Friday, 28 February 2014

Hey Ewe!

I posted a picture a wee while back of tartan coloured sheep.  The other day I came across this picture also.  These sheep belong to a man who's name has run from my head (was it Adams?) at Boghall Farm near Bathgate.  Only Scots would make a Hall in a bog you understand.  Anyway this chap has for some years past dyed his sheep various colours often regarding events at the time. Recently they were dyed purple to support the Erskine charity appeal.  Erskine look after wounded soldiers and purple is their colour.  Quite what was happening when he multi coloured his sheep here I know not.  They can indeed be seen as you pass along the motorway from Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city to Glasgow, where we keep the lower orders.  I just remember that I saw them a few years ago as we passed, i canny mind what colour they were that day however.  
Many farmers now do this to their sheep, this can be done for practical purposes in counting them, twenty red, twenty blue etc, and occasionally such are used in adverts and farmers are always keen on money making schemes.  Some think this harms the flock but it seems to be quite safe.  Poisoned sheep do not retail very well at market anyway.  Sheep can in fact cope with certain poisons very well, although copper does them a lot of harm as arsenic does us.

These boys were participating in an advert regarding Ireland in some form or other.  Some folks rear sheep they have to sit outside chewing the cud with of course, but I myself would never mention this in polite company.

Officers of the 42nd Highland Regiment, The Black Watch, photographed by Roger Fenton in the Crimea during the war with Russia in 1854.  Today we read of Simferopol airport receiving several Russian cargo aircraft carrying hundreds of troops.  Clearly Putin is acting the strong man once again, the Russian Fleet is based in the Crimea and he does not wish to lose that port, and in spite of warnings from the US and Europe he clearly intends to support his people there in the eastern half of the Ukraine.    
How easily wars begin.
Barbara Tuchman, that great American Historian wrote 'The March of Folly,' in which she shows how wars begin through peoples misunderstanding of one another and the motives behind each action. Ukraine is divided into two halves, the majority wishing to be part of Europe, the Eastern half predominately Russians descended of those moved there by Stalin wish to associate themselves with Moscow.  For centuries Ukraine was seen as part of the Russian sphere, something many Ukrainians rejected and still reject.  Indeed during the war many wished to support Hitler if it got rid of Stalin! Hitler merely had them shot.  Today a large number wish to join with Russia and the propaganda tells them their opponents are 'fascists,' and a danger.  In fact they are probably just well educated and desire contact with the EU rather than domination by Putin. I tend to side with them, Mr Putin clearly does not.
Will arms be raised in the west?  It appears nothing has been said anywhere, and careful words only will be made public.  A delicate stage has been reached, if Putin sends troops to retake Kiev rather than protect his port this could be dangerous.  

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Watching Paint Dry.

Yesterday the chill in the air was softened by the blue in the sky.  Daffodils lowered their bright yellow heads in the wind, bright 'cotton wool' clouds scudded by, dogs chased imaginary objects yapping in the park.  I awoke this morning to rain lashing the grubby windows, the huddled masses cowering under hoods, caps and umbrellas as they headed to work and the decision to stay indoors and finish the painting was made for me.  

That was not long after seven of the clock and moving at a fast pace I was up and painting by ten thirty five.  A second coat of cheap white emulsion in the small bathroom, a first coat on the small hall.  The balancing on the three step ladder is improving and I only fell off once.  That wall was getting painted anyway!  The ceiling looks good now even though my sense of direction failed me several times.   Even better it looks good enough not to require a second coat, which is good as there is little paint left.  In the morning all the pictures will be put back on those nails you see sticking out, once the grime is removed from them, and life can return to some sort of normality.  
The normality means returning to building that PC.  Now that most bits are in and connected I have come across yet another problem, the not connected bits, the connected bits that may be connected to wrong bits, and why is there no connector for one or two bits?  All very confusing to my befuddled mind. Now the paint is no longer bespotting my glasses I can spend more time watching how the experts do it.  If they have the same bits I have, naturally.  

The clouds returned at several times today.  I ventured out for bread as another dark looming cloud brought spots of rain but it did allow me this shot.  The type of shot we get a lot of at this time of year.  It might yet be a shot of snow tomorrow if my aches allow me out!  


Tuesday, 25 February 2014


This is the similar to the pile of letters, documents, bills and requests for money piling up on the desk, not counting those that have fallen down the back. Having spent another enjoyable day at the museum throwing stuff out, she was not very pleased I can tell you, and chatting to aged visitors I return to the long list of things that remain untouched even yet.  Naturally while watching Manchester United struggling in Greece they will be left untouched for a while yet.

Well watching Man U struggle was a waste of space.  Even Brighton were better last night.  The tackle by Carrick at the second goal was so poor my grannie could have done better, and she died in 1915! The media will restart the Moyes witchhunt again, drooling over their chance to knock someone down when he is already down.  This will all come good again in the end but the poor Manchester United fan will suffer for the next season or so.  Mins you most of them will be swapping their bus trips to Manchester for the bus to Chelsea if they win the league, won't they? Mind you the Greek side Olympiakos were no slouches, and they did their part well.  My grannie would have scored twice against them mind!

A quick look through the press show nothing has happened today.  Ther media have nothing to offer as normal except brief details of the 'Tour de France' which passes close by later this year.  I would venture a look if it was not for the millions of people blocking the road at the time, all roads being blocked also at the time.  Tsk!  I must look into this near the time.  
I wonder if Grannie ever rode a bike....?  

Monday, 24 February 2014

Monday 24th

After a breakfast of stale bread and mushrooms, the mushrooms were growing on the heel of the bread, I decided I needed to both exercise and shop so I wandered far down the road to the 'Lidl' place where folks tell me things are real bargains.
The lied!  As in a previous venture there I found the store cluttered, confusing, prices badly displayed if displayed at all and the customers rough!  Not what I am used to in Tesco.  The bread was poor and overpriced, two items I bought were under false prices and nothing appeared to be cheaper than the regular shops, so why do folks claim this place is cheaper?  Not to me it aint.  The three main supermarkets have cheaper prices in my view, or maybe I just know better as to how to work them I wonder?  Having walked all that way in chilly bright sunshine I then had to walk all the way back again, not one person offered me a lift.  
Having discovered on Saturday just how unfit I am I rediscovered this while crawling back home. Several cups of tea and a long perusal of Jerry's new book I then had a choice of fixing the PC at last or painting the bathroom.  Here again I was wrong as I realised I had to make soup first.  Lentil soup of my own recipe, the kind of thing that puts hair on your chest, it certainly does that for the pot I make it in!  I will leave it fermenting overnight to see what happens. I may get a Nobel Prize for chemistry one day.  Then came the painting. However after struggling with the first coat, including the ceiling, including learning the art of falling off without landing in the bath, I decided that was enough and found myself fair puggled with all the effort.  The second coat can wait, and luckily I have the museum tomorrow so it may wait until Wednesday.  However after all this I still have loads of stuff that require attention!  How come I am so busy, in between medical assistance, that so much has not been done yet?  Do I need a secretary perhaps?
I would have written something much more interesting but I was forced to watch Hull City beating Brighton tonight. Tsk! 

The picture is just part of the old workhouse/hospital extension that caught my eye in the sun this morning.  Looking up you often see such things on buildings, on occasion they are interesting.


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Saturday, 22 February 2014

A Small Mistake

A small but not fatal mistake was to rise when not quite awake and cycle up the old railway when not quite up to it.  Weeks have passed since I journeyed up there, it showed!  Oh how my knees are letting me know it showed!  Still, I saw the sun, even though the cold air cut through me, I saw the countryside again, the occasional dog walker, one or two joggers and most of them being what I call 'London overspill.'  These are folks who commute to London during the week and never return the 'Good morning,' as London folks do not know how, and stare straight ahead as if you do not exist.  During the week the passersby are much more friendly.  
Returning to home quicker than expected I returned to bed to recover.  After that I forgot to do anything much and spent the day watching football.  Other things can be done later......

Lighter mornings that make me rise early, sunny evenings that offer interesting skies, but I ignore them to watch the football and suffer aches.  Good job I am not one to complain, that's all...


Friday, 21 February 2014

Clearing the Mess!

Having reached the end of the week and not being forced to cover lazy skivers folks at the museum I finally started on the looooong list of things awaiting attention here.  I changed the bed for a start, and it's not even the end of the month yet, had the washing machine purring away, moved the plant and cleaned the window area as a man will soon appear to renovate the sodden wooden frames, laid out the pile of mail that requires answering and working out where the money required for this is to come from, placed my newly arrived 'old man's so much off the price Railcard' into my disintegrating wallet while dreaming of train trips far away, sorted the desk into some sort of organisation, sent an Amazon voucher to my niece for her 50th birthday (I burst into tears here let alone her) via her husband as she will not be able to work the email, checked if the bookcase I was admiring at the shop up the road was still on offer, it wasn't bah, inserted a working lightbulb into the common stair so we no longer walk into the doors as we enter, visited Tesco for the special offers and fell asleep.
How nice to have a day off!

The paining still awaits, I could not paint the bathroom as I had the dirty big plant in the bath while I sorted the window, the ironing of shirts had to wait because, well just because, (any offers to do it out there...?  oh!), considered rewriting the items prepared for the museum into some form of proper English but just couldn't face it, and I am now looking at the PC that I am rebuilding, awaiting the courage to continue the work.  It appeared so easy in the pictures!
So instead I have walked around the town looking at the sunshine while freezing all the while, how does that work?  I passed the shops where shiny things attract my wallet wandering down the back streets where I hoped to see more of the sun, instead I saw lots of kids and assorted people making the most of the last day off the half term holiday.  
So, shall I do the tricky PC work now?  Let's eat first....

Now as I was saying....hold on, Dundee United are playing Motherwell tonight!


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Nothing to Say

So here is a picture of a Highland Coo all dressed up and ready for action.  
The sad truth is that while rising early was on my mind I did indeed awaken at six but fell back to sleep and reawoke at 8:30!  Not only but I awoke exhausted! Why?  By ten I had managed to finish breakfast and half dozed my way through the morning.  It was time to return to the museum before I had done anything, so nothing is done!  What happened?  Nothing!

The museum was once again busy, hundreds passed through, actually only a reasonable number but the kids passed back and forth many times each, and young and old appeared to enjoy their visits.  The boss had a slight mishap when the kitchen cupboard containing the plates gave way and dropped the two boxes of glasses on the floor.  We salvaged 15 out of considerably more. 
Ho hum!   
However by the time I get home I am washed out, nothing is done, and I cannot get the little gray cells to function properly.  The news is the usual bunk, Tony Blair seen as having shoved his nose into dubious happenings, the Westminster government getting 'friends' to frighten Scots into voting 'No' in September, floods fill the land still while Cameron promises money and we trust his promises, and the Ukraine heads towards civil war and it's everybody else's fault!  So nothing to comment on.  There is the Australian arrested for giving Christian leaflets to folks in North Korea of course, he could do 15 years but at 75 he may not be too worried.  He will certainly not get out quickly.  Some things need to be subtly in North Korea, and not when in a small guarded party. 


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Hard Work!

Tuesday is museum day, unless someone skives off and I am back later.  Being half term the brats wee ones are annoying their parents by demanding attention seeking action, standing in herds outside (and inside) shops like the neds they are, and crowding the streets when decent societies keep them locked up ins school.  Our one presentation this week is something about fitness.  The kids jump about for a minute then find their pulse.  What else they do I know not as this was too energetic for me, so I hopped it back to my seat.  
However since arriving we had been on the go as there was a second event to be organised and no one had done the preparation the day before!  The poor girls were running around desperately looking for things that ought to have been prepared for them.  I kept out of the way as they breathed fire while smiling sweetly to the folks attending.  
A reasonable number of parents brought the kids in for a look around.  This led to many conversations with one or both parents, WW2 Burma, old town history and history of a local farm, spelling off names were discussed.  Great stuff!  We also managed to make some of them part with their cash!  This was indeed good!  The kids all behaved like kids, which is why dad or mum bringing them on his/her own were sweating blood by the time they left.  Lovely to see! The wise mums bring kids to the events and leave them there.  They then wander through the shops, sit in the cafe's or entertain themselves in peace for an hour or two.  
Would you believe tomorrow someone has cried off and I will be in during the afternoon.  Tsk!


Monday, 17 February 2014

Happy People

Here we see a happy group of people, some may be acting quite a bit of course. I wonder whether the smiles for the young leader concern the new of the UN report which has outlined the atrocious conditions in this unhappy land.  I have taken some interest in NK for a while, such places hold a fascination based on the limited news that comes from there.  The secret and very dangerous state does make me want to look over the border and see what is going on.  For a very long time we have known of the cruel regimes behaviour, the supposed nuclear weapons, the labour camps and the starvation that occasionally hurts the land, now however the world may be forced to pay attention.
Cruelty is not unusual in that part of the world.  The Japanese declared Korea a 'protectorate' well over a hundred years ago, and peace has not returned to this unhappy land, at least the northern half, since. Korean women were forced to serve Japanese soldiers during WW2 and many guards on the 'Burma Railway' were in fact Korean.  Survivors often stated these men were much crueler than the Japs! During the Korean war of 1950-53 James Cameron and Bert Hardy brought reports and pictures of the terrible treatment given by the South Koreans to prisoners from the north and questioned why we defended them. This did not make them popular!  
While South Korea appears intent on following the west into chasing vast wealth the people in the north endure their situation usually devoid of much information from the outside world. They are not all ignorant of the goings on elsewhere but they are wise enough not to mention it.

The masses of rockets aimed at the millions living in the South Korean capitol Seoul tends to put most folks of military action.  Especially when even a decisive campaign might lead to vast numbers of dead. So what can be done to enable change here?  I suppose nobody knows, but at least this report may well offer positive impetus to change in North Korea, and any improvement however small is to be welcomed. 

Good old George.  Once again he has risen silently and put his foot in it.  He has decided, supported by the Lib-Dem and Labour leaders, that Scotland cannot use the 'Pound' if they desire independence.  A brilliant piece of support for the 'Yes!' vote!  It appears to have worked superbly.  We all know that whatever they say today will mean nothing tomorrow, when Scotland is free the 'Pound' will most likely still be the currency used.  Ramblings from unknown EU leaders may also support the 'No' vote but in the end mean little, the EU will support Scotland in the end, in spite of Madrid!

I like it!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

'Sunday' on Sunday....

