Sunday, 31 August 2014

Weekend is Over

Well that's another weekend over.
Nothing much happened.
I coughed a lot, slept a lot watched football a lot.
The Heart of Midlothian won as usual, the Hibernian lost as usual, both bringing a smile to the heart.
The news was weak, a child taken from a hospital by the parents became major news as nothing important was happening elsewhere.  A typical weekend false headline.  
The number of blogs I looked at was amazing, although most of them were through Bloggers 'Next Blog' button and therefore the viewing lasted less than a few seconds.  So many  blogs fill the web and half of them have been left unattended for four or five years!  A salutary reminder that words placed on the web remain there.
I failed to find any to add to my friends list here and at least I did manage to read all of them. Blogs have many purposes and it is rather sad that so many are forgotten.  On more than one occasion I have begun to read a good blog and discovered the date, when it could be discovered, was years out of date, rather like the milk in my fridge!  It must be said reading the milk in my fridge can be more enjoyable than some of the blogs out there.  

Today is the last day of August.  September begins tomorrow, the year is almost over and the Christmas stuff will begin to fill the shops.  How time flies when your having fun......



Thursday, 28 August 2014

Man Flu

While you's were enjoying life and all it's fullness I was allying dying here.  On Monday the bug arrived unwelcome into my head and has ruined another week. Only now do I appear to be near normal, whatever that is?  The pain, the agony, the suffering continued night and day and yet I never once complained. Not that this made any difference.  I was however not happy!  Use of the laptop was limited as I just couldn't stand the glare so close up.  There was nothing there to entertain me either. Bah!  

The inability to breathe kept me up late and this revealed to me the wonders off late night TV.  I have to say 'wonders' can be taken in different ways!  Who, I kept asking myself, sits up late into the night watching this stuff?  Now some folks are sick, some insomniacs, some at work, but nor working hard, and a variety of reasons can make people stay up all night.  However who actually chooses to watch what is on offer?  I can comprehend those who sat up watching Alec Salmond and traitor Darling discussing independence, but almost everything else is tripe!  Just who spends all night watching 'Jackpot' interactive TV just to win a prize?  Is it the same person who joins 'Super Casino' in the vain hope of  becoming rich?  There are of course movies of dubious content and many channels showing 'Teleshopping!'  Who, I ask, wants to know about non stick frying pans at two o'clock in the morning, who?  Do you need to discover how to clean the floor at one thirty am?  how much enthusiasm can be raised to exercise sufficiently to lose four stones by following some American (these things are almost all American) advert?  Do people actually pay money for such things? 
What sort of person watches 'Road Wars,' during the day let alone in the darkness?   Are they the type who watch 'Cheaters' or 'Cleverdicks,' I wonder? It is sure they would not be among the few watching recordings of the Scottish parliament on the 'Democracy' channel.   Had I chosen to watch it I suspect I would be irked by 'Don't tell the bride,' and if I then turned over to 'Challenge Tommy Walsh,' it could have been taken out of context and got nasty!  
I started at Channel One as you do, The BBC channel of the usual routine drivel.  I wandered through the dozens of channels looking for something to enlighten my suffering mind, which it must be admitted was not as clear as it should be.  The usual American 'comedies' that fail to raise a glimmer of a smile, the 'Big fat Gypsy,' programmes that should be called 'Jail this git now,' the News channels at night with the split screen BBC offering, a nice looking painted lady one side and a fat rich man in Singapore talking money the other, then the 'Adult channels.' Now I have never seen these before, falling asleep long before they open up these came as a bit of a surprise to me.  For a start some of them worked!  I thought these were pay channels but no, some work.  I was confronted with bored, hard faced, almost naked women playing with their bits.  Now in the right place, my kitchen, this sounded good to me, however I found it a wee bit off putting.  There was little to attract, only one was actually good looking, and I sauntered back to the 'Yet another how we beat Hitler' programme on the 'Yesterday' channel.  
I eventually slept, but not well.  Why is it when you need something to divert the mind nothing suitable is available?  The next night was just as bad, but with a lot less TV that's for sure.  As I eventually coughed my way through in the morning, just after five, I noticed there was even more 'Teleshopping' and still 'Deal or No Deal,' and 'Cash Cab US' were running.  
I'm so glad I can use this beast again, while it still works that is.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Charity or Self Projection?

This nation is one of the most charitable in the world.  Through many years of poverty and struggle for a decent life the people understand what it is like to suffer, although many may doubt this while reading their 'Daily Mail.'  The strong Christian influence left its mark concerning the need to consider those without basic needs, an attitude that remains withing society even among 'liberals' who refuse to accept Christian influence on their ideology. Therefore when a charitable movement becomes popular people many are willing to join in.  On occasions however this takes on a life of its own and the results are less than charitable.  The social pressure to undertake this 'charitable act' has led to politicians off all sorts joining in as they are afraid to refuse.  The so called 'ordinary' person is influenced likewise.
The 'Ice Bucket Challenge,' in which an individual allows a bucket of ice filled water to be poured over their heads and then posts the picture on every social website possible is one such charitable act that now fills the media.  Some see this as harmless fun and beneficial to charities. I beg to differ.
Sitting here in my 'miserable old man' outfit I recall similar daft means of raising charitable cash, for instance the woman I found sitting, somewhat bored, in a bath tub half filled with Baked beans for instance.  This behaviour was sponsored with money collected going to a charity of some kind.  I myself believed offering the beans to the nearest Food Bank a more charitable and practical idea.  In similar fashion the money spent on wasting water this way, plus the cost of creating ice, would have been better spent finding a suitable charity organisation that actually seeks to provide clean water for those who need it most in drought areas.  There are dangers in Ethiopia of long term drought killing the major coffee growing areas and the people who live off that produce with it, the Sahara regions and parts of India suffer terrible drought or just lack a source of clean water, could money spent there be more charitable than seeing yourself on facebook catching flu?  Vast numbers in this overcrowded world are beginning to lose the drinking water available, Middle East rivers for instance can no longer supply the vast areas let alone the war torn ones.  The need is great and I wonder what they think when they see fat people in rich lands pouring gallons of clean water over their heads?  Are they impressed?  Could it be resentment or would this breed a desire to move to such areas, legally or not?
Some clever people take a more appropriate outlook when collecting charity money, sponsored walks, women not speaking for a certain period of time (that's popular!), 'fun runs,' and such events while others take a holiday and ride a bike across a desert while being sponsored for the fun, a much better idea and both riders and charity benefit, unless of course the rider dies of thirst or heat exhaustion.  
There is nothing wrong with having fun while being charitable but a better way than ever is also more likely to benefit those that require assistance.  That is giving a direct debit of say £5 or £10 a month, depending on your income, to the charity of your choice thus enabling them to control their finances in a better manner and you have the satisfaction of doing something good and not even noticing it.  Of course you get no publicity for this and surely that is another benefit, who wishes to know how much another gives to charity, whoever they are?  Rich men who give to charity should do so quietly, those who are constantly seen in such poses do so for their image, not others.  
'Loving your neighbour' means just that, it means 'love your neighbour,' help those you wish to help and can afford to aid, it does not mean be seen doing good, or be afraid of a bandwagon. Let us continue in charity work, but let us do so wisely.


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Imitation Wireless

BBC Online went down tonight - you can tell it's a Bank Holiday!
So here are a couple of Radio type interviews to fill in 
while you await the BBC Geeks fixing the online wireless.
You don't wish to have to watch the TV do you?  


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Busy Saturday

Busy day at the museum.  Rose far too early, worked all day, walked back and forward, back and forward, clean tables, do this check shop, run to Tesco, drink tea.  Missed the football and too worn out to care.  However as we won it matters not does it?  



Friday, 22 August 2014

A Thought at Twilight.

I spent the day working on updating the war memorial site and listening to people sniggering worldwide at my Win 8 problems.  It may indeed be 8.1 but I have yet to work that out.  This is a Bank Holiday weekend, one of the biggest of the year.  Today many disappeared to get away from it all and spent the day with millions of others doing the same thing.  One day people will learn something about this.  I did many years ago when I arrived at Kings Cross station on my way to Edinburgh.  The queue was long and the trains were coming and going, station staff attempted to keep order in the queues but not always successfully.  This was a busy Friday and not the situation I adore. Eventually one of the staff shouted that an extra train had been put on over on platform whatever, and pointed in that direction.  Half the concourse ran over there and crushed themselves onto the train.  I waited thinking, stupidly, that this meant less people and more room on our train.  Wrong!  I got in and sat down.  In those days open coaches had four seats, two facing forward, two backwards, with a table between them.  Acceptable when quiet not so when trapped therein for four hundred miles through the night!  I do not know how I survived but I did.  I had to and folks were standing all along the train!  When we arrived at Newcastle the other train came in also at the other platform and I could see they too were standing crushed together all the way.  I never travelled at a holiday time again, bank or otherwise.  I chose off peak as it was quieter.

My holiday consisted of taking a walk after seven as the sun was going down in a vain hope of getting a good picture of the sky.  This was a mistake as the camera is full of dust and I have had to faff about with the one decent shot. The colour is now w bit iffy but reflects something of what was out there.  The cool off the day, especially after it has rained, gives off a distinctive aroma as the flora (or is it fauna I can never remember) absorb the water after the dry day and fill the air with sweetness, well in my mind anyway.  The streets are quieter, except in town centres, less traffic, no children, and walking where I have not wandered for a while refreshes this dulled mind greatly.  Simple pleasures for the simple minded.  Cheap too!


