Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Edinburgh Changes the World.

Edinburgh, 'Scotias Darling,' sits high and mighty upon the castle rock, a symbol of strength and power if ever there was one.  Like so many symbols it is of course untrue.  Not only in the last hundred years has such an edifice become useless is major wars it was also found to be ineffective in holding back the forces of 'Bonny Prince Charlie' back in 1745.  That was the year Charles attempted, rather badly to retake the throne of Scotland and England for his father James.  This Jacobite rebellion went as successfully as the others with Charlie eventually taken over the seas to Skye dressed as a woman and rowed there by another, Flora MacDonald.  This conflict, such as it was, the last proper British 'civil war' ended badly but left a deep scar on Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland.
In 1707 the parliament was stolen by deceit and removed to Westminster, Scotland's few Members of that house to small in number and for the most part forced to the sidelines, could do little there.  Edinburgh, deprived of parliament and the hangers on that followed in its wake, died a death and economic collapse was real for many years.
Following the rebellion various attempts are stimulating the city were aroused with many becoming very strongly attached to London.  Even the Kirk was divided with many younger men looking south for reasons of their own and many others looking south and also to France and the so called 'age of reason.'  Men such as David Hume wished to remove power from the Kirk, a power it had wielded since the reformation, and replace this with reason, in his case of course 'his reason.'  Many went along with him, few who attended church then as in many other years were actually believers, most just stayed out of trouble, and a great many of the 'educated' wished to investigate 'reason.'  Hume went so far as to try to teach Edinburgh people to speak 'English' so as to improve their chances in the world.  Not all went along with this as a walk down the High Street today would prove.  Then came Adam Smith with his fancy ideals of trade.  These ideas appealed to Margaret Thatcher even if she missed out his bit about caring for the weak in society.  It appears he wished to encourage trade but allow the cash to flow around so the poor were not left behind.  Margaret heard the bit about profit but not the bit about the poor, 'trickle down theory' was just another way of keeping all the cash to themselves, as today's Conservative cabinet prove. 
Edinburgh did take advantage of what was n offer and men like George Drummond made the most of things.  The 'New Town' was laid out, the 'Mound' created as a way of transport there and back, the 'Bridges' erected and the 'Nor Loch' drained, thus the Edinburgh we know came into being even if the progress was slow and the rich preferred to live to the south of the city and not the north.
This book by James Buchan was published in 2004, I wish I had read it at school!  I learned things, many things, about Edinburgh I did not know.  How ignorant I was of the growth of the city and the people behind it.  How stupid of schools not to teach so much more about our city.  Much was taught, but there again the class I was in contained many who found spelling 'Edinburgh' pretty difficult so maybe it is understandable.  
This was a good book, with insights into people and events I knew not.  Many things I understood and those living there would comprehend the place much better with reading this book.  It must be said some of the philosophical ideas were not just boring but a weariness to read, but that goes with the study I suppose.  This was one of those books you just cannot put down, so I didn't.

Sometimes we have young folks studying for appropriate degrees in museum studies, their hope being to end up running the British Museum or some such.  I see it as my duty to ensure they realise that such exciting work comes with sitting at a computer entering details hour after hour, precision being a must and only after that actually setting out museums, creating exhibitions and meeting the public can be contemplated.  Another aspect is kids work.  Yesterday morn I spent a wonderfully exciting time preparing these cut outs for the kids.  Quite what they do with them I did not ask, I just went ahead while in between searching the web for info for the lass who will be going to a local school soon.  Two of us eventually sat then chopping things up, searching the web, weaving occurred in Egypt at least 500 BC did you know?  And all the time we sat there people came in to disturb us.  Some to enter there names for events, some to bring in Christmas raffle tickets before we knew they had gone out, one couple to bring the granddaughter to see the museum.  And the phone kept ringing also.  We were so busy time to go home came before I knew it.   It was a good day mind.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Monday Meeting

Monday saw me hobble down to the museum for one of our quarterly meetings.  I would much rather have stayed in bed.  I am so weary for some reason, overwork is not responsible, and coffee does not work.
It was not going to be a happy day, the door was locked, no-one was answering.  This meant enter by the back door at the far end of the building, this too was locked.  Thus I went moodily the long way round through the cafe and entered the premises.  Here I dumped my ragged coat, claiming a decent seat at the front so I could hear what was being said this time around, and walked back the whole length of the building to get myself a Poppy from our collection box, we always have one and I want to use ours to help the profits.  
Returning the long way back, worn out and unloved but without complaining I graciously took my seat beside a new woman of whom I now little.  Gossip continued, I had not been noticed, and then we began what I suspected would be a long meeting.  If the big boss is there he takes an hour to answer a question, speaking in those well trained 'council' type statements which mean a great deal but actually say nothing.  There were also suspects who I could see liked to talk and discuss things that need no words but get them anyway.

Someone must have been reading one of those management books that have ruined many an office with fancy practices and we were split into small groups, even though there were only 10 of us lackeys present, and told to offer suggestions on ways to improve things.  I offered cut out this sort of thing when I am brain dead, but this was rejected on a technicality as apparently that was not unusual.  So suggestions were written down and offered to the leadership who swallowed hard and made a note of each one while we watched even the good ideas disappear into the litter bin. 
Suggestions made we then were informed of the museums comments made re the new building soon to be erected opposite the museum.  (This is one of the top council man's desperate idea to waste money and build an unsuitable building in that spot for reasons unknown.  This has been going on for over 20 years.)  This led to comments from one gentleman among us who has a bee in his bonnet re this building, not me, and we then had a stand of between council educated boss and slow speaking and always questioning without listening opponent.  I watched the clock and considered what to eat later.
Some time later we were informed of the next daft exhibition which I consider a waste but she who must be obeyed considers will bring in the crowds.  Indeed crowds of art types with their middle class art love and little comprehension of real life.  Not that I am one to complain as we could do a small exhibition for the armistice but she 'had not the time.'  A mistake I feel.  Two talks and a blog by me is not enough I consider.
The future plans were mentioned and I was ridiculed as the kids exhibition next year is appropriate for me but unfortunately as the acoustics are bad I have no idea what the exhibition is about or what they were laughing and pointing at me about.  I may not sleep tonight.

As the meeting slowly ground to a close, all hoping he in the corner would not interject again, I noticed the time.  It was also noticed that the clock had not been turned back as it ought and we were not an hour overdue as I thought but on time, just in time to get out before it gets dark!
The boss revealed his management efficiency by taking the large clock down and checking the time carefully turned the hands to 25 minutes past the hour.  Sadly he had turned the hands the wrong way and put it forward an hour showing us why his two girls grumble about him at home!
I then limped off through the town enjoying the bright sun and freezing wind, almost wandering into Tesco out of habit, and gratefully made it home to my warmish nest.  Tomorrow I am off out again to the museum for the weekly duty, then going back later for a get together to celebrate 25 to the day that the museum opened.  Red wine, cake and most of us scrubbed up a wee bit and maybe a few old faces returning, not that we lack 'old faces' already of course.  

Nothing planned after that.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Sunday Sabbath, Full of Joy

The Sabbath night draws to a close.  
I set my face this morning to avoid mirth, put on my darkest outfit, my black frock coat, clenched a black bible firmly in my hand and unsmilingly went forth to celebrate the joy of the Lord.  How terrible I thought to see people smiling and rejoicing in the sunshine, at least the sunshine between rain that is.  Women wore bright colours, though on occasion not as bright as some young men were wearing, dogs were being walked and children were heard laughing in the park opposite, cars were being driven and shops were open.  It appears some people were turning the Lords day into a day of joy, surely that should be stopped?

Actually it was not quite like that.  
The sun and rain was correct however, with added wind chill.  The church was full of happy people even though I was called upon to do the reading which featured men being circumcised with flint knives.  Instead of saying 'This is the word of the Lord,' all I could say after reading that bit was 'Amen!'  A glance around the congregation revealed men in uncomfortable positions.  No-one questioned the mistake I made, showing how knowledgeable this lot are, nor the use of flint knives. Knives made of flint are probable sharper than those in most kitchens and around 1200 BC they were used to making them so they would be precision tools.  It was all about getting ready to serve Gods purpose and preparing to be one nation together and all of one heart or something along that line.  We were all rather happy afterwards, relief I suppose!  

All week my knees have been irking me and today was no exception, for much of the week I have done little and been out only occasionally.  Having Saturday indoors was boring, no football, so I forced myself out twice the second time to see the fancy exciting market.  It was not that exciting. 
As Christmas shopping demands increase more market stalls will appear as entrepreneurs set up to make a killing with their home made delights.  My delight is finishing the shopping, writing the cards and having all lined up waiting to go.  Just one or two odds and ends to finish off nearer the time.  
I am preparing the smug grin for when people inform me how difficult shopping at Christmas can be. I am happy to be ignored and despised, I'm used to it.

What a difference winter makes when it arrives.  Curtains drawn, heater on, electric light instead of natural window light, the atmosphere changes completely.  Only a few decades ago candles and oil lamps were prevalent in so many dwellings, especially those far from big cities.  This town still had gas street lighting someone claimed until 1956 a claim I have yet to confirm.  It does seem unlikely but it is possible.  Some people find this atmosphere 'cosy' others find it like a prison.  Either way it is different and already I am looking forward to December 21st when the nights begin to get shorter.
The season also offers one advantage that of the clocks changing by going back one hour, a very good idea but spoiled by my body clock not being aware of this and waking me at the usual and now wrong time.  Few people appear to have been caught out and it is early in the year when the clocks change that mistakes are made, as I once found out.  Now we endure the ghastly needless Halloween followed by total Christmas shop desperation until financial suicide and Brexit sorry Christmas arrive.  Hopefully the second referendum on that arrives soon after Christmas, although I would be happy to have one now, well at least in the legal six weeks time.  That would be fun!

Friday, 26 October 2018

Fun Packed Friday

I have spent much of the day attempting to get this old laptop to speed up.  Whatever I try it makes no difference.  I suspect that having done all the usual recommended things I need to get a geek to look at the innards and check things like clock speed and whatever else inside is appropriate.  I would look inside myself but have no idea what I am looking at nor what anything there does.  That would then lead to a worse situation.  I want to use this as a spare laptop, for when the proper one goes down as they do, yet this one has always been slow, much too slow in my opinion and I wonder if something inside is responsible.  Hopefully a geek will appear one day.

There are lots of forgotten photos on here mind.  I am not sure how old but one or two are OK.  There is very little else however I did have the joy of awaiting the Microsoft update download, it took so long I took to doing the ironing while I waited!  In fact so many items I run took so long I hoovered the place, finished the Christmas cards, and generally tidied the place after a weeks sloth.  
Searching through old pictures is at least something interesting but this leaves me wondering why I have not dumped most of them.  Still as I have not got out much, my knees ache from last weeks running around and Tuesdays fun, so not much has been done nor have I wished to go anywhere bar the shops.  Having only one gift card to buy, possibly one or two wee things for one or two kids, and no more cards required I appear to be finished my Christmas shop before November! Maybe that is not so bad after all?

There will be a great many mums giving a sigh of relief tonight.  The half term holiday week has ended, Monday brings the cheery children trudging back to imprisonment in school, happy days - for us!  No more wandering through Tesco with hundreds of brats filling the place, screaming, running or, even worse, being helpful to mum.  The mums I saw were somewhat overcome with the help they were receiving.  
The Welsh holidays begin this week I now understand, the Scots hols were the week before, on the one hand local arrangements are best but some consider something more unified would be better.  On the other hand Scots are not going to tale hols to suit English needs, and have always noticed the TV planners cared only for English requirements not Scots, and I imagine Wales finds he same.  On the other hand too many places on holiday at the same time leads to crowds, and price increases, however after Brexit there will only be home holidays and no-one will be able to cross the channel, not that they will have the cash to do so anyway!

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Kids Day

Big magic day,thousands of kids, mums too, grans and weary granddads, all rushing about, screaming (the adults) yelling and shouting and playing around.  Face painting, I declined, cupcake making and making noise was on the agenda.  Inn the hall pirate fighting training was underway which I also avoided those kids and violent, and all were dressed up.  The boss with luminous green eyes was a bit off-putting at first. 
Now I have three days to sleep it off and do the things undone...

Monday, 22 October 2018

Another Day, Another Charity Shop...

Jumping aboard the airport bus I flew along past greenery tinged with golden leaves reflecting the bright sunshine, ploughed fields full of stubble glinting in the sun and overhead a deep blue Mediterranean sky.  Another plus was the bus was neither full or held up on the way.  I was in two minds about journeying out but I was keen to be outside and wished to visit the rich town and search the charity shops there for expensive goodies.  Thus it was worth the risk of meeting women with far too many children on the bus and happily the risk did not transpire, few were to be seen and the only one in sight was being manhandled by a frustrated and very annoyed mum!  Children are such a blessing!

As we headed for the town centre I noticed a charity shop unseen before.  This one runs two ambulances for the terminally ill, taking them from home or hospital to Hospices it appears.  Not a very cheerful occupation but one that must be needed by many people today.
The shop is compact and overflowing as such shops ought to be.  The small space was full of an African family shopping as I was but for personal reasons not seeking items for wearing at the museum.  They appeared to be more successful than I.  However a rummage in the small crowded book area at the back forced me to acquire two more books, both urgently required as I am sure you understand, and while nothing else was suitable 75p for two books clearly was.  
One thins was the helpful chatty girls running the shop.  While it is crowded it is good to have friendly staff greeting customers.  In fact the other shops I went into today did not provide such a response.  One or two rather wary staff in one and a half smile in another, very disappointing in my view.  Even the Oxfam shop, which usually provides a smiling staff, gave neither a bargain or anything I wished.  Most unusual in my view.  However I will return to the Audrey Appleton shop in the future and will look out for the one in Caesaromagus also!

This was an interesting sign to notice.  There were several posted around the town and it is good to see an effort being made to remember the war dead, and not just for two wars, but for a hundred years.  Well done Dunmow!
Our town appears to have done little if anything and the museum has failed to put on even a slight exhibition for the armistice.  This caused a gentle argument in which I may have participated...
I am sick of shopping now...

Of course I may have upset one dour cashier myself, offering a ten pound note for £2 worth of goods and taking all her change.  There again it was the Co-op and I notice that in almost every Co-op the service is poor and the staff unfriendly.  Is it just me?

Saturday, 20 October 2018


As part of the Christmas shop I joined the happy throng in Caesaromagus this lunchtime.  I had intended to go to the wee town of Great Dunmow and search the Oxfam shop there, rich town rich pickings, but the bus for Caesaromagus came in and I hopped on.  I was going to go there on Monday anyway as Waterstone's Bookshop was my aim.  
So sitting in the sun drenched, not quite zimmer, bus we toddled along through the Essex countryside, green and pleasant, with a mass of greenery to be seen all around from the top deck.  How lovely to get out of town and see distant woods and fields resting for the winter, some of course were still producing green things of various shapes and other the green that comes form having been harvested and prepared for the next round of farming.
The city was crowded, the stalls in the centre joined by a Frank Sinatra imitator sitting on a pedestal accompanied by his big band produced by a tape deck and a loud speaker, not too shabby was he.  At the far end a chap was playing a steel drum kit extremely well also and I wondered if they had licensed the music offerings in the town centre, there were no Bob Dylan clones to be seen.
One or two of what we now must call 'homeless' were to be seen, one sat Muslim prayer style before his empty coffee cup, another had laid out lots of kids toys for sale, though where he got them from is unknown.  
It was almost a summer like scene the day very warm and winter still only threatened for later in the week.  I worked my way through the disappearing number of charity shops and trudged all the way to the far end of the centre to find a one time cheap charity shop now charged huge prices for old goods.  We have become used to some doing that but it is a sad day when they all turn out this way.

The Waterstone's staff were as efficient and cheery as always happily letting me buy three grossly expensive book vouchers while smiling all the time.  I bet she is on a bonus!  The staff were helpful and I found the other day when shopping that was the case in many places in town so I did something about it.  On the local facebook page I put up a post suggesting folks spoke f the good service in various shops and many people jumped in to do just that.  Far too many spend their time miserable and moaning about things but here there was a good response to those who gave good service.  Grasping my vouchers, neatly placed in small envelopes for me along with the myriads of paper bits I made my way through the town.
I had been looking for the charity shops for items relating to our Tuesday show day where we have to dress up.  This appears easy for the women as they have an abundance of offerings at home,  I however as a mere man have to work at this.  One item only I bought, a maroon bow tie, on a stretchy cord, for £2:99 was a bargain from the Caesaromagus Oxfam shop, a place with more bargains than their expensive Bookshop round the corner!  Again the service was pleasant.
Having done all I could I ventured into the cathedral where the bell ringers were giving it laldy high above.  Either they were practising or they were drunk on communion wine, I was not sure which but the sound was continuous for a very long time.  Amazingly the place was deserted, in the middle, possibly to drown out the noise from the bells, a lass was heaving a hoover across the huge empty floor while a man began carrying chairs ready for the next day.  It looked tiring work so I made my way out again.

My last task in the ever warming day was another trip through the indoor market.  On the way there I passed the Essex County Council building which features one block that was built between 1919 and 1939.  Interestingly just above the doorway we find these swastika features.  Part of the decoration that runs around the building.  It was queried a couple of years ago why these were created at that time, Hitler having come to power in 1933, yet no answer has been forthcoming.  It may be a coincidence, possibly a mason had a Moseley like tendency but we may never know.  Nothing has been done about removing them and so far no-one else has complained.  Boris probably admires them...
In the market I collected my chicken bits from the butcher, his vegetarian sausages (he says they contain meat) and then I bought three huge chunks of cheese as I was tempted by the sight of so much on offer.  The nurse did say that time I miss drop cheese but really she is trying to kill me, I must have cheese or I die!  So I bought some including some black 'carob' filled cheese.  The woman said no-one had died from eating it, yet if they had would she know...?

On my way to the bus early this morning I met a lady saying "Excuse me."  Normally I would answer but I know this woman.  Sadly she is mentally ill and once before stopped to ask for 'a penny.'  It took a moment to realise all was not well.  Recently the facebook page has had a long tale of her knocking on doors late at night asking directions or for money.  This has worried some women who were alone at the time.  It worried one mum who discovered she offered to 'toss off her 15 year old  son for £5' an offer we are sadly not able to conform or deny nor to know whether he accepted the offer or not. A later post claimed she wanted £15, a 15 would find it cheaper elsewhere.  Today I made use of a passing mum with pushchair to avoid answering this oriental lady and hastened towards the bus ashamed both of my cowardice and inability to know what to say or do for her.  She is known to the police, probably has some sort of care somewhere but this leaves me guilty about doing nothing and having no idea how to handle the situation.
Helpfully have spent all my money and was seated on top of the bus for the return journey my steaming debit card smouldering in my pocket only one other passenger came upstairs. He sat on the other front seat and proceeded to talk to himself all the way home.  He also had clear problems, possibly from birth but somehow I suspected brain damage from an accident, and I thought it might be a sign of some sort.  I was very wary when once home and piling my new debts on the desk I opened my e-mail very carefully indeed.  You never know what some loon might send me...
Christmas shop almost done... 

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Shopping Delight

I am sure you will all rejoice with me in that in spite of my heavy work schedule I have in fact obtained five, yes five Christmas presents already!  Oh yes I am not sitting around waiting, five lucky people will receive their cheap tat from the local charity shops and think I am doing them a favour!
Just a shame not all can be obtained so easily.
Did I mention my nieces birthday? I wish I had as nobody mentioned it to me!  It was as I glanced at the calendar that I noticed her birthday was ten days before and I ought to do something.  You must remember that I also missed it by several days last year and that she will be getting neurotic in the way women do when birthdays are missed.  This is not surprising as women in their fifties do get neurotic about age, though those turning 30 much more so I find.  So I sent a rude card and enclosed a rude excuse blaming everybody but myself.
She is still not speaking to me...

When I look at the news I note Theresa May has been rebuffed by the EU and she is being decried by members of her party.  Each day it is the same, each day liars demand we 'Keep to the democratic will of the people,' or at least the people who believed the lies they were told and went along with the little englanders and lying politicians while more sensible people indicate the problems that will follow and seek to end the madness.  Each day it is the same yet nothing changes.  I have stopped listening now as there is nothing sensible being said, if it is said it is ignored and the desperation on all sides  merely offers more lies.  And how the media, led by the BBC and Murdoch have failed the people.
While all this goes on 'Universal Credit' the much maligned failing benefit system is still being rolled out, people are not getting their money, they are starving, being evicted and dying and this manslaughter carries on as if it did not matter.  What is happening out there...?
Our local foodbank now has two services running, and this is a Tory area, where is the MP and why has he not investigated?  I know where he is he is trying to find who to link up with as Boris his friend has shot his bolt and now he requires another 'friend' in the House.  This is becoming difficult for him.  As he is now Deputy Party Chairman he has not got time to bother with constituents as he must keep in with the powerful whoever they are.

My packet still has not been collected!

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Zeppelin Talk

I spent a decent afternoon listening to Peter Jones telling us about Zeppelins and the Great War.  Around 20 of us were happily ensconced, fed tea and cheap biscuits and informed of the basics of dropping bombs from 17,000 feet.
From steam powered dirigibles to airships that could fly at such a height, higher in 1914 than any aircraft could reach, and cover over 2000 miles with 5 ton of bombs on board and while killing a mere 500 or so people during their short reign they did create mass panic and fear in the civilian population.  The mental outlook early in the century was one of technical progress and wonderful scientific achievement the thought that such creations could hurl death from far above went to the heart of the populace.  War had not touched the civil population since 1745 and the experience for those on the 'Home Front' must have been worrying.  However in comparison to the real war taking place in other arts of the globe this was nothing but pinpricks to the UK, some 500 men died every day on the western front!  
The hall is not great for pictures, the darkness is slight and the sun shining through at the far end of the hall was a pest however we got through it, most are regulars at such talks, and for £4 (£3 as most are over 65) it is a good afternoon for many.  

As the museums military expert in that I know nothing else and have read a book on the war I found I knew most of what was coming though I did not realise that the anti-aircraft guns, invented merely to fight Zeppelins, had a success rate of hitting the beast at 1 in every 8000 rounds!  Zeppelins are difficult to see in the dark and moving at 65 mph  are not where you saw them when your shell arrives 20 seconds later.  No wonder they were so hard to hit.  Hit they were and of the 103 that were made some 51 were destroyed.  With 20 men aboard, and most died as the beast fell to the ground in flames, this was a costly exercise but keep in mind it was less costly than the front line.  The propaganda offered by such terror bombing was worth the loss some would say and by 1917 the Gotha bomber was taking the place of hydrogen filled balloons.  These planes were more stable and better at dealing with windy conditions even if they could not get above 13,000 feet.  These aircraft continued the bombing campaign and like the Zeppelin menace causing many aircraft to be based in Essex to defend London and limiting their use on the western front.   
Considering the morning had been reasonably quiet and when busy all under control mostly it has been a good day.  No mistakes, no arguments, everything went smoothly, the girls all smiled without being after something and I made it up the stairs without calling for help.  A good day.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Maudlin Monday

There is nothing better than starting the day realising you have forgotten the niece's birthday.  Not only forgotten but forgotten from two weeks ago!  The same thing happened last year.  Is it any wonder she never talks to me?  So in spite of the mirk outside, making the place inside appear dreich, I was forced to enter Sainsburys in search of a gift card suitable for a woman who has everything and more.  Naturally I was there about 11 am when the whole town discovered it also had run out of bread and so we stood waiting at the checkout while grasping our baskets (men) and trolleys (women) as if our lives depended on them.  Noting the quickest checkout I joined in, the lass i front making space, and we both considered we would soon be out of there.  No!  Instead one of those women who question everything was questioning everything as we waited, the bill, the voucher ticket, the weather, she went on in spite of the checkout lass doing her best to subtly move her on.  By the time she left half the other lines had dwindled away.  Grinning cheerfully the next lass moved in and soon we were paying over the top for the directors fat pensions.  I once tried to get such a job as checkout staff but I am not sure my temperament would be suitable for that work. Working in the museum shop is very different but does have its moments, however I have not yet slaughtered anyone the way I would in a supermarket.

Anyway the card was purchased, a suitable note explaining (lying) concerning the reason for the delay will be included and my favourite niece will soon be ignoring me again. 
However the gift cards must be perused again soon as Christmas chopping is under way, cards being the easy way out of that chore.  However it is beginning to worry me regarding the shop cards that are available.  So many shops are closing down and others being taken over plus the Brexit disaster all combining to mean the cards might be worthless by the time I send them.  Will any company still exist?
I suppose there is always Amazon, that is one organisation that will exist as the man who owns it has more money than most governments these days.  After Brexit this government will have nothing and he might well take over, of course his money is already (allegedly!) running the 'Leave' campaign so he will not mind whatever happens.

I had a new type of spam the other day.  A nice chap claimed he had put  a 'trojan' on my computer a while back and had been watching what I was doing.  If however I did not put $500 into his account he would show everyone on my address book what I had been up to.  He implied this was something 'interesting.'  I was intrigued, however I failed to pass on money, anyone who has hacked me would at least know my name, but I was hoping he had sold my dirty secrets around the land but there appears to have been no response so far.  If you get the dirt on me let me know, I might want to look at it again...

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Nothing Happened

Nothing has happened since I got the new mattress as I have suffered ever since.
Working the next day, hard work even though not one visitor entered, running around sorting others mess before I even started.  Getting milk to discover it was already there and since then suffering aches in my knees that will not leave. 
Therefore I have gone no further than Tesco.
This is made worse as the sun has shone, in spite of strong winds which must have done Wales no good as they got the rain that goes with it, and I was stuck in here.
Worse also was Scotland's ignoble defeat from Israel, my inability to see it as I don't have SKY TV and no football on worth watching until Friday night and tonight.  
However I did meet the new Landlord on Wednesday.  By new I mean the daughter of my deceased Landlord who alongside her husband has taken over the running of the shop.  This went reasonably well and indicates good things especially as I dropped a note to her mum after dad died and it appears mum remembered me and liked the note.  I will not get evicted for a wee while then?
I wish I had invited her in for a cup of cheap tea, the place was tidy and it might not be so for a while again! Tsk!

There was a royal wedding this week, it took up most of the media for a not important royal and cost millions of public money.  Her father may be pleased but public money has never meant much to him, he ought to be a Tory MP, he has the makings.
But I ask, who are the folks that queue up all night to be there when it happens?  I understand women watching strangers weddings, questioning her choice of dress, bridesmaids and husband but why follow minor royals as if this was important?  What do people get out of following the royals?
Crowds gather wherever they appear, the event I understand, but those who are always there I don't?

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Watching the Clock and Justice for Ashers

The Landlord I have known for around 25 years has passed on recently.  He was always good to me and there was rarely problems.  The staff who worked for him, under some pressure because of his miserly ("What 4 tea bags for 4 people? Use a teapot!") ways and constant interfering, pushing them to do two jobs at once when they were already doing two others!  However I did not suffer and now he has gone the houses have been taken over by his daughter and her husband.  
What changes she will bring running the organisation we have to wait and see.  However in the meantime there are legalities to be gone through, an estate agent must visit to value the house's and flats for probate, and depending on who you speak to there are between 180 and 300 properties, not counting the big 'pile' he himself lived in (but bodged up rather than splash out on).  
So today it was arranged for her to come with agent for valuation, this meant I stayed in just for the opportunity of meeting her or the assistant lass who does the work in the office.  This also meant I had to forego the opportunity to visit Southend, the home of the 'Essex Girl and Essex Boy' where my niece was playing piano at lunchtime.  Thus deprived of music and the opportunity to take a picture of the mile long pier while the sun shone I remained indoors.
Rising half asleep as always I breakfasted on stale bread forgetting the new loaf was available and spent time ensuring the place looked tidier than it actually is.  This meant placing items on rusty sinks, hiding blotches and piling things in neat piles rather than higgledy-piggledy.
So I waited. 
There are six flats, two unoccupied with the workmen (workman as the other has gone down to Mersea, by the estuary to work there while the sun shines!) redecorating and renovating the flats.  I was the only person in today as all the others are at work or play. 
So I waited.
I was ready by nine more or less and continued my day, without making any mess, while I listened out for the door.  By eleven I was becoming hungry and took the recycling bag out and spoke to John the hard at workman.  "He was supposed to be here at 9 am," he said from up a ladder.  We groused over this, and the rubbish outside and discussed what to do with it and waited, well he painted.
So I returned to waiting. 
Having found the new loaf from yesterday I made a far to thick sandwich with old turkey meat, and I mean old, and watched 'Match of the Day 2' as I gobbled.
I waited on.
Eventually a noise was heard, John failing to work out which key opened the door was getting desperate so banged on the front door.  He was there with the estate agent but no landlady, no assistant just John!  Well, thought I, this was not worth waiting for!
So the man did his job while we all chatted about things of great merit and then he left with John struggling to get the hall light to work and to find the key for No 5.  I helpfully enquired if he would be able to find the door on the way out but did not catch the response.
So I waited in vain.
I would have thought the new boss would wish to meet me, don't all women?
At least the second in command of the office could have come over.
Instead I sat here listening to radio programmes and wondering what I ought to be doing but failing to find an answer I wish to discover....I am still failing there.

Did you notice the clock date is a day out?

Justice is done!
Some time ago a man called on a in Belfast baker ordering a cake.  This was acceptable until he demanded it was topped with a message supporting gay rights.  Daniel McArthur who runs Ashers Bakery rightly refused as being Christian and profoundly disagreeing with gay marriage this was against his beliefs.  Gareth Lee, for it was he, sued.  Supported by the 'Equality Commission' in Northern Ireland (according to power sharing this is run by Sein Fein) he went to court and the local judge, a woman, found the Ashers had discriminated by refusing to bake something that disagreed with their beliefs and conscience.  This goes against the freedom of conscience that must be allowed in the United Kingdom.  This surely is part of 'British Values.'
Ashers appealed and eventually the Court of Appeal turned down their appeal but questioned the motivation of the Equality Commission in bringing the case.  Thus the Ashers went to what is now called the Supreme Court.  This was once know as 'The Lords' as the Law Lords judged sch cases but Tony Blair in his desperation to be president amended the name thus.  Today the Court gave the verdict that no discrimination because he was gay was involved.
 ''As to Mr Lee's claim based on sexual discrimination, the bakers did not refuse to fulfil his order because of his sexual orientation. They would have refused to make such a cake for any customer, irrespective of their sexual orientation.''
"Mr Lee had no claim against Ashers on the grounds of religious belief or political opinion."
In short the whole thing was a stunt.
Belfast, a divided city, a protestant baker approached by a gay man hoping to be refused, there are other bakers in Belfast.  Supported by nationalist equality commission he sues with £250,000 being spent by them on this case.  Four long years in which discriminating against Christians has been legalised has come to an end.  Gays discriminating against Christians is a common thread, a determined attack on any faith that rightly opposes gay marriage or abortion.  
This court judgement ends that discrimination.      

Give thanks to God for justice, give thanks as the repercussions will go far and improve many lives. 

Monday, 8 October 2018

Disruptive Monday

My routine was severely disrupted this Monday as the new mattress arrived.  
Before seven thirty I had stripped the bed and manhandled the old mattress downstairs, though to be fair it fell down by itself mostly.  Then when dumped by the bins, breathing heavily and using the bins to stay upright, the shopkeeper next door came over with grumbles re folks using his bin (which costs him money) and parking their van thoughtlessly where others park.  It looks like the new folks (from Newcastle way) next door might be trouble.
Having spent money almost immediately afterwards in Sainsburys (I went there specifically to collect the 'Lego' cards some kids are collecting just to be told it ends today!) I then returned to make space for the new mattress coming up the stairs.
The call from Cornells came about ten thirty and the man and his female assistant, a friendly pair, brought the heavy mattress upstairs.  Being gentlemen and understanding the modern woman's views of equality we let her take the heavy end.  Apart from the awkward turnings, the table I thought would not be in the way being in the way and the heavy breathing and beating hearts from at least two of us it was quick and successful. One mistake possibly was my glib remark to her after the beast was settled in place regarding lying on it, I suddenly thought that could be out of place...
His advice to turn the mattress every so often was highly amusing I thought as three of us had struggled with it, anyway that will not be for a year or two said I...
Anyway they left happily enough and drove back to the store.  A good store with a good reputation, since 1981, beds and chairs and friendly service.  No obvious pressure and helpful also.  Bought Saturday delivered Monday as one was in stock, not bad.  I can tell you that it works well as I happened to try it out not long after preparing it, a test that I required also.

Sometimes I wonder how I cope with the banality of daily life!  Today I brought excitement into my life, but not to anyone else's by obtaining my first cheap Christmas present and three cards!  By the end of the month not only will I have finished my shop I will also be begging on the streets for a piece of bread.  Still it will do my figure good...
Christmas shopping in October, my sister, now long passed on, used to buy most of hers in the January sales.  Everything was ready by February in her house.  My list is made up, already someone forgotten, and I am looking at the shops, now swamped with Christmas goods even if the plastic snowmen, fairies and assorted unchristmaslike dross is not yet on show.  

While waiting for the van this morning a couple passed by, he pushing a pram she struggling behind, possibly recovering from the child or working on another one.  His face, as well as the disposition on show during our brief meeting, reminded me of those face seen regularly on the Essex Police Twitter feed.  'Have you seen?' accompanied by a photo of one who would not succeed at the eleven plus but has managed to pass off ten thousand pounds worth of white powder somewhere on behalf of another brighter individual.  The faces who appear always seem to me to be of those from a less well educated level of society.  A friend who once served as magistrate and has had many dealings with such confirms this, they also tend to come from families of similar types.  Crime begins in the home.  This left me pondering how long that couple would remain together, what about the child, and what could be done for them, if anything could be done or they would allow things to help them.  Not everyone wishes to be out of the lifestyle they know.  

Sunday, 7 October 2018


Saturday morn saw me wandering about with a bank card in my hand.  I had decided to spend money on a decent mattress after all.  No chasing around all the shops I returned to the man who gave me the last dead one around 18 years ago and spent £270 on a new one.  This one is much firmer, although he forgot to mention how long the guarantee s for, and on Monday he will deliver and help me up the stairs with the thing. It will be fun as I can hardly get me up there and then there is the tight corner to negotiate!
But all that money.  
I came home and sat trembling at having to pay put more than I normally do.  The emergency fund was put to use and that too is shaking badly!  Ah well, it has to be done, and so it now has been done.  I hope this one will last 20 years, I will not care about a few sharp springs coming through by then, if I'm still here.

Quite who the dancers were I know not but they offered some sort of traditional English dance, found somewhere in drunken England's distant country harvest celebrations I suspect.  Whether debauchery followed as it did in the past is not clear as I hurried on before the rain came and left them to it.
The men played their tunes, the woman banged the drum in a constant and very loud beat and the people danced.  All very simple and while the drum would certainly go back many centuries I am not sure what instruments would be available in times past.  The accordion came into being in the early 1800's, the banjo of sorts appeared in the 1700's and may be based on instruments found in Africa long ago, but wind instruments go back well into ancient days, nose flutes (disgusting thought) were common in Greece as indeed were the people who played them and I suspect the two main instruments would have been found in many rural areas, possibly travelling minstrels would make a living touring the Harvest areas and leading the jollity.
This morning I was remembering the Harvest Festival back in Edinburgh concerning a time in the mid 50's when I saw a great display, including a whole wheatsheaf standing proudly there, a huge display and I realised that this was shortly after the end of rationing.  Folks then knew about rationing which ended in 1954 so such a display must have been wonderful not long after.  These days such churches are more concerned about those abroad starving or lacking fresh water than themselves and quite right too.  Our offerings today, and people brought a great deal, went to the local foodbank, another result of Tory austerity and the disgraceful removal of benefits from the needy.  I was told the local foodbank had increased demand during the holidays, free school meals not being available some folks could not feed the kids.  The Conservative leader and her party need to read the book of Amos and soon.    

Friday, 5 October 2018

Work Time

Once again the street is blocked by workmen digging up the road.  The two building sites, one on either side of the road, are constantly digging up the road for gas or electric pipes to be installed, removed, re-installed or just to block the road I think.  Speaking to one of the gang this morning he spoke of planting a tent and moving in.  Eight or nine times they have been here and things change with the delay caused by this, the changes I don't notice regarding mortgages has meant three planning to buy over the road have changed their minds as their costs have risen.  The building on this side still has problems however as while the sign says 'Sold' nobody has moved in.  I suspect an agent has bought the pot and is either waiting for prices to rise and re-sell or another problem has blighted the building.  More road works next week!
Update!  This afternoon people began to move in next door!  It may be there will not be any more work at this side of the street. maybe...

The work has come inside today as the old boiler is being replaced with a new glossy one.  Since 9:30 this morning they have been working away, creating dust, much less than the man who installed the thing all those years ago created, bored holes in wall, bored holes in cupboard, upset the neighbour - who I had to deal with - and left me tired and hungry and living on two small slices of bread and honey since 7:30.  Good job I am not one to complain!, As I type I notice how dust, thin and almost imperceptible, lying across this laptop this might take several days to clear up.  Windows are wide open hoping for through wind to clear the air.  Good job it was warm.

Before they left, after they had cleared most of the debris I was given the new thermostat.  As is the way modernisation means digital instead of buttons to press or turn and this leaves me wondering how to work this 'simple' mechanism.  A quick run through before they left and I informed them I knew what to do while accepting to myself that I was lying in my teeth!  I may need to borrow an adolescent when winter arrives.  Testing the boiler proved it works and with it sitting beside me I can alter the temperature, timing probably contact the FBI and the KGB at the same time.
My routine is ruined, I am still hungry but the water boils correctly now.
What can I break tomorrow...?