Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Too Slothful to Post, so.....

Here is a picture of a pretty girl by a window. (1862)


She is reading a book while waiting for the carpet fitter to arrive!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Silly Season is Well Under Way



With the politicians on holiday, most likely claiming expenses for the trip, the newsworthy items that dominate the papers drops away.  The media desperately fill their pages with dross, sometimes interesting, mostly dross. Today we read of the contents of a footballers suitcase, the charges Amazon is adding, expensive houses or boats and as many sex stories and deaths as they can find.  Holiday reading indeed!  
This of course limits the excuses to rant about unfairness, bad government and other nasty goings on that would not occur if people made me the nations favourite tyrant.  Sadly that position has not yet been offered to me, but I live in hope.

So I am digging out the old photos, that one above taken along the coast near Mallaig in 1985 I reckon, and reading some of the booklets I brought back from the museum today.  I had them on the desk in front of me to read but people kept coming in!  I had no chance to read, if it wasn't kids doing the Medieval week it was folks phoning to book for a future workshop.  Tsk!  Some folks don't care do they?  The kids however love what they do, and that's really good.  


I have also spent much of the last few days attempting to remove an unwelcome visitor, 'webcake.'  This, and several others, came in when I downloaded a supposedly virus free item from 'CNET.'  I failed to read the 'terms and conditions,' who does read them, and there CNET insist you accept webcake.  This horrid brute offers you pop-up ads, blocks the connection on browsers to the proxy connection and takes ages to remove.  In the end, having run malwares, Avast, Spybot, I used this advice and by using 'ADW' and 'JRT,' i managed to remove most.  It may well be I have lost other things also but so far not much has gone wrong.  Oh yes, a bit remained even so and I left the machine on overnight as 'Windows Defender' ran through everything, taking ELEVEN HOURS to complete the job, but the last nasty left.  Or at least I hope so.  It is not a Virus, but Adware, Malware possibly, and it slows the machine, annoys you if 'ADBlockPlus' is not used and should be banned I say.  That's the last time I use CNET.  On one of my email accounts I have suddenly began to receive 60-100 spam a day offering me 'enlargement!' Tsk! With that account it is difficult to hinder spam, but I am getting rid of that slowly.  

Always wise to run checks on the PC weekly, especially after adding software.



Monday, 29 July 2013

Pill Box


Being forced to remain indoors by my most beautiful and intelligent niece.  A Radio 4 play (yawn) was occurring and the musical genius was playing the piano in appropriate places.  She I must say was magnificent!  Displaying the talent, intelligent understanding of the role, and sheer ability that left me wondering if indeed her dad really was my brother.  However the play concerned a famous ballet choreographer, her men, and the Queen Mother.  I confess I preferred the piano to the old queens.  'Drama,' never reflects real life, and the characters of the characters offered made me puke wish to turn off and listen to a woman talking about her baby!   The old queens I've worked with always appeared decent enough folks for the most part, those at the top of their profession however always give me the impression that folks fawning around them has turned their head somewhat.   That will not happen to my favourite pianist, her mother informs me!

But I digress, I began by attempting to inform you (those still awake) that I had spent that 45 minutes radio listening by wondering through the old albums.  There I found this picture of a disused pill box.  This was one of many installed across south east England in 1940, the intention being to hinder a Nazi advance.  The policy was in fact erroneous, the better tactic, and one Rommel attempted in 1944 was to stop a bridgehead being built on the landing beaches.  Once that is secured the day is lost, which is what happened in June '44.  However these pill boxes were built in many spots considered able to defend any advance.  Many still exist in back gardens, overseeing railway lines and river crossings, and here in the fold of a hill.  Quite why this one is here, somewhere in the north of Essex or the south of Suffolk I cannot remember, but some general of sorts considered something worth defending here, most probably the roadway, or railway, now removed.

These small concrete emplacements would have held two or three men and a couple of machine guns.  Their chances of survival under a real invasion would have been slim, although the enemy would not have been kindly disposed towards them I suspect.  These low doors, often you have to crawl to enter, now find use as storehouses or play area s for children.  Some are preserved as memorials others rot slowly and the vast majority have been removed.  The effects of war remain for many years, some notable, many unseen, all enabling us to be grateful the invasion never occurred.


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Interesting Scotia Happenings



'Gardyloo,' as you well know, was the exclamation shouted from old Edinburgh tenements when someone wished to empty their 'pisspot' into the gutter that ran down the middle of the narrow close.  Such a load offered from several floors above, some buildings reaching ten stories, was not the most pleasant part of Edinburgh past.  Walking through it on the way ho,e from the tavern would not have been a barrel of laughs either I suspect.  Hygiene was not much improved anywhere in what is laughingly referred to as the 'United Kingdom' until the middle of the nineteenth century.  Then Ministers of Health were to be found in most cities and sewerage, slum clearance, clean water and soap brought much needed improvements.  Edinburgh, not surprisingly, produced some of the best and most inventive doctors in the world!  They had a lot to go on, as it were.  

