Monday, 30 June 2014


Sick, suffering, unwell, weary, .....ooooohhh  aaaarggh etc, let me sleep.....

Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Weekend

Friday morning brought a herd of these beasts hurtling through the museum. Naturally we ran! In time one of the herdsmen arrived and managed to corral them into some order.  Quite how teachers can gain control without the use of whips and chairs like those lion tamers do is a wonder to me.  Eventually all 58 kids had been through the shop, spent almost £5 each (not counting those that thought things worth £6:90 can be bought for £5) and running out off small change half way through, eventually everybody was happy.  Really nice kids but by the time the last fiver had been crushed into the till (with change obtained somehow) we relaxed, breathed deeply and drank tea.
I was knackered when I got home and had to begin sorting out stuff for the exhibition when my brain no longer functioned.  I started but did not finish and after a quieter time today just want to sit and do nothing.  However I did glance at the online press this morning to see the big news stories.  The Online Daily mail began today by revealing that the English queen has worn the same flat shoes for fifty years! How I wanted to know this!  The 'Daily Mail' reader you understand has little in their life.  The DM reader has only one real concern, money!  His wife cares what others wear so she can copy them or compare herself to them to see of she is better than they.  Nothing else matters to them but plenty of sex stories are required for them to feign shock.  I didn't bother with the rest but the BBC splashed on David Cameron's attempt to grab UKIP votes at the EU Summit and problems abroad.  What sells and what is news are different beings.   

A woman asked me a while ago what I did with myself now I am retired. "What do you do all day," she asked, implying I must be bored.  I strangled her.  It was the only way.....


Thursday, 26 June 2014

Free Day eh?

The two crows moved steadily, intent on their destination.  Behind them transparent white clouds streaked the deep blue of the morning sky.  Two tall trees, resplendent in their greenery, brightened the day as their leaves twittered in the breeze.  A female blackbird hopped several paces and stopped, cocking her ear to listen for movement underground.  She hopped three steps more, then again, continuing on her way, coming close to me, happy that I was not going to disturb her routine.  In the distance a female form with white top stood in the shadow of the trees.  She gazed into the distance as if awaiting someone yet no other movement could be seen. Two cyclists, independent of one another passed by, both wearing those lime green 'Hi-Viz' vests, ideal for crossing a near empty park in bright sunshine.  A young women paced by with determined expression, laptop grasped tightly in hand. Someone out to change the world perhaps, a young lawyer about to save the needy, or a businesswomen heading for financial utopia I wondered.  My existence appeared to mean little to her. 'White top' had moved.  She had come out of the shadows and now at last I saw her understandable reason for hesitation, a small black dog.  This, possible a 'Scottie,' ambled slowly, content like me to let the world pass by but keeping at a distance from the woman just in case she urged speed upon him. 
So the world awake early today.  At last I had two whole days to myself, this was guaranteed yesterday when I covered for someone who was off, but turned up anyway.  This was my time, time to relax, sleep, consider the Great War only if I felt like it and iron those shirts the au pair ignored.

Having shopped even earlier I returned home to healthy thick brown bread full of bits and filled it with unhealthy bacon!  I read the grubby online papers full of wonder at how they failed to ask why that editor women got off 'scot free!'  Did David Cameron's brother defend her at a cost of £20,000 a day? Was the prime minister's intervention that came so close to scrapping the trial, at enormous cost, a deliberate device I ask?  Yet the papers appear to play this down.  The law works different for important people.  I mused for a while, looked at the ironing board, and sat in the bath even though it was not a Sunday.  This was a day for enjoyment.
Then I returned to my e-mail.  I like e-mail, it is a great way to stay in touch, it avoids needless chatter, gets to the point and brings folks together so well.  Not counting Mary who abused me for not liking tennis, something she has been glued to since this nonsense began!  Boring I say, get it off the screen.  I'd rather talk to a woman about her baby!
Then it happened.  I had finished one of the items I was writing, my delightful boss has now read it and sent it back using this 'word' system that allows corrections.  I had a long list of corrections, adjustments, recommendations to attend to.  This I did once I worked out what to do.  Helpfully I returned this and also finished the second piece this time readjusting it to make more sense.  However not long afterwards she enquired as to where the thing was, it had not arrived and the reason was simple, me!  Not only had I not linked it to her I had not saved the blasted thing after finishing it!  The only action was to redo the whole lot!  'Na Poo' to this I thought!  So back it went, no doubt the second one will have just as many red lines on it.  My teachers at school were not this bad!
Then the other e-mail arrived.  Tomorrow I must go in again, as well as Saturday, as a girls sick dad has died.  This was expected as he is aged and very sick.  A second lass is off tomorrow as her dad is close to following on also.  I'm going to ask for a wage soon!
The advantage of being in is taking the laptop and working at the desk.  Hopefully it will be quiet and I can get on but if busy I will just write a story, 'Living death in the museum!' Oh yes and now I must iron a shirt....
Time for football and sleep.  Who will join the USA in the next round, I know not as I have no idea who is playing yet.  Oh sleep, wherefore art thou mush?


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sunday Sloth

I may have solved the T-shirt problem at last.  Having bought three which were size XXXL and worn and washed two of them I note the shrinkage is such that they are almost still XXXL but just a teeny wee bit shrunk.  Allowing for future washes I consider these three will now serve as the correct size!  The pile of too small t-shirts will soon be dumped on the charity shops, un-ironed! 
How can buying one item take such a long time to fix?  OK I could spend money on expensive t-shirts with stupid designs on the front but I am not 19 any more, that passed at least six years ago.  It seems to me many of those will not remain the same size after a weeks wearing and a wash either.  Those wee Bangladeshi's are earning fourpence a day for this and still cannot get the size right!  

In other news I am still zonked, energy of mind and body does not exist.  In spite of the hot sun I only ventured out for half an hour, and much of that was gossip with a neighbour, her gossip my concern for others you understand.  A quick wander round and I was back half dead.  All this work, all this late night football, how my bones feel it.  I had to curb the eleven o' clock game as I had work next day, now I just miss it and sleep instead.  I fear it is age as well as the bug.  

What has happened in the world outside?  I care not at the moment.  But those who wish to better understand the previous post concerning 'Just a Minute,' would do well to pop over to Soub and see the programmes he has discovered. You may well like these.


Friday, 20 June 2014

The Slow Death of a Good Radio Show

Since 1975 or 76 I have listened regularly to 'Just a Minute,' the wonderful radio panel show hosted by Nicholas Parsons. In fact Parsons has hosted every show since the first one way back in 1967.  The basic rules are simple.  Four panel members are given a subject, often obscure, and they must chat about this for one minute without hesitation, repetition or deviation.  This is of course much harder than it seems and at times has produced an excellent half hours worth of laughter.    
Throughout the show wit, repartee and a quick response has been the regular order with occasional bits of smut thrown in, usually by Clement Freud or Kenneth Williams.  Now however this programme has become a sad shadow of itself.  Wit is replaced by constant smut and the old fashioned seaside postcard 'dropped drawers' humour abounds.  Julian Clary and his one joke alongside Gyles Brandreth and his gay obsession reduces the programme to a low level, Brandreth being the worst offender.  He does indeed possess talent and ability to speak well but insists on jokes 12 year old's would not find funny yet appears with monotonous regularity on the show these days.  When the attempt to televise the show was attempted yet again recently it appeared more like 'Just a Gay' rather than 'Just a Minute,' the BBC liberal agenda being more important than the programme or the viewer.  That flopped as such programmes do on TV but the present show is a poor reflection of what was once humour at its finest. Wit, banter and laughs, sadly usually missing today.  Maybe this reflects society, maybe it reflects the small group from whom all panelists are chosen.  I myself have lost interest and Radio comedy is a lot less funny than it has been in the past.  Very sad that.   


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Overwork, not enough sleep.

Being broken down and pooped yesterday I did nothing but grumble, and that's not like me. Today I forced myself awake and managed to work for at least fifteen minutes!  Then I had to pop down to the museum to cover for a lass who was not coming in.  She came in!  Bah!  Typical woman!  I could have spent that time asleep working.  Stopping off on the way home I bought meat, yes MEAT!  It was reduced.  I burnt it.
That sums up my exciting life just now.

Today we hear the Labour Party offering to reduce young peoples dole money until they obtain certain educational qualifications.  Why?  Because too many cannot find jobs and this will make them better candidates for any openings.
What rot!
The reason there are so many unemployed young is simple, there are no jobs! Not only have many thousand young folks arrived from eastern Europe, happy to accept low wages as they are higher than wages back home, but any vacancy has three hundred applicants!  Two and a quarter million are unemployed, the answer, cut the dole!  This from a Labour opposition that was built by the working class!  
The reason for this nonsense, the desperation of the failing Labour Leader Ed Milliband to get the votes from 'Middle England!'  He must appeal to these people as he thinks they consider all on welfare as robbing them through their taxes.  This is nonsense as the vast majority would take a job if it was available but the cost of creating jobs is to high, much better to attack the unemployed by using Tory values.



Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Blogger Slow!!!

Why is Blogger so slow these days?  Why does it fail to 'save' constantly?  Why does the Comment Box take sooooooo long to come down?  On too many occasions I find 'service unavailable' when it is available.  Just what is going in?  Are they upgrading the servers or have they all died?  I think we should be told.  

What happens next.....?


Monday, 16 June 2014

Monday Miscellany

Watching the German 4-0 win over Portugal reveals the stupidity of footballers getting themselves sent off and the waste of money that is Ronaldo!  Real Madrid paid around £80 million for this man yet when the chips are down he disappears.  He is no Eusabio that's for sure.
In Iraq we are told the Sunni militants are killing everyone, and they claim to be doing so themselves. Being a cynic I wonder about propaganda but I cannot avoid the fact that this lot are more violent than others we have seen.  The Iraqis claim they have used 'targeted strikes,' which might mean little.  The US move an aircraft carrier into the Gulf.  Joining in is not wise chaps.  Meanwhile an al-Shabbab group attack a tourist area in Kenya killing almost 50 people but get little coverage.  Such groups fatalist attitudes reveal an emptiness at the heart of their beliefs.
Meanwhile Michael Schumacher has been brought out of a coma and moved to a Swiss hospital. This however does not mean his brain has recovered, that will take years if indeed he recovers at all.  I also note Russia has tactfully allowed tanks into East Ukraine and now has turned off the Gas pipes claiming Ukraine owe them millions.  Our gas comes this way also, I hope he doesn't affect us or the privatised pirates here will up the price!  Hackers have stolen thousands of details from Domino's Pizza website and demand vast sums of money to release them. This happened in Belgium not here and shows how easy it is to be robbed online.  Those people claiming to have a thousand or two friends can spread virii very easily.  I have no friends trouble, not having any..... 
The bug has returned today, I am falling asleep constantly being kept awake only by the fragrance of the Rodoh Rhoder the big bush opposite.  It is a fantastic aroma coming in the window.  
Maybe of course I'm just lazy...


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Busy Day

Home from an enjoyable Sunday Service, cooked a bad lunch, fell asleep from watching late night football and had to watch another game after that.  Now I prepare for the second of the day, the third starts at eleven at night!  This means I have no time to scribble (can you scribble on a keyboard?).   So here is an old picture of Greyfriars Bobby.  Bobby is the dog not the pub but the pub is named after the dog and the publican may have fed the dog but maybe not and the pub is now named after the dog not the dog after the pub.  Is that clear?   Oh I have not got the time, the teams are coming out, read this Greyfriars Bobby.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Have I Got This Right?

So the Assad regime in Syria is bad, they say, even though the state is stable. His friends are Russia and Iran, a Shia state is Assad's best supporter.  We therefore support the rebels, mostly Sunni, who oppose him and are now dominated by Sunni extremists supplied by Sunni led Qatar and Sunni dominated Saudi Arabia.  We therefore are supporting the bin Laden so today who wish to attack and destroy us......
The Sunni led extremist group ISIS now dominates the Sunni areas that once supported Saddam Hussein.  He was a bad one and Bush and Blair dumped him. We now therefore support the Iran, our enemy, backed Shia in Iraq, our friend, against the Sunni, our enemy, in Iraq who are our friends in Syria because we need the Saudi, our friend, oil and we support them attacking Syria to destabilise Iran, our enemy, who support our friends in Iraq. I've not yet mentioned the Kurds....   

Did I understand this right or is all this late night football wearing out what remains of my little mind.....?


Friday, 13 June 2014


Thrice this day I left the dark, dank Black House in which I dwell to see light. Once to wander all the way up to Sainsburys, once to sit in the sun, which immediately and spitefully sat behind a cloud for ages while the north wind froze me so I went to Tesco for yet another ill fitting T-shirt instead, and once in the afternoon to sit in the sun which actually shone!  Actually after burning for a short time (burning, heat in the UK?) I wandered back to Tesco for another oversized T-shirt as they appear to be half price!  The reason I went to get another size XXXL T-shirt is that all the other T-shirts I buy shrink. This one will shrink to a proper size I hope and at £2 a time it is worth a try.  XL shirts are medium, XXL and not quite XL after a wash and hopefully I have found the right sizes now, after they have been in the machine!  You might be suggesting I buy better quality items, I agree, but they too are often lie about the size. Anyway cheap is good, I'm not female!

Day two of World Cup. Yesterdays game was not great, Brasil were lucky. Today we are playing in torrential rain, it is like being in Kilmarnock again! 
However behind the numpties in the studio a long sweep of beach leads away to the north while the tide comes in with a slight breeze to ease the sunshine. Watching this on TV so far has been without incident.  Last night the ITV channel stream I watched on the laptop froze because this company is shocking! Why they cover football I fail to understand.  Their commentators are poor, the streams fail regularly and on occasion goals are missed because someone screens an advert before the time!  I had to move to STV, the Scottish Television Channel which as you would expect worked properly!  Bah!


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Tonight it Begins.....

The World Cup begins tonight, you may not see me for some time.......


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Harold MacMillan

Having nothing else to do with my time I read a book.  'Harold MacMillan by Charles Williams, just in case you did not see the picture above.  All too often books about politicians can be heavy going.  The chapters veer from one in-depth investigation into this bill and that boring the pants of everyone bar trainee lawyers.  This one however avoids the nitty gritty of parliament and rushes through the 478 pages.
MacMillan made a lot off his humble Scots background but by the time he arrived the family was definitely 'upper middle class,' wishing to be 'lower upper class!'  'Supermac.' as the cartoonists dubbed him, liked to give the impression he came from the latter, regarding the workers as 'servants' rather than staff. His paternal grandfather began the MacMillan publishing company and in time Harold found his way there.  His extremely pushy American mother pushed his education which led to him eventually reaching Eton, where too many of Britain's leading politicians have come from.  Sickness however forced an early removal and home tutoring.  One tutor was Ronald Knox who later became a leading Catholic theologian.  This left Mac with a very High Anglicanism which remained throughout his life.  
His time at Balliol College Oxford was interrupted by the Great War.  He served in the 4th battalion Grenadier Guards, later also in the 2nd Battalion, being wounded three times, the bullet in the hip at the Somme being the most serious.  Like Captains in all regiments he remained in a slit trench suffering while reading a copy of Aeschylus, as you do!  His wounds took years to heal and the shuffle and weak handshake never left him.  Indeed his main relaxation was shooting grouse which was conducted using the left hand as the right no longer had the grasp required.  
During 1920 MacMillan married Lady Dorothy Cavendish.  She the daughter of the Duke of Devonshire, he someone in 'trade.  The family considered him below them, she an nineteen year old outgoing horse lover, he academic, withdrawn and twenty six.  It was never going to work!  It didn't!  In spite of the children who arrived she soon discovered the outgoing Bob Boothby more interesting and spent her time playing with him.  A later remark by Mac regarding the works of Anthony Trollope which he adored was interesting. "It's good to go to bed with a Trollope," he said, and he did!  The fourth child was in Harold's eyes likely to be Boothby's but now we cannot be sure. 
Much influenced by Liberal politicians Macmillan's politics were centrist, or even left of centre.  This was magnified not only by contact with working men during the war but by being elected to Stockton on Tees as MP in 1924.  This deprived area in the working class north east brought home to him the reality of lower order life.  he may not have been an angel in disguise but like Churchill before him he wished to be an aristocrat but did not wish to let the servants die of starvation.  His first book, 'The Middle Way,' with its centrist policies was a turgid read, as were his speeches at the time, and his ideas pushed him well away from the Conservatove leaders of the day, Stanley Baldwin and then Neville Chamberlain.
The second world war did allow Mac the opportunity to show his administrative talents.  He worked under Lord Beaverbrook to some success, which in itself was not easy, and in 1942 became 'Under Secretary of State for the Colonies.' (By 1942 this no longer included the USA or Australia) During this time he began pushing the idea of a Commonwealth of nations working together for the good of all.  Not popular with Empire builders like Churchill.  He reached cabinet ranked when sent to the middle east as liaison between Eisenhower and Churchill.  This allowed him direct access to the PM avoiding Anthony Eden then Foreign Secretary, which annoyed Eden! Although nearly killed in a plane crash and much time spent dealing with De Gaulle, his talents showed through.  The biggest question mark of his time included the forced return, probably to their deaths of Russian POWs and their families.  He never forgot this but found himself in an awkward situation.  Many hard decisions were taken during 1945.
After 11945 the Labour Party were given a mandate to build a new nation which they did.  The National Health Service being their greatest success.  However the Conservatives returned in 1951 and now seated in Bromley, very much more Tory than Stockton, Mac was given the job of building three hundred thousand homes each year.  He succeeded and I grew up in one of them! These were not high quality housing but they did the job and were perfectly acceptable, especially to those coming out of tenements like we did or slums like far too many others did!
His work gained him respect, and enemies within the party.  Ambition is a terrible thing and anyone who has watched 'Yes Minister' will see politicians pushing one another aside to succeed. It has been seen in action this week in Westminster where Teresa May and that nice Mr Gove have been knifing one another in the back publicly.  
MacMillan became Chancellor in 1955, a very high rank indeed.  During the Suez crisis of 1956, when an allied force invaded Egypt and Eisenhower, afraid of losing the upcoming election, forced them to withdraw, it is thought the Chancellors warnings of impending monetary doom caused the cabinet to harden their stance against Eden, leading in the end to his inevitable resignation.  Harold MacMillan then became prime Minister.    
His first few years were a success.  Many African nations became independent, South Africa was told to change the apartheid policy in a straight forward speech, and the economy at home grew. Indeed we 'never had it so good,' as he said.  Actually we never had it at all!!!
One 'trouble' was the monetarist policy of the treasury.  Looking around the north east Mac knew this would cause hardship there, that would lead to less votes and so opposed their tight fisted policy.  he would oppose austerity today also for the same reason!  The resignation of the Treasury team was dismissed as 'a little local difficulty.'  Mac's success was establishing the UK as a nuclear state, aiding arms negotiations, using British troops in the middle east and Malaya to oppose Soviet aggression.  He failed by aImost getting into the Common market and rushing work at Windscale reactor that almost cost us all dear! 
After his success in the 1959 election he ought to have retired.  His determination to stop Rab Butler becoming leader however and his self importance in world affairs kept him in place.  Then it all went wrong.  His incomes policy caused great resentment and while Africans were finding their independence the UK began to wilt.  The dismissal of several. mostly junior ministers was called 'the night of the long knives,' and the public perception was that of panic.  "Greater love has no man than he lays down his friends for his life," said Jeremy Thorpe.  The election of John Kennedy changed US-UK relations.  No longer were the Americans friends from the war, here was something completely new and from a different age.  The Profumo affair, in which a cabinet member was involved with Christine Keeler at the same time as a Russian Naval attache!  This did serious damage to a sinking ship and being diagnosed wrongly with cancer he retired.

