Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Open Minded Comments



The day started early and lingered on a long time.  I became immersed in the papers.  One of the great leaps forward provided by the internet has been the free availability of the half truths and downright lies offered by the UK media. On top of the slanted items on view comes the readership, both those who succumb to the propaganda and those who oppose.  To give an impression that a great many of those who add their comment at the foot of these stories, and stories must be the word, are small minded, blind, self seeking cretins might be a wee bit wide of the mark, or maybe might not!  Which is worse I wonder, the distorted news item or the distorted reader, it's a difficult one.
The brazen manner in which the media offers tales based simply on what the reader wishes to read, yes 'Daily Mail,' I mean you, is simply staggering.  The desire of folks to read and accept what is published staggers also adding more than a hint of worry about just who is sitting next to you on the bus!  A direct opposite news priority wise is of course the 'Guardian.'  While the 'Daily Mail,' appeals to those of the lower middle class and those working class Tory voters aspiring to be 'middle class,' the Guardian's appeal is to the liberal middle class. That is those educated, or indoctrinated might be a better word, by their class fellows and proudly boast of their ability to think, yet manage to come out with the same opinions!  These opinions are on the whole totally opposed to those underlying the 'Daily Mail.'  
Each paper on offer aims only at its readership an attitude leading to a desperate lowering of standards such as they were in the hope of keeping the paper afloat.  UK papers have lost half their sales in the past ten years and some now ask for money from those of us reading their online versions.  'The Times,' one of Murdoch's papers, now offers his opinions at a cost, his already dumbed down 'Sun,' now also asks for a contribution.  Neither get any shekels from me.
The advantage of online versions is the ability to increase advertising that reaches the soul of the reader, so far none has reached this soul as far as I can see.  The disadvantage is employees are required to moderate the online comments offered by those seeking fame, attention, a soapbox and being able to anonymously project these to the world via a keyboard.  
What are you looking at me for?
Cost cutting has hit 'journalism' hard.  Proper journalists as well as tabloid ones have lost their jobs and we find their meaningless drivel now presented by 'Workies.'  That is those offered a full time 'interns' job with no pay.  These are willingly accepted by young trainees desperate to break into the business, a year later heard offering the famous cry, "Do you want fries with that?"  One job workies do is moderating comments.  No doubt some are good at this, no doubt someone with appropriate training is able to weed out the libelous stuff before it goes out to the world.  One thing is clear, any comment that criticises the paper itself is almost always removed!  Don't ask how I know, just believe me.  The Guardian allows all sorts of perversions to be aired yet will not allow a degree of sarcasm or disagreement, either removing the offending post, moderating the offenders next posts, or banning them altogether for a while. Don't ask how I know this either.  Many of my some peoples 'Daily Mail' posts do not appear, even when they claim not to be moderating.  I think I have upset one of the workies.  It would not be too difficult to work out which one I suspect if I ever saw them alive.  The 'Glasgow Herald,' that famous Rangers supporting paper, is all for a free press but reluctant to allow questions about one time Rangers boss David Murray.  My posts rarely go up there either. 
Those who comment fit certain boxes.  In the 'Daily Telegraph,' now dumbed down into an upper middle class 'daily Mail, these chaps, and it is mostly 'chaps,' are concerned only with the Conservative Party's main concern, money!  Almost everything comes down to the economy.  So unlike the 'Daily Mail' where almost everything come down to, er the pound in your pocket. Both have many commentators happy to follow the agreed line, even if it is absurd, thus revealing a great deal about the attitudes of the average Englishman, and they are mostly English.  The anti-Europe UKIP Party will gain many votes from this crowd, especially in the 'Daily Mail,' while the 'Guardian' sees that party as racist and against all immigrants, gays and blacks.  Neither see what is actually written by the other, neither wish to, the papers and the comments are merely to support personal opinion not offer facts to enlighten.
On several occasions I have quietly posted obvious facts on papers, the abuse received is worse than that offered by women I have worked with!  I am talking about clear obvious facts, not the 'wind ups' I sometimes accidentally offer for consideration.  On occasion I am amazed at the closed mind seen on the comments sections, I am so pleased my mind is always open to others ideas, as long as they are not ones I disagree with.......
I expect all comments to be open minded, thoughtful and generous, other wise they get banned!            


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Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Tuckered....




Museum, lots of kids, group of handicapped, visitors, home, lunch, dead soldiers, dead brain, bottle of beer, deader brain, goodnight.....



Monday, 28 April 2014

Musing Wasted.



I sat in the early morning freshness the park offered this morning and mused. This resulted in a wonderful post concerning friendly people, dogs, crows and daisies.  The east wind caused a wee bit of a chill and at eight in the morning the sun had not removed the cloud cover yet leaving what to me was a perfect Edinburgh Summer afternoon.  Up there the folks would be taking their shirts off, putting on dark glasses and asking for sun cream!  Here they wrap up in large coats and mutter about the cold!  Tsk!
Sadly however while I enjoyed the fresh air, especially as I had not really got out yesterday, and I was intending to hide my face behind the laptop today, first to remove the glitch that has arrived and them seek out dead soldiers, things did not turn out right.  The thing is I did manage to work out how to fix the Windows Live Mail, it would not send photos and IE came up by itself and that would not work.  It appears something has been switching things off.  The 'proxy' setting was on, but it ought not to be on! That fixed Windows Live sent pics again.  Little things have been arriving, a strange new 'Google' page for one, yet the defenders claim all is well.  Bah!  The search for dead men got somewhere, a better picture emerges, yet there is such a long way to go, and now I have to meet someone on Saturday to offer information we don't have! Tsk!

