Saturday, 30 March 2013

I've Gone TeaPot.....

You see it's like this.  In the 19th Century the towns in this part of the world spent far too much time on 'civic pride.'  Huddersfield for instance would build an expensive, elaborate Town Hall, Bradford would then build a bigger, better, more ornate one.  Looking on and getting jealous Leeds would design and build a stupendous Town Hall to put all others in the shade, God was not worshipped in such towns, Mammon was!  This cost vast sums of money, often money that ought to have gone elsewhere, but that is how it was then.  Councils are so much more considerate and careful with cash today......what?....oh!

Anyway the City of Aberdeen decided not to be left out here.  Instead of a Town Hall it was decided to build something more useful and spectacular, a street!  A renewed thoroughfare right through the centre of the City.  This they did, knocking down some buildings and extending Union Street a considerable distance.  Now this was a fancy idea indeed but alas there was a serious flaw in the plan.  The street was an expensive enough idea but the buildings on it had to be predominately constructed of granite!  That slight flaw caused the costs to grow way out of hand because such granite had to be brought from a very considerable distance.  Costs grew, problems grew, and eventually the city was declared bankrupt!  As such the joke in Scotland grew that Aberdonians had deep pockets, would never spend money, and were very tightfisted.  Even today that myth continues.  It is a myth isn't it?

Some years later Harry Lauder decided to make a living out of the Variety Show circuit.  His act was famously based on a tightfisted Scotsman wearing a large 'Tam O' Shanter on his head, a kilted outfit, and carrying a very crooked walking stick.  His tightfistedness made him famous even in the streets of New York, which then was on the other side of the world.  In 1926 he gave the Hotel doorman a silver threepence as a tip.  The doorman howled to all the pressmen about the mean Scot and the publicity brought US fame to Harry Lauder.  The doorman had of course been well paid for his trouble before he received the sixpence!

It is interesting to note that 'Punch' magazine never showed mean Scotsmen until Lauder took to the stage.  Before then the humour was based on whisky, gamekeepers watching English visitors shooting or fishing and somewhat dryly and cynically commenting on there difficulties, or the accent.  For isnstance and small gathering of males one night, whisky abounding, Andrew rises to shake hands "Och yer no leavin already Andrew?" says host Jock.  "Na, Na," replies Andrew, "I'm just shaking hands when I can recognise whae ye are." 

At Christmas I spent a lovely week with a couple from Aberdeen, now resident in the warm south.   I should mention this man began work as an employee of the 'Clydesdale bank' in Aberdeen way back when, a job he left many years ago, but strangely enough the job never left him.  One of his tricks today is making use of a small teapot to reuse used tea bags, anybody's, he is not fussy, and this struck me as a wonderful money saving idea.  Normally I use one bag per cup, but inspired by this I began to reuse the insipid and costly tea bags.  However this was a messy while financially rewarding experience, so I went out this morning to find a teapot, cheap.  In spite of the crowds walking into me even though I'm big enough to see, I continued through all the charity shops in town successfully obtaining my teapot, for 99 pence!  What a bargain!  Now after each delightful, healthy cup of cheap Sainsburys 'Red Label' tea I can deposit the bag in the pot, with the others, and get my money's worth.  Somethings make life worth living, don't you think?  


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Local Emergency

There I was, as always, minding my own business after tea last night when the bell rang.  A bit late for round here I thought, the pubs are open.  It was one of my neighbours looking for a ladder.  None of us n this block possess such a thing, and then it dawned on me why she needed one.  The man next door was locked out.  The lock to his front door had jammed, it is the only way in, and he and his son were looking to a frozen night under the bushes in the park if nothing could be done.  Had the shop on the corner been open he would have offered the use of one of the second hand ones he sells (He makes money clearing houses) however at that time he was shoveling his dinner down not looking for folks with broken locks.  
Quite what could be done did not cross my mind.  The landlords office would be long closed, no emergency number, and John the man who does would not be rushing out in the evening to fix things.  Especially as he had probably begun the brandy after a day working!  
We cogitated, I rang the landlord anyway, no answer but an ansafone.  I cogitated again, by this time the man's son, or at least to of his friends, had decided to break in.  The one problem here was our lack of a ladder and the flat being on the first floor.  His door merely taking him to the stairs to climb upwards with no other entrance or escape.  
It was impossible to reach the window.  Standing on one another, grasping the gas pipe in the process, they attempted to climb an impossible climb.  The neighbour took action, he drove his car right along the wall, two lads climbed onto the roof, one sat ion the others shoulders and they fought their way to a position where they could break a small pane and undo the latch and climb in.  I merely fobbed off a passing police officers quizzical looks.  He was none to troubled and more anxious to get back round the corner to the station and drink his tea and write up his paperwork.  
Today John arrived to repair the lock, spend an hour looking for someone to cut a pane of glass, and then finished the job.  What excitement!  Who says we have a boring existence?  Life here is full of tension, new action daily, and if we are lucky something interesting to appear in the drains.
I find I a struggling to cope with the pace of life here.


Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Today's weather report finds us all happy to see the sun shining through the gray clouds.  The snow beginning to disappear while the evening temperature drops to indicate the wind is still coming from Siberia.  But if you turn the heating up, but not for long, and look out the window it appears to be a good day.  Just wear the big coat anyway if you venture out.

This research business is complicated  I have spent hours sorting out the pictures of buildings that I am interested in and have got no further forward.  This is not helped when I went looking for a friends granddad who survived the Great War, had to post packets, and get around to eating something, not sure what that was that I ate by the way!  Easter is also upon us which means tomorrow I must shop for the things I forgot last time I shopped.

You may notice I have ignored Scotland's match with Serbia, good.  However I must say the Serbs were, naturally, pleased that the Scots fans (The Tartan Army) helped clear the snow from the   pitch, many in kilts, some wearing only kilts, and collected several hundred pounds for a local charity.  Something they tend to do wherever they go.  As one lad said, they would not expect that from England fans.  So there!


Monday, 25 March 2013

False Politeness

Listening to the cretinous outpourings of the early morning 'TalkSPORT' offering I was once again irked by the false politeness each caller offered.  Whether they caller was a football or sporting personality, a tabloid hack, (I cannot use journalist here) or white van driver himself calling the call started in the same manner.  Each and every person, all male, began "Morning lads, how are you?  This annoyed me, and ought to annoy 'the lads' also!  Why ask this question?  have they not been listening to the hundred taxi drivers who have already called in and asked that question?  Have they gone deaf?  Are they stuck for words?  Don't ask dumb questions from false politeness, when they call you to speak JUST SPEAK!  Murmur, "Morning," and make your point, answer the question, lie in your teeth as appropriate but don't ask how they are WE ALL KNOW!

False politeness has been encouraged by those PR people who train folks in dealing with the media.  Almost every person who is heard on news programmes begins by saying "Morning," even if they are about to answer the question first, they stop, mutter "Morning," and answer.  This is how they have been trained and it is false.  It can be worse with Americans, the home of false politeness.  When interviewing someone from the States they almost always give the "Good morning, I want to thank you for having me on your programe today, it's an honour to be here," pap!  Being Yanks they will have bever heard of the programmes that has honoured them, just as we have never heard of them.  

The New International Version of the bible is similarly affected y this.  Americans call everyone sir, even if they are holding a gun at their heads, and almost every one who speaks to Jesus in the New Testament calls him 'Sir.'  The word did not exist in Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek, it does not fit the portion on offer, it is an Americanism that ought to be dumped. ('please' similarly exists there, but not in the originals!)

There is nothing wrong with being polite.  It is sadly a dying art in many places.  However a quick "Thank you," "Ta," or "Cheers," is enough for most folks.  If everyone you met asked prolonged questions most folks would never get their business done.   Politeness can get things done by making people feel you regard them as important rather than a disturbance to your day.  The awful word 'please,' can help ease some, especially women, in doing their job.  I have come across such women who insist on me saying please and feel upset when I retort "I will when you actually do your job!!!"  For such politeness is important, actually working in between does not matter.  To waste politeness there appears folly to me.  

