Thursday, 30 May 2013

Tabloid Lies and Distortion

Is there anything more vile than a tabloid paper?  Is there anything more amoral, self seeking, and careless of the harm caused by their sensational exposures and claims than a tabloid paper?   Daily we are faced with several willing to sell their grannies if it made money.  Harassment of the rich and the poor, slanting any story to appeal to a reader whether the story is true or not, voyeurism, lies and half truths and pressuring any who oppose them.  Rupert Murdoch's 'Sun,' outsells them all, yet in my view the worst, because it is most seditious can only be the 'Daily Mail!  
The 'Mail,' in print and online, purports to speak for 'Middle England,' slanting the stories to suit their taste.  The main concerns of such are money, taxes, immigrants and money!  Appealing to women it fills reams with tales of suffering women, almost always based on slanted surveys, and tales of men gaining while women are pushed aside, also almost all false.  Facts do not sit well with the 'Mail' reader.  Half truths sell.

Today the 'Online Mail' outdid itself.  The story concerned a mosque in Spitalfields and two nearby Anglican churches.  While only handful attended the churches the mosque, being small, had hundreds of Muslims bowing in prayer outside.  Half truths in the article spoke of dwindling church attendance while the numbers of Muslims continued to grow.  4.8% of the people are Muslim screamed the article, less than 59.3 claim to be 'Christian!  Muslims, the story is telling us, are taking over!  Hold on I ask, if the population is around 66 million or so how many are 59.3%?  Also while many Anglican churches are indeed failing dozens of others are doing well.  Non Anglican churches are bursting at the seems in some places and dwarf the number of Muslims in their towns and cities. 
Once again a slanted story aimed at those afraid of immigration and a Muslim take over.  The 'Mail' is well aware that many readers vote for UKIP, and a large number belong to the BNP.  That is reflected in the comments on the daily 'Hitler' stories much loved by this rag.  The far right are as dangerous as any other extremist.  The only word missing here was 'evil,' a word usually inserted into every story whether suitable or not.  
Of course Muslims attend the mosque, they have to!  Christians, and most in the established churches are NOT Christians, attend willingly, usually in churches in which they feel they belong.  No compulsion is required.  
The fanciful idea of the 'Mail' discussing Christian faith makes me laugh.  This immoral rag here attempted to feed the fear of Islam and stir race hatred against the immigrant, especially a black Muslim one!  What a disgraceful attitude.
The good thing is that it did not succeed.
With every comment in the online paper a choice can be made between red and green arrows to express the readers opinion.  Red for against, green representing support and agreement.  At the present moment in time the 'most popular' comment ask why the 'Mail' is trying to stir up race hatred, he has 9613 green arrows!  I have never seen so many!  The second in line questions the whole set up of the story, he has 7968 in agreement! 
Even the 'Daily Mail' reader has not fallen for this racially motivated lie!
The author claims to be concerned to ensure 'Historical accuracy' and like so many 'Mail' employees he is fascinated by the Nazi's.

Now let me make it clear that I see Islam as a 'pushy' religion.  Wherever it is to be found it will push and push until it gets its own way.  Experience shows this in all nations, the only answer is to draw a line and hold it there.  The majority of Muslims will always be of benefit to this nation.  It is certainly true that young men find a question in their minds as to whether they are 'British' or 'Muslim.'  Such are open to extremist preachers, and it appears around 2000 may well be under their influence today.  The obvious approach is to remove such men, even though the internet makes it hard to end their influence.  That must come from other Muslims.
Christians need not worry about the rise of Islam, at this
The 'Daily Mail' should be closed down, let moment in time the 'Liberal' nature of society is much worse.  This permeates the churches to such an extent that the ludicrous decisions of the Anglican Church, as well as the Kirk, have found themselves falling into.  By forgetting their Lord they have followed the fashion of the day, and that brings disaster.    
 Lord Leveson investigate this publication today.


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

What if...?

On this day in the far off year of 1974 one Ian Main, a BBC 'Comedy Script Editor,' sent a note regarding a comedy script he had just finished reading to the Head of 'Comedy and Light Entertainment' at the BBC.  The scriptwriters however were sufficiently powerful enough to push for their idea and in time were able to extinguish opposition.  Just as well.  The programme, 'Fawlty Towers,' became a classic with a worldwide reputation!  John Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth (Just how many has this man had?) produced and acted in one of the BBC's best ever comedies.  When the BBC does it right it cannot be beaten, especially as there are no annoying adverts to break up the story line.
Here is a copy of the note that almost halted proceedings.

Listening as I do to the comedy programmes on offer via Radio 4 it is clear the vision is limited to 'Guardian' reading, middle class pretend socialists, with sex, preferably gay, being required more than wit!  It has indeed become a little tiring listening to shows aimed yet again at twenty somethings with little knowledge of life outside their own zone.  
When the Beeb does comedy well it is hard to beat, Hancock, Steptoe, The Goons, One Foot in the Grave, Del Boy, all these were brilliantly scripted and well acted, today the cheapening of the easy laugh and the urging of their limited viewpoint is uppermost.  'Wit,' in all situations is unlikely to get past the 'Ian Main' of today.  I wonder if this is because so many involved in the background today are middle class females?  Media people tend to have a limited outlook on life, dress in the regulation uniform, rarely differ in opinion, share the same outlook and background and like members of parliament have no understanding of the needs of the real world.  Maybe they should get out more?   


