Sunday, 30 March 2014

Wot?



I passed the happy smile club there yesterday morning as I wandered round for my veg.  By veg I mean a trip to the market for fruit and veg, not a visit to the MP or local politician.  The sun was attempting to shine and I had just got off my bike after the first dawdle around for a while and was attempting to stop my knees from freezing up.  Today made it twice I have been out on the bike, already I am fitter, according to the aches from the muscles that I had forgotten about, and they threaten rain!  However I am in the museum for two days so I care not a jot.


As expected the last Edinburgh 'Derby' match resulted in another win for the Heart of Midlothian.  The Hibernian contingent, knuckles dragging on the ground as they arrived, were for reasons unclear convinced they would succeed where they have failed so often before.  They failed again!  To make matters worse for them the expectation was a victory would result in the Heart of Midlothian being relegated to the lower division.  Money fiddling has meant the team playing the entire season with the Under 20's forming the bulk of the team.  However the wee team from Leith have gone home unhappy as we once again defeated them.  Relegation may come but after today it is a thought that Hibs might find themselves joining us.  Tee Hee!
Read Mike Smiths thoughts, Edinburgh Reporter. 


I have been so slothful and lazy overworked that I have not been reading folks blogs.  When I have I have not commented, thinking I will do so later and later never arrives.  My mind is falling apart, nothing is going right and I am sure I have read posts then discover I have not.  I must get more sleep.....


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Fluttering Butterfly



The Tortoiseshell Butterfly is a handsome chap, or chapess I am not sure, but he, or she, is not intended to live in my bed chamber.  He came in through the open window the other day when the air was warmer than today, I discovered him on the curtains at night.  In itself this is not a problem as he normally would leave the next day following the route he took to get here however the light at night attracted him into the shade, possibly to cool off as you know it's cooler in the shade.  He rummaged around there ion and off, occasionally flitting about the room annoying me and generally being a pest. The last two nights he has lived there, rent free, so today I removed him from his temporary dwelling and after taking his photo for recognition purposes, his fingerprints were a bit more troublesome, I edged him through the window.  At this I felt guilty.  The weather she is cooler, he himself looked tired and weary after his tanning session, and I am now concerned in case he fell to the ground weary and became an evening meal for one of the local birds.  

I have spent many hours today researching a war memorial.  This involved finding, reading and copying bits of a book re an attack by the Welsh Guards. Hours I spent looking for the right bit, then followed this with more reading for another man who fell in the Sharon Plain.  All day I spent on this and have only got to the fourth man on the list when I discover someone already has done much of the work! Quite why he has not made this clear I know not the great lump! My efforts are not in vain as I a sure I can jazz it up a wee bit for him. Nice to know however that some people are willing to expend some time in researching their village history.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Some Musings



As I stuffed my healthy salad and veg with a slice of expensive meat (going cheap) and similar cheese for lunch I watched the ham histrionics of Prime Ministers question Time.  This in theory is an opportunity for back bench MP's to bring relevant questions to the PM direct.  Naturally the leader of the Opposition has six questions he can ask and this means the whole pantomime turns on their performance, and performance this is!  Backbenchers do ask a lot of questions, often 'suggested' by the front bench leaders, and occasionally the House falls quiet when an MP actually brings a relevant and often serious question to the PM.  Mostly however this is an act and an act which rises in intensity as an election is in the offing next year.  Order papers are waved, loud cheers roar as their man rises to ask or answer a question, the 'Yaboo' cries continue throughout, mocking laughter, attempts to put off the questioner if it annoys one side or another, 'Order! Order!' cries from the speaker as he demands silence for the question.  All this rings out for thirty minutes at noon on every Wednesday the House sits.  A sign of democracy in action, or possibly a need for a strong dictator I'm not sure.
The interesting thing is what happens when the speaker brings the session to an end.  The House empties, it is lunch time, the next minister takes his position and a near silence descends on proceedings.  Today such as this occurred after PMQ's finished except that the PM remained in his place to report to the House on his recent meetings with the G87.  Instead of order paper waving and yells the place remained quiet, little noise followed the short report and this continued when Milliband rose to reply.  The cameras of the BBC Parliament channel remained on to inform the nation of proceedings but the News reporters were now in the Lobby talking to leading MP's to find out what really was going on.  The normal business of democracy was now in action, quiet, slow, ponderous and often very uninteresting but very much better than that in many other places in this world.
I have been struck by how much the Labour Party no longer represents the 'workers' of this country.  To be elected in England you must appeal to 'Middle England,' and that well off type care little for the lower end of society, indeed blaming them for their misfortune.  Add to this the nature of those now selected as candidates for the Labour Party and we find most as from the 'Oxbridge Set.' Middle class liberals who have been through Oxford or Cambridge, have the right outlook, look the part the Party requires and have never done an honest days work in their lives!
The Lib-Dems are a dying party but Labour indeed now represent the Liberal outlook, not the workers.  



You will doubtless be aware that my care for 'art' and 'celebrities' does not make any important mark in my humble existence.  Such as these do cross my paths on occasion but it is a sad thing in my view that I am not driving a bus at the time.  This musing arises because of one Gwyneth Paltrow and her bloke whatsisname?  Suddenly, while searching for a missing plane and the 230 occupants, discussing the economy and whether Chancellor George Osborne actually plays Bingo or not we find acres of print given over to this women dumping her man.  It appears many get very excited when some broken women, and from what I can gather this is a very broken and confused woman, get married quite regularly and publicly, are pictured in days of bliss, and when there is no news to speak off inform the world he's been kicked out the door. You will note I imply she is the one making the decisions here.  I ask, why do men marry such as she?  Why does she marry such as he?  Why is the broken life of a mere film star so important to so many?  I recall the reaction, though I was not around at the time, when Rudolph Valentino died, women committed suicide because of this.  From what I can gather he was not someone worth bothering about too much either.  It is all very sad and reflects a need for a leading light in our lives.
We all do this.  We identify with someone because he or she is a footballer, musician, film star or whatever we fancy.  Women have a terrible tendency to fall for a hunk in a film in a manner men don't manage I am glad to say, women also identify with a woman and her struggles also.  Note the absurd reaction to the death of Diana?  So many women who chose to live their lives through an image of someone they saw on TV and in magazines.  Someone who did not live out the life her admirers were living through her.  We do tend to follow 'role models,' and we often pick absurd ones.  However who would follow Paltrow as a 'role model?'  Feel sympathy, wish to help, suggest keeping out of the public eye and find a life, yes all this, but copy her ways to find satisfaction, I wonder who would do this?  It's a funny old world.
I should add I never managed to be another Jim Cruickshank, he caught the ball better than I.    


     
You will like this!
News headlines gathered from many of the local papers, and one or two more reliable sources, that will make you laugh!  How do you sell a paper, by the huge headline that grabs attention. Read the efforts of those men seeking to reach the top in journalism, or maybe, maybe those who failed to get there and are now just holding on.....just.
Click this link.


.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Stupid Week.



Stupid week continues apace.  It never seems to end and I suspect it will continue on, possibly for ever! I indicated to a woman at the museum this morning that she was incorrect in saying that her relative was on the war memorial.  Her insistence almost convinced me but I remained adamant that I was right, I mean I usually take the correct opinion do I not......what? Oh!
Anyway after she left I realised I was wrong.  I was doing things alphabetically but putting 'M' after 'N,' Thus ensuring that her man was not there.  It is clear   the dementia has either started or I am suffering one of those bugs again. The lady however will be returning with info regarding here ancestor and offering them to the museum for the exhibition later this year.  However there are in fact two persons with the same name, only one of which was put on the memorial, which one I wonder?
  
Stupid week continued when I took for ever to count £30 cash.  One of those women who must be obeyed was muttering things as I did this, you know how they go on, I was just trying to find my mind but am failing terribly there. Can it be age, I'm only 24.

The lass I practiced my stupidity on discussed a lot of things with me while she browsed our bookshelves, one was telling her eight year old how lucky he was when watching adverts for hungry children.  Poor wee lad is too young to appreciate what he was looking at but will learn in time.  It made me remember how lucky I am to have what I possess.  The good Lord could have had me born in India, Africa, Syria or Vietnam.  I could have endured war, hunger or a variety serious wrongs, but most of my woes come from me, not others.  Jesus called to me when I cared nothing for him, cared for me when my life was in danger and has provided all that I have now, yet I still remain ready to grumble? One visitor today could not speak or walk properly, a young lad who had suffered terrible damage, possibly from assault, and is lucky to be able to still get around.  How many of those like that I saw in the NHS who are dead today?  

Of course I will still find something to moan about.


 .

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Looking Back.....



Reading in this book by H.V.Morton I was struck by something he said when on an ancient roadway.  He was discussing a building erected generations before to protect traders as they reached the half way point on the journey.  It had been standing there in one form or another there about three thousand years, possibly following on a resting place going back much, much further. This got me thinking about something those colonials in the Americas sometimes say regarding old UK buildings being 'ancient,' and 'historical.'  Many Americans touring the free world do find the age off buildings fascinating and it brought to mind Soub's picture of a building in Texas dating from I think 1848.  This wooden structure, reminiscent of a 'cowboy' TV set, was classed as the 'Oldest building in town.'  Now 1848 is not that far back, my Grandfather was born a mere three years earlier in 1845 and I am only 25 so it is only two generations, yet in the USA the early 1800's are ancient history.  Of course man has been living on that land for thousands of years but the mind forgets this and concentrates only on present culture when considering the past.  Our view is often limited by ourselves.
History is seen in the buildings.  Edinburgh, towering above the world was built of solid stone structures reaching for the sky ten or twelve stories high.  This reflected the available materials, the numbers crowding inside the walls and the need for walls to defend against the nasty English invaders.  The 'closes' contain housing reaching back several hundred years each with its own history, each worthy of a blog all by themselves.  Digging back further prehistoric man lived in several places around the city, both on Castle Rock and Arthur's Seat and in the Pentland Hills nearby.  
In the part of paradise in which I dwell houses arose from the wood that covered the land. Made of wood and plaster with only castles made from stone and the churches flint and rubble, contained in a form of 'clinker,' often containing Roman brickwork.  The latter showing how happy many Britons were to accept Roman standards.  Many building in this small town go back to well before the 1800, one in the High Street has a pillar dated to 1395 I was told. Dating trees is an interesting insight into the age of buildings.  Quite a few began their life in the early Medieval period and have been transformed according to contemporary needs and still serve their purpose today.  The stairs creak a wee bit mind! People were known to be farming in this district at least four thousand years ago, some of their leftovers have been found.  Before them as the Ice Age receded man trekked this land from the south of Cornwall across what became the North Sea to northern Germany following the herds hunting and gathering.  No buildings were left but signs of habitation are abundant.  The melting ice gave us the North Sea and fishermen still dredge up mammoth Tusks and the like daily.  

