Wednesday, 30 November 2016

November 30th


Each St Andrews Day the sky clears and high above travellers heading from Europe to far of lands such as Canada, USA or Luton Airport helpfully form a Scots Saltire Flag in the sky above us all.   It is a gift from above we ought all to be grateful for.
There is a growing movement that suggests that this day ought to become a national holiday in Scotland, I am sure all will be glad about this bar the Banks which work to London time of course.  They can work to London time if they wish but as the Bank of England keeps indicating the Scots Banks are not being run properly I can see their point of view.   A far cry from the days the Banks in Scotland were trusted and even then the one time chairman of the Bank of Scotland, long before the corruption of recent days, was famed for saying "Don't listen to the sound of another drum, just take the cash!"
The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has been contacting foreign powers with the intention of having Scotland remain in the EU rather than run into poverty with England and has recently been rewarded with support from the Republic of Ireland.  I am sure some of her supporters back in her hometown of Irvine, Ayrshire, would be less happy about this than most of us.  Supportive words have been offered from other states but there again Nicola you must never trust a politician!
My eatables tonight will represent the Scots diet of today - Moussaka, a Greek dish obtained through the helpfulness of Tesco who reduced its price because of the sell by date.  Scots of course have always been happy to contact Europe, some have even lived there and refer always to the friendly nature of the natives whenever they mention that they "Are NOT English!"  Historically Scots have traded with northern European states since this land was occupied and there is no reason for this to change.  We have much in common with them, and here I do not refer to a liking for too much beer, but so many things in Scandinavia and Scotland ring true.  Holland and Northern Belgium also as well as Germany have much in common with Scotland and long may this remain true.  I know these places well as I flew over them once, in the dark, and once with cloud cover!  At least I have eaten their cheese and drank their beer, and Belgian beers strength must be noted before consuming by the way!
The English on the other hand are divided re Europe.  In the south they consider the Continent to be isolated if there is fog in the channel, in the northern parts they can often be similar to Scots in their approach.  It is the 'Little Englander' in the south who led to the Brexit decision, his papers spurring those up north to support him by lying in his teeth daily about immigrants.  Interesting to find any poll that asks Brexit voters whether they enjoy a Curry takeaway or not?
Scotland must have strong ties with Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia and we must not let English navel gazing take that from us. 



A pot boiler!  Or at least a boiler going to pot!  Today it runs smoothly, switching on at the right times, heating the radiators and even the water if I wished to make use of it.  Today it runs well but when I required it early yesterday morning it was a different story!
I came through into the east wing and found all the little red lights shining brightly as they ought.  So confident in their heat I turned on the tap at the bath and proceeded about my business.  Later I plunged my hand into said bathwater to check it was not too hot and instead it was freezing cold!  The brute had switched off!  I fiddled with the thermostat and waited, and waited and waited!  The little red lights would not light.  No matter what I did this brute would not switch on.  One red light appeared for a while, joined by another but seconds later they were gone. 
My entreaties, not particularly considerate ones as I was in a hurry to get ready to leave, did not work.  Speaking forcefully to it in a full and frank manner made no difference so I added a kettle  or two of hot water to the tepid bath which remained tepid as I made use of it.  I was pleased I can tell you, I was so pleased....
Shivering I took my skinny seven stone body through to the kitchen and made an unhealthy breakfast, I ought to have made porridge but I was afraid the microwave might blow up.  So naturally as I sat there, hair combed, shaved, almost dressed and checking the time before the off the blessed boiler sprang into life!  All the little red lights came on one after another! One, two, three, four, five...six, all of them smugly pumping hot water around a soon to be empty dwelling.  
Since then the boiler has worked perfectly and obeyed each and every command.  When I next attempt to bathe my physique, on Sunday next as usual, I suspect funny boy will play up again.

   

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Tuesday Twittering


It's Tuesday evening so it's nice to know my working week is over!
In spite of the busy schedule I find I am unwanted for the rest of the week, I did offer but was rejected, and so I have nothing to do but to enjoy myself and watch others suffer, what joy!
Today we were quite busy as not only did we have the Christmas browsers, the exhibition visitors and a school in for Victorian teaching, all 80 of them, and then we had various other things to keep us busy such as making tea.
One task was to proofread a draft of the next 'What's On' brochure, wisely as many people as possible do this, and we two sitting in the front delighted to add red ink to  the pages.  This made us aware just how easy it is to make mistakes while spelling, especially when the wee red line underneath speaks American rather than English!  We found spelling mistakes and one or two other things not quite right made when attempting to do several things at once, as is the normal way in a busy environment.  Last time out the proofreading was rushed and several unfortunate occurrences led to grumbling.  We have avoided some by our efforts unless we too have made mistakes.
I then went to Tesco!


Sometimes good ideas can be a pain.  A wee while back a French judge insisted that all sites in Europe carry a warning that a 'cookie' will be placed on the PC of the viewer.  This was not news to many of us but it is clear now as in Europe every new site you enter a warning of some sort from the host indicates a 'cookie' and asks if you accept this or not.  A good idea but a pest especially when the laptop has just been cleaned using those anti malware, anti virus or just emptying the cache as everything has to be put back in and the warning comes up on EVERY blog you read!  A good idea but sometimes it is annoying.
If only the french judge could deal with spam instead!


Monday, 28 November 2016

Monday Murmuring


I have even less to say today than I had yesterday having spent the day indoors doing the occasional things that required doing weeks ago.  Now after several weeks I have cleared the stuff of the couch and found proper places for it, and begun to fill it again with other stuff.  I have as yet to clear the dust from it however.  
I did however manage to clear up one or two items on my 'to do' list of dead people to research.  This gives great satisfaction despite the fact that this information will never be used in any way whatsoever as far as I can see!  Still you never know and it is interesting.  


The other day I checked the names on those wee crosses left at the memorial and much to my consternation and indeed amusement I could find no details of those mentioned.  It could be memory has led to people putting the wrong name, date, regiment on the cross or it could be all of the said men have been missed off but I doubt that somehow.  Mistakes have been made but something is wrong here I say.  At least Ingram has had the decency to die at the Somme as advertised but most of the others appear to have been misinforming the locals.  I however know little of Ingram and it is too late tonight to look into him.


You will of course have noticed that Fidel Castro has died.  For many years the bad boy in US eyes and a man they attempted to kill with exploding cigars amongst other things survived until he saw the end of the United States, that is he saw Trump arriving and decided his job was done.
Castro was another little rich boy turned revolutionary, his friend Che Guevara was revolutionary also but only good for knocking things down, he failed in the work of building up, Castro built up his nation, decent education, hospitals and other things with one bad side effect, a lack of trust.
In the beginning, and I suppose as long as the CIA kept trying to kill him, he imposed a tyranny on Cuba, understandable at the time but clearly going too far as time past.  
With the right wing nutters in the White House attempting to kill him because rich Cuban exiles in Florida told them to it is clear he had enemies aplenty.  However having rid the previous tyrant is no excuse for imposing your own Communist style tyranny.  This is a shame as Cuba could have been an example for many nearby states to follow.  It is said Castro had 600 attempts on his life, clearly not very good ones as he died in his 90's, and we are left wondering if the US really wanted rid of him?
The best way to deal with Castro was not to stop trading with Cuba but to encourage it.  This would create wealth in Cuba, allow the US 'soft war' to reach the people and encourage them to demand that sort of life rather than the one offered them.  I reckon this would have changed Cuba by the 70's if not the 80's had it been tried.  Once Communism fell then the doors were open but the dafties in the US could not see it.
I was not a fan of Castro, remove a tyrant yes, replace him with an ideology that fails the people, no!


Saturday, 26 November 2016

It Looks like Reindeer...


I ventured out to the 'Pound Shop' early this morning in an effort to finish my Christmas shopping.  The usual Christmas scenes were all around, shop staff in silly caps and bright red decorated jumpers, people bustling past unconscious of others, garish 'offer' signs in shops, a grotty grotto in the town centre, Christmas trees and lights aplenty and of course a couple of reindeer.
Last year the shopping centre brought in a couple of reindeer, possibly the same ones here this year, and I came laden out of the shop to find they had arrived in front of me.  
Trying to get a decent picture of the three beasts while they insisted of keeping their heads down while they stuffed their faces.  I suspect that is the usual manner for the beasts when they arrive somewhere new and encourages them to settle in.  

 
The kids of course enjoyed it!  All around the small compound folks gathered, cameras (phones) in hand, all clicking away obtaining pictures just like mine.  The kids touching did not appear to bother them, this one was happy enough while this kid had a touch, the safety of the barriers were not to protect the kids, I suspect they were for the sake of the reindeer! 


Last year they took the things for a walk around town and I suppose they did the same again this year.  In a local town full of London overspill there are another group of reindeer appearing next week, Grampian Reindeer' I was told.  They must be tougher as they pull a sled with kids in it.  The sled here just lay there as far as I could see.  
I was surprised at how small reindeer are.  In my mind they are as tall as a horse but in reality they are only three or so feet high, the antlers of the big one would increase the height, they were about two feet long.

  
The trio had little desire to investigate the folks watching, just the wee one poking his nose out at the other side.  The straw was more interesting to them and whatever was in the bucket appeared to satisfy.  Nice to see these here and enjoyed by all even though no indication was shown as to their flying ability.


Now that I had espied reindeer i needed to espy veg.  So off I trotted to my fruit & veg man for a £5  supply for the week.  The goods here are not always as good as Tesco's but much cheaper and worth it in my view, especially if you realise what fruits will not last beyond tomorrow breakfast!
   

A last glimpse of the sun brightening the town, it always amazes me how even the roughest areas can be improved by sunlight, and then a wander home to finish the Christmas wrapping.

 

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Thursday 24th Nov.


From the tip of the Shetland Isles, down past Inverness and Edinburgh, through Newcastle and Manchester, on via Wrexham and Norwich, down past Bournemouth and over Land's End on to the Scilly Isles the people are giving thanks for this is a day for thanksgiving!  The people are raising their glasses, glasses filled with whisky or beer, wine or sherry, glasses of thanksgiving that they are citizens of the free world and not members of the United States!  How glad we are to give thanks that today of all days, shortly after another absurd American election in which thanks to their daft political system in which the choice between two totally inept and unwanted politicians (I use that term carefully) means the one with less votes wins!  Rejoice and give thanks!  The one with less votes can win in the UK also but at least they are proper lying politicians (OK apart from David Cameron and Boris Johnson but you know what I mean).  
Throughout Europe also thanks are offered on this day.  In parts of Africa where their last knowledge of the US was a multinational company buying their small farms and merging them into one colossal money making enterprise, they too give thanks for democracy, the democracy that gave them then dictator if their choice.  In Asia people look aghast at the States and wonder if the cheap plastic objects they manufacture by the million will find a home in Florida or Utah once Trump takes over.  Ought they to return to gun making they enquire?  Thanksgiving in South America continues as they realise how many ex-pat Yanks will wander nearby to obtain housing for at least four years, estate angents rejoice and give thanks heartily.
Yes indeed the Puritans fathers and the rest who settled the East coast (without asking permission from the locals) in the 1620's and onwards had reasons to give thanks after a three month journey across a wild ocean.  Having survived malnutrition and savage Indians wanting rid of their immigrant newcomers these brave settlers rejoiced and gave thanks to God for the land he had given them (if indeed he had).  This in between fighting amongst themselves while they civilised the new nation. 
Why does the US have 'thanksgiving?'  Do they really understand?  It did indeed begin in the 1600's but probably not as it is known today.  Certainly politicians have made use of it and there have been changes down the years and the majority do not truly follow the God they give thanks to in any case.
If they did the nation would be a great deal better off than it is now!
There again ought we to be giving thanks ourselves?  The checkout lass told me off this morning for not being my usual happy self, it had been a confusing search for things moved from where they    were last deposited and she was right!  I ought to have been happy I could afford such luxuries (the Tories are planning to restrict my right to some of them next budget) and walk let alone girn that some things were not ready to hand.  
There are so many reasons to give thanks.
I can walk when at one time that was thought probable that I may walk with difficulty, I can see, hear, feel and while age grows on me and stupidity is an inherited talent I am better gifted than some I see who cannot walk, see, think or move from the bed they were born in long years before!
My time in the NHS shows me many suffering today who will continue to suffer for the rest of their life, others who are lonely, and in many parts of the world relying on handouts from dubious aid agencies while they await war or famine end in their nation.
Many in the US wonder why they should give thanks for a poor health service, or a lack of opportunity in the 'land of the free,' others are trapped in slums whether white or black, Hispanic or any other kind of migrant.  Many have bad families, terrible jobs and situations that trap them with no end in sight, thanksgiving?  They find it hard.  Let us who have something worthwhile give thanks to the Good Lord who has helped us, or at least speak to him again and seek his life which may well help us through our tough times.   


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

'Bricking it'


To some that may look like a badly taken picture of a brick up against a door, to me however it is a revelation!   You see that door never shuts properly, the slightest breeze and it is open, and when I came here I mentioned this to the landlords man who shrugged and muttered and left it alone.  The indication was he was a busy man and this was not important.
Since then I have sat here constantly pushing the door shut in winter or leaving it wide open in summer to avoid the draught that hurtles through attacking my back.  I have been here over twenty years and only this morning it came to me that I could place a brick (we all have them lying around in case we feel the need to throw them at someone) against the door and force the brute to stay shut.  Therefore I placed a brick against the door and the door has happily obeyed in spite of the wind whistling though here and there and refused to open.
There is however still a draught!


There is something about the starkness of trees standing against what light there is in the evenings.  My bleary eyes found myself staring at the trees over yonder as the darkness began to creep in and the trees became silhouetted against the cloudy sky.  

 
The sky being what it is changes colour of you look around ever so slightly.  This is the tree next door and the sky is slightly different yet the starkness remains as does a slight tinge of the colour of dying leaves.  This always catches my attention, the stark outline of the branches and the hues behind.
I could of course just be daft...


I came across this coin the other day at the museum and was taken aback as I did not know such as this existed.  In my day coins were coins of the realm worth a vast amount of cash, well things were cheaper then, and today they appear to have all sorts of crazy drawings all over them, sometimes only parts of a drawing!  It's all very strange to me.  Mind you after several attempts to photograph it the coin is even stranger, I must try again to morrow and get it right this time.



Monday, 21 November 2016

Sweet Tooths


On Saturday I bought four of these Mediterranean cakes from the Turkish stall for a mere £9:90!  I wish In had the money to buy more!  These are wonderful cakes which I first tasted in Israel years ago and are found all over the Middle East (covered in dust in Syria mind) or so I believe.  Wonderful things to eat, a great variety of fillings, not sure what this one was but the others had walnuts and sticky sweet stuff.  Almost anything that grows can be found as a filling which occasionally makes them very heavy, he sells them by weight rather than individual price!   
I managed to avoid eating them all in one go and adding a stone to my fat and allowed them to go down individually day by day.  Now the stalls have gone and nobody near here sell such things.  I think it is time they did!  Maybe one of the craft stalls can come up with this idea and we can have another special craft day?  
Sounds good to me and my weight problem.


There I was happily finishing off the Christmas cards this morning, only a few to do and check all the names on the (short) list.  Happily I began to pack them into their specified order for posting ensuring each of the girls had the Gift card in the Christmas card when I realised I had one more niece than I thought!  Disaster!  Now instead of grinning evilly when mentioning my Christmas has been done I have to go out again and find yet another Gift card!  More expense!  Still they prefer Gift cards as it makes it easier to choose what they want rather than what I give them.  It is easier for me when it comes time to post them and above all I am really pleased 'Poundland' do these Gift Cards now!



Sunday, 20 November 2016

Twas Christmas Day in November...


Saturday saw the museum join with the rest of the town centre for the Christmas shopping lights switch on!  Dressed in my Top Hat and Victorian outfit, the ladies dressed in suitable blouses/dresses etc, we invited a million people to visit the museum for FREE and take their opportunity at the stalls available.  Several hundred did just that.



Of course it did not go smoothly!  It never does with me.
Having woken early enough to press the trousers into a less grubby shape I fitted my imitation cravat (none of the charity shops stock them) and wore my purplish waistcoat and my aged black jacket and almost looked the part.
Once in the museum I accepted the compliments from the ladies, I usually do, and went to the locker where I had placed the Top Hat the lass had obtained for me.
Once there I discovered I had forgotten to swap money and keys from the grubby jeans into my almost pressed trousers!  Where is the key to the locker?  On my keyring!  Where is the spare locker key?  On my desk!  Where are my spare house keys?  In the locker!  Why am I hitting my head against the wall...?
One hour later a somewhat bashed and bent locker gave up my spare keys and loaned Top Hat.
Sweat dripping from me I eventually joined the throng muttering words that may embarrass a sailor! 



Stalls laid out ion the main hall were enticing for those who like hand crafted goodies, including Christmas cake and Indian samosas!  The sample of cake from The Little Fairy Cake Bakery was superb!  I found £5 in my now somewhat bent locker and made use of it by eating a couple of Samosas and an onion Badjie (?), wonderful!  


Other stalls sold the usual woolen goods, fancy cards and gifts and such like.  Several stalls, some women doing this as a hobby that makes money, others possibly trying to begin a business.  A wee bit difficult that one unless you have a specific much demanded item.  


Luckily I had no wallet and was therefore able to avoid the china teacups filled with smelly candles that some women of my acquaintance would like.  Many customers called but I failed to ask the price.


One or two children, with parents, called into the activity room where they happily spent hours making Christmas Cards and other things.  Many had left when I took this picture and you cannot see the ones hidden behind the door.  The girls running this were worn out by the end of the day and I suspect much wine was downed later on!  The kids were happy and enjoyed it greatly.  Did we enjoy doing this when young?  I vaguely remember having this at school but it does not fill my memory.  I can remember some what is now called 'Craft work' activity but not much.


Around half one the boss threw us out to hand out leaflets in the town centre.  I wondered what the reaction of my Top Hat and her outfit would be.  However once we wandered out some folks looked but most did not notice as so many stalls were parked around, so many people dressed in odd outfits as so many adult men and women wearing hats with faces on them anyway that we looked almost normal in comparison!  One or two families did come into the museum because of the leaflets.



 I am not sure if he had his face painted or whether he always looked like this...?



His sister had certainly had her face painted and looked very good indeed!



Others merely wondered whether they could do the work intended.



Back on the street I was impressed with this Pizza Van!  That's the way to sell Pizza!  However having no money I could not take advantage which is just as well.  Victorians rarely ate Pizza, most probably never heard of it.  All this for a small town event bringing folks into town to entertain the kids on the activities on offer, listen to bad music form two ends of the High Street, and at five in the evening get a celebrity (who I have never heard off) to switch on the towns lights.  
I missed that bit!

  
I sauntered back through the shopping centre where another billion people were slowly shoving each other about while queuing for fattening Turkish cakes, Turkish Delight or on the other side Roasted Chestnuts at £2:50 a bag!  
Me?  I crawled home to bed....




Friday, 18 November 2016

Friday Flippancy


You and I may think it is still November but the people who make money plan such things consider this the right time to start the Christmas shop!  Last night the nearby 'Outlet' shopping centre had some famous person I had never heard off switch on their Christmas lights (hooray).  Tomorrow the town lights will be switched on so the centre of town is being prepared for the event.  Several stall have appeared in the centre, I expect many more tomorrow, alongside children's funfair attractions and ten thousand people.  The museum will be open and we too have stalls and activities.  The stall shown has lots of Greek eatable's.  On the right hand side lie lots of those Mediterranean sweet cakes filled with figs, dates and other luxuries. I love them but last time he was here I spent vast amounts fattening myself up as I just ate them all one after another.  This I must avoid this year although now I mention it I begin to fantasise about them, help!!!



I will be there, eventually, attempting to dress as a Victorian!  My top hat is secured at the museum and the girls have a variety of Victorian clobber to wear.  All I have to do now is develop Ricketts and expire before I am five years of age.  With FREE entry (the manger must be having a fit) we ought to get hundreds through the door and mush of the goods on sale ought to go tomorrow.  The shop has been prepared with appropriate kids stocking fillers and much else, especially candles, candles appear to be what women wish for these days, smelly candles.  Possibly this has something to do with the smelly men they live with...?



The weather ought to be tolerable for the switch on but later the sun will arrive and spoil the fireworks which they insist on having each year.  With November the 5th just past the days leading up to and after it the area was like World War 3 at times, we need more of that tomorrow.  I will be abed by then however but the sound will crash all around.  I suspect a good time will be had by all but the Christmas Spirit is alive and well, Christmas shopping spirit that is, people walk into you rushing here and there ignoring others, bless them....



I have almost completed Christmas!  As always I missed out some people, four to be exact, just how many nieces can I have exactly?  Someone has added one or two when I was not looking.  So tomorrow before anything else I must finish that and then little has to be done.  I am convinced you are all in the same situation as I.  What?.....oh!



Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Wednesday Mix


Today was a do little day except when wandering in the park to catch some of the late sunshine.  I was tempted by these yellow leaves hanging in the said sunshine, they brightened up the whole area and reflected the sun well.  Warm sun in November?  Trump fails to recognise Global Warming yet here it is in Essex!  There again he fails to recognise anything that does not lead to money.  The more I think about him I wonder what is inside his head?   Is he a weak man who needs to make money to fulfill himself?  Is power what matters, power that gives him position and plenty so he can feel secure?  Whatever he will not be as important to me as that leaf shining in the sunshine and lasting only a short time. 


Computers are marvellous things however they can be a bit of a bother.  I had several local war memorials on a link, memorials I had investigated.  I printed them of and found a copy in the museum yesterday in the correct folder.  I cannot however find the links!  This means that I simply have to investigate all of them once again!!!  Nothing better than a trawl through the CWGC site then through Ancestry for family info.  I spent two or more hours on one man today, very interesting and all that, but over two hours when I could have done something useful like clean the sinks!
Maybe I will do four hours tomorrow....


In case you did not realise it CHRISTMAS is almost here!  On Saturday the museum is having it's Christmas Shop and we are dressing up as Victorians.  Quite why we feel the need to make every Christmas a Victorian thing I fail to understand, Charles Dickens I suppose but it leaves me wondering if I should develop Ricketts or get myself transported to Botany Bay?  
So tomorrow if I can get the energy I will finish my Christmas shop, do the rest of the cards, check who I have missed and then gloat while everyone else runs about daft worrying about their shopping.  I am convinced you lot have done all your shopping already and are happily sitting around drinking red wine and laughing at the rest, am I right?  

I came across a blogger that those who like really good photographs must investigate. Suza Is based in Germany and takes the most fantastic pictures with her mobile!  You must investigate this site as it is brilliant!