bigjohn

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

  • Warning! Elderly Person Blogging

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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 56 years of happy marriage.

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Archive for February, 2016

“There is no sin so great as ignorance”… Rudyard Kipling

Posted by Big John on February 26, 2016

Recently I watched a TV documentary about Rudyard Kipling. It was a very interesting programme and reminded me of how much I have enjoyed reading his works over the years.

You may have guessed that ‘Barrack-Room Ballads’ is one of my favourites due to my interest in Victorian times and the lives of the ‘rank and file’ who fought and died in the far flung corners of the British Empire during that period in history. My use of the word ‘Gawd’ in my posts may also have given it away.

If you have not read these poems, I should warn you that they do not fall into the category of politically-correct, although ‘Fuzzy-Wuzzy’ was written about the bravery and fighting skills of Sudanese tribesmen and his …

“Of all them blackfaced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din…

… Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,
         By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
     You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!”

… are extracts from a poem complicated by the reality of imperialism and the overtones of racism. However, this soldier’s tribute to the Indian servant who saved his life is touching nonetheless.

 When I was just about old enough to read, around 70 or so years ago, I made friends with a boy named Lenny. We sometimes played together in his house, and one day we discovered some rather battered old books hidden away under the stairs. One of them was …

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and once we started reading it, we couldn’t put it down. In fact, we read it over and over again. In the end I’m sure we knew most of it by heart and would quote long passages as we played at being Mowgli in some imagined jungle.

So, as I look at my overloaded shelves, I have to thank old Rudyard (and Lenny) for ‘firing my imagination’ and for my great love of books …

… “pass the duster” ! 

Posted in humour, nostalgia | 2 Comments »

‘Brexit’ … Not such .. “A leap in the dark”.

Posted by Big John on February 21, 2016

My very first job when I left school in 1955 was with a large travel agency. It was at a time when ‘package holidays’ were just taking off and I found myself working with a team of people from all over Europe. The job itself was a bit boring, but the company and friendship of those ‘foreigners’ more than made up for it. I even managed to wangle a few free trips across the Channel. I loved it, and I have loved visiting Europe ever since. I have travelled extensively on the continent, speak ‘food and drink’ in several languages and once owned a modest holiday home in Spain. I have been employed by both Italian and German companies. In fact, I have always considered myself to be ‘European’.

So .. How will I vote in June ? .. IN ? .. or .. OUT ?

That’s possibly a tough one, and our Dave’s recent pissing about in Brussels has not made it any easier, because as I see it, the Eurozone countries will continue towards their full political and monetary union, and we, as some sort of junior partner, will be at their mercy as they make decisions which are in their own interest. We will have no influence, but, I assume that, as the second largest contributor to the EU bottomless money pit, we will still be handing over billions of pounds to the Brussels’ bureaucrats.

I doubt if co-operation on issues as important as security, science, defence and, above all, ‘trade’ would disappear if we vote to leave. So I would still be able to enjoy my German beer, my French wine, my Dutch cheese, my Belgium chocolate, my Italian salami, my Spanish olives and all those other European ‘goodies’.

“How will I vote?” … I’ll give it some thought, but it’s beginning to look like a …

… ‘no-brainer’ !

Posted in humour, nostalgia, political, travel | 2 Comments »

Saint or sinner ?

Posted by Big John on February 16, 2016

Now there’s a surprise … a Pope with a girlfriend !

According to press reports, there is no indication that the former pontiff, had a sexual relationship with Anna-Teresa, a vivacious, married, American/Polish aristocrat, or that he ever broke his vow of celibacy.

Of course he didn’t ! … What a dreadful thought !… and, anyway, if he did, it probably meant that the alter boys were safe and could relax after mass. Although the nuns may have thought that old John Paul’s blessing was a bit too ‘hands on’.

A Vatican official is quoted as saying .. “There was never any suggestion of wrongdoing. It’s not like they had a secret lovechild or anything”.

Now would be a good time to creep out of the cloisters, you blessed …

…  ‘son of a saint’ !

Posted in humour, religion | 3 Comments »

“Fingers Crossed !” …

Posted by Big John on February 15, 2016

… I’m now ‘up and running’ with my ‘all singing and dancing’ new ‘Superfast BT Infinity’ fibre optic broadband, and ‘so far so good’.

BT delivered my new kit exactly when they said they would and advised me that they would connect my home to their service today between 8am and midnight. In fact I received a text at 9am to say that I was connected, and, bugger me ! .. so I was.

It only took a few minutes to set up the ‘Hub’ (wi-fi router) as following the brief instructions was so easy that even my old brain could cope with it.

I must say that communications with BT have been excellent. I just hope that everything …

… stays that way !

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

A birthday burger.

Posted by Big John on February 11, 2016

Today is my 77th birthday, and as usual the ‘old trouble and strife’ insisted on dragging me down to the pub for a birthday lunch, or perhaps I should say that it was more like we leaned on each other as we limped along towards the local hostelry.

So what did I select for my lunch ? .. steak ? .. fish ? .. pasta ? .. curry ? .. chicken ? .. or .. one of those giant steaming platters of ‘Gawd’ knows what ?

No! .. I chose a ‘once a year’ .. cheese and bacon burger which came with all those ‘extras’ which I did not order. Most enjoyable !

So now I’m looking forward to this evening, when the menu might be just a little more…

… ‘Cordon Bleu’ 🙂

posted via a BT wi-fi ‘Hot Spot’

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 5 Comments »

“And his name shall be called Gizmo”.

Posted by Big John on February 8, 2016

I don’t know if there is a god of things technical and mechanical, but if there is, I must have pissed him off in some way, because during recent weeks I have suffered …

  • A washing machine breakdown resulting in me having to ‘fork out’ for a new one.
  • A ‘Sky+’ TV malfunction which meant that old style ‘box’ had to be changed twice, and finally be replaced by the latest model.
  • A car that wouldn’t start, so I had to call the AA and then buy a new battery.
  • A computer that couldn’t tell the time and needed a visit to my local ‘PC Clinic’.
  • A table lamp that went ‘fizz’ then ‘pop’ !
  • A couple of minor mishaps with gadgets in the kitchen, including a coffee machine that wasn’t too perky (Oops ! Sorry).
  • And ‘last but not least’, the loss of my home access to the internet !

Should I try and placate this unknown deity with some form of sacrifice ? I suppose that it’s worth a try: but what should I offer up ?

I know. I’ll put that clapped out old toaster out of it’s misery by letting it immolate itself. That should do the trick. Well, at least, it’s cheaper than …

… smashing my smartphone.

 posted via BT wi-fi ‘Hot Spot’

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

! Can you believe …

Posted by Big John on February 4, 2016

… that as soon as I signed up with ‘BT’ for my new broadband service, THIS bloody well happens ?

At the risk of ‘boring the pants off you’, I must tell you that I have received two ‘phone calls from the CEO’s office at ‘TalkTalk’ from people wanting to ‘discuss’ my internet connection problem. It only took three weeks !

Oh ! .. and before I forget .. my Indian friend .. Ramana .. commented .. “I am surprised! I had a completely different opinion of the level of customer service in the UK!” .. to which I have to say .. Sorry mate, but I believe that the customer service call centres are …

… in India ! .. 🙂

posted via BT ‘Hot Spot’ connection.

Posted in rant | 3 Comments »