Thursday, 21 August 2014


The morning began in the usual manner.  I sat here at the laptop, switched it on, waited an eon or two while it wormed up and once all was ready I moved my hand over it and accidentally switched the blessed thing off again!  Hmmm this does not look good thought I.
So I decide to take a bath even though Sunday is several days away.  This means twisted the dial on the boiler, pushing the switch and standing back until several little red lights light up one after the other.  I waited, I waited and I waited!  After two had ignited I turned on the tap, rather too early.  No other lights lit up.  I turned of the tap while the tepid water slunk along the bottom off the bath, hmm that needs a clean too.  Eventually the spluttering boiler offered hot water and I was somewhat satisfied.
I returned from the ablutions and switched on the laptop.  The screen went black, light black, then switched off again.  I thought I had touched the button twice and began again.  I again came face to face with a black screen then a light coloured screen and then a small box informing me something had not connected (what did it say?).  I switched off.  I switched on, black screen, light purplish screen for ages and ages, then nothing.  I switched off and dumped it.
For the past few weeks the thing has been overheating.  Strange things have been happening now an again and I suspect the poor thing has been overworked for the past two years.  It is no longer able to cope with the excessive workload.  Sadly I considered a new one that works.  

I switched on again, it worked, it offered me a 'safe screen' but I began normally and it has worked since, but it is somewhat hot still.  So I decided a new one must be obtained.  I searched the Argos catalogue, gulping at the prices and failing to understand what half the words meant, then made a sort off decision.  I checked the alternative shopping places, not many here, and plumped for the best laptop the emergency fund would allow.
After much humming and hawing I got it out of the box.
I kept the old machine running as I was listening to a radio programme there, and began the operation of opening up the brute.  naturally all the plug sockets were taken up, covered in dust and in the most unreachable places.  Coughing and spluttering I sought an extension cable and got the brute to switch on.  I was then led through the many pages taking me into Microsoft's world. Coloured screens with messages telling me things are OK but I want a message that tells me what is really going on.  I want to see the workings.  There were forms to fill, decisions to take, and then I entered my email and passed on to a screen where I entered the code sent to me.   Easy eh?  No, I had to enter a code that I could only get from my Googlemail account. However I had not got into the blessed thing so I could not get into anything to retrieve the code!  Luckily the other machine was still blethering away, and I was missing the programme as my teeth were grinding together loudly and drowning out the sound, but via the other still working machine I got the code and got in, eventually.  For about an hour the screen changed colour while I ate the carpet and a message informed me that they were working, installing APPS (what?) and eventually as my carpet became a rug I was confronted with a 'Start' screen.
What on earth is that?
Windows 8 that's what!
What a shambolic mess appears before me.  What am I to do with this?
Where is Google, how do I get links?  What? Where? Why? and can I borrow a geek please as my fingers require a throat to surround!
Bring back XP I say!  It was simple, clear and not filled with needless childish geek muck!

On top of this my dinner was rubbish!

Bah!  Good job I'm not one to complain.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Market Day

As I trudged back from the market I sat in the park somewhat surprised by the quietness. Usually the brats whine, skateboarders yell and passersby gossip too loudly.  Today nothing moved bar two crows who flapped sullenly across to the Scots Pine and sat high above occasionally calling to the world their ownership of the park.  Nothing replied to them.  In the distance a pigeon entered a tree to roost, Far off on the other side a walker slowly made their way along, and large puffy clouds moved relentlessly to the east.  Still little sound.  Two children passed asking mum lots of questions about the world in between answering the call of the crows.  Mum did her best to bring them back to reality but with little success.  The rumble of cars as they passed far off threatened to break the serenity, as did a light aircraft as a pilot made up his hours.  
I again was fascinated by the clouds.  Huge clumps, darkened on the flat underside and threatening rain, bright cotton wool reaching thousands of feet into the air above.  Today we were covered in floating islands of such clouds, the sun shining hot between the many breaks, the chill wind revealing itself as the clouds darken the sun.  
Moving here I understand why Constable was so intrigued with clouds.  When in London you had to look straight up between the buildings to see the sky, out here it is all around us.  In Constables time, some 20 miles down the road to the east, there was many more opportunities to note the sky above the flat lands around him.  His sketch pad would have run out of paper today.  

With the exhibition up and running I thought I would have more time to myself. Not so!  Not only have I discovered new ways to add to the info already gathered but people ask for information and I sit here looking for what I can find.  This is good PR, better than the PM's anyway, but takes time.  Today for instance I placed a photo on a a website asking for info re the uniform but nothing I attempted would make the thing work!  It took hours of searching the forum, trying different software and lots of rude words before it worked!  Now I notice I have a couple of helpful replies and it feels so much better, but it took time!  Similar but different occurrences already this week including having to rewrite some stuff for the booklet, and here again I stupidly checked facts and discovered more!  Bah!

I need a holiday!


Sunday, 17 August 2014


Not that long ago Winston Churchill, he of the champagne breakfasts and half smoked cigars, talked of the 'special relationship' between the 'English speaking peoples.'  What he meant of course was Britain and America, and Churchill's mother was American and he had indeed a special relationship with the country. Since then many British Prime Ministers, and loud newspapers, have kept this 'special relationship' in the public eye.  Whether Churchill really believed it I know not, no other PM believed it!  However what they did recognise was the two nations have a lot in common, not language as we know they cannot speak it properly, but basic understandings of life, who the good guys are and what should be done about things.  Today both intelligence services work together in many ways, mostly listening in to you and I as we phone our family, scribble a blog and send emails.  These poor men must be helluva bored that's all I can say!  
However it was quickly learnt in Britain that the USA under Harry Trueman did not appreciate this 'special relationship,' as they hopped it back to after the war, ignoring the Soviet takeover off half of Europe and ignoring the threat to the rest.  I think it may be down to Churchill's speech off an 'Iron Curtain,' cutting Europe in half that allowed General Marshall to produce his 'Marshall Plan' to rebuild Europe.  Marshall was not a great warrior General but he was a wise diplomatic one and understood that not only was Stalin a threat but the US could not export to a dead Europe.  The dead Europe would have seen some nations tempted to Communism and US cash, well spent, would aid the USA also.  And so it was, and I admit I generalise freely here.

Come George W Bush and his needless invasion of Iraq we find the UK government led by an admirer of all things American, Tony Blair.  Bush, and especially those strange men behind the scene, were motivated not just for oil, if indeed that was the reason, but because Israel wished Saddam out of the way.  They feared his threat, real or imaginary, to their state and the compliant people who actually run the States followed on.  Tony Blair spoke of the 'special relationship' which he knew meant 'follow the US at all times or they might turn against you' and he did not wish to spoil that relationship.  A more courageous leader might well have done so with no break in the 'relationship' for Harold Wilson, then the Labour PM, refused to send even a military band to Vietnam when urged to do so by Lyndon Johnson.  Certainly that would have produced problems at home but in the end we still borrowed cash from America, amongst others, and life continued.  
This morning we read of David Cameron who, I kid you not, is actually Prime Minister of the United Kingdom!  Indeed you rub your eyes but it is true, he is the PM, the most important man after which ever singer/filmstar/footballer has committed suicide/got married/found with drugs. Incredible as it seems he is once again following on the one lesson he learned during the Blair years, you get votes if you prove you are a tough war leader!  He forgets Iraq is Blair's legacy, one he cannot ever evade.  
Our bright, keen 'Dear Leader,' has already urged Obama in action in Lybia where the nasty Gaddafi was removed and the people set free to kill one another while gangs of gunmen roam around for political/religious/banditry reasons.  His next move was more intricate, he wanted to join the war on Assad in Syria.  Now Saudi Arabia(our friends who buy our guns etc, Sunni Muslims who produce bin Laden) and Qatar ( our friends who buy our guns etc to keep their population under control, Sunni Muslim rulers of a Shia state) both supplied arms (bought from UK, US, France etc) to the Sunni's fighting against Assad.  Both states are afraid of Iran (Shia state that is not sold anything by anyone bar North Korea and those who don't admit selling stuff) so get at Iran by breaking up the stable state that was Syria.  Obviously the west allowed this to occur as nothing was done to stop it.  Obama rightly may not wish to be involved in the Middle East but the US must have allowed this to happen.  The proof is Cameron's desire to join in. Now we see the 'rebels' are dominated by Sunni 'extremists,' armed by our friends in the Middle East now taking over the northern parts of Iraq which as we all know are Sunni dominated.  The southern part of Iraq, Shia dominated and badly led, now finds its capital under threat from the 'rebels' who not only are Islamic extremists they are so violent they claim al Quaida (spell it your way) have distanced themselves from them!  The threat to the Kurds is real enough and the ISIS mob, or is it Islamic State mob I don't know, have better weapons than the Kurds (who may be Shia or Sunni I know not but are Kurds first when this lot are about) so Cameron is talking not just about arming the Kurds but taking military action against this 'real danger' to the UK.

So what this means is the people supported by our 'friends' are now our enemies but the arms they posses were given by our friends when they were also our friends but are not friends any more but our friends who armed them are not opposing them in northern Iraq but we are, and while opposing our friends friends we take help from our friends enemy who is our enemy except when aiding us against our enemy who once was our friend but isn't any more but remains friends of our friends just the same while our friends enemy is no longer our enemy but our friend.
Simple really.
What it comes down to is another PR stunt by the slimy Cameron telling us that Obama, against his wishes, has to aid the Kurds, we support him in this and use air power, something our friends friend who is our enemy does not posses, to attack his heavy weapons and drop aid to the folks he is killing for no reason. We will also supply heavier weapons (who pays Cameron?), SAS troops on the ground, although they may already be there, and according to this mouthpiece troops will soon follow.  
Cameron is following the 'special relationship' much loved by the Conservative Party, even though it is one sided, and it may well be attempting to drag Obama rather than follow.  
By all means stand by our friends, and the US are 'friends.'  By all means oppose tyranny everywhere and at all times.  The one thing missing is long term consideration of what is going on in the middle East.  This problem grew out of the aftermath of the Great War when Britain and France carved up the middle East between themselves taking no account of religious differences. Ignoring the people we find that after Saddam the place was left, under Israeli instruction, to fall apart.  What has happened has brought a greater danger, to Israel and the wider world!  Folly at all levels has allowed the situation to explode and the politicians in the west are struggling to cope.  In the meantime many die.

Cameron stayed very quiet while Israel bombed Gaza, merely stating they had a right to defend themselves, he was very reluctant to leave his holiday in Portugal while the Yazidi's were being forced out of their homes, he has only now surfaced to play the war leader.  He has certainly never mentioned the many types of Christian who has suffered in the Middle East, especially under ISIS, where death for thousands has occurred.  He cannot mention them as he is afraid of the Muslims at home.  A bit late for that Prime Minister!  He is also afraid of the gay lobby and the secularists who he is desperate to run after.  
This man is not a leader, he merely runs after whatever grabs the headline and reaches for a vote. The 'special relationship' will be used here as a reason to follow the US, 'for our own protection,' while a wider vision of what is actually happening will be seen as unnecessary. 

Saturday, 16 August 2014


The picture is not perfect as it was taken at a distance, a long distance, from where this chap was 'entertaining' the kids with beasties.  What you cannot see are the crowds of kids shuffling forwards to touch the great white brute he has around his neck.  All of them were keen to be entwined by this, er... thing. When I was a lad we knew better and kept well away and instead looked for furry creatures like cats and dogs certainly not snakes!  
It gets worse!
Among the beasties there were iguana type things, including ans Australian dragon.  A creature that survives in the desert.  I rather liked him, but there again I am used to dragons, and Aussie ones as well!  He was cute but as I said it gets worse, several of the kids were photographed with the tarantula sitting on their head!  No thaaannnk yeeewwww I and several others were heard to say as we made our way to the door.  As can be expected the kids had a wonderful time and the adults have difficulty sleeping.  Every movement just out of eyeline is a beastie on the make!  

No 11 Downing Street.  The Chancellor of the Exchequer lives here.......


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Nothing Important

For the first time in yonks I find myself grumbling and putting the world to rights.  Something my tired wee mind has struggled with recently when I really couldn't work up the energy.  Twice tonight I allowed my mind to wander over past battles and successfully defeat the enemies of reason (my reason).  A good sign!  
I should point out not everyone would see this as a good sign.  If I sleep enough, eat enough (and properly) I may have to start blogging properly again. I could go on about blood thirsty Americans bombing people (even though none appear in the media at the moment), I could blast the trumpet against the monstrous regiment, I could grumble re the appalling state of cheap slippers, and I might even get around to winging about those self service machines in Sainsbury's this morning but I have forgiven the brute now.  

Since I wrote that my mind has dulled and darkness is falling with a big thump. I listen to the football online as the Sportsound boys get excited over little. There is little to get excited over as our lot don't play till Sunday when we beat the wee team again.  I seem to spend more time in my bed on this laptop than anything else these days.  In fact all day I have been downloading stuff onto disks and two of them had already been downloaded yonks ago!  Fool!  Dearie me just formatting the disk tales ten minutes let alone sorting out the pics. Bah!  Tomorrow I will go around the favourite blogs and find something rude to say on them all.  


Monday, 11 August 2014

Clean up.

The washing has been done, hung up over every suitable space and dried by evening for the most part. The hoover has run about the floor chasing the dust and forcing it to hang about in the air for hours after it was supposed to be sucked up into the depths of the machine.  Good grief even the sinks got themselves cleaned.  How is it something so close to water can be so filthy?  I fail to understand how the water manages to leave behind so much stour!  Well at least that is those jobs done for a few months.  

As the dust returned from whence it had arisen I decided to clean up the laptop and download all those files taking up space and too important to loose.  Such a simple idea but then it goes wrong.  Not that anything went wrong it was just that the discs I use to download stuff onto take forever to format.  I was convinced I had prepared all these beforehand and discovered I had failed to prepare any!  So I began, first I had to check all the previous discs badly field with things in a mixed order.  At least I discovered some pictures hidden for ages past if nothing else, then I discovered that nothing could be deleted from those old discs, which was a pity!    
Hours passed as I removed files of pictures to one disc after another.  Museum files here, picture museum files there, Great War here, other Great War there, on and on and I have hardly started yet.  I also began to clear out the links. Line after line of links I never use even allowing for some being important to hold on to so many might never be used again.  Just why some were kept is now a mystery and so many no longer work, the page long gone as the owner probably has too.  
Added to this I was searching through the Memorial website in an effort to update the info there and this also takes so much time.  However there is a reward in that new details arise and some interesting info comes out.  This however could go on for ever.  



Sunday, 10 August 2014

Summer Storms

A wee bit of rain fell today, the left overs of yet another US hurricane that they send to us.  Some areas are inundated, we just got wet if we stepped outside. The media, well the 'Daily Mail' has been threatening all sorts of things that will happen to us, once again they were wrong.  The dogs in the park I noticed were thoroughly enjoying themselves, not so the folks that will be cleaning them up when they get home.  It appears the hot summer is over, the dying embers will flair now and again but the nights are closing in again.

The football season proper got under way this weekend and as expected the Heart of Midlothian defeated one half of the evil twins easily.  Unusually the Govan Masons did not get the help they expected from the referee, there were no late minute penalties, no sending's off, although six yellow cards were handed out, and somewhat harshly I felt regarding some of these, the ref did stick to the laws of the game for the most part.  This may not happen all season of course.  So once again we begin the long haul, week by week, worry by worry, not for us the worry, that's for the rest to do. 

This week we must watch the Middle East mess continue with the Yazidis being exterminated by the ISIS group, under whatever name they possess today. Clearly the threat to the Kurds capital had to be stopped, clearly something has to be done, but will a few air strikes do the job?  This group is a well organised, well trained people.  Dedicated and committed to killing anything that does not agree with them, and killing in that region has always been commonplace.  The Yazidis plight is not new.  This threat is greater than any so far.  Nothing is simple or straight forward in the middle east and there is much more to come in this situation.  Christians are among those being removed, ethnically cleansed is the phrase no-one has used so far, but all others will die if they refuse to submit to ISIS.  The LORD knows those who are his however and he remains in charge in spite of what we see before us.

Thursday, 7 August 2014


My jet set lifestyle took me to the official opening of the exhibition.  A place where speeches were made, praise was passed round, and rose wine was drunk. This mixing with the hob-nobs is a good thing in my opinion.  My influence is important amongst the movers and the shakers, when I arrive they all shake slightly and soon move me on I find.  The lass who organised the whole thing has done really well, plastering the walls with boards detailing all sorts of items from the war, timelines, info etc, some wrote by me, and obtained mannequins dressed in appropriate uniforms.  Things for kids to touch, push and wear, guns, grenades, violent things and all the odd items used in those days to keep a soldier happy, and alive.  Sadly real WW1 'Brodie' steel helmets are not allowed today, the inside contains asbestos and this could be dangerous! Now they tell them! 
These days I sit at the laptop and merely research the individuals concerned more intently. Nothing else to write, research or look out for.  All bar odds and ends are done, even the boss is relaxing after her hard three months.  I can even take time off and....what?....Oh I see, I canny take time off, I have to go in tomorrow to cover, 'for an hour' she says.  I bet that means 10-1 again!  Ah well, it keeps me off the streets.  In fact the threatened rain (another of the USA's old storms) will be torrential when I go out in the morning, and that will keep everyone off the streets.  Typical!  


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Nothing to Say.

I've searched the papers.  I've looked at pictures, I've stared out the window and I'read others blogs but I still have nothing to say.  Now that the exhibition is up and running and I have merely to continue researching my men there is no news.  
The routine wars ebb and flow, the media builds up nothing as important, the sun goes down early and life goes on but there is nothing to say!  
I got my haircut, I ate badly, I avoided the teeming rain when going to the shop early.  Not much to write about there, bar miserable people you meet during the day.  Funny how when I meet folks they all look miserable but when they pass on they are happy again.  I must have the gift of encouragement, I must practice this more.  The warmth is still in the air as it ought to be, even when the rain falls as it did earlier.  The brats scream and yell in the darkened park, skateboarding in the fenced off skateboard park which is undergoing repair.  No doubt soon the screeching girls, why must they always scream, will be testing 'morning after' outfits.  This area having one of the worst pregnancy rates for stupid girls.  I note the gardeners are ensuring foliage fills the gaps that appear between the trees near the fence at the side.  Blocking area that will save much money from single mum benefits.     
The official exhibition opening is tomorrow night, although it is already open! This means another clean shirt and a bath, that will be the second this week and it is not even Sunday!  The costs are high here, soap and water!
Hours have gone by and nothing has stimulated the mind.  This mind needs stimulation, or as the lass at the museum put it, 'a kick.'  Typical women's approach!  

However I like these girls, they speak my language!



Monday, 4 August 2014

The Men Who Marched Away.

This is the draft of the item I wrote for the museum.  The boss has edited the entire piece but I cannot find it on the laptop.  I suppose there are not that many changes bar of course the grammar!  It was intended as a brief introduction to the Great War which as you must know by now began on the 4th of August 1914 as far as this nation was concerned.
Gavrilo Princip’s action in assassinating the Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, meant little to most Essex people that June day.  With summer at hand the people’s thoughts probably centered on day trips to the coast, Southend by rail a mere three shillings and sixpence ‘Third Class,’ or possibly a day at a local fair or fete.  However by the August Bank Holiday as they returned cheerful to town news of the long awaited European war being at hand dampened their enjoyment somewhat.
The towns and district around the small towns of Braintree and Bocking shared the same patriotic fervour as the rest of the nation that day war was declared on the 4th of August 1914.  The Band marched through the streets playing patriotic tunes and enthusiastic volunteers made their way to the Drill Hall in Victoria Street eager to ‘do one’s duty,’ either for the sake of the Empire or to protect ‘gallant little Belgium.’  Many ex-servicemen, some with experience of the Boer War, also re-joined the colours; their experience a boon to the fledgling troops who took a militaristic pride in their uniform once that is they received one.  It is unlikely any among them had any comprehension of what full scale industrial war between mighty powers would entail. 
The Territorials were already on exercise when war was declared and took up positions throughout the county in defence of the much dreaded invasion.  Business was hit badly, Crittalls alone watched well over a hundred reservists and Territorials leave for the fight.  The long hard struggles over wage rates became struggles to create munitions with the common belief, even at very high levels, that the war would be, as the Kaiser himself claimed, ‘over by Christmas,’ a belief that was soon proven false. 

Over the next four years the district shared the traumas and despair of war.  The majority supported the war effort and those who did not suffered badly from all around.  Pacifists and conscientious objectors were widely despised, the more so as the death count mounted.   While many continued to offer themselves as the war progressed and a short war faded into distant memory the need for men increased.  Some favoured conscription, others, usually unable to serve themselves, demanded all young men should enlist.  Insistent women stood at factory gates seeking young men for the colours, others offered white feathers to men in the street and young women refused to ‘walk out’ with a man who would not enlist.  Harassment from such as they and noticing the treatment of soldiers by their officers or army doctors also inclined many to rush into the munitions factories for ‘war work’ in the factories rather than ‘in the field.’  Employers not involved in ‘war work’ ‘did their bit’ by sacking men of army age, whether single or married, who did not enlist, and the pressure of middle class women attempting to enrol farm hands had the opposite effect in Essex as the men were annoyed and tore down recruitment notices.  The most vociferous patriot is usually the one staying at home.

The absence of reliable news coverage plus a strict censorship enabled rumour to become something of an art form.  The best example being the small company of the Russian Military Representatives who landed near Aberdeen and were transported south by train, soon this had become 80,000 Russian troops heading for the front.  There were claims that through the blinds, always lowered on troop trains travelling at night, lit cigarettes illuminated Russian beards!  The much feared invasion offered constant rumours of enemy landings, something that worried Essex people who were in the forefront of any invasion.  For this reason a million men were stationed in East Anglia partly to defend against invasion but also preparing for transport ‘to the front.’  Troops from many parts were billeted on the district; even small houses with families had up to six men with them.  This could be an advantage to the householder if she gave lodging to cooks who enabled the family to eat better than usual!  The great disadvantage being that many became family friends and their loss felt almost as grievously as they families itself. 

Over the next few years the people of the district spent many anxious moments awaiting news of their men.  Official reports clashed with tales from returning wounded from the same regiment, months could go by with no news whatsoever.  Knowledge of a soldiers regiment participating in a ‘Great Push,’ with no acknowledgement of his whereabouts caused great suffering for months on end in many homes while the distant rumble of guns in Flanders a constant worrying reminder of what their men endured.  Many women as well as men however benefited from the high wages found in munitions work.  Crittalls, paid their women employees the same as the men and provided medical care which lessened absence and gave a degree of security to the workers.  Lake & Elliott were among those leading the munitions drive along with other East Anglian companies creating a factory making fuses entirely staffed by female labour.  Women from all social strata and backgrounds took up routine factory work, mixing somewhat uneasily, while others became voluntary nurses at local war hospitals.  The social classes in service at home and abroad mixed together in ways unknown for some time.

The people of the Braintree and Bocking, Finchingfield and Coggeshall, Wethersfield and Bardfield in town and village faced the fear caused by a new kind of war, one fought in the air.  The experiments of Jack Humphreys at Wivenhoe alongside the other air pioneers had by 1914 produced the early machines that were to change war forever.  This change was noticed in Essex by the dark slender shapes of Zeppelins whirring by high above dropping bombs from the dark heights.  Zeppelins flying higher than aircraft crossed the North Sea to attack the Britain with a degree of impunity as defences were inadequate to deal with the threat.  The citizen was now in the front line and the citizen did not like it!  In spite of the ‘Blackout’ incendiary devices were dropped on Braintree with a bomb damaging windows in London Road while others fell harmlessly nearby.  On the night of March 31st 1916 Braintree suffered heavily. That night Kapitanleutnant Alois Bocker brought his airship, ‘Zeppelin L 14’ to Braintree arriving around eleven in the evening.  He dropped a bomb which landed on Number 19 Coronation Avenue.  Inside Ann Herbert was killed while asleep in the back bedroom while her daughter and two children survived even though they crashed down from the first floor to the ground.  Next door the chimney collapsed into the house killing the sleeping Dennington’s and their three year old niece Ella, while the entire street suffered concussion damage from the explosion.  Kapitanleutnant Bockers ‘L. 14’ continued to drop bombs causing little damage but now the townsfolk knew what modern war offered.        

