Monday, 31 August 2015

Summer Drizzle

Stupidity some say is inbuilt.  I disagree.  Stupidity of a sort is inbuilt, with slow thinking, inability to consider all options, a lack of concentration or care but this is not enough!  Oh no I can assure you this is not enough!  I inherited the family trait of stupidity but this was not early enough to enable me to fail so spectacularly as I have down through the years, oh no, I had to work at it and work hard.  Anyone can make it through life by being stupid, only those who practice can manage to grasp the wrong end off an electric cable, spray an aerosol on a fire or look down the barrel of a gun to work out why it was jammed -then pull the trigger.  These things take practice.
Anyway I have not down these things, recently anyway, but I did run about the town looking for tools for the bike and fail to find them.  This morning, as the Bank Holiday rain teemed down, I got myself ready to travel on the free bus to Halfords to spend money.  As I did so it crossed my mind there was a yellow tub with bike things somewhere under everything else, so I took a look.  Inside I found the yellow box filled with bike bits.  There was no tool to turn the nut however, that remained missing.  However removing from the box I discovered a mass of small items that once had a purpose and many that had been used once and forgotten, among which was a double headed spanner for turning wheelnuts on bikes!  This had disappeared an eon ago and now I knew why.  That said I still journeyed down to Halfords on the bus in spite of the now drizzle like weather.  A cloud lay over us, hovering just above the tops of lamposts drizzling on those who dared to walk out.

A wander through Halfords, being ignored by the surly chap playing with a very expensive bike, this revealed the tools I might need in any off a hundred situations if I was cycling far, not that I will be these days.  I bought nothing as I could not remember the size of inner tubes I need or much else about the bike.  Technical things were designed only to expose my stupidity.  At least I now know where to find things, the local shops being useless.
I wandered through the shopping centre, famous for the 'outlet shops' those who sell the stuff proper shops failed to sell, and was struck by the prices on offer.  Barbour for instance sell jackets worth £250 for £179, shoes retail at prices well upwards of £80 and more, other shops know suckers when they see them and even that early in the morning, drizzle or not, the place was full of families seeking goodies!
Yet did I see a happy face?  No I did not!
There are people in the UK who depend on foodbanks, there are many striving to survive on disability allowance or some other meagre benefit, always considered 'scroungers' by the 'Daily mail' and other Tory media.  Yet there is vast wealth in the UK and that could be seen by the cars queuing up to get in the car parks, the fat men bulging through their T-shirts (English men in shorts & T-shirts in spite of the damp!), and the miserable people buying things they do not need. 
Wealth makes us happy. That is, if we have enough we can be satisfied but always and ever there is something else we MUST HAVE even if it really is just a shiny thing that passes in a moment.  The eye sees more than the stomach requires, but we go for it anyway.  Our houses are full of things, things which have not been used for years perhaps, items that cost loads yet we never use, now we complain we have no money!  
Having endured a long period of pauperism, missing out on Christmas, travel, holidays, and new things I now find myself with a bit more in my new state of mere poverty.  The temptation to buy things because I can was real today, as was the sickening feeling when too many things are bought.  What I need, and there are many requirements that must be met, are not the same as what I find I must have.  Things for the bike were required, books I bought were more or less required, the jacket was required but did I need to consider that thing I pondered on this morning (a thing that I cannot now remember what it was!)?  The money was there so the object became important.  Maybe we have too much money floating around, maybe we would be happier if we wanted less and spent less?  People smile more in India and Africa so I am told, what does that tell us if true?


 Summer continues as it has always done...

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Slow Sunday

It has been a slow Sunday indeed today.  Rising early for breakfast I retreated to bed to finish my sleep awakening only in time for the football.  Since then much time has been taken up with attempting to fix the other laptop (again) and downloading slowly things required which then do not work.  I have tried several times to buy memory for the beast from 'Crucial' but although I have changed the password they will not let me in!  Grrrrr!  Not a lot has happened elsewhere I suspect as the cloud overhead has blanketed the world and a dreich day has resulted.  Tomorrow is the bank holiday Monday and you bet this cloud will stay hanging around.

This reminds me of the two or three years I spent in a somewhat larger version of this van happily wandering all over London.  The drivers I worked with were on the whole a decent lot, not that all of them liked work of course, and when the sun shone I could sit back while he struggled with the traffic and I enjoyed the view.  I got to know a great deal of London, bar the north east part which for reasons unclear we were not allowed to deliver in.  The furniture vans certainly went there, why not us we did not ask as we preferred the better class areas anyway.
When living in the centre it was always good on a Tuesday or Thursday to find ourselves so far out of town that we could occasionally find potato fields.  I must say the one we did drive into was a wrong turning, but I blame the driver!  On one occasion while in an aged green van used as an emergency backup we missed a turning of the A3, that is a main duel carriageway this driver carrying billions of vehicles in and out of town.  The simple answer was to drive to the next roundabout and return but no, this lad stopped the van and reversed back the way we had come!  There was an opening in the road designed for the turning, one we had missed, and eventually we arrived there and turned into it.  However the van stuck out a wee bit into the outer of the two lanes, that is the fast lane, and while awaiting a break in the traffic on the other side we heard the approaching screeeeeeeeeech of brakes.  This interesting sound continued for what appeared to be an awful long time and eventually a Lancia car, containing a red faced man waving towards us appeared to our left.  Maybe he was the man we were delivering to I wondered, but then we moved on.
This driver was generally capable which was more than could be said for the temp one who parked the van in Kensington High Street, one of the busiest of streets, in a bus lane, on a no parking area, and went for lunch.  When he returned the van had been removed by the police and an almighty fine was awaiting payment.  The lad returned to work the next day but was shown the door before the boss upstairs came down and found him.
One man was a bookmaker and his life was horse racing, or at least the bets to go with this.  A good man who was forced by a wife to earn money he stopped off at various places to either borrow money, repay money, lay bets with friends, cash in bets with friends or on Mondays stop of at a bookies (owned by a man called Stallion) for a coffee early on.  This bookie by the way informed us of a man with a gun trying to rob him not long after he had opened.  It took a wee bit of persuasion  to get the robber to remove himself and "come back later when we have taken some money."  We came down Balham High Street on our homeward journey one afternoon and stopped at the lights.  I glanced around me as we stood in the long line of traffic and suddenly realised the driver had disappeared!  I looked all around the van but he had vanished.  he had noted a bookmakers shop over the road and ran in to check the results!
One of the best was a Spanish chap called Joe.  He and I worked well together for some time especially so as he was friends with a man in a restaurant who provided us with large slices of apple pie and coffee at the start of the day.  Well we had a large round up through St John's Wood and Golders Green etc.  There we encountered many Jews, mostly women, all neurotic to some degree, some of whom had seven or eight locks on the doors.  Many had originated in Austria and Germany and seen sights we would not wish to see and possibly lost relatives shortly after.
On that round another driver and I encountered a man from a competitors shop.  He had a better van but never smiled.  Day after day it became a thing with us to get a greeting from him, something other drivers never failed to offer, but this one never answered and never smiled.  Each time we passed our greetings got louder and more obvious until one day a tired response brought cheers.  That was a day of a Jewish feast which meant lots of chocolates, flowers and fruit baskets were being sent round to folks everywhere in the normal Jewish manner.  The vans were overloaded and he was on his own, how we greeted him and how we laughed.  He must have hated us!
All good things come to an end eventually however. 


Saturday, 29 August 2015

Hullo Old fruit!

