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 June, 2011

Who said that it wouldn’t last ?

Posted by Big John on June 17, 2011

Next month I will have been married to the old ‘trouble and strife’ for 50 years. In fact we have been together for 52 years, and that IS a bloody long time !

As part of our ‘Golden Wedding’ celebrations we are treating ourselves to a cruise, so it’s off to the ‘Med’ for a couple of weeks of serious eating, drinking and doing bugger all  … Yipeeee !!!

If I don’t manage to post from the ship I’ll be back on line in early July.

Must go now as …

…  I have to sit on a suitcase.   :-)

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 8 Comments »

“Sod the expense, just don’t drop the mike”.

Posted by Big John on June 15, 2011

Why is it that so many reports on TV news programmes have a reporter standing in a street or some public place when the report in question could just as easily be given by a studio news reader aided by a few video clips ?

Every day I watch rain soaked and wind blown TV journalists trying to explain what went on in the building behind them, while some hoodie moron jumps up and down within the camera shot waving to his mum or making obscene gestures. Very often a police car or ambulance drives by with sirens howling making it impossible to hear what is being said as the reporter clamps his earpiece to his ear to try and drown out the roar of passing traffic.

As if that’s not bad enough we have top news presenters being flown around the world at great expense to report ‘live’ from the scene of some major event or disaster, except that very often they are nowhere near the action… e.g. …

“Here is our ace reporter fresh from the bar at his luxury hotel, reporting from the South African border with Zimbabwe as members of the press are not allowed in that country ” ! … or …

“Here I am on the red carpet in Hollywood for the premier of the latest blockbuster movie interviewing someone you have never heard of because all the ‘A’ list stars ignored me on the way in” !

BBC .. ITN .. Sky .. They all do it: and while I’m on the subject … Why does it take two people to read the news ? … and who needs it … non-stop … for …

…   24 hours a day ?

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

“It’s my turn to wear the blue sash”.

Posted by Big John on June 13, 2011

I see that the old royal dressing up box was in great demand for last Saturday’s Trooping the Colour, although Katie has not yet got around to wearing a ‘comic opera’ uniform, unlike Anne (“If it doesn’t eat hay and farts she isn’t interested” … her dad) or a Bonnie Prince Charlie Highland outfit like Edward (Royal Marines-Failed !), the so called Earl of Wessex. For some reason Randy Andy was in civilian garb, perhaps nothing in the box fits him, or maybe his mum won’t let him play anymore for being such a naughty boy. 

Willy still can’t make up his mind if he is in the RAF or the Irish Guards, but at least (well so far) he only wears one medal (Oh! .. and a big brooch) given to him by his gran, unlike his dad who seems to collect ‘gongs’ for doing bugger all: and as for the ‘ginger spare’, well he came dressed as a Horse Guard, although he is supposed to be a pilot in the Army Air Corps. The army may trust him with a horse, but surely not with an Apache Helicopter ! 

What a weird bloody lot the ‘royals’ are, living as they do in some fantasy world of fancy costumes, orders and decorations. Blimey ! …  ‘er Maj still hands out Orders of the British Empire.

Please remind me …

…   When did we last have an Empire ?

Posted in humour, rant | 8 Comments »

A fluffy tale from long ago.

Posted by Big John on June 9, 2011

I see that London now has a new Playboy Club after the old one closed down around thirty years ago.

At that time I was working as sales manager for an up-market company in London’s West End and my boss suggested that I become a member as it seemed an ideal place to ‘entertain’ customers. Needless to say I did not object, and as it was all ‘on expenses’ I was soon using the place for those all important ‘business lunches’ and some not so important and more ‘relaxed’ ones with my mates. The restaurant in the gambling area was one of the best and cheapest in London at the time, and those ‘up from the country’ prospective clients just loved their visit to Park Lane as they were served by those famous ‘bunnies’.

Now I read that it was the haunt of the rich and famous, but although it was all very ‘James Bond’ I never bumped into “Frank Sinatra, Roger Moore or Sammy Davis Jnr.”,  just a bunch of oil rich Arabs, a few oriental gentlemen gambling away their ‘China Town’ restaurants, and one or two dodgy types pretending to be Michael Caine.

When I look back on those days it all seems so very ‘tame’. It was the sort of place where you could take your wife, and I did just that: so I wonder how it will fare in today’s all too ‘raunchy’ world ? It will be interesting to see …

Oh !… and by the way I still have my old international key card ….

….   I wonder if they will let me in ?

Posted in humour, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

“Hi ! Is me wot u doing ?”

Posted by Big John on June 6, 2011

The other day I called in at my local pub for lunch. I don’t do this very often as it is one of those “family friendly” places with signs outside proclaiming … “Kids eat for £1″ etc. Still the food and wine are good value for money even if the dishes are not exactly ‘cordon bleu’, and when the little angels are in school it’s not a bad place to relax for an hour or two and observe some of the more exotic types who frequent this establishment.

Now I use the word “exotic” with good reason, for this pub does seem to attract a number of the ‘bling’ and tattoo brigade, not to mention one or two who are probably from the local branch of “care in the community”; and this day was no exception; for sitting at the next table was a young woman who looked like she was a refugee from the top trash TV show ‘The Only Way is Essex’, ( Yes, this is BAFTA winning entertainment ! ), complete with orange skin, someone else’s hair and lips like a bouncy castle. Next to her sat a teenage clone, although she did appear to have her own hair, but was wearing slightly fewer clothes. Both were clutching mobile (cell) phones and both were frantically texting.

The older woman switched from texting to ‘live’ calling while the younger one continued to jab away at her keypad which must have been difficult considering the length of her glittering false fingernails. They continued with this activety all through lunch, and I never once saw them speak to each other.

I say “all through lunch”, but for them lunch was a bit of a nonevent, for despite the fact that they had ordered starters, huge main meals and several side orders, most of it was cleared away without being touched. What on earth could be so important that it prevented them from putting down their phones and picking up their knives and forks ? … The latest ‘celeb’ news ? … The X Factor winner ? … Where to get a ‘vajazzle‘ ? .. or .. Perhaps they were just on …

…  the latest ‘BlackBerry’ diet ?

Posted in humour, rant | 6 Comments »

Tough luck lady !

Posted by Big John on June 4, 2011

I’m not a gambling man, but today is ‘Derby Day’ and it is one of the few occasions when I will have a little ‘flutter’, so I have ventured a fiver each way on … No, not the Queen’s horse, Carlton House, which is favourite to win, but on the French horse, Pour Moi.

I’m now off to watch the race on TV ….

Yipeee !!!! …. I won !    :-)

I’m not sure which I’m enjoying most ….  The thought of collecting my winnings from the local bookie … or seeing the sour look …  :-(

…   on ‘er Maj’s face !  

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

Kids without books.

Posted by Big John on June 2, 2011

This article in The Guardian about children and books reminded me of a post which I published in January 2008. I think it may be worth a fresh look …

Neither of my parents had much of an education, both having left school at an early age.

My father started work when he was thirteen, taking over a milk delivery round from a man who had gone off to fight in World War I in 1914. My dad always joked that the horse that pulled the cart was smarter than he was.

My mother left school at a similar age and had just started work in a draper’s shop when that war ended in 1918.

Although lacking in formal education they were both literate and far from stupid, in fact my mother, who worked in a laundry for most of her life (it paid a shilling a week more than the drapers) ended up running the place, after she undertook to do the ‘book-keeping’ and other clerical work, even though she had never been trained to do so.

Now I have to say that although my formal education lasted until I was sixteen (and a half) I was not the greatest of scholars and my school reports always had lots of .. ”must try harder” .. or .. ”needs to pay more attention” .. comments when it came to such subjects as maths, science or Latin. However, I wasn’t too bad at ’English Language’ and always enjoyed the ’English Literature’ lessons: but how I hated that homework! … I would sit at the kitchen table struggling with logarithms and bloody theorems or trying to memorize “amo, amas, amat” and wondering why plurals didn’t end in ‘s’, and verbs had to go at the end of sentences.

My parents couldn’t help me with my homework, but they did more to educate me than they ever knew, when they forked out some of their hard earned cash for me to join a book club.

Although I used to borrow books from the public library, the ones I got in the mail every few weeks were mine to treasure until this day. Reading them and re-reading them stimulated my interest in literature, and led to the eclectic collection of books which now weigh down my bookshelves.

The actor Michael Caine is famous for his … “Not a lot of people know that” … when divulging some little known fact, and when I sometimes do the same, and am asked … ”How did you know that ?”… I simply reply …

“I must have read it in a book sometime.”

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 5 Comments »

 
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