The things started well, but after lunch all fell apart.  I fell asleep, diner took for ever, I sauntered out, and once the muck I called dinner was over my sister phoned.  You will of course realise that as she is a woman and has not been on for months she had lots to say!  She did!  Lovely it may be, informative, enjoyable, but my ear burns now!  This means my wonderful erudite post fell from my brain and once again, late, unready, I am filling space waffling contacting the real world via the internet, which may not be wise after all.  Why does the brain function so well at different times. My body gets weary yet my brain offers deep thought late at night, however before that, around now, it is befuddled.  Early in the morning I am either still asleep or desperate to get going, but the brain is not always as sharp as it is late at night, why?  Who knows what state it will be in if I wake at three in the morning.  Bah!




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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Stiff Upper Lip?



At the beginning of the Edinburgh Derby this lunchtime there was a moment of remembrance for two who had passed away this week.  The crowd stood and applauded for one minute in an act of remembrance and then the game got under way.  This is not an unusual event, sadly such moments occur throughout the season, occasionally involving the entire league, often at a local level involving only one club.  This is of course perfectly acceptable behaviour and is to be itself applauded.
However I mused on the emotion involved in society these days.  Until recently such moments passed in complete silence as this was considered appropriate at someones passing.  The increase of televised football coverage allowed us the sight of Italians at such moments applauding for one minute and many considered this appropriate to introduce.  There are other reasons, some clubs fans are unwilling to allow such respect to pass without abuse of the dead or their supporters, on at least one occasion my own club has some fans who indulged in such ignorant abuse.  For this reason applause is sometimes suggested instead of silence.  However the individual who has died on occasion finds such respect from the fans they automatically respond in whatever is the better style.
This also reflects on the increase of emotion allowed, or all to often encouraged, today.  Where once we were told to 'don't show you are hurt,' or 'make the best of it,' 'get up and sort it,' today raucous whining appears to be the order of the day.  Self control is less important and respect offered for the dead often is not extended to the living!  People at heart remain the same as when we left the Garden of Eden, however you imagine that.  Culture however changes all the time.  I suspect the mess that was 18th century Britain (and I refer only to the UK here) with the five year old alcoholics, industrial revolution and the resultant problems and social breakdown all helped to develop an attitude of a more organised society in the 19th century.  The influence of preachers cannot be ignored as the men changed during the 1700s by the preaching of Wesley, Whitfield and the rest often produced families who worked their way up in society over the next fifty years bringing change wherever they went.  Add of course Queen Victoria once she had found Albert as consort there arose a fashion for respectability allied to Christian influence which reached everywhere.  The 'Public Schools,' never of course open to the 'public,' developed the 'Masculine Christianity,' line whereby you took the knocks and carried on.  Being able to take knocks without complaining sounds good but often it was abused by others who enjoyed inflicting knocks and grumbling if you did not like it,'Take the knocks and be a man,' they would say, while leathering you!  
This stiff upper lip society reached it's zenith during the Great War, and survived!  So many writings from the time show that knocks were expected and folks just 'got on and dealt with it.' This is certainly an attitude gone from us today.  'Daily Mail' readers blame the benefit society, while really just disliking any of their tax helping the poor, or indeed anyone else.  Religious blame religious faith wavering, political minds blame systems, clever people debate endlessly, oh how endlessly, on TV and radio to no end whatsoever.  Indeed wealth has made society lazy, the ability to always have what we want makes us greedy, deprivation is almost intolerable to us today while the house remains filled with expensive 'must have' things that are rarely used.   While emotion has always been part of football it is not what it was in my view.  Football was emotional in the 60's but better, today the intensity is greater, the game less enjoyable.  Money plays its part but football or TV or money or politics or any other thing takes a different place in our emotions today from what it did before.  Two world wars and a depression followed by a time of new hope, housing, NHS, and full employment are replaced by wealth undreampt off by our grandfathers, well mine at least, items filling the house our forefathers thought only the rich could dream about, holidays abroad (well Bournemouth) cars, planes and the internet all affect our outlook and lessen the 'still upper lip' as it appears not to matter today.  What matters is satisfying the self, nothing else.  'Me first' has always been part of society, today 'me' and my emotions appear to dominate.

Maybe of course I just ramble.  However the result of the football was yet another victory for the Heart of Midlothian, thus giving me the giggles in a manner I am unused to.  I spent much of the game sniggering at the Hibbys and giggling like a lassie every time the camera focused on one with his head in his hands.  I did all this in love of course, but I had to laugh, and have been cackling ever since.   

 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Daydreaming



There was a competition in a magazine today offering a prize of a campervan! How very Hippy I thought and slipped into a day of dreaming of travelling the country, stopping off in out of the way places, snoring to my hearts content in distant lands like 'up north' or Wales.  The freedom of the open road, but not at a very high speed I imagine, enjoying distant parts of the land without worrying about expensive accommodation.  That's for me I thought.
The lack of money that running such a vehicle would cost does not disturb dreams, only reality. Therefore I could see myself parking alongside the wide empty white beaches on some deserted part of the highland coast, parked under some ancient castle, drinking coffee brewed on the primus stove while wallowing in the view of deserted silent giant hills.  The crowded roads, cost of petrol, or standing at the side of the highway while the man from the AA worked under the van attempting to replace the bits that had eroded away and fallen off never at any time entered my dream world, I was good like that.  
At first sight it does appear a jolly good way to see the country, to visit people and places at the moment far out of my ken, but the cost will always upset a dream, even if the vehicle itself is free.  Ah well, maybe I will not buy their yoghurt anyway, it would be a tragedy if I won and had the brute parked outside tempting me to go visit relatives.  Actually that last thought might not be too strong!  
What are the chances of winning any competition?  Possibly a couple of million people will not the competition on the side of the tubs of various products, the majority not being interested as it means little to them, they have transport, the kids would hate it, and therefore the numbers entering would be a mere few thousand, possibly.   How many would forget to buy the goods? How many forget or fail to enter?  So the numbers with whom we compete lessens and we have more chance here than we have with the Lottery.  Could it be the computerisation of shop goods can tell the company whether the individual entering often buys their products, therefore enabling then to reach the 'right' person for the prize?  As I have never bought whatever it is they sell I would have little chance.  
Ah well, if the rain stops I will get the bike out instead tomorrow.....



 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

My Exciting Life!



Giving a revelation of how exciting my life can be I present a picture of a wall. Not just any wall but the wall surrounding a shopping centre.  Not just any shopping centre but one full of clothes the original shops failed to sell, in short rejects!  I suppose I should feel at home here.  The place was quiet, possibly because the kids have not yet left school, they throng this place after leaving adolescents being very concerned with their outfits.  For myself this was like a day out.  Not staring into a laptop hurting my eyes and not finding what I am looking for given a miss for a while.  That job made worse by the machine playing up as they do with things disappearing and suddenly showing up again. I had at one time to use the system restore point and go back a few days thereby finding one or two things missing, not that I can remember what they were of course.  Now everything has to be resigned in, or accepted by the Firewall or whatever.  Good job I am not one to complain that's all I can say.  
There is no complaining about buying three T-shirt, 'XL,' and trying them out at home to realise that after one watch they return to 'L,' as they always do!  Why do Bangladeshi's not understand that we are ever so slightly fatter than they?  I realise that the £5:99 that I paid for these shirts would pay half the wages of the sweatshop but at least they could allow for a stone of ugly fat, surely?  I suspect sadly that the word 'fat,' is meaningless to the majority of the downtrodden in Bangladesh.  The difference between the lives of the workers there and the more expensive shops here is huge.  How lucky we are to be born in the grumbling grasping west.
I have once again resorted to eating less in a vain effort to lose weight. Topping this with a more stressfull active day, clearing up the front of the building, exercising for oooh five minutes, walking the streets looking for dropped coins, and taking the free bus to the glamorous shops. Actually for me there is almost nothing worth looking at there, quite what folks see in it fails me as the bigger town shops are better.



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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Rejoice!



A typical scene this afternoon as England rejoices in its patron Saint!  The crowds flock together, gathering happily in throngs dressed in the red and white flag, wearing similar hats, hired outfits, and England football shirts. Well I saw four of them dawdling along, and a maiden (Ha!) underneath a large flag followed by her minder also intent on cheerfully commemorating her saint.    
In short they were going for a piss up!
I strongly suspect their knowledge of George from Lydda is faint.  His Christian stance that led to torture and decapitation is probably not the motivation for their gathering, and as for their flag originating with Ambrose, one time Archbishop of Milan, well that will be something beyond their ken. The real motivation is 'white van man' racism!  This lot indeed come from the lower sections of society, not all do of course, but movements are felt deeper amongst those losing the most.  A desperate longing to have a nation to which they can belong is something the Englishman suffers daily.  The Scots, Welsh and Irish have no problem being happy with being themselves, the English have no understanding or idea of what 'being English' is all about.  Poor souls, jealous of the Celts rejoicing they have in recent years become quite vindictive and bile filled regarding other nations.  The inbuilt superiority that dwells within their soul is well at odds with the reality around them.  The Englishman sees himself as the dominating member, reality is hard to accept.
A reality made worse by the nation being overrun by foreign folks, many of whom are black!  This fact alone has made many an Englishman feel very threatened.  Whole towns are now a variety of colours and any who indicate unhappiness are referred to as 'racist!'  In fact I very much disagree here. The place in which you are reared does mean something to an individual, if this overnight almost becomes like a foreign country where people with different cultures fill the locality it can indeed, and rightly, be difficult to accept.  That is not racist, it is a normal human reaction, colour being a secondary problem. That certainly happened in Scotland many years ago when cheaper Polish labour put Scotsmen out of work, not racist, just human response arose.  For today's Englishman, especially those at the lower end finding Poles, Bulgarians and other East European types taking their jobs a natural resentment can arise. Genuine fear over immigration, unbalanced maybe but genuine, stirred by politicians and papers on the make does not help.  Scotland rightly demanding independence upsets many English as they continue to believe we are all one happy family, in spite of the reality.  Only yesterday several highly intelligent women I met failed to comprehend how Scots feel about the issue, it is something that has not crossed their minds, after all Scotland is so far away, but useful for holidays!  'White van man' reads his 'Daily Mail,' if he is pretending to be 'middle class,' or the 'Sun,' if he is being honest, and finds Scots draining money from his pocket and being ungrateful!  That lie shows how little he understands, yet how much the media misuse him for their own ends! 
This resentment, and it is strong in some areas, had led to a revival in 'Englishness.'  In 1996 they found their own flag instead of using the Union flag as theirs, now it appears at all times, while Ambrose ought to get a percentage I say, and is flown by some at every opportunity to pretend they have a nation.  
Have they?
England is more divided than the mere border that separates England from Scotland.  The northern culture is not similar to the south's, and the north is ignored by the rich south east corner.  Birmingham, the second largest city, is never mentioned on TV or in the media unless it really has to be mentioned. Yet this from one of the richest parts of the nation! The richest, Norfolk and Surrey pay their own way, all the rest needing grants from the centre, yet these two counties resent their cash going to where it is required, does that make for a nation?  The folks in the countryside vote Tory, the towns and cities vote Labour neither caring what the other wants, who knows what the next election will bring after the shambles of the last.  Thousands use 'food banks' while others live off benefits needlessly, millionaires fill the cabinet while over two million are desperate for a proper job, London dominates at all times, the rest are an afterthought.  This 'England' is not one nation in any respect.  

The Scots, Welsh and Irish have their own history, they are well read in this, English history is seen by many as one dynamic victory after another, they are always the 'top dog, and yet the deeper truths of what life really was like for the average Englishman is not what comes to the average Englishman's mind when waving a flag.  Scots know all their bad bits, only too well, does the Englishman drinking his European Lager, eating his Curry, and wearing his Bangladeshi made clothes know his nations bad bits? Does it matter?  As long as he has a nation to belong to he has a place in the world, a family, even if a stand offish one.  
The return to a Saints Day, by a nation keen to be atheistic we are told, is all about being a nation again.  But to be a nation you must know what the nation actually is.  Those gathered raucously in the pub will struggle to sing English songs, 'Greensleeves' will not suit that establishment I fear, indeed few songs regarding their nation will come to mind.  George, lying somewhere underground in Lydda today, will wonder at his name being used in a nation at the ends of the earth.  He would wonder a lot more at the confused people wearing his flag, not that he knew it was his flag, and feel a great deal of sympathy for their lost souls.   

 


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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Leaning on a Lampost



Once I got a moment I stopped at looked at the lamp in the corner this morning.  It has been in the museum for a while yet I never look at it.  At one time it lit up the station platform aiding the inspector and guards to catch fare dodgers and find dropped coins when the passengers had passed through.  It is amazing to think we used to light all our lamps by gas!  Houses, churches, theatres and pubs were all gas lit.  This gave the benefit of also warming the place up but made the people drowsy somewhat. That must have annoyed many a preacher and aided many a pickpocket I suspect.  
The daily round of what we called in Edinburgh, 'the Leerie,' who went around with a long pole with a wee light on the end opening each lamp, lighting the wick and passing on to the next.  All over the land men wandered about with their pole, kids chasing them asking for a shot at lighting the lamp, a job mostly occupied by aged men, possibly unfit for any other purpose.  How long would it take to light a town during the 19th century, especially when some 'Jack the Ripper' type was urging you to hurry up so he could get on with his er, occupation.  
Some gas is still in operation, Buckingham Palace is lit , outside, by gas lamps, as are the royal parks and Covent Garden area!  Berlin has some 44,000 lamps in operation as have some areas in the USA. With the privatisation of gas I suspect to have gas lit streets today would quadruple a towns costs! Today the street lights around here go off between midnight and five am to save cash. The railway must have been more atmospheric in those days.  Mist, gas light, steam engines, the mixed aromas, nothing like that exists today sadly.




Interesting to note Google offered a hummingbird for 'earth day, yesterday Charlotte Bronte's birthday was commemorated but nothing was on show for the risen Christ.  Google deliberately avoids Christian festivals although all sorts of obscure American personages and scientific ones are on offer.  Militancy at work, certainly not 'equality.'

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Monday, 21 April 2014

OK Everybody, Back to Work!



Right, that's it, holidays are over, the kids are back to school tomorrow, you return to work, unless you are in Australasia where you are already sitting on a bus heading for the destination longing to be back enjoying the high life. Others will emote that depression later in the next 24 hours.  I also look to struggling out in the morning as being Tuesday I will be attending the folks at the museum.  Now the school hols are over we will not have a thousand bairns wandering around leaving glitter all over the floor, drawing rude pictures on the old school blackboard, nor putting sticky fingers on glass cases.  We will have adults doing that instead!  Of course soon after lunch I will be back home full of ideas to forget in the following days, and probably asleep and dreaming of delights unknown for a wee while.


You are I am aware sick to the teeth of my preoccupation with dead soldiers, so let me shake your molars once again.  Having succeeded in finding Private French, the last man in that cemetery, I today soldiered on in my quest to find the last Great War grave in the main cemetery.  For the umpteenth time I wandered around the dew covered grass, in what was becoming a very warm sun, searching diligently for a man who would not acknowledge my calls. Then today, while wandering fruitlessly in a corner I found him, right under my nose! Several other men are buried nearby and somehow Sergeant Smoothy had hid himself.  Still I found him now and all the local men buried here are identified at last.  
A sad tale indeed lay in front of me.  I suspect Smoothy had been a regular soldier at the outbreak of war and fought his way through some of the bitterest fighting at Ypres, Loos and probably the Somme also.  His Division was demobilised early in 1919 and on a 'first in first out' basis he returned home to his wife and almost two year old son.  However within a few months he developed an appendix problem and died in hospital leaving his widow with the son to look after.  A year later this poor lass suffered again as her three year old only child died and joined her husband in the grave.  The effect must have been traumatic but she herself lived on until 1963 when at 80 years she rejoined her husband at last. Love is a strange thing, she never remarried, possibly because of love, possibly because she was in her thirties also, possibly because the trauma did not allow her to.  How very sad.
Also quite sad is the name on the foot of the fallen crucifix to the side of our man.  I had a quick look but the name is not found on Google.  This couple lived their lives and passed on leaving so little trace even Google cannot find their name anywhere! 


Saturday, 19 April 2014

HA! Found it!



The cold northern wind did not hinder my desire to once again return to the cemetery down the road. Being 'Good Friday,' a designation I still think unsuitable, the streets were quieter than usual and the sun shining early in the bright blue sky above made for a delightful outing.  Once at the destination I again was happy to sit and listen to the birds singing in the trees all around. The trees and large bushes in the old part were once small seedlings planted lovingly behind a tombstone, now the reach to the skies in some cases and the birds happily make their homes there.  Such birds at this time of the year in the UK have a delightful cheery song and the variety of the voices is wide.  The fact that one is chasing his woman and another threatening all around that this is 'his patch' is unknown to most of us listening and probably smiling smugly.  The cheery, cheeky bird that takes crumbs from your lunch is just as willing to hump anyone else's partner or thump any who get too close to anything that belongs to him.  These creatures are a wee bit more human than we think!


While stumbling through the undergrowth I decided to venture forth into the darkness under a large round tree or bush, sadly my knowledge of tree names is poor.  There to my delight and indeed surprise I found the man I had been looking for!  The reason he had been difficult to trace was simple, he was almost in front of me!  However I am happy now that part of the job is complete and his billing has been finished.  The surprise is the address given is that of the old workhouse.  Later this was converted into houses but was it like that in his day?  Confusion reigns here.  Certainly his grave is wide, a woman I take to be his mother joined him in 1924, and it is possible one of his six siblings may have joined later but the names being omitted or unreadable on what I could actually see here.  A grave that size indicates money was available and with a funeral today costing around £5000 how much would this cost back then?  Someone had cash under the mattress I wonder.

Nothing much else happened but I was intrigued by the woman, along with two children, who found themselves in the middle of the lion enclosure at a safari park when the car caught fire.     
The lions the report says, could not take their eyes of the burning car.  Hmmm freshly roasted dinner lions, yummy!

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Friday, 18 April 2014

Thursday, 17 April 2014

How to Fail at PR.



Not long after I began delivering stuff around London I entered one of those glossy, or should I say 'glassy' new blocks of flats just south of the river.  I walked through the glass door, opening it first, and looked for the lift.  I couldn't find it!  I was trapped for a few moments  in walls filled with floor to ceiling mirrors and at first it was difficult to work out what was what.   More by luck than discernment I found the buttons, pressed and a mirror slid back to reveal the lift.  My floundering was over, embarrassment gone, and life continued as before.  
I watch David Cameron's sad attempt to catch a few votes at Easter time from Christians as see him floundering desperately for success.  Turning this way and that he reaches out to 'Hoodies,' 'gays,' the City, and the 'church,' and never at any time really considers that it always looks like a cheap PR stunt. Christians are living amongst those at the bottom of the pile, even those with money, as churches provide many of the 'food banks' his policies, well George Osborne's policies, have given us.  Almost a million people have at least once used such places, and this in a nation Cameron claims is a 'wealthy nation.'  There are few votes gathered from those with their eyes open Dave.
Dave appears to have little concept of how his mutterings are received.  He offers so many pronouncements on a variety of subjects and nothing positive occurs.  It is all publicity to him, PR was the one job he attempted before politics, and judging by the use he makes of his own PR, standing in Waitrose with a shopping basket, visiting a 'porridge factory' when in Scotland, or racing to be seen in Oxfordshire when there was flooding (he arrived later in Somerset where floods had arrived long before), it is clear he must have been made redundant from that job. 
This was a muddled view on Christianity, even his speech writer appears to lack knowledge of the subject, in truth he does not know what it entails.  Hopefully someone this weekend will tell him the truth about sin, judgement, repentance and the meaning of the cross.


It was 18 years ago at the Easter weekend when I arrived here.  Easter was at the end of March that time and life was difficult for the first few days as everything closed down and I had nothing with which to feed the electric meter which at that time worked on a card basis. It was not possible for reasons I forget to obtain cards until after the weekend was over, five pounds had to stretch four days in an all electric house!  It was freezing!  I spent much time in places that were open or huddling over a candle to find some heat!  Today is somewhat more comfortable but the heat element while enjoyable is ebbing away once again.  For reasons I fail to understand Easter brings colder weather, maybe this is a sign?  I can remember going to watch Fulham playing Plymouth one Easter just to see George Best play in the flesh.  Easter Monday is an important day in England's football calendar and naturally enough the sleet spent all afternoon attempting to neutralise my face!  I recall reading about the Battle of Arras in April 1917.  Then too attacks were to be made at night so the darkness gave some cover to the attackers but a deep layer of snow made them stand out whatever they did!  That was one way to spend Easter, face down in front of a 'pill box!'  Now the wind is coming from the north and Sunday offers rain, it must be Easter.  




Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Wednesday Wittering



I spent most of this morning with my head under the sink giving the bathroom its annual clean so to improve my view of the world I present an old picture of an Edinburgh penguin!  Cleaning I can inform those eager to know is not much fun.  Apart from inhaling the aroma of cleaning chemicals the dust, now ingrained, decided my nose was the place to be.  After an unseemly long time there was a vain attempt to continue the clean up elsewhere but for reasons as yet unexplained I gave up instead, it's only muck anyway, it will still be there next week.  I also considered doing the windows and their grime but decided to leave them until after the weekends rain has passed by, that will do the job for me.  No need to be too enthusiastic about such things.

Sadly this detracted from chasing dead soldiers although I did get some work done on one or two other items including the county habit of religious dissent. Since the early attempts to translate the bible into the native tongue caused the then authorities much distress and led to their desperate need to suppress such nasty goings on the locals have always done their best to disobey.  Bible reading in the vernacular became quite popular in the 1500's.   What surprised me however was the use of burning at the stake to remove such felons.  I never quite understood the reasons for that.  Hanging is quicker, as is a sword, yet this was the chosen means of execution throughout Europe, very strange. Several hundred years went by with dissent continuing until religious freedom appeared in the late 17th century with the 'indulgence act.'  Such freedom is being restricted once again however in the UK.

I made little attempt to get involved in the news today but found myself gripped when I came across the ferry in South Korea that capsized.  I think it was the thought that wee girls and boys were trapped inside that moved me.  It appears they were mostly adolescents and hundreds are trapped inside the upturned hull even now, probably past it by now.  How sad.

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Tuesday Tattle



As you can see it was another day of hustle and bustle around the town.  I am not altogether to clear as to whether these are heading for Mr Butcher or being used to cut the grass on rich folks lawns.  I do know the man standing at the side almost out of the picture is worrying the sheep, he keeps repeating "Mint sauce, mint sauce."
Lamb chops are far from my plate today.  Having been at the museum I was not in the mood for hard work by the time I returned home.  All that tea drinking was tiring me out!  Then there was the usual confusion in the morning regarding the kids, who all appeared happy.  Not clear if the boys who arrived were too keen on creating Easter Bonnets mind.  We now go through the long process of replacing the lass who left recently.  Do they keep the capable and popular girl who has been doing the job competently, and in a very organised manner since then, or do they employ someone who fits their image conscious minds?  The secrecy, the whispering, the needless time wasted would not go down well in certain other organisations I have known. Especially those with only a few staff and a capable management.  Be 'up front,' state your case and get on with it.  Not like that here it appears.  

However I limped home and returned to what I do best, I fell asleep.  I have now discovered seven people who died during the war, civilians all, and am struggling to know their stories.  How silly all this is, yet how interesting to piece things together.  Just along the road from me one February Saturday night in 1941 a German plane dropped a few bombs.  Three died, on 13 year old in a house and one unlucky 19 year old lassie who was passing at the time, probably hurriedly!  Many were hurt, garage destroyed, houses badly damaged and now a Sainsburys car park fills the space left!  A sad but not uncommon story that I wished to know for some time and discovered quite by accident.

I occurred to me that I forgot to add yesterday that while I sat pondering in the quiet, deserted cemetery, enjoying the sun, silence and passing birds fluttering by, a cat appeared out of the undergrowth.  It stared towards the large fir tree from where finches sang out to the world.  He did not notice me behind him as I watched his antics, I called and he turned and stared wide eyed, almost as if he had seen a ghost!  I thought for a minute I could hear his heart beating, pumping away to the dozen, but it was more probably mine still recovering from the bike ride downhill!  I noticed a large pigeon fly overhead and when I looked back the cat had disappeared. I hope he has recovered.  
 
   
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Monday, 14 April 2014

The Little White Dot



Can you see the little white dot in the far distance?  I saw it this morning and once again was touched by the feeling of loneliness this dot inspired.  As early as my bones would stand it I cycled off, against the cold north wind, down to Bocking Cemetery.  I was looking for one of the two remaining dead soldiers to complete the collection of fallen from the two wars. Unfortunately neither have the normal war grave tombstones as both are buried in family plots. From a picture on another memorial site, now removed as the owner has left the town and moved to bigger things.  I knew he was buried near a hedge.  There is no hedge!  It must be an ivy covered wall, the wall exists but his grave does not! The search is not helped by the council eco friendly idea of allowing the older part of the cemetery to go 'wild' for the sake of flora and fauna.  This helpful idea limits visibility of the stones that lie an inch or two off the ground.  Bah! Nothing found so I will venture forth after better preparation next time. Someone has a map of the plots in the council! 

      
So instead I pondered Private Bennett lying here alone, far from home, isolated in a pathway of freshly cut grass among a few local worthies and chirping birds and fluttering butterfly's.  I know his regiment was formed in Hamilton for 'Home Defence,' that is there was no intention to go overseas to fight.  This type usually comprising older, married men, with the simple intent of stopping Germany invading.  In 1916 the Division was transferred from their homeland to defend the south east of England, the most likely place for invasion, and spent some time watching Zeppelins pass by and drop a bomb or two.  The 2/6th Cameronians were billeted in Terling, a small village about four miles south of Braintree.  How I ask did this man end up in Bocking cemetery?  I can trace no information of any kind, and this is annoying me.  A while back I sent the information with photos to the Cameronians Museum but they could tell me nothing.  
Could it be an accident during training, that would be hushed up army style of course.  It may well be he suffered a pre-existent condition which took him out, and an injury of illness may have seen him placed in one of the local VAD (Voluntary) Hospitals that sprung up during the war.  That at least would explain why he was buried here.  


I sat for a while in the restful quiet, cheerful birds chirping and distant traffic the only noise. How was he buried?  Did a few orderlies from the hospital give him a 'basic,' but considerate funeral? Could it be that a detachment of his Company arrived, led by a piper perhaps, sloped arms, while pallbearers carried him to the grave.  Would the padre, and some say the Cameronians were mostly Catholics but I have no proof of this, would the padre say a few words about the 'resurrection and the life,' and 'he who believes in me will live?'  Was a rifle volley of blanks fired over the grave, a trumpeter blowing the 'Last Post,' and did the men march away, heads bowed, thoughtful perhaps, and leave their comrade alone, so very alone? 
Hamilton in 1916 was very far away.  Any family who wished to visit could do so, if they had the money, could get on a train, find accommodation, and take the time to travel so far.  Was he married, children perhaps?  So many questions and so far no answers.  
The war has left many men far from home and often alone and forgotten, so our Private Bennett is not alone in this.  Six men from the wars lie in this ground, one young woman also, another pile of unanswered questions there. As for Bennett, once he departed this life he ceased to worry about loneliness, it is the relatives and friends who have the stress.  His thoughts would be occupied elsewhere.


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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Hello Blossom



What a difference Spring makes!  Sun shining, blue sky, a wee bit chilly but lovely all the same. Not that I saw much of this as I was forced to remain indoors watching cup semi finals.  Quite why they don't fix up a telly in the park so I can watch in comfort there I am not informed.  When I think of it I am not informed about much these days.  Living as I do in my own little world it can be surprising to discover things occur outside my remit.  In any decent society I would be informed daily about such events, rather in the manner thon queen woman gets information in a big red box everyday for her to ignore.  


Long days are back again, how I enjoy them!  Rising around six (back to bed around 12) and now wandering around in the cool of the day while down under the cyclone rage through and rain lashes down.  It makes a change I can tell you!  I note however Perth is still suffering high temperatures and the have the audacity to grumble about heat!  Bah!  
Another Sunday passes, another evening when the kiddies go home rather than shout and scream their lungs out in the park.  Maybe they have forgotten tomorrow is a day off?  At times like this, with the sun just beyond the horizon, the sky a light blue still, and a hush descending over the land I wish I was bedside a lake, or the seaside.  That would improve things, as would a large steak and a few friends (whatever they are).  A cat purring at my side, worries put away, ah that would be nice.  



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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Friday, 11 April 2014

Classic Show



One of the UK's best comedians, famous for his radio then TV shows in the 1950's.
'The Blood Donor' was one of his best! Made even better as having been injured in a road accident he had no time to learn the script.  He therefore read the script off 'idiot boards,' throughout.


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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Bread, Bacon, Cheese and tea.



That was what I had for breakfast after I toiled up the old railway for another heart attack exercise time.  The problem with strenuous effort is that the hulking body that causes women to stop and stare requires fuel.  Now I had actually gulped down a fried egg sandwich before I left at six this morning, well 7:30 after I ate breakfast, but once I returned and walked to the shop for fresh bread I got tempted by the grub on offer.  

