Sunday, 31 May 2015

I'm Lost.....



I'm lost here.  
The last match of the Scottish football season has ended and there are no more to come.  I realise an international or two and the European Cup Final still awaits but otherwise there is no more football, proper football until August!
What am I going to do?
There is an unhealthy thought that I might have to actually do those things that have been awaiting doing since, well since the season began last August. But really nobody wants to do that do they?  Anyway just think of all the dust that has accumulated over the time.  
I could write a book, I could do the things for the museum that need doing but all that requires thinking, football does not require that!  
My head hurts considering my options.
I may have to lie here in the evenings and stare at the ceiling or something.  That is similar to watching Hibernian play at any rate.  
O woe, thrice woe!

I have been forced, since the last game finished, to sit for hours attempting to photograph the Robin that has decided to feast at the hanging feeder.  So far I have got the wood pigeon and nothing else!  Bah!  



Saturday, 30 May 2015

Saturday



Today I spent hours attempting to speed up the laptop.  After Malarbyting it, Virus checking it, 'CCleanering' it, defragmenting it and howling abuse at it there is little difference.  It must be more RAM is required but that is too expensive.  Later I will remove stuff.
That has been my day, as the machine had to be used to watch the Scottish Cup Final I had to stop the clean and watch the game.  How lovely to watch a game and want both teams to win!  Unusual as normally there is always a reason to prefer one or despise the other (yes Celtic & Rangers I mean you!)  Even referee Willie Collum, known as 'Gollum' to most, did not do too badly today.  Then as the machine defragmented I watched the second rate English Cup Final, the one in which you always know which team will win.  Today, to celebrate my victory in the 'Prediction League' I once again forecast a 4-0 win, and as always I was right!  No prizes but a smug smile will do.

Now watching the end of the football I took to ironing shirts.  This is the result of females not doing the job they were clearly made for.  Three shirts I managed to iron without burning them - this time - and that will do for a few weeks.  Tsk!  A woman would have done them all in the time it took me to do three.  Which reminds me...




 

Friday, 29 May 2015

Big Town



The watery sun tempted me to strive for the big town today so placing several shiny shillings in my pocket I hurried of for the bus.  The journey was slightly longer than usual as the early twentieth century roads struggle to cope with twenty first century traffic, especially as Farmer Jones on his tractor or his wife on the Landrover doddle along the road with no sense of hurry about them.  On top of this the stupidity of speeding motorists who consider crashing into any oncoming traffic, motorbikes, cyclists or horses a sensible thing to do when all it does it kill one or two bend your car and cause massive hold ups for miles along the way beats me.  Today we only had a tractor or two hindering progress but come harvest time huge machines jump from field to field grabbing crops and annoying bus passengers.  
I made it however with only a few minutes delay and immediately sped for the charity shops, I, you see, was after a new summer type jacket on the cheap.   One such shop out of many investigated offered the perfect jacket!  A darkish gray corduroy jacket in immaculate condition.  One thing spoiled it all, it was one size too small!  I replaced it unwillingly and noted the 'half price' ticket reading £2:50.  I would gladly have paid £5!
The rest of them offered nothing for me and a rushed chase through the chain stores discovered only hugely expensive items near the mark and a disappointing array of summer apparel aimed at the colour blind and stupid!  How anyone could wear most of what was on offer let alone pay the price required had me heading back to then charity shops.  I note that 'Harris Tweed' jackets were available also in several shades, for a mere £195.  I could buy a house on Harris for that!
I returned to the crowds who walked slowly in front of me, turned right or left with no consideration, blocked the path while staring, gossiping, seeking directions or just lost in space.  With my usual grace I kicked them out the way.



Naturally the watery sun had left us with watery rain.  This pleased me no end so I climbed back on the bus, having been caught between two stops when it approached, and rested my now aching hulk on the top deck.  The timing was good as no kids were on this time.  Half term sees mum drag the brats onto buses to share the pleasure of their company.  I found sharing the pleasure easier when they stay at home.  Cogitating on the near miss with the jacket I pondered as to why jackets suitable for men of a certain age cannot be obtained these days.  Thousands of other types are available, like the one I was looking for last year and could not find, but cord jackets cannot be obtained outside of charity shops.  That's at least three times this has happened to me, good job I am not one to complain.


Lashing rain came down so hard at one point it began to leak through the roof of the bus.  Quite how it got in i could not see but the few of us up there managed to avoid it.  This is the end of May, just wait till 'Blooming June' arrives and then we will see rain!  
We turned off the road to trundle through a small addition to a small village. This comprises several streets of 1960's style houses, three or four different types on view, most of which featured large windows to let in light and all of which wore net curtains to keep it out!  I cringed at these little boxes.  These are in themselves nice wee houses right enough, probably nothing in themselves worth grumbling at, but it is the number of them, in all the streets, the sheer boring nature of developments like this make my skin crawl!  
Now I realise many have old folks wasting away their lives here, surely life has more to offer?  Others might have young families growing up in safety, but it's so boring!  This small, neat estate may well be safe, secure, and near to town but it would not suit me, or indeed most of us.  
I realise also that the lives behind the lace curtains may not be so quiet, wife swapping, demon worship, psychopathic killers, and would be accountants dwell in them thar places.  Several of the neighbours will not talk to one another, some are alcoholics, worse still some are train spotters whose anoracks can be seen drying out in the back gardens as we pass.  
I was glad the bus moved through without stopping, just in case one of this lot wished to get on!  The sight of proper houses dating back several hundred years, maybe more depending on the condition of the paint on the house, was a delight and heartening after the sheer boredom of such housing estates. 

No excitement tomorrow, just two cup finals to watch as I rest my bones.

 .

Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Queen & Austerity



Yesterday saw the opening of Parliament, the UK parliament, the one that fiddles their expenses and housing allowances at Westminster.  This is one of those 'pomp and circumstance' days so beloved of tourists and 'Daily Mail' readers.  Here the aged outfits are brought out, the Lords, the Queens speech is always read out by her in the House of Lords, the Lords dress up in borrowed ermine and fill the chamber, ensuring they have signed in to get their £300 a day attendance money.  The parade through parliament, cries of "Hats off strangers" and other obscure aged ceremonial lead up to the Queen sitting on the throne where she is presented with the speech drawn up for her by the fawning smug David Cameron.  It is a wonder royals have not at this point in times past muttered a variety of comments regarding the content therein, it is clear they have not always agreed with them.  One would like to have been at the private meetings with between the queen and the mad Baroness Margaret Thatcher.  She did not exactly despise the woman but clearly indicated she disagreed with her in many ways, slapping her in public was probably going a bit beyond royal protocol however!  
The speech which is read is written on fancy parchment and contains details of all the present governments political chicanery for the coming session.  This wish list sometimes succeeds in turning into law, sometimes it fails.  As she reads it is important to watch how she resists turning up her nose at certain sections of the speech and where she turns with eyebrows raised and looks to the heavens.  This usually indicates a question has arisen in her mind.  The manner in which she spits on her hands and then rubs down her dress after shaking hands with the Prime Minister also indicates something according to royal watchers.  
An interesting picture came my way today.



This got me thinking, while the 'hat' is worth considerably more than the price quoted it has to be remembered that this speech is indeed about 'austerity.'  Chancellor George Osborne has decided to save some billions from the budget, mostly by robbing the poorest, while ignoring the £120 billion dodged tax that his friends take out of the country year by year.  A question then arises as to austerity and royalty.  Whether we require one or ought to be a republic is always an argument that can lead nowhere but as we have a monarchy should they not participate in austerity?  It is understood Charles has plans when he becomes King to reduce greatly the outgoings of the royal house.  This is not it appears going down well within the family.  Millions are spent by the royal house, much on the nations duties, launching ships, meeting dignitaries and hangers on, selling the nation abroad, opening supermarkets and selling programmes at football matches, all well and good for the nations traditions.  However other monarchs have cheaper programmes, less million pound houses and fewer holidays abroad, this Princess Beatrice, whoever she is, has had 15 already this year, could she not get a job at 'Poundland' or something?  Prince William, the next in line after Charles, the one with his mothers brain and a wife to match, he has three houses, each costing the nation millions and all having been done up for him at around three to four million pound a time!  Does he need three homes he does not use?  Interestingly I have just remembered, the staff in royal houses are not well paid, mostly gay, and threatened strike action recently because many were being dumped and thrown out of the house that goes with the job, a very caring employer is the queen!  
If a woman with a million pound hat can talk about austerity on TV I suggest she begins at home putting right her staff situation, selling off needless houses to rich Russians and Chinese who appear to buy anything that moves today as well as line the pockets of the Conservative Party, and then cut down all needless expenditure on that which the nation cannot afford. 
If we have 'food banks' the royals can have less holidays. 

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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Busy





Busy watching the UEFA Cup Final so you will have to make do 
with this poor picture of a wee flower.

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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The Tuesday Repose



Repose it is indeed as after a busy morning I need to place my blubber filled hulk into a chair and do nothing that taxes the intellect.  This I hear you cry should not take too much bother, and I find myself unable to disagree with that opinion at this moment in time.  
In this neck of the woods it is half term holiday and the schoolkids are filling the streets.  They also filled the museum this morning as we put on little happenings for them.  When I arrived I had not realised this was half term week, I thought it was next week, so I had to prepare for the crowds.  This would have been easier had my colleague turned up but he also was off this week, indeed two others were also leaving me at one end and her who must be obeyed at the other.
The shortage of materials means we must limit the numbers of kids, many have booked themselves in, most have previously paid, but as always others turn up on the day and we hope somebody drops out.  So while several happy mums and kids went through to the event (making volcanoes indeed!) I was met with several who were disappointed.  Hard hearted folks just say 'Too bad' but I felt rotten for the kids as they were a wee bit down, as were mum and a dad or two.  However as the sun shone for once many who bought the whole week ticket (£5 a session or £7 for a whole weeks events) did not bother to turn up, or indeed tell us they were not coming as some of them usually do, so I could send all my disappointed down to the other end.
The stress is killing!
The folks were good about this on the whole but one or two were peeved.  Once they got down there, cutting and pasting, filling and painting, making mess and having fun (mums and dads covered in paint also) they were all delighted and no complaints received.  Most will be back tomorrow!  
The exploding volcanoes (don't ask me how) were used last year and as popular then as now.  The kids thought it great and most took them home.  
Add to this the other customers passing through, the impossibility of leaving the front when I needed to several times, and shop customers actually spending money I found no time through the day to weary.  But I was weary at the end.  By the time I left after helping clear up, more paint on tables than on volcanoes, all was quiet.  How do teachers cope?  How do mums cope I wonder?  I canny mind what it was like to have kids running around, that was so long ago, and in the days of yore I had energy.  In fact several grans and granddads were in today being led by the nose by children.  The men especially were on a lead!  They will be delighted when the week is over!
Now, back to WW2...



Monday, 25 May 2015

Laurel & Hardy





It is said that one or two Laurel & Hardy films are to be seen in UK cinemas sometime during this year.  I should think so too!  In spite of their age they are masterpieces of comedy, featuring many tricks learnt in Music Hall and Vaudeville.  Some call it mere slapstick yet the greatest UK comedy moment the people chose was a piece of slapstick from 'Only Fools and Horses.'  What is funny, if done well, is always funny. The films appear slow to us today but remember they had to do the same film several times, in a variety of languages! French, German and I think Italian.  No dubbing them so they just remade it each time reading idiot boards.  A Class Act!


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Sunday, 24 May 2015

A Literate Evening




'Ware Tomato Juice
An accident happened to my brother Jim
When somebody threw a tomato at him ---
Tomatoes are juicy and don't hurt the skin,
But this one was specially packed in a tin.

**********
Mary had a little lamb
Her father killed it dead
And now it goes to school with her
Between two lumps of bread.

**********

The rain it raineth on the just
and on the unjust fella.
But mostly on the just because
The unjust steals, the justs umbrella.

**********

Responsibility 

‘Tis easy enough to be twenty-one:
‘Tis easy enough to marry;
But when you try both games at once
‘Tis a bloody big load to carry.

*********

 Here lies the body of Emily White,
She signalled left and then turned right.

 *********

 Here lie the bones of Elizabeth Charlotte
Born a virgin, died a harlot.
She was aye a virgin at seventeen
A remarkable thing in Aberdeen.

*********

Erected to the memory of
John Macfarlane

Drowned in the waters of Leith
By a few affectionate friends.

 *********

"Ozymandias"
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Percy Byshe Shelley
 
*********

 The elephant is a bonnie bird.
    It flits from bough to bough.
    It makes its nest in a rhubarb tree
    And whistles like a cow.   

********

Elegy in a Country Churchyard

    THE men that worked for England
    They have their graves at home:
    And birds and bees of England
    About the cross can roam.

    But they that fought for England,
    Following a falling star,
    Alas, alas for England
    They have their graves afar.

    And they that rule in England,
    In stately conclave met,
    Alas, alas for England
    They have no graves as yet.

 G. K. Chesterton




Friday, 22 May 2015

A Spectacle at the Museum



This morning I trudged round to Specsavers to collect the new glasses.  An attractive and efficient young blonde lass ensured both pairs were the correct ones and that they fitted correctly.  She also resisted somewhat too willingly my invitation to 'do my ironing,' not the first woman in this town to react this way.  
The one pair are for outside, these are good and also react to sunlight.  Now this appears to be somewhat needless in the UK but I find myself screwing my eyes up on those occasions when the sun does shine.  Naturally the dim gray lenses make me look a bit like Roy Orbison (ask your mum kids).  The other pair are more difficult.  I can see perfectly up to six inches from my nose, after that it fails somewhat.  I have glasses for the laptop but when looking at the TV or other side of the room I can see poorly.  There fore I wanted a third pair for in between.  This is however not allowed these days in case I use them for driving!  Pah!  So I got 'varifocal' lenses which in theory allow me to see the laptop and the other side of the mess that is my home.  I am not sure I like them.  To see properly the eye must hit exactly on the spot of the lens, in real life this is difficult.  We will give it a go and  see what we can see, or not see as is the case.  
Never, since I got my first pair of glasses when about twelve years old have I ever got them right!  I do manage to make a right er, spectacle of myself in opticians.  What appears right at the time appears not quite right later.  Bah!  The staff were good however, a huge number appear to work there and the service is good so I cannot complain.  The actual optician, or whatever name they go under now, was an excellent lass, very competent, vary helpful and knew her stuff.  It is always me that wonders if I did the right thing.  Now I feel the word 'Bifocal' should have come to mind when being examined, that might have been a better idea.  "Shut the gate, the horse has bolted!"


The order came through the other day to report at eleven sharp to the museum today on pain of death, at least.  Knowing my masters and having seen glimpses of strange and savage medieval punishment instruments stored therein I dutifully obeyed.  The purpose was to have a group photograph taken in connection with an upcoming event.  This event I tried to avoid but a quick Chinese burn from the boss enabled me to willingly accept the invitation.  Therefore I arrived in good time, spoke kindly to one another also on the premises and sought out the woman in charge.  Naturally something went wrong.  The photographer was arriving from the local newspaper, except he was based fifteen miles away.  Naturally he was called to something else and a feeble excuse was given us.  As I headed for the door I was lassoed back and forced to work checking the preliminary panels for the exhibition, this at least was worth while as I found two spelling mistakes.  The foto I did not wish to be in however.  It is one thing to take pictures, another to take pictures of people but I see my role as in the background where I belong, preferably in a cupboard in the corner.  However we must be pictured for publicity she cries!  Publicity is not something I seek, I mean what if the police see it for a start?  No, no, let me hide and put the lassies forward.  No luck, Miss Bossy Boots found the museum camera and, after three attempts, managed to obtain a picture she things good enough for the paper.  I had turned round but a sharp elbow brought me back into the picture so to speak.  Thereafter it was back to the panels and searching for mistakes.  No more indeed and they do look very good I say!  
Eventually I was freed by the simple expedient of slipping out the back door when the back was turned.  At home I discovered I had another long note to add to what I was (badly) working on so I made the decision to have lunch and fall asleep.
I chose wisely I say.

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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Diary Study



Most of today has been spent in the war.  I was reading through a diary we have been given to take out the specific local items.  The writer spent his time during the war on cal as one who attended bomb incidents salvaging people and items and making good buildings where possible.  He had a reasonably busy time on occasions.  The above is the result of one of two large bombs, possibly parachute mines, which arrived near ten one night.  Huge damage, three killed.  The diary details incidents he attended, most regarding the work required to put roofs back on and suchlike, but references to daily life give an inkling of what it was like to live through those days.  
Having read through and selected my bits I have just merged them with what notes I had of the official 'incident reports.'  Therefore when he mentions an air raid I can sometimes add what actually happened. Often the result was bombs on open fields or reasonably safe areas.  Still the fact that every so often a plane or planes might pass over when you slept could be waring on the nerves.  
Add to this the encroaching rationing of daily items, the limits of freedom, work forced upon the individual, and what in fact was a dictatorial state until the war was won, all these things add up after a few years.
Diaries, when you are allowed to read them, give an interesting insight into the writer.  His personality comes through and his opinions appear even when these are not being forced upon us due to space. I think I could like him!  As I wander around town I now consider the repairs that must have been his work.  Few would realise when looking at some houses how damaged they were during the conflict, they appear fit and proper now.  This man can consider he done well by his fellow man.
Now I am wondering what to do with this.  Should I make it into an item and write it up?  Does the boss wish me to leave it with her?  I do not know, neither does she!  So I leave it for now and will find out tomorrow as I have been ordered to report for something or other.   

