“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.

  • October 2016
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Archive for October, 2016

Happy Halloween America (and thanks a lot) !

Posted by Big John on October 31, 2016

I wonder who it was in this country who first saw an American movie where groups of happy children, wearing fancy dress, skipped along the street and where the smiling occupants of the houses displaying pumpkins on the porches cheerfully handed over handfuls of candy in response to the cries of …


.. and thought .. Now that’s a bloody good idea. Let’s forget about our traditional Halloween and make loads of money by selling all sorts of ‘spooky’ crap. We don’t have to worry too much about the ‘candy’ as British kids won’t know what that is, and anyway, they can always have fun by putting on a rubber skull mask, banging on some old lady’s door, demanding cash, trashing her front garden and …

… scaring the shit out of her !


Posted in humour, rant | 5 Comments »

“Ooh ‘ar” .. and not a pasty in sight.

Posted by Big John on October 26, 2016

Some time ago I was talking to a couple of tourists, but was unable to identify where they came from by their accents. Probably somewhere in North America I guessed. “Are you Canadian?” .. I asked .. “No.” .. came the answer .. “We’re from Cornwall”.

Now I only mention this meeting because I have been watching the second series of “Poldark” on BBC TV and I’m pretty sure that the ‘Mummerset’ accent adopted by most of the actors in this drama in no way resembles the Cornish dialect of the late 18th century or of today.

It’s quite an entertaining programme with lots of breath taking views of the Cornish coast, some interesting characters and an almost believable story line of ‘bodice-ripping’, family feuds and smuggling, although I very much doubt if the depiction of  the tin and copper miners and their families comes anywhere close to the truth of what must have been a bloody hard life to say the least.

As usual, some of the locations show the odd modern item, such as a plastic gutter or a burglar alarm, and convincing ‘extras’ seemed to be in short supply, including these two red coat soldiers…


who seemed to wander about every town, village and harbour in the county …


Perhaps they are looking for …

… all those delicious Cornish pasties ?


Posted in entertainment, humour | 3 Comments »

A Tale of Two Treatments.

Posted by Big John on October 19, 2016

This is the time of year when I usually join all the other old gits in the district at the local health centre for my annual ‘free’ NHS flu shot.

This means I make an appointment for a convenient time and turn up a few minutes early only to find the car park is full and the place crowded with elderly people in various states of decrepitude, about twenty or so of whom having been given the same appointment time as me.

Of course, appointment times are always “running late” which confuses many of the old farts, especially those who are a bit ‘Mutt and Jeff’ and fail to hear when their time is called, which makes you wonder what will happen when they reach the ‘Pearly Gates’. Well, let’s face it, the place does rather resemble ‘God’s waiting room’.

Eventually my group of pensionistas is shepherded, moaning and muttering, down a crowded corridor, being careful not to trip over all the walking frames and sticks along the way, and, after waiting some time for our turn, each of us is ushered into an office where we are questioned about health issues etc. by nurse ‘bossy-boots’ before being jabbed in the arm. Why the questions ? .. I have no idea. The answers must already be in our medical records. Perhaps that very expensive NHS computer system was on ‘the blink’ yet again.

Now, the ‘jab’ doesn’t hurt, but the whole ‘conveyer belt’ procedure is somewhat of a ‘pain in the arse’, so I was pleased to find that this year my community pharmacy was advertising that people who qualified for a ‘free’ NHS flu vaccination could have it done there. So, as I live just down the road, I ‘signed up’, and was given an individual appointment time, which meant that when I attended I received a friendly greeting, was seen immediately, signed a consent form, had the ‘jab’ and was off the premises in …

… about five minutes !

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

Could democracy ever look more ugly ?

Posted by Big John on October 11, 2016

It was Richard Nixon who first said “God Bless America” in an official speech, and look what a fine upstanding president he was !

Now I get the feeling that that phrase should be changed to “Gawd Help America” as, from this side of the Atlantic, I view what is happening in what resembles a disgusting ‘punch-up’ rather than a dignified Presidential campaign.

Although I am no expert on US politics, I have always been a great fan of the American people, and I must say that, in my humble opinion, …

… they deserve better than this !


Posted in political | 5 Comments »

Memories via the Movies.

Posted by Big John on October 6, 2016

Over the last couple of evenings I’ve watched two excellent movies, which were made more enjoyable because in some ways I could identify with both of them.

One was “Bridge of Spies“, a ‘Cold War’ drama based on the true story of the exchange of American U2 pilot Gary Powers and US student Frederic Pryor for the Soviet spy Rudolf Abel: and as someone who was involved in the ‘Cold War’ around the same time, albeit in a very small way, I felt that the film conveyed the atmosphere of the time with unusual accuracy, although the events on screen seemed to take only a few weeks, when in fact they were played out over a period of more than five years.

The other movie was “The Intern” staring Robert DeNiro as a bored retired executive who joins a senior citizen intern program at a trendy fast-growing on-line fashion company where he impresses everyone and puts his years of experience to good use.

It’s a very amusing and entertaining film and it reminded me of a time when I gave up full-time employment after more than 40 years in sales and marketing at all levels of management, and joined a small family business on a part-time basis as relief manager when the boss was away taking care of his other business interests.

Now, this may be hard to believe, as it was less than 20 years ago, but when I walked in the door on my first day I expected to be greeted by ‘Bob Cratchit’, as this firm was still using old fashioned hand written ledgers for stock control and other company records and what little office equipment they had belonged in a museum. The friendly staff were not exactly ‘computer literate’ or aware that the world had moved on from the days of sealing wax and blotting paper.

I won’t bore you with the details of exactly how things changed after my ‘years of experience’ came into play, but I believe that what I achieved was much appreciated by my work colleagues, although their very likeable ‘Fred Flintstone’ boss probably thought that I was from the planet …

…. ‘Smart-Arse’ !

Posted in entertainment, humour, nostalgia | 3 Comments »