“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.




    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




    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.




    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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Archive for October, 2006

Bar coded Britons.

Posted by Big John on October 30, 2006

If you are one of those people who feel threatened by the proposed introduction of identity cards and are nervous about the government holding all your personal details in a not too secure data base: or even if you are one of those who is just concerned about having your wheelie bin bugged or being a ‘star’ of CCTV  …..

Be afraid ! …   Be very afaid ! …  for it may not be long before you won’t need to carry an identity card in your wallet or hide from the camera in the loo, because the state surveillance system will soon be able to know your every move due to the microchip implanted up your arse (well they are bound to make the insertion procedure as unpleasant and intrusive as possible).

No, I’m not making this up: for according to a report, drawn up by a team of respected academics, this could be on the cards (Oops! sorry) in a few years, for it appears that Britain is a world leader in the use of surveillance technology and its citizens the most spied-upon in the free world.

I undertand that these ‘chips’ have already been trialled in America, where they were implanted in 70 mentally-ill elderly people in order to track their movements, and of course similar ones have been implanted in dogs for years. They scan them just like a bar code.

I know one thing for certain, and that is that they will have to hold me down to implant one in me …  

……   even if they do give me a … ‘bonio’.   


Posted in humour, rant | 6 Comments »

Not so ‘harmless fun’.

Posted by Big John on October 28, 2006

I have just visited my local Sainsbury’s supermarket where, as I entered, I was confronted with a huge heap of pumpkins.

Everywhere that you look at the moment you are reminded that it is almost time for that annual event which large commercial organisations and marketing companies have  imported from America … Yes ! That’s right it’s nearly ‘Trick or Treat’ time once again.

No, I don’t mean Halloween, for that is an old festival in this country dating back to pagan times and has always been a time for parties with traditional apple ducking, fireworks, recounting of ghost stories and playing games. What I mean is this idea that ‘Trick or Treat’ is all about banging on people’s doors after dark, demanding money and frightening the wits out of many old folk. It should be renamed ‘Trash or Cash’.   

A couple of years ago, one wet and windy late October evening an elderly lady who lives a few doors from me appeared on my doorstep in a very distressed state. It appeared that she had opened her street door only to be confronted by two man sized teenage yobs wearing rubber skull masks who yelled “trick or treat!” and held out their hands …  Guess what ? It wasn’t even Halloween ! 

I know that in the USA Halloween is a major event, but what many people in this country fail to understand is that Trick and Treating is generally organized in such a way that you only take part in the fun if you want to.  I believe that you let this be known by leaving a pumpkin on your porch or by showing some other sign that you will welcome children and hand out small treats of candy and the like.
This is something that the money grabbing companies that promoted this event in the UK forgot to tell anyone.

Don’t get me wrong, for I like to see children enjoying themselves, and this can be achieved without spending a fortune at ‘ASDA’ (Wal-Mart) and without being a nuisance to others.

So to all my blogger friends in the US may I wish that you all have a great time at Halloween, and to all those little hooligans who are thinking of knocking on my door on the 31st, be prepared to be told that  …

……  “This is not the United States, so … Piss off !”  👿         

Posted in humour, rant | 10 Comments »

Terminal frustration.

Posted by Big John on October 26, 2006

Yesterday I went on one of my regular shopping trips to France by ‘Eurotunnel’. Bad timing, as French seamen had decided the day before to mount one of their usual protests and had blockaded the port of Calais. Hence there were bloody thousands of cars queueing to travel through the Channel Tunnel instead of travelling by ferry.

e-t-sign.jpgNormally I arrive at the Eurotunnel terminal at about 7am, spend a couple of minutes checking in and am on my way to France about half an hour later: but not yesterday. Why ? because the queues were being caused by the ‘self check in’, a ‘touch screen’ system which can be a bit confusing if you have not used it before. Obviously most of these diverted ferry passengers had not.

Now I don’t know if it was because of the need to speed up the increased volume of traffic or not, but apart from one French policeman inspecting passports at the French checkpoint this side of the Channel, I saw no visible signs of any security precautions as I boarded the shuttle.

Not so on the other side of ‘La Manche’, for when I returned with my car full of French goodies, I found the terminal at Coquelles fairly bristling with heavily armed soldiers and police, complete with sniffer dogs and explosive testing kits. My car was stopped for inspection by an officer who ran some sort of chemical swab over the steering wheel, door handles etc. He then took the swab to be tested before allowing me to proceed. All other vehicles were being tested in the same way which was obviously causing a delay in boarding the UK bound shutttle.

Now all these security checks were fine by me, but not alas with the man driving the car behind mine in the queue. He decided on a little protest about the delay and I could see him in my rear view mirror waving his arms about and getting angry with the cop who was inspecting his car. This was not a very clever idea, as the cop called his captain, a huge grim faced man.

A young policewoman smiled at me and waved me on, and as I looked in my mirror I saw the car behind being emptied of it’s entire contents by the driver and his female companion as the captain watched. It was obvious from the look on his face that  …

…………       his ‘Entente’ had never been less ‘Cordial’.

Posted in humour | 3 Comments »

Depressed by ‘the press’.

Posted by Big John on October 23, 2006

One of the nice things about being retired is that I can take my time in the morning getting out of bed, have a leisurely breakfast, relax over a cup of coffee and enjoy reading the newspaper.

Well, perhaps ‘enjoy’ is the wrong word to use these days, as the papers seem to be full of ‘doom and gloom’, with reports of … More deaths in Iraq … Continued fierce fighting in Afghanistan … The Korean nuclear threat … Predictions of racial violence in the UK … Chaos and waste in the National Health Service … Gordon Brown and his ‘stealth taxes’ … ‘Untouchable’ teenage tearaways … The closure of rural post offices … Binge drinking yobs …  and even the killing of poor bloody whales by Iceland.

Need I go on ?  …  Shall I elaborate ? … No, I don’t think so, for it would mean too much repetition of names like Bush and Blair and the continual use of words such as …  ‘Diversity’ … ‘Veil’ … ‘Muslim’  … ‘Multiculturalism’ … and … ‘bloody!’

Another thing that always pisses me off with the papers is that they are full of stories about people that I couldn’t care less about and would be very happy if I never heard of them again, including  … Paul McCartney and his ‘poor abused’ wife … Madonna and her ‘must have’ African baby … Kate Moss and her ‘dipstick’ of a boyfriend … and of course, the bloody ‘royal family’ !

One story in the news at the moment did almost bring a smile to my face, for it seems that you can now visit an empty art gallery with ‘blank’ walls  and ‘imagine’ your own pictures.  

Perhaps I should open a blank sheet of paper after breakfast …

…..  and imagine my own news. 

Posted in humour, rant | 8 Comments »

A K9 ‘PC’ farce.

Posted by Big John on October 19, 2006

I know that on the whole our politically correct police forces services are bloody useless at catching anything more than a cold, but one element of them that I have always had faith in is their dogs.

I’m sure that we have all seen displays where these highly trained animals have shown how good they are at running down a fleeing suspect and holding on to him with their teeth until he can be handcuffed by their handler.

Now it seems that some idiot of a police chief has had the idea that some thieving bastard who has just nicked some old lady’s purse might sue for damages and have his ‘human rights’ infringed if ‘Rover’ sinks his teeth into his arse.

North Wales’s Deputy chief constable Clive Wolfendale, said … “Instead of biting, the dog is muzzled and launches itself like a missile at the midriff of the target.” …  full story 

The ‘midriff’ may well be the target, but I would think that the dog would have a good chance of colliding with a far more sensitive part of the male anatomy.

It’s just a thought, but I wonder if the injured villian victim will be less likely to sue, when instead of being bitten on the bum …

………     he is butted in the balls ?   

Posted in humour, rant | 1 Comment »

A tale of two teenagers.

Posted by Big John on October 17, 2006

My first holiday without my parents was when I was seventeen, when I and some friends spent a week at Butlin’s Holiday Camp at Clacton on Sea. The year was 1956.

roy-and-me.jpgThe photograph was taken in the camp dining hall and shows me and my mate Roy on the day that we arrived. I know it was the day we arrived because Roy got chatting to ‘an older woman’ (she was at least twenty) on the next table and I never saw him again until the end of the week.

Roy had been my best friend at school although we did not have a lot in common, and this became more apparent after we left school. Just look at the way we are dressed. I’m trying my best to look like my idol, James Dean, in my white T shirt, jeans and check shirt, whilst he looks more like my dad in his sports jacket, flannel trousers and cravat (ascot). Perhaps his ‘older woman’ thought he was an older man.

I lost track of Roy a few months later, for as I went on ‘Rock ‘n’ Rolling’ towards conscription, he followed his older brothers into the Royal Air Force by signing on as a ‘regular’. I  preferred to wait until ‘they came and got me’ for my two years, in the vain hope that I might be overlooked.

Come to think of it, staying at a Butlin’s was good preparation for the military life of a young conscript, with it’s red coated staff forcing everyone to have ‘regimented’ fun and being awakened every morning by a loudspeaker’s call to an early breakfast. Not to mention the ‘mess hall’ style of dining and the ‘cast-iron’ bunk beds.

Strangely Roy never spoke about his ‘experiences’ with his ‘older woman’ and I wasn’t really interested to tell the truth, for I had enjoyed a week of drinking beer and chasing teenage girls. A fairly new experience for someone who had until recently attended an all boys school.

So did I have any ‘experiences’ to brag about to Roy after all my lustful pursuing of those nubile young women ? …  Umm!! 

  ……     Well I did say that this was 1956.  😉

Posted in humour, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

How many more Mr. Blair ?

Posted by Big John on October 14, 2006

Well good for General Sir Richard Dannatt for speaking the truth  about the situation in Iraq and allowing us to see just a little light at the end of the tunnel.

It certainly makes a change from George “Mission accomplished” Bush with his … “I don’t consider it a credible report” … when confronted with the numbers of civilians killed since the invasion.

The circumstances surrounding the death of one British civilian has had plenty of press coverage during the last couple of days and it will be interesting to see what action, if any, the US government takes in the case of the ‘unlawful killing’ of TV reporter Terry Lloyd by US Marines.

It is hard to make anyone accountable for their actions in the ‘heat of battle’, but Mr Lloyd appears to have been killed by an American bullet as he lay in a makeshift civilian ambulance which was being driven away from the scene of a recent firefight and posed no threat to anyone.

A Pentagon spokesman said …

We do not, nor would we ever, deliberately target a noncombatant civilian or journalist.”

A strange statement to make when footage shot shortly after the incident clearly shows US troops shooting at a civilian bus and a voice is heard shouting about …    “shooting out the tyres and the windshield“.

Mr. Lloyd’s widow described the troops involved as “trigger happy cowboys“, which would seem to be the case, for as they opened fire on the bus they did not seem to care ……

…….       who was behind that windshield ?

Posted in political, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Remember to pass the port to your left.

Posted by Big John on October 12, 2006

We all know that George Bush speaks with his mouth full. Remember him greeting our excuse for a prime minister with … “Yo, Blair!” as he was enjoying his lunch. Now it appears that a good many of us confess to having bad table manners.

According to a recent survey people admitted to such things as putting their elbows on the table and putting too much food in their mouths. Well I’m sure that most of us have done that at some time. I will even confess to the odd ‘burp’ after a good meal, excusing myself with the explanation that this is considered to be a compliment in ‘Arab society’. I also consider a knife to be useless when eating such things as pasta and rice dishes, so I adopt the American habit of eating with my fork in my right hand; although I have never gone totally ‘American’ by transferring my fork from my left to my right hand after cutting up my food. (Why do they do that ? Something to do with cowboys or covered wagons I believe.)

What I do find hard to believe is that some of those questioned were honest or stupid enough to confess to … Licking their plate clean … Using their fingers to scoop up last bits of food … Throwing food at someone across the table … and … can you believe ? …  Blowing their noses on their napkins !

One admission I can confirm to be true, although it has little to do with table manners, is that many people … ‘eat straight out of the packaging’… How do I know this ?   …  because …

….  Most of that bloody packaging ends up in my front garden.  

Posted in humour, rant | 5 Comments »