bigjohn

“Old age ain't no place for sissies.” .. Bette Davis

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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 creepy .. “Two for the price of One” .. !

Posted by Big John on November 24, 2018

If you are an old a regular reader of this blog, you will remember my posts about ‘supermarket zombies’, and more recently the ‘smartphone’ variety: therefore, it will come as no surprise, when I tell you that somehow they have ‘morphed together’, and that yesterday I had my first encounter with one at the checkout at my local Sainsbury’s.

I was loading the contents of my trolley (cart) on to the conveyer, when I heard someone talking behind me and saw that a woman with a mobile ‘phone clamped to her ear was having one of those so important, .. “Oooh, I knowww!”.. conversations as she added items from her trolley to my heap of assorted groceries.

She did not appear to be aware of my actions or acknowledge her mistake when I created some space for the items remaining in my trolley by removing her vegetables and bread from my heap and pushing her selection of ‘ready meals’ and breakfast cereals back along the empty part of the conveyer before putting the “next customer” sign in place.

As I paid for my goods, I noted that the ‘it can’t wait’ phone conversation had ended, and that she of my ‘close encounter’, had immediately gone into a bloody …

… texting trance !

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Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

“You pays yer money …”

Posted by Big John on November 14, 2018

I don’t often review or comment on movies in this blog, but I couldn’t resist doing so when it came to two films which I recently watched possibly ‘for the wrong reasons’.

One I watched just because I wanted to see what all the apparent ‘hype’ was about, and the other because I am always interested in the stories of ‘larger than life’ historical figures.

When I sat down to watch “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri” my thumb was already hovering over the ‘off’ button as I am not a fan of “bitter black comedies” or mumbling ‘redneck’ characters: but luckily, I stuck with it and, I must say, that I thoroughly enjoyed the strong performances and equally well-developed characters; and despite all the swearing and violence, this rates as one of the best films that I have seen in a long time: and one that deserves it’s huge critical and box-office success.

How I wish that I could say the same for “Darkest Hour” with it’s, what seemed to me, ‘comic-book’ depictions of early wartime London, The House of Commons, Dunkirk, Churchill’s War Rooms etc.

The ‘clunky’ script had a ridiculous invented scene on the London ‘Tube’ (subway) in which Churchill is inspired by fellow passengers to fight on, rather than sue for peace. Of course, these passengers are of the “Cor blimey Guvner!” .. ‘salt of the earth’ .. ‘cloth cap class’: and most improbable of all; a seldom seen at that time, black geezer travelling on the ‘Underground’ just happened to be sitting near Churchill and could quote Horatius’s famous speech from Macaulay’s “Lays of Ancient Rome”.

Gary Oldman received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Winston Churchill, although I’ve seen better. However, I thought Kristin Scott Thomas was pretty good as Clemmie, and Ben Mendelsohn was a believable King George VI.

At one point in this load of old codswallop Churchill is making a ‘phone call to the USA asking the President for assistance. I thought that he would have had more success calling …

… Batman and Robin !

 

Posted in entertainment, History, humour | 2 Comments »

100 years since the guns fell silent.

Posted by Big John on November 9, 2018

The young lady on the right in this photo is my mother …

… and some years ago, in a previous post, I wondered who her sad looking companion was: and now I’m pretty certain that I know. She was my mother’s cousin Rosie, who’s father Bill had been killed on 8th May 1915 at the Second Battle of Ypres where his unit saw action in a battle which resulted in over 100,000 casualties. Like my own grandfather, Bill had served with the Royal Field Artillery and was one of the first soldiers to fight in France.

1918 – 2018

Posted in family, History | 1 Comment »

The’re ‘driving’ me mad ! … Part 2

Posted by Big John on October 30, 2018

I forgot to tell you that the DVLA advised me that I now .. “satisfy the medical standards for safe driving” .. after being ‘fitted’ with my pacemaker.

So, it’s .. “Hooray!” .. I can keep my driving licence; despite the fact that I am approaching my 80th birthday and am now on a ‘cocktail’ of drugs with a list of side-effects ‘as long as your arm’ !

I’m sorry to bore you with all this medical news; but I must tell you that my pacemaker has had it’s first ‘road test’ and it seems to be doing “what it says on the tin”. In fact, after a couple of adjustments, I was informed that the life of the battery powering the device had been increased to thirteen years.

Now that’s what I call …

… Good News !

Posted in humour | 5 Comments »

A royal baby ? .. I’m losing count !

Posted by Big John on October 17, 2018

It was only last week that a very windy Windsor saw the wedding of Frightful Fergie’s  daughter Eugenie to wealthy booze salesman ‘Tequila Jack’ Brooksbank, although how Daddy Andy’s lazy little Princess managed to fit her big day in between all those exotic holidays is anyone’s guess ?

Now all the flag waving loony royal worshippers have another treat in store. Yes !.. Yet another royal brat baby is on the way !

However, I gather that, unlike Fergie’s two dozey daughters, any offspring of Megs and Ginger Sussex will not have royal titles; which is a bit of a disappointment to me, because, as the child will be half American (and ‘biracial’) I would have loved to have seen a Prince Bubba, or a ‘Dook’ Devondre, even a Princess Britney would be good: and can you imagine how popular …

…Lady Whoopi Windsor would be ?

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

“Cheers !”

Posted by Big John on October 3, 2018

I downed my first ‘pint’ in 1955 when I was sixteen and had just started my first job. Well, actually it was only a half pint of ‘bitter’ and it was handed to me by a workmate on a Friday evening, after a week working of pissing about in the office, and was at a regular weekly gathering in an old fashioned ‘spit and sawdust’ pub which was situated close to our place of employment. As I recall, I was not that keen on the taste at the time. I soon got over that !

I was reminded of this momentous occasion when reading about this load of old bollocks new research which has found .. “that the perfect time to enjoy a pint is 5.30pm on a Saturday – and ideally in the beer garden of a country pub, in the company of your partner, and with a bag of crisps (potato chips) on the side”…. Oh ! .. and that pint .. “should take 28 minutes to quaff”.

Now, as a once champion “quaffer” I have to say that I don’t know where these researchers found their subjects, as these days most of our surviving ‘country’ pubs (and the rest) seem to be in the hands of major breweries and the like, or have become ‘gastro pubs’. Which means that you mostly have a choice between loud music, giant TV screens, flashing slot machines and, worst of all, out of control screaming brats !  .. or .. a pub where the “bag of crisps” has been replaced by Avocado on Artisan Sourdough with Dill Butter, followed by, 28 day Matured Steak served on a bed of Fennel, with a Fricassee of ‘freshly picked’ vegetables and Rock Salted Parmentiere Potatoes. All served on a small plank of wood decorated with a sprig of Rosemary, a “drizzle” and a small dollop of Gawd knows what !

I remember the pubs of my youth as places where I used to meet with my mates for a game of snooker and a pint or two of ‘brown and mild’, a place to relax after work, or even as somewhere to enjoy a pint with your “partner” girlfriend.

These days, I rarely enter a pub, but all this nostalgia has made me wonder if there is a pub near here that still sells …

… “a pie and a pint” ?

 

Posted in humour, nostalgia, rant | 3 Comments »

The’re ‘driving’ me mad !

Posted by Big John on September 20, 2018

When I was discharged from hospital I was informed that I should not drive for one week and that this ‘advice’ was “MANDATORY”  !

I also learned that I needed to advise both my car insurance company and the DVLA (Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency) that I now have a pacemaker.

Should be simple enough I thought; and so it was for the insurance company when I went on line, answered a couple of questions and was advised, along the lines, of … “If it’s OK with your doctor for you to drive, then it’s fine with us. You are covered by your existing policy”.

The DVLA was a “whole different ball game” ! .. (As I should have expected)… I went on line and after ‘ticking several boxes’, this appeared …

“In order to use the service you will need to confirm your identity. You will need to do this by using the service GOV.UK Verify. If you haven’t used GOV.UK Verify before, it will take you about 15 minutes to get set up”.

After half an hour of selecting options, receiving emails and texts, transferring codes, and generally ‘pissing about’ I was completely lost, gave up and ‘phoned the DVLA for advice.

“Have you tried our on line service ?” .. I was immediately asked. My somewhat ‘blunt’ reply did not seem to surprise the lady at the other end of the line, who must have been thinking ..’not another one’ !  … “I’ll send the forms to you”.. she said .. “They must be returned within 14 days or your driving licence will be cancelled” .. she added.

I’ve now received 7 pages of questions .. and .. guess what ?

… They have taken 5 days to arrive !

 

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

Taking an old blogger’s break .. Part two

Posted by Big John on September 10, 2018

“I couldn’t ask for more” … Did I say that ? … Well, I certainly got a lot more. In fact I got …

….  Two paramedics.

….  One ambulance.

….  Emergency room doctors and staff.

….  Five days in the ‘CCU’ (coronary care unit).

….  A Consultant Cardiologist and his team.

….  Countless radiographers and assorted technicians.

….  Wonderful nurses and ward staff. … and ..

….  A brand new pacemaker

That’s it for now, as I have to go and organise …

…  all those bloody pills !

Posted in family, humour | 4 Comments »