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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Manchester in Mourning.

Posted by Big John on May 25, 2017

Every right minded person throughout the world must feel for the families of those killed and for those who were injured in the Manchester bomb outrage this week: and people have the right to show their grief and respect in any way they see fit.

However, I do feel that the media coverage of the aftermath and the often emotional and moving tributes paid by many, can only bring laughter and delight to the extremist killers and their supporters as they see the results of their heinous attack reported in detail by TV channels across the globe.

I know that this is the ‘modern’ way, with everything ‘out in the open’, and I may be wrong, but can it be right to …

… ‘motivate’ those who hate us in this way ?

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Another ‘tall tale’ of a tree.

Posted by Big John on May 23, 2017

This is a picture of a Leylandii which forms part of a hedge in my garden …

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It is about eight feet high and is kept neatly trimmed.

If it wasn’t it would soon look like this 50ft ‘giant’ ..

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… growing in a garden a little way from my house.

“So What ?” … I hear you ask.

Well, usually I am lucky enough to be awakened each morning by the birds singing in my garden, but not today. Instead, this morning, I left my bed to the sound of the screaming buzz of a chainsaw, and on looking out into the street I saw this …

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… and a few yards from my house the men in hard hats and safety harnesses were already hard at work …

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… turning this monster first into this …

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… and then into this …

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Unlike the last tree I wrote about,  I can’t see this one …

…doing a ‘Lazarus’ ! 

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

A tree named Lazarus.

Posted by Big John on May 13, 2017

A few weeks ago a gardener, who was erecting a fence for a neighbour, asked me if I wanted this old dead fruit tree …

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… cut down as he was in the process of clearing some land bordering our properties. I said that I would think about it, but then decided to keep it.

Six weeks later, and …

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  Even the top most bare stump …

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… is springing back to life.

 So, to borrow a little Cockney rhyming slang would you…

…  “Adam and Eve” it ?

Posted in humour | 4 Comments »

The pedaller from the Palace.

Posted by Big John on May 11, 2017

When writing my recent post about ‘Phil the Greek’ I was reminded of an amusing incident back in the early 1960’s when I was working in the sales department of Art Metal Inc. which, at that time, was the largest office furniture manufacturer in the world. The company’s London office was situated in Buckingham Palace Road about half a mile or so from ‘Buck House’ itself.

One day I was sitting at my desk when the ‘phone rang and the switchboard operator asked me if I could take a call from “the palace”. I smiled to myself and said .. “OK, put them through” .. and was about to give some prankster an earful, when a very posh voice said something like ..

.. “Hello, this is the Duke of Edinburgh’s office here and we are in urgent need of some more file folders for His Royal Highness’s filing system” ..

Well, to cut a long story short, Prince Philip’s aide or whoever he was, agreed to send someone to pick up a box of folders and I agreed to have them ready for collection.

Not long afterwards I got another call to say that someone from Buckingham Palace had just arrived outside the building, so I picked up a box of files from the stores and went out to meet them, expecting to see what ?  .. a footman in a taxi ? .. a horse drawn carriage ? .. a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce ? .. a mounted groom from the nearby royal stables ?.. or even just some lowly clerk arriving by bus ?

To my amazement, when I stepped outside, there, sitting astride his ‘steed’ by the kerb was a tall palace guardsman, looking incredibly smart in his No.1 dress uniform. Except that ‘his steed’ wasn’t one of the Household Cavalry’s magnificent black geldings, but one of these …

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..  Yes, an old fashioned delivery bike complete with basket.

I dropped the box in the basket and the soldier proudly rode away into the traffic heading back towards the palace …

… ‘Mission Accomplished !’

Posted in humour, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

Not so funny Phil !

Posted by Big John on May 5, 2017

Yesterday, my gardener .. (Well, the bloke who cuts the grass) .. had heard all the tributes paid to ‘Phil the Greek’ on his car radio, and thought that the cranky old duke had ‘popped his clogs’, when, in fact, he had only announced that he was going to retire next month, which came as a surprise to me, as I thought that he had retired when he married ‘er Maj.

As you would expect, the press, in their way ‘over the top’ coverage has highlighted his ‘gaffes’ and so-called sense of humour, mistakenly identifying his crass utterings for wit.

I feel that he is a rather graceless, arrogant, undiplomatic boor with an aggressive bullying manner and not exactly my idea of a …

… ‘Prince Charming’.

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

Imagine John Wayne wearing them!

Posted by Big John on May 1, 2017

When I was in my early ‘teens’ I always wanted a pair of those American trousers made of some blue fabric with big pockets, lots of white stitching and lighter coloured turn-ups (cuffs); just like the ones I saw in the Hollywood movies and in imported US comic books.

I learned that they were called ‘jeans’, and sometime in the early to mid 1950’s I managed to obtain my first pair from a ‘surplus store’ which sold hard wearing clothes for manual workers such as my father, who always wore a blue denim ‘bib and brace’ and jacket when working on the railway … (He is the one with the saw).

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Over the years I ‘ve worn many pairs of jeans of all styles, including narrow legged ones, flared ones and even ‘cut-off’ ones, but I never wore ones with holes in the knees, tears across the thighs or with rips in the arse.

Now such jeans are all the fashion and don’t ‘come cheap’, so, over the years, I must have lost a small fortune when my scruffy denim pants had seen better days and were thrown out.

So, what’s the latest in ‘must have’ jeans ? .. It’s mud stained ones !

I can’t wait for the ‘pissed your pants’ look …

… or  “Oops!” far worse !

Posted in humour, nostalgia | 3 Comments »

They must be due for another holiday.

Posted by Big John on April 22, 2017

I see that the damage limitation team of the Palace PR machine is at it again trying to make us believe, after some bad publicity, that Willy, Katie and Ginger are not the work shy, hedonistic, arrogant, hypocritical, pampered and over privileged, so-called ‘royals’ that we know them to be, with their partying antics and frequent vacations, but are, instead, ‘touchy feely’ sensitive souls who have suffered and need our sympathy.

In the case of Willy and Harry it is time to trot out their mother’s memory to polish their own images, but I feel that, maybe, judging by press and social media comments, the Palace PR ‘flunkies’ may have ‘shot themselves in the foot’ this time with all the ‘over the top’ emotional revelations, for mental health is a serious problem and not to be confused with grief, which we all feel at the loss of a loved one: and to let the ‘Do Nothing Duchess’ get in on the act with her ridiculous comments about motherhood being a “huge challenge”, the chat with Lady Gaga and all that crap about watching TV and eating take-away curries, plus hi-jacking the London Marathon is a long way from the usual .. “Oh dear, they’re in the shit again. Send one of them to the nearest hospice for ten minutes, and get a picture of the other one cuddling an African baby”.

So, as a supporter of the republican cause, all I can say to those peddlers of palace propaganda is …

…. “Keep up the good work chaps !”

Posted in rant | 2 Comments »

Here we go again – Part Fifteen.

Posted by Big John on April 18, 2017

If you believe all the press reports, this could be the last “Here we go again” post that I publish !

Yes, .. We are said to be on the brink of “all out war” ! .. and all because of a ‘tweet’ addicted ‘Gung-Ho!’ US President and a cheese addicted ‘supreme leader’ and number one nutter of a very weird country who seem determined to see ‘who blinks first’ !

So as Trump ‘rattles his sabre’ I can only hope that Kim Jong-un only …

… rattles his chopsticks !

Posted in humour, political | 5 Comments »