Waking from an enjoyable dream that dissipated instantly my bleary mind was welcomed into the world by the wireless.  Hiding my eyes from the bright light that came through the opening in the grubby curtains I listened far from attentively to yet another bland Sunday morning BBC offering, this one cleverly called, 'Sunday.'  This purports to be a news programme for those who have some sort of 'faith,' and results in being another middle class liberal approach to the subject like most everything else on Radio 4.  Jesus is rarely mentioned, his book only to find 'inconsistencies.'  I heard news of the pope tweeting in Latin and this was followed by another justification for 'gay' vicars as apparently the Church of England has made another compromise regarding this.
I switched off.
I can only take so much from the 'blind leading the blind' that I thought stuffing my unhealthy breakfast down my throat and having the weekly bath more important.  My neighbours consider at least one of these important also I have found.  Worse still there was no 'Match of the Day' to watch while straining to keep the eyes open.  Instead I stared at the blank TV screen out of habit. This is a bad sign.
I cogitated on what had filtered into my mind.  In his book 'Knowing God,' Jim Packer tells of meeting a man who has been removed from his job in an Anglican establishment because he actually accepted the bible as the word of God.  He was a bit down because of this but on the other hand as he put it, "I have known God, and they don't!"  What he meant is clear, the others had a religious opinion, he on the other hand had 'met' Jesus in a very real way, as indeed all Christians have.  
He did not necessarily mean seeing any manifestation but in a very real sense Jesus himself had revealed himself to him.  It can happen suddenly and sometimes unwanted, as it did with me, or over a period of reflection, however one day the individual can say they have 'met' with God.  The bible will become clearer when this happens, although as this man discovered not everyone will accept this.  Too many in all churches today have not met Jesus, their religion is based on 'loving others,' but it lacks something, the God behind it.  That is why evangelical churches grow and established ones fail, if there is no Jesus the church becomes at best a social club.  This may be nice for those attending, but it is not God.  The one who has experienced Jesus in his life is never the same again.  The bible guides the believer into an understanding of who he is and what he is, those who fall into opinions not based on what is found there suffer many problems.  The Church of England today suffers because they no longer base their life on this book.  Instead many who have not experienced the Living God offer platitudes and opinion, a church indeed without power. Jesus power changes things! The subjects this morning included gay priests, yet the new testament has only one priest, Jesus.  He is both the offering for our sin and the Great High Priest, through his atonement we can be saved and find a new life. The fact that this never crops up in such programmes indicates the failings of the programme and the CoE.
Gay priests?  You cannot be a 'priest, the new testament has only 'elders.' Their job as church leaders is to point to the Messiah himself, not priests who stand between you and God.  
Can a Christian be homosexual?  Yes, but he will know this to be not part of Gods plan and seek to bring this under Gods control.  Those who advocate living together and same sex marriage are far from their God and clearly in the wrong.  The Christian has to bring every aspect of his life to Jesus and put it under his authority.  Many fail here.  Jesus however knows those who are his and is always there to forgive the repentant and support them as the attempt to follow him as a disciple. 
Some have decided it is 'discrimination' to oppose 'gay priests,' on the grounds of 'equality.'  This is false.  'Equality' it is not, equal as an individual but gay behaviour is not of God.  It is correct to oppose anything that harms Gods world and his people.  There is indeed discrimination, we find it where Christians are harassed and abused by the gay lobby simply for speaking the truth.  News reports have spoken of many harassed this way, even though the report is biased against the Christians.  The laws recently passed on the UK and Scotland will soon see many churches suffer for refusing to allow gay marriage.  Some will be taken before the courts, courts which will support the gay lobby as they have shown often before.  We must get used to this, in days to come those who know their God will be asked to suffer more than this. The west as a whole is going through a change which will affect each one of us.  It is not just the climate above that is changing, the liberal west has lost all sense of any 'absolute.'  The spirit of the air is determined to keep it this way.  We need to be clear where we stand, either for Jesus opinion or for the worlds.       

The church, whatever denomination, must return to preaching Christ crucified and his Lordship. Those who meet Jesus realise their need and must change their ways, turn their life right around and put their faith in this man who is God.  They can receive the forgiveness for sin from the one who gave his life on the cross for them.  Their life will then be hard, but Jesus will never leave them, I have found this, and if he continues to still be here for me he can be there for you.  Jesus is alive, and those who know him have many tough times, but he is worth knowing.


Friday, 14 February 2014

Storm Shopping

Early this morning, well early for me, 'First Bus' transported me south to the big town in a search for 'Maplins' once more.  By leaving early, and only six minutes late, I intended to avoid the stormy weather America was sending us once again.  By the time we reached our destination the rain was lashing the grimy bus windows and huddled pedestrians filled the streets.  By careful use of both 'market,' from where I later purchased real meat from the butchers stall, the shopping centre where women search for 'shiny things' and grossly overpriced 'Debenhams,' I managed to reach my destination with minimum fuss and not quite soaked to the skin.

The River Cam flowed fiercely through the town centre showing a deep yellowish colour reflecting the rain coming off the farmland through which it passes.  Not quite over the banks but as high as it can get.  Dodging the last dangerous umbrella I reached my destination and with the help of a young assistant obtained quickly what I hope to be the correct equipment.  This cost no more than an arm and a leg, reasonable for the bundle on offer some say. They of course are not paying!  Reasonably helpful and somewhat knowledgeable the shop was efficient but sometimes in the big town I feel people are unused to relating with customers.  Men especially are often ill at ease in such places even though they may be happy to discuss the items concerned.  Still they were good enough for me and I will certainly visit again.

As usual I sat in the dim light of the cathedral to sleep meditate for a short while before heading home again. The picture is lighter than true as it shows the building better.  This building goes back a long way as do most of them, the first vicar being recorded in the 1200's.  This church has been renovated to allow for present day needs which includes whitewashing the walls, lighting, modern chairs, and thoughtfully created side chapels.  However it does remove much of the old 'feel' of an ancient building in my view.  Some decry the removal of pews but these are a recent addition.  In days of yore there were no chairs, you stood and participated until the days when the rich folks decided they were going to sit.  If you were tired during a service in the past time you went to the side and either found a ledge to sit on or leaned against the wall, hence the phrase, 'going to the wall.'  Many such phrases come from English church attendance.  The memorials dating from the 1700's or so stand out glaringly from the rest of the buildings, that would upset those named if they knew, most now forgotten even by present day descendants.   Victorian stained glass clashes somewhat with the modern setting but needs must for a building that is in constant use.  Still I like it and unless several hundred folk are attending something or other it serves a need for a few minutes quiet.  

Had the weather been less inclement, and the bus stopped more often on the way home, it might have been possible to capture some of the interesting wee houses on the way.  Sadly the journey out was hindered by people getting on the bus, thus delaying our journey somewhat. These selfish folks did not seem to realise that I was in a hurry and that if there were fewer stops the bus would get to its destination quicker.  Few were around on the way home, the rain I intended to avoid keeping them trapped indoors.  These wee houses here line up alongside others that appear to go back into the mists of time.  Now owned by the wealthier types rather than struggling agricultural labourers, they find themselves surrounded by recently built overpriced housing.  These are fine for folks who wish to raise children outside of the town but change the atmosphere of the once small 'village' completely. 

'Valentines Day,' has arrived again, here is a little something for Cupid!


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Thursday Shopping!

This depressing view is how we shop today.  Romance tells us that in the past small shops were friendlier, more sociable and more human.  The last is certainly true!  The sociability and friendliness depended on the shop owner but their size at least was easier for as human to comprehend.  Today large shopping centres are geared to the rich man in his automobile, leaving a depressing emptiness outside, even if clean and safe.  The large buildings house all those shiny things we long desperately for, whether they make us happy or just fill our emptiness is another question.  Today in search of something shiny I took myself to the Stanway centre by bus, I left the Bentley in the garage.  
Now some weeks ago it came into my head to fix the broken PC, I need this in working order in case the laptop dies, dead computer means life as we know it comes to a halt, and that will never do! Struggling with this idea I was in Chelmsford, at Maplins shop, investigating a motherboard an other nameless bits on the shelves there.  My brilliant brain decided to leave it and investigate PC World and the vast stocks on their shelves, therefore I was here in their Stanway shop.  Here I discovered, via a friendly and competent young assistant, that since uniting with 'Curry's,' PC World/Currys no longer stock the inside bits for PCs, only shiny new ones.  The young lad suggests I try 'Maplins,' they stock motherboards he offers helpfully.  My slumped shoulders headed for the bus stop where I caught the next one into Colchester itself in the vain hope that their shop would be readily available in the town centre, it wasn't!  Bah!  So I wandered about, avoiding the charity and book shop temptations keeping my eyes upwards looking in case something interesting was to be found.  Several bumps into people and street furniture later I changed my approach.

Behind the Roman wall at what once was the edge of town stands St Mary at the Wall a redundant church that has stood here for around a thousand years and now is merely an 'arts' centre.  I suspect it will be an excellent venue according to the many big names that have appeared there, it must hold a thousand or so in the main hall.  Had it not been for the dual carriageway someone had dumped in front of me I would have had a closer look.  

This is a pub called 'The Bull.'  They have enabled even the daftest to realise this by placing a 'bull' high above the door.  This of course was what was done in days of yore when education was lacking, even the daftest could tell the difference between a bull and a Swan, as many were named.  The flags are out to tempt people to watch the 'Six Nations' rugby which is on at the moment. Sadly the sun shines on the other side of the street hence the dullness.

The Edwardian's liked fancy buildings!  The Baroque Town Hall was built in 1902 with a rich patron, James Paxman, paying for the tower soaring high above crowned by the statue of St Helena the towns patron saint.   Inside and out it represents the wealth the men of the town wished to impress upon the world, and bask in reflected glory themselves.  No doubt some of those men were around when Henry Charles Fehr sculpted the war memorial raised in 1923.  The usual words bedeck the memorial as the townspeople attempted to believe their war was indeed just and glorious.  Memorials raised today do not inspire such admiration I think.

I was unable to find 'Maplins,' probably because it lay on the other side of town from where I landed, so instead had a closer look at the 15th century gatehouse to St Johns Abbey, the only remaining part of said abbey.  Besieged during the English Civil War, which was not very civil as may lost their heads here, the gatehouse survives although behind lies merely a car park, and only for the use of the members of the organisation based here.  

At one time this supported a statue of either a saint or a local worthy, today it just wears away in the rain.  The siege may also have caused damage, the twin was almost worn away.  

Inside the small gate reflects the small size of people in those days, six foot tall people were unusual at the time, and I wondered about the people who peered from the windows at those waiting outside for them.  The Benedictines moved in late in the 11th century and moved out when Henry VIII kicked them out.  The Abbot refused to hand the place over and was gently hanged just outside the gate. Henry had no patience in those days.  The Lucas family took over and moved in, sadly they supported the crown during the civil war in 1648 and this led to their end and the bits of damage to the gatehouse.  The buildings inside disappeared over the years.

I was impressed by this wee house, dated 1823, clearly enlarged since and more so round the back I noticed, but remaining a delightful small cottage.  I am not jealous I state here, not jealous at all.  St John's Green primary school also drew my admiration, although I am not willing to attend there.  Built in 1898 in a kind of Dutch style it reflected the weaving history of the area and the Flemish connections from the past.  

As infants rarely have the ability to read I am struck by how many old schools put directions above the doors to ensure the wee ones went into the right area. Maybe they were a wee bit brainier in those day?

This area abounds in churches that date back a millennium, the disused Church of St Giles goes back to the 12th century but I am not sure what it is used for these days, signs are not obvious. The tower got my attention, that appears very Saxon in its style but it dates from around 1700ish.  As always it has been amended and added to over the years but now lies quietly surrounded by the iron railings that also go back to the 1700's.  

Behind me as I took this picture lay the main police station, the cells I believe lie behind the small square, thick glass windows I leant against, you may no better.  When this station was built in the 80's an archaeological dig discovered 371 Roman burials and this building dating from 320 - 340.  The evidence indicates this could be the earliest church building in the British Isles but further evidence is wanting.  Some reckon it is possibly a Roman soldiers Mythraeum, but they would, wouldn't they?   Ever known archaeologists to agree?  Bah!

Having wandered around the town with my money still in my pocket I splashed out on a £1.50 coffee from this man at the bus station and well worth it it was! I was intrigued as to how somebody ends up running a very successful coffee stall and it transpires this man is an ex-serviceman.  That got me wondering also.  Now he may be happy in his work, he may be making a good profit, this is a busy place to operate, and he may well make sufficient to keep his family happy but it suddenly seemed sad that a man who risked his life in Northern Ireland and Afghanistan should be running a coffee stall.  As stated he might well be happy but it seems to me men who have risked lives for the nation could be getting better treatment than they do, especially when they are capable, knowledgeable and possess that amiability we often find in such men. I am just glad he is as fit as he is, IDS would be naming him in parliament otherwise.

While admiring Coggeshall's old buildings and remembering I was going to visit there I found this cat that I noticed last time.  He slinks on the roof high above the crowd looking for birds that are not gathering in front of him.  Maybe they think he is real!  It reminds those with cameras to always look up, and check it is safe to do so, as above the shop doorways there is often something intriguing awaiting you. 


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

O Happy Day!

What a strange feeling, coming home early from the museum, after indeed a very quiet morning, and finding I had all the time in the world to myself! Having 'worked,' three days last week there was no time to sit and stare dreamily into space study, research and cogitate on the world around me.  There were a few queries, some visitors and one or two wee jobs to do but generally it was a quiet morning for me.  With the landlord's lass arriving to check the boilers as they do once a year I wished to be here when she and the plumber were busy. The aim of this was not to check the job was done correctly, it always is, but to ensure she did not notice the bits I have allowed to fall into disrepair!  I did not wish to hear grumbles, I canny stand folks who complain! However offering her tea, from my only clean cup, and noticing the plumber refusing this offer, he had one last year I reckon, this tea and chat stopped her looking around.  Why she comes must be to check as the plumber is trustworthy enough in my view, but I suspect some folks think this wise.  I was informed the folks next door are leaving, this is good as they have not been bad but have not been too sociable either, too young to relate to others.  Hopefully someone decent can afford to move in now.  

So once they left I was sitting at the laptop working out what on my 'to do' list to ignore first. The answer was easy, with all this free time on my hands I had no choice but to fall asleep for a while, and jolly good it was too!  How on earth did I ever get things done when I was working 35 hours a week?   What with work, shopping, sleeping, cooking, eating and whatever else came up I cannot understand how I got through so much with so little time.  Now I have time I do so little! Some ex-managers may make a comment here .....

The weather continues to disappoint.  Floods ruin houses of the rich and the poor, blame is passed from hither to thither, welly clad politicians pose amongst the suffering, Cameron promising to help and to spend money.  We shall see, and we shall wonder where it shall be spent.  The cynics already claim the Tory heartlands will benefit, not Somerset and the like!  We shall see.  Politicians talk but can do nothing about the weather, all seem unable to identify an honest appraisal of the situation, those that do keep quiet about it.  Another week of this is promised, high winds blasting rain again tomorrow, what is going through the minds of those already two foot deep in water I wonder?  Poor things, the immediate effect will last for several long weeks, the long term affect will never end for many.  


Sunday, 9 February 2014


I've just watched a 42 year old man race down a slippery slope on a tin tray at a thousand miles an hour.  Not only this but he was lying on his back, feet first, all the way!  There were great celebrations at the bottom, was this because he survived I wonder?  The commentator is getting very excited about all this, they usually do, and while a group of thickly clad men jump around emitting screams every now and then I find myself asking,"Was it worth four years of struggle for this?"  Mind you it makes more sense than the dancing on ice, what on earth makes them think that is 'sport?'  I think it's a form of suicide myself.  Football for me, on grass, not ice!  

This is a painting someone wishes to purchase for £40 million!  This is a Francis Bacon 'portrait' of a boyfriend called George Dyer.  Bacon was of course a confused, mixed up individual famous for producing a canvas of confused and distorted works which obviously led him to fame in the art world. Talent is less important there than fame!  This er, picture, was sold for £4 million once before, was sold on for over £7 million to the Mexican who owns it now and is expected to fetch £40 million, probably from some daft Russian oligarch laundering Putin's money.  The art world, like the fashion world, is one great hoax in which people with too much cash, sometimes their own, squander it on rubbish art and pontificate on its importance.  I have news for them, it ain't important.  A mess of oils is worthless, just as female outfits designed by strange and famous men are worthless.  Outside in the real world a life is available, and art and fashion play a part there, come and join us. To some extent Thatcher is to blame here, closing the psychiatric hospitals has not helped this artist, and indeed many similar others.   

At an auction in Edinburgh a wealthy American announced that he had lost his wallet containing £10,000 and would give a reward of £100 to the person who found it.

From the back of the hall a locals voice shouted, "I'll give £150!"


A  plane was shot down over Iraq and Saddam Hussain captured a Scotsman,an Englishman and an Australian. Saddam says "I'm not as cruel as George Bush says I am You will be given 50 lashes each but you can have whatever you want on your back"
The Australian goes first and asks for the finest Kangaroo hide there is to cover his back. This is granted and he receives the kangaroo hide before he receives 50 lashes. His back is all torn and bleeding but he survives.
The Englishman says "I will take it as it comes I will have nothing on my back and will be proud to bear the scars" he shouts defiantly"Stiff upper lip you know eh what" His wish is granted and he receives his 50 lashes, his back torn and bleeding, his ribs fractured and protruding, a terrible mess to behold.
"Now Jock It's your turn you have the same choice as the other two what would you like on your back" says Saddam. 
Jock replies quickly and without hesitation "I'll have the Englishman"


Making wool for kilts.