He retired to his publishing once again reinvigorating the work there.  Family owned companies can be ideal to work for, or they can be unbearable.  There were those who saw both sides under Harold.  He continued to travel widely, his marriage improved but a gulf remained, he played golf constantly, and shot innocent creatures for fun.  He occasionally spoke in the House and eventually became the 'Earl of Stockton.'  Possibly that area still meant something to him, maybe he used it for effect.  he was of course an actor, all politicians are, our present lot are just bad actors.  Mac learned much during his time, to act as a leader, to speak well, to use humour to deflate an enemy, and act like he was in control, unflappable.  He appeared in the early 60's as an Edwardian in a modern age, his shuffle, his upper class pretensions, his high class associates, but he was indeed a canny political animal.

This book is written by a man who married Rab Butlers daughter.  He might reveal a certain bile but of so he keeps it under control.  He writes smoothly making the book easy to read, boring bits are avoided and summarised well, and we are left with an image of a powerful politician who had some care for a decent society, although quite why may be harder to understand.  Was it a godly care, or a political game?  We might never know.  I like Mac, had I met him I might well change my mind however.  One thing remains.  His dislike of Thatcher's privatisation policies was well known.  During the Falklands conflict Thatcher called him into her office in the Houses of Parliament, a place he knew well.  At that time it was being redecorated and most of the furniture had been removed.  As he entered he looked around at the almost empty room and asked, "Have you sold it all?"


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Hi Doll!

The museum is holding an art exhibition, paintings, drawings, and 'dolls,' run by the council as part of a community art thingy.  Personally art may be OK in its right place but a museum is for history, not art I say.  There again it is all part of being a 'community,' that meaningless word.  Why can't they say 'town?' However I notice the opinion of the esteemed viewer appears to be an exhibition of a very high standard, several visitors have remarked so.  Many have already been sold and gratified artists will be collecting their cash at the end of the display.  
One individual, I did not catch the name, has created these dolls, which have attracted notice. There are several on display but not being a doll collector I am not sure what you may think of them.  I cannot recall if any have sold as I forgot to look, they are however interesting and remind me of one of my nieces in that she looks like them!  I have just found a name, 'Fantasia Textiles.'  This may be the work of more than one individual, although they do have a similarity don't they?  
Difficult to photograph through the glass case however.

No doubt the artist would not refer to her 'work' as 'dolls,' but I am a simple individual and like to keep life that way.  None of the many visitors today mentioned these as they left, and I always seek their opinion if possible.  One was delighted to see her excellent drawings of flowers had been sold (£15 was cheap for two examples of her talent I thought) and one not so happy as she collected her 'failed effort.' Her entry was rejected by the judges which was a shame. 

It was a delightful warm day again and this I think brought people out of doors and straight into the museum.  Some even bought things, quite a lot of money came from a very happy couple from Brisbane, wherever that is!  One nice lady gave me info on her Great War relations and another fellow may well provide more in the days to come if his gran can remember the details.  While I scribble this I ought to be writing these folks up so I am off to do that now while you talk among yourselves.


Monday, 9 June 2014

Blue Skies & Sunshine.

The Bee's are busy, the sky is blue, white clouds float past, and a hot sun burns the skin if you sit in it for too long.  Tonight such weather will bring rain, probably with thunder and lightning, but by the time I head for work the sun will have his hat on and have come out for the day!  

Most of the day I was trapped indoors doing women's work.  There were NO shirts ironed!  Not one and I need one for tomorrow.  It's a disgrace.  I had to rush out to the shops before the crowds gathered as the fridge was empty also, it's a disgrace the way I am treated here.  

This is what I need, a woman who does!  here we see Mrs Blackbird getting in the shopping, and rightly so.  He of course can be heard in the distance singing happily while chasing away other interlopers from his patch.  Then he will sit down to watch the football while awaiting lunch.  It's a jolly good life for him!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

A Wee Trip!

Watch on full screen!

7 videos of John Cameron's A4 loco 60009 Union of South Africa filmed on its two SRPS organised trips around Fife on 21/4/2013. The morning trip was 1Z29 Linlithgow - Dalmeny & the afternoon trip 1Z30 Dalmeny - Inverkeithing. Both trips were via the Forth Bridge - Kirkcaldy - Dunfermline - Alloa - Stirling - Falkirk Grahamston.

1) 1Z29 crosses the Forth Bridge in poor conditions.
2) 1Z29 is seen climbing towards Cowdenbeath around the back of Lumphinnans.
3) With no improvement in the weather, 60009 struggles to keep her feet as she climbs through a TSR to Kilbagie on the SAK line with 1Z29.
4) Nearing the end of the first trip, 1Z29 climbs off of Polmont Junction and through Polmont station..
5) With weather considerably improved for the afternoon run, 1Z30 accelarates out of the restrictive curves at Burntisland and climbs towards Kinghorn as 1E23 13:47 Aberdeen - Kings Cross passes in the opposite direction.
6) 1Z30 coasts down the branch towards its water stop at Newmills on the banks of the Forth.
7) After a well deserved break, 60009 gets back into her stride along the wall at Culross towards Alloa and Stirling.


Saturday, 7 June 2014

Hot Saturday

The local Carnival sped slowly past the museum door this afternoon.  This poor wee lass was forced into the Honey Bee costume and sauntered out giving hugs and leaflets to wee kids.  The kids loved it! 

Well, most of them!  This one just hid while mum took a picture of the others around the Bee.

Our desks, bell and headmasters robe, managed to get themselves aboard this float.  I hope they collected a lot of cash.  Torrential rain fell for about twenty minutes in the morning.  The wind blew, dark clouds gathered, rain hammered on the roof and windows, lightning flashed and thunder roared.  By the time of the first float the weather was hot, too hot for the Bee, but the kids loved every minute of it.  

Too hot?  I don't remember saying that before!

Friday, 6 June 2014

The 70th.

It may well be that you have had your fill of D-Day commemorations.   I had the TV on since early morn watching  the BBC's coverage of the events in France.  There can be no doubt that this British led operation was a historic event.  Had it failed, and it could have cost 40,000 lives, not 9000, it would have taken another few years before a second attempt could be made.  By that time Stalin may well have been in Paris!  General Bernard Montgomery, given little prominence today, was the man responsible for the operation.  This was the last great operation of the British during the war.  A second plan, at Arnhem, might well have shortened the war but that failed!  However this one worked, a beachhead was established, Canadian, British, American troops all took the beaches in front of them, in spite of some determined resistance in areas, and the difficulties many endured.  Also arriving were smaller contingents of Dutch, Polish and other nations who were determined to defeat an evil empire. How strange I always find it that people will spend money to watch Hollywood pap in which an evil force is defeated yet will not read about real situations in which a really evil force is opposed.  Fantasy horror is better than reality.  
My father was not involved in this event, although he crossed the Rhine some time later but only after waiting two days while the armour went over! However on our local memorial we find Flight Sergeant Dennis J Sims of 234 Squadron did not return while on low flying duties over the enemy coast.  Gunner Kenneth Puttick fighting alongside No 6 Commando is recorded as dying on the 7th. He is buried at Ranville Cemetery, Ranville being the first village liberated after 'Pegasus Bridge' was held. Nearby lies Private Arthur Graham attached to the 7th Paras.  His date of death is given as the tenth and he like many others died in the intense fighting that followed D-Day.  Few realise that more people were killed during the last year of the war than in the four previous years.
Watching the dignitaries gathering, some with military experience, some who endured the war, I appreciated the need for formality and organisation, not least of all security, but found the clean, smart people, cheery and happy all around somewhat at variance with the clips of war film shown.  The young men running up the beach had thoughts very different from those of us watching from the comfort of home.  We often sentimentalise such men rather than treat them as human beings.  We always refer to them as 'brave,' 'heroes,' and identify them as different from ourselves.  To some extent this is true, however they are men, not all were 'heroes,' few were 'brave,' all were under military orders, some would not be people we would want living next door.  Without this invasion however the world would not be rid of Hitler and his crazy gang.  The Nazi hordes enslaved their own people and such slavery can be found worldwide today in many nations.  Sadly all too often we do not see it!
Those men interviewed on TV today looked happy.  Many were happy to be there as such a gathering cannot occur again, the organisation behind it ceases to exist as the aged soldiers fade away.  Ordinary men from everyday homes did extraordinary things and freed the world of a tyranny.  We cannot forget this, and our prosperity today has a great deal to do with their action in the air, on the sea and on land that day 70 years ago.   

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Hole in the Ground

There was he, digging this 'ole....
A small crack appeared in a pipe, not that I could see the crack, and 'Anglian Water' were alerted. There it was a fortnight later, still seeping out so I calls them on the email and gets informed they are a comin out when the lights is a ready.  The 'lights' are portable traffic lights required for this position as we are a main road.  (Which as you will know is also known as 'Stane Street' after the Romans improved the muddy track that ran past my door to Camulodunam.) This little imposition did annoy the traffic somewhat but appeared to have been worked quite well.  Not that I looked out to watch being very busy with my studies.  Well not that busy but I gave up when the info received did not fit the facts found. Some things I came across were interesting. In 1914 a Red Cross hospital opened in a wing of the Workhouse, soon this became a Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital with 26 beds full of wounded soldiers.  The info comes from a marvellous book that originated in the diaries of one Andre Clark, a local rector, 'Echoes of the Great War.'  

Monday, 24 January 1916.
1p.m. Miss Eliza Vaughan called.  She is on the staff of the VAD hospital, Braintree:  Some of the patients are Scots, or at least of Scots regiments.  Miss Vaughan told us a hospital story, of a man who was brought in unconscious.  When he came to himself he found himself in bandages, head and foot.  She explained he had a vinegar head-swathe because of his fever; a mustard-plaster on his chest because of his lungs; and salt bags on his feet because of frost-bite.  ‘Then, Miss, I think you ought to bring some pepper, and I’ll be the complete cruet.’  

Saturday, 12 August 1916.  
Braintree VAD hospital notes.  There has been sedition among the VAD hospital patients on the question of religion.  Last Sunday those who were officially returned as Church of England were appointed to go to church with miss Leila Vaughan of Braintree, and elderly, staid VAD Nurse;  while the Nonconformists were appointed to go to Chapel with Miss Ennersley, another VAD Nurse, apparently young and frivolous.  Before Service time the CoE men said they were really strict Chapel-men.  They had each their story pat.  In the end the gay Miss Ennersley conducted a great band to the Chapel; and Miss L. Vaughan escorted the one faithful C of E man to Church.  Tomorrow, if the nurses in the Hospital get their way, Miss L. Vaughan is to have charge of the party that goes to Chapel!   

By the time my after dinner snooze arrived the workmen decided to use the digger to disturb my sleep. This failed!  However I was impressed by their speed.  Once they got going it only took a couple of hours to find, repair the pipe and refill the hole.  The traffic hold ups did not produce heavy horn blowing and dangerous driving, the size of the man in charge helped here, and soon all was back as normal. This did not help my search for words for the stuff I was supposed to be writing.  All this detailed information but it will not form into a meaningful few words.  I blame the coffee, I should have had some! 

They claim millions of gallons are lost this way every year and round the corner there was another burst pipe offering a wee fountain last week, I hope that was fixed quicker!  
You see how little excitement there is in this part of the world?   A hole in the ground causes me interest, which is more than the bank account does.  If things get any more exciting I may have to move to Frinton!


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Nothing to Report, again.....

