bigjohn

There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

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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.

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    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

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    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.

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    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 54 years of happy marriage.
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Archive for March, 2014

Delusional Devotees.

Posted by Big John on March 29, 2014

Why am I not surprised to read that a recent survey found that people in the UK are now more likely to believe in the supernatural and superstitious mumbo-jumbo than in God, and that more people believe they have “special powers” than those who regularly go to church.

I put it down to all those TV shows and movies featuring psychics, vampires, zombies, werewolves, ghosts and the likes of ‘Harry-bloody-Potter’, who’s stories are probably more popular than those in that other book of myths, magic and fantastic tales… ‘The Holy Bible’.

So, if you think that you are a ‘super-hero’, can see into the future or just never walk under ladders, that’s OK by me, as long as you do no harm to others; but I would like to point out that ‘The Encyclopaedia of Mental Disorders’ states that …

Delusions are irrational beliefs, held with a high level of conviction, that are highly resistant to change even when the delusional person is exposed to forms of proof that contradict the belief“…

… Need I say more ?

Posted in humour, rant, religion | 5 Comments »

Perhaps I should call her ‘Bubbe’ ?

Posted by Big John on March 23, 2014

My recent post about my not so Irish, but possibly Jewish roots reminded me of .. “If I Were a Rich Man … ” first published by me in 2008 …

Remember that “basket full of old family photographs, newspaper clippings and other odds and ends” ? …

Well amongst the ‘odds and ends’ I discovered a blackened metal brooch. It appeared to have some writing on it and a design that looked like stars. I cleaned it up with some metal polish and discovered this …

After a search of ‘the web’ I discovered that this is a piece of silver and gold Mizpah jewellery. Unfortunately the hallmarks on the reverse side are illegible, but according to one source, it was probably made between 1896 and 1916.

I understand that the word Mizpah comes from the Bible … “and Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” (Genesis 31:49), and I gather that Mizpah jewellery is worn to signify an emotional bond between people who are separated.

So could this brooch have belonged to my grandmother and did she wear it when my grandfather was serving in the Army during World War I ? The dates seem to fit, although there is no way of knowing for certain.

The photograph on the left shows my grandmother holding a baby who could possibly be my dad (born 1901) and I have to ask the question … Could she have been Jewish ? … She was called Mariah, a Hebrew name, but if she was of that race and faith no one in the family ever mentioned it to me, and now it’s too late to ask.

I don’t know if it’s possible to be a little bit Jewish, and in any case I’ll never know if I am, but ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is my favourite musical, I always laugh at Jackie Mason, I love salt beef sandwiches, I fancy Barbra Streisand, I hate to ‘pay retail’… and …

I’m noted for my ‘Chutzpah’ ! 🙂

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia, religion | 3 Comments »

But Grandma was probably Jewish !

Posted by Big John on March 17, 2014

My grandfather died when I was about ten years old, and my dad told me that his father always claimed to be Irish. So when, a few years ago, I was able to start tracing my ancestry on line I expected to find a trail of documents leading back to the dear old “Emerald Isle”.

At first, it appeared that granddad was from an Irish family of farm labourers living in Sussex and, in fact, my possible ‘great-grandfather’ was listed on a census as a “ploughboy” with his place of birth being Ireland.gd gm f (407x790)

Now granddad did have the appearance of a typical ‘navvy’ when he was ‘out and about’ with his jaunty trilby hat, thumbs in his wide leather belt, and pipe clenched in his teeth as he headed for the local for a glass or two of Guinness.

So, on Saint Patrick’s Day I always tended to remember the old boy and wonder about my Irish ancestors, but I needn’t have bothered, for my later, and much more accurate research, showed that it is unlikely that I have a drop of Irish blood in my body !

Oh, Granddad was born in Sussex and his family can be traced back as far as 1635 without an Irish name in sight, so why he claimed to be Irish is a mystery. Perhaps it was just because this ‘plastic Paddy’ enjoyed being treated to a few free “pints of plain” on this day of the year …

…     HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY  …

Hat_Shamrocks 

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 3 Comments »

They are at it again !

Posted by Big John on March 9, 2014

I could be wrong, or is there more criticism than is usual of ‘er Maj’s mob in the press and on-line lately, due to the ‘do little duchess’ and her ‘parasite prince’ deciding to go on yet another exotic holiday before this hedonistic “hard working” pair embark on one of those freeloading junkets “exhausting” royal tours, accompanied by their eleven strong entourage, including the latest little pampered prince’s new nanny (what happened to “no nanny”?) and a tax-payer funded security team.

Of course the ‘Palace’ damage limitation toadies have sprung into action immediately by deploying the ex-‘ginger spare’ to distract the royal worshippers’ attention with his launching of a Paralympic-style sporting event for injured servicemen and women and showing him getting cosy with Cressie Bone-Arse (doesn’t he look like his dad?) at another charity event.

Some reports speak of another royal wedding and yet another “Princess”. Just what …

… we bloody need !

Posted in humour, political, rant | Leave a Comment »

Another “lesson from history” not learned ?

Posted by Big John on March 4, 2014

One hundred and sixty years ago a few upper class ‘posh’ twits wearing fancy uniforms ordered six hundred of Britain’s finest cavalrymen to charge into a valley, only to be torn apart by Russian shells and cannon balls.

Where did this take place ? … The Crimea ! … and Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote a famous poem about it.

How did this event come about ? … Well, it was because another group of “upper class ‘posh’ twits” living pampered and privileged lives back in England thought that they had the right to interfere in the issue involving the rights of Christians in the Holy Land, and, more importantly, the territorial dispute between Russia and The Ottoman Empire, who then controlled The Crimea.

Tell me … Does any of this  …  sound familiar ?

…. and just out of interest; the photograph below is of part of my collection of Victorian medals and shows those from the Crimean War of 1854-1856 …

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(click on picture to enlarge)

… The medal on the left is the British Crimea Medal with the ‘Sebastopol’ (Sevastopol) clasp. Another name familiar from today’s news !

Posted in political | 2 Comments »