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 January, 2015

A race ‘storm in a teacup’ .. ?

Posted by Big John on January 29, 2015

I see that ‘flavour of the month’ actor Benedict Cumberbatch has apologised for using the word ‘coloured’ when referring to black actors, even though he obviously meant no offence.

Now I know that in this day and age one has to tread very carefully when entering the ‘minefield’ of diversity, but I must be missing something here: so please do feel free to correct me; but isn’t there a huge organisation in the USA which since the early 20th century has sought to end discrimination on the basis of race, and isn’t it called the …

… National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People ?

Posted in political | 6 Comments »

By my troth, t’was so !

Posted by Big John on January 24, 2015

I enjoyed watching the first episode of ‘Wolf Hall‘ on BBC TV, although I think that I look more like Henry VIII than Damian Lewis; and perhaps there is a good reason for this, as my great-great grandfather was a Sussex farmer who, in 1839, married ‘above his station’, when he wed a lady who was a descendant of Lady Anne Hastings (née Stafford), Countess of Huntingdon, who had an affair with King Henry VIII in 1510, and who was probably his mistress for some time after that date, and certainly until 1513, as was proved by the King’s generosity towards her.

Anne had a son, Francis, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon, who was born in 1514, and although there is no documentary proof that Francis Hastings was naughty old King Henry’s illegitimate son, it would be a pretty good bet that he was the result of some royal ‘rumpy-pumpy’, and that one slender branch of my family tree connects me to the ‘Merry Monarch’ himself via Francis’s daughter, Frances Ann Hastings !

Below is a photo of that farmer and his ‘lady’s son, one of my great-uncles, who was born in 1841 when his mother’s maiden name was added to his surname …

Jesse 001 (244x390) (244x390)

… and a photo of me on a visit to Hampton Court Palace taken around 1985 …

henry VIII 001

 … I rest my (royal) case !

Posted in family, humour | 1 Comment »

A dangerous distraction !

Posted by Big John on January 19, 2015

It was a wet and windy day and I was just about to pull out of a parking space, when I noticed a cyclist wobbling all over the place and heading towards my car, when suddenly, he mounted the pavement (sidewalk), riding along it (still wobbling) for some distance before turning into muddy patch of lawn and disappearing behind a small office building.

So what’s so remarkable about that ? … you may wonder.

Well, as far as I could see, not once did his eyes leave the screen of his smartphone or his thumb stop texting !

What could have been so important that he couldn’t wait a few minutes to get out of the wind and rain before sending his message ?

This crazy bloke was probably risking serious injury (or worse) just to tell someone something he could have told them at any time.

He was just like one of my nutty neighbours, who immediately he leaves his car in the street, pulls out his ‘mobile’ and starts texting as he crosses the road to his house. Unless he gets run over, we’re talking about ten seconds here ! … Just about time to say …

… “I’m home dear” !

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

Cecil B. DeMille it ain’t !

Posted by Big John on January 13, 2015

As I have mentioned before, I was educated at a Church of England school: so as you can imagine I was subjected to a fair amount of Christian ‘brain-washing’, and although this set me off on the road to atheism, there was one aspect of all that religious nonsense that I quite enjoyed.

Yes, my imagination was ‘fired’ by all those fantastic tales from the ‘Old Testament’, such as David and Goliath and Joshua and those crappy walls of Jericho. I also became a big fan of those Hollywood ‘bathrobe epics’, such as ‘Samson and Delilah’ which had the rubber lips of Victor Mature spouting such cheesy dialogue as .. “Hey, one cat at a time !” .. when Delilah runs to Samson after he kills a lion: and who could forget Charlton Heston as Moses returning from Mount Sinai in ‘The Ten Commandments’ and trying to stop the ‘golden calf’ orgy, when an extra in the crowd called out .. “Party Pooper !”.

So it was with this in mind that, the other evening, I watched .. ‘Noah‘ .. on Sky Movies. Well, perhaps ‘watched’ is the wrong word to use, as most of the movie was shot in the dark, where Russell Crowe mumbled (well, he was 500 years old) and I couldn’t tell Ham from Sham or Og from Magog; and I got even more confused when Harry Potter’s girlfriend turned up and a 696 year old Hannibal Lector look-alike kept on about his bloody berries.

All I remember about the film is that there was plenty of tumultuous water and video game type digital battles. However, I did manage to avoid reaching for the ‘off’ button, but by the end of the movie I felt …

…”as old as Methuselah” !

Posted in humour, nostalgia, religion | 4 Comments »

Another moment of fame !

Posted by Big John on January 7, 2015

Yesterday afternoon ‘she who must be obeyed’ summoned me to the kitchen to view the sunset, which indeed, was quite spectacular, so I took a picture …

Tankerton sunset (800x549)

“Why don’t you send it to the TV weather people” she suggested. “They may show it on tonight’s weather report”.

So I did, and two hours later …

IMG_0014 (800x549)

… There it was on BBC TV, right behind my favourite weather girl, Rachel Mackley : and I even got …

… an ‘on-screen’ credit !

Posted in family, humour | 4 Comments »

So, what’s new ?

Posted by Big John on January 3, 2015

My miserable week has been brightened up considerably by the news that the number one prince of parasites ‘Randy Andy’ is up to his neck in princely poop due to some ‘alleged’ royal rumpy-pumpy, so you must excuse me if I indulge myself in a few moments (well actually more than a few) of ‘schadenfreude’.

OK, so our so-called ‘royals’ have always been a bed-hopping bunch. Queen Victoria’s son, who later became King Edward VII, wasn’t called ‘Dirty Bertie’ for nothing: and it is well know that the old girl herself had a problem keeping her naughty knickers on. In fact, the list of royal sex scandals is endless, with everything from bi-sexual drug addict dukes, and duchesses having their toes sucked, to rumours about old royal queens uncles chasing naked young guardsmen around the palace gardens at midnight !

I see that Buckingham Palace has issued a strongly worded denial of allegations that Prince Andrew was involved in “impropriety with underage minors”.

This denial reminds me of another great British sex scandal, only this one was political, which featured the late great Mandy Rice-Davies and that now famous quotation which she uttered when she heard that Lord Astor had denied that the affair happened …

… “He would, wouldn’t he?”

Posted in humour, political, rant | 2 Comments »