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 November, 2012

More misguided meddling !

Posted by Big John on November 29, 2012

It’s nearly a year ago since I posted about our Dave being after my gin and tonic; but as nothing much has happened in the meantime, I thought that my favourite tipple was safe from the ‘nanny state': but I was wrong for our prick Prime Minister now seems to be intent on increasing the price of booze, on the flawed assumption that higher prices will reduce binge drinking.

It would seem that, increasingly, the state has decided that it knows what is best for the ordinary citizens of this country, and that our own opinions are not remotely relevant. Our politicians are, now more than ever, decreeing what is bad for us, and robbing people of the ability to think for themselves. Of course the politicians involved in all these new policies aimed at ‘saving us from ourselves’ never inform us that they are really aimed at raising revenue.

The ‘we know better than you’ mob have come up with another couple of ideas recently … Increase car parking charges to force people to walk and cycle more .. and .. ban fast food outlets, such as fish and chip shops (remember providing smaller salt shakers with finer holes ?), from being opened near to schools: and, as you would expect, some ‘nanny’ bright spark has suggested that those ‘chippies’ already located near schools should sell .. Yes!  .. You’ve guessed it  .. “healthy options”!

I bet that the kids in the queue outside Niko’s ‘Typhoidopulos Pizza and Fish Bar’ are really looking forward to that, but I can’t see the old doner kebab slicer offering …

… a ‘Fruit and Veggie Combo’ anytime soon !

Posted in humour, political, rant | 6 Comments »

“Oops!” … Abbot Dionysius Exiguus.

Posted by Big John on November 23, 2012

I wonder if the Pope has been reading my recent post ? as it seems that the Pontiff has just written the third volume about the life of Jesus Christ, although how you can write three lengthy books about the life of someone who has never been proved to have existed beats me !

I was pleased to read that old Benedict believes that there were not any animals present at the birth in Bethlehem, which rather backs up my ‘evidence’ for the hotel receipt, as I doubt if the doorman at the Galilee Hilton would have let donkeys and oxen into the lobby, let alone a bunch of scruffy shepherds with sheep shit on their sandals.

Now, according to the boss of the Roman Catholic Church, we have all been eating our turkey, pulling our crackers and opening our presents (not to mention getting legless) on the wrong day, as the date of Jesus’s birth was miscalculated by some monk back in the days when the book, believed by many, to be “the word of God” was being written, re-written, made up and generally mucked about with by half the clerics and scribes in Christendom.

I have never believed that The Bible is anything like a true historical record, but something concocted from ancient myths and legends by scheming priests, to enable them to invent all the ‘mumbo-jumbo’ and ‘traditions’ that would give them power over the poor bloody peasants of the day.

Now, although I have only read extracts from Herr Ratzinger’s work, he seems to be backing, to some degree, the ‘tradition’ theory, which is strange, for once you start comparing the myth with the historical records, and try and change the story, you are likely to run into all sorts of problems, which may well demonstrate the story to be … 

…   a total fabrication ! 

Posted in humour, rant, religion | 4 Comments »

In the name of tolerance.

Posted by Big John on November 18, 2012

In the top right corner of this blog is a quote from Voltaire on the defence of free speech, so I was pleased to see that the gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has supported the right of Adrian Smith to express his views on gay marriage.

The judge in this case said …“The frank but lawful expression of religious or political views may frequently cause a degree of upset, and even offence, to those with deeply held contrary views, even where none is intended by the speaker. This is a necessary price to be paid for freedom of speech.”  Not something you expect to hear in today’s ‘PC’ world.
 
As far as I’m concerned when it comes to gay marriage; if any priest is happy to marry two gay people he should be free to do so, but he should not be forced to do so by law; and it has nothing to do with anyone else ! I’m sure that there are more than enough gay and unbigoted clerics in the Church of England to go round, so there shouldn’t be much of a problem; and as for the Roman Catholic Church? … Umm ! Well let’s not go there !

On the other side of the coin, I see that one of my favourite examples of ‘free speech’ has also been in the news recently. Do you suppose that all the Muslim bus drivers …

… can’t read ?

Posted in humour, political, rant, religion | 3 Comments »

“Lest we forget”.

Posted by Big John on November 11, 2012

During World War I, my grandfather served with the Royal Field Artillery, as did my great uncle Bill. Although he was ‘knocked about a bit’ my grandfather returned to his family at the end of that conflict. Bill was not so lucky ! So I decided to try and find out what had happened to him and came up with this ‘medal card’ record from the National Archives …

It shows that Bill served as a Gunner with 8th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery and was one of the first soldiers to fight in France as he was awarded the 1914 Star (The Mons Star) with the clasp for service between 5th August and 22nd November 1914. It also records that he was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal, although, of course, the poor bugger was no longer around to have them pinned to his chest, for looking further into the records I discovered that Bill died on 8th May 1915 at the Second Battle of Ypres where his unit saw action in a battle which resulted in over 100,000 casulties. His fate is confirmed by the chilling entry … 

“K in A” 

 

Posted in family, nostalgia | 2 Comments »

Night that didn’t … “go with a bang” !

Posted by Big John on November 5, 2012

It is the 5th November .. ‘Guy Fawkes Night’ .. which when I was a kid was always called .. ‘Bonfire Night’.

At this time of year children would roam the streets with homemade effigies of poor old Guy shouting .. “Penny for the Guy!” .. and sometimes chanting the poem …

“Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot”. 

The effigies of those ‘Guys’ would later be burned on backyard bonfires where dads would let off a few fireworks to the delight of their families.

Today I get the impression that, apart from a few organised displays, Guido and his fellow plotters have long been “forgot” ! 

What seems to have happened is that they have been overshadowed by that American ‘import’ .. ‘Trick or Treat’ .. No, I don’t mean the traditional festival of Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve), but the plastic pumpkin and mail-order monster event which now fills our supermarket aisles with all sorts of  ‘fun and fright’ items marketed only to make ‘monster’ amounts of money for the stores concerned.

Now, I’m not against kids having fun. I just wish that ‘Trick or Treat’ could be ‘homemade’ and properly organised in this country as it is in the USA, and that our oldest traditions should also bring pleasure to future generations.

You never know, Guy Fawkes Night could catch on once again when the fast food giants discover that Guido reveals in his recently found diary that he and his mates stopped off on their way to blow up Parliament for a ‘blowout’ of finger lickin’ pheasant and mead milkshakes at ‘Ye Kentish Fried Capon’ before calling in at Ye Olde McMutton ‘trot-thru’ to pick up some ‘Big Boar’ burgers, Frankish fries, and, not forgetting  …

… a box of matches !     

 

Posted in humour, nostalgia, rant | 1 Comment »

 
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