Saturday, 31 January 2015

Make it Stop!



I took my frostbite across the park to the market this morning, spent vast sums (£4:50) on fruit and veg and shivered my way back home.  Next thing the snow returned and according to the forecast is on for 24 hours.  
It's good to be alive!  



The intention was to write up some stuff from yesterday but frankly I just canny be bothered today. Carol questioned whether memory was influenced by others memories or stories and it is an intriguing thought.  A memory of an event can be very clear but time makes the edges fuzzy.  Those who spoke of aircraft passing overhead have clear memories of the event, sometimes bombs are dropped, bullets fired, explosions and damaged houses or people stick in the mind.  However if the memory was to be compared to a film of the event it would be clear some things have altered with time.  The 'gist' of the event will be clear, the facts amended somewhat.  I don't think this removes authenticity from the memory but it does require confirmation and 'cleaning up.'  
Luckily someone took photographs of bomb damage in the town after the event, this enables memories to stay sharp. The events such as a local lorry driver delivering goods to the airbases or taking POWs to local farms to work depend on memories alone.  The stories will be true but no confirmation can be provided, which is a shame.  
One man incidentally,  a German POW in a camp a distance from here,  was involved in a administrative error.  He should have been repatriated at one point at wars end but the paperwork failed.  He ended up sleeping near the camp and making his own way home.  Till he died he claimed he was still, legally, a Prisoner of War!  Many such men however remained in the UK alongside Poles and others afraid or unable to return home.  Their memories would be interesting.  One such lives near here but age and weather made it impossible for him to visit.
My memory is of course perfect, well, I cannot remember where I left my pen but 1956 is quite clear in my head!




Friday, 30 January 2015

Snow, Talk, Listen...



This disgusting sight greeted me as I rose from the fourteen blankets under which I attempted to get some repose.  All night great drops of this white stuff had fallen, blanketing the fields, endangering the roads and pavements, and freezing bits left unfrozen from the last lot.  This made worse by my having to go out into this treacherous stuff also.  I mused on how unfair it was that others winge about to much heat yet we have an abundance of cold they cold share, non I note make any effort to come and collect it!  Worse still I could not get my car to start this morning because of the snow.


What do you mean 'not mine?'  Would I lie to you?  wot?...oh! 

Anyway I walked to the museum because of this and participated in a drop in meeting regarding folks memories of the second world war.  This was an excellent but tiring time.  Quite a few dropped in and told of the stories of their dad's, granddad's, neighbours and such like war activities.  So many stories regarding German planes bombing the town, shooting randomly when they passed, and attacking folks working in the fields.  V1 flying bombs and V2 rockets fell near the town or towns nearby, men went off to join the forces and many never returned, and thousands of US servicemen entertained the girls, though nothing was said about that today I noted!  
Evacuees arrived, mostly from north and east of London, some from grinding poverty and remained here, the families not wishing to collect them again.  The child was better off, well fed, and not a burden to a mother of a dozen children who could not feed them.  The treatment received at the country homes was very different from that back home.  It took a while for both sides to adapt but many did.  One thing that did arise was Brucellosis a disease caused by untreated milk.  The resulting suffering of he children unused to country milk led to the introduction of pasteurisation and a more healthy milk supply for all.
The emotional turmoil for many kids is a story all in itself.  While some benefited from being away from the crowded slums of pre war London the lack of parents had an effect also.  Sometimes this led to a better life, sometimes more difficulties for the kids.  Others who were left with a space inside were the children of passing servicemen, some who wished to take their girl back to the States and couldn't, others who just passed in the night.  Emotion is a strange thing and life leaves a lot of damaged individuals.
However we had a great time, excellent cake which my diet would not allow, in public, and met many people i have wished to meet for some time.  Now all we have to do is sort out our notes, type this up, and work out what to do with what we have.



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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Cold Thursday



It is of course part of life that when noticing big black clouds stumbling across the sky I check the direction of movement and today noticed the end in sight.  I made off for the shops as the clouds drifted north east.  By the time I crossed the park the wind changed and small hailstones began to cut through those of us caught out in it.  It had become a blizzard by the time I reached home 'Nanook of the North' like.   I knew my cheap shoes leaked, I know by how much now!

Bah!  I only went out to get away from the laptop.  My weight will not decrease unless I exercise, this however is limited by the need to discover POW camps and those who were held therein or actions involving the Home Guard, that's Dad's Army to most of us.  This exercises the ends of my fingers as I type, and both are showing signs of blisters, the position taken leads to blood not running to my hands properly so the arms ache, the feet do also with the cold weather as I stretch out to reach the heater when it is on thus doing my weary muscles no good whatsoever.
But not being one to complain I just get on with it, unless my fingers go numb of course.

Reading through Bede's 'Ecclesiastical history of the English People' some time ago, not the greatest book I have read but interesting, I was interested to read how the weather affected the monks there. Based on the north east coast of England, just below what is now the Scottish border, they had the delight of the North sea on their doorstep.  This is a marvellous place to live but with an east wind arriving from the Arctic, coming via Siberia, Poland and anywhere freezing cold in between, it can be a bit nippy.
Consider that one of the main jobs the lads had was the writing of those illuminated manuscripts. Great huge hand written bibles featuring large artistic letters, delightful drawings, flowery letters and all on hand made parchment. Imagine scribbling away on these, once you had made both the writing implements and the ink to be used, when your fingers were numb and the stone building in which you worked did not possess electric or gas heating systems. On one occasion an Abbot far away in France wondered why the books ordered did not arrive and was informed the weather was so bad they could no longer write!  
Aestheticism can be a way of life some choose however it is not biblical and living poor does not mean freezing yourself or your mates to death!  Quite why they did not invest in better heating when they had the technology is a wonder. The peasants in those little 'Black houses,' the ones where the animals have one half and you the other, would be warmer by far than the monks.  Tsk!

