Saturday, 31 May 2014
Thursday, 29 May 2014
I met this old bird in town today, he didn't say anything and was not all that keen on his visitors. As the dear kiddies are off school this week for yet another holiday (teachers have such an easy life don't they?) the shopping centre in town puts on events. Yesterday a couple of shetland ponies from a rescue centre ignored the kids and today a menagerie appeared. White ducks, rabbits, a bored dog, sheep, chickens and a goat or two, oh and a bored pony. Small pens kept the beasts from the animals (yes that is the right way round) and it reminded me of the old pictures of the town when market day really was a market. Similar stalls stood in front of the pubs while folks sold sheep, pigs, horses and cattle. The pubs did a roaring trade as they fed and watered those coming a distance to market. The Victorian way was everybody around one big table and eating when the landlord got things ready. I think such a scene happened in one of Dickens books but I may be wrong.
Goats and horses are always happy together I am informed by those who know, this pair prove that. Possibly bored, possibly just weary they made it difficult to obtain a picture when both had eyes open. The little pony and his mate were content however and the pony happily rested on his mate. Interesting how these two creatures get along so well.
The other big chick was not much more impressed than his friend. I suppose as I was discussing preparing 'Cock-a-leekie' soup with a woman he was offended. I had to be careful with the explanation of the soup also, English women are not very bright at times. Still he was a beauty of a bird and both have been well prepared for their day out. I suspect they both have practiced that suspicious expression of theirs for some time as it was very wary. I was surprised at just how big two these birds were however, this is not how I imagined them up close.
I always considered such beasties as wee birds, or at least not this size! Possibly they are shown at er, shows, as well as paraded around for the kids. I am quite glad they chose not to show us just how loud they could be however. Every so often a news report indicates newcomers into the country have complained to the local council re the noise of such birds crowing early in the morning. Some have been known to grumble, which I never do, about cows 'mooing' too loudly in the fields nearby. Not that long ago a young couple objected to a town clock that insisted on chiming every 15 minutes and clanging away on the hour! Now if you retire to the country for peace and quiet you might well find it but if you don't do the homework a council, on some occasions a judge, will tell you to move back into town if you can't stand chickens or cows. They make noise, that is what animals do! A clock that has rung continually for a couple of hundred years will not cease because you are a spoilt brat either.
That said I am glad to have found the beasties. It brightened up a poor day. The brain is not quite functioning yet as the bug still leaves my mind weary and I have written and rewritten the intro to the war for the museum exhibition booklet around a hundred times, and that only this morning! That was the reason I went out, to oxygenate my brain. It failed. I'm going back to bed.
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
I watched, from a safe distance, as they prepared the 'Open Art' exhibition at the museum this morning. As part of what they refer to as 'Community Involvement,' using that meaningless word 'Community,' we do this each year. The art is often local amateurs although some folks make good money from this type of event. Last year some of it as always made no sense and still other items were excellent and deserved a good sale. I mention this as I had come across this story in the 'Daily Mail,' this morning. What Tracey Emin called her 'confessional self portrait' is being sold by owner Charles Satchi and is expected to go for around £1.2 million. Satchi of course is renown for spending squllions of pounds on modern art. As I looked at the art being piled together awaiting hanging I compared it to Emin's efforts and noted once again how false the art world is. Art at the expensive end is not based on talent but on what sells. All sorts of muck can masquerade as 'art,' if the 'artist' places it before a dumb enough 'desperate to be accepted by the chattering classes' rich guy. Russian friends of that nice Mr Putin appear keen to put their (well, Russia's) money into art and will pay millions for anything that is modern and available. To expect them to actually appreciate art may be filling the wrong samovar. Her money grasping friend Damien Hurst I note has gold plated, well his staff have gold plated, a skeleton of a dead beastie, canny mind what, which will grace the art world and make trillions from some mindless sap with too much off other folks cash to launder. This is not art, this is taking sweeties from babies.
Now I accept that what I call art and what you call art are different. We are different people, our cultures are different, our backgrounds vary, our life experience cannot be the same and this means we see what is presented as 'art' through our own eyes. I accept that a mess on a wall might be an expression of an artists emotions, however the stuff I drew at school, all abstract and going nowhere, might have been an expression of my inner soul, but it may possibly be that I am just unbalanced. Quiet at the back! Anyway one was placed on the school wall, so the teacher either liked it, appreciated my effort or fancied me. He certainly fancied that curly haired teacher in the class next door. The janitor probably dumped my esteemed artwork in the bin later. Had I been less scrupulous and more determined to alter the world through art I might have been rich!
Anyway I blame Thatcher! It was her idea of closing all the psychiatric hospitals to save a few pennies that allowed all these 'artists' to walk the streets when they could be inside out of harms way getting the treatment they desperately require.
In a month or two the Tour de France takes its usual deviation out of France and passes close to the town. Two miles up the road preparations are under way for the mass influx of people who will venture out to watch the bikes flash past at thirty miles an hour and disappear over the bridge and never be seen again. That's it! Up here they will not race just stick together as they cover the miles, sorry kilometers! It is later, down near London itself, that the action hots up. Here we will see little and to find a spot to observe this will be very difficult. However the kids today were entranced by making masks featuring bikes, and good masks they were too. The kids were pleased with their efforts and mum was happy as it was free plus by escaping out the back door they avoided the kids entering the shop and spending their cash. Bah!
We had several visitors, Gran and Granddads bringing kids dumped on them for the day, others reminiscing about their local past and a couple from Georgia who know Stone Mountain. All these it must be said paid only the concession rate! Most were cheery but one attempted to question why Scotland should be independent, even being silly enough to believe the papers that 'England pays for Scotland.' I soon put him right on that. The English cannot conceive Scots attitudes. To them we are all the same but they have not been treated as second class. This area of course is far from Scotland and very much a backwater in some respects. Scotland could be Greenland as far as some here know, but money is important to them and the feeling that they pay for Scots benefits hurts, even though it is a lie!
The Georgia couple were not very friendly. Usually the Americans come to see their ancestors or the old airfields they were once based. I am not sure what this couple wanted but he was very offhand. She did the buying postcards bit and I managed to
force a book on her suggest a suitable book of old photos that might help. The house they believe their ancestor lived in they had identified and that pleased them but I refrained from suggesting a walk round the cemetery to find a suitable grave as the weather is dreich and he might have suggested putting me there. He's an American so probably was carrying a gun! Still I got just over £10 out of them but wish I could have cheered them up somewhat. Possibly the weather pout them off, possibly tiredness possibly the town itself. The town is not the greatest place to visit in the rain or even in the sunshine! At least I know one Georgian lass who would enjoy it here whatever the weather.
Monday, 26 May 2014
Bank Holiday usually indicates dull clouds and wet streets, this bank holiday has therefore not disappointed as it is gray, wet and dreich. Not that I care as the virus has left me looking for sleep most of the time. Sunday was a bright day but I watched it from my bed, except when I left to watch the football. The brute of a virus hangs around today also and tomorrow the kids will fill the museum. I'll get them some time off school the week after if I cough enough. I ventured as far as the bins this afternoon suddenly realising how many adverts are found on the shop wall next door. It reminded me of those Victorian photos when such advertising abounded everywhere, clearly uncontrolled at the time. It makes me wonder if the council notice, or care to notice, whether this breaks some by-law. I hope they do not notice as he is a good man struggling to make his business work. Without the ads it is possible the town could not operate properly.
The good book says we should not rejoice when our enemy falls, that is not the heart of God in action, however I allowed myself a moment or two of giggling. You see Hibernian, who I may have mentioned before, played their 'play-off' game against Hamilton Accies on Sunday and were in an unbeatable position. It was impossible for them to lose their two goal advantage against a team from the lower division. Yet they did! Worse, they went on to lose a penalty shoot out and all this after laughing out loud at our relegation, caused as we all admit by mismanagement leading to administration. Hibernian's talented players have by sheer willpower crawled from Fifth place in the league to the lower relegation! Oh how we laughed! Now I am not one to taunt the Hibbys when they are down - but I managed it! It fair cheered me up and wore me out! They are not speaking to me today, it's a giggle innit?
Saturday, 24 May 2014
Friday, 23 May 2014
Nigel Helps Police with their Enquires
There is no doubt UKIP can rejoice in their success in last nights poll. They have touched the heart of England, and I mean 'England,' in similar vein to the Scottish National Party in Scotland. In many an Englishman's heart their concerns have been pushed aside for immigrants arriving on these shores, for which the indigenous population have been called 'racist,' their dislike of same sex marriage has been ignored in spite of so many objections, and 'Human Rights' being abused by thugs and murderers and Islamic preachers has been a bone of contention often raised but ignored also. In the eyes of the English voter he is a stranger in his own land. He sees the Scots given preferential treatment, the 'Daily Mail' says so, benefits cheats abounding while his work is underpaid. On top of this the EU costs him cash and the politicians spend more time shoveling cash to their friends rather than dealing with the Englishman's needs.
He knows all this is true because the right wing media, the one he reads, tells him so!
Daily he reads of millions of Romanian, Bulgarian, Polish, African, Afghans amongst the many arriving, here receiving payouts greater than his wage, houses better than his and if he objects he is called 'Racist.' The paper speaks daily of EU waste, fiddling MP's and local authorities and makes clear he is the one paying for it all. The Englishman, who sees his home as his castle is frightened by this.
The media intended him to vote Conservative by peddling all this misinformation, half truths and downright lies. Instead along comes an everday bloke like Farange who speaks their mind, drinks a pint, smokes, and tells the EU what he thinks of them. "He is one of us!" they cry!
Of course he isn't. Farage is another well educated rich man who knows how to play the system, a rebelrouser who shouts the Englishman's wishes. Those wishes are for fair treatment and a government that listens to them. That does not exist today.
The Scots cannot understand Nigel and his party because it is an English party, not a UK one. Scots have a more egalitarian approach to life, this comes from the hardship of past years. The use of utilities for the whole nation not just a few shareholders goes down well up north, aiding the needy is a part of society. The Scots are more left of centre than the English they are predominately right of centre. Add to this politicians from well to do backgrounds, with Oxbridge accents, no life experience to speak off, people full of ambition to be number one or make the most out of the job and we have a parliament out of touch with the real world.
No wonder desperate people, lied to daily, see Nigel Farage as a man who can speak for them.
UKIP, that should in my view be EIP, have shaken the parties, especially the Conservatives. There is every chance Nigel and his men could be in the House of Commons in a years time and that will be fun. The response of the various parties after a result in which they have been hammered is always the same, no matter how good or bad the spokesmen always tell how well their party has done and just how much support there is for their policies. I am reminded of the leader of the Scottish Communist party appearing on TV in 1968. That year the Scottish National Party made a huge breakthrough by winning something like 325 seats at the local elections in Scotland. The Communists had one man elected in somewhere far to the north, Inverness I think. The Communist leader took this opportunity to read into the election of one man as a sign that "The Scottish people are turning to us as they realise Communism is the way to go." The 325 or so SNP seats were ignored.
The party spokesmen have been floundering today, blame has been sent around and only one thing remain the same, the media accept no blame for anything at any time! The media, desperate for money and supporters of the Conservative Party have inflamed the English nation. This has hurt their party dearly. From tomorrow the papers will do their best to sell to the UKIP support while not hurting Cameron's chances in 2015, such two faced action is not beyond them.
Will Farage really change the nation? Time alone will tell, but as Scotland will vote for independence in September only England, an Wales and Northern Ireland need worry.
Did I vote for Nigel? Don't be silly!
Thursday, 22 May 2014
The voting paper had two folds in it, opened out it was over a foot long, all the major parties and quite a few loony's were on offer. "Right," said I as the young ladies at the desk proffered the paper and gave instructions on its use,"Where is the Scottish Nationalist?" One of the girls sighed quietly. I fear she believed me. The choice entered with a big 'X' in the usual manner of a Hibernian footballer signing his name I vacated the premises. Voting takes place in the Museum Hall and my Big Boss who is in charge of the operation informed me the day had been light (about ten thirty) and no-one ventured over the door until half an hour had passed. Rather unusual for here even allowing for the increasing number of postal votes. The EU election does not go down well.
The main parties were all represented and I did not want any off them. However a vote for UKIP, racists in suits, does influence government policy as the Conservatives are terrified they will lose out to them. Indeed the right-wing media has spent the last weeks attacking UKIP at every opportunity but offering absolutely no Tory policies! That tells you the fear at Conservative HQ. A while back I wrote to the local member of parliament and in the middle of the letter I mentioned "..it was brave of you to vote for the 'Bedroom tax' when UKIP as so strong in this area..." he did not reply! Personally I think we should vote for UKIP, I believe in England for the English! The best thing for them to do would be to give £250,000 to everyone else and send them back to their own country, but wait until after September.
Is it not funny how in Afghanistan people queued for hours to vote, knowing that bombs could explode at any time, rifle fire could break out and death was minutes away yet in the UK such an important vote leaves us bored or disinterested. People died in various parts of the British Isles over many years to get us the right to select which lying rogue will represent us, or here put their nose in the trough, yet we stay at home. Always vote, but I would like a 'None of the above' added at the bottom.
Possibly the insistence of the Police helicopter to hover over my head when I was
Ha! Acting suspiciously. Here is the reason and naturally he deafens us while watching something a mile away, typical! Nobody arrested and thousands spent. Is it cheaper to put police on the ground I wonder?
Wednesday, 21 May 2014
Charlie, the nations trainee King, has we are informed said something quite outrageous. During his latest visit somewhere or other, not sure where I really didn't bother to investigate too deeply, he encountered a one time Polish WW2 refugee. She claims not to be able to remember the exact words used (hmmm) by the Prince concerning her war experiences but claims it was something along the lines of 'Putin is acting like Hitler.' I remember her statement with the same authority she remembers his.
There are no major news stories at the moment that is why as I brought my bleary mind into the world before six this morning the radio headlines were filled with Charlie endangering the world. His throw away comment, if actually made, would harm diplomatic relations with Russia it was claimed. This would be seen as a criticism of the Ukraine situation which in turn would cause a breakdown in relationships worldwide and possibly the Third World War! At least that is what the 'Daily Mail' appeared to make out of it. A word to a woman who we have never heard off taken out of context to make a story. I am not sure what happened to the wifey but surely her story would be more interesting, but I guess sell less papers. MP's on the prowl for votes tomorrow are being questioned by earnest cretins from the media re this shocking statement. TV and Radio debate the empty story for hours to fill space, and the papers are in a terrible tizz. Prince Charles himself of course will be giving a little smile. Whatever he says will be abused by the folks living like leeches of his existence. No doubt a member of the Foreign Office hierarchy will now be writing to him for 'clarification,' I guess he cares not a jot. His tactful father has taught him how to get attention well.
A non story but at least it pushes the lost sailors of the main page. Now I am sorry indeed a small yacht has gone down, the loss of four men at one go is a tragedy indeed. However there is something not right about the urgent demand from the relatives that the US coastguard continue to search long after their official search has ended. An official search that had already been extended beyond the normal length. Quickly, very quickly, 150,000 signatures appear on a petition demanding the UK government makes the US continue the search. An expensive and efficient organisation appears overnight pleading for rescue of these men. Media men are available at the beck and call, until Charles took a hand that is, 24/7 it appears.
Something is not right about this.
Concern for the lost we all understand. Pressurising governments for help is also what we would all do, however the unspoken belief that these are middle class folk with money and therefore more important than other lost craft remains. The whole world, the UK government, or at least the US Coastguard, must do what they say. The US have indeed continued to search, the RAF now is also sending a Hercules C-130 to contribute also. If only this government gave the same priority to old folks in the NHS as they are doing for four wealthy Hooray Henries lost at sea, maybe of course they are not wealthy or important!
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
The usefulness of cheap whisky where bugs are concerned is underrated in my view. Copious amounts of Hot Toddy plus similar amounts of prayer worked wonders. The prayer may well have been the biggest influence on the healing but the Toddy stopped me from thinking about it! There followed a quiet day at the museum. Remarkably few people around and only around £6 taken at the till. Something must be done! The folks are falling fast, another leaves for higher things tomorrow, yet another volunteer has a sick family member to care about and one found a job! Looks like I work Friday morning as well as Saturday this week.
Nothing interesting happened round this way
so here is a British Transport Film.
so here is a British Transport Film.
Monday, 19 May 2014
I had a brilliant post, full of insight, wisdom and humour for the world but the wee bug that has assaulted me has annoyed me all day and now late on, and full of Hot Toddy, I canny be bothered. Work tomorrow, if I am still alive.....
Sunday, 18 May 2014
In the many meaningless items found in the UK press today we note that letters and emails that went between Tony Blair and 'Dubya' Bush, mostly from Tony to his boss, these letters appear to be locked away and one in particular is 'lost!' How interesting. The Chilcot enquiry has been hindered by the refusal of those concerned to hand over these documents and now one is lost, the most important one.
How long before we obtain the evidence that shows Blair followed like a puppy to his owner and sent men to die needlessly in Iraq for a needless invasion? How long before he stands trial as a war criminal? Will this report ever be published?
Good news for Cowdenbeath who defeated close neighbours Dunfermline to ensure their place in the Scottish Championship for next season. Little Cowdenbeath, population around 12,000, have as a part time side managed miracles to stay in the division. My late mother, who was born in a miners cottage that overlooked Central Park, would be proud. As a child she used to scramble into the ground by use of holes under the fence, I suspect these may still exist. Her brothers often clambered up onto the roof so they could watch from a distance - for free, sixpence then was a lot of money for a miner!
The European elections take place on Thursday. This is the day we elect yet another goldigger as they fly off to line their pockets and disappear into obscurity. Which waste of space to elect? No idea! I don't want any standing in this area, they are all bad. What a depressing situation. Interesting to note that the 'Daily mail' as well as other Tory papers continue to inform us of the latest UKIP loony. They do not offer the Conservative policy, just point to others faults, what does that tell us eh?
Saturday, 17 May 2014
Sunny Saturday so me sitting inside the museum 'training' a new volunteer. Hopefully he will take over soon and allow me my Saturdays back. It is difficult tot rain someone when nobody ventures past the front door, well some folks did arrive just as he was leaving. Typical! Then I had to rush home and sit through two cup finals. St Johnstone you will be delighted to know won the cup for the first time in their 130 year history, and the game was full of interest. I really enjoyed it. Following this was the less interesting English cup and after a game that enthralled this meant little. Quite how the English can get interested in their football beats me, ours is far better. At least it means something to me.
That sums up my day. Writing for the boss at seven thirty in the morning, working sort off and football. I will be glad the season is over as it is wearing me out. Of course I never got any of the sunshine.
This is good!
Friday, 16 May 2014
Looking up from my steaming laptop I noticed on the telly a car similar to this one. This little beats is a Fiat Gamine, and I first saw them in a garage at Blackhall in Edinburgh in the late 60's. At the time I could neither drive nor afford a car, £7 a week does not ensure happy transport! However I was impressed at the little runaround and have harboured a desire for one ever since. There again I have harboured desires for many things since that time and few have borne fruit, although the Heart of Midlothian did win the Scottish Cup in 1998 as I am sure you know and if you don't be happy to let Mr Smith instruct you.
In those far off days I wore a lot of jeans, as I do now, however as Edinburgh has only two seasons, winter and a cold wet summer, I also wore maroon coloured cords quite a lot. Indeed some time back I was perplexed as these were no longer to be found in the shops anywhere. It appears Messrs Levi and Wrangler had ceased production. After years of searching I discovered online where these could be obtained at enormous cost and very much against my wallet so I let that lie and returned to Tesco for their £6 jeans. One of the 'outlet' shops nearby is a 'Levi' shop where jeans have been reduced to a cheap price, 'Buy Two for £90' was one offer I failed to run over for, and while Mr Levi made jeans for the gold diggers it now appears the gold diggers are working for him!
Anyway my little run about, totally useless in cold wet Edinburgh, designed for Italian summers where heat and sunshine are found alongside blue sky and funny tasting wine. It is of course possible the wine in Italy actually tastes better than the rancid stuff they send us of course. So poverty and no licence ended my dream, a dream that remains. Of course if anyone has such a working car they wish to donate please don't hesitate to send cash with it.
Thursday, 15 May 2014
Here I am hard at work, I am there, I merely collapsed with exhaustion and can be found lying under the table muttering rude words about the Battle of Cambrai! Six men required, only one finished and August around the corner but I am not panicking!!!! Add to this I wandered down to the cemetery (it was dead quiet again) to take a few better photographs of a gravestone belonging to a chap who died of disease in 1916. Information regarding him is arriving and he will be added to our pile so I decided we needed a better photo. I knew where he lay and went straight there and he had gone! No sign anywhere of the large cross that stood above him, nothing remained! This is taking grave robbing too far I thought. I wandered about for ages but could not find where he had been moved to, cursing my stupidity in not checking the shabby picture I took last year. Ghouls I decided, had been in during a dark night and nicked him to sell to a medical school somewhere. Instead I retook pics of other gravestones in the faint hope of improving what I already possessed. Back home, still before eight o'clock and with the sun shining, I checked the old grubby picture of my man. Funnily enough he has been moved to a place right behind where I was standing photographing a gravestone. Bah!
So once again I discover the weighing machine is broken. It claims I am two pounds short of 16 stone for goodness sake! Clearly a malfunction. However as I puffed and struggled up Cemetery Hill this morning as slowly clambered back upstairs it seemed a good idea to lose some of the flab. So once again I am on a diet. Once again I am eating healthily, once again it will fail. But maybe this time I had better make an effort as this fat is killing me!
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
As we discussed the exhibition this morning it came to our attention that August is fast approaching. As my boss discussed the size of the area allotted, the number of panels outnumbering the space for them, the lack of display cabinets, the obtaining this, checking that, the legal things to check, and then deciding that my job now is to produce six tales of local men and an intro to the war for a wee booklet to sell at 50p. It was when we realised just how close August is that we decided to act courageously, we burst into tears! As for the six men I have finished one and half way through another. The rest are as yet in limbo. (Limbo is not a country by the way)
Once again I sit here knackered after a hard day. Oh yes it was! Listening to that fellow with the beard was tiring, I think if the rest of the family had not dragged him away he would still be reminiscing, lugging boxes of out of date leaflets to the skip, equality has not given the lassies the ability to do this apparently, and clearing up after the weekend event kept me busy. So busy my tea was cold before I finished it....again! Bah!
Nothing else to say, so here is a cat's question answered.
Monday, 12 May 2014
The plan was simple, I rise early, around six, breakfast, then find something to take away the taste, do the
I between bursting into tears over the mess at Tynecastle I managed to finish my report on Serjeant Ambrose, make soup with which to poison myself, and eat badly. However listening to the reports on the news, reading fawning fans forums, reading despairing fans forums, and wandering the streets attempting to photograph the wonderful display of mixed clouds that passed by today meant that I was unable to start on the next man. Back to the museum tomorrow, so no writing there as I will be busy with visitors, hopefully! Ho hum!
Sheila at 'A Postcard a Day' has been kind enough to fix my Google problem. Informing me it happens to be just another Google 'improvement.' Bah! Why must these computer geeks change things all the time, improving what need not be improved? The BBC have done this, Facebook do it, Google also, and Twitter. Just because it is free, apart from the FBI knowing where I shop and my shirt size, that does not mean it has to be changed unexpectedly and badly, as this has been! Bah! At least Sheila's site changes not and is well worth your perusal!
Sunday, 11 May 2014
So for a while the laptop has been doing strange things, one of which concerns Google. Normally on Chrome I have the Google UK picture, and on the right hand side a link takes me to the next page where the 'Add-Ons' are found. Now when I click a tab the Google page that appears is different, and the next page link on Google UK has gone. The new page is not 'Google UK' but a Google page with no Google mail, images, +You link or indeed the email address as usual. There is nothing aIong the base either, instead under the sign there are links to places I have been, none of which I use as I don;t trust this, and attempting to use the type an address in the address bar takes over. What is this? Is there a way of fixing this? I have run the anti bad guys stuff but none have worked so far. This irritates me, and I am not one to complain.....
There is the usual fuss in the media concerning this appalling event. It appears this took place last night when I was busy having a life. As usual banal, trite melodies offered by perverts and weirdos won the day. It is long since this vapid bilge ceased to be an opportunity for struggling singers and became a replacement for the psychiatric hospitals Thatcher killed off, but why do people watch it? This freak show 'entertains two thirds of the European public, yet there is nothing there! I am more and more convinced the end is nigh, when you see what won can I be wrong?
"You'll never get out of here alive!"
Once again I spent Saturday morning at the museum as nobody was available to work it. Next week l, off my own free will and kindness, will be there on Saturday again. You see I am so kind and caring gentle and sweet. I was also knackered! I did manage to persuade the boss to make up a short advert looking for volunteers for the museum to fill in the empty spaces, far too many are sick, dying or finding jobs, and sweet as she is this happened. So I shoved them into three churches letterboxes as there are people there who will be available I am convinced. As one of the churches has many older "cough" peoples there will be historical knowledge also. We will see!
Hours I have spent looking for my family. So far none have been in prison but several have disappeared, if only one or two others would join them? This has helped with finding dead soldiers but there is so much to do and I have hours of work to do to get through it all. This and watching the football takes up so much time! Of course dithering, falling asleep and wandering to the shops to obtain reduced price goods has also been required, the falling asleep bit being most popular. However uncomplaining I battle on, my day ahead is planned out, nothing will deter my study, rise at six and plod on till midnight! But I ask, what happened to my man George....?
Thursday, 8 May 2014
With so much to do, constantly piling up things to do and leaving them to do themselves, rushing down to the museum when yet another soul does not turn up or gets a proper job, and gazing at the laptop in in effort to think of something sensible to say about yet another dead soldier, running to the shops for urgent supplies, all this leaves little time to read! Of course you will say watching all those football matches at night, wandering the streets in a daze or just bloody laziness also plays its part but I must state that this is not the case! OK, well it might play a teensie wee part but whatever the reason the only place I get peace to read books these days is in the bathroom! There is indeed little else to do there of course and while imitating a Knight of the Bath there is great pleasure in soaking away the muscle pains while recreating the little gray cells that desperately require recreating!
So in the smelly box that constitutes the escape from the world I have a pile of books, all half read, that get attention from time to time. Usually at the top lies the number one bestseller, bought from a charity shop, that has gripped my little minds attention and is devoured before I add the Eau de Cologne. The top book recently is an old one, put together in the 1930's by one of the great travel writers, and later South African dweller and racist, Henry Canova Vollam Morton. 'In the Steps of the Master.' (No I don't know how he got the name either!)
During the early 20's H.V.Morton began writing a 'London Life' column for a the 'Daily Express,' his father edited the 'Birmingham Mail,' so that's where he learned the trade. These were so popular they soon appeared in book form, 'In Search of London,' 'In Search of England,' 'In Search of Scotland.' By the thirties he was in the British mandated Middle East. While the book gives the impression he spent some time alone wandering around it transpires he had his wife with him (they divorced in 1934 and he soon found another) and he made several trips in all at various times to complete his project. Whatever, the finished results are excellent travel documents at a time when travel in that area of the world was popular among those with money. It was easier and safer as all came under the control of the British, God bless the Empire (stand to attention while reading this part!). What once pleased a population unable to travel as they were only paid £3 a week also spoke to ex-servicemen who saw action or service under the Crown in this part of the world. The popularity has never waned as now they speak to us of a time so long ago yet just a short time back. The changes in a mere 80 or so years are phenomenal!
Beginning in Jerusalem Morton walks where Jesus walked, allowing for two thousand years of change, several major sieges, and tourist guides who can show you exactly where Jesus bought his shopping. The Holy Sepulchre is of course the place to visit. I went there just before the first Gulf War in 1990 and it was so quiet I was alone, bar from a nun working there, inside the tomb itself. Normally it was more like Morton's time, crowded! Later after travelling around he watches the Easter ceremonies from the various groups based there. Elaborately dressed, incense, candles, parades, and languages used that go back to Jesus day. Not my idea of a Sunday morning but there you are! The British Police were out is force, as Israeli police are today as one wrong word, one misuse of a fellow monks lamp could lead to rioting. Those candlesticks make great weapons among the beloved! A walk over the Mount of Olives, Bethany, the River Jordan and on to the Dead Sea. The descriptions he gives are captivating. Much of his route would be impossible today. The road to Jericho offers us the English traveller at his best. He stops the car at one point to remove his coat as it was getting to hot, just think, in that heat he was driving while wearing a coat! In Jericho he is confronted by a Cocker Spaniel! Following this arrives a man in plus fours and tweed jacket, the British governor of the town. He was awaiting the British version of Pontious Pilate, they were going shooting don't ya know! Soon his eminence arrived in large black car, suitably dressed for the grouse moor and off the went leaving Morton to wander over the ruins of ancient Jericho.
Via Gaza and the Philistine country Morton wanders north via Samaria as was and stays at the Sea of Galilee. Clearly enjoying this part of the trip he stays a few days, even persuading fishermen to take him out fishing so he can watch their manner of catching fish, then still as Peter and his mates would have used. For the writer and many of his audience these places would have been well known through bible stories most likely heard as children at Sunday School. For the man himself it led to a better understanding of the bibles accuracy, often objected too by those who at that time had no chance to travel to research. Everyday happenings, very unlikely in the modern world, could be seen, reflecting biblical stories and making them real. The advantage of the 1930's tourist was the unspoilt land, population changes, building and war has changed much since then.
The author moves on through Lebanon, under French control at the time, then to Damascus even standing by the tomb of Saladin the Great. Morton offers great praise to this considerate opponent of the murderous Crusaders but appears not to realise Saladin may not have seen him in the same light. The tale takes us down to Machaerus, one of the astounding fortresses built by Herod the Great and later the place where Morton concludes Salome danced before Herod Antipas and was rewarded with John the Baptists head on a plate. He might be right. There again after the hard slog to get there, accompanied by a member of the tough and efficient Arab legion his mind may have been taxed a wee bit. Ending with a trip to Petra, the town cut from the rock, he returns for Easter at Jerusalem.
On his travels he encounters Arab politeness and danger, wonders at the poverty of so many living among the ruins of biblical places and crusader castles, and on one occasion saves a dogs life to the wonder of the Arabs who would let it die because it was 'only a dog.' Morton's biblical conclusions are often reasonable considering what was known at the time. His writing is easy, and enjoyable, occasionally bringing wry humour out of the situation he finds himself in. Years ago I read this book and it made me want to visit these places. How different things were in 1990, how much more so today! Books such as this cover not only the area as it was live so to speak in 1933 or so but take us back hundreds and thousands of years to what happened there before. Then the book seen from our today takes us forward again to yet another world, it is possible it might even take us into the future if read with an open eye.
Radio 4 Morton prog (30 minutes)
Tuesday, 6 May 2014
Wandering home from the museum after a very quiet day I passed this in one of the centuries old rights of way. Today this is merely a path between houses but it has been in use since time immemorial, which means a long time ago. Plastic bags, crisp packets, tin cans and the like can often be found lying about the streets of this litter mad society, but in this town sights like this are rare, indeed never seen before. Who and why has someone dumped all these old boots here I wonder? Did someone rob a bag from a charity shop and get the wrong stuff? Is it a foot fetishist who has changed his mind?
While enduring 20 odd years on London such sights were not unusual, indeed round our way they were common before gentrification took hold. In this wasteland the tipping is usually done in a farmers field well away from homes and usually of trade waste, not second hand footwear. I must keep a look out for a family with no shoes. Then I will know the culprit. What did I do about it did you ask? Nothing........
I found this also, a picture of a Glasgow shop!
Monday, 5 May 2014
There can be no doubt immigration is a big issue today. However who knows what the actual numbers of immigrants actually happens to be? Government figures cannot be trusted, even by governments, UKIP or any other lobby group certainly will not tell the truth, and the only fact is that the entire UK is overcrowded. However, once Scotland becomes independent you will note only England, and Wales, become crowded, Scotland having masses of highlands bereft of life bar English incomers looking for a better world. UKIP remains an England First Party, probably some members are racist, some certainly a bit loopy, however many similar remain within the Conservative Party but the papers do not mention that, certainly not during the lead up to an election.
The European Election is with us in 20 or so days. We ave the opportunity to send people into obscurity on vast wages, huge expenses, long hours of wasting everybody's time, and changing not one iota of life for you and me as far as I am aware up to this point. The EU is such a farce. The accounts have never been signed off for 20 years, nobody knows where the money goes, few if any care or understand the financial side, yet nothing is done! Talk is loud now, action unseen tomorrow. Laws are passed, ignored by France, yet important here! It is time for a rethink. Let us work with Europe, but not in a Federal state. Let us trade, help, aid, develop the poorer parts, but first let us remove the millions earning vast sums in Strasbourg, Brussels and wherever else they dwell. I'm thinking of voting either 'Green' or 'UKIP,' as both would serve them right and keep them away from us!
Being a bank holiday, in which everyone bar supermarkets and greedy shops take the long weekend off, there was nothing happening today. This made no difference whatsoever to this small town! Actually it does, most shops shut, businesses closed and many took advantage of a reasonably warm day to clean the car, go visit in-laws, or even have a happy time. I did nothing, so no change there. The bright blue sky caused me to cycle up the old railway however, puffing up that slope far more than any F5 engine ever did I can tell you.
Pah! You call that steam!Clearly this is doing me good health wise, or so they say, but it did not feel this way at the time. There were few about, which always make it worth while.
The morning sun makes me want to take pictures but there was nothing but this aged gate, once entrance to a busy coal depot, the only interesting object on view. I can tell it bores you, it did little for me. However this depot must have been important in the coal fired days. Every house required coal, all stations along the line had similar layouts busy with bags of coal being transferred to lorries and taken to almost every house in the area. I say almost as with all the woods around in the past I suspect many chopped their own for the fire, saving money and keeping fit. Today we just turn the switch and grumble at the power companies ripping us off. Where are all the old coalmen now? Dead I suppose. Any living will be well into their eighties, probably older, but I suspect still fit! Jobs come and go with the change of lifestyle yet as far as I know few tears were shed for coalmen who lost out to the Clean Air Act. Yet for well over a hundred years such men kept the nation warm, industry working and when stocks were low suffered the abuse for something they could do little about. Now they are forgotten. So many old jobs once commonplace have gone in fifty years. Factories, railway sidings, once the employer of thousands now turned into small shops, scout huts or out of town supermarkets. How quickly we forget.
Do you know muscles used rarely hurt when used? As I write this rubbish my muscles are informing me of this very fact. When I rise in the morrow I wonder if they will remind me then also.....?
Saturday, 3 May 2014
I like work! I'm a great believer in it. In fact there are times I spend much of the day just looking at work, either indoors or out, I'm ambidextrous that way. Work I say is good for the soul, especially the watching others do it part. I'm very keen on that part. In fact I was hoping to spend much of today doing that very thing, watching others spend their Saturdays working, at the market, cleaning the car, on the farms, anywhere as the sun was shining and the sky was blue.
It didn't go to plan!
Museum Big Boss One (who does not do Saturdays) asked me to be in this morning, 10 am sharp, to meet a couple of women who wished to talk about the Great War for some musical project they were involved with. I was there. I'm like that, scared to refuse. To be there meant missing out on watching folks work but it had crossed my mind I could watch the other museum staff work instead while I chatted. Come ten the women gathered and I locked us in the dim office, I forgot to open the blinds, and offered the material I had prepared and that left out for us by Big Boss One. I should add that for the past couple of days I have been attempting to find info on several dead soldiers for these girls, working until late last night to sort things out for them, even searching the web before seven as I ate my burnt breakfast, and yet not a word of complaint passed my lips. I'm like that. So today, once locked in, I asked what exactly they were looking for.
Women! That's what!
They have decided to do a musical project (in August?) on women, and how the Great War changed their lives and the changes it led to up unto our day. Naturally I found my mind numbing at this point. Everywhere you look the commemoration of ten million dead men, 750,000 of them ours half of who's bodies were never recovered, are centered on what wimmin did during the war! One did enquire as to what the grating sound was, the car park outside I lied and stopped my molars grinding and turned their attention to the work women were doing in this area for the war effort.
The next two hours were spent discussing (talking) the situation. Around a thousand women worked at one factory alone making shell casings, ammunition boxes and lots of money. The soldiers daily rate of pay was one shilling and two pence, around about ten shillings a week and more if he had some particular skill. The girls earned at least a pound a week, sometimes more as they were paid the same as the men. Not only to cut absences through sickness the factory had a surgery and looked after the staff well. Vast numbers of shells were produced for the war this way, cheaper than via the normal manufacturers. The lassies drove lorries, worked machines, wore lipstick and smoked cigarettes. The thought that things were black and white had to be removed from these women, both friendly and efficient clever capable women at that, and no doubt although we only scratched the surface they have some better idea of what they want now.
I wanted sleep!
I had expected ten minutes, half an hour and heard the clock chime twelve before we ended the day. Time for lunch thought I. Naturally Big Boss Two (who does work Saturdays) then smiled, cried and tore at my heartstrings pointing out that someone had not come in, the one who had was off to lunch, she herself (not these are all women!) was busy and had to meet a man (for the presentation) and was very busy. Having run a handkerchief under a tap she dabbed her eyes and pleaded for help. Naturally I said "NO!" as I would miss the football, naturally I was still there an hour later!
At least during this time something good happened. Yes it was a shock but it happened. This chap came in to discuss the war, he was a bit unsure as to what he was after but he did mention his relative who died, Ambrose, the very man I had been researching! This was his great nephew! I mentioned that a woman had sent me a picture and some info but he could not work out who that could be. It turned out to be his wife! This was a lovely man, much fun, and we had a good chat. That really did make my day. A living connection with the name on the memorial, more of this please!
Lunch over, a replacement for me found, I began to head for home. However the man who does the odd jobs on a Saturday needed help with his Butt. The water butt that is, there was a jam and we had to empty this vast amount of water so he could fix it.
I then headed for home, quietly picking up my jacket and sneaking out when no-one was looking.
As I got through the door my arm was grabbed by Big Boss Two who wants me to do it again next Saturday! I said "NO!" and headed for Tesco.
Home in time to miss the start of the football, burn my dinner, eat not just today's but tomorrows also as I was that hungry by now, and then discover three replies to my quest for information regarding dead soldiers! How lovely! So after watching Manchester City defeat Everton (Naismith still has the Rangers habit off falling down for no reason) from my bed, I am not proud, I respond to these with a smile, content with the world, the lovely deep blue sky outside, the gentle music playing in the background, and deciding some work is not as bad as all that and I might have to do all this, or something like it, next Saturday again.