Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The 'Beast.'

I awakened this morning to the sound of slow moving traffic, the sound deadened implying that the 'Beast from the East' had arrived.  Indeed three inches of snow has brought the nation to its knees!  Schools close, people 'work from home' whatever that means, and snowmen arise from back gardens here, there and everywhere.  
Only an idiot would venture out early in the morning to take pictures of snow similar to the snow seen in the past.  Therefore at 6:45 am this morning I, wearing the old Royal Mail boots I found under the bed, waiting until the council gardeners tractor with snow plough fitted raced by, I sauntered out Ernest Shackleton style across the park.

My hope that I was the first to cross in the snow was quickly disappointed, not only feet had trod this way before but some clot on a bike had cycled across heading for work and an accident somewhere along the road.  

Few others were seen, none spoke as I might be dangerous.  Quite how dangerous someone can be in three inches of snow early before seven in the morning does not strike me that clearly, though I can understand misery at that time people being unwilling to work on such a day.  Who can blame them?  I wonder if any postmen will arrive?  It is one thing to drive a van around the main roads but the back roads will not be cleared.  Those forced to push those barrows will be unwilling to go up the hills with them, difficult and dangerous I would say, so I suspect mail will be hindered understandably for a few days.

The town is covered in snow and I hear that London is also suffering.  This is good as it is about time they endured what the rest of the nation has to cope with.  If however it lies then a disaster will be called and troops will be out on the streets.  Poor Londoners.

I will do my bit for the nation while under this terrible blizzard, I will remain indoors drinking tea and laughing at those wandering abroad.  I suspect it will all have gone by tomorrow...

The snow having stopped I cleared the short path to our front door considering that if I didn't the snow underneath would harden in the icy night and become dangerous.  Naturally five minutes after I did so a passing thirty minute shower of heavy snow fell and covered it all again.  I suspect this will continue on and off all day.  I'm not doing it again....

The cheery weathermen, well the not so cheery lassie standing on the TV roof freezing to death, inform us there will be two more days of this stuff.  I might go out and panic buy a loaf of bread later. I wonder how they survive in Norway without difficulty as we strive valiantly against two or three days of the stuff every five or ten years or so?
Is it just me or am I the only person who suddenly wishes to eat ice cream...?

Maybe we ought to have a competition, who can come up with a better name than 'Beast from the East?'  I suppose the name originated in the tabloid media though some suggest it was in the Met Office itself,who knows?  However the people who name storms Suzanne or Geoff are well capable of such things I suggest.  Personally I would prefer 'Storm' or 'Gales' as to names on such things likewise 'Severe snowstorm' to 'Beast from the East.'  I would think those out in such weather may have their own name for such snowfall of course, none of which ought to be seen on here. 
How boring it is when there is little to say but "It snowed!"  Nothing else is happening, football is off because of snow, politics is off because of politicians, TV is off because of the programmes.  So I am off to finish lunch and go back to bed, it's warmer there...

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The Family Shrinks.

Our family, just six of us when I was a lad, has shrunk in recent years.  First of all died died from cancer, too much smoking over fifty years in 1969 when I was too young and stupid to comprehend. Then to our shock some 15 or so years ago my sister also had one of these things but of a different order and she too left us. My ageing mother complained that my sister expected to look after her and not the other way around!  Then some eight years ago mum joined them leaving us three only.  
Now my brother, who managed to get bits cut out of him last year and was still rather shaky, has gone and died rather surprisingly to us early this morning.  His son managed to get him into hospital via an ambulance early in the day yesterday and spent a while frantically calling his sister, the one with the brains, who was working in Austria.  
This morning we were told my brother died, possibly in his sleep, and now we are left wondering about arrangements and what will happen to the family there.  The problem is my niece lives in London and while her brother lives at home (both are in their 30's) their mother has begin dementia of some kind and life in the house looks to be a difficult one as the son is not the wisest.  Just imagine me without the intellect!  Hopefully soon my niece will get things organised, then we shall see what we shall see. 
Of course when I imply only two of us are left I ignore the nieces, nephews and their kids also but you realise that.  There are plenty of them at Christmas time and all very capable of looking after themselves these days.  However it does me my sister and her 82 year old husband along with myself are the oldest and she is drawing lots to see who is next!  I have not indicated to her that I am not feeling very well... 

The 'Beast from the Eats,' surely a name coined by a tabloid hack, arrived today but most of us did not notice.  It was certainly cold and while some snow fell even lying for around an hour or so it soon faded.  Snow showers fell and while leaving  for the short trip back to the museum from Tesco I walked into one and looked like a Nannook of the north for a few minutes, I got no sympathy just grinning workmates.  
The sky is now blue edged with pink as the sun goes down behind the trees, one day it will get stuck on top of them.  The weather gets chillier, minus 4 (28 F) last night and my feet are turning to ice as I type but this is nothing to get excited about, especially as I will jump into my bed soon where it is warmer!  Jack Frost was on my window a wee bit last night but most of us can cope.  The kids managed to get themselves into Victorian costume and into school today without fuss and I don't think they cared about the possible snow one bit.

I have ignored the news for a while and feel it has done me a lot of good.  No arguments on comments pages, no stress from slanted news coverage, no worries caused by fretting re the snow on the roads/rails/schools etc which lead to screaming paper headlines and mean little in reality.
My brain is stimulated instead by the Radio iPlayer and programmes found thereon.   This is much better and puts the shambles of this government in perspective.

The 'Beast from the East' has not hindered the dying sun from lighting up the trees around here wonderfully.  I will look out my boots for tomorrow just in case it arrives a day late.

Monday, 26 February 2018


Social media as well as other media is alive with warnings re the forthcoming snowstorm that will hit us tonight and tomorrow.  Panic is ensuing as police offer driving advice, weathermen gives constant updates and we are given the impression that a storm of untold magnitude will arrive.
It might offer three or four inches of snow.
Now I appreciate warnings as to such weather, I understand information from the police re roads, railways re services and other helpful news will enable life to continue in the difficulties but there is in my view a sense of needless panic in the air caused by this storm.
We have had them before, I grew up with them as they happen every year, usually around this time, yet we continued to live as normally as possible.  Schools closed then as now in spite of old folks grumbling that they never closed in the past, roads get slippy and blocked, trains services are delayed and within a day or two everything is back to normal.
It may well be this will be a week of snow and cold nights, minus 4 around here probably tonight, but most folks will survive and the world will slowly continue.  The panic, the warnings the neurosis which comes with every weather occurrence is however a new phenomena which reflects badly on a nation which is not able to cope with anything that upsets their equilibrium. Maybe we have as they say become soft and cannot cope, maybe we are just more obviously selfish than we once were as a nation.  After all we have long since dumped the 'all together for one another' attitude that saw people through two world wars and a depression or two, that created the NHS and organised the nation to work for the common good.  All that is gone and the self is the most important aspect for most people, politicians have a lot to answer for as have the media.
I must go out in this tomorrow, I suspect I will survive unless frostbite gets me...

Sunday, 25 February 2018


Church this morning was filled with brooding women.
One couple brought their firstborn into church, a couple of weeks old, tiny in comparison to everyone else, and was handed around from one woman to another.  This was not just a happy occasion it was a very happy occasion as just over a  year ago the mother lost her child shortly before it was born. There was much joy in seeing the face of mum and dad as they at last got to hold their own child.  
Of course the brooding women of all ages do not have to spend the next couple of months waking every two hours feeding the brute.  They will mollycoddle the child on Sundays and be unavailable at three in the morning when feeding time arrives.
I'm with them I must say!

While this maternity gossip was going on a three month old child in the foyer was being passed around in similar fashion.  This one the child of the vicar and already being made comfortable with a wide variety of people.  No difficulty in getting this one used to people he already met around a dozen this morning.  

Watching the small child again gave thoughts of the wonder of childbirth and the way they are made. Children are made in the mother, they are not the mothers body, a fact which has to be repeated constantly to those who are willing to murder their child in abortion.  The sight of sch a small helpless child shows just how dependent we are at that stage on the mother, and she on the father as two are required to create a child, not just the mum.  God's plan via this method was to show us our dependence on one another as well as on him. How people can dump a child proclaiming it 'just a bunch of cells' is hard to comprehend when a child is so small and so complete.  The human holocaust, some nine million in the UK alone since 1967 is a disgrace and judgement awaits because of this.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Tuesday Twaddle

Another day of joy and fun has ended peacefully.
Nobody got injured, no fights broke out, no war ensued.
A quiet day at the museum.
Visitors there were, few today but asking awkward questions and not spending any money, that type we get irked by.  This does not include the small school of around a dozen lovely wee kids who arrived to study the Stone Age.  Some came dressed appropriately but the others thought the weather was too cold to dress up.  All enjoyed their day as you would expect, they enjoyed the shop better however!

It is funny the books that people buy.  This is the only copy left of 'Buses in Essex,' a slow seller but one that will go.  That said I have a book on Edinburgh buses that I found fascinating therefore I see this as an acceptable and understandable volume.  You can suggest the most unlikely subject but it is clear someone somewhere will have written a book about it and many will keep a volume on their shelves.  Why is it that such subjects fascinate us?  We seem for 'heritage' or 'nostalgic' reasons to like such books but there are always 'anoraks' who have a subject knowledge that would win the 'Mastermind' if questioned on their hobby.  What makes us so interested in obscure things?  An escape from the world, possibly, maybe just something out of the ordinary that tickles us by the obscurity?  At least it keeps us off the streets.

As noted elsewhere Spring is in the air!  This is great, the daffodils begin to sprout, the days last longer, the early mornings are filled with the sound of Robins and Blackbirds announce the dawn and on occasions the sun itself can be seen mounting slowly into the sky.

Naturally the rain has returned and they are threatening us with Siberian snow this weekend well into March.  Nothing unusual in this as it happens often as this is winter.  The kids will love the snow, the whole nation will come to a standstill, outrage will fill the media and nothing will change and within a day or two all will be forgotten.
Meanwhile 'Brexit' continues and as yet nobody actually knows what is going on!  Maybe the cold weather will freeze the whole operation?

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Day Out!

Yesterday I decided that of the sun shone and if I was awake I would head out somewhere, it has been a while since I did so.  Last year was horrendous with my knees irking me and the bug that never leaves never leaving.  So after what passed for a late breakfast I made off towards the bus stop with seven minutes to spare.
It has been a while since I toddled off on the 'zimmer' bus  and I was surprised that he arrived on time and did not delay us by changing drivers as they usually do.  'What Ho! Jeeves!' I said to myself and presented my bus pass to the drivers machine.
It didn't work.
It didn't work a second time.  The driver looked at it and said "It's out of date."  
I was surprised as it read 14th July. 
"2017!" he said.
Jings!  I knew it had been a while and mentioned I was sicker than I thought I had been and began to reach for my cash.  Checking my pass carefully he gave me back my money and proffered a free ticket reminding me to get a new pass right away.  I offered thanks and sat in the back of the bus full of embarrassment and shame at my stupidity.  His kindness stuck in my mind, not all drivers would do this although most of them around here are good I find, but the shame of my inability to read the bus pass humbled me as did his reaction.  

Apologising again as I got off I headed into the sun to find something different from the daily grind. I had been desperate to get away from the usual wandering about town and wished to see sunshine and something new.  This wee town, village actually with about 5000 inhabitants, is only six miles away and offered a few photos and a newish scene.  This waterfront looks good today but the buildings were no doubt industrial at one time.  The 19th century saw this village as heavily involved in brewing, four breweries here now turned into other uses, and many remnants of industry remain, often used as housing these days. 

An excellent view and as you can see Paddington Bear was happily enjoying the view and soaking up the sunshine.  Just like Peru or Paddington Station!

A monastery was established by Stephen and Matilda in 1140 and the Abbey remains are now in private hands and unreachable down a long, muddy, lane.  However the tithe barn remains an excellent example of the barns in which the citizens deposited their tithe of produce to the church.  This one, Grange Barn, was closed today (much to my delight as it costs £7:50 though you do also get admission to one of the famous houses in the town) and the National Trust folks were working in the surrounding area so I kept away.  I was in it many years ago but I believe it has been upgraded for visitors since.

I noticed one small Beehive sitting outside the barn with a red tile on it.  Whether this is the way they control bees around here I know not but the monks in days past must have kept bees as well as the sheep which they hoped would make them rich, wool a great industry at the time.

The muddy lane allowed me to see some sunshine and a wee bit of countryside which was what my little brain needed.  Some decent houses around here, large and small, many dating back aeons and almost 300 listed buildings in such a small place.  

We had a book in the museum which gave detailed plans of how many Coggeshall houses had been constructed.  Many began as simple four walled dwellings and developed over the years, additions to the side or back, possibly another story added as wealth allowed with the fireplace and brick chimney at the end as soon as the owner could afford one.  This house calls itself 'Tudor House' and it may well be from that period. 

Coggeshall has a reputation for strange behaviour, the people are not that friendly, middle class wealth abounds and historical attitudes have not died down as yet. The stupidity is revealed through the tale of chaining a wheelbarrow after it had been bitten by a dog in case it spread rabies!  Some of the older women smiled at me somewhat nervously as I passed but there is nothing new in this...

I wanted to see countryside but there were few views and at this time of year little is to be seen.  The sun shining brightly obscured my shots as I aimed in his direction but here we see greenery, with trees in the distance and that is almost countryside!

While sheep did not die out farming did increase and this magnificent Georgian looking farmhouse stand in from of a large ancient building which tells us that some farmers were doing very well around here.  Whether they treated their serfs well or paid their men more than the seven shillings and sixpence some earned by 1900 I cannot tell but someone was doing OK throughout the 19th century.

Farming has changed a lot in the past fifty years and this petrol pump may in fact have been used only for Diesel.  Farmers use tractors and other vehicles off road therefore they do not have to pay tax on the fuel they use in them, this diesel is coloured red and 'Red Diesel' is popular among truck drivers as it saves them plenty.  A traffic police sergeant some years ago informed me of the various dodges they use to fill their large tanks with this illegal substance as it save them a fabulous amount. When caught with red and not blue (taxed) diesel they end up paying out more.  This farm has not made much use of theirs for a while.

Electricity, just to proove that it is available in this village, in case you doubted...

I thought that with it being half term the kids would be out and about.  However the cold wind might have forced mum to keep them indoors.  This will not help the ducks and swans that usually reside under the bridge, none were seen today.

Look!  No ducks!

The monks in the distant past attempted to revive the dead Roman art of brick making, their bricks ceased in time also, however the 19th century was a great time to be a maker of bricks around here, especially red bricks, the village is covered in them.  Admittedly many go back into the distant past and the many walls around large old buildings may be older than I can determine but red bricks in the houses chimneys and walls are everywhere.   The temptation to carve your names and your supposed love life on the walls never ends.

This tree abounded with these, whatever they are.

This other tree was full of these.

Some folks made good use of their money.

The blue sky above the clock tower does not indicate the cold chill.  It was time to get back on the bus.  However when it arrived it was the same driver and my shame forced me to wander away and await the next bus.  I paid the cash on that one determined to fix the bus pass problem very soon...

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Wednesday Cheat...

 I stole this from Lee.

If there were ten people, living or dead, I would invite to dinner, they would be: None, the last woman I invited worked for the Environmental Health at the Council and she closed down my kitchen.

A book that means a lot to me: All non fiction are worthwhile. 

A movie that resonates with me: None, they are all crap!

A song that speaks to me:  Songs speak at different ages, just now I hear 'Stockhausen!'

Someone who makes me laugh: The writing of Galton & Simpson.

My worst fashion moment: Fashion...?

The best thing about living: Not being dead.

My worst habit is:  Breathing (so I've been told).

The weirdest place I've been recognised is:  I never get recognised as those who recognise me hide as I approach.

The last time I cried was: Reading this.

My first job was: As 15 year old Office Boy in Bells Whisky Bond in Leith.  They soon got rid of me.

If my house caught fire, the first thing I'd grab would be:  Me!

Five years from now, I will be:  32.

My favourite toy as a child was:  Hornby Dublo train set.

My secret skill is:  What...?

You wouldn't know it but I'm no good at:  Nothing.

My biggest regret is:  Not believing Jesus.

I wish I had:  A little cabin, on acreage with no nearby neighbours, along with a view of the sea.

I wish I hadn't:  Too much to go over here...

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Holiday Fun they Say

The half term holiday is here!
So early this morning I opened the door f the museum and soon, much too soon, had the kids and mums and the occasional dad, appearing for the activities.  As they trooped in it did at one point appear that Genghis Khans hordes were at the door but it was merely mums and kids.   
Until Friday this will be repeated and I believe the kids will have much fun each day.  Certainly they enjoyed themselves today as the lass who runs it does very well.  Mums often tell us how good she is with them and the kids.  Naturally she worries she is not getting it right but once again we had to turn folks away as the sessions are full each day!
In between the kids coming and cheerfully going we had several visitors who we had good conversations with.  Good to hear their tales, sometimes of family woe, sometimes of good events and experiences, all of them interesting to us.  
Sadly this meant my tea was tepid by the time I got around to drinking it again.  We have so many cups of lukewarm tea that when I get home to a hot cup I am beginning to find it unusual!  

Nothing else has happened.
I have been strangely tired for a few days for no reason.  
Mental exhaustion I say.
The girls at work thought differently...
Tomorrow I will work hard reading books, that will help.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Slow Saturday

The sun strives to break through this afternoon following on from a delightful pink sunrise observed from the edge of my bed as I woke this morning.  Pink mornings are of course a shepherds warning though nobody knows who this shepherd actually is, he was however right.  The dull clouds turn to light but persistent rain forcing me to remain indoors watching football.  English football and I soon fell asleep.  
That sums up the day.
I hope yours was more exciting.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Census Fun Among the Books

As I made my way towards the museum yesterday I came upon a thousand schoolchildren plus teachers heading my way.  These it appeared were happy excited kids going into the museum for a day of fun and learning, I joined them much worrying for the teacher in front who had not realised I was working there.  
Soon after they had trooped through the door a woman followed with a query re her house.  She wanted to know its history, people etc, and foolishly I offered to search for her after showing several sites she needs to investigate.  This has left me with a few hours of staring at maps, census returns which provided some answers, searching through books was less successful but one answer did arise.  It appears the web is better than books at some things.

This followed on from a similar check on some info given re a dead soldier, I had failed to realise there were ten children in his family not eight, I would suggest his mother knew how many there were right enough.  Another census check, another ''Ancestry' search, and another amendment to the site.
It never fails to amaze me how many people look for dead soldiers.  Whether out of interest, family research, military interest or just simply wandering what it is all about I every so often get comments, requests or interesting info on the men who marched away.  I find them more interesting than those around me.  One thing becomes more clear, they are no different to those around me,  culture changes but human nature does not, in fact I am convinced now that meeting the grandsons and great grandsons of men who died gives a decent idea of what kind of men they were, this I am sorry to say is not always pleasant.  These 'heroes,' these 'brave boys,' were men just like the rest, if only we regarded them as such instead of cutting them down to our image.

There is a lot of talk about Pankhurst's terrorist women these days, I wonder if it is possible to chain today's version to railings throughout the nation, for the good of the nation...?

Much fuss has been made today re 'Cheddar Man,'  Apparently this chap, who died around 10,000 years ago, is thought to have been kind of black.   "This is what Britons looked like just after the last ice age," is what is sort of said.  Hmmm.  An examination along with professional guesswork reaches this conclusion, this of course may be right, and this may indicate that living in the cold north we lost our pigmentation and became white.  However some indicate the chap fund in the Alps dating to 5000 BC was indeed white, unless they will soon discover different, and it is doubtful pigmentation would change so soon.
There are so many intelligent guesses in such work.  Conclusions on limited and often difficult evidence may lead to thoughtful and possibly correct understandings but on the other hand may be wildly erroneous.  For myself I would love it to be true that the members of the 'English Defence League' are indeed descended from an African.  The UKIP faction stopping foreign Joghnny's at the border may be better asking "Are you my long lost brother?"  I doubt they will however and the 'Daily Mail' reader is having a fit as he reads.   
We are after all 'All Jock Tamson's bairns.