However I am a believer in 'Thanks.'  When I remember that is.  I am always grateful for decent service, and happy to commend folks for it.  So 'thank you' for listening.  Just don't ask 'how are you' when phoning Talksport!'


Sunday, 24 March 2013

Good Old Jamie!

On this day in 1603 James VI of Scotland took the throne of England as James I after the death of English Queen Elizabeth. Thus the 'Union of the Crowns,' saw a Scot rule the barbarian English! Naturally the English always refer to him as James I rather than James VI and Ist as they ought, imperialism never dies in England. They were happy however to see him take the throne and avoid war of any kind. Enemies abounded for England, as always, both Spain and France had made threats and the Armada was not that distant. Peace reigned for some time, apart from the usual problems in Ireland. The prolonged war there was bankrupting his new nation.

James was the son of Mary Queen of Scots. A small note here, no-one is ever King or Queen of Scotland, the title is 'King of Scots.' We are a democratic people led by a chosen King, and if he fails us we democratically chop his head off. James father was one Lord Darnley who suffered an unfortunate sudden death when the building he was in exploded. Shortly afterwards his mum married the Earl of Bothwell, the man considered guilty of bumping of Darnley. As Catholic Mary was far from popular in protestant Scotland, John Knox often made his full and frank opinion known at the time, this did not make her life easier. Mary always strikes me as a 'Diana' type, as opposed to Elizabeth who was more 'Thatcher' in her approach. Within a year of his birth in Edinburgh Castle Mary was imprisoned and forced to abdicate. James VI therefore became King at Stirling at the age of 13 months in 1567. He remembered little about this.
Years of reign under the control of regents followed, regents who took time to bump one another off as such folks do. However he learned the art of Kingship, also developing into a very literate and wise scholar. He rejoiced to be considered a scholar, writing books and translating parts of the bible himself. Once he took effective control of Scotland James managed to ensure an uneasy peace between the squabbling nobles and even between himself and the Calvinist Kirk. James married Anne of Denmark in 1589, he was 23, she 14. Social services are pursing their lips as we speak. She presented him with seven live children, suffered two still births and thee miscarriages. Life was tough for women in those days.

Political tact from James and leading English nobles prepared the way for James to peacefully take the throne of England as well as Scotland after Elizabeth had departed. Swapping 'a stony couch for a feather bed' James was amazed at the wealth in England. He had been somewhat lax with control of his own spending while in Scotland. After being supposedly assaulted by Alexander Ruthven, James' page 'run him through,' and Ruthven's father, the Earl of Gowrie also died in the following melee. The point that interested the scandal mags of the time was the coincidence that James owed this family a lot of money. Hmmm One of James great ideas once in control, was to merge the parliaments of Scotland and England, and he began to style himself King of Great Britain and Ireland. However the Scots nobles and populace were very much against this, and rightly so, but at that time the English also opposed such a merger and both nations continued with separate parliaments, law, and church. No oil in Scotland at that time obviously!

James became world renown when he produced his new translation of the bible in 1611, that collection of God breathed books that reveal the heart of God. James intention was to end the many religious squabbles then existing, which also endangered his own reign. It was demanded that all previous versions of this book were banned and only the Authorised Version used in all churches. It was also demanded that everyone attend the Church of England, or the church of Scotland, and refusal could mean death by burning. This less from religious than political scruples. The area I live in was a hotbed of dissent at the time and several became martyrs. His attempt to implement episcopacy in Scotland failed dismally, even though he returned to Scotland, once, to implement this. His failure left many problems in days to come for his son Charles the First.

James dream of a United Kingdom arrived in 1707, after much duplicity from England, and treachery from a parcel of Scottish rogues, the population still objecting strongly. Next September this wrong may well be righted of course. James died in 1625 after years of physical suffering, not helped by too much wine. Arthritis, fainting fits, gout and kidney troubles must have made his life a painful one at the end. So the first of the Stuart line died and was mourned by his people for the mostly peaceful years of his long reign. A far from perfect man he was nevertheless quite successful in many of his endevours. He left a kingdom at peace, and also a son and heir Charles the First, that of course ended the peace!


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Now I'm Not One to Complain, but....

To awaken to yet another day of snowdrifts is not pleasant.  After all such snow usually only arrives at Easter, and that is next week!  I've just wandered around for the veg from the market and found the poor lads covered in snow.  Frozen veg today indeed!  Friends are driving all the way to the Scottish border today, they ought to be stuck in snow on a motorway somewhere by now.  There will be cries of "Why does this happen?"  "Why are we not prepared?" "It's someones fault!"  By Tuesday, when it has all gone we will be complaining that councils spend too much buying grit for snow that never comes!  Tsk!

I've had this phone for a wee while now, I still canny work it!  Today I have been attempting to text someone, that's SMS to some of you.  I have read the feeble instructions, many times, attempted to text by pressing all the buttons, even on occasion creating writing, yet it will not work!  The problem is finding how to create the message, if that turns up, which it doesn't mostly, I find the message turns into numbers before I can find the number to call!  Imagine me if i had an ipod or tablet!  I have discovered how much cash I have left on this brute, I have yet to work out how to send a text.  Mind you my niece sent me one a while back, I found it today....

In all is was a very cold day in which I used up much of our dwindling gas supplies.  Yesterday we were informed we had 36 hours gas supply left in the UK, today we are informed we have only 36 hours gas left.  Hmmm, someone is attempting to fiddle us somewhere, and profits are going to increase I can tell you!  During the attempt to keep warm I discovered the spoon that disappeared the other week.  It was in the cupboard, hiding!  I did little else but watch football, and that was poor.  I also read this, which was interesting: It made me think once again.


Friday, 22 March 2013


People are a nuisance!  The get in the way in shops, overcharge you when there, walk slowly on narrow pavements, drive fast on narrow streets.  Their cars block the path, their dogs bark late at night, their kids are unspeakable.  Their music is too loud and to awful, their dress sense is absurd, their manners non existent.  The hinder you at work, play, leisure and annoy you in your dreams.  Their football teams beat yours, their blogs get more followers, their writing makes them more money.  All such people are a pain!
Yet we canny live without them.  Good people, the ones you call friends, are important.  The lift you when down, help you financially, physically, emotionally, and wish nothing back in return.  They hurt you by not being there, and often by being there, they need you as much as you need them and sometimes you cannot live without them, except when you hate them.  When they pass by you feel warm and secure inside, when they leave you ache.
Life is strange sometimes ...  


Thursday, 21 March 2013


Should I struggle through my mind, tired after a hard days housework, (Any women free) research, (Typing up notes and not being able to read my writing) shopping, (again!) and wasting time, (It's important I beat my score on 'Bouncing Balls') to find a post worth reading (Ha!) tonight?  Should I on the other hand watch Italy playing Brazil in a friendly match?  

Obviously I have been watching the football!  

However here is a quote worth reading:

"We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation." 

"...the English are fools and madmen."    Voltaire 1694-1778


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Something Happened Today....

....but I am not sure what it was.  I think it may have been what they call'The Budget.'  This is a time when the man responsible for the nations money stands up in the House of Commons and lies in his teeth.  After his long speech, Gladstone's could take over four hours back in the day, the leader of the opposition gets to his feet and offers quotes written out the night before by his friends, even if they don't fit.  They usually do however as most replies to such speeches contain similar words to previous replies, just as most budget speeches are the usual half truths and lies as before.  Most folks stay as they are, some lose a bit, others gain a bit, but the same amount of cash is pushed backwards and forwards and the poorest stay poor, the rich keep their lolly.  Usually these little talks can sound so uplifting, and much cheering from the government back benches ensues.   However within 24 hours more alert folk have exposed the lies, the weaknesses and the dubious nature of what has been offered.  Most of us remain as we were, except of course when it is the last budget before an election, then the chancellor is full of tax cuts, benefit hikes, and anything else he thinks will get him most votes.  With George and his dim PM Dave I doubt they will have the depth of foresight to offer what is required there however.

I myself spent some time attempting to find the 15th century, it appears to have gone missing.  While I can find info regarding individuals it will not connect to the houses I am interested in, which is annoying.  However incidentally I did find a woman living in this house in 1926 who made corsets!  By 1933 a different man was resident and he had been replaced in 1937 by a doctor.  In those days I suspect the house would have offered decent living accommodation plus room for a surgery, one that was paid cash for in those days!  Old medical joke, 
"What did you operate on Jones for?"  
"No, I mean what had he got?" 
The Tories would that day back!
The doctor who used this place as a surgery lost  his father during the war, probably from old age, and he must have done well for himself to be living round the corner in a 'big hoose!'  Probably another successful doctor I imagine.  It's funny the things that turn up when you Google a name.  This does not help me discover info on 15th century houses, or those from other eras but does entertain my little mind. 
Oh yes, and the plague in the late fifteen hundreds killed over 800 people in this town, and that with a population of around two and a half thousand.  There were lots of 'doctors' around then also.  
Sleep well!


Sunday, 17 March 2013

What is This?

This Coat of Arms adorns the front of the Court House.  Erected in the fourteen hundreds in the early market, two more embellishments are found on the rear of the building.  Some say this was Cromwell's Court House, but I have yet to investigate.  Interesting however.

This one on the rear looks more royal, but what is the other found on the edge of the wall?

I expect answers!


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Hard Research

I enjoy this research into things.  had I not been so inept I would enjoy it more by discovering relevant info on what I am studying.  The building shown for instance, this began way back in the 
Tudor days of the 16th century.  It is possible this was amended in the 1700's by one Benjamin Allen.  He obtained the house when he took over the doctors practice from the late Dr Draper, although he may not have moved in until he married Drapers daughter.  Whether this was a condition of the practice is not known.  Each century leads to alterations with such houses and this was no exception.  The shop was pictured in 1900, at a time when cycling was popular, with those who could afford a bike.  The front has been amended again and the building now houses the 'Constitutional Club, a Conservative Party club.  From the rear it is possible, just to see the ancient timber frame plastered original design.

My problem has been the lack of time.  To search the web, scrabble for tiny fragments of information takes for ever.  The sad fact is not enough real info is at hand.  It requires sensible searching in proper places.  Still I will see what I can do and we will attempt to make something for the museum to stimulate interest in these ancient buildings.  Most by the way began with timber frames as this area has no stone as such.  Trees abounded so timber frames and weatherboarding is noted everywhere.  The growing wealth of individuals and the town in general brought alterations constantly to these buildings. I wish they would improve the windows on mine!

The top picture originates with this postcard that I have come across occasionally on the web.  About 1900 according to the dress sense, the stall and the horse dropping in the middle of the road.  The buildings housing the Constitutional Club at that time have been replaced with late 1950's austerity brick and modern shop fronts.  One gas lamp outside the club lights the street here!  Possibly shop lights would help, shops may have closed later then, and most folks knew the way home.  I must collect at least a dozen if not more, decent blurbs on these premises.


Thursday, 14 March 2013

A Weather Miracle!

This stuff almost all day!

This means rain tomorrow!


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Do 'Pope' and 'Snow,' go together?

So the new pope has been elected by the cardinals.  Much celebrating by millions in Vatican City and watching on TV.  Much spluttering and growling by Richard Dawkins and his acolytes, and even more by those of the 'Reformed' faith of course.  One point two billion people call themselves Roman Catholic, I wonder how many actually live that out?  The 'Evangelical Church,' split into many denominations, has struggled to follow the true path as it can be very hard, as well as glorious, at times.  Will this Pope Francis 1 make any difference to Christ's work on earth, or will he hinder it by RC theology and church rule?  If he removes the many kiddy-fiddlers and gayboys from their roles in the organisation he will have made one change to the image if nothing else, and as a Jesuit you would expect a strict approach from him.  However will he turn the church back to God via the bible?  Will he ignore the Reformation once again and stick to erroneous beliefs?  Understanding the word of God is the most important thing he or any of us can do.  A lack of such understanding leads to a missing of the great adventure.  What however is certain is that the powers that be in the Vatican itself will be very hard for any man to sort out, John Paul II couldn't do it, I doubt this man will.

Typically I got caught out today.  I spent most of the day on museum research, slow and getting nowhere, and avoided the great hailstorm that arrived after lunch.  However I was fooled by the bright sun, the blue sky and the appearance of sunshine not long afterwards.  I raced for the door!  Out I went into the chilly air, sun shining, dogs smiling, people hurrying past from the market, streets a bit damp from the hail.  I checked prices, kept my hands on my wallet, and as I made for home the snow started!  Large lumps of it falling quickly and all it appears headed in my direction.  The pictures do not offer the reality of the torrent of snow aiming for me.   I'm staying in tomorrow!  bah!

It's sno fair so it is....


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Troll Squashed

The boxer Curtis Woodhouse lost his title fight on points to Shane Singleton the other night.  This caused some boxing fans to deride his achievements.  Social network sites are ideal for informing sporting failures of your knowledgeable opinion and one lad, who goes by the name 'Jimmyob88' made clear his derision to Mr Woodhouse on his Twitter feed.
Jimmy said the boxer should "retire immediately cant even defend a pathetic little title you are a complete disgrace," and informed him "Whats funny u put so much effort in sacrificed all that time and failed to defend your mickey mouse title."  
The problem with this is that not only can the sporting chap read your comments, he can also be a 'distressed' boxer, and a wee bit sore at losing his title.  Boxers, as you may be aware, are trained to fight.  A boxer training for a fight, even at 'light-welterweight' weight, can be a muscular and dangerous opponent for a couch potato type of social network user.  
Mr Woodhouse knew this.
Mr Woodhouse was indeed peeved.
Mr Woodhouse turned up on Jimmyob88's doorstep!

Having some 20,000, and now growing, followers on 'Twitter,' the boxer offered £1000 for Jimmy's address.  The street soon followed!  He posted a picture of the street name and informed his followers he was there, and asked for the house number, offering to knock on every door to find the right one.

Almost immediately Jimmy gave himself up!
The troll said he was "only joking about."
"I am sorry it's getting abit out of hand. i am in the wrong. i accept that."

Curtis then drove home, telling folks it was all a bit daft and saying he could have saved petrol money by blocking the man.  Still he found great support, boxer Lennox Lewis, footballer Joey Barton and Lord John Prescott himself all offered their congratulations. 

Anyone wish to argue with Curtis?

Guardian story with Twitter comments

Sunday, 10 March 2013

He He He!

The day was taken up with football.  The Edinburgh derby saw Hibernian struggle once again against a Heart of Midlothian side, a side so full of young players it was almost the Under 20's!  The Hearts played the better of what football was on offer yet failed to get the ball past the lucky Hibs goalie.  Lee Griffiths, as clear a product of Leith that you will ever come across, did manage to put the ball past Jamie MacDonald in the Hearts goal.  It gives me tears as I tell you the Russian linesman at the side did not notice the ball had crossed the line, by a yard!  Not for nothing do Scottish officials find themselves sponsored by 'Specsavers!'  I am myself not in favour of 'goalline technology' as the game has managed fine, bar the English cheating in '66, without it until now.  Better placed courageous officials are all that is required.  Still, looking at the reactions of the Hibernian faithful I must say, it's a giggle, innit? 


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Busy Day

I did spend two hours with the museum this morning.  Discovered that a school is sending the kids in to discover the town's history and am now working on a handout for them.  This is difficult as some areas we are very poor on, Tudors and Medieval for a start.  The Victorian times we do well.  
After this I spent an enjoyable time watching Wigan hammer Everton,  later enjoyed thoroughly Ross County defeating Celtic and then returned to searching for Victorian school buildings still in use as schools.  I have about eight different items to play around with, I wonder if I can do this? Don't know, but it's fun!


