Thursday, 31 May 2018

Estuary by Rachel Lichtenstein

This book is great!
Having a liking for the sea and a wish to spend time around the estuary of the Thames I was glad to mae use of the Christmas Book Voucher in Waterstones to get my hands on it.  The author, brought up in Leigh on Sea, took a few years to sail on, travel around and talk to people who worked or used the estuary.  Once of course many boats went out from the inlets to catch fish, cockles, oysters and the like and this dangerous but fascinating work continued for generations after generation.  There was often of course nothing else to do so the danger of the sea was what was on offer.  Today the work continues but much reduced and very technically improved.
Rachel sailed on the refurbished Dutch sailing barge 'Ideaal,' once a working barge that from the 1920's carried freight on these waters but now served as home to Be the owner.  They took a trip from near the Tower Bridge along to Southend where a storm gave an indication of a seaman's life.
Meetings with men who once and on occasion still fish for cockles tells us of the arduous life such men endured.  Women were not allowed to work at sea, not only were they considered unlucky the job was dangerous and all too often the boat did not return.  There job was on shore, with the kids and often dealing with what was brought in the next morning.  Many lost their men to storms and mishaps, this a danger no less today than before for those who work at sea.
The author frequently refers to the huge new London Gateway Port as many believe the dredging for this colossal project has harmed the fishing grounds, moved sandbanks, often dangerous enough as they shift during the night, and created an environmental disaster in the making.  One day vast container ships will plough through the seas, mostly from China, to unload at the port polluting the Thames and killing the sealife.  We will have to wait and see if this is the case.
Southend and the pier where once immigrants landed and others left for far shores gates a visit, as do several aged rusty defence forts built during the second world war to defend the estuary from German bombers.  Some of these have been made use of since, illegally and often with conflict, while one, 'Sealand,' outside the seven mile limit has become an interdependent nation.
The 'SS Montgomery' gets a mention, this 'Liberty ship' became stranded on a sandbank during the war and while much of the munitions aboard were removed a great many remain.  This is a perfectly safe wreck except for the thought that an unfortunate accident might blow the ship up sending debris around twenty miles from the source.  This indeed happened during the Great War when the 'Princes Irene' exploded while loading mines killing many people and causing a great deal of damage. She remains where she sank also on the Medway.
As she travels around we read of the long history of the estuary, ships have travelled this way for millennia bringing and taking, wars have been fought, many fortifications remain, and the newer nature reserves are built of land once used by the army or navy.  Canvey Island, just see how many 'islands' dot this coast, sits on what was just a sandbank that grew and grew, 'Two Tree Island' grew from the London rubbish dumped there and now is too polluted for human habitation, wildlife survives fine.
Wandering around the estuary, or sitting on it watching other vessels pass by, we read of history and get a eel for the scenery all around.  Her descriptions of the shoreline are fine though some reviewers feel she is too girlie I feel.  That is certainly an element and she does not hide her fears when they arise, this ought not to put us of the book however.  I particularly liked the later chapters of sailing the yacht 'Jacomina.'  Her descriptions of the view of disappearing land, passing ships and the sounds of water as they headed towards Harwich, especially in the dark were excellent.  I can now understand why people wish to travel the world on such boats.  What does is the mistakes that appear, sloppy, tired editing possibly, and the photos which while excellent are indeed too dark in the pages of this book.  It is however possible to understand what is in the photographers mind.
This is not a perfect book but worth a read to get the 'feel' of the estuary, the size and danger, the busyness of the seas, and understand what culture lies behind those who grew in this area.
This book is worth a read.

I have just found a site with a chapter from the book and the photos also but the photos are in colour and well worth a look!   Spitalfields Life

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Blogger Changes

Blogger has made changes.
These changes are of course intended to 'improve' Blogger, they are not under any circumstances a method of saving them money or enabling them to dig out more info and dump more ads upon the user.  Not in any way are they anything but a method of improving the service.
Of course on the 'Official Blogger Blog' there are many asking obvious questions among which is the "Why am I no longer getting email notifications?"
A long line of people have asked this and it is noticeable that Blogger has not bothered to reply, this tells us much.  It certainly tells us this will not come back, it tells us our preferences are of no importance and gives an indication that possibly we might be better looking to 'WordPress' in future.  This would create much trouble for many but it would be Blogger's fault!  If email warnings are not received it requires a dip into the 'Control Page' or whatever they call it to search if any comments have arrived.  This is acceptable if only a few comments make it through but what about those who receive many comments?  Ths is hard work for them and allows spam to arrive on old and long forgotten pages.
The whole site was altered when I looked the other day, nothing was changed except the size was restored to what they call normal and I am awaiting the discovery of anything else that has been removed, dropped or lost in this shake up.
Whatever happens Blogger, Google, will make money from this.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Another Holiday Monday

The Day off has similar weather to yesterday with an added breeze.  Some folks down on the estuary will be out in their 'Smacks' and 'Dinghy's' while others will fill the day messing about on boats, mostly near the wine cupboard.
The town is quiet, with Half Term upon us it is usual at this time of year for folks to go away, those that have the cash that is.  Us poor people simply plod around the gardens once again trying to find the fish in the pond, you can just glimpse a big one at the bottom of this picture.  Several Goldfish can be seen, bigger than those found in most homes, and tempting for the occasional Heron that passes by.

With most shops remaining closed and there being nothing to see but the half dressed women strolling about I sauntered around the gardens and through the town stopping only at Tesco when I realised I had nothing to eat bar what remained frozen in the freezer.
Forward planning is not my greatest talent.  My freezer is full, some of the contents nourishing, but to eat them they need to defrost, how I wish I could remember to check whether they are cooked from frozen or not when buying.  I must buy an emergency pizza tomorrow...

I was very struck by the greenery around me today.  It appears greener than usual and there appears a very wide variety of green on offer.  Spring is such a good time!  I note my starlings young have managed to work out how to feed themselves from the feeder and therefore I need feed them less as I suspect the talent of catching the early worm has also been taught them.
This is just as well as I noticed one of my feeder had gone last night.  I went down are retrieved it but left most of the pellets behind as I could not gather them up.  This is not a problem for me but is for my neighbour as it landed in there space.  About a year ago she had the area tarted up with red bricks and only last night I noticed the mess the birds had left.  Oh dear thought I something must be done.  I am awaiting a nice thunderstorm with pelting rain to clear the mess  and I will reduce the feed for a while.  

The thunder arrived this afternoon but it forgot to bring rain.  Hopefully this will arrive tonight clearing the brickwork and the 'close' air that hangs around us.  This taste of summer is welcome but around here it usually ends with thunder and lightning.  The South West and Midlands areas have been hit with torrential rain leading to flooding in some parts.  Those in low lying areas suffer so badly at limes like this and there is little they can do to protect themselves.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Band in the Park

The weather brought the band into the ark today.  The people crowded around, the regulars in their folding chairs, some on blankets, all with picnics and drinks around.  The crowd was smaller than usual as the long weekend and half term coincide and many are off at this time of year, some for the weekend some for the week.  Mostly the gathering is of those of an elderly persuasion, they noting the band playing 'When I'm 64' and muttering "When was I 64?" at many parts of the ground.  

The church had decided to picnic there and quite a few had congregated by the time I arrived.  They went straight from church to sit in the sunshine while I staggered home after serving teas and coffees, washing up afterwards and then having to eat and sleep it off!  I was not down to work this morning but as the woman was sick I foolishly went into the kitchen and was pounced on to help.  It is difficult to refuse some people.  The quiet pleading voice that indirectly mentions a situation while leaving open the chance for you to 'volunteer' in spite of everything else.

There is a serious anomaly in this world, children can run around a park, in bright hot sunshine, for hours.  You and I try this and within minutes we are under the nearest tree for shade or under the doctor for a new heart.  Surely a better idea would be to give kids sloth, and allow them slowly to develop energy while keeping the high levels up well into the senile years?  I see nothing wrong with that.  Young folks full of energy and bright ideas with no understanding of the world ought to be banned, while folks with such understanding ought to be given energy to put their plans into action.
Life isn't fair!

The music gently rolled along, though why they sat in the direct sunlight I do not understand, and the population rolled along with it.  The kids rushing around, the old crones mature lolling in their chairs or on one of the benches, few actually speaking to strangers I noted.  I did try this with a man shoving his kid back and forth on the swings but he took fright and ran off.  Maybe it was me?

Sun shining through leaves, a kind of hundred foot Fern here.  Lovely to see the bright colours when the sun shines.

Whatever they are were nesting happily in the sunshine.  One or two similar found elsewhere.  I think I prefer Blue flowers more than others these days.

As I sauntered home I noted a pilot taking advantage of the clear skies to add a few hours to his log book.  This was more than those flying from Stansted Airport last night could do, the lightning which flashed around here hit the fuel delivery service.  Planes were trapped on the ground as they could not refuel, others were delayed by the hold up and all flights have problems.  The passengers were unhappy but as many travel 'Ryanair'  that is to be expected.  

Tomorrow folks will be walking around the colour of beetroot! 

Friday, 25 May 2018


Trump has been having a good time.  Since moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, I wonder what the staff thought about that, and pandering to the rednecks who he thinks will ignore the tales of women abused, many wives, lie after lie, the loss of staff daily he has now made a mess of both Iran and North Korea! 
Moving the embassy because of US political electorate and because he is being pulled by a string the Israeli President is holding is one thing, not a good thing, but ignoring the consequences of such action and indeed taking a one sided view as politicians always is is clearly a bad thing.  While agreeing God has placed the Jews back in their homeland, thanks to the British, it is not always right to rush ahead thoughtlessly by following the will of an ungodly Israeli leader.  All Israeli leaders since 1948 have been secular, not religious Jews.
Trump must be pleased with the report that Prince William (which one is he?) will visit Israel and go visit the West Bank also!
To add to this the ending of an agreement which the majority of EU nations thought wise, and indeed the best possible at the time, just to play the tough guy is reckless at best and plain stupid at worst.  Iran is not just another Arab nation, Iran goes back, in their own mind, to Cyrus the Great some 2500 years ago and see themselves as a big nation in that part of the world.  They do not take bullying from the west easily, especially after the treatment the UK and Russia have given them in the past.
Here the US follow Israel and Saudi in their fear of Iran.  Because of that already the Saudi's have broken Syria with the west's backing, who knows what would happen had Russia not intervened, and a region already overflowing with refugees now has millions more, but we do nothing about this.  Being Arabs and far away they really don't count do they?
Quite how Trump has gone from 'bigging up' his meeting with the North Korean leader to blowing it in such style I fail to understand.  It could be China have intervened, the trade with the US is important here, and we never know what is going on behind the scenes,especially in North Korea.  
Two nuclear nations, so called, yet Trump plays games and offers an impression of not really knowing what he is doing.  The comments made in the media may of course have been deliberate, the whole thing is likely a game Kim is playing also, but we are left wishing a more sedate, indeed intelligent, President lived in the White House.  Is there no chance we can have one soon?

Today Europeans face the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into existence today. This is an EU rule that is intended to give individuals control over what facebook and Google and the like make of your data.  So for a while lots of emails from many companies have arrived demanding we 'accept' or not, or in facebook and Google's case 'take it or leave it!   
In short a great deal of fuss from folks who will not rob us, a great deal of words from the main ones who do!  These will continue to use our data, the weird people in charge gathering the cash, the power and who knows for what reason while our precious data is transferred into adverts for those daft enough not to download 'adblockplus.'  
I am not sure it is worth the fuss but someone somewhere will continue to make money and get around these laws.  The intention is good but while these folks are now open to huge fines if found guilty of avoiding the law it will take years to sort that out and they will have the data until then.  Most of us will not see much difference.  If we don't like it we can always dump facebook and Google and that will hurt them.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

A Hard Days Work...

Another hard day at work over.  
I say 'hard' but much of that was due to being asleep when I arrived just before ten.  It was incredibly difficult to waken this morning and coffee did not help.  Only when the cleaner man was leaving and stopped to chat did the adrenalin kick in.  Had he not stopped I may well have drifted into stupor and fallen under the desk.
However as we spoke a lad did arrive asking for information re maps.  This was more interesting than the exhibition.  The trouble with maps I find is that once I begin looking at them I cannot stop.  For some reason pouring over an old map from fifty or so years ago is really interesting.  I just did it now to ensure Old Maps had the map I thought he was looking for and I almost forgot myself again.  So much has change since 1961, the basic layout is similar but so many changes within that have occurred.  Change is not always good but it is inevitable.  Last time I looked at my old part of Edinburgh on Google Maps I was shocked to see the changes, some things have been there for years and have disappeared!  Other things remain the same but that is not always a good thing.  

Then followed an hour, or so it seemed like, with a woman wishing to talk about her dead relative.  He was one who fell during the Great War and this lass was supposed to arrive several months ago but chose not to.  Today she turned up unannounced for a chat re the letters and material concerning her forebear.  As the curator was elsewhere I was with her for a while and made clear I wanted all she had, but of course the curator decides whether we can or cannot hold such as this.  Once the two chatted for ten minutes, well about thirty as she can talk this lass, she can talk, it was decided she ought to discuss with the Records office and the Regimental Museum what they thought about it all.  Naturally I told her lies re the record office mice, the museums lack of care and that WE ought to have this stuff, especially me.  However after discussion she has arranged meetings with the others and I strongly suspect the material, letters, stories, medals, etc, will be with us soon.  I hope so or the curator will hear about this.
By the time all this had finished it was time to go home.  Such a hard life...


Monday, 21 May 2018

Media Clickbait

How much clearer life is when the papers are not filled with that wedding!  
Forty million pounds wasted on the benefit scroungers and masses of papers sold to those buying souvenir editions that will remain tucked away in cupboards for years to come. 
Bah! To all that I say!
Half the UK want to keep the monarchy, the other half do not.  The decent half cannot understand why people fawn over the royals, what is it that such silver spooned folks have that makes people wish to be near them?  Is it a desire to be one of them?  Just imagine living your life surrounded by underpaid fawning staff and grubby overpaid media personnel who will sentimentalise you today and stab you in the back tomorrow, do such folks really want that?  I feel sorry for the royals as none of them want to be in their position, however many in the nation do not wish to be in the position they are in either and just have to get on with it.  A life of luxury has its costs as much as a life at the bottom end.
Looking at the media all those I glanced at today were filling half their online pages with the wedding and the aftermath, this is them cutting down!  Clearly the media on all sides are pushing this heavily for the clickbait and realise there is an audience out there willing to be led like sheep.  It is indeed a worry that people are so easily fooled by such pomp, what is it within us that makes people seek celebs so desperately?  Clearly the hunger for God is within us all and requires satisfaction but half the church yesterday, if not all, were glued to their screens.  It may surprise you to know I missed it all.  I feel none the worse for that.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Evening Volunteer Awards

Friday saw me dragged away from my bed to attend the Museum Volunteer Oscars once again.
Here gathered in a crowd of mingling beauties I attended wearing my best funeral/wedding/important date suit, I even cleaned my shoes.
Looking around it was at first difficult to identify people the scrubbing and dressing disguising folks in plain sight.  I have never noticed one of two of them were actually women before last night.  There again that might have been the imitation champagne on offer.  
Speeches were made, flannel was offered, and individuals praised for their contribution and photographs taken (by me).  One read her poem, prepared well in advance, another her imitation poem (prepared by the previous poet as she has talent) and one or two other stuttered when paraded in front of the audience.
Naturally I was presented with an award for something, I was discussing with another when this was announced and still don't know what it was for, but I received it graciously and placed it with all my other award.  

Clutching the Oscars the congregation gathered around the chocolate cake on offer for the managers "cough" 30th birthday.  Here silence almost reigned as the guzzling became more important than gossip, something not unusual among such women I note, chocolate being guzzled quite often during the week...
In the cool of the day, well night, we headed home laden with prize and content that we the volunteers were important to the museum and as I happened to point out the museum would not work without us!
The volunteers agreed...

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Meandering Waffle

I managed to survive the big day on Sunday, 'Textile Day' was a roaring success and by a clever trick I survived this day - I stayed at home!  It appears the multitudes did arrive, did spend money, did buy loads of cards in handfuls, did gossip, admire and altogether have a real good time.  I had better, I stayed in bed.
Tuesday however I was warned of a group arriving to visit, this soon occurred.  One woman arrived just after ten when she claimed they all would be meeting, ignoring the women gathering outside.  Eventually another woman arrived and then they came together to the prearranged meeting with one of my many bosses.  However still they women arrived, all of dubious ages, as there was a second group meeting here but not informing us, and they happily gathered themselves together slowly until they all arrived much later than planned.  It was however not their fault.  
This at a time when we have just begun to replace the heating system therefore half the museum is out of bounds.  Plumbers and staff, not me I must not leave my post, spent the day moving, clearing, carrying and hiding things while I attended to the ladies.  

While one meeting went quickly, as quickly as any all female meeting can go, the other group sauntered around examining each item and discussing its merits and meaning. I did not listen in, I had my own opinions.  The girls happily spent much time on each exhibit, and some it must be said are very well done, before coming in to the shop on the way out and spending money!  This was pleasing.  Such exhibitions do not attract great crowds during the year so to see groups making the most of them and enjoying themselves, and they appeared happy, was a good thing.

The laptop has been playing up.  It has been running slow and I have run all the proper items to speed things and also removed and altered other items.  On top of this the online banking has not allowed me in, so I must spend time changing all the info to see how much I have not got.  All this takes time as I also have been sorting out all the items on those memory sticks which are lying around.  These have become somewhat confused and there are several items (big items) on more than one disk and often twice on that!  
During this process, in between the grunts, swear words and oops I've closed it down somehow, reactions I have been discovering old pictures.  This one taken at Sandbanks a while back.  How lovely to be there when the sun shines, or indeed at other times.  At one time I considered moving there but it never felt right, which is a pity as I miss the sea and friends are there, but they at least are happy so that is one thing I suppose.

This Lightship was based at St Katherine's Dock positioned as you can see near Tower Bridge.  These one time busy docks had been transformed into residences of a variety of ships and the warehouses around contained shops etc and flats above for the upcoming rich.  In the late 70's I wandered down Wapping High Street, until then I had always known High Streets as laces full of shops and businesses but here I discovered, in between the empty spaces left by WW2 bombing, towering warehouses on both sides of the street.  A bit run down and seedy with the occasional burnt out church or ruin but quiet enough at the time.  How many people worked alongside these buildings?  How many famous or predecessors of famous people walked up Wapping Steps off shipping in days gone by.  How many foggy London nights saw ships rocking gently in the tide?  In the 70's all this had gone, only an occasional moored barge on the far side reflected the distant past. When I wandered there in the 90's these warehouses were now expensive flats with their own 'Oddbins' wine shop at the foot in easy reach for the trendy residents.  The two up, two down, houses of the late Victorian era had not survived the council planners even if they had survived the blitz.  Modern housing, expensive at that, filled the area outside the ex-warehouses and sleek cars sped past where once growling lorries or horse and carts had pulled their loads.  

Now you folks with any sense will regard this picture as boring.  There is a reason for this, it is a boring picture!  It is one I took some 20 years ago when I first had the bike and sauntered out around the area looking at the sky, dangerous on a bike, and watching green fields with strange crops therein.  Having sent so many years in the concrete jungle this was refreshing to the eyes and the locals could not see it because it was just always there!  I could see it and enjoy it, no matter how boring such pictures appear to be.  All around that road there were fields, they must be similar today, crops pushing into the sky cheering the farmer and possibly encouraging wildlife.  I am not so sure such fields help wildlife myself though the number of fields left fallow under EU rules has meant these fields do encourage birds and bees and other creatures to thrive.  I did however here a warning that rabbits, once covering the UK have disappeared from many areas.  In Scotland some 80% of rabbits have gone, about 60% in the rest of the UK.  Why I did not hear but many birds are also failing, sparrows are less in evidence and the Swifts that must soon appear are less in  number each year.  Maybe people have taken to eating rabbits rather than use foodbanks...?

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Tiring Weekend

An emotionally tiring weekend.
Saturday I sat through three full games, from the 'National League' play-off to the Dundee v Partick Thistle relegation battle.  Thistle now enter the play off on Thursday.  Today I was forced to watch Hibernian playing Rangers.  Now this is a time when I want Hibs to win! Anyone playing the old firm has my vote and today the Hibs numtys went in to a 3 nil lead within 20 minutes.  Fantastic to watch the Huns fans staring into space.   Naturally Hibs threw it away and not long into the second half they were 5-3 down!  However perseverance brought them level to a 5-5 result in the end.  With Aberdeen defeating Celtic (who lay down I suspect) this means Aberdeen finish second for the fourth year in a row and Rangers sadly finish third.  Hibs are fourth and we are happy to remain in sixth place, the season has been hard for a variety of reasons exemplified by the fact that in our last game today we had only four senior players fit so the youngsters, eleven teenagers, were in the squad and fiver were on the pitch today, two for their debuts.  The loss of a single goal was satisfactory in the situation and we now plan for next season.  Of course I also watched the Dumbarton v Alloa play-off tonight, the fifth this weekend, and am happy to see Alloa rise to the second tier of Scottish football. 
Just a handful of proper games left, then a cup final or two, and the season is over.  I must say that watching European giants play is far less satisfying than watching lesser clubs fight for promotion or to avoid relegation.  Such games have more desire and while the talent is less the entertainment is much more.  Real Madrid could learn a lot from these boys.
I am worn out now...

Friday, 11 May 2018

Book Tokens in the Sun

I escaped on the zimmer bus this morning to exchange my Xmas book tokens at Waterstones.  This took me out on a hot day eager to see bookshelves.  Therefore I stopped in the cathedral first as they have a book stall and sadly discovered this had been shorn somewhat, it transpired that next door the Diocesan House contained a bookshop also and they were working on not competing with one another. 

This meant I had to walk over the graves to the House and visit their small bookshop.  I felt it unfortunate that much of their stock was too similar, some discussion required between the two I think to get this right.  I would think the more 'heavy' books, commentaries etc, ought to be in the House while more 'daily' sorts in the cathedral, but what do I know?  All I know is that Christians do not buy books to learn about the book and the author but prefer books that make them feel good or offer the fashionable 'soup of the day.'

So down the High Street to the bookshop where I found three books worth spending my voucher on. There were more obviously but I am not greedy (much).  Browsing among the tables, much easier than the low shelves, I chose, eventually, 'Babylon' by Paul Kriwaczeck as I like the Sumer type of history, way back in the early days of southern Iraq.  'Undertones of War' by Edmund Blunden, supposed to be a WW1 'classic,' in time we shall see and 'Estuary' by Rachel Lichtenstein.  This purports to tell of the Thames Estuary, a place not far from here, rich in history and something I like reading about. 
All these books will lie on the pile of 'Books to read' which must be brought nearer where I sit as they are in danger of toppling from a height at the moment and this could be dangerous.  Naturally I now wish to drop the books I am reading and begin on these but must show some discipline and wait until ready.  This is not easy.

Home tired and aching I longed for sleep and wished to read the books at the same time.
However I was somewhat put out by a comment from Jerry in Missouri his state of health.  He has been very unwell for some time and his sick wife died not that long ago and now with his heart in a poor state he feels seriously that his time is short.  I rather regret this.
This Redneck has been a rude and nasty man to me for a while now, I like him! His humour and desire for God is real and he is able to argue, though never able to accept that I am right, tsk!  I fear for his health.

On a somewhat lighter note this music is what followed me around town all day.

Thursday, 10 May 2018


High above a four engines aircraft takes of for far away places.  I wonder however if this is a freight plane, possibly one of those UPS or such like aircraft you see dotted around airports idling away.  The middle of the day is not when I would expect such to be flying however so it may be on the way to Florida or the like.  Just over a hundred years ago such flights became possible, now we regard it like a bus service to far away places (well I don't as I canny afford it) and moan constantly about flight delays without considering that a hundred years ago you would not have had the cash to fly to these places.  If you had cash you went by boat and took a week or a month maybe to get to the destination, risking all in high seas and dubious travel agents.
I made use of Flightradar to track a man flying to far away places.  I was interested to follow his flight from Heathrow airport across Surrey and Kent and over the channel.  The trip took a few minutes to travel the distance and I cogitated on how long it would have taken to walk that distance, the Roman army allowed about 15 miles as a days march unless pushed, so how long would it have taken a fit walker?  It would take me until the ambulance picked me up!  A few minutes travel at 500 mph is far better than most other methods for getting around but we do take it for granted.  The more we have the more we want and the more we do not appreciate what we have.  Strange logic really.  A man offered a lift on a horse and cart on a long journey, at three miles an hour, would probably appreciate the lift more than the one sitting in row 36 at thirty two thousand feet.  They might complain about the neighbours, the toilet queue or the food.  
Looking at the European flightpaths on Flightradar reveals hundreds of aircraft criss crossing the continent, it is a wonder there are so few accidents.  Having been outside Heathrow many times it is possible to see an aircraft landing and a second landing as the first turns off the runway with the lights of four more coming behind.  If only the rest of the airport operated as efficiently as the landing and take offs do.
The transport of freight also is hastened by aircraft. Veg grown in Africa can be on our tables within 24 hours all to often.  When I was a lad, indeed until the 1980's exotic foodstuffs like peppers were only bought by the rich and anything beyond cabbage was unheard of.  How things have changed, yet we eat worse than before with a much better choice (Kippers, Beans and Waffles tonight).  I may be unhappy in the morning...  

Wandering back from the Post Office, I had to send chocolate to a woman for her birthday, it might have been cheaper to take it there, chocolate is heavy!  Anyway the sun was shining, the temperature just right and my aches allowed to to get their and back.  I did stop and chat to a man who has dug the front of his garden thus making friends with a Blackbird and a Robin.  While it is clear someone has put something on the ground before, probably weedkiller, and there are few worms to be seen in his earth the birds still came looking for something, anything, that might pop its head up to be chomped.  This was holding back his rate of work but he seemed happy with this.
No football tonight, this is good as I need emotional stability after watching the last Edinburgh derby of the season.  The stresses I endure watching such a game cannot be equalled by anything else, though listening to a woman talk about her baby can be stressful, and after such an important game I need to rest for a few hours.  I know how the players must be feeling today... 

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Earworms and Books

Each morning I wake, look out at the clear blue sky (no really) and find my head filled with music I do not wish to hear.  There has been a selection of appalling tunes that have wandered through my head for a while before I can get something musical into the head.
Bing Crosby crooning one morning, Sousa marches the next.  I have endured bland inconsequential pop music that I have had no idea I knew, even Irish rebel songs stuck there for hours one day.  Now I can accept Van Morrison repeating the same line over and over but I am not putting up with 'Buck Fizz' under any circumstances!  
If only there was a way of fixing it that certain tunes and melodies would fill the head when empty rather having rotten dross take over the space between the ears, and you see how big that is.  I look for one of these old systems we used to have on gramophones that dropped the next record onto the pile and played what you wished rather than what is given.  I suspect this is a problem that will not go away.
I note that walking up the street at various speeds (slow, slower) then music in the head fits the speed.  Possibly this is why I am so slow at walking?  Maybe a bit of Beethoven or AC/DC would speed me up?  I do not however wish for tunes to fit while shopping in Tesco, that would be unwise.

This card makes sense to me.  The writer missed out charity shops, remainder bookshops and anywhere else books are on sale.  The only disappointment is when they are all junk books, you know the women's books that no man would read, the famous authors that are not as good as they are made out, the books that win trophy's that are junk, all that can be ignored.
However it is fascinating to search a large second hand bookshop, always the best if you can find one, when you find a book long forgotten but always desired.  A book read years before or concerning someone or something that connects with you that has not be wither known to exist or extremely rare.  It helps if it is cheap also.
I think I may seek a bookshop tomorrow...

Friday, 4 May 2018

Friday Frippery

Having struggled to do so yesterday I eventually made it to the shopping centre today to enquire about mealworm pellets to feed the birds.  I found the big shop there sells them and has plenty in stock.  However at £3:50 for a bag that costs £1 in the other shops or £2 in the wee pet supply shop I can see why they are a big national company.
I trudged home via the Marks & Sparks food hall spending my money there on overpriced foodstuffs, though I failed to see the meat I wanted, the greedy Friday shoppers had got in first.  Still I got something and the empty fridge was pleased.
Later I ventured out for bird seed and found a tub costing £5:99, from which I got 10% off as the top was broken, and a similar tub in the big pet shop cost £12:50!!!!  I am amazed!
Since then, birds happily squabbling outside, I have spent an enormous amount of time attempting to log in to the online bank.  I appear to have made a mess of the password so changed it after three attempts to log in, then after several more failed attempts I changed the next bit.  This also failed after I changed it so I am none to happy with the bank that now says I must change things again!
I went into a huff instead.
Where would we be without technology...?

The local elections did not trouble me yesterday sadly, we had no vote this time, this is disappointing as I like to  vote for someone who fails to unseat the Tory.  However in spite of the Tory press claiming victory when you stand back it is clear Labour and the LIb-Dems did well and the Tory succeeded simply because UKIP voters returned to vote for the Tory party.  The 'Swivel-eyed-Loons' are coming home.
Those Brexit areas full of Little Englanders and racists continued to vote Conservative, elsewhere folks voted against Brexit by choosing the Lib-Dem though our Conservative dominated council lost a seat and now one member of the Labour Party can be found there, that area is not a UKIP stronghold however.  
Not much change overall, no change in Tory cost cutting hitting the poorest, no change in the mess that is Downing Street, no change in the nation.  A sad day.
I did notice the  Conservative members in Peterborough in that picture.  The many Asians there are renown for their hard work and Tory approach, I wonder if they will remain loyal to the party when the Home Office visits and tells them they are 'Not British' and about to be deported back to Pakistan or India...?

Tuesday, 1 May 2018


Hmmm yes it's that time of year again when history is replaced by textiles.  This is not quite true as the Silk Weavers Archive are responsible for this and many folks come from all over to their Textile Day each year.  We hold an exhibition during this time and this one features many 'works of art.'  
Now my opinion of 'works of art' varies from the opinion proffered by 'art lovers' as I live in the real world.  To this end I have been told in full and frank exchange of views with the ruling authorities I am not allowed to refer to the 'artworks' as 'Tea towels.'

The ladies who produce this charge in the region of between £60 and £600 for the items on show.  I have not noticed any being sold as yet.  However I did sell a card made from one of the designs on show (£2:50) and I did think the cards look very good and our customers will appreciate them at that price.  
Some have writing on them to reveal an artists view of the world, I was banned from adding my opinion to them also, and I began to wonder about the people, all women, who produce such 'works of art' and make money from it.  Are these all middle class 'arty' women who see this a s a way to change the world or just a few who reckon they can make money out of this?   One or two will be doing workshops but so far only one person appears to have signed up for them (at £25 a go).  This goes down well at the archive so it is a surprise so few show interest, maybe they are working on their 'tea towels' 'works of art.' 

The wee camera is not that good and does not bring out the colour properly on these 'works of art' however it was all I had and to be honest this one might be improved, or not as the case may be.
Textiles, like cards made from the design, appeal to some but not to me, a cloth is ether the one you want or it is not but it is not something to spend much time worrying over.  Some women do take a long time over such things however ensuring each design matches other items, not in this house...

With such an exhibition I expected this to be my view all day.  However not only did they give me things to do but several people came in for a variety of reasons including viewing the exhibition.
This kept me awake.
Nothing else happened.