High wages were available and women spent much on cigarettes and lipstick earned through long working.  Many men were saddened however as beer increased in price and decreased in strength!  Panic buying was reduced as some degree of price control was installed.  However shortages arose and most folks took to an early ‘grow your own’ policy.  Bread being in short supply by 1918 and lack of coal supplies hurt many during the later winters.  Shortages became more important as German submarines began to take a toll of British shipping during 1917.  The greatest dread however was the knock on the door.  The inoffensive telegram boy saw many sad sights as wife or mother received news of her husband, brother or son, wounded, missing or killed.  The telegram Boy must have been a dreaded sight during those long hard years.  It is no surprise some telegraph boys were overcome with the distress that faced them at the doors and quite unable to deliver the telegrams.  Nine men from South Street, three from Bradford Street, five from Coggeshall Road, three from Notley Road and three from Rayne Road fell.  No part of town was untouched

The four long years of war left around ten million dead.  Nations were damaged physically and politically.  Men returned changed and often found the promised jobs gone, wives and families unable to cope with their hardened attitudes and disturbed physical or mental disabilities.  Shell shock, guilt, both of actions taken and the guilt of surviving, the loss of a steady wage and for some a regular meal also hurt many.  For years after the war many returning soldiers, lived among the ‘down and outs’ of society, many of them officers!   Single women, often widows with children could find few men to replace the ones lost.  The high rates of pay in a munitions factory ended in 1918 and the women returned home with few jobs to replace the war work.  Cultural attitudes, changing before 1914, exploded after the war.  Hair was bobbed; skirt hems raised and for those with money a time of jollity prevailed as an effort to live life took over from death.  The majority suffered bankrupt Britain’s ‘austerity’ however, the poorest suffering most.  The men hailed as heroes found no homes built for them, jobs rare, and the rewards of victory, and they believed they had indeed won a victory, taken from them. 

Was the war worth 750,000 British men dying?  Society changes would have come anyway, slower perhaps but inevitably.  Could the United Kingdom have avoided war by allowing an aggressive Germany to dominate Europe in 1914?  Could Britain have morally stood back when Belgium’s neutrality was ignored?  Surely this war would have had to be fought one day?  These men did indeed give themselves in a great cause, they did save the nation and the people back home could indeed be proud of their efforts.  Can we be proud of how they were treated afterwards?  


Sunday, 3 August 2014


I awoke this morning to the blethering voices on the radio mixing with the remains of my dreams.  This was not a good combination.  It was just after six, my bleary eyes looked at the brightness outside and wished to climb on the bike in the early stillness.  My muscles were however making clear their protests. I rose, went back, pondered, rose again and sat staring out through the open window.  The dream remained in parts, just how was a friend, not seen for 20 years on that bus/van/train thing last night? What was he saying, why were we wherever we were?  Radio 3 soothed my mind as I pondered.  In spite of the sun my thoughts became dismal.  After all I was still me!  As the crows nodded while patrolling what they consider their park I mused on the wasted years, the ineptness and failure that is my life.  It was then a memory of how God had chosen to love me in spite of all this came to mind.  Long ago he made clear his love to me, useless, inept, cretinous sinner that I am, and had proved it so many times.  
It was a good thought.  
Foolishly cheered I then sauntered around on the bike for some minutes as my body screamed "NO!"  To stop my muscles (I use that word loosely) seizing up I then strolled across the park and around the almost empty town.  How the sun brightens everything, especially when the town is empty.  I made it home and fell asleep soon enough in a vain effort to please the body.  The hulk was not pleased and required yet more sleep after what laughingly I called 'lunch.'  
My head continued to carry the thought that Jesus loved me.  How incredible! Only I can tell how bad I am, yet he knows there is much worse inside, I canny do anything that will surprise him, yet Jesus gave his life for me.  
It is only when I allow myself to forget this, by fussing about less important things, that I find myself swamped by the world.  What a clown.  
The amazing truth is that it is not that we loved God but that he loved us, and gave himself for us!  The death of Jesus washes away sins, all our wrongs.  No wonder Christians should be happy.
Just imagine what I would be like if he had not intervened in my life?  Put your trust in Jesus, nothing and no-one else brings abundant life!


Friday, 1 August 2014

One of Those Days....

This has been one of those days where nothing goes right.   Nothing goes right online, in the street, at shops, talking to people, nowhere did things work right, people were always in the way, doing wrong, being unhelpful, and I am glad the day is over.  Now I sit here in the cool of the day, watching the sun depart, knowing that whatever else happens nothing now can go wro