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.




    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




    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.




    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 January, 2011

“Is there anybody there ?”

Posted by Big John on January 28, 2011

The old joke about atheists like me is that when they die they find themselves … “all dressed up with nowhere to go” … which is not a pleasant thought, but it has never made me ‘buy into’ the belief in an afterlife or a heaven.

Now with the release of Clint Eastwood’s film .. “Hereafter” .. a survey has shown that more than half of the people in this country believe in the possibility of life after death and all sorts of other rubbish about psychic powers, ghosts and guardian angels; and yet, strangely, only about a quarter of them claim to be religious and yet a third of the nation believe in heaven. Now I’m getting confused !

OK, so if it makes you happy to believe in such creepy things and does no harm it won’t bother me too much. However, I am concerned that 7% of those questioned would like a chat with Adolf Hitler in the ‘afterlife’ ( I’m also surprised that so many of the population know who Adolf Hitler was ), while far fewer fancy a meeting with Churchill ( They feared that he would try to sell them insurance ).

The only part of this superstitious nonsense that I am attracted to is reincarnation, but only if I get to choose my new role on this planet. Something like this would do nicely, but judging by the reviews of Clint’s latest movie, I feel that the great star is destined to return as …

….   a ‘Turkey’.

Posted in humour, rant | 6 Comments »

Sexist Sky Guys ?

Posted by Big John on January 25, 2011

Can you believe all this fuss over a bit of ‘tongue in cheek’ banter made about a female football (soccer) linesman .. lineswoman .. linesperson .. umm .. assistant referee ?

It is reported that the young lady concerned is an excellent referee which means that she must be able to handle foul mouthed players and not break down in tears everytime some moron hurls abuse at her. Can you imagine what she must hear coming from the stands as she runs the line on a Saturday afternoon ? … I bet that some of it even makes her smile, for it would be a difficult job to do without a sense of humour.

I like to see women ‘make it’ in a man’s world, for it usually means that they know how to hold their own when “boys will be boys” and I’m sure that Sian Massey is no exception.

I note that Andy Burton made a “sexist” remark in that he referred to Ms. Massey as … “a bit of a looker”.

Blimey ! .. In my day that would be considered as …

a compliment !

Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

It ain’t no demitasse.

Posted by Big John on January 23, 2011

I visited the USA a few times during the 1970′s and 80′s and was always staggered by the huge size of soft drink (soda) and beverage containers. It seemed that whenever I fancied some refreshment I was not offered the British choice of … “small” … “medium” .. or .. “large”, but the American … “large” … “extra large” .. or .. “JUMBO” ! Although this was a bit of a con when it came to sodas as each paper cup was half full of crushed ice, but what wasn’t a “con” was the free refill of decent coffee you received when eating at an American diner.

Of course that was long before ‘Starbucks’ decided to drown the world in fancy milkshakes masquerading as coffee and invent a new language. You know … all that … “latte” … “macchiato … “frappuccino” bollocks. I suppose they thought that if we were trying to translate the menu we wouldn’t notice the rip-off prices.

Now in the USA ‘Starbucks’ are introducing a new size receptacle … the ‘Trenta’ … which will contain a whopping 916ml. … that’s almost a litre ! … 600 calories of milky muck ! … OK, I know that at the moment ‘Starbucks’ say they will only sell iced coffee etc. in this size (that old half a cup of crushed ice trick again), but how long do you think it will be before Starbuck’s greed ‘public demand’ ensures that all varieties are available in the ‘Trenta’ size ?

I suppose that like all the other American gut-busters it will soon reach our shores where it will be eagerly grabbed by the fat fingers of our fast-food fanatics.

“Trenta” translates into English as ‘thirty’ which is probably the number of pounds you will be putting on if you gulp down this ‘super-size’ measure whenever you fancy a caffeine boost.
Some reports say that the capacity of the average stomach is only 900ml. I wonder if that is true ? … I think I’ll test it once again … I’m off down the pub …

   … for a pint or two !   ;-)

Posted in humour, nostalgia, rant | 5 Comments »

Should have gone to Brighton.

Posted by Big John on January 20, 2011

As someone who thinks that all religion is a load of old cobblers I have no particular ‘axe to grind’ when it comes to the case of the Christian hotel owners who refused a bed to two ‘gay’ men.

This case has proved to be a ‘nice little earner’ for Martin Hall and his civil partner Stephen Preddy who were each awarded £1,800 ($2,700) by the court, but there was some suggestion during the hearing that the hotel owners “were set up”.

Now far be it from me to accuse these two gentlemen of such a thing, but I would suggest that if they were not in it for the money they make a similar booking at a B & B in Bradford owned by …

…   a nice Muslim couple.  

Posted in humour, rant | 1 Comment »

Who do I think I am ?

Posted by Big John on January 18, 2011

Anyone who is familiar with my posts from a couple of years ago will know that many of them were on the subject of my family history since the late 19th century. In fact they were stories based on my own memories and tales from the surviving members of my large family.

Some of those tales told to me by grandparents, who were born during the ‘Victorian’ era, got me to wondering if I could trace my family history back to earlier times, so I started down the internet geneology trail and came up with some interesting finds. Everything from madness to murder !

I did not have a lot of luck tracing my mother’s ancestors (only as far as the 1750′s) as her’s was a fairly common English family name, but I was able to confirm some facts gleaned from my grandmother, such as that my great-great-grandfather had been a Lambeth “coffee house keeper” during the 1850′s, and that later the family had ‘fallen on hard times’ with some of my great aunts being put into an ‘orphanage’ and one great uncle being commited to an ‘insane asylum’. My great-grandmother is shown in the census of 1891 as “a widow living on her own means” … “at home … washing”.

When it came to following the direct line of my father’s family things became a bit more interesting for I was able to trace parish and other records back as far as 1635 to a family of “yeomen” in the county of Sussex, and probably to a family of wealthy landowners of the mid 1500′s,  possibly even to descendants of a Norman who fought at the Battle of Hastings (1066). Even the 1415 muster roll for the army of Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt shows … “ John —– , Yeoman Velettus – Archer”. Records also show a lawsuit of 1763 in which my ancestor is described as “a yeoman who possessed a large stock of corn, hay and cattle”.

Most of my ancestors had very large families and many lived long lives. One exception was a ‘John’ born in 1792 who only had two sons, one of whom is officially described as both an “idiot” and an “imbecile”. The other son met an untimely death in 1876 ..”being thrown to the ground by George Armstrong”. He is the last family member to be shown on record as a “farmer”, for I suspect that they became ‘victims’ of the ‘Industrial Revolution’, because my great-grandfather’s family moved from rural Sussex to the poorer outskirts of London, and from then onwards their occupations are recorded as .. “labourer”… “drover” … “porter” .. etc. One ‘John’ is on record at a ‘Quarter Sessions’ as .. “being charged with larceny : sentenced to two months hard labour”. A later workhouse record shows .. “that he had died from injuries received on the railway”. It appears that the poor sod was drunk at the time.

So no famous generals, industralists or politicians then, just ordinary working class folk  …. or were they ? …  Another branch of the family tree tells of a link to …

…   Well that’s another story.    ;-)

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 3 Comments »

Apocalypse When ?

Posted by Big John on January 14, 2011

WordPress have informed me that although I only posted once during 2010 I had more than 13,000 visitors to my blog, so I am tempted to start ranting again, starting with what has changed since my Christmas post of 2009 ?

BLOODY NOTHING ! …  The bankers are still awarding themselves billions  … the crooks at Westminster are thinking up new ways of fiddling their expenses … Reality TV and ‘celebs’ fill our newspapers …  global warming left us with snow up to our bums during the coldest December on record … Still no one has a clue as to why our young servicemen and women are dying in the arsehole of the world … We’re all doomed as the world ends in May  … and ‘er Maj ? .. Well I’ll leave her alone as she will be busy making sandwiches for Willy’s wedding.

So what does 2011 hold in store for us apart from that wedding? Well for a start there’s petrol (gas) at £6 per gallon (That’s about $9 to you lucky Americans). Not to mention VAT at 20% and lots of pissing about by Cameron and Clegg as they try to conceive new ways of emptying our pockets.

Still cricket fans started the year well with England’s win in the ‘Ashes’ , but as I don’t give a toss (“full” or otherwise) about cricket I’ll wait for that big event in May. That four horse race. My money is on the skinny bloke ….

…   on the “pale horse” !

Posted in humour, rant | 1 Comment »


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