Wednesday, 29 November 2017
I enjoyed a packet of cheese and onion crisps the other night. These are things I rarely eat now but I was glad to have a few packets lying around in the box where I kept the new very large bag of Sainsburys tea and all the packets of seed for the bird feeders.
Yesterday evening I went for a second packet and too my surprise the bag was burst. Not only burst but so were four of the other packets. Someone had got into this box that sat happily for months at the side of the fridge. On inspection the mealworm bird seed was bitten into also with several packs of that chewed. A mouse has intruded on my solitude and eaten my resources.
It is a long time since a mouse was found in my house. Around twenty years ago I was on the phone when one ran across the floor near my feet. This was a surprise and he never returned, I long ago discovered that food left out attracts mice. When in my Swiss Cottage slum the skirting boards were a good distance from the floor and a mouse found his way into my unprotected foodstuffs. I suspect he and many other mice fed well in that place, I learned my lesson.
In Bayswater I also had a lesson in faith taught me by a mouse. In the back door hovel that wherein I dwelt a mouse appeared happy to chomp in my rubbish bin. I put prayer to work and soon he disappeared. However I knew that faith would accept he had gone but later I found myself looking to see if he had returned. I realised if I did that he would but I continued to check and so he returned. Several times he came out squeaking at me and rummaging in the bin. He ran back to his hole and always looked at me as if to say "This is your fault!" I accepted my fault and got to like the beast but one day I retuned home, lesson learnt and found him sadly dead. I missed him.
I had no intention of striking up a friendship with another mouse today. I remember that the first one that arrived here appeared when the flat downstairs was vacant and once again the downstairs flat, much improved, is vacant and the mice are not getting fed by the previous owners crumbs so he is up here looking for mine. Poor lad he will not be happy as I heard him this afternoon and chased him away, hoovered all around and have ensured he will find nothing here next time. While I am happy not having anyone making noise below I am sure a decent sort would ensure mice don't run free. I suspect that in Australia and Costa Rica such things are minor pests while dirty great beasts hover daily but in this freezing cold country mice and rats are one of the biggest pests round here.
Not counting politicans that is...
Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Another Christmas and how many will appreciate why it exists?
However I am happy to report the building was busy today with Christmas browsers and some even parting with money. The exhibition is not too busy as people are preparing for the rush. Hopefully it will be better in January. Three women did arrive, kids also, and the three of them chatted happily in the shop making more noise than some football crowds I have known. The few men who later appeared were quiet, mostly because they had no idea what they were looking for! Making tea was however difficult, the kettles would not work. It took me ages to realise the sockets were blown. So it looks like a fuse or worse for those. I found another and had my tea, just in time to leave. Too busy to make it earlier.
The worst part of this time of the year is that few care about history. They are so busy preparing for Christmas any history is put aside. This is unfortunate as the desire to talk about something interesting is replaced by telling folks where they might find things we do not stock. It was also very interesting that nobody mentioned Harry and his bird we are all paying for. The media, even during the night, was full of him and her and today they wax lyrical about where they will be married, I care much...
However the row over the Brexit papers not being disclosed to parliament may indeed bring it all crashing down, if the House plays its cards properly. By telling the House there were papers and then offering redacted versions off them and now claiming there were no papers someone is telling lies. Hopefully it all falls apart by Christmas.
Now a report Korea has launched a rocket for Christmas might take Harry off the front page while we watch Trump bellowing from a golf course about some nutter with nuclear weapons, oh the irony!
Finally from Russia a story.
Alexander 'Sasha' Chechik sent 'selfie's' to his friends while holding a hand grenade having taken the pin OUT! He sent several pictures to his friends and one asked "Are you OK?" And got "Depends on what OK is in your understanding?" as an answer. Moments later the grenade went off.
Now some 'experts,' and I use that word loosely, tell us if the lever is held the grenade will not go off, but many different types of grenade are out there and this is Russia so who knows where this came from. The police claim it was an accident and not a suicide, either way it was effective. Men do not live as long as women and this man gives some indication for the reason for this. A sad story but with a degree of humour also.
Monday, 27 November 2017
I was going to write a post but found nothing on the news bar these two whoever they are. The 'Daily Mail' is excited, a special pull-out tomorrow, I doubt it will be excited enough to pay for the cost of running them.
Why are news services worldwide so interested in this story?
And his dad does not have ginger hair...
And what a time to take Brexit of the news....
Saturday, 25 November 2017
The usual Christmas shopping situation is upon us. While 'Black Friday' that US commercial greed inspired day is behind us and noted as something of a damp squib there is the real requirement to shop for gifts for him, her and that lot! The shopping centre encouraged this with Reindeer once again in spite of some rather dreary opposition for some.
'People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) called upon the two main shopping centres which were showing reindeer to cease this practice in a letter to the centres.
The letter said: “When used as holiday props, they're denied the opportunity to engage in natural behaviour, such as roaming freely across vast open ranges as they would in their native habitat.
“The practice of taking them on the road, confining them to pens, and treating them as mere Christmas decorations is unacceptable.
“We don't want our kids to grow up thinking that animals exist merely for our entertainment.
“Ending the use of reindeer would do nothing to diminish children's sense of magic during the festive period.
“For the animals, though, it would make a world of difference.”
Quite how PETA think reindeer reared in Kent and raised to meet children would survive in the 'vast open ranges ... in their native habitat' is not made clear. These are not animals reared in the wild and in the wild they are herded by 'Laps' up there in Lapland who would probably be eating them for Christmas not allowing kids to feed them! 'Lapland,' stretching across the northern tip of Norway, Sweden and Finland, probably taking in bots of Russia also is indeed a vast open range but one that is full of snow and cold wind. I suspect the animals are better off here.
A Poll in the local paper found just over 50% of the readers agreed with PETA, one wonders how many were female? One wonders also whether they are all vegans?
The beasts themselves spent their time stuffing anything given them down their throats much to the kids delight. The big one was clearly happy in his work content to meet the crowds and eat carrot offered. These do not look like badly treated animals and give the kids a taste of the delusional Christmas we shove down their throats. Next week there will be no animals I guess as the town puts on the Christmas lights - if they have been put up by then that is. The museum will be open for gifts and I suspect I will hide in my bed. Bah Humbug!
I took this just to see the extent of his antlers. I suspect these will drop off at one point like stags and end up on someone's wall as a trophy. Not mine however.
Friday, 24 November 2017
For many years I have been a believer in 'looking up.' This is because whatever is happening on the ground around at the moment the sky above continues on its daily routine. The sun rises and makes its slow way across the sky brightening and warming the land. (Those living in Edinburgh will no doubt find this difficult to believe) Had we been born in Egypt we would notice this daily except every 16 to 20 years when excessive rain will fall and change our lives for a week or so and this sunshine would affect us in ways I cannot explain having been brought up under a gray misty cloud!
Today I noticed the bright blue sky smeared with distant white cloud high above stretching for miles across the heavens. The starkness of the trees minus their covering of leaves against the bright blue was a notable feature for me.
High in the branches of the trees starlings chirped and argued with one another happily as is their way, unseen behind the blue stars and planets continued their daily journey hidden to us, and while we fought to the death for bargains in overcrowded shops the world continued to turn and those of us not seeking bargains smirked to one another at the thought.
Whatever small issues we have the world keeps turning.
ISIS in an effort to prove they are still alive and kicking have attacked a mosque containing many of an Islamic creed they despise. The attack, featuring around 40 gunmen, killed at least 250 and wounded many more. The Egyptian Sinai has been dangerous for many years and I suspect the army will now be sent in with great force and little consideration for human rights to deal effectively with the problem. This will be a long hard battle with consequences unknown and a great many will suffer.
Some cynical types would claim that the Bush/Blair needless attack, inspired by Rumsfeld and Cheney, was the originator of much of the trouble in the middle east, they might be right. Maybe it is better to say they failed to handle the situation correctly or with any understanding of the area in which they operated so confidently and allowed such a situation to develop. Now ISIS have been forced out of Iraq we will see them rising, possibly for only a short time, here there and everywhere for the next few years. The west has failed the middle east and we will feel the effects.
Zimbabwe now has a new president informing them of the need to 'engage the world' (That is 'borrow money') and 'remove corruption' (Not counting his) and 'create jobs' for the young (Fat chance). We look to see whether a politicians promises will bring about a better nation or whether the usual suspects continue to line their pockets and leave the people to suffer. It s to be hoped the people this time make a stand and find changes that benefit them all and not just a few. Interesting to see most of those in charge are well aged and the nation mostly young, how will that work?
Panic they say in Oxford Street as claims of gunshots are heard. The brave Londoners run for cover!
"No shots" say the police.
Could it be the brave Londoners are panicking? Tsk!
Thursday, 23 November 2017
To keep me awake the museum have ordered me to find an Italian Prisoner of War, or at least details regarding his stay here for a visitor. This I find is not an easy task! You might expect a list of such people to be located in some archive but this it appears is unlikely. The Red Cross appears to have more chance of providing an answer to individuals seeking individuals than the UK government.
Thousands of such men arrived here after being captured, or surrendering in droves, in North Africa during the early part of that campaign. Only the hardened Mussolini Fascists were keen to continue the war and cause upset in POW camps, most just wanted to go home and get back on with drinking wine and leering at women.
Once the Italians had left the war a vast number of Italians were allowed to roam comparatively free around the nation or at least near to the camp. In our case it is clear they were moved out as German POW's moved in, I met one a couple of years ago and listened to his story.
In our case it appears the local man with a lorry trundled out on special petrol coupons to carry the Italians to various farms round about where they kept themselves fit by seeding, ploughing or harvesting or one of the million or two other jobs available on the farm in those days. In summer this could be very pleasant indeed especially if 'Land Girls' were also working there, in winter however this would be hard and often unpleasant work, freezing cold, handling beets and turnips by hand, small food allowance and cold berths back home in the camp. Often I suppose not much different for many from the land they had left but for city dwellers this would be a hard life.
Anyway so far I have discovered little, the museum has less, and I cannot trace official lists. That may be resolved by the Red Cross but it will not be resolved by official channels.
I am back off to sleep...
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
The exhibition goes over the 60's 70's and 80's, three dramatic decades for those who lived through them all, not always enjoyably it must be said. The 60's were the best musically, so much invention and wonderful stuff from the USA west coast in particular. On top of that the attitudes were very different, at least at face value level, at heart human beings never change. The Hippy days if peace and love were a delusion but an enjoyable one, however for most they were hidden behind a veil of drugs that brought many an early death.
The 60's brought the Vietnam war among other things and while the 'West' enjoyed material prosperity (I got £5/10/- a week in '66) some 50 million were being killed in the 'Cold War' in Africa, Central and South America, South Eats Asia and elsewhere. We were protected by 'M.A.D (Mutually Assured Destruction) and several million men spread across western Europe. A few thousand nuclear bombs kept some awake but not all of us.
Fashions changed somewhat and it is noticeable how many women donated aged dresses for the exhibition and not one man! I suspect some men are still wearing things bought in the eighties, I would be but they appear to have shrunk in the wash. I doubt my flares would fit and I seem to lack the desire to wear such these days. 80's fashion, like its music, was vile! Men with permed hair and rolled up sleeves singing puerile songs did not do anything for me especially as we were faced with the totalitarian Thatcher regime. Today Thatchers daughter lack both her brain and her heart and few would have expected that to be possible. The 70's began well and for me was the worst decade of all however this changed near the end when God began to really do things in my life. The music died around 1974 and was replaced by 'Abba!' Platitudes, empty ballads and glitter ruled the radio waves, not in my house.
There was of course two wars at this time, the Falklands war that generated much attention and the IRA Provos shooting people in the back in Northern Ireland generating the UVF and others to offer needless reprisals. The UK got fed up with this war and wished it would go away especially on the occasions the IRA set off bombs around the UK. London however (apart from me) did not panic in a manner we see today re Islamic terrorists. We handled the Irish problem far better than the Islamic one I say.
The Falklands saw as needless a war as can be imagined. While ruining their country the military Junta decided to avert attention with a landing on the 'Malvinas.' They lost around 3000 dead we around 3 billion pounds and a hundred or so men. One or two ships went down and all in all the whole thing was ridiculous. How easily wars can be begun for wrong reasons, how difficult to finish and how often those responsible walk away scot free. Are you listening Mr Blair?
The Beatles are not what they were, I wonder if they have not been eating right?
The thing to have in the 70's for young men and no doubt a lot of females was a 'Chopper' bike. These American styled bikes were popular but too flashy for me. I had to use my sisters bike years before and others obtained what they could and added 'Cowhorn' Handlebars to their junk bikes. I think I would rather have one of those than the 'Chopper.'
At the time I used the bus or a proper bike I now remember, cycling to London for a cheap holiday. Ha!
I know you girls all dressed like this when at work.
Mary Quant came along at the right time and changed fashion in the 60's. Born in 1934 she became famous in the 60's with mini skirts, which I noticed occasionally, and other things I didn't. She, unlike so many, married a husband and was still with him when he died in 1990. At 83 she does not design much today I would think.
Monday, 20 November 2017
It has been a lovely evening at the church men's group meeting. We meet in the club next door to me and have a jolly good time discussing things of great merit, like various beers, prices and being without the woman interrupting all night. Not only but being a private club of which many are members the prices are cheaper that regular pubs and the service friendlier.
A smallish group tonight, including the second vicar, chatting about nothing and everything and getting to understand the men and their lives. What a civilised way in which to do this, and cheap also, I liked that. Such a shame it is only once a month.
One advantage is the fact that all, but the vicar and one other, have retired and apart from my leaving early to prepare for work tomorrow in the museum nobody has to rush. This is one advantage of retirement. The lack of money is the disadvantage.
Nothing else happened today....
Saturday, 18 November 2017
The Alpacas were back in town today staring at the people desperate to fondle them and reacting in similar fashion to starlets surprised at the interview process in Hollywood studios, however the alpacas were less worldly in their approach. The animals were happy with the folks who brought them, they have been brought up by them sometimes fed as kids.
The lass with the pygmy goats told me how she expected soon to be hand rearing kids as some of the goats were producing at an inconsiderate period of the year. Some like the idea of working among animals and indeed it is enjoyable as we all know however she was well used to a 24 hour work timetable. These pygmy goats were happy to meet folks but happily they were not the type to jump out of the barricade which they hid behind, the one goat that could was not brought with them, though the children around would I suspect have been happy if a goat had wandered amongst them.
At the end of the month reindeer appear once again in the town centre, no sleighs following.
Grumblings on facebook forced me to rise early to find pictures of the sunrise. With red eyes almost
closed I struggled into the chilly air to seek pink skies outside the kitchen window. One appeared but the resulting snap, not to say anything about goosebumps caused by cold air, was not good enough though it was good enough in my view for the grumbler who chose to ignore it!
Later, once coffee had whitened much of the eyes I snapped the rising sun behind the catholic church, quite what it was doing there I know not. The looks from the few around me as I apparently attempted to picture Sainsburys car park I ignored and cut out said car park from the shot for decencies sake. Mornings and evenings, if up to see them, produce interesting skies.
Wandering home via the green slab of the park I noticed how the sky had changed and once again cutting cut the rough stuff found an interesting shot of the sky above us. The sight of the sky takes from my mind the thought of yet another Win 10 update that arrived last night at the wrong time. Once that had been dealt with the anti virus, 'AVAST,' followed suit and went through three restarts before I could continue. No problems have gone, the speedy machine is slower and I find it amazing that God can give us such skies after six days of work while Microsoft after twenty years of fiddling still cannot give us a safe, quick update!
Someone high up in government security mentioned helpfully today that he considered all our computers had been hacked by the Russians. This may well be true as they have been hacking for years and so many spam emails mean we all fall for some of them at one time or another, and one day they may well switch them all off or start being 'Big Brother' and talking to us from Moscow like it or not.
Interesting that nobody mentions that we too are hacking into Russian webspace and I suspect everybody else's webspace, possibly not President Trumps as we all know what he has on his laptop, but world leaders everywhere must giggle at any pictures Putin has on his! Rumour has it that the British Army has a 77 Brigade, though this could be nonsense, who's main job is to investigate the web and offer propaganda to the masses and oppose other nations hacking of the UKs webspace.
There must be such people for defence and if there isn't we have to ask why not? I wonder if one day Mrs May will knock on the door asking about my lack of support for her dictatorship, I expect her soon.
Friday, 17 November 2017
I was told today that tomorrow, Saturday, the shopping centre has its big Christmas Lights show. I queried why they were not doing it alongside the rest of the town including the museum and discovered council efficiency at work. The Lights switch on requires the High Street road to be closed off, closing off a road requires permission and investigation by the council and comments from relevant users. This was forgotten! Such permission is not hurried and the switch on for the rest happens on December 2nd instead, permission granted.
Now apart from shouting "IT'S NOVEMBER!" and wondering at council competence I wonder at the need for a big lights switch on, the reason of course is MONEY! Such shops as we possess, including ourselves at the museum, require folks to part with their cash, in our case for a good cause, and they for filthy lucre. Christmas is a time of worship, the worship of Mammon!
At least now we will not feel guilt at beginning our Christmas grab in November and can look down on others. I suspect however many other town centres and shopping havens have already offered the masses the 'Bread & Circus's' of entertaining Christmas stress. I will avoid this by sending gift cards to everyone and letting them stress for themselves, this leaves only an occasional gift to buy and life is easy again.
Thursday, 16 November 2017
From my window, as I glance out through the dingy glass, I see the colours of Autumn resplendent in the park across the road. After the rain began with night crashing down the streets were covered once again with golden rusting leaves. I doubt many amongst those hobbling along the pavement or slowly driving through rush hour really considered the leaves, tiredness, stress and hunger being higher priorities for the work slave.
When I first left work I took time to wander through the Public Gardens then run by an aged gardener. It surprised me somewhat as I had not in previous lives had such time to dwell on the foliage around me and much less time to take it in. Early morn as the sun had risen I sat in the hidden Bowery reading a worthy book and listening to the birds above me learning how to fly by bouncing of the branches nearby. I suspect reading such books today, elsewhere as vandals destroyed the seating, such reading would be devoid of young birds and leave me with a touch of frostbite. How I long for Spring already!
As one who never complains i will not mention the Mozilla Firefox update which has changed things once again to no-ones advantage as far as I can see. 'The fastest yet' they claim but not on my laptop mate! Either no difference or actually slower as they have added so much. I think I may have to go through all the 'apps' added by both updates and remove much to speed up the machine.
Just imagine, me wishing to speed up? I have been slowing down for the last ten years in everything bar laptop speed, waiting a millisecond longer than I wish gets me annoyed, yet someone wishing me to speed up on the pavement means I just stand aside and let them pass, I will be along soon enough.
Brexit, Mugabe, earthquakes, cold, heat, ...
life goes on but I am ignoring it tonight, as long as football is available I'm happy.
Sunday, 12 November 2017
The bitter wind did not stop several hundreds appearing at the memorial to pay their respects. How many came to pay respects and how many came to see their family member parade is of course never clear however a good number turned up on a bitterly cold afternoon.
George Osborne's austerity cutbacks threatened us with a shortage of police to close the road however an abundant of officers were detailed to a bigger parade in another town in the morning and several were detailed to support us. A delightful young policewoman informed me of this while complaining of freezing to death in the middle of the road. I say delightful but remain in no doubt had she the need she would break me in a moment! Never trust a woman!
The local MP, a friend of Boris, attended in spite of his fear Boris might get dumped and his chances of a minister role evaporating. He does have the right to the medals however. All the proper dignitaries were there as is right, what goes through their minds, especially those who have served in conflict at some stage?
Young and old from a variety of services always turn out, not all in uniform. The active ATC in the town has many members and those who I have spoken to always appear to have a positive future in the RAF in years to come. I suspect however it will not be a peaceful one while if we have peace at home conflict will be available somewhere in the world.
The expressions on the young are always worth watching. Most appear confused as to what is going on yet obey the commands on offer, though the flag bearers had to he instructed to lower their flag at the right time, I hope they lifted them again. Several groups of what we used to call Cubs and Scouts but now have a variety of different names were in attendance each and everyone wishing 'Long Johns' were back in fashion.
One thing I would like brought into the service is a mention of two or three names from the memorial. We had this in church in the morning as three names of those living nearby who fell were read out in our short service. I think it brings home to the public that the names are people, not just names.
E. Thorogood for instance joined up early and was turned down because of his youth, by 1918 he fell with the Machine Gun Corps during Ludendorff's Great and failing 'Push.' W. Saward was a dyer at the silk factory but by October 1915 he was 'presumed dead' at Loos. H.C. Simms was the unluckiest of all, the wireless operator on the S.S. Gitano they were headed for the Baltic during December after the war had ended and never arrived. It being presumed the ship hit a mine and disappeared and has never been found.
Over two hundred names from one war and around ninety from another but they are not just names they were people. I think the names ought to be mentioned each year after all some standing there may fall in the course of their duty the same way.
This excellent chap flies Apache Helicopters and is based quite near as often two of these noisy machines pass overhead the noise heard for miles around. These cannot be equated with stealth aircraft! I asked for a picture of his medals for the war memorial as I want such on the memorial to indicate something of the service many have offered. I did not ask his name nor about the medals as he had friends there and I did not wish to hold him up. These indicate a variety of operations, often under UN control and I note in particular Northern Ireland and Yugoslavia.
For thirty years we sent men to be shot in the back or blown up in Northern Ireland and yet to attain peace Tony Blair allowed members of the IRA Provos to be given 'Letters of Comfort' which meant these men, often men who had killed, could walk the streets free from justice. However now the police are investigating every killing by soldiers and police in Northern Ireland to see if a crime has occurred. How can murdering Provos walk free while those who risked their lives to end the conflict are threatened with jail? It is clear some rough men served in the army, it is clear things did occur that ought not to occur, it is also clear that war is a dangerous game and politicians who send men to war must be willing to take that blame instead of allowing their soldiers to take that blame.
Our soldiers deserve better.