Typical UK summer. The sun shines brightly, the sky is blue, and a chilly wind blows the big gray clouds in front of the sun and continues right up your trouser leg. So it was today as I rested from my paperwork trials. I have three lots of paperwork to deal with. Each needs info from the other, half the info is not available, none of it is easy for my wee mind to follow. Financial stuff goes over my head, counting my change is OK, but beyond that I struggle and today my mind has been wearied much. I managed to get two important, but incomplete, excuses into the post this afternoon, the third one is just beyond me. Hard work in the morning for me.
I may put the horrid word verification back on for a while. This morning I had 19 calls from Mr Anonymous waiting for me as I looked up the email. Several more came during the day. His broken English was added to by broken German at one point! If he keeps this up I might go round to Peking or Vladivostok or wherever and break something he possesses! I also had an offer from someone attempting to get another $20 million out of their country, probably our Chancellor George Osborne. I ignored him.
I was tempted to write, 'I saw this and thought of you,' but several young ladies are looking in so I will avoid that. This creature you see before you, no not me, the one in the photo, hangs from the town hall wall and was intended to spew rainwater upon passersby in times past. Whether it works now I am not too sure. It was brought to my attention during a quick tour of the town hall as was. I say as was as the building long ago grew too small for use of the council. The dolphin shape, for that's what it is, goes back a thousand years to the other half of the town, as I explained earlier as those who did not fall asleep will recall. Built in 1926, a 'gift' from one of the kindly Courtauld's, a family we have met before, it contains several interesting wood lined rooms. Originally it appears to have been rather austere but later decor added paintings of some interest. Difficult to photograph them as we sped through, the guide not at his best, however I did get a couple of quick shots. This being the window over the grand staircase.
The town crest at the top contains the line 'Hold to the truth.' Fabulous line to have amongst town Councillor's I suggest. As if the suits that gathered could be trusted to pursue the 'truth.' I am sure many did a good job, and some probably did seek the 'truth' at all times but the cynic within me is not sure about that phrase. Anno Domini 1927 reflects the year of completion. Originally the cost was around £10,000 but at the finish, as the Courtauld man insisted on only the best material, the cost rose to £50,000. A wage of £3 or 4 a week would be good then! The Courtauld's family, being Unitarians, believed in 'good works. They built hospitals, schools, and the like for the towns in which they operated. However by increasing the wage by a shilling a week they may well have done a lot more, but this way they get themselves a more permanent memorial. 'They said "Let us build a tower that reaches up to Heaven and make a name for ourselves," or something.' The generous man was rewarded with a gift of a Gold casket afterwards! Jings!
Sadly I cannot show you the chairs, mostly backed with pigskin, the murals reflecting the towns history, going back around a thousand years and sending a boat load to America to found a similarly named town in Massachusetts or somewhere, the big breasted girls chosen for the large map on the chairman's ceiling, or the valuable grandfather clock that possibly doesn't work. One thing is clear the pretentious importance of those involved in the building. The powers of the day considered themselves important, they do today but not in the same 'class' manner. The importance of the town, busily industrial as it was, required they thought such a building, and the creator desired his memory to be revered also, though he would not say so. Sadly while he is remembered he does not find the world really cares. Once we have gone few really care do they. Had the family considered increasing the wages slightly, and losing out themselves to some extent, they would have created an eternal memorial, and that would be better I think.
On September 25th 1915, with the Great War in full flow, James Keir Hardie passed away. His life had been dedicated to improving the lot of the working man, and the working man's lot at the time was terrible indeed!
Born illegitimate to a servant girl in Lanarkshire on the 15th of August 1856 he started at the bottom of life. Eventually his mother married a ship's carpenter and the family moved to the new area of Partick in Glasgow with the intention of finding work. The young lad had to work himself from an early age and at eight years old became a Baker's delivery boy working around seventy five hours a week! With his father unemployed, his mother pregnant and with a brother to care for he became the wage earner of the family, at three shillings and sixpence a week! When he was ten years of age his brother lay dying and the young Hardie tended him through the night. This caused him to be late for work so he was sacked, and fined a weeks wages by his boss! Some people still question why unions came into being?
With work difficult to find the family left Glasgow and returned to Lanarkshire and after his step-father had gone to sea, he was a ships carpenter, the young lad became a miner, at the age of ten, in Newarthill Colliery! Working as a 'Trapper,' he spent ten hours a day opening and closing doors enabling air to reach the miners. The unschooled boy was taught to read by his mother and became literate by the age of seventeen, and this in spite of twelve hour shifts down the pit. This was not unusual in the second half of the nineteenth century. David Livingstone the missionary,taught himself to read and write by placing books on his machine as he weaved cloth in nearby Blantyre. A hunger for self development to improve an individuals position spread throughout the nation. Reading newspapers taught Hardie that others were forming unions and taking a stand to improve their working conditions, and in an effort to improve his own mine Hardie formed a union and led the first strike in 1880. He was dismissed!
Moving to Ayrshire he found work as a journalist, having been 'blacklisted' by the mine owners, and married a fellow temperance campaigner, Lillie Wilson. She was to find a life of struggle bringing up the bairns while he travelled around addressing meetings while he fought for the miners interests. In 1886 he was appointed as secretary to the 'Ayrshire Miners Union,' and shorty after the 'Scottish Miners Federation.' This was a time of growing economic wealth in the United Kingdom, and many men had formed guilds and unions to improve their conditions and educate themselves. Miners also desperately wished for change and a fairer share of the wealth. In 1887 a newspaper was produced as he attempted to educate the miners, called at first 'The Miner,' and later the 'Labour Leader.' In 1888 he decided that a new political party was required to benefit the workers. The Liberals, in whom he had trusted up till then, were not seen as being supportive enough of the working class, and Hardie stood, and came last, as an Independent Labour candidate at the local election. At this stage only around one man in three had the vote, and while artisans had received the privilege most had not. On August 25th 1888 the Scottish Labour Party came into being with James Keir Hardie as secretary!
In 1897 Hardie became a Christian and claimed the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth had been the main inspiration for his ideals. He had been brought up an atheist, but one infused with the teachings of the 'Sermon on the mount.' Hardie described Jesus teachings as 'Communistic,' meaning a sharing and caring society as opposed to the Stalinism that grew up in the east. A great many leaders of the Independent Labour Party were from a Christian Socialist background. It is difficult to relate that Tony Blair claims he also belongs to that class!
In 1892, after travelling the world investigating working class politics and conditions, meeting leaders of similar organisations throughout Europe, Hardie stood and won, as an Independent Labour candidate in the West Ham South constituency, a rough industrial area. John Burns in Battersea and J. Havelock Wilson in Middlesbrough were also elected as Independent Labour men. The MP's dress of the day required top hats and tail coats but Hardie entered the house wearing a cloth cap and a tweed suit! A sensation resulted! A year later he became the leader of the newly formed Independent Labour Party. MP's were not paid at that time, most had sufficient wealth to avoid the need for salary, however this, and an increase of tax on the rich were among the policies campaigned for by the new members. Pensions for the old, free schooling, votes for women and abolition of the House of Lords were also on his menu.
In 1894 a motion was presented congratulating the monarch on the arrival of a grandchild. On the same day the French president had been assassinated and over two hundred and fifty men had died in a mining accident in Wales. Sir William Harcourt offered the motion of congratulations on the birth, and condolences to the French for their loss and Hardie asked if an addition, regretting the deaths of the Welsh miners could be added to this. Harcourt refused and in an offhand manner offered regret to the miners. Hardie then launched into an attack on the monarchs privileges and continued in spite of the House viciously attacking him as he spoke. He then opposed the motion. His loss the next year in the 1895 general election may well have been the result of this action.
In 1900 Merthyr Tydfil sent Hardie back to the House of Commons where he joined by Richard Bell from Derby. He then produced a masterstroke by agreeing with the Liberal Party not to stand against one another in thirty seats at the next election, this meant that at the 1906 election the Labour numbers rose to twenty nine and the Liberals won the election. This also led on to pensions for those over seventy, Labour Exchanges and many other much needed reforms. During the early years of the century Keir Hardie involved himself in many issues, including calling for equality of races in South Africa, independence for India and many others that brought him much opposition.
He suffered much more opposition on the outbreak of war in 1914. His pacifism led to him addressing large meetings calling on working men to refuse to enlist, and he suffered taunts of "Traitor," although he was never a traitor to his beliefs like some in his party. Many of his former colleagues and friends disagreed with his stance, and it must be recalled that the socialist leader in France who opposed the war was shot in a cafe at this time! The workers did not listen to Hardie and by December 31st 1915 over two and a half million men had volunteered to enlist. The strength of character and determination to speak for his beliefs in spite of opposition from friends and foe did not stop him speaking out. Opposition is always the reward for truth! Much of his life was of course spent in being opposed! A sick man, he suffered from strokes, suffering a heart attack in late 1914 and unhappy with the pain of war, along with his friends decision to support it, he shrank away slowly. Returning to Glasgow to die in hospital there on September the 25th 1915. His heart would have suffered much had he known that as he died thousands joined him on the Loos battlefield, dying for the war he had so strongly opposed.
What would James Keir Hardie think of the Labour Party that now sits in the House? He would be frank about their leadership certainly, especially the lack of real work experience and lack of understanding of the working class today. His willingness to sustain opposition would certainly lead to a full and frank expression of opinion on David Cameron, George Osborne and Ian Duncan Smith that's clear. The 'belief empty' front bench would remind him of much that he saw in the House when he arrived. The late 19th century house of Commons had seen great men like Palmerston, Gladstone and Disraeli. Today we have Cameron and Osborne, Milliband and Balls. What a contrast, what would Hardie say?
So I turn on the opening ceremony and am confronted with an overenthusiastic songster, standing on a false hill, surrounded by people masquerading as ancient Englishmen, and I mean English not British, and am I captivated? er NO! This is followed by the pratt Andrew Marr, again overacting, while browsing the history of London. Then more pap follows while the 'actual' ceremony begins. I noticed among the bad actors a cricket match, supposedly taking place in the late 18th or early 19th century. So why focus on a wee black boy? Do you really think he would be with the lads playing cricket at that time? Poor soul would be in the hold of a ship dying as he crossed the Atlantic not playing cricket!
Now you may be surprised to hear that I am not a fan of opening ceremonies. As far as I can tell they have as much relationship to the event they open as I do to a multi-millionaire play boy! Tonight is no difference. London Games ought to celebrate London, and Team GB (or Greater England as they prefer it to be) should reflect the nation. All this does is show how badly History is taught and how Greater England is all that matters. Another over the top waste of time that will no doubt get the designer a knighthood while a move to Afghanistan might be more useful.
I note the industrial revolution is given the overdone treatment and the suffragettes (terrorists that they were) are given a show, but Wesley and Whitfield and others who transformed the lives of millions of those downtrodden are ignored. How PC is this?
No, I cannot go on! I have been agitated for weeks now with this virus and to sit through such rubbish is too much! Call me a cynic if you must, but in the middle of a recession we do need a party or two, but we should at least get a well organised one! What this has to do with the UK, sorry, GB, I know not, it certainly has nothing to do with the Olympics! Garn, what a load of rubbish!
The old town lock-up. In times past rogues, and often late night drunks, were deposited inside one of the two small cells. As the building is only 12 feet long and six wide it may appear a little cramped. This jail served the town well into the 19th century when a better police force, and later police station, were provided. it was helpfully situated in the centre of town and in one of the worst roads. I say 'worst' because there were then many public houses in the place and three down this road became notorious. One was called 'Little Hell,' a second had the name 'Big Hell,' and the third was referred to as 'Perdition!' None exist in the redeveloped street today. Actually I think one does as now operates as a restaurant, whether it was one of the famous three I have yet to discover.
the lock-up served its purpose, later became a store for ammunition belonging to the militia or Territorial Army as it became, and now some wish to preserve this as a relic from the past. Not sure what use it could be put to today, suggestions welcome, although some may consider a lock-up after the football on Saturday nights finishes may be the best idea. Personally I consider dumping adolescents there for a night the best plan.
It appears the kiddies were attempting to set fire to the skatepark again last night. Since this blight on the landscape arrived the brats have burned off the covering tarmac on the site, set fire to at least two trees, not counting the ones they just vandalise, burnt down the shelter provided, burnt down an empty hut, burnt all the litter bins, set fire to much else besides and yet the council provided a too noisy 'funday' for them last week? Can I suggest a 'funday' for the neighbours? I suggest locking the brats in the lock-up and leaving them there for a we...no, just leave them there!
British Gas, who demand I pay extra each month, have disclosed today profits of 23%. Centrica, the owners, made £1,45 BILLION profit. Gas consumption rose by 3.5% but revenues by 21%. No wonder that nobody would appear to answer questions on the BBC's 'Today' programme this morning! It appears that while even the banks are hindered from lining the pockets of their directors energy companies can ignore the recession and grab what they can with no sense of responsibility to society as a whole. It is time for nationalisation of these greedy companies. Thatcher's bonkers idea that privatisation would benefit the nation has proved wrong so many times, and the energy companies are the biggest money makers of them all! I will be phoning them today, I do hope the man has his ear plugs in.....
High up on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle stands the colossal 'Supergun' known as 'Mons Meg!' This monster weapon was capable of hurling a cannonball weighing around 385 pounds (or one American) over two miles distance. If it were to be fired today, just as it was in 1558 to celebrate the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots to the French 'Dauphin' François, the shell would do no good whatsoever to the Granton Harbour area!
It was the French connection brought this behemoth to Edinburgh in the fifteenth century. The Duke of Burgundy, known as 'Philip the Good,' a title probably given him by some PR groveller earning a high fee, donated this gun to James II, King of Scots. Philip, being James uncle by marriage and wishing to ensure the Scots kept disputing with the English and thereby aiding the French fight with the imperialists south of the border, sent him the most powerful gun ever made as a gift! Being brought to life in the small (now Belgian) town of Mons, later to find fame as the place Britain entered the Great War against Germany in 1914, the name 'Mons' stuck to the gun. Quite which 'Meg' was responsible for giving her name to the gun is disputed as this was only added very much later. From early accounts it is possible she was just known as the 'Mons Gun.'
The gun was used in anger only rarely. The weight of just over six tons made travel difficult and roads were of course just dirt tracks. The effort required, the number of oxen prodigious (which is another way of saying I don't know how many), and in those rainy days that frequently affect Scotland the mud would make travel very difficult and cause even the gentle folk of Scotland to express curses while pulling the beast. While 'Meg' was powerful it was also difficult to fire more than half a dozen shots at a time because of the heat given off by the powder required during firing. 'Mons Meg' was indeed trundled down to Roxburgh Castle in the borders to deal with a dispute there in 1460 but only once dealt with the English foe and that at Norham Castle, now just on the far side of the border. Cannon frequently exploded while in action and a smaller cannon did just that fatally wounded King James II at Roxburgh. 'Meg' visited Dumbarton Castle in 1489 in an effort to impress the Duke of Lennox regarding his obedience however the guns progress was slower than a woman through a shoe shop and in time meant Edinburgh Castle became home for 'Meg' where she became a 'saluting gun!'
Apart from the 1558 firing when Mary married her Frenchman the gun was also fired in 1689 to greet James, Duke of Albany and York. He, as you will know, later became James VII and II. (That is, for our English audience, James the Seventh of Scots and James the Second of England. The English have a problem in forgetting that the James's were kings of two nations, not just theirs!) James VII & II by the way was rubbish! His grandson became known as 'Bonnie Prince Charlie, and a right Charlie was he as you probably know! It is interesting to note that when James the Duke of Albany and York arrived the gun was fired in salute by an English gunner. The barrel burst and this led to accusations that the gunner had deliberately overloaded the gun because the English were jealous they did not possess so great a weapon! I couldn't possibly comment!
English grabbing of Scots property after the sell out in 1707 continued with the removal (by Pickfords I ask?) of 'Mons Meg' to the Tower of London' in 1754. She may well have remained there still had Sir Walter Scott, busy inventing a colourful Scots history to pay his debts, persuaded George IV to return her to where she belonged and so she arrived home, tired and weary, in 1829. Since then the huge gun has been attended to on the Castle rock by the keepers of antiquities and the numerous children who insist on clambering all over her. Many a house has photographs of such hidden away in an album!
The long awaited announcement concerning those to be prosecuted for 'phone hacking' came today. Former editors of the Murdoch press, Rebekah Brookes, a friend of Prime Minister Cameron, Andy Coulson, an ex 'Director of Communications' for the Prime Minister, and several others, including one private detective who has already done time for phone hacking, are now up for prosecution. The world rejoices!
The scandal came to light when a murdered young girl had her phone hacked by someone believed to be working for a media source, allegedly. This fooled the parents of the missing girl into believing she was still alive, when she was in fact long dead. Public outcry forced the Prime Minister to begin the Leaveson inquiry, which I suspect he hoped would be a whitewash of his friends. Instead the cat is out of the bag in many ways. The closeness of the present and former Prime Ministers to the press was no surprise, politicians wished the press on their side believing this brought votes. However the depth of corruption between the police, and the Metropolitan Police in particular shocked people, (The 'Met' is the London Police Force). None were surprised at some connection but the extent was a revelation, a surprising closeness between those at the top of the police and News International, the largest news agency in the UK, and more may arise yet. None would be shocked at the depth of phone hacking and dirty tricks used by the media, and the extent was allegedly huge. The media will do anything to expose peoples private lives and many of those hacked were celebrities, all 'research concerned their private lives alone most likely. Now this will be brought before the courts and the public await with baited breath the results of this investigation. Almost all defendants have already claimed they were innocent of any crime, and will defend themselves 'vigorously!
It has to be said that most of the hacking appears to be directed towards celebrities private lives. We are not talking here about 'journalism' exposing crime, wrong doing, or things, as the say, that were 'in the public interest,' as those would indeed be justifiable. The desperate search for individuals sex secrets is what matters to tabloid editors. 'Journalism,' the investigation into important stories, does not sell tabloid papers.
Andy Coulson, a trusted confidant of the PM, left his job editing the 'News of the World,' to join Cameron after one of his men had been jailed for phone hacking, a criminal offence. Cameron believed Coulson when he said he knew nothing about it. Good Human Resources work there Dave! Possibly the 'Eton Boy' liked the fact that Coulson lost an industrial tribunal case after bullying a sports reporter. That cost the company £800,000. I suppose Dave thought that a laugh! Oh and while he has been charged in this instance, he has also been charged with 'perjury' by Strathclyde Police. I wonder when that will come to court? Oh yes and while working for Cameron News International were still paying him! Not that this would affect his judgement in any way of course.
Rebekah Brookes, who has a house near Cameron's private home in the Cotswald's, cannot be said to be a fragile lassie. She has managed to worm her way up the ladder of News International, she has edited her friend Rupert's biggest selling papers, 'The Sun,' and the 'News of the World.' She has been horse riding with the PM near home, cultivating friendships maybe and has launched many a campaign in her papers, hopefully successful and cash productive for her titles. One such campaign was 'Violence against women!' This her paper claimed was 'nasty,' 'repugnant,' behaviour, and men ought to 'stop hitting their wives.' This was of course somewhat one sided as such campaigns always are. She ignored the many men who suffer violence from their spouses, at least she did until the campaign suddenly ceased. It ceased when she herself was charged with assaulting her then husband, TV hard man Ross kemp! They divorced! Her campaign against sex offenders led to many innocent men being attacked and near riots in some areas, including one where a Pediatrician had her house, which featured a nameplate giving her name and job description on a brass plate at the door, attacked by a mob thinking she abused children! 'The Sun' reader, at their best!
The readership of the papers reflect the people who write them. Immoral, uncaring, lacking a moral standard. Journalists investigating news which is relevant and 'in the public interest,' can only be a good thing and a 'must' for a free press. What matters here was something else, the need to give the public what the public wants. The public does not wish for journalism, the public wants scandal and sex stories. Nothing beats a female teacher having it away with a fifteen year old, unless it is a film/pop/football star who has been playing away with a slapper. A politician on the make sells some papers, but in the end sex sells best! That is what keeps the media alive, whether true or not, and that will continue unless proper controls come in. The present 'press Complaints Commission,' (PCC) has long been seen as friends of the press. Public complaints, if ever upheld, make not the slightest difference. The media just gets away with almost anything. Those that dare to go to court face much opposition and even victory does not stop the bile being thrown at them. the much maligned (and that is his own fault) John terry reflects this. A new independent PCC is required (and I would love to run that!) Leavason might well suggest this, but much opposition, and embarrassing headlines await any government that attempts to force one on the media. It is to be questioned whether any government has the guts to stand up to the press, although with some sections of the public on their sides now is indeed the time!
We await the trials, we await the judgement, we await the rebuke for breaking the law by talking about it probably. We await the facts being revealed for all to see, and we await the new press laws and Press Complaints commission that will end the 'licence' that allows the media to run riot now.
Unbelievable! The sun shone hot all day, and the wind was merely a cooling aid for us all instead of the usual tempest. How jolly it all was as I traipsed into the big city once again. All around lassies were disrobing, sadly so were the men all to often. Swifts soared through the skies, seagulls languidly floated around, cats sought cool shade and dogs looked distinctly ruffled. The heat was such that I scurried back to the station rather than chase pictures, hold on, read that again? "The heat was such.....," that is not something you will read here throughout the year. This is the first real summer of the year and guess what? I return home to find the Gas Bill awaits me. What is more the price is increasing come September - just in time for winter! "Grumble, crooks, robbery, nationalise, etc...."
I should add that Edinburgh is still suffering rain, and will again tomorrow. Under no circumstances have I passed that sky picture on to the family. I sent a different one He He He!
One misery grumbled in a manner I never myself go in for, that there had been no pictures of park benches for a while. Needless to say living in an area of desert where the temperature never falls below 'blistering' will fail to understand the difficulties of photography when the weather is dreich! And may I say constantly dreich this year! The American weather system that flows to the north over Norway has shifted south and given even Edinburgh more rain than she is used to at this time. We all know that July, being the beginning of the holidays, means folks tear of the mittens worn all winter and replace them with those woolen gloves with the fingers cut out, as in the normal Scots manner. However the rain has indeed been excessive and flooding common, so common the annual English hosepipe ban imposed to save the water companies actually fixing their leaky pipes had to be ended early as there was more than sufficient wet stuff for all. Quite who uses a hosepipe when it's raining I am not sure. Anyway, early this morning before you lot got up I wandered across the park to fulfill my duties as the sun had decided to return to us. Indeed some claim this will be the situation for a while now, so will buy new wellies tomorrow! As I passed I watched these two men with a variety of happy dogs, running around and barking excitedly. Even in the rain these boys enjoy their run about, happy with little things and not looking far into the future, well apart form their dinner obviously! Their fun did not distract me from picturing a dusky bench however, a bench strangely clear of the detritus usually left behind by the brats overnight. There were plenty shouting and yelling through the night that's for sure. It was late in the morning when I noticed the van arriving. At first I thought it was workmen arriving to fix the broken bits of the skatepark, but unusual for that to happen on Saturday I thought. I was right. It was unusual, in fact the van, and several others which slowly trundled in were setting up a 'fun day' for the brats! FUN!!?? Fun for brats? What about fun for us lot living here I ask?
Now as you know I am not one to grumble. I am always pleased to be of service to anyone, hence my desire to deal with the adobe dwellers complaint in quick fashion. Grumbling is something I cannot be doing with myself, yet here they were setting up a DISCO!!! Yes a 'disco, one of those places where distorted sounds pass off as music for adolescents who have yet to form a sensible thought. I was of course right! Around midday, with the sun high in the sky, behind a few clouds right enough, the beat started. Now 'beat' when accompanied by music is good. 'Deep Purple' used a lot of 'beat,' but they were accomplished musicians, they did not play a 'rap' (with a capital 'C') number, stick their fingers on it and pull it backwards and forwards like this meathead was doing. Nor did they stop this appalling sound and allow a young 'band' attempt a half hour show of their own! Simon Cowell where are you? This band was just what you wished for. No talent, an inability to understand the reason for strings on the guitar, and an organ sound that appeared desperate to become a police siren, although that of course may well have been the female singer! The beat was there, it did not appear to vary, believe me, and was indeed louder than the 'professional' disco operator. He appeared to be attempting to control his sound, the band could not. Difficult to control sound when you cannot control your fingers I say!
Now I break off to whine myself for once. I try to upload a picture, you need to see this, and find Google claim my 'Picasa' 1GB is full, and no more allowed! What? What has Picasa got to do with anything? Why are my pics up there? Now I have to work this out as to post pics I must buy more space for my pics? Get lost.
Nothing but a bland picture to end the day. When I got out it either stopped raining or was threatening to rain, and in between it was dreich and gray. No pictures to find, nothing exciting happening, little to stir the little gray cells. I did manage to save a young female jogger from a pack of rampaging hounds, well she thought they were rampaging I thought they were just excited at being allowed to run about the park myself. I saved her as she cowered against a wall, as if that would stop a few mutts! Interestingly the dog owners merely smiled that half hearted and disinterested smile folks wear, they made no attempt to stop the dogs when she showed her fear. The dogs were not a danger right enough, too old for that even if they wished to be wild.
The days excitement mounted as I pumped up the tyres on the bike, but didn't use it, hoovered the condominium and indeed the hall stairway, ain't I good, and even spoke nicely to one of Tesco's misery checkout girls. usually the regulars are OK but this one is an ageing Essex girl. I suspect she goes home to watch videos of 'Big brother.' That meeting sums up my day. I attempted to be good and do what needs done, but it didn't quite get done that way. The rain is still falling, and even by Edinburgh standards this is a bad summer. The first two weeks in July represent the 'Edinburgh Trades Fortnight,' the time factories used to close down for a holiday. Life is not quite like that now but the schools still come out, and the rain still falls. I have memories of damp streets and 'Pacamac's' while on what we called our holiday, which was a day here and there.
Lord Coe has banned the up to date rings being shown.
The Olympic disaster is about to start and they promise sunshine all through. I believe them! They do not promise security guards turning up, rail, tube, and bus transport arriving on time, nor roads being clear. They can however promise sunshine, hmmm. The Olympic Torch running has been a shambles, tickets sales the same, Ministers whining they cannot use ministerial cars to attend the games, immigration controls so badly organised no competitor or fan will be allowed out of Heathrow to watch, and residents will be up in arms at the vast array of closed of streets and diversions that will blight their lives. had they held it in Manchester when they should it would have been a success. Lord Coe has a lot to answer for.
I notice Rangers, now to eb called 'The Rangers,' have agreed to a transfer ban that begins once they have signed good players. Where does the cash come from? Why have the bills not been paid first? Why are the SFA still running after their team? It's a disgrace!
One of the good things about the internet is the dissemination of facts and news, and facts and news that are often left out of the mainstream media at that! 'Social media, ' which usually means 'Facebook' or 'Twitter,' and the many forums that cover any and every subject, added to the umpteen billion blogs, both good and bad, can have social benefits that were not available a few years ago. Even newspaper readers are now better informed simply by trawling the worlds press for differing viewpoints.
An example of this was the pressure put upon Scottish football chairmen by their fans during the Rangers debacle. It was the use of 'social media' to generate a powerful lobby to ensure the best possible outcome for all. Possibly this has not yet achieved the best outcome, but it has come close. Elsewhere we have seen the 'Arab Spring' flower partly due to an educated populace using technology to drive through change in several nations. These weapons, more powerful than guns, have so disturbed some that they are closely controlled or banned, as in China or Iran. The one thing a dictatorship fears is truth, and weapons such as blogs, twitter and facebook can reveal the truth about situations. The Reformation was powered by the written word with an abundance of pamphlets flying here and there. Information during much of the twentieth century was found only in newspapers and books, and similarly to those previous pamphlets we had to choose who to believe. Most sadly choose the easiest way to avoid trouble, often preferring the papers that say what they wish to hear, 'Daily Mail' reader like. There are more social media than papers, and the variety of opinions are endless but we can always offer the facts to help put things right, can't we?
Nothing happened again today. I mean things happened, the world turned, people did things, events took place, but nothing happened. I tried to make things happen. I hoovered the floor, bought new hoover bags as that one appears to be a bit full, I don't know why as I change it annually, done the washing, and I even had a bath in spite of it not being Sunday. But nothing happened. I wandered around the market looking for fallen veg, but nasty folks had already nicked it all, and went into the museum (not as an exhibit) to avoid the rain, and view the Great War improvements, (I don't mean improvements to the Great War, it's finished, I mean the display). The display has a few things, now well presented, and the curator deserves her praise. However she offered me a list of information regarding the men who served that had been compiled a while back by another. I had not been informed of this and it covered all the ground I had been slowly researching. Bah! Typical. However I have now got my hands on this and hope to discover whoever it was compiled the list for a chat. His info will be used that's for sure, some is much better than mine!
Around three thirty this morning someone decided to thump on a door with their fist three times! I awoke wondering who was clambering about at this time. No further sound was heard. No door slammed, no cry of "Gerrrrroutofit," was heard. Nothing. Not even the Blackbirds had decided to squawk at that hour. But I could not fall asleep again. I drifted in and out of a half sleep until the news came on at five, then dozed and found myself rising at quarter to seven. Tired and weary I have failed to recover since. Even forty winks at lunch did not cover the loss of sleep. Ruined my while day this has. I had things planned, I had good intentions, and I had a poor lunch. Forgetting the heat was on high I burned the mince, but that has become standard in here now, I drank tea not realising the milk was off, I know now mind, and continually I failed to achieve anything once again. However I am aware that tomorrow all will be forgotten and life will be better.
Sleep is a funny thing. Insufficient ruins our life, as indeed does too much. Sleep deprivation makes us angry, irritable, and ruins health. Yet most of us have too little. Seven to nine hours is normal for an adult, that's one third of your life! A clear sign if we need it to prove we are not god, we have to sleep. Sleep, a state of unconsciousness in which the body rebuilds itself, sets the mind straight, and heals diseases - some of them anyway. What a fantastic thing sleep is! Naturally having worries, children, noisy neighbours, and a cat in the house can ruin this sleep pattern. It is no surprise we fail to rise refreshed when we have had to get up and let the cat out/in, feed the bairn, worry about our next payday and stop No 19 playing his big drum at two in the morning by shooting him, such things leave our sleep disrupted.
I think I need to practice this more often, and so should you, but not if you are driving....
One of the better class of rock groups 'Deep Purple' were excellent at their job! This was one of the albums I obtained and attempted to wear out, and at 36 shillings and 8 pence I was taking a chance! Rock groups today often have a good musician or two but often appear to me at least to be a bit 'plastic,' a wee bit made up if you like. Deep Purple were the real deal! Today however time caught up with 71 year old John Lord the classically trained keyboard player and one of the two founder members of the band. He died after suffering an awful illness but leaves behind a good few memories.BBC John Lord
All right it's not much of a quiz, but there again it's not much of a pub! In fact had it not been reduced for quick sale it would have been the 'Tea Garden Quiz!' Six simple questions, requiring six simple answers just so someone who will be nameless (but lives in Mexico) can get them all right without cheating.
1) The first British 'Prime Minister,' what was his name?
2) Name Australia's capital city?
3) Who was it that first discovered how to make 'frozen food?'
4) In what town was Leonardo da Vinci born?
5) George Best was a famous footballer. With which team did he make his name?
6) Who starred in Hitchcock's 'North by Northwest?'
Six simple questions to test your intellectual strength.
Actually three. This evening the internet shuddered and the radio programme I was listening to stopped. Soon it returned but it appeared I had been momentarily cut off, although the correct lights were flashing to indicate it still worked. Hmmm. Later I noticed I had to sign in again to Blogger and Yahoo but all else was OK. Blogger will not allow me to post pictures tonight, although it would allow me to post a video! For spite I refused to post it! Hmmm strange indeed.
The two points however were totally removed from this. First John terry. This man is not a well liked footballer. He has many enemies in the game and more in the tabloid press. The press hate anyone who stands up to them and when he obtained a court order keeping his misdemeanours a secret they were very upset! His family are to say the least a bit rough. He has also behaved on the rough side on several occasions and obtained a reputation. Recently a spat between him and a black player (we are no longer allowed to say 'coloured' say the language Nazi's) during a football match ended up with him in court on a 'racist' charge. Today he was found 'Not Guilty.' Now few know what actually happened, most have made their ignorance known anyway. The court result says something at least and ought to bring the matter to an end. But what was the real cause? Racism? Really? I am unconvinced racism was at fault. I suggest Mr Terry, once England captain and regular team member, has many enemies within the England camp and football in general. His opponent in court has a brother who plays alongside Terry for England and I suspect does not like him. he may well have good reason for this. It seems to me this case was overblown and exaggerated merely to have a go at the man himself. It failed. Abuse flows through football. Some players will do and say the most awful things to upset an opponent, racism does appear, rarely in the UK these days, but on occasion. (It certainly comes in the other direction but we cannot go into that here) I suggest that here we had a spat during a game when words were passed by both needlessly and political correctness and spite took over. Sadly the police these days fail to judge such things properly. Where once a caution and words of warning were offered we now have court cases. A man yelled abuse at a station ticket collector and called him a Welsh something or other and ended up charged with racism. A needless court case followed while a caution would have sufficed. I say the Terry case was similar! However the police were too afraid not to charge him, the media demanded this, many fans demanded this also, and the only way out was for the jury to decide. usually when players behave like this wise words behind the scenes take care of things. Nobody appears to have tried! Maybe too many wished harm to this man. Some would say who can blame them?
Point two features another unsavoury group of men. Those who run Scottish football. These short sighted biased people have done their utmost to ensure Rangers (under the new name Servo) play in the Scottish premier League in spite of their many crimes against that league, the tax man and society in general. The other clubs of the SPL were forced by their fans to oppose this and today the lower league body, The Scottish Football league, resisted immense pressure from outside to place Servo in Division 1. Division 3 was the choice, by 25 -5 votes! Pressure from the Scottish Football Association, others behind the scene and the Rangers media (all Glasgow based media is totally behind Rangers as they support the club and make their money there) were ignored by the courage of the chairmen of these lower division clubs.
Does this mean we can get on with the game now? No! There will follow more dirty deeds, especially at the next SPL meeting on Monday, possibly to attempt an SPL2 as has been suggested already. Maybe another devious attempt will spring up. Whatever, the sooner those behind such deals are removed from the game the better. The leaders of these organisations have shown themselves to consider Rangers, under any name, more important than anyone else. Shortsightedness, failed planning, bad negotiations have led to this awful time. Heads may have to roll, new ideas need implanting, but a breath of fresh air may well be approaching Scottish football when Servo take the field in Division 3. I hope they remain there!
I took this picture of the town hall clock tower not because it was special but because the sky was blue. Read that again - BLUE! Yes indeed for much of the day the sun shone and made us smile, well not the lass in Tesco's obviously. Last time she smiled she was off sick for a week. The sun has made the tower a bit brighter than it was in real life, the clock handles ought to be 'golder' in colour, but my laptop does not enable that to show sadly. However the blue is what I want to see, and lots of it. The golden creature on the top, just what is that supposed to be, and what is it doing? In a week or two I am going on a private tour, with a hundred others, of this 1926 town hall and may be able to catch a couple of pictures. It is very noble inside, with interesting murals and doors, staircases and such like. A reflection of town pride and the pride of the man who paid for it so generously. Of course paying a shilling a week more to his workers might have created a better society but he didn't think of that.
The town hall stands where the town market once stood. Jokes about cattle and Councillor's can be inserted here. To the modern mind, who often complain about lack of car park spaces, the idea that cattle, sheep, pigs and the like could be driven through the streets a mere ninety odd years is outlandish. Yet the market square would buzz with the farmers selling their wares and drinking their health in 'The Bull' and other watering houses. People on strike for that extra shilling that built the town hall also gathered around here because they felt they were treated in similar fashion to the beasts. They had a point! before the Great War strikes were common. In the year 1912 the railways, the builders, many major industries were all on strike. Conditions were awful in many places, train drivers and their firemen often driving for the whole day and then forced to do another journey after that. Long hours, short pay, easy sackings, no compensation. Life was tough for many in those days. Then came the war! Well that's a relief, that helped sort the industrial troubles, apart from the strikes obviously. Did you know women munitions workers could make a pound a week working a twelve hour shift? No wonder they took to lipstick, cigarettes and local pubs! Soldiers got one shilling and twopence a day basic, that's eight shillings a week at twenty shillings to the pound!
We still treat soldiers badly. The pay is better, some after care has improved, but the failure of the private company to recruit and train sufficient security staff for the Olympics has meant a further several thousand troops must be brought in for security duties. Three million unemployed, many in the London region, yet they have several thousand staff short? This organisation lacks a wee bit of organisation I think. There again after having received £280 million to provide a service and offer the minimum wage for hard conditions I suspect I can see where their problem may lie.
It is fifty years ago today that the Rolling Stones made their debut at the Marque Club in Soho. While the line up was to change somewhat in the days following before the 'famous five' pictured above became famous, that's how it is with musicians, nevertheless that was the first time this band performed. Fifty years ago? Some of these boys now touch 70, who would have thunk it? One of the great rock and roll Rhythm and Blues bands of our time. This is one of the tracks all aspiring Rhythm and Blues bands played in those days:-
One picture spoofs the famous, by now, Second World War poster. For bloggers it is indeed good advice. Keeping the mouth shut and listening to what is going on around you can produce openings for items to blog about, and also not yelling a multitude of rude words at the keyboard helps concentration when things go wrong, like spellings, disobedient computer software, and family and friends offering advice. The proof reading, something you will note I fail to do, can stop folks asking if all the schools were on strike when you grew up? Satire is not dead it seems.
Someone passed this onto me, and while I do not know where it came from (Was it one of you lot?) I do think it a fantastic picture. Someone is a very sharp shot with a camera.
Desperate to find a photo worth taking today. Weather didn't help, having too much work to do didn't help, having no talent didn't help. So I gathered together the pencils and produced this! Long ago in a photo mag I read that pictures are all around you! Open your eyes and see them. This is true but it is not always possible to see them. Coming from Edinburgh, the most beautiful city in the world, I found that for the first few years living in London I could not 'see' any pictures when I returned to Edinburgh. The problem was the castle, the buildings, the surroundings were all part of growing up and I just took them for granted. I could not 'see' pictures for a few years. There again who wishes to see pictures of wet buildings, ancient or not?
Maybe it's the ever present tiredness that never seems to leave me, maybe it's just being cack-handed, or there again it may just be my luck but today did not go well.
It started late, I awoke at ten past five, closed my eyes as the 'shipping forecast' was read on the wireless and next thing I knew it was seven! I stumbled into the kitchen fried tomatoes and the mushrooms that were growing on them and microwaved an omlette. This took forever as I had forgotten to turn the cooker on. Eventually my cold toast finished and crumbs filling every crack in this laptop, the phone rang. For some strange reasom nine o'clock had arrived before I was ready and some spammer was already attempting to sell me something. I ignored them and let the ansafone take care of it, no message was the reply. I dialed 1471 to get their number and trace the call but they did not leave one, a spammer! However I noticed some marks on the phone, the handset batteries were leaking like a tap! Considerable time later the mess was cleaned up, on the phone, the desk,the laptop - me! At least the desk is considerably cleaner, although things now fall through the hole.
As I had to go into the walled city for no good reason I prepared carefully my duties so as to have as little time there as possible. Naturally this was not to be. Having managed to stay awake sufficiently to leave the train at my stop, rather than end in down by the coast where I would rather be, although being in Clacton on Sea would not be my first choice of coastal town to reside in (ankle chains and white stiletto's, and that's just the men!), I trooped off via the park and watched life slowly traipse by in the gloom. At least the rain only threatened, then stopped and this summers gray cloud cheered us no end. As I made for my destination a man walking the other way grumbled about the papers strewn all over and around a park bench, although I was not sure what I should do about it. I noticed that he grumbled about those responsible but made no effort to collect the stuff and put it in the bin himself. Hmmm.
Forced to huddle in a side room with a hundred other layabouts until the lovely Alison sorted things out I was then presented with a PC that suffered much! The screen resolution was so small I could only see it by leaning right up against it, the window light reflected blocking what I could see, and it would not work! My neighbour had his working, up to a point, but at least he could read his! Once we managed to get started the printer would not print. Both of us, and several others, sent much to the printer and nothing arrived. The PC's were set to a differing machine. Somewhere in that building hundreds of wasted sheets of paper are at this minute piling up on the floor. What were we doing there? Almost all of us claimed we do more at home. All of us thought we were wasting time here, and that it cost this company cash it would be better advised spending on an upgrade of the computer system. However these 'Work' programmes are running into a problem. They make money when the 'client' gets a job he keeps for six months. There are three million unemployed and 400,000 vacancies. Most on this programme are the ones nobody wants. Like me some are unfit, some old, some unskilled and some ex-prisoners, not the first you would choose when employing someone from several hundred applications. The course is meant to help but there are just too few jobs, now this programme are getting worried. Conned by this government they are losing cash like water flooding folks houses and there is no improvement in sight. I wasted my time there, got out as quick as I could, and made it home without falling asleep onto the tracks.
I put the chips in the oven as I couldn't be fagged to do anything else and forgot the frying pan and oil therein was lying on the bottom of the oven. I type this with a thin haze all around, the windows open to clear the air, an unfortunate aroma clinging to everything, and suspect that as the night is young still more can go wrong.
I'm off to bed......
Oh good, the kids opposite have their music on, 'Rap' (with a capital 'C') or that dum dum dum stuff I wonder? That's the advantage the States has in such situations, guns! Bah!
Nothing to say. The papers are full of Andy Murray, a Scotsman, being the first British tennis player in the final at Wimbledon for yonks. The 'Daily Mail' reader hates him because he unwisely stated he wanted the England football team to lose, as all sensible, decent Scots do. Having been imperialists by nature they have turned against him in their usual English way by supporting his opponent. The facts of history are ignored, and reading the 'Daily Mail' they will remain hidden from them. Do I car? No. Tennis means little to me, although I have watched some of it, and naturally in between the camera focusing on the 'B' celebs who must be seen there Murray has held his own reasonably well. I suspect he will lose as Hibs folk usually do and Federer is a step above most players, not just Murray. The rain has stopped play as it always does and the roof that cost millions to install has not yet been closed. I am amazed at the dafties who organise such events! So now I look for something to blog. My tired mind remains unfocused, the rain inhibits wandering about with the camera, forgetting to eat limits walking about also! The papers have nothing to say except Murray this and Murray that, although they are more interested in the celebs who watch. Meanwhile the rain keeps falling here, flooding some folks and yet parched lands are missing their share elsewhere. Climate change, disbelieved by some, affects those who look up, although preferably under a brolly today!
Does it mean the end of the world? Yes, but that could take a hundred years yet. Does it mean man has damaged the world he was meant to protect? Yes, but volcanoes and other natural events have not helped either, just ask the cows in the nearest field what they give the fresh air around them! This year has been very damp, but warm at least. I am supposed to be out in this at the walled city tomorrow, I bet it lashes down then!
Another day, another fiddle in the 'Rangers' saga.
What began with tax fiddling and grew with dubious new owners develops each day into a soap opera of a dimension so strange that no scriptwriter would dare attempt it. The 'Rangers Football Club' has proved unsaveable and will pass into liquidation (when?) and the latest owner, who may or may not have the money, has attempted to force his way int Scotland's top division (the Scottish premier League) and failed. He has then attempted to enter the Scottish Football League (the lower division in Scotland) and his friends (one Mr Regan) in the Scottish Football Association (the governing body) and The Scottish premier League (one Mr Donaldson) are doing his work for him there.
Various threats have been issued, and those connected with the Ibrox club have issued many threats this year, threats have been issued to the SF: members that refusal to obey the wishes of those in charge could see millions lost to the game as SKY TV pull out (Sky deny they will pull out) and several SPL clubs failing and dying. Loss of cash will affect the lower divisions leaving many of them to go to the wall also. Clubs are worried, rightly, and annoyed at the threatening manner in which this debacle takes place.
On Friday the SFL clubs meet to decide the new 'Rangers' fate. This club has no accounts, no players, and a dubious owner. Whether he has the cash to keep his 'newco' afloat is unclear, his long term intentions are just as unclear. The clubs today discovered a new twist in the corruption within Scotland's football. The SFL leaders now wish tod ecide by themselves where this club plays. Clearly most wish them to begin at the bottom, Division 3, but this idea will simply place them into Division 1 so, they say, to stop money being lost to the game! This is a disgrace and hopefully the smaller clubs will stand up to this! Disgraceful!
There can be little sympathy anywhere for any Ibrox club today. The bullying gerrymandering of Regan, Donaldson and others reveals the depth of corruption and desperation to keep a sinking ship afloat. I begin to think dumping 'Rangers' out of the game altogether is the only way forward, followed by the personnel responsible for this mess. It is time for UEFA and FIFA to step in. Their rules have been broken, Rangers did go to the Scottish courts to overturn a lenient punishment (which as yet has not been reheard), the shambles behind the scene to keep this club afloat shows the bias within Hampden, and to save the game, with the season less than a month away, someone has to take control NOW!