During the twentieth century, which some of you may be old enough to remember, Scotland's capital still had problems with sewage.  By this time pipes ran way out into the Firth of Forth depositing unwanted material into the waters where it would be passed on into the north Sea. This is the same same North Sea where our Haddock came from and they kindly recycled the stuff back to us through the many 'chippies.'  I recall the early 70's when Edinburgh streets were in upheaval as a new sewage works arrived down Portobello way at Seafield.  Normally this seaside 'resort,' I use that word sparingly, contained the youthful Hibernian players and their fans idling the day's away while bigger clubs participated in European competition, however during this decade the contents of the sewage pipes had failed to reach the Haddock in the North Sea and instead arrived unwelcome on Porty beach.  Some folks still swam!  Leith people eh?  The council swiftly moved into action, once a backhander had arrived, allegedly, thousands of tons of new, clean sand was deposited, the new sewage works opened  and people removed the clothes pegs from their noses.

This was not without mishap of course.   While working in the infirmary one chap (English of course) arrived in the ward, both hands tied to a rack keeping his arms in the air.  Behind him came a nurse carrying a small bowl containing several of his fingers, or bits of his fingers.  He then had Professor James sew them back on again.  I spent the next two weeks looking after him, doing all those things you wish you could do yourself, until he was considered fit enough to return home.  I wonder how his hands are now?   Possibly the shaving cuts have healed also?  He was a warning that when fixing a large industrial fan, make sure it will not swing round swiftly when your hands are inside!

The fitters work at the Seafield plant may have been good, at least up till someone switched the fan on, but Edinburgh still had an excess of waste to deal with, this is where the 'Bovril Boats' come in!  'Bovril' itself as you know was an invention of an Edinburgh Butcher, John Lawson Johnson.  He later moved to Canada (because Edinburgh was too warm?) where his 'beef glaze' was developed into 'Bovril' as we know it today.  This he sold to Napoleon's army and made his name and his money!  However the substance also gave its name to the 'sludge boats.'  To remove the contents of the sewers boats collected from sewage farms as much as they could contain and sailed into recognised areas at sea and dumped the lot for the tides to disperse. From 1978, while I existed on a pittance in a hole in a wall in Notting Hill the M.V. Gardyloo operating from Leith Docks, took up to half a million metric  tonnes of 'sludge' from the people of Edinburgh, and headed of to St Abbs Head or the 'Bell Rock' to release its contents there.  For twenty years this interesting operation continued.  However while the dumping ground was carefully chosen, and the ship 'ponged' a wee bit the interesting thing was the passengers!  At no charge twelve passengers were entertained on the short trip and were given breakfast, coffee and biscuits, lunch and even their tea while they inspect the sea life on the islands in the Forth, especially the Bass Rock I suspect.  In between using binoculars on nesting seabirds or examining the wheelhouse the ship would dump its load on unsuspecting Cod.  Their opinion has not been recorded.  A very good day out this seems to me and I wish I had known of its existence at the time.  I would have been aboard at a shot!  Sadly EU regulations forbade such dumping in 1998 and these boats curtailed their employment and were passed on to others for less exciting work. The 'Gardyloo' now transports 'fresh water' for Azerbaijan!  The Seafield Water Treatment Works, a nice way to say 'sewage,' continues the work, although much attention is required concerning the 'odour' that local citizens may notice from time to time.  Some £50 million may have to be spent to deal with that.  The boat was cheaper!


From 1950 until 1953 the United Nations fought its first war, this took place in Korea.  The 'Cold War' had begun and used third world countries as battlefields.  Our fifty years of peace were fifty years of war for Africa, South East Asia and Central and South America, among others.  Fifty to a hundred million died, still, we were doing OK so that's alright then.  The Japanese had dominated Korea for around a hundred years and when removed in 1945 a political decision meant the nation was divided between the Soviets to the north and the USA to the south.  The two nations began to develop along different lines and in June 1950 the Communist North invaded the South making the UN rush into action - eventually.  An army comprising twenty nations, with almost 90% being American, arrived under 'Mad Boy' MacArthur.  The United Kingdom, still devastated after the defeat of Hitler, sent a large number of troops to this war, much against public opinion!  Two major wars in fifty years, a depression and now with rationing still ongoing few cared about a nation they had never heard off.   However a force built from the Commonwealth was sent.  The British Commonwealth Forces Korea (BCFK) comprised Australian, New Zealand, Indian, Canadian and British  forces and numbered 100,000 men and this was always led by an Australian. For the most part however these men have been forgotten!  The British units involved are named here.  

Allowing for the lack of news at the time, TV was in its beginning after the war and the Radio and newspapers appeared to play down the war itself.  Indeed one returning soldier stepped of a train in Edinburgh's Waverly Station where a friend greeted him.  When asked where he had been he replied "Korea," and his friend had no idea what he was talking about!  The war was so badly reported because no-one wished to know.  The Britain of the early fifties was rebuilding after the war, houses were in desperately short supply, wages were low, the ravages of war and the building of families and a new life took precedence.  The men who served, and suffered greatly, were forgotten.  As indeed were those in Britain's other small wars, the 'End of Empire' wars.  

Now however this new enlarged memorial has been opened to remember those Scots who served before they all pass away.  Situated in  West Lothian, of a Korean design, surrounded by Scots and Korean trees to represent the dead, the hills also suggest Korea to those who were there.  Many died there, many were traumatised, as any 19 year old on National Service would be!  Forgotten on their return, ignored at the time, these men endured for their country as did those from the other conflicts since that time.  It is good that something is done to remember their actions. 