While such nomads dragged their weary way in the cold north the peoples of Mesopotamia were already beginning to farm, gathering cattle, sheep and goats, and no doubt dogs and cats also, to produce a more settled life.   The cities of Ur and Uruk had something like 60,000 citizens five thousand years ago.  Their mud brick buildings lie in the south of what is now Iraq.  This seems ancient to us who consider the Greek and Roman period as far distant yet Mesopotamia is a rich cultural heritage ignored for the most part and contains, so they say, our beginnings.  Further back settled life arose Jarmo at least 7000 years before Christ and hunter gatherers walked for millennia before that.  Man spread out quickly over the earth and similar finds occur in China, India and South America going back thousands of years.

It makes the history of this wee town appear quite recent.  It also makes me feel quite young.  



.

Friday, 21 March 2014

A Glare in the Sun.



The cat interrupted the daydream to inform me with a look to sling my hook and quick.  Sitting dozily at the gate ensuring the home is protected, enjoying the sun and awaiting feeding time the last thing a cat needs is some prat with a camera.  There is no preening oneself while the photographer positions himself, no licking of hair to get it just right, no posing on a wall or sitting just right, just a slight turn of the head and a glare.  Cats as you know can glare very well.   At least the beast has some sun in which to dwell.  Facial expressions in people can be revealing however in animals they speak volumes. Dogs, those big lumps that take up lots of room and eat everything and require you to walk ten miles a day with them can say much with a look.  Cats however say much, much more.  They need nothing except your constant attention, food and you getting out of their way.  You have to think if their is a dog in the house, the cat does the thinking for you, the response required from you is mere obedience. 

I have spent the day indoors looking for dead soldiers again.  Some fool found a war memorial from a village nearby last night and realised he had no knowledge of the folks involved and sat up till near midnight scouring the web for little return.  The day has followed on from that very well!  It is just typical that none of the names match those already researched.  Bah!  It is fun mind but annoying when nothing else is found.  At least on this one I discovered a dead Brigadier General (acting) who along with his Major was hit by a stray shell. Some sixty or more such generals perished this way.  

My eyes hurt from the bleary light, even when the sun brightened the day staring at the screen did not improve my 20:20 vision, especially as my vision is more bleary:bleary.  My mind however has been enabling me to forget an enormous amount, so I had to go back to the shop for what I forgot yesterday. While I found myself talking to myself about things I had no connection with I almost forgot the soup burbling away on the cooker but saved that before the burning started.  Later discussing with myself the future football I managed to knock everything down as I went to eat my dinner, put my dinner on my seat as I cleared the mess and then sat on my dinner.
The air, as they say, was blue!

I have now retreated to the west wing in an effort to overcome all this debacle and hope to recover my struggling brain by reclining gracefully.
Did I switch the oven off....?   

.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

They and Us!



Yesterday saw the UK budget speech by Chancellor George Osborne.  The usual patronising waffle while he offered a budget aimed at stopping wavering Tory voters from voting for the UKIP party, a party the Conservatives fear may lose them many seats.  To that end the savers and pensioners, mostly Conservative regulars they consider, have been offered money, and that will appear just a month before the next election.  However the Eton educated Toffs have made many mistakes revealing just how far they are from real life in the UK.  Eton Toff Cameron, somehow wormed his way into the Prime Ministers job, George brought in Rupert Harrison, a friend from Eton days, as an advisor and together they have taken us back to 'class war.'  
At a previous budget Harrison suggested taxing hot food taken from Bakers shops such as the renowned 'Greggs' shops.  This led to a hubbub known as the 'Pastie Wars.'  A 'pastie' as you know being a type of pie filled with meat and veg (or so they claim).  The inference drawn was this was food eaten by the masses and the Conservatives were attacking the 'working class,' so to prove their 'equality' Dave and George rushed to Greggs and were photographed 'enjoying' hot pastie bought from the shop.  All other political leaders raced to join in and the whole nation laughed at the out of touch attempting to impersonate real life.  No one was fooled.  
The tax never arrived, the idea dropped like a hot pastie and the Eton set, from all parties, rushed to an expensive restaurant to get rid of the taste of the pastie.

Yesterday George fed the voters he requires but he remembered the lower orders also.  Oh yes, the peasants got one penny of a pint of beer (hooray) and the many who attend 'Bingo' clubs to lose a few pounds while hoping to win a jackpot that will never arrive were told that the tax paid will be reduced substantially (woopee).  
Enter Grant Shapps.
Grant is the Chairman of the Conservative Party and MP for Welwyn Hatfield. He, like Dave and George, is famous for his foo-pahs, though he was not educated at Eton.  Shapps has fought hard battles in life, once being knocked out in a car crash and unconscious for a week when in Kansas, and not long after he married he developed Hodkin's Lymphoma.  Possibly all the drugs required to heal have left a hole in his head?  You see this chairman of the Toffs party made use of Twitter posting the picture at the top off the page and revealing the heart of the Tory Party.  The implication that 'hardworking people do nothing but play Bingo and drink beer was quickly seized upon by the world on Twitter.  Bingo and Beer are good enough for 'them,; or is that 'they?'  The 'plebs' already have 'pasties,' now they have beer to go with it.  The response filled Twitter and the papers printed some for us.  
These came from the 'Daily Telegraph.'  






When a political party shoots itself in the foot today the whole world wide web is available to remind them of their folly.  Now George and Dave will just laugh this off, George is more worried Boris Johnson will become an MP and his personality disorder might make him leader of the Conservative Party, a job George is desperate to obtain when Dave is dumped after the next election and this to these men will be easily ignored.  
What cannot be ignored is the 36,000 jobs that they claim have been created recently, especially as 2.5 million remain unemployed!  What the budget did not do was remove some of the 750,000 who use 'Food Banks' from the need to do so, and nothing was done re carers paid a pittance to care 24 hours a day.  Still, 'it's a wealthy country' and 'we are all in this together,' aint we....?  


.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Gray Again



The sky outside showed itself rather gray once again as peering through the crack in the curtains I hesitated to rejoin the world.  In the far distance sunlight lit up the edges of openings in the grayness yet very quickly this flickered and died.  The usual Spring weather.  The recent warmth has faded and people are heard discussing the past few days as if Summer has been and gone already. This naturally brought Edinburgh to mind.  As I now live in the 'driest county in Englandshire' it has been no surprise to me that it has rained constantly since I got here.  More so after I became a postman!  Having been led by my creaking knees into unemployment and now the position of retired miserable old git I expected the rain to cease, I was wrong.

Being brought up in Edinburgh, the capital of the free world, I have an inner tendency to expect the worst. Always awaiting the wind blowing in from the west no matter how strong the sun may shine. The trees planted in the gap between the two roads outside our door when we moved in there in 1953 have grown up with an obvious east leaning.  When the wind comes from the eastern direction however it begins in the Arctic just north of Siberia, crosses Poland, gathers speed and arrives via the North Sea and goes straight up ones kilt! This I can tell you, is not pleasant.
Edinburgh weather records go back well into the 1600's.  These were used recently by researchers studying the rainfall there.  It appears that whenever a volcano erupted in the northern parts of America Scotland suffered the effects. Edinburgh's rainfall increased and I strongly suspect nobody really noticed the difference.  Consider this, Edinburgh then comprised the city on a volcanic hill, a tall stone built city with tenements ten or twelve stories high.  This small area, houses, churches, official buildings, all surrounded by a wall, extended to the 'Flodden Wall,' contained almost 40,000 persons by 1650, 60,000 were living there by 1700!  Admittedly many lived outwith the walls if they had money enough, but the vast majority were contained in the tight space high up on the rock.
They would have experienced similar weather to today's population, the Haar that often hangs over the city would have given the many trainee doctors therein much practice.  Add the cold misty weather to the stink of overflowing drains and it is not a wonder that Edinburgh produced many great physicians. There were many on which to practice.

Weather affects our personality.  The weather where we live affects our character, our minds disposition and our outlook on life.  People living in deserts have a differing culture to those dwelling in vast crowded cities.  The open skies above lift the mind and the heart, glass and concrete blocking the view depress. Scandinavians suffer deep depressions during the six months darkness many endure, no wonder the Vikings moved south.  Did the darkness inculcate a violent streak into their hearts?  Could that have just hardened what already existed? Certainly the world is a better place as the sun rises.  

Today the skies attempted to clear, occasional dark brooding clouds covered the land and passed on, hastened by the wind, the direction of which was ably demonstrated by the plastic bags caught in the branches of the trees opposite. The sky eventually lightened sufficient to allow an interesting hue as the light of the day ended.  Darkness now encloses this part of the world, bright lights shine from windows, television light twinkles in occasional rooms, and pedestrians light their way by reading their telephones!  The darkness is never dark these days.     


.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Idiots...




Idiot # 1
I am a medical student currently doing a rotation in toxicology at the
poison control center. Today, this woman called in very upset because
she caught her little daughter eating ants. I quickly reassured her that
the ants are not harmful and there would be no need to bring her daughter
into the hospital. She calmed down, and at the end of the conversation
happened to mention that she gave her daughter some ant poison to eat in 
order to kill the ants. I told her that she better bring her daughter 
into the Emergency room right away.


Idiot # 2
Seems that a year ago, some Boeing employees on the airfield decided to
steal a life raft from one of the 747s. They were successful in getting
it out of the plane and home. When they took it for a float on the river,
a Coast Guard helicopter coming towards them surprised them. It turned
out that the chopper was homing in on the emergency locator beacon that
activated when the raft was inflated. They are no longer employed at Boeing.


Idiot # 3 - A true story out of San Francisco:
A man, wanting to rob a downtown Bank of America, walked into the branch
and wrote "this iz a stikkup. Put all your muny in this bag." While
standing in line, waiting to give his note to the teller, he began to 
worry that someone had seen him write the note and might call the police 
before he reached the teller's window. So he left the Bank of America 
and crossed the street to Wells Fargo.

After waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to the Wells
Fargo teller. She read it and, surmising from his spelling  errors that 
he wasn't the brightest light in the harbor, told him that she could not 
accept his stickup note because it was written on a Bank of America deposit 
slip and that he would either have to fill out a Wells Fargo deposit slip
or go back to Bank of America.

Looking somewhat defeated, the man said, "OK" and left. He was arrested
a few minutes later, as he was waiting in line back at Bank of America.


Idiot # 4
A motorist was unknowingly caught in an automated speed trap that measured
his speed using radar and photographed his car. He later received in the
mail a ticket for $40 and a photo of his car. Instead of payment, he
sent the police department a photograph of $40. Several days later, he
received a letter from the police that contained another picture, this 
time of handcuffs. He immediately mailed in his $40.


Idiot # 5
Guy walked into a little corner store with a shotgun and demanded all the
cash from the cash drawer. After the cashier put the cash in a bag, the
robber saw a bottle of scotch that he wanted behind the counter on the
shelf. He told the cashier to put it in the bag as well, but the cashier
refused and said, "Because I don't believe you are over 21." The robber
said he was, but the clerk still refused to give it to him because he
didn't believe him.

At this point the robber took his driver's license out of his wallet and
gave it to the clerk. The clerk looked it over, agreed that the man was
in fact over 21 and he put the scotch in the bag. The robber then ran from
the store with his loot. The cashier promptly called the police and gave the
name and address of the robber that he got off the license.                           

They arrested the robber two hours later.


Idiot # 6
A pair of Michigan robbers entered a record shop nervously waving revolvers.
The first one shouted, "Nobody move!" When his partner moved, the startled
first bandit shot him.


Idiot # 7 Arkansas:
Seems this guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just
throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and
run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the
window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the
head, knocking him unconscious. Seems the liquor store window was made
of Plexi-Glass. The whole event was caught on videotape.


Idiot # 8 Ann Arbor:
The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger
King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 12:50 A.M., flashed a gun and demanded cash.
The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register
without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they
weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away. 


.

Monday, 17 March 2014

I Forgot



I forgot all about the blog today, not counting replying to the comments some people left.  I was so busy not doing the things that needed done and doing some things that needed done last week but didn't get done as I was so busy not doing the things that needed done.  Therefore by the time I had done the things needing done last week I forgot about the things needing done today, although some of the things needing done last week would have needed doing this week anyway.  So some things have now been done but will probably need doing again next week and some things that need doing will get done possibly next week to save doubling up on things needing doing today.  

So I forgot.       

Not that anything has happened.  The missing plane is still missing, Ukraine is still upset at losing the Crimea, celebrity stories are wasting peoples lives in the papers, George Osborne is still planning a budget to help the rich and Rangers have the refs in their pockets as always.  So we have missed nothing and our lives have been improved by not noticing what we have not noticed and worried ourselves sick about for no good reason.  Life is good when nothing happens.

.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Science Saturday



It was Science Saturday at the museum today.  Well over two hundred, nearer three hundred I guess, crowded around the Fossil tables poking at bits of mammoth or possibly early man, they looked the same to me!  Fingerprints were taken elsewhere, bugs magnified by electric microscope and something very strange was going on elsewhere.  This was all part of 'National Science and Engineering Week,' and fun it was.  The kids received certificates for participating, there were activities to check out, and the rest of the museum as open for inspection also.  Two happy workshops were offered making collages or fossils.  The place was full of old fossils today. That reminds me, I must phone my sister.
This young lady was sitting in the teachers desk at the Victorian classroom. She readily took to being in charge!  I wandered around being the 'gopher,' as this means I see everything but do the things that suit my abilities.  I made lots of tea and coffee.  On occasion I helped in the shop.  On these occasions things went wrong.  I made my excuses and left.  This was a good exhibition, none complained as some like to do, all appeared reasonably happy, the kids looked engrossed when I looked in at the workshops which is always a good sign.    


Possibly the parents enjoyed it most!  The Essex Fossil people had crowds milling around their display all day, it took until near time's up for the place to clear.  Handling fossils, especially of big animals intrigues people.  It was all I could do to stop them nicking our mammoth tooth.


The girls working the till had a wonderfully hard time.  There was no charge for entrance today but the workshops cost £3.  These had to be pre-booked and the popular later one was in fact overflowing as many who arrived today wanted to join in.  Names had to be taken and checked, money received, change given, queues controlled, and items sold, all at the same time as others piled in.  Much fun and confusion, especially when I made a hash of the credit card machine, but the girls were magnificent! Volunteers all, except the staff obviously, and hard working all day.


My knees ached by two and I left soon after.  How nice it was to sit down and eat!  It made a change from washing cups and chatting to people.  That last but is the best part, there is so much to learn from visitors, so many tit-bits of information, and the kids are great also, if you manage to get them talking that is.  Some of course never stop, mostly female I should add.... 
I am worn out and off to my kip...


.

Friday, 14 March 2014

It Still Shines!



It's still here!  This big bright yellow/white ball still shines day after day.  Could it be global warming has arrived?  Actually warming is the wrong word as while the big yellow/white ball rises dutifully each day the wind is sharp and has an irritating tendency to arrive from the north eastern direction.  This does not stop the Englishman wearing shorts and t-shirts, police women resembling something from an American police show with their dark glasses as they drive around and kiddies rush back and forward in the sun unaware that they are freezing to death.  A very handy childish quality that.  No doubt it will be gray again tomorrow, surely this cannot go on!


Thursday, 13 March 2014

It's them Frogs Mate.....



At Christmas my best looking and most talented and intelligent niece gave me this book.  This is just another example of her wisdom and understanding.  As it happens I know little about France, I know it is there, I know something vague regarding the history, very vague to be sure, and the gaps in my knowledge are filled by this long very readable and very enjoyable book.
The author has written many other books on France, done TV and Radio at home and abroad and I have never heard of him!  
He begins at the beginning as he sees it, the Norman invasion.  He discusses how the Normans were not French so France did not beat England.  Good start, and he goes on in similar vein.   The hundred years war, Joan of Arc (killed by the French then made a saint), Calais, Mary Queen of Scots - which he gets wrong, Champagne, America, Napoleon (who wasn't French), food, wine (which is American) and on and on pointing out things that the French will not like.
The author is English by the way.

This is an enjoyable easy read but there are glaring faults.  The English author finds difficulty in understanding that 'England' is not 'Britain' and vice versa. English thugs are referred to as 'Brits,' and Redcoated Brits referred to as 'English!'  When I discover his e-mail I will inform him in a full and frank manner of his discrepancies. 
This is taken to a worrying level when Mary Queen of Scots comes along.  It would appear he has read a book on her by Antonia Fraser for this chapter and this is unfortunate.   Fraser is a middle class socialist who has never done a days work in her life.  Not only this but she is English!  The book she has produced appears to be more concerned with Antonia's problems than Mary's.  It is difficult to read a book via another's interpretation of it but it seems to Antonia that poor wee Mary was being bullied by those nasty big men and it's no fair so it is!  
This is not the Mary Queen of Scots that I learned about all those years ago!
If his other reading has been so poor it begs questions regarding the rest of the book.

However I must say that blatant racism that I will not mention apart I found it difficult to put the book down!  It fair races along containing a great deal of humour as well as interesting details re the relationship between the nations. De Gaulle, you will be pleased to know, comes over just as you expect him!  The French thankfulness for Britain saving them twice in fifty years from the Germans is also as you would expect,though again the author fails to understand the British position at Mons.  The French let us down badly then and continued to do so for much of the war.  

Put on the Maggie Thatcher mask, hold a copy of 'The Sun' in your hand and investigate the happy neighbours next door (to England), you will not be disappointed. 

Boney has just read the book!


.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Hooked!



I'm hooked!  Every so often a game will cause me to lose days.  The Block Game is doing it today. I had this in times past but it refused to work on Windows 7. However once I increased the memory I went searching for it and discovered it worked.  The problem is I start and cannot finish, unless I make a mistake and look away and the thing falls over itself.  
This is not new, I have found a variety of simple kids games that keep me 'entertained' for days, sometimes weeks.  The 123 Solitaire game of course is always around, but there was a snooker game I once had (or was it Billiards?) that for a period filled hours that ought to have been wasted doing something useful, like eating, sleeping or washing!  
The 'Bouncing Balls' game is also a dumb simple game that is aimed at kids yet I can spend days playing the thing!  Usually I play such games while watching TV or even the football when it gets a bit rubbish!  This keeps my fingers busy as they get fidgety if I am not typing something.  My fingers do not like sitting around and if my mind fails to invent words to write they get very annoyed, these games fill that void. 
I am not one for the larger games that feature car chases, overcoming obstacles to reach an end but my ageing sister has developed a hunger for such as these. Her grandchildren demanded the 'X-Boxes' or 'Wii's' or whatever they use and as they grew older new ones arrived, gran found these dumped on her. Both she and her man waste time struggling through obstacles when in times past folks their age would have been sitting on rocking chairs smoking pipes and knitting. Not quite sure who would be dong which mind.  They say such games keeps the mind active, so does reading a book I say but that is too much for them.  
I will stick to simple games that suit my simple mind, brain stuff is not for me.





Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Building Site



Now you may think this a boring and unusual picture, me, myself and I were shocked by what I saw!  I wandered down this way yesterday happily enjoying the blinding sunshine when I looked to my left and gasped.  Just the other day I came down here and to the left stood a twenty foot high heap of earth dumped by builders working over the other side.  I queried whether they intended building a mountain rather than houses and received a not very encouraging response. Now there exists this complex of flats growing from nothing!  Growing indeed next to the stream they refer to here as a river.  Note they are building next to the stream!  This wee river in times past would burst its banks, and the museum has pictures to prove it, however some attempt at control has been made in the last hundred years, nevertheless recent events such as the flooding of Somerset ought to waken people up to the idea that some thought needs to be put into where houses are built.  I was more annoyed that so many perfectly good trees were removed to allow the building. Round this area dozens of trees have been chopped yet as far as I can see no replacements have been planted. Strange to prefer trees to needed homes but some care re trees is required, we need them also.
For a while, until the economic meltdown, every small open space would disappear and half a dozen houses would appear the next day.  This has slackened somewhat but several areas have continued to build, this spot is one of them.  Houses planned in the past have risen and annoyed the postmen who find another hundred drops added to their loads.  The way mail works here the streets get added on and the postman just has to do it, unless he goes mad and screams the place down.  The last 'walk' I was doing had about eighty houses added not long after I left.  The postie's opinion is not worth repeating here. Now we are informed by the government that recovery is under way (?) we can expect a resurgence in such activities.  Especially by friends of the government, an election is in the offing ....... 

