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 54 years of happy marriage.
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The brave and the barmy !

Posted by Big John on July 29, 2016

Some of you may recall that I have an interest in the Victorian era and the lives led by ordinary people at that time. In fact, I’m old enough to have known a few.

One aspect of my interest is in researching the history of the individual soldiers and sailors whose medals I have gathered together in recent years; and recently I decided to search for a particular Royal Navy medal to add to my modest collection.

I eventually found what I was looking for and discovered that the name on the medal belonged to a boy who joined the marines as a drummer in 1838 at the age of just fourteen. Two years later he was in a battle at sea where his fellow drummer was killed and he earned the medal.

During my search I came across another medal, which was not quite what I was looking for, but was even more astonishing when one considers the age of the recipient. He was a volunteer who joined the navy at the age of eleven in 1800. The following year, at the age of twelve he was on board a ship which was severely damaged at the Battle of Copenhagen with more than 200 of it’s crew being killed or wounded.

At that time in history, on land and on the sea, battles raged with who knows how many young ‘drummer boys’ and ‘powder monkeys’ facing death at any moment ?

Luckily those days are long gone, and in the weird world we all live in today, the only danger most young lads face is being hit by a train .. or .. drowned when playing …

… bloody Pokemon Go !

Posted in humour, nostalgia, rant | 2 Comments »

A perfect ‘love match’ ? .. Of course it is !

Posted by Big John on July 21, 2016

How ‘jolly soooper’. Pippa the party planner poppit is to wed.

I’m sure that you all remember her stealing the show when her bum stood out amongst all those other aristocratic and royal ‘bums’ who attended sister Kate’s wedding.

How ‘golly gosh’ that her engagement ring has cost a whopping quarter of a million quid. The poor ‘gel’ looked a little confused in all those press photos, as if she didn’t know what to flash next. Her ring, her ‘toned legs’, her arse, or her £14,500 Cartier diamond watch, which is believed to be a present from her hedge fund manager filthy rich boyfriend who just happens to own a £17million London mansion and a £3million private jet. I wonder what she sees in him ?

Now I hate to be cruel (who moi ?), but when I look at pictures of Pippa I can’t help thinking that she resembles a wannabe royal who ‘hit the headlines’ back in the 1930’s. Yes! .. Mrs. Wallis Simpson. She with a face like ‘a sack full of spanners’.

Unlike her sister and old Wallis, poor Pippa won’t be a Duchess, but, I’ve just learned that her future father-in-law is the Laird of Glen Affric and owns a 10,000 acre Scottish estate near Loch Ness in the Scottish highlands, and that when he ‘pops his clogs’ she will become Lady Affric … Ah ! .. How simply ‘spiffing’ ! …

… That’s made my day !

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

“Pass the Pimm’s and my Panama please”.

Posted by Big John on July 19, 2016

The ‘Bonkers British’ are at it again !

It’s 90° and rising in my garden. The slight breeze feels like it is coming from the Sahara and even the birds are hiding from the blazing sun on this “Phew ! .. What a scorcher” day, and …

Yes ! .. It’s .. “Mad dogs and Englishmen” .. time again, when acres of flabby white flesh goes on display (not to mention the tattoos) as half-naked people rush into the sunshine with their kids to roast themselves in the sweltering heat despite all the health warnings from the ‘nanny state’ about dehydration and other heat-related conditions, and a Met Office ‘amber’ warning which could turn to ‘red’ at any moment. Just like all that, soon to be so painful, …

… ‘flabby white flesh’ !

Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

Brexit ? … Umm ! … Let’s wait and see.

Posted by Big John on July 13, 2016

I’m confused !

Our Dave has resigned as Prime Minister because he wanted us to stay in the EU … Good ! … but, shouldn’t that mean that we then have a new PM who supported the ‘Leave’ campaign ?

Surprise ! .. We now have our own ‘Frau Merkel’ in the form of a lady who supported the ‘Stay’ campaign.

She may well prove to be a capable leader of our government, but when it comes to negotiations with the boys in Brussels, I have a feeling that we may end up with …

… ‘Brexit-Lite’! 

Posted in humour, political, rant | 2 Comments »

“… and counting.”

Posted by Big John on July 8, 2016

.. 55 years ! …. That’s a bloody long time ! .. and today marks the anniversary of my marriage to ‘she who must be obeyed’.

Yes, I’ve been wearing this ‘ball and chain’ for more than half a century, and if you have never had such an experience, then you don’t know what …

… you have been missing ! 

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 9 Comments »

He came home.

Posted by Big John on July 1, 2016

Today marks the one hundredth anniversary of the deadliest day in the history of the British Army, when around 20,000 British Empire soldiers lost their lives in just 24 hours.

Recent research shows that an estimated eleven million British people have an ancestor who fought at the Somme, and I am one of them.

My grandfather …

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… was there !

I was born twenty years after World War I ended, and I knew my granddad as a kind and gentle man, who let me march around his kitchen wearing that same cartridge bandolier shown in the above photograph.

I wonder what his thoughts were, at that time when we were once more at war with Germany, as he watched that little boy …

… just playing soldiers ? 

Posted in family, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

What can I say ? .. “We’ve gorn and dunnit now !”

Posted by Big John on June 25, 2016

Maybe not quite so dramatic as ‘The Fall of the Berlin Wall’ or ‘The Storming of the Bastille’, but ‘Brexit’ was pretty dramatic nonetheless. To to me, it would appear to represent something of a ‘revolution’ by millions of  ordinary British people who resented the doom-laden prophecies of the massed ranks of our financial and out of touch political Establishment.

Who knows how this will all turn out in the end ? .. All I know is that the good news is that ‘our Dave’ is on the way out … and the bad news ? … He could be replaced as Prime Minister by Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Yes ! Bloody ‘Bojo’ ! Time to send for …

Madame de la Guillotine !

Posted in humour, political, rant | 5 Comments »

A Soggy Solstice.

Posted by Big John on June 20, 2016

My thanks to Lin for wishing me a “Happy Solstice”, for as some of you will remember, the Summer Solstice is my favourite day of the year, and the nearest that this old atheist comes to believing in any form of religious codswallop.

Unfortunately, my celebrations this year have turned into a bit of a washout as ‘Mother Earth’ has turned to mud, as ye ancient deities have decided to piss all over those who, like me, are trying to salute the sun on this most solemn of days.

In fact, the bloody thing has been hiding behind the clouds all day. The rain has extinguished my sacred fire. The ceremonial drum is soaked. The naked maidens are wearing plastic ponchos and refuse to dance around the ashes. My flower garlands are drooping. My Druid’s robe is drenched. My mistletoe looks miserable. My blue woad has washed off; and, to crown it all, some wet wacky Wiccan has walked off with my rainproof …

… Pagan Parka  ! 

Posted in humour, religion | 5 Comments »

 
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