“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 2007
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Archive for December, 2007

“Talk of the Devil …”

Posted by Big John on December 31, 2007

It won’t be long before they are chucking old ladies in duck ponds to see if they float and collecting firewood for the stake on the village green, if recent press reports coming out of the Vatican are anything to go by; for it seems that … “we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head-on” … by ordering his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism.

Bloody HELL ! … Oops ! Sorry…  I don’t want to invoke any demons, or the potty Pontiff might send round his holy hit squad: for don’t forget that his previous job was as head of ‘The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’, which used to be better known as ‘The Office of the Holy Inquisition’.

The Devil ! … Demons ! … Satan ! … Blimey ! … Is this really the 21st Century ? 

Tony Blair recently became a member of the Roman Catholic Church after previously saying that if he discussed his religious beliefs people would think that he … was a nutter“.

…    Now we know why !


Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

Press 1 for … “Pardon ?”

Posted by Big John on December 29, 2007

According to another of those polls, the facet of modern life that most pisses off people is being held in a telephone queue before being able to speak to a human being. 

Yes, I agree, but what drives me completely bonkers is when I do get through and hear … “Thanrrrrrrrrrrcallrrrrrrrrmyrrrrrrrrrdetrrrrrrrrhelpyou?” … or some such gibberish, which often comes complete with a thick ‘Geordie’, ‘Scouse’ or ‘Brummie’ accent.

Now there is nothing wrong with having a regional accent, but not when it comes at you at five hundred miles an hour ‘spouting’ some meaningless greeting delivered by some ‘bored out of their skull’ call centre automaton.

These days I find that I spend most of my time when making these calls, trying to ‘translate’ what young little Miss “How may I help you ?” is saying, after asking her to spell her name and slow down for the tenth time.

Having established that I am speaking to Bernadette from Belfast or Sangeeta from Smethwick, I then have to interpret my slightly ‘Cockney’ version of  ‘The Queen’s English’ for her, while trying not to inject any humour into the conversation: for I have found that the simplest of jokes normally brings complete silence from the other end of the line. This is especially true if that line ‘ends’ in Manila or Mumbai.

With the influx of workers from the newest members of the European Union, I suppose that I will soon be asked for my mother’s maiden name by Boris from Bulgaria or Slobodan from Slovenia. I think I’ve already been ‘helped’ on one ‘Help Line’ by the not very helpful Helga from Hungary.

However, not all strange accents lead to communication problems, for there is one number that I call regularly, and the girl who answers is always polite, never has to ask for my name or address, instantly understands what I want, and sees to it that it is delivered to my door within half an hour …

…     and she’s bloody Chinese.  🙂

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

There goes another one !

Posted by Big John on December 23, 2007

It’s hard to believe, but today sees my 4th anniversary as a blogger.

I wonder if I will ‘run out of steam’ before my fifth ?

Anyway I’m now off for a few days away from the computer, and so will leave you with my best wishes for Christmas and the New Year …


( With apologies again to Clement Clarke Moore).

… OK, so I know that it’s the same as last year, but what did you expect …

…    a bloody  SINGING REINDEER ?   🙂  

Posted in humour | 4 Comments »

‘M’ is for … Mirth !

Posted by Big John on December 21, 2007

So the Americans have sent us a Christmas an Eid present of four detainees from Guantanamo Bay, and now once again the newspapers are full of pictures of grim looking (who wouldn’t be ?) bearded men and the usual depressing references to Al Qaeda and the like.

Now I’ve no idea if these men are guilty of anything other than ‘being in the wrong place at the wrong time’, so I’ll leave it at that, and cheer myself up by remembering other more happy reports in the press this week which had a not so serious ‘Islamic’ theme. 

I loved the story on the TV news about the young Muslim man wearing a Scottish kilt delivering and erecting Christmas trees for Christian people in London: and the little boy celebrating the festival of Eid who, when interviewed, told the reporter that he was also looking forward to opening his Christmas presents. … Wonderful, and almost as funny as my local Muslim pharmacist dressing his lady counter assistants as ‘dodgy looking’ Christmas trees.   🙂

I also had to smile when I read that a TV show’s competition to name a baby lamb had to be cancelled because 95% of the people taking part suggested the name …  Yes ! You’ve guessed it.

Now we learn that the very same name will soon be the most popular boy’s name in this country and overtake ‘Jack’ for the top spot; so could it be that many non-Muslims are naming their children after the founder of the Islamic religion ?

If this is true, I do hope that none of our Islamic friends will be offended by this when they are walking around the supermarket, and hear some scruffy, loud mouthed mother yell at her out of control offspring …

…   “Cum ‘ere Mohammed yer littl’ bleeder !”  😉   

Posted in humour | 4 Comments »

My bestest Christmas card.

Posted by Big John on December 19, 2007

A little girl named Rebecca designed this Christmas card which brought a smile to my face when I received it today, …


… but my smile soon turned to a chuckle when I read her mother’s explanation printed inside the card …

  • Snowman with snow falling all around.
  • A present with star on top.
  • Jesus AS A BIG BOY.
  • The manger.
  • Baby Jesus.
  • The big shining star.

…   How could it be anything else ?  🙂

Posted in family, humour | 3 Comments »

‘A walk on the wild side’.

Posted by Big John on December 17, 2007

sunday-m-001.jpgNo, I’m not spending Christmas on some palm fringed beach as you might think from the photograph on the left. In fact it was taken on my Sunday morning walk, and this ‘blow up’ Santa was the nearest thing I saw to a human being on my way to the sea shore.

It wasn’t only Santa’s reindeer that had red noses, as the weather was bloody freezing.

When I reached the beach there was not a windsurfer or yachtsman in sight. Even the usual dog walkers were nowhere to be seen.

I had the place completely to myself …


I enjoyed a few minutes of solitude and sea air before setting off at a brisk pace towards my Sunday lunch.

I was soon joined by a feline friend who had decided, like sunday-m-010.jpgme, that he was tired of being alone out in the cold.

My furry companion followed along behind me until I was almost home.

I wonder if I should invite him to lunch ? I thought.

Perhaps he would enjoy some roast beef and Yorkshire pud.

I turned, but he was gone.

Could it be, I wondered, that he preferred …

hunting inflated reindeer ?   😉 


Posted in humour | 3 Comments »

I wonder if Santa has one ?

Posted by Big John on December 14, 2007

I am always amused at this time of year by the number of newspaper advertisements for ‘white goods’.

Do husbands really buy their wives washing machines for Christmas ?… and do husbands wake up on Christmas morning to find a refrigerator under the tree.

Amongst all the ‘must have’ things and unwanted ‘gizmos’ that the electrical retailers seem to be ‘pushing’ this year, ‘Sat Navs’ seem to be very much to the fore.

I wonder how many people really need to be guided to their destination from outer space ? I used to drive around 40,000 miles a year, and a map and a pencil and paper was all that I needed to find my way around the country.

The news is always full of ‘horror’ stories of juggernauts stuck up country lanes and old ladies driving into rivers because they followed their GPS machine’s instructions; so it would appear that ‘sat navs’ are just as good at getting you lost or into danger as they are at getting you to the last place in the motorway traffic jam.

I must admit that I have never used one of these navigation devices and have no desire to do so, for I may be wrong, but to me, using one when on the move seems to be just as dangerous as using a mobile phone when at the wheel, and this practice is quite rightly banned.

Let’s hope that ‘she who must be obeyed’ isn’t planning to put one in my stocking this year, because …

I would much prefer a dishwasher.  🙂

Posted in humour | 5 Comments »

The ‘sound of silence’.

Posted by Big John on December 11, 2007

Today I discovered that I had won a prize on the national ‘Lotto’, but don’t get too excited for it wasn’t the first prize of £1.25 million, nor was it the second prize of £37,000, and it wasn’t even the third prize of £873, but … Yipeee ! … me and 45,914 other people are now £34 ($70) richer, as winners of the 4th prize.

Well I was richer until I decided to stop off for an enjoyable lunch at the local pub after a little Christmas shopping with my wife.

Over an ‘oldies’ steak pie lunch and a bottle of Chardonnay ( I know that it’s the wrong wine) we had a pleasant conversation about all sorts of subjects, including food, family, finances and friends. In fact we chatted away as we always do.

As this pub attracts many elderly people at lunch time, the tables near to us were occupied mainly by other old farts, all tucking into their ‘seniors’ specials’, but with one noticeable difference …

… None of them were talking to each other… It was all eat and no speak … In fact it was total silence all round !

Perhaps there comes a time in life when you have nothing left to say to each other… or perhaps the nosey bleeders …

…     were just listening to us ? 

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »