bigjohn

There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

  • Warning! Elderly Person Blogging

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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 ‘snowflake’ movie warning !

Posted by Big John on February 16, 2018

I was searching my Sky TV movie guide, when I noticed the 1956 film ‘Safari’ was listed. It starred Victor Mature as a ‘white hunter’, and was set in Kenya during the ‘Mau Mau Uprising’ which was taking place at the time.

Now I know that warnings are often given about films that contain .. ‘violence’ .. ‘sexual themes’ .. strong language .. etc. which I suppose is understandable to some degree: but this movie has warnings for .. “scenes of hunting” .. Blimey ! .. It is about a bloke who earns his living killing wild animals ! .. and .. horror of horrors …

… “colonial attitudes” !

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

11th February 1939

Posted by Big John on February 11, 2018

I’ve just ‘Googled’ today’s date to see if any significant event happened in “this sceptred isle” on this day 79 years ago … Nothing ! .. Nowt! .. Zilch ! .. Nada !

Yes, there bloody was  ! …

… I WAS BORN !  

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

Barmy ‘Brittania’ !

Posted by Big John on February 8, 2018

As you may recall from my previous posts I have always been a fan of ‘swords and sandals’ movies and I also enjoyed all those old ‘bathrobe’ epics way back in the 50’s and 60’s, despite the fact that most of them were complete rubbish when it came to historical facts, featured some really ‘bum’ actors and always had ‘a cast of thousands’ wearing ridiculous costumes and waving rubber swords at each other.

Now we have historical TV mini-series which I also enjoy, although sometimes for the wrong reasons. So, when I saw that there was a new series on Sky Atlantic about the second Roman invasion of Britain I thought I would give it a try.

At first I was impressed, as the depiction of Roman military life appeared to be pretty accurate with Aulus Plautius and his legionaries more or less properly equipped and ‘looking the part’.

Then ..  ‘Enter the Celts’ .. all tattoos, torques and tousled tresses, and the Druids .. all demonic, drugged and dirty.

I’m not sure if the Celts of the Cantii tribe resembled those in this drama, but, I doubt if the Druids, who in Celtic society were high class priests, political advisors, arbitrators, teachers and healers, would have resembled the ‘living dead’ from a trashy Zombie movie !

As you would expect there is plenty of blood, torture, severed heads and a man with a severed … Umm!.. let’s not go there. Let us just say that his wedding night didn’t turn out as he expected. Which is rather as I feel after looking forward to enjoying an ‘epic’ series about Roman Britain, instead of an incomprehensible mess of a fantasy drama about a mysterious land, women warriors, sadistic sorcerers and a mucky maiden following a wacky wanderer.

Julius Caesar’s previous invasion of Britain failed and he buggered off back to Gaul. I wonder, could it be true, that he reported to Rome that it was “a crazy little island and …

…  a seriously weird place” !

 

Posted in entertainment, History, humour, nostalgia | 1 Comment »

At last ! .. ‘Human contact’.

Posted by Big John on February 2, 2018

I’ve just had a very strange experience and feel that I just stepped back in time because I telephoned a service company to arrange for an engineer to call to carry out a repair to my TV satellite system, and to my amazement I found myself speaking to a very helpful young lady. Yes, a real live person, and this within only a few seconds of picking up the ‘phone to make the call !

How did this happen ? … There was NO .. “Press one for this” .. “Press two for that” .. “Please hold, your call is important to us” .. “You are number Gawd knows how many in a queue” .. “Thank you for waiting”  .. “All our agents are busy, so please piss off to our website for help” .. “Good afternoon my name is Ranjit. Oops ! .. Sorry .. William .. How may I be helping you today?” .. and ..  “Oh, and by the way, if you do get through, we will record your conversation for training purposes”.. “In the meantime, here is some crap music for you to listen to until you fall into a trance or …

… decide to hang up !.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

‘Fast forward’ 200 years !

