Sunday, 13 October 2019

Pryor Book

Francis Pryor became famous as part of the 'Time Team' archaeology series on Channel 4.  Pryor's speciality being prehistory, the 'Bronze' and 'Iron Ages.'  His own work is based near Peterborough in the 'Fens.'      
'Paths to the Past' however, is not about prehistory though it may be mentioned, this book covers much of the land and seeks out specific areas with something to tell of times past, and not too far past at that.and
Beginning way back at 'Star Carr,' and then the 'Orkney's,' we move through 'Avebury,' 'Hadrian's Wall,' and on a few short pages at a time.  Thus enabling five or ten minutes to be spent considering one aspect of UK heritage. 
The four or five pages given to the subject, be it 'Romney March' or 'Ironbridge,' are a very good example of constructing a short story which covers much ground.  An excellent overview is given of the subject and at the end of the thin book there are further reams to study if wished.  
Whether you agree with his opinions or not the view from 'Birkenhead Park,' to 'Kings Cross & St Pancras,' is well worth looking into.  A book of short chapters, well written and full of interest, well worth a read.


Saturday, 12 October 2019


I am supposed to be out this afternoon and its raining.
The weather girl, the one who refuses to come and do my ironing, cheerfully informed us the rain would pass over 'late tonight,' but cheerfully added that it will be 'back tomorrow.'
Nasty things women!
A male weatherman would have ensured sunshine for the weekend.

'Plusnet' Speed dropped recently from around 57mps to just under 30.  I was not amused.
This still gave a workable speed but I am paying for the lot and wish to obtain all of it, even if not required. 
I contacted them via the site, a response came, then nothing for a week!
I contacted the 'Plusnet Help' on Twitter and soon had a reply.
At their end there was no fault, indeed they claimed I could get 72!!!
So he offered a plan.
By making use of the Ethernet cable I tested again and lo and behold all returned to normal, right up to just over 57 mps again.
I was intrigued how this use of a cable could sort this problem.  What caused it?  I may never know.
Still, it is now fixed and if he rain stops in 20 minutes I may leave and go to the 50th anniversary party of the St Paul's Church.  That is, 50 years since it became an independent parish.
Church folks will do anything for a nosh up.
It does mean I miss some football however...

Friday, 11 October 2019

Friday, Pay and Railways.

Friday night, rain or not, the citizens of this municipality are running around unconcerned by the Turkish invasion and possible genocide in Kurds land, the Irish discussions re Brexit that so dominate the media, nor indeed the 'TERROR' attack as the 'Daily Mail' put it in Manchester.  This is Friday so it is time to enjoy the end off the week they say.  Who can blame them, possibly those who have to work Saturdays I suppose.  It can be very annoying to see the majority enjoying the 'normal' time off when you are left working.  During pleasantries with the lass in B&M yesterday I mentioned how she would soon be free for home.  Her somewhat disgusted reply informed me she finished at 8 pm!  The poor lass, she still had so many hours of joy ahead of her.
B&M are one of the shops who have a large turnover of staff.  'Basic pay,' very possibly poor management, certainly not much fun with many of the customers, and little sense of 'fun' to be seen from the staff members.  Other shops local to this have similar turnover and I suppose they care not as there is always someone desperate to try a short while working here.  There is not a great deal of choice!
Sometimes I wonder at the poor work I have done, the inept management, sometimes corrupt and self seeking, at other times very efficient and capable but not with money to spare.  I wish I had trained in something when young but when young I cared not, to be honest I would have soon been dumped anyway as I lacked what was required until Jesus came along and gave me a kick.  Then I chose low paid work like Hospitals and charity work, unpaid!   I enjoyed that more than lining my pockets however.  Some things are worth more than cash even if I did little.  I am now a 'Jack-of-no-trade' and fail to fix everything I break.  This is a regret but too late now.  
I sympathise with those looking to another ten years or much more in such work.  I doubt Bojo's latest wheeze will do such people much good, in the EU or out of it.  The Hedge fund managers, not on low pay, will be encouraging him however by flashing cash in front of his face.   

I suddenly feel the need for a railway picture.  This one is of Edinburgh Waverley Station in 1914.  It is to be regretted that all the trains have left for their destination, on time I expect, and as the photographer, whoever he was, coaxed his glass plates into place several would be steaming through the tunnels beneath his feet in either in or out direction, on different tracks I hope.  

Seen from the other end, the southerly direction via Berwick and on to Newcastle and London, we have a picture from I think the 1870's.  It may be the 1890's however as some fool has forgotten to mark the date on this one.  My grandfather was driving engines at that time while living nearby, possibly one of these.  The 1881 and 1891 census has him listed as 'engine driver,' a highly skilled and dangerous operation.  At that time drivers might work 12 or more hours, in all weathers, on passenger and goods trains.  Both could be troublesome and both had timetables to obey.  Passenger safety was very important to the railway companies, they said, but as you see the carriages are short, made from wood, had no heating it appears from these pictures and I cannot tell if these had gas lighting or oil lamps installed.  They might just be 3rd Class of course. 
The drivers and firemen joined 'ASLEF' 'Associated Society of Locomotive Steam Enginemen and Firemen' rather than the 'NUR' the National Union of Railwaymen,  as they wished to be seen as slightly above the common railwayman.  Class is not something that comes from above but from within!  Together they changed the pay structure and hours of the men but the ability to get yourself fired, for almost anything, was great, and the dangerous working conditions for many improved only slowly.  There is no way conditions and working practices of the 19th century could be imagined these days in the UK, Brexit of course might bring them back.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Coffee Time

I ventured into one of the many local coffee shops that are rising and falling all the time.  A friend from the museum and I met to discuss the place now that it must be missing me.  Apparently my not being there has not yet been noticed by those that matter.  This I cannot believe as there will be no individual so willing to moan about they way things are if I am not there.  The rest fail to grumble when they ought and just get on with things.
Anyway we went to a coffee shop that has recently opened, nice decor, very nice chocolate fudge cake that cost £1:75 but convinced me I ought to be eating much more of that day after day!  I nearly cut my tongue by licking the knife they give you with it.  However, nice though the place was, decent the service from the people, possibly Albanian, and certainly busy after lunch I wondered if a place as small as this could survive.  The previous owners also have a coffee shop in the public Gardens and possibly could not keep two places afloat, I hope the man in charge today can keep this one going as we will be back next month.  Once again there is a needless choice of coffees with names that make no sense to me so I plump for American each time as it never appears to disappoint and did not do so today.  In fact I benefited as the Americana cup is larger than the others.  
There are now at least seven coffee type places, plus two greasy spoons, in the town centre that I know off.  Soon a large empty shop will be turned into a 'Bistro' whatever that will be, much to the annoyance of those who demand major shops move into town.  The fact that this town is too small, major shops are dying, and those who grumble did not use the shops that have closed down because Tesco etc were cheaper does not yet appear to have registered with some folks.  You wish a market and lots of shops, vote in a council that cares, one that does not charge too high a rate and then use them I say.  The coffee shops survive because people use them.
However we put the world to right and I left some £8:50 less wealthy!  I knew there was a reason I rarely ventured into these places.

Tact and integrity is not something you associate with Boris now is it?  So when you hear No 10 'sources' leaking information regarding phone calls between Boris and Angela you comprehend how untrustworthy the Junta can be.  Private calls require confidence is kept, clearly not in this case.  
We await the next page in the drama.  I hope no-one is writing a book about Brexit as it will be longer than David Cameron's buck passing thousand pages, reduced to 800, which few have bought bar those who may be mentioned within.

As it is raining I expect the Sourdough bread chomping 'activists' will have departed for their trusty steeds and headed home by now.  This does not include those who blockaded Smithfield Market while also queuing up at 'Burger King' for lunch, not many vegans at Smithfield?  Protesting for show is all very well but if it rains you go home and watch pictures of yourself on Channel 4 News.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Protest Nonsense and Kurds

The pavement dwelling middle classes, fed by Cinnamon Muesli and boasted by green tea, have been out on the town again.  Rather than confront the Chinese embassy over their building of coal fired power stations, or indeed the Indian Commission asking them to stop kicking Muslims in Kashmir around for a while and cease the pollution the nation is churning out, these well dressed protestors (What is their apparel made from?) instead block the streets.
Having removed the plastic straws from their homes, but retained the TV's, Stereos, mobile phones and the containers they use at picnics and equestrian gatherings, they have decided to squat on the pavement, hindering real people from movement, and added millions to the police costs which make it harder to police the end the knife crime haunting the nation at the moment they pose happily for the media scramble persuaded this waste of time is not a waste of time. 
Indeed no change will come of this.  Brexit is all and politics is not about planet saving.  Deciding to have a 'jolly' while Boris is trying to save himself not the planet is rank bad timing.  There is no chance anyone in No 10 will have noticed this demonstration of adult stupidity and callousness, it may be they reckon this has come over from the EU to cause trouble, but will ignore it anyway.
You do not see people such s these protesting about 'Universal Credit,' the Homeless or the number of Food Banks in the nation.  They rarely leave home, bar to shop for 'must have' items found in colour supplements or visit a coffee shop or wine bar to discuss the worlds problems, especially the possible loss of the 'John Lewis' shop.  Possibly there is a reason for this small minded outlook?   
A people with no God look for a purpose, anything will do as long as it does not cost!  Each year these people chase one cause after another, anti-hunting this year save the whales the next.  Fixing real problems take time, take a great deal of work, cost money and often friends also.  Sitting on the street with aged unbalanced Hippies does not cost and you can go back smug in the knowledge you have made your protest to save the planet, even though it will have no real effect.
Enjoy your Hummus, Focaccia, Black Olives and Pheasant Eggs tonight...

The nature of the US President is revealed clearly in the report today that he is abandoning the Kurds who removed ISIS from Iraq, with little help, and removing his troops from the region to allow Turkey, under the dictator Erdogon, to move in with massive force to annihilate as many as he can.
What sort of man does this, indeed, what sort of man does this publicly and even boasts about his deed?  
Why is he doing this?
Turkey is a member of Nato and borders the unsafe Russia.  However Putin and Trump go back a long way, who knows what is going on between those two, yet as he backed Syria Putin might like to look good backing the Kurds.  Trumps daughter has money in Turkish businesses and that may play a part.  Something more is involved here, this will get out of hand, nothing in the Middle East is simple.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Jab Boris and Donald in Abbey Road

I rose early this Saturday morn and scrubbed myself clean.  I then breakfasted on what they call 'Mediterranean Bread,' a type of bread I doubt would be recognised anywhere in the Mediterranean precincts, swallowed half a cup of tepid coffee and reported at the surgery as ordered for my 'Flu Jab.'
Here I was somewhat surprised to be confronted with what I thought was the local 'Derby & Joan' club outing.  The lace was 'choc a block' with aged people either struggling to take off the jackets or replace them.  Walking sticks crashed to the floor while others fell over handbags left lying around, grumbling and smiles swapped places, chairs were filled with grim impatient faces, men no longer as young as they feel jauntily left the premises confident they would survive another year unlike their forefathers in times past.
I reported to the young Fuhrer at reception.
She logged me in, handed me a piece of paper with details regarding the vaccine, ordered me to remove my jacket and go round the corner and sit down.
This latter order I obeyed after clicking my heels and goose stepping away though I did not realise there were seats 'round the corner.' In fact the addition of two ex-shipping containers it looked to me had given them additional spaces and renovations now meant seats were placed where a nurse used to terrify patients.   
I took my place apart from a miserable looking couple in their 70's,  others entered, fussed with their sticks, handbags, removing jackets and sitting down to be called immediately and fussed with their sticks, handbags and standing up to wander slowly away as the nurse called for them a third or fourth time.  
We sat watching, no one moved.  
The caring society watched as receptionists aplenty wandered about seeking people who did not answer as they had sat elsewhere, nurses also called for victims as those who had been jabbed happily exited to waste their lives enjoying themselves in the worlds pleasure gardens which fill this area.  
A nurse in a red top called my name, I moved swiftly removing my jacket exposing my cheap short sleeved shirt, an item similar to one almost all the men wore while the women came dressed for the chilly weather, and entered treatment room 2.
Having almost tripped on the slight incline on the short path the nurse, probably a retired one called in for such a day as this judging by her age, commentated on this giving the impression this was a regular occurrence.  I sat where I was told, between the receptionist logging me onto her screen while preventing my escape and offered my arms to the nurse.  Flu jab in left arm, "This one might hurt later," said the nurse reaching my other arm with the Pneumonia jab she offered in such a way that I could not refuse.
 "Later?" I thought just as I said "Ow! I felt that."
She smiled the smile nurses have when they enjoyed others pain as he receptionist giggled.  Clearly I was not the first!
"Told you," she said gleefully then threw me out.
I struggled to get past half coated people of various sizes, some making their way in to the seating area, some attempting to leave while fastening jackets again.  I exchanged pleasantries with another satisfied customer as we left, both amazed at the efficiency of the staff and the number of aged persons in the confined area.  We did not attempt to guess how many were regulars but I suspect most of the women were.
I know have two stab marks on my arms.  I am protected from Flu and Pneumonia and will be sick with colds all winter.  You wait and see!

What with Donald Trump possibly impeaching himself and Boris Johnson magnificently celebrating his wonderful 'Deal' which fell apart in around 24 hours we might be in a position to see changes in the higher reaches of society.  Donald has been tweeting constantly regarding those who are 'against' him according to his view of the world, and Johnson has gone into hiding with Carrie this weekend (unless he has found someone else).  Either way the media are more upset with a US 'Diplomat' who drove out of an American Airbase, well RAF actually, drove on the wrong side of the road, killed an innocent Motorcyclist who was in the right and fled back to the US to avoid justice.
The 'Special Relationship' does not mean a lot to some Americans.  Hopefully she will return to face the Law of England and Wales, a much superior law to that of the Vengeful US law.   At the moment she is not showing much concern for the relatives of the young man however.   I hope Boris leaves Carrie long enough to chat to Donald about this. 
Meanwhile Trump i unabashed at asking the Ukraine to investigate his feared rival and has apparently also asked China and I believe Thailand also to help 'dig the dirt.'  I am sure Chinese laptop users already know more than Trump does about his man.  Boris has not been asked it seems, maybe Trump thought that was a waste of time?  Boris has of course got the time to investigate, he had intended to meet the EU but they would not as his deal was flat so he has been studying hard at No 10 instead.  Hmmm I bet...

As it is 50 years since the Beatles 'Abbey Road' was released I listened again on YouTube to this 'iconic' album.  I was somewhat disappointed.  'Abbey Road' was never their greatest album and was completed while Paul and John fought with one another over who was boss.  To have any album was something yet they also produced the disappointing 'Let it Be' later.  However, in some ten years they had turned the music world upside down, produced a great many solid tracks, developed recording techniques greatly and become popular worldwide, not bad really.  
The tracks that sucked most I always consider were those Paul produced.  On this album some strange things appear and Paul was responsible surely for 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer,' a track of dubious quality and content.  I always thought girlies wanted baby faced Paul while men required to hear more from John, even if he was slightly round the bend (slightly?).   Many believe the wrong one was shot!  And that was in 1980!  That is now 39 years ago!  

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Mean Mr Mustard

I always wondered what on earth McCartney was going on about in 'Mean Mr Mustard,' as part of the 'Abbey Road' album.  Now I know!  I came across this on Twitter, this is the story of the real man, who actually existed.
Mean Mr Mustard was a Glasgow Civil Servant who was indeed Mean!
His meanness was such that he would switch of the light when listening to the radio as "Because it was not necessary to see in order to listen."  He also did indeed 'Shave in the dark,'  This I can tell you having tried it, this is not a good idea!
Claiming he "Came from north of the border," he lived with his wife in Enfield, north London, but for some reason she, a deputy headmistress, found his behaviour unreasonable.  I see no reason why!
The judge granted his wife a divorce.
Now we know why the song was written but not why he put it on the album.  'She came in through the bathroom window' referred to a couple of girls who broke into Paul's house in St John's Wood next door to 'Lords Cricket Ground,' where they did indeed come in though the bathroom window and were arrested and fined.  Quite right!  These girls made the neighbours life a misery, here and at Abbey Road itself.  I often saw them when delivering round that way.     

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

The Fast and the Slow

I was perusing a 'Cab Ride' video while I awaited the plumber to check the one year old boiler.  This brought to mind those days of long ago when travelling by train to Edinburgh was part of my life.   The video that is, not the plumber.
Escaping work to sit looking at the world passing, sun shining, happy quiet coach, provisions in front of you, and hours of enjoyment ahead was always a delight.  In those days it was the 'Deltic' type '55's' which pulled the dark maroon British Rail coaches, the sun as we left meandering slowly into the Kings Cross tunnels a sharp comparison to the rather dark and somewhat dreary Kings Cross shed as I remember it.  The station, built in 1852 on the edge of London, stood on what had been land used for a smallpox and fever hospital, where did they go after that I wonder?  A wooden station had been erected at York Road in 1850 by the Great Northern Railway while the navvies built the gasworks tunnel under the Regents canal and allowed entrance to the new station.  Kings Cross was never in my view an attractive station, functional yes, but not one to set the heart racing.  It did its job and still does very well but then it appeared dull and as I waited for trains pretty crowded also.  Trains to Leeds and Newcastle, local trains round the corner and smoky diesels heading for elsewhere polluted the air.  So did the people I suppose.  Once the 'ding dong' and the garbled announcements concerning what the train was and where we were going had passed we knew a new world was about to open for us.

I wish I could say I was there in the days when Gresley's giant 'Pacific' engines made their way north, steam belching, noise waking the dead amongst much admiration from all around.  While the 'Deltic's' could produce enough blue smoke to also fill the huge shed the image was somewhat less romantic.  The aroma of railway stations filled with belching engines remains with me today, there is nothing like it.  There is no doubt today's electric engines are the way forward, no doubt they are cheaper, easier to operate and do not require the foreman to shift half a coal mine on each trip, however, we all prefer to see a steam engine pass rather than a diesel no matter how efficient.

During the late 70's the HST's took over.  These 'High Speed Trains' regularly reaching 125 miles an hour on the long straight lines in the south.  For the first month or two the guard, remember guards and not conductors, the guard would announce "We are not travelling at 125 Miles per hour."  This would produce murmurs of appreciation as we sped through stations watching to see if anyone was daft enough to stand ahead of the bright yellow line on the platform.  It was naturally difficult to know which station we were passing through, the only name board that could be read was 'Gentlemen!'

I find sitting in a railway carriage while the world passes by a terrific manner in which to see the real world.  There is little to see or keep you awake driving down a motorway, what scenery exists is hidden behind embankments and if there is a view it soon leads into a city bypass which as you know are delightfully attractive places.  The view from the train takes you past fields with crops or animals at various times of the year, the very colour of the ploughed ground speaks volumes re history, geography and life as it is lived.  One noteable sight is the Black Earth seen around Peterborough.  Once 'The Wash' came all the way up to here, now long drained and shrunk the black earth is a result of what was washed in many years ago.  The land has to be monitored daily as the shrinking earth affects the height of the railway track.  One day it might sink in!
Once passed the flat lands around York we see changes in the line itself.  The further north we go the less straight the line as the land slowly begins to rise around us.  While crops are still seen, sheep and cattle will appear, especially if you can see the far off hills from your seat.
Buildings appear different, the brick that abounds in London is changed to stone way up north.  The design of houses built in the far past reflects local architects while more recent housing follows a general pattern of the day.  One housing estate is much like another now.

The latest 'Scotch Express' is formed by a Hitachi class 800 Azuma.  This will be somewhat faster than the aged diesels that once pulled the 20:00 hours to Aberdeen, not stopping at Edinburgh where it actually stopped at 3 am and where I left the train and the sleeping soldiers on their way to die of exposure in the Cairngorms.  That aged train had aged compartment coaches and as it was quite empty I always had one to myself, lights dimmed, feet up and joy all the slow way home.  As the Azuma does a non stop journey in 4 and a half hours Kings Cross to Waverley at least once a day I suspect it will also have a few more home comforts than the late night slow train.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Boring Tuesday

I was disturbed early this morning by a message on my ansafone informing me the appointment with the 'Health Check' lady was cancelled as she was 'unhealthy.' 
"I have wasted time having a bath," thought I," I could have left that to the weekend after all." 
So I continued using the old socks and vest and lazed about the house finding lots of things to leave for another day.  This included the difficult link in the family history that took me 48 hours to figure out.  The answer was of course right in front of me!
Having avoided the health check I decided to take advantage and change the diet again and see if the extra weight that has appeared again might disappear by the time I see her indoors.  Fruit now appears delightful though for a while after several choice portions I wondered if I did the right thing...
I checked out Tesco for light foodstuffs, apart from the Bakewell Tart that fell into my basket, so I kept it as it might be broken.  I noticed a long queue at the 'Costa Express' coffee machine and wondered if the word 'Express' was a suitable term to use.  Later I heard that today all such machines were FREE and that explains the queue.  In various parts much grumbling and complaining was heard as 1st world problems reared their heads.  The FREE coffee machines had run out!  Despair and anguish all around.  I feel for these people...
Then I paraded around town watching the clouds above gathering for a get together.  The began to look menacing as I crossed the park.

I was right!  
They menaced me on the way home and began to drench the world as soon as I got in.  Thunder gently clapped above, (Can thunder gently clap?)Lightning flashed and rain teemed down heavily for quite a while.  It was seen that the BBC had promised this on the website and they got it spot on.  Thunder, Lightning and rain they said and that is what we got, lots of it.  Car drivers did not appear to ease the speed outside my window but they are in a hurry to avoid the inevitable accident down at the roundabout.  Possibly that may be the reason there are so many accidents, but car drivers do not think that way.

The latest Boris wheeze, which he now says is 'out of date' is to put custom posts, 5 or 10 miles either side of the Border in Ireland.  This later became, 'only on the Republic side of the border.'  I think we can ask if he and his advisor's, Dominic and Carrie, are actually mentally ill?  Could it be that they have taken too many opium tablets to keep themselves going?  Could it be they are just daft?  Do they neither care or understand the situation in Ireland?  Does Boris think Nanny will fix it?
Boris is still trying to shake off Jennifer, a US lass who he managed to gift £150,000 of taxpayers money to for her 'business.'  She has hopped it to the US because off Brexit!  How did she managed to get cash from Boris I wonder?
Allowing for the Conservative Conference which is driving them to sleep, isn't it interesting how Michael Gove is keeping remarkably quiet these days?  He does appear and toe the party line on occasion but he is very quiet for him.  Is this orders?  Or is he awaiting the inevitable 'slip up?'

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Grouchy Sunday

With darkening skies in the evening and leaves turning rustic and beginning to fall from the branches it is clear the shops are now preparing for Christmas!  This morning I rose just before 9 on the clock, tired out by late night football and family history, and watched the rain clean the streets but not my windows which require cleaning much more.  Autumnal weather, the leftovers of another US hurricane, sweeps over the land drenching some parts and pleasing only gardeners and farmers.  Those who have to walk or cycle in this are less pleased, I remained indoors.  There is no choice but to watch football on TV, I am unsure if I can cope...

Not so much hot air this weekend.  Boris does claim still that he is 'a model of restraint,' and he even kind of apologised for being misunderstood regarding his 'humbug' comment.  He clearly dies not wish to encourage violence yet Brexiteer Brendan O'Neil claims there will be 'Yellow Jacket' type violence if we do not.  He is not the only one to push that line this week, clearly on Dominic's orders.
An MP might be killed by a right wing nutjob, another may have similar trapping her staff in their office, and still others are daily threatened by the 'Blackshirts' but our PM is being a 'model of restraint.'  I missed the Andrew Marr show this morning, I usually do and I am quite glad, but Boris appeared on there and I am told he was not once asked a piercing question!  The BBC is completely under the control of No 10.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Bombast Twins.

 Boris is at it again, or should we say Dominic Cummings is at it again?  Clearly attempting to arose hate and fear Boris followed orders to bombast his way arrogantly through the House of Commons on Wednesday, avoiding contrition, avoiding consideration and attempting to polarise opinion ll day ministers famous and unheard off appeared on TV and Radio offering the same arrogance from Gove himself on Radio 4 in the morning to Boris in the house at night.  Clearly a policy driven by Cummings and wilfully led by the desperate liars in government.  The sad point is that there is no real opposition to end this farce of a government.  No individual strong enough to take control, no man of stature in the House willing to stand up for the right course of action.

Of course all this bombast might just be Boris winding up the Blackshirt masses before failing to ensure Brexit.  That way he can blame Parliament, Remainer's, the EU, Corbyn, indeed anybody but himself and get their votes at the general election when it arrives.  He knows leaving will be a disaster, he wants to pretend he is PM, he will ensure Brexit does not happen and blame everyone but himself.  The sheep will follow...

Boris's big brother Donald has also been making waves again.  This time his decision to ask a foreign power to 'dig the dirt' on a rival's son or not get military aid was recorded on the phone readout.  Has he 'impeached' himself?
The Democrats will now begin impeachment proceedings, not because they consider this will succeed but by throwing mud some of it sticks.  Politics is like that.  There is of course a lot of mud to throw at this President, it is remarkable that he has stayed in office so long.  Indeed both Boris and Donald appear able to offer incompetence and contempt along with mistaken policies and remain in positions of power neither are fit to hold.
I suppose at least we are safe from war danger.  The last thing he wants is a war with men being killed as this will lose him support back home.  Iran can sleep easy....


Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Tsk Boris!

We welcomed the end of one of those constant US hurricanes today.  The rain battered down for a good while and will be a constant menace for a few days pleasing farmers and those with gardens but few others.  The rain also pleased the pigeon who happily made use of the heavy rain by turning it into a shower and twisted this way and that to ensure the entire body was cleansed.  Downstairs people passed by huddled under umbrellas, hats over heads, winter coats brought out of the cupboard, while the bird just sat there enjoying the weather.  I often wonder how birds and animals survive in differing weather conditions but this bird has learned how to make the most of the situation quite happily.

Boris fought the Law and the Law won!
Announcing the result of the Supreme Court this morning Lady Hale said:

"The court is bound to conclude, therefore, that the decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification."  ITV

This decision was 'unanimous!'

This is quite an interesting step.  The court has ruled that Parliament must debate, Boris avoided this by deceit and while the court made no decision on the man himself it is clear he must go.  He has lost five major votes, kicked out 21 of his own MP's including the 'Father of the house' and Winston Churchill's grandson, and we have yet to discuss his latest wheeze with a US woman to whom he passed £125,000 for her business.  Hmmm...
John Bercow has apparently rushed back and insisted the House will resume at 11:30 tomorrow morning, not that he wishes to see an interesting Prime Ministers Question Time, but for democracy to rule!  MPs everywhere are once again packing their bags, leaving their 'paid for by someone else' holiday and returning to their constituency preparing for work.  The question 'What do we do now?'  Is the unanswered one as nobody has an answer to that.
Life is exciting but where is this taking us now?

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Bumbling Along...

It's a terrible thing when having eaten an inadequate breakfast you must run for a bus because you need a birthday card quick.  The best place for cards is not the local card shops but the Oxfam shop in Dunmow, not only two smiling young ladies but a decent choice of actually funny cards.

So I pushed my way past men selling strange kids waving things, there must be an event on today which explains the crowded streets and lack of traffic, and found the shop, brushed past the crowds and selected a few cards.
As it happens this area is of course wealthy so the book side is always worth a look and I obtained, for £2:99 a copy of 'Plutarch. 'The Rise and fall of Athens' to place on the 'to be read' pile.  Charity shops in well read towns are much better than those in the grubby back streets if you wish decent books.  The lower orders, like around here, read wimmins books, the trashy novels that ought to be burnt.  Better educated folks often dump books of quality, especially when clearing an aged relatives home.  Sadly they are all healthy and well at the moment in Dunmow.

The need to finish some of the family history has kept me busy, little else has been done, or indeed interesting enough to draw me away.  Now I have finished part one, soon to be sent north so my sister can understand the depth of depravity in her forebears, then I can look further back to Great Granddad where already I think I see problems...
Something to look forward to I suppose.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Smoke Gets in my Eyes.

The windows being open all sorts of aroma's pass inside. Tonight I am enduring the burning of what I believe may be garden rubbish, the first of the leaves falling from the autumnal trees or that kind of garden leftovers they don't think about turning into compost.  This happens annually, however I fail to see where it comes from, it arrives from the west but that way lies town centre and no-one to burn leaves.  Tis mystery all.
The smell of small fires in the open long after the fire has been ditched and left to burn out has been with me for many years.  I can remember the strong aroma when an uncle was clearing leaves in his garden way back when, and more so when on the rare occasions we went under the bridge taking the railway from Granton harbour into town and stalked Granton Beach, a beach which some refer to as 'Wardie Beach' but we never did.  
Here there was always at least one charcoaled set of embers to be found, the bouquet hanging in the still air, well, air as still as possible on that beach.  The beach was not great, many stones and too little sand, this hemmed in by the high ban, now removed, carrying the railway by.  The condition was not supreme, it was always somewhat dingy, this being the result of the Firth of Forth being a heavily used stretch of water in those days far off.  
In the far distance jutting out into the gray sea lies Newhaven Harbour, then full of fishing boats right up until the 1960's when they began to be replaced with rich men's playthings.  That is all that remains today.  On both sides of the Forth lay fishing harbours full of men risking their lives night after night, the 'silver darlings' have long disappeared and the cod and haddock dwindling but most boats today are smaller craft looking for the Lobster pots dumped out at sea the night before.  
At the time the picture was taken early in the 20th century the Royal Navy based half the Fleet at Rosyth and when my dad was growing up he could see such a collection of blue gray ships heading out to sea, Battle-cruisers, Cruisers, frigates, Destroyers and smaller ships abounding following them out.  Add to this the steamers from all over the world landing a variety of goods at Granton as opposed to the larger harbour the other side of Newhaven at Leith.  
The condition of the water may not always have been that clean as far as I can see but people spent time there and made the most of it.  Today, with the railway removed the area is cleaner, grass is planted in the rear, the space open and the sea cleaner as less ships pass by, a few large tankers and many small pleasure craft.  
The harbour behind has changed with one half being filled in and now crowned with large glass fronted blocks of flats with magnificent views and prices to match.  No more steam trains chugging past, fewer foul mouthed sailors, and one time warehouse or marine offices and lighthouses now turned into dwellings.  
However I bet people still build fires from driftwood, attempt to cook potatoes, and burn their fingers while eating them leaving the hazy smoke and its aroma to drift across the old breakwater and the new residences with the same freedom it has always enjoyed.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Day Out and a Horn Blast from 66514.

In a moment of madness yesterday I glanced at the clock, decided I could make the 11 O'clock train, raced off slowly towards the station, was 'sighed at' by the lass at the desk in the way you treat old people who cannot get the card out of the wallet, and jumped aboard one of the new trains that awaited passengers - sorry - customers.  Panting gratefulness I slowly recovered, fit?  Not yet.

The layout of the new train was different, the seats harder, the coach empty, and remained so until we reached the larger stations where London bound thrill seekers boarded en masse.  Two lassies even had the audacity to sit next to me and blether.  Tsk!  A decent journey in just about one hour as usual.

London termini have different faces to offer the traveller and none of them are very pretty.  Either of Liverpool Street station exits offer crowded streets, high buildings and masses of people.  The sky is rarely visible in this part of the world.  When you think of it the sky has not been seen much around here for probably two hundred years or so as this has been built up for many years.  

Naturally, knowing my way around, I took a short cut I had not used before through this dark alley.  The pub on the corner contained many rather too smartly suited men for my taste, could they be estate agents or Bookies runners I wondered?  Their outlook spoke of money the honesty of which I was unsure.  At the end of this short lane, which I avoided and continued through the more modern road in front of me, I noticed this:-

This was the one time entrance to what was 'Cooper's Wool Warehouse.' Opened in 1863 with the 'Merino Sheep,' which you correctly identified, on top of the gate now being a preserved monument, one of many such in London.  The building, like so many others here, was converted into offices in 1981 and recently upgraded.  Among the tenants are the City of London Police who helpfully block the end of the street with their vehicles.  

However I resisted the temptation to investigate and did not go that way wandering into this four sided ex-warehouse that I never knew existed.  On the other hand the warehouse and its employees never asked after me either did they?  Today a few eating paces, rather half heartedly operated, it may be they were just opening as it was just after noon or possibly preparing for an event, I did not wait to ask.  This does however reveal how much money is being spent around here, the Crossrail project apparently bringing many companies to swarm around Liverpool Street Station in the hope of living off the traffic this provides in some manner.

I however, still convinced in the rightness of my decision to take a short cut continued on my way expecting at any moment to arrive at the road awaiting me and turn left as I planned.
I did not.
Instead I blundered on past those three storey London houses built in the late 18th and 19th centuries, all with shops at the bottom, almost all occupied thus revealing the vast amount of Bangladeshi's who now reside in this area.  
This part of London has always attracted immigrants but do not tell the UKIP people as this upsets them, especially those descended from Jews, Russians, Latvian's, Poles, Germans, Italians, and so on and so forth, they do get upset about Johnny Foreigner.  So many gathered about the TV last night to sing 'Britons (read Englishmen) never will be slaves, Rule Britannia!' I consider it difficult for Britannia to rule the waves when she only has seven ships and four are in dock.
The Jewish immigrants were famous in the 19th century, their furry hats and inward lifestyles upset many 'English' at the time.  You will recall how many Jews were bad men in Charles Dickens stories, think of 'Fagan' for instance.  These streets were also the 1930's hotbed of political action as the 'Blackshirts,' Oswald Moseley's imitation fascist army, clashed with left leaning folks who disliked his approach to the Jews and indeed everyone else. 
It was quiet enough on Saturday.

I continued to goof and went further away from my destination.
Many shop signs revealed the ownership and heritage of the owner, just as they have always done here.  Many were selling clothes of one sort or another, shoes, local stores plus cafĂ©'s and restaurants.  I continued in the wrong direction hovering on the shady side of the somewhat downtrodden, let's be honest, dingy streets to avoid the sun.  Lots of buildings required a good wash and brush up here while next door stood a plush restaurant or shoe shop.  I almost bought a bottle of water from a local store but moved on as the staff were on hands and knees sorting things out.  I obtained water for 59p at a plush local shop which was doing very well thank you, the butchers side helping his profits I suspect with Halal meat.  
Many object to Halal as they say cutting an animals throat is cruel.  Funny how no-one objected to the Jews doing this for Kosher meat until recently?  However, a man I knew worked in an abattoir and was perplexed by the amount of animals that were not stunned properly before death.  Handling a half ton cow which is desperate to escape does not lead to decent behaviour!  A properly cut throat they say is quicker, less frightening for the animal and offers better meat.           

Having left home on the basis that I was feeling as healthy as I have been for a very long time I was now beginning to find my knees thought differently.  Wearing the wrong shoes and walking on ragged pavements did not help either.  Luckily in the distance, and in the wrong place, I saw the tower of Christ Church, Spitalfields rising in the distance so there I headed across the very busy road.  Once glance at the front of the building reveals that this Nicholas Hawksmoor building was not built to the 'Glory of God' but to the glory of the builders.  It was one of Fifty Churches being built by the Church of England in the new outlying areas, only 12 were actually built, this one was chosen as the area was dominated by those Huguenots and their descendants who had arrived from Flanders and preferred their own more biblical chapels in the area.  An outstanding creation but not in my view what a church ought to be, the locals agreed with me also.  Those chapels now are often turned into Mosques by the latest incomers. 
As I recall the church was in the 70's a place housing derelicts in the crypt.  People forget the homeless, on Dossers as they were then called, existed in the past also.  London has contained many since the Romans built their landing place here.  
I recall a TV programme from the 1980's where the crypt was emptied, the homeless moved into the main building and an archaeological team removed the hundreds of coffins placed therein in days gone by.  A disgusting sight as I remember it but offering valuable insights into the lives of those considered worthy of being deposited within.  Rather them than me.
I was somewhat peeved as the church was closed on Saturday, possibly to allow the bell ringers to hammer passers-by ears.  Next Saturday, as part of 'Heritage Weekend' it will be open!  I will not be there!  The link shows it may be worth a visit for some, especially as the old Market will also be full of feeding troughs for the rich and hungry. 

This is what dragged me ought yesterday morning.  I came across a picture I took many years ago of this door and wondered if it still existed.  Desperate for a day out somewhere I decided, without proper thought, to go for it.  

This was my inspiration!  Taken on the old Minolta it shows little has changed in 30 or so years.  The obvious change is the new owners, note the name has gone, do not enjoy tourists peeking in the wndows and make use of the shutters today.  A great many homes in this area have similar shutters enabling the weavers within to continue their work while as much light gets in and cold weather is kept out.

A clearer view of the large windows while on the roof proper weavers windows on number eleven and a half.  Fournier Street has a place for sale if you fancy it, bigger than these being on the corner, this is a 'snip' at £2.3 million.  I must say the insides of that one are mostly original and well worth a look!
Braintree obtained its wealth from such people Courtauld's being the most successful  Many weavers had arrived in Bocking and many places in Essex many years before and for hundreds of years they were popular and successful businessmen.
I was glad to have wandered about here, even if my body lacked desire for walking.  The change of area, the sights, the memories and the blessed tourists all getting in the locals way made my day, unless I was the one getting in the locals way.  

It is clear some weavers made more money than others, this chap has done well.  Of course he may have retailed cloth, or even better become a lawyer and dealt with officialdom on the locals behalf, that would enable an economic growth for him!

The comparison between the plush residences and the poorer ones round the corner spoke of London as it has always been.  These streets, not far from 'Jack the Rippers' area, have always been egalitarian.  Rich and poor side by side, a very London existence.  Stupidly I did not take more pictures of the rougher streets, Brick Lane in part being a bit rough, as there were so many parties of tourists around getting in the way, and I did not think!   Many parties were led by guides offering tales from the past, others might just have read the book 'Brick Lane' and come to see if it was real. No darling, story books are not real!  

I mused over the different building styles each century brought.  These may be late Victorian or Edwardian.  It was the tops of the building that attracted.  I have seen this elsewhere, is it meant to be Gothic?  Or is it just fancy brickwork to contain a room for the servant girl?  Note also all the shops are in business, no charity shop to be seen around these parts.  
It struck me as interesting that many clothes shops exist here today, many selling cloth of some sort, long years after the first weavers the area still has that connection.  Today, Sunday, just down the road Middlesex Street and the local area turns into 'Petticoat Lane' and attracts more than just tourists to its many stalls.
That market, and London has a great many of these, goes back to the late 16th century and a clothes market was there in the 1600's.  Spanish, Huguenots and Jews all spent time in the area and the market opens today on Sundays only, though nearby markets open six days a week.  Bring plenty of money and argue the price for stuff. 

Graffiti 'artists' I find usually leave only a mess however there are those in London that leave better images behind.  The quiet back streets offer opportunity for such around here.

Created in 1894 this building, Bedford House, once offered 'good works' to the locals, education, alleviating poverty and the rise of Quaker social action.  This lasted until 1947 when bottling plant moved in.  Since they left the place has slowly fallen apart.  Now squatted by 'artists' and 'students' who have repaired many parts of the building the owner, whoever that is, appears keen to let it fall apart, possibly to then sell it as the land would bring him millions!  Such a shame, nice building.

Before reaching Bedford House I was much tempted by the street stall selling curry and the like.  I failed to notice the prices but was sorely tempted to pay over the odds, something I do not delight in.  On my way back I accidentally ended up here once again and entered the opening opposite the curry stalls here I found Spitalfield's Market, once home of fruit and veg now home of  trendy London.  
Many stalls, the food ones operating at full speed, the overpriced ones selling garments, handbags and er, objects, less so while people stuffed their faces.  A very large market, full of the middle classes who have been told by their publication's this is where it is all at.  They might be right, if this is what you wish.  
Tourists abounded as I wondered what was the better part of the area, this tourist trendy place that I was become accustomed to in Notting Hill on a Saturday, or the real small shops and grubby streets I had passed through.  The area where people actually live and work had something more honest about it.  Life there being lived as it had been in this area since the 1600's, give or take a plague or two.  Immigrants, new food styles, new languages yet by the third generation they all cheer England on at cricket!
I don't!

I have a feeling this was an undertakers display, I chose not to enquire.

In the distance on the last picture three men are standing chatting.  Before them, hidden by the telephone box, lay a stall full of hats.  Trilby abounding I would have called it, they did not.  Guess who is the boss...
I noticed a stall calling itself 'The Naked Grinder' but like so much else around here that was not to be taken seriously...I found.

This is 'I Goat' a sculpture that is supposed to represent the waves of immigrants to this area.  Quite how I know not.  Standing on packing cases it looms high about the square.  Why?  No idea.

Artillery Passage once formed the boundary of the old St Mary Spital Priory closed down in the days of Henry VIII.  'Spital' is short for 'Hospital' and for around three hundred years after the end of the Priory the Archers and Crossbow men took over this space, hence 'artillery.'  The alley as such came with redevelopment in later days and offers a look into ancient London, many such lanes can be found in the 'City.'

The symbol of ironmongers was a Frying Pan.  These would be hung outside their door and the guess is that this now modernised wide open lane was once a grubby narrow passage which was home to many of those who worked that trade.

On the way to the station I hobbled by this shut coffee house.  Rather a mistake I thought, surely business would be good at the weekend with tourists about. 

I did rather like this however.

Back to stand staring at the board awaiting the platform number appearing.  On the way in I noticed Chelmsford Station now had a coffee stall on my platform, previously it was only available on the London bound side.  Therefore I decided to take the Norwich train and speed myself to Chelmsford, sip coffee and await my train which did not leave for a further 18 minutes after the Norwich service.
The Norwich speedy train trundled along.
It did not mention it stopped at Stratford to ensure someone insisted on sitting next to me.
We trundled on, I considered getting off and walking, eventually he returned to speed.  Some slow train in front hindering the express.  Tsk!  

I left the train, allowed the crowd to depart, sought the coffee stall and found it shut!  Typical, 2pm and he had hopped it!  Do they not realise trains run on a Saturday?  There was nothing for it but to wait 20 minutes for the new glossy train.

I amused myself by attempting to capture this aircraft high in the sky, this was not easy.  Higher above, Stansted and Luton bound planes passed across the sky, all leaving long vapour trails to upset the environment lobby making use of such aircraft for their holidays. 

I never noticed this before, it must be new.  I had heard the story somewhere.  Marconi the Radio people along with a major Ball Bearing plant existed in Chelmsford during the war, important targets for the Luftwaffe.  Often Heinkel's would pass over on bombing raids.  One night a large formation of enemy bombers attacked and Moulsham across the river from the main town, suffered badly with some 50 people killed and a great deal of damage done.  As a troop train approached the town this signalman remained at his post, halted the train at a distance to avoid several hundred men suffering, all the while in a signal box that was seriously damaged and in danger of collapse.  
It is nice to know he is remembered this way.

As I awaited my saloon car I managed to catch 66514 as he sped through at high speed heading I think for Felixstowe.  He offered a friendly three tone blast as he passed 'God bless you sir' and hurled himself on his way.  He pulled many empty flatbeds behind him, only four or five were in use and I wondered if Brexit was hindering exports?  No similar train passed in the other direction, that way I could gauge the import side, it may just have been to gather empties for the docks of course.

Typical!  The good train was put elsewhere and I was returned on the aged 321 which I must say has softer seats, though that may come from 20 years use of course!  So it was home, sore knees and that coffee.  

Today I remained at home, too stiff to cycle down the road!  Once again enjoying the memory of the good things in London having avoided the bad. £800 a week rent for a studio flat, £2700 a month for one of the better class two bed flats!  The empty flat here is going for £625 a month! How do they afford London?