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 January, 2012

Get there if you can !

Posted by Big John on January 31, 2012

Oh Dear ! … Well there’s a surprise ! … Someone has just discovered that there will be 3,000,000 extra passengers trying to squeeze onto London’s buses and Tube (subway) trains  during the Olympics, and bonkers Boris wants to add a few more by inviting Seb Coe and his ‘gravy train’ mates to enjoy the experience. So who’s going to ride in all those limos along all those dedicated VIP traffic lanes ?

As usual I am beginning to wonder if anyone has a clue about how to avoid complete chaos, apart from coming up with a website giving details about transport ‘hot-spots’ and which advises those poor buggers trying to get to and from work to “stagger” their travel times, alter working patterns and suggests, can you believe ?, that commuters might like to “have a beer” and go home an hour or two later rather than face the crush at the busiest times. Here is part of this ‘Idiots’ Guide’ !

It’s been more than ten years since I struggled to get in, out, and around London during my working day, and it was bloody murder then, so I dread to think what it must be like now, and, as I remember, Friday evening was a particularly bad time to leave the city, so I wonder what ‘bright spark’ had the great idea of holding the opening ceremony on Friday 27th July, one of the busiest holiday getaway weekends of the summer when traffic levels are already around 30% above average. The M25 will be fun !

Oh! .. and before I forget, I see that ‘Bully-Boy’ Bob and his ‘bandits’ are not happy with the latest ‘bribe’ to keep the trains running during the games. Still I suppose that their ‘bonus’ will hardly be noticeable amongst the staggering cost of an event in which most of the country has little or no interest.

I see that there will not be any parking at or around venues, so spectators are being encouraged to travel by public transport, (that is, of course, if it’s running and you can fight your way onto a train) or walk or cycle for bloody miles. Still, at least if you do that you won’t be stuck, sweating in a traffic jam and …

… the pissing rain will soon cool you down. 

Posted in humour, political, rant | 2 Comments »

“Where have you hidden the baked beans ?”

Posted by Big John on January 26, 2012

Today I thought that I would break the record time for doing the ‘weekly shop’ as I had a fairly straight forward list of items to grab as I zoomed around my local Sainsbury’s which, of course, I know ‘like the back of my hand’. I was wrong !

Right ! .. First stop, fruit and veg .. No problem .. Now for some fresh pasta .. Oops ! .. It’s not there .. OK ! .. I’ll pick up a pack of bacon .. No! .. There’s cooked chicken where the bacon should be, and all the sausages have gone missing !

Yes ! .. You’ve guessed it ! .. Some management moron has decided to re-arrange half the store and this is confusing and pissing off both customers and staff alike, so Gawd knows how it is affecting the “zombies“.

Now perhaps I am being unfair to the manager, as he was probably only obeying orders from ‘head office’ where some marketing expert prat thinks shifting stuff around the store increases sales, because he’s been on a course where an even bigger prat told him that getting the customers to seek out what they need prompts them to buy other items which they discover during their search.

So some old lady who is looking for her favouite low fat yoghurt will buy the jalapeño dip which now sits on the shelf in it’s place, and the harrassed mum, with screaming brat in tow, will forget about the orange juice and buy a bottle of extra virgin olive oil instead.

I suppose that it is all to do with “impulse buying” or some such theory, but all it does is give me the impulse to push my trolley (cart) …

…  around another store !

Posted in humour, rant | 7 Comments »

Will barmy BoJo’s dream come true ?

Posted by Big John on January 21, 2012

“Is the world ready for ‘Boris Island’ ?” … is the headline in ‘The Independent’.

Well I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I’m bloody not and that’s for sure, as I happen to live on the Kent coast close to the Thames Estuary where it is proposed a giant ‘hub’ airport should be built.

I got pissed off and became a ‘NIMBY’ (not in my back yard) when some prat decided to spend hundreds of millions of our money erecting dozens of useless wind turbines a few miles off the coast close to the same ‘wildlife sanctuary’ area which is alive with birds and protected by European statutes: but I am afraid that no amount of protests and petitions will ever stop our dodgy politicians allowing their mates to push ahead with their plans, safe in the knowledge that even if they are branded as environmental vandals, they will be rewarded with seats ‘on the board’, secret shares and jobs for family and friends, and probably a large brown envelope ‘bunged’ under the table. I wonder how many construction companies are major donors to the Tory party ? Blimey ! they are even prepared to give the go-ahead to build a high speed rail link right through the heart of many of their own ‘back yards’.

Can you believe that our Dave only recently said that he loved his Oxfordshire constituency and would no more risk the countryside “than I would risk my own children”; and now the two-faced Tory twit thinks that his Old Etonian chum has plans which are worth a second look, despite the fact that he previously derided them.

… I wonder why ?

Posted in humour, political, rant | 2 Comments »

More “Bread and Circuses”.

Posted by Big John on January 18, 2012

I see that we are well on the way to having 3 million unemployed people in this country, as I read every day about major businesses closing down or laying off staff in large numbers.

I won’t go into great detail, as you only have to read the papers or watch the TV news to see that cuts are being made everywhere to save money. The elderly and those in need of care are being badly hit, our armed forces are being cut to the bone and the National Health Service is struggling to care for the sick.

So, am I depressed ? … Of course not ! … Why ? … Because this year we will all be able to forget our hardships, enjoy the spectacle of the Olympic Games and say … “Sod the expense !” … for it’s only costing £9.3 billion (and the rest !), which makes the millions being spent on ‘er Maj’s Diamond Jubilee look like a mere ‘drop in the ocean’. Just what the country needs, another excuse for a day or two off work. Of course, that’s assuming …

…  you still have a job !

Posted in humour, political, rant | 3 Comments »

“If you don’t ask …”

Posted by Big John on January 15, 2012

When it comes to insurance company employees, I always feel that they seem to put great effort into two aspects of their work. One is to sell you a policy and the other is to avoid paying out when you make a claim, which always makes me reluctant to talk to them.

Now until recently I had a policy covering household emergencies, such as blocked drains, electrical faults, plumbing problems etc. which the insurance company advised me was due to expire. They also asked me if I wanted to renew my policy on the same terms as before. 

Before agreeing I thought it would be a good idea to ‘shop around’ on the web. I included my existing insurer in my search, only to find that they were offering the same deal as they were offering me to new customers, but at a much cheaper price. In fact it was about 20% less than the price I was paying.

When I ‘phoned their customer relations department I was told that I could not renew my policy at this lower price as I was an existing customer and therefore did not qualify for this special ‘on-line’ deal which they were making to attract new customers.

“OK” .. I asked .. “what if I cancel my policy which is about to expire, and apply as a new customer for the special deal ?”

“I’ll ask my manager” .. replied the polite lady at the other end of the line. I expected her enquiry to result in a load of old cobblers about breaking insurance industry rules etc. So after a couple of minutes I was amazed to hear .. “That’s fine, just apply on-line and we will treat you as a new customer and cancel your old policy”.

A small victory I know, but one which … 

… quite made my day !   :-)

Posted in humour | 5 Comments »

Aisles of the living dead.

Posted by Big John on January 11, 2012

It’s been some time since I met a true Sainsbury’s ‘zombie’, although once it used to happen on a fairly regular basis.

When I say ‘zombie’ I don’t just mean those who wander the supermarket aisles in a bit of a daze, or guide their trollies (carts) on auto-pilot, but those who have been completely taken over by some weird force and are bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to some degree to surrounding stimuli.

I met such a one this morning when I was unloading the items from my very full trolley onto the checkout conveyer. I turned away for a second, and when I turned back to reach for a plump free range chicken … It was gone ! … and so was my bleedn’ trolley !

Yes, there ‘it’ was pushing my half full cart towards an empty checkout halfway up the store. I caught up with what had the appearance of a woman ….

“Excuse me” .. I said .. “but that’s my trolley you have there”..

She turned her eyes towards me, and I could see that “the lights were on but there was no one at home”.

“Can I have my trolley back ?” I asked.

The creature replied … “I am using it”.

“I’m sorry, but it’s half full of my shopping” I said as I gently removed the handle of the cart from her grasp.

She stood in the aisle with a vacant look on her face as I returned to my place at the checkout.

Perhaps I should have asked her if she needed a voodoo priest, or perhaps, before I regained my trolley, I should have just …

 …  let her pay for the goods.    ;-)

Posted in humour | 6 Comments »

British aggressive behaviour.

Posted by Big John on January 7, 2012

I recently received this link from my friend Ramana who is a resident of the City of Pune, where one of the victims of the festive season violence lived. (Update … a total of 12 people were murdered during the period)

This rather alarmist report on “social life” in the UK today gives food for thought, but I’m not sure that I agree completely with the statement that … “Nowadays, wherever the British gather socially, you get the feeling that things could get nasty at any moment. The young British get drunk en masse, they scream and shout en masse, they make fools of themselves en masse, and they become aggressive and paranoid en masse.” … but there is certainly some truth in it, as anyone who dares to visit our town centres on Friday and Saturday nights will know only too well.

I won’t bore you with “in my young days” comparisons, but I must say that when I look around I can hardly believe how this country has changed in the past fifty or so years, especially when it comes to the disgusting behaviour of some of our young people who show no respect for anyone or anything and follow their role model ‘neanderthal’ football (soccer) stars and foul mouthed drunken ‘celebs’ along the slippery path that leads to aggression, violence and the gutter.

Once if you accidently knocked over someone’s drink in a crowded pub, a “Sorry mate” and the offer to buy a replacement would end the matter, but now you have to be aware that a minor incident like this could lead to a glass in the face or far worse; and if you happen to glance at some yob on the street and hear .. “wot yoo f*****g lookn’ at ?” .. you could be about to experience a diet of hospital food for the next few days.

Yes, we certainly do have a problem in the UK, but I think that the image of a Britain where .. “The citizenry either joins in the menacing revelry itself or retires behind closed doors like the Transylvanian peasantry avoiding Dracula after dark” .. is a little ‘over the top’ to say the least.

However, once again, our government hasn’t the slightest idea of how to deal with the situation, so perhaps I should offer to bore them with some of those “in my young days” comparisons …

… it might give them a clue as to where to start.

Posted in political, rant | 3 Comments »

Let the circus begin.

Posted by Big John on January 2, 2012

I don’t pretend to know too much about American politics, except that how much money a candidate can put into his or her election campaign and how much mud they can sling seems to influence the voters; and in some parts of the US how big a religious nutter you are also seems to help, and this certainly seems to be the case in Iowa at the moment.

Newt and Mitt (where do they get these names ?) are Republican politicians who have been around for some time, and of course I have heard of the scary Michelle Bachmann and a few of the others, but where did this bloke Rick Santorum suddenly come from ?

Oh shit ! … I’ve just read that he is a looney evangelical who is known for his stance against gays, was a firm supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, believes in all that ‘intelligent design’ crap, and is in favour of bombing ‘Eye-Ran’ !

Umm ! reminds me of a former Republican resident of the White House. I only hope that, unlike old ‘Dubya’, he doesn’t have …

…  a direct line to the Almighty !

Posted in humour, political | 4 Comments »

 
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