This is a bank Holiday Weekend, you can tell by the 'pitter-patter' of rain on the window.  I worry not but the dafties who drive off to the coast or other holiday spot to get away from it all soon join with thousands of others getting away from it all and fail to get away from it all.  It is however a change, apart from the rain.  
I am going nowhere.  The past weeks activities have worn me out.  Once you stop work it is very hard to start again.  For too long I have sat around on my behind and now I am so unfit that running around for a few days on the trot leaves me very tired at the end.  This week has been busy at the museum as so many are off sick, have to look after relatives or have disappeared that I and others have to cover up a wee bit more than normal.  Next week I am only down for Tuesday morn so that should make this week easier, unless another decides to run off.

For a start my knees were not keen, the weather too keen and last time I was out all was well however the other day I noted the tyre was flat!  How did that happen?  Something wee, like a bit of glass from the kiddies beer bottles round by the recreation ground, has got in there again. 
So having slept much of yesterday yet still found myself knackered today I eventually got round to finding the bits to remove the wheel.  They have disappeared!  The one tool that always turned the nut was not to be found.  I have a feeling it may have been licked under the skirting board and gone down into the messy depths that lie beneath the flat below, a messy 'Somme' like place that it impenetrable.  Nothing in the tool box fits to turn the nut! Nothing!  So this afternoon instead of my much needed siesta I went searching for bicycle tools.   I obviously went to the cheap shops first to see if any Chinese made equipment was available for less money than they were worth but I was unsuccessful.  This meant I had to wander round the two cycle shops in town and search the racks on the wall, this also was unsuccessful.  What can be the deal when two shops selling bikes have limited equipment that go with said bikes?  Possibly these tools are hidden away behind the profit making things like shorts, saddles, and er, bikes, but in one several items were marked 'SALE' but the label hid what the item on 'SALE' was!  How does he survive?
Two cheap Chines supplied shops failed me, Tesco had loads last week all removed to make space for CHRISTMAS stock, and two cycle shops had nothing on show that helped.  This means a trip to 'Halford's' where I suspect upstairs plenty of suitable odds and ends will be suitably overpriced but I canny go there until Monday, and as it's a Bank Holiday I suspect it will be chock a block with bargain hunters spending money of overpriced stuff they do not need, just like I sometimes do but will not admit to myself.  

I decided on a fruit and healthy pasta lunch, I thought it would keep me on the run, and it did!  On Wednesday at work one of the trustees and I compared beer belly's and it was not a nice sight, almost like one of them maternity gatherings most men rightly ignore.  The problem is coming home after a day out I am not in the mood to fuss, just eat and sleep I say.  It is only with free time a proper diet can be made available.  Of course once I get the bike fixed, if I get the tools, and by means of a sensible diet, if I bother, I can exercise, unless the rain comes back, and eat well, if I have time, and then I will lose weight, be healthy and enjoy winter and the cold, wet, rain and snow with eastern winds driving hail into our faces for months.
Sometimes I wish I was not so optimistic.


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Laptop Tribulations

In an attempt to remove needless items on the laptop I searched through everything and removed those I thought no longer required.  This pleased me and helped the laptop breathe again.  
Yesterday I opened up a strange item on the desktop, it was a dead 'Word' item!  
Fool that I was I had deleted all the 'Office' items (an aged office at that) and now nothing worked.
All my museum stuff is on Word and now all was dead!
After a search I found the old disc and after a struggle (why are these things so difficult?) I reinstalled all I needed and now it works.  Relief ran through me and next time I will be a wee but more careful.

An item in the ever trustworthy and reliable (sarcasm eh?) 'Daily Mail' tells us that women are getting fat because they are not doing enough housework.  Clearly this university study has been money well spent as a look around the streets shows this to be the case.  To many devices making a women's life easy, once the work is done there is not enough work that requires exercise for a woman, all this sitting around gossiping and coffee drinking has got to stop.
I have found a way to enable any volunteer among you to quickly lose two stone, come clean my place and do the ironing!  That should make you lose weight.



Wednesday, 26 August 2015


We have in this country a thing called 'rain.'  Not all nations have it, we do.  Recently a series of weather 'Lows' have circled around the nation dropping water all over the place.  Normally we say this would please the farmers however it fails in this as they wish to harvest their crops and the rain hinders this.  Combine harvesters catching fire also hinders as one found out last week.  Today we stood at the window wondering whether we could reach Tesco without drowning, bread and milk was urgently required and some of us wondered if we would eat tonight!  The rain came down in monsoon impersonations for a long time.  I knew it would not last and I was of course wrong!  As you note we were inside and had no reason to rush out but closing time came near and hunger was beginning to call.
Programmes have appeared on radio wondering what is wrong with the weather.  Is it climate change, could global warming have moved the 'Jet stream?'  People shake their heads and wonder.  So do I.  A few years ago my mother, then about 90, grumbled about the weather, I mentioned that it had been like this for the 90 years she had lived and wondered if she had not noticed.  We had to laugh as it always rains in July and August, it is the British Isles after all.
It is possible that the weather is worse than before, only weather men with the facts can say, and the intensity of the weather is greater than before but this could be a passing phase.  Today a report of a house damaged by a mini cyclone, roofs blown off flats elsewhere and off course the rain.  Maybe it is indeed changing, maybe indeed it will get worse worldwide, maybe after all Jesus is returning soon and this is a mere forerunner of worse to come.  That is worth considering as well as checking the Met office reports. 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Tuesday Tattle

I walked into work in a chill breeze but with the sun shining on me this morning.  I splashed out money for milk for the fridge and entered the museum by the back door, the best way I find.  There I set things up, cleared the mess around the sand pit (archaeological digs for kids) and filled up the stickies (a trail for wee kids) and cleared space on the desk while I tried to sort out what to do.  The main feature of the day was the approach of a herd of children and attempting to picture some of the stock just in case we need to post pics somewhere.
When things got going I was busy, I was on my own today, and I never stopped except when I stopped and even worse I never got any tea!  It's a disgrace I say.  However in between taking pictures and watching the mum's leave, when the kids are settled indoors many run off to shop or sit gossiping in the cafe, I dealt with lots of grans and granddads bringing the kids to fill in a couple of hours.  They all appear to be happy with the museum but fail to spend enough money in the shop!

The beauty of the rain hammering down yesterday meant I was forced to remain indoors and attend to things that required attention.  Some corners of the house have been cleared and the spiders inhabiting the area removed.  Next time I finish a few repairs and clean out the corner under the desk, that has been waiting for a year or so.  In fact I was so busy I accidentally cleaned parts of the oven!  At least the removable bits, the rest can wait until Spring.  

However I am so knackered after a day running around and have not had time for my siesta yet!  Here I am trying to watch the Champions League, scribble this and keep my eyes open, life is so hard for some of us...
oops second half beginning....


Monday, 24 August 2015

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Saturday Meandering

What a brilliant sunshine day today.  Naturally I stayed inside, I don't want this to become a habit or I might start enjoying life.  It has been a restful few days, I only went into the museum for half an hour on Friday, I came out two hours later, these women do talk, but it was less busy than I expected.
For some strange reason having had almost no books to read a few days ago I appear to be finding them everywhere, I landed two in the museum, and there appears to be a growing pile in, er, well several places.  Three by my bed, a couple here, a few in the loo, and several on the shelf waiting patiently.  Funny how few in the family read anything but a tabloid paper.  They have the brains, why do they waste their lives like this?  

As you are asking yes the Heart of Midlothian still top the league.  A win against Partick Thistle today by a mere three goals to nil was the least we would expect.  I listened on the Hearts radio but it is not as good as seeing pictures.  Indeed the Hearts radio output has never been good since Donaldson left to make money in far of USA.  In those days the three men worked well together, it was like being with your mates at the game.  Today the commentator does his job, Jimmy Sandison also but there is no 'spark' no humour, no life to it.  This is a shame as it would be good if the element of enjoyment of sharing the game with mates returned.
Still we are top of the league and doing OK all things considered.

I'm annoyed.  Indeed I am somewhat peeved.  The media are showing video clips of an aircraft crash at an airshow.  A Hawker Hunter jet, once the best in the world, attempted a loop the loop and the pilot misjudged his angles or had a problem on the way down.  The plane crashed into the ground near a roadway and several are believed dead. 
That in itself does not irk me, such tragedy's do occur though rarely at UK airshows these days.  The problem is the video taken at the time is shown complete until the moment the aircraft hits the ground then the picture 'stutters' and restarts moments after the crash.  Why?  Are we not supposed to see the plane hit the earth?  Is this a legal thing?  Could it be considering the victims on the ground?  I wonder.  It appeared to me to be yet another of those 'nanny' like things which bedevil society today.
There are warnings on almost every packet saying 'This could contain nuts,' things that get heated warn 'This could be hot' and signs everywhere say 'Mind the step' or 'Slippery when wet.'  What happened to common sense?  
I agree some situations warrant a warning sign but most are posted just because daft folks sue simply to make money, the majority are not required.  I doubt hindering the death of an airplane requires a two second blurring of an accident.  Good grief I came into this world just after a war, fifty million died yet nobody held up a warning notice. Would it have helped to erect one on the Polish border? 'War making can be dangerous, contact your solicitor.'  Plane travel is safer than any other form of transport these days but in the fifties accidents, even at airshows, were common.  Why have we become so namby pamby these days?  
It is time for a return fo some 'stiff upper lip' and some 'common sense.'


Thursday, 20 August 2015

I Have Nothing to Say

I have nothing to say.  Nothing worth mentioning has happened, nothing worth noting in the diary.  The world has gone on its way with me ignoring it for the most part and in turn the world has gone out of its way to ignore me.  I ventured into it, a haircut from a nice young lady, a fruitless search for bargains in charity shops, a walk around town looking at the girls shops, a few dirty looks from people practicing to live in London and listening to one neighbour describing the illness of another.  So I saw the world and went back home again.  
There was a ten minute exercise session after hearing a Radio 4 programme on the brain informing me how much exercise improved the mental faculties (don't ask!), and then several gallons of tea to return me to normal afterwards.  I helped one woman find her dead relatives online, after informing her those names mean nothing to us I found they did!  I ironed enough shirts to last a month!
See, nothing happened.
Quite nice after doing too much last week.

I've been ignoring the papers, merely glancing at the headlines, none of which are startling, and feel better because of it.  I did take the opportunity to read blogs, not your lot which I read anyway, the other ones from your other readers.  A journey through them was stimulating to the mind and I found some interesting people.  I must look at some more.  
This is the best of the internet, research which finds answers and new blogs which finds new people worldwide.  I hasten to add these people are not quite up to the standard set by your good selves and will never replace you in my admiration and love (cut the slush! ed.) but it opens new doors and I hope you try likewise.


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Write, Right!

I came across a few files on 'Dropbox' and cleared out the old, the repeated and unwanted files.  Some of them surprised me as they were so old I had forgotten them.  I added them to their respective folders and checked the contents thereof.  Among them were several books I had started, one even going as far as seven pages, and I wondered how I had failed to be famous by now.  The answer was not long in coming- illiterate!  
The books vary in subject, reflecting my mood at the time, and I suggest only 'Living Death in the Museum' will ever reach a small audience, this however might lead to a black eye or two.  Another problem appears to be that I have lost it!   Shame as one or two ideas on there were quite useful.   Today gave opportunity for more as crowds came in, phones rang, questions were asked, kids tantrumpted and the funeral parlaour grumbled about our leaky guttering pouring water on their garden seat.  I dealt with this magnificently, I moved the seat!  
The trouble is I read a book and find it exhilarating and wish to copy it, half way down the page I realise things are not so easy and the steam eases off and I fall over a cliff.  After the day we had today I am not in much of a thinking mood anyway, I'm not use to work, I am in the mood for closing my eyes and listening to something interesting on the wireless so I am off to Radio 4 on the iplayer to search for an old programme about country views or waling through interesting places.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Daily Trials...

The problem about having a busy week is the Monday afterwards there is so much to put right around the house.  For a start I had to run up the road for bread at half seven this morning (the term 'run' is not to be taken seriously) then I had to eat, find my head, decide on the plan of action and begin the day slowly.

First there was study to get the day going.  This I now decide is not a good idea when half asleep and crumbs from breakfast litter the laptop!  Someone said the morning is the best tim to think, they I assure you were not getting into bed at eleven at night and waking up at five in the morning to listen to the Shipping Forecast!

As I attempted to cogitate i also did the washing.  Note how I call it 'washing!'  This is unusual as these days I have picked up the English way of calling this 'laundry.'  Scots always refer to the 'washing.'  What is the difference, none at all as these days Mr Zanussi does it very well, especially when I remember to put that liquid stuff in.  

After this I also hoovered the floor and cleaned the Loo!  Those wire scrubbers come in usefull at a time like this, I suppose I should do that more often...  There again i would not like to get washday hands would I?

As I did so I took advantage to read some of the books piled up in there and it was then that I realised it was her birthday.  My great niece is 18 tomorrow, eighteen, my great niece!  18!
It was bad enough her Mum becoming fifty but she is now 18!
At this point I sat on the floor and wet silently as my life passed me by.
Then to make matters worse, if it could be worse, there was no card suitable.  I had to trail out into the great outdoors and search for a cheap card suitable, naturally there was none available so I had to choose something and paid the vast amount of gold coins required.  I also went into the women's clothes shop where a man worked the desk.  Normally I get the girls vouchers for Xmas in here as this pleases the older ones who then feel young and displeases the younger who see mum in their fashion!  The man was not such a man as I thought, his purplish long nails I thought made working the computerised till difficult, he was however efficient, pleasant and helpful which is of course not what I had been finding in the big towns last week.  So armed with my card, my gift card and my debt I returned home and posted off the black envelope.

Much of the rest of the day has been researching people.  The boss is trying to find a relative of someone who donated stuff years back so it can be returned or whatever and we have a contact address but from the eighties!  We have been doing our detective work very badly and going round in circles.  I must Google 'How to find people' and see what I can learn.  The family appear to be still alive, there are as yet no death notices around, I just hope they have not emigrated.

Then all that remained was to prepare for the morrow.  Gathering everything bar intellect in one place helps me remember what to take with me.  I often forget to pick it up mind, but age does that. 

Ah then there was lunchtime! 

Now most of the day is like me, done!  It is time to watch football, any football, from anywhere, featuring anybody, good bad or indifferent, just let's relax and do nothing for a while. 


Sunday, 16 August 2015

Books & Charity

It is not that long ago I noticed I had nothing to read.  The books shown above had not taken long to get through others had come and gone and yet only a few days ago I found I had nothing to read.  That is I was plowing my way through one or two rather turgid books, had one or two I had to read and the 'can't put down books' had run out.  
This morning I was given a book for free and indeed could have taken several more if I wished and having just bought two on Friday I placed this one alongside them.  Then I realised the pile of books was getting rather high again!  Where did they all come from?
One day there was nothing and now they are all over the place.  Not a 'Kindle' in sight I may add!  None of that technical stuff, I mean you canny read in the bath with one of those, you might drop it.
This I must say is a good situation.  How we can pass the time without a few books lying around I fail to understand. Occasionally I wander through the charity shops looking at the books and round here they are almost all wimmens fiction or aged 'coffee table' books.  I reckon the girls buy them at one shop and dump them at another.  They appear to be the same books that were on the charity shelves when I first came here 19 years ago.  Mind you they are the same women reading them.  How I miss London charity shops, those in 'regenerated' areas always had decent books on offer, even if a bit pricey.
The only real bookshops these days are 'Waterstones' and 'Oxfam' bookshops.  I understand they need money but it appears to me 'Oxfam' charge too much for old books.  'Amazon' have reduced book prices but killed off bookshops.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

