Saturday, 31 October 2015
Nothing exciting happening these days. The halloween wagon is well under way. Shops full of rubbish that lasts for one night and few people understand the occasion and fewer still the reality of spirits. We turn this into a kids playground opening their minds to the occult and its many dangers. Much better what we had as kids,a party ducking for apples in basins of water and trying to eat treacle tarts hanging from the ceiling with hands tied behind our backs. I canny mind the other activities. Sad to see so many churches fail to understand the problem also.
The Poppy parade is however well under way. People today comprehend the need and are willing to pay and wear poppies. One or two things do annoy however. One is the demand that everyone wears them. The whole point of fighting for freedom is to ensure people can decide for themselves whether to wear them or not. TV companies are bad at this as those who appear MUST be seen to wear a poppy in case the TV company gets a bad name, that is not right!
Another point that annoys is the remembrance being turned into an event. Instead of remembering people are wearing fancy poppies that cost money, TV channels offer elaborate poppies for women to show off and some events are less for remembrance than for get togethers. This is fine for ex-servicemen meeting up but for too many the real reason is forgotten.
From what I have seen of the Legion members these days few participated in the Second World War but many were in Korea, the forgotten war, Malaya fighting Communist insurgents, and those 'end of empire' conflicts when nations became independent, sometimes peaceably. It is forgotten that British troops were in action somewhere in the world in every year since 1945 except 1958. There was always some problem somewhere. Today many ex-servicemen were involved in another forgotten conflict, one that most people today do not wish to remember - the Irish situation. Many were shot in the back, blown up and maltreated while attempting to separate at preserve a divided nation that did not wish, and some say still does not wish, to keep the peace. I sometimes feel we should be considering local memorials to those men who fell after 1945 and ensuring their names are not forgotten by being blended in with the armistice remembrance.
What do you mean I'm a grump? Try these then if you wish....
I understand some of you find an advert on the page blocking things. I do not see this as I use AdBlockPlus and the ads don't show here. I will look into it and see what I can do.....
Thursday, 29 October 2015
I was offered a small pack of letters and info one of our regular visitors found among his fathers paperwork. These concerned one or two chaps who's names appear on the High School Memorial and some other bits from the second war. Today I got around to checking out the two brothers who fell, one with the London Regiment north of Beersheeba and the other while with the Canadian Cavalry. The one with then Canadians had emigrated at 18 years or so to Canada and enlisted at 21 at Calgary. he went on to have many adventures in France and by October 1918 must have been longing to get the war over and done with. The Canadian Division ended the war at Mons in November 1918 the place British forces first encountered the Germans in 1914. It was south of there that our man was killed, the letter claims killed outright but who knows.
His brother enlisted Jan 1915, entered war in France during June 1915 with the Essex Yeomanry. Most Yeomanry were country boys and their father ran a farm not far from here.
During the Battle of Arras during April 1917 the village of Monchy was situated on high ground giving a clear view of the surrounding area and therefore a desperate fight evolved to capture this village.The Essex Yeomanry along with another squadron were instructed to make for the village and join troops already attempting to occupy the ground. In the charge to make the village they came under heavy machine gun fire from the enemy trenches. Once in the village the survivors helped take possession and with the crowded conditions and under fire a decision was taken that the two squadrons should charge forward against the enemy to clear the area. This they did while the enemy had already taken opportunity to set defensive positions. The cavalrymen suffered from murderous machine gun and rifle fire causing heavy casualties. A courageous and foolhardy attack
Our man was one of the many seriously wounded but Monchy was held. However shrapnel in his brain left him paralysed with no speech. Hospitalised 18 months and sent home but later returned to hospital in Holborn where he died 27th November 1918, one month and a day after his brother.
So I have sat here all day scouring sites and wishing it would stop as my head is exploding! Worse still I did not have my siesta and what remains of my brain is slowly turning into mush. I am glad I searched for this however, the question now regards why did this mans father have these letters and other information? I suspect he was the one organising the memorial himself. Anyway I am off to rinse out my skull.
Wednesday, 28 October 2015
Nothing happened again today. The teeming rain forced the citizens indoors except for the poor souls who had to work outside. Judging by the buzzing noise for nearby someone was busy chopping trees somewhere in spite of the weather. The postmen had to work as well as lucky folks driving vans and buses but the majority stayed indoors. I know this as when the rain eased off around eleven I scuttled up to Sainsburys and found the locals arriving as I left. Thousands off them rushing out to fill their well stocked cupboards and complain they have nothing to eat or money to spend!
As the sun hid itself I wandered about trying to capture a red sky but was left with peely wally pink instead. When I sit here from the window I see glowing red skies yet when I venture out it is always a faded sky that greets me, Bah! I wandered round as the darkness began and attempted this pic of the back of the town hall and library next door. One man standing there made clear his thoughts that the round library was not in keeping with the surrounding buildings but it was built anyway! He was right of course. In fact as I looked I realised just how much wasted space there is in the building, vast acres of nothingness. A bit like this blog...
Instead of rebuilding the library in a more suitable form I took a picture of the museum shop in the darkening evening. It didn't quite work either. No doubt as I look at the camera I will find settings I should have used for such pictures. It's fun mind.
Not much else happened, I hope your day was better than mine.
Tuesday, 27 October 2015
Jenny has been keeping an eye on a fire in Finchley Road and I wondered if this was the building I once lived in. In 1975 I moved into a sad little room at the back, taking the opportunity when it arose to move sideways into a sad little room with a window later. However I do not think this is the block I lived in, there is an entrance next to the yellow sign which is now closed but used to be wide open for all and sundry to enter. I think that was the doorway graced with my presence.
I lived there over the window, glad to have accommodation I could afford, happy to ignore the window in the bathroom that would not shut whatever was done to it and content to listen to the mice wandering about the floor as the skirting board left at least an inch space for them to pass through. The main problem was the train station underneath. Right outside the back the four lanes of busy Underground trains ran all day well into the night. The high pitched women's voice constantly giving out "This train is for Amersham, stopping at...." all day and changing with each arrival and then back again to the Amersham message. How easily I could have shot her!
The entrance was at the back and once inside it was the only way out. This meant if you were on the top floor you were stuck if fire broke out, and as with all badly maintained buildings, especially aged uncared for ones, that was always a fear.
Most of these today are offices but it may be some still house rich peoples, poor peoples cannot live in London these days! I canny mind what rent I paid to the chap on the top floor with the Sten gun on the wall but it was affordable. There again I was only earning £35 a week. Today I suspect I may have to pay around £4oo a week for such a position. At least it looks like it may have been done up but when I was there the block was not glorious. Somehow I don't expect this block to be in use for a year or so.
Having looked closely I note the new building to the right of the building and it appears the block I lived in may well have been demolished and replaced. I went through the entrance way and I think it was the second door along we lived at. Now it is the back end of Sainsburys! At least it looks safer.
Sunday, 25 October 2015
We took our museum De Lorean vehicle and went back to 1215 on Saturday. King John appeared, anxious to ensure the taxes were being collected, and graced us with his presence, a presence that required countless cups of tea I noticed. This burred and hurried picture shows him with one of his Knights who revealed the art of dressing in armour and after the picture was taken how to use a sword and kill said Knights in armour. To do this he obtained a volunteer from the audience, a brave 10 year old, who was then the subject of thrusts, jabs, assaults and so on to ensure we got the picture. The lad never moved a muscle but I did.
One chap described the workings of the local Mill, the use made of 'Tithe Barns,' two of which exist nearby, and allowed folks to taste the Rye bread of the medieval day as well as the Spelt bread used by the rich. I supplied jugs of water to prevent choking on the Rye bread as it was somewhat dry Rye. The difference in basic foodstuffs over 800 years is hard for some to accept. The rich had what they needed, mostly by hunting, and the poor got what they got! The Conservative Party work on similar principles today.
This table gave off a magnificent fragrance! The variety of herbs and spices used in those days is astounding. The lass told those interested what the various herbs were used for, healing in some cases, making food edible in others and even cleaning the teeth! Some would have only been available for the richer folks, others would have been grown or searched for by the peasants as and when. Most lived off the land so they would be raised with an awareness of what was possible from that which grew around the place.
The Knight in shining armour (which has to be cleaned daily or it rusts as it is steel, think of the work the yeomen had maintaining a Knight?) appears big and brave and the Essex Knights were very rebellious. After King Johns failure in the French wars these chaps revolted bringing about the Magna Carta and civil war that soon followed. Soon after the publication John, an able administrator if lousy warrior, got the Pope, who did not like him, to annul the Carta. This led to war with the nobles. The brave Knights however were not so brave when John's loyal nobles defeated them up north somewhere so when John came to Essex looking for them they hopped it to London where it was safer, the city being anti John also. The reason for the uprising? Money! John taxed them too much and they disliked it. After he died however all settled down, they kept their lands and everyone went back to hating the French.
It was a very good but somewhat long day and my knees being unhappy with me by the end. Large numbers passed through, asked questions, bought books or pictures signed by the authors/artists, understood medieval life, searched through an archaeological dig, examined a skeleton (plastic) and had a jolly good time. I am not sure whether the orange stuffed with cloves in a decorative manner will actually keep away the plague but it went down well with some.
I missed the football, had to drag my weary body to the shops for eatables and arrived in the smelly abode worn out and glad I am not sleeping on straw or having to run after a Lord or King. Climbing all the stairs in a Norman 'Keep' is hard work I can tell thee. I have done it once and I am not keen to do it again. I am however keen on sleeping since then and wish to develop this as a hobby.
Friday, 23 October 2015
The question was put "Why don't you live in Edinburgh?" A question I must report that has often been asked of me, sometimes from between gritted teeth. This got me thinking as to why. There are many reasons, cash being the most obvious. Had I been rich I would have a wee house up there and one wee house down here spending winter in the warm soft south and Spring and summer, or the odd day as it's called, up there. Actually if I had money I may move to Portugal where it is warm most of the time! The Festival and its Fringe in August would certainly force me elsewhere, even the north pole would do to avoid the millions of weirdos who arrive in Edinburgh at that time, some of you may possibly be amongst them!
Who do I know in Edina now? Few family members around and mostly well out of the city, no living space for me there. They have their own families and lives which differ from mine, they have little need of me. The people I knew when I left, for good as it turned out, in 1975 have moved on, who knows how they have changed over the years? The one remaining pillar is the Heart of Midlothian footbll club and it is now impossible to get in to see them as they are crowded out each week! The more I consider it the less I see for me there.
I was born in Edinburgh's Western General Hospital in nineteen hundred and typing error, an excellent hospital ten times the size from when I first arrived. Edinburgh then was an decent place to grow up, the housing was new, the neighbours got on well, attitudes after the war carried much that had developed during the war and many wished to create a better world. Schools disciplined the chidlren, a slap on the legs at primary was not uncommon, and the leather strap across the hands just as common in secondary school, today teachers will not even raise their voices to the brats! In spite of having nothing kids got everything as parents took advantage of their new lives, lives that were hard but much, much better than those they endured as youngsters.
Edinburgh then was a darker place, generations of soot covered the buildings leaving a black exterior, rain mingling with smoke from countless fires at work and home brought to life the nickname ''Auld Reekie.' An all too often bleak city in winter. However then as now Edinburgh teamed with history, all facilities required could be obtained especially if money was available and there was always lots going on. This now has increased abundantly as these more propserous days have opened up new avenues of enjoyment. (Bah Humbug! I begin to cry, bring back misery!)
However Edinburgh may have had many good things it also had some bad ones. Many memories I have are not of good times but bad ones. In spite of all that is on offer much more is required in life and I had to go elsewhere for that.
Having worked in London a few years before I retunred there to attend the Baptist Church in Westbourne Grove. This was Gods plan although I did not realise this at the time. This then became home for men for another twentysomething years. Edinburghs advantages fade when confronted with the Living God! This was a good, though difficult, time. Living at first in some ropey housing then moving into one box after another does not please some folks but it was a life and I was in the right place. Edinburgh however had at least got sky! From the window looking north we could see across the field and the Forth the hills of Fife, in London we could see one row of houses after another. As the song says, "We could see to Hackney Marshes, if it wasn't for the houses in between." The pace of life did not bother me until my forties and the church also broke up at that time the period of Gods work moving into a different direction. When that period ended I removed myself to this part of Essex for another twenty years, but that is another story. Would I go back to Edinburgh now? If Scotland became independent it would be an exciting idea. However I cannot afford to move to the shops let alone Edinburgh or a wee hoose in the Highlands. It snows less here also!
I have not discussed the attitudes of the peoples either. They vary enormously from this area, London and Scotland. The culture is different but hw different from when I lived there? Then there were few drug takers, but many drunks, now drug gangs in our area abound. Traffic is greater than before, the pace higher than I am now used to and it would be more likely I would move into a smlaler area, but where? I like the slower life now, age is telling, and wish to see the sea again. A rich man would move near the sea and close to but far enough from a decent size town. He would also be found in the Algarve during winter however!
Thursday, 22 October 2015
The leaves are changing colour, a wee bit like my face when climbing steps. Still only the beginnings of the yellowing and much greenery still around. Nice when the sun shines on it as it did for an hour this morning. Back to normal now.
Talking about normal today the English parliament ended the UK union when they passed a law banning Scot or other MP's voting on English matters. As the English parliament votes on Scots things this is unfair but the imperialists appear not to care. This fooling act has brought about freedom for Scotland and poverty for England and they do not realise the cost.
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Dull, dreich, dismal day today. Rain from early morning, cloudy drizzle thereafter, just the ideal day to stay indoors and catch up on the repairs the place requires. The night had been short however and I did not sleep too well for unknown reasons, rising early was also not good and the day has been passed in a blurry haze. The blurry haze may be the reasons the work I began have failed miserably, others look to follow and work planned for tomorrow is looking very unattractive. Maybe instead of letting all this go to waste I ought to write a play about an incompetent doing DIY? The slapstick effects will be wonderful, that reminds me where is the paint?
On top of this the workmen, who bodge it better than I, are coming to fix a Carbon monoxide detector in the house, something landlords must do by law now, and the plumber made it clear to me our boiler which sticks pout through a hole in the wall does not require one of these, but the law says install one anyway. The new smoke alarm makes sense and mine must be getting old by now so that is a good idea. I suspect they will arrive when I am walking in tomorrows rain towards the post office, my tea levels will be drained by the time I return!
A nice picture of the unelected English queen asking the democratically elected Chinese dictator how much he is willing to pay for her house at Balmoral. He may as well buy it as he has bought her government already. What a sight to see, English Conservatives selling everything to the Chinese as they have no idea themselves how to make money. Will there be a 'special relationship?' There will certainly be no questions about the thousands of lawyers recently imprisoned, the thousands of Christians imprisoned the churches torn down or the threats to Japan and other south east Asian nations. There will however be money in George and Dave's pockets, so that's all right then...
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
As I sat recovering in the 'Coffee Point' awaiting my host bring the 'Americana' to revive me I sadly cogitated on the inherent stupidity I carry with me always. You see I splashed out £35 pounds on a small Android with keyboard to act as a mini laptop when away. I managed to download Facebook and one or two other things and then stupidity came to the fore. You see when I logged on all I got was the 'Try Again' message as the password would not work. This was because the week before I had to change the password and could not work out what I had changed it to. As only one email was working and I could not get into it without the password that I had forgotten I was stuck!
I could write on WORD as I downloaded this, FB did allow me to read but not write as I could not log in to log in! I bought this thing as it had a keyboard attached as opposed to fidgeting with one on screen and allow as well before I left. How frustrating, I could have blogged but without pictures and bored you each night. It may be years before I need the thing again!
Back to work with sixty delightful children and teachers coming through the shop. Not much else happened but as Xmas approaches we will see folks wander around the shop more. I was glad to get home early as I begun repairing all the broken bits at home. Some have lain broken for a while and in the next few days they will be repaired, painted, touched up and just as bad as they are now. But it's a beginning.
Monday, 19 October 2015
The reason my back aches as much as the knees is this allotment. Having an easy day they said, which meant working in the allotment. The goods that grow organic like here are excellent and I wish I had a small garden in which to do the same. However the bending, cutting, pulling and lifting are no longer aspects of my life and I have few thoughts of going back to them. This did not make any difference to my friends! In spite of their various health problems the work had to be done and therefore as I was the youngest and for unknown reasons considered the fittest I had to follow orders. What was revealed was the level of fitness I possess, a near death experience I think it is called. Having dragged me all over town, along the beach and up Mont Blanc, through Wareham and dumping rubbish at the council dump I can tell you I was ready for the Friday trip home. The morning saw desperate prayer as I could not consider a long train trip tired as I was as a jolly. Prayer of course worked and the trains, and the exchanges were as good as could be! However by Friday morning I was worn out. Monday sees me still recovering and my knees not keen on climbing stairs.
Again I embark on one of those exercise periods, this time I must continue this, otherwise I may well die.
Dawn yesterday promised bad weather according to the proverb, remaining indoors I never really noticed how it went but it did not appear too bad to me. Should we believe 'Farmers tales?' There must be something in them as folks who work out of doors always watch the weather and little things attune them to the changes unseen by others.
One thing about being back home is it means I do not have to watch others TV choices. The missus relaxes after her hard work by making use of brain dead TV, 'Murder She Wrote,' 'Heartbeat' and 'NCIS' being the favourites. These I watched with no remarks regarding the stilted acting, the bad scripts, the hairstyles (of the men!) or the endings, which were obvious, no I stayed quiet all through wondering if having my teeth pulled would make for more enjoyment.
In 1978 I got rid of the TV. I did without one until 1986 when the World Cup forced me to obtain a freebie when neighbours left for the richer suburbs. Since then football, news, a documentary or two are about the only things I watch. The so called drama these days is mere soap operas but soap opera with guns, explosions and near naked women, real original drama with new story lines, original events and proper acting appear rare. Placed alongside a diet of house programmes and bloody cooks I find little of joy on telly these days. There are good things available if you search hard enough but only rarely. The demands of advertising force bread & circuses on commercial channels and the BBC appears intent o following them. It's a disgrace I say!
However on the other hand sitting stuffing chocolates and other unhealthy foodstuffs down my throat as we gathered around the big screen was enjoyable. Being with this my 'other family' is relaxing in other ways than forced marching. I first came across them in 1971 when I entered a strange dark Baptist church in Notting Hill and spent a little time with them then as he ran his first attempt as church minister. The place had almost closed a year before and he started with only a handful of people and left a thriving growing congregation behind when he moved to the coast. There he took a thriving congregation and left them in a new building, a disused cinema costing a million pounds. A great success at both places and all this leaving behind a sense of 'love' of the proper sort. Of course they remain members of the church there but without the 24/7 stress, that belongs to others now.
I would be nothing without them, they gave up so much time for me as they did and do for others, and I owe them much. There are so many people I have met who have been good to me it is a wonder how so often I think only of the bad ones. It is a truth that if ten things happen, nine of them being good ones, the one bad thing is what sticks in the mind. We all have bad things happen to us and bad people abound, truth being we also do bad things to others but this we can justify to ourselves, these things happen and we just have to get on with it. I am glad there are good people out there who read this and some who miss me when I am gone. This surprised me somewhat as I thought you knew I was away but cheered me up a great deal to know you could not live without me. What?....oh! Anyway that made me happy.
Sunday, 18 October 2015
People have dwelt in this area for almost ten thousand years, Stone Age Man's flints soon became bronze then iron tools and when the Romans came they found this an ideal spot to land their ships and create a small settlement as they determined to occupy this land. Later the Saxons built a turf wall, Alfred the Great in the 9th century may have been responsible as the Danes were then threatening everyone. The fighting continued, as it does in England, King Canute trashed the town, some time later during the civil war (the 12th century one) more royals caused conflict here. The Normans of course arrived as a kind of peace keeping force, they forced a peace and kept everything they saw! The river however silted up and what had become a useful port saw its trade depart to the more approachable town of Poole itself, trade however continued for locals until the railway arrived in Victorian days.
The English civil war saw Parliament and Royalist forces bashing one another in the town, Cromwell knocking the remaining walls and anything else he didn''t like down, during the Monmouth rebellion the town took the wrong side as did much of Dorset and the famous Judge Jeffrey's, the 'Hanging Judge,' held his 'Bloody Assizes' here and watched folks being hanged, drawn and quartered on the remains of the walls. Cheerful lad he was. Much of the town was rebuilt with Purbeck limestone from up the road after a disastrous fire in the 1700's and some nice houses remain. During the Great War the town became a garrison town hosting 7000 soldiers nearby and Bovington Camp was established up the road in the 1920's.
You can tell I visited the small museum!
As we wandered around this locked church, 'St Martin's on the Wall,'we found it sadly locked, the key was available from a nearby shop but 'Harry,' as I shall call him, claimed the man with the key would not be there. 'Harry' came up to us as we looked at the building and gave us his version of the churches history, this had interesting points, which he obviously did not like contradicted, and we let him talk. People like this often come into the museum and we must listen to their stories as such aged citizens do have memories and info regarding the local area well worth hearing. However checking his facts is always a good idea. St Martin on the Wall, it does indeed stand upon the wall, is an original Saxon church made in stone and well worth a look inside, which we did not manage!
However it is a wonderful church as these pictures of the Church reveal, I suggest you browse these.
As the old folks slept in the car I visited the very small but well laid out museum, free entry but pay 50p if you wish to take a photo - I declined - and wandered to the quay. On the way I passed the 'Black Bear Hotel' with the Black Bear standing on the veranda awaiting guests. Figures such as these, as you know, were used in times past to identify buildings for those, the majority, who could not read. It is possible the bear was at one time a real bear as bear baiting was a popular pastime in days of yore, although not with the bears I am told.
While she wandered about Sainsburys we helped by wandering around 'Lady St Mary Church.' They are proud of the 'Lady' bit in the name. It appears the Celts built a church here way back when and the Saxons enlarged or replaced this, the Benedictines in the 12th century built a Priory next door to the church and once more enlarged the building emphasising their importance and wealth. Since then it has been much amended over the years (Not least by Cromwell who smashed up a lot of it). The small 'St Edwards Chapel' pictured is probably part of the original building. St Edward became a teenage King in the year 975 which did not please some nobles and his half brother Ethelred. Edward was murdered at Corfe and his body lay in the church for two years when he was taken to Shaftesbury. Tales of miracles made him a martyr (this bringing pilgrims and their cash) and somehow his bones now lie in a Russian Orthodox Church in Brookwood Cemetery near Woking. His usefulness as martyr ended with the Reformation.
Graffiti in the 7th or 8th century appears to have been done by folks armed with chisels. On the left 'Catgug son of Gideon' is written (as you know 'Catgug' is 'Cadogan' in modern Welsh). 'Congorie' probably a latinised version of 'Gongor' appears a century or so later. Proving the 'Britons' of the day continued to live here for some time after the Saxon invasion but most were forced into Wales where many still reside. This is a lovely impressive church but as 'Harry' appeared to continue lecturing we passed him on to a student from the local university studying the Reformation and ran for the door.
The student may still be there listening...
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Having arrived for a rest from my labours I was taken on a walk through a park, up the high Street crowded with heavy traffic and thousand's of people and then forced along the beach. We started high up along the chine where seaside flats with large windows and enclosed balconies start at around £400,00 and with houses on the shore with views over Poole Harbour fetching between £3 and 10 million. I will not be buying one.
I was not only frogmarched along the shore but then forced to climb back up the chine the hard way - going upwards! We took a shortcut (he said) to make it easier but I lost two stone in weight by the time we reached the top.
The sand along here is well maintained. Earlier this year in was renewed as storms had taken much away and we watched a tractor pulling deep sand back from the stairs down to the beach, the tide has raised this several feet and his job was to pull it all back. He soon gave up we noticed. During the summer there are many guards on duty, strict control over the promenade, two cyclists who went through at the wrong times were fine £50 plus much more in costs for cycling at the wrong times, and huts are placed at various intervals for the many problems families bring with them, or children as they are known.
We began our Matterhorn like ascent around here at the back of a somewhat grubby hotel. Had we been able to continue we would have reached Sandbanks where the multi million pound houses are found but instead climbed to the mere million pound ones. Flats here have wonderful views and are the last resting places of the wealthier type who retire here to waste the cash their children hoped they would inherit. We were personally ignored by several of those.
Poole Harbour, a lovely spot with water only a few feet deep for a long way out. Usually you see people standing next to a boat far out but few were about this day. In the middle of course the water is very deep and the Bologne Ferry passes by at regular intervals along side other large ships winding their way in. The views here are magnificent, the weather always changeable but always offering a variety of sky to look at and wonder. A very popular place to parade and only £2.5 million for a house, reasonable I say.
This was to be the picture of us receiving oxygen from a passing paramedic crew but I considered it too unsavoury for tender hearts...