence worth of scrag ends 'for the cat' Mum would say, and we would feast that night!  Later we actually got ourselves a cat, but that was in the days of 'never having it so good!'  It was delicious!

However my luck has changed.  From today I will be rich and all thanks to NOC!  Yes indeedy the National Oil Company of Libya has sent me an email detailing my winnings (in a lottery In which I do not have to buy a ticket) of $540,000 US dollars in the fight against HIV/Aids.  I am of course sharing a much bigger pot with seven others in the 3rd level of this draw.  This however is brilliant, this will be worth about £350,000 I guess in real money and that might just clear all my debts.  Woohooo!  How lucky am I to receive this, not only unexpected, but unasked for fortune!  I am so happy.  I guess this is all down to removing that Ghaddafi fellow and sharing his oil through a South African (they say) company.  All I have to do is send my details to Mr Angelo Christians their rep in J'Burg and I will be rich!  Ha!  I bet Prince Bauberg in Nigeria, and Akhmed Abedaye in Nairobi are  jealous they did not win, although they have around $25 million dollars (US) they wish to remove from Africa for safe keeping.  I don't need to help them now, I will just live of my (unasked for) lottery winnings.  No more cave in the wilderness, no more cardboard boxes, from now on I will tour the US spending my (US) dollars and flouting their customs patrols searching for Soub and RDG.  Well I will wait until after the Euro 2012 has finished first.


Friday, 15 June 2012

My Eyes!

My eyes are wearing out looking at this new blog.  I have been checking the links and some fool has made them too small.  In between increasing the size, looking for their origin and general laptop use I find my eyes strained to breaking point!  If there is a breaking point for eyes that is. Now I am attempting to watch Ukraine play France and someone sent a huge rainstorm that has caused a major hindrance to the game.  It has been suspended for ages and might just go ahead.  Tsk! The emotional strain this causes  the fan.  Jings the game has started, I'm off....

Not worth watching at the moment, I hate to say it but the rain has dampened things down.  Also they will delay the next game for fifteen minutes.  This means it will be well after cocoa time when I get to bed again.  Although on this occasion it may be worth is if Sweden beat England!  Now that is worth staying up late for, innit?  Must go and fix food as it is now half time.  Now where is that pie & Bovril.....?

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Too Busy....

Too busy to post.  For a start I had to wait in all morning for an official 'official' calling to officially pass me as being me.  That done I know await several sheets of paper to officially fill in as required.  I then await the day when I am officially passed, officially.  That done I had little time or indeed inclination for anything else.  The sun shone and pulled me out of the house to reveal how weary I feel.  Quite why I don't understand, but weary I felt, so I returned to cleaning up the new website.  Now stuffed with mince and tatties I find the other main reason of my sloth lies ahead of me - Euro 2012!  Yes indeed the football tournament kicks off at 5 in the evening and after that game another begins at 7:45.  This means that long after my bedtime I am sitting, without my cocoa, watching a game draw to a close.  Naturally in the morning I am rising later and somewhat bleary eyed.  It was after six when I got up today and usually it is just after five!  Tsk Football!  It does not know what it is doing to me.  Mind you I am convinced now that Spain, or Espana if you are foreign, will win as they are clearly the best side.  However I have noticed that no goalkeeper stands out so far.  This is because few actual shots are reaching them.  Good teamwork  and not enough cutting edge in attack I say.  No goalie has been really bad either so Hibernian will not find a replacement here  this year.  


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Braintree & Bocking War Memorial Website

Well I have been busy.  At last I have managed to get a site put up for the dead soldiers I have been pursuing all this time.  It is not going to win any awards, but that matter not, it will however offer a few bits of basic info to the searching masses and possibly lead to better info regarding the Great War centenary in 2014.  Naturally all did not go well.  I wrote the info on 'Word,' and transferred it to the free 'Google site.'  I was then struck with an unexpected problem, the format went haywire!  Several days of struggle eventually saw me find an answer.  Changing the font to one that matched was quite obvious, so I did not think of it, and after trying the 'Word' settings, Normal, web, print, I put it all onto 'Open Office,' and then used their print setting.  This gave some sort of satisfaction and I have left it at that.  Of course having chosen a theme that contains red I found that many of the words turned red for no good reason.  I also had to go over all those red bits to amend the bold bits which had become, er 'unbold.'  Much still to do, check the links, ensure I have not breached copyright (too often) insert contact address, and so on.  But the brute is up and running.


Monday, 11 June 2012


What?  You don't understand?  It's quite clear isn't it, this sign I mean?  Are you so slow you fail to understand a name plate, a simple address I ask?  Tsk!  The standard of blog reader is lowering.  OK we will take it slowly. 

In the days of long ago weaving was very important.  The south east of Englandshire was chock a block with sheep.  Counties like Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex grew wealthy on the export of wool or the weaving that followed.  Much was sent over to the Low Countries, what is now Holland, Belgium, Flanders  and Northern France.  At the same time weavers flocked over this way, either because English Kings tempted them with better pay or a persecution of some sort made the weavers flee with their kin.  Well into the twentieth century the weaving and allied trades were big business.  Far East competition killing the trade in the years after the war.  

The influence of the Flanders incomers can be seen in many areas around here.  Spitalfields in London is one such area. Many weavers houses remain, much tarted up, although the windows betray the need for light, and shutters and rooftops often reflect attics more often seen in Belgium than here.  This house for instance has what seems to me to be an nineteenth century porch but with a Lowland influenced double attic, a not uncommon sight.  A bit late for the weavers perhaps but a lingering architectural legacy maybe? 

A terrace of houses elsewhere in town are thought to have belonged to weavers who worked from home.  It is said the dozen or so houses shared one attic which ran the whole length of the terrace.  This enabled long bales of cloth to be stretched out for whatever purpose they had in store.  The windows also look high and allow much light.

However you wonder about the term 'Gant,' don't you?   It is a word left behind by such folks and simply refers to the alleyway between the tight packed buildings.  These buildings began as a large square where goods were traded on market day.  These developed first into stalls and later into proper buildings between which these 'gants' ran to enable access.  The term has remained and reflects the Flemish weavers language.  I suspect other words are used daily in the UK which arose this way but have become part of the fabric and we neither know where they came from nor really care. Other words to refer to alleys used in England are 'Jennels, Jitties, Jiggers and Snickets,' possibly 'Vennels also should be mentioned.' The naming of the gant does not imply this is a tourist site worth visiting I must add.  In fact this gant leads on to another named 'Leatherworkers Gant' if I remember correctly but is now mostly used solely the butcher for deliveries, so it is somewhat uncouth!  

Of course stubborn folks will then as about the 'pigs head' and the 'pottage pot,' which is to be expected.  When new streets require names, and any postman will tell you streets arise out of nowhere, then the town asks local historians for suggestions.  I also was asked for a suggestion by a Councillor once, he called the police!  Anyway this chap has done some research and came up with this name which he implies, but does not say, could refer to a pub that once stood in this area  in times past.  A bit slack if you ask me, although references in ancient deeds mention the pub but with insufficient clarity sadly.  A further 'gant' has been names after a business that once flourished there and I suspect names will be found for those, if any are left, that are as yet unnamed.    


Saturday, 9 June 2012

I May Have Found....

The towns Achillies heel..... 


Friday, 8 June 2012

Power and Beans!

As you will recall the power unit of my pc decided to take up smoking.  Bright little me deduced from this that there was a problem, no fool me!  Having struggled with the vexing laptop long enough, and only now having it under control, I managed to scrape money for a new power unit for the pc.  This afternoon I installed the brute and having done so I find the fans go around but the pc does not work.  Something is not right.  See I am clever.  A quick web search found too many helps available to make sense of this afternoon!  There was only one thing to do, I'm off to watch Euro 2012 instead!

Luckily I have stocked up sufficient food stocks for the Euro competition!   
I might need more pies mind......