  
I have lived here 18 years now and still cannot get over the delight of passing green fields, country views, blue skies and the wide open spaces found outside the town.  Sometimes I wonder how and why we live in cities?  When the air is warmish and the beasties abound the mind is refreshed from all the gunk poured into it during the day.  


I returned to the gunk myself and continued searching for dead soldiers.  While interesting it drives my mind round the bend.  Happily I am on to something different tomorrow.  Life changes at Easter.  The kids swarm around the streets in packs, the girls with their noses in the air and their hair in a bun Victorian style, the boys trendy as always and as intelligent as a packet of peanuts!  


Is that house looking at me?
The politicians have taken the two weeks off to fiddle their expenses and travel the world on jollies! This means we will have less serious news, apart from the obsession with that South African murder trial, and the plane lost at sea.  The media forced to stay at home will be desperately searching for anything that will fill space no matter how insipid.  Hmmm maybe I ought to make a splash somewhere!  


Look, bunnies!  As I passed I noticed lots of bunnies making the most of the dew on the grass to have their version of bacon sandwiches.  This is not always a good thing as many farmers creep around at this time with shotgun in hand.  I heard several bangs this morning as I meandered along, young crops do not require rabbits says Farmer Jones!  Sad in some ways but if they are not culled they will destroy the farmers livelihood.  There were masses of them out today. As I wandered past the eggs, small eggs, packets of eggs, fluffy chickens a chocolate bunnies I wondered what has this to do with Easter? Even the 'Easter cards' had little about Jesus, indeed nothing but a flowery cross was on show, yet this is Easter, without him rising from the dead we would not be wasting money on all this chocolate!  Why are shops scared to say so?


I kept hearing the 'Beach Boys' song 'Country Air' as I pulled muscles all over my body.  It suits this place better than sandy Californian beaches I guess.  Not that I have seen the sandy Californian beaches, I did once see the shore at Southend however.  I breathed fresh air, listened to little birds chirp, almost fell over a dog or two and decided bacon for breakfast tomorrow and let the bike rest, it needs it.   
  
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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Change of Plan.



My day was well planned, I was involved from the off in my work and I exercised by playing Beatles songs and dancing (with the curtains closed) until I fell down (two minutes!).  Things were going well when the museum called. The afternoon talk required help, someone has to make the tea!  So changing my plans to suit I wandered down in the afternoon expecting a crowd for the tea and biscuits.  
There were three names on the list!
However with half term this was to be expected and Jenny did her bit by bringing her mum, dad and neighbour along!  With three members of staff it swelled the crowd!  The picture is taken in a manner to indicate a larger audience than actually arrived.  
It was good however.  The chap discussed the wool trade over almost a thousand years.  The wool made England rich, much off it exported to what is now Holland, Belgium and France, and if you wish to see what it does look at the Suffolk village of Lavenham!  Check for pictures of the place, a huge church paid for by wool exports.  The English parliament saw the speaker in the House of Lords sitting on a 'woolsack' to represent the wealth thereof.  
By the time of the Reformation things changed.  Protestant believers in what was then Spanish Netherlands were persecuted so moved to various parts of England.  Bringing their 'Bays & Says' they found welcome in East Anglia and the resultant operations lasted well into the nineteenth century.  This was the substance of the talk.  The separation of wool from the fleece, washing, weaving, turning into bays or says.  The bay was a standard length of 35 yards long and one and a quarter yard wide (You work it out).  This was hard labour work, it made much money, allowing for various wars, rebellion and the like that hit the trade, and made some people a great deal of money.  Those doing the dirty jobs got the least!  
This was an interesting story, especially as we have the remains of the old mills that took over once this trade lessened and many remain who worked at the weaving, in fact one visitor was a retired weaver, and he wished us to know this!
A good afternoon out, even if it ruined my day - again.

Good job I am not one to complain.....       

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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Work!



I headed off to the museum to work this morning full of the joys of sleep!Here I was, trudging slowly down the road while on a normal day I could be heading back to bed, life is so unfair!  The school holidays are upon us so we run little activities which many regularly attend.  So today we had eighteen names down on the list, plus mums or grans, and about a thousand appeared to be in the building!  It was good of course, they all enjoyed it, they always do, a  chocolate egg was presented to those who had correctly filled out the quiz form, none failed when I do it, and a general peace fell over the building after they all departed.  
Of course the early day is always a hassle.  Nothing is in the right place, no money in the till and people at the door!  Once the kids arrive, wee Jack always first, there is the name checking, payments, details etc and the form for a quiz type trail to give out.  Naturally the openings for mistakes, confusion and the occasion pain in the whatsit occur.  I coped well, by passing the problems to others! 

The best part was the couple from Illinois.  Her mum had lived along the road from the museum, which was then a school which she attended.  By 1939 she was 18 and soon the place was full of US servicemen and the uniform, she said, attracted her.  Hmmm, not the chocolate, chewing gum and nylons then?  She married one and hopped off to the States.  Strange to say her home there was less modern than the one here.  Outside loos, something she did not have here, revealed the difference between real life and Hollywood movies.  They survived, worked hard and brought up a family. Reminded me a bit of my own folks. Good couple who's few days here have seen them return with a few souvenirs and several hundred photos!  Foolishly I forgot to take one of them or obtain their name. Idiot! They were great representatives of America!  That's what the place is for I say, people like them, and that is why I like it. Not forgetting the amount of chocolate I also obtained today.....

We have chickens in the shop, small fluffy things, bouncing eggs, cards, and other Easter paraphernalia, nothing about Jesus right enough.....

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Monday, 7 April 2014

Monday Mumbling



Mumbling about nothing today.  Rain spoiled everything.  I wrapped my sisters cheap birthday present and sauntered down to the Post Office run by the nice Asians.  A cheery smile took my money and off the packet went.  On the way back the rain teemed down just to annoy me and soaked as I was I sought refuge in Tesco.  Upstairs the clothing department sold unsuitable hats at a price I could consider so clutching my bottle of milk I squelched my way home.
Nothing else happened.
Oh it did.  Firefox would not work this morning.  It worked OK last night, Google Chrome was working OK yet Firefox would not connect, it just kept claiming it was reset.  I searched for an answer which remained hidden and getting fed up forgot all about it.  Later when I switched back on it worked fine, it still does!  
Nothing else happened.
It should have happened but somehow when I looked at the clock it was four o'clock and the day had passed by.  Where did it go?  What happened there? Nothing!  
Oh wait a minute, I made soup.

Sometimes I wonder if I can go on at this restless pace.......




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Saturday, 5 April 2014

Spring Crops



T'was bliss that dawn to be alive, or in the early morn at least. How long since I passed this way I canny mind but the crops are bouncing now. The sun shone and the peoples they were afar away, and may they stay there I say. I was forced out early as I woke up and saw the bright sun shining and could not resist the temptation to visit the countryside again. Also it will rain tomorrow as usual so I will remain covered by the ceiling.
Nothing else happened.



Nothing has happened elsewhere either.  The missing planes black box, which is orange, might have been found, maybe.  The Heart of Midlothian have gone down fighting, looking to renew next season amongst the lower orders.  This was not unexpected and causes no upsets. Avoiding liquidation is far more important.  In Afghanistan (remember that place?) they are happily electing a new president who will lead them to new fighting while pocketing vast amounts of donors cash. Isn't democracy wonderful?   The Afghans now get to select whoever will rob them blind and do nothing about their miserable lives.  



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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Fussing about Haze



The daffodils boobed their heads slowly in the early morning breeze, a blackbird took fright as I passed but not before tugging a three inch worth of worm from the earth, and the sun fought hard to break through the haze brought by the chilly east current.  Few ventured out bar those opening up their businesses or reporting for duty with little in the way of mirth revealed in their faces. Dog walkers passed unsmilingly, the dogs expectant of adventure in the fields as if this was a new adventure rather than a repeat of many previous days, from the main road the rush of traffic spoiled the atmosphere both romantic and physical, the hum of tyres racing past in the distance.  
I stopped to picture the haze in the only wide open spot available, the sun shone weakly high above brightening the land in spite of the pollution attempting to block its progress.  To my left a blue car packed a small tough looking wee dog into the back and motored away, the engine quiet as if afraid to wake the sleeping houses across the fields.  Suddenly I noticed a pouting adolescent heading for school stop to produce a bright yellow phone from his pocket and linger, still pouting, as he caught up on important news.  I resisted asking what sort of lad carries a yellow phone in case I broke some law and was more than uninterested in whatever his news may be.  As I forced the bike into gear amidst much clanking and scraping I noticed a large Vauxhall containing a woman and two smaller children parked in an out of the way place.  Quite what she was doing there I know not, it crossed my mind she awaited the school opening as it was yet long before eight, maybe she just liked rugby fields?  
Dodging one dogwalker and awaiting another as she persuaded her 'Scottie' to avoid walking through glass left by the kiddies the night before I headed slowly homewards.  The haze remained, broken occasionally during the day by brighter patches of sunlight which never quite gathered the strength to overcome it, yet much less than what occurred yesterday.  

News people require something sensational otherwise they feel let down. Yesterday the main story was the deep haze hanging over the south of England. The thick haze covering London was shown repeatedly by the news media, pictures filled the papers and the radio news talked of little else.  How these 'journalists' enjoyed this.  The pictures of London, and it is always London the picture, did indeed show the haze however it was not so thick here and TV pictures can be manipulated, and much talk and hot air was heard debating the causes.  There appeared to be three, everyday pollution from vehicles and daily life, clouds arriving from the east and would you believe sand blown all the way up from the Sahara desert.  Pictures of such sand were shown as it lay on cars and windows, murky shots of buildings in the distance suffering this outrage appeared, and indeed there is no doubt something was in the air yesterday, something above the usual defilement.  There again maybe that was just me doing the washing and the aroma of 'Daz' was filling my throat. 
The Sahara does indeed send sand to the UK on occasion, SKY news informed us it regularly sends its contents over to the Brazilian Rain Forests helping to ensure the continuation of such forests.  "This," said the man,"Shows nature taking care of itself." I thought it pedantic to ask why 'nature' had not taken care of the forests and jungle that once stood where the Sahara sand now lies, but thought that may upset him.    

The debate has continued at a lesser pace as western winds arrive tomorrow to clear the air.  It has caused the usual talk, this 'natural' event, but as far as I can see there is no movement in actually doing anything about the worst element of the haze, car fumes!  No politician will suggest 'Electric only cars in cities,' nobody will suggest developing and investing in bus and train travel to limit pollution, certainly not while an election is being held in 2015.  Yet those dying from chest complaints, asthma and other problems exacerbated by the haze might vote for those that do suggest it, and then actually do something about it.  What's that?  You heard no such suggestion from those able to do something?  I am surprised about that.

So the media has had its fill of pollution news, interspersed by the Clegg v Farage debate. However as Clegg will be removed from leadership of his party after the election, if indeed he retains his seat, and Farage at best will gain only handfuls of seats from the Tories the debate was at best irrelevant.  Since Cameron took power four years ago they say the Conservative Party has lost half its membership.  His same sex marriage ideas, the ignoring party wishes and dumping unwanted dolly bird candidates on local parties was never going to win friends with that lot.  So UKIP, Farages anti Europe party, will now gain some of their support.  This has already happened at the last local elections as a warning to Cameron that went unheeded, such as voted then may not vote UKIP, they certainly will not vote Cameron!  His job also is on the line.  Two real debates remain, Cameron and Milliband the leader of the failing Labour Party, and Cameron, as Prime Minister debating with Alec Salmond the Scottish First Minister. Cameron knows he would be thrashed by Salmond, a proper politician, this then will never be allowed to happen.  By 2015 of course Scotland may have lost interest in an English election (Westminster cares little for Wales and Northern Ireland also) and be preparing to go her own way.

 


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