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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A Foreign Army



We had a Roman Army marching through the playground today.  Led by a Centurion who bullied the troops, marched them around, forced them to drill, and even made them defend a barrage from violent teachers!  
They all appeared happy enough!  
This is part of the school curriculum which now takes a longer view of history than before.  Kids have to learn about Romans, Anglo Saxons and Victorians as well as more modern history.  Actually I think they also have to learn about the Normans and medieval times also surely!  Scots history, a more accurate view of the world, is decided in Scotland and will already give a better view of the world, just look at me!    
This was our first Roman teaching day, the Auxiliary Soldier was magnificent.  The kids on parade were full of smiles and thoroughly enjoying the whole experience.  This is an excellent way in which to educate kids on the days of long ago.  When they are happy they learn, when miserable they forget the good things.  This lot will remember today.


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Monday, 18 May 2015

Quick Moving People




Busy day today.  Reading, writing, and messing about with the tiles on the bathroom floor.  In doing that I managed to set the radiator valve leaking (don't ask) and now it will not stop gently dripping every so often.  I ache everywhere and worse will arrive tomorrow when I struggle stiff necked to the museum.  Bah!
However I just came across this wonderful piece of filming.  Professionally done and well worth a look!  Part two follows on from part one.  Very good indeed!

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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Busy Sunday



I didn't see much of this today.  Apparently there was a lot of it about but I could not see much of it.  As I slouched down the road to St Paul's I noticed it in between dodging the Sunday drivers.  It was there above me but as the cold wind was on my back and I was hurrying slowly along I did not take time to look.  If I look up I note someone always removes the pavement from beneath me or sticks a kerbstone in front of me and then enjoys the sight of my prone body flattened on the pavement.  On the way back after a jolly good morning I met the gale force wind and again avoided looking up and catching frostbite.  So that was the closest to seeing blue sky all day.
The reason was simple, football!
As I microwaved a healthy dinner of something or other I set up to watch the English Conference play-off.  However some Italian stuff showing a feeble A.C. Milan came first, how the mighty have fallen, and then the English game.  However at three thirty I had to leave these big galloots kicking lumpsout of one another and move to Ibrox where Rangers and Queen of the South played football almost as it ought to be played.  The almost arises because Rangers won which has depressed Scottish football fans everywhere.  Gallant Queens lost in spite of their talents.
So the next game arrived within minutes just leaving me time to cook my tea and settle down for Alloa v Forfar Athletic.  For years the term 'Athletic' has been a bit of a joke around Forfar but no longer, leading three one from the first leg all they had to do was stop Alloa scoring.  They failed and lost four three on aggregate.  However I enjoyed watching it as they slugged it out in the rain over Clackmannanshire, indeed so enjoyable was this that even Wullie Collum as referee could not do anything wrong, his decisions were correct in my view and that is a shock!  He is not known as 'Gollum' for nothing!


So now all has finished I look out the window and high above the clouds were gathering for the rain that promises to cover us all week.  So I saw the blue sky at last.  Naturally as I write this it has gone and darkness creeps towards us as the sun dips below the horizon and the clouds join together to form one large gray cloud.  
As I look to the filthy gray sheets that once were white when I put them on the bed all those days ago, or is that weeks, I note that Australia will be heralding the dawn in the next hour or so.  How typical of them to wish to be first at the bar!  
A couple I knew went to China in 1935 as missionaries right in the middle of the country.  To contact home somewhere in south London a letter would have to be sent.  This would travel by boat for around a month arriving at the destination somewhat crumpled.  The contents would be digested (by this I mean read, not eaten), understood and answered.  The answer would board ship, probably at London or Southampton docks, and cruise its way slowly back to Chinaland.  Within two months, or maybe three communication would have been achieved!  Marco Polo would have been happy!
Today a phone call from the middle of China, if not interrupted by the secret police, would bring two people together in minutes.  An email would inform over vast distances, and some use 'Skype' for face to face contact over the same distances, how the world for us has changed and improved!  I never cease to marvel that contact is so easy today.  Rich folks travel these distances within twenty four hours, not months, however I still take an hour and a half to get fifteen miles into the big towns by bus!

Australia are you there?  USA are you there?  Operator, operator, I've been cut off!


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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Saturday Reading



I find myself entranced at the moment by peoples experiences growing up during the war.  For the exhibition, whenever it is ready, the lass interviewed several locals and I am reading through the transcripts in an attempt to aid deciding what should be broadcast to the public.  Headphones will be provided for the public to listen to the peoples experiences and these are intriguing.
Obviously they were children at the time of varying ages and the greater world was outside their ken but the war touched them in various ways.  There was the loss of dad to the war perhaps, taking part as a young man in the Home Guard ('Dad's Army') or simply living under the flightpath of an airfield checking the numbers of the returning bombers and wondering about the ones that were missing.  John of course was always adventurous, that is why he and other kids ran to an unexploded land mine, one dropped by parachute, and shared some of the parachute between them.  Dad was not so keen and John was informed of his mistake.  Parachute  bombs could cause huge damage for a large area around.  
Memories fade with time, as some of you will be well aware, what was I saying...anyway memories fade in time but the gist of the experience does not.  Emotions remain, especially when noise from explosions is great also, fear aiding memory then right enough, and the emotion often remains long after exact memory has departed.  Double checking does show how much of memory is correct even when exact details were not clear at the time.  Specific events can never be forgotten, such as a plane low over the houses shooting and killing passersby, or the long wait at the station for dad to return on leave and he does not come, that remains fresh in some.  
The impression given by some is that war for kids was boring in that trips away were not allowed, sweets and food was in short supply and dad was often away from home, mum too sometimes, otherwise it was a lot of fun!  The kids had adventures, parties from Americans at the airfields, chewing gum aplenty, and fun with things dropped from service personnel, often things they should not have touched!  Children can have fun with a cardboard box if need be and war, if they are fed well enough, will not stop that.  

The sun shines tonight, the kids are enjoying Saturday pleasures at home, well fed and wrapped up in some television rubbish no doubt.  However in far flung parts of the globe other children suffer war and we no little, and care less, about them.  They hunger and thirst while bombs drop, although if fed they will find fun somewhere.  It is too easy to forget the troubles elsewhere when our sun shines. 

Seven transcripts read, each takes almost half an hour and the time flies by but not when I have football to watch!  I am so glad the season will be over soon, I need a rest!  Seven to read and half way through.  Quite how these folks have made it into their eighties and nineties I know not.  On the other hand I suspect some of these will make it into the hundreds yet!


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Friday, 15 May 2015

Friday Reading



Little happened today.  This was because I woke up asleep.  Until I had my siesta later in the day the mind did not work.  Then I had to saunter to the museum to pick up the reading material for the WW2 exhibition.  This will be all about the town during the war so I now have to read through all the missives from those who have recorded their memories for us.  I have six of them here to read through and this with several football matches to watch this weekend! Time is so short! 
One of our men has appeared in the 'Daily Mail' of all things.   
During the war he was evacuated to a village close by.  There he was left and lost touch with his mother. He blamed this on her having eleven kids and no money.  Edmonton in north London at the time was not a wealthy area and feeding the kids was a problem.  The 'Daily Mail' story gives the tale of how he got in touch with some distant relatives recently, the first contact since the war, and this explained much about how he was left in Essex.  
He himself handled things well and successfully lived out his life, writing a book on his adventures, and is very happily married to a lovely wife.  Dumped he may have been but he has done well, a cheery good man to meet.  

My attempts to catch a picture of the birds on the feeder has been hard work. For one thing the Starlings still annoy me, one just flew in the window instead of going the other way, bounced off the front window and squawked his way back out off the kitchen.  This has happened in the past with young birds, not adults. It must have been a she.  At least I know know a Robin has also joined the feeder queue but refuses to let me take a picture.  Standing hiding behind the fridge holding a camera for hours is not much fun I can tell you!    

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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Watching the Chimneys



Plant life will arise anywhere!  I noticed this settling itself on the neighbours chimney today.  A small seed somehow plants itself in a crevice and happily grows away knowing the owner not only cannot see it he will not dare climb up there to fix it.  
Any building, town or city left to itself soon becomes overgrown with what we often refer to as 'weeds.' Yet they are plants of some sort to another even if we cannot find much use for them.  The birds and bees and other beasties certainly make use of such as these and without them I suspect we would wither also. The variety of plant life in this world is astonishing when you stop for a moment to think about it. Those little blue flowers that I can never take a decent picture off, the crops that feed us, the trees that last hundreds of years and climb hundreds of feet into the sky are all a wonder, just grass in a variety of colours, sizes and shapes.  A walk through a well stocked 'country garden,' the type not favoured b y the BBC these days, gives a splash of colour and fragrance we could never copy.  
Just saying like....



The variety of bird life around us is also a wonder!  For a start it is a wonder that every time you press the button the brute turns his head the other way! They do this for spite I tell thee!  At least this one is calling his mate from a distance and not outside my door.  I am having trouble with Starlings however. My little bird feeder is meant for wee birds like Tits and Goldfinch but recently Starlings have discovered how to land on it for the wee white Suet Pellets that I give them.  This annoys me as the big birds hinder the wee ones and It's them I want.  Starlings are excellent birds but come in flocks rather than in pairs and chase away other birds.  I even saw a Wood Pigeon eyeing up the feeder considering how to get a handful from it.  



Up above we have been enjoying blue skies and thick clouds.  At least those who ventured outside. I remained indoors, working hard - for an hour - and wasting away otherwise.  At least I did some work on the WW2 exhibition, feeble I know but it was a start, and I am amazed at how much the lass has managed when I was shirking work.  The next thing is to search for downed aircraft, and there were a few, and bomb holes maybe.  
Oh suddenly my brain hurts.  I think I had better go and watch Forfar Athletic playing Alloa Athletic and let my mind cool down a bit.  Life can be so trying sometimes...  

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Monday, 11 May 2015

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Kippers



Kippers with grass, tomatoes, spicy cheese and bread formed my late, late breakfast.  The smell still fills the place, or is that plaice?  My hands stink of fish and I expect the lass next door will be putting another smelly thing in the hall when she gets home. This Kipper is part of my new healthy fish and veg diet, as long as I can put up with the smell.  
A visit to the veg man this morning gave me lots of eat quickly before they go off fruit.  One juicy soft mango went down well after the kippers but it took three hours to get the juice of the laptop, desk, floor, hands, face and everything else.  Tomorrow I eat the other one over the sink!  The strawberries sit there rotting demanding I eat them tonight.  Tsk!  Life is so hard sometimes.
This also is part of the health kick.  Eat more fruit and veg and make up for all the pizzas eaten recently, however tonight I ignore this and eat pizza again before the red juicy strawberry fruits!  There are limits after all!  I feel so much better already after one plastic bag of microwaved kippers although the fizzy chemical is ready just in case.

You can tell my life has not been exciting today.

The Cameronites are planning destruction of the lower orders as we speak.  10 Downing Street will be packed with Saville Row suited men claiming "We are all in this together" while working out how to steal sweets from children.  Apart of course for Scotland as the SNP and their 56 seats will be ensuring that cruelty remains in England where I am....hold on!  The media naturally are talking still about the result, over and over, with nothing new being stated.  

Today I watch the football, ignore the meaningless chat and consider brain training exercises.  However the effort to search for such has left me mentally tired.  I may put that idea aside for a while and spend more time recovering by watching football.  That takes no effort of any sort.  I do however find that if the game is hard fought I get tired watching the men running about, I am not as fit as I was!  

 



  


Friday, 8 May 2015

Good News, Bad News



The good news is Scotland voted against the English racism that dealt Scotland such a blow after the referendum!  The contempt felt for Scotland by the selfish English was released and encouraged by the media at all levels.  This provoked an understandable backlash that saw the Scottish National Party (SNP) win 56 out of the 59 UK parliament seats available in Scotland!  A huge success that saw many 'Toom Tabards' who had sold their nation to take English coins kicked out of a job, and good riddance to them!  Now with Alec Salmond, an experienced politician and canny operator the Scottish interests will be considered in Westminster when parliament resumes in due course.

The bad news is the Conservatives under David Cameron winning an overall majority!  This means more attacks on the poor, unemployed, sick and the death of the NHS!  Already those US Insurance companies and other health organisations that have their feet in the door will be bribing lobbying for more and the cabinet, already containing so many men with shares in such companies, will be happy to let them in. The rich will get richer, the poor will suffer and if you lose your job, get sick or require housing you can forget it from now on chum!

The victory came about simply because of English racism!  Cameron  had his lackeys in the media tell them 'Vote Labour and get SNP take your money.'  A lie the greedy English fell for.  The poorest areas who voted Labour now suffer as badly as Cameron wished Scotland to suffer, however with a majority of merely ten he has problems in his own house.
The Conservative Party is a mixed bag, the 'One nation Tories' and Cameron claims to be one will not be finding jobs in the cabinet, they go to his men.  The anti-EU feeling is strong amongst many and failure here will cause rebelliousness to arise, and a small majority requires to avoid this. The 'Eton Prefect' needs to go canny with his own people although what opposition there is will most likely come from the SNP as who knows what Labour will come up with next?

Ah Labour, the part of the workers that became the party of the middle classes. A new leader must be chosen as the old stands down.  The selection is not easy as many who will stand believing in the 'divine right' to the job will be empty jackets with no charisma and less talent.  The future is bleak and we must pray constantly or disaster lies around the corner.

Worse still the local elections gave similar results.  The counsellors elected in this region were almost all Conservatives.  I have yet to see if any opposition member has been brought in.  Dearie me the 'working class Tory' is a strange things so he is. 


This morning I wandered round to 'Specsavers' (who sponsor Scottish Football referees) where I had my eyes examined with lost of lights shone into them, pictures taken of the back of my eyes, questions asked, and small letters to find on screen.  All this by a capable young Asian lass who enjoyed her job and was thoroughly capable. Then the man asked me for a small fortune!  I collect them in two weeks time and if all goes well will fall over the pavement as I leave the shop like I usually do.  I expected to be in and out in twenty minutes but it took almost an hour.  The requirements for my eyes caused difficulty as the woman knew what she was doing but the assistant he was struggling.  I remained smug throughout as I no longer get myself tied up in knots in jobs that can cost me the sack when it all goes wrong.  

The telly and radio is full of the election.  I bet David Cameron is full off it also!

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Thursday, 7 May 2015

At Last!



Apart from the exultation/despair filling the biased media tomorrow, followed by the endless guesswork re the next coalition government if there is to be one, at last we can forget about the election!
First thing this morning I put aside the urgent pressing desire to vote and instead stuffed my face with an unhealthy breakfast.  That is, it started healthy but I forgot myself and went for whatever was lying around.  Much later I stumbled heavily to the museum, where the vote was being taken in the large hall, and surprisingly when I entered the place was empty!  I expected many to be there and it appears many had voted earlier, while I was munching on a somewhat aged dry nan.  (By 'nan' I mean one of those bread things, I do not mean 'Nan' in the sense of 'Grannie' just in case you are confused.  I have not eaten a 'nan' as in 'Grannie' for some time now).  
Anyway my Big Boss, the museum manager, was running the election here as he always does and he offered me the white and yellow sheets of paper in which to vote for a loser.  His female companion, trained by the Gestapo, questioned my address, house number, name, first name and shirt size just to check my identity and in case I had found the voting card in the street.  I did not point out that as she asked me my address, house number, name, first name etc I read them off the card!   At least I had people who could confirm my identity, what if I could not?
So I took the valuable papers remembering the many who had fought for years to obtain the franchise and later a secret ballot, and headed for the private cubicle.  There I selected 'Mad as a Hatter and a Lover of White Elephants Party' from the motley collection on offer and considered the names on the yellow sheet for the local elections.  A good idea to use a different coloured paper as some may get confused by two similar white sheets with names of people you have never heard off theron.  Of the umpteen candidates about which we, as is usual in local elections, know almost nothing, I selected two by Party link (the desperate for votes party) and one as I know her from one of the churches and if elected she might not be effective but will never shut up and that will really annoy them!  Having exhausted my intellect I sat with the girls in the museum to ensure they were behaving, no they were not, and so I passed on to my other duties, and fell asleep.

So we have voted.  What will the outcome be?  A coalition appears likely, with possibly another election within a year.  The UK will be a different place whatever and the one side effect may be the media suffering badly.  The bias and absurd stories found therein, mostly in the Conservative media is beyond parody.  One obvious example is 'The Sun.'  This grubby Murdoch paper is published in Scotland and England.  The English version of the 'Sun' tells its readers through screaming headlines to vote Conservative and keep out the SNP!  The Scottish version of the 'Sun' through screaming headlines tells its readers to vote SNP!  Ed Milliband, the leader of the Labour Party has made clear he does not like Murdoch and may do something about him and those foreign or non domiciled owners therefore he gets attacked.  Alec Salmond while leader of the SNP kept in with Murdoch successfully and obtained support from him, Nicola Sturgeon who replaced him as First leader has said nothing re the press in this campaign.  Both receive a big black mark against them for this!  We now await the hype regarding the results coming in, the lies and half truths, the despair of the losers and gloating of the winners and look forward to a glorious future not much different from the present.    


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Something Different



The Clyde Puffers used to sail the west coast of Scotland to the isles delivering this that and everything.  Now long gone only one is left, taking tourists through the road to the isles.' 

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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Back to Work!



After my furlough I stumbled down the road, braving the gale force wind, and entered the museum once again.  Naturally all the bright young lassies were desperate for my return (yes they were!) and I settled quickly into the routine, making mistakes, forgetting names, losing things, overcharging customers (and that was only a 50p postcard) and forgetting where everything was kept.  
Back to normal then.  
Usually I was left on my own but today young Lee, an unemployed accountant, fills his time by volunteering and today he joined me and it was just as well.  The first customer wished tickets for an event, Lee knew where they were and I was supposed to know how to work the 'friends of the Museum' discount.  Naturally I got it wrong!  After much fiddling the lovely Jenny told us the simple way of 'doing it right' and the man was happy enough with things.  Lee had to correct me several times as I forgot what/where/why and so on.
Just like normal!


So now I sit here staring at the 'To Do' list and thinking of reasons not to do it.  So much requires attention, the museum requires something - even though they do not know it yet, the house requires lots of work, the body however wants to sit and stare.  The mind cannot even work out what to watch or listen to at the moment.  The news is filled with liars asking, nay pleading, for us to save their careers and I really do not posses the desire so to do!  A quick look at the candidates for election has made my mind up.  I will not be voting 'for' anyone but 'against' the man who will win.  We also have local elections on and I am positive who I will vote for there even though I know nothing about them!  I found one item of information re one woman, nothing whatsoever re the others wishing to be local Councillors!  A disgraceful state of affairs I say!  In a town as small as this you would think such information important - there again so few will vote normally at local elections and those who do so today will vote for a Party, not a candidate.  We have no other choice.  Again I am voting for a Party because the other Party dominates and opposition is a must - even if poor.


That's it.  I'm all washed up now....

Monday, 4 May 2015

Sea Sick, Too bad!



Since I was last here a couple of years ago I wanted to return to this car park and sit here watching the ships go by.  The sun glinting off the water, the sounds of the ferry's chains rattling, the water sloshing against the walls, the variety of craft that run back and forward on occasion ignoring the 'Give way to the Ferry' sign on the ferry.  The sun shone but there was a chill in the wind still, note the two at the back of the wee boat!  They have been out on a fishing trip and I wonder if they have caught anything out there apart from pneumonia?
There were over twenty cars on the ferry but I lost count as they came off.  A tourist bus, a 7:5 ton van and other large vans also travelled alongside a cyclist or two and foot passengers.  During the summer this place must be teeming!  The sands opposite filled with revelers and others indulging in things you keep kids away from, unless you are Ofsted of course!


Away in the far distance stands 'Old Harry Rocks.'  Once in the days of long ago these were attached to the Isle of Wight that is now far across the Solent.  I have clambered out along the top, in the 1980's, and it seems to me bits have been worn away since then by the storms.  There is no chance of my clambering over the brutes now!


Somewhat closer than in reality the distant Isle of Wight is clearly seen, even the southern end often shrouded by haze can be seen in the far distance.  So what happened to all that chalk land that has eroded?  I suspect someone somewhere has a mountain or two on their beach that they are not too happy about.


We climbed up to a high spot on the cliffs to gain a better view.  Down below the handful of people walked along the bright sand, sand that looks as if it has been relayed in time for the summer season.  The tourist income is vast and this long beach stretching from Christchurch to Poole more or less is a fabulous place to be.  Thousands consider it so and it gets a wee bit crowded.  There is very good support from lifeguards and council controls.  Mostly for lost kids during the day I suspect.


More fishermen!  They are also the only folks at sea it appears.  Usually this place is teeming with life.  Ferries to France, lifeboats rehearsing, small craft passing by, occasional other bigger ships in the distance heading for Poole.  Today little moved except a  dog or two and some people enjoying the sun. 


The different shades of blue in the sky intrigued me.  The sea was the same, various shades, changing as clouds passed over.  The blue above lightens as it heads towards the horizon, gradually the blue dissipates until it touches the sea.  The clouds remained small cotton wool like and insufficient to fill the picture, which is good.

Sick off the sea?  OK, no more now.


oops, sorry!


Sunday, 3 May 2015

Corfe



The tiny village of Corfe is famous for one thing only, Corfe Castle.  This magnificent ruin stands high above the village giving a clear view of the land around.  Those coming by boat or land through the Purbeck Hills could not avoid detection from the defenders.  Purbeck of course was famous for the marble quarried here, the 'Isle of Portland' also famous for the stone that was used worldwide.  This is likely to have been used as a defensive site from very early on, it is thought Romans used it and certainly the Anglo-Saxons built a wooden fort of some sort before in the late 11th century those Norman chaps made use of the stone and encouraged the local labour folks to help them, and a man with a big stick is indeed an encouragement to work! 
The English Civil War, which was not I understand very civil at all, found the then owners, Sir John and Lady Bankes on the side of the monarchy and almost the whole of Dorset parliamentarian.  After his death in 1644 the castle was again subject to siege and was taken by treachery and the parliamentarians destroyed the castle making it unfit for purpose, however it was not by that time as effective as it had once been.  The Bankes family continued to own but not live in the castle handing it over to the nation in 1982.  A nice tourist trap which we did not have time to visit but a few million photos were taken.

 
I am not sure who took all the fotos, however this one does show something of the normal Norman style.  In the middle was the solid square 'Keep' which rose three or four stories, the walls around and with rounded towers to aid defence.  It is noticeable how much some of the walls now lean at angles, not much use when defending yourself.  I would have got closer pictures but a woman would have asked me to pay so I stayed at a distance, I did however get permission from the various bodies concerned for this picture.  Note the slight haze seen from a distance, this covered the land and could be seen from the ridge above but not once in the village itself.

 
Corfe itself is basically two streets, East Street, the main road, and West Street which isn't.  The masses of tourists, and the place is so small a 'mass' quickly forms, find a post office with a friendly man in control, several pubs, a castle, a church and houses.  It is clear an effort has been made to keep the 'tacky' elements of tourism to a minimum, well done Corfe!  In the middle stands a cross erected in 1897 commemorating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, it makes a good place for tourists to block the centre of town!  The old houses and major buildings are all made of Purbeck stone as indeed are the walls around the farms.  These give a grandeur to the villages we passed through and reflect something of the wealth amassed in times past, long before further down the road Swanage was important. 
This part of England is called the 'Jurassic Coast' because of the fossils and remnants of dinosaurs that once roamed the area.  Cue jokes from women re their men at this point.  Certainly women living here around 6000BC would have said such things, probably with as much reason.  In those days people would follow the herds of deer from around here and walk all the way to what is now northern Germany.  Once the North Sea arrived they were trapped on this island and how their life must have changed.  Celts, Romans, Vikings, Normans and all have lived here at one time down to the present occupants of the land.  The present population affected, even though they may not recognise this, by all those who have gone before.  As many of England's Kings and their families made use of the castle the small village may well have seen many famous people pass through - for the last time, you know how blood thirsty English royalty can be.


We did not have much time here, a quick poke around the two streets, the church, the Post Office for stamps and a look at the houses, some of which contain bits taken from the ruined castle, and not even a sight of the steam railway that runs through here from Swanage, and we missed the train there also.


The church had one of these beasties on each corner high above.  How old they are and who made them I know not, probably a Victorian I guess, but each was different and ready to send rain water on passers-by.  


Among the passers-by are many hikers and cyclists as this part of the world attracts tourists who like the sea and country, a great change from the city many are forced to inhabit.  However the hills are just that and we saw one example of equality where a couple walked their bikes up the steep slope, that is she waked he pushed both bikes.  Typical woman!  The area is good for fit cyclists so I would avoid it but the views from the ridge are excellent.   




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Saturday, 2 May 2015

Swanage Sunshine



One thing the little coastal town of Swanage has is seagulls!  There are indeed lots of them living off the leavings of the visitors lunches.  There are lots of visitors as the town is only 25 miles by car via the ferry and a good day out on the sun for many.  While small it has spent millions recently doing up the promenade  which with the abundance of eating places, and a few attractions for the kids can keep some folks happy for a few days.  We brave men left the woman searching the shops while we fought the chill breeze on the pier.  


The pier is much used by divers searching the many wrecks around here and checking on the life we never see that lingers under the water.  It may look empty but a vast amount of life forms exist under our noses that only such divers meet close up.   Close up we met many from the film crew going about their business including a black security guard who being based on the pier with no shelter was wrapped up as if on an Arctic expedition!  Poor lad he had little to do at the time but shiver, we greeted him and giggled a wee bit.  Why I giggled I know not as I was as cold as he!  The ship had the name 'Jolly Rodger' on the stern (that's the back bit to you) and flew a Skull & crossbones flag high above.

 
We guessed this meant a kids programme was being made but could not be bothered to ask.  High above we see a little cloud but above the sea there was little in the way of clouds.  The Great Leader mentioned that as always the sea has little cloud while the land always has cloud above, indeed that was the case here.  Over the land a great mass of threatening black stuff could be seen but above the sea it was clear.  This is because of heat rising off the land perhaps, maybe a clever person can explain.



One eyesore remains in the town, this desperately requiring upgrading building!  Contrasted to the work already done this scar implied someone somewhere was hoping to cash in somehow! If you look closely you will not the hole in the wall isn't ans the windows on either side aren't either!  The pics are better seen on my Photo Blog but enlarging this gives a good view.  I am not really keen on murals myself, I see them usually as graffiti and usually awful graffiti at that.  This however was clever, artistic and vastly improved an eyesore.



Poole harbour contains the home of the Lifeboat institution the RNLI.  This marvellous organisation is responsible for saving thousands of lives year after year.  Each man is a volunteer, each highly trained, each worthy of praise.  The fishing boat alongside looks delightful but in a storm, which can arise quickly or possibly a weather warning be ignored, then little craft will be happy to see the unsinkable lifeboat approach.  Occasionally lifeboat men are lost at sea, they deserve any medal they get. 



There is a fantastic Heritage centre in the town, small but brilliantly laid out.  I was very impressed with it.  Like us all they lack money and over a hundred volunteers help keep the place alive.  There are four 'shops' inside.  Each one representing something of the past, each with a person inside, a dummy I mean, and this all put together by a volunteer!  Some man I say!  This was a small place but I loved it and was impressed by the layout, use of space and the volunteers I spoke to there, great people.  We can learn from them.


Our good lady pointed out that the seagulls feed off what the people leave, or have stolen from their hands, but surely a young bird walking around carrying his own plate was taking things a bit too far!  She had a point!