However I have no parchment, no inks, and no talent, so I type from an awkward position, more awkward when sitting here in my bed in an effort to keep warm on the cheap!  The snow has stopped, the wind has not, the cold is cold and my fingers are not as warm as they ought.  But it must be said I will not complain about the situation, it could be worse, I could be English!   

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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Shop the Politicians



Rather pleased that while Tesco have made a hash of their accounting procedures, or fiddled the books very badly indeed I should say, they are not closing any of the THREE shops in the town. Only one is withing walking distance but as we also have Sainsbury's, Lidl and Morrison's it is interesting how they manage to make so much money.  All claim to be losing profit, all customers claim to be broke, yet the shops are always full and the people fat! There are two small 'metro' Tescos also, one already open and another being built, who will use them?
I find it difficult to comprehend how a store of this size could mismanage the cashflow so badly. Can it be the other supermarkets are innocent of such accounting?  I doubt it.  Can other businessmen be less guilty?


You may not have noticed but there is an election occurring.  A brief nod at the media will reveal the present Prime Minister 'Vowing,' 'Promising,' and 'ensuring' things will be done.  The things that appeal to the Tea Party that is. So far none of the 'vows' made in the last five years have arisen but they will not notice.  Ed Milliband struggles to appeal having no idea what he stands for. For a while the failing Lib-dem ledear Clegg was never out of the media telling us of his marvelous deeds and actions, none believed him, and all the others keep appearing with smiles on their faces and lies in their mouths.
I fear for the UK after this.  Whoever wins the only hope lies in a massive turn towards the Scottish Nationalists getting around forty seats in Westminster. That way they can influence all that occurs to the benefit of the entire nation. A Tory victory will be disastrous as  the rich only will benefit and 'Dave' will still be there, and even the Tories want rid of him.  It looks dire, the future is bleak.
If only a Gladstone would arise!

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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Museum Day



One of the delights the kids go for in a big way are stones!  There is nothing in these except coloured stones!  Just bright coloured stones of little value (70 pence each) but loved by kids and adults also. Once there were a wide variety of such but it became impossible to deal with a dozen excited kids and attempt to identify and price each stone so we appear to be letting it slowly die off except for these cheap colourful beauties.  
This does reflect the wide variety of material that comprises the earth on which we travel through space. A lump of stone, chopped up, polished (not by hand surely) and sent on its way looking marvellous. Quite a number of places sell such stones, usually larger ones aimed at adults, but few around this part of the world.  Hippies loved them because they were of mother earth and brought peace man, except when they through them at one another, some believe different stones affected the mood and I suspect sat holding different stones in an effort to remove ill emotions, bad vibes and warts.  I doubt this would work myself.  
They are just stones, delightful right enough, but just wee stones.  I like them but have no need of them.  Hold on, I just remembered, I have some stones picked up when in Israel long ago, something many people do I suspect.  These were marked with sticky notes to indicate when each came from, all have long since fallen of and I know have a handful of bits of small rock!  These originate somewhere in Israel but no longer can I separate them.  Not bright and shiny but nice to have and surely we all have something like this as a memento of places?  
"Stone me, what a life!"  A phrase not to be used in Saudi Arabia.


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Monday, 26 January 2015

Laptop View



My eyes! My eyes!
This has been my view all day, this laptop and screens of missing men!  Five from the first war and two from the second have been dealt with but it appears to be unending.  Scrolling down long lists of names, census returns, deaths, military, births, on and on and on.....
Stopping only to eat, I had to eat as I forgot to eat on Saturday and have been a bit off ever since, this ruined Sunday I can tell you, I nourished myself with thick lentil soup and struggled on.  I eventually drew back the curtains at lunchtime and discovered the grayness outside.  It remained there and I did not invite it inside.


Elsewhere the Aussies spent today, well yesterday, celebrating Australia Day! This I am assured has nothing to do with inventing cheap lager or stuffing English poms at cricket, indeed it is a moment of great pride when Aussies celebrate being themselves.  Good on them.
Famous for being discovered by Captain Cook sometimes in the seventeen hundreds, ignoring the Dutch who got there first, large rodents called Kangaroos, a large desert region and the majority of the population being descended from English and Irish criminals!  The Scots of course are neither criminal nor willing to go to Australia, Scots went to New Zealand and farmed sheep instead.  The glaciers there reminded them if home more than any desert might. 
The Australian is a great individual, at least I have met many when in London and all were the best type. Hard working, humorous, and the women all good looking.  Let them celebrate, they deserve themselves!

p.s. don't confuse them with Austrians, they are different.

Much excitement in politics as the Greeks stand up and rebel against austerity, an austerity much worse than that found in the UK.  It is implied by this victory by what is called the 'left wing government' the European economy will collapse when the Greeks refuse to pay their debts, and the debts are huge! Fear stalks the world and the papers are excited, especially the German ones who are paying for all this. Mind you the Greek holiday spots may be cheaper this year. Our best loved tourist guide may well be considering a return this year.