Thursday, 7 June 2012


Blank, that's what is in my mind, just blank!  I sort of forgot to eat today and my mind dies when food has been forgotten.  This is sadly becoming a habit with me.  However after I discovered a half eaten hamburger in one of those polystyrene containers so loved by 'take away's' around here dumped on the wall outside I felt more inclined to consider the world and all its riches.  Having  considered the riches of the world I fell asleep.  

This evening I had intended to write something deep and thoughtful concerning the great moments of today.  However when I found myself reading a summary of Mussolini's career for reasons unknown I realised most deep, thoughtful moments are less important than they appeared at the time.  If history teaches anything it is that what is today once was before and will be again.  Nothing ever changes, it was ever thus!  At first this may appear depressing, like listening to David Beckham talk about himself and Victoria,  but it need not be so.  The past teaches us about ourselves, and by careful thought can prepare us for tomorrow.  Historical study was ignored during the nineteen thirties in Europe and world leaders failed to grasp human nature under the leadership of determined strong men.  Human nature never changes, whatever the passing fashion of the day says.  Il Duce us teaches that fame is so short lived that we ought to do what is right and best for all, not follow our own ideas for short term gain.  He found that it also teaches that if short term gain gives some success don't throw it away on an ambition too far.  Had he remained out of the war he would not have ended up hanging from a lampost with his missus!  A more modern example would be to check a picture of the world leaders at one of those great summits they are so fond off.  Check the last three or four summits and you will find so many great men have disappeared, and their ambitions and plans along with them.  Short term plans leave no trace, had they planned long term for the good of the world some may even have become popular, maybe.

So nothing deep and meaningful tonight, just an end picture of the covers of the 'Scottish Football Historian,' a magazine I can no longer afford but once did enjoy greatly, and nothing else worth reading. That makes a change doesn't it? What.....Oh!


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Wednesday Trivia

I discovered this interesting quiz in the Graniud the other day.  It is well worth wasting a few minutes of your valuable time to get the wrong answers here.  Have fun!
Where should you emigrate? Click here!

I didn't mean to post this but this laptop has a mind of its own. 
 I may be wrong but is that a 'For Sale' sign I see before me.....?

This beastie reflects my mood this week.  You see I had a great time on Monday.  My best looking, most intelligent, classical trained and favourite niece came all this way out of grotty London to see me.  How lovely to have a visitor.  At least the place has been cleaned up, the dust polished away and the floor hoovered.  I also found where most of those frozen peas went that time!  Hiding the remaining stench behind vanilla candles she cooked my dinner (oh joy!) and we discussed the family, the world, her future, Bartock and Stravinsky (which she has played magnificently) and all sorts of meaningless rubbish (the family) and I at least had a real good time.  Since that visit my life has been lonely, dark, empty, and shorn of joy.  The lifted heart droops when you know she will not reappear for another ten years, or at least it will seem that long.  So I look like yon joker placed there to bring fun and joy to the carnival at the weekend.  I don't think I can go on, I feel suicidal, the empty cold rooms, no bright young thing to listen to.......

Hold on, what's that?  Oh yeah!  Football starts tomorrow night!  EURO 2012.  Oh well it's just as well she isn't here. You know what women are like when football is on......  

A more important piece of trivia is shown on this picture.  It was here on the night of June 5th 1944 that D-Day began.  Men of the Ox & Bucks Light infantry landed here in gliders and took possession of the bridge over the Caen Canal.  The 6th Airborne Division thus began the liberation of Europe.  The film 'The Longest Day' portrayed this action quite well.  This is not surprising as John Howard, who led this action advised and Richard Todd, who took Howards part in the film, landed with the paras shortly afterwards to reinforce the hold on the bridge!  A further piece of trivia comes from the new French president visiting war graves at a British cemetery at Ranville Cemetery.  Many of those buried there fell in this action.  This act is notable as the French have made a point of ignoring Britain's part in freeing France from occupation.  The royal family themselves were snubbed at the 65th D-Day commemoration when Sarkozy went to Omaha Beach and ignored the British contribution.  Today's event was meant to patch up that mistake, but Sarkozy himself was not around to participate!  The French leaders have never liked to admit British help in two wars, most French people are less reticent.  

That steamroller must have been going at some speed when it hit this fellow!