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 May, 2015

Are you self service savvy ?

Posted by Big John on May 27, 2015

These days most supermarkets offer customers the option of scanning and bagging their own shopping: but does it save time ? Well, not if you want to buy booze or other ‘restricted’ items, and have to wait for a member of staff to assist, or you are panicked by a robotic voice shouting at you about an offending item “in the bagging area”: and recent surveys have shown that most of us much prefer to be served by a real live checkout assistant.

So,the other day when I called in at the local ‘mini-mart’ for a bottle of wine, I fell in behind two or three people waiting at the two manned checkouts. Each of them only had a couple of items but they ignored the empty self service aisle.

The next time I looked at the ‘do it yourself’ checkout someone was rapidly scanning away and quickly obeying the robots commands. He had no trouble paying with cash, grabbing his change and bagging his goods. Then he was out the door in a flash !

Oh! .. I nearly forgot to mention that he must have been about …

… six or seven years old !

Posted in humour | 5 Comments »

Is this really necessary ?

Posted by Big John on May 24, 2015

I have sometimes heard it said that someone was so dumb that … “They couldn’t find their arse with two hands and a flashlight” … or some similar idiom. So, I suppose that some idiots must need instructions on what to do when they eventually do find it, if this is to be believed …

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Question .. What “more information” could you need ?

Perhaps how not to panic when you find only one sheet …

… left on the roll !

 

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

No more ‘playing soldiers’.

Posted by Big John on May 20, 2015

Every so often some not too bright spark comes up with the idea that it would be a good idea to reintroduce national service; and this time it’s the ex-‘ginger spare’ .. ‘Hooray Harry .. who loves the military so much that he has decided to return to his civilian life of piss-ups and pampered privilege. Mind you, I’m pretty sure that his time in the army has not been without it’s privileges. Apart from being a polo playing officer and having a jolly spiffing time in a very ‘posh’ regiment, can you really believe that he would have ever been put in ‘harm’s way’ by flying over Afghanistan as a co-pilot/gunner in an Apache helicopter, or being allowed to wander about without a squad of crack troops to protect him at all times and whisk him away at the first sign of danger ?

I see that HRH (His Royal Harryness) says ..“I dread to think where I’d be without the Army.” .. Umm! .. ‘Getting down’ in some dodgy royal palace or other close to the mean back streets of Kensington, smoking ‘skunk’ and slurping ‘Cristal’, or hanging out with his hedonistic Sloane ‘homies’ and bonking all those Belgravia ‘bitches’ I expect !

Most of those who usually call for the return of national service have no experience of service life, unlike Captain Harry ‘Wales’ who does: but his life in the military has been as far removed from that of an ordinary private soldier as it is possible to get; and certainly a bloody long way from how …

… this ex-national serviceman remembers it !

Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

A monumental mistake !

Posted by Big John on May 16, 2015

Two items in the recent news caught my attention. One is that the nasty nutters of the Islamic State have advanced to the gates of ancient Palmyra, raising fears that the Syrian world heritage site could face destruction of the kind the jihadis have already wreaked in Iraq.

The other item informs us that around 700 people left this country to join the ranks of Islamic State in Syria, and that half of them have been allowed to return to our shores (remember “Return ticket not valid ?”) to join the hundreds of radicalised young Muslims who can’t wait to destroy our entire nation: and I fear that they are likely to do far more serious damage than just take their sledgehammers to the Elgin Marbles, or their bulldozers …

… to Stonehenge !

Posted in political, rant, religion | 1 Comment »

A day to remember… Well, almost !

Posted by Big John on May 8, 2015

Today is the 70th anniversary of ‘VE Day’ (Victory in Europe) and I can just about remember it.

I was six years old and had lived all of my young life in war torn London, so the wail of air raid warning sirens, the boom of anti-aircraft guns, the drone of German V1 missiles and the question “Is it one of ours ?” whenever the sound of an aircraft engine was heard overhead, where all part of everyday life for me; although I was a little too young to experience the fear that slightly older children must have felt as I sat on my mother’s lap under the stairs in our basement and waited for the ‘all clear’ to sound.

Now all that had ended, and in our bomb damaged street that evening, there was a large bonfire on the ruins where once there had been houses; and some Royal Navy sailors were letting off flares and rockets from the top of the burnt out shell of the house across the road. Flags were flying from lamp posts and were hanging out of windows. Tatty home-made bunting was strung from house to house. That is, of course, if there were still houses to hang it from.

I suppose there must have been a street party, but I don’t remember it. I do remember seeing some people dancing in the middle of the road in what, in those days, was referred to as ‘a good old knees up’: and I’m pretty sure that victory was being toasted in hard to come by booze.

So I was there on that momentous day in history, but, as a little kid, all the fuss didn’t mean much to me at the time; and now I can remember very little of those events. Perhaps my memories have faded with time, or perhaps, as little kids do, I just climbed on to my mum’s lap …

… and fell asleep.

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

Oh No ! .. Not another one ?

Posted by Big John on May 4, 2015

Those of you who know me must have known that I would be unable to resist a comment or two on the birth of  the latest addition to the ‘House of Windsor’, or ‘er Maj’s mob, as I prefer to call them.

So, the ‘do nothing duchess’ has managed to provide a ‘spare’ to the heir, and can now take up her role as a hard working mother of two, which I know she will find exhausting, because all the royal worshipping parasites of the press have told us so. Although I’m not sure if they have told the nannies, cooks, maids, footmen and butlers at Kensington Palace and Anmer Hall yet.

There has been much speculation about the baby’s name. I favour Princess Chardonnay – Britney – Jordan – Kardashian – of the House of Middleton – Saxe – Coburg – Gotha. I think that Queen Victoria would have approved, and .. Blimey ! .. she does look like that miserable old monarch.

Oh ! .. bugger!   .. They’ve just named her Charlotte .. so Princess ‘Charlie’ it is then  …

… Gormless old grandpapa will be pleased.  

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

“Napoleon who ?”

Posted by Big John on May 2, 2015

This summer we will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo: and guess what ? ..

Yes, as you would expect these days, a survey shows that many Britons know little about a battle that cost more than 60,000 lives; and associate the name with a London railway station or a silly song by 1970’s pop group ‘ABBA’.

It seems that more than a quarter of the people surveyed (28%) had no idea who won the battle, 14% believed the French were victorious and one in five knew absolutely nothing about an event that changed the course of European history.

Just over half (53%) correctly knew that the Duke of Wellington had led the British army, but many suggested it might have been King Arthur, Francis Drake, Winston Churchill, or even Dumbledore from the Harry Potter stories: and it was our young people who showed a “particular lack of awareness” !

Oh ! .. and by the way, the politically correct brigade (Oops! Sorry, too militaristic) zealots have advised that people attending commemorative events should not act in a ‘triumphalist’ way because .. Sacré Bleu ! .. this would offend the French.

Why am I not surprised ?  .. Well, in this age of ‘dumbed-down’ education and political correctness …

… “Ignorance is Bliss”  (Thomas Gray)

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »