“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.

  • August 2007
    M T W T F S S
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Archive for August, 2007

Deluded ‘Dubya’.

Posted by Big John on August 30, 2007

I gather that the latest news from ‘Planet Bush’ is that ‘Dubya’ is unhappy with ‘Eye-Ran’ and has … “authorised our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities’’. Not to mention nicking Iranian citizens on the streets of Baghdad just to raise the tension a bit… He added … “I will take all actions necessary to protect our troops“. No, he doesn’t mean that he will bring them home. He means that he may start another little ‘war on terror’. 

Old ‘mission accomplished’ George ran true to form in a recent speech when he listed America’s historical conflicts and repeatedly said the US had “got the job done” and would continue to do so. Now there’s a man who knows his history !

Speaking to thousands of military veterans (does he claim to be one ?) at the American Legion convention, the ‘good ole boy’ said that if the US was driven out of the Middle East … “the region would be dramatically transformed in a way that could imperil the civilised world“. He forgot the bit about the oil !

Why does this ‘born again’ idiot still ramble on about Iraq being linked to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001? … Next he will be telling us about ‘weapons of mass destruction’ !

This moron in the White House seems to have as much understanding of the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan as those loony Korean evangelists, who thought that they could convert the Taliban to Christianity.

As this religious nutter of a president nears the end of his term in office I have to hope that God doesn’t speak to him again, as their last little chat resulted in one almighty cock-up !

Judging by the massive new United States Embassy in Baghdad, already being called ‘Fortress America’, lunatic George seems to think that the US will be in Iraq for quite some time. Unfortunately the building seems to have been designed to convey no confidence in the Iraqi people and little hope for their future; so let us hope that this time, unlike Saigon, there is plenty of room …

…   to land the helicopters on the roof !


Posted in humour, political, rant | 6 Comments »

It’s always a ‘long weekend’.

Posted by Big John on August 28, 2007

OK, so the holiday weekend is over.

The weather was great and I never went near my computer or my car, as I spent an enjoyable time … walking (a little) … eating (a lot) … drinking (too much) … and …  napping (on and off)  … and … today …

… I didn’t have to get up and …

…. Go to bloody work  ! 

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

A tale of two chickens.

Posted by Big John on August 23, 2007

Her name was Daisy and she was very young when she fell into the water and nearly drowned. She was rescued by my father, who resuscitated her and cared for her until she recovered from her ordeal …

Daisy was a chicken ! …  a ‘Rhode Island Red’ hen to be precise, and she went on to be a ‘champion’ layer of large brown eggs, and avoided the fate of the other birds in my dad’s back yard chicken run.

During World War II and the years of rationing that followed, many people throughout the country tended vegetable patches and raised chickens and rabbits in their gardens to help feed their families, as did my parents and many of our neighbours.

As our neighbours were all a bit squeamish when it came to spilling their chickens’ blood, my dad became to the poultry of our street what Sanson had been to the French aristocracy; but he could never bring himself to dispatch old Daisy to that great ‘free range’ in the sky.

I was reminded of Daisy when I read about a one legged Rhode Island Red named Lily who suffered from ‘depression’ because she was left alone all day when her owners were at work… No ! I’m not making this up. 

Lily’s only problem now seems to be that she falls over when she tries to scratch herself, but at least with birdbrained owners like hers, she will never get ‘depressed’ worrying about having  …

…  sage and onions stuffed up her arse.

Posted in family, humour | 5 Comments »

Dubious degrees.

Posted by Big John on August 21, 2007

One thing that I used to regret was not having had a university education; that is until later in life when I encountered a number of ‘academic morons’ in the course of my work, and many very bright people with qualifications which were completely useless to them when it came to earning a living.

When I finished my formal education in 1955 at the age of sixteen, very few working class young people went on to university, unlike today when political priorities mean big increases in the numbers of students in higher education, and ‘dumbing down’ of standards means that it is almost impossible to fail the qualifying examinations.

OK, so I never got to punt on the Camb or ride a bike through the streets of Oxford with my books in a basket on the front, and I’ll never know what it would have been like to be an archaeologist or an architect, and anyway if I had managed to make it to some ‘red brick’ college I’d have probably ended up shaking test tubes in a laboratory or shuffling papers in some government department for a living; unlike today’s students who can study at ‘uni’ (as they insist on calling it) so called ‘non-courses’ which, we are told, will prepare them for employment after leaving ‘the halls of academia’.

Here are just a few of the 401 courses which have been identified at British universities and have been described as being ‘light weight’ and of little or no academic merit.  

  • Golf management.

  • Baking technology.

  • Equestrian psychology.

  • Science fiction and culture

  • Aromatherapy

  • Specialist make-up design

  • Martial arts and adventure tourism.

  • Outdoor adventure and philosophy.

  • Fashion buying.

I suspect that at the end of such ‘Mickey Mouse’ courses (which cost the tax payer £40 million pounds a year)  graduates pick up their diplomas in a hallway from a box marked … ‘1st class degrees.  Please take one’.

At the start of the TV show ‘University Challenge’ the contestants state their names and disciplines such as   … “Dick Knowitall, reading history” or “Daisy Cleverglogs, reading physics” .. at the end of which I have been known to chip in with a not very funny … “and Big John reading comics”…

…   Perhaps I can become a ‘mature student’ ?

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

Lazy gardening.

Posted by Big John on August 19, 2007

Remember my figs ? Well now I have something new growing out of that same hedge  …


… ‘Passion Flowers’ ! … and what I take to be ‘Passion Fruit’ …


Now I don’t plant many things in my garden and most of the shrubs etc. have been there for years, and in some cases have grown pretty wild.

I have left one corner of my garden completely untouched to encourage the birds and other wildlife. This area is almost as impenetrable as a tropical jungle. In fact the last time that I ventured into it I thought I caught sight of an old Japanese soldier.

 I’m not too keen on gardening, but I rather like this idea of sitting back and waiting to see what pops up next.

Well bugger me ! … I’ve just spotted …

…    blackberries growing in ‘the jungle’ ! 

Posted in humour | 6 Comments »

Me and Elvis ?

Posted by Big John on August 17, 2007

Well I couldn’t let this week pass without mentioning ‘The King’, for in my youth I was a great fan of Elvis, despite the fact that he never performed in this country.

Elvis and I had one thing in common (apart from our good looks). We were both conscripted to serve in the military during the ‘Cold War’, and Elvis did visit the United Kingdom just once, at the end of his service in Germany, and on his way back to the USA.

Remembering that time I had a dig around in my box of old photographs and came up with this rather faded picture of me and some GI …



Posted in humour | 5 Comments »

Scrap the ‘school run’ !

Posted by Big John on August 15, 2007

Now it’s not often that I agree with the ideas coming from some potty environmental ‘think-tank’, but as one who lives close to two schools, I have to say that I am all in favour of … ‘Car-free zones around schools’.

The idea is that parents should be banned from driving within a half-mile radius of a school to help tackle the dramatic decline in childhood activity levels.

I’m not sure how this is going to work, but if it stops the grass outside my house from being torn up by bloody great 4x4s twice a day, and allows me to drive in and out of my garage without having to ask some silly cow to move her sodding SUV, then I’m all in favour of this ban.

You never know, it might just happen, unless some traffic jam junkie of a parent takes legal action because not being able to drive their chubby little cherubs right up to the school gates is …

…  depriving them of their ‘human rights’.

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

Saturday night ‘chic’.

Posted by Big John on August 13, 2007

These days it is very unusual for me and the old ‘trouble and strife’  to go out on a Saturday evening unless it is for some special occasion; but as the weather last Saturday was very pleasant, and there was bugger all on TV we decided to stroll to the pub for a couple of pints and then pick up a take-away from the nearby ‘Chinese’.

Now when I was a young man I would not have dreamed of going out on a Saturday night unless I was wearing a jacket, shirt and tie, pressed trousers and polished shoes. OK, so I know that those days are long gone, but I still considered changing into a smart shirt and a pair of lightweight pants.

“Don’t bother” said  ‘she who must be obeyed’ .. “Just go as you are. No one will notice”.

So I did, and she was right, as I blended in perfectly in my shapeless T shirt, with it’s worn out print on the back advertising a French fishmonger, my baggy shorts and my old stained beach shoes. In fact I was probably one of the smartest people in the pub.

Most of those standing around the bar with pints in hand, were wearing sweaty sleeveless tops, exposing sunburned muscles, and various styles of shorts, cut to show off the tattoos on their hairy legs … and that was just the women !

Shaven heads and large bellies were much in evidence, so I felt quite at ease, although the lack of metal hanging from my ears, nose and eyebrows did rather mark me out as a bit of an imposter.

A few lads were sporting replica football shirts and I noticed that a couple of them were giving me funny looks as they sipped from their bottles of  ‘Icehofbrewboombiermeisterpils’ or whatever it’s called. Then I realised that they had seen the back of my T shirt and were trying to remember if …

‘Poissonnerie’ played for Marseille or Montpellier.   

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »