Posted by Big John on April 7, 2014
I see that the ‘nanny state’ has gone into overdrive recently with the ridiculous idea that
junk fast food restaurants and take-outs should sell smaller pizzas, burgers and curries, plus a laughable ‘threat’ to smokers that cigarettes may soon only be sold in plain packs; and that beer and wine glasses used in pubs and restaurants should be marked with a scale showing how many units of alcohol they contain. Oh! .. and before I forget .. that we should all eat ten (Yes, ten !) portions of fruit and veg each day.
OK, so I’m sure that many of us know that it makes sense to eat a healthy diet and not to overdo the doughnuts and to be careful when drinking out of wet glasses, but do ‘those who think that they know better than us what is good for us’ really believe that the likes of the tattooed hulks and their demanding brats, who can be seen at every ‘drive-thru’, pub and pizza parlour, will stop smoking their full strength fags, give up their pints of super strong larger and rush to the supermarket to buy their ‘daily ten’ ?
Of course they bloody won’t ! … So what if their favourite pizza is an inch or two smaller and their usual burger has shrunk in size ? … They will just buy them …
… two at a time !
Posted in family, humour, political, rant | 3 Comments »
Posted by Big John on March 23, 2014
My recent post about my not so Irish, but possibly Jewish roots reminded me of .. “If I Were a Rich Man … ” first published by me in 2008 …
Remember that “basket full of old family photographs, newspaper clippings and other odds and ends” ? …
Well amongst the ‘odds and ends’ I discovered a blackened metal brooch. It appeared to have some writing on it and a design that looked like stars. I cleaned it up with some metal polish and discovered this …
After a search of ‘the web’ I discovered that this is a piece of silver and gold Mizpah jewellery. Unfortunately the hallmarks on the reverse side are illegible, but according to one source, it was probably made between 1896 and 1916.
I understand that the word Mizpah comes from the Bible … “and Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” (Genesis 31:49), and I gather that Mizpah jewellery is worn to signify an emotional bond between people who are separated.
So could this brooch have belonged to my grandmother and did she wear it when my grandfather was serving in the Army during World War I ? The dates seem to fit, although there is no way of knowing for certain.
The photograph on the left shows my grandmother holding a baby who could possibly be my dad (born 1901) and I have to ask the question … Could she have been Jewish ? … She was called Mariah, a Hebrew name, but if she was of that race and faith no one in the family ever mentioned it to me, and now it’s too late to ask.
I don’t know if it’s possible to be a little bit Jewish, and in any case I’ll never know if I am, but ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is my favourite musical, I always laugh at Jackie Mason, I love salt beef sandwiches, I fancy Barbra Streisand, I hate to ‘pay retail’… and …
… I’m noted for my ‘Chutzpah’ ! :-)
Posted in family, humour, nostalgia, religion | 3 Comments »
Posted by Big John on March 17, 2014
My grandfather died when I was about ten years old, and my dad told me that his father always claimed to be Irish. So when, a few years ago, I was able to start tracing my ancestry on line I expected to find a trail of documents leading back to the dear old “Emerald Isle”.
At first, it appeared that granddad was from an Irish family of farm labourers living in Sussex and, in fact, my possible ‘great-grandfather’ was listed on a census as a “ploughboy” with his place of birth being Ireland.
Now granddad did have the appearance of a typical ‘navvy’ when he was ‘out and about’ with his jaunty trilby hat, thumbs in his wide leather belt, and pipe clenched in his teeth as he headed for the local for a glass or two of Guinness.
So, on Saint Patrick’s Day I always tended to remember the old boy and wonder about my Irish ancestors, but I needn’t have bothered, for my later, and much more accurate research, showed that it is unlikely that I have a drop of Irish blood in my body !
Oh, Granddad was born in Sussex and his family can be traced back as far as 1635 without an Irish name in sight, so why he claimed to be Irish is a mystery. Perhaps it was just because this ‘plastic Paddy’ enjoyed being treated to a few free “pints of plain” on this day of the year …
… HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY …
Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 3 Comments »
Posted by Big John on February 11, 2014
Today is my 75th birthday, and I have to wonder, after all these years, how I managed to survive and enjoy my younger days in a world that today’s kids could not possibly imagine; for how would they fare without, what have become, the ‘basics’ of a modern life; for in my childhood there was.. NO …
- Television .. Just the BBC on the
- Telephone .. The nearest one was two streets away on a shop counter.
- Computer .. Great fun was had playing games in the street.
- Motor car .. If a tram or bus didn’t go there, then, neither did I, unless I walked.
- Bathroom .. A scrub in the kitchen sink or a tin bath by the fire.
- Toilet paper ! .. I won’t go into detail.
- Fast Food .. Only fish and chips. “Bring your own newspaper”.
- Holidays .. Abroad ! Where was that ? .. Well, maybe a day by the sea.
- Supermarket .. or “Can I scan your ration book?”
- Refrigerator .. Only a daily walk to the shops by my mum.
- Central heating .. Just open coal fires, even at school.
- Shoes .. Oops ! .. No .. Sorry, I got carried away for a moment, so I’ll …
… give it a rest for now.
Perhaps I should give myself a birthday treat, with a longer trip down ‘memory lane’ ?
Well, perhaps not. It might put me off my …
… foie gras and Champagne. ;-)
Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 9 Comments »
Posted by Big John on February 8, 2014
There seem to be quite a few stories in the news at present about swimming: from freezing your naughty bits off by ‘winter swimming’, to teaching dogs to swim; and stopping the funding for the UK
formation drowning synchronised swimming team. There are even thousands of people who waste part of every Saturday evening by watching ‘celebs’ dive into a swimming pool in the latest TV trash ‘reality show’.
Now let me say that I have never been too keen on swimming ever since I was a young child, and my father taught me to swim by taking me down to the local river and throwing me in !
Learning to swim was easy. The hard part was …
… getting out of the sack !
Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 4 Comments »
Posted by Big John on December 30, 2013
As I remember, (and it is a very long time ago) when I was a small child, there was nothing more embarrassing than being pushed into the ‘limelight’ at some family gathering by some smelly old aunty (my parents never did this) to ‘perform’ in front of a not so smelly old grandma.
So can you imagine how those poor little buggers (well, most of them) feel who are thrust into the path of ‘er Maj’ by their mothers, to present her with a bunch of flowers whenever she passes a crowd of her grovelling ‘subjects’ on one of those let’s all worship ‘a royal’ days ?
What is it with these ‘pushy’ women ? I suppose that they hope that by positioning their little
brat darling in front so many newspaper and TV cameras they may find photographs of themselves in the press the next day. I’ve even seen pictures of mothers pushing tiny toddlers towards those awful ‘grief-lite’ shrines which now seem to spring up at the site of every tragic death.
I hate to admit it, but I almost hummed our dirge of a National Anthem, when I read that our not so ‘Merry Monarch’ chose to ignore the crowds of monarchist maternal morons as her lunch (or perhaps a need for the royal loo?) took priority over the stupid serfs floral offerings.
One dopey parent who (wisely) asked not to be named, said: “We drove more than 50 miles with our five-year-old daughter so she could present a small bouquet to the Queen”.
Never mind luv. At least your kid was saved the embarrassment of you asking ‘er Maj for a …
… Christmas ‘selfie’ !
Posted in family, humour, nostalgia, rant | 3 Comments »
Posted by Big John on December 22, 2013
On Thursday I decided to brave the ‘child friendly’ policy at my local pub, as the neighbourhood’s school
hool.. kids had not yet started their Christmas break, and take the old ‘trouble and strife’ to lunch (she had to remind me that we had first met on this day 54 years ago !).
Now, as this establishment had been advertising ‘Xmas Specials’ since bloody September, I was very surprised to find the place half empty, and with only a couple of little brats present.
On the day before, I found that my local Sainsbury’s supermarket, although busy, was far less crowded than was usual at this time of year, and I did have the pleasure of bagging a parking space immediately I arrived, which must have pissed off those who saw me do so, as they were on their tenth circuit of the car park. :-)
If only the weather was as quiet. It’s blowing a gale and the rain is peeing down. Still, that’s better than being up to your arse in snow.
Once again, this year, I’m doing my ‘saintly act’, along with other family members, and giving the money I would have spent on presents to various charities, which means no visits to the shopping mall and no high street hassle. However, this also means that I am unable to judge if people in general are shying away from the modern Christmas ‘commercialism’ and abandoning what has become a festive orgy of materialism. Could this be ? … I wonder !
No bleedn’ chance, mate ! … I’ve just read that, in the UK, Christmas shoppers are expected to spend £45,000 every second and that 16,000 shops will be open on …
… Christmas Day !
A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL
(That includes all you Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Pagans
and Religious Nutters)
Posted in family, humour, rant, religion | 5 Comments »
Posted by Big John on November 22, 2013
Following on from my last post, I thought that if I continued my on-line research into my family’s history I might find at least one ancestor from the 18th or 19th century of whom I could be proud, for in the 20th century many members of my family had served their country in both war and peace, and a possible ancestor of mine, with the same name as me, is listed in 1415 as a “Yeoman Valettus Archer” on the muster roll of Henry V’s army at ‘Agincourt’.
I was hoping to find some record of, say, a soldier who had fixed his bayonet and held his ground in the British square at ‘Waterloo’ when the French cavalry charged, or of a young crew member on H.M.S. Victory, who braved the cannon balls at ‘Trafalgar’, or even a trooper at the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ who rode “Into the valley of death” with Tennyson’s famous “six hundred”: but no such luck; as once again my search turned up reports of petty theft, poaching and more sentences to “hard labour”.
However, I did locate a copy of a newspaper dated 16th January 1832 which showed that my great-great-great uncle James was on a list of men who had volunteered to serve in The Royal Sussex Regiment of Militia.
At last ! .. I thought .. Could this be my family hero ?
I read on, and soon discovered that this was not to be, for, at the end of the list of names, there was an order to local officials for … “the Discovery and Apprehension of the foregoing Men who severally omitted to attend for Training and Exercise are deemed …
… DESSERTERS ” !
Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 5 Comments »