“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.

  • December 2006
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Archive for December, 2006

My Sunday morning stroll.

Posted by Big John on December 31, 2006

On most Sunday mornings I like to take a walk before having a couple of beers and sitting down to a traditional roast lunch.

At this time of year I often choose a route that takes me past the deserted caravan (trailer) park and over the little wooden bridge which crosses the brook, where the ducks have been replaced by a rusty bicycle frame, a couple of traffic cones and a supermarket trolley from ‘Tesco’. I note that the water has now turned back to it’s normal colour from the bright orange it had been a few weeks ago.

church.jpgI walk along the muddy path stepping over a couple of  overflowing bin bags and pass the local scout hut, nearly slipping on a used condom, as I try to read the colourful graffiti on the heavily shuttered windows.

I reach the small churchyard and pause to listen for the sound of a familiar hymn. Instead I hear the cry of …

 “F**K OFF REF !”

…   from the field behind the church, where once I heard a skylark sing.

Yes, it is winter and the Sunday morning football (soccer) league is in full swing. The game in progress seems to be a bit above the usual standard as most of the players are running about, rather than walking along with their hands on their hips, spitting on the ground as their beer bellies heave between each wheezing breath. The ball hits the back of the net, the keeper rolls on the ground clutching his groin and a heated fracas breaks out as the referee points towards the penalty spot.


I drag myself away from this exciting spectacle and procede along the narrow path across the marsh towards the seashore, dodging a group from ‘cycling for the visually impaired’, and avoiding the attention of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ as he tows some silly old cow through the puddles towards me. “Please stop! There’s a good boy!” I hear her cry as the brute drags her off towards the large sign which reads … ‘DANGER! Soft Mud!’


The waves are gently lapping on the beach and empty beer bottles bob in the foam, as I look toward the horizon, being careful not to tread on any discarded needles hidden in the pebbles, where a huge windfarm has become the latest tourist attraction along this part of the coast. I take a deep breath of sea air and soon discover that the wind is blowing from the direction of the nearby sewage works.

I head for home and pass the large seafront houses owned by those with a few bob more than me, and am stopped in my tracks by the sight of a pair of our local ‘gendarmes‘ infringing the ‘human rights’ of a bunch of picturesque ‘pikey’ travellers who have decided to set up their combination camp and rubbish dump near the yacht club.


As I pass the local pub, where once I might have stopped for a pint, until it became a ‘family friendly’ restaurant. I watch as the 4x4s and SUVs disgorge their gangs of little hooligans as they prepare to tear the place apart. 

I arrive home. I open the street door and smell the roast beef cooking as I hear my wife mixing the Yorkshire pudding …  Ah! Just what I need after …

…    such an enjoyable stroll.


Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

‘No Sale !’

Posted by Big John on December 29, 2006

What is the worst sort of torture that I could suffer ?

The rack ? … Thumbscrews ? … The iron maiden ? … or having my naughty bits wired up to the electricity supply ?

Well I think that I would prefer to endure any of those (Umm!  Maybe not the last one) rather than be forced to spend a day in the pure hell of …


Why on earth do people put themselves through such an ordeal ? I’ve even seen masochists being interviewed on the TV news, saying what fun it was to start queueing outside a store at 3 a.m. so that they could buy that half price purple and pink leather sofa that the store had been stuck with for the past year.

I’m sure that most normal people would not dream of purchasing many of the items which they rush to buy; but they seem to take leave of their senses when they see those magic … ‘Massive Discounts !’ … ‘Only While Stocks Last !’ … ‘50% Off Everthing !’ … signs.  Blimey ! They are even prepared to tear each other apart to get at them.

I hate today’s gleaming shopping centres at the best of times, and not even the promise of a reserved place in their 13,000 space car park, a police escort through the endless traffic jams and a free lunch at ‘Yo! Sushi’, would entice me to join in the Bluewater ‘blitzkrieg’, in order to buy a load of crap which has been shipped all the way from bloody China especially to boost the income of the UK’s retail ‘giants’ at this time of year.

I know that it’s nice to find a genuine bargain, but I much prefer to ‘shop around’ on the internet for mine and avoid risking life and limb by joining  …

…     the misery and mayhem on the malls !

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

Three years and still ‘trying’.

Posted by Big John on December 27, 2006

It is now three years since my daughter set up a blog for me and gave me the ‘nom de blog’ of ‘bigjohn‘. At the time she thought that it might help to keep me out of mischief after my retirement.

“OK”, I said “I’ll give it a try”, never believing that I would ever find enough to write about or that anyone would be interested in the ramblings of a grumpy old fart like me.

Much to my surprise, I find that three years later, I have written nearly 1,000 posts, have had well over 2,000 comments and have received almost 200,000 hits, although I suspect that this last figure may be open to question as most of these ‘hits’ were when I was with ‘blog-city’ and they are still showing that I am getting ‘hit’ at an average rate of 300 per day despite the fact that I no longer post there.

I must confess that I am beginning to slow down a bit and have considered departing from the ‘blogosphere’, but have decided that I will plod on for a bit longer (I’ll try not to repeat myself too often) as I do enjoy ‘meeting‘ all you interesting people out there. Not to mention the pleasure it gives me being able to let off steam and rant about the bloody ‘royals’ … our crap politicians … etc. etc.

So all I can say is … Thanks a lot for spending time with me … and …

 …     Please keep watching this space.


Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »


Posted by Big John on December 23, 2006


 With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore. 

Posted in humour, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

What ! No Cedric or Cecil ?

Posted by Big John on December 22, 2006

In a recent post and a comment by ‘Ginnie’, she mentioned names that you hardly ever hear anymore, those being …’Queenie’, ‘Dora’ and ‘Bert’. This made me think of some of the names of members of my own family from that generation, such as my aunts …Vi, Kitty, Daisy and Dolly.    

homberg.jpgMy dad’s name, as shown on his 1901 birth certificate, was Jack, although many people called him John. I don’t know whether this was because the name Jack was unpopular when he was a young man (left) or whether it was assumed that his name was John and that Jack was just a nickname, as my grandfather was of Irish descent and I had uncles called Pat, Mick and Tommy.

Now, a recent survey has shown that the most popular boys’ Christian  (Ooops ! Sorry))  name in the UK for the last twelve years mum-hat.jpghas been good old ‘Jack’.

I must say that I prefer the plain and simple ‘old fashioned’ names and I am pleased to see that girls’ names such as Grace and Emily are on the increase. My mother (right) was named Eva Ethel but was always known a Edie for some reason. I can’t see ‘Ethel’ ever coming back, but apparently ‘Edie’ is now more common.

I’m afraid that I just can’t get used to all these modern names like … Jayden, Jordan, Keira and Chantelle, and as for bloody ‘Cruz’, well where the hell did that come from ?

However, I am quite pleased to see the name Mohammad  (I wonder if it’s OK to call it an ‘Islamic’ name ?)  appearing in the latest list, and I await the day when I am shopping in the supermarket and hear some ‘Vicky Pollard’ of a mother shout … “Stop kicking your brother Cruz, and … 

come ‘ere Mohammad, yer little bleeder !”   🙂  

Posted in family, humour | 6 Comments »

Official ‘party poopers’.

Posted by Big John on December 20, 2006

This is the time of year when it is the custom to make a complete prat of yourself at the office party; and let me tell you that I used to excel at this in my younger days.

You name it and I’ve done it, including the ‘classic’ of telling the boss just what you think of him when caught in his office drinking his booze and ‘entertaining’ his secretary.

Below is a photograph taken at an office Christmas party in 1957 …


… I’m the one in the middle.  … Just take a look at the little guy on the left. … Boy! Is he having a good time ? … I think that the girl on my right wearing the white top is trying to decide if I’m worth grabbing if ever I let go of the blond on my left.    🙂

Now all that innocent fun may become a thing of the past because ‘The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service’ has issued an advice pamphlet, which among other things, has warned bosses they could end up being sued if they or their employees behave in a ‘politically incorrect’ manner, that they have a “duty of care” to inebriated staff, and that they could end up on the wrong side of the law if they don’t make sure that those employees get home safely, or if their employees get hurt while stumbling out of the party drunk.

What a load of old bollocks !

The only danger I ever faced after the office Christmas party was the danger of …

…  not having a job to return to after the holidays.

Posted in humour | 6 Comments »

Ghost bird.

Posted by Big John on December 18, 2006

The other morning I was having breakfast when I heard a thump from the direction of a kitchen window.

Thinking that a bird had probably crashed into it, I went out into the garden to investigate, but could find no trace of an injured bird. Not one single feather.

This morning as I raised the kitchen window blinds, I noticed that some dust on the outside of the window was reflecting the sunlight, and there, imprinted on the glass, was the perfect outline of a bird in flight …


……                 Now ain’t that bloody amazing ?

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

DIY doctoring.

Posted by Big John on December 16, 2006

I can remember the time when you visited your doctor and he examined you almost from head to toe.

He looked at your tongue … told you to say .. Argh ! … felt your pulse … stuck his stethoscope on your chest … examined your finger nails … took your temperature … and … generally poked you about before making his diagnosis.

Today when you visit your GP, he shakes your hand … offers you a seat … and … waits for you to tell him what you have diagnosed for yourself after tracking down your symptoms on the ‘web’. He then hands you a prescription, suggests some tests or refers you to a hospital.

A few weeks ago my doctor decided to change the medication that I was taking to control my hypertension, as it had been discovered that the drug I was on could cause serious problems.  He prescribed a couple of alternatives which proved to be ineffective.

A member of my family gave me the name of a drug which had successfully reduced his own blood pressure; so armed with this information and my own record of my increased blood pressure readings, I trotted off down to the medical centre.

I showed my records to the doctor and asked him his opinion of the drug which had been recommended to me.

“Ah ! It’s funny that you should mention that” said the doc. “I was just about to prescribe that for you”.

Umm ! I wonder ? … Well perhaps he was.

Today, amongst other things, I can take my own blood pressure and temperature … I can keep my own medical records … I can source my own medication …  I can identify my own symptoms … I can use various test kits from the pharmacy … and … I can examine most of my body for age related problems etc. … but there is one area that I can’t ‘keep an eye on’ for myself, for unless you are a contortionist, it is impossible  …

………    to be your own proctologist.   😉

Posted in humour | 6 Comments »