Sunday, 25 January 2015

A Tribute



In tribute to Rabbie Burns....

TO A FISH SUPPER *


Proud partners o’ the deep-fried pan,
Oh whit a boon ye’ve been tae man,
While ower the coonter ye I scan In bilin fat,
Ye are ma prey, as there I staun Just like a cat.
Bereft o’ scale an skin they took ye,
An in a pail o’ batter shook ye,
Haddy, whitin, skate or fluke, ye Couldny escape,
Syne in ten meenits, oot they hook ye In golden drape.
Tae add mair noise an’ steam an’ skirl,
In neeborin pan your partners whirl,
Sizzlin an’ dancin’ wi a birl Till golden broon,
An’ syne like garland on a girl, Adorn you roon.
Oh ecstacy! On plate or paper,
A shake o’ vinegar, sa’t an’ pepper,
That’s all ye ask tae gie ye savour, An taste supreme,
Ye’ll nivver, ivver gaun ot o’ favour, Ye’re sure a dream.


I prefer broon sauce masel...


*Author unknown.

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Saturday, 24 January 2015

Friday, 23 January 2015

A Slur Has Been Received



Lee, who shall remain nameless, has slurred manhood by insisting men cannot multitask.  This slur is often offered to the main sex by woman, especially women who fail to finish any job they are given to do.  This needs examination.
Let us consider Mary.  Mary was a lovely women I worked with some years ago. Her popularity was based on two things, her playing the agony aunt for the girls and her inability to refuse any request that came her way.  
It was common, far too common, to enter the office and find a conversation in hushed whispers, as hushed a the female psyche can manage, concerning the man in the lassies life.  Rarely did the talk centre on world politics, football, climate change, Wittgenstein or such like, it was always her failure to understand him, and it was his fault!   One occasion saw the door burst open and a just twenty something  flew in, "Mary! Mary! I've got a spot!"  
My contention that this was larger than her intellect did not ease her panic.  This girl eventually left to make money as a self employed dressmaker, hmmm.  One day the flying door flew almost of the hinges as the receptionist stood in the door in the full flush of victory.  
"Mary!  It is true, it says so in this magazine.  If you have flowers in the room when you are pregnant the baby will be born with no sense of smell!"  
The door then shut and we sat and stared at one another, before the giggles set in.  We dared not enquire as to the magazine.
Mary however successful as an agony aunt failed however, as women do, with the multitasking requirements of the day.  Job 'A' would arrive and kind Mary began the work.  As she did so job 'B' would be offered to her and she would turn her attention onto that job.  In the middle of this Job 'C' would arrive and become the most important part of her life!  And so it went on all day.  At times I would look at her sitting at her desk, patting the pile of papers lying there searching for her glasses laid down some time before and suggest a simpler, manly way.
She could never comprehend this however.  She may yet be sitting there yet!

I offered her an easier, male, way of working.
This is a simple, easy to operate procedure, one men instinctively fall into in any situation.  
A job arrives, possibly followed by two or three more.  The man studies the work, decides what needs doing, chooses priorities and begins.  The main job is attended to, possibly being put aside while part of another job is dealt with, and within a controlled day all work is complete as much as possible in time and done properly.
Mary is meanwhile looking for her glasses, the ones she put down while going to make the tea in the kitchen thirty yards away at ten minutes past ten.  By eleven fifteen she has still not returned.

Men multitask successfully all the time, only the other day I watched football, ate and drank all at the same time, it's easy!  Tsk!  Wimmen eh?      

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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Thursday Run Around



I spent much of this morning cleaning the hoover.  This fancy piece of Tesco cleaning technology requires cleaning itself once a month and I may have missed a month or two.  There was so much muck that I could not get it open. Once open the dust had solidified so it would not come out.  This is where the use of ageing chopsticks come into their own.  Every home requires a set of cheap chopsticks as one of these rammed up inside the blessed equipment eventually releases sufficient dust to require another hoovering of the whole house!  Once I had poked, brushed, shaken and thumped several parts of this almost totally plastic machine I put it to good use, clearing up the mess left by cleaning the brute.  It did make a difference mind, the thing almost stuck to the floor once I put it to use and soon the place was back to the normal standard of grime.  A whole morning spent on this!


About noon the weather chilled a wee bit and I wondered about turning on the heating.  There was a New Zealand soldier from the Great War I had to research and was surprised just how easily his information could be found.  The Aussies are similar regarding Great War men.  However I had to download 24 pages and this took over an hour.  Interesting stuff mind but it took time.  
As my fingers began to freeze an email from the museum that was somewhat confusing arrived. The effort of answering this meaningless communication (she is a woman) led me to consider it might be better to go there and talk to her. (When there it still took a few moments to get through and in the end I was not sure I knew what was what!)  Anyway as the museums heat was on off I went. After avoiding the hundred Victorian children running around learning about the past we discussed WW2 and the stuff I have been ignoring!  It looks like I have lots to do now, starting tomorrow.  

When there I took one or two not very good pictures of stuff in the shop in an effort to sell them to the locals online.  I was a bit rushed and will have to do it all again on Tuesday when it's quiet.  The pictures of the headscarves and cards came out just about workable but the others were a bit peely wally.  It is amazing what folks buy in a museum shop.  As we are linked to the silk mill museum down the way we have many cards based on their designs and women are always buying them, every day we sell cards for a variety of purposes, and before the cards shown (not from the silk mill) were on the shelf they were being bought.  Personally I want folks to buy books re the town history but money keeps the place open.  
A whole day in which only three things have been done!  I don't usually manage that many. 

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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Horrid, Disgusting Stuff!



This was the view that greeted my weary eyes this morning, snow!  Horrid, disgusting snow!  Great lumps of it falling from the gray clouds above and hanging around everywhere.  It's a disgrace, we ought not to have this sort of thing around here, this is a nice part of the world, sometimes.
Clearly the government ought to do something about this, snow belongs up north, where the lower orders reside, not down here where the money brains of the nation are to be found.
There is nothing else for it but to close the grubby curtains once again and stay indoors doing the ironing to keep the place warm.  I might have to iron every shirt twice in that case!  Bah!


A couple came into the museum yesterday, she in a wheelchair, he pushing, and made their way around the building.  It was clear she had little response, no more than a baby seeing the world for the first time.  I considered her to be less than forty years old and her understanding of what was around her probably was little more than a childs.  What care would this lass receive if there was no national Health Service?  Would she be aborted at birth perhaps?  If this is the result of an illness would they encourage her to die? Human life is worth so little in these Darwinian days.    
With the election in the offing the papers are so willing to indicate faults with those they dislike and therefore many have highlighted the UKIP leader Nigel Farage's desire to bring in a US style health service.  This has been roundly condemned by the UKIP Party membership who strongly favour keeping the NHS as it is and improving it.  Indeed while most UKIP members are really Conservative members (mostly afraid of immigrants) at heart they understand just how important the NHS has been to the UK. Following the US pattern would be a disaster for all but the richest.  
The lass in the wheelchair requires 24 hour care, which but the rich could afford that?  When at Maida Vale thirty years ago an emergency brain operation and aftercare would run into many thousands of pounds, how much now?  Even turning up and a dentist or doctor could cost a fortune and no insurance coverage would ever enable an NHS as successful as the one we have now.  We must fight to keep and develop the NHS not sell it off.
The recent policy of running down the NHS and then demanding privatisation as the only answer comes from politicians who not only have an ideological as opposed to practical understanding of the NHS and the public's needs but also own many shares in American private health organisations! Now who would have thought that?  The elite care for their public so much that they will ensure their personal profit comes before public requirements!  Vote them all out!  We need a strong and safe NHS, we are in danger of losing it and the majority, not the few, will suffer.


As I mentioned before the repression of Christianity in the UK continues apace. The latest school to suffer this attack via Ofsted is Grindon Hall in the north east.  This school is a Christian Free School with the highest educational reputation but has been called 'troubled' and now put into special measures by Ofsted simply because it does not encourage gay sex or celebrate non Christian festivals.  Individuals are sacked, in spite of their work record, for sharing such views as those biblical ones found at this school.  Teachers, nurses, doctors, workers in all sorts of businesses are hounded out because of Christian beliefs. This because they are considered 'intolerant!'  I suppose a police officer is intolerant if he arrests someone?  A judge intolerant for sentencing a prisoner? It appears 'British values' as espoused by the nation today does not include 'tolerance' of those who indicate something is wrong. Similar intolerance was shown to those who opposed slavery yet they were proved right in the end. What a confused world political correctness has produced. 
This is just the beginning.

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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The View



The view from my window at work as the sun was going down behind the Library.  Quite why it wishes to land there I am not sure but it appeared to have little effect on the temperature which remained lower than Edinburgh's all day! Having sat all morning in the museum attempting to inform my little mind on the history of 'Hicks buses' as few people chose to enter the shop this morning I was enlightened at the last minute that my replacement was once again not turning up. Typical woman!  Probably having her hair done I suspect.
So I remained at my post all day, slogging on with my book work interrupted only occasionally by visitors.  January is a quiet month as we are all money starved.  Bills arrive from the gas man, sleekit faced as always, the result of Christmas shopping pops through the door, and cash in hand is sadly not in hand after all so not much sales to be expected anywhere I say.  Mind you the suffering supermarkets, grumbling about falling profits, are still crowded and their prices still appear to rise, usually alongside large signs indicating how many prices have been reduced!  
One interesting happening was listening to one of the boss women talking on the local radio station. She was there to discuss our upcoming WW2 event and asking for peoples to come forward with their stories. This is one thing local radio is indeed good at, alongside traffic/rail reporting.  However we had to endure that banal music loved by such stations, if I have to sit through Cher one more time I may say something on their website that they will notice, and while we waited for the news, the informing us of what's coming up later, another bouncy empty song, and more info we were eventually allowed to hear the tale. This station is very much loved by the type who read and believe the 'Daily Mail.'  UKIP now has a large following here, because of all the immigrants, however we don't actually have that many but the media informs us they are everywhere and folks believe it!  
I suspect we will get lots of info from this so the short appearance will prove beneficial and I look forward to the work offered, as she is doing most of it, not me!

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Monday, 19 January 2015

Monday Meandering



In light of the Islamist extremist lot that bothers society so much our government, through cabinet minister Eric Pickles, wrote to all the Imams and Mosques asking (telling?) them to stand up against the extremists.  What the letter actually said I did not bother to read but the Imams and Muslim leaders were not very happy.  In their eyes they were being blamed for extremist action and this they did not like.  Now we know some mosques have indeed seen speakers who ought not to have been allowed but the tactlessness of the letter shows a lack of understanding of the Muslims among us.
The PM has of course stood up and supported Pickles letter (after all he probably thought of it) and finds it difficult to accept the objections.  Could this be he does not understand where most Muslims are coming from?  Could it be that Teresa May, the Home secretary, announcing to a Jewish meeting that this country needs Jews to remain here and not run off to Israel, has a part?  A cynic, and I am no cynic as you know, might read all this as a 'telling off for the Muslims' to get the Jewish vote, and the Jewish vote in North west London is huge!  Tsk!  Imagine the PM playing politics with Muslims who mostly vote Labour.  Who would have thought?


So loud announcement from British Gas that they will reduce their prices by 5 percent.  Brilliant!
Of course this will happen at the end of February when the cold weather ends. Brilliant piece of theatre from the lying money grabbing crooks that they are.  I particularly liked the stone faced spokeswoman who when asked why not reduce prices straight away like EON did last week she immediately talked about the overall average reduction and ignored the question.  
We must nationalise these energy companies, no matter what!  We are being ripped off, the energy world is a mess and the public suffer.  There is no other way than nationalisation, but this will never happen!   


So I got a message today from BT on the ansafone about my account.  I had to phone them and undergo a female Scots voice giving me the runaround for a while before there were no staff available to take my call.  I decided to call later.  I called later, and after one failed attempt got through to a charming chap who told me the thing needed reordering.  This he did and on Feb the second it will all change.  Talk Talk will be out and legal Scots football will be in!  
Unless something goes wrong!

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Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Usual Sunday Stuff



While the antipodeans cover themselves in layers of sun cream there was no danger of sunstroke from the sun hiding behind the light gray skies this morning.  Even worse there was a determined effort to drop dirty great lumps of snow on us yesterday afternoon which luckily did not prove sufficient to lie. Yuck, we don't want any of that here!

Trapped indoors wrapped up like Nanook of the North instead I participated for a short while in keyboard warrior action.  A Celtic fan, claiming to be 'anti- sectarian, refused to accept the proven fact that his club is as sectarian as Rangers.  He quickly descended into 'whataboutery' a well know tactic in which they avoid the issue and point fingers elsewhere.  It took some time but he eventually disappeared convinced of our error, occasionally others joined in, and determined to believe he represented a club as pure as the snow I hate falling near me.  
Forums, Twitter and newspaper (I use that word loosely) comment columns are full of such people. The 'Daily Mail' is one of the best, and most likely to delete any comment that disagrees with their view (the Guardian, that centre of 'free speech' is much, much worse at censorship than any other) and surely the keyboard anonymity allows all sorts of psychopaths free range to discuss their 'views.'
One 'gay' discussion soon brings out the bile.  No-one is allowed to indicate gays are in the wrong.  You must accept and never disagree, no matter what the situation.  The comments always follow the same routine, cut and paste questions, quotes and texts from a gay forum and refuse to accept any answer. Debate is impossible as openness is not allowed.  The 'Gay Manifesto' from 1970 has working its way through the nation and few have noticed.
Secularists are the same.  The 'cut and paste' follows identical patterns, giving rise to the thought that a few people use many names and cover two topics regularly.  Openness is declared but rarely seen.  
I sometimes wonder why I allow myself to get involved when I know the answers, probably having met the same folks before.  However the Celtic one I had to speak on, the bile from both sides destroys the west of Scotland and proper government action is long overdue to the influence these two football clubs have on this.  Removing the sectarian influence form both would lead to a cleaner nation and happier people.  It would take time however.

I note, but have no link, to an NHS employee fired by her organisation for offering to pray for a Muslim friend.  There is more to this story but the woman comes out well yet the authorities have refused to accept they did wrong.  This is yet another example of the anti-Christian attitudes that are now prevalent in western society.  This is to be expected in India, where the Hindus are at this moment attacking Christians and Muslims in a deliberate policy to eradicate them from India.  It is common in Pakistan, Iran and other Muslim states but in the west?  Many are suffering in India and such places yet the western media ignores this.  The west is now doing the same, authorised by parliament and encouraged by the liberal middle class.
The real power is of course the spiritual one in high places that is indeed leading a major attack on the church.  It has crept up during the last forty years unawares to most but is now free to operate throughout the land.  The days ahead will be dark for Christians, and secular and gay lobbies will be leading this, under the guise of 'toleration' and 'equality' probably!  The days ahead are dark indeed.

   

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Friday, 16 January 2015

Dawn



Stupidly I awoke long before I was awake this morning.  Why on earth do I do this I ask?  It was dark and as I struggled bleary eyed to find something for breakfast I could hear the birds in the trees beginning to waken also.  Maybe I disturbed them?  I took this pic at 7:20 a.m. long before the rest of world was awake and the birds and I ate our breakfast while we read the papers online.    
Another week has ended and I still have not got through Tuesday yet!  Time flies when you are having fun or if you look away for a moment.  Time flies though my mind confusingly today as I spent part of the morning researching a man from the Great War and in the afternoon I was after a sailor in world war two!  At times my little brain confused the lists I was searching and managed to be twenty years out several times.  I need to eat more fish!  

The day ended in the failure of the referee to abandon the game at Ibrox before the kick off like he ought.  Instead we struggled to watch the Heart of Midlothian kick a yellow ball in a snow covered pitch.  Imagine, Ibrox yet not one orange ball to be found!  After twenty minutes it alls topped, and probably for the best. However as we were well on top it is difficult to avoid thinking this was because Rangers did not wish to lose, as if!  Worryingly the weather man says some snow might land here tomorrow , how disgusting!
Kids like snow because they are stupid!  Snow freezes the streets, makes walking difficult, causes accidents and stops football getting underway.  Snow should either be banned altogether or sent to Norway where it belongs!  How can anyone like snow?  What is the point of it?  I agree it makes nice photographs, though the photographer gets frostbite taking pictures in it. Certainly it provides hours of amusement for kids, dogs and daft folks, but really can they not all jump on a plane and fly to Norway? Maybe I need to move to Australia?  Anyone willing to send the cash?  There you go, stupid question number one!
I now sit here, wrapped in old blankets, trying to keep warm while sleep that has never left me all day takes me into dreamland.  Unless of course I fail to dream.  Funny how some nights I have clear colourful dreams and on other occasions I am not away of any dream whatsoever.  The last one involved the building in London, clear as day from the outside but a bit jumbled indoors.  Not the first time I have dreampt of this place.  How strange the way memories come into dreams, a wee bit distorted but clear enough.  Tonight I expect to dream of sitting in front of a laptop, freezing, while searching for a man or his family and getting confused the further I seek.
Or did I dream that today and I am now asleep and will wake up any minute?
Oh I am confused now......  
    

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Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Listen to the Silence



I switched off the TV, the laptop stood silent on the desk.  The kettle made no noise, the traffic was light outside the window.  I had no book in my hand, no letter to read, no booklet to study.
The silence suddenly appeared very loud.
I cogitated for a moment.  Maybe we use things to keep the world at bay, shielding us from that we do not wish to contemplate.  How much of the world is hidden behind the television set I wonder? How did we cope before Radio and TV?  I suppose we went to the pub, joined groups of like minded hobbyists, or, whisper it quietly, talked to one another.  Maybe that is pushing it a wee bit.
How often do individuals sit alone, quietly, and just listen?
We are only forced into this if we wake at three in the morning, then the silence can be agonising, the thoughts in our tired heads terror filled, peace hard to come by.  How strange, yet most people endure such moments.
That is different from silence by choice, a positive move I say.
Standing at Fort William looking over the Loch to the hills I was struck by the silence of such large objects, and the hills are very large.  A seagull swooped across in the far distance but no sound came, just loud silence.  Behind the town the bulk of Big Ben towered up into the clouds but again the silence was noticeable.  This type of silence refreshes the mind, encouraging thinking not making the mind afraid to think.  Silence amongst creation refreshes the mind and the heart.  
How rarely we listen to the silence, how often we block it out via the things that fill the mind.  Does this occur because that is what we wish or because we do not take time to stop, think, listen?
I will be silent now, for a time.     

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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Another Day another Exhibition



Some are quite pleased that this exhibition is one put on by the lassies of E.A.S.T.  These girls offer high quality arty embroidery, if that is the right word. This show concerns the Great War and features their reactions to what they have investigated regarding the war.



It is I must say a very high standard, these are not amateur operators.  This exhibition has been shown in several places and is touring the world, quite rightly too.  Pictures, items such as the one shown, books and larger artworks complete the display.



One of the poppies that were planted in the moat around the Tower of London forms part of the show.



Some copy the style of the period and these represent the type of souvenirs sent home by soldiers based in France and Flanders.  These are somewhat bigger than the postcards sent by the troops however and several find a place on the walls.
  

Of course I don't always know what exactly the works represent, like this one for instance!



On sale we have items made by the artists, several little boxes such as this one, postcards, gift cards of various sorts and these will sell very well, in spite of the prices!



Close inspection reveals the words on these items.  Some make for very interesting reading.


I particularly like the medicine box complete with bandages, medical equipment and rats!



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Monday, 12 January 2015

Ham



I had a wonderful post in my head tonight, but sadly I got derailed when I realised Hamilton Accies were playing Dundee United, and very good it was too! So I forgot my post.  It might return later...

.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Marching for Peace?



A million or two, possibly more, people marched through Paris today, led by political leaders who knew that it was important for their standing at home for them to appear there, in a supposed support of the cartoonists murdered by Islamic extremists.  An interesting event supporting those standing up to such extremist violence.
This however is France.  France a nation capable of anti Jewish sentiment and one that may not notice the Muslim immigrant who saved many lives during the Kosher shop raid, but will notice how dangerous Muslims can be.  This also is a nation that is well aware of the troubles caused by Islamic groupings in Africa, their troops have been based in Mali for some time now for that very reason, yet how much publicity was given to the 2000 killed by Boko Haram in Nigeria the other day?  How many care if thousands are murdered in the Middle East or Pakistan daily?  It is troubles at home that worry us, problems in distant lands about which we know nothing can be ignored for the most part.

I wonder how many claiming to also be 'Charlie' had actually read the magazine he edited?  I had never heard of it, no surprise there, but how many French and looked at it or bought it - once?  Few I suggest. 
It may well be that underneath there is indeed a fear of extremists, which is understandable, or possibly anti-Muslim feeling now being allowed expression, it also may be the freedom to poke fun at or insult those we do not like being what many support.  Not so much freedom of expression but freedom of their expression.  These I say are the same individuals who scream with rage when what is important to them are laughed at or insulted.  Like the 'Daily mail' and the 'Guardian' such demand a free press yet refuse to publish comments that disagree with them or indicate where they go wrong.
The 'Guardian' also dislikes the reference to 'Nazis' when they do this I have discovered.   
Many differing opinions now coalesce into a movement with little depth.  A great many will wish for a peaceful world where all are accepted, many keen on all sorts of 'equality' even if only for their grouping, many among the marchers will seek peace, others have just attended an 'event.' Once again an event has arisen from a tragedy and when politicians are involved the words flow long and loud very easily - but the suffering in Nigeria will not be eased by that!  
We face trouble from several Islamic groups, none of them pleasant, most based in the Yemen or Iraq or Syria and out of our reach, except by bomber aircraft.  Young men, especially men, will be tempted to see such marches as an attack on their Islam, preachers will already be indicating this to those willing to listen.  A march for peace may well lead to more trouble to such men seeking a purpose in this world and a cause to fight for and who lack the world knowledge understand a wider picture.
I am wary of the reasons for the support for the cartoonists, I am wary of the words flowing onto our news sites, I know that much will be said and little actually done by the people who march.  It is clear nothing will be done in Nigeria, the President is after all attempting to be re-elected, and missing schoolgirls, slaughtered villagers, and an increasing death toll in Muslim nations may be sad and indeed bad, but surely the west will consider our few dead are more important and little needs to be done, or indeed mentioned on our newscasts or papers about such as they?
God bless the news media, as long as cameras are available, and 'our people' are at risk.  Three or four dead here are worth more in the media than a thousand or two dead way over there.

 .

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Nothing To Say



I write this as I wish to write something.  I have nothing to write and nothing to say.  My wizened mind is slow tonight, dull and dreary would be appropriate words, inspiration is lacking and no-one is around to read or care what I write. However my fingers insist I type something and my mind is still gurgling away wishing to write even though it fails to provide energy nor subject.  
Thus I find myself crawling to a halt at this juncture.  I look around, as if late at night I can find creative subjects in the grime engrained curtains or the clothes strewn around the room.  Thankfully the dim light hides everything else or I may write about what lies in those dark corners! The bits of the failed shower gather dust in one corner, a picture frame that refused to stay on the wall another, dust that has hardened somewhat now lies deep on the mantelpiece, possibly it is time for a Spring clean after all?
A lone passing car reminds me of the quiet nature of this town.  Saturday night in the big city, as indeed most other nights, brought constant noise, here we occasionally hear an owl hoot in the distance, a plane very high overhead, a dog cheerfully walking the owner.  Of course when the pubs come out it will be different for a short while, and the weekend supermarket shoppers tail one another for miles down the road polluting the world while grasping their special offers that are rarely special at all.  In the big city lucky people have a park nearby or maybe a garden to remind them of the world underneath all that tarmac.  Out here a five minute drive, an hour at 'rush hour' takes in country views.  Rolling gentle slopes, wide open fields the colours varying with the seasons, trees standing tall after more than a hundred years, even cows and sheep desperate to be partitioned and sold in plastic wrappers throughout the land.  The opportunity to sit at a green lined avenue listening to chirping birds and squabbling squirrels means little to those brought up in such places, it is merely the background to their lives, but for city folks it is breathing afresh, inhaling real air and refreshing the tired weary mind.  Of course not all air is that pure, big cities send their pollution this way quite readily and when farmer Jones adds manure to his land the locals know about it. 
This land has been keeping farmers busy from dawn to dusk for thousands of years, even before farming as such began people harvested the deer, following them across what is now the north sea to Germany and back again.  Crops were farmed probably three thousand years ago and the same fields that saw Iron Age man, Roman villas, Saxon and Norman peasants now provides us similar crops.  Apart that is from the bits we have developed towns and industrial estates on of course! Then war needs meant more space was taken up by airfields and not all of that returned to the farmer.  This explains the planes high above climbing towards Spain and France, Norway and China, taking the masses on holiday or the businessman to his wealth.  Blue skies reveal white lines criss-crossing high above, drifting slowly as they fade defiling the clear blue of the sky.  Drunken revellers seeking the sun fail to notice nor care as they look to the beaches and cheap beer bottles lying ahead.  Their own corruption entices them too much to worry them.
The books piled on the table beside me appear to grow each time I notice them. Crossword books dating back years, quiz books, a bible, Tacitus 'Annuls,' and instructions for long dead electrical equipment form the basis.  I am now afraid to search further in case long ignored letters appear also.  There is the remains of a jam sandwich, a 'piece' as we called it back home, gathering enough mould for enough penicillin to supply the NHS. I will ignore that also.  
Nope, the mind has not woken.  Sloth remains.  Only sleep, and I have had three of those already today, can remedy things now.  Sleep, that strange unconsciousness that takes a third of our lives.  The coma that allows the mind to refresh, it's like when we turn off the computer and switch it back on again and it works!  I can mention some folks who do not appear to do this often enough in my view.  Sleep offers dreams, usually instantly forgotten on waking while the emotions remain.  Can this be a means by which the brain resets itself?  Everybody has them, sometimes filled with the actions of the day often bringing to mind people and places, somewhat confused maybe but clear, from many years ago.  I often dream of a building I lived in, a place I worked in, a dead relative, there appears to be no reason but they are real enough for a few minutes or is that seconds?  Like the need for food and water sleep is one of God's ways of reminding us we are just mortals, not gods ourselves, something we forget all too easily.  Sadly we are not the centre of the world, he is, and only when he is centre of our life, my life, can the world be seen for in reality.  
Look at that, having nothing to say, worn mind, so worn I could not watch the football as it meant little to me, tired body still aching from the exercise three days ago and no inspiration coming through the ether I have managed to misspell more words than normal!  That takes skill!  Enough, I canny see the screen for eyes half closed, which indeed is how they have been all day. 

Yaaawwwn!


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Swanning Around



I was going to write something some would consider controversial but find that I am worn out with the pressure of the day.  It has been hard sitting inside watching rain fall heavily and constantly.  It was so bad I had to work on my great war men even though it was driving me up the wall.  I have around 25 more men to check up on and it appears to get slower rather than faster.  All morning it rained Highland style and up there they expect winds of a hundred miles an hour tonight. Sometimes it's good to be in the soft south.  The rain ceased long after lunch and allowed the people out once again.  


This was one of the better responses to the Paris attack.  However some papers were not keen to emblazon their pages with these cartoons.  The Express and Daily Mail cartoonists avoided the subject altogether.  


The sodden park opposite has daffodils growing through already!  These beauties that arrive in Spring are showing through, confused by the mild winter and find themselves surrounded by puddles of water.  The climate is indeed changing.  I tell thee Jesus is coming soon!  Not for the daffs by the way.

I am off to sleep, such hard work is wearing me out.....

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Paris Attack Today



The terrorist attack in Paris will make news throughout the world today.  At least a dozen dead, constant repetitions of the videos shot by onlookers, much, far too much speculation and needless chatter on the TV and Radio.
This attack on a satirical magazine which often laughs at Muslims, Catholics and Jews, was the scene, not for the first time, of an attack.  This shows at the very least that disagreeing with Islam can cause offence but with a variety of Jihadist organisations seeking recruits and publicity eventually leads to violent opposition.  Middle East Islam does not comprehend western liberal democracy. Lets face it 'Liberal' is not the most positive democracy, just look at the world around you, but it is better than rule by ISIS or some such group.
Islam of course is one of those religions that in theory is based on the Koran, however it is easily adapted to the culture in which it is found.  Therefore Islam in Lebanon has near naked women on the beach, Islam in Saudi Arabia will not even let them drive!  Just where this latest lot arise will be interesting to discover.
Some terrorist groupings can be dealt with.  The IRA, in spite of the cash flowing in from the USA came to realise that bombings would never get them power.  Islamist groupings will never understand that even after thirty years of so called war!  A quick look at the variety of murders in Pakistan alone over the past thirty years indicates that political understandings will be hindered by hard line groupings somewhere or other.  
It is important to remind ourselves that the fear of Islam in the west omits to point out that Islam kills more Muslims in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere than it does in the west.  Media outrage does not offer even handed journalism, especially when the readership do not wish to read it, and even more so in an election year!  The man in the corner shop is unlikely to offer danger to his customers, his son, growing up in a western society, well educated and talented in many ways may however find himself debating in his teenage years whether he really is a Muslim or a liberal westerner.  It is such as he who is tempted to extreme views, especially when at that age the desire to change the world is strong.  Far too many have been enticed through social media to extreme views, at least 36 have died in Iraq according to one report because of this.  Many have realised too late their mistake. 
More of this is to be expected in the days to come, the question however is how we respond to this. English extremists will no doubt rush to Islamic dominated areas to cause trouble, Islamic extremists will rush to meet them.  Lock them both up, together I say, and let decency prevail.
The thing to do now is for all media throughout the west to publish the cartoons that upset the extremists.  However, our media talk well but will never endanger themselves so that will not happen!

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Back to Work



What a rush there is in the morning to get out of the house.  Struggling to rise when the sun has not risen is not my favourite moment, let alone washing in cold water because the heated stuff has not yet come through the pipe.  Still in spite of the struggle I managed to get out of the house and into the museum five minutes down the road by ten o'clock!  How did I ever get out at 4:30 in the morning in days past?  
How lovely to be back once again, even though as I walked in they all walked out flinging the keys in my direction and rushed of to an important meeting over the road.  Are the pubs open I wondered? So I was left alone, bar Peggy that is, in charge of an empty building.  As always no-one came until around eleven when they all came at once, can they not get up either?  


While quiet I tidied up as best I could accidentally placing all my books in noticeable positions and making use of then'Macro' setting on the wee camera.   It enabled a better view of the little items I thought.  The Piggy Bank is life size in the picture, we have sold lots of those at £1:60 and the key rings sell well to kids.  It is a bit much that 'shillings,' once regularly bouncing along in my pocket, are now sold as keyrings in such places!  We also had a book, 'The 60's House' which regarded such furniture pictured as of a bygone era when it was only yesterday.  
Still the morning was reasonably quiet but I managed to sell a few books and took some cash so keeping me awake.  I would have drunk coffee to keep me awake but Peggy pretended she was busy and I had to make it myself when the rest returned worn out and bleating from their meeting. It is unfair, so it is I say.  Peggy also avoided coming near me while I was forced to listen to a woman talking, you know the type, once started it is hard to stop them.  Some of what she said was relevant to the point made!  She has promised to come back next week.  Indeed several visitors will return next week, I suppose not to see me but the new exhibition, but you can never tell can you?   
The Gas man has asked me to send him a meter reading.  This done I notice he suggests I alter the amount paid monthly but his suggestion is higher than I am willing to pay.  Funnily enough his online system will not work correctly unless I pay his 'suggested amount,' so I have left it unchanged and switched of the heating.  I can rough it.