“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.

  • November 2006
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Archive for November, 2006

“What did she say ?”

Posted by Big John on November 28, 2006

Today my wife and I joined many of the other ‘pensionistas’ in the neighbourhood for our free flu vaccinations.

This is done at our local health centre where we turn up at the appointed time only to find about two dozen other old farts already queueing at the reception desk, as the receptionist patiently tries to explain to some elderly moron that his appointment is for the following day.

The receptionist gives us each an information sheet to read, tells us where to wait until our names are called and politely asks us to remove our coats and to roll up our sleeves before being called into the treatment room for our ‘jabs’. Good idea I think, as we remove our outer garments and take a seat. This should speed up things in what can only be described as a ‘conveyor belt’ procedure.  … We’ll soon be out of here I think to myself. 

How wrong can you be ? 

“Mr. and Mrs. Gormless” calls a nurse…”MR. AND MRS. GORMLESS !” she calls again, and here they come, all nicely buttoned up in their quilted jackets, wrapped in their scarves and clutching their information sheets in their gloved hands.

“They must be deaf” I mutter to my wife, and then I glance over my shoulder at all the other oldies sitting in the waiting room, most of whom are dressed for an assault on the north face of the Eiger.

“They can’t all be bloody deaf” I mumble as Mr. and Mrs Gormless emerge from the nurse’s room with their sleeves still rolled up and carrying their heaps of clothing. 

“Oooo ! ‘ello” cries Mrs Gormless as she spies another warmly wrapped old couple. “What are you doing here ?” … What a bloody silly question !  … They don’t answer, but just grin stupidly. I wonder if they are deaf as well ?

The place is crowded and looks more like God’s waiting room than a medical centre, with noisey old gits shouting across the room at other old codgers … “Don’t I know you ?” … “Oh yes, of course, you’re my late wife’s first husband. Haven’t seen you since D Day.” … or some such crap.  

“Busy ain’t it ?” says an old lady as she sits next to me. She looks old enough to have been previously vaccinated by Edward Jenner himself, but she seems bright and cheerful enough. She slips off her coat and rolls up the sleeve of her jumper. Blimey ! … she’s following instructions. I’m amazed … and … Guess what ? …

……      She is wearing a hearing aid.    


Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

Pass the remote.

Posted by Big John on November 26, 2006

I won’t say that I am a big fan of the BBC’s ‘Holiday’ programme, but I will miss it now that it is to be axed after 37 years.

However one thing that I will not miss is all that bloody noise at the start of the show with all that ‘whooshing’ around the globe and screams of … “Oh Yes!” “Oh Yes!” … as poor old Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen tries not to fall into the Grand Canyon as he is forced to shout … “The programme that gives you the world” … in order to be heard above all that din.

I am fed up with trying to watch TV shows and movies where it is almost impossible to hear what is being said above all the background noise and loud soundtrack music. Even the TV news has thumping noise in the background.

When I first visited the United States some thirty years ago and watched American TV shows I was surprised by the studio audiences’ reaction when someone was introduced by any show’s host. Even the most unfunny comedian was greeted with a minute or so of yells, whistles, screams and loud applause. Of course by now we have all become familiar with this orchestrated audience ‘participation’ on British TV, which is now often accompanied by deafening ‘blasts’ of sound by a studio band.

At least when the commercials come on I can ‘click’ off the sound. I can also turn down the volume if I am unhappy with the sound level on a music programme, but what of the ‘raucous’ rest ?  …

 …   I wonder if my remote has a subtitles only button ? 

Posted in rant | 4 Comments »

Blair blows a billion.

Posted by Big John on November 21, 2006

During his photo-opportunity tour of Pakistan and Afghanistan our Tone announced that amongst the £1 bn. of our money that he and Gordon will be pissing away in these two countries plus Iraq,  he will include an extra £250 million to help establish new Islamic schools known as madrassas. 

I thought that those were the places that produced the bastards that want to blow us all to pieces, including our own ‘home grown’ fanatics who spend their ‘holidays’ visiting them for pep talks on suicide bombing.

OK, I know that gullible Tone thinks that chucking our money at any problem will solve it, but if he thinks that he can pay to reform these madrassas, he is likely to hear the mad mullahs that run many of them laughing all the way to the nearest Shariah compliant Bank.  

I hope that nobody has told our excuse for a prime minister about the fundamentalist Islamic group which needs £100,000,000 to build Europe’s largest mosque in East London. It will hold at least 40,000 people and the site will cover around 70,000 square metres….

…  so plenty of room to include a madrassa or two then.

Posted in political, rant | 3 Comments »

When will Willy wed ?

Posted by Big John on November 18, 2006

I hope that you are all getting ready to rush down to ‘Woolies’ to buy your royal wedding souvenirs once they go on sale. 

I can hardly wait. In fact I will be first in the queue outside my local store after elbowing all the other silly old sods out of the way.

I don’t know whether to buy a mouse mat or a mug. Everything is so tasteful, especially the Will and Kate-shaped pick and mix sweets. I really must get some of those, even if they do make me sick. Which reminds me; don’t you just love that plate with the picture on it of Willy about to throw up and a gormless looking Katie being smacked in the side of the head with a large birds’ nest.

While I’m in the store I must look for something suitable to send to the happy pair as a wedding present, for I know that lots of my old fart friends will be spending their pension money on gifts to help the couple set up home together. Well newlyweds can’t have enough towels and knitted toilet roll covers can they ?

When the time comes I must remember to send a card, as it’s always nice to have something to put on the mantelpiece; or perhaps I’ll join all the other thousands of loonies loyal oldies and take a few flowers along on the day.

The old Saxe-Coberg-Gotha family does love a ‘bit of a do’ when it comes to a wedding. Well why shouldn’t they?  If they can’t afford it, I’m sure that we would all be prepared to chip in a few quid to help pay for the beer and sandwiches. After all they’ve never been too proud to accept our money in the past.

I do love a royal wedding, but it’s such a shame that so many end in divorce. I blame that ‘Foggy’ Phillips, that ‘Toe-job’ Fergie and that ‘Creepy’ Camilla.

I’m sure that any day now we will hear the wonderful news about other royal wedding plans. Yes, I mean the luvverly ‘Chels’ and ‘The Ginger Spare’

…..   Now that should be a ‘right royal’ piss-up. 

Posted in humour | 5 Comments »

Don’t panic !

Posted by Big John on November 16, 2006

I’m sure that we all remember laughing at Monty Python’s … ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ … Well now I think that someone in our government has come up with a not so funny … ‘Ministry of Scaring Them Shitless’ … For it seems that hardly a week goes by without the news of some new danger being plastered all over the front pages of our newspapers.

It’s not bad enough being warned every other day by the likes of John Reid and Dame Eliza Manningham-Bullshit that we face … “a wave of terror plots” … and that we can expect to find a member of al-Qaeda hiding round every corner, so they decide to remind us of the possible dangers when we feel at our most vulnerable, by imposing ‘over the top’ security checks at airports and, on occasion, by rolling out the bloody tanks.

To read some reports, like the one by the ‘Institute for Public Policy Research’ you might think that you need a tank to drive to your local Sainsbury’s supermarket for it would seem that our country is over-run by gangs of violent feral children and vicious binge drinking yobs who are forcing our frightened population to leave these shores in droves.

Climate change is always good for a bit of a scare story, as is anything connected with our daily diet, such as … too much salt can kill you or saturated fat clogs up your arteries.  

“OK”. You can imagine the minister saying …  “We’ve  had the buggers worried about the dangers of global warming, or was it that they might all freeze to death because of a shortage of fossil fuels ?  … So what shall we make this week’s big horror press release ? …  I’ve got it … SALMONELLA ! … Yes, there is nothing like a good old food poisoning story or something related to infected animals to put the wind up people. E. coli … bird flu … mad cow disease … they’ve all worked in the past; and don’t forget the rats

….     I can feel a bubonic plague story coming on“. 

Posted in humour, political, rant | 3 Comments »

Criminal compensation.

Posted by Big John on November 13, 2006

We have heard a lot recently about our jails being full, but little about solving the problem, except for John Reid’s idea to lock up less thieves and muggers and let out more villians and psychos early.  

In view of this, I would suggest that our Home Secretary pays a visit to Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County Arizona. Perhaps he might learn something (though I doubt it) from the sheriff who forced his jail inmates to wear pink underwear, eat 15-cent meals, work on chain gangs and live in uncomfortable tents. He also threw away their pornographic magazines, turned off their cable TV, and obviously doesn’t give a shit about his low-life prisoners’ ‘human rights’. Apparently Sheriff Joe’s ex-cons are not keen to return to his tender care and after their release most do not re-offend.

Can you imagine how many lawyers (led by Cherie Blair QC) would be queueing up to uphold the ‘human rights’ of all those poor incarcerated ‘victims’ if even a hint of such a regime was introduced here ?

No ! …  Well take a look at the latest misuse of our tax money, which is being handed out in large amounts as compensation to drug addict prisoners who were forced to stop taking drugs while in jail.  Of course the ‘compensation culture’ vultures lawyers are grabbing their share in the form of ‘legal aid’ payments.

What next ?  …  

……    Prison tattoos to be removed for free on the NHS ?

Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

Guardian 2004

Posted by Big John on November 11, 2006

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

A family neighbourhood.

Posted by Big John on November 9, 2006

It is very rarely that when I delve into my box of old family photographs I come across a picture of someone that I do not recognise.

old-lady.jpgThis picture of an old lady, probably taken in the late 1920s, had me puzzled until I thought that I detected a resemblance to my grandfather, so I e-mailed it to my 83 year old ‘silver surfer’ uncle George, (remember him with one sock up and the other down) and he confirmed that it was in fact his grandmother and therefore my great grandmother who must have been born around 1850.

George told me that he didn’t remember too much about her, except that she lived a couple of streets away from the main family home and that as a young boy, he used to take hot meals to her cooked by my grandmother, who also had a useless husband and nine kids to look after. Apparently he hated this task as the old girl would make him sit with her and eat a biscuit (cookie), which he never enjoyed as it always tasted of mothballs.

Both my mother and father came from large families, each having nine brothers and sisters, most of whom lived with their children within a few streets of each other up until the 1950s. My grandmother lived just across the street from my parents house and the ‘organised chaos’ of a family gathering at her place had to be seen to be believed. 

Today the remaining members of those families are scattered from Upper Norwood to Upstate New York, and sadly we have mostly lost touch with each other. It seems strange to say, but over the years I have probably seen my American cousin as much as any other.

If you dare take to the road on any Sunday, you will find our motorways jammed with thousands of cars, most of which I suspect are full of people travelling hundreds of miles to see their relatives, when probably all they once would  have done  …

………       was just walk across the street. 

Posted in family, humour | 3 Comments »