“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 58 years of happy marriage.

  • March 2017
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Archive for March, 2017

Emblems of Empire.

Posted by Big John on March 28, 2017

As you may recall, I have a great interest in the Victorian era, and in particular the lives of the military ‘rank and file’. Some of these soldiers’ and sailors’ histories I have researched after acquiring their ‘named’ medals over a number of years …

(click on image for a better view)

… I now have medals from the early days of Queen Victoria’s reign, such as The China War Medal of 1839-1842 (The Opium War) and The Cabul Medal (same place, different spelling) of 1842 awarded to a young Scottish corporal who served in the 1st Anglo-Afghan War (we never learn) and was discharged “in consequence of a gunshot wound to his right forearm”. He returned safely to Scotland and married his sweetheart (say Ahh!).

The latest medal I have, The Queen’s South Africa Medal, is from the time of Victoria’s death and belonged to a rather ‘posh’ young volunteer in The Imperial Yeomanry who served in The Boer War. He lived until 1966 and died at the age of 83.

Obviously I could write pages of this stuff, but I suspect that some most of you are already yawning, so I will restrict myself to saying that I have medals awarded for campaigns in Afghanistan, China, Abyssinia, Egypt, Southern Africa, The Crimea, Canada, Syria, The Sudan and India (including those issued by ‘The Honourable East India Company’).

Most of these medals were issued by the British Government and a few by The Ottoman Empire, and were awarded to British and Indian troops, from drummer boys to lancers; and one medal stands out from the rest, for it is The Queen’s Sudan Medal (1896-1898) and the details impressed around the edge are in Arabic, as it was presented to a Sudanese Infantryman, serving in The Khedive of Egypt’s army.

Now comes the question, for although most British soldiers were happy to wear their Ottoman medals with their Islamic symbols and Arabic script. How would a black Muslim, with little or no knowledge of Britain or it’s Empire, feel about wearing a medal that must have seemed very strange to him, as Islam discourages the depiction of the human form, and both the obverse and reverse faces of this medal shows the figures of two …

sudan medal 

…  women ?



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


Posted by Big John on March 26, 2017

Here in the UK today is Mothers’ Day, so this year I’ll just leave it at that, and not have my usual rant about what was once Mothering Sunday etc.

Here is a picture of some flowers which arrived at our house today  for ….

IMG_0005 (746x800)

“Our Wonderful Mum”

Posted in family | 2 Comments »

“One man’s terrorist is another …”

Posted by Big John on March 23, 2017

Yesterday a terrorist was shot dead in London.. Good !.. Regrettably a brave police officer and two other people also died and many were injured.

This mindless act of violence has, quite rightly, been condemned by members of the press and our political elite, some of whom only recently lauded another ‘terrorist’, the late Martin McGuinness, a former commander in the IRA, an organisation responsible for the murder of more than 1,800 civilians and members of the security forces during ‘The Troubles’.

 What a difference a day makes !

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »


Posted by Big John on March 17, 2017

Many years ago I drove into Dublin and stopped to ask directions from a taxi driver …

“Ah” .. he began ..

  “D’yer know where Nelson’s Column was ?”


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

A creepy coincidence ?

Posted by Big John on March 9, 2017

The day after my recent rant about smart meters, energy companies etc. I found myself without electricity for two hours due to an unexplained power cut !

Own up ! … Who told ’em ?

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Not so ‘smart’ meters !

Posted by Big John on March 6, 2017

I am a great believer in … “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it !” … so, unlike these people, I have ignored the many emails, letters and ‘phone calls from my gas and electricity suppliers offering to install a ‘smart meter’ in my home for ‘free’, thus avoiding ‘estimated’ bills and supposedly reducing my energy costs.

“Free” ! .. So who is paying for it ? .. Not the fat cat energy company bosses, that’s for sure; and I already avoid ‘estimated bills’ by reading my own meters and registering my readings on-line when requested.

That just leaves ‘reducing my energy costs’. Well, if I take a short walk from my house down to the beach I can view .. THIS ! .. the largest bloody wind farm in the world, and if I look out to sea and above the giant turbines I can just make out those …

… flying pigs !

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

A supermarket ‘zombie’ on the loose !

Posted by Big John on March 1, 2017

This morning I was driving out of Sainsbury’s car park when I noticed a young lady who appeared to be about to cross the road at the pedestrian crossing which I was approaching. So being the courteous gentleman old git that I am, I stopped my vehicle and waited for her to cross in safety. She stood at the edge of the crossing, then took one step onto the road. She never looked at me, but instead she stood there, pulled a smartphone from a pocket and…

…   commenced texting !

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »