Saturday, 31 December 2016

The End is Dreich

The year ends in dampness.  Half the town is asleep during the day, the other half looking for the last few pennies of the year.   I look for a hat when I wander out later just as the rain starts.  
I fail the end of the year quiz's in the media as I took no note of the celebs they ask about.  The world await Monday and a return to normal.
Having Christmas and New Year on a Sunday is not a good idea, it is better during the week as it gives a better understanding to aged minds as to where they are at any time.  And I find it quite boring to be honest even though I have accomplished several small items that I wished to finish.

My Starlings roosting on the Police pylon round the corner.  This is where they gather when not squabbling over the feeders.  There are fewer than before,  there used to be hundreds of them.

Soon be midnight.....

Friday, 30 December 2016


Fog lay thick and deep over the world again today.  Yesterday was dreich and I spent much time indoors seeking dead soldiers.  Today I sought Tesco for those things requiring replacement and ensuring I can survive the shops being closed on New Years Day.  
The weather looks great, fog today, fog or cloud tomorrow and rain on New Years Day!  Super!!!
At least we don't have snow as that is awful, though it might make for better pictures.
Nothing is happening, we await next week when the world returns to some sort of normality.  At the moment people are stuck unsure of whether to spend more money, getting ratty with the kids under their feet all day, and bored with junk TV, why is it so bad this year?
It was ever thus I suppose.  At least we are living off the fat off the land, my diet begins when this lot of food wears out, and many people are living of the thousand or so Foodbanks spread through out the country caused by the Conservative Party looking after its own so not all are living off the fat.
Proper Football tonight, hopefully successful, and then junk footy tomorrow.  
There will be little else to see with this weather....


Army Wife

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Wednesday Frost

Thick fog, ice covered fields, roads and me!
Shops busier, happy checkout girls with time to chat, crowds of kids following fussed parents.
Sun arriving but slowly.
Market empty as stallholders still sleeping it off.
More kids taking parents round shops.
More gifts, even more money.
Grandparents the happiest of all.
After all they can give the kids back!
Later park full of kids showing off new things to satisfied families.
All wrapped up, many in new outfits.
Dead soldiers.
Boring TV.
Poor radio.
Chilly as forgot to shut window.
Yet more parsnips for tea....

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Boxing Day Two

Nothing happened again today, it was an extra days holiday for the masses and while shops opened and some worked most sat at home on the laptop searching for bargains.  I sat at home searching for dead soldiers, I found lots.
The streets were very quiet this morning, the normal throb of traffic was but a murmur until the shops opened about ten in the morning.  It took folks until that time to realise they were starving and had to rush out to buy more of the food they had overeaten for the last few days.
I went out cat like to peruse my land about three in the afternoon.  It was like a Sunday out there but even quieter.  I passed a woman taking a shot of a tree, the light behind it was good, and thought to myself "What sort of person does that?"  This after taking several shots of the sun going down behind trees.  The colour is somewhat like the actual scene, bright sun and blue sky, lovely at this time.  Tomorrow fog once again the say, hooray!

No news to speak off just more space filling regarding George Michael, his boyfriend, his drugs, his money.  I ignore it all, he was not my kind of music and poor lad probably killed himself through drug abuse, very sad.  
Many are crying the year has been bad because such as he has died during the year, indeed many famous faces have departed but in truth no more than ever leave, it may be some were favourites of the social media crowd and they notice it more.  Us older folks notice famous faces but from the distant past and as such beyond the notice of the social media whores.  Life changes little in this regard, a hundred celebs of one sort or another die each year and the normal total of non celebs also, it may not vary much from year to year.  I do not see it as unusual however a younger crowd may find it something new to cope with.  Maybe it will show them they are not mortal after all.

Oh look, football time....

Monday, 26 December 2016

Boxing Day

Boxing Day dawned bright and too early for most.  The silence was audible as few cars moved, people failed to wander past and only an occasional dog walker was noted wrapped up against the unwelcome chill.  Few raced to the kitchen for a full English breakfast, coffee aplenty and lots of fizzy drinks for many being the rescue service desired.  
I add at this point that I had cereal and tea....

This!  This is the offerings from my loved ones.  Peggy, she who must be obeyed especially regarding music to be played at work, gave me the mug.  Why I ask?  My most attractive and highly intelligent niece offered me the others.  What are these wimmen trying to say?  I may return to the 'Highland Park' that my other most attractive and highly intelligent niece apparently was responsible for giving me but she has not admitted it yet.  

I came across this picture online but the ownership was not clear.  There can be no doubt it's one of you, could you please hold your hand up...? 

This father and son have worked out the best way to ensure there is 'Peace on earth' at Christmas!
It is possible this may catch on....

I wandered out to get some cold air and was surprised at how many local shops were open.  There appeared to be few persons making use of them and I wonder if they will make any profit after they have covered the overheads?  John Lewis, one of the biggest and best stores, remained closed today as always and will no doubt not feel any loss.  The online side still works of course and folks will probably sit surrounded by masses of new gifts less than 24 hours old chasing bargains via the laptop.  I must admit I browsed Amazon while considering my Book tokens and look forward to whatever I will select.  

Now I am off to finish yesterdays leftovers.  I had my Christmas dinner in the freezer and as usual I forgot to check what I was doing.  When I removed said Ducks breasts, or were they geese I forget, anyway I found they needed to defrost before cooking!  Typical!  However I had another source of meat in reserve for today's lunch that I made use off yesterday, this leavings will have to feed me tonight, I will avoid another Christmas Pudding, however these Tesco ones though rather large that and Brandy Butter is however tempting innit...?


Sunday, 25 December 2016

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Eve Again

The panic is over, the shops closing as early as they can, people wondering if the goods bought will do, some already half way through the generous wine and spirit bottles proffered to them, others indulging in friendships across the bar of many a public house.  Too late to worry now if the gifts will be accepted, just hope it is the thought that counts, not the Christmas jumper, the coloured socks or the cheap after shave uncles are used to getting at this time of year, for them giving is better than receiving, especially if it is another Christmas jumper!

The desire for bread got me out before the hordes descended on Sainsbury's for their last minute buys.  To get there I went the wrong way round to get a glimpse of grass and the pink sunrise.  Pink at one side yellow at the other.   The sky is always a wonder, except when it is gray of course! 

Now I always thought seagulls were bright birds able to spot lunch a mile away.  However this lot were swirling around like they were going down the plughole and avoiding the contents of last nights KFC box that was strewn across the grass not 50 yards away.  After a night sitting freezing on the estuary they pass over heading into the farmland seeking fields to devour yet they missed the deployment of cold chips that they usually manage to find in the bottom of bins.  Maybe they were expecting Christmas Pudding?  

Darkness has fallen, night closes its tired eyes, well maybe in an hour or so, kids everywhere are overexcited and unable to sleep, adults scramble to wrap presents in paper that will be a crumbled mess in 12 hours time, and publicans begin to recognise which of their clients will be helped home earlier than they expected shortly.  
Me I sit at the laptop working away on things of great importance, listening to radio, browsing Amazon to make use of the book token received, sipping tea, and wondering why I put so much on my plate!  This few days will not help the diet....

Friday, 23 December 2016


The museum closed for the Christmas break today.  Nothing happening until Jan 3rd, how lovely for us all.  Having Christmas at the weekend does make things easier all round.  Maybe it ought to be a movable feast, er how would that work?  
I noticed the shops crowded with desperate people today, I will join them in the morning as the bread has run out.  Whenever I have bought sufficient to feed an army I miss out on something important, this time it's bread!  Bah!
Now outside of the shops the world quietens down somewhat as the Christmas and New Year takes over. The media forced to work will be desperate for real news somewhere, anywhere and longing for a terrorist outrage or a freak happening to fill the hours of news programmes they must fill.  If they have no news they must repeat everything constantly and talk about the traffic problems, the weather or happy folks opening presents.  How lovely for them when they would rather watch the rubbish films on offer.  
I checked the upcoming TV the other day and found it woeful.  There was little that caught the eye and knowing how my life is lived what little I wish to see/hear I will probably forget all about and miss anyway.  My joy will be complete!

A family gathering from the distant past, it's their cheeriness I find hard to take. 

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Longer Days

The longer days started well.  Wandering up to Sainsbury's for the things forgotten last time out I noted the rising mist against the slowly rising sun.  How lovely to be out there in this weather.  This however was not the attitude of the workmen unloading their vehicles across at the building site.  A more grumpy tendency was noticeable as they heading into the old school they were turning into expensive flats.  I considered smiling but avoided this as unpleasantness in the morning is unwise.

At Sainbury's I obtained lots of things, some of which I went for, and yet again forgot to make use of the reward vouchers, I have about £8 that would have been useful this morning.  I suppose this will be even more useful when January kicks in.  British Gas (overpriced) sent me an email informing me i had won thousands of points on this voucher system.  Hmmm, sounds good.  I was tempted to click on the link to my account but hesitated and went to that through my own link.  Nothing there as yet I noted.  This does appear to be British Gas as they send such things often, it is on an email account in which spam is rare, and my first name is given, however while cheered by a gift I await the points being added (in 10 days) to see if this is genuine.  If not I delete, if it is true then lunch is served!

On a serious note I was kept awake last night by the Police helicopter choosing my bed to hang over for what appeared to be hours.  In fact there was a fire in a nearby street which left two dead and house destroyed.  The cause will be uncovered in due course.
This sad incident has revealed much in the town.  Traffic has been affected, it occurred on a main road, and people have been leaving tributes.  Now traffic problems in these circumstances just have to be borne, the tributes and attitudes revealed do not.  
It was something not done in Scotland, a Presbyterian nation, the leaving of flowers at an accident spot.  To me it still appear 'Romanish' and even worse synthetic.  People die and flowers, teddy bears and gifts arrive but the victims will never see these, why do it?  It is not done for the victims, it is done for the people leaving the gifts.  When incidents happen people grieve and this is good and understandable.  However you do not know these people and in life may have resented them if you did so why do this?  You do this because you ache, not they.  This is not 'Love your neighbour.' 
Photographs of the firemen at work have appeared on the local facebook page.  Many are complaining these ought to be removed.  I object!  Publishing photos shows to us what occurred and those girning appear unable or unwilling to accept reality.  The nation once was renown for the 'Stiff upper lip' and just 'getting on with it,' today we must sentimentalise all events, death, accident, war memorial, you name it.  The minutes silence once rare at football grounds is now compulsory at all events even when the incident is neither local nor connected in any way with the football.  Some events are worldwide but these are few, the death of Brazilian footballers recently was one, but while all mourn these men there is no minute silence for Syria, no mention of the dead in the Congo, no concern for hunger elsewhere.  
The emotion is a false one, limited in scope and spurred on by young folks who cannot face life  with 'tough love' and must live in a soap opera daily.  This cannot be allowed to continue.  We all feel emotion at such times but this needs control.  Once footballers stood silently at a minutes silence, now they must place arms around one another,once we faced life's tragedies now we must emote them.  It is not right!  Compassion does not mean removing hard pictures, it means doing something about it.

As I crossed the roaring cascading water that is the local river I noted a wee beastie running over the traffic cone helpfully planted near his home.  I could not make out what it was but suspect it was a water vole as I canny think what else would live there.  He was well fed mind.  The ducks appeared to ignore him, they were playing football with a large green ball kindly donated by someone, and I thought that this wee burn could be made attractive if the time and money was there.  As it is several trees were removed and houses built.  Above this section a block of flats now stands and the tenants passed me by dreaming of paying off mortgages in the 2030's if they are lucky.

For once I have rendered the sun as it was tonight!  As it slipped down behind the crumbling 1960's estate it gave off such a glow that I had to catch it.  The passing public did not notice this great sight, their eyes were on lesser things like Christmas, evening repast or drink!  How often we miss such sights because small things obscure our vision.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Winter Solstice

At long last the winter solstice is upon us.  It seems like six months since the last solstice.  At last it has arrived and from now on we look forward to Spring!  Ah Spring, that favourite time of year when lambs go a-leaping, little flowers erupt throughout the countryside, blue skies and warm sun appear in the sky in between the rain storms and all around see the world in a better light.  Or is that see the world in day light?  
For now we suffer winter itself.  Indeed Winter begins today, in spite of what has gone on since late October, and we know that storms, all given stupid childish names for no good reason, will lash the coasts and send rain from the Atlantic on our heads.  Snow that awful substance will fall making the roads and pavements slippery, blinding travellers, freezing our hands and feet, causing accidents to man and beast, plus cars of course, and no doubt allow kids to throw snowballs at their betters, or folks like me.  Ban snow, I would vote 'Brexit' if they promised to keep it away and bring sunshine instead.
The darkness arrived as I returned from buying another new bell for the door.  The last one rang with such a resounding ring I could not hear it while standing next to it.  Resounding?  I hit it and it doesn't resound.  Bah!  This one might be better but I suspect it too will be quiet, possibly some PC lout has ensured bells must not ring loudly in case someone is offended?  We will see, eventually.  The darkness arrived but had not really gone away, cloud covering the land all day.  Dreich and yuck all day, a bit like me I suggest.

Just how dark can it get around here...?

I am spending much time listening to the Classical music resounding properly on Radio 3.  Even R3 lightens up at this time and the Christmas around Europe music is good.  I suspect if I was one of the millions travelling around in these Xmas days I expect I would be desperate to listen to such as this while on a crowded train, bus, platform.  The joys of train travel are a delight but not when crowded. One screaming child, two women nattering loudly about nothing, a drunk, a long wait for no reason in the middle of nowhere, all these make folks wonder why they travel at this time.
O course Christmas ought to be in March rather than December, and not just because the shops are crowded.  I am sure Jesus entered the world at the end of that month rather than December.  Of course life begins at conceptions so possibly July would be a better time?  It would be warmer then even if  some wished to go on holiday at that time.  
This would mean rewriting Carols of course, 'In the bleak midwinter' would become 'In the much to hot for us summer' and 'Silent Night' might become 'Turn the noise down!'  The landing in a manger, where hay was dumped as donkey feed, would not change.  Jesus taking the lowest place never ends, and for us too!


Monday, 19 December 2016

Still Dreich

The mist lingers yet.  Dreich indeed are the days so there is little to see outside, not unusual in December.  Sunday saw a Christmas service with lots of kids reading things and making things in church, not deeply spiritual but a laugh for all concerned.  Last night I took my aching knees back down again for the carol service, the usual reading sandwich type of thing, and returned mince pie full and ready to sleep.
A dreich day brightened by the occasions and the people around (all the young women wanted me) and I found several Xmas cards awaiting me.  On top of that all those little jobs that must be done I avoided and hopped it before they began!
I answered the cards received by making use of the web.  A home made card which satisfied all, well not the one who didn't know who I was.  Much easier than scribbling out a hundred cheap cards for folks. 

While mist can lead to nice pictures it is just dreich when the sun fails to break through.  All around is gray and miserable, a bit like the people wandering around town, with added pressure of those last minute gifts required.  
World news is boring, all is being put aside for the Christmas break and journalists forced to work over the period are looking forward to a disaster somewhere (preferably warm) from where they can fill the time.  Otherwise it is shopping trips, weather and road accidents, not great news coverage.  

One good thing today was the Water bill.  This told me I owed the greedy money grabbers no more than a mere 25 pence!  The lowest bill I have received ever.  This of course is because of the monthly direct debit, it cost £205 over the entire year, which would be worse if I bathed more than once in a blue moon.  It never fails to amaze me how much water I waste.   How often the tap is left running, how much is wasted in the kitchen and how deep the bath water tends to be when I am reading my books in there.  From today water, along with electric, will be used sparingly.


Saturday, 17 December 2016

It's Been Dreich Today.

Collecting the fruit and veg (eat mangos before they go off by 5 O'clock) in a dreich misty day again.

It was the same yesterday.  At least it keeps the park free from adolescents all day and all night.

However while Thursday began misty by lunchtime I could keep my window open all day and not freeze.  This is December!  Who says there is no global warming?  

The Friends of the Museum hold a raffle each Christmas to raise money for the museum and rip off daft people who pay 50p for a ticket, books of 4 tickets are available.  Naturally at this great draw there are many prizes, around 40 this year so I was keen to get my hands on one.  Naturally being there I participated as did all others in picking occasional tickets from the large black bag in which someone had placed them having spent the day folding them first.  Naturally I got nothing!  The fact that four people obtained two prizes each, one at least who wins every year, did not annoy me, although it annoyed others.  Instead I approached them and asked if they would share a Lottery ticket with me on the biggest Million Pound draw, naturally they refused!

Instead I returned to work on one of the village war memorials, although this is not really a village these days.  Black Notley lies a wee bit to the south of the town but few realise that much of the town actually comes under the village itself.  It took me a while to grasp this.  That is why several men who fell in two wars appear not on the main war memorial but on the Black Notley one.  The village remains a village, much larger than in times past, but the few streets and huddle of houses of 1914 are now large estates of council, or ex-council homes.  
This is a memorial I worked on a few years ago.  I obtained the basics, printed it off as I ought, and then lost the link!  So when someone mentioned their ancestor was one of the men here I looked again and discovered the loss of link.  In fact three other village links have gone west.  I gave one to the lass at a villages museum and forgot about it but in fact I must have deleted the links, all the gathered information and lost everything.  I now must start them all again!
Good job the villages were small...Bah!


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Now I'm not one to Complain...

This facebook idea has some advantages, contact with far off friends, family information, radically important news concerning the football world, and an opportunity to plug the museum, which I do occasionally.
However it has problems has it not?
One obvious problem is the person wishing to become a friend, the person you have studiously avoided for ten years I mean.  They can be persistent even if you accidentally 'ignore' them three times.  Worse are the people who do that to you!
Being constantly told how to 'Find Friends' by a computer server hidden deep underground in Alaska or somewhere is also annoying, especially when 'People you may know' appears every day also.  Indeed I may know these people and I may wish to 'find friends' but I do not need to be told by some geek lout how to do it!!  Nor, when I think about it, do I need to be told what the 'top stories in my groups' happen to be as I have already read them!  
Now don't get me started on the 'Trending News' items that appear at the side.  Do I need to know about American football?  NO!  Does US stars I have never heard off mean a lot to me? NO!  In fact does any of the 'trending news' offered mean anything to me? NO it does NOT!  I am well able to find enws for myself without having tabloid pap shoved into my face.
Nor do I need lots of 'suggestions' underneath this whether individuals or 'Buy & Sell Groups!'  This doe s not mention the fact that I am in Essex and such local groups as are offered in Kent lie across the other side of the Thames estuary!!!!
It begins to dawn on me that maybe making money for facebook lies behind all this....Tsk! Imagine!
Today I am irked by what people post.
Most of what is posted is OK in the long run but they way it is posted annoys.  
Christians offer 'Christian encouragement' usually by posting some famous persons words.  Several people post these, and they post several of these.  However in my view one each would be enough, if required, as they tend to lose their meaning when several run together counteracting one another. Rail enthusiasts, real 'anoraks' they, post images of trains, sometimes steam engines running at high speed sometimes diesel or electric, some foreign and most at home somewhere.  These are often excellent images and while I may be pleased to see them I see no requirement to post them all individually!  Seven pictures of a diesel, often the same one, running along a route may be interesting but surely it is not beyond the capability of the poster to put them in ONE POST!  
When four people do this at one time I get a hundred diesels or steam engines all looking the same, often being the same, filling the page.  
Sixteen shots of a disused railway can to me be interesting but if posted one at a time it is ignored by me as I HAVE A LIFE to live, why haven't you who posts?   
Children.  I know people have children, I know they are the centre of your life butnthey are NOT the centre of mine! I like to see their up to date fotos as they begin school, play for a football team and grow up, but must we have all those pictures from yesteryear once again every time facebook reminds you of what you posted a year, two years or further years ago???
I love your kids, but one day I will eat them! 
Talking about eating, must we see what you had for breakfast?...again!