Thursday, 29 September 2016

Where are you Clem?

I've been reading Tristram Hunt's review of a book 'Citizen Clem' about Clement Attlee the great post war prime Minister, .  What a difference between his understanding of life and that of the man we have suffered these past few years.  Clem Attlee came from a prosperous background, discovered the poverty and generosity among London's East End and became a 'socialist,' though not of a Marxist kind.  His socialism was my kind of socialism, not ideological but based on need and sharing the wealth where need existed.  An idea rarely found in politics today.

“Instead of the exploitation of the mass of the people in the interests of a small rich class,” he was declaring by 1922, “I demand the organisation of the country in the interests of all as a co-operative commonwealth in which land and capital will be owned by the nation and used for the benefit of the country.”

Clem was to continue this opinion for the rest of his life.
The failure in the Labour Party enabled him to rise to the party leadership in 1935, continual infighting and the second world war meant he remained leader for over twenty years!  The war changed everything and the Labour Party and the nation as a whole intended to ensure rapid social change missed in 1918 would not be missed in 1945.
Attlee's intention was clear:-  

“by directing the energies of the nation into the production of necessities for life, and not merely into the production of luxuries or necessities for profit. As the nation was organised for war and death, so it can be organised for peace and life.”

“Fundamental things—central banking, transport, fuel and power—must be taken over by the nation as a basis on which the rest of the re-organisation of the country would depend.”

Such ideas are excellent ideas and would be the way the nation was structured today had I been King. Nothing wrong with private profit, nothing wrong with enterprise and hard work, all these things the 1945 government encouraged, what is wrong is the privatisation of such things for personal profit at the nations expense.
Gas, electric, water, bus and rail, hospitals and post deliveries all should be run under central organisation.  The service element should come before profit.  This way economy can thrive while people can feel secure.  Provision may be paid for but only with profits returning to the people not individuals and large monolithic companies, usually overseas.  People first then profit.  Such policies worked during the 50's and only incompetence and greed got in the way.  Human failings always disturb peaceful co-existence. 

There is no chance in our right wing greed led governments today for anything caring or service element to thrive today.  Money speaks at all levels and caring for others has gone for ever.  We need Clem Attlee more than we realise today.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

A Visit from Darth

Once again the mighty Darth Vader dropped in on the museum bringing Kylo Ren and a Stormtrooper and well over a hundred visitors along with him.  I hoped for more visitors myself but a container lorry on its side at a major roundabout hindered traffic flow for hours and many would have taken the kids off into the last of the seasons sunshine instead.  

However those that came were soon into posing with Darth or spending hours teaching dad how to draw, then cut out masks and badges of Star Wars type.  We remain convinced the dads enjoyed it more than the kids.

Darth two came along and offered us the treat of watching a smaller Darth pose!  Which one is more dangerous we asked but never came to an answer.  Super sight!  We also had a small stormtrooper return and a baby dressed like r2d2.  He was about the right size!  

The men who do the characters were as always marvellous!  They take position for every camera aimed at them, were great at drawing in fearful kids, Darth especially had several wary of his presence, I suppose when you are three and see a man in black with heavy breathing six foot above you it can be worrying.  He was great at posing with them and Kylo Ren and the Stormtrooper always positioned themselves well for the camera.  Even at the end they would not change out of the heavy and very hot outfits until the last person had had their pictures, a superb group of men.   

Standing stock still convinced visitors that these were merely dummies dressed up, then they would move and scare the life out of folks, it was good and made several folks day.  Hopefully we can arrange similar events in the future as 'Star Wars' have ten more movies to make.  The popularity of this series is amazing.  

The pride in revealing their talent was endless.  Gran was won out but she hands them back today and will sleep for a week!  Never fails to amaze how the kids can really enjoy the craft work and it is more amazing how many dads and mums were doing it also!  Big kids!

Friday, 23 September 2016

A Walk in the Park

In the chill of the day ensuring we all knew Autumn had arrived the sun continued to pretend it was summer and tempted me out onto the zimmer bus.  A trundle into the big city (they call it big) and a walk in the park by the river was on the cards.

The skies above were filled with puffy clouds (or UFO's to those who read the 'Daily Mail') standing out from the attractive blue sky.  Here the sky is seen above the cafe which offered me a decent coffee for only £1:90, far cheaper than those expensive shops that fill all the high Streets in this world.  Not only that the service was attractive, friendly and efficient.  I will use it again when there.   

It is no surprise this well cared for park was busy.  Mums with pushchairs, joggers sweating by, workers on lunch enjoying the air and the occasional duck flapping about in the water.  All in all a good way to spend your lunchtimes and make use of the cafe.  There was a happy relaxed 'feel' about the place which is not always the case in cities, maybe the population had not yet gone for their coffee?  Anyhow it was an enjoyable couple of hours in the sunshine.

During 1842 the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) arrived at Chelmsford on its very expensive trek towards Ipswich.  Eventually the line reached the destination but only after many money troubles.  I suspect having to build an 18 arch viaduct across what is now Central Park in the town added to their financial care.  The station now stands high above the town, the old signal box has is five story high on the north side, and this magnificent viaduct still carries the daily traffic, taking some 14,000 a day in the London commute.  I constantly find myself admiring brickwork, especially the brickwork involved in creating thousands of Victorian rail bridges both large and small.  No wonder the economy grew?  The desire for railways ensured a demand for bricks, the railways took bare material to factories which turned this into goods which the railways carried away.  The growing economy led to a move to the city, a demand for new housing, a demand for more bricks.  Those simple red bricks help change the nation.  I realise there is a lot more to this than my simple explanation but certainly the arrival of rail changed the world in a way little has until computers landed on our desks.

Here we see the Abellio service rushing towards Ipswich (is it my cynicism that makes me wish I had written 'the late running Abellio service?) possibly stopping at the Chelmsford but sometime charging straight through.  A journey of just under an hour into Liverpool Street station has made this a commuter town a favourite for many.  I find it a bit boring but at least all the shops required can be found here, all other activities are catered for and for many young families it meets their needs.  However while the Essex County Cricket side play most of their games in Chelmsford their football team is so far down the leagues that it will take a year before they can join little Braintree and a further year before they can meet the 'big boys.'  Maybe it will be their year this time...

Whether there are any fish in the River Can I know not but this man is moving at my speed today!  In the background can be seen some canoes with slow moving oarsmen paddling along.  The flow goes this way and I hope they can manage to fight the stream all the way back.  Some distance down there is a canoe club which may be where they are heading, possibly they started from there and went up river.  A nice pleasant way to pass a day like today.

I was somewhat surprised to see outside the shopping centre table tennis tables, 'Wiff Waff' to some of us of course, and is that a chess set laid out for use?  It all looks to energetic for me, a quick trip to the butcher for '3 for £10 chicken' then off to catch the zimmer bus, admire old folks bus passes with another zimmer bus user and rest my knees.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Wander in the Mist

After a hard days work yesterday, I began at 9:30 and didn't finish till 1:30, I then spent the rest of the day getting over it!  Life would have been easier had people not kept coming in to the museum, I considered locking the door at one point as I could not finish the page of the book I was trying to read for people asking questions.  

One delightful couple arrived from Idaho to seek out the town's history and wander about for a while enjoying the type of sights they do not see in the wide open spaces of home.  Such make life worthwhile in the museum.  The ratty ones grumbling because the afternoon talk had to be postponed as the speaker was sick did annoy, especially as they demanded to know why no-one phoned them as they could have taken the speakers place.  Not having booked we did not know their number but that apparently was not a good enough reason!  She was female...

This morning I woke just before seven.  A glance through the stained glass window, stained with dirt that is, showed the morning mist was hanging around.  This I thought was a gift from Jesus this morning so throwing on some rags, grabbed the camera and began wandering the streets.  
The mist took a while to dissipate and I took a while to wander so we got on well.  Passing people speak easily at that time of the day, at least in this small town, and snatches of conversation broke out as people wondered why a madman was taking pictures before the shops opened.  One man was eager to get his daughter out for pictures as she was studying photo journalism, a good job I say, but as all 17 year old's do she was glued to her bed, probably until midday!   

The windscreens reflected the changing temperatures.  One man grumbled that this was the first time he had been out scraping his windows before moving off.  Just wait a month and it will be frozen in the mornings, time then for old newspapers across the screen.  The good days have passed us by and Autumn is at it's normal temperatures now, little cause for those expensive sunglasses until winter has passed.

'Twas on a Monday morning that the gas man came to call.'
Since that morning several months have passed and the gas mains in this street have not yet all been reconnected.  Changing the gas pipes from the old lead ones to long yellow plastic ones has not been an easy task for the workers.  Each house requires amendments and not all householders are around at the right time.  The changes to the traffic caused by closing the road has been great for those of us who walk a short distance down here, people have however been going round in circles attempting to find their way in to the street.  It will all be over by Christmas.

Where are people going this early in the morning I wonder?  Some are rushing to get to work, others taking the dog out, or in one case the dogs with cat attempting to follow.  Still others pass by engrossed in their thoughts strolling who knows where from nowhere it appears.  It is surprising how many people in this small town are unknown to me.  Many pass by daily and can be recognised, others pass as if in the night and are never seen again.  I could see a short story writer sitting on the bench finding material for a story here.  The young, the old, the lonely, the troubled, all pass this way their stories untold and disappear into the mist.

It never ceases to amaze me how spiders create such wonderful feats of engineering without spending seven years at Mechanical University.  These tiny beasts, this one clearly hiding from the chill, has managed to build his web without referring to the instructions.  It appears near perfect with the dew hanging from it yet if it breaks he (or is it she) will soon be out repairing and mending ensuring that sooner or later lunch will be served.  
And they say there is no God...

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Eye Watch You

Been quiet here recently, I ignore the news mostly as it is the usual ongoing stuff, the weather and being a fat slob has kept me indoors for the most part and nothing has happened except the stormy rain.  This Collared Dove, or bloody nuisance as it is called when calling for his mate outside my window early in the day, posed happily for me until he actually saw me behind the filthy back window.  He is about the only bird I see these days all the others have scarpered including the noisy Starlings who no longer squawk around the hanging feeders.  Maybe it is something I said?

The wind and rain battering the window forced me to do those things left undone for so long, cupboard cleaning, rubbish dumping and long lost object finding.  It is amazing what lies in cardboard boxes at the bottom of cupboards and I have just uncovered some slides from years ago of happy times and a black cat not necessarily connected.  Now all I need is one of those devices to transfer the pics to digital so I can see them properly.  
Sadly I also have two heavy boxes of photos dumped aside long ago that now must be gone through.  Some will be quite good but I expect I will have to be 'Donald Trump tough' and dump the ones that need not be kept.  The dust I will return to where I found it and remove it next time...
The lentil soup was another requirement that will be needed to keep me alive as I continue my calorie controlled diet.  I lost 4 pounds since yesterday by not eating and humping things which no doubt will return today, however the soup, which is too salty, will keep me going for lunchtimes.

The 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' comes at a price.  The price is a darkening sky, shorter days, colder temperatures and golden leaves falling from trees.  That last one is a bugbear for some around here today.  The rain and wind have loosened the leaves from countless trees and garden paths, streets and back alleyways bust be chock a block with these things today.  
In days of yore one of our tasks was to clean up such leaves, daily we would sweep as far as possible knowing that tomorrow we would have to do this all over again, and again, and again until no leaves were left.  This was not a job we enjoyed as there were daily tasks to accomplish at the same time.  We never complained or grumbled, no we didn't, we just got on with it and looked forward to next year.  
Round here one man not far from me insists on burning all fallen leaves and this delightful aroma reminds me of my Uncle George who did similar many moons ago.  Uncle George had a small fire and the smoke did not come inside, my local man enables his smoke to travel a great distance from the far side of the park and to establish a home in my room.  This delightful reminiscence will not be looked on as favourably as Uncle Georges is.

Once the weather ended its downpours I made it to the late night shopping and obtained no bread that satisfies.  The best stuff had gone and I had to make do with 'heat it yourself' loaves.  Greedy locals had bought all the decent stuff and left me hungry, or as hungry as anyone 16 stone could be.
At least I got a night shot of others failing to get the bread they wished.  How much better it is to shop when the masses have gone home, how easy it is, how quiet, how bare the shelves!

Friday, 16 September 2016


Today was the day for travelling somewhere, naturally thunder & lightning, stair rod like rain and a sudden desire not to travel came upon me.  I had intended to be by the estuary, you know the place where wind sweeps across chasing the birds and felling the trees on days like this, and I am somewhat happy to be here inside this smelly dump.  This signifies the good days are over after all, yesterday's near 30% will not return until next year thanks to global warming.  

Instead I intended to continue searching for dead family members but had foolishly turned off the laptop.  Updates were downloaded and when I attempted to start the machine it took almost an hour updating the Win 10!
I was not amused!  
Looking at the finished product I find they have added things (sorry apps) I do not need, never use, and don't want, while I looked through the short video telling me how great Cortana is, I however do not use it and don't see a need for it.  Just remove it and allow me more space thanks a bunch!  
The wallpaper picture has disappeared, the screen size changed, but as yet few other things have been lost as far as I can see.  No doubt these will show up shortly.  Grrrrrrr!

Now while the rain lashes against the window, shaking the dodgy frame, and the sound of cars splashing their way far too fast in the conditions I return to seeking the lost sheep of the family.  If I were to really seek the lost sheep and find them there are some who will remain unfound, indeed one or two up north might join them!  No names...

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Debts, Family History and Sunshine

It has been a busy and enjoyable week for the most part, except for things that did not bring joy.  The unexpected demand for Council Tax that I thought had been dealt with turned up today and brought me great joy indeed.  How enjoyable however is the ability to pay such things via the web rather than walking into the office or posting a cheque, though I do that for other debts.  So much easier to pay bills this way and think you have money to spare until you count the money in your pocket.  I am now emptying the cider jar of loose copper coins just in case....

Coming home from the museum on Tuesday I fell into a deep sleep, I usually do, but later, before the seven nil thrashing Celtic took from Barcelona (no sniggering at the back) I noted a name of one of my grandfathers first sons. He married twice and we descend from his second attempt (which failed) and I have been tracing the first family slowly for some time.  For some reason a name arose and when I had the time (Wednesday) I sat down and traced one lost sheep.  I also found Granddad's 1906 marriage record where the phrase 'met through drink' is not mentioned.  The son however was traceable in some ways, he had joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and was enlisted on a Minesweeper HMS 'Azalea' which served in several places including the Mediterranean.  He survived the war but died in London late 1936.  His sister confirmed his body but as he was only 49 I begin to wonder why he died and why I cannot find his death record.  His probate is noted but no mention of money appears.  My aunt mentioned a son taking cyanide and so did the other she said, but memory plays tricks and she may not have been revealing the truth, she was of that nature regarding bad things.  The wife appears in Dundee Lunatic Asylum and possibly there was something in the family, however time at sea, with only one recorded incident when the ship was damaged by a mine is noted, but maybe that had a leftover with him?  Several more to investigate, though little Mary last born was soon to pass on at less than a year, sisters to investigate and a brother or two to research.  All good fun and games when you can discover something innit?

After spending two days sitting inside seeking dead people I daundered out on a long walk - for me - and spent some time in the very hot sunshine.  I even wore those tinted glasses that made made several young women mistake me for a Hollywood star or James Bond.  However tiring of their attentions I continued on my way clearing the spiders webs from my mind and taking in what is probably the last real sun we will see.  The rain is here in places tonight, thunder & lightning with possibly more tomorrow.  Dawn arriving as it did on Tuesday (see top picture) will be a thing of the past, dark clouds will hide the round yellow thing once again.  Then by Monday ice flows will be seen in the local rivers, frostbite will be my friend and a Normal October will inform us of its arrival.   The joy continues.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Another Monday

I was surprised by the heat as I wandered out this lunchtime.  It appears we have anther short summer this week.  Hot tomorrow then temperatures descending lower and lower until we reach the ice age of winter again, probably next Monday!  I was off to the church for a discussion on outreach, with lunch provided to ensure people turned up, and a good time it was at that.  Naturally  I talked to much and said too little but what do you expect?  This is my family heritage!  Some years ago when researching the family line I was in contact with someone somewhere in Aussiland, in our conversations by email, passed on to others over there, I mentioned my dad and aunt disagreeing over the date of their mums death.  I pointed out one said it was before the end of the war, the other claiming it was afterwards.  Both, following family tradition were determined they were correct!   A third Aussie chimed in after this saying "We are related, all my bloody lot are like that!"
For that reason I never go to Australia!

So the Cameron era has ended finally.  'Good bye' is all I can say to the worst PM this nation has ever had, and we have had some dumbo's right enough.  'Don't slam the door as you slink out' is another. He leaves for several reasons but money making is one of them clearly, just sitting on the back benches supporting the present PM who has made it clear his 'Posh Boys' policy was not right and she is working hard to eradicate almost all he has done is another good reason for him to head for the money.  An ex-PM sitting on backbenches is in a difficult position, anything he says will be taken as support or opposition of the present PM, and as her policies are very different from his, in word if not yet in deed, then he cannot really say much at any time.
In my view he is not much of a loss, Osborne may go next although they do not want by-elections at this time, his job is only on the backbenches and never will Theresa May the present PM allow him back!  How different it would have been if they had just gone six years ago....

 'Road works today' said the sign.


Sunday, 11 September 2016


Having cycled speedily to church this morning I sat there for the next hour nursing my knees, lovingly no-one offered to nurse them for me.  This exercise idea is all right I suppose but there are problems.  However we had an excellent morning and I only kind of fell out with one person today so things are improving...  I cycled back the long way round enjoying the sun while it lasts and then I spent the rest of the day watching football and nursing my knees. 
Tonight however as twilight fell I got the rusty bike out and pedalled slowly, oh so slowly, half way up the old railway to seek a photo.  They are not quite how the sky actually was at the time but give the general idea.  The top one is my favourite, that s close to reality.

The sky is always worth looking at whatever time of day or whatever season we are in.  Looking one way gives a different sky from looking in the opposite direction, the colours vary with the slight movement of the sun.  Of course at dusk things do get darker which explains why the supper chasing blackbirds almost had my front wheel upon them.  

In the cool of the day everything is changed.  Being Sunday few are about, kids at home doing the forgotten homework, people preparing for work, rubbish TV being endured.  This means the streets are very quiet, so quiet in the distance the rumble of the bypass can be clearly heard as movement continues elsewhere out of town.  In town few move, some laughter from the pubs open doors is heard, an occasional clink of glass, a barking dog in the distance enjoying freedom in the park, a huddle of youth carrying their secrets guiltily pass by scowling at one and all, lights can be seen in the local church for evening service, a bus containing one passenger slowly fulfills its duty passing in the opposite direction from a lone cyclist worrying about how his knees will feel in the morning.
The quiet cool of the day, possibly equal to the early Spring morning in beauty. 

Saturday, 10 September 2016


Te sight of this man sitting under the tree, brolly up, summed up the day.  On and off all day precipitation filled the day.  I didn't ask for it, I didn't want it, I disagreed with gardeners and farmers who thought it a good idea.  
Today is what they call in England & Wales 'Heritage Day,' a day in which museums, art gallery's and places not often open to the public open and for free allow the masses to trample all over their carpets.  It rained!  This stopped me going out, though I actually preferred to lie in my bed, as the places I wished to visit all required being outside, in the rain.  Many people would have managed to visit the barge and Lighthouse Boat that were open, the open churches and big houses would be perfect places on such a day as this, and those humps in the ground that are actually Norman castles would no doubt have gathered visitors anyway.    
I stayed in and watched Manchester City.

When I did venture out, in between showers, I found pictures hard to obtain.  The flowers in the gardens were dying off, the damp kept all peoples away, bar several 11 year old boys playing around the bushes, I dared not ask what they were up to, and even the birds and squirrels were hiding. 

So I came home and looked for the football.  What else could I do?

The last of summer I fear...

Friday, 9 September 2016


It's been a jolly day today.  For the first time in weeks I felt almost normal and failed to sit on the roof last night howling at the moon.  Having spent most of yesterday asleep and sleeping well last night, combine that with eating better and this morning I felt so good I went out to an early meeting by bike!  Indeed in spite of the wind I cycled for several minutes both there and back, going the long way round as I was enjoying myself.  Such a change from the last few weeks.
Indeed I even smiled at the woman in Tesco while she charged me an arm and a leg for my goods and almost, but not quite, started clearing up the mess around me.  That can wait....
How lovely to feel normal again.

 O to go down to the sea again
To the lonely see and sky
I've left my shirt and socks there
I wonder if they're dry?

Spike Milligan got it right.  There is no better place to be than by the sea.
I have come to like it here, all I require is within reach, bar the sea.
One day I will by that wee house by the sea, few neighbours, no noisy ones, a good view of passing ships and all facilities required within a short walk.  One can but dream, and my wallet is not keen on me doing even that!