Friday, 30 November 2018

Nov 30th

Being St Andrew's Day I expected to be woken for a breakfast of 'Neeps & Tatties' with whisky following.  Instead I found myself at work covering the two wimmin who ought to be there on Friday.  One has a husband and his wealth has enabled them to obtain a property of some sort in Portugal where they oft flee to when the mood is upon them, and that mood arises often it appears to me.  Off she went taken the other with her leaving me to suffer the burden of a Friday morning at work.
At least two women came in to browse, one came in to buy, a local collection who care for those not quite with it came in for an hour and the postman and one delivery arrived.  I found the pace telling!
At least with the new system now I can get on the computer and was given the task of searching for Victorian Christmas Crackers.  These as you know were begun when a chap who's name I forget noticed a French sweet wrapped in paper called a 'Bon-Bon.'  From this he decided wrapping things that way was a good idea and later he after watching the spark from the fire he added the 'bang' that enlivens many a Christmas party.  He added jokes later and it appears we are still using the same ones today!
This meant little time for St Andrew, however as he is also a saint in Romania, Russia and elsewhere it matters not as he will have lots to do over there tonight.  It is claimed he reached Scotland when a monk landed in St Andrews, conveniently, announcing he had Andrews bones in his bag.  This made them all wealthy religious and the town prospers today, mostly from students filling the pubs and foreign types using the golf course which Andrew never used I expect.
At least I had 'Neeps & Tatties tonight although the mince was not the same as a Haggis would have been.

Tomorrow rain will drench us again after today's bright blue sky and the cheery weatherman has informed us that is also the first day of the meteorological winter, so we can all rejoice about that!  I will sort the cards out, that is add stamps to them as they are all ready for posting, fix one or two small parcels for posting on Monday and inform the world my Xmas has been dealt with.  
That usually puts a smile on peoples faces.  

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Theresa Typical

I find it interesting that CNN, that nice Mr Trumps favourite enemy, has produced a decent view of Scotland's opinion of Theresa May visiting the country.  I looked at the BBC site, searched the Scotland section and eventually found the visit mentioned, why are they keeping it quiet?  
Anyway CNN have offered a short two minute clip that is worth watching here.  I note STV, the opposition channel in Scotland have not noticed her visit at all.
A visit to a Leather Factory somewhere in Glasgow, no meeting with Scotlnd's Fist Minister, Scotland's parliament nor any members of the press who might ask questions, both the 'National' paper and CNN were banned from the media pack, not that it was a big 'pack.' 
This is typical of the offhand manner in which Westminster in particular and the English in general regard Scotland, soon Scotland will react and the words NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT will bring forth fruit!  England will have to pay her own way and not live of Scotland.  Of course when independent I suspect the locals will kick me out as an EU national while I wave my Scottish passport.  I could also wave pictures of Rees-Mogg to hold them off.  Brexit will have one good result, Scotland's independence.
Now I am watching the second of three football matches in a row, I need this to help me sleep as they wish me to go back to work tomorrow!  Tsk!

Wednesday, 28 November 2018


On this day in 1893 some 90,000 New Zealand women for the first time.  Women who owned property and paid rates (mainly widows and 'spinsters') were allowed to vote in local government elections in Otago and Nelson from 1867. This right was extended to the other provinces in 1876 so many knew how to do this but it was September 1893 when Lord Glasgow passed the bill that enfranchised women.  Politics has been downhill ever since!  Dianne Abbott, Harriet Harman, Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher are all reasons this ought never to have happened.  With men like Boris and Gove, Corbyn and whoever is leading the Lib-dems we do not require women in politics, men can do things so well themselves...
Maybe Nicola will stand for Westminster next time?
It was a man, Arthur Griffiths, who on this day in 1905 formed Sinn Fein showing men can build politically very well.  Wilhelm II showed his talent by resigning from the Kaisership on this day in 1918 and hopping over the border into the Netherlands where he was welcomed, but not that readily, by the Dutch.  A year later to upset many in the House Lady Aster took up her seat in the House of Commons, that nice Mr Churchill nearly choked, and she was US born at that!
On this day in 1948 'Hopalong Cassidy' arrived on TV, I wonder how many of you saw this?  The historical inaccuracy of western shows have always been fundamental to forming the mental outlook of US citizens.  In 1963 the Beatles 'She loves you' was at number one and changing the world in a dramatic fashion.  Change was coming but this record really was the beginning of social change, not always for the better of course.  1990 saw relief across the globe when John Major took over from Margaret Thatcher, the 'stab in the back' she never forgave.  If only John would take over once again!

As I prepared for a day of work I noted the mist surrounding the world outside.  This cleared slowly during the day to be followed by rain, the view is similar now but wet and windy and forcing me, against my better judgement, to remain indoors lying in bed.  Sad to say I am forced to do this but you realise I would rather be cleaning the oven, sadly that must wait, again.  Instead of enjoying the day I have sat here seeking info of a man who died in 1961.  He stepped in front of a steam engine and being deaf he did not hear the whistle blow.  This was his normal way home across the railway and no train was due, only goods trains by this time, and by not looking to his right he lost out.  All rather sad but filled an hour of so seeking info.  Not one iota on the web and none of the local papers for the last fifty years are online anywhere yet.  It kept me awake.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Sullen Sabbath

I awoke, eyes straining to open, to note the clock claiming it was twenty past eight. This irritated me as my head was still at fifteen minutes past four.  Sitting on the edge of the bed I pulled back the aged curtains and stared into the world.  Rusty leaves carpeted the ground under the once blossoming trees, the sky above appeared blue in between passing clouds themselves lit by rare occasional glimpses of sunshine, occasional dog walkers followed their pets commands in the distance.
Tesco 'Cheerios' with currants and rolled oats for breakfast.  Adding strong honey for energy I soon found myself flopping into my seat while my mind slowly decayed.  The energy bit had failed and what slack mind I possessed on waking quickly dissipated.  Another day of joy had begun.
I soon fell into arguing with a TV pundit on Twitter and thus losing what feel good factor I had on awakening, if that could be called 'feel good.'  Typical of him, he thought that as he was a full time professional footballer for many years and an experienced coach that he knew more than I do!  Typical of such people!  This radge however interfered with my morning biblical study as I kept seeking answers to him here and not from him above here.  As I was remaining indoors to avoid church this morning as the heretic was speaking and I did not wish to disturb him.  Maybe it would have been better to argue with the heretic?  That would have been interesting.
Having checked all my empty email accounts, not counting the spam sent in French, a wonderful idea for those that do not understand it, and browsed the papers as I sought something to stimulate me by checking the TV schedules.  As always dead TV rules and while the brain dead enjoy such banality I wanted more.  The News channels, when I eventually got round to checking, offered Theresa May impersonating a prime minister and lying in her teeth about the Brexit agreement.  This was making eating my lentil based soup difficult at lunchtime and I could not put up with this for long.  Politics can be interesting and important, Brexit however has changed things for ever.  I am at a loss to understand if Theresa is attempting to stop Brexit as she knows it will fail or just floundering in an attempt to keep her job.  No normal answers appear relevant it is all a mess.  Naturally there is no decent football is available on BTS so I will have to wait for German or French games arriving later.  Good job I am not one to complain...

I managed to pick up some of May's comments tonight and have to say such bare faced lying has not been seen since Lloyd George denied knowing your mother, or grandmother as the case may be. Lies about how much money we save?  Lies about the economic growth, lies about everything, just lies and more lies.  Pandering to the far right, paid for by unknown multi millionaires as well as that nice Mr Putin we find ourselves almost out the door hoping the judges in the Brexit case in court will declare it illegal as foreign money has paid for it.  The chances of enough MPs voting against it are rare, sheep don't think.  I will start stocking up on corned beef in the morning...

Friday, 23 November 2018

A Walk in the Mirk

I wandered through the mirk this afternoon in a vain attempt to find something stimulating.  My day had been taken up with some of the routine work that has been ignored for some time and once I had exercised and stretched my new found aches I wished to take the air.
The air was hiding!  
Dark clouds hovered above threatening that constant fine drizzle that depresses after a while.  People around me searching for bargains on what we must now call 'Black Friday' were not in any abundance, in this town now crowds rushed for bargains as they know how false these are.  Most people indeed appeared to have been collecting children from school and shopping only for the needful not bargains.  
I accidentally fell into the Iceland shop and filled the freezer with stuff I may well regret, at least I will not starve.  My latest fad is lots of greens with real orange juice, strawberry's or red fruits and such like, this will stimulate my memory they say and keep me on the run.  One part of that is correct anyway.  However I still need meat and fish every so often, like daily, and hopefully Iceland will satisfy this desire, cheaply.
Life otherwise has been boring...

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Life, it happens...

Having been returned home safely on Monday night I cogitated on the enjoyable time spent with friends, happy chatter, laughter, education and sharing.  By sharing I mean the generosity on show when only four people turn up is always a joy to experience.  Early on I remember that great man Ian slowly unwinding himself from the chair and grabbing the empty glasses around him, he is always first in, and asking for our orders.  This reluctantly we proffered in his direction while at the same time falsely indicating he ought not to spend money.  However we could not dissuade him thankfully so we continued our chatter.  
Time past as we debated points of importance, education today was one subject, Gordon one heading up a school for special needs, and as we finished he also rose to clear glasses and insisted against all our demands that he buy a round.  How could we refuse?  So we didn't.
Later we discussed the NHS and pointless bureaucracy, Stuart is a radiographer, and the problems that arise when one out of hundreds of thousands of people complain.  Something has gone wrong and office dwellers on higher pay scales (which they decided) are running scared of being sued.  So changes are demanded which hinder work and annoy patients.  At this point Stuart decided he would drink once more and gathering the glasses he wobbled to the, by now almost empty bar, Monday is a quiet night that's why we are allowed in, and insisted on getting the drinks in.  Forced into this situation we all concurred though we were not using long words by this time.  I had noticed the regulars had all gone once they had stopped giving us funny looks but I being used to this did not take it in, the others did not notice being married they are used to such looks.
After a while, and as the glasses were emptying and we were running out of discussion re the playing of guitars with bots of finger missing (don't ask) I decided it was time I took some action.
So I went home.
I had work in the morning.

In spite of waking several times for some reason during the night I was healthy and happy at work on Tuesday.  I was glared at for not doing what she indoors wanted but happy when she allowed me to do something easier for her.  Research of things I know about is easy, it is harder starting research when you have no idea where to look.  However this was done and I remained in post until the talk in the afternoon, struggling home for pizza and poor football at night.  It keeps me off the streets and out of the Liberal club.  There is an 'Idiots Club' nearby where the towns loonies meet but I can never get the door open, so I have not yet been inside.
Today I rose late, sat around much of the time and stared at the sunshine outside while allowing the British Gas bill to rise and give yet another bonus to some greedy man in a suit somewhere.  Now I have retreated to bed, here I am rested, warm and awaiting another poor football game.  In days of yore being in bed before eleven was rare, we used to be up as late as possible and in work by eight or nine the next day.  What happened?  I wish I knew...

Monday, 19 November 2018

Off Out...

No blog tonight.
Instead I am of to the Liberal Club to join the church men's meeting where we will discuss things of great importance without any wimmen being there to contradict their men.  This allows for group growth, interdependence, sharing and caring and humour women never understand for some reason.  Being a bar in which several of the men are renown it stop things getting out of hand.  We don't want the curate helped home on his bike again do we...?
Spiritual thoughts any abound but most of the spirit will be in wee glasses (it's cheaper in the club).  
I would actually join this club but then I would be there everyday for dinner and that costs money so I stay at home and eat badly cheaply.  
Today is also 'International Men's Day.'  That as you would expect is ignored by most as men are always ignored.  Apparently women suffer more than men regarding wages, childcare and harassment. Hmmm, so men do not suffer bad wages, deal with children or get harassed by women? This indicates how twisted and feminine dominated the media has become.
We might discuss this meaningfully tonight even if the men fail to mention that when they return home to their dear one indoors... 

Saturday, 17 November 2018

The LIghts are Coming On.

The needs of commerce are many what with the Brexit confusion ahead and online shopping hurting the bare High Streets any excuse to make money is required.  Tonight as dusk was well under way I slogged up the road in a vain attempt to capture light, cheer and photographs.
I got crowds and darkness.

While the world continued on its pleasant way the crowds were gathering in front of the stage where the local radio station ran what it called 'entertainment.'  The local radio station is not Radio 3 I need not add.

The throng were riddled with those in Santa hats while Santa himself, hiding behind the main stage, spoke to his helpers giving instructions on how the young girls in thin costumes ought to behave during the act.  A shot of the 'English Whisky,' wisely on sale under another name, would have been beneficial for he girls, even if none of them had yet reached secondary school, they looked that cold. 

I have no idea how these sticks work but vast numbers of kids were carrying them around and the salesmen were making a good profit from them.  I suspect the many variety of food stalls were also making a good profit as they were crammed most of the day I heard one tell his mate.  These have been coming for a while now and clearly know how to get cash from poor people.  They got none from me when I saw their prices...

I thought at first this armour had someone inside but it appears it is just standing there advertising.
Standing there was what many folk were doing thus making progress through the concourse difficult.  I have seen better behaved football crowds but they were not full of women with pushchairs! 

What are they?  I have absolutely no idea but there were lots of them around.

One thing I used to enjoy when a kid was riding on these roundabouts.  The nature of the vehicles aboard fascinated me than and does still now.  I never noticed the price but I fancy it wasn't 6d like it used to be.

On the way home I passed the catholic church which for reasons of its own has services on Saturday night, possibly to keep the priests out of the pubs I suspect.  They finish in time for 'Match of the Day.'  I love the window but it is only at night when the building is in use that we see just how good it is.  Built in the 30's I think.
I suppose the Christmas lights have come on now...

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Searching Finchingfield for the Dead...

Cruel people might imply searching in 'The most beautiful village in England' would soon come across several dead people, I sadly only found one I was looking for.  The village, plus the neighbouring 'Cornish Hall End' contain around 1500 people, so it is not for fast living people.  There are however three pubs, two tea shops and a duck pond with a medieval bridge across it.
I however was in the village partly to get out of town and see something different and partly to find the graves of three dead men.  It keeps me off the streets you see.

Getting of the hourly bus, only two on the service, one each way, the usual type of drivers, one decent the other a bit miserable, but a forty minute drive through the countryside was what I wanted even if the bus windows had not been cleaned since August.  
On arrival I quickly found the one time United Reformed Church with graveyard attached.  Being quite small it did not take a lot of searching and soon I found my first man.  Horace joined the Essex Yeomanry, the Territorial Cavalry in 1913, many farm hands experienced with horses did so, and served through four years of war.  Clearly he had been wounded as by 1918 he was with a Labour Company in East Anglia and rather unfortunately was caught by the Flu pandemic and died in Norwich hospital.  It is quite an experience to stand by the grave of someone you now know where as before he was just a name on a list.  

The advantage of the small country village is the countryside, here at the back of the cemetery I could see in the distance a Woodpecker attempting rather bemusedly to head bang a telegraph pole. It could be he was eating insects from the crack in the wood but he appeared a bit confused from a distance.

I noticed the nearby villages also had these large Poppies adorning various posts.  This appeared a good idea to me but made me wonder if they will appear next year when no special remembrance is forthcoming.  The houses you will notice in the middle of the village go back several hundred years, most of these are now commercial premises and in summer the front is lined up with motorbikes of all descriptions.  The winding hilly roads around here are great for bikers but not for cyclists.  

One of the museum girls was here at the remembrance on Sunday as one of her sons is a member of the kids groups who were attending.  I am not sure hew as to aware of what was going on or keen to be there myself.  However the traffic stopped and the ceremony went ahead and then they trooped up to the church up the steep hill for a service.  The traffic did not stop for me.

You may guess that the red brick building now goes by the name 'Old School House' and in my mind is quite large for a village of the size even if Victorian families had large numbers of children.  They did however come in from the farms and area round about I suppose.  Next door is what was the United Reformed Church and is now some kind of health centre whatever that means.  The huge tree almost covering the front door is behind a garden wall.  Did the build the wall after the church? Or was it some rude Anglican deliberately attempting to hinder entrance to the Reformed building?  I suppose we will never know.

The village parish council or whoever was in charge has done well for themselves this weekend, here we see one of those invisible soldiers and several large poppies floating in the pond, a pond all the fallen will have been well acquainted with.  I suspect many lived in the houses just to the right out of shot but I have not got time to search the census to confirm this, and that does not always make identifying individual houses easy.  

Lovers of 18th century post mills will love this one dominating the skyline.  It no longer operates but must have produced a vast amount of flour from the farms around.  Where did it all go?

The view towards the 'Fox Inn' right in the village centre and up towards the Old School House then across the village green indicates the reason people consider the village 'pretty.' It also reveals something of how small the place was in the past, even though it has been here since medieval times and even had a Roman Villa close by, the farming is good obviously.  No wonder almost all those on the war memorial were farm hands.  As the roads going out have a short run of aged buildings also it does provide an excellent place to stop when the sun is out.  

Wandering about the damp grass of a churchyard built on a hill is not a great deal of fun I can tell you.  Slippery grass and slopes do not make me smile, not when I go flying on them anyway.  The fruitless search for two white war grave stone was a waste of time, they did not exist, I am now aware that they lie in private graves.  Having been a clever boy and left behind the details of the men I was searching for I could only guess at the names and therefore did not find them.  One moss covered stone did however indicate a name not found on the war memorial.  Many people for a wide variety of reasons did not put their names on memorials, I will have to investigate this tomorrow.  

My hour in the sun was coming to a close as what the BBC Weather man claimed was 'Light Cloud' was beginning to cover the sun.  The door being unlocked I entered the somewhat gloomy church to browse.

The gloom was broken by these invisible men sitting there.  I am told the preacher mentioned a simple fact that spoke to many, the men who died 'probably came to this church, christened, attended, sat where you sit.'  For many that brought home the reality of the men who fell.  

The effort put on by the village never ends!  I cannot imagine what this place will be like when Christmas or Easter arrives!  Is such an event only possible because the place is small and all know one another, all who make he effort that is?  Or was it a heartfelt response?  I wonder how many people named on the memorial have relatives living in the village today?

This picture is as close as I could get to the gloom inside the building.  I did not notice any lighting above but there again I was not looking for that, maybe on Sundays it is brightened, and maybe the sun shining in will brighten the place.

This Victorian stained glass window will brighten the place if the sun shines directly though.

Another quick look, not missing the collection of stones from people of the 'Big Hoose' up the road, and giving a good idea of the depth of the hill coffins have to go down and are still doing so even recently.

Then while awaiting the transport back home I had lunch at the 'Fox Inn' conveniently placed at the bus stop.  The beer was acceptable, £4 a go however was like the graveyard a bit steep I thought,  but the place was clean and set out more for lunches than as a straight forward pub.  I suspect that is how to survive in such places and I am told the reviews are good.  The Bikers like it anyway especially with a tea shop next door for the non drinkers.

There is something about the collection of roofs that appeal to me when close together in a higgledy-piggledy fashion.  The fact that they are all red tiles is also interesting, I wonder if there are listed buildings today.  I suspect some of them, when filled with farm labourers, had dirt floors and outside loos, today from as cheap as a mere £350,000 or so unless you want a bigger one of course...

This was at the church door, I wonder who he was...?

This was intended as a day out in the sun finding something interesting to see.  Yet while I knew the graves had to be found I did not realise so much of Sunday would remain.  Maybe I should go out again maybe next week...

Wednesday, 14 November 2018


'Matisse, Drawing with scissors' exhibition is under way.
In 1939 Matisse was aged 70, a divorce was forcing his artwork into store while French lawyers argued, he was seriously ill and probably not very happy.  By 1943 with war all around sickness still serious and who knows if the lawyers had finished as yet he took scissors and paper and cut out a figure of a man.  Adding a red heart he called this the 'Fall of Icarus,' read into that what you will.
He then went on to develop his scissors, paper and paint work and instead of dying as doctors said he should continued his work until he died in 1954.
The museum has an array of his work to temp the art lovers of the town, though most appear to be coming from elsewhere, and I had four who travelled in on Tuesday just for the exhibition.  It made a change from dead soldiers anyway.
I am not sure what any of us think about this. I only had a short look yesterday while setting up my area and while the colours are pretty it is not something I would travel to see.  Not that I would travel for much this man produced, to much late 19th and early 20th century modernism in his work, 'modernism' being another word for 'meaningless' in my mind all too often.  It has not set the staffs heather on fire but as long as folks come and see we will be happy. 

Our lass has been going around the schools and the kids have produced these frames which I think are better, and more colourful, than the old man's work.  They mean as much and probably brought the kids more enjoyment than that achieved by Matisse in his workshop.

This has to do with Christmas...