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, 2012

Blogged off for now !

Posted by Big John on March 30, 2012

I’m away at the moment on family business, but will be back in a few days,  So please …

… keep watching this space.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Don’t munch this bunch for lunch.

Posted by Big John on March 25, 2012

On my weekly trip to Sainsbury’s I decided to ‘splash out’ and buy a £1 bunch of ‘daffs’. When I picked them up I was amazed to see the attached label … 

No ! .. I wasn’t surprised by the price but by this  …

Just as I was thinking … “who the bloody hell would eat daffodils ?” … a lady standing next to me saw the look on my face, and in a rich voice straight from ‘the valleys’ said …

 “We do in Wales luv” !

 

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

“Parlez-vous pidgin?”

Posted by Big John on March 22, 2012

My local medical centre has a reception area where three ladies sit behind a counter, check you in and direct you to the correct waiting area for treatment, tests, or a consultation with your ‘GP’. This procedure usually takes a couple of minutes, but for those who can’t wait, there is a touch screen computer ‘self check-in’.

I have never seen anyone use this system, so being the nosey old git that I am, I had a look to see just how complicated it was to use. It seemed straight forward enough, but I could see how some old dear might be confused when she has called in to have her haemorrhoids checked-out and is confronted with something like this …

If this old biddy did not speak English she could get her anal analysis translated into any one of 120 languages for free on the NHS. Well it’s not exactly “free” as it costs the British tax payer around £23 million a year.

Now it has been revealed that other government departments including the Department for Work and Pensions are spending a bloody fortune on providing translation services in just about every language on earth, including “Nigerian Pidgin”.

I must say that I am not against helping foreign immigrants who can’t speak our language in real emergency situations, and I’ll even go along with treating some poor Punjabi speaker with painful piles, but surely this easy access to a translator discourages many from making the effort to learn English.

I wonder if any other countries provide such services to people who cannot speak their language ? I know that when I used to spend some time in Spain I had to provide my own interpreter when dealing with local officials etc. and this also applied to British ‘ex-pats’ when they attended hospital to, amongst other things, have their “farmer’s” treated.

I wonder what the Nigerian Pidgin is for … 

… “Can you look at my itchy arse, doc ?”  

Posted in humour, political, rant | 2 Comments »

No cruise is bad news !

Posted by Big John on March 19, 2012

I’ve been thinking about the best way to avoid the Olympic Games during this summer, and thought that it might be a good idea to take to the high seas for a cruise around the Mediterranean, so I searched the ‘web’ for something suitable, and found just what I was looking for. It was a two week cruise around the ‘Med’ aboard a ship which I knew well from a previous holiday.

Great ! .. I thought and clicked on the “book now” link … “This cruise cannot be booked on-line” … read the message.

I phoned the reservations department and quoted the cruise reference number .. “Sorry sir” .. said the booking clerk .. “That cruise has been cancelled”.

“Why ?” .. I asked, but I guess I should have known, for he informed me that the ship has been hired out for the whole of …

 … the bloody Olympics !

Posted in rant | 3 Comments »

No ‘victory’ for veterans.

Posted by Big John on March 16, 2012

I finished my Royal Air Force training during the summer of 1958 and awaited orders telling me where I was to be posted for the rest of my two years national service.

There were three or four possible destinations .. A ‘home’ posting, somewhere within the British Isles ..  Germany. This was the height of the ‘Cold War’ ..  Cyprus. A dangerous place to be at that time due to the fact that British troops were ‘caught in the crossfire’ between Greeks and Turks .. and .. Christmas Island where Britain was testing nuclear weapons.

I got a home posting to a radar station on the south coast of England, not too far from home and just a few  miles along the coast from the seaside resort of Eastbourne. My mates called me a “lucky bastard” as this RAF station was known as “Fighter Command’s Holiday Camp”.

Yes, I was lucky, but I must admit that at the time, I rather fancied seeing the white beaches and palm trees of a Pacific island, rather than the pebbles and seaweed of Pevensey Bay.

Of course, I now know just how lucky I was not to have been sent to Christmas Island when those mushroom clouds were seen in the sky and unprotected young men stood and watched. I could easily have been one of them.

Now, more than 50 years later, hundreds of ex-servicemen exposed to radiation during the nuclear weapons tests have lost their Supreme Court bid to launch damages claims against the Ministry of Defence.

These veterans, who probably include some of my old mates, want compensation, saying they were made ill by their exposure to radiation.

To their shame, the British Government has spent a fortune defending this case through the courts for years, and The Ministry of Defence now acknowledges a “debt of gratitude”, …

… but still denies negligence !

Posted in nostalgia, political, rant | 2 Comments »

Should they go nude in the ‘nick’ ?

Posted by Big John on March 13, 2012

As one who thinks that the world would be a much better place without religion, I must admit to having a soft spot for the poor old pagans, as I can’t help but feel that history gave them a raw deal and a bad press with all that stuff about human sacrifice and dirty old druids chasing naked virgins by moonlight.

Even today they are discriminated against, as I found out when I learned a wonderful new word .. “skyclad” .. It means .. ‘starkers’ .. and refers to the pagan practice of performing religious rituals while ‘au natural’.

Now I’m not sure why they need to display their naughty bits when dancing around their pentagrams, or whatever it is that they do, but it seems that some bloke in the ‘nick’ is a bit pissed off that he can’t; and another pagan ‘old lag’ is upset because he is not allowed to wear a hooded robe.

I can’t see what harm would be done by granting these cons’ requests, for I’m sure that the members of other faiths are allowed to wear and use religious items, such as yarmulkes in the case of Jews and prayer mats in the case of Muslims. So why not banged-up ‘Ancient British believers’ ? .. Blimey ! .. It’s not as if they are asking for a megalithic monument to be erected in the exercise yard.

I bet the lawyers are queuing up outside the gates at this moment and booking flights to Strasbourg to appear before the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of these ‘persecuted’ pagans, and, for once, I support them. In fact I’m thinking of organising a ‘skyclad’ protest march … When ? … Well, perhaps …

… when the weather gets a bit warmer.

Posted in humour | 3 Comments »

… and still counting !

Posted by Big John on March 10, 2012

Does anyone remember back in 2005 when the budget for the 2012 Olympics was estimated at £2.4 billion ? It seemed like an awful lot of money to waste back then, and most people guessed that the final figure would be a lot higher.

Well, of course, they were right, and we learned that the Government had eventually set aside £9.3 billion for a “sporting spectacular” which is of little interest to the majority of people in this country. Especially to those whose quality of life is being destroyed by government spending cuts to those services provided to help the most vulnerable in our society.  

We now learn that some parliamentary plonker got his sums wrong when calculating the cost of ‘security’, and that protecting the games is now likely to push the total to around £11 billion ! 

Yes, that’s something like another £2 billion added to whatever amount that “plonker” first conjured out of thin air, and the total is to be spent on keeping the public safe from suicide bombers, hijackers, pirates ??? and other assorted thieves and nutters.

Now I may have got this wrong, as all those zeros are confusing my old brain with the Olympics and the state of the Greek economy, but it sounds to me that there must now be enough money ‘sloshing around’ somewhere to pay for every sports fan attending the games to have …

… their own personal security guard.

Posted in humour, political, rant | 2 Comments »

Here we go again. – Part Five.

Posted by Big John on March 7, 2012

I’ve just been watching the TV news, where I learned that six more British soldiers have been killed in the war in Afghanistan. The reporter said that all ‘ISAF’ forces should be out of that country by the end of 2014, and that the Taliban would be welcomed back by most of the population in many areas. In other words this terrible loss of life will continue for another couple of years, and all for nothing !

As if this was not bad enough, I picked up a newspaper only to read that ‘Dick-head’ Dave has suggested that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad’s drive to develop a nuclear bomb was potentially a direct threat to the United Kingdom.

Does anyone remember when another prat of a prime minister went along with an even bigger prat of a president when he also felt threatened by another nutter and his “Weapons of Mass Destruction” ?

Now I read that in the good old ‘US of A’ people are asking the question .. “Who would be more likely to nuke ‘Eye-Ran’ .. Romney or Santorum ?”, and although Obama is hoping that Israel delays any action until after the November election, the opinion from US political adviser Robert Kagan is .. “If Obama were to use force against Iran, then the election is over .. He would win overwhelmingly.“… Now that’s what I call …

… bloody scary !

Posted in political, rant | 5 Comments »

 
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