“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.

  • May 2017
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Archive for May, 2017

“Thanks for the Memory”.

Posted by Big John on May 30, 2017

At the age of 78 memories fade, and it is hard to believe that my earliest memory is of sitting up in my pram on a rainy day and watching the raindrops splashing on the waterproof fabric covering my legs. I guess that I must have been about one year old at the time.

I have clear memories of my young days during World War II, of aircraft engines, searchlights in the sky, gunfire and sheltering with my mother. I can remember the troop trains that steamed passed our house around the time of ‘D Day’.

My first day at school is as clear to me now as it was then, as are the names of most of my young friends and the games we played in the street.

My ‘world’ was a very small one back then, but it was soon to expand into employment, military service, marriage and parenthood. I’ve had a good life. I have been bloody lucky ! .. I have many happy memories; and the old brainbox is still functioning, if a little slowly, when I try to recall some event or other: which is more than can be said for the confused, but smiling, ‘old dear’ I met this morning, who couldn’t remember …

… where she had parked her car ! 


Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

Manchester in Mourning.

Posted by Big John on May 25, 2017

Every right minded person throughout the world must feel for the families of those killed and for those who were injured in the Manchester bomb outrage this week: and people have the right to show their grief and respect in any way they see fit.

However, I do feel that the media coverage of the aftermath and the often emotional and moving tributes paid by many, can only bring laughter and delight to the extremist killers and their supporters as they see the results of their heinous attack reported in detail by TV channels across the globe.

I know that this is the ‘modern’ way, with everything ‘out in the open’, and I may be wrong, but can it be right to …

… ‘motivate’ those who hate us in this way ?

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Another ‘tall tale’ of a tree.

Posted by Big John on May 23, 2017

This is a picture of a Leylandii which forms part of a hedge in my garden …


It is about eight feet high and is kept neatly trimmed.

If it wasn’t it would soon look like this 50ft ‘giant’ ..

treefelling (12)

… growing in a garden a little way from my house.

“So What ?” … I hear you ask.

Well, usually I am lucky enough to be awakened each morning by the birds singing in my garden, but not today. Instead, this morning, I left my bed to the sound of the screaming buzz of a chainsaw, and on looking out into the street I saw this …

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… and a few yards from my house the men in hard hats and safety harnesses were already hard at work …

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… turning this monster first into this …

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… and then into this …


Unlike the last tree I wrote about,  I can’t see this one …

…doing a ‘Lazarus’ ! 

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

A tree named Lazarus.

Posted by Big John on May 13, 2017

A few weeks ago a gardener, who was erecting a fence for a neighbour, asked me if I wanted this old dead fruit tree …

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… cut down as he was in the process of clearing some land bordering our properties. I said that I would think about it, but then decided to keep it.

Six weeks later, and …

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  Even the top most bare stump …

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… is springing back to life.

 So, to borrow a little Cockney rhyming slang would you…

…  “Adam and Eve” it ?

Posted in humour | 4 Comments »

The pedaller from the Palace.

Posted by Big John on May 11, 2017

When writing my recent post about ‘Phil the Greek’ I was reminded of an amusing incident back in the early 1960’s when I was working in the sales department of Art Metal Inc. which, at that time, was the largest office furniture manufacturer in the world. The company’s London office was situated in Buckingham Palace Road about half a mile or so from ‘Buck House’ itself.

One day I was sitting at my desk when the ‘phone rang and the switchboard operator asked me if I could take a call from “the palace”. I smiled to myself and said .. “OK, put them through” .. and was about to give some prankster an earful, when a very posh voice said something like ..

.. “Hello, this is the Duke of Edinburgh’s office here and we are in urgent need of some more file folders for His Royal Highness’s filing system” ..

Well, to cut a long story short, Prince Philip’s aide or whoever he was, agreed to send someone to pick up a box of folders and I agreed to have them ready for collection.

Not long afterwards I got another call to say that someone from Buckingham Palace had just arrived outside the building, so I picked up a box of files from the stores and went out to meet them, expecting to see what ?  .. a footman in a taxi ? .. a horse drawn carriage ? .. a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce ? .. a mounted groom from the nearby royal stables ?.. or even just some lowly clerk arriving by bus ?

To my amazement, when I stepped outside, there, sitting astride his ‘steed’ by the kerb was a tall palace guardsman, looking incredibly smart in his No.1 dress uniform. Except that ‘his steed’ wasn’t one of the Household Cavalry’s magnificent black geldings, but one of these …

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..  Yes, an old fashioned delivery bike complete with basket.

I dropped the box in the basket and the soldier proudly rode away into the traffic heading back towards the palace …

… ‘Mission Accomplished !’

Posted in humour, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

Not so funny Phil !

Posted by Big John on May 5, 2017

Yesterday, my gardener .. (Well, the bloke who cuts the grass) .. had heard all the tributes paid to ‘Phil the Greek’ on his car radio, and thought that the cranky old duke had ‘popped his clogs’, when, in fact, he had only announced that he was going to retire next month, which came as a surprise to me, as I thought that he had retired when he married ‘er Maj.

As you would expect, the press, in their way ‘over the top’ coverage has highlighted his ‘gaffes’ and so-called sense of humour, mistakenly identifying his crass utterings for wit.

I feel that he is a rather graceless, arrogant, undiplomatic boor with an aggressive bullying manner and not exactly my idea of a …

… ‘Prince Charming’.

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

Imagine John Wayne wearing them!

Posted by Big John on May 1, 2017

When I was in my early ‘teens’ I always wanted a pair of those American trousers made of some blue fabric with big pockets, lots of white stitching and lighter coloured turn-ups (cuffs); just like the ones I saw in the Hollywood movies and in imported US comic books.

I learned that they were called ‘jeans’, and sometime in the early to mid 1950’s I managed to obtain my first pair from a ‘surplus store’ which sold hard wearing clothes for manual workers such as my father, who always wore a blue denim ‘bib and brace’ and jacket when working on the railway … (He is the one with the saw).


Over the years I ‘ve worn many pairs of jeans of all styles, including narrow legged ones, flared ones and even ‘cut-off’ ones, but I never wore ones with holes in the knees, tears across the thighs or with rips in the arse.

Now such jeans are all the fashion and don’t ‘come cheap’, so, over the years, I must have lost a small fortune when my scruffy denim pants had seen better days and were thrown out.

So, what’s the latest in ‘must have’ jeans ? .. It’s mud stained ones !

I can’t wait for the ‘pissed your pants’ look …

… or  “Oops!” far worse !

Posted in humour, nostalgia | 3 Comments »