Thursday, 31 January 2019

Man Flu

Also available in female versions!

Wednesday, 30 January 2019


Late last night as I coughed and sneezed I read online that snow had arrived.  Sure enough from the kitchen window I had a good view of falling snow, snow thick enough to begin to lie.  I had not noticed as falling snow is always quite unlike rain that likes to patter or beat against the window.  The field opposite began to gather the horrid stuff and I was not too keen.  I suspect drivers were not too keen either as around here are lots of back roads that get ignored while the main drives are kept open.  The dips and bends gather snow and frozen water which make life hazardous.  I suspect few cyclists will be ought late last night.

This morning most had withered away.  The fields retained a covering of white and areas of the roads and pavements had white frosted parts with some frozen water in the many dips in the car park as I passed.  I passed at a few minutes past seven this morning desperate to get in and out as quick as possible!  I was in no mood for the crowds that come later on a Wednesday but the fridge was empty and eating is a requirement I am loath to miss.  So in spite of temperatures below zero and noting few others out as yet I hurried up, grabbed a basketful of needed grub and hurried back in to enjoy the Man Flu before anyone noticed me.  Sadly I was too early to buy whisky as the law says wait until 8 am, even if it is your breakfast!  I care not as I was just wanting enough for a couple of days.  Now I sit while the wee chicken slowly cooks behind me.  This was chosen as it saves thought and will last a day or two.  
Several friends have this cold also, a bug that goes on for weeks rather than days.  It has been making me tired for a week or two and those other sufferers were far from happy when they bore it. However this has happened to me so much in recent years I understand how it works however it is something I can do without.  This however will leave soon but others I know suffer extreme pain from infection on their metal hips or undiagnosed problems causing weakness and pain, I have it lucky really.


Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Sympathy? Brexit? Whisky?

Sympathy?  Not a bit!  Only women muttering "Wimp" and "We just have to get on with it" and all the while not getting on with it.  I fixed them today however, I stayed at home and let them 'get on with it' while I suffered the slings and arrows (coughs & sneeze & ludicrous tiredness) all day long.  At least what passes for a brain cleared a bit although no longer adding whisky to my tea probably had a part to pay in that.  However I remain indoors avoiding the cold wind and bright sun while reading about snow falling and leaving drifts across road and rail.  Possibly tonight we might get this horrid white stuff just in time for me to visit Sainsburys for more Brexit stock.


While the world goes about its business Theresa and the 650 gather in the House each with a smile on the face and a knife in hand to stab in someone's back, just who as yet they are not too sure but it will happen. 
Brexit again on the agenda, again it is life or death, again speculation mounts, again nobody knows what is going on.  On all sides the chattering continues but in the House each MP is looking to his future.  The eyes are on their hoped for promotion, they follow the man (surely not another woman) who will lead the Tories while on the other side they all hope Jeremy suffers a sudden failure and is carted of to hospital allowing a leader to take over. 
It is difficult to believe this is happening.  Can this really be the state of government of a leading nation?  Can all this be the fault of a small group of Eton toffs fighting for the top job?  Tory Brexiteers have always been there sniping away from the south east, filling their tabloids with stories of lazy unemployed, cheating sick and of course millions of immigrants taking over and every one an Islamic terrorist who will cut your throat as you sleep!
So the sheep vote for Brexit and those more thoughtful who did also find that whatever they expected will not be happening.  Promises will not be kept, trade deals will not happen and while the Hedge Fund managers, all Brexiteers it appears, will be making a killing the millions who voted Leave will be out of work and losing their homes, their families and their NHS (bought by US cash).
I may go back to bed while they 'debate' in the House.  Watching it all day might lead to a brick through the screen.

It's no good, the bug made me sit and watch Parliament this afternoon and the low nature of the debate drove me to drink.  l now sit here in bed suffering Man Flu while coughing loud enough to keep the neighbours awake.  Whisky for warmth then as the weather man again promises snow, rain, wind and horror, he might even mean it this time.  As my work colleagues refused to send a nurse to aid me  tomorrow will find me early up at the shops filling the empty store cupboard as I have already promised.  Whether I can be bothered is another thing especially after the Brexit vote...

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Saturday Whisky...

The wee bug that has hung around for weeks decided to hang around my throat last night and remove what energy I had from me.  This I counteracted with whisky to no effect, well except more drowsiness.  However in spite of remaining horizontal all morning the sapped energy did not return.  This was awkward as I had to be at the museum for one o'clock having promised to cover the Saturday man.  

Blearily I sauntered in wishing to be back in my bed.  It became obvious the girls thought in similar fashion, they wished me away again.  However I remained and took my place at the till where we welcomed the guests to the opening of the new exhibition.  The high heid yins were there, including the Member of Parliament, photo ops important at such a time when folks question his allegiance to the area, and all went swimmingly as far as I could see.
Crittalls the window people were very good to their staff.  A sports club, good conditions, good money and in the 20's one of them built the village of Silver End equipped for all requirements of the time for his employees.  It was obvious that a company that people were happy to work for, some for over fifty years, would bring a  decent few people to the museum and so it proved.  They came to see portraits of the workers!  
During the 20's someone decided to organise oil painting off those who had served the company well, usually those who had served many years.  Thus there were a collection of paintings of workers high and low on offer and today we gathered the majority of them together for the first time in 90 years.
Many were donated by the locals, their grandfather posing happily or not as the case may be, and naturally at the beginning there were queries as to whether the information was correct.  Being the people we at the till were we passed the buck to the curator and moved away.
Running home as soon as I could I have sat here watching football ever since longing for the final whistle so I can sleep.  Tomorrow I will also watch football and remain indoors out of the rain, wind and cold while I sup whisky for medicinal reasons.  I might require to do this also on Monday...


Thursday, 24 January 2019


With a strange weariness hanging over me, the weather offering frozen ground in the morning and no desperate requirement of leaving the house this meant I needed something to occupy my mind that did not require much thought, normal business as it were 
So I poked my freezing fingers into the laptop and once again returned to may family history which has lain dormant for a while.  Much of this has been done and questions asked and answered but I decided to check it out and clean things up.  
When I say family history I refer not to my family but my grandfathers first family, he remarried when a widow and I descend from the second wife not the first.  This point is important as the first wife had problems and there may have been a combination of this that led to her ending up in Dundee Lunatic asylum!  
With feet pressed against the radiator I dug out what had been found, tidied the paperwork and then somewhat foolishly decided to print off what I had found.  Grandfather and his wife had seven children in 18 years, four girls and three boys.  In spite of the age only one child died, Mary expired from pneumonia aged one year and two day in 1902.  In sorting things out I placed the printed matter in individual plastic files, all very neat, however I forgot how long it would take to print things off.  There were birth details, census's, death notices and a summary page along with individual items from each.  It also required chasing about on ancestry and the Scotland's people site going from one to another before not always finding what I was looking for.  However it did cross my mind that rather than struggle through my life with the rubbish jobs that once fed me doing something like this was more interesting and I wish I had found a way in years ago. 
It is interesting what can be found.  The British Newspaper Archive is a great help with newspapers from long ago.  This can be frustrating however when the paper you want is there but not the year you need to search!  Umpteen millions of pages but not all are as yet online.  However I did find an explanation regarding the tale of two sisters who married the same man.  One parried this insurance accountant in 1904, she died however in 1928 and then in 1933, a suitable expanse of time, her sister moved in.  This was helped by copies of the death notices in the 'Scotsman' the paper men of his ilk would have been reading at the time.  His wealth was clear as he lived up Liberton Brae, expensive middle class then as now.  Thanks to Google Maps I could also find the houses they lived in!  How strange to be excited finding info about someone I never met!  The other sister had already married well.  The behaviour of the mother might be involved here as this one lived in Newcastle and not with the family.  This before she was 13 at that.  
Another interesting insight into the mother was that two years after his marriage granddad places an ad in the local paper telling the world he is not responsible for her debts!  Something was amiss.
I got so involved in all this I ran out of black ink and had to venture out to Tesco to pay for more, £18 a go!  
The brothers were easier to sort out, at least two of them were.  One spent time in Birkenhead where his eldest sister loved with him for a while, then he is found in the 'Manitoba Rifles' fighting for the Canadian Army, aged 35, and disappearing into the chalk on the 5th July 1916.  I must look them up sometime.  William however was in the RNVR and spent the war on small 'sloops' supporting the war effort.  The details on his discharge papers are hard to decipher without a knowledge of Naval terms but he appears to have done all right.  He died in a house in East London in 1936, his probate went to his sister.
Robert however adds mystery to this.  He is 16 and a drapers assistant while at home in Edinburgh but does not appear anywhere again.  I canny find a death certificate, (there are hundreds with his name and it appears the family always had a Robert somewhere) he is not on a census, and has disappeared.  Add to this my aged aunt one time mentioned a tale of that family concerning a son taking poison and then another doing the same which makes me wonder.  In 1891 they are all at home, dad working as a steam engine driver, but in 1901 he is elsewhere along with two sisters and one son.  He remains married and one son is England but where are the rest and why is the engine driver now a general labourer at 55?  Mary has died, has son killed himself, has mother gone over the top as she is now in the lunatic asylum, and yet no info anywhere regarding this.  I need to keep digging.
That is how I have spent two cold days, filling my head with such things, all meaning little in the end but I find it interesting and it keeps me off the streets.  

