3 stents later…

3 stents laterFor those of a nervous disposition (snowflakes), turn away now…

First of all, I have to say to sorry to myself for not keeping my blogs up to date. It was something I promised myself right at the beginning. At least one post a week. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control (or were they?) that particular target has not been possible. Due to recent developments in the heart department, I have had to take a break.

As my follower will know a few weeks ago I had an angiogram to discover the cause of my breathlessness, my angina (in this case painless, yet uncomfortable). It was discovered I had a mildly furred-up artery and therefore needed an invasive procedure, in this case a stent.

Coventry Hospital here I come.

I ought say at this point that although initially nervous I wasn’t too worried. I knew that the procedure was the same as the angiogram. An insertion of a ‘wire’ into the artery at my wrist, then up the arm turn right at the shoulder and onward into the heart. Easy.

As it was the angiogram was simple and better still, even without something to send me to a better place, I never felt a thing. OK so the new procedure was different insomuch it would be carrying a payload ( *a stent) but so what? There can’t be that much different.

How wrong I was.

Apart from the fact that it took probably three times as long it was the most uncomfortable and invasive piece of ‘fiddling about’ I have ever experienced, I did not like it one bit.

OK, so it wasn’t painful as such but imagine having someone pushing about in your interior and you feeling their every move. Worse than that, being asked to take huge breaths so the manipulator can manoeuvre his way through the many twist and turns of your blood vessels so he can find the main route to your ticker…’right so go down here, turn left at the junction and straight across…when you get to the McDonald’s pull a sharp right over the level crossing…’ That’s what it was like and it seemed to go on for ever. Add to this the surgeon’s cries of…’pressure on…14….20’ and that was my day. Horrible. I felt like an on-line game. Exhausting and a little scary.

Any road up, **three (3) stents later (all varying sizes)

three stents laterI was done and returned, clad in my rather fetching paper suit to Rosie who was napping in my bed space (except you don’t get a bed now, you get a rather snazzy ‘easy boy’ chair like Frazier’s Dad has in er…’Frazier’.) Then follows a three/four hour wait to check that you don’t bleed out or explode. You are wearing a pressure bandage over the entry wound in your arm artery that allows you hand to match the colour of the paper scrubs you are wearing and you are freezing cold. Tea, biscuits and sandwiches do not help. You just want to go home and die.

Battered and bruised (internally) and feeling sorry for myself I am at home and sleeping well away from the house hub-bub in my converted garage. I have to take a week off (from what I’m still trying to figure out) without any exertion. I’m still a little uncomfortable after 4 days but notice improvement every day. There’s no sign of ‘the new man’ everyone says I will discover but I’m hopeful.

There are two things that I will always remember about this experience and both are really nothing to do with the op.

ONE:

The fantastic care I received from the Staff. The doctors, the nurses, the porters, everyone. There’s something magical about human beings in Caring Situations. The sheer humanness of the people involved. Beyond words.

TWO:

The diversity of the people involved. God knows how many different races and religions looked after me. There was laughter, kindness, humility. The whole world was there and for one or two moments I will always treasure they were just there for little old me.

You know what? I feel sorry for the racists and the haters who judge their fellow men and women by the colour of their skin or their faith.

There is something wrong with the haters biological/psychological makeup. They are lacking something. It’s almost as though they missed out on a vital component as we progressed from ape to man. And the sad thing is…THEY REALLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE MISSING.

  • A small Russian motorbike.
  • **three (3) stents. The surgeons assures me the number of stents used is nothing to do with the progress of ‘the disease’ but more to do with the artery itself.

Peace out.

Posted in confession time, fear and misunderstanding, irrational fears, nightmare, Personal, Truth | Leave a comment

Oooo my aching back

ooo my aching back

Ooo my aching back

I reckon I’m everyone of the 8 in 10 people who will experience back pain sometime in their sorry lives. I’ve suffered from this annoying condition for most of my adult life and to tell the truth I’m well pissed-off.

It’s like it has a life of its own. Like back pain is a living breathing entity with a sick sense of humour. A bad joke taking enormous pleasure in arriving on all those important occasions. Occasions when the last thing that you want to look like is Quasimodo, bent from the waist, dribbling and grunting with the pain. All I can say is thank God the invitation to collect my CBE (Crap Back Engaged) hasn’t arrived yet, the last person I would want to upset is Her Maj.

Over the years I have tried every pill and potion to soften the effects of back pain you can think of. From heat treatment (hot baths, ‘Deep-Heat’) to cold treatments, (packs of frozen peas to blocks of your actual ice).

I’ve tried stretching, tai chi and the old favourite, ‘walking it off’ which is complete rubbish and total agony. People have told me that ‘bed rest’ is the worst thing for it and  ‘you must keep moving’, when in fact lying in one’s pit doing nothing, has been the only thing that actually goes some way to relieving the pain (it’s getting up that is the problem). I’ve tried all kinds of therapy from manipulations to having a close friend walk across my back. If none of the following work…

Hip Flexors  

Neuropathy solution

Shop the Healthy Back Institute Today!

…then I’m seriously thinking of going to see a witch if I can find a dark forest with a gingerbread house deep in its heart. I’m ready to swallow anything to stop the pain. A toad, a spider mixed with the venom of adder or even a pint of gnat’s piss. Bring it on.

The truth is, it is no laughing matter, I hate the bastard that is back pain coming upon me just when I don’t need it. For instance, I have to go to hospital today for a pre-op (another story) and I’m going to be stumbling into the waiting room looking like something out of ‘Young Frankenstein’. ‘Hump? What hump?’ and you know what? The moment my appointment is over, the second I leave the confines of the hospital the pain will vanish as mysteriously as it came upon me.

Posted in complaint, curmudgeon, nightmare, Personal | Leave a comment

Traditionally speaking

For some unknown reason I spent a lot of today thinking about ‘the things I don’t do anymore’. Things that don’t seem as important as they undoubtedly and traditionally,were. And it wasn’t as though those things became boring or tedious that caused me to drop them, it was me…I just…stopped.

For instance, the pub.

I was never a great drinker although in my heyday 6/7 pints was considered ‘normal’. But I was young and stupid then and after rugby it was what you did. No, I’m thinking later in life, when I grew up a bit. The pub was traditionally a great place to socialise. It was a place to talk politics, music, sex etc. I enjoyed nothing more than Friday nights, expelling hot air, talking, it has to be said, probable nonsense. But looking back, it was so fulfilling. It was a place where long-term friendships were forged, ideas exchanged and battles fought. It was where we found our feet. Where we learnt what side we were on.

But it doesn’t happen any more…at least not in my life. It has gone.

Then there was ‘the pictures’, the movies, the flicks.

I was one of those who in the old days of ‘revolving film’ (when a film would play all day on repeat), would arrive half way through then whisper to my partner an hour or two later, ‘This is where we came in – let’s go’. (Or not. You could watch it again if you wanted to…and again). I loved the experience.

I used to be very vocal in proclaiming the best form of entertainment was watching a great story on a big screen in a large darkened room with a group of strangers. Nothing quite like it. It’s gone.

Now, for me it’s all small screen. Netflix, Now TV & Amazon which, let’s face it is not half the experience even if you have got surround sound.

So, what happened?

OK, like most old farts I suppose in the case of Cinema, you might expect me to put it down to quality or rather the lack of. But that would be a lie. Cinema has gone forward in leaps and bounds. Technically speaking, sound and picture have grown beyond our wildest dreams. I think on a personal level, maybe the art of story-telling has diminished slightly but fads, fashion etc goes around and around. Nowadays people appear to want more bangs (literally) for their bucks but, the western is making a comeback and everybody likes a good old spy story…

And as for the pub…there’s a huge amount of choice these days. The warm pint is a thing of the past and let’s face it the hours are much more suitable for long liquid chats…

So, I’ll ask again…what has happened…?

I think it’s simple. Two things…

One: I admit it’s something to do with me becoming a Curmudgeon in my old age and the cold, hard, fact that I really, really, REALLY resent paying nearly £4+ a pint and treble that for a seat and a bag of popcorn in a cinema.

TWO. The fact is, the simple, traditional pleasures of life in my UK have been taking out of the reach of the working/non-working classes by the greedy conglomerates and the like of the Bransons, Ashleys, Dysons et al (most of whom don’t even live here anymore). Men, modern day pirates who have ransacked their own countries for the sake of profit. In my view buying and being allowed by various governments (with fingers in the pie) to sell and profit from the ‘family silver’, without our permission.

They’ve pushed up prices and then fucked off, leaving us to eat cake and watch their TV stuffed and immobile on our settees.

And the terrible thing is, they haven’t finished yet.

Branson has his claws in my NHS and Dyson has taken jobs out of the country whilst somehow giving the impression that he runs a ‘British’ firm. They wave the false flag of patriotism about willy-nilly and will not be satisfied until they have it all.

Who says there are no such things as Vampires?

[This has been one of my occasional rambling posts where nothing makes a lot of sense and logic left of its own accord some time ago. For that I apologise. If you got this far. I commend you].

Posted in cinema, complaint, curmudgeon, good while it lasted, history, hollywood, memories, movies, oh what fun we had, Personal, Spleen, The Poor, Truth, TV | Leave a comment

Has Dr Who jumped the Shark?

dr who

I don’t usually do critiques of the entertainment world but seeing as recent and unending Doctor Who hype really got my goat (below), I decided I couldn’t let matters lie.

advertising in all its forms gets my goat

        My Goat

What I really got fed up with was never-ending over-the-top publicity that The Doctor was going to be a woman. So, I only have to say two things to say about the gender change.

1. About time.

2. So what?

I’m afraid when that all important episode arrived every element of surprise had been sucked-dry and done to death. Talk about being hoisted by your own petard. The BBC publicity department or whatever they are called really messed that one up and should have left it alone when the last episodes of Capaldi’s reign aired.

We ended up knowing everything there was to know about the female Doctor. What she looked like, sounded like, most of her mannerisms, the only thing they left us to discover was the awfulness of her performance.

A very bad actorly performance with a constant ‘Look at me I’m the new doctor’ trend running through the whole episode, its only saving grace was being constantly reminded that this was Children’s TV and not too expect too much.

The writing/dialogue was terrible with everyone involved doing nothing but expressing surprise all of the time, about everything. Absolutely, exhausting. There was not an ounce of wit to be seen. It was one gigantic cliché. From the construction of something marvellous out of old electrical junk (again) to a bad guy straight out of a marvel comic.

OK, so this was the first episode for the female Doctor and she has huge shoes to fill. But if she continues with the repetitious dialogue delivered breathlessly it will be a ‘NO’ from me.

And another thing. Does she really need that many assistants? Maybe there’s a plan afoot to kill a companion off per episode thus upping the sympathy count. One down (this episode) three to go.

One more thing…it’s going to be interesting how they continue the references to Ryan’s *dyspraxia, or was it a one-off? Or perhaps someone will develop something else?

*Surely The Doctor could cure him?

Posted in curmudgeon, Personal, TV | Leave a comment

Life…don’t talk to me about life…

BEFORE

I have to confess I was a little alarmed to read that life expectancy has, in this year of our Lord, 2018, stalled. I’m not sure whether this means I had better hurry up and finish this or 100 is looking pretty unrealistic.
As always it looks like the female of the species has it made what with her life expectancy of 82.9 while us poor blokes will, with a bit of luck just about make it to 79.2. I can only assume that we get a shorter period of time on this mortal coil because we work harder and therefore get knackered, quicker. It’s either that or a reflection and consequence of the time Jeremy *unt spent as our bloody useless Health Minister.
Anyway, this shocking revelation girded my loins and made me do a bit of research. And I’ll tell you one thing, it’s a whole lot better than ‘living’ in the Middle Ages. Apparently, if you were born to a wench between 1276 and 1300 your life expectancy was horrendously, low. You could, if you were lucky, expect a lifetime of tilling the fields and shovelling cow shit until you were 31! Mind you, if you spent most of what little precious time-off you had repairing the holes in your mud house walls and replacing the straw on the roof (if you had one), then I bet going that early was quite a relief.

To be truthful, if you were lucky enough to make it to the magical 31, then there was a decent chance you might make it to 50 (which was really, really old). However, maybe it wasn’t so good being a woman and reaching that ‘great age (50)’, I’m sure because of all the wrinkles and haggard looks you would have picked up along the way, the odds on you being accused of being a witch were high. Maybe a 30 ish life expectancy for a woman was a nice age to go, after all.

Food.

It’s quite interesting to note that the diet then, was by today’s standards quite healthy. Indeed, I’m surprised that they didn’t live a little longer what with the outside life (fresh air) combined with the lentils. But then again, what with everyday consisting of bread, parsnips and turnips followed by er… bread, parsnips and turnips one can’t help wondering why there weren’t more suicides.

There was of course meat, but as usual the good stuff like venison was reserved for the rich. Indeed, they made it their business to stop the Commoners, under pain of death hunting for deer. Very thoughtfully leaving wild pig and old chickens for the exhausted peasants.

Truthfully,

I’m not sure if longevity is a blessing anyway. I look around me and see those that do live to a great age ‘living’ a life without quality. Extra years of being ignored, under-valued and hidden away Life expectancyto be less of ‘ a burden’. Not nice.

 AFTER

Posted in Being a bloke, complaint, curmudgeon, Personal, The Poor | Leave a comment

You cannot be serious…?

ypu cannot be serious...? about the location?

location, location, location.

you cannot be serious...?

‘socks model’s own’

I just want to thank The Guardian (Saturday) for making me feel better and giving me such a laugh when I was really quite down in the dumps. You cannot be serious..?

The paper is usually quite heavy (weight-wise) on a Sat but this week you needed a trolley to carry it home and that was because of the hilarious ‘The Fashion’ Supplement (less a supplement more ‘The Bible’. Anyway, it’s the funniest most side-splitting collection of fashion photos I think I have ever seen…and then there’s the prices…Jesus…

If you can get a copy it’s worth it especially if you are feeling suicidal.

you cannot be serious...?

er…

Posted in oh what fun we had | Leave a comment

Day in Court? Forget it. Wealthy only need apply.

justiceYou would have thought that in a country that prides itself for its human rights record, the UK’S path to Justice would be unhindered. Unfortunately, that is not so. If you want something as basic as a fair hearing, you have to pay.

Today’s rant comes curtesy of my daughter who like so many (men & women) caught up in the unpleasant machinations and after effects of divorce, can not afford to pay for her day in court. Which leads to the obvious, no pay = no day = no representation = you lose. A total injustice and in my view, criminal.

If there is one thing in this Country and other countries that shout loudly that they are ‘civilised’ is the undeniable right to Justice. If that is not available to every man and woman whatever their circumstances, then forget it. Said country is just a backwater and undeserving of any claim to fame and progress.

My daughter wants to move her children down the road a few hundred miles to be nearer her family. Her ex doesn’t want to travel the extra distance to see the children he left and is taking my daughter to court in an attempt to stop her. She, cannot afford a solicitor to represent her in court…so?

Once upon a time, money was available for those who couldn’t afford a solicitor, now thanks to Government policies that I simply do not understand, help has more or less been withdrawn.

For the wealthy the doors to the courtroom are wide open. For my daughter they are barely ajar.

Posted in complaint, criminal activity, curmudgeon, Family, Personal, politicians, Spleen | Leave a comment

Bear with me…

EU

Posted in Brexit, EU, good while it lasted, Hurrah, oh what fun we had | Leave a comment

Holidays or Vacations

I have what some might say is a major problem. (I don’t do holidays or vacations as our American friends say). When I say ‘I don’t do holidays or vacations’ what I mean is I don’t like holidays or vacations. I go on them (reluctantly) but that’s only because they are arranged for me. The way I figure it is the money is already spent therefore I don’t really have much of a choice. I am, you should know, apart from being a Curmudgeon also a bit of a miser and the thought of money wasted, lost or even spent, drives me mad.

So, as I was saying, I go.

Under protest. For the sake of my understanding Other-Half, I have to say, I do try.  I do try to have (i believe the expression is) ‘a good time’ but it doesn’t work. Always, I cannot wait to get back home where I can be miserable in familiar surroundings.

I ought to say at this point that the weather makes absolutely no difference. The sun (like the so-called newspaper) holds no attraction for me and to be honest, I like rain so as you can imagine, the British climate suits me very well.

More than a day of sun especially in a country that knows nothing else, ‘does’ as we say in the UK….’…my head in’. I cannot understand how anyone with a beating heart can bear to have that great yellow thing beating down on them every day-lit hour. It sits there smirking. Vaporising everything within range of its deadly rays, drying things up that shouldn’t be dry and if it feels like it, burning things to a frazzle. Of course, I am aware that the sun is life-giving but come on, a joke is a joke and there’s only so much health anyone can take.

An educational break.

[I believe it was the painter Turner who cried out on his death-bed ‘That the Sun was God’. This was obviously a crafty ploy to add mystery and make sure that his paintings, which I’m sure you are aware of contained a lot of light,  continued selling after his death. It would have made much more sense to shout ‘Wet is Good’  (he was good at atmospheric conditions of all sorts so he would still sell), when one considers we cannot live without water. If the sun hid behind a large cloud for the next thousand years we would still survive and think of the fortune we would save in sun-cream].

Break over.

But holidays or vacations are the thing. Hot or cold I cannot be doing with them. For me they are unnecessary interruptions. Even when I was a working Curmudgeon coming up to his yearly break I dreaded the holiday. The thought of not working for the next two weeks was wonderful but the fear of having to spend it ‘away’ was terrifying.

[I would have nightmares in the days leading up to the holiday about staying in a Bed & Breakfast my wife might have booked. I felt physically sick at the thought of coming downstairs to a dining room full of strangers all munching noisily away at toast. In my dream they would all look up at the same time. The munching would cease for a brief moment as they studied me and the memsahib for a second or two through their piggy eyes. The moment would pass and they would begin their infernal munching again].

The memsahib and me have over our many years together, developed an understanding as far as holidays go. I go but do not partake.

Thankfully, B & B’S are a thing of the past. We have graduated to hotels. And while she swims or lounges around in the accursed sun, I can sit in the darkness and coolness reading a book, watching the TV or just lounge around cursing my luck and wishing I was home again.

Posted in complaint, confession time, curmudgeon, nightmare, Personal, Taking a break | Leave a comment

Embracing our ‘madness’

I sometimes worry that all this talk of mental health issues might give the wrong impression to some. Convincing them perhaps,  that there is a way of ‘perfect being’. A ‘correct’ way to be, mentally. That to feel depressed, anxious, high, low etc, etc is somehow, wrong.

My own view is that the above feelings are natural (whatever that means) and actually states of being that help us to make decisions and survive in an increasingly complicated world.

I might go so far as to wonder if these so-called negative states are in fact evolutionary and the consequence of the way we live today. In other words what I’m suggesting here is perhaps these states of mind should not be talked away or, (and of course this has to be judged on their severity) even treated. Rather than talking treatments, I’d suggest listening treatments?

What I’m saying here is that these states of what some might call negativity are in fact ‘safety valves’. Warning signs that are basically telling us to slow down, change or, whatever.

To assume that these feelings are wrong is to suggest that there is a better way. A ‘clean, ‘fresh’ way where negativity, bewilderment, anxiety etc does  not exist and if it does, it’s bad.

A long time ago I worked for MIND (a mental health organisation). My everyday work was trying to ‘help’ those with mental health issues. It was carried out in the presence of people who were being actively ‘treated’ for all of the above and more. In most cases their treatment was severe and the side effects unpleasant. As I watched, I wondered frequently, if all this pain (because that is what it was), was worth it. And the truth is I never saw anyone get ‘better’. Better controlled yes. Suppressed yes. Easier to ‘handle’, yes…but never, ever ‘cured’.

And I had also begun to notice a disturbing pattern within the Mental Health Issues.

In amongst the drugs regular side effects of listlessness, lack of concentration, dry skin and lips, loss of balance etc, etc there was on the surface a bitter resentment. A ferocious anger aimed towards the NHS (National Health System) staff who administered the drugs. Doctors and nurses who believed wholeheartedly that they were helping, but some might say, were actually medical professionals engaged in (albeit unwittingly), a program of social engineering.

Yes the patients were different. Yes, because their behaviour did not conform they were considered outsiders. That they didn’t fit in was of no doubt. But for God’s sake, did they deserve this?

It was only after a lot of thinking and observation I began to realise you can’t squeeze a size 10 foot into a size 8 shoe. We are not (obviously) all the same and it was a criminal act to try to make it so.

People who are different.

It was the pressure of being on the edge of a society that didn’t want them that brought on the depression, the anxiety, the illness, the mental health issues.  Barely surviving in a world that had made them outsiders because they lived outside the system, they had become, collateral damage.

I don’t know what the solution is.

Maybe, because we are so far gone and our ideas regarding mental health so entrenched, there isn’t one.

Perhaps one day Society will get its wish and develop a drug, a treatment that will render us all, exactly the same.

Or perhaps, we just need to learn that eccentricity, different-ness is nothing to be frightened of.

That those who are different should be treasured. They should be respected and often consulted for a different and possibly a more enlightened point of view.

Posted in fear and misunderstanding, irrational fears, Personal, Truth | Leave a comment

Reading all about it

newspaper readerI am an avid newspaper reader. Probably not as avid a some because my er…avidness (is that a word) only exists on the weekend. Oh yes, and only with two newspapers. The Guardian and The Observer. That may not impress many in terms of avidness but it drives the memsahib wild.

Every Saturday and Sunday the floor in our house (the living room – you know, the room where the tele is) is littered with every section of the appropriate newspaper. The journal, the magazine, the TV what’s on this week section etc. Never the sports page as that goes straight in the bin along with the Business and Travel pages. Everything else gets read er…avidly.

I should make it clear that I read these particular newspapers not because I am some left-leaning hippy. I read them because I find them relatively easy to understand. And to my mind, if there is an agenda it is not craftily hidden away.

The news is always presented clearly and what bias there is I find, only slight and am able to handle without exploding. Very unlike that arse-wipe of a ‘newspaper’, The Sun that through its use of black magic and voodoo has discovered the algorithm that makes readers angry before they even pick it up. The Sun and that other rag, The (fascist) Daily Mail are in my view, the equivalent of taking a hate pill first thing before breakfast. (I have always hoped sincerely that one day (before breakfast) the haters that write that shit, will be bought to book).

However, the Guardian and The Observer let me make clear, are not the offspring of Mother Teresa.

Some of the contributions especially in the ‘how we live nowtype pages’ do tend to spring from an imaginary place where everybody is incredibly healthy, wealthy and hip. The la-la land fashion pages obviously believe that all their readers can afford shoes at £300 and often nip down the road after brunch to the local store for a T shirt at 40 quid.

(At this point can I recommend ‘Fruit of the Loom’ T shirts in various colours. Priced from £3 to around £8 in light and heavy versions. Available on Amazon).

And as for the dining out/food pages…pull the other one it’s got bells on it.

To be honest around these parts it’s a well-known fact that I have what’s known as ‘an uneducated pallet’.  I was brought up on lard and eggs and bacon on a Sunday. Rice was foreign and therefore a definite no-no and if it wasn’t for the efforts of the memsahib, pasta would still be a mystery to me. I am, as far as food is concerned, still a Philistine. But even so, even with the memsahib’s wonderful knowledge, The Guardian’s food pages are a wonder to me. So many foods, fruits and otherwise that I have never heard of and so many ways of cooking them.

I wonder at Jay Rayner as he spends a fortune on a mystery dish that although a torrent of amazing colour barely covers the plate. My moth drops open in astonishment as he devours a plate of something that has tentacles and declares it delicious, (or not). And I am astonished as a small team of highly paid and obviously well-fed food critics, ruin willy-nilly, another hard-fought for career and living, just because something was under-done.

Which I suppose brings me to my point…

Every now and again I’m reminded that no matter where our loyalties lie politically or otherwise, our newspapers, tabloid or not, all have an amazing amount of power to direct us in the way we live our lives. It’s like advertising insomuch it does have an effect albeit hidden and under the surface. 

However, I do believe that newspapers etc are and have become a necessary evil. And as with all ‘necessities’ that wield enormous power we must always stay alert to manipulation.

Always, take everything they say, no matter how much it appeals with a pinch of salt. Ask questions and never, never take your eyes totally off the ball. Remember who you are and where you came from. Hold hard to your roots and remember, these people are not your friends. Their main concern is not your welfare. Their main concern is to sell newspapers.

Posted in curmudgeon, fear and misunderstanding, good advice, Personal, Truth | Leave a comment

When Two become One. A rant against ‘Love’.

when two become oneIt’s a funny old thing, marriage/partnership isn’t it (no need to answer). I refer of course to that ‘magical moment’ When Two become One (*cough). 

And boy doesn’t it creep up on you. You’re sort of plodding along getting on with your own life probably having quite a good time if the truth were known. Living life to the full and using up every minute, every second of your short time on the planet when…boom!

You know what I mean…right?

A Mister or Miss decides for a reason known only to God, that now is a good time to poke their nose in and interrupt a lifestyle (with its ups and downs admittedly) that was working out near-perfectly well.

You  were, but are not anymore, ‘having a laugh’. And as everyone with any sense knows, ‘having a laugh’ is what it’s all about. ‘Having a laugh’ is the secret to life. And Your Life was good. You were your own man. You were…(perish the thought), enjoying yourself. You were basically doing what you bloody well liked…and why not? As long as you didn’t hurt anyone and cleaned up the vomit after you…

Work, have a laugh, work, have a laugh, work etc…etc…and then…and then…something quite annoying happens.

Something, or to be more precise, someone comes along (in most cases a member of the opposite sex, but in this enlightened age, not always) and ‘ruins’ everything. Totally unexpected. A total shock. And their unexpected arrival is a marking post. It means whether you like it or not, a massive change is afoot. Both physically and mentally. All is not now and ever more shall be so, what it used to be. 

The ‘symptoms’ or to put it another way, ‘the warning signs’.

You will feel ridiculously ‘warm’ inside…happy but puzzled as to why. As, Amy Winehouse sang so beautifully…‘what kind of fuckery is this’?

Life will never be the same. Even your much treasured erections become somehow ‘different’. Mr Penis stops being a joke and something you wave around to make your friends laugh and becomes instead a literal extension of your love…’meaningful’. (Is nothing sacred? No. This is serious stuff).

You will ‘make special time’ for this new person in your life. All other concerns will take second place. Your so-called ‘Friends and Buddies’ will slowly dissipate, fading away in fear of catching what you have caught.

Time itself will appear to have slowed down. There will be moments that can only be described as being like those sickly slow-motion segments in films when two lovers run towards each other. The word ‘surreal’ springs to mind.

When Two become One.

Unfortunately, (and from this there is no escape), you will become, very, very, silly.

You will say stupid things that are best not repeated here, and for the first time since you were whacked by your dad for not eating your dinner, you will cry. Often. Get used to it.

Life will take on an unpleasant hue. If it were a colour it would be ‘sick yellow’. If it were a noise it would be an industrial drill. You are, as most twats will tell delight in telling you, well and truly,  ‘In Love’.

The crazy enjoyable rhythm that was your hectic and yet fulfilling life will be completely out of kilter. It will be as though it never existed. And before you know it, the years will have passed as though in fog. Blurred and slightly damp.

Suddenly and without warning you find yourself and the cause of all your problems, featuring in the local paper being celebrated as having been together ‘happily’ for – – (fill in the blanks) years, without a cross word. It is all bollocks, lies and a serious consequence of when Two become One.

Interestingly, the photograph that they will print will tell a different story to those wise enough to see beyond hyperbole and fake news. It will be a photograph that you will not recognise. ‘Who are these two zombies smiling toothless, wrinkly, inane grins at the camera’ you will ask? 

If you look beyond the wizened, claw-like, grasping fingers, and into the eyes…you will get your answer.

A different story. The TRUE story. Not the when Two become One scenario. You will see it in the eyes…

‘If only…if only’.

The Conclusion.

It must be in our DNA. This strange desire to stop everything and drastically change your once comfortable lifestyle into one of constant struggle and pain. It can only be compared to self-harming. There you were having a reckless time, drunk yes, but happy, when suddenly something within says, STOP!

Stop that smiling immediately. How dare you laugh! You think this is a happy place? Well…we’ll soon put a stop to that. I’d like to introduce you to, xxxxxxxx.

Get real Fool.

It’s time to get miserable, time to begin worrying about where the next penny is coming from and time to despair over the kids you will more than likely have whether you wanted to or not. It’s that time to move a step up the ladder and allow the spotty youths below you to take up the mantle and have a good time in your place.

Your time is done.

You my friend must become…sensible…sad…miserable…and bald. 

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Posted in Being a bloke, curmudgeon, Personal | Leave a comment

There really is such a thing as ‘The Dark Side’.

the original MarvinI can’t be the only one to be thinking that there really is such a thing as ‘The Dark Side’. I mean, it’s all a bit of a mess isn’t it? At the moment it’s like what Marvin the Paranoid Android might describe as, ‘Life? Don’t talk to me about life’.

I’m quite an old geezer now and I honestly can’t remember the last time it, (‘it’ being the state we’re in) felt like this.

Actually, I can, it was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Very ‘The Dark Side’. That was the last time I felt so helpless and convinced that the world was about to implode. Difference was I was a kid then, so I could look away and concentrate on other things like wondering, when the hell would I experience this sex thing that all my friends were talking about?

The troubles we are experiencing now are a real pain because (in my case) they colour everything that I try to do. I have a depressive personality (’personality’ Ha!) anyway, so it doesn’t take much to help me find that damp, dark room that resides somewhere in the darkest recesses of my mind. For me there’s always been a huge wet blanket hovering, ready to be called in at a moment’s notice to dampen any joyful thoughts down.

For example, this must be the hundredth miserable post I’ve written where I have to write those destructive words, ‘Trump’ and ‘Brexit’. And I’m sorry about that…but, needs must, strong is the dark side here. I know full well that I should be writing a play or something that raises a smile but unfortunately, no, the rankness appears to be spreading and taking root…again. And yes, I’ve taken my pills but they don’t seem to be doing a lot these days.

So, what to do?

How does one pull oneself out of this all-consuming quicksand?

The thoughts I have concerning the monster that is Trump I’m afraid include death and destruction. It’s been a long time since I’ve wished the worst on a fellow human being and it really doesn’t make one feel any better, but how else do you get rid of a disease-ridden bug? I am indeed experiencing a pull ‘towards the dark side’ and I know, it is nothing to be proud of. But…wishing the most terrible revenge on a man-monster who had spread hatred willy-nilly seems to be justified.

[You know what, I’ve even been looking out for combinations of 666 within his history so that it can be proven Trump is The Beast written of in the Bible]. SAD.

The same with Brexit.

I wish nothing but ill on its perpetrators and supporters. We’re going over a cliff and it’s a self-inflicted injury.

The desperation I feel is over-powering. I’m desperate to find someone who can tell me what the plan is and what good will come out of it. I’ve asked and I’ve asked but apart from being constantly insulted (‘Remoaner’), no-one has answered my simple question, ‘What good can I expect from leaving the EU’?

The truth is isn’t it…that no-one knows? And isn’t it also true that most people who voted ‘Leave’ did so because they saw it as a way of booting Johnny Foreigner out of the country. (‘The dark side’ they saw was the colour of a person’s skin).

What a sad state of affairs.

We seem to have forgotten what a true asylum seeker is and forgotten the answer to the all-important question, ‘What would you do if your country were torn apart by war and the death and torture of your children was a real possibility’? ‘Wouldn’t you do all that you could to take them to a place of safety’? ‘And wouldn’t you expect to be welcomed there and helped?’

So much hatred abounds that I can only deduce that it is in fact a sickness. A mental illness. We are all the same breed. Human. Yet, try to tell that to some and its water off a duck’s back. Like they’re programmed for hatred.

Oh well, I don’t know.

I really don’t. This has been one of those rambling posts that is neither one thing or the other. Sorry you have had to listen/read it.

[I don’t know why I’m apologising because of course you didn’t have to read this far. You could have stopped reading after the first paragraph, if not sooner].

Posted in Bad Karma, Brexit, complaint, curmudgeon, EU, Family, fear and misunderstanding, Free, Personal, Trump, Truth | Leave a comment

Bank Holidays. What are they? What are they for?

idiot patriotSo here we are in the UK just coming out of one of those strange day-long holidays us Brits call ‘Bank Holidays’. In truth, no-one on this sceptered isle has any idea what they are, what they are meant to celebrate or indeed, why they exist. Bank Holidays are a complete mystery. They are just there. 24 hours of nothingness.

Everything closes. You cannot buy food or medical supplies. God help you if you are starving or near death from say, want of a life-saving drug. If it’s bank holidays my friend, you are doomed.

What just happened?

What usually happens (especially in my household) is they (Bank Holidays) creep up behind you and bite you in the arse (or ass for my American friends). In other words, no one knows they are coming. They are always a complete and absolute surprise.

It happens like this…

You wake up one morning expecting another boring day at work, (you even get out of bed at your usual unearthly hour), when someone (usually from an adjoining bedroom), shouts…‘it’s a Bank Holiday’. Y

You suddenly realise, you and millions of others have the day off. You might even smile as you crawl back into bed.

Reality hits…

Now this is all very well and good. ‘What can be better than a surprise holiday (even if it is only for a day)’? I hear you ask?

Well, first of all, a bit more notice would be a good thing.

Secondly, you have to understand that there are one or two givens that come with this ‘holiday’. One of which is stress.

It’s maybe a day off but, you have to understand that it’s a day off for everyone else in the UK. A day off for even those whose job it is, is to cater for those who are on a day off.

This means you cannot go anywhere. You cannot go anywhere because there is no-one there. ‘There’ being wherever you want to go.

Ergo. The ‘holiday’ is therefore to be spent at home.

Now, let’s say that you refuse to accept this. That you are determined to make something of a day where you don’t have to go into the factory. Let’s say you are determined to make a day out with the family. A picnic, with a basket and everything.

You have just made a… A foolish and impossible decision.

You can make all the plans you like but you will, literally, be trapped behind your front door.

The roads will be jammed packed. You will, and this is a fact, will not even be able to find a gap in the traffic to pull your car out of its garage.

Indeed, the news, TV or otherwise will be full of reports of clogged highways and byways and nothing else. No American massacres, no African famines, nothing but UK traffic reports.

It gets worse…

I know this is hard to make sense of, but the miles and miles of this stationary traffic will be caused by UK people. People who should know better. They will be British Drivers who know full well that to go out ‘for a drive’ on a Bank Holiday is tantamount to aiming for a brick wall with no brakes.

So, you have to ask, ‘Why do they do it?’

The answer? No-one knows. It’s a mystery.

Personally, I believe the Government releases a ‘Bank Holiday Virus’. A ‘germ’ that exhibits itself by making the recipients exhibit a behaviour bordering on the insane. A virus so finally tuned that it lasts for exactly 24 hours. So potent is its biological make-up that upon the stroke of midnight we, the infected retire to our beds to wake up the next morning with absolutely no clear memory of the previous 24 hours. Only knowing that we feel exhausted from our seemingly never-ending labours, impatient for the next break in what seems our never-ending schedule of work.

Posted in complaint, curmudgeon, Family, Personal, Taking a break | Leave a comment

Heart is where the thin tube is.

angiogram of the heart

                Not my heart.

Yesterday was a big day for me…but before I get on to that let me say one thing. If there are any of you out there due to go into hospital for an Angiogram…have no fear. It’s OK and it doesn’t hurt. Progress is a wonderful thing so with that in mind…I say…God Bless our wonderful National Health System.  

Yesterday was a day that, to be honest,this pussy had been dreading. I haven’t slept properly for a week and believe it or not have been very grumpy. I’ve been trying to put a brave face on it, but I accept and plead guilty that my worries had turned me into more of a Curmudgeon than I already was. So first up, I’d like to apologise to those close to me for being such a big-baby and reacting in the way I did. Secondly, I must say that my concern was unfounded and unwarranted. And I should have had more trust and listened to those wiser (not many) than me. 

I had been booked for an Angiogram to find out what was wrong with the old ticker. I won’t get into details, but it (my heart) has been misbehaving. (It only beats the way it has usually when I’m approached by a beautiful woman, which is to be honest, is never).

Angiogram?

At this point let me make clear that an Angiogram IS NOT a treatment. An Angiogram is an exploratory procedure and in this case used to find out what is wrong with a faulty ticker, (‘Ticker’: Medical term which refers to the heart).

Basically, (and if you are of a nervous disposition and having your breakfast, I apologise) they, (the hospital people), shove (‘shove’ – another medical term. Defines a pushing motion) a piece of very thin tubing/wire up an artery to the heart. They then inject a ‘dye’ up the tube that shows up on an X-ray screen as it pulses through the tickers component parts. Using this method, they can see whether or not any of your arteries are clogged up (‘clogged’ sorry folks – yet another medical term *cough. Getting above myself). In my case, they used the artery in my right arm (it’s either the arm or the groin).

An Angiogram is not…

[The process where-bye a team of doctors are miniaturised and fitted into a tiny submarine, which is then injected into an artery. So, unfortunately, no Rachel Welch and no ‘Fantastic Voyage’.]

The technology is impressive.

All the time while this is happening a flat camera on an ‘arm’ is moving around your chest. Like a giant eye and using modern magic it peers (using X-rays) inside your chest to your heart. If it didn’t get in the way every now and again, you could actually watch the process on a screen, as it happens. You can see the wire/tube meandering up your private bits without a care in the world. Turning to the left, then to the right, humming to itself as it does walkabout (I made that up). All the time operated/controlled (pushed/shoved) by the surgeon.

So, there you are.

All in all, a no ‘Fantastic Voyage’ but without doubt a fantastic procedure. I now have a better idea of what is wrong with me (mind your own business) and can adjust my playboy lifestyle accordingly.

Before I finish this post with my usual flourish…

…is there anyone out there who can tell how much you would be charged for an Angiogram in the USA? (Please leave a comment.)

I ask for this information because here in the land of the USA’S poor cousin, it didn’t cost me anything. I was seen quickly by professional, caring staff who I can’t thank enough for putting this pussy at ease. And I was home before the Butler had finished his shift.

Thank God, for our much-maligned National Health System. Hurrah, Rule Britannia and God save the Queen (the band).

For more of your favourite Medical Procedures go here (below)

Posted in curmudgeon, fear and misunderstanding, Free, Hurrah, irrational fears, Personal, technical stuff | Leave a comment

Covert Commissions…a better way

Covert Commissions

                     Click me.

Just by way of a change…(and I don’t often do this) I have discovered a software called Covert Commissions. If you are at all interested in earning income online you should check it out.

A lot of programs claim to work, but they’re usually either fake – or require you to know a lot of things, or a lot of the right people before you start seeing results

This is different. It cuts down the learning curve to practically zero – if you can copy and paste – you can make this work for you.

I know that sounds too good to be true… But I’ve seen the system they have created – It’s the real deal and it’s working for me

Check out the page here, it will blow you away!

HERE

They have completely eliminated the learning curve and done 99% of the work for you.

In fact they have built us all a money making machine – I’m not kidding here…

And it’s one of the most interesting things I have seen in all my years of internet marketing.

* You don’t have to sell anything

* There is no need to learn HTML or any other techy stuff

* You don’t need to have your own website autoresponder, domain etc.

All you have to do is send some traffic to a squeeze page… sit back and count the affiliate commissions ticking in.

If you can cut and paste, you have what it takes to make money with the Covert Commissions system.

They are constantly upgrading it too, adding in new products they are selling (with my affiliate links!) and adding new tools and integrations… so you can see they’re on the ball and really care about their members too.

Check it out, I think it will be right up your alley 🙂

To your success,
Ian.

Posted in good advice, make money, Personal | Leave a comment

A word with God

a word with god

God listening to our prayers

The thing is, when I get to visit that great Internet in the sky, (I say ‘Internet’ because I reckon ‘The Matrix’ might have got some of it, right), I shall be wanting a word with God. 

(Although this may sound arrogant I think if God is everything that they say He is, He won’t mind a bit of a chat. I just hope that there’s not too much of a queue outside His office, otherwise it could take forever).

Anyway, I shall be wanting a word with God, about Time or rather the lack of it.

It hardly seems fair…

You live roundabout your three score and ten (70 for our Trump supporters) and when the time comes to ‘kick the bucket, pop your clogs’ etc, you find that you still have rather a lot to do but no time to do it in. 

Now the way I figure it, Three score and Ten might have been say, OK in the middle ages when there wasn’t that much to do except grow potatoes and feed the pigs. We live busier lives now. We have mortgages, jobs (some of us) and all sorts of stresses and strains that the average peasant of yesteryear would not understand if they came along and bit him on the arse/ass. If the Lord of the Manor wanted extra taxes, your average villager then could up sticks and go and hide in the woods until the soldiers went away, or ask Robin Hood to lend him a hand. For us, it’s different. We don’t have a Robin Hood and when we have finished sorting the basics, we need time to relax. We, unlike them, have our Mental Health to consider.

So, if God is in the position to negotiate I shall put it to Him that a little longer in the Time Department might help.

I’ll think you’ll agree when I say that Life is full of red herrings. (You knew where you were in the Middle ages….Sun comes up – work – Sun goes down – bed). 

For us there are wrong turnings. Wrong turnings that we have a natural tendency to explore and waste time in before we realise that they in fact lead nowhere. I don’t believe God takes these ‘interruptions’ into account. In fact, I might be so bold as to suggest He is not even aware that they exist.

My theory.

I think God has taken His eye off the ball.  There are two things here.

ONE: I think He has such confidence in the perfection of His creation that he assumes we can pretty well handle anything. This is not to say God is in any way arrogant rather that he has a little too much ‘faith’ in us.

TWO: There is a possibility God is still well and truly pissed off with the way we treated Jesus. This is not to say that God is vindictive. Rather that He has forgotten that we exist in, as it were, a different time zone. For example. He may, in His ‘Time Zone’ have been angry at us re the Jesus thing for what…10 minutes? Unfortunately, His Ten Minutes is for us the equivalent of thousands of years.

Anyway,

I would, if granted an audience to have a word with God, (I hope they have some interesting magazines in the waiting room could be a long wait), try my best to explain to Him how things are going down on His earthly kingdom at the moment. AND to remind Him (gently of course) ‘ of the differentials in the time zones’. I would also attempt as best as I could, explain that life just isn’t like it was when His offspring last visited.

Of course, I’m not sure that Himself would take any notice of little old me. At a guess I would say the waiting room would be crowded out with all sorts, all wanting to put their 10 cents in. All wanting a word with God. From Beethoven to Attila the Hun, Martin Luther King to Adolf Hitler, all complaining about the same thing…that there was never enough time.

Posted in curmudgeon, God | Leave a comment

thinking about The Insects

Lately, I’ve been thinking about The Insects, and what a bad deal they get from us humans.

It seems the smaller you are, the less we (us humans) care.thinking about the insects

If  you’re say dog-sized and…er a dog, you are noticed and either abused or cared for.

If you’re even bigger, say cow-sized and er…a cow, you are certainly cared for and then…when finished with, eaten.

The point I’m trying to make here, is ‘size counts’.

The insect without doubt is abused.

And all though we know full well that without them and their huge array of species, we would die, we go on willy, nilly, not giving a hoot about them.

Let’s be honest here and admit part of the problem is because the average insect is ugly.

And we in our arrogance go on judging ‘books by their cover’. We stopped thinking about the insects many moons ago.

Although, in our defence, it has to be said that insects do tend to have more of their fair share of legs and unfortunately for them, consume their food in I think most of us would agree, a rather disgusting manner. Even their love-life is slightly less than appealing. But that is not really the point.

They existed on this beautiful planet long before we came along dragging our knuckles in the dust and we have all evolved in our various forms together. So, it figures doesn’t it? We should all, with our shared experience of planet earth, be getting along OK.

In all fairness, I think we should be forgiven for stepping on them.

That, I’m sorry to say, can’t be helped. We are great lumbering beasts with faulty eye sight and large feet. While they, for all their disgusting habits are tiny and extremely fragile. Crushing them, can’t be helped. We are sorry but hey, what can you do?

Our guilt.

However, there is no valid excuse for the way in which we wipe out huge populations of insects, knowingly. Is, in my mind beyond cruel and I suspect, one day (as insects evolve) we will pay for it. We must, if we are to survive start thinking about the insects.

An example.

You are a dung beetle. With a dung beetle family who spend their days doing what dung beetles do. Minding their own business, Father Dung Beetle and Mother Dung Beetle along with their Dung Beetle children spend their Dung Beetle days, rolling giant spheres of shit around all day. Ours is not to reason why, it’s just something they do and they seem happy and content doing it.

BUT.

What nobody tells them is that they live in a desert that just happens to be the middle of a Nuclear Test range. This being so, they have no idea that their happy shit-rolling days are numbered.

In just one short flash of blinding light they will be gone. Ash, along with their carefully and patiently constructed balls of shit. Gone. As though they never existed. Along with all their insect friends, ugly or otherwise.

And we (humans),  deliver this dung beetle Armageddon without a thought.

We should be ashamed.

One day we will pay for this mass murder.

Mark my words, one day we will receive an Insect communication, probably on a gossamer-like material, upon which one hastily scrawled word will be written in Insect blood.

It will say simply…WHY?

Posted in curmudgeon, nightmare, Revenge, the future, Truth | Leave a comment

In Praise of Stratford-upon-Avon

Now here’s something you don’t see very often. Me…writing an article in Praise of Stratford upon Avon.

Usually, when I’m in FCM (Full Curmudgeon Mode) I complain about anything and everything that takes place, exists etc in this place that I reluctantly moved to in 1970. If it’s not the (justifiably so) traffic, it’s the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and its reluctance to engage properly with the townspeople, if it’s not the number of Estate Agents in town, it’s the over-abundance of Tea Rooms, so on and so on…etc…etc.  At the end of these tirades I usually finish with a flourish by naming Shakespeare upon Avon as ‘the Town that doesn’t know what it is’. Well, today, is different.

This morning I am feeling a changed man (I hope he doesn’t mind. Joke). Today I want to write about Stratford upon Avon, the Town that is trying its best.

And why, I hear you ask?

Why has this hardened Curmudgeon turned? Why has this dyed-in-the-wool miserable bar-steward changed his much-sung tune? What has turned the real-life Dementor and lunatic into a charming yet sword-wielding Crusader and Champion for all that is good in S-u-A?

I shall reveal all.

in praise of stratford upon avon bell courtLast night I went out. Me and a small amount of visiting family went out for a meal. But this time was different. Not for us our usual haunts (not that there is anything wrong with our usual haunts. Sometimes even a die-hard Curmudgeon requires change). This time, the memsahib suggested we go to the newly (many times) refurbished Bell Court.

[Bell Court: A small shopping centre in the middle of Stratford-upon-Avon that has had the ‘retail defibrillator’ applied to its failing heart more times than I’d like to count].

It was a joy.

Not only did we experience the wonderful ‘Steakhouse’ restaurant (wonderful meal, fantastic staff. I gave a tip and I never tip), I actually for one fleeting moment, thought we were on holiday.

The whole thing, the meal, Bell Court itself, even the lights in the pavement (sidewalk) felt like being in Europe. It was a European experience. Clean, fresh and…different. Of course, the mild evening weather helped but this was as far as I was concerned a first for Stratford. Something, warm welcoming. For me a  ‘what the F…’ moment.

So. My fingers are crossed…

…that the UK winters do not take their toll. I hope the good people of Stratford-upon-Avon will use this brilliant facility and keep the footfall up.

My fingers are crossed…

…that the visitors keep on coming. Not just the tourists but the Brummies, the Coventarians (?)…and people like my daughter from Blackpool who enjoyed the experience.

My fingers are crossed…

That the Royal Shakespeare Audience (before and after show) learn about Bell Court and its intimate and classy restaurants and bars.

My fingers are crossed…

That the terrible monster that is Brexit doesn’t somehow diminish the ‘European feel’ of the place. That we are not returned to a grey, broken ‘fish n’ chip’ view of the UK 1950’s. 

in praise of stratford upon avon bell courtWell done Stratford-upon-Avon.

Anyway, that’s enough gushing.

If you are coming to Stratford-upon-Avon…Don’t miss out on Bell Court.

You like me, will be pleasantly surprised. I promise.

Posted in confession time, curmudgeon, EU, Family, good advice, oh what fun we had, Personal | Leave a comment

Advertising, in all its forms

advertising in all its forms gets my goat

My Goat

As a life-long Curmudgeon and miserable bar-steward one of the many things that gets my goat is advertising, in all its forms.

The thing that has always puzzled me is the fact that I have always assumed that it must work. Otherwise, why would manufacturers put aside such vast sums of their profits to show off their products, advertising in newspapers and TV?

Does it work?

Haven’t we, the consumer become so used to these ‘interruptions’ (advertising is everywhere, driving to work, watching TV, reading a newspaper etc), in our lives that we have become, ‘immune’ to their messages? Or, worse, do we in fact take on board everything that they tell us and store it away somewhere in a damp and fetid room somewhere in the arse-end of our brain?(Which, by the way might suggest that sooner of later we are going to need a brain de-frag before our heads explode)?

Advertising is as old as the hills.

It’s the most perfectly natural thing to do if you have a product to sell.

However, I believe it has all become too much. I believe that advertising has become so much the norm, that its effectiveness decreases year by year. Perhaps the only reason it doesn’t die and go away for good in its present form, is the fact that the manufacturers have no idea what to replace it with? (Product placement? Discuss).

My personal hates…

What I hate the most is the fact that there are some who say (mostly ad execs), that the positive side of advertising enhances your life experience with information, there-bye, increasing your choice. That advertising is an information service that informs you of what is available in a particular area that you might be interested in.

So, for example, if chocolate is your thing, then your life experience will be enhanced by knowing that there are numerous types of chocolate just waiting for you to stuff down your throat. Not only Kit-Kat but Flakes. And not only that, in the case of television advertising they (the advertising execs), will compose for your entertainment a story around the brand they are working with, so you are drawn in and above all, aren’t bored. That of course, is Bollocks. Most of these ‘stories’ bear no relevance whatsoever to normal (me) people’s lives are, in my view disrespectful, false and operate like the National Lottery i.e. ‘What if?’.

The ad execs have lost the plot.

They have been snake-oil salesmen/women for so long they really believe they have ‘influence’.

And the customer, the execs target, have been battered visually and audibly for so many years that although they ‘accept’ the place of advertising in their lives, they have developed the ability to ‘switch off’. They do not ‘see’ anymore. Unfortunately, the side effect to this is that like trained monkeys, take away their (the customers) advertising, stop the flickering images, bright sparkly things and crazy soundtrack and they will suddenly ‘awake’, wondering what is wrong.

We have become, to use medical parlance, ‘zombified’.

I think advertising is on the wane in its effectiveness. It will, I am quite convinced (apart from some consumers) be the death of certain television channels.

I can’t be the only one who in thrall of a good film, or engrossed in an episode of anything that requires a modicum of concentration gets angry when his ‘mood’ is broken by an advert for a car or coco pops, and just turns off in desperation?

All you need to know about Advertising.

And here’s some more advertising…you have a choice to click it or not.

Posted in Bad Karma, complaint, curmudgeon, Personal, Truth | Leave a comment

The late arrival of the new.

the late arrival of the new. the 60sFor us young kids, the time before the 60’s was a slow elongated, nightmare. We wore our Father’s hand-me-downs, were still on some war rations and listened to George Formby and Vera Lynn. There was a feeling that something was coming but no-one had any idea what. There was a tickling of a new idea slow dripping from the States but we weren’t sure what it was. Music? Fashion? Attitude? For us in the UK, the late arrival of the new was a mist. Something in the air. Not tangible. No solid form.

And then…

When the 60’s finally arrived with all its brashness and noise, it was like waking from a bad dream. The late arrival of the new was a sudden awakening from a coma. A dream, a nightmare that was so bad, it was in Black and White, with a badly recorded soundtrack. 

OK…so…

I recognise that so much good and amazing stuff has been written about the 60’s that there are times when it becomes hard to believe that it actually happened. It did. And honestly, it was as fantastic as they/I say. Magical. It was as though the planets had aligned and allowed a new dimension in. For the first time ever, youth, us, was suddenly celebrated. We were being noticed.

But let’s be honest…

What really happened here, was a sudden realisation on the part of those in ‘power’ that there was money to be made. That the youth actually might actually have something to offer in terms of business. This was not a bad thing. The late arrival of the new meant a sudden realisation that came not a day too late. A sudden healthy awakening upon a land (the UK) that was still struggling with war wounds. A land that was decaying and desperately in need of a kick up the arse/ass.

The 60’s were a life-safer for all concerned…

…a  rescue that came about just in time to stop us drowning in boredom.

(To be fair; We mustn’t forget that the seeds were actually sown in the 1950’s with the advent of rock’n’roll and the glimmerings of a youth culture. The plant actually bloomed in the 60’s).

Although I guess some might say that the Youth had become ‘prey’ for those out to make a quick buck, I would have to disagree. For all concerned it was worth it. There were positives. Positives that to my mind outweighed the negatives.

Rebirth.

The late arrival of the new meant that gone was the assumption that parents and older folk knew best about how their offspring should live their lives. Our Mothers and Fathers, through no fault of their own, had lost their chance for a better world (WWII) and needed time to recover (which I believe they never did). Thankfully, tired and exhausted as they were, they took their eye off the ball and without realising it, let us off the leash and set us free.

The late arrival of the new.

 For the first time ever, the Youth, began to explore. With money, without permission and unhindered by the internal and mental damage caused by war they/we discovered pastures anew. We knew what we wanted and nothing would hold us back from letting everyone know. We began to be ‘noticed’. The more enlightened, (and I don’t mean this negatively), saw us as an opportunity, a  ‘a market’ even, that should be listened too.  A market with spending power that could and should be taken ‘advantage of’. But, perhaps more interestingly, and I’m not sure it was fully appreciated at the time, a market that wasn’t there just to be totally manipulated. A market with a voice that should be heeded, listened to. We had the power.

The businessman/woman of the older generation were to soon find out that this new customer would set the agenda and not the other way round.

We began to be catered for, our way. In terms of fashion (clothes and music) we began to get our own way. We had, at last, ‘a say’.

Not only that, the Youth took their rightful places as the new entrepreneurs, the pace setters, the designers, the thinkers. The old order (who had the money), if they wanted to survive, had to listen and listen good, or they were toast.

BUT. Of course, it wasn’t to last.

It was good while it lasted. However, the Youth grow old and are eventually replaced. New ideas become old ideas and part of the norm. We get too comfortable and exploration ceases. The decay sets in.  The circle repeats. Around and around. And slowly, very slowly everything begins to fade to grey.  

So, here we are again.

Waiting…waiting…for the late arrival of the new…

Any day now…I can feel it in my bones…

READ ABOUT THE 60’S HERE…

Posted in history, memories, oh what fun we had, Personal, the future | Leave a comment

Looking after your Husband

Looking after your husband. What every Woman should know…but (unfortunately *the memsahib) doesn’t.

Read and digest.

looking after your husband

Posted in good advice, Personal, technical stuff | Leave a comment

Children’s entertainers…love ’em or hate ’em?

children's entertainer barry chuckleBeing a dyed in the wool Curmudgeon there’s not a lot that makes me laugh, especially amongst the group best known as, children’s entertainers.

However, I was very sad to hear that Barry Chuckle of the Chuckle Brothers had passed away. I was never a fan but when they were on I would find myself attracted to their antics. Although always puzzled as to what market their humour was aimed at, the mechanics of their act were obviously rooted in Music Hall. Their routines puzzled me. Obviously childish in their delivery, I often wondered that a lot of their stuff must have gone over and above the kid’s heads.

‘To you – To me’

Sometimes they got me. Reluctantly, making me raise a smile now and again. Especially with their ‘To you – To me’ routine. And let’s be honest here, who hasn’t found themselves copying that routine whenever you found yourselves lugging furniture around. When you think about it, that’s some claim to fame, some accolade. A comedy routine deeply embedded into the British way of life, wow.

Over the last couple of decades there’s been one or two entertainers that have completely baffled me and left me asking the all-important question, where was the actual humour?

children's entertainer timmy malletTimmy Mallet…

…was someone who I really didn’t get. In fact,  I thought he was a rather sad character. Obviously a ‘billy no-mates’. Maybe mentally ill.  I mean, who in their right mind could spend time around him? I feel sure when he wasn’t working, he must have found it near impossible to turn off and therefore spent a lot of time alone.

Puppets.

children's entertainer andi peters

children's entertainer ed the duckI’m often kept awake by memories of the 90’s when every Kid’s TV presenter (Andi Peters) was accompanied by a puppet, usually a facsimile of an animal. The one that haunts me the most was ‘Ed the (bleeding) duck’. Him and Basil Brush (who is still around and just won’t go away) were the stuff of nightmares. (I know what you’re thinking…but at least Sooty was silent).

Let me be honest here. I watched…oh yes I watched these children’s entertainers but only because I was fascinated by the thought that there was a fully grown person crouched behind a desk with his or her hand, stuffed up the arse of a soft toy. And that was  actually their job.

Things got worse with Ant & Dec. (I can’t bring myself to add a picture). How they have made the transition to adult TV I do not know. I am truly baffled. And they keep winning all the prizes. EH? For what? I do not have the words to write about those two because I truly do not know what they are supposed to be.

children's entertainer justin fletcherSad.

Of course, in the end being one of this sad group of children’s entertainers must be a thankless task. But here’s the thing. If you are good at it, if you have a fan base…boy are you stuck…forever.

I think particularly of Justin Fletcher or as he is better known Mister Tumble.

Can’t you just tell that he would give anything to bury the character, (or better still, shoot him in the head). You can see it in his eyes. What he would give to be called up by The Royal Shakespeare Company? Or, to play a hit man in a violent movie? Anything but that stupid idiot Tumble who can barely hide the fact that he hates children with a passion.

Posted in confession time, curmudgeon, oh what fun we had, Personal | Leave a comment

The Stratford-upon-Avon Herald.

I’m getting so bored with the national newspapers these days. Everywhere you turn it’s Brexit this, Trump that. It’s got so bad that I have taken to ‘reading’ the local newspaper, in my case The Stratford-upon-Avon Herald, much more than usual. So much more that it hurts.

Reading The Stratford-upon-Avon Herald is an acquired skill.

Even before you begin any search for news that might rock your world (highly unlikely) you have to get to grips with its physical presence.

It’s huge and impossible to read in the open air. The slightest gust of wind, a breeze in fact and you could quite easily lose your footing, or take to the skies.

Its size reminds me of what newspapers used to be like when they reported on ‘The Fall of Mafeking’. I know this because in every film about that era, for example, ‘The Charge of the light Brigade’, ‘Zulu’ or anything with Charlton Heston in, there was always a scene in a Gentlemen’s club.

Well-upholstered men with whiskers, clutching glasses of port or brandy would sit on well-upholstered armchairs reading aloud to anyone who would listen, the latest news from whatever part of the Empire was under siege. The newspapers they read from were of the same ilk as The Stratford-upon-Avon Herald. Large. Massive even. 

Not only were these periodicals huge they were also thick. Thick with news.

Unlike my local paper, these journals contained well-written articles describing battles at sea, blood-thirsty stories of crowds mown down by British troops in some distant outpost in India and of course, daring deeds by the heroes of the day. The usual stuff and obviously not the sort of thing that goes on in a gentle backwater like Stratford-upon-Avon.

Sadly, The Stratford-upon-Avon Herald struggles to find news. Of course, that is not the paper’s fault. Apart from, ‘man’s hat blows off in high street’, sort of thing, nothing ever happens in my home town. And this is why the paper is thin.

To be honest, it’s so thin I’m not really sure it’s even constructed of paper anymore. I suspect there’s a secret factory somewhere producing a gossamer-like material or maybe even harvesting butterfly wings. 

Anyway, the truth is, because of its size and it almost transparent thinness it is a beast to handle. Impossible in an enclosed space. I would go so far to say it is dangerous. Probably one of the main reasons Stratford-upon-Avon erupts into violence at weekends.

The struggle to fold such an unwieldy newspaper more often than not, can lead to an accidental punch in the face or the unintentional fondling of a girlfriend’s bottom. What follows after such accidents, can only be described as the disastrous consequences of having a newspaper too large for its own good.

Tabloid?

I have been told that the owners of the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald refuse point-blank to go tabloid. Apparently, all efforts from the Editor to persuade them otherwise are wasted. Living  in a deserted mansion just outside of Town, the owners are well cut off from the realities of life. They, so the stories go, decided to withdraw from modern life when the telegram service, ceased. 

However, somehow the paper, soldiers on. I guess relying on readers like me who no-matter what, would hate to see it go under.

I think the only time I would consider leaving the rapidly declining readership would be if it discontinued its local ‘Deaths’ column.

Posted in curmudgeon, Personal, Stratford upon Avon | Leave a comment

to fall on one’s sword

Have you noticed but it’s virtually impossible to find anyone these days willing, to fall on one’s sword.

If you don’t know what I mean, then you are obviously of a recent time period and more than likely a fresh-faced pimply youth, so here’s what’s meant by the expression ‘to fall on one’s sword’

Deep Breath…

‘It’s been some time since men routinely carried swords and the use of ‘to fall on one’s sword’ is now restricted to the figurative usage. There was a time when men who felt disgraced, actually did it, when they felt it right to take personal responsibility for a group action.
The expression was used widely following the resignation of Lord Peter Carrington, who resigned from his post as Foreign Secretary for the Thatcher government in 1982, following Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands. He was the last high-profile politician in the UK to take personal responsibility in such circumstances’.

So there you have it, a disgraced politician doing the honourable thing. ‘Falling on his sword’ or in other words, resigning.

Of course it’s not just disgraced politicians who would take the hard way out. It wasn’t unusual in days gone by to find a disgraced and bankrupt businessman going quietly to his study to ‘to fall on one’s sword’.  In these cases more often a pistol than a sword. Grisly I know, but you get the gist?

Anyway, what I’m pointing out here is the fact that no-one does it any more.

The news is full of lying business men, corrupt politicians, people from all walks of life who all have one thing in common. They have no honour. They lie and cheat as though it’s the norm and worse than that, they expect to get away with it…scot-free. 

Although their sins are up-front for all to see, they will cling on by their fingertips to retain their positions. Some will even (halfheartedly) apologise for their misdemeanours thinking a quick ‘sorry’ will let them off the hook. More often than not, they continue where they left off.  I can think of one or two politicians and public figures who have been ‘found out’. Where are they now? Why, surprise, surprise, in the Houses of Parliament or running a business. (K—- V– / Ar— B—-).

To fall on one’s sword.

However there is one politician who I can remember falling on his sword. It cost him his career but he was held in high esteem because of the way he went about it.

to fall on one's sword

An honourable man.

That man was John Profumo.  My home town’s (Stratford upon Avon) Member of Parliament, until he fell from grace by lying to Parliament. You can read all about ‘The Profumo affair here.

What is interesting and honourable about this man is how he showed remorse…read this important excerpt from his Wikipedia page…

Shortly after his resignation, Profumo was invited to work as a volunteer by Walter Birmingham, the warden of Toynbee Hall, at Toynbee Hall, a charity based in the East End of London, and continued to work there for the rest of his life. Profumo became Toynbee Hall’s chief fundraiser, and used his political skills and contacts to raise large sums of money. All this work was done as a volunteer, since Profumo was able to live on his inherited wealth. His wife, the actress Valerie Hobson, also devoted herself to charity until her death in 1998. In the eyes of most commentators, Profumo’s charity work redeemed his reputation. His friend, social reform campaigner Lord Longford, said he “felt more admiration [for Profumo] than [for] all the men I’ve known in my lifetime”.[16]

Profumo was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1975, and received the honour at a Buckingham Palace ceremony from Queen Elizabeth II, signalling his return to respectability. In 1995, former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher invited him to her 70th birthday dinner, where he sat next to the Queen. He appeared only occasionally in public, particularly in his last years when he used a wheelchair. His last appearance was at the memorial service for Sir Edward Heath on 8 November 2005.

Death and tributes[edit]

On 7 March 2006, Profumo suffered a stroke and was admitted to London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. He died two days later surrounded by his family, at the age of 91. In the immediate aftermath of his death, many commentators said that he should be remembered for his contribution to society and not his fall from political grace. He was cremated at Mortlake Crematorium,[17] his ashes buried next to those of his wife at the family vault in Hersham.[18]

Definitely a man of honour, the like of which is extremely rare if not, extinct.

Read about The Profumo Affair (below).

Posted in history, Personal, politicians | Leave a comment

Probably the most boring post I have ever written. My imaginary survey.

imaginary survey falling overI reckon if I were conducting an imaginary survey about what people find funny, I’m pretty sure that I would find that most people think that the funniest thing ever, is people falling over.

If any earth elements are involved like, ice (i.e. slipping & sliding) or water (i.e. getting wet – not drowning), even fire (i.e. Trousers/pants on fire – not burning to death), then the hilarity just grows.

There appear to be in our lives two kinds of danger. Near-miss danger = hilarious. Danger, danger = certain death, which is not funny.

In second place in my imaginary survey and in line with my thinking re; near-miss danger, would definitely be ‘explosions’. imaginary survey explosion

Not explosions i.e. terrorist groups etc but explosions where instead of burning cars and dead bodies (danger, danger) we see a victim with his/her hair wildly re-arranged, a black soot-stained nose and a bewildered look upon their face, (near-miss danger)—————————————————–>

‘Old humour’

Right at the bottom of my imaginary survey on what makes people laugh would be custard pies. And the throwing thereof. In this case there is no element of danger one or danger two whatsoever, (although I guess one could pick up an eye infection). The custard pie ploy also lost a lot of its ‘magic’ when some bright spark decided to replace the custard with shaving foam.

imaginary survey-custard pies.Languishing at the bottom of my imaginary survey alongside the custard pie routine, would also be ‘the decorating of the room sketch’. You know what I mean, the foot in bucket of paste. Then the walking up a step-ladder whilst holding a sheet of wallpaper gag. And worst of all in this scenario the wooden plank on the shoulder routine. Where one’s partner narrowly misses being hit by the plank every time his/her partner turns. This routine was used extensively by the comedians of yesteryear (Norman Wisdom, Bruce Forsyth, Charlie Drake etc) many, many times. The London Palladium, (i.e. The Royal Performance) without doubt the breeding ground and frequent observer of this weak form of ‘near-miss danger humour’.

As this is probably the most boring post I have ever written (?) on something as stupid as an imaginary survey, let me make amends. Let me point you to something that although seasonal (especially in Germany), never fails to make me laugh.

I give to you…   ‘Dinner for One’. (With Freddie Frinton & May Warden)

Posted in cinema, Hurrah, movies, oh what fun we had, Personal, Theater, Theatre | Leave a comment

The price of fame.

Over the years and partly because of the numerous and various jobs I’ve (barely) held, I’ve met quite a lot of ‘famous’ celebrities (actors). And in most of them I have noticed that trying to stay ‘balanced’, i.e. ‘remaining the person they have always been’, is a difficult task. So many of them are unaware that being in the public eye and trying to stay sane, is near impossible. However, this does not stop them from trying. Unfortunately, the effort they put into this, turns them, I’m sorry to say, bonkers. The price of fame, is high.

Many, I know for a fact, have regarded the solution to the price of fame, as developing the ability to become ‘everything to all men’. And in this, they attempt to develop two main personas.

One, a professional personality for fans and those ‘in the business’ and…

…two, their ‘real selves’ kept exclusively for family and friends.

Another way of putting it would be to say…

…there are the ones that cope by believing their own publicity. They become this ‘other’. This ‘character’, this figment of the public’s imagination. These are the ones that pay the price. They lose their real selves along the way.

And then there are the others who believe to survive in this new world of make-believe they must constantly be reminding themselves of where they came from. They fool themselves into thinking they know the game. Totally convinced that they can keep *their actorly ambitions and their roots combined and under control. They believe that their very ordinariness will protect them from the real temptations and excesses of fame. Unfortunately, they are more often than not, wrong. They are fragile human beings and are destined to fail in a myriad of different ways. 

*The first rule of Fame…

Beware what you wish for.

The price of fame and the second category.

During my time as a stage hand at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, there were more than one or two actors (no name-no pack drill) who, on the cusp of becoming famous and desperate to be perceived as ‘ordinary’,  would make a B-line for our department. Where they would, I’m sorry to say…perform. All in a sad effort to touch base and get their fix. Their reminder of what it is to be, ‘ordinary’. 

Long, nonsensical conversations would ensue that never went anywhere. We would laugh loudly at numerous and too-good-to-be-true anecdotes involving famous personalities. There would be an excess of swearing and bad accents, (Northern, I remember (?) a favourite). The conversation continued drunkenly after-show at the Dirty Duck. Always, more often than not, finishing with a request of where to find drugs in Stratford-upon-Avon?

It was all very sad. The pressure of public recognition and the price of fame was too much for them. It was tearing them apart. They needed the public recognition but…

After a lot of patience and hard work to further their careers, they had finally got what they wished for and found out along the way, that the price of fame, really did mean selling your soul.

It all proved too much for one or two well-known actors that I knew, and it was grim watching them self-medicate to ease the pain. Or to put it another way, drink or drug themselves to an early and unnecessary death.

Sir Harry.

The price of fame Sir Harry.I’ve only ever met one celebrity who struck me as ‘natural’ and that was the famous goon, Harry Secombe. And that was only because he was, in my opinion, mad already. (In Sir Secombe’s case I do not use the term ‘mad’ in a derogatory sense).

Mr Secombe interviewed me some years after I left the RSC to train as a Priest. I was asked to appear on his religious programme of a few years ago, ‘Highway’. The format of the show consisted of Sir Harry  visiting a religious site (in this case Coventry Cathedral), interview someone with a connection, (me) and then suddenly burst into (pre-recorded) song. [I think I was asked because, I am a mixed-race man and the producer wanted to make something of it].

Anyway, I was lucky enough to spent some time with Mr Secombe in the make-up (*cough) department (his own Winnebago parked outside the Cathedral) and can honestly say I had a hilarious time. Sir Secombe was the same off-air as on. Bonkers. While I was having my spots covered up, he would regale me with fart noises, tales of Spike Milligan and even weirder tales of Michael Bentine.

The price of fame

Milligan

The price of fame

      Bentine

 

What a day.

Once on air it was difficult to keep a straight face. Even when ‘serious’ Harry had this gift of making you want to laugh. The fact that he asked me before the show ‘what questions would you like me to ask’, didn’t help. I knew what was coming. And when the camera stopped rolling for an adjustment or repeat. There was always the funny remark, the inevitable raspberry or an insane giggle.

 

All in all, a great experience and an honour to meet such a warm and lovely man. A man who had solved the problem of the price of fame.

A man who knew exactly who and what he was.

About the Goons

Posted in oh what fun we had, Personal | Tagged , | Leave a comment

You, my American friends

you, my american friends

    You, my American friends.

I promised myself that I wouldn’t write anymore about the way you, my America friends are going about destroying yourselves. Unfortunately, because the UK is doing much the same thing at the moment, silence is becoming impossible.

[I promise after this, a lull].

I have been told that being a Brit means, America’s self-destruction is ‘nothing to do with me’ and for a time there was a part of me that understood that. But hey, what is it they say, ‘when America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold’ rings (although for not much longer), rings true.

Anyway, this piece is a reaction to the Tweets and Facebook posts from our cousins (yes you, my American friends) over the Atlantic who keep apologising for Trump. To them I have to say, it is too late. The ball is in your court. Meanwhile we watch and weep. Rather than apologising, you should be organising.

Protest, protest, protest.

Maybe, take a leaf from the UK’S playbook (‘playbook’, an Americanism that seems to be cropping up rather a lot these days) and protest. And by ‘protest’, I mean take to the streets (continually).

You used to do it, you my american friends. You had it in you once. I remember the Civil Rights marches. The Vietnam protests. You were quite good at it for a while. Then of course there was ‘Kent State University’. Which leads me to wonder that public protests are rare now because of the proliferation of guns and the fear of being shot? Or perhaps it’s the militarisation of the forces of law and order (and fat, thick policemen).

I understand…I think.

Over here in the UK we get to see excerpts from ‘Fox and Friends’ and we hear comments from a variety of Trump supporters, all of which are baffling in their love of trump and the odd things he is doing.

A part of me recognises the fact that a country like yours (and mine) might welcome a leader who does not fit the bill of the usual politician. (Like Obama did)? But for pity’s sake such a huge and important job requires a modicum of intelligence doesn’t it? You really want a President whose life experience includes numerous bankruptcies, a dubious private life and a 5-time draft dodger to boot. These, by the way are facts. This is what your man is made of.

And the lying, my God the in-your-face lying to you, my American friends. Take job growth (amongst other things he has claimed are his doing). True. But it started in and with the Obama presidency. Look it up. Read. Search for the Truth.

The playing around with facts is astounding. The lies are breath-taking. The removal of benefits (monetary or otherwise) from the ordinary citizens (veterans) of the U.S.A , unbelievable. And still, still they praise the Teflon Don.

Like Turkeys voting for Thanksgiving.

Like lemmings hurtling of the cliff edge, cheering at their own demise.

Perhaps the most amazing thing of all, is how blatant Trump’s actions are. The recent cosy-ing up to Putin is a fine example. Trump actually criticises America in front of Putin, yet nothing happens. A few dissenting voices…then nothing.

Trump fiddles – Rome burns.

Of course, everything I have said has been said before. Many times. And I say it again because I am absolutely astonished at the American people’s inaction. And yes, I accept that the ballot box is your best (traditional) weapon, but at the rate the destruction is happening there may not be a democracy to use it in.

You, my American friends do not appear to believe in anything unless its been on TV. You seem to rate Trump because of that reason. Validity for you, comes with high TV ratings.

So watch ‘The Walking Dead’. Then ask yourselves, ‘Who are the Zombies’? They are you, my American friends…you.

You, my American friends are a strange brew. A brew that doesn’t recognise the many fine components it is made of. A brew that you should be getting drunk on. Celebrating.

Instead of digging at your roots you should be blossoming.

Let’s face it, you, my American friends. You have no idea who you are, do you?

You, my American friends,

learn about the USA.

Read books.

Posted in America, Bad Karma, criminal activity, Personal, politicians, the future, Thick, Trump, Truth | Leave a comment

The Assassination of the Coward Sean Spicer by the brilliant Emily Maitlis

Watch the BBC’S fantastic Emily Maitlis destroying Sean Spicer.

https://youtu.be/DwN1py3dV2g

Oh what indescribable joy. To at last see one of Trump’s brown-nose boys getting his. Watch the BBC’S fantastic Emily Maitlis destroying Sean Spicer.

With no thanks to Fox News and all those other programmes (Good Morning Britain) that pose as news outlets, this has been a long time coming. I am so proud of the BBC. They had me worried for a moment there. The infiltration now we know, has not been total. 

Anyway, back to the action…

See Sean (‘I was only carrying out my orders) Spicer squirm and try to laugh off his days at the White House.

Watch as Emily gives him ‘what for’, takes no prisoners, no-nonsense and no Bollocks.

People like Spicer have their moments. Moments where they wield a sort ‘power’. In Spicer’s case he spoke for america’s fake president.

Unfortunately *with power comes great responsibility and consequences. And when called to answer for their crimes, Trump’s disgusting minions/trolls do not have the brain-power or the intellect to explain what they were doing whilst at the top of the tree. Led by their dark master they stumbled blindly in cavernous emptiness of their own heads, saying the first thing that came out of their vile mouths. Idiots, to a man/woman.

Driven by greed and false promises they will get what is coming to them and Emily Maitlis destroying Sean Spicer is hopefully the beginning of many more beautiful and justified, take-downs.

*Emily Maitlis destroying Sean Spicer re spiderman & Voltaire

Emily Maitlis destroying Sean Spicer next, Sebestian GorkaFor me, I can’t wait for someone to get their teeth into the despicable and worthless Sebastion Gorka…ugh.

 

Posted in America, Hurrah, Personal, politicians, Thick, Trump, Truth | Leave a comment

My relationship with the current hot weather situation.

my relationship with the current hot weather situationIn the current hot weather I resemble a barrage balloon. Soon I will take to the skies. Much more heat and my expansion will become a wonder to see. I look like something out of Madame Tussaud. Wax-like and shiny I struggle to move in my usual poetic fashion. As I drag myself around I leave a trail of melted cheese which old folk, if not careful will trip over and break their hips. I am so much a danger to the general public, that it is best for all that I stay inside. Naked. This curmudgeon’s relationship, my relationship with the current hot weather situation here in the UK, is nil. Indeed, it is so bad we are not talking.

I cannot breathe, and I hurt all over. My tongue resembles the soul of my shoe. My toes are sausages and if I take on any more water I shall burst like the fat skin dam I am. To all those that care, I am quite possibly dying.

All right for some.

Meanwhile as the memsahib luxuriates in the postage stamp sized piece of ground we call ‘garden’, I bubble and boil. I am encased in an over-heating mass that does not belong to me. It sticks to me. It feeds off me. If this heat penetrates into my head-space and gets to my brain, I will certainly die.

At the moment, me and my consciousness cower like vampires in the cool, dark recesses of my brain hoping we remain undiscovered. All of the time both of us knowing that ‘my body’ must survive the sticky onslaught until the rains come and we can go outside again. We talk of happier days as my consciousness plays me recordings of rain storms.

What I’m trying to say here is, I hate the heat.  My relationship with the current hot weather situation on a scale of 1 to ten, with ten being hateful, is eleven.

Why we go on holiday to the Canary Islands I do not know. Spain was even worse. Nothing green (except for some dubious insects) as far as the eye could see.

I am made of water and am in a constant battle to not evaporate, therefore isn’t it obvious?  If I did evaporate I would come back as rain, (if I remember my geography lessons correctly). This should tell us something.

The current hot weather situation is…wrong.

WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE WET.

And by that I am not referring to sweat.

Find out more about the Weather.

Posted in complaint, confession time, curmudgeon, nightmare, Personal | Leave a comment

Whatever happened to the Future?

dan dare - the futureMost of what we as kids used to think about as ‘the future’ has to some degree, happened. We’ve got our ‘Dan Dare’ communications devices but they’re now called mobile/cell phones (sorry Dan). We’re very close to the ‘jet packs’ that we all desperately wanted, except for safety reasons they won’t be jets, more likely drone-like. Transportation has over the years been transformed insomuch that cars don’t just come in black and the milkman’s electric float (who would have thought) has led the way towards proper electric propelled vehicles that go faster than 3 mph. We had hope and ‘impossible dreams’, something I don’t see this in this generation which leads me to wonder, whatever happened to the future?

All in all, and in a relatively short period of time, ‘our’ (50’s kids) dreams have come true.

I am still waiting for my ray-gun (I hear they are in development) and was always a bit disappointed that astronaut’s helmets weren’t of the all-round clear glass fish-bowl type (Dan Dare again), but hey I can live with that.

What I’m really concerned about are the kids of today and their dreams.

What do they hope for in the future?

I have a bus load of grandchildren and I honestly do not know how they see the future. I’m not talking about the state of the world here as that I think (I’m sad to say), is a given. I’m talking about every day mechanical and technological breakthroughs that will make life easier or at the very least, fun.

When I watch my grandkids play, I see and hear nothing new. There’s of course variations on themes, especially on war-type games.  ‘Cowboys & Indians’ ie bad guys and good guys, scenarios where guns and ‘killing’ figure highly, still exist, but nothing that introduces me to anything new. (Why would it? As long as conflict exists).

The grand-kids have even got their ‘Meccano’. No sharp edges and in the more modern form of ‘Lego’ (+ other types) so construction in all its variations has not gone away.

The only thing I can deduce from my observations is that all kids require is simplicity in things. And leave the rest to them.

Of course, there are some that would say that kids today are very different. That one only has to look at what they play a lot of their games on…mobile phones and computers…

The interesting thing here is to look at what they are actually playing. To my mind, just, technically up-market versions of Snakes & Ladders.

I have to conclude that kids are the same no-matter what generation (now and in the future)…except perhaps for one vital difference.

Unlike us kids from the 50’s the kids of today appear to have an inbuilt sense that ‘anything is possible’. Unlike us however, they don’t get too excited about it. It’s almost as though they expect it.

‘It’ becoming less an exciting possibility and more a sense of entitlement.

DISCUSS.

Read up on my hero – Dan Dare and his arch-enemy The Mekon.

Posted in curmudgeon, Personal, the future | Leave a comment

Life after Death.

flying...life after death.I’m afraid after recent shocking revelations about my health from people who know about these things (Heart attack? What heart attack!?), I have to admit my thoughts have been turned towards the great hereafter. Not that, that is something new. As you know I am a curmudgeon and with that condition naturally comes heightened pessimism. Miserabilism (is that a word) has always been my path way. So it follows quite naturally for me that after the news and apart from the odd day, I have felt quite middle-of-the-road(ish)- about the Great Equaliser, the not-so Grim Reaper.  And I came to the conclusion some time ago, that if there is life after death (discuss), all will be fine as long as there is flying.

I can think of nothing better than discovering that in the after-life we can all fly. The ability to soar above the skies (see ‘Minecraft) would be fantastic and more than enough reward for being such a nice guy. There are however one or two provisos. The flying thing would be as I have already stated be fantastic, as long as it includes some sort of gritty reality. What I’m saying here is I don’t want to find myself in this Life after Death floating above forests that are pastel coloured because they are made of the contents of a sweet shop.  So. No pastel colours please. Or candy forests and lemonade lakes. Or animals that talk.

I would accept however, a soundtrack. 633 Squadron would be good. ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ even better. If that were possible, I would be over the moon (literally) and definitely not bored…

…which is my biggest fear regarding life after death…

Boredom.

And that is why, although I was at one time an Anglican Priest, I now reject the teachings of the Christian Church. That is not to say I don’t believe in the Big J, it’s just the way he is represented by the official Church that I find nauseating and boring. Too much talking and too many words. Ask me to re-write the Bible and I’m afraid it would have one page on which it would say…

Love

One

Another.

But enough of this…more on life after death.

This heavenly boredom that I write of and fear, would also have to include the meeting of long-dead relatives. You know the ones that pissed you off when you were both alive. It would seem incredibly spiteful and unlike the Big JC I hope to know and become matey with, to be re-introduced to say, Uncle Ernie (see The Who) who used to bounce you around suspiciously, on his lap.

I can think of nothing worse than a huge dinner party held to welcome your arrival, peopled with those who when they had blood coursing through their veins, did nothing but abuse your good nature. But then again…

Remember…Love one another?

What a test this dinner party would be. A new party game, ‘Forgive and Forget’. A sort of spiritual Snakes and Ladders. If you can’t find it in your ‘heart’ to forgive…down, you go. Talk about sorting the wheat from the chaff.

So, what would be good and if you ask me sensible in the hereafter, would be a quick hello to those that you have loved. A swift, ‘Hey mum it’s me’ would be nice. Of course, one wouldn’t want to be rude so this could be followed by a ‘Yes thank you.  I had a good trip, although the traffic was a bit heavy on the Heaven 17’ (see what I did there?). Even a…’I don’t mean to be rude mum but if you don’t mind I’d like to try out this flying thing as soon as poss’ would be acceptable.

Actually, remembering, knowing my mum like I do, she’d probably raise her eyebrow, frown and say, ‘All right, fly away but make sure you’re back in time for dinner’.

Is there life after death. Check out the ‘evidence’.

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‘…and it came to pass that the darkness descending upon the land bought Brexit, Trump & Murdoch’

Trump, Farage, Bannon darkness descendingYou know me. I’m not what you would call an over-dramatic kind of person (*cough. OK apart from the title of this piece ‘…and it came to pass that the darkness descending upon the land bought Brexit, Trump & Murdoch’ and the fact that I carry a fan for use in this hot weather). But hey…you’d have to be a pack of lard to not feel that something is afoot. That something is occurring. Or to put it another way, ‘The Orcs are Coming’.

A few short months ago everything felt, just so. I’m not saying everything was right with the world but at the very least you had the most powerful person in the world being able to string two words together. Someone who at least gave the appearance of intelligence. Now, our future is in the hands of an idiot. But not only that…

He has been joined by other idiots…(darkness descending)

Flesh-bags whose very DNA is formulated to destroy and spread hatred amongst heir own species. And like some alien invasion, they have appeared at every level of society, on every continent. From Robinson to Farage. Trump, Bannon etc, etc. All determined to make a world in their own image. Full of bile, hatred and green slimy stuff. It’s as though the call has gone out that the time has come to rise again (and the code word was ‘Brexit’). And sure enough, the disruption has begun…

  • On the streets, in the form of racism and the kind of nationalism that stinks. 
  • To the higher echelons of society like government, where lying and deceit has become the norm.
  • Note also, the wearing down of those forces that keep descent and disaster at bay.
  • See how the forces of law and order (police, justice system including courts, probation etc) have been weakened.
  • Notice, how the population’s attention has been diverted, manipulated.

For example, instead of keeping our eyes on the ball and ‘seeing’ the steady infiltration of the enemy, we tend to look the other way. Our priorities lay on ours and our loved one’s health as we watch horrified at the Nation Health System being dismantled. Let down by those we trusted (The Tories) with its upkeep and well-being.

Look at Brexit and the confusion and darkness descending.

I swear by all that is Holy, I would go for the damn thing if was good for the country. What red-blooded patriot wouldn’t? But here we are, totally confused. (And I will speak for myself here) Not knowing what Brexit means. What it entails and in what way will it benefit me and mine? 

And look, there, (surprise, surprise), following along in its wake, the disruption I described earlier. The racism, the desire to ‘fix’ what isn’t broken and of course the lies and king-sized deception. You don’t have to be religious to understand the wisdom in these words… ‘You will know them by their fruits’.

The enemies of the people cling tightly on. Their fingernails dug deeply into a swirling dark mass of the unknown whilst plying their wares out in the open. In plain sight. Feeding off the confusion. Our Total Enemies, using their interpretation of the term ‘Free Speech’, to remove our right to justice and equality.

We watch with disbelief as these bitter, power-mad ‘personalities’ are given platforms by what were once revered institutions (BBC-The Press), to spread their poison. Once revered but now nothing more than infiltrated.

It’s actually possible now, to see our enemies freely displaying the breath-taking arrogance that in more usual times would have marked the beginning of their downfall.

So, what should we do?

Me in my pathetic weakness have always looked for the figure-head. The man or woman who can rally the troops and take the germs on. However, I worry that the time has passed for such a romantic vision because I see no-one.

Of course, there are one or two strident, intelligent voices (Keir StarmerGina Miller?) that I admire for their courage and ability to face the enemy, but their flags fly on other masts.

So, for now, I think we are lost or at the very least, we are losing. We are wandering in the desert. We are a confused people and I for one am a little frightened. I worry that until the emergence of a ‘super-hero’ and the retreat of the new-ignorance back under their stones we have, to use a horrible expression, to ‘suck it up’. I hope I am wrong. And that we don’t have to hit rock-bottom before there is change.

 In my view although it feels very much like we are retreating, we do not stop fighting. There is no dishonour in retreat. It is the time when we re-organise, re-assess and hopefully decide to change our tactics. In other words we must stop being so damn polite. No more Mr Nice Guy.

And yes…perhaps it is time for a new, fresh, political party to show their colours and let in light to thwart the darkness descending…

 

The real ‘enemies of the people?’

Posted in Bad Karma, Brexit, complaint, curmudgeon, fear and misunderstanding, nightmare, Personal, politicians, Revenge, Spleen, The UK, Trump, Truth | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Doctors and Criminals. Repair. Destroy.

Typical Criminals

Typical Criminals

Doctors and Criminals.

This week promises to become quite a strange one for me. I have meetings with two of the oldest professions in the world (no, not that one). Doctors and Criminals. From one end of the spectrum to the other. Those who repair to those who destroy.

Doctors and Criminals. The doctors (tomorrow…)

‘they’ put me on a treadmill in an effort to check out what I describe as ‘panic attacks’. While others suspect ‘ticker trouble’, tomorrow should be the day when all becomes clear (er). Needless to say, I’m more than a bit apprehensive and have already left instructions that if push comes to shove, I want hospital bed to bonfire just like my hero Bowie. No fuss. No bloody awful hymns (or ‘My way) and no dead flowers. Which reminds me of a story…bear with…bear with…

Richard Griffith wreath.

Look what I found…

I remember checking out the floral tributes at the funeral of the great actor Richard Griffiths at Holy Trinity Church just down the road from me. Amongst the usual stuff was a wonderful wreath made entirely out of vegetables. Obviously. a reference to some of his lines (*Uncle Monty) in the amazing film, ‘Withnail and I’, it was fantastic and on a sad day brought a smile to everyone’s lips.
Anyway…to continue…where was I? Ah yes…doctors and criminals.

 

Today…

I had the unusual experience of attending an identity parade at a local Police Station in an effort to weed out the toe-rag who stole my car last year.

Now before you get too excited you should know that the days when you found yourself confronting a line-up of six (?) live suspects are over. In those days five of the so-called criminals would obviously be coppers on overtime. Such was the relaxed attitude towards justice, it wasn’t so unusual for one or two of them to have a remnant of a uniform still forgetfully attached (helmet). Leaving one scar-faced man in a mask, striped jumper and a bag marked ‘swag’, to face the music. Thankfully these days it’s all on video.

Doctors and Criminals. The ‘Criminal Line-up’.

I had to sit in front of a computer to view nine videos (head and shoulders) of would-be villains who looked so similar that they could be brothers. They stared out from the screen with a murderous look in their eyes then turned delicately to the left, then to the right. All that was missing was a soundtrack.

This spectacle was run past me twice. I was then asked if I wanted to see it again. As I didn’t I was then asked if I had recognised the evil Bill Sykes and if so, what number was he? I made my choice and faintly, somewhere in the far distance I could hear the rusty old wheels of justice beginning to turn.

In and out in an hour.

It was a strange feeling as I headed down the street towards my other car. (You know the one that no-one (as yet) had stolen). I felt guilty. As though I had just condemned someone to a penal colony in Australia.  Had I made the correct decision?

What if I had picked out the wrong guy? What if the man I had pointed out was a harmless double-glazing salesman from Milton Keynes with a wife, two kids and a Labrador. An innocent man calmly going about his business when a large policeman randomly picked him off the street and ‘invited’ him to come and do his public duty.

What if my identification had caused him to be taken away from his family until his innocence was proven beyond doubt? Fingerprints. Itchy prison with arrows on it. Removal of laces and belt just in case.

Suppose his wife in total despair at the incarceration of her loving husband suffered a mental breakdown. Maybe taken an overdose, leaving his children with no choice but to be put into care?

What if, the dog in an empty house with no-one to feed it, had died an agonising death from starvation?

Or worse still, what if the innocent double-glazing salesman from Milton Keynes, upon hearing of the consequences of my action, took his own life in a lonely prison cell? How could I ever forgive myself? All my doing. Lives ruined. How could I live with myself? Only one thing for it…

Thankfully the guilt didn’t last…

In reality of course, if I had picked the wrong criminal, the wrong foot-pad, cut-purse, n’ere-do-well. There would be no come-back. No terrible scenario. The case would just be dropped, and arse-hole who nicked my car would get off, Scott-free.

Bastard.

  • Re Uncle Monty.

Posted in criminal activity, Personal, Revenge | Leave a comment

A Very Stable Genius…

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…this is a piece dedicated for those just like me.

It’s interesting to note (at least it is for me) that most of my life’s memorable moments have come about when I’ve been recognised for who, and what I am. So, with that in mind, …this is a piece dedicated for those just like me.

 What I’m referring to here is, blood line. My racial make-up. The bits and pieces that make me what and who I am.

[And I am a mixed-race man.

Antigua

Flag of Antigua and Barbuda

Dedicated also to my grandfather who was a Black man from Antigua, who came to this wonderful country (UK) in the early 1900’s.  
For the deplorables: 
Without revealing too much unnecessary information and taking into consideration the usual sequence of life and the things people get up to, AND for one second reverting to the awful language of yester-year, my Mother was Mulatto thus making me, (with the intervention of my father), a quadroon or ¼ caste].

So, memorable moments…

One such (positive) moment was when on a placement in St Paul’s Bristol. A Rastafarian embraced me, invited me to a ‘reasoning’ and with words I shall never forget said, ‘Welcome home Brother’. Tears flowed.

Unfortunately, most of the other memorable moments have been a little more er…disappointing. They usually included idiots who for some weird reason objected to the darker hue of my skin causing them to refuse me a service or just plain insult me. But this is not about them so I will refrain from going into too much lurid detail about those with only one brain cell (e.g. Trump).

What I really want to write about is my ‘failure’ as a (part) Black man and apologise. My failure at missing out on a vibrant and fantastic culture that considering the history of the people involved, should never exist. This ‘failure’ (for there is no other word) is something I am sad about.

What I’m saying here is that for a long time I felt I didn’t belong, anywhere. To put it crudely, I felt neither black, nor white. (Don’t get me wrong, that is not a whine just a fact of life, my life). To put it simply, when I was younger I wanted so much to be with ‘my people’ but didn’t know who the hell ‘my people’ were. Unsettled, confused are words that fit that situation perfectly.

As far as my ‘whiteness’ went…

…me and my mum were oddities.

People, sometimes downright rude, sometimes curious, looked on us as here but not really, belonging. The fact that my mother was a Cockney, had lived through the London Blitz while her brothers and sisters served in the armed forces, made no difference. They still called me and her names. Or in my mum’s case, spat at her.

In terms of my ‘blackness’…I was useless.

I didn’t have the first idea of how I could make myself known to the mysterious ‘my people’. How I could introduce myself? To white people, I was the same as them in cultural terms and although a little darker lived like they did. To my black brothers and sisters, the way I saw it I was ‘a brother who was taken even further away’). For instance…

I couldn’t understand the language (of the street). As a young man I knew nothing about the food (goat?) and (this may seem like a minor issue to some), the sun, the heat drove me inside. Shamefaced, I looked at it in this way, if I had ever had the chance to re-settle in Grandfather’s Antigua, I would have wilted in a matter of hours.

My dear old mum was no help, bless her. There was no Caribbean cooking in our house. There were no tales of Grandfather’s background. Nothing relevant that pointed to our Caribbean heritage. Unfortunately, I think I became a little bitter, blaming my mother for what seemed a gross lack of valuable information.

Of course, now I know otherwise. Her plate was full. She had the ongoing issues of everyday to cope with. And cope she did. A brave, loving woman with not an ounce of bitterness within her…(unlike me).

What I am grateful for and whether it was intentional or not, is the fact that I was left to find my own way. What I discovered is simplicity itself and if I am still a little bitter it’s because I wasted quite a few years as a very, very angry young man. My fault. All those years wasted, fighting a system that was stacked against me. Stacked against ‘the lost’ and ‘the wanderers’. Totally stacked against those who were and are identity free.

So, listen up…this is what I know.

You cannot move until you know who you are. Know your lineage well. Educate yourself.
Knowledge is power.
Appreciate your uniqueness. Your difference. Think for a moment about those who find themselves cut off from the herd think how vulnerable they feel. To be in that situation is nothing new to you.
You know what it’s like. You are different. Special. Outside the ‘norm’.
You can use that ‘separateness’ to your advantage. The point being that to be out on a limb is really a privilege.
It’s a vantage point. From where you are you can see what’s going on, what’s happening.
Rejoice in the fact that you are not just one more face in a faceless crowd.
For God’s sake you even look different.
How cool is that?

Who do you think you are?

Posted in confession time, curmudgeon, Family, fear and misunderstanding, Free, good advice, Personal, Truth | Leave a comment

It smells like treason and it makes me feel uncomfortable…like something is coming.

What a very strange time to be alive. There’s something in the air. And it’s not good. It smells like treason and it makes me feel uncomfortable…like something is coming. It reminds me of that time many years ago when the Russians were building up their war machine on Cuba and President Kennedy told them to remove their missiles…or else. I was a kid, but I remember clearly the sense of foreboding that we all shared. We were all convinced we were about to be incinerated.

And now here we are again. Not necessarily facing an atomic bomb-type war but seemingly surrounded by enemies that promise something similar (if that’s possible). Enemies close at hand. Traitors and treason in our own camp. Around our camp fire, sharing our sausages. 

The man Trump, aka ‘The Manchurian Candidate’.

It’s like he has been nurtured, trained even to fulfil the role and the type of POTUS he is today.Trump treason It’s as if an astute and wise someone, a long time ago realised that like advertising, a human-being could be used to ‘sell’ to a section of the public who in this case felt that they had been ignored for most of their life. A section of the public (and yes, I know this sounds elitist), who through their own shortcomings are indeed, ‘unrepresented’ and ripe for picking and manipulation.

Trump’s people.

They don’t read newspapers or books. They think an argument is two people shouting at each other, where ‘the winner’ is he who shouts loudest or strikes the first blow. The word ‘debate’ means nothing to them. They exist/react on gut reaction and trust in the ‘education’, ‘the university of life’ has provided them with. A ‘university’ where there were no lectures, essays, or discussions. Only a graduation where the blowhards and the liars received the highest accolades. Into the world armed with ignorance they smash their way in, ignoring facts and truth as they go. Bulls (Bullies) in china shops, spreading a doctrine where ‘Success’ is measured in monetary terms and how many people you can ‘lord’ it over. 

They are ignorant because they ignored their proper education (perhaps through no fault of their own) and are not aware of the fact that they have choices. The one choice that they did have, was to listen or not. To their teachers. Their peers. Anyone. They chose the latter. They chose, ‘or not’. And now they are ripe. Ready to be gathered from the foot of the tree from which they fell. Trump will tell them what to think and how they should feel. No thought or hard work needed on their part. Easy.

Treason.

Let’s face it. A whole bunch of Sleeper Agents have been fed the Code Words (it smells like treason?) and have been woken from their slumbers. 

The likes of Trump (from now on and for ever more, known as The Manchurian Candidate), Farage, some minor players within the UK and American governments, news organisations, (BBC?) etc, etc. All traitors. To the core.

From whence they came and who bankrolls them is a little more difficult, although *fascism seems to be gathering more traction as the days pass.

Democracy is under threat of that there is no doubt. Because Democracy allows time to pass as it gathers proof against its enemies, they (our enemies) have time to entrench and disrupt until they are outed. Therefore, we have to resist. We have to fight back. Time is short and above all, the rules have changed. We may not realise it yet, but this is rapidly becoming a fight for our lives. Because of this I would suggest that in the words of Malcolm X, we continue this battle using ‘By any means necessary’.

*could this (Trump) have been Hitler’s plan B and Putin connections a red herring? (What d’ya think InfoWars?)

Posted in America, curmudgeon, fear and misunderstanding, movies, nightmare, Personal, Trump, Truth | Leave a comment

Symptoms. A significant birthday and time for my body to fall to pieces.

It would appear that almost to the day of a significant birthday (mind your own business but a clue; biblical), the symptoms have arrived and my body has decided to take the hint and begin to fall to pieces.

To great surprise and annoyance I have developed what was first described (by yours truly) as…’panic attacks’. I have to say in all honesty I was kinda hoping that, that was indeed what it was. Panic Attack. Easily explained and fitting nicely into the mess that I call my life.

The SYMPTOMS…

…it goes like this…after a minute or two of going about what I loosely call my business, I develop a tightness in my throat, a shortness in my breath and a strong desire to sit down. A couple of long breaths later I find I can continue until it happens again. Eventually it passes.

My first thought, was it was all brought on by my life-leaning towards anxiety. Unfortunately, I am always worried. I worry about being worried and worry when I am not worried if that makes sense. If there was an Olympic competition for ‘worrying’,  I would take all three medals. I do have pills for the condition and without them there is no doubt I would be really worried. 

Anyway, my Doctor, who I have great confidence in (not the least because he wears shorts) tried out Beta-Blockers thinking that it would reduce my ‘excitement levels’ and therefore my Adrenalin. Unfortunately, there was no noticeable effect. I took the pills, went on holiday with the memsahib and ‘suffered’ daily on my return from the beach from the same symptoms, which led to a rethink…rather than anxiety, perhaps exertion was the key.

To cut a long story short and upon further consultation with my doctor it’s looking like it might be Angina. Which is a pain. Except it isn’t. I have no pain in the chest just the symptoms I have described. Whatever it is, it would seem dear reader that age is catching up with me. So much so that I have been booked in for tests on a treadmill to further investigate the problem.

And therein lies my greatest fear…

Whatever is the cause of my slow demise, my biggest fear is that it will disrupt MY COOL.

I really don’t want to be carrying an oxygen tank like Lloyd Bridges (Google it) for the rest of my life. Nor do I want to have to ride around on one of those one-man golf trolley things that look like they’re going to fall over at any moment. That would be so UN-COOL. At a time when I have finally got my hair in the style that I have always wanted and feel OK in the clothes I choose to wear, I do not want a walking stick or any sort of aid. I would rather take to my bed.

What I wouldn’t mind is a small silver pill-box that I could flick open with a flourish every time the symptoms strike. To take a pill whilst carrying on the conversation without any sign of delay or pause would suit me fine. It would be COOL and just like it happens in the movies.

And that my friends…that I could live with.

BEWARE.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW (but perhaps shouldn’t)

Posted in complaint, confession time, curmudgeon, movies, Personal, Truth | Leave a comment

A Sign of the Times.

Posted in fear and misunderstanding, Hurrah, nightmare, Personal, The Poor, Truth | Leave a comment

A hole in time. The holiday we have just come back from.

old peoples chairSo, where was I? Oh yes…the holiday that we  (me and the memsahib) have just come back from. Yeah, it was OK. Sort of. The weather was fantastic if you like being boiled alive and the coffee in the room was almost totally De-Caff but apart from that…

We arrived at the old people’s home – no…scratch that. It wasn’t an old people’s home, it was a hotel, that felt very much like an old people’s home. I think we might have been the youngest guests there and we’re old. So ancient were the clientele, I’m surprised that there wasn’t a defibrillator in every room. And talking of accommodation, the rooms were so clean that they had the feel of the operating theatre about them. Which is no bad thing when you think about how comforting that must have been to the majority of the guests.

Death by Breakfast I.

Breakfast was hard work. The smell of lavender and the amount of beige on show was overpowering and enough to put you off your porridge. The eggs were old-folk runny and the toast barely done as you might expect from a chef who obviously wanted to get out of there asap. If it hadn’t been for the youthfulness of the waiting staff, I think I would have signed up for instant cremation there and then. However, all was not lost. If there was anything interesting to be drawn from this dire situation, I would have to say, it was listening to the early morning conversations of the walking dead on holiday. Entertaining, to say the least. The very least.

chair liftOn the table opposite was an elderly lady who looked and sounded as though she arrived by time machine. Her accent was, how can I put this…worse than the Queen’s when she was a young woman. Cut glass. So squeaky clean as to be transparent. Biting. Sharp. Yet for all that, barely audible.

Everyone she knew or spoke about seemed to be called ‘Hugo’ and by the sound of things either in a sanatorium recovering from TB or on the Front line fighting the Hun. It was a very odd listening experience topped off by the fact that she had the most horrendous and disgusting rumbling/rolling cough I think I have ever heard. After each hacking episode one couldn’t help being in anticipation of a gigantic release into a silver spittoon that she carried with her everywhere.

Death by Breakfast II.

On the table slightly behind us were a group of six. Man & wife, man & wife, man & wife. Who had grown up together, (I’m guessing here) such were their constant reminisces. So innocent were their memories I was left wondering if they were the original models for ‘Swallows & Amazons’. Or perhaps ‘The Famous Five + One’.

famous 5Obviously, the sun always shined when they were young, the war never happened and bicycles all had baskets attached to the handlebars. There was no such thing as a gay vicar and doctors only ever treated nettle-sting. It was also long before sex was invented.

 All this I might have found amusing if it wasn’t for the fact that after memory-time had passed, phase two kicked in.  Picking out their favourite stories from The Telegraph.

(At this point I choked on my raw holiday bacon and retired immediately to our own, very expensive operating theatre).

Don’t go on Holiday/Vacation. Watch this instead. Let someone else do the dirty work.

Posted in confession time, curmudgeon, Family, nightmare, Taking a break | Leave a comment

The Russians & the World Cup.

footballJust a quick one to say that in case you have been wondering I have just (a few hours ago returned from a holiday in Cornwall) but more about that later. For now I want to expose ‘the powers that be’ (Putin/russians) and the dirty tricks they have used to influence the huge TV audience watching the World Cup.

Namely the crafty placing of numerous attractive nay, beautiful young women on the terraces.

It is obvious to me, that there is not a nation in the world who has that many beautiful, young, nubile young women amongst of all things, its football supporters. Throughout every game where there has been a lull in the action the cameras inevitably swing in the direction of a gasping, even weeping beautiful so-called supporter.

I must be honest here and admit that the reasoning behind these tactical beauty placements are beyond me. It would not surprise me however, to find that they (the young ladies) serve some sort of psychological purpose. As we well know, the Russians are past masters in pushing their enemies into disarray and panic (see novichok)  at the drop of a hat. It is well-known that the Russians are willing to win at any cost. So it follows that the use of the fairer sex to, if not to distract the players (unlikely) but to sway supporters watching on television is obviously not beyond them.

I hereby call on FIFA to investigate.

I would like to, at this point, say how proud I am of the Brit supporters. Because of their gumption, spunk and loyalty, not one of these attractive females has managed to infiltrate the British ranks of supporters. God save the Queen.

 

Posted in Bad Karma, complaint, sport for all | Leave a comment

The nature of evil.

I do not have a brain the size of a planet. I am neither philosopher nor commentator (OK..a little commentating now and again). Unlike the president I do not have ‘the best words’ close at hand and I sometimes struggle to get my point across. So, forgive me, if I waffle on a bit about the nature of evil…it’s like this…

I am, at the moment, convinced that evil is having its day.

How this works I have no explanation. It might be something to do with the stars? Or how the planets align? Maybe its God? God deciding that we all need a bit of a shake up, so He’s allowed that well known fallen angel a turn at the wheel. I don’t know. But something is not quite right. I can feel it in my bones.

Can you? Or am I the only one?

Something is amiss.  To get a little bit Biblical here, let me say that it feels like ‘a darkness has descended upon the land’. Stones have been upturned and the inhabitants of those dark, damp places are emerging out into the sunlight. In short, they’re not bothering to hide anymore. They know also that it is their day. Their time. So much so, that they are declaring their presence and modus operandi,  openly.

For me to describe what I mean by ‘evil’, I would have to personalise it. Give it human form as it were. I would have to simplify it, which is in fact a good thing because evil is, simple. There are no complications with evil. 

Hitler for example, was simple. I don’t mean lacking in intelligence I mean, what he wanted and the means of his delivery were, simple. He spoke in a simple tongue. His speeches and therefore his hatred, were designed to be understood by the many. He merely reflected and amplified his listeners own thoughts back at them. There was nothing stealthy about him or his cohorts. And to the outside world they simply lied about what they were doing.  They lied so that while everyone outside was trying to fathom what was actually going on, they missed the fact that it was all there, in plain sight. Sheer unadulterated, evil.

When a man/woman disengages themselves from the rest of humanity, for example when they disregard a whole section of humanity to further their own aims, (i.e. Hitler and the Jews) they are, evil personified. Simple as that. They can deny, lie and try to shift the focus off their evil deeds but in the end, there is one clear rule, ‘by their fruits you shall know them’.

They have no escape from the truth but neither do they want it. Their ‘trick’ is to ‘share’ responsibility. In other words…Delegate. Promote people to positions of so-called responsibility so that it appears that the commands, the orders are coming from their mouths. Delegate and turn away. Keep the hatred going for as long as possible with the hope that the final retribution, when it comes, will fall on the shoulders of their henchmen and women.  More evil.

Trump is evil. By his fruits you have known him. Plain and simple. Be it women, children or anyone who he feels is not ‘american’, these are the collateral damage of his bid for power and wealth. Trump does not care because he doesn’t know how to. Empathy is a mystery to him. Wealth is all and everyone has their price, especially the Republican Party who appear to be supporting him by their silence.

One thing is sure. There will come a time when he will be moved on to become just another part of history. His time will be up and those left will have to tend to the wounds.  Of that there is no doubt.

But when will this happy day arrive? Who knows, is the answer. Personally, I feel he will continue for some time, fiddling while Rome burns. But he will be toppled eventually, for that is the way of things.

 The real question is, will he ever face justice for his misdeeds? Will he pay for his sins? I doubt it very much. I think he will retreat into the darkness to live a comfortable life off of his ill-gotten gains. Forever despised but never able to fully understand why.

What do you think?

Posted in America, Bad Karma, nightmare, Personal, Revenge, Trump, Truth | Leave a comment

One guess and one guess only…what’s trending in the UK at the moment?

I’ll give you one guess and one guess only to this question.

If you were to go to Google this very moment and ask it, ‘What is trending in the UK at this moment?’ What do you think the answer would be?

Here’s a clue…football

Time starts now…tick, tick, tick, tick…

TIME’S UP.

And the answer is…you guessed it…FOOTBALL. There’s a surprise. Who would have thunked it?

Football, football, football…but wait what’s this…oh yes. More…Football.

Now don’t get me wrong. There ain’t nothing wrong with the so-called ‘beautiful game’. When it’s played properly. And by that I mean when the millionaire players in the top teams aren’t throwing themselves to the floor claiming horrendous injury or near-death experience. The game does indeed touch on the ‘beautiful’ when real ball skills are on show and not player acting prowess.

 It occurs to me that if for just one moment the teams of 22 different hair-styles can resist kicking the legs away from their opponents then indeed, the game can become a joy to watch. And I say this as a fair-weather fan. Put the play-acting to one side and football can be fantastic to behold.

I call myself a ‘fair-weather fan’ because I don’t watch er…normal (UK) football (i believe it’s called ‘league football). I will however, plant myself on the sofa with crisps and nuts to watch most things World Cup. This is different. There is joy. And celebration. Music even. And for once the fans don’t appear to want to behead each other. They even appear to delight in each others company (None of this applies to the British who don’t appear to know how to mix with er…Johnny Foreigner. Hence Brexit).

I hate the so-called loyalty of the UK fan, with his anger, bitterness and dialogue that goes beyond ‘banter’. An anger, bitterness that regularly destroys the very thing they profess to ‘love’, i.e. the game.

The very fact that UK fans get injured (even killed) on a regular basis must say something if not about how cynically the game is played over here, then the kind of people it attracts. People, I’m sorry to say that have something missing in their sad lives, though as I’m not a social scientist I can’t put a finger on it. I would however hazard a guess and say I wonder if it’s something to do with the need to belong.  Perhaps they are aware that in general society rejects them and their inabilities. Maybe it’s only on the terraces that they feel truly free to express their ignorance and give reign to their ‘opinions’/ignorance. I don’t know.  

I suppose, we should be glad about the current state of UK football.  Think about it, if we didn’t have the British fans preoccupied with British football, we’d have the Zombie Apocalypse.

(And I wonder how long that would take to start trending)?

Posted in Being a bloke, curmudgeon, Hurrah, Personal, The UK, Thick, Truth | Leave a comment

The Five essential signs of British Summer time (in Stratford-upon-Avon).

British summer time has arrived

The Five essential signs that British Summer time has arrived in Stratford-upon-Avon.

1. 7.30 in the morning. The two families that appear to own 20 dogs apiece let them loose to shit in their garden rather than take them for a walk far, far away.

2. 8.30 Lawn-mowers begin er…mowing.  The throaty growls of a petrol model to the annoying whine of electric (mowers and strimmers) rend the air (I think I’ve mentioned before that there’s one that sounds like it might have cut the lawns at  NASA). For some strange reason the mowing goes on for over an hour. I say strange reason because no-one has a lawn around these parts bigger than a postage stamp.
3.  9.30 (ish) The insane child who runs up and down the street making the most accurate imitation of a police siren I have ever heard is in action as I write this. I do not complain as I suspect she has mental problems. If she hasn’t she has a great career in show-business to look forward to.
4. The idiot family who go on holiday around this time of year have, true to form once again left their telephone answer machine near an open window. It has received a message and has been beeping for over 24 hours. As the hours of darkness approach the sound appears to get louder requiring ear plugs to sleep. I want to burn their house down. No-one would notice (see below).
5.  All day into early evening. The constant smell of barbecue smoke fills the air. I hate it.

British Summer time has arrived (albeit for a short time). It is here.

Now, perhaps is the time to contemplate leaving?

Personally, I want to kill everyone.

Vietnam must have been like this.

The British Seaside Resort. (book your holiday now)

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Warning: Facebook spat over vulture and dying baby.

Having a bit of a Facebook spat at the moment concerning that infamous/awful photograph of a vulture waiting to peck the eyes out of a dying little black baby.

If you haven’t seen it, take a deep breath…

I won’t go into too many details but my argument is with the Christians who have commented on my friend’s page (who incidentally is a Bishop in the Church of England). Christians whose words fall into the definition, glib and nonsensical.

Comments like this…

  • ‘Unfortunately the camera only records visible light, otherwise it would show God lying with the child’.
  • ‘God has blessed us so we can pick the hungry and thirsty child up’.  
  • ‘Love the comments…my own thoughts ‘not what I give to a poor hungry child or adult but what they can give to me’…look into their eyes and see the eyes of Jesus’.

I have to say that I found all the comments not only appalling but meaningless. But perhaps worse than that, exclusive. Written code-like so that only a ‘chosen few’ would find any real meaning. How they expect to recruit to the cause I don’t know. I’m surprised there isn’t a secret handshake.

I say at the beginning of this piece that it was a Facebook spat but actually that is not quite true. I made it clear how I felt on my friend’s page and not surprisingly, no-one responded. To be fair, perhaps ignoring me was ‘Christian love’ at its best? That by ‘letting the poor boy get it out of his system, God will forgive him’, was an act of Christian generosity? Either that or there was no sensible come-back available. I think I’ll go for the latter.

Anyway. For me as a very ex-priest I was (as usual), left with the same major question that contributed to me leaving the Priesthood. That question being, ‘What is God for?’ (I guess we don’t want to go into that here do we?). 

I don’t want to present myself as an unbeliever, more an explorer.  Like so many, I’m looking around for the truth. As far as Faith goes, I’m a child again.

I’m someone who rejects the God that is presented by that Holy Factory, The Church of England . Their God seems to be nothing more than a huge security blanket.

A security blanket that envelopes most of the ‘true believers’ in a warm and fuzzy haze that keeps them safe from the outside world.

Amen.

Want to have a closer look at the Church of England and faith?

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I have but one regret. I wish I’d been a pirate.

And so, as I approach the twilight of my life, I have but one regret. I wish I’d been a pirate. 

(And I don’t mean a Johnny Depp kind of pirate).

There’s something, and I admit I haven’t quite put my finger on it yet, about the pirate’s life that I really like. When I first thought about running away to sea to join Blackbeard I thought it might be the freedom of the high seas that was luring me. Now I’m not so sure. Of course, sailing about on one of those large creaking ships was very appealing, and the thrill of seeing land after being away for months was something I really would have liked to have experienced. The thought of fresh meat after months of surviving on er…lard (?) would certainly make me shout ‘Ah-arr’, or whatever it is pirates shout when they’re happy. But no I don’t think it’s that either.

pirate charles vane

Charles Vane

OK, so let me admit, I have been enjoying ‘Black Sails’ on TV. In fact, I have one last episode to go. When I’ve seen that, I will be bereft. The adventures of Captain Flint, Charles Vane, John Silver etc have been brilliant. Not withstanding the huge number of heaving breasts and rampant sex in every episode, the whole thing has been excellent. Fantastically written and beautifully filmed. And if it is as authentic as it looks, I’ve learnt that pirate crews existed in a democracy, which was a major surprise.

Apparently, they voted on every major decision. Even down to who was to be Captain. Another surprise was to find that the man who wielded an awful lot of the power was the Quartermaster. He was the kind of middle man, standing between Captain and crew, speaking for each. If the Captain didn’t have the Quartermaster behind him and therefore the crew he was lost (literally, at sea).

To be truthful.

pirate captain flint

      Captain Flint

The more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to think that the thing about piracy on the High Seas that attracts me, is…the fashion. There, I’ve said it.

Pigtails, ear rings, thigh boots, no shaving etc. What a fine figure a man could present astride the poop deck. Matted hair blowing in a breeze coming the west, cutlass dangling from the waist, maybe even smoking one of those long-stemmed clay pipes. You can forget anything else. It’s the posing. It would have to be, because I’d be useless in a fight.

 

‘Where’s me buccaneers?’

‘On your bucking head, where they’ve always been’ (Pirate Joke).

Anyway, did I mention the heaving breasts? Ah-harr.

black sails heaving breasts

 

Posted in Being a bloke, confession time, Free, Hurrah, Personal, Truth | Tagged | Leave a comment

A man without a shed is like…?

shedIn praise of Sheds.

There’s no doubt in my mind that one of life’s greatest woes is a man without a shed. A man without a shed is like a snail without a shell. A wanderer in a desert with no relief from the blazing sun. A man without a shed is quite simply, lost.

Throughout history, before many world-changing events saw the light of day. Many of the men who were to affect our lives forever spent time perusing theirs and our fate, in a shed. A shed is where some of the world’s greatest battles were won. Where some of the greatest speeches were written. In short, where the future was decided.

Great warriors like Atilla the Hun must have had their equivalent of a shed. OK, not so much the wooden structure that some of us have come to know and love but more likely a richly decorated and smallish tent and few yards back from his main abode. A place where he could go to decide, in peace who he would conquer next.

I am a lucky man

…for I have two sheds. I am aware that I am blessed and privileged. For is it not written in the Bible…

‘That the possessor of two sheds shall remain in favour of our Lord our God for all time. For it is here within the interior that he shall give praise to God without disturbance or interruption. And the Lord shall smile down on him the owner of two sheds, forever’.

shed IIUnfortunately, I have fallen behind in the Biblical use of my sheds because they have, thanks to an untidy family, become full of junk. Bicycles, gardening equipment, discarded tools and golf clubs, broken toys, boxes of screws, nails and unidentifiable objects that at one time must have had some use fill my holy space. If one requires any item that is still in use, for example a lawn-mower then whoever that task has fallen to, must clear out the whole space. Lawn-mower found, then they must put the whole junk-heap back again. All without disturbing the wildlife that has settled comfortable, within.

One day I will retrieve my space and rejoice once more in my solitude. But until that day I shall wonder if ‘The Shed’ is purely a British concept? Do our American friends have the equivalent of a shed? And if so do they regard them with such reverence? Where, do they go for peace and quiet? I would like to know. (please comment below).

Trump-sheds?

shedIII

A possible Trump-shed?

Has Trump spotted the shed as a business opportunity yet? How long will it be before we see, ‘Trump Sheds’, and if we do how long will they last before they disappear into mayhem and bankruptcy?

The mind boggles.

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Kids are great.

Kids are great.

  • There’s nothing like a child to make you feel good about yourself. You can invent the most outlandish story about yourself and…they’ll believe anything you say.

The memsahib for instance was 35 before she realised the story her father had told her about how he reached into the open mouth of a tiger was a lie. He told her he had pushed his arm right down to the tail, tugged hard and turned the poor beast inside out.

Tell ’em what you like. Big yourself up.

She was taken in totally by his tales of the hunt for the lost pyramid of Shem-di-rah. She believed that he had discovered the Holy Grail. And trusted in the ‘fact’ that he had climbed Everest in vest and underpants. But hey, everyone had a lot of fun. So much so, that her family never had need of a television, so much were they regaled by her father’s tales of derring-do.

Of course, it goes without saying that she was devastated when she found out the truth. However, the old man got years of pleasure out of his invented hero status. And in the end, it did him the world of good.

Consequences. But it’s worth it.

I often think that later on in life he believed the stories he told, himself. He was so really into his imagined role as a hunter of wildlife and relics.  The poor man would often be seen around the house in shorts, appropriate hat and carrying an old decommissioned shotgun, even at the height of winter (don’t forget the bullwhip). And in the end (at her father’s death) when the truth was out, it only took the wife a couple of years in therapy to get over what she thought was a deep betrayal of her childhood on her father’s part. But hey, no real harm done…I won’t change my mind thinking kids are great no matter the cost.

Hurrah.

Actually, so full of admiration of the father-in-law’s wonderful flights of fancy was I that I couldn’t stop myself. I vowed should the occasion arise in my own life, I would try my best to follow in his lying footsteps.

And so, it has been. I’m proud to say, that my kids believe that I worked for NASA on the early space projects. Was a highly decorated fighter pilot in both World Wars. And in my spare time discovered, penicillin. And that was why I had been knighted by my personal friend, Queen Elizabeth II.

No harm done.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. But you are wrong. If you could see the joy on their little faces I’m sure you would agree that it was all worth it and kid’s really are great.

However…

Unfortunately, lies, as everyone knows (Mr Trump) have a habit of catching up with you. I am well aware that my kids will discover the truth about their father sooner rather than later. The best I can hope is that when that time comes, I shall be too old and doddery to be a victim of their wrath.

That said, perhaps all I can really hope for is that whatever questions they might have, they will realise that I will be not be able to answer them. The last thing I want to do as one of this country’s leading Agents, is break the official secrets act.

MI5 can turn very nasty.

Read up on the Secret Services…(if you know what’s good for you)

Posted in confession time, curmudgeon, Family, Personal, Truth | Leave a comment

The family adage ‘Blood is thicker than water’ sends a shiver down my spine

familyYes, I am aware of how cold this sounds…but I have never understood why families are looked upon with such reverence and respect. The old adage ‘blood is thicker than water’ sends a shiver down my spine for many reasons.

First of all.

 Family is one of those institutions where you have absolutely no choice whether you want to ‘belong’ or not. You pop out of the womb and there they are. Ready-made.

Mother, father, brothers, sisters, cousins…etc, etc. Hundreds of them.  Most of them gathered around your cot, grinning and gurning like a bunch of idiots. Most of them you will never see again unless there’s an offer of free booze and food usually at a wedding, funeral or the birth of another unfortunate like yourself. Then, like some magic trick, they disappear. Only to reappear suddenly, to celebrate/mourn another member of the family (in most cases someone they last saw as a child). In the case of a death in the family they pass through at a high rate of knots, picking up as they go any semi-valuable trinkets or anything ‘that helps me remember him/her’. There follows a suitable period of ‘mourning’ before E-Bay is activated.

In amongst this group of strangers that ‘family law’ insists you will run into now and again throughout your life, there will be the ‘usual suspects’.

There will be a mad Aunt (everyone has a mad aunt whether they like it or not), who will have fallen on hard times by marrying the wrong man. She will annoy the life out of the rest of the family and they will all try their best to never mention her in polite company. But she will always be there. Getting drunk at family occasions and bringing stuff up that no-one ever talks about anymore and is best forgotten. For example, how she once caused a scandal by going out with a black man/religious freak/another woman etc. She will insist on causing a scene.

There will always be a creepy (possibly paedophile) Uncle (See The Who’s ‘Tommy) who will always insist on you sitting on his lap. He will always want to tickle you. His breath will smell like a toad, his fingernails will be dirty and he will always have sweets about his grubby person. Your parents will have always have had their suspicions about Uncle X but were never quite sure. Because of their uncertainty and embarrassment they will never discuss ‘the problem’ head-on, their cowardice allowing him to fondle you in a provocative manner as and when he pleases.

Family are rubbish.

However, you need them in the early stages of your life. The all important stages when for example, you  need feeding. Families will, if they have anything about them, feed you. They will also teach you the language. They will teach you to walk and perhaps more importantly, to run.

It is best and highly advisable that you release yourselves from their grip asap. Go out into the world and choose who you want to be with. Find friends who like you and want to be around you.

And when the family summons you, do not snub them. Just remember that ‘Blood is thicker than water’, is possibly the biggest load of cobblers you have ever heard.

Return temporarily, to the fold by all means, but return in the high hope that someone in the family has died and left you some money.

Read about family here…



If you want your Family to survive, you know that the Ultimate Solution Is A Survival Bunker. Click Here!

Posted in confession time, curmudgeon, Family, good advice, nightmare, Personal, Truth | Tagged | Leave a comment

I am a collector. And I collect hats.

weird and wonderful hatsI am a collector. And I collect hats. There, I’ve finally said it. It is out in the open. My secret, revealed at last.

I have scores of the things. Trilby’s, bowlers, straw hats, leather hats. Caps made of tweed. Caps made of cloth.

I have so many hats that I have been called a ‘Hoarder of Hats’. This is unjustified and it hurts.  The term ‘hoarder’ has been made famous (infamous?) by those numerous TV programs about grubby people who can’t get out of their houses because their passage is blocked by all the useless items they have collected and stacked up in their living areas.

Cardboard boxes full of items they have pulled willy-nilly from garbage skips and what have you. From empty cardboard boxes to years of useless newspapers. Wild animals live in these piles of rubbish. The hoarders very lives are in danger not just because fire could break out any minute but because piles of crap could, at any moment fall and suffocate them. Let me make it very clear.

That is not me.

I am a collector.

a bowlerIf I have one task in life, it is to make hats great again. In my humble opinion hats have been neglected for far too long. Oh sure, you might find the odd pop star wearing a hat, usually of his or her own design. Usually something outlandish and sparkly. And therein lies the problem. Because we see hats as the territory of the eccentric, your average Joe or Jennifer tends to give hats a wide berth. In short, there is a line of thought that says, only mad people and show-offs wear hats. This is blatantly untrue.

I am not a show-off. I am stylish. A hat, on the head of a man or a woman marks them out as, different, or in my case, special. And I use that term not in an arrogant way but as a statement of fact.  I am only special because not many folks can carry a hat in a stylish manner. I do. Not every one is ‘a hat person’. I am. Some of us hat wearers could sport a wooden box on our heads and it would still look good.

a beretHats are also about confidence. In the old days of hats, you know the days when everyone wore one. Hats were a mark of social standing. Caps for the working class, other more exuberant types of hats for the wealthy and those further up the social ladder. However, apart from marking out your social standing, hats were there mainly to keep your head warm. Nowadays, unless you live in Russia warm heads do not count. Hats are more of a statement on who you think/know you are.

For example, when I wear my Trilby with the wide brim I am showing not only my stylishness but also my bravery. I feel like Oscar Wilde. Where I live hats are such an anathema that I am likely to get attacked or at the very least, sneered at.  Caps are not so dangerous. Caps are experiencing a resurgence. Wide caps, baker-boy caps, Yorkshire mill caps. All of them the height of fashion.

This is good and an important part of the resurgence.

A top hatIt is my task, my quest if you like, to bring back, to collect, the forgotten hats. The many, many different styles that are all but extinct.  The Beaver hat, the beret, even the boater. The list of course is endless.

And I will not rest until every man or woman leaves their place of residence, wearing a hat. Indeed, I would like to make it an offence, punishable by fine, to be hat-less.Eugene hatsa homburg

 

 

 

 

 

Be cool. Buy a Hat.

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Racist? Your Hatred will make you ill.

I want to apologise before I begin. That’s because I guess today’s post could be called preaching. It’s not meant to be. It’s more of a warning and it’s meant sincerely. So…my text today…‘your Hatred will make you ill’.

You know the adage ‘You are what you eat’. Well my warning is sort of on those lines except it’s not about eating, it’s about ‘feelings’. We know that there’s a lot of truth re ‘You are what you eat’. We know, for example, if you live on a total diet of McDonald’s then horrible things will happen to your body.  By the same token, I want to say if you spend most of your time hating, then the same thing. Horrible things will happen to your body.

Let’s say for the sake of argument you are a racist. Let’s take that to it’s lowest level and say that every time you see a black/brown person, something within grows er…’hot’. In other words, your stomach screws up, your blood pressure rises, you see ‘red’.

These feeling alone should tell you that something is wrong. Your body shouldn’t feel like that. It’s unhealthy. The pressure on your vital organs is tremendous. Your heart is beating ten to the dozen and the Adrenalin is flowing. This is not the natural way to be. You should be existing in a state of attempted calm.

Now of course, a state of calm is not possible every hour of the waking day. It’s a preferred state. Something that we should be aiming for. That’s why people practise meditation in all its forms. Attempts to remain calm no-matter what confronts us is the way to be. If that state can be achieved that in turn leads to a healthier body and mind. We know this. Doctors, therapists etc tell us this all the time. However. it’s not easy. And that is why we go to the psychiatrists, we go to find ways of achieving peace and calming down our troubled minds.

Now, back to the racist.

If you are of this mind-set, your blood pressure is going to rise every time you see someone who is different from you. And how many times a day do you see someone different, someone of colour? I guess, all the time, most days, unless you live on a desert island (actually on a desert island you will probably be surrounded by people of colour). Think of what this is doing to you. All that anger. All that bile. It’s not good for you. Your body will be in a constant state of high anxiety. A troubled condition. And that, I say again whether you like it or not is not good for you. It’s obvious. So, accept it, and try to do something about it.

What’s to be done?

Like I said above there’s always meditation. However, I suspect that to be ‘alone’ in your angry state deep into meditation is also not a relaxed condition. After all it is peace you are looking for. Peace and Calm.

I would suggest addressing your concerns, your hatred. Ask yourself the question ‘Why am I like I am’? Be excruciatingly honest with yourself. Go back to the root causes of your hatred, your problem. And ask yourself is it worth the toll that it takes on your body and mind? Can you put a cap on your hatred, your racism?

Now of course, I can’t stop you being a racist. You may have what you feel is good cause to be what you are. I don’t know. What I do know is that negative thoughts do have an effect on your body.  Hatred screws you up (unless you are a psychopath) of that there is no doubt.

Explore. Test yourself. See if it is possible to change. If you can’t or won’t, remember, ‘Your hatred will make you ill’.

Your choice. Good luck.

Posted in Bad Karma, curmudgeon, fear and misunderstanding, good advice, irrational fears, nightmare, Personal, Truth | Tagged | Leave a comment

Is Donald Trump the fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse?

Trump

Fiddling while Rome burns.

Downhill all the way.

I’ve just been watching the TV news and learning how Europe and other countries plan to return fire on America, re Trump’s tariffs on goods from abroad. I’m like Trump, I’m not a very good businessman either. There is one difference however, unlike Trump I know my limitations and luckily haven’t founded numerous businesses that have gone bust.

So, with that in mind, let me ask the question that was asked yesterday and the day before. The question that will go on being asked until Trump is called to that great Mar-a-largo in the sky…

‘How the hell did America let this happen?’ 

America was always a place that I wanted to visit. As I’ve said in other posts I’ve written, there was something about the American spirit that was exciting. From its shores came innovation and a way of looking at the world that was often quirky and always interesting. That all seems to have changed. Once a country that was welcoming and worth exploring what we have now is mean and violent. It’s as though a dark cloud has formed over the land and its source is the White House and the man they call President.

I find it very hard to believe that a country that has grown strong and wealthy on the back of the migrants who arrived to better themselves, is so hostile to those who ask only to emulate their forefathers. In the most massive case of country-wide amnesia I have ever seen, Americans in their thousands have forgotten their roots. They’ve forgotten where they have come from. One can only imagine their ancestors revolving at high-speed in their graves.

All, this hatred and nasty manipulation emanating from the lips of one man. Trump. Dark forces are at work here. Of course, it’s nothing new. Darkness, in this world has risen periodically throughout history. It seems a given. It’s almost as though it’s written that evil has its turn. And like the last time in our world’s history Evil rose its ugly head, no-body seems to know what to do.

Everyone who is shocked by the turn of events are reduced to a state of helplessness. We can see in plain view those that pander to the ‘new’ order, greasing their palms, smiling while all around them their constituents suffer. We can see their driving forces clearly. Money and Power. And still they stand. kowtowing to their Master’s voice, nodding in agreement even though his instructions are nonsensical. The sad thing, in this case, is the fact that their Master has a track record a mile long. A proven liar and a failed business man many times over. Everybody knows this.

The record shows the trail of disaster Trump has left behind him, and still he comes, laying waste to everything he touches. And it gets worse. This time he is accompanied by his disastrous family. I think the time to ridicule this man and the manner in which he behaves is over. This is an extremely serious business. Time is running out.

America is a shadow of its former self. There are some who say, don’t worry, we have the matter in hand. To those I say, in that case you need to hurry. The rate that America is failing is increasing. The pace of destruction is supernatural

Civil War?

OK, a great many Americans are with their President all the way. I get that. They have signed up to the coldness, the isolation and they couldn’t care less what the world thinks of them. The thing is, the world is bigger than America. And although America alone is an almost impossible thought, at this rate it could happen. 

When it does, like all countries that believe that they can stand alone, there will be turmoil within. The country will break into different factions and History will repeat itself. 

Trump.

And it came to pass that the fifth rider was called ‘Dumbo’

Posted in America, Bad Karma, fear and misunderstanding, Personal, politicians, Spleen, Thick, Trump, Truth | Leave a comment

What our dreams mean.

I’ve always been a bit unsure of what to make of those people who say that they can tell us what our dreams mean. All I ‘know’ is that for some reason, dreams are important. I feel sorry for those who don’t dream, although I’m assured that we all do. It’s just that some don’t remember. Although my dream-time appears to be getting less as I get older, I thankfully, do remember.

For instance, I was visited last night by Zeuszeus who had just popped by to inform me that I was his son. I wasn’t shocked by this surprising announcement because One, I knew I was dreaming and Two, anything can happen in a dream. In other words, I didn’t take it too seriously although it was very entertaining and as far as I’m concerned Zeus can drop in anytime. Whether there was any deep meaning to the fact that He had taken the trouble, at his age, to come down from Mount Olympus, is another thing. I just know I appreciated his visit.

I suppose, if I were to search for a meaning from this visit from Zeus. The first thing to spring to mind is that I have a yearning to be special. And let’s face it to be the Son of a God is up there at the top of the Special List.

percy jacksonOf course, it might also mean that watching ‘Percy Jackson – Lightning Thief’ last night on TV might have affected me more than I had thought.

Types of dream.

We are all aware of those nightmarish dreams where we are running away from something aren’t we? Horrible dreams where our escape is hampered by running into a field of thick mud or a gluey substance that slows us right down to a crawl.

If I search out the meaning on the internet the general consensus seems to be,

Dreaming about being chased generally means that you are “being told by your unconsciousness that you’re avoiding an issue or a person,”. Slowing down means that something in your waking life is resisting progress. Yada, Yada, Yada…

The fact that in my case the slow down from whatever is chasing me, is always caused by a field of porridge. Which I think you’ll agree makes no sense at all. Unless, unless… I’m being chased by a rampant Scotsman who has taken a fancy to me. Mmmm. If not a crazy homosexual Scotsman, then the only other connection I can make is I hate porridge with a passion.

Best dream ever.

The best dream I ever had was where I was a WWI fighter pilot. 

WWI fighter pilot

chocks away

Flying about the trenches in France and shooting down numerous Hun aeroplanes it was incredible and so real. I remember it vividly, it was fantastic even though I knew from within the dream it was not real. (Or was it? There is a line of thought that suggests we enter another dimension when dreaming. A sort of ‘gaming area’ but without the X Box. A place where we can relieve ourselves of the tension of everyday life). Another thing, this dream was so good that I was able to wake, go to the loo and then resume the dream (like an Ad Break). Amazing.

I have no idea what this dream meant or why on this one occasion it was so damn good. Whatever the reason I’m sad to say it has never re-occurred.

I said at the beginning of this ridiculous piece that I ‘know’ dreams are important. Forgive the simplicity of the argument but I think that dreams are an ‘emptying’ of the brain. The automatic removal of clutter. The same way we put things in order on our computers. A defragment. A sorting out of the millions/ zillions of thoughts that flash through our grey matter every day. Some thoughts we keep and work on. Some we assign to that dark damp room. A room way back in the darker recesses of our mind, saved for a later date. While others we consign to the rubbish pile.

If we didn’t…actually I’d rather not think what might happen to us if we allowed a build up of all the garbage. I’ll only end up having bad dreams.

And then of course there’s Lucid Dreaming. To find out more…Click Here!

Posted in confession time, irrational fears, nightmare, Personal | Leave a comment

‘Wearable Technology’…you mean a watch?

According to my wearable technology…my er…Fit-Bit. I died twice last night and this afternoon during a brief lie-down I had apparently climbed 568 stairs. This is the equivalent of an up and down trip in the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But that’s not all. All this is made all the more weirder because my smart-phone actually had my location down as Italy.

I am, apart from being a little spooked out, wondering what the hell is going on? The other odd thing is, these odd episodes bought back some odd memories.

Those were the days.

When I was a child modern technology was basically a watch. To be gifted a watch was a rite of passage. A watch said that you were soon to be a man and your parents recognised the fact. The days of marbles, toy cars and cowboy outfits were coming to an end and the rest of your days were to be spent, telling the time. Or, ‘watching the clock’ as it came to be known, which of course is another sad story.

Anyway, every watch that I had been given stopped working an hour or two after it was attached to my thin wrist. The theory at the time was that my body gave off an electrical discharge. A discharge that stopped the watch’s innards from working. Although never a bright child, even I thought the electrical V clockwork theory, a little stupid. Perhaps, I pondered, if the electrical discharge was powerful enough to do some clockwork soldering then it might have made some sense, while at the same time making me a Super Hero. If only.

It was not to be. Professor Charles Xavier from the X men never came calling and the more stupid members of my family continued to ply me with ever more expensive watches. All in the hope that they could be the ones to enable ‘a cure’ and accuse their relatives of being cheapskates.

Soon to be a man.

The fact that watches were an impossibility for me were if I’m honest, embarrassing. Everyone wore a watch. All my peers had a watch. Part of the long road to manhood required you had a watch. For us there was no going out into the Bush to slay a lion to mark your manhood. No, In 50’s Great Britain, you got a watch (and possibly your Father’s suit) to mark the occasion. 

Even Ray with the prosthetic arm had a watch. On the day he rendered me unconscious with an accidental blow to the head with his heavy plastic arm, he was wearing it. In fact, it was the last thing I saw as the darkness enveloped me.

I was an outsider, last to be picked for the football team and always freezing cold because I had, more often than not, to play for the ‘skins’ (no shirts). Not being able to wear a watch was a further burden and left me on the outer edges of the circle.

Now you may well ask, if I had relations buying me watches, why didn’t I just wear one, any one, anything to reduce the social stigma? No-one need know it wasn’t working? I thought about that. But can you imagine what would have happened if I had been asked the time? If I had said, ‘Six-thirty-five’, when it was in fact two-thirty, I would never have lived it down. Not only would I have become ‘the boy who couldn’t tell the time’, but also, ‘He of the broken watch’. That would have been too much to bear. 

Posted in Bad Karma, confession time, doodling, Family, irrational fears, Personal, technical stuff, Truth | Leave a comment

The real reason why the UK High Street is dying and how to increase footfall.

Stratford upon avon Bridge streetIf you are a shop keeper and want to know the real reason why the UK High Street is dying, you have come to the right place. If you want to increase footfall The Curmudgeon knows the answer to that, too. And he will tell you.

It’s about individuality.

The day that the major stores (let’s say clothing stores) started hanging the same item en masse i.e. on more or less the same hanger was when the rot set in. Pullover after pullover, dress after dress, shirt after shirt. All the same, identical except for size, all on the same rack. Boring. And a massive and insulting statement to the would-be customer that ‘you are all the same’

Like Mao’s millions there was/is no individuality. Just row after row of clothes that appear to be made for the same human being. Not an individual or someone unique. Just a million bodies all with the same tastes. And why? It makes things so much easier, that why. Mass manipulation. ‘Why not dress the same. That way we know who you are and who we are dealing with’.

In Short.

There is nothing more depressing than entering a store where there are hundreds of identical fashion items hanging together. What does that say about the human condition? That we have no imagination? Or individual taste. That’s why people are tired of coming into your shops. There is no stimulation, just boring sameness.

So, who to blame?

First of all, let’s drop the idea that the Internet is to blame for the lack of footfall.

The blame lies entirely with the retailers and has nothing to do with the customer wanting to stay at home ordering from a computer. Far from it, the consumer will always favour the superior experience of touching and feeling the product that they want to buy. Add to that the thrill of standing in front of a full-length mirror to see how it suits and the till will always ring. 

The Internet.

What the internet has done is to offer an illusion of individuality. It  has honoured you the customer, by allowing you the luxury of looking on the screen at one item that you have taken a fancy to. The internet allows you to believe that you are special. You are not confronted by an item that a thousand people could be wearing tomorrow, even though in reality that might be true.  The most important thing is your ‘buying experience’ is as an individual. No matter that the truth may be that a shed-load of people are on their screens looking at the same item as you, your buying experience is treated with respect.

What’s to be done?

The Curmudgeon has to admit that he does not have the complete answer. Only the problem and a guideline. Which is…’You have forgotten that your customer is an individual. He or she is unique and needs to be treated as such’.

How you Mr/Mrs retailer push forward that idea, is a tough nut to crack. How you get them to walk through the door of your establishment ready for an enjoyable one-off ‘experience’ that applies to only them, is a biggie. One thing is for certain however, you must remove the racks of clothes that give out the message, ‘you are all the same’ and re-think. You need to re-design your store. It’s a theatre. It needs to be a feast for the eyes. You must make it so, even if the visitor doesn’t buy, they will rememberAnd they will return.

I believe that most consumers visit their mall or shopping centre with a one item purchase in mind. Any other purchases on the same day are afterthoughts, usually encouraged by advertising or ‘the attractiveness’ or ‘pulling power’ of other stores. Your store, your shop needs to be an experience in itself. Maybe, and this is just a thought. Maybe it’s not just about the goods you have for sale but the shopping experience that you offer?

It’s simple. Stores must drop the idea that every customer is the same. Retail outlets must return to the idea that every purchaser is an individual, someone special and looking for a unique experience. 

The day that we can return to the idea that every customer is special is the day that people return to the UK High Street.

 

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The long punishment of Harvey Weinstein.

Judging by the numerous TV clips on the news recently, The Long Punishment of Harvey Weinstein has well and truly begun. The man looked defeated both mentally and physically and is obviously already reaping the consequences of his dastardly actions. This monster, this alleged rapist is about to get His and he knows it.

I have questions.

  1. Why did it take Weinstein’s victims so long to come forward?

I am trying to understand why in some cases it has taken years for his accusers to press charges. On one hand I understand that the fear factor must have been very strong. After all, this is a powerful man, a man with enough clout to decide where a career goes. Up or down. In short, a man who can make or break dreams.  A man who can destroy the hopes of those who have struggled and studied their art for maybe years, instantly. I get that.

However, what I don’t get is the fact that silence only makes the crime grow stronger. So, I want to ask the late accusers a question. What about your sisters? What about the actors left to face the dragon, without warning, without knowledge of what was going to happen to them? Perhaps a word ‘in the right place’ could have saved them and ended this nightmare before it took hold.

[But then, I admit, where, if this arse-hole (Weinstein) was at the top of the tree was, ‘the right place’. I get that too].

  1. Hollywood is an industry that sells sex. Right?

Hollywood is I believe, a producer of soft porn on an industrious scale. That is not necessarily a criticism just a statement of fact. I don’t disapprove, I am a bloke, a target…and they (Hollywood) have succeeded in drawing me in, which is the intention. They want my money and they use titillation to get it. Naked/semi-naked women are constantly on show in movies. Sex sells. Whether it’s Wonder Woman, or a period drama where the fashion of the day allows for heaving breasts or a modern-day picture with bikini-clad women cavorting around a swimming pool. It’s sex and it works. I need to say that this is not a judgemental statement. I retain the right to go see a sexy movie, or not. It is what it is.

So, my point here is this. An industry built around sex is going to have that ethos inbuilt into everything it does from day one. From the conception of the picture, to the hiring of the actors who take part. Sex, sex, sex. Everywhere. Right?

So, it figures doesn’t it?

That there must be, in an industry so steeped in sex, Weinstein’s everywhere. Slimy, pond-life men who love their work unable to believe their luck. That most days they find themselves surrounded by beautiful, sexy women who are looking for a yes or no from them that will enhance their lifestyle and touch an almost impossible dream.    Men, who have found themselves in positions of such power that where they are willing and able to take advantage of women, without (until now) comeback.

So…my next question is… where are the safeguards?

  1. Where are the Caring Agents?

The men/woman who readily take their percentage from their innocent (and not so innocent) clients appear to offer no protection or safeguards from the predators who so readily roam this sexual landscape. Surely, just the simple provision of a bodyguard, companion or chaperone, etc would make a difference. Perhaps, adding the slimmest iota of respect to an industry that needs to take a good hard look at itself.

Posted in America, Bad Karma, Being a bloke, cinema, curmudgeon, fear and misunderstanding, hollywood, movies, Personal, Revenge, Spleen, Theater, Theatre, Truth | Tagged | Leave a comment

My complaint letter to BRITISH GAS or Long day’s journey into night.

Thought you might like to see my British Gas Complaint Letter. Labelled ‘URGENT’ they promise me a reply in 72 hours.

Dear sir or madam,

I am on my 5th engineer in three days.

Day One: 21st May 2018.

Engineer arrives for yearly boiler check. Check OK. Leaves and we discover a leak from boiler.

Day Two; 22nd May

Engineer arrives to look at leak. Identifies flow control problem.

Another Engineer arrives to replace part. Job done.

We leave house to allow Estate Agent to show potential buyers of house. We receive phone call (from Estate Agent) to say there is water coming from ceiling of kitchen.

Another engineer arrives (eve) drains heating system to leave us with water and tries to identify area of leak. Books in Dyno-Rod (British Gas owned) for 23rd to identify source of leak and emails manager. I am told manager will be in touch with me.

Day Three: 23rd May

Another Engineer arrives to address original problem (?) Has no knowledge of other problems but stays and lifts a floor board to see if he can identify leak area. No luck. I tell him that I am waiting for Dyno-Rod and phone call from manager. He calls manager for me. No answer. Has tried a number of times and leaves messages for absent Manager. 

Still no word from Dyno-Rod or Manager.

I ring for update and it is obvious that no-one knows what is going on. Woman on phone leaves messages for manager.

I have been waiting today for a number of hours for clarification…but nothing.

Have a ceiling that needs painting and have had to cancel an operation. 

This is disgusting and terrible service. However, the staff I have encountered have been very helpful, only to be let down badly by a very poor and dysfunctional management structure.

I look forward to your reply, if you can be bothered.

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The whole world has gone completely bat shit mad.

Image result for madnessThere’s a rumour doing the rounds that we could be in for a General Election. Sooner rather than later. Now before you let rip with three rather loud Hoorahs and get your hopes up that at long last we (I use that term loosely) can rid ourselves of the monsters currently in charge, take a deep breath and hear this. The whole world has gone completely bat shit mad.

Bad News.

It would appear from what I am reading today, that the Tories have taken a two/three-point lead in the polls. What polls I don’t know. Obviously, polls that only crazy people vote in. Polls where no-one has any sense. Polls where the cruellest party always win. Where the people to be voted for are always rich and out of touch. A party that specialises on preying on the poverty-stricken. A political party that cynically reduces and re-directs benefits and healthcare from the poor, into their own pockets. A bunch of greedy bastards who truly believe that they are untouchable and able to become even richer with just a whisper in the each others ear.

More Bad News.

Like the robber barons of old they up the price of everything and demand their share. Opportunities to ‘better’ ones-self amongst the poor become rarer and they stand still, poverty-stricken in mind and body, not knowing which way to turn for help. Because even the ‘help’ is owned by the rich. The poor have become ‘Guaranteed labour’. Working only to eat and eating to work. Delivering what few remaining benefits there are (the NHS) into the grinning wealthy’s open and eager arms.

But Wait…

All this is enough to make my socks roll up and down in trepidation and fear. Another few years with this uncaring lot would just about do me in. The sad thing is I can’t see myself playing a large part in their downfall as I haven’t the foggiest who to vote for. Which is sad considering at one time even my underpants were red.

corbyn in shortsI drifted through Corbyn’s ‘wet period’. You remember?  It was when he insisted in wearing beige (the colour of near-death) and read out individual complaints in Parliament like an agony aunt. Embarrassing. I came back to the fold fired-up when his beige-ness started to raise his voice and get angry in the House of Commons.

I wavered again, when I saw pictures of our leader in shorts and found out he spent his spare time on an allotment but came back when he started to appeal to students. Students are good I thought. Unfortunately, I wilted again when I realised that Paris 1968 was not going to repeat itself.  Our students were obviously more concerned with how they were going to pay their debts and get a mortgage than digging up the pavements.

All was well again, when the Big ‘C’ did an awkward turn at Glastonbury. Although embarrassing in a dad-dancing sort of way, the crowd liked him and that was good enough for me, until I realised that they were probably all stoned.

brexit.And then came Brexit.

No…forget it…even more Bad News.

I thought I knew where my vote was going. Where it always had gone since I was old enough to vote. But…alas no. As I said, The whole world has gone completely bat shit mad.

 

JC let me down…big time.

JC surprised me and many others by supporting Brexit to such an extent that his MP’S were being whipped to support the Monster-raving-looney party whenever there was a vote. That was and is it for me.

Jeremy Corbyn is not the Messiah. He is a very naughty boy.

A let down. A disappointment. A fart in a cullender. A sheep in sheep’s clothing. Mister Bean.

There is no way I will vote Labour again. At least not while they, along with the blue idiots, are so intent on ruining this sad little island. But more than that…much, much more than that.

Something astounding has happened. We have been, what I believe the Americans call, sucker-punched. 

We have been hoisted by our own petard. 

My fellow survivors, we are lost. Adrift in an ocean of cruelty, crassness and craziness.  The very air that we breath has been poisoned. Reason has been thrown out with the baby and the bath water. Trump is ruining America and May is fucking up the UK. We are under attack from an alien force. This is not how it was supposed to happen. We expected to join together and fight back. But we were taken by surprise. The attack happened in plain sight. We were outflanked and now We are Doomed.

Woe is me.

The whole world has gone completely, bat shit mad and it’s just a matter of time.

 

Posted in Brexit, confession time, curmudgeon, fear and misunderstanding, Personal, politicians, Spleen, The Poor, The UK, Truth | Tagged | Leave a comment

Just one more word on the Royal Wedding. (I promise).

Please, allow me just one more word on the royal wedding, (I promise). So much happened during the day that got me thinking that I can’t shut up. I know I had something to say in my last post but this is it, promise.

We are all aware that there were a lot of Nay-Sayers. People who thought the event was expensive and unnecessary.  And to be truthful I would normally have been one of them. For instance, I would have definitely complained about the cost of the day. That is until I found out that the wealthy Royals paid for it themselves, leaving only the Police Bill of around £300,000.

Now to be fair no matter what the day’s celebrations there would have always been the Cost of the Coppers. Music festival, march or parade of any sort would have had to have a police escort for obvious reasons. So, taking into consideration that this affair made so many people smile, I have to say it was probably worth it. Sure, the money could have been spent on a lot of worthwhile causes, but I doubt very much if we could have reached an agreement on which one. And in my view the American Bishop was a good cause all on his own. I think even if you have no faith whatsoever, he made some sense. And for those who say he went on too long, I can only say you haven’t been to Church lately have you?

Also, in these times of Trump it was good to see America in a good light for once. With the day’s silent ‘pronouncements’ on the ‘Brother/sisterhood of man/woman’ priceless, especially fantastic for a mixed-race man like me. Hope, I think the word is.

Of course, I’m not so foolish to think that somehow the ‘magic’ will stick. It won’t take long for the usual suspects to crawl from under their stones and start spreading their bile and hatred. But for a short time, I knew that there were enough of us not to let a simple thing like colour of skin to come between us. I know the racists will always be there, but they will never win. They will disable themselves with their own hatred. They will burn up from the inside out.

Anyway, a good day was had by most. Whatever you think about the Royal Family and their wedding (s) it was still a great show with fabulous entertainment.

Better than ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’.

What did you think? Leave me a comment (below).

Posted in America, confession time, curmudgeon, Family, Hurrah, Personal, the royal family, the royals, Trump, Truth | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Royal Wedding was Fantastic on all Fronts.

Update.

I never thought I would be saying this, but the Royal Wedding was Fantastic on all Fronts. Apart from the fact that there was hardly a dry eye in the place, I can do nothing more than congratulate the happy couple and all those that organised this amazing happening.

Not only was it an audible and visual success it gave out so many superb messages.

There was…

…a ‘nod’ towards Divorcees, (Edward and Mrs Simpson?). A sort of ‘well…shit happens and now we understand. Sorry it’s taken us so long’.

There was…

…a fantastic recognition of Diversity and in particular Mrs Windsor’s, Megan’s (?) background and roots. So much so, that if that wedding didn’t change one racist bastard’s heart then they all ought to be shipped off to another planet. A planet dark and damp where they have to live underground with only their misery, Tommy Robertson, Trump and Nigel Farage to keep them company.

There was…

…a fantastic sermon/address from the soul of Bishop Curry, Wonderfully American at source. Easy to understand, passionate and an embarrassing lesson (I hope) to the stuffed shirts in the Church of England and further afield. Every word meant and delivered with power and humour. What a guy.

There was…

…the most brilliant display of music. Music to move the soul, and music to tap your toe to. Beautiful.

In my opinion it was a service of forgiveness and putting my joking and joshing aside (see below), it was something that was, for me, helpful and dare I say it as The Curmudgeon? Joyful.

Thank you.


Posted in confession time, curmudgeon, Family, Hurrah, Personal, the royal family, the royals, The UK, Trump, Truth | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Royal Wedding. Like a posh episode of Eastenders.

I thought I’d leave it to the last-minute to express an opinion regarding the wedding of the year. Everyone, as expected has got in on the act and the royal wedding and all its drama really is turning into a posh episode of Eastenders. But that’s OK. It means that those who are opposed to all the fuss will find themselves wondering, ‘what happens next’?

What we have here is a fairy tale. A family struck by early tragedy coming good with a magical ending, although of course it’s not over yet. There’s more to come. Me for instance is wondering how long harry's hairwill it take for Harry to become totally bald like his brother. In itself not so dramatic you might say, but then ask yourself, how many Gingers are there in the House of Windsor? And won’t the loss of the one, the only Royal ‘Ging’ be a momentous occasion in itself?

Anyway back to the drama of the wedding.

There’s Ms Markle’s dadMs Markle's dad who is not being seen in a good light having done what all Americans do at special events, Try to make a quick buck out of it (and then have a heart attack).  But we should forgive him and understand that our friends over the pond just can’t help themselves (see Trump). It’s second nature. Everything is a business opportunity to be made into a ‘T’ shirt or a hat. And before we become too judgemental let’s not forget the British and their tea towels, soft toys and commemorative china. (Example. If I see another plate with Diana and Charles emblazoned on it, I’ll scream).Charles and Di plate

Are you with Family or Friends?

It’s a great shame that Megan’s dad won’t be there because I would have liked to see him and Prince Phillip side by side in their golden wheelchairs whizzing down the aisle together. Possibly, holding hands.

As it is, the giving away of the bride is falling to the loopy Prince Charles who I’ll take bets gave the happy couple a tin of Cornish biscuits from the Estate for a wedding present. You can also be sure he’ll be wearing if not some obscure army, navy or air-force uniform, or a bit from each,  one of his beloved recycled suits that get an airing on so many other Royal occasions. Whatever he wears I feel sure he will let the side down. 

Can I see your invitation please?

All in all I think the whole affair will be wonderfully entertaining with all the usual royal ‘characters’ making us laugh (or cry).

Eugene hatsEugene and Beatrice will of course be wearing a selection of their most hilarious hats from their enormous and bizarre collection. And if not hats then they will definitely treat us to outfits from Mars.

Members of the Royal family who we thought died long ago will make an appearance having no idea why they are there, and Government ministers will be toadying all over the place. Frozen grins in place and sweaty palms…er sweating.

idiot patriotOutside, Idiot Commoners will be dressed in Union Jacks behaving as though the Royals are personal friends. Some will be scouting for TV cameras to tell their story of how the Queen once looked at them. While others will be poised with manky flowers to hand to whatever Royal gets the short straw and has to do a walk-about.

If no-one blows anyone up, I think it will be a good great day. As I have said before I am not a great fan of the royal family. But that is only because I don’t know them personally. I’m sure they try their best at doing a job they didn’t ask for.  As for our balding Ginger Prince and his chosen one? Well. 

The Curmudgeon wishes them the best and bets their first male child (announcement soon) will be called, ‘Donald’.

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Clinging by my fingertips to what is left of my life…

surgeon with scalpel

OK, so ‘Clinging by my fingertips to what is left of my life…’ might seem a little over the top. But if you had just had the day I have, perhaps you would understand.

As I may have mentioned before I am due to have an operation to correct a hernia. At the moment I have a belly button that looks like there is someone inside me poking a stick outwards. It doesn’t hurt but if I wanted to take my already bronzed and magnificent body on to a beach, I would be, embarrassed. No amount of rippling stomach muscle hides the fact that I look like John Hurt in the original ‘Alien’. Without going into detail you know the bit I mean.

Anyway, such was my shame, I knew perfectly well, that I had to get something done. I needed a repair but unfortunately in going ahead I would have to reveal how the injury, took place.

Dear Reader, what I am about to write is to be kept between you and me. You have to promise to keep it to yourself.

SHORT VERSION.

I was in the bath reaching for the soap when something ‘twanged’. The pain was excruciating and lasted for at least thirty seconds.

[At this point I will give you a moment to finish laughing.]

Needless to say, it wasn’t funny and I’d like to say that, that was it. But worse was to come.

The hours passed and the pain subsided and the ‘bath incident’ was becoming just a horrible memory.

The next morning, was when I first saw ‘it’. Following my usual routine which includes studying myself in the mirror for ten minutes (all right 15).  I looked and nearly fainted.

There, where my belly button used to be was….how can I put this? Where my belly button used to be was…a face.  A face with a protruding nose and what looked like a malicious smile. It was hard to believe that this was once part of me. Once a finger-friendly space where I would harvest fluff on a once-a-week-basis had become my enemy. My own body was mocking me, making it very clear that I was no longer perfect. I was, to put it mildly I was…I was…disfigured. Something had to be done.

Today, I arrived for my pre-op. You know the one, where they ask questions like, ‘who are you?’, ‘how old are you?’, ‘have you any allergies? , ‘who won the world cup in 1953’?

(Talking of allergies I  didn’t mention the deeply unpleasant reaction I have if approached by a horse. I figured that would be silly as I doubt there would be horses in the operating theatre.  However, I do admit to being a little concerned that the surgeon might have been out riding with the hounds just before he set to work on my body but hey, I guess that’s a risk you have to take).

By this time I was a little bored but realised that these questions are designed to weed out those who are bonkers and get a kick from intrusive surgery, a sort of wheat from the chaff thing.

This was when things began to hot up. The very nice lady then proceeded to take blood. But what’s this…THREE PHIALS!? (Warning: Old Tony Hancock joke), that’s almost an armful. Things led quickly to what I guess this is the whole point of this diatribe. You need to know that I left that room feeling worse than when I went in.

It was the ECG that did it. I’d never had one before but was well aware of the procedure because I study the memsahib watching ‘Holby City’ and ‘Doctors’ on a regular basis. I was relaxed and calm even when the nice nurse told me not to talk (that’s not how it happens on the TV).

I will cut to the chase.

In case you are unaware it’s a very quick procedure, 2/3 mins at the most.

She looked at the paper read-out and frowned. Then she pressed a button and the machine hummed into life again to repeat the procedure. The frown again. 

‘Oh-oh’.

‘It could be nothing’ she said, trying to smile. ‘Sometimes the wires don’t attach themselves very well’. ‘I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about’. ‘Anyway, I’ll get a doctor to have a look at the read out’. And this was the killer‘If you don’t hear from me before the operation then presume everything is all right’.

Is this woman aware of who she is talking to? Does she understand that if there was a contest for the person most likely to die of Anxiety, I would be taking home the trophy?

My op takes place in a weeks time. There are seven days in which to worry if the phone will ring. I will not sleep tonight or any other night as I feel I really am, ‘Clinging by my fingertips to what is left of my life…’

Posted in Being a bloke, confession time, curmudgeon, fear and misunderstanding, irrational fears, Personal, Truth | Tagged | Leave a comment

The President’s A Dress. Direct from the White House.

The President speaks…

My Fellow Americans….

I know I, your President speaks for us all when I say that the past few months have been a difficult time. A time when we’ve watched our great country and all it stands for being ripped apart before our eyes. Rumour and accusation have been the order of the day, ridicule and contempt their bedfellows. You have suffered much. But let me tell you something, it takes a strong people to come through a dark night such as this. And with God’s blessing, come through you have. Bigly.

With your heads held high and with a fierce pride burning in your eyes. The strength of the American nation has shone through for all the world to see. That strength that won us WWII, Vietnam, the conflict in the Gulf, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea and I hope many more to come, has served us well yet again. That is the strength that I’m, your beloved President is here to address, tonight.

Good news.

Citizens all, I bring you good news. News to lift that veil of tears. News to bring the sound of our children’s laughter back onto the streets. Music to lift your hearts.  Tonight I, your grateful President am at last able to tell you, the people, the truth behind America’s agony. Tonight America, your pain is over. All I ask, is that you listen to my words. All I need, is your prayers.

In many ways I speak from a disadvantaged viewpoint. Strange as it may seem I have no first hand knowledge. I know nothing of what it is you, the Nation, have been through in these last few months. What it is you have experienced. I can only imagine how you must have felt, thinking that your President had let you down.

I can only weep bitter tears that I was not here to share your pain.

Yes, that’s what I said… I was not here to share your pain.

You see my friends…the man you saw behaving so badly on TV screens all over the country, all over the world, was not me.

Wait a minute, I hear you cry, we saw you. What do you mean, it was not you?

I say again, what you witnessed on your TV screens, that lined face you saw peering out from the front pages…that was not me.

In New York we have a saying, A Liar is…as a Liar does. This being so I can think of no better way to explain myself than by using a no frills, straight to the point New Yorker approach, the way my daddy taught me. I can see him now… lay it on the line son, lay it on the line. Tell it like it is’.

America, I’m laying it on the line and I’m telling it like it is.

I was not here.

[Pause for effect and raise left hand in pointy gesture]

And it was not me because I was a million light years away on a small fiery dot on the edge of our galaxy, the planet Norgan 5. Abducted along with my family and a number of  vital Presidential Aids I was taken to the earth-like outpost against my will, yet for a noble purpose.

After a short period of acclimatisation I was introduced to Ambassador Dwark Feeem of Venus, a great guy (everybody says so). Who, along with myself and other aliens, all wonderful people, began to engage in high-level talks concerning the future of the Universe.

Unfortunately, for the present, those talks and their content, must remain outside of the public domain. Along with representatives from Jupiter, Saturn, all wonderful people I have to say, plus many others from mostly unpronounceable planets I have been sworn to secrecy and for the moment can say no more.

[Pause for effect] 

Suffice to say, during the period of our abduction your President was replaced on Earth by what can only be described as a clone. Part machine, part organism the Presidential clone was programmed to work out my daily load with the minimum of fuss and the maximum of effort. However, due to severe atmospheric conditions the clone antennae became misaligned causing the Presidential clone to…in layman’s language, mis-gog-li-fi.

Even the hardworking attentions of the female intern repair drone left on Earth could not make the necessary adjustments. Adjustments that would bring the President clone back online and into full working order. What you saw and heard my friends over a number of distressing months were the machinations of a burnt out computer chip.

I repeat…that was not me.

Anyway, my friends and loyal subjects. At last, I am home. My family are here by my side, Melody, er melon er…molonia. My wife is here with me.  Now, with the help of God and the true hearts of the American people. We can set our shoulders to the wheel and our noses to the grindstone. Tonight, although a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders I must make myself ready for another. 

[DRAMATIC PAUSE]

Soon my friends, I, your President will be called upon to represent this Great Nation of ours not only  to the World but my fellow Americans to …to the Universe.

More than that I cannot say. I have been sworn to secrecy and as an honourable man, trusted by many, I cannot break my vow of silence. The truth will out soon. Until then my fellow citizens I ask for your patience and, more than that, your trust.  

[Try a tear?]

Goodnight my friends and thank you.

Amen and God Bless America.

End.

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Don’t worry about the weather. It’s not worth it.

If you are planning a holiday (or a vacation as our American friends say), in the UK, I have some advice. Don’t worry about the weather.

Don’t worry about the weather. It’s not worth it. 

OK, if you were going to Switzerland you would want snow. A trip to Miami would require the sun. Here in the UK things are a little different. Here, we never know what to expect. That’s why we don’t worry about the weather…(*cough).

Here in the UK the weather does not exist (not in the usual way).

A few moments ago I was sat reading the newspapers in blazing hot sunshine, which of course, is great. However, I am British so I know (it’s in the DNA) that it may be sunshine now but in the next few seconds that could all change. We could, believe it or not, experience snow and that is why although I am in my shorts, by my side I have a large overcoat and fur hat.

Now as much as this sounds incredible there is a good side. We, for instance do not experience extremes in the weather. There are no (fingers crossed) tornadoes. We rarely experience blizzards. Nor do we experience anything like the Indian rainy season. Oh sure we have rain (OK a lot of rain) but nothing that you could tie a season to. In fact we do not even have seasons. OK, we call winter, er…winter and summer…er…summer but it means absolutely nothing. ‘Winter’ can be blistering hot. That rarely happens but that’s not to say it won’t. Likewise ‘Summer’. Probably the only season that makes any sense in this country is Autumn or what our American cousins call ‘Fall’. In a rare display of seasonal unity the leaves all agree to drop off the trees at about the same time which is weird if it’s hot.

So, what to do if your due a holiday/vacation in the UK?

Like I said, first of all, ‘Don’t worry about the weather. It’s not worth it’. Just remember to pack items of clothing suitable for everything. Pullovers, light or otherwise. Snowshoes. Hats, lots of hats, for sun, rain, snow, wind etc. Boots. Hiking and rubber. A heavy coat. A light coat. A life-jacket preferably with whistle attached. Dog-tags (just in case relatives need to be informed). Unfortunately, this will push up your luggage allowance. From 4 suitcases to maybe, 12. But hey, it’s better to be safe than sorry. One other thing for when you arrive. Do remember to tell the hotel or bed and breakfast establishment that you are going out. (Even if sight-seeing or visiting a (British) restaurant). Do this and all should be well.

Final Word of Warning.

Do not be fooled by your surroundings. For instance, I live in Stratford-upon-Avon and on first look it appears safe and uncomfortable, which it is. However, who knows what the weather may throw at you. I always advise my foreign friends to stop a local in the street and politely enquire of the weather prospects for the day. Stratford-upon-Avon locals tend to be a font of valuable knowledge regarding the weather. They always have the visitors well-being at heart and for a small gift, (money, a drink, an onion) they will set you on the right track to safety and an enjoyable holiday/vacation.

Enjoy yourselves….and welcome.

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Cushions plumped and toilet lids down.

Honestly, you’d think a man of my age, someone who has contributed so much to society anonymously and without plaudits, would be allowed a few moments of peace. A coffee and a scan of the newspapers, that’s all.

I’d only been up a couple of hours when real life decided to kick in.

First of all, I get a phone call about an operation I’ve been anxiously waiting for. Even though I’ve been expecting a date for what seems an age, I am in shock (see below) at the sudden realisation I am going to be cut open. I need a sit-down and time to process.
A cup of coffee later, the phone rings again. This time it’s the Estate Agent/Realtor. Apparently, a would-be buyer wants to view the house. Which is all very well but they want to come at three o’clock. Ridiculous.dirty plates in sink

What with the memsahib being at work and my son leaving a trail of disaster before he went off to do whatever it is that he does, I have about two hours to clean up and make the house look like no-body lives here. Which is also ridiculous as my tribe leaves a mark where-ever it goes. We have also had the grandchildren staying over the weekend which means, crayons, corn flakes and shit-stains. Although to hear my wife, (third phone call) whose priorities are,  Cushions plumped and toilet lids down’ , you would think we run a Retreat Centre.

Anyway, done. Cushions plumped and toilet lids down. Air freshener deployed and the windows wide open in the forlorn hope that the smell of children under 7 will miraculously dissipate. One can only hope that the viewers will have had some kids of their own and will be sympathetic.

Finished, I stand still in the house trying to adopt the persona of a potential buyer. Everything looks fine to me. Which can’t be right.

What I should have done was try to adopt the persona of my wife (impossible). Only in that way would I have seen every fingerprint, every speck on the carpet. I try it but same result as before, everything looks fine to me.

The fact of the matter is the viewers are going to have to take it as they find it. My work here is done. There is nothing more I can do. My final task is to disappear at exactly 3.00pm. I can do that. Out of sight-out of mind.

The up and coming operation

(to repair my exploded belly-button-sorry, too much information?)

I’m a bit of a drama queen so I tend to foresee all sorts of complications. I will begin to write my last will and testament tonight. I will tell my kids not to be too upset that I didn’t wake from the General Anaesthetic and that I love them. I’ll tell them to look after their mother and not to fight over the fortune I will leave behind.

When I arrive in Heaven, I hope they’ve had a clean-up ready for my arrival.
The toilet lids had better be down and the cushions plumped, or else.

 

Everything you need to know to Sell Your House.

Posted in Being a bloke, confession time, curmudgeon, Family, fear and misunderstanding, Personal, Taking a break, Truth | Tagged | Leave a comment

What’s the most popular excuse for owning a gun?

the 2nd amendmentI made the mistake of putting a question on Quora today asking something on the lines of, ’What’s the most popular excuse for owning a gun’? Dear reader, believe me when I say that it was a question that bore no malice. I was merely interested in the reason why people felt that gun-ownership and all its relevant dangers was necessary. Unfortunately, my intentions were misunderstood, the replies I received didn’t answer my  question and I was taken aback by the anger I caused. In hindsight, I should have known better and not have been so bloody naive.

The Problem.

Apparently it was the use of my word ‘excuse’ that caused the problem.

Everyone went on the immediate defensive. If I’d have attempted this question door-to-door I would not have made it past the first house on the street. Here’s a couple of reactions I got.

Example 1.

Some folks will be quite upset with the way this question is phrase (sic). I, on the other hand, choose to believe that its author xxxxxxxxx is asking about his own country of the United Kingdom. I’m generous that way.

For my fellow Americans who are unaware, citizens of the UK are required to offer a reason as to why they wish to purchase a firearm.[1] After all, British citizens are unable to defend themselves with firearms. Thus, I imagine they might need a reason for the purchase. This is part of the reason that they have so few firearms in the hands of the people: the government reserves that right for themselves.

In the United States, we have no need to explain to the government why we wish to be able to defend ourselves. Thus, “excuse” isn’t the right word, and “reason” has the same value (which is to say, “none”) in the context of Americans.

In my naivety, I was expecting simple answers.  Standard fare, you know, ‘My excuse for owning a gun are…self-defence, hunting, target shooting etc’ sort of thing…but no,. What I got was a lot of Americans accusing me of being ‘a lefty’. Some telling me in no uncertain terms, that ‘they didn’t need an excuse’. Some even telling me their right to own a gun was God-Given.

Example 2.

Frankly, I’d rather live in a world where people do not need to own or use guns; but that is not true of this world; now, is it! So, other than that, what is my excuse? Well, I’m a Christian.

(You know, one of those Americans whom Barack Obama despised, and succeeded in stealing hundreds of billions of dollars from!)

My excuse comes directly from the Holy Bible (To which, like my guns, I continue to cling.) 😉

“And he led Him up, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.” “And the devil said unto Him, To Thee will I give all this authority, and the glory thereof; for all of this has been delivered into my hands; and unto whomsoever I will I give it.” “If Thou, therefore, will bow down and worship before me, all this shall be thine.” (Luke, Chapter 4)

Now it’s my turn to ask you a question: How come you’re so complacent, naïve, and willing to leave yourself completely defenseless in THE DEVIL’S WORLD?

‘Tit for tat’ Explain this to me.

——————————

Now, I will be the first to admit that I could have phrased my question differently. I should have written, ’What are the most popular reasons given to own a gun?’  Maybe that would have been better? I suspect however, that just asking such a question would have set these people down the same route.

After a time of reflection, it became clear to me that I had touched on something very personal to the average gun-loving American. Something deeply embedded in the American psyche that me, coming from a country without a gun culture, would never begin to understand. It also became very obvious to me that these gun owners feel themselves to be very much under siege. That what they see as their rights under the Second Amendment are somehow on a knife-edge, rights that at any moment could be taken away from them. Why else would they be such a state of panic?

I also took note that this panic and fear has made them do the very thing that scares the pants off us ‘ordinary’ citizens. It has made them reach for their guns. (One person (see above), reaching for his firearm, invoked God and said he had weapons because he was Christian? No me neither).

Anyway, I think I ought to apologise to the gun people. I definitely, should have put my question in another way. I did not realise how sensitive they would be to my innocent question.

However, one good thing.

Out of this has come the realisation that although we share a language, we have little else in common.

In short, I thank God for the Atlantic Ocean.

So, what’s the 2nd Amendment all about? Find out here.

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The TV Companies took away my Sports.

The reason I hate the TV companies is simple. They took away my sport. Don’t get me wrong, I may have been a bit of a Greek-God lookalike in my youth but I was never an ace sportsman. I could run, but not fast and usually in the wrong direction. I could throw a ball, but like a girl and as far as my competitive spirit was concerned, I couldn’t be arsed. OK, so I was admired on the Rugby field as I fired down the wing at top speed, (sometimes with the ball) but that was it.

[I’ve just remembered, I was awarded ‘The Best Loser’ at a boxing tournament when I was in the army].

battered boxer

Not me but similar.

Unfortunately, (or not) Sport has never been a big participation thing for me. I am cursed like so many with memories of never being picked for ‘the team’. Or at the very least going through the horror of being ‘the last one to be picked’ out of a group of say 30. Such memories scar you indelibly, leaving you for the rest of your sad life with the inability to catch, throw or kick a ball. Taking part in sport becomes such a psychological no-no that there’s not much left to satisfy your inner-sportsman except television. It’s watching the big screen where you imagine what could have been.

It’s where you perform your lap of honour. Where you get to spray your bottle of champagne over your defeated opponents. Where you take the highest spot on the podium and receive your bunch of flowers (eh?). And when you’ve won the marathon you get to do an on the spot, after the race, very sweaty interview with the BBC or Sky. Or best of all and even though you look like you lost, you pick up a massive cheque for beating the shit out of a fellow human being.

All that is gone and that is why I hate TV Companies. Well it hasn’t but you know what I mean. Now you have to pay. Due to the incompetence of various TV companies (BBC), I can no longer fall asleep watching top-class cricket. If I want to watch a top-class boxing match I have to get up at some unearthly hour and they still want to charge me 50 quid. What is perhaps worse and no-one ever talks about this. Some sports have disappeared entirely. Due to the whim of some jumped up, university educated, BBC producer called,  ‘Jeremy’ we have lost Shinty, Lacrosse and even Pankration. 

Even the gentlemanly art of fisticuffs walks a thin line and will probably be the next to go.

What has gone wrong with the world when you to pay to watch blood spilt? I bet the Romans never had the same problem. You could nip down the auditorium to watch you favourite Gladiators and still have enough denarii for the Christian spectacle in the evening. The reason I hate the TV companies is because they have curbed my enjoyment of the basics in life. It was bad enough when duelling was outlawed but now…I am bereft, broken and belittled.

I miss it all. Man (and woman) in competition. The cut and thrust of trying to out-do your challenger. The sheer rivalry of a fight for glory. The tournament. The Game. Supremacy and Superiority in an hour. That is why I hate the TV Companies so. 

I could go on…but luckily for you, I won’t. Like my would-be opponents, I am spent.

 

There’s always room for improvement…

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Why eating out with the Curmudgeon is not necessarily a good thing

To be honest, Eating out with the Curmudgeon would be for most, a definite no-no. It’s best not to eat out with me, (unless of course you are paying) because I have certain er…’difficulties’. I would, (if you are anything like my wife) only end up embarrassing you. Nothing to do with table manners I hasten to add, I never put my elbows (or feet) on the table, or burp, or even fart unless absolutely necessary. I always wash my hands after a loo break and do not dribble. And although, I do have a noisy tendency to dispense with unnecessary cutlery (fish knives, soup spoons etc), my dear old mum bought me up right. In short, I have standards.  However there are certain things that get my goat (there’s that expression again). Goat.

Incomprehensible menus.

For instance, I do not go anywhere where the menu is in a foreign language that I do not understand. This is a ploy for the innocent customer to have to rely on the waiters recommendation. Think on this, the waiter is an employee (or maybe even the boss) and they know full-well what they have got too much of. For instance, if some idiot in the kitchen ordered an extra bucket of octopus surplus to requirements, it is obvious they will try to unload it on to you. ‘I would recommend the octopus sir. Fresh into today and the Chef’s speciality’. Hogwash.

Dressing for Dinner.

I do not go to restaurants where customers ‘dress’. What is that all about? You put on a bow tie and tux to have a bacon sandwich? If I can’t relax in my usual ‘T’ shirt and jeans, then I am not interested. I’m eating not ballroom dancing. This is a restaurant not the opera.

Greed.

One course will do me nicely thank you. I make a point of the main course and that’s it. And why anyone would want to start with soup beats me and in my mind is pure greed. I have a word for people who eat five, sometimes six courses, and that word is ‘pigs’. No-one needs that much food in one sitting unless they are Mister Creosote.

Small portions.

Even though I have a problem with excess, I find the exact opposite a pain also. Don’t try to fool me with so-called attractive plate lay-outs. Craftily and artistic flourishes of brown sauce  used to give not only the impression that the Chef is top-class do not fool me. I am fully aware that such things are to fill the empty space on my plate. Don’t worry, fill her up. What I don’t eat now I will take home with me in a bag. I have come equipped.

And talking of plates. I do not want to eat my food off a piece of slate. Or a lump of wood. Or a shovel. I want a round plate. Not a square one. Or even an oval-shaped piece of plastic.  A china plate please, preferably warm.

Finally.

In the UK it is a well-known fact that we do not tip. We pay. If you have problems paying your staff properly then you should not be in the business.

Bill please.

 

Don’t be like me…educate your palette.

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How to handle Computer failure my way.

computer failAaagh.

Had a bit of a shock yesterday. Computer failure! But did I panic? Yes I did.
Of course it was nothing like the old days where computer failure meant when you got the dreaded blue screen. The days when you immediately went out and bought a new machine. No this was just the fact that I couldn’t log in. My password to get into my machine (stupid really considering I am the only one who uses it) was not working. My machine, who for the sake of argument I shall call Basil, wouldn’t have it. It would not show my password entry page no matter what I did.

Aaaaagh.

First and foremost, I used that well-known stand-by that us computer experts use when faced with a disobedient machine. I turned Basil OFF and then I turned Basil ON. A number of times. But to no avail. Basil was playing hard to get.

This was when I really started to panic. I went straight to the iPad to look up local Computer Geniuses who claim to remedy all ills. Note: These people live on the banks of the local river Avon in large houses and I’m not surprised judging by what they chargeOut of the question.

It was then turned to that other old favourite, Google. Putting in the nature of my problem was easy, the solutions not so. Most of the ‘help’ was explained in impenetrable computer failure language, total gooble-de-gook.  If it wasn’t, it was twenty years old.

In despair I realised the relationship between me and Basil was probably over. Which was sad considering how long we have been together. I laid a comforting hand on his silent tower and planned a trip to the local landfill.

And then, a flash of inspiration. Take note other computer failure experts…

I turned Basil on and let him hum for a bit. With a flourish (sorry Basil) I then pulled out his power lead bringing him to a sudden and dramatic halt. I then proceeded to press the start button on the tower. Which enabled me to expel the static electricity that had built up over the past nine years.

Genius. Pure Genius. 

You’ll be pleased to know Basil the computer is back in perfect health. And the bond between us is strong. As strong as the bond between Will Robinson (Netflix ‘Lost in Space’) and his robot.

Glad to have helped. Peace.

Solve your Computer Problems.

All-In-One PC Optimisation Tool. Keep your Computer Healthy. Click Here!

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Taking Man-Flu seriously

Over the past few days I have been struck down by what my wife laughingly calls ‘Man-Flu’.  I have no idea what that means other than it sends herself and her ‘caring’ friends into gales of laughter. This makes me suspicious that she is not taking my condition seriously. There have been moments during my prolonged illness when I’ve staggered down the stairs near to death only to be met with a grin and a mocking,  ‘Someone hasn’t been taking the Paracetamol’.  I’m afraid to say it’s becoming obvious from her disgraceful, disappointing, daily behaviour that I would have to be bleeding from every orifice in my body to get any sympathy from her. And remember, this is the one who is supposedly the love of my life. In short, she is not taking my ‘Man-Flu’ seriously. And that hurts.

My son is not that much better.

My son only ever arrives at our house to borrow the car. We see him on a frequent basis and rather than show sympathy for his father, he too has mocked my fragile appearance. He let me know recently, ‘that he had the same thing for a week, but he carried on working’. As work is something he has only recently rediscovered, I am amazed at his cheek.

Thankfully my other kids live a distance away, so I don’t have to put up with their jibes and brickbats live. Although, when I’m in my sick-bed I hear the mumbled conversations my wife is having on the phone with them. Conversations that are punctured by loud guffaws and giggling.  It doesn’t take an idiot to know what they are discussing.

Without wanting to blow my own trumpet, when the illness is on the other foot, I immediately go into Care Mode.  I make sure the suffering have enough fluid and supplies of Paracetamol to see them through an outbreak of the Plague.  One does not sit downstairs complaining, when (my) body-rattling coughing reaches levels that interrupt the dialogue on ‘Holby City’.

I believe that Women cannot handle a man’s pain or discomfort. With this in mind I am writing to my local MP.  I will be asking that the National Health Service set up Special Clinics for men like me. Men who, although not suffering from anything life-threatening still need peace and quiet in which to recover. I await his reply.

My final plea.

Until then I can only ask that women like my wife and her friends take (READ THIS) –> ‘Man-Flu’ , more seriously.

man flu

 

Ramp up your Natural Defences.

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Living in Stratford-upon-Avon

Living in Stratford-upon-Avon is to put it mildly…strange. It’s a funny old place that is full of contradictions. Whereas some people might see it as ramshackle and falling down others think that is beautiful and ‘a slice of history’.

We have lots of visitors who come to the town for various reasons but the most obvious reason they arrive is of course,

The Bard, or as his friends know him, William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare (or not) Who in case you don’t know (believe it or not some don’t) was, some say, the greatest Playwright that ever lived. Stratford-upon-Avon was where he was born, lived, (some of the time) and where he died (on his birthday-badluck). In his name we have a stonking great theatre, the world-famous, Royal Shakespeare Theatre (theater for my American friends). The RSC specialises in regurgitating William Shakespeare’s 37 plays over and over again. People arrive from all over the world to witness this odd phenomenon. Some folks coming to see a play that they have already seen before just to er…see it again. However, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is vital for the small market town of Stratford-upon-Avon because in all honesty, there’s nothing else. Unless, you like pubs…and coffee houses…and estate agents and restaurants…did I mention pubs?

Apart from the theatre, people come to Stratford-upon-Avon because of its quaint attractiveness. There are lots of old buildings, some Elizabethan (Shakespeare’s time) and some not so Elizabethan. There is also a river. The river Avon flows majestically through the town adding, some might say, to its elegant, decaying charm. Living in Stratford-upon-Avon is a hard thing to do because of the decline and the missing of opportunities that go hand in hand. It’s sad to see and even worse to experience.

Let me explain…
Stratford-upon-Avon is dying.  It won’t happen tomorrow because there will always be people who want to visit the theatre and therefore the town. The thing is, the next time they come back for their theatrical fix the town won’t feature. And why?
First of all they won’t want to be paralysed or choked up again by the traffic. Stratford-upon-Avon traffic is becoming more famous than William Shakespeare. Secondly, Stratford-upon-Avon looks like a High Street anywhere (empty). Apart from the old buildings and Shakespearean properties, Stratford-upon-Avon could be Milton Keynes but not as interesting. And thirdly, there is no spirit. When I arrived at the beginning of the 70’s there was a ‘feel’. A community vibe. To live here was to ‘belong’. Now, there’s nothing to pin one’s identity too. Stratford-upon-Avon is losing/lost its uniqueness.

Leamington Spa (just down the road) for instance, is just as picturesque and although from a different time period and even without the boy Shakespeare, probably more interesting.Leamington Spa

Look, I’m sorry if I’ve said this before but Stratford-upon-Avon has no idea who or what it is anymore. And for that we blame the members of the various Councils who look after S-o-A. Councils that suffer from a severe lack of imagination and common GREED.

Time, as they say is of the essence. Something (I know), needs to be done if Stratford-upon-Avon is to survive. Those with the money and the power need to take a long hard look at poor old Stratford-upon-Avon before it ends up like the last scene in the first ‘Planet of the Apes’ film, you know the one I mean? Where the statue of liberty is poking up through the sand?

In our case the last thing we will see will be the viewing tower of the Royal Shakespeare theatre.

Go get your guide to Stratford-upon-Avon (and Shakespeare)

before it’s too late…see below…

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Don’t believe everything they say about being a Grandfather.

There’s something special about being a Grandfather (*cough).

Should you be lucky enough to reach this regarded position in the hierarchy of the family, special powers are automatically bestowed upon you.

Younger members of the family will hang on to the grandad and his every word.  From Day 1 of Grandfatherism he will be perceived as a font of all wisdom. His grey hair and stumbling gait will be seen as signs that he has lived. Grandad ‘knows what it’s all about’. His opinion will be sought out and his sporadic bursts of ‘I remember when’ will be listened to with wonder. He will be honoured with a top spot at High Table and when his time is done, friends and family will celebrate his life in alcohol. He will be remembered with love and gratitude and laughter.

Instant Funeral Poems. Click Here!

Pull the other one it’s got bells on.
If you believe that then there is only one word for you and that is ‘DAFT’.  (‘Daft’: A word you will become familiar with. Especially when your presence reaches the designated Grandfather status of, ‘Unnecessary’).

Everyone knows that Grandfathers have a shelf-life, a use-by date. Pass that and they become a burden. They are, especially in later years, useless.

Whereas the new and fresh Grandfather of early days was good for baby-sitting. Perhaps a taxi-service, even sometimes a bank, as time passes, his usefulness and influence will become, Less.

Once a recognised source of knowledge and never-ending stories, the Grandfather is soon discovered to be nothing of the sort. What was once thought to be a storehouse of parables, yarns and chronicles are in fact a shed-full of repetition. Half-arsed adventures that never really happened. With characters that never existed. In situations that were, sad to say, impossible. All figments of the venerable Grandfather’s faulty imagination and burnt out circuits. Grandfathers tend to  live in their dreams and re-jig their disappointments. To be a Grandfather is to be a sad old man.

And then there is the decay.

This once fashionable young man chocked full of charm and sexual prowess. A blade who could coax anyone into bed with just a look, is falling to bits. He now wears cardigans, something he said he would never do and worse still, he dribbles down them. His shoes have no laces because he cannot bend down and all his clothes are twenty years old. He smells and sleeps a lot. He has become a figure of fun. The children that he once loved and possibly once loved him have grown into spotty, ungrateful teenagers. They make hurtful remarks about him behind his back thinking that he cannot hear. But that’s not deafness, it’s weariness. He’s tired of the same old jokes and he wants to get away. His family also, want him to ‘get away’.

The sooner the better.

The retirement ‘home’ beckons. The fees for which will come out of the money that the family hoped He would leave them. Still, they say…anything for a quiet life. Anything for the freed-up armchair where Grandfather used to sit.

As for the old man, he’s glad to get away too. As he enters his new home and studies his new ‘friends’ he wonders if that sexual spark that still lingers under the surface might get a chance to ignite and spread disarray and confusion amongst the green leather/plastic furniture and fake potted plants of the Sleepy Pastures Home for the Elderly. For the first time in God knows how many years, Grandfather will fall asleep with a smile on his face.Grandfather

 

Stuff  to get for your favourite Grandfather.

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Should we get a Dog?

The question currently echoing around our household at the moment is…’Should we get a dog’?

Now, to be fair to my other half I ought to be clear here (or at least clear ‘ish), the question, ‘Should we get a dog’ was mainly my idea. I concluded, in a moment of sad realisation, that in order to stop myself  totally and physically falling to pieces, I would have to exercise (more?).A man's best friend

However, (and I’m being completely transparent and totally honest here) I have to admit that to my shame, exercise on a regular basis was very unlikely to happen unless it was forced upon me. As the thought of my wife standing over me with a whip or club did not appeal, the next best thing would be to get a dog.

I’m told dogs, if you don’t want them to poo on the carpet, need to go out and about at the very least, a couple of times a day which, for me would be ideal. That sort of timetable would fit exactly into my planned exercise regime, with one major benefit, I won’t poo on the carpet. So, it was obvious. What was needed here was a dog.

There are other benefits too.

The main one I am thinking of is, companionship. See it from my point of view. My wife doesn’t talk to me very much and when she does it’s usually in a hectoring tone because I’ve done something to displease her, like, I don’t know, breathing? Anyway, it follows doesn’t it? That a brow-beaten man like me is in desperate need of a friend who won’t shout at me but will love and respect me for what I am. I am told dogs fit the bill.

At this point I’m reminded of my boyhood hero, Roy Rogers and his wonderful song about ‘Trigger’ (OK, so Trigger was a horse-but you get my gist?)
‘A four-legged friend, a four-legged friend he’ll never let you down. He’s honest and faithful right up to the end. That wonderful one-two-three-four-legged friend’.
a dog is a mans best friend

Then of course comes the question, ‘what kind of dog’?

Well, as everybody who knows me will testify to, I am a man’s man. I’m rugged, tough and definite SAS material (*cough). So it goes without saying I would have to have a dog that shares those qualities. Something big, hairy and butch. Anything that fits into a handbag and has to go to the doggy hairdressers once a month is out of the question. I need an animal that reflects my manly qualities. I need an animal that will be able to keep up.

So. The idea of a dog friend is firmly planted. It’s just about getting the memsahib to agree.

I wait patiently and I dream enthusiastically. 

As plans are now afoot for us to move home to the rugged beaches of Cornwall (hopefully before the year is out), in my imagination I can see myself running, (yes, that’s running) through the breaking waves with my hairy companion at my side, his Boxer chops salivating and his lungs inflating to bursting point as he struggles to keep up with me.

I will let you know.

 

Why do people let their dogs lick their face? That and the answers to other mysteries (below).

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The wisdom of Kanye West

Aaah yes, the wisdom of Kanye West. Philosopher and Guru. A man who should be in a cave somewhere in Tibet, levitating.  Without a doubt, Kanye West is one of the New Breed.

Kanye West is a New Kind of Fool. Bred and nurtured by us under the heading ‘Celebrity Culture’, these New Fools are breeding like rabbits and Kanye West is just another in a long line of pretentious idiots who like the sound of their own voices even when there’s nothing to say. Harmless enough you might say, but I’m afraid I would have to disagree, as they take up valuable space in our heads and physically walk and talk to the planet in what could be mistaken as, power mode.

kanye west

Why have I got such a terrible headache?

How to spot this New Kind of Fool.

First of all there is always something that they are quite good at. Something that gets them noticed in the first place. In Kanye’s case it was the rapping. Presuming the ideas do actually come out of his head, then his first few albums were good. I wouldn’t want to take that away from the man. He deserved his success in the rapping field, unfortunately, that is where he should have stayed. The wisdom of Kanye West is a step too far. One can only imagine how that happened next but one can have a pretty good guess. Mr West started to believe his own publicity.

He became surrounded by ‘Yes’ men and women, all keen ‘to get on in the business’ and to that end, curry favour with the Boss. And what better way to get on in life, than, ‘big up’ the Boss. Tell him he’s a genius. Let him know that whatever he wants to turn his hand to will be a success. Promise him that you will be there, at his side, to support and whenever necessary, tickle his tummy. Tell him and his ego anything he wants to hear.

Then there’s the off-shoot. Something that wealth brings apart from over confidence. There’s the inevitable, ‘something they have always wanted to do but had no idea how to begin’. (Just don’t mention Training or Experience). In Kanye’s case it was the random thought that he could become a fashion designer ( I use that term loosely). To dear old Kanye it looked easy enough. Forget about getting the hands dirty it was there already, in his head, and out it came…his best idea yet, Jogging pants, made of leather…moving on…

Kanye the fool has found himself in a place he’s never been before. Everybody ‘likes him’ and as far as he can see he has everything he needs. He can go on to greater things because he has already proved that he can succeed without really trying and besides, everyone tells him so. So what does the fool do?  Rather than use this wonderful opportunity to improve himself, he falls headfirst into a pit of boiling shit and replaces careful thought and learning with the first thing that comes into his usually empty head. Things, that everyone and that’s everyone, agrees with. He becomes self-important and chooses his ‘friends’ badly because he believes they will want to stand in his shadow and maybe even ‘catch’ some of his greatness.

He chooses Donald Trump.

Not exactly the Black Person’s Best Friend but the wisdom of Kanye West, i.e. not thinking too much, chooses him anyway. Worst is to come. Kanye begins to make important pronouncements in an attempt to show that he is a free-thinker…and who can argue with that? It’s true.

Everything he says is free of thought, free of evidence and basically nonsensical. His latest crock of bollocks is to say that ‘Slavery was a matter of choice’. Remember this, this a man who like his friend Donald, freely (there’s that word again) admits that he doesn’t read (for God’s sake!?) This a man who has mental health problems, a man so drowning in his own fame, that he doesn’t know whether he is coming or going. He has needs. This is a man who needs help and a purging of what is obviously a damaging entourage, whose every word he so obviously hangs on.  Here is a man who needs someone to gently take him to one side and whisper in his ear.

This is a man who needs to pick up a book as a matter of urgency.

And talking of books…

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I’m off grid and going dark

spyI, my friends am on the verge of (what is it they say in the movies?) going ‘Off Grid’. I am seriously thinking of er…’Going-Dark’ (I think I’ve got the terminology right)…and why? Because I can think of no other way escaping the barking dogs, the lunatics with jet-powered lawnmowers and the idiots who leap into their automobiles at 7.30 in the morning, wind down the windows and leave with ‘Ace of Spades’ blasting out at unmeasurable decibels.

Don’t get me wrong, I may be a Curmudgeon, but I do realise that people have to live, I just wish they would do it somewhere else…(perhaps they too could go off grid , just not anywhere near me).

And what is with people and dogs? All night cooped up inside? They must be, (please forgive my crudeness but I haven’t slept), dying for a piss. And what about the dogs?

Man’s best friend (that’s a joke for a start) has spent all night attempting to sleep in a basket of all things. Covered by a decaying blanket, he/she waits for a sleep-deprived human being to stagger down stairs and open the door.

The truth is, that ain’t going to happen for at least for an hour or two. Sleep deprived human got drunk last night.

Who’d be a dog eh? The best the poor animal can do to get revenge for this terrible mistreatment is to lick the human in the face. Preferably after the morning shit and a goodly session of licking the balls (the dog’s not the human’s).

Lawnmowers.

We have someone round these parts who insists on cutting his lawn at 7.30 am. Not only that, I think the machine he (must be a he right?) uses has been mechanically fiddled with or at one time belonged to NASA. And before you ask, I’ve tried shouting at him, but such is the noise level of the Lawnmower from Hell, he can’t hear a word I say. Any how, logistics suggest he must be deaf if not when he started this annoying habit, certainly by now.

Workers.

Why so happy? When I worked I hated it for a number of reasons, one of which was the thought that my labour was making a rich person even richer. Anyway, I certainly never leapt into my car and turned on music. Music in my life, is for celebration (OK and funerals),and definitely not to mark a day when you might find yourself under a car or up a chimney, (office workers are dead to me).

To be honest, I don’t want to be too harsh on these people. The reason they leave for work in such a noisy manner is because work has left them bitter and twisted. They need to make their mark. They need to show the world just how much they are hurting…I understand…but that doesn’t make me like it.

Off Grid.

I begin my search for a cabin in the woods today.

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I was an Anglican Priest (Church of England). How did that happen?

church of england

Oh God…how did that happen?

It may surprise some of you to know that once I was an Anglican Priest (Church of England). How that happened is a long story that I really don’t want to bore you with and besides it’s such a ridiculous bunch of happenings that you wouldn’t believe it anyway. The thing is, I don’t do it any more because, and not many people know this, from day One of Theological College my ‘faith’ began to er…falter. Whether it was the College atmosphere i.e. more time to think, read and think some more, I’m not sure but whatever it was I began to doubt. Anyway, to cut this long story even shorter, I actually went on to be ordained (Coventry Cathedral 1990/91?). I became a Reverend. As I said, an Anglican Priest in the Church of England.

Let me get to the point.

It began to worry me that this God I had made a choice to worship, to follow, didn’t seem very nice. There appeared a huge amount of unfairness in the world that so many of us Christians did nothing about…but Pray. And Praying didn’t appear to change anything except make us Christians feel a little more comfortable. In time, Prayer for me seemed to become somewhat of a selfish activity and I began to wonder what was the point? For instance, why would this benevolent God answer my prayers but not the prayers of a Mother who was in danger of say, losing her child because of starvation or an act of war. Simple stuff I know but sometimes it’s the simple questions that need an answer. And I don’t mean answers designed by armchair theologians to be confusing, like some mathematical formula (like The Trinity).  A mysterious algorithm that only the chosen few could understand. Me? No idea. 

Then there were the hymns. Some of the most excruciating tunes (every Sunday and more) with the most awful lyrics ever written by man, suggesting that we were unworthy and dust beneath His sandaled feet. This was an Anglican Priest  (me) who couldn’t be doing with it.

Everything appeared to be a contradiction. From what I thought I knew about God/Jesus, this was actually a deity who if you studied Him/Her closely, would be the last person on Earth/Heaven (see what I did there), who would actually want to be worshipped. All that bowing and scrapping – no way.

So. I quit.

And told everyone who was interested that I had lost my faith. What had actually happened was that I had lost my faith in the Church and its teachings. What I had done was go back to square one and began my search all over again. I became a child again with no preconceived ideas. I have come to the conclusion that if there is a God then I will find Him/Her in other people. Simple as that. Which leads me on to the only Biblical verse that means something to me and keeps me on the look-out.

Matthew 7:15-20 New King James Version (NKJV)

You Will Know Them by Their Fruits

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN.

These books will help.

Discover a New Realm of Spiritual Power. Click Here!

 

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Alfie Evans. Rest in Peace and God Bless the NHS.

I wanted to write something about the sad case of little Alfie Evans, the NHS and the pain felt by all involved. And that’s because we were in a similar situation many years ago with the birth of my first daughter. I say similar however, in our case the ending was a lot happier. We were told after dangerous surgery that our first-born would be brain-damaged leaving her either blind or paralysed. As you might imagine as young parents our lives were on hold for what seemed an age.

To cut a long story short, our daughter came out of hospital as well as could be expected considering the seriousness of her operation. The Doctors fears, unfounded.

Even though that happened to us, there is no way I would want to say that we know how Alfie’s parents must be feeling. That’s impossible. All I do know is it must be hell and for what it’s worth, I do want to say that me and my wife are thinking of them.

What I would like to do is mention the people, the doctors and nurses who have been looking after Alfie. I know that they will be feeling it. Not only the great sadness at Alfie’s passing but also the pasting they have taken at the hands of the press and some members of the public. I find it hard to believe the criticism levelled at the hospital staff. The vitriol and pointless anger that has come from people who, in my opinion at best are naive and at worst, have no real knowledge of the situation has been disgusting to say the least. I hope that now Alfie’s pain is over they find can find the time to reflect over their actions. Perhaps even apologise to those they have hurt.

Thank God for the National Health Service. 

I’m quite sure we wouldn’t have survived our terrible ordeal were it not for the professionalism of ALL the staff. From Cleaners to Consultants and of course the way our Health System works. 

Even after all these years, I want to say thank you and God Bless the NHS.

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Trump UK Visit Scheduled for Friday 13th July.

Roll out the Red Carpet. Unfurl the flags. Hang out the Bunting…and yes, I almost forgot, Lock up your Daughters, your wives, your Grandmothers in fact any one who hasn’t got a penis, although to be honest the way Trump was behaving with Macron, I’m not too sure.

Yep, I’m talking ‘the Donald’ here. Trump is coming to town. That dreadful excuse for an American President is coming to the UK. The trip has finally been verified and the Orange Wonder arrives on the best day ever picked for a visit from an idiot, Friday the 13th of July 2018.

And so the country prepares. Hundreds of us Brits are booking the day off although if this creepy Government had any sense they would declare a Bank Holiday, giving as many of the working population as possible the freedom to go to London and give this particular nasty piece of work the welcome he deserves, a welcome I predict that the British will be remembered for.

Chicken farmers the land over are rubbing their hands in glee anticipating a sharp rise in the sale of eggs and Dairy farmers will be keeping a close eye on their dung heaps. Unlike Diana’s funeral it won’t be flowers that are being thrown.

Thankfully, Senor Bone-Spur won’t be getting a ride in the Queen’s Golden Coach although there is a whisper that her Maj might be forced to meet President Dumb-Ass but we are crossing our fingers that, that might just be a Royal rumour. If Trump gets his ridiculous haircut into the Royal Palace a Royal Flunky must make sure he doesn’t attempt to touch her or even worse try to wrestle her with one of his infamous ‘handshakes’. Said Flunky must be willing and able to throw himself between the Queen and the Orange Hulk before contact is made. The Royal Personage is 92 and I’m not sure that even She could take the shock. One can only hope that Prince Philip is up and about should a Palace visit take place, I can think of no better line of defence against President Monstrosity. There is no one better in this fair land able to hand out an insult than the 130 year old Prince. One sight of Trump and his blond (ish) barnet and Prince ‘Loose-Lips’ will strike. I just hope there will be a camera or at best, a microphone present.

Gird your Loins everyone.

The call is out. Get into training. Buy eggs. Purchase rotten vegetables. Make your mark. This so-called President is NOT welcome.

This could be one of the greatest days ever in the always grisly History of The United Kingdom. Make sure you are part of it. This will be something to tell your Grandchildren.

Whatever happens on the day you can be sure of one thing.

Trump will try to outdo his wife.

Trump and Wife

Infamy, infamy they’ve all got it in for me.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

I GIVE YOU THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Donald Trump

COME IN NUMBER 45 YOUR TIME IS UP 


All you ever needed to know about Trump below.

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D.I.Y. Not for me thank you.

D.I.Y.

Mystery object #1

I don’t mind admitting that I am completely useless at D.I.Y. (or as it’s known in more educated circles ‘Do It Yourself) I don’t know if it’s something in my genes but no matter how I have tried (let’s face it, there’s no way over a lifetime that you can avoid D.I.Y.), I have never put up a shelf that was straight (once, my wife demonstrated to some highly amused neighbours, the unintentional slope on a shelf I had spent 15 hours working on with a pool ball), or hung a door that would close. I can’t put one of those IKEA cabinets/tables/chairs etc together without having a fit or without injuring myself. In short, I get angry and I draw blood. 

D.I.Y.

Mystery object #2

In the early days of my marriage believe me I did try. I wanted more than anything to prove to my new wife that I could do ‘manly’ things. Unfortunately, it didn’t take her long to realise that her husband couldn’t hang a picture and in fact, it might be better if she did that sort of thing herself. Which, she now does. She has become expert in all the things that I can’t do. She has become a D.I.Y. maniac.

The point of this confession is to make the point that men don’t like to be stereotyped either. I may be a hairy-arsed bastard with fists that drag in the dust behind me.  OK so I have to shave three times a day and have muscles on my muscles. I may even be able to do 100 press-ups without raising a sweat (all lies of course) but that does not make me an engine-fixer (mechanic), tap-washer-replacer, (plumber), light-bulb-replacer (er…electrician). The truth is, I do not do gardening, laying pathways or fencing (sword or wood). I am, to coin a phrase, useless.

What I do want to make clear is, I AM NOT LAZY. I have just got to the stage in my life where I recognise my failings and am not afraid to admit them. And if I may say so, it takes a real man to do that.

D.I.Y.

er…?

After years and years of trying to prove my ‘manly, D.I.Y.’ credentials, I now face the truth without fear or shame. I do not have the skills and besides, I do not like to get my hands dirty.

When the Angels in pre-birth heaven handed out the instruction manuals on ‘Being A Bloke’, they missed me out…and you know what?  I can’t thank them enough.

Tools. Everything you need for the job…

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Anti-Depressants – Depression – Anxiety.

I don’t suppose that it’s as embarrassing as it might have been a few years ago to say that most of my family (including me) are taking antidepressants.  Whether depression and anxiety are a symptom of the fast-paced world that we live in or there’s something nasty lurking in the air that we breathe, I don’t think anyone really knows. What we do know, is that anxiety, depression, call it what you, on the increase.

One of the biggest problems for those of us who experience this condition is the difficulty of describing what it is you feel to those who have no idea, not an inkling of what its like to wake up every morning with a lead weight tied to your brain.

In my case I want to use words like heaviness, like walking through syrupy mud, constant dullness etc, etc, you get the idea? It’s doom and gloom but without knowing why. I can be on holiday on the must fabulous beach, having a fantastic time with the family, yet it’s there hanging over my head like the proverbial black cloud. It’s a bastard because everyone thinks it’s their fault but of course, they have nothing to do with it. Basically, what you have (in my case) is the misery of a mystery. Like receiving a parcel with nothing in it (does that make sense?). How else can I put it?

You feel like you’re in mourning, but no-one has died.

Of course, there are the pills and once again in my own case they do have some effect. It’s a cliche I know, but they do seem to take the edge off it. So much so, sometimes you actually feel like you have been ‘cured’. If you are an idiot like me, you decide to come off them. Two weeks later I’m at the Doctors asking for a new prescription.

Please don’t get me wrong. I recognise that those of us on the lower end (which I am) of the scale can live with the condition. This is not meant to be a moan. I just wanted to say a little bit about a mystery. A serious condition that can kill. Depression does not pick and choose the most vulnerable. Who would have thought that a hero like Winston Churchill would have suffered?

Winston Churchill’s case. ‘The Black Dog’.

The Black Dog of Depression

 

For sufferers or interested parties, check out the book list below

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Take pride in calling yourself a Technophobe?

If there’s a kind of people who really gets my goat (what a stupid expression. I don’t have a goat?)Goatit’s the people who take pride in calling themselves Technophobe The kind of person who, when confronted with a row of buttons, be they on a phone, iPad, or computer immediately freeze, experience shortness of breath, palpitations and in the worst scenario, faint.

I feel guilty at pointing the finger at older folk because last time I looked, I was one of them. But unfortunately, this is usually where you find the greatest cluster of ardent Technophobes. They are easy to spot because they tend to herd together. You’ll find them at bus stops, tea rooms and libraries.  All huddled together desperately trying to protect one another from electrical witchcraft. Unfortunately, the closest they will come to confronting their fear is when they awake to find themselves hooked up to a heart monitor.

‘If God had wanted us to communicate over land and sea he would have given us louder voices’.

The technophobe refuses anything that might make their lives easier. In many cases, technophobes get up to change channels (true). And some even consider the humble dimmer switch the work of the devil.

MAVIS.

For instance, I have a friend, let’s call her Mavis, who was recently given, a top of the range mobile phone. Which she flatly refuses to learn how to use.

I use the term ‘learn’ in the lightest possible way. Put it this way, (and yes, I have told her), to operate the phone she does not need a B.Sc. She does not even have to go to night-school. But no, she refuses flatly to engage with this wonder of modern science even though it would make her common and regular complaint of, ‘No-one ever gets in touch with me’, or, ‘I really miss the Grandchildren’, go away.

Mavis is just one on a never-ending conveyor belt of Technophobes. Like them all she has an irrational fear of anything that requires a button to be pushed, or a lever to be pulled. She even takes pride in it. Without shame she says, that present-day electronic wizardry is ‘not for the likes of her’. She thinks she would be happier living in the middle-ages, although to be honest, she’d  probably still have  problems with a gate.

If you are a person plagued by phobias. Do something about it. Knowledge is Power. Read below.

The Emetophobia Recovery System Is A Self-help System For The 5th Most Common Phobia In The World. Click Here!

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UK’S worst and Nightmare Motorway, The M6.

Whoever crowned the drivers of Heavy Goods Vehicles ‘Knights of the Road’ must have been drunk at the time or madly in love with a big, hairy truck driver. I’ve just come back from visiting my daughter near Blackpool and had the misfortune of travelling up the UK’S worst and nightmare motorway, the M6.

Knight’s of the road, my arse (excuse my French).

As a lot of readers will know the M6 is not the most comfortable of roads, Having apart from too many cars, a huge amount of heavy trucks delivering their cargoes all over the country. And it’s the drivers of this machines that make the M6 so bloody unpleasant and dangerous.

I’ve been driving for more years than I care to remember. I have never seen so much bad driving from these so-called ‘Knights of the Road’ as I have witnessed today.  It’s almost as though they think, because of the size of their vehicle they rule the road or at least two lanes of it. Today was especially full of dangerous driving.

The speciality of the day…

…was the practice of pulling out of their lane at the exact moment they indicated to begin the manoeuvre. No warning, no indicator until the moment they swerve dramatically to swap lanes. When I say I witnessed this example of appalling driving ten times on our two-hour journey,I’m not lying. Strangely, twice by articulated Royal Mail trucks, but then of course they have an excuse. The Mail has to get through.

[If you are interested in the world of Heavy Goods Vehicles, why don’t you check out these books below]

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The Royal Family Pop Out Another One.

The Royals. William and Kate

  Well done Bill and Kate.

I know it only seems a few moments ago I published a post about the Royal Family when…hold the front page, another member Royal Family has just appeared. As if by magic and fresh from the womb today (on of all days, St George’s Day) and it’s a boy.

And you know what, I’m not going to get all curmudgeonly, or talk about how much the Royal Family cost us, no, I’m going to say well done William and a double-well done to the missus who had this latest addition to the Royal Family at 11 ish this very morning, was facing the press about an hour ago  and is now safely ensconced at a Palace somewhere, discussing with Bill when they should have the next Royal Sprog. (Please understand for me, a man, that this work rate is beyond admiration, although my wife, a midwife is not that impressed with me being impressed, and says, with a shrug of her shoulders, ‘Why not, she’s a Woman).

The other thing I noticed and have to admit made me smile was the reaction of the Royal Family watchers waiting outside the hospital. Everyone was so happy for the Royal Couple. All right, some of the crowd were obviously quite bonkers having waited all night outside, for the result but even that could be forgiven considering the amount of joy that was permeating the narrow pavements.

Good Luck and don’t spend it all at once.

So, here’s the deal, I haven’t suddenly become a Royalist overnight. However, I can’t help feeling a happy for the Royal Pair. I know I don’t know William or Kate personally but he, she and Uncle Harry seem like nice people. They appear ready willing and able to contribute something to this sad little country of ours. Something a little different. Fingers crossed.

[Here’s your chance to learn more about the Royals. Check out these books Below]

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The British Royal Family. God bless ’em and all who sail in her.

It’s not that I dislike the British Royal Family. I accept them because Kings and Queens have been around so long in the UK they are part of the scenery. Furthermore, there’s been films and plays all about them. Everyone knows, for instance about Dick the Shit don’t they? Everyone and his mother know about the murderous hunchback, or Richard III as he is better known.  And who has no idea who Henry VIII was? Quite a few of us can even name his six wives and how they were disposed of.

The list of members of the British Royal Family (past and present) with a macabre story, is endless. And still it goes on today. We have the mysterious death of Princess Diana and the rumours (thank you David Icke) that the Royal Family are Lizard people from outer space. Whatever they are and I’ll just go for over-privileged, they are a family that keeps on giving. If not in cash-terms most certainly in scandal and other stories worth telling.

I am not one of those people who would want to disband the Royal Family. That would be a strike too far would be an attempt to re-write history. They have been with us far too long for them to be dismissed lightly. In fact, I would go so far as to agree with those who see the Royals as a necessary barrier against dictators like Trump or Prime Ministers like May who fancy themselves with a bit more power than they are entitled to. No, my problems with the Royal family are to do with their money. Why they don’t contribute more to their lavish lifestyle?

The Queen to put it crudely is, loaded.

A lot of the Royal Family’s money comes from property. Property accumulated over a long period of time through fair means and foul.   Whatever the history, it might be time that they considered paying more of their own way.

I was not one of those that shed a tear when it was decided to retire the Royal Yacht.

The royal yacht britannia.

But I was surprised that someone had the courage to put the idea forward in the first place. In addition to being shocked when it actually happened.

There was a right to-do about how much the ship meant to the Queen and how cruel it was to take something away that obviously meant so much to her personally.  I remember how visibly sad she was when the ship was decommissioned. But, putting sympathy to one side for the moment. What really surprised me was the fact that she didn’t put her hand into her own pocket to keep the thing afloat. Let’s face it, she could have bought the thing. Or at the very least paid for another, more modern ship to be built.

‘The Wedding’.

In the next few months the Nation will be getting boozed up and maybe even get a day off from work. All to celebrate the wedding of Harry and Meghan Markle (or Meghan Sparkle as the tabloids will no doubt re-name her). Harry and Megan

No doubt, it will be a great day. But, I do have to ask…Who is paying for it? At the moment, it looks like me and you.  Somewhere in the Royal Household there must be a flunky who realises that if the Royals paid, us peasants would be grateful. We would forever cry, ‘God for Harry, England and St George’…followed by a quick burst of, ‘God save the Queen’.

 

{You can learn more by checking out these books (below) on the Royal Family.]

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Theatre should be Free on the National Health.

I’ve always maintained that Theatre should be Free on the National Health. And seeing as I’m referencing the medical world here, I’d also like to say…

That a good Actor (male or female) can be like a Doctor or Nurse and begin healing for many ailments.

Acting is not just running about in tights and makeup with an inward desire to become famous. A good actor can channel feelings both good and bad. An actor can hold up a mirror to those who are suffering and say, ‘this is how it is’ as well as ‘and this is how it can be’. A great actor representing a good writer, can enter your very soul.

I believe, the actor along with the writer and other theatre-makers have a duty to use their chosen art as a force for good and there-bye, change. The ability to make the audience pause for thought or allow a temporary disengagement from whatever is troubling them is a gift. Be it Tragedy or a Comedy the actor who makes his or her character ‘live’ has done all that can possibly be asked of them. And Live Theatre is the best place to go for treatment.

There are lots of reasons more people don’t go to the theatre, the most often heard, ’Theatre? No, it’s not for the likes of me’.

Nonsense. Theatre is for you.

If you are a person who loves your ‘Eastenders’, ‘Hollyoaks’ etc. Maybe a fan of some of the other quality drama available in this Golden age of Television? Let me tell you, go and watch some live theatre. It will add another dimension to your enjoyment. It only gets better.

Theatre also transcends any thoughts you might have regarding Class. Theatre is for you. It was intended from Day One, for you. It was conceived as another way of ‘telling stories’ to you. Stories that go some way to reflecting your and others lives. Theatre is a step up from the days we would gather round the camp fire to spread news, opinions and entertain each other. And is just as valuable.

Theatre, if you would only go is, in many cases a way of telling you, You Are Not Alone.

[If you are a budding actor or just love theatre/theater (for my American Friends) you must have a look at these books on Amazon (below)]

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Making it up to the Windrush Generation.

My people.

Not only am I’m old enough to remember the Windrush Generation, in my memory is seared the ‘No Coloureds. No Dogs. No Irish’ signs that used to adorn some small hotels, rooms to let and other establishments back in the 50/60’s. I was only a child but even now, the negativity and evil that lay behind the signs stays with me.

I often think about the people who put them up and wonder why? What lay behind their reasoning? What led them to hate so much?

Those were dark days. Days when racism of that kind was prevalent throughout the UK. And the Windrush generation sailed right in to it. [Although, it didn’t  hold a candle to what was going on in the United States of America].

the windrush

All of which leads me to wonder on the recent scandal here in the UK, over the people who have become known as ‘The Windrush Generation’. It make me wonder if anything has really changed. The truth is,

You can change laws but you can’t change what is deeply embedded in people’s hearts.

For the home office to inform the (invited) people that they don’t belong is disgusting.  Considering they came to help this battle-scarred Nation out of a rut WWII. Such a declaration is merely an extension of those disgusting signs. 

Thankfully but not unfortunately before the damage had been done, (David Lammy MP) took on the Home Office and the awful rulings. The threats were rescinded.

Hopefully, the Government’s following apology and actions taken have gone some way to putting things right and the idiots who instigated the ruling in the first place, will have their comeuppance. Hopefully, heads will roll and wrongs will continue to be righted, although it’s very obvious that the recipients of that ridiculous order will need some time to heal from the stresses and strains they have suffered from over the past few months. 

Perhaps it might be a good idea for the Government to offer an all-expenses paid holiday in the Caribbean as recompense?

At least in that way, some of those who were threatened with deportation might get a first look at the islands they were to be sent to.

[Find out about the Windrush Generation and why we owe them so much…below]

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How I Learnt to Stop Striving and Just BE.

 

This is how I learnt to stop striving…but first striving, to strive. What does it mean?

The dictionary definition says something like:

Strive:

To make great efforts to achieve or obtain something. To struggle or fight vigorously. To try, try hard, attempt, endeavour, aim, aspire, venture, undertake, seek, make an effort, make every effort, spare no effort, exert oneself, do one’s best, do all one can, do one’s utmost, give one’s all, labour, work, toil, strain, struggle, apply oneself;

Reading some of those definitions and I think it becomes kind of obvious what I’m getting at when I say ‘Stop Striving’.

Let’s look at some of those phrases;

Make an effort.

Make every effort.

Spare no effort.

Exert oneself.

Do all one can.

Do one’s utmost.

Give one’s all.

Toil.

Strain.

Struggle.

Let’s be honest here, if that’s how you’re thinking, I’m surprised you slept last night.  If you woke up in the morning with any of those phrases and words on your To-Do-List, I feel sorry for you. I reckon you are heading for a fall. Let me put it another way.

If you woke up this morning with a knot in your stomach that’s telling you to strive, strive, and strive some more until you get what you want, then you are doing something wrong. Something, that can lead to an unhealthy body and mind. You desperately need to Stop Striving and Just BE. Or go mad.

Let me admit something to you.

It is only in the last couple of years that I have been able to conquer my own constant need and stop striving. In my case, my need to become a writer was to put it plainly, overpowering me.

Every day was a constant battle to produce something that would propel me into the realms of celebrity. I was so bound up with the thought of success that my work was being to suffer. The very thing that was going to make me famous and respected was falling apart. Every waking hour was consumed with the thought that the only way I was going to be of any use in this world was for me to become known for my writing. It was when I found myself in a rare quiet moment composing my acceptance speech for an Oscar, that I realised I needed to calm down and smell the coffee.

Thankfully, I took a deep breath…and begin to face the truth.

OK. So, I love writing. Stories, articles, this. Anything. However, so do thousands of others. My point being, that if you want to get to the top of the pile you must have a number of things within your grasp.

You have to be good. You have to be patient and you have to put things in the right (‘write’ ha. See what I did there?) order. In my case and to put it simply, just enjoy what you do. The truth is, Fame and Fortune needs a little luck. Sometimes it means being in the right place at the right time…and dare I say this…if you want that short cut to success you might need to get to know a few influential people. You need to get out more. Put yourself about. Or not. 

Once I’d got this into my thick head. Guess what? I relaxed. I learnt to go with the flow. Sure I still want my writing to be successful and yes I would like the fame and fortune that it brings (I think) but I’ve learnt above all to relax. To just BE. To enjoy. 

There’s something else.

I’ve also learnt that I am a flawed being.

At the moment, right in the middle of my Stop Striving and just being-nish. I find myself trying to deal with the frustration of being such a striver in the first place and I’m mourning all the time I wasted. But hey, I’ll get over it.

 

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The older you get…

The older you get the more ‘invisible’ you will become. Of this you should have no doubt. You can be sure that when you reach that Certain Age everyone will begin to behave as though you don’t exist. Shop assistants ‘look through you’ and say ‘pardon’ a lot. Youngsters bump into you on their skateboards and won’t say ‘sorry’ and members of your own generation won’t say anything at all because they can’t remember (or don’t want to remember) who you are.  It’s as though there’s a set age that once reached you become ghost-like to such an extent that everyone (and not just shop assistants), look through you, like you are a window.

Not only that, many people will believe that you, yourself, have experienced such a monumental change to your brain due to this certain age, that you lose all interest in everything that might have excited you in your distant past. Unfortunately, there is some truth to this theory. There are some amongst us who when reaching an age group they’d designated some time ago that they would join, immediately upon reaching that mysterious number, automatically begin to abide by its unwritten laws.

Symptoms. MUSIC:

Vera Lynn

Nearer to Vera

George Formby

Turned out nice again

Who cares that in your younger days that you might have been a punk? They, (the younger generation) don’t. They believe wholeheartedly, that your musical tastes range from George Formby to Vera Lynn and evermore it has been so. The thought doesn’t cross their tiny minds that you might have been an explorer, a pioneer even in the music world. It hasn’t occurred to them that you were there for the Beatles and the Stones AND the very fact that you were present made the musical dross that they (the young) listen and partake in today, possible.

FASHION

           Let’s get one thing straight, I refuse to wear beige which is without doubt the colour of death. It’s the colour our bodies go when all the blood is drained from it.  In this case I do not blame the young. Blame the elderly for propagating the view that the uniform to wear whilst waiting to die is beige. The colour beige has become a signal that the wearer has not long left for this mortal coil. With the message reinforced and underlined  by his/her pig-nosed Velcro shoes and elasticated waistbands.

MODES OF TRANSPORT: 

Some older folk let the side down tremendously. None more so than those who believe because their gait (and pig-nosed Velcro shoes) have slowed them down to a crawl, so should the automobile they drive.

They will buy a red or beige tin can with a top speed of thirty miles an hour. Sometimes even attaching a caravan. With the thought that they are causing a twenty-mile tailback the furthest thing their mind.

In their dotage becoming the very thing that they constantly lay against youth…selfish…and older.

 

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Are our Politicians Respected and Trusted?

Let’s be honest about this. When we take a close look at present day politics and politicians, it’s sad to note that apparently  no-one trusts them.

Whether you like or dislike them, they are very important in fact crucial if our Democracy  is to work. They are the ones who we have to trust to represent us.

For me there is only one way to clear up the mess. To stop this distrust we have allowed to take root before our very eyes. Only one way to return our politicians to a state where they are respected. And that is by us and them coming to the realisation that to choose Politics as a career is to understand it as a VOCATION. 

In much the same way that we understand doctors and nurses working, that is how the world of politics should be viewed.‘For the Public Good’.

In the case of career politicians before that can happen there are  rules that would have to be applied. Rules that we don’t even expect of those in the medical professions.

 Not a day goes past without a politician somewhere being accused of having a vested interest in projects that he/she has voted for. The fact is we cannot allow our new breed of politicians to be dragged into controversies. In short, those who  chose (and been chosen) to become full-time politicians should not be allowed any outside interest whatsoever. No business connections. No stocks or shares. And definitely, no close ties with any major money-making concern etc. Nothing.

Harsh but necessary.

[I think in particular of my local MP  Nadmim Zahawiwho before he became a minister was an MP who had ties to various oil companies. 
My question therefore is, Where does this leave me as a constituent?
The answer, The way I see it, unable to ask him questions regarding the environment.]

The role of politician is so important to all our lives. Especially in a democracy.  Honesty and service must always be the best policy. It is, without over-egging the pudding, a matter of life and death. One only has to look towards America to see what can happen when other interests take hold.

Trump.

 

 

 

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If War Should Come. Help from 1939.

‘IF WAR SHOULD COME’. Here’s some good advice from 1939 . Read carefully…then run away.

 

 

 

 



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An Open Letter to my American Friends.

My American Friends,

I’ll come straight to the point my American friends. I am worried about you. What has happened to you? Has someone put something in your water? Are you being slowly and secretly poisoned? What ever the cause of your slow demise, something is most definitely up. In the space of a few years the fast-moving river that was American has become a wave of sludge.

Where once you dazzled us with your style and invention. When once your brashness and your bravery to go anywhere took our breath away. All we have now are remnants and memories. How we loved your automobiles. We stamped our feet to your music.  And boy could you entertain us. You and never forget this, gave us Elvis, Doctor Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, John Wayne, John Kennedy. What a list. In our country, trapped in the grey fog (literally) of the 1950’s, you gave us hope. You brought colour and sound back into our lives and for that we thank you…

But look at you now.

From a Nation that recovered (albeit slowly) from a war (Vietnam) that almost tore the Country apart,  to a Nation that yes, although deeply wounded. fought back with stratospheric ideas so great that the whole world followed your lead and together, we moved forward. Oh what hope we had.

And yet, (because ‘when America sneezes the whole world catches a cold’) here you/we are again.

This time your bright light dimmed by an Alien in a crap human disguise who goes by the name of Trump. Trump. Not one of my friendsAn impostor who before your very eyes is bringing your once proud land into disrepute and mockery. An empty vessel of a ‘man’ who makes the loudest noise. A man who speaks in a language of his own making that only a two-year old can make sense of. A man who will bring you, my American friends, to your knees.

Even your historic villains made a better fist of it. The Capone’s, the baby-faced Nelson’s, the Bonny and Clyde’s. Even in their deadly personalities there was a kind of intellect, a reasoning, a common sense, that told them when the game was up.

Your once beautiful country has a very large storm cloud hanging over it.

I’m worried that soon that cloud will burst…and you my American friends, will be washed away.

The American friend's flag

 

What can we do to help?

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The Rise of the Food-Banks.

I cannot believe that Food-Banks exist in the UK in this, the year of our Lord, 2018.

It’s hard to believe that there are some families in this wealthy country of ours that do not have enough money to feed their children. A fact that goes beyond shock and deep into the territory of shame. The UK should be extremely ashamed that there are Food-Banks in virtually every Town and City in the UK. Plus the fact that it is rarely discussed.

OK, Food-Banks get a mention now and then from some well-meaning Bishop or Priest. But hardly a mention in the Press local or otherwise. Unless of course a particular Food-Bank is appealing for new stock or funds.

The absolute horror of Food-Banks should be discussed openly,  non-stop or at least until they vanish forever.

Here in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare Centre of the world, bolt-hole for wealthy pensioners and last but not least Tory strong-hold food-banks exists. Named (by me) after our local and Conservative Member of Parliament, the doubtful Nadhim Zahawi. The Stratford-upon-Avon, ‘Nadhim Zahawi Food Bank’ like all Food-Banks exists because of one thing and one thing only, the UK Government’s Austerity Policy. Its heartless drive to remove whatever benefits it can from those who need them most, has driven people to go hungry.

The shame of it all.

In the UK’S case the Rich really do get Richer and the Poor really do get Poorer . And if I were a Conservative voter I would want to run away and hide. So deeply ashamed would I be, I would never claim to be Christian again.  

[Find out all you need to know about the sad necessity of Food-Banks below with Amazon Books]



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Trace your roots with DNA. The Stuff of Life.

.I asked for and was lucky enough to receive a Deoxyribonucleic acid  (DNA) testing kit for my last birthday. A boy was it worthwhile, I found out exactly what I wanted to know. Plus a few extra surprises along the way. All in all a great result that actually got me to thinking along the lines of…’Shouldn’t these things be made compulsory?’

Freeing the Racists.

Just imagine how a few surprising discoveries about their blood lines via their DNA would shut some of the more vocal racists up. The look on their faces at the sudden realisation that they’re not as Anglo-Saxon as they thought would be a joy to behold. The knowledge that they live on an island (the UK) that has had over time hundreds of ports dotted along its massive coastline where randy sailors would dock and spend ‘time’ with the locals, (or as it is sometimes known ‘Dock & Cock’) producing all kinds of offspring, might do them some good.

It might also make them think more about their own ancestors and the likelihood that they weren’t (how can I put this?) er…static.

Of course, this hope of mine is mainly Pie in the Sky. The racists I have come across don’t have a brain cell between them let alone know what DNA is. Fuelled by hatred that they themselves struggle to explain, they normally dismiss anything that might make them think. Anything that might offer them a release from their paralysing thoughts and actions. The truth is they are lost. They wander in a desert of their own making. Never to experience the joy of knowing themselves or their neighbours.

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Facebook. Is Mark Zuckerberg your new Big Brother?

zuckerberg

             coo-eee

I think I might have finally beaten my Facebook/Zuckerberg addiction.

Thankfully, after a week of not posting, the sweats and shaking have stopped and I’m finally sleeping at night.

The latest revelations regarding Facebook’s involvement in the alleged manipulations of voting in various elections and referendums were more than enough for me to begin taking the threats Facebook poses seriously. And  my reason to go, ‘*cold turkey’ .

I think the problem has always been that we put power and information into these enterprises hands, lightly. Attracted by the word FREE we’ve thrown caution to the wind and without thought of the consequences tell our ‘secrets’ to the world using Mark Zuckerberg’s mighty machine. 

Never in a million years did we think that our boring, everyday existence could add up to anything useful. Let alone profitable. Little did we realise it might actually be used against us. We bought into this ‘new slavery’ without a care in the world.

Now, I hope we know better?

The old adage that tells us, ‘if you have nothing to hide why should you worry?’ (or words to that effect) is blatantly wrong. Facebook and the like prove that whether we know it or not, we all have something to hide. The truth is,  if we continue to post even the smallest detail of our lives, Facebook and friends can make something of it. Painting a telling picture that allows them to intrude on our lives. So, Buyer Beware.

It would appear that even the more outlandish conspiracy theories regarding ‘Big Brother’ etc, (see The Matrix,  1984,  David Icke, ) may well have a point.

*[ the abrupt and complete cessation of taking a drug to which one is addicted. “I had to go cold turkey]
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All he wants to do is see his boy but UK Family Law lets him down.

uk family lawNot a family in the usual sense of the word admittedly. In the end, all he wants to do is see his boy but UK family law has let him down.

It’s been a long time since I last witnessed the high levels of injustice and cruelty aimed at my good friend by UK family law. Levels of abuse and maliciousness that go way beyond anything I would have thought possible in a so-called civilised society. Ridiculous, when all he wants to do is spend some time with his young son.

It has to be said, that both he and his ex-partner realise that they made the wrong choice. However, whatever the initial driving force, they somehow, as is often the case, produced a delightful boy child.

People break up…

…of course they do, but for the life of me I cannot understand why one or the other producers of another human life would want to disallow access to a partner to their joint creation.

In my friend’s case (and I say this as a witness), his ex-partner is behaving like a monster. She will not allow him anywhere near his son, her reasoning, baffling. One can only assume she sees their son as some kind of weaponised bargaining tool, the problem being that she has no intention of bargaining. She is malicious. She is downright wicked. Who in their right mind would duplicate my friend’s Christmas present for his boy, thereby hatefully negating the need for my friend to deliver his own gift, which he hoped would be a lovely surprise? What kind of mind thinks like that?

To be honest how my friend has coped I really do not know. On many occasions I have feared for his sanity and asked myself how he able to find the strength to watch his child in the arms of her latest partner? Or how he copes with the threat that the police will be called should he approach?

Where to go?

My friend appears to have no comeback and his situation reeks of injustice. In UK family law there is no longer any financial/legal help for Fathers in my friend’s position. There is now no way he can receive the justice and hearing that he deserves, unless he has money.  The only way to fight this awful injustice is for him to pay.

There was a glint of light when his friends lent him money to go to court, yet at every turn she produces a new charge. Meaning yet another hearing and more expense.She (a recently baptised ‘Christian’) has accused my friend of being a drunk. He is not. It will cost him £400 for a hair strand test to prove his sobriety and then another one to check the first test was OK. Yet more money. More debts to pay. She has now made the dark insinuation (she should be ashamed), that the child would not be safe in my friend’s company.

There is no justice. And perhaps worse,  there is no punishment for those who frustrate his efforts to exercise his Father’s Rights with exaggeration, lies and unexplained bitterness.

For Christ’s sake…all he wants to do is see his boy.

Fathers For Justice.

 

 

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Thickness & 6 signs to watch out for.

Figures just released from The Federation of Unusually Collected Knowledge have proved beyond reasonable doubt that there has been an unexplained rise in the number of people in the United Kingdom, who can now be classified as, ‘Thick’. There are now official ‘thickness symptoms’.

The CEO of the Federation, Professor Ronald Plank was quoted yesterday as being, ‘not that surprised and pleased that thickness symptoms are now being recognised as real’.  

Questioned further Professor Plank added,

‘We believe that this sudden rise in ‘Thickness’ , sits alongside the growing popularity of Social Media.  Thickness and thickness symptoms have gone off the scale. Mainly because the belief among those suffering from the condition is that Twitter, Facebook etc has given them a voice. 
Unfortunately, this new-found belief in themselves and their opinions leads to over-kill. What was once a few words here and there becomes a flurry, leading inevitably to a torrent, and the birth of a ‘Troll’. 

Professor Plank explains in greater detail,

‘For those who are used to being ignored, mainly because they are incapable of expressing an intelligent opinion, this new attention to their troll-like behaviour comes as a great shock to the system. A shock that can and does lead to something akin to Post Traumatic Stress. One of their main reactions being the inability to shut up. In fact in the studies we have done, we have found that those suffering from most forms of Thickness symptoms tend to develop an almost 100% increase in posts and tweets. Usually a ‘fantasy dialogue’ that has no basis in reality which addresses figments of their restricted imaginations.
What they, the victims of this dreadful disease do not understand is their comments and attempts to add to a discussion or intelligent argument, do nothing of the sort and are in fact a waste of everybody’s time and above all are, meaningless. What they believe to be ‘facts’ are nothing of the sort. Mostly garbage sourced directly from purveyors of nonsense like the Daily Mail or in the worst possible scenario, the Sun.
Unfortunately, at the present time and for some time into the future,  thickness symptoms will remain largely incurable. The consequences will have to be tolerated and borne by the larger community, until such time progress is made in the treatment of the condition’.

Professor Plank went on to reassure people who were concerned about members of their own families by issuing a list of symptoms to watch for.

Thickness Symptoms.

1. Constant quotation of ‘facts and figures’ from the Daily Mail or The Sun (see above).

2. Standing in the background whilst TV interviews are being conducted out-of-doors. Sufferers tend to wave uncontrollably at the camera usually with a mobile phone to their ear.

3. Urge to post pictures of animals (pets) on Facebook (etc) whilst at the same time giving said beast, human attributes. For example; ‘Ah look, he’s/she’s smiling at me’.

4. Alumni of The University of Life.

5.  More than likely voted to leave the EU.

6. 

The early stages. A visual clue.

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The EU or Brexit. 5 reasons why I made my decision.

Let me be honest about this. When the news broke that there was going to be a vote on whether or not we should stay in the EU (the EU or Brexit), I was willing to listen. I did not have a rush of blood to the head and feel like kicking the cat. No, I was calm and open to suggestions. Open to sensible argument For and Against, I was willing to learn and have my eyes opened.  Even actually thinking…‘Ooh, this could be interesting’. As the vote approached I waited excitedly for the information to arrive that would help me make an educated vote.

What follows are some of the reasons (in no particular order) I decided in the referendum vote, ‘the EU or Brexit’?, to vote ‘REMAIN’.

ONE:    

There was not a lot of information (from either side), the EU or Brexit / Brexit or Remain. There was however, a lot of nonsense . Lots of ridiculous stuff about bananas. About ‘taking back control’. Stuff that seemed to be saying more about ‘Empire’ and reclaiming it than accepting that we now lived in the 21st Century. Jingoistic, spur-rattling crap and I’m afraid racism. There were some quite amazing appearances on TV of your ‘average’ passers-by who when questioned about the up and coming vote, went into instant racist mode, regurgitating the kind of bollocks that I haven’t heard since NF days. As though the EU or Brexit was totally an immigration issue.

TWO:   

A lot of the people spouting the Brexit crap were, in my opinion, exactly the kind of people who have throughout history talked the talk and never, ever, walked the walk. 

the EU or Brexit Nigel FaragePeople like Nigel Farage, a big of mouth, typical armchair General. A wannabe who dressed and acted the part of a little Englander perfectly. Beer, cigarettes, checked shirts, sleeveless body warmers and the kind of flat cap that only followers of the hunt wear. A persona forged in a mystical golden age that was the stuff of films like ‘The Four Feathers’ and 39 Steps. Wanna-be Officer class, ready at a moments notice to die for queen and country. The kind of person that the kind of person like me had always hoped would die out quickly. Unfortunately, they were there at the beginning of time and I have to accept they will be there when we all go up in a puff of smoke.

The EU or Brexit  Boris JohnsonThen of course there was/is Boris Johnson. Another little Englander set-piece but this time, the English Eccentric to a ‘T’. Bumbling and scruffy with the standard genius/intellectual hairstyle that mothers everywhere wanted to comb whilst at the same time tucking his shirt in. Endearing even. Our friend from the higher echelons of society.  Like us but not too much. Where lying was OK as long as the lie was delivered with a sly grin and a hint of humour, to be taken seriously but not too much. Thick.

Eton thick.

THREE:

That bloody bus. Who in their right mind would believe ‘£350 million every week to the NHS’ if we voted Brexit and left the EU. Eh? Come on? Pull the other one its got bells on it.

FOUR:   

The bigger the void, the more ridiculous characters involved on the Leave/Brexit side I began to weigh my position up more seriously. Then came my Damascus Road moment. I suddenly noticed that over the years and without actually realising it, I had begun to feel European, more EU. My palate was more educated.  Showers took prime place before a bath (and not just on Sunday). The clothes I wore were more stylish.  The EU or Brexit? It was becoming more obvious.

I noticed I would tie the sleeves of my sweater (NOTE: NOT pullover) and wrap it around my waist without thinking. Or, if I was feeling particularly daring,  even drape it around my shoulders.  No longer a poor relation of the French, the Italians, I felt…sophisticated. I could wear sandals without socks if I so should  choose. Even my environment was changing.  The streets were cleaner, the colours brighter and Holy Moley, restaurants were putting their tables and chairs…(gulp) outside. The choice between the EU or Brexit was becoming easier…until…

FIVE:   The EU or Brexit? No contest.

I realised that I/we had finally broken out from the greyness of 1950’s Britain and yet so subtle was the transformation into European Britain, that we had hardly noticed it.

I had made my decision.

 

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America falling…

The man Trump lives in his own made-up universe. He sees neither to the left of him or to the right. His upbringing was such that he does not feel the need to ponder wrong or right or even examine the evidence to assist him in making a decision. He was taught when he was young to have absolute total faith in his own judgement and know that failing that, whatever he wants can be bought.

Although his life’s pathway is littered with failure and destruction he is able to ignore the crashes and move on, at speed, to the next disaster.  This is because Trump himself does not recognise them as failures caused by his own inadequacies.   He is convinced that whatever it was that didn’t work (Trump steaks, Trump University etc, etc…) as he thought it would, he himself is not to blame. The fault lies with those employed by ‘others’. He can wash his hands of it and move quickly on (to the next disaster).

Trump. The village idiot born to the Lord of the Manor.

The lottery winner who has no knowledge of the world he lives in but who wants to travel…as long as it’s no further than Disneyland.

President Trump, no matter how many colleges he went to,  is totally uneducated and constantly surprised by the world around him. Trump does not realise that in order to be taught, one has to listen. Everything has sailed over his head, unheeded.  Because of this Trump has no sense of what went before. History to him is a blank. He does not understand the notion that a tree without roots will fall.

The Trump Delusion.

It follows that Trump believes himself to be the answer to every problem that the world has ever faced. Because of his lack of historical learning he really does not know that others have been there before him. That history has thrown up many heroes and villains all of whom have in someway earned the Tee-shirt in their efforts to confront (win or lose) the problem.

Trump believes he, like most of histories delusional explorers, is the first to set foot on a particular island. He absolutely believes his childish ‘solutions’ are new and fresh and somehow enlightening. Not realising for one second that his play-ground antics are the stuff of the kindergarten. Childish antics, that in an adult world can only lead to disaster.

Trump is dangerous. Way out of his depth and drowning. He should be removed as soon as possible before he pulls us all down with him. And if the first few months of his presidency are anything to go by, removed by any means necessary.

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Back home in Stratford-upon-Avon.

back home in stratford-upon-avonWell here we are, home again, back home in Stratford-upon-Avon. Back from sunny Cornwall to the Town that doesn’t know what it is. Sitting there in the middle of the UK (‘leafy Warwickshire) slowly being choked to death by the constant stream of traffic. Traffic that’s boring a hole through Stratford’s diseased heart. And talking of hearts, mine is heavy as the day draws ever nearer to when we pack up and go. (Update: Changed mind)

Since 1971 I’ve watched this town going through the painful process of vanishing up its own exhaust pipe, in an attempt to become er…what?

From the bright spark (Mr Bird) who removed most of the shopping out-of-town. To the greedy Royal Shakespeare Company who take and never give back.  Holding the town to ransom, whilst pretending they and Stratford-upon-Avon are somehow joined at the hip. Buddies even.

I’ve watched a lacklustre celebration of Shakespeare’s Birthday every year since ’71. And am always puzzled as to why no-one really wants to turn this ramshackle production into what it should be, entertaining and professional. I’ve even played my part to rid it of what once was a disgusting  yearly display of corrupt and evil politics. All in a wasted effort to return the ‘celebrations’ to the people. All we got for our efforts was a large horse-drawn badly constructed cardboard ‘cake’ with balloons. And a strange and obviously now permanent ceremony, that’s badly thought out and cringe-worthy. (‘Presentation of the Quill’ what the hell is that all about?)

In truth, I shall miss the place.

I shall miss the river. And I will miss the Council failing at almost every thing they try to do. I will always hope that the Dirty Duck will return to the days when it was a proper pub. And I will wonder if  the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald, will ever go tabloid.  I won’t miss the new and even bigger Big Wheel, or the crap statue of Shakespeare on the Bancroft with its elongated right arm even though it makes me smile. But I shall miss being back home in Stratford-upon-Avon,

I shall be ever thankful to the Stratford-upon-Avon that gave me my first real taste of theatre. It was as a scene-shifter backstage at the RSC, I witnessed a young and beautiful and sexy Helen Mirren. Thank you for that.  I’ll always remember how she ignored me.. And thanks to the RSC  for showing me the sheer potential of theatre. Of showing me that Doctor Theatre should be made available on the NHS. Of how, theatre-makers, now that the Priests are pretty much gone, are the only ones left with a duty to explore and testify. And of how this Tory-ridden society should, before it’s too late, value the profession more.

All in all I suppose it has been a worthy experience. and I’m taking a lot away with me.

But let’s face it, there comes a time when give and take just becomes, well…boring.

(Update: Change of mind. Now forever ‘back home in Stratford-upon-Avon’).

Posted in confession time, Family, Free, Hurrah, Personal, Stratford upon Avon, Taking a break, Theater, Theatre, Truth | Tagged | Leave a comment

Do not disturb…Brexiting…

After the Brexit vote.

A few months ago, just after the Brexit vote I found myself in a hotel in Cornwall, not far from the very popular and EU funded Eden Project. After dinner one evening and at the bar, I was enjoying a chat with some of the very pleasant staff when in passing and with some pleasure. They revealed to me that to a man and woman they had all voted ‘Leave’.

a sheep after the brexit voteHorrified at first, it wasn’t until I’d been in heated conversion for some time that I suddenly realised. That not one of them had any idea of what it was they had actually voted for.

Actually, that’s not true.

Upon further investigation it turns out that sadly, most of them had believed everything they had read in The Sun. Most appeared to have voted ‘Leave’ based around ‘the immigration issue’. Plus an unfounded fear of God knows what. All of them appeared to believe that after the Brexit vote all would be milk and honey.

When I pointed out that the hotel in which they all worked probably only existed because of the visitors to the EU funded Eden Project (and other EU funded projects in Cornwall), there was a moment of embarrassed silence  before the pathetic cry went up, ‘Oh well, I’m sure we’ll get through it OK’.

Duh.

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