.

Monday, 10 March 2014

The Folk Next Door.



The high quality block in which I dwell has only one real problem, the folks next door!  By that I do not infer the folks next door are a problem, I mean the fact that someone is next door is a problem!  Only two of the six flats here actually connect with me in a real way, the others are situated so that I am not really disturbed by them.  Now we face a dangerous and problematic time, that is the actual folks next door have left and this means we must await replacements. The question is what will they, he, or even worse she, be like?  

Nowadays the landlord whom I have known for twenty years gets local agents to do most of the paperwork for new tenants, he himself being in his seventies he spends his time in his Rolls Royce or travelling the world to find warm places.  His mind is always on the houses mind, and he has hundreds of them! His staff of two lovely young ladies and two ageing fast handymen, 'bodgers' as they are known and excellent men and I get along with them well enough.  Also my rent increases every couple of years or so rather than steeply every year. The empty flat next door will no doubt see an increase on the price charged but what that price may be I can only guess.  

The tenant get along reasonably well.  Not too much noise, unless the old girl gets drunk and brings out the romantic music records, and the man downstairs makes almost no noise at all in spite because I make noise by generally living life.  The problem is that while we can ll get on what will the new tenant be like?  Consider this, who can afford to rent these days?  Who can afford to buy? Either way who can guarantee having a job tomorrow to pay for it?  Banks, including those this government has a hold over by shovelling cash into them do not wish to lend either to housebuyers or businesses.  They can however give huge bonuses to those at the top!  The Co-op Bank has a loss of £1.5 Billion yet the new boss has been awarded £3.5 million in wages and shares. Very Co-operative that!  Therefore a young couple (and we don't want any of them here) must rent, and the money spent on rent reduces the savings made for a house.  For me the housebuying thing is a Thatcherite problem she demanded everyone buys a house with little thought to the needs of the people or the problems involved.  Her rich friends of course went along with this, and profited greatly.  She sold off all the council homes, homes built after the war to house homeless people.  Today we are building 'social housing,' which is the same thing but councils do not run them, private organisations do.  There are not nearly enough.  Add to this the weakening of marriage, easy divorce, kids living together and females getting priority over males simply by being pregnant and homelessness grows.  

What I mean by this is that the likelihood of a suitable male or even female tenant being able to afford the rent is rare.  If they apply for Housing Benefit, something pensioners and others can receive, they may be able to move in.  So far two young girls and two probably suitable males have turned it down, clearly the cost is too much.  This increases the chances of a young couple arriving and splitting the costs, if they have jobs.  With them comes what all young folks have, noise, parties, hassles, rows, babies.  Not that I am one to complain but if people want to have fun they need not come here!  The last couple were working, well he was, and both were about 21 years old.  Once indoors they were OK but there were constant faults found with the building, OK she fell through the rotten wood in the kitchen I'll give you that, twice actually, but there was an inability to keep the shared stairs clean, though spreading muck was easy for them and general human attitudes were missing, caused by age.  

Mind you one or two elder statesmen we have had here have not stayed long, I suppose the police knocking on your door at six in the morning might hasten your removal, and drink does make some folks a bit oblivious of their duties. Overall the crumbling somewhat stinky building has its benefits. Everything is near, the view is tolerable, mostly we live amicably, and the landlord is OK and repairs, when required, get done eventually, even the window man might turn up soon.  However we live on tenterhooks awaiting the newcomers, this could of course take six months. I care not who moves in as long as they are quiet and get on with everyone, the days of suffering loud noisy folks are passed for those of us here now.       

.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Spring is in the Air.



I am beginning to believe that Spring may actually be on the horizon.  Yet another day in which the sun shone and blue sky appeared overhead.  The kids football this afternoon took place in the sun with the wind bringing warm air instead of the usual chilly stuff.  People were seen
wandering about like Englishmen do in the sun, tee shirts and dark glasses, carrying drinks bottles and driving cars with the hoods down.  Actually they were doing this yesterday also but the wind was chilly and they were so busy being macho they did not notice.  I expect the horrid sight of men in shorts, fat men and unsuitable fashions, to appear soon.  

  
This weekend saw cup ties in both Scotland and England.  The fantastic benefit of televised games, once frowned up by the authorities, allowed me the dubious pleasure of watching well wrapped up highlanders in Inverness enjoying the rain and a five nil drubbing, all of which was their own fault, by Dundee United. I followed this with the first half of Hull City v Sunderland in the sunshine. Once again England keeps the sun while Scots get rain, it's a disgrace!  i got fed up with the quality of the 'best league in the world,' (@English media) as I was falling asleep so I went out on the bike for half an hour.  How nice to trundle around in warm air.  How nice to discover life was worth while once again. Life appeared even better when I discovered the second half of the football was on the one hour delayed transmission site, and joy abounded when I saw Rangers were losing to little broke Albion Rovers.  Joy was disturbed when later it was found that Rangers had equalised by scoring a goal with a BLATANT FOUL! Here we see the power of the club.  Had that happened anywhere else a foul would have been given, but with the ref afraid to be hammered by the authorities pro-Rangers bias he put his job before the foul and stole the glory from one of the smallest sides in the nation.  Disgraceful!  I expect however the Glasgow media will not see this that way.



.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Waiting, Still Waiting....




Yesterday I woke early and spent time making space round the windows as the carpenter was to come and measure up the frames for replacing.  Everything was moved, and this meant clearing my desk of all the piles of baggage and dumping them somewhere safe.  The windows were sort of cleaned up, left open to allow air to circulate, and then I waited.
Shortly after his agreed time he called to say he could not find the house.  I discovered he was at the 'edge of town,' so I gave directions and informed the hero I would be waiting at the door.  I then went downstairs and waited.  
Now remember I live on 'Stane Street.'  This one time muddy track was hardened by the Romans to ease troop movements from their capital Camulodunum.  The road is therefore more or less straight for fifteen or so miles and if he was at the 'edge of town' he would be here in three or four minutes.  
He wasn't!  
After half an hour or so, in which I took a broom and cleaned up the front to avoid the glare of passing motorists and in the process discovered just how unfit I am (gasp) I gave up.  Possibly the poor man was not on this road and had entered by another means, possibly he was in another town, possibly he was facing in the wrong direction and headed into Camulodunum itself?   I might never know.  He might still be driving around for all I know!

That escapade wasted my whole morning leaving me today in a dwelling turned almost upside down and with much to do.  Naturally I realised I must take action here, so I fell asleep.  After this I got myself round to writing the leaflets for the museum, or in my case stealing making use of museum stuff I found online.  I am attempting to collect a handout for those visitors who ask questions and find the girls at the desk have no answers for them, they tend to be there just for the shop.  Whether it comes to anything we must wait and see but it is fun scribbling all this stuff even if no-one likes it.  
The freezing cold yesterday, on a very sunny day, has left me chilled and wheezing now.  I told you I was ill!  This means I cannot be bothered investigating the nonsense found in today's news. However I must ask why are we having almost live coverage of that South African murder trial? What is it about this weird athlete that makes it so important?  This country has a fine heritage of madmen, psychopaths, murderers and the like why do we need to suffer blanket coverage of a South African one?  Can it be more important than the Ukraine situation, the five million killed in the last thirty years in the 'Democratic Congo,' or any other war, disaster, tragedy or local murder nearer home?  I find this all very strange I must say.

Not quite as strange as yet another day of police corruption and mishandling of a murder inquiry arises. The Lawrence murder of twenty one years ago still brings accusations of police criminality as we hear of smear campaigns against the family, police connections to one of the accused, files withheld from previous inquiries and who know what to be uncovered now.  Some ageing policemen will be seeking refuge in Russia before long methinks.

Each day however I note that the Westminster governments desperation regarding Scotland's coming independence produces more and more propaganda.  Each time it gets more absurd than before.  The other day another oil company chief, not based in the UK, claimed Scotland should stay in the UK, even though that was not quite what he said and he cares only for his business money anyhow.  Then it was the Banks will have to move to London if Scotland is independent.  no one claims how much that will cost these banks.  Each day a lie is published in the London based media and soon I expect to read the Loch Ness monster will move to an English lake if Scotland chooses independence, Haggis will be taxed, Scots air is actually English and rain will not fall on Scotland after independence!  The last bit sounds quite good.  All part of the English governments attempt to keep Scotland paying for tax breaks for the rich in the south east of England!  



.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Zonked.....



So here is a picture of Cowdenbeath.....



.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Now I'm not one to complain but....



Why I ask, when something works perfectly well, do we need some cretinous minded lout coming along and 'improving things?'  The BBC website is one such example.  Having moved into new Manchester, sorry, Salford, studios it has been decided to 'upgrade' the excellent BBC website in keeping with the new layout in Salford and BBC London.  This means the football pages are full of white space and absurd yellow banners, meaningless unrelated content is pinned for weeks where it is not wanted and required content is not always easy to find.  The 'upgrade' to the BBC iPlayer has gone the same way. The screen above is the 'simple' layout some fourteen year old geek has offered us, and as you will expect it does not quickly lead to the sought after item. WHY can 'designers' not design things to be simple enough for stupid people to operate rather than fancy enough for someone who will only admire the layout and not actually have to use it?

There now follows a few minutes quite as I lie on the floor chewing the ends of the rug.

When I got this laptop it came equipped with 'Windows 7,' while before I used 'XP.'  'XP' was excellent and gave me all I required, it also allowed me to use the 'Outlook' Mail service which is far better than 'Windows Live,' a system that fails to live up to its name!  However someone somewhere insisted on changing things, needlessly!  Bah!  


  
Google Maps have done this also!  The old system was perfect and I used this often.  Now the thing is not straight forward, lists appear at the side unwanted, the wee man will not land on the street chosen, the tools are useless, pictures arise from the bottom for no reason and 'my location' does not work yet the location is there on the absurd space taking list at the top left!   I click on the map to move it and the address, with picture, appears at the top left.  I don't want it!  If I want a picture I will ask for one! Just give me the map!  This is a needless and failing upgrade!  Go back to the old system Google!!!!


Now look, that rug is frayed at the edges.....

.