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Tuesday Twaddle

To encourage the Brexit sponsoring billionaire who owns Amazon I bought this book from him.  He appears happy with that and so he ought to be, after all how much would he have in the offshore banks if it were not for people like me and those shifty accountants he employs? 
This meant that as I was defending the Western Front from those empire builders I had no time to do anything else.  Just as well as I am lazy and did not wish to do anything else.  
A strange book in some ways, it does not 'flow' like a story as it is based on his notes written up at the time but this does give an immediacy to the action in some ways.  Otherwise it is similar to the experiences of what the gutter press refer to as 'our boys' in that the war is fought with the usual problems fro those in the front line and ignorance from those behind.  It therefore makes a mockery of war in many ways.  A good read and once again one I could not put down, in spite of the odd ways in which this translation is written.

It is still going on.
We are no further ahead.
The country does not know what is happening.
Parliament does not know what is happening.
The PM does not know what is happening nor what she is doing.
These men do.

These tax dodgers all support Brexit, many live abroad, and like James Dyson that loyal Brexiteer would move their business out of the UK to save money and pay less tax.  These, and who knows who else are behind Brexit.  Telling the little englanders that leaving would give back 'sovereignty' (which we had not lost), create wealth (for them) and kick out all those horrid (mostly black) immigrants that at taking our jobs and living off the dole.  The lies have borne fruit, the media has stolen the nation and it appears nothing can be done.
Disaster awaits...

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Morning, Noon and Night.

For the first time this week I rose without the heavy sleep hanging over me, a touch off that bug that has been going around here.  So just after seven a.m. I  trudged in the freezing weather up to Sainsburys.  It was colder than I anticipated, some frost lay in places in the park, and I was unable to open my eyes properly but that means nothing at that time in the morning.
High above the warning red sky offered a day of terrible weather even if the BBC site claims it will be chilly but none too bad around here.  Rarely does the red sky warning fail, somewhere today someone will feel the weather hurt them badly and I therefore must lay plans to stay in all day, once I have popped into the museum to pass on some info for one of the volunteers there.  I expect grumbling re the cold to be heard all around, but not from me as I never complain....

Wandering round to the museum just after ten with the weather colder than it was at seven I went to drop off the material for Keith.  He was busily involved in researching Braintree history back into the distant past.  What will come from this I know not but it looks good.  Judging by the size of he work he has done I am glad he is doing this and not me.
I am much happier than he, he is meeting with others to discuss that work, while I am watching the Scottish Cup on the BBC.  Much better than making my head spin with staring at long lines of aged information written in small and often undiscernible letters. 

My busy day is over, two football matches and reading my book has worn me out.  I had little time to spend arguing with Brexit lovers today, they must miss me?  Mind you Brexit has been pushed back by Prince Philip proving his manhood by crashing cars and then returning to the wheel without using a seat belt.  Vast acres after the accident spoke of his 'bravery' but almost none mentioned the people he crashed into.  They were of no importance I suppose.  I wonder who pays for the cars he crashes...?

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Nothing Has Changed

Two votes in the House and nothing has changed.  May is still there fighting hard to keep the Tory Party together in site of the knifing in the back that continues daily.  Once again she stands outside No 10 spouting the same meaningless speeches, once agan nothing changes and the time runs out.
Where will it all end?  
I have avoided most of the talk that has been flung about, none of it makes any difference and little among it makes sense.  The PM is intent on avoiding a party split, the nation has voted emotionally from a 'little englander' viewpoint and now regret this as all the factories, at least those that are left, make plans for moving to Slovakia.  The lies have taken root and the ones fooled into voting for Brexit now are the ones who will pay the price.
I note also how the 'Baby Boomer' generation are again being told they have lots of money and their pension may have to be taxed.  This has been hanging around for a while and the media like the lapdogs they are were quick to promote the 'rich pensioner' idea as a 'theft from the young.'   Once again Tory lies will make others pay while they dodge tax and do very well thanks.  

 I struggled awake this morning, heavy with sleep for some reason, while the girl mumbled on about the weather on the wireless.  "It is going to be chilly," she said apparently unaware that it is the middle of January and therefore 'winter.'  As she did so I noticed large flakes of snow landing on the window.  This was chillier than I had hoped.  
Within an hour this had evaporated and the sun shone brightly all day fooling some into thinking it warmer than it was.  I was not fooled and remained indoors bar taking the rubbish out and risking frostbite.  Minus 1 tonight, a few weeks of this and the Gas and electric men can plan their bonus.' 

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Film Night #Laurel & #Hardy #Busy #Bodies

Laziness Forces me to introduce FILM NIGHT!
It's cheap, it's old and it reminds you off me, er hold on...

Monday, 14 January 2019


I called someone a 'snowflake' today!  
This worries me.  
I am becoming a 'Daily Mail' reader!
I was irked, annoyed and put out by his comment and reacted without due care and attention.
This is of course not unlike me.
However I sit here fuming at my stupidity.  That ought to be one thing I am used to but no, I am surprised at how grumpy I am these days, grumpy at 'Daily Mail' levels and that is a worry.  
This anger arises easily as I look around me and see importance poured on things that are not important, celebs, adverts, stupid comments from a TV/pop/film star for instance.  Little things magnified out of proportion and now I am doing it also!
This generation is not easy to understand, their priorities are not major, minor things appear important and I suspect this is as a result of both they and their parents, and probably grandparents being brought up in a life of comparative wealth.  The middle classes, those who power the movers and shakers, have never worked in the real world and the following generations have nothing positive to aim for except the 'self.'  Me first has always been the way of the world but now many have the ability and expect the right to do anything even if it is absurd.  (At this point I would deviate (get it) into a rank about 'trans' but I will spare you this but it shows the point well)  Previous generations lived for the day as they were paid so poorly they had nothing spare, today this is less common.  The 'chattering classes' appear to be heading nowhere and this, like almost everything else, annoys me.
I am of course aware there are over a thousand foodbanks and many suffer under the austerity that leaves poor George Osborne struggling along on £2 million a year.  A friend of mine helps run the local one and meets some very hard cases but they are not the people who anger me.  It is the ones who do not notice and do not care.  The false dawn of the Hippy years saw many wish t make the world a better place, today people only seek self enjoyment, not a wrong in itself but they appear oblivious to the real world.  The PC world has raised a generation with a false moral outlook, 'if it feels good, do it' has become the value, the result is a mess.  An inability to know right from wrong and replace this with a false morality kills.
There again of course I could be, as my friend Wendy has often informed me over the past forty or so years, just a 'Miserable git.'  Maybe she has a point.
However I do see myself getting angrier, is it age?  Is it the generation around me, or is it I am just a git?  

Talking of drunken Twitter users I note that Trump has decided to shout at Turkey.  He has threatened them, a NATO ally, with repercussions if they don't do what he slurred.  Now the cynic in me says he has lots of money from Putin's friends, which means from Putin, and Turkey is a front seat for NATO on Russia's border.  Now could this be one of the ideas the Kremlin has put into his head to lessen the threat from next door I wonder?  I am convinced this could not be the case, he is after all a President and the US would not elect a stupid man as president surely?

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Books, The Invisible Cross, and Others

Having finished my first Christmas book the other day I have been awaiting delivery of something to read.  This is not because I have no books lying around awaiting use but because most of them are the slower type of read, I wanted something that I could not put down and would be an easy read.  Too many of the others I can only take one chapter at a time, then my brain requires rest.
Three of these I have never heard off before,  the Ernst Junger one I have wished to read for some time,and I am happy to consider these will be easier to read and more interesting than anything available on the nearest TV set or grubby daily paper.  We will find out son enough.
The books all came via Amazon, for reasons of their own the Junger book was sent separately to the others and came via Royal Mail, dropping happily through the letter box along with a final demand for someone else.  The others however came by Amazons own delivery men, 'White Van Man' and normally a 'Black or Tanned Van Man' who had never been in North Essex before, had 500 drops, no map bar a 'Tom Tom' that was out of date and could not speak English.  Whether he had a licence or insurance I would not like to ask.  So today, Saturday, I am informed books are on the way, again it is natural to expect arrival about seven in the evening but happily he arrived as I looked out the window checking on strange noises outside.  This before noon and with an English driver at that!
Now I suppose I must go and sit in my bed for a few days reading all this stuff, I do not wish it to go to waste.

This is an excellent book, though I would not refer to it 'as eloquent as  any war poem'  but it does reveal one man's heart while engaged in fighting a war, a war about which he new little as it happens.  An Englishman with experience of fighting in India at the end of the Raj finds his 1st Battalion the Cameronians now engaged in fighting a very different and superior enemy.  This he does well, as situations change the battalion suffers losses and he takes over command while his superior becomes Brigade General, a position he also will soon be in line for.  Alas he does not follow the commands of the Divisional Generals behind the lines while fighting at Loos, along with his Brigadier he demands that if they wish him to proceed as planned they must come and look at the situation and give him the order in writing, as he has a right to demand.  They do not come.
This made him possibly a marked man and it was until 1918 he actually became a Brigadier, three years late!
We know all this from the letters he sent to his beloved wife.  These he attempted to write daily, not always possible, and reveal his care for his family, his desire to get out of the line as he was ageing and the burden of command as the years past and the war developed wore him down.  His wife's replies he destroys, to precious for others to see.
This is an excellent insight into the battalion commander under duress, the stress of war, care for his family whom he rarely sees, and the care for his men often dying because of blunders and mistakes.
One interesting observation was his lack of understanding of how the war was going.  His friendship and relationship to senior generals did not help him develop a picture of the overall situation, the newspapers offered nothing but propaganda, and he asked his wife for info he was not receiving.  He lived on after the war, another came and went and he continued his happy life until his death in the 1960's.  The war of course he never spoke about.
Overall a very good book, worth a read.

Several times I have come along the street round the corner I have heard a bird sing happily somewhere above me.  At lunch time as I passed by there he was again, a wonderful cheery song in a gray day.  This time I could see him even though the light was poor and I am glad to know it was this Robin chirping away while Sparrows buzzed about him in the tree.  If the weather deteriorates as some claim it will then  hope he survives.  A month of real winter is due and I hope it s not like the one being experienced in Europe.  I hope the bird survives as the song brightens each day.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Thursday Cogitation

The tenth of January twenty nineteen, yet another year has almost finished before I have got over Christmas, and that itself appears far in the past!   Staring out into the gloom does not cheer me early in my morning, neither does Radio 3 cheer as it ought this morning, the wrong choice of music for me.  I wish for something more cheery, ah, Brandenburg Concerto's, that's better, I need something cheery as in a minute the news will appear bringing tales of Brexit, squabbles in parliament and little encouraging me to go out and meet the world.  The world itself is gray and chilly, the people wrapped up, gloved and woolly hatted as if the Antarctic was on their minds rather than Tesco, only young girls heading to college dress skimpily to attract the strange creatures attending them, tardily attired males who consider themselves 'trendy' while looking, as all youths do in every generation, a mess.

My mood might be affected by the pile of paper lying beside me.  This contains information regarding the graves in the Bocking End Congregational Church graveyard.  This has been in use so long many of the tombs are now unreadable and others soon to be similar sadly.  However I checked up some of the names and was struck by how much many achieved, at least in child rearing, and how quickly their life had passed, life is much shorter than we realise, and only after fifty do we realise we are next!  The age span of the names is also great, one church minister was serving the church there for nigh on fifty years, greeting many when they entered the world and burying them around him when they left, while others failed to reach five years in their Victorian life.  Many women lie there dying in their twenties and thirties, childbirth often the cause.
Others appear to have been successful in business, a builder married the girl next door, began as a carpenter, became a builder, then a master builder and eventually died in what I presume to be a house he himself built in one of the more prestigious streets.  Today that house will cost well over half a million, possibly much more, it is an outstanding building!  His other buildings will stand all around probably for many years yet.
I sometimes wonder how people survived the physically tough eras in the past.  Walking was the most common form of travel until railways appeared, and then we would not venture far unless we sought a new life or had a public day off.  Medicine was rare, mostly old wives tales and experiments, until the mid Victorian days when ether arrived operations were rather drastic, germs were not discovered until much later and sickness was dangerous.  Hard labour, poor wages, poor prospects, even though life improved as the century came to an end, in comparison to today the opportunities had to be fought for and life was strewn with difficulties.  We have it so much easier and I am aware of many faults and difficulties we all face today. 

Our next exhibition reflects greatly on one of the large businesses that once employed thousands of townsfolks, Crittall Windows.  By the end of the 19th century Courtaulds Mills, Lake and Elliott and Crittall's employed thousands here, all were decent employers and workers happily remained employed at these companies for most of heir working days.  All paid decent wages, good working conditions and social clubs and events.  Crittalls had a large social club almost opposite their extensive factory, now all gone and replaced by housing, and paid good wages with excellent conditions for the time.  During the Great War they replaced men who had gone off to serve with women paying the same wages and prepared 18lb shells for the war.  One of the Crittalls built the small town of 'Silver End' around one of his factories for the workers, social clubs, parks, shops etc all available in a modernistic setting.  While few of the early settlers remain, most must have passed away by now, the village is still clearly well laid out although the benefactor 'feel' may now have long gone.  If only our millionaires today acted like this towards their people?  I suppose they have no contact with workers and therefore have no idea what the workers lives are like, politicians today mostly failing to have ever 'worked' having always been politically minded.  They are indeed far from us all.  The Crittalls however knew their people and this exhibition will show oil paintings made by the company of workers at all levels from shop floor to boardroom.  These were made in the 20's and at least one person I have met has a granddad who is among those portrayed by the artist (whoever he was).  This ought to being in the public, half the town worked there or knew some family member who did, and it will run on until the new year to allow schools a chance to bring the kids in and learn about the towns past.  
No-one paints portraits of their workers today.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019


The sun was up, the sky was blue, and so was I as he sun shone but failed to heat.
Chilled and weary I entered the world of work once again and once again it smiled upon me, then left me to it all day.  How marvellous to have had nothing to do for two hours this morning!  They who must be obeyed were all in a meeting, that went on all day, I think one of them is still there talking away and has not noticed the rest have hopped it.  This left me with nothing to do but attend to visitors who did not show.  At least for most of the day that is then they all came at once, parcels being delivered, visitors, people asking for bus timetables, more visitors and then it as time to go home.
Naturally at this point I made a mess of the till and our one big customer of the day, until then our only one, suffered my incompetence.  Once sorted he smiled and left, feeding them chocolates while we sort the till helps ease people I find, especially women, and then reporting to boss who had sneaked out of meeting and being clouted with ledger book, I sailed home.
Marvellous this ability of mine to make mistakes no-one else ever makes.  I see this as a "cough" gift though the boss says otherwise.

Geordie taking over at the 'Mail' recently  offered a chance for the tabloid to improve the quality aspect, turn from Brexit and produce journalism once again.  Sadly this has not materialised.  Indeed it appears to have gone further in quality.  Instead of haranguing the EU or screaming about immigrants Geordie fills the paper with royal stories, mostly untrue, and mediocre celebs.  So we have tales of what she wears, what she said to him, and what ex-employee claims she said he said that week when she did or he didn't.  Hundreds comment each taking sides in this needless soap opera.  Geordie knows his audience and 'News' is not what they seek.  To this end David Beckham the mediocre footballer with pouting wife has reappeared constantly.  Oh joy, we need to know about him, her, the sales, the fashion, the money don't we?   Well no actually but the DM reader apparently does.  Brexit has been pushed carefully aside and Geordie is, like everyone else, unsure what will happen, so he hedges bets in case he needs someone in the future.  Dacre, the strange previous editor has departed who knows or cares where but Geordie must improve the quality or folks might be wanting the old man back again.  

Monday, 7 January 2019

Trouble at, Town...

When I came here in 1996 I read all the local papers to discover what the town was like I found it was full of crime!  Garages robbed, cars stolen and various other local problems like flashers and so on.  However a month alter the annual results were published and the stats were very revealing.  Back in London my area came under Paddington, car crime here, stolen radios etc, amounted to about 650 a year, Maida Vale was top with well over 700 such crimes.  This town had 24.  The screaming headlines in the press were a bit over the top I mused.  Today, with some 10,000 extra people arriving the somewhat laid back town is a wee bit different.  Add to this the shortage of police caused by government policies, police misuse of funds (funding 'gay rights' and 'trans' events for PC reasons rather than policing), and the increase of drugs availability often via outreach from London gangs, and the atmosphere is a wee bit less wholesome.  That said it remains a good place to live, especially for the folks with young kids and those er, past their best.  Excitement has however reached fever pitch with two incidents in recent days.

Not long after 5 pm on Saturday, as the market was closing and many were leaving Tesco with their shopping, a fight between what appears to be two large groups developed outside in the space between the store and the 'Bull' pub.   In the mellee which followed one man received a knife wound in the hand and a general 'fear' element affected the local facebook page, especially among those who were not there and unlikely to be there any time after five.  It appears among those arrested were people aged over 50!  This is understandable and many posted about their fear, the way the town has decayed in recent years and only a few, mostly men, indicated that such situations are rare and we are unlikely to meet one.  I have had only one real confrontation, with a few neds, in 22 years for instance.  However the fear is understandable.  Burglaries have increased as street lights are extinguished late on, criminals from outside pass through stealing what they can from town and village and move on, impossible to catch unless the police get lucky.  Situations like this lead to fear, women especially, and more so if on there own.   
The fact is this may be two groups known to one another, local lads maybe or folks from outside seeking trouble.  It could be drug related but we will not know for some time I suspect.  Several people have been arrested, know doubt soon to appear charged and remained in custody, and hopefully the police who reacted reasonably quickly can put folks minds to rest.     

Today, with the town rested and at ease, children returned to school, all others returned to work while I remain at home enjoying my leisure, suddenly an ambulance helicopter lands in the park opposite.  This curtailed my screening of the 'EPL on Quest' while I attempted a photograph through dirty windows.  It was worrying at first as the four men unhurriedly walked down the street round the corner as I know people there and wondered what had occurred.  
Later, much later, an ambulance arrived and a man with serious injuries was transferred to the helicopter and taken away.  All this took time of course and soon the social media and press were filled with speculation and little information.  
The individual involved did not come from round the corner but further away in some flats where a confrontation had occurred.  Another gentleman (note the use of this word) was removed from the flats and arrested for 'affray.'  He also assaulted an 'emergency worker' and is now helping police with their enquiries.  This does not set hearts at peace though I suspect if drugs were not involved in the first incident bad words have been exchanged between groups of young and old 'gentlemen' and the second one may well be neighbours or 'friendly gentlemen' who have fallen out.  I suspect the populace are no way involved nor need to fear.  

Everyone wishes to see what is happening!  The press have of course listed all the stabbings, fights, crimes in one long list forgetting to state that almost all are yobs of suitable behaviour, domestic incidents and robbery, still it's the 'shock' element that sells innit?
The police policy has changed recently and they claim officers were nearby patrolling when the first incident occurred, this may be true.  Better organisation sees more police on the ground, even if just PCSO's, and the public prefer this.  History tells us the town has seen worse, crimes have always occurred and common sense and good policing, with public support, helps alleviate the damage caused.  


Saturday, 5 January 2019

Bored Saturday

Cold and gray, and so is the weather, so I sat in waiting for the postman bringing a book.  This book is for another but would be too big for the letterbox, so I waited.  Checking later I found a card telling me he had left it at another flat!  I was in!  Why not knock loud?  Bah!!!  This is a good postman, I wonder what the bad would do?  Tsk!
Having stored the book I checked the football.  Manchester United squad players against failing Reading, this will be good eh?  No it was not, as expected Man Utd won easily.  Now I watch Blackpool, with a detested chairman who's fans refuse to enter the ground.  Therefore their poor team is against Arsenals squad players who ought to win easily with their fans outnumbering the home crowd.  The rich maniac who owns the club sits above watching while the club falls apart.  Why do the authorities allow such situations to develop?  As expected the game is a s dull as my day.

However while printing a leaflet I discovered I had no black ink left.  The ink world is a con!  Having bought on the cheap several twinned packs off Black ink and coloured ink I now find I have three coloured inks lying awaiting a place and no black!  This led to venturing out into the chill wind.  
As I passed the Congregational Church I noticed the door slightly ajar.  This was interesting!  Rare to see the door ajar at any time so I took a look around the outside to check if someone was working there, none to be seen, just as I was debating entering the ministers wife, who I know, came out.  This saved me from entering seeking burglars and instead finding and chatting to for a while the leaders of this now small congregation.
Having worked there for over 20 years the man has built up a decent congregation, sadly of aged people, most of these have now dropped off and only a handful remain.  This is sad as the church grew out of the 1600's puritan revival and started in a barn a hundred yards up the road despite opposition from Charles the first who demanded people attend the parish church.  Many were threatened with jail, many fled to the new world, others remained until Charles II allowed them some degree of freedom.  A building has stood here for around three hundred years even allowing for half the congregation to leave and begin anew Baptist church over the road.  This large building, dim with n lights on when I was in there, is an ideal church building.  Pews sit at a circular angle facing the front and having always been well kept it appears old but (apart from heating) is ideal for proper church services.  It would be a great shame if such a church were to die after so long a witness.  However almost all churches in the town are decent ones, the younger element do not like the style of service, and the minister and his wife at 77 years of age will not be changing that any time soon.  All this means appropriate persons have other churches to join and this one suffers now. This rubbish football is more interesting but the result is clear...

Friday, 4 January 2019

My Fat & me...

Early this morning before the sun decided to break through the dullness I stood on the weighing machine and found four pounds had gone from me.  My fat belly rejoiced, even though it made it difficult for me to actually see the reading on the far off machine at my feet.  Moving off the machine amidst much creaking, my bones not the weighing machine, I rejoiced and swiftly breakfasted on two hunks of bread.  Something did not appear right here.  Once again I must pretend I am eating better, once again I must choose more fruit and veg and less of the Christmas leftovers (see above) and once again I suspect this will last for a few days only until bad habits once more reappear.  
er, actually having looked in the fridge it appears bad habits will be feeding me again tonight!  The only things to eat are about to go off, reduced price specials, and I must stuff them down now before they go that awful green colour again...
My downstairs neighbour has been hiding away since new year with his girlfriend, clearly the reason he no longer lives with his children's mother, and has I suspect enjoyed himself a great deal.  This does mean however that I cannot exercise as I would like, the shaking floor unfair on those below, and so what exercise I did today was slow and not sufficient to encourage more fat to go away.  Nevertheless I will persist, I will be out for a short while on the bike, cold weather permitting, also next week he will have to work once more and I will fill the morning with grunting and grumbling.
I may well reward myself with a piece of cake!
Cake reminds me of the book I am reading, one of the Christmas gifts, this concerns an officer in the Cameronian's, a regiment who like all Scots regiments were famous for their cakes.  In his letters home (the book is based on his letters) he constantly refers to the cakes, fish, fruit socks and various other items his wife sends out.  Visiting officers rejoiced in visiting such men at the front.  
Having just finished rather rapidly the 'Black Bun' that arrived it might become a requirement of my sister to send me cakes more often, as a treat after exercise I mean.  I doubt she would comply outside of Christmas!  

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Thursday Baloney

A nothing day again, too chilly to wander about, once Tesco had been attended to ("Here it comes again," I heard the checkout girl say to her mate.  She not being my favourite) and buying yet more seed for the greedy Starlings!  I need to feed myself also as I just failed to remember the name 'Starlings.' I could name many birds but this one would not come, the mind blocked it.  This happens all too often nowadays.  It is part of my mind and it runs through the family this inability to remember names but when tired or sick it shows up and nothing comes that is relevant when looking for something.  I hope its just age.
A nice email from one of the museum girls today, that worried me also as it meant she wanted something.  Indeed she did and my nothing day was at the end filled with searching for a man I canny find.  He is there, I found him 5 years before I want him, but otherwise he has run away. He did reappear and die rich and happy in 1950, but it is his earlier experience I seek!  Bah!
Now I retire exhausted, strained and forgetting what I was going to do....