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Bad Boy

For the past while I have been suffering forty anonymous Spam from the usual chaps.  However the past few days have offered me a hundred or so claiming to be from a doctor specialising in 'Lyme Disease.'  Today it claimed to be a holiday resort on the German border.  "Enough!" I cried! A quick movement to the settings page, a click on "Registered User," meaning no more "Anyone," and I have prevented the scallywag getting through.
However I remain unsure whether all correspondents will be able to comment if they do not use Blogger?  I am perturbed here.  So can I suggest if you post a  comment and it does not reach me you post a comment to inform me of this?  Thanks.


Monday, 27 May 2013

Day Off

The local world took a day off today for the May Bank Holiday.  If shops opened they opened for short hours only, buses ran a Sunday service, which round here means they don't run at all, and the weather took a day off and sent the sun all day.  That is a change I must say.  Of course the folks returning to work tomorrow will find the rain arriving as they leave the house, excuse me while I snigger a wee bit.    

Much of yesterday was spent sniggering at Hibernian's second cup final defeat in a row, you will recall how the Heart of Midlothian cuffed the 5-1 last time out.  This time it was a much better performance, a mere 3-0 defeat after an abysmal performance.  One interesting fact was a banner made by the Celtic fans watching their team walk all over Hibs.  These lads come from a small island on the west coast of Ireland and produced an Irish Tricolour with "Achill Island CSC"  written on this.  However this caused consternation with some who watching on TV thought it read "Islam CFC."  Naturally the extreme anti-Muslim lot got onto Twitter and Facebook and began crying out against these nasty Irish Celtic folks.  Consider also the IRA troubles of the past forty years and Celtic fans blatant contempt for 'British' soldiers, it was easy for the less intellectual to jump to such conclusions.  As you can see from the picture they were wrong, but you can understand the mistake.


The sun has shone through the cold wind, however that did not stop the English male wearing tight T-Shirts, shorts and sunglasses and carry an useless plastic bottle of water.  What a difference the blue sky makes, how bright the world appears, how eagerly do we race to sit in the sun.  Ah well, back to normal tomorrow....


Saturday, 25 May 2013

A Comedy Great

Sunday afternoons were often spent with my head up against the gramaphone in the corner.  My ear would fill with the sounds of the 'Billy Cotton Band Show,' ' Life with the Lyons,' ' The Navy Lark,' the rather sad 'Jimmy Clitheroe,' and the brilliant, unforgettable 'Goon Show!'  This in particular left memories because this somewhat surreal comedy was 'all in the mind.'  Pictures were painted in the listeners head in a manner television can never do.  The voices, and there were many, left an imprint few can forget.  To hear some of these sounds today takes me back to a sun filled living room and the large salad filled rolls that often comprised Sunday lunch in the summertime.  It was a long time ago!

The Goons began in the dark gloomy days after the war.  Many ex-servicemen decided to try their hand at the entertainment world, most comedians making their way via the famous 'Windmill Theatre' in London's Soho.  Famous for naked dancers, who were not allowed to move, posing as tableau's of ancient Greece and the like.  This was interspersed with comedians and offered six shows a day six days a week.  Famously during the blitz manager Vivian Van Damme (happily known as 'VD') refused to close the theatre and the famous motto 'We Never Close' was often mispronounced, 'We Never Clothed!'  Security was employed to hinder some patrons behaviour, one such using glasses with small binoculars attached was helped from the premises. The audience did not appreciate the comedians in between 'acts.'  They would read papers and laughs were indeed rare.  However the cream of British comedy for the next twenty five years began here, among them Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers.  

Secombe, Michael Bentine, also at the Windmill,  and Sellers teamed up with Spike Milligan after discovering they shared a surreal sense of humour.  Almost penniless they would sit in Cartoon Cinemas all day laughing at the show on offer, and developing their own styles incidentally as they did so.  Sellers wormed his way into radio by calling the head of entertainment and impersonating a popular comedian of the day.  Only after a short chat did he reveal himself.  His ruse worked and he obtained small parts on the wireless.  Milligan obtained some work writing for Harry Roy's popular radio show while having attempted to make it as a Jazz trumpeter.  Their real break occurred when together they created the 'Goon Show.  During the war POWs had used this term to refer to the German guards, and a cartoon from the 1930's also featured 'Goons.' 

The Goons began as 'Crazy People' in 1951 because no-one at the BBC knew what was meant as a 'Goon.'  A member of the BBC management reportedly asked "What is the 'Go On' show?' BBC Comedy management appears not to have improved much.  The 'Goon Show' was the name on all later episodes.  These consisted of a mixture of sketches, spoofs  of incidents and people of the day, constant references to the war in which they had all served, plus puns and catchphrases. Explosions were a feature of the show, Milligan himself suffering from German mortars at Monte Cassino, the effects never left him.  Behind them grew a mixture of amazing sound effects which put a tremendous strain on the 'sound effects ' department.  What sound would you use for someone driving off on a wall?  They of course loved it!  Add to this a fantastic orchestra conducted by Wally Scott, who later became known as Angela Morley!  The links and incidental music, including national anthems no nation would ever choose, are impressive in their own right. Max Geldray played a Jazz Harmonica and the Ray Ellington quartet before the last third.  Both were a standard part of the show with incidental lines thrown in.  Geldrays large nose and Ellington's West Indian background constantly a target for Milligan's writing. 

Spike Milligan wrote most of the shows, Bentine leaving after full and frank debates on how the show should proceed.  Larry Stephan, who drank himself to an death wrote a great many scripts with Milligan.  The depressions which assailed Spike led to Eric Sykes and others writing or taking Spikes place on occasion.  The series lasted until 1960, at one time with 26 episodes a year!  Less episodes and it may have lasted another ten years.  

The Good Show, a never to be forgotten classic! 


Friday, 24 May 2013


I sit here watching the ebbing sun attempt to make its way through the fast flowing clouds.  How lovely is summer!  That's the time of the year the sun positions itself high in the sky before being obscured by rain clouds.  My delight at the brightness that shines through is matched by the delight of the birds that flit past as they head home for the night, umbrellas in hand.  I wonder whether they will be able to listen to a young couple next door scream and shout and slap one another lovingly like I can?  There is little more enjoyable than hearing a neighbours squabbles, although for a few minutes the entire town would have been listening in to this pair I suspect.  If you must disagree in such like circumstances why can folks not learn to speak firmly and quietly rather than yell?  If you like one another you will discuss frankly, not yell abuse.  If however you are just living together because 'that's what you do' then split up now because you will later.

Another chap who got it wrong was the one who turned up at the house used as a mosque for the dozen or so Muslims around here.  He got it wrong by carrying a flare, two knives and a lot of resentment.  He may well hear arguments in that prison cell, I hope he doesn't have to share it with a Muslim!  Many similar attacks have been reported elsewhere.  The murder of the young soldier by the two Muslims the other day has awoken much resentment understandably.  The attitude that 'if they don't like it here they can leave' is certainly understandable, especially after the way loud aggressive Muslim groups have 'appeared' to get away with their 'biting the hand that feeds them' behaviour.  Groups such as the 'English Defence League' and such will not die out if such people are seen to be let off abusing our troops lightly.  When situations like this arise all Muslims are likely to be at risk, and the majority appear happy to be here and cause no offence.  This situation reminds me of the man in Sheffield (?) after 9/11.  He entered a shop and bought some goods while abusing the owner because "You're lot are responsible."  His long, loud abuse reflected the feeling of many that Islam is a violent religion.  The shopkeeper however was on TV later explaining how he had pointed to his Turban and cried "I'm a Sikh!" The man was not deterred, facts cannot stop a Yorkshire mans opinion.  The difficulty is keeping a cap on retaliation while also keeping the extreme Muslims quiet.  Loud aggressive preachers who call for 'our boys' to be shot staying in the country, well provided for while fighting extradition, do not help of course.  We pander to peoples all too often, instead we must stick to what is right and speak the truth at all times, even if it is not welcome.

That Sally Bercow has suffered today.  Some time ago a suggestion was made that a one time cabinet minister in the Thatcher (BOO!) government had been involved with child abuse.  A name was mentioned on 'social network' sites and 'accidentally' during a TV programme, Sally Bercow on Twitter indicating one man in particular was guilty.  He was not pleased.  He was not pleased as he was not guilty!  Several others also implied his guilt and he instructed a lawyer to deal with them.  Apologies and small sums of money have been paid, however the Tory individual believed there was more to this with Mrs Bercow.  It must be explained that she is the wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons.  The  Speaker is a Tory MP, she a Labour Party member!  On several occasions she has opened her gob and got into trouble, this time it has cost her a lot of money.  The judge found her guilty of libel, (or was it slander? It would be defamation is Scotland) and she must apologise, pay a sum of compensation, and pay all the costs!  Just imagine how much these lawyers charge!  The web is not free from libel actions it would appear, in the same way the media is not free.  Quite right too.  But watch how you say things when naming names.


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Representation of the People?

In times past I liked to take portrait pictures.  I must have taken hundreds of pictures of people and have at least one really good one and two I like.  Now I only have the wee camera, and no models, I don't take any, which is irksome.  However I always collect such portraits if I see any I like, either paintings or photos.  Today I found myself wandering through sites offering vintage portraits and I am amazed so many see the light of day.  There is something about these I like.  The attractive women, the clever way they have been posed, the expressions.  A good portrait offers you the real person, and the person does not always like what they see!  Some photographers have a way of making the sitter what the photographer wishes them to be rather than what they actually are, and this irritates.  There are those who put the sitter in a box, or with a background that makes them something other than themselves, these are often famous photographers, but the subject is not in my view themselves, just a mannequin.  

The use of light and dark, the background that forces the eye onto the light areas is very Rembrandt like.  I think it was Karsh, a famous portrait photographer, who was instructed to spend time in art galleries studying Rembrants work before he began his own.  It shows in what he produced.  Karsh made his name during the war with a famous 'bulldog' picture of Churchill.  He obtained this after the first pose revealed a smiling Prime Minister with an expression usually give to grandchildren.  Karsh stepped forward, said "Sorry Prime Minister," and grabbed his cigar out of his hand.  The resultant expression of disgust gave the world the appropriate picture.

One day when rich I will get a camera similar to the aged Zenith 'E' or the Minolta, scrape together a lens of around 105 -150 length and go find myself some willing (cheap) models.
Until then I trawl the net.



Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Death of the Kirk

Anyone with even a slight knowledge of Christian churches who base their faith on the scriptures knows how easily such organisations can fall apart.  Two major problems constantly interfere with the intention to follow the master, one is satanic interference, the other human nature.  The real problem in all churches occurs because the members are all sinners!  All those who have experienced the Living God carry their human nature as well as his, the conflict is real and difficult.  Many things hinder, temptation, tiredness, circumstances, and the enemy.  Churches that begin well often split apart because theological understandings over minor items, such as music in church, forms of service and the like, cause one congregation to become two.  This is off little importance as long as bad feeling is not allowed to develop.  However when theological truths are involved churches must stand up and be counted.  This is never easy, causes much pain, but a choice has to be made to follow the Lord of their faith or another.

The Church of Scotland, 'The Kirk,' has seen many troubled days in the past.  Secondary items have stirred passions, financial mismanagement has not always been satisfactory and even a hotel acquired in Israel causes ructions!  These need common sense and an open mind to amend.  However when biblical truth is attacked and sin is tolerated openly and accepted by many the church is clearly dying.  For many years the Kirk has seen 'liberal' teachings find a home in the church.  Many who refuse or an unable to accept the 'Word of God' have watered down the Kirk until its relevance in nil for many in Scotland.  Instead of representing Jesus Christ to the world a watered down 'be nice to everyone' attitude prevails.  'Be nice' indeed, but that is not Christianity.  Obeying God ad his clear teaching is!  If we wish a satisfying life we cannot find it anywhere outside of Christ Jesus.  He is alive and the disciple must do things his way, not the worlds.  The world is full of 'nice people.'  We see them everyday, but nice people often care nothing for God and their hearts, like ours were, are focused not on him but on them.  We were like this, and all too often remain this way.  However I and those in the real church, one with no denominational borders, have experienced something greater than ourselves, Jesus is alive!  His way is perfect, mine, and societies ever changing fashions are not.

Yesterday after much struggling the inevitable occurred, the Kirk decided that it was acceptable for homosexuals to be a minister in the church going against Gods clear teaching.  In spite of 'academic' studies over the past few years revisionists have pushed through the 'gay' agenda and the Kirk has sat back and allowed this to happen.  What people do outside the church, whatever the denomination, is for them to decide.  If however they wish to represent Christ Jesus they must first of all belong to him, and then preach him and his word, not their own.  Clearly this is not the case here.  Sex is made for marriage between one man and one woman, not two men or two women.  The lie has sprung up in recent years that such a relationship is 'normal' and any objection is an attack on 'equality.'  Both are nonsense.  Such relationships are not 'normal,' and many know this to be the case, whether they care or not is another thing.  Outside the church this is not a problem.  What people do is their business and life is hard for many of us.  Trauma, bad family, inadequacy, natural tendencies and influence form others have all led us into strange behaviour.  Often we have enjoyed such but we know right from wrong, but follow the flow in our trial.  Many Christians have 'gay' tendencies, many have suffered because of this, all seek to follow their God even though this is hard for them.  It is hard for the rest of us 'normal' folks also, we have the same temptations and trials, and fail just as often.  However we all seek to do the right and follow the one who gave himself for us. 

Homosexual sin is no worse than any other, Jesus died for all, and his cry is for each one to find life in him, whoever they are and whatever their situation.  His love is not limited because an individual is 'gay.'  A meeting with him will however force us to know ourselves and seek to let him know us.  Changes will follow, slowly maybe, but his arms always await each one. 

The Kirk has rejected discipleship to follow the way of society around them.  Instead of changing society the Kirk has been swallowed up in the hope of being 'relevant' to this generation, not realising that the Lord of the earth is always relevant to each one.  In their desperation to be accepted by the world the Church of Scotland has moved away from God.  This leads only to death.  The enemies work has been, as always, subtle, slow and very effective.  The whisper in the ear "Has God said...?" has done its work.  Years of false teaching, liberal 'intellectual' thought, dating back to German theologians of the 19th century, has led to many losing trust in the scriptures and failing to study them and listen to those who have found them to work.  'Reason' and 'intellectual depth' does not change lives no matter how important they may be.  It is the work of  the 'Holy Spirit' alone that can enable faith, and that not always overnight.  This has been ignored and human thought lauded to everyone's loss. For those Christians who remain in the church the choice is simple, slide away with the rest of leave and form a new church trusting in Jesus to honour you for honouring him.  There is no real choice, it is either Jesus or society, the best or nothing.  All churches which have moved away from scripture have died, even if they still exist in form.  The assembly decision yesterday shows the Kirk is now dead, and no longer relevant to the Lords work.  How sad, Jesus, our judge to be, weeps.


Monday, 20 May 2013

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

I awoke this morning, eventually, to a gray sky.  This is becoming a bit wearing now.  I also noted the bug lingered on, also wearing in every manner.  On top of this I decided to pull a muscle or strain some part of my calf on Saturday morning while crossing the road outside Tesco. (By 'calf' I mean 'calf' in my leg, not 'calf' in a field somewhere accompanying a cow!)  This means I now limp even slower than before, and as I took a perambulation around yesterday I toddled up a slight slope and made it worse!  So most of my time I sit here letting it 'rest.'   Bah!  How something so simple can ruin life.  If I were the complaining sort instead of the always cheerful type I may well get irked by this and form a protest movement.  However I will just grin and bear all my troubles with never a word of grumbling, as always.

During my few lucid moments today in between limping around attempting to find a cure for may ache, I researched (which means read a lot) the battles at Gaza in 1917.  This is because I require one short paragraph about some chaps who died there.  Since Saturday, in between pawing my aching leg and watching football I have been reading pages of this stuff.  How far have I got with the scrawl?  About one line......


Sunday, 19 May 2013

A Blackbird Sang

I'm sitting here on my bed, the light is better here at this time of night, and I was listening to the 'Mark Steel's in Town' programme on the BBC iPlayer when I switched it off to listen to the Blackbird outside.  As part of the Thrush family Blackbirds, Robins and Thrush's all have wonderful songs, I don't know why, but there it is.  This guy was sitting somewhere in the tree opposite, hidden from view, loudly proclaiming his territory.  There are a few of them around here, most early mornings I notice two of them attempting to eat the same worm, and while chasing one another away the worm hops it and lives on.  Possibly they are brothers as there appears to be no love lost between them. When I left early in the mornings for work, at 4:30 a.m to be precise, I would turn the corner with not a sound in the air yet a Blackbird, always the first to waken, would let the world know I was about.   A second would respond from the far end of the street and as I reached the turning place the world was filled with Blackbirds, Finches and Blue Tits singing their hearts out claiming their place in the world.  They say birds elsewhere are more colourful than those in the UK yet ours have better songs.  I know not if this is true but I do know that all birds have accents!  Different members of the same species have regional accents to their song.  'Cor blimey guv.'  No wonder we canny understand them.


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Season Finished

The season finished today.  There are one or two games to go for others of course, a handful tomorrow, a cup final defeat for Hibs, and the like, but our season has finished.  This means there will be no football for a couple of months.  None, zilch, nowt!  Of course we can pick up foreign Johnny's stuff but that's not the same.  Now what shall I do?  Who can I shout at if there is no football?  How can I be cheered or depressed if the game does not take place?  As there are no major competitions taking place this summer (I use the term 'summer' loosely you will understand) this means I have no reason to stay indoors on a Saturday.  No football to watch in the afternoon, not one game, and I sometimes watch three! 
Horrors!  I may even have to go outside and talk to people!  Julie at the museum will hear and drag me in to spend an afternoon stacking shelves again.  My time will not be my own and with no football I will have nothing to converse about.  I may have to listen to women's chat.  
Oh dear.....  

However before it all closes down we have the Scottish Cup Final next week.  You will recall that at this time last season the Heart of Midlothian defeated (easily) the Hibernian by 5 (FIVE) goals to 1 (One) and that it ought to have been 10-1.  Having won the cup once again we let it slide past this year but the wee team have decided to give it another go!  Incredible considering the sadness (giggle) last year and the small but relevant fact that they have not won the Scottish Cup since 1902.  How many years ago is that?  There they are pictured about to start the celebrations by driving along Princes Street in Scotland's capital and heading down to their little ground on the old rubbish tip.  (Hibernian's ground was once the area rubbish was dumped, but in Aberdeen the football ground was built on the area the er, dung from the police horses was dumped.  Watching the team these days people tend to draw comparisons.)  I note that they have planned ahead and given notice of where the open top bus will be travelling when they win the cup this time (stop giggling at the back).  What has not been stated is whether the horses will be the same ones or not.  Tee hee, some of these folks actually think they might win.  You got to laugh aint ya?

One small point.  In every town and city in the UK a cup winning team does this open top bus celebration through the streets.  This however does not happen in Glasgow.  The bus there, for either Rangers or Celtic, would be assaulted by hordes from the other side.  That will not happen in Edinburgh or Leith.  Fat chance of it being required next Monday, that's for sure!      


Friday, 17 May 2013

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Nothing happened today.  The sun rose and caused a mist.  The day almost got warm.  I got ordered to 'get on with it' by the boss at the museum and returned home so to do.  I fell asleep when I got home.  No news anywhere in the world worth considering.  There was an occasion today when a rant or two crossed my mind, unfortunately it failed to stop and passed on.  Now I am left wondering what agitated me. Surely I ask, surely there must be something in the 'Daily Wail' that would get me going?  Indeed there is, but it is just not worth going over that again.  The fact must be said that no matter how I rant Harriet Harman will never be charged with treason and hung. 
 A book from the museum shelf concerning the town records lies glaring at me.  I have to acquire information from this tome but I don't know what I am looking for!  No change there.  Also scattered around are copies of 'Twenty Years After,' a magazine from the late 30's written by and for the ex-servicemen of the Great War.  I began searching through this for info and got caught up reading bits.  That wasted another hour.  That is one problem with research, so much catches the eye and must be read which means the main subject gets pushed back for a little while, about three hours today!  
I was impressed also today by the impression 'Meccano' left on people.  However I know you all preferred the 'Dinky cars' but would not admit it.  Worldwide folks were all over their floors, up to their knees in metal!  Naturally ONLY BOYS would play with this, however one of my great nieces would probably be very happy in those days.  Her dad being a builder she has always made things.  In fact she used to help him fix the car and now does a car engineering course on Fridays.  When I am rich I will get a car and have her fix it for me, I can't!  
I am also impressed by how much I learn from you lot, there is so much I don't know and I know you will know.  One thing I have learned in the past few years is that I know nothing!  That has been hammered home quite well if nothing else in these days.  
Radio 3 has been renown for the higher arts, many ignore it because of this.  However I find lots of good programmes there and one is 'The Essay.'  A variety of themes are offered in 15 minute bites to satisfy the intellect, well bits of it.  This week a famous author I have never heard off gives a memoir of his life.  You might like it if you can hear it where you reside.
Eight p.m. and nothing done.  I must think quickly, I have decided, it can all wait until tomorrow.


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Technical Genius, not me.....

As you will have noticed today we celebrate 150 years of Frank Hornby, the man who gave the world 'Meccano,' 'Dinky Toys,' and model railways!  This great man offered the world, especially boys in the days when we knew what boys were, education re engineering, fun and enjoyment through dinky cars, and huge pleasure which many still enjoy through model railways.  What a man.  He deserves a knighthood in my humble, and correct, opinion.  

Being technically deficient I found Meccano a bit of a trial.  The idea was simple enough, strips of metal with holes in, held together by screws and nuts, formed  into a useful machine by following a simple diagram.  The simple idea failed whenever I touched it.  No two sides ever matched, bits were missing, anything that looked like it may work always had one item missing.  Once built it was often impossible to undo the screws someone had inserted with a power drill!  My dad enjoyed it, he made a model DC3 that was excellent for a kid like me.  My brother who was technically minded managed to make everything he touched perfectly.  The Steam engine he made many years later ran around the house quite happily.  My little cranes and slot machines were like Spanish building projects, never completed!

However many went on to great things through this 'toy.'  The budding Kingdom Brunel's of this world learnt much about engineering and making Forth Road Bridges that blocked their mothers house for months on end.  Frank Hornby himself made a fortune, and deservedly so.  After many years of trial and effort he eventually sold 'Meccano' worldwide.

During the 1920s Hornby introduced his 'O' gauge clockwork railway.  Twice the size of the trains that were to come later this sold reasonably well, well enough to encourage the introduction of trackside accompaniment, cars, houses, people.  These items became known as 'Dinky Toys' and as such became a favourite in every child's home ever since!  Basic cast metal toys stayed popular until the early sixties when perspex windows, seats and steering wheels, were added.  Kids of the sixties did not know the hardships we endured!  Today old men enthusiasts collect aged Dinkies, sometimes paying over £30 for a dingy Dinky!  Rare models still in their boxes can raise huge sums, but not from me.  Since 1933 the cars dominated a boy child's play.  Today I do not see them so obvious in shops.  Why have tastes changed?  Political Correctness perhaps?  Recently one company offered 'Boys Toys' and'Girls Toys,' and received a flood of complaints, from mothers, as if they had done something wrong!  No longer can we claim a toy to be for one sex or another, even though boys still prefer boys toys, and girls prefer girls toys.  Social engineering does not amend human nature, stupid mothers!

The greatest thing Hornby ever achieved however came after his death! The great 'Hornby Dublo' 00 Scale electric railways!  The electric train set became every boys dream!  Nothing could compare to having a train set, especially when the surroundings could be changed at will (easy, being made of shoe boxes and other objects) and the mind could develop layouts according to your own desire, until at least someone wanted the table back!  Bah!  My greatest mistake as a spoiled brat was to get rid of the train set and fall for the Scalextric racing cars rubbish!  Did I think I was growing up perhaps?  What appeared as great fun was, like all racing cars, boring!  The train set enlarged the mind, the cars just fell off the track at high speed.  There is of course many such railway layouts run today by men of certain age who ought to know better.  The lure of the railway gets a grip and much money and many web forums are dedicated to (cough) mature men playing with railways.  Not my thing today, but how I wish I had kept my set all those years ago.

Frank Hornby was born in Liverpool of middle class leaning parents in 1863.  He left school at 16 to work in his dad's provision business.  After his father died the business closed and when working for a meat importer he developed the 'Meccano' theme in his own time.  His boss encouraged and supported this financially at first but it was not until 1907 that the name was established as his own business.  By the beginning of the Great War offices were established in Paris, Mexico and Berlin!   By the thirties he was a millionaire and the business well established.  He died in 1936 of a combination of heart disease and diabetes.  He left many happy little boys of all ages behind him.    


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Tudor House

The 'Tudor House,' built about 1620 they say, was home to a Bocking Clothier.  Weaving was the strength of Bocking economy.  For many years this highway saw pilgrims pass through the hostelries prepared for them on their journey to Bury St Edmunds a trade that passed away after Henry VIII decided to run the English church his way.  Flanders weavers moving into Essex developed their cloth trade, a trade that lasted well into the late 20th century.  Clearly the builder of this house knew his business well!  Renovated in 1974 it is once again a family home.  However it also stands at a busy crossroad and suffers constant and heavy traffic outside the door.  Made of hand cut oak timber and wattle and daub walls, a few locally made bricks used in creation of a chimney and tiles also made nearby, the building has stood the teats of time. The small ground floor windows would have used expensive glass while shutters would have been on upstairs windows.        

A close up of the bressemer, the wooden beam supporting the jettied upper floor.  

The end view has changed somewhat from a 1920 picture.  Not only does the building lean forward much more it has also lost the brick chimney that rose up on the outside passing the window above.  The door has been inserted since then also.  I suspect the open hearth, where all cooking would have been done in medieval times, was the reason for the chimney stack here.  Gas and electric cookers would enable a removal, and the dangerous lean might have demanded a removal of the chimney itself.   

This period saw Henry VIII take the throne, the reformation, Henry dump the Catholic church so he could dump his women, burnings at stake, Elizabeth take over, and bales of cloth from here enable the town to do very well thank you.  It was a truism that the Flanders weavers always told the truth.  Buyers took to not inspecting the 'bays' when delivered because the weavers always gave what was promised, and of good quality!  

Friday, 10 May 2013

Ernie Winchester

When I followed the Heart of Midlothian around Scotland's bonnie football grounds (the word 'bonnie' must be taken on trust here) I was young and foolish enough to express my opinion regarding a players ability in a full and frank manner.  Knowing what I was talking about did not appear to matter much.  Ernie Winchester, who died on the 8th of May, was one such player.  

Ernie began his long career with Aberdeen in 1962 and became something of a cult hero.  A big strong centre forward he banged in seventy goals in a hundred and twenty four appearances.  He then moved to the NASL and played for Chicago Spurs, who moved following the strange US franchise system to Kansas and became the Kansas City Spurs.  He scored regularly there also.  Then his life improved.  From 1968 until 1972 Ernie achieved the greatest height any footballer can attain, he joined the Heart of Midlothian!  Playing alongside the great Donald Ford for the most part Ernie offered a bustling heavyweight up front.  As I recall he was not a great goalscorer for the Heart of Midlothian, instead many at the time decried him a carthorse, a waste of space and simply there to pose for the action shots of the photographers.  This I recall was a general opinion at the time, however I note fans forums today have many claiming they 'always liked him.'  Aye, right!

One Wednesday night we travelled through to Glasgow to play Rangers.  Once again these so called 'Glasgow Giants' were going through a bad patch and a mere 13270 turned out.  The 'loyal' are only 'loyal' when they are winning.  Rangers one only one game in 13 during this spell, and it was this one!  The bus I travelled on, being more sensible types than others, chose to stand in the enclosure for this game.  Many Hearts fans did likewise and we were rewarded with a display of ineptitude that would grace an 'Idiots Anonymous' meeting.  Withing 20 minutes we were two goals down and the fight left the side.  After one hour in was 3-0 and half the players may well have died as they appeared to have disappeared.   One vexation was being made well known in the vast, near empty arena.  This mood was not lessened by the sight of Ernie Winchester, our one substitute in those days, warming up.  As he ran up and down in front of where we stood we gave him hell.  We made our thoughts clear that he was inept, the team poor, and as we were three nil down and the game entering the final ten minutes we wished him to retain his seat as we gave vent to our feelings that he would not change things.  He heard every word.

With ten minutes remaining he entered the game.  Almost immediately he galvanised the side and scored a goal!  Four minutes later he enabled big Jim Irvine to score a second!  The next six minutes of play, plus injury time, showed the entire Rangers team inside their own six yard box with almost the entire Hearts side desperate to get the equaliser!  We cheered every move and almost expected to win let alone draw.  

As the teams left the field those around me did not give much support to the players, we all felt ashamed, but were too macho to admit this.  One of my football regrets is that I did not climb over the wall and apologise to Winchesters face.  I still feel bad about that today, he deserved an apology.  His attacking style did not change, but my appreciation of the man himself did.  Then one day his luck changed.  Jim Townsend, our midfield general, indicated to a Celtic player at a home match that he ought not to kick him.  The referee took action, he sent Townsend off!  This required altering the team and big Ernie moved into midfield where he was a revelation!  It transpired that at heart he was a defender and had only become a forward at Aberdeen's then managers bidding.  He continued from then on as an attacking midfielder, and one he left Heart he played centre half for Arbroath.  He scored 14 goals in 75 games for the Hearts, but making some of us look fools was the best thing he ever did.  They used to say 'Play the man' in spite of what others say or do to you, Ernie Winchester 'played the man' that miserable night at Ibrox and almost saved the game.

We need more like you in this world Ernie.  RIP.

Ernie Winchester
18 May 1944 - 8 May 2013


Thursday, 9 May 2013

'The Apprentice' is a TV programme in which one rich business man works his way through a bunch of applicants looking for a job.  He is famed for his shoddy Amstrad products, his support for the Labour Party and his move, under Labour, into the House of Lords.  The screen offers us a hyped up badly presented shower of TV wannabees desperate to become famous through this programme.  I should mention I have the sound off as I have no wish to hear what is said.  Sharp suited, slick, self possessed, male wastes of space are joined by over painted hussy's on the make.  The last winner of this drivel claimed she was given a non-job by Lord Sugar, the hero of the programme, and took him to court in a bid to claim money.  She lost!  What does it say about her that the court believed him instead of her?  Television today panders to the small minded who adore such stuff.  I just want to reach for a gun.  Any NRA men out there.....?

Sir Alex Ferguson has stood down as commander of Manchester United.  The media have responded with a frenzy of excitement  details of his every victory in cup and league, his life, his temperament, his battles, his mind games and the vast number of players he has made use off.
All bar the fact he once managed in Scotland!

This I need not let you know fair scunners me! 

His record with East Stirling, St Mirren and Aberdeen were ignored.  So much so that a report claims that on Sky Sports a discussion re the man to take his place (David Moyes) included the comment, 
"Moyes does not have European experience" 
and received the answer, 
"Neither had Ferguson when he arrived." 
Aberdeen, his previous club, as you will know not only played many European matches they also under Fergie won the European Cup Winners Cup.  Not that an English broadcasting company would know this.
'Dunderheid' is the word indeed!


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Look Up!

I was listening to Heather Couper blethering away on her 15 minute programme Cosmic Quest earlier and it struck me how rarely we see the stars today.  Even on dark winters nights we rarely consider the heavens above us, rushing to and fro, wrapped up against the cold we tend not to stop and stare upwards.  Even if we were to do so would we see anything?  Our world is so polluted by light, necessary light at that, that the wonders of the stars are rarely observed.  Few of us live in areas isolated enough from those orange streets lights enabling us a glimpse of what is above.  The park opposite does offer the possibility of such sights of course, however the abundance of brats loitering there tends to make this difficult unless a Kalashnikov is in ones possession.  

The heavens declare the Glory of God they say, and indeed they do!  Vast numbers of planets, stars, galaxies and who knows what out there.  Huge clouds of dust cover thousands of miles either forming planets or the remnants of collapsed ones.  The only thing not seen are space ships carrying wee green men.  Such as they are found only on earth.  Some years ago, during the Soviet days, reports of aliens appeared regularly from the far reaches of the Soviet Union.  At the same time young girls were reporting visions of the Virgin Mary in Latin countries, while in the UK people were constantly finding Elvis Presley at work in local Burger bars.  I feel these may all be one and the same thing myself.

Go out and find a clear sky and see if you can find these images near you!  Hubble Images

Monday, 6 May 2013

A Day Off.....

I need one.....

How's the flat you're living in in London, Jock?" asks his mother when he calls home to Aberdeen.
"It's okay," he replies, "but the woman next door keeps screaming and crying all night 
and the guy on the other side keeps banging his head on the wall."

"Never you mind," says his mother, "don't you let them get to you, just ignore them."
"Aye, that I do," he says, "I just keep playing my bagpipes."


Sunday, 5 May 2013

Busy Weekend

It's been a tough weekend.  Not only did I have to interrupt my day yesterday to watch half a football match from China, listen to the Heart of Midlothian defeat St Mirren on the wireless (I don't mean they were playing on a wireless there, I meant I used a wireless to listen to the game)  and then, exhausted as I became I then had to watch Dundee United play St Johnstone.  This was tiring I must say, but I endured bravely.  Today, in between many other duties, I found that the requirement to indulge Ross County at home to Celtic was thrust before me, this too I bravely endured.  I then took a break out in the sunshine just to obtain that picture for you.  I almost obtained on of the girls but resisted  partly because I don't like taking 'candid' shots of strangers, I see that as an intrusion, and partly because my teeth are already loose enough.  I must get out more as the opportunities for something new to photograph are limited here.  Returning back home I discovered that Kilmarnock versus Hibernian (yaboo sucks!) was on telly.  So I sat back to watch and discovered this to be an enjoyable game which is unusual with Hibs.  However the game was abandoned after a spectator suffered a heart attack which halted play, required the assistance of both club doctors and the on stand by ambulance and led to the game being halted.  A short while ago during the game v Inverness a man died in similar circumstances at this ground, and one players father also died this way after a major game.  No wonder they wished to call it off!

On a different note, here is something quite er, different.....

Stolen blatantly from Rab at the Ben Lomand Free Press


Saturday, 4 May 2013

It's Curtains for Me.

Life was hectic this morning.  I was out on the rusting bike by five past six, cycling slowly around as I refound muscles unused for a month.  Before seven I had cleaned the window.  That is I moved the plant, books and other detritus that have blocked it since Adam was a boy and mucked it out.  Then I replaced the curtains after their annual Spring wash, or is it bi-annual, I forget?  How long does it takes to place the brutes on the runner?  Why on earth does the bit to stop them running of the end not go back on?  What woman designed this thing anyway?  After almost killing myself hanging on to the brute, screwdriver in hand to turn the screw that would not turn, I gave up and am happy to let them hang badly until the next wash.  I then went for veg, had breakfast, had a 30 minute kip, far from curtains, and it was not even nine by the time I had finished grumbling my way through the online papers.  The light mornings do make it easier to get things done.

Later I decided to wander through the town watching the citizens rush about eager to get the shopping done.  Quite why such folk go shopping when the town is busy I never understood, and it's always the same people!  Try shopping early, or late even, and then you need not fret so.  I meanwhile smugly promenade.  This eventually took me past the cricket ground where the local team were struggling to beat their opponents.  I still find this a strange game this cricket.  One man throws a ball at another, he in turn swings a big stick at it.  All around a dozen others loiter in the sun.  A man wearing several hats and a white coat every so often makes strange hand signals, possibly Morse code I suspect, and after every thrown ball missed by the one with the big stick the others cry "Well done," and applaud even though nothing has happened.  You quickly realise this game was invented by an Englishman!  "Play up! Play up, and play the game!" This is what it says on the mural outside Lords Cricket Ground, once the home of cricket itself, until India nicked the game.  Yet the English have always cheated.  I watched the excitement for a while, none of the gentlemen noticed me, and I was impressed by the response of the other team members gathered around the scoreboard, they too were happily ignoring the, er, action!

One interesting aside from the County Council election came in the constituency for the other half of town.  The UKIP candidate was named as Philip Avramovich Maximenco PALIJ.  This made me laugh, as do those folks called Conneletti or Patel who stand as candidates for the Scottish Nationalists!

You may find this LINK useful at some time.