Posted by Big John on January 21, 2018

Recently I acquired a fairly rare medal to add to my collection. It is a Military General Service Medal which was awarded to a cavalryman who saw action during the Peninsular War against Napoleon and later at the Battle of Waterloo.

This soldier was born around 1790, joined the army in 1812 and served for 15 years. He was discharged with the rank of corporal, with a small pension, and his regiment paid for him and his wife to be transported back to the town where he had enlisted.

He was lucky ! … Unlike many thousands of soldiers and sailors who, after Napoleon’s surrender were almost immediately discharged into a life of abject poverty, with many veterans selling or pawning their solid silver Waterloo Medals, the first such award issued to all ranks of the British Army.

Now, it’s hard to believe, and estimates vary, but reports indicate that, today, there could be as many as 13,000 British veterans living and dying on our streets, many with serious mental health issues !

A national disgrace ?  … Most certainly ! .. Still, never mind, for it appears that in Windsor, two in every ten rough sleepers are ex-soldiers. Just the place to be for that very expensive …

…  royal wedding !

Posted in History, rant | 1 Comment »

A touch screen screw-up !

Posted by Big John on January 3, 2018

A few days ago I ordered a small item from a supplier on ‘ebay’ who was offering a free ‘click and collect’ service, and although I had never used this service before, I thought that I would give it a try, as the ‘pick up’ point was at my local Sainsbury’s supermarket, so what could possibly go wrong ?

Now, ‘ebay’ advised me that they would inform me, by email or text, when my purchase was ready for collection and give a ‘collection code’ to me which I should take to the store as it would enable me to claim my package. Sounds like a quick and easy system, I thought.

Wrong ! … For when I located the touch screen into which I was supposed to enter my details on my next visit to the store, it had a big sign on it reading .. “Out of Order” !

The following day I visited the store again and it was working. Great, looks simple enough I thought as I read the instructions, only to be interrupted by a helpful nosey woman standing next to me.

“You have to touch ‘start’ first” .. she said … “Now, your name” .. she continued.

Blimey .. I thought .. I know that I’m an old fart, but do I really look that stupid ?

“Thanks, I can manage” .. I said and asked .. “Are you waiting for a package and have you been waiting long ?”

“A few minutes”.. she replied .. “Something seems to be causing a hold-up”.

Shit ! .. I thought, I knew that there would be a problem of some sort as I noticed other people standing around obviously waiting to pick up their goods.

However, the delay was not the fault of Sainsbury’s, ‘ebay’, or some supplier. In fact, the ‘hold-up’ was all the fault of my know it all kindly helper who it seemed had entered all the wrong details (including her daughter’s name instead of her own) via that touch screen which had brought the collection process to a temporary standstill !

I won’t go into detail, except to say that a young member of Sainsbury’s staff did his best to obtain the correct information from the confused woman, including asking for her ‘collection code’.

“Collection code ? .. What code is that then ? .. Oh! that one .. It’s on my smartphone”.

“Good” .. said the young man .. “Can I have it please”.

“I can’t do that” .. replied the woman … Young man “Why ?”

…   “I’ve left my phone at home” ! 

 

Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

Are they ‘kidding’ ?

Posted by Big John on December 31, 2017

Sensible warning ?  ….

….  Not if it’s hidden under the food  ….

… inside that same packaging !

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

“Peace on Earth and ….”

Posted by Big John on December 24, 2017

I’ve been reading that, this year, it is almost impossible to find Christmas cards showing the traditional ‘Nativity’ scene, and I feel that this must be true because I have only received one card with a religious theme and that just shows choirboys singing near a snow covered church.

Now I have to say that, even as an atheist and knowing that the Christians ‘hi-jacked’ a pagan festival to make it their own, I regret that we seem to be losing sight of the message in the story of the first Christmas: So, let us not forget that it’s only a story …

… But a bloody good one !

HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »