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 56 years of happy marriage.

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A Shenandoah Stopover.

Posted by Big John on August 19, 2017

Here is a photo of a statue of some American Civil War ‘hero’….

It was taken by me, when, back in the 1980’s my wife and I visited some friends in Pennsylvania and decided to take a trip further south, first visiting Gettysburg …

… before journeying on into …

… I only mention this as it now seems that some Americans wish to change history by removing or destroying similar statues of soldiers of the Confederacy. We have had this sort of protest about our colonial past here in the UK, and what this achieves ? … I have no idea !

Mostly what I recall from our trip through …

… that part of the U.S.A. were friendly people who seemed to show great respect for the memory of those who fought and died in that terrible conflict. There appeared to be very little commercialism relating to the Civil War. In fact it was hard to locate a souvenir of any kind, apart from the ubiquitous Confederate flag, which I believe has also ‘fallen into disrepute’.

My final picture is not very clear, but it shows part of a motel in which we stayed near Front Royal when visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was called ‘The Lee Jackson Motor Hotel’ and you can just about read that name on the restaurant building in the background (click on image).

Now it could just be that the motel was named after some local ‘good ‘ole boy’ named Lee Jackson, and not after ‘Robert E’ and old ‘Stonewall’, but I doubt it. Which makes me wonder …

… Is it still there ?

Posted in family, History, humour, nostalgia, political | 11 Comments »

Not so ‘smart’ meters … Part 2

Posted by Big John on August 8, 2017

You may remember my post about ‘smart meters’ from a few weeks ago and how I have ignored all offers by emails, letters and phone calls from my electricity supplier to install a smart meter in my home for ‘free’.

Well I recently received another letter from my electricity supplier informing me that my meter needs to be replaced because it is nearing the end of it’s “certified” life and, therefore, “to save you time, we have booked a meter replacement appointment for you”… No consultation ! .. No permission asked ! .. Just, we’re coming at this time on this day !

I ‘phoned their ‘helpline’ and after the usual “press this number” and “this one” and listen to the music for ten minutes, I found myself speaking to a very helpful lady who agreed with me that there was no legal requirement for me to accept a smart meter, but that there may be one in the future, so she would cancel the appointment and place me on an ‘opt out list’ for one year. So end of story.

No, it’s bloody not ! … I’ve just had another letter, reminding me that my new smart meter is on the way ! …

… I’m loading the shotgun !

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

Was that a ‘Wise-Guy’ in The White House ?

Posted by Big John on August 1, 2017

I know that it is sometimes difficult to understand the way that the US government works when looking at it from this side of ‘the pond’, but I have to ask … What in the name of old Abe Lincoln is going on in Washington at the moment ?

To me it looks like the West Wing has been fitted with a revolving door, on the inside of which is fitted a large box labelled …

“Presidential Appointments .. Please take one”.

It is filled with large envelopes bearing the instructions .. “Please deposit in the trash can on your way out”.

If I’m wrong about this how did a nice Italian boy named Tony- ‘the mouth’-Scaramucci become a ‘made m..’ member in Trump’s team. Could it be that they both attended a course on Joe Pesci’s English and horse’s head diplomacy ? .. If so, then someone could soon be ……

… “sleeping with the fishes” !

Posted in humour, political | 3 Comments »

Stifling free speech !

Posted by Big John on July 27, 2017

I see that my fellow atheist, Richard Dawkins, is in the news again after a radio station in Berkeley, California, cancelled a fundraiser and discussion with him, calling his comments about Islam “abusive speech”, after members of the Berkeley community brought Dawkins’ previous remarks on Islam to their attention.

Yes, Dawkins has been critical about Islam, but he has also made a number of equally critical observations on Christianity, and, as far as I know they didn’t lead to him being ‘de-platformed’ (what a silly word).

I realize that we now live in a crazy world where common sense and logic are often ignored and many delicate ‘snowflakes’ (and others) are offended by just about everything, but, as far as I know, everyone still has the right to express their opinions and beliefs, and equally, those who disagree can respond in like manner. It’s called “freedom of speech” and I’m still with old Voltaire on this one …

“I may disagree with what you have to say,

but I shall defend to the death, your right to say it”.

Posted in political, rant, religion | 2 Comments »

“It’s beginning to look a lot like …” !

Posted by Big John on July 24, 2017

.. It’s the middle of a blazing summer. June and July have seen some of the highest temperatures on record. I’m sitting here in a design.. sweaty T shirt, displaying my ‘shapely calves’ and ‘finely turned ankles’ below my fashionable old fart’s knee length shorts. My ‘Panama’ hat has seen more use than usual this year and my woollen socks have been discarded ‘for the duration’.

Today I enjoyed a light lunch of pasta salad, accompanied by a cold beer. I have just relaxed in my armchair and opened my newspaper, only to be confronted by an advertisement reading …

  “Book Now for a Magical Christmas” !

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

Don’t get too exited … Part 2

Posted by Big John on July 16, 2017

Many thanks for all your kind thoughts and comments; and at the request of my friend  .. Ginnie .. from North Carolina for a ‘selfie’ …

Well, we did try !

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

Don’t get too excited !

Posted by Big John on July 8, 2017

Today is my 56th wedding anniversary !

This year the old ‘trouble and strife’ not only gave me the usual apron and ‘Marigold’ rubber gloves, but, Oh, joy ! .. she included a new mop and dust pan.

So, I’ve polished up the old ball and chain and am considering how to celebrate this joyful occasion.

Dinner at a restaurant ?  …  A visit to the local pub ? …  A Chinese take-away ? … A fish and chip supper ? … or perhaps just a ‘quiet night in’ adding a little teriyaki sauce to our sushi and tempura prawns and listening to a cork or two ‘pop!’.

I wonder what’s on …

Sky Movies ?

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

For one day only.

Posted by Big John on July 4, 2017

HAPPY 4th JULY 

TO ALL MY AMERICAN FRIENDS AND FAMILY

and .. “Pass the turkey”  … Oops ! … Sorry ! … Wrong holiday.

 

Posted in family, History, humour, nostalgia | 2 Comments »