So here is a picture of a cat!

My brain has been overworked in recent days so I wandered about ending up in the shopping centre. Here I purchased t-shirts from a miserable woman, and shortly before that a book and a couple of DVDs for a sick man from an efficient unfriendly woman.  What is it about folks in shops that friendliness is lacking? At the museum we insist on a friendly approach, otherwise folks do not return. Surely even efficiency cannot be enough?  A bit of pretend friendliness helps. The book shop women was helpful but we need to see life!  The other lass will not be employed long.  I wonder if any keep their jobs for long in that centre? The atmosphere is a bit well, yeuchy.  On top of that I saw a decent dark brown cord jacket that I want, at a price I would pay, and naturally enough, they don't have one that fits me!  Bah! Isn't it always the way?

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Monday, 2 June 2014

Research Day

One of my bosses made me drag my weary and clearly far from awake body down to the museum by 9 am this morning as we were off to the Essex Record Office for a rake through the files.  She naturally was late!  However we eventually got going and withing thirty or so minutes we were confronted with the 'You canny do that here!' rules.  Having obtained our ticket without which research is not allowed we proceeded to dump our jackets, our cameras, any food, any water, all bags, in the lockers provided. Signing in we were allowed through the locked doors and instructed by the capable, knowledgeable and indeed friendly staff.  The only problem we found, apart from my ignorance, was a technical glitch which made many of the computers used for searching go doolally!  
We found a couple of diaries written during the Great War, the idea being to discover local information. The one I read, written during 1916, revealed the middle class small village lifestyle. That is when we could read the writing!  A nice woman who appeared to spend her time going 'into town' (there is only two streets there) or visiting Mrs this and that, spending time at the 'Red X' (but what did she do?), occasionally feeding poor children or discussing collecting coal for the poor, or taking a Turkish Bath (where?).  In between visiting the vicarage for tea an occasional mention of the war passes by.  The Battle of the Somme is referred to as 'Great news of the British offensive' obviously this was announced during church on the Sunday morning.  Apart from a Mr Low worried about his wounded son no other reference appears.  I'm told the other diary, for 1918, was similar.  This woman went on with her life, hindered by an occasional Zeppelin passing by, but not considering the war important enough to mention in her diary.  Was this 'stiff upper lip' or upper class living I wonder?  I can tell you that by the time I reached the 31st of December I was glad to dump her!  I don't even remember her name.  
We trawled through one or two other things but I think we are heading in the wrong direction.  I certainly did deciding that one bundle of letters were irrelevant to our search, naturally once we returned them we realised how wrong I was!  Bah!  Now I know how the thing works I will go back and read the old newspapers and the bits of info between the lies and propaganda.

Unable to take pictures inside the building I was glad the canal/river outside offered a small taste of countryside.  Admittedly behind me stood a car park laid out on the remnants of what once was most probably a warehouse of some sort. Dereliction abounds as the town improves itself, however it will be some time before the car park is lost I reckon.  I'm glad as I suspect the newer housing nearby will replace whatever stood here thus bringing crowds flocking along the riverside, ruining the peace!  Bah! Lovely to have a day out doing something useful, next time I am reduced to utilising the bus pass!  Bah!   


Sunday, 1 June 2014


Zonk City today.  Up early and soon back in bed.  Being unfit and old is no fun. Later this week, once I am over my running around, I will restart again the exercise programme that failed after a few days last time.  Maybe..... 
Anyway I heard a clip-clop outside the window today, and you don't get too many of those around here, and discovered a Gypsy Caravan being pulled by a tough wee pony.  Most unusual this, although the area has always had many Gypsies (or 'Travellers') as they are called these days.  Twp camps lie a mile or so outside the town.  However this beaut was not the common means of travel. 

The reason became clear much later when I dragged my emaciated body out into the sunshine.  There is a Catholic Church round the corner and most Gypsies here tend to be Irish Catholic.  They have some sort of confirmation ceremony for the girls where they dress up as brides.  This caravan was obviously used to make a day for the young lass posing on the drivers seat in the photo.  It was not easy to get a better shot of the caravan with the kids milling around and the sun directly behind (Hot sun even today!) so I have made the best of it I could.  I could not decide if the pony was bored or happy with his lot. There again he looks well fed and the adults were copying him by heading to the pub, all in their Sunday best as was the pony. 
I dragged myself home and eat a substantial dinner, one suitable for those who have no taste, no finesse, no energy and canny be bothered.  Tomorrow the Essex Record Office to look for I know not what.  Can I not just stay in bed? This volunteering bit is worse than work!