Friday, 8 March 2013

Busy Indoors

Having been given my instructions by Deadly Deke at the museum I found great encouragement to research as the rain laden mist sits upon the town throughout the day.  Foolishly I ventured out in search of information during a dry spell, returning home as it ended, upon me!  

The present idea was to collect info regarding the towns buildings, many dating back to the 1400's, the old railway line, and other details of interest.  I have begun to sort out what little I have discovered and now have plenty to keep me from wearying, if I can work out what to do that is!

An interesting item appeared this morning in the 'Daily Mail.'  After Hague's warning yesterday re chemical weapons a story appears in the Conservatives favourite paper telling of children burned by chemical weapons!  The commentators to a man cried 'WMD!'  The nation is cynical to say the least re this governments words on Syria.  This item has now been replaced by one showing  drawings from children in Syria.  Not surprisingly these are dominated by the war.
This war is a complicated one, our part is not as clear as we are being told.

This delicate ironwork stands above a shop in the High Street.  Not sure if it would stop an individual falling out of the window but I suspect it has been there for many years.  I am not sure what the letters are, 'H,' certainly and 'W,' but not to clear if that is an '&,' or an 'S,' also.  My eyes are wearying with looking at such as this today.  When the rain goes off, about Thursday I may go out.  Hold on!  I am at the museum tomorrow!  Oh dear, where's the wellies?  


Thursday, 7 March 2013

William Hague and Syria

WMD 2 is now underway.
Yesterday Her Majesties noble Foreign Secretary William Vague Hague informed the House that owing to the 'Humanitarian Situation' regarding Syria, action had to be taken urgently to stop the suffering caused by the Assad regime. The regime which we are being constantly told 'is crumbling and about to fall!'  The regime appears to be still there and still strong.  However Assad and his opponents, and certainly the mass of the population, are sick of the fighting and destruction which has now reached a stalemate.  It appears both may be willing to make some sort of peace agreement, and the west cannot allow this.  Franklin Lamb makes some cogent points, points rarely heard in our media!

This may well be the reason John Kerry, Hague's new imperialist friend from the US, raced to meet European leaders last week.  If the powers that be wish to attack Iran through Syria the last thing they wish to see is a floundering of the rebels attacking might.  The use by William Hague of the 'humanitarian' reasons makes good copy for the propaganda offered to the media.  Interestingly only the 'Online Daily Mail' mentioned the story, and that low down the page (and then most commentators objected strongly to our involvement) The 'Telegraph' appeared to ignore it but the 'Guardian' always supports humanitarian aid so was glad about that at least.  Chemical weapons may be used says Hague, but no evidence of this is offered.  Indeed the last time chemical weapons were mentioned cries of 'WMD' were heard in the land and the claim was dropped.  Syria does indeed possess this material, no evidence can be found of any threat to use it however, none whatsoever.  The suitable aid we are giving to help end the killing includes 'non lethal equipment,' such as armoured vehicles, body armour, and equipment to test for chemical weapons.  That will aid an end to the fighting!  In slight acceptance of the murderous behaviour of the 'good guys' who we support, 'Human Rights training' is being given to their killers.  This I remind you is the middle east where killing each other in the cruelest possible manner has been a local sport for millenia!

No aid is mentioned for refugees as this has already been given, and will continue as before.  No-one can complain about that, however the refugees are not the reason for the intervention, that is Iran!  The claim that Iran is supporting Syria may well be correct, the Saudis being the paymaster for the Wahabee and other Islamist fighting groups (Bin Laden was of course a Wahabee) is not mentioned.  Several Gulf States, supplied by the UK, US and other European nations with expensive weapons, are also aiding the rebels out of fear of Iran, rarely do we hear about that also, I wonder why?  

In short daft Dave is acting as 'Tony Blair 2' and encouraging an escalation of fighting in the region for the sake of his friends in Washington.  Obama does not wish to be involved and sensibly he wants out of Afghanistan in a hurry.  Dave however appears keen to be seen as a 'warrior PM' as he believes this wins him votes!  Has he learned nothing from Iraq?  Anything that Blair did that worked was forgotten once he embarked on Bush's folly.  The reasons for that war are still unclear, apart from Israels fear of Saddam and the great quantities of oil!  Iran, being Persian and not Arab, and claiming to be a proud nation that goes all the way back to Cyrus the Great, offer a threat to the region, especially when soon they will possess a nuclear weapon.  The nations to whom we sell huge quantities of aircraft, guns, crowd control material, tear gas, etc, treat their people as badly as Syria and Iran have done.   Both Iran and Syria often treated their people better!  Women were free to learn and develop in both nations, only recently has this been limited, but not stopped, in Iran.  

With the UK reducing the armed forces to its lowest level ever, some 82,000 men I believe, austerity hitting everyone, bar the cabinet and their friends, and the nation objecting strongly to our participation in Afghanistan there can be no doubt this government has decided to involve us in military action in Syria!  The reasons given are feeble, the truth kept hidden.  There can be however no doubt that using Syria to unsettle Iran is the reason behind the thousand of refugees.  The governing forces can sleep easy at night however, those in tents in the Jordanian desert and the bodies lying in the streets are Arabs, not local voters! 


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

6:30am Bike Ride

What a wonderful sight to see, blue sky and sunshine early in the morning!  The fact that my fingers froze so I could hardly hold the camera is of secondary concern.  The freezing mist dwelt in the folds of the hills as the sun sprung up.  The colour was a deep red but sadly my pictures cannot show just how red it was.  A bright scarlet ball rising above the trees and slowly evaporating the mists.  Being early few were about, and that is an advantage.  One or two walking dogs, who care nothing about the weather it appears, one or two grudgingly heading for work.  This early often allows folks to mutter "Morning" as they pass, although there is always a woman, with a big dog, who looks away, nose in the air, as you pass.  Does she know me....?

It is so good to be out on the bike again.  My bones are creaking like an aged barn in a gale but  being out in a part of the country does you good.  The birds flit through the trees, pairing up and preparing the nests for the soon to be new arrivals, rabbits dodge the bike, but not the farmer in the distance with his gun I noticed, and another sign Spring is close, fields are blocked of to stop gypsies arriving.  Breathe deeply the fresh morning air, change your mind when it freezes the throat, cough all the way back down the track.  Back by half past seven for fried egg sandwich  breakfast and slowly stiffening muscles.  I use the term 'muscles' in the widest possible term here.


Monday, 4 March 2013

Old Hooses

It is regrettable that these two houses stand on the corner of a main road, and one just up from the traffic lights at that.  This means constant traffic, some heavy, for most of the day.  This is not how it was when they were constructed sometime in the 1600's.  These fine houses must contain some stories considering how many folk have passed through those doors during that time.  Some amongst them have altered the windows in the late 1700s or early 1800's, I suspect previous windows were considerably smaller.  The majority would no doubt have been employed in some kind of agricultural work, the towns importance as a market town still gives us a market twice a week, although cattle and pigs no longer walk up the High Street.  Many however were involved in trade, manufacturing or the like.  Shops did good business, pubs abounded, lawyers ensured they got paid and a variety of churches were in operation.  I would have thought that at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries the owner would have been some sort of merchant, and keen to show of his wealth.  Certainly the windows were installed then and some think the front was renovated also. The gable dormers were added to the roof in the 19th century to enhance the building in keeping with the 'Flanders' like influence found elsewhere in the town.  I wonder what his prices were like?   Certainly behind the house on the left of the picture stands a long weatherboard outbuilding used at one time for trade.  Now it appears to have been turned into some sort of lodging.

The Sky TV aerials appear to be of a later vintage than the rest of the building, possibly 20th century according to the stour on them!  The aerials also indicate just how many flats these once proud homes now contain.

A very Georgian like door, possibly dating from the origin of the house or maybe added during the alterations.  The glass looks what you might expect from a Victorian door.  I have been wrong before of course, as someone is always willing to remind me.

I do like a nice letterbox but this one has been blocked by a nameplate!  A minute letterbox has been inserted above this, Tsk!  Not quite sure of the name, although there were a couple of Fitches elsewhere in the town in the 19th century.