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 50 years of happy marriage.
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“The sun has got it’s hat on”, but not many Brits have !

Posted by Big John on July 5, 2015

What is it with the British when it comes to really stinking hot weather ?

During the past few days we have seen temperatures rocketing into the 90’s (that’s ‘old money’), which means that there have been ‘thunder thighs’ and acres of bare flesh on show everywhere, a lot of it covered in hideous tattoos, and it seems that the fatter the person is, the skimpier are their shorts, and that sleeveless, backless and almost topless is essential if you want that, so attractive, red raw skin glow.

Noel Coward was so right when he wrote .. “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” .. Not only do they ‘go out’, but they also ‘sit out’ to dine in the sweltering heat. How often have you heard some sweating idiot say .. “Hot ? It can’t be hot enough for me!” .. as he sits on a blistering British beach in his ‘budgie smugglers’ eating his fish and chips ?

Perhaps you remember, as I do, sitting in the shade with the locals outside some Greek taverna or Spanish beach bar, as they watched, with astonishment, near naked Brits as they removed or closed protective parasols or dragged their tables and chairs into the midday heat so that eating lunch would not halt their day long sun worshipping, even if their own dripping sweat did rather spoil the flavour of their moussaka or paella.

Most people who live in parts of the world where the sun blazes down for most of the time tend to stay in the shade and often wear clothes that cover them almost from head to toe, like Hassan here, who I met on a trip to Morocco a few years ago …

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… He is wearing the ubiquitous Berber djellabah, which with it’s baggy hood, …

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… gives great protection from the sun. I suppose that it’s a bit like a North African hoodie, but somehow, I can’t see it catching on in this country …

… anytime soon !

Posted in humour, rant, travel | 3 Comments »

I have succumbed at last !

Posted by Big John on June 29, 2015

Today I have taken another step towards joining a modern world which, I must confess, I do not always understand or feel at ease with.

Yes, … I have bought a smartphone ! …

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All I have to do now is learn how to use it, and having looked at the on-line instruction manual, this could take some time, although my old brain has already worked out how to make ‘phone calls and, best of all, how to text. So, now I’m off to join all those texting ‘zombies’ who walk our streets and are around every corner; but before I go into my trance and begin my wanderings, would someone please tell me …

… Which thumb do I use first ?

Posted in humour | 6 Comments »

Bishop bans the ‘BLT’ !

Posted by Big John on June 21, 2015

In a recent post I said that the Church of England “was fast disappearing up it’s own cassock” and here is a bit more proof, for now the potty priests think that fasting for one day a month will help protect our world from so-called global warming.

It’s called ‘eco theology’ and is known as the ‘skip a sandwich and save the planet’ movement.

Please someone … Explain to me how this works ?

Thank goodness that today is not only fathers’ day but also, more importantly, the ‘summer solstice’, which means that I have a double reason to celebrate.

So, on this ‘Midsummers Day’, I will don my Druid’s robes, put flowers in my hair (Well, on my head), fill my mug with mead, light the bonfire and, if I’m lucky, watch the naked maidens as they dance around it to the beat of a sacred drum; as all this pagan prancing and posing will ensure that the rain will fall, the sun will shine and the crops will grow. Which is a lot more eco-friendly than giving up your ‘Subway Melt’ once a month in the hope that it will combat climate change: and, of course,  …

… it’s a lot more fun ! ….  :-)

Posted in humour, rant, religion | 2 Comments »

“Taxi !”

Posted by Big John on June 16, 2015

It was a very hot day in the summer of 1958 and I was on my way home on leave having completed my initial training in the RAF, but I had picked a bad day to travel as London’s bus drivers were on strike.

After a long rail journey from Wiltshire to London I had managed to get part of the way across town by ‘Tube’ (subway), although I wasn’t too welcome on the crowded trains as I was loaded down with all my gear, including a very large kitbag.

Eventually I emerged into the blazing sun at The Oval station, which meant that I was still about three miles from home and ‘sweating like a pig’ in my thick blue serge uniform. So, there was nothing to do, other than to hoist my heavy kitbag onto my shoulder, stick my thumb out and begin the long trek along the Brixton Road.

I had only gone about two hundred yards, when a taxi pulled up beside me and the driver called to me .. “Where are you going mate ?” …  “The other side of Brixton” .. I replied .. “But I don’t have money for cab fare” (my pay as a national serviceman was a little over £1 per week) .. “Don’t worry, jump in” said the cabbie “this one’s on me”; and he was true to his word, for he dropped me only a couple of minutes walk from my home.

I know that times have changed and hitchhiking young men in uniform are no longer the familiar sight that they once were, so it’s nice to see that, despite the Uber ‘conflict‘, when it comes to the old veterans, London’s black cab drivers still show that they …

… “have their hearts in the right place”.

Posted in nostalgia | 2 Comments »

‘Spring Chicken’ wasn’t on the menu.

Posted by Big John on June 12, 2015

Yesterday was “she who must be obeyed’s” birthday. I won’t say how old she is, but she still thinks of me as her ‘toy boy’. Well, anyway, I like to think so.

So, I dragged the poor old dear down to the pub for a birthday lunch of fish and chips and chilled Pinot Grigio. How ‘cool’ is that ?

We arrived at the local hostelry after a short walk which left us a little breathless and brought on a few minor aches and pains. Nothing terrible, just a sign that old age has caught up with us and is letting us know it.

Now, I should say that weekday lunch times in this pub are a bit like an old farts’ function, as there are always a number of creaky old gits there who, like me, have seen better days, and yesterday was no exception; for when we were about half way through our meal an old couple, and when I say ‘old’ I mean bloody ancient, entered the restaurant at what can only be called a ‘lazy snails pace’, as the old girl, who must have shrunk to about four feet nothing tall, needed one of those walker thingies with wheels, which seemed to have a mind of it’s own, and the old boy, who towered over her, was hanging on to her with one hand, whilst waving his white cane with the other.

Although the weather was quite mild, she was dressed for an Alaskan winter and he was wearing light summer attire complete with sun hat.

How this wrinkly odd couple made it to their table, let alone the pub, I don’t know. It must have taken some effort. Perhaps they had ‘escaped’ from some nearby care home. Who knows ?  .. All I know is that when I watched them quietly enjoying their lunch I realized that “you are only as old as you feel”, and although they didn’t look very ‘frisky’, perhaps inside they felt twenty something and that this was …

… their first date !

Posted in family, humour | 7 Comments »

God or Goddess ?

Posted by Big John on June 5, 2015

No wonder that the Church of England is fast disappearing up it’s own cassock, when nutty clergy want God to be referred to as female.

What next ? .. Will the saints, archangels and martyrs all have to be re-branded as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender ? .. Mind you, Saint John of Arc sounds about right; and it’s very likely that our own Saint Thomas Becket was a bit more than just a close friend of King Henry II.

Perhaps the Bible will have to be rewritten to include the gospels according to Martha, Martina, Lucy and Joanne; and the nativity story will tell of Mary and Josephine and the birth of …

… ‘the baby Jessica’ !

Posted in humour, religion | 7 Comments »

Are you self service savvy ?

Posted by Big John on May 27, 2015

These days most supermarkets offer customers the option of scanning and bagging their own shopping: but does it save time ? Well, not if you want to buy booze or other ‘restricted’ items, and have to wait for a member of staff to assist, or you are panicked by a robotic voice shouting at you about an offending item “in the bagging area”: and recent surveys have shown that most of us much prefer to be served by a real live checkout assistant.

So,the other day when I called in at the local ‘mini-mart’ for a bottle of wine, I fell in behind two or three people waiting at the two manned checkouts. Each of them only had a couple of items but they ignored the empty self service aisle.

The next time I looked at the ‘do it yourself’ checkout someone was rapidly scanning away and quickly obeying the robots commands. He had no trouble paying with cash, grabbing his change and bagging his goods. Then he was out the door in a flash !

Oh! .. I nearly forgot to mention that he must have been about …

… six or seven years old !

Posted in humour | 5 Comments »

Is this really necessary ?

Posted by Big John on May 24, 2015

I have sometimes heard it said that someone was so dumb that … “They couldn’t find their arse with two hands and a flashlight” … or some similar idiom. So, I suppose that some idiots must need instructions on what to do when they eventually do find it, if this is to be believed …

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Question .. What “more information” could you need ?

Perhaps how not to panic when you find only one sheet …

… left on the roll !

 

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

 
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