.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Char



I need a char, I really do.  Once again in site of my heavy workload I had to spend much of the day cleaning this place, and I only cleaned it a few weeks ago.  The rubbish bins were full, the sink greasy and I cannot mention the windows which were cleaned only last September!  Hmmm that reminds me about the fridge.... Let's not go there, I'm sure that green stuff was there when I bought it.  Also when I went out today I had no shirt to put upon my scrawny fifteen something stone body, the ironing needs done and I know no ironic woman.  The noise from the hoover (which isn't a hoover as I bought it from Tesco but you know what I mean) does my head in and the smell of bleach is not good for me I'm sure.  On top of this the bike needs cleaned again, all that dusty old railway stuff, and the hours just fly by when I'm watching telly working on projects.  I can tell you I was fair worn out by lunchtime and have been quite puggled ever since.  
On top of this I had to chat up that nice lady at the Sainsbury checkout at seven thirty after I had put the bike away, shopping early (not for Christmas) is the way to avoid crowds.  Then I had to carry the large bag home all by my weak self, and the shop is at least 200 yards away.  (Which brings to mind a robber in a small town.  He robbed a shop he used regularly, then hopped off home at high speed, home lay 100 yards from the shop.  The police found him quite quickly. That was one of last years fun stories.) So much to do and so little time to do it.  I do not know how I survive.  Actually all this dust I raised makes it hard to see the screen....


It would be unfair of me to mention Hibernian's unfortunate seven nil defeat at the hands of Swedish side Malmo last night, (9-0 on aggregate over two games) so I will say nothing about that.  I like to be kind!  Hibs in truth were doing OK for the first 20 minutes, and the fans for once (the prices were lowered) came out to support them.  However once the Swedes took the lead their nerves disappeared and when relaxed they cut Hibs to pieces. A funny game football, had Hibs scored first it may well have been Malmo who collapsed and today we might be shocked by a Hibernian success.  Sadly that did not happen and the knives are out.  Football is like that.  Is Pat up to the job as manager?  Could it be the players are just rubbish?  St Johnstone, with a smaller budget beat Norway's Rosenburg who have a much larger amount of cash to spend, so Scottish football is not all bad.
Ah well, the real work starts soon, and we will see if the Hibs players have what it takes in the real world, I canny wait, I'm laughing already!


  



.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Haunting History




The word Haunting put me off when I first noticed this, however it is used in a non ghost manner, more or less.  This week the kids are expected to look around and investigate the ancient world, both locally and abroad.  The Celtic tribes, Romans and Egypt kept them going this morning.  I spent a while watching them while discussing local history with a chap who came into the museum to see one particular aspect, when I found him in a dark corner he had not got around to the bit he was looking for, he was so involved with his own past he discovered in front of him!  That was really good!  This museum adventure was good today.  I only upset one fellow who was a wee bit full of himself, and got on well with all the folks I spoke to.  
Now that's news!  
One poor kid decided to be sick during the Kite Making session, so while the tutor instructed the others in flying kites I was sloshing about with a mop and bucket!  I was like a janitor in school!
The mums in attendance were all used to such events, it goes with having kids.
I really enjoyed finding out how the kids liked the things on offer.  One or two are brats but the majority today were interested, and many are returning for other activities.  How unusual, a successful day, in spite of thunderstorms and pouring rain!  
No other news in the UK today I see....... 

.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Royal Baby Free Zone!



After considerable effort I found the only decent escape from that baby, radio!  TV News only had one subject, the 'Daily Mail' as expected has billions of badly spelt lines concerning the benefit takers baby, and the rest of the multi layer choice is pap!  So radio it is.  Radio 3 at lunchtime offered me Krzysztof Klabon as part of the Prom season.  I love this, you will hate it! Now I am listening to Hancock's half Hour once again.  Now this is comedy!  OK 'TalkSport' this morning is not everyone's cup of tea, not usually mine either, but in between adverts there is an occasional glimpse of quali....well let's not go to far.  Admittedly Radio 4 is too much middle aged, middle class women stuff but by using the schedule it is possible to dig around for some good items.


Another alternative to the goggle box infatuation can be found here on E-Bay.  Here I obtained two books on the cheap, including postage, which are bargain second hand tomes.  There are many complaints re E-bay but it is indeed worth a look.  Now I have found a couple of bookshops that send me books at charity shop prices I will be making use of them more, when I can afford it.

Aaaaaand when the sun shines what do you do in the afternoon to avoid the baby news?  This!



.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

All I want for Christmas.....




I passed the 'Seat' shop early this morning, before any of you were up, and decided that this would be an ideal Christmas present, for me!  There were two reasons for this, one the colour yellow is the safest on UK roads it appears, and two, it was the cheapest car in the pound.  A mere £5999, a snip for the rich amongst us.  When I got home I checked the £2;34 in the savings account and at 0.001% a year I may soon be able to but this car myself, what?...oh.
I learned to drive in a Seat Ibiza and very nice it was too.  A nice tight 'feel' to it, although the driving instructor did keep in it tip top condition, not counting the time yon lassie rammed it against the left hand side and scattered them across the road of course!  He thinks of that still!


On the way I passed the setting up of a 'Boot sale.'  You will all be aware of this, people driving, paying the man in charge a £5 note, setting up a small table or blanket, and selling all the junk in the house they wish to lose.  I am told there are many bargains to be had but when I passed nothing had begun and I had no cash.  Why these boot sales always occur early on a Sunday morning when I have other things to do I know not.  Why not use a Saturday I ask?  It would suit me and my piggy bank better?   People are so selfish I find.


My Sunday ended in here, the first time I have been inside.  I should say I took the picture earlier when the heat of the day had returned, chased away the mist and made the heart glad.  These English churches fascinate me, it is very different in Scotland you see.  Places like this go back hundreds of years and many bear traces of the events history has wrought on them.  This was possibly began as a Saxon church and was developed as the town grew once the market began in 1199.  Roman brick can be seen in places and the graveyard may well have been used by them and Saxons, though not at the same time!   An unusual Anglican church this one, they appear to believe in God!  Pews, arches, interesting things in corners I would have liked to look into, and as I sat pondering I pondered on the Victorians sitting stiffly in these pews, each in their place, the unwilling dissenters from the years of the reformation forced to attend unwillingly, the vicars who canny men that they were led the people wisely, the vicars from distant times who may not, and who may not even have been able to read that much!  Pilgrims passing through, beadles using sticks to control 'rowdy youths,' a panoply of a thousand years of the towns history.  As I was having difficulty following the sermon, acoustics not as good as I hoped and his speech a slight hindrance, I mused instead.  Nice to be in such a place, in spite of the Anglican way of doing things. 


Oh yes, and for collectors of doors we have this narrow item.  I suppose this is used by those wishing to climb into the ancient tower, and those who each Monday practice ringing the bells.  There is not much point in being a campanologist if you are too fat, says he taking his stomach of the table.  
I told the vicar and he tolled the bell mate.

.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Silly Season



I blame the 'silly season' and the sun!  Nothing much is running through my head these days. Nothing new anyway.  The sun (how I love it!) has shone continuously until today and burned the brain cells, hindered sleep at night (not that the sun shines here at night) and left an undercurrent of weary brain.  Not that this makes much of a change you say, but add to this the end of parliament throughout the western world for the holidays and major news stories tend to die away as the politicians holiday with either families, girlfriends or those who will line their pockets or improve their parliamentary careers.  The papers fill this with tales of islands, boats, houses and the like up for sale.  This is to make the reader jealous of how multi millionaires live. This will encourage them to buy lottery tickets in the vain hope of emulating the rich, several lotteries are advertised on TV these days alongside the National Lottery.  If jealousy or celebs divorces do not provide enough 'bread and circus' for the masses the media will offer health advice, even if dubious, and lots of stories of women's sufferings, trauma and pain.  All to keep the people docile.


Everything appears a little flat round here, even the shows were not very busy, the local market unexciting and daily routine is the order of the day.  The TV is of course rubbish, although watching the 'Tour de France' had its moments.  Another 'Brit' as the press insist on calling him, will win it tomorrow.  That's two years running, although it was a different man last year.  The Golf is continuing in the usual ponderous golf manner, the commentators just want to mention Tiger Woods or any 'Brit,' as usual.  Any controversy however will be exaggerated into a major story, as they do.  Never been that keen on golf, another rich mans sport in spite of being Scottish in origin.   Yet while the first signs of the new football season have sprung up I am far from excited.  The close season is to short for me these days, I long for a three month break to make the mind desperate for a return to life on the pitch.  We are back too soon and even worse, the season ahead will be a long hard one for us.  Success is assured, but struggle will ensue.  And I am too keen on more hot weather to consider rain drenched football!

Maybe I need a holiday?  Texas, Singapore, Maldives or India.  Possibly Portugal or Argentina beckon.  Hmm, I think I will just look out the bus pass instead........

Oh and a word re the Liquorice Allsorts, I have chipped a tooth, I think they weakened it......  


.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

It Takes Allsorts



Sadly, I'm hooked!  
Yes indeed!  I bought a packet of these to share with the girls on Tuesday, but have discovered I need to keep eating them myself.  For some strange reason these small sweets have taken over and I must eat them, in spite of the damage they are doing to my teeth!   
The sad thing is the pink ones which surround the black liquorice, and the little square layered ones appear to need me eating them.  You will understand I hate to disappoint.  Also as this lovely hot weather is making eating a lazy thing I am forced to eat 'Allsorts' just to keep me alive because cooking is hot and uses energy that I cannot spare.
I am looking for an answer to this problem.  If you discover one, keep it to yourself!  



.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Shows!




Ah the 'Shows.' the funfair to you, has arrived.  Dodgems, Ghost rides, and burger Bars have already begun to set up shop.  Shortly afterwards the overpriced smaller stall will offer us the chance to be robbed blind.  I know things will be charged too high as the posters all around inform the victims that 'All Rides Half Price!.'   Half price?  What price were they before then?  Now I have no problem with this lot, they have been here before, and the chances of me going on any of the offerings is zero, however if there is opportunity to whine and complain I see no reason to give it a miss!  
However what I remember of the 'Shows' when they arrived in Edinburgh all those years ago was then bright lights in the dark night and the tremendous noise given off by the huge growling lorries that supplied power for the attractions.  'ERF,' 'AEC,' and other large lorries going back to the thirties I suspect rumbled away all night, the cables offering huge opportunities to break necks as we passed by.  The modern ERF appears too clean and nice in comparison with the growling engines of the fifties.  The noise and pollution is less, but only just, but the atmosphere offered in those dark far off days (oh how far off) is better than what we have tonight.



These two stuffed dummies offer up the local news programme on the BBC, 'Look East.'  I rarely watch it, especially as the ITV version usually has real people on offer, but the local news anywhere is always dreary.  It appears to me nothing happens often, so often that 'Look Eats' fills the programme with visits to the NHS.  Almost every night they are pounding the corridors of a hospital looking for a sob story (how difficult is that?)or possibly a GP or local health unit, maybe a woman suffering some illness, anything related to health to fill the programme.  Tonight I switched this on, they offer unsafe hospitals,  woman with a disease and... I then switched off!  How do these folks get away with this?  It is time to reduce such programmes to ten or fifteen minutes and put on something worthwhile, and not anything to do with Health!    


Monday, 15 July 2013

Meet Fred



This is Fred.  For the past few days the wonderful, enjoyable, sizzling heat, which will no doubt cause all sorts of pains later, has led me to keep all the windows open to some extent.  How lovely that is you rich folks in warm climes will never comprehend.  However with such benefits as heat the open window sees many bluebottles pass through in the mistaken belief that herein lies a MacDonald's, Indian takeaway or council rubbish tip.  They may be near the mark with the last one mind.  These beasties usually seek the quickest way out when approached, fly's however, called walks if you tear their legs off I suppose, hover around the lamp dangling in the middle of the room for ever and ever I find.  Quite why they follow such irregular patters in flight I know not but I certainly do know they avoid rolled up newspapers very expertly indeed.  
Fred however comes into a different category.  For one I have no idea what he, although intellectual he aint, and for two it may not be him, it may be lots of him, about that I am not sure.  Let me explain.  
The kitchen window opens from the bottom, day by day I have found Fred trapped inside the window, when open, without the wherewithal to sink down two inches and fly away.  Instead he rushes around getting frustrated by his inability to get through thin air which is so hard beneath him.  His mum never explained glass to him.  Daily I have been using my hand, or a small piece of paper, to guide him down about two inches to the freedom of the skies.  Sometimes I do this several times yet he never appears to learn.  Constantly he returns, constantly I help him out.  he will never meet a Mrs Beastie like this!   I canny understand why he does not avoid the window, indeed I am not sure where he comes from.  Maybe there is a nest of these just below my line of sight under the window?  Maybe he is not Fred but lots of Freds?  There is no doubt they are all daft if that is the case.
In the Democratic Congo folks are killing one another, Syria sees hundreds die daily, Egypt is in a ferment, Christians in Vietnam, North Korea, all the nations with 'Khan' in their name and in the middle east are being tortured or persecuted, hospitals fill with the sick waiting for aid, accidents occur or roads daily, economic plight keeps millions awake, yet I worry about Fred?  
Sometimes I wonder about me, I really do....... 

.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Quiet Early Morning



At 6:30 the morning is very quiet, especially on a Sunday.  Rattling along on the bike I could listen to the birds singing as I headed up the Matterhorn like incline at three miles an hour.  Someone, slightly fitter than me raced past at five miles an hour, giving a grudging nod in my direction as he did so.  I noticed how he slumped down to three miles an hour further up however.  There is something blissful in such an early morn.  The silence, even the by-pass was relatively quiet, the birds singing or chasing one another through the trees, the lack of people, especially brats, the warmth of the sun as it climbs high and brightens the world.  All such a change from the vehicles outside my door, the numpty with 'Rap' blasting out his open window as he passes, people stopping to converse at my window enthralling me no end with tales of the sore feet and liver troubles,  the helicopters that must pass over my house and now I turn the telly on I am confronted by another bloody cook and to avoid this I meet with adverts!!!  Now I am not one to complain as you know, but really does my weekend need ruined by such as this, especially when there is no football?  

I apologise for keeping you waiting and I apologise for using so many words!!!!!


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Greenery



The picture looks a bit bland, that's because it is.  The wee camera does not do distance very well and if I had left my bench and gone closer some nasty thieving type would have taken my place.  They are very selfish like that around here.  So I took the pic from where I sat and ruminated awhile.  
It was the green that caught my eye.  You see we notice it all around us each day, especially after the rain we have endured, but we never 'see' it.   I have noted this before, many times, but few notice what we see as it's so obvious, it stares in our faces daily.  I suspect gardeners will be well aware of this but maybe not.  What I am seeing is the vast shades of green in those trees.  there is at least six shades there, allowing how your PC reads the colours of my picture, and there are many more shades of green around.  
This park began as the home of a rich man, the gardens surrounding the building were planned by a clever chap whoever he was.  The wide and interesting variety of trees today stand tall yet the designer could see this only in his minds eye.  After forty years and the money running out the house became a school for girls for decades.  A while back, just after the building had been reopened as flats, I passed a grinning woman walking over a grass verge.  Her happiness came from walking where she had once been banned on pain of death!  It took forty years but she was now skipping like a Spring lamb!
Small pleasures are the best!
I am making the most of the greenery.  The nights are drawing in, it was darkish by eleven last night and Christmas gods will be in the shops soon, some folks are ahead of us in this already!
So I am getting what I can when it is there.


.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

How to be an Idiot No 153.



So the urge came upon me.  It doesn't happen often.  Suddenly I decided to fix the kitchen sink!  Some time back, in the days of never ending rain, I obtained a tube of sealant for the job.  The sink required urgent repair as the sealant was fast falling apart.  This was a result of the building moving slowly, oh so slowly, over time.  I had replaced the sealant about ten years ago in a similar situation and now I noticed the gaps along the wall, plus the tiles separating from one another by some distance.  I decided to act!  
Some months later I bought the sealant and placed it in the corner so I would not forget.  Cold weather, very cold and lots of it accompanied by freezing rain, distracted my well meant intentions.  Time past, only a few months or so, but today the great day arrived!  I got to work with a will, well a small Stanley knife actually, removing the remnants of the previous badly bodged job.  This went well.  By the time I had finished this small area was covered with foul, used sealant, several tiles that fell down, one breaking as it did so, plus an amazing amount of muck from who knows where!  
Was I dismayed? Well yes actually!
Anyhow I organised the job, took the old tube of sealant still in the sealant gun all those years later from the gun....hold on how does it come out?  
I pushed it, I pulled it, I turned it this way and that.  I twisted that bit, pulled this bit, cursed it a lot, but it would not remove itself.  This is daft thought I as I had this trouble before and in the end it was a simple thing to remove the old tube.  I just couldn't do it!  Pull, push, twist, curse, drop it, start again.  Look at it carefully from all angles, inspect every part, it is simple, it must be that bit, no it isn't, try this, didn't work.  
Isn't it always the way.  Instruction manuals always say 'Place part 'A' in part 'B,' then using Philips screwdriver screw bolt.'  Simple, but you don't have that screwdriver, the part 'A' doesn't fit and Part 'B' is a different shape from the illustration.  Now I had that sort of problem.  
Naturally I threw it down and had tea.
Later, much later, I picked up sealant gun and just pulled and pushed at both ends and the old tube fell out.
Apart from almost breaking my toe I was pleased!   
Insert new tube.  Cut top off.  Place hose bit on end.  Take aim.  Fire!
I slowly began to squeeze the trigger, aiming carefully at the chosen line.
A thickish stream of sealant came out and failed miserably to follow the line which I was taking.  Hold on!
This stuff is grey!
What?  
In my anxiety to purchase the cheapest of the several thousand tubes standing at attention in Wickes I forgot to check the colour!  It was Grey, not white!
Grrrrrrrgnarllsnarlgrrrrrrrrrrr etc.....
Insert new tube, a tube of white sealant, hold on, I don't have one.  
Off to Tesco!  Much closer than Wickes.
One tube of £1:49 sealant, much cheaper than Wickes, later I start again.  This time the job is done, and done very badly indeed!  Technical things, like switching on a light, turning a handle and sweeping a floor, are all a bit much for me.  Inserting a never ending toothpaste like substance into a long slender gap that keeps moving was asking for trouble.  Much later the gap was filled, very badly indeed, so was the sink, the tap and even a gap on the cooker behind me!  How?  
What a mess!  It has revealed a talent unequaled since thon fellow claimed the tower at Pisa would stay straight as a die for ever.  
Tomorrow I do the bath, where, at the moment, only one tile requires replacing.  At the moment......

.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Silly Season Approaches



The papers this morning were unable to share the same headline.  The problem is Wimbledon is over, holidays are beginning, Parliament is looking to the break and no major bill will be fought over until the Autumn, and the media begin to despair as to what to write.  Certainly there is the usual EU courts ruling, a murder or two, a famous person arrested and all that sort of thing but no major story.  The birth of the royal baby (yawn) will fill the media in a short time we read, pull out sections being readied as we speak, commemorative tat being unpacked in shops throughout the land, and miserable old gits wishing Wimbledon was back as even that was better!  Not that I am one to complain you understand....

My uncomplaining nature, my kind heart, my willingness to help, all came to the fore when I wandered in to the museum to return a book I had wasted my time with.  By the time I had left I had volunteered for three Tuesday shifts in a row.  The term 'volunteer' ought to be used 'army style' at this point.  I said "Morning," and she said, "Oh good and if you can do it next week and i'll put you down for three weeks......" and I was shoved out the door!  I sat in the park for fifteen minutes getting a bit red (maybe I ought to get some sun cream as this sun thing might be here for a few days more?) and cogitated on how women twist folks round their finger.  Men don't behave like this.  Men are always thoughtful and considerate I find.  
What?.........oh!

    .

Monday, 8 July 2013

It's Five in the Morning.....



And I am taking pictures of the rising sun shining in on the cupboard!  Summer is here again today!  For several days the sun has shone, the heat is high, the parks full of white bloated creatures turning blotchy red.  The northern breeze is welcomed by some lying there surrounded by plastic drinks bottles as swifts race across the light blue sky, dogs sniff for one another in the grass and adolescents avoiding school avoid the litter bins situated right next to them with equal lack of guilt.     

I wandered out to buy a couple of reduced price shirts.  It appears the shirts in the cupboard, some of which go back many years, have begun to shrink somewhat.  Quite why this strange phenomenon should occur I know not but it has happened before, around a dozen years ago.  At that time I required shirts for the work in which I was engaged, whatever that was, so obtained the regular cheap shirts (made in China) and by wearing one on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the other on Tuesday and Thursday I made it through with little effort in washing and ironing and nobody noticing.  Of course a summer like this one and they might have noticed by Thursday mind.  So, that's two cheap shirts that fit, these are the er, XL type (Made in Scotland!).


I spent a decent amount of time early today informing the English press that Andy Murray is not 'British' as they emphasised continually, but he is Scottish!  Each and every English media outlet had made determined efforts to ignore his nation and use the word 'British' at all times.  Occasionally the word 'Scot' might break through, but this was tokenism at best.  The fact that the world considers 'England' to be 'Britain' is reinforced by this blatant English racism.  Such was the effect that the 'New York Times,' one of the colonial newspapers, tweeted "After 77 years Murray and England rule."  Sadly I was not able to answer this at the time, the FBI would be here by now if I had!  Others indicated their mistake and they amended things quickly.  The English media are desperate to claim Andy as 'British' to live off his glory, not unusual for them as the best 'English' are usually foreign.
Some of the commentators in the pages of the 'newspapers' in which I made clear my opinion resisted stoutly my gentle reminders of their imperialist racism, at least those of my comments that the papers published that is.  For some reason these appear to believe we live in a 'United Kingdom,' while at the same time putting down Scotland.  One day they will learn.
Anyway, congratulations to Andy Murray on winning the Wimbledon Championship, the first Scotsman since Harold Mahoney in 1896.  
'Lang may yer lum reek son!'


Sunday, 7 July 2013

I was here today.....



Another epic journey of four miles and 35 chains, and back again!  Wot?  A 'chain' is a measurement used on railways, and in other engineering works, it measures 66 feet, or 22 yards, or 100 links, or 4 rods.  10 chains equal a furlong, 8 furlongs a mile.  Railway distances are measured in miles and chains from the starting station.  Each object, bridge, station etc, is listed as so many miles and chains from the starting point. By inquiring in my book on this railway line I can tell I cycled around this distance.  The doubtful bit is me getting to the line which takes a few minutes.  So today I went a mere 9 miles, almost!  This 'Halt' was added to the railway to encourage passengers during the twenties.  Bus travel was hitting the railway money, which was never strong, and folks walking the half mile from the village would hail the train, climb the steps lowered  by the guard, and go their way. 


How it was done. No doubt 'Health and Safety' would stop this now!


Early morn but the sun was already high and I made several attempts to capture the light rays coming through the gaps in the trees.  The problem was the sun was too bright, something the camera and I are not used to dealing with.  Out of the treeline the sun made everything too bright to capture easily.




The brickwork on Victorian bridges is much admired however every so often a weakness arises.  Possibly this one took cracks from bad weather, rain turning to ice and over time developing cracks that threatened to collapse.  Only one house lies over the bridge, a farm, so what passes can be quite heavy even though the road is only occasionally used.  The repair will hold it up, no doubt for years, and also allow people to pass safely.  However it is not worthy of the original architecture, but it will be cost effective and safe.


Naturally real life returned during Andy Murray becoming the first SCOTTISH Player to win at Wimbledon.  The brats over the road have somehow managed to make something catch fire. Who knows what it was, I could not see for the trees, but these firemen will have a busy time in the sun, there is always someone setting dry haystacks on fire somewhere around here.  Tsk! 


.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Sunshine!



The sunny Saturday saw me running about slowly catching up with several things that needed caught, bread, veg and sleep.  Thought was not much in mind, and life was improved no end this way.  The heat was rising long before eight this morning as I trekked across the park with my loaf, so warm that I sat there for fifteen minutes sunbathing!  The traffic warden passing by compared his lowest point, 9 degrees below zero, with the 25 he expected today!  He had promised to take long tea breaks to avoid the sun and I expect many avoided tickets this way!   The sun beat down and I will spend more time in it tomorrow if my knees will get the bike started.  Much of today was spent poncing about sadly.  However Hamish posed in the evening sun for me.  He plays a tune if you squeeze him, and poses happily for no fee!  A winner I say that!  

.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Ancient Rural Scene



As my bike and I shook and clattered along the ageing path I stopped to cogitate on the farm in the distance.  I wondered how long folk had farmed this land?  Certainly there was a Celt Iron Age settlement around here somewhere when the Romans brought us roads, wine, revolting Boudicca and failed to take Scotland.  Interestingly enough Tacitus wrote of his father in law who was governor here twice in the 70's and 80's.  That's first century by the way!  His name Agricola, as in Farmer!  Good job his dad was into growing things and not a plumber.  Not that Agricola did much in the way of farming, unless you call dealing with rebellious Celts a kind of reaping.  Hunter gatherers from the distant past were in Essex 8000 BC and by 2000 BC some had become resident in the district.  It is possible the trees which covered the area were cleared soon after this time I guess and so for around three thousand years this area has provided fodder for the people in one way or another.  Not long when you consider Iraq has been doing the same for about ten thousand years but I find this strangely fascinating.  Not so the farmer who rushed past me in his Japanese 4x4 leaving the dust to settle on my almost clean bike.  I blame the EU!


That church has stood there for between 800 and a 1000 years also.  It may sit on a Roman cemetery, which may sit on a Celt one, and the Saxons may even have built the first church around 600ish there, or not as the case may be.  So rarely do i see this view it took me by surprise.


I also came upon this poppy sitting almost alone among greenery in a siding.  These excellent bright plants appear almost everywhere at this time of year.  The colour stands out and as they are found everywhere, and probably unstoppable at that, I suspect they will be around for a very long time.  I wonder if some Afghan will go around and make some money out of them in a wee while....? 

  .

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Problems, Problems....




Problems indeed but not for me.  The woman next door fell through her kitchen floor again.  It has been repaired once but she managed to do it again.  This made her somewhat unhappy, although it was just her foot, no damage was done, and she failed to go through the ceiling below.  Our handyman boys came round, two bodgers hardworking lads, and fixed it this afternoon while she sat and sulked watching dumbed down telly.  This is a young couple who have a lot to learn about living in the real world.  No doubt they come from decent homes where all things were in good condition, this however is rent-a-flat-land, the real world if you like.  You get the best you can but it is never going to be what your dreams desire.  The chances of them ever buying a house is remote, you require around £150,000 at least and both need to be earning about £20,000 annually to obtain this.  No chance around here.  I wonder however if they will still be together in twelve months time anyway.  Kids today eh?

After fixing this little problem the boys noticed the first step at the bottom of the stairs was a bit damaged, this was quickly fixed.  (The phrase 'a bit damaged,' is not quite literal) While doing this the floor sagged somewhat also and on investigation the discovery of a leaky pipe resulted.  A slim crack had appeared on the joining bolt which was allowing water to gush out.  Naturally I was concerned - it might have been mine!  As it belonged to the downstairs chap I relaxed, awaiting his reading of his next water bill, just to see if he notices!  

So an afternoon was spent making tea for the workers, she wouldn't as she was in a huff, refusing to even offer a black bag for the rubbish, and I took the poor souls in for a break.  Mind you I have known them 20 years and have offered them many broken bits of this flat to repair, sometimes they have done this properly, sometimes I have to remind them that window is still stuck from the outside.  The landlord continues to drive his new Bentley, one of two I believe, having allowed all the Jaguars to rest awhile in the garage.  It sounds rough and ready here but it isn't really.  When I despair of accommodation and dream of a three bedroomed place with a sea view and a small garden I consider the places I lived before, at least one of which is no longer a slum -being torn down and rebuilt!  In many parts of the world people live in tin shacks made out of oil drums, and in North Korea they have Stalinist flats - only if the obey!  Now as the sun shines in revealing the inch of dirt on the window, I am content having a bright room, food inside, and internet contact with the real world.  A real world that has recently shown me several very nice friends indeed. 

Not a lot of people have such as this.     



.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Oh Happy Day, sort off.



The delight certain person who know who they are take in informing suffering souls that "I'm younger than you" delighted me no end I can tell you.  Revenge will follow.  I am grateful for the more mature who offered sympathy and that brought the cartoon above to mind.  I am deeply, deeply indebted to RDG, both for her sympathy and her wisdom!  You can see how bright she is!

So now I am in a good mood I will start girning again!  



Parliamentarians salary is decided today by some sort of 'independent Commission.'  These 'High heid yins' decide what MP's pay should be, and possibly the expenses allowance that goes with this.  The House then votes and usually takes the increase complaining it is not enough.  
A member of the UK House of Commons receives £66,000 as far as I can tell, plus expenses for secretary and assistant or whatever.  The committee has decided a wage increase of £10,000 is in order.  Now an awful lot of people are wringing their hands at this, especially those who do not earn £10,000 in a year as it is.  While all cabinet ministers usually (not always happily), refuse any increase in their £132,000 or thereabouts, Nick Clegg, who claims to be Deputy Prime Minister has already said he will refuse this increase.  He of course can afford this.  

My personal opinion is that members of all the parliaments ought to be paid very high salaries indeed, three or four times what they earn now.  The more they earn the better the candidate I say, and there are many of this present lot who should never be allowed back into any parliament in my opinion today.  Of course many have other deals on the side.  Not just as directors or supporters of various very well remunerated 'causes,' but from the job they left to become an MP.  Often they still practice this, and very well paid when they do also.  Directorship or 'support' may bring in many thousands a year.  Very few of these men are suffering I would say and the increase should be curtailed at the very least.  To increase substantially an MP's wage when the nation is suffering two and a half million unemployed, jobs being lost daily and many struggle to pay both their mortgage and the energy bills would be a big mistake.  There again if a man cannot survive on £66,000 a year should he be an MP?


Channel 4 Have upset folks.  They have announced they will deliberately seek controversy by screening the Muslim call to prayer during the coming Ramadan.  This has upset many.  Not only does it appear unfortunate so soon after the murder of a soldier at Woolwich but it appears they wish to provoke a reaction.  It has not been noticed by many that this screening takes place at the first light of dawn, around three in the morning!  Few there are who will notice.  However the 'Daily Mail' types worldwide have begun a campaign of abuse because of this.  Hundreds, let alone the BNP and EDL types, are demanding it be stopped.  So C4, a channel few watch, has got itself publicity everywhere for nothing.  Who would have thunk it?

Does it matter?  Islam is a 'pushy' religion.  Most Muslims will settle happily and live their lives, a smaller majority will however make demands for Islam to an extreme and get support from the more outwardly placid type.   Around 2000 young men are suspected of being drawn into actual terrorism.  Islam must be shown the limits and kept there, otherwise some will indeed make greater and greater demands on this liberal nation.  It never fails to surprise me that when such liberals do their best to kill of Christianity they also fail to oppose Islam demands because they are afraid of being 'racist.'  Young girls in Rochdale suffered the effects of that nonsense recently.

In itself I see no reason why this call to prayer should not be aired for the couple of million Muslims.  Many of whom will indeed be awake to hear this.  However will C4 also show a proper Christian service on Sunday mornings also?  That is something sadly lacking today.  The BBC does its best to hinder real Christian witness, the aged 'Songs of Praise,' being watered down so much these days, and services on Radio 4 more politically correct than genuine.  Will Hindus have coverage from Four, will Jews also?  Certainly atheists and Gays get plenty of coverage on all media and a proper, objective, thoughtful cover of any religion is hard to find.  In amongst the pap offered by C4 there is a market awaiting that they could cover, they are supposed to be aimed at 'minorities are they not?


Right, who do I grumble about next?


.