bigjohn

There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

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  • My Life and Times

    I was born in 1939 BC. That's 'Before Computers'. Luckily I survived the following events in my life, such as World War II, The London Blitz, Rationing, and worst of all... Archbishop Temple's School.

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    During the mid 1950s I was enjoying Rock 'n' Roll and being a first generation teenager, when suddenly, just like Elvis, I found myself in uniform during 'The Cold War'...and then

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    I became 'a family'. Which meant that I sort of missed the 'swinging sixties', but still managed to look a complete prat in the 70s, just like everyone else.

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    During the 'Thatcher Years' I lost my hair and a lot of people lost a good deal more. My career fluctuated to say the least as I was demoted, promoted, fired and hired a number of times, but still I managed to stagger on into a welcome retirement and to celebrate 50 years of happy marriage.
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So who is that on the cover ?

Posted by Big John on September 20, 2014

I am about half way through reading a book about young people who fought in the French Resistance during World War II. It is a translation of a work by the leading French author Marc Levy: but I think something must have got ‘lost in translation’, for the main character in the tale, and ‘hero’ so to speak, who dreams about becoming an RAF pilot, is described as having …  “red hair, white skin dotted with red freckles” … and … “a short sighted gaze behind his glasses” …

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It’s just like in the movies, when they decide to film a ‘best seller’ and cast some actor who bears not the slightest resemblance to an interesting character as described in one of your favourite novels: and as for historical ‘blockbusters’, well who could forget the 1950’s epic load of ‘old cobblers’ .. “The Conqueror” .. starring the great Hollywood actor John Wayne as the much feared Mongol warrior …

… Genghis Khan !

Posted in humour, nostalgia, rant | Leave a Comment »

Does Mel Gibson know what’s going on ?

Posted by Big John on September 16, 2014

Only a couple of days to go before we could see the breakup of the United Kingdom, if the land of the ‘haggis bashers’ becomes an independent country.

To be honest, I couldn’t care less if the majority of ‘Jocks’ north of the border decided that they wanted to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall and make Rod Stewart their head of state.

‘Her Maj’ might be a bit pissed off at not being Queen of Scotland anymore, but I’m sure that the Scots would still allow her and her tribe to stay (hopefully for ever) at her favourite Balmoral Castle, for I’m sure that they would miss the hilarious sight of all that tartan being worn by a bunch of ‘Highland’ …

… Germans and Greeks ! 

Posted in humour, political, rant | 5 Comments »

Bumming around in Bergen.

Posted by Big John on September 11, 2014

I don’t know about you, but I’m not very keen on guided tours when I visit a foreign city, as following some lady holding up her umbrella to look at statues of kings you never heard of, or to view the interior of crumbling churches is not my idea of fun. I much prefer to wander around at my own speed, ‘take in’ the local architecture and observe the behaviour of the locals: and this is some of what I saw on my recent visit to the city (city ?) of Bergen …

First the famous fish market …  (click on images for a better view).

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.. where a paper plate of fish and chips will set you back about £15.00 .. (Approx. $25.00) !

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 “Don’t order the lobster, lady !”

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You might be better off with the goat or reindeer sausages.

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.. or one of those mouth-watering black lumps next to the smoked salmon ?

A short walk along the waterfront …

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 … is the Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf with it’s historical vessels … 

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… and picturesque old buildings …

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Now speaking of old buildings. I noticed this rather ornate one …

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… as I was walking away from the fish market. Umm ! .. I thought. What could it be ? .. A church ? .. a synagogue ? .. perhaps a civic building ? .. I took a closer look … and I should have guessed …

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 It was a fast food restaurant, selling the dish which the Vikings so loved.

Traditional Nordic …

… PIZZA !

Posted in humour, travel | Leave a Comment »

No more burnt toast !

Posted by Big John on September 3, 2014

In my kitchen I have a small toaster, with just two slots for the bread, and most mornings I have to decide if I want one or two slices of toast for my breakfast.

Now I have just found out that if I only put one slice of bread in the toaster and leave one slot empty I am wasting energy and helping to destroy the planet !

Can you believe that, not content with the ridiculous prohibition on vacuum cleaners, the EU bureaucrats little führers in Brussels have their eyes set on about 30 other electrical items, such as lawn mowers, hairdryers and, Yes ! .. Toasters ! … Not to mention all those brown envelopes stuffed full of Euros being passed under the table.

I recently read that the polar bears are now happy, but the seals (their lunch) are pissed off, because the ice in the artic is not melting: in fact, it is expanding: so all those crappy light bulbs which the EU forced me to buy are a waste of bloody time; as it now seems (well, for the moment) that there is not one shred of scientific evidence that man causes global warming; so, if not ‘man’, who then ? … Well, we know that it’s not those polar bears, but methane farting cows are still a possibility. Or perhaps it is just nature doing …

… what ‘nature’ has always done.

Posted in humour, political, rant | 1 Comment »

The Fjords vs ‘Facebook’ ?

Posted by Big John on September 1, 2014

Situated high up and towards the bow of our cruise ship …

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(click on images for a better view)

 … was ‘The Observatory’, a very pleasant and comfortable bar with large panoramic windows.  Needless to say that it was a very popular spot for many passengers, as it offered a great view of all the magnificent scenery as we cruised slowly along the beautiful fjords on our first day in Norway.

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Now you may find this hard to believe, but as I sat enjoying a cold beer and watching the mountains, waterfalls and pretty villages ‘drift by’, I noticed that many of my fellow passengers were not gazing out of the windows at the stunning landscape, but were fiddling with their smartphones or jabbing their fingers at their tablets, and a number were reading (mostly ‘Kindles’), or even knitting. Of course, “the best seats in the house” were occupied by selfish old farts who were taking their afternoon nap !

I wonder if they where the same passengers who, at our first port of call …

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… paid the rip-off prices to pack the tour buses, ‘Troll Trains’ …

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… and pleasure boats to view very similar (if not the same) mountains, waterfalls and villages as those they had failed to notice during the previous day’s scenic voyage ?

I heard one bloke say that he hoped to see a reindeer on his four hour pleasure bum numbing bus trip,. If he did, I bet it features …

… in a ‘selfie’ ! 

Posted in humour, rant, travel | 1 Comment »

The North Sea and beyond !

Posted by Big John on August 28, 2014

It wasn’t quite time to sing ..”For those in peril on the sea” .. but it was bloody close to it, as our cruise ship ploughed through rough seas and gales for a night, a day, and most of a second night on it’s way to Norway …

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The above photo shows the view from our cabin. Most passengers restricted their view to the inside of their cabins or, better still, to their bathrooms, where they spent a lot of time “talking to the big white telephone”: but “It’s an ill wind …”  as they say, as all those “Do not disturb” signs on all those cabin doors, meant that we more hardy souls could enjoy the pleasures of what appeared to be a half empty ship.

A very different view greeted me as I stepped out on deck early in the morning of the second day …

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(click on images for a better view)

Now, I know that our American friends (and some of us) refer to everything from a rock star to the Rocky Mountains as “AWSOME !”  …but, blimey ! this part of the world truly is …

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It could almost be that mythical …

 “Land of Ice and Fire” !

Posted in humour, travel | 2 Comments »

Fun in the fjords.

Posted by Big John on August 25, 2014

I have just returned from Norway, land of the Vikings: and guess what ? I bumped into one of Ragnar’s mates …

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… and possibly one of my ancestors.

Now speaking of ancestors, my old ‘trouble and strife’ definitely has that certain Scandinavian look about her, so I was not surprised when we met up with two of her long lost cousins …

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Not surprisingly, ‘she who must be obeyed’ refused to pose for a picture with them !

More on our cruise to the fjords to follow soon.

Posted in family, humour, travel | 2 Comments »

Here we go again. – Part Nine

Posted by Big John on August 13, 2014

I ended ‘Part Eight’ with President Obama’s statement … “I don’t rule out anything” ! … and guess what ? .. American warplanes are now shooting the shit out of yet another bunch of very unpleasant religious nutters in ‘Eye-Rack’. Although in this case they are trying their best to save the lives of a people, the Yasidis, of whom we had never heard until a few days ago.

Now we learn that British aircraft are involved, although so far, only in a humanitarian role.

Which brings me to my question … Why is it always the USA and some other western powers who have to try and solve the bloody problems of what is largely the ‘Arab World’ ?

OK, so I know that our own political ‘pygmies’, got this present mess started by naïvely thinking that democracy, human rights and religious freedom actually meant something to all the tribes, sects, political factions, military leaders and assorted crooks and bandits, not to mention every kind of religious loony in this part of the world: but surely it is about time that all the rulers of those oil rich states, and others, stopped counting their money and  flaunting their wealth and started to sort out the problems and help the persecuted people of their own region, and the followers of their own religion ?

I suppose that there isn’t much chance of that, when those now being slaughtered are considered to be ‘infidels’ or just the wrong kind of Muslim.

… Ain’t it great to be religious ?

Posted in political, rant, religion | 5 Comments »

 
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