A Wedding Today

One of our attractive and intelligent young ladies got herself married to her Knight in Shining Armour today.  I mean Knight as he turned up at the museum one day on a horse, wearing armour, with a Paige to accompany him, got down on one knee and proposed!  At first she thought it was someone trying to sell their services to the museum but eventually understood who it was when he removed the helmet, just as well she said 'Yes.'
So today, in front of a supportive crowd, they became man and wife with all the full palaver of an Anglican wedding service.

Bridesmaids abounded, women scrubbed up well, men in suits, even I had a bath!  Two people didn't recognise me!  The hymns were mumbled, the prayers followed, the address was short and the people stood outside for ever as the photographers, at some cost, made the video and took pictures.  

As you can see all were entranced by the proceedings, their eyes constantly on the bride.  On the left sat the brides side, mostly the grooms on the right.  As she arrived as one the woman looked at the dress and murmured, the men murmured also but differently.  One side wondered what she saw in him, the other how he got his hands on her.  All wondered how dad was going to pay for this lot! 

This is a proper Low Anglican church, evangelical and a wee bit middle class.  It has stood here for around 800 years and who knows how many are buried in the grounds?  It is thought the Saxons ans even the Romans buried folks around here so the archaeologists of the future will have a great time digging in this hill.

Some began to find time dragging, we were twenty minutes late when we actually began as the photographers fussed around outside.  Some began to look for alternative enjoyments.

Soon my women and I tumbled out to greet the happy couple one by one, this took some time!  Then more pictures were took and almost everyone had a camera or fancy phone to picture the individual groupings lined up, even us lot were in one alongside the happy couple, in spite of him saying " OI! Keep away from her you" just because he knows me.

 Having arrived in style, the happy couple departed in style.

Drawn by two white horses.

As we speak they are now dancing the night away at an expensive wedding venue, although the happy couple may well be on their way to the honeymoon of their dreams.  I suspect Honolulu, Guam and Skegness have been considered for this but where they go I know not.  I asked about the reception but was told they already have a drunken uncle, from 'his' side, a lecher, from 'his' side, two or three for the fight, from 'his' side and as there appeared no opening for me I came home to listen to the football results and burn my dinner.

How unusual to attend a wedding!  I have not been at one for around 25 years now and there used to be one a month at one time.  As always it is interesting to note how people behave, to recognise those who doubt the worth of the bride or groom, the one scared to be in a church, those who meet the family only at such events, and to watch how Englishmen, and these were almost all Englishmen, behave.  This lot behaved well, the couple are happy, the couple are popular and everyone appeared content to be here today. 
I enjoyed my day as the lass was happy and I am glad for her.  All will be well here.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Friday Wander

Wandering about Camolodunum today I discovered the Orthodox Church of St Helen tucked away round the back streets.  Greek Orthodox do appear in many byways in the UK, one in Bayswater was a large and wealthy church with all the top people attending, this sadly is somewhat run down today.  The picture makes it look better than it is (adjusting white balance to shade does this) and I was disappointing for the people there as it must cost a bit to maintain.
I was glad of the cool rest on a muggy day and took one or two shots and sat and looked around me. As the do the place was covered with icons, something I can never comprehend.  To me the book says read the book, baptism and Lords table, anything else, no matter how long it has been in vogue, is needless.  Yet in Orthodox circles such abound.  I wanted to take a few more shots but was disturbed by some unsmiling Mediterranean patrons who arrived, mother kissing several icons, dad another, all glaring at stranger.  I attempted to exchange a few words but was not made welcome and moved elsewhere.

The church was originally built in the eighth century possibly by King Offa of Mercia (the English Midlands) who had overlordship here.  The building was erected upon the foundations of a Roman theatre, this being the actors end, the ground rising behind.  Just a few doors up there is a small unopen museum where some remains can be glimpsed as can this model.

After the Boudicca revolt, she was upset when the Roman governor slapped her around, raped her daughters and grabbed her land, she was irked enough to burn down Verulanium (St Albans) Londinium (London) and Camolodunum (Colchester) and all those within, so the Romans strengthened the walls of the town, butchered most of her people and settled down in their new theatre.  Walls around the town were added quickly, just in case.
So the church was built on the foundations of the ruin and thin red Roman bricks can be seen in the walls.  Something seen on so many churches in Essex, old Roman villas are often reused. 
The Normans rebuilt what is now known as Colchester castle, although it was never really such, and around 1079 rebuilt the church which was a bit run down.  The reformation removed all the needless stuff and the building served many purposes until once again restored during Victorian days.  The Orthodox looking for a building now rent this from the Anglican owners and this gets used regularly after some years of standing empty or being used as a store.  How can such old buildings be used this way? 
Some believe St Helen, the mother of Constantine was born in King Coel's Castle, Colchester Castle, and this may be true I know not, she was probably born in Asia minor however.  She dug deep under Constantine's original Church of the Holy Sepulchre and found pieces of the 'Holy Cross.'  I have been down the steps leading to this area and have my doubts personally.  The idea of his mum with pick and shovel digging down intrigues me however.  British connection exists with this pair however as Constantine was declared Emperor while at York while his father Constantius Chlorus was governor of Britain.
Typical Yorkies!
The East Saxons living here by the way gave us the term 'Essex' and the present Essex County badge features three Seax's, the curved sword loved by the locals at the time. Some would love having one today if you ask my opinion.

Standing outside the 'castle' today you get a real understanding of the defensive position.  High on hills on three sides once the Roman walls went up it was very strong indeed.  The Romans of course never took the place by force, the locals in Kent and Essex welcomed the advantages Rome could bring and those that didn't got chopped.  The town had many Romanised locals and ex-soldiers residing their in safety until the man upset Boudicca.   After that a more Roman approach was adopted.

The comparison between Colchester and Chelmsford intrigued me today.  Chelmsford, the County Town (now City) is boring, however it is clean for the most part and while there are a few dregs walking the streets on the whole it is quite decent.  Colchester on the other hand is at first sight dingy, crowded and features many who appear either disreputable or had great social needs.
I have never seen beggars in Chelmsford but they exist in Colchester.  There are a great number who at first sight would be happy to appear on the 'Jeremy Kyle' show, other painted hussies of unclear age look like they have walked out of 'Eastenders' after having received too much make up and clothes clearly too young and too small for their wrinkles.  The nature of the narrow Roman like streets does not help even if it lends more attractiveness to the town than you find in Chelmsford.  Here at least a wide variety of small shops exist, some prospering for a decent time, but a dreich day gives the place a dingy look.
Having said that the area on the other side of the High Street slipping steeply downhill contains many houses going back hundreds of years, or at least newer homes built in similar style, this area known as the 'Dutch Quarter' after the Fleming's and others from France and Flanders escaping Spanish or other oppression in the fifteenth century.  Much of Essex gained from these immigrants, most of whom were weavers or dealers in the wool and cloth trade.  We might benefit from those immigrants arriving today by the way.   
Strangely I prefer the variety of shops in Colchester, many of them and a good selection, but it is a bit in need of a good clean.  Chelmsford has its uses but it is boring, just a big shopping centre and little else.

On the wall of one of those houses I found this and it reminded me of those similar signs once used in days before a fire service.  The householder would insure his house against fire with one company, a sign would be placed on the wall, if a fire broke out he would call the company and men would arrive to save the house.  No sign, no firefighting!  Edinburgh I believe was the first city to introduce a proper fire service, and I am not surprised.