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 56 years of happy marriage.

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Archive for February, 2018

This time … real snowflakes !

Posted by Big John on February 28, 2018

For days now we have had countless warnings from the weather ‘experts’ about the “Beast from the East” ! .. In other words freezing weather with heavy snow being blown in all the way from Russia: so it came as no surprise when, yesterday morning, when I went to my street door to pick up my daily newspaper, I looked out, and saw this …

 

… OK ! .. I know that those of you who live in North America and other chilly parts of the world, will not think that this ‘modest’ amount of the ‘white stuff’ is something to get excited about: but here in the UK a couple of inches of snow brings total chaos to most of the country. Airports shut down ! … trains stop running ! … traffic comes to a halt ! … schools close !

Why ? … Gawd only knows ! … but you can be sure that some official idiot from the local highways department or railway operator will appear on TV to advise us that they are well prepared !

Over the years I have travelled in many parts of Europe and the USA, sometimes in appalling weather conditions. I have crossed snow covered mountain ranges, and once drove from Buffalo (NY) to Toronto stopping off at Niagara to watch the ice flows going over the falls. I’ve travelled by train across Switzerland in mid-winter and the trains were always on time. I’ve walked on city streets in other countries without fear of falling on my arse, or worse, because the pavements (sidewalks) have been cleared of ice and snow.

Now we have been warned that the UK will remain in a prolonged period of freezing weather and that “Storm Emma” is on it’s way.

So, are we ready ?  … I very much doubt it ! … but one person may be, because for the last two snowy mornings I’ve been surprised to find my newspaper …

… on the doormat !

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Posted in humour, rant, travel, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

A ‘snowflake’ movie warning !

Posted by Big John on February 16, 2018

I was searching my Sky TV movie guide, when I noticed the 1956 film ‘Safari’ was listed. It starred Victor Mature as a ‘white hunter’, and was set in Kenya during the ‘Mau Mau Uprising’ which was taking place at the time.

Now I know that warnings are often given about films that contain .. ‘violence’ .. ‘sexual themes’ .. strong language .. etc. which I suppose is understandable to some degree: but this movie has warnings for .. “scenes of hunting” .. Blimey ! .. It is about a bloke who earns his living killing wild animals ! .. and .. horror of horrors …

… “colonial attitudes” !

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

11th February 1939

Posted by Big John on February 11, 2018

I’ve just ‘Googled’ today’s date to see if any significant event happened in “this sceptred isle” on this day 79 years ago … Nothing ! .. Nowt! .. Zilch ! .. Nada !

Yes, there bloody was  ! …

… I WAS BORN !  

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

Barmy ‘Brittania’ !

Posted by Big John on February 8, 2018

As you may recall from my previous posts I have always been a fan of ‘swords and sandals’ movies and I also enjoyed all those old ‘bathrobe’ epics way back in the 50’s and 60’s, despite the fact that most of them were complete rubbish when it came to historical facts, featured some really ‘bum’ actors and always had ‘a cast of thousands’ wearing ridiculous costumes and waving rubber swords at each other.

Now we have historical TV mini-series which I also enjoy, although sometimes for the wrong reasons. So, when I saw that there was a new series on Sky Atlantic about the second Roman invasion of Britain I thought I would give it a try.

At first I was impressed, as the depiction of Roman military life appeared to be pretty accurate with Aulus Plautius and his legionaries more or less properly equipped and ‘looking the part’.

Then ..  ‘Enter the Celts’ .. all tattoos, torques and tousled tresses, and the Druids .. all demonic, drugged and dirty.

I’m not sure if the Celts of the Cantii tribe resembled those in this drama, but, I doubt if the Druids, who in Celtic society were high class priests, political advisors, arbitrators, teachers and healers, would have resembled the ‘living dead’ from a trashy Zombie movie !

As you would expect there is plenty of blood, torture, severed heads and a man with a severed … Umm!.. let’s not go there. Let us just say that his wedding night didn’t turn out as he expected. Which is rather as I feel after looking forward to enjoying an ‘epic’ series about Roman Britain, instead of an incomprehensible mess of a fantasy drama about a mysterious land, women warriors, sadistic sorcerers and a mucky maiden following a wacky wanderer.

Julius Caesar’s previous invasion of Britain failed and he buggered off back to Gaul. I wonder, could it be true, that he reported to Rome that it was “a crazy little island and …

…  a seriously weird place” !

 

Posted in entertainment, History, humour, nostalgia | 1 Comment »

At last ! .. ‘Human contact’.

Posted by Big John on February 2, 2018

I’ve just had a very strange experience and feel that I just stepped back in time because I telephoned a service company to arrange for an engineer to call to carry out a repair to my TV satellite system, and to my amazement I found myself speaking to a very helpful young lady. Yes, a real live person, and this within only a few seconds of picking up the ‘phone to make the call !

How did this happen ? … There was NO .. “Press one for this” .. “Press two for that” .. “Please hold, your call is important to us” .. “You are number Gawd knows how many in a queue” .. “Thank you for waiting”  .. “All our agents are busy, so please piss off to our website for help” .. “Good afternoon my name is Ranjit. Oops ! .. Sorry .. William .. How may I be helping you today?” .. and ..  “Oh, and by the way, if you do get through, we will record your conversation for training purposes”.. “In the meantime, here is some crap music for you to listen to until you fall into a trance or …

… decide to hang up !.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »