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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Archive for March, 2008

“What bloody deadline ?”

Posted by Big John on March 30, 2008

Why is it that in this country nearly every major building project either fails to be ready on time or cannot function properly when it does open.

The latest cock-up is of course Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport. I won’t go into detail as you will all have already read plenty about it over the past couple of days.

In recent years we have seen a number of fiascos including Wembley Stadium, The Dome, The British Library etc. etc. … which makes me wonder …

Was it always so ?  …

“Don’t worry your Druidship. The henge is only a couple of stones short, and there’s always next year’s solstice to look forward to”…  or  … 

“Sorry Hadrian, old cock, but you’ll have to put up with all those blue painted buggers crossing the border for a bit longer as the gates for the wall don’t quite fit”… or …

“I know that the tower is not exactly white William, but those stupid Saxons won’t notice anyway ?”  … or …

“So we are running a bit late bishop, but then it’s a long way to Canterbury and we’ve only got one horse and cart”…  or  …

“Tis true, Mr Shakespeare, that we hath forgotten to finish ye thatched roof on ye theatre , so let us pray that it doth not pissith down on ye opening night”… or …

“What’s that Albert ? …  There is plenty of glass, but they’ve run out of putty. We are not amused”.

It’s now four years until London hosts the multi-billion pound 2012 Olympic Games, so Seb Coe and his mates have plenty of time to pocket their hard earned cash and ensure that all will be ready on time, but don’t be surprised if you see some bloke in a hard hat standing in the middle of a muddy field and hear those familiar words …

… “Opening when ? … No chance guv ! … Where do you think you are ? …

…     bleeding Beijing ?” 

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

Me and the Mahatma.

Posted by Big John on March 27, 2008

My friend .. ‘Longrider’ .. recently published his result after taking the ‘Political Compass’ .. test ..  so I thought that I would have a go.

Now I don’t usually take these sort of things too seriously as very often the questions are posed in such a way that a simple ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ cannot express one’s true opinion on some subjects.

Anyway here is the result of my test after answering six pages of questions  …

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… Well how about that ?

So, would you have guessed from some of my rants and comments that this grumpy old git would find himself in such company as Gandhi, Mandela and The Dalai Lama ? …

Now that’s what I call ‘a result’ :-D

Posted in humour, political | 7 Comments »

Brats behaving badly.

Posted by Big John on March 25, 2008

We’ve recently had stories in the newspapers about children arriving at school for the first time who cannot use a knife and fork, are unable to string a few words together, and are still wearing pull-up nappies (diapers) because parents are failing to teach them the basic skills they need before they start school.

Now it seems that teachers are complaining about another group of kids whose doting parents bring them up in a culture of instant gratification and then send them to school with no sense of basic social etiquette or proper moral boundaries. In other words they are “little princes and princesses” who refuse to do work they find hard or boring, in the knowledge that ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ will leap to the aid of their spoilt offspring should anything negative happen or their right to a stress-free existence be questioned.

National Union of Teachers boss Steve Sinnott has called for more advice for parents who struggled to say “no” to their children.

“Advice” ! … “Struggle” ! :roll: .. and he’s a bloody teachers’ leader ?

Still never mind because the president of the NASUWT Amanda Haehner has advised their annual conference that she has got it worked out, for apparently it’s all due to … 

“A materialistic society which so readily promotes a culture of immediacy through new media and technology makes the concept of deferred gratification inherent in education anathema to many.” :???:

She went on to warn that the problem was fuelled by the testing culture in schools which risked producing a … “Dickensian education system”.

Ah ! ‘Dickensian’ .. Now there’s an idea ! … If only Mr Wackford Squeers …

…    could chair the next meeting.  :evil:

Posted in humour, political, rant | 2 Comments »

Happy Easter !

Posted by Big John on March 22, 2008

“Spring is sprung.
The grass is riz. 
I wonder where the birdies is ?”

I suspect that they are freezing their little ‘nuts’ off, as there is a gale blowing from the Arctic on to the North Kent coast, snow is forecast, Sainsbury’s is stacked to the ceiling with chocolate eggs, it’s 50% off day at every retail park, ‘Ben Hur’ is on TV again, and most public transport is at a stand-still … so …

It must be Easter !

Now it wouldn’t be Easter without some religious controversy would it ? … and this year is no exception with the usual heated debates about … stores being open for business … gambling … the sale of alcohol … and, of course, hot cross buns offending some religious minority. :-D

I’ve been watching the BBC/HBO production of ‘The Passion’ and believe it to be one of the best and most realistic portrayals of the last days of Jesus ever depicted on the screen.

However it has upset religious traditionalists by portraying Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate in a sympathetic light, and does not show the usual ‘image’ of Christ on the cross, but instead, shows a method of crucifixion based on evidence found in the grave of a victim of this terrible form of execution.

Whenever I see the traditional ‘Catholic’ crucifix I am reminded of the two old dears visiting a shop full of tatty Christian souvenirs …

“Ooh, look at all those crosses, Ada. They’ve even got a little man on some of them”.

There has never been a more powerful symbol than the cross, although the swastika came pretty close, but I can’t help wondering what people would be wearing around their necks if the Romans had  …

…    invented the electric chair ?   :???:  

Posted in humour | 4 Comments »

Do you get a ‘no claims bonus’ ?

Posted by Big John on March 20, 2008

Everyone has the right to believe whatever they want to when it comes to religion, but it has always seemed to me that many people look on religion as some sort of insurance policy; and now it looks like I was right, as a study presented at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference in Coventry makes just this point when it says that people with such a “policy” are likely to be happier than atheists and agnostics, as religion acts as a type of “insurance” against personal disaster.

Now I always thought that people looked at it as more of a ‘life’, or should I say ‘afterlife’ policy rather than personal ‘emergency’ or ‘accident’ cover. 

In other words people pay the ‘premium’ of going through all the rituals and mumbling the right words every so often, in the hope that, maybe, they will be able to cash in their ‘policy’ if or when they reach the ‘Pearly Gates’.

Umm! … That’s a pretty big ‘maybe’, and nothing to feel too happy about.    

It’s a bit like insuring your baggage when you book a flight and getting that uneasy feeling that you might never see it again as you approach the check-in desk. Do you feel happy then ?  … I doubt it ! :-( 

So how does ‘going through the motions’ of religion in the hope of covering your arse on Judgment Day make you a happier person ?

It beats an old athiest like me, for I’m very happy to be unburdened with superstitious and supernatural beliefs, and I’ve never trusted bloody insurance companies, so I’m comforted with the thought that on the day when they screw down the lid, and I’m ‘all dressed up with nowhere to go’ I won’t have to bother   …

…    to check the ‘small print’.  :-D

Posted in humour | 3 Comments »

“All in the best possible taste”.

Posted by Big John on March 17, 2008

I don’t know much about French politics or politicians, but I do know that the French are well known for their elegance and good taste when it comes to ‘putting on the style’, so I was amazed to read that President Nicolas Sarkozy is in danger of embarassing ‘er Maj when he visits her next week by wearing his ‘chunky’ Rolex watch and Ray Ban sunglasses.

Blimey ! …  If  they call him the ‘King of Bling’ !

How about  …  :roll:

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…       this little collection ?  :lol:

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

No swearing please. We’re …

Posted by Big John on March 13, 2008

Amongst all the old cobblers about ‘Britishness’ recently ‘spouted’ by Lord Goldsmith and his mates, is the un-British suggestion that young people should swear some kind of oath of allegiance

Now as someone who would never take any sort of oath to ‘er Maj or swear on any kind of holy book, I have to say that there is something ‘sinister’ about this idea of taking oaths in general.

Oath taking always reminds me of secret societies, creepy ceremonies at midnight, men dressed in white sheets and ‘wiseguys’ getting ‘made’.

However, I’m sure that Lord Goldsmith envisages some American style ‘hand on heart’ oath with words like …

“I promise to do my duty in love and loyalty to the Queen and our flag.”

OK, so lets ignore the fact that half the little buggers leaving school wouldn’t know who the Queen is, let alone know where to place their hand, and assume that they were able to mumble the above oath without adding “yer know wha’ I mean?”. Well that wouldn’t be too ‘sinister’ would it ?

Perhaps not, but that same oath was once taken by another group of young people, except that oath included the word ..  ‘Führer‘ .. instead of the word ‘Queen’. It was, in fact, the oath of allegiance of  .. ‘The Hitler Youth’, and we all know … 

…  what good citizens many of them became.  ;-)

Posted in humour, political | 7 Comments »

“One man went to mow” …

Posted by Big John on March 11, 2008

The sound of lawnmowers has been in the air around here since the middle of February: so the other day I decided that I had better have a go at my patch of weedy grass before it got out of hand.  

It’s not a very big lawn, but it’s finished off two lawn mowers in the past ten years, and number three looked much the worse for wear as I wheeled it out of the shed after it’s winter hibernation.

Before I could even start mowing my lawn, one of the wheels came off and the grass box fell apart as soon as it hit one of the many humps on what I’m sure must be the site of some ancient Saxon burial ground. The spring which held the box in place flew over a hedge never to be seen again, as the motor whined to a shuddering stop.  

“Bollocks !” :mad: I said as I kicked the ‘Made in China’ sticker on the side of the mower and decided, there and then, to ‘invest’ in a ‘quality’ machine.

Now having bought one or two German made household appliances and power tools in the past, I decided to say “sod the expense” and go for the latest thing in grass cutting technology from ‘ze farterland’.

Having returned from my local B&Q with my new mower …

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… I decided not to waste any more time and immediately unpacked the box and commenced to assemble the machine. After an hour or so of total confusion, I threw away the bloody useless assembly instructions …  

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 …  and was ready to declare ‘blitzkrieg‘ on the lawn.

I’m pleased to report that my new ‘Rasenmäher’ swept through my tangled mass of grass like a proper Prussian ‘panzer’, leaving not a blade untouched, which is surprising since I still have five plastic parts and a couple of screws in the bottom of the box …

…    which must fit somewhere. :???:      

Posted in humour | 4 Comments »

 
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