bigjohn

“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.

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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 the ‘family’ Category

But who was that señorita ?

Posted by Big John on June 11, 2019

If on-line archive sites such as ‘Ancestry’ are anything to go by, a great many people are interested in their family histories; and yet, when you ask someone how much they know about their ancestors you find that many know very little and you often get the same response .. “I wish that I had asked the old folks, like grandma, when they were still around”.

Well, to some degree, I was lucky, because I have been able to trace my father’s family back as far as 1635, but I’ve not had much luck with my mother’s family.

That is until I remembered that when I was a kid my ‘gran’, who was born in 1882, used to tell me (amongst other tales) that I had Spanish blood running through my veins because her grandmother (1830-1899) had told her that her father (my granny’s great grandfather) had been a soldier who met and married (?) a Spanish girl when he was fighting in Spain.

(1940’s .. Here’s Grandma .. “Olé”)

 

Which means that they met during the Napoleonic Wars, as the ‘Peninsular War’ (1807-1814) was the conflict at that time when British troops were fighting against the French in Spain: and, much to my surprise I found my great-great-great-grandfather’s fairly uncommon name in various National Archive military records, and .. Yes! .. he was at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812 and served in a light dragoon regiment.

(British Light Dragoons at The Battle of Salamanca)

Now here comes the interesting part, for I also checked other army records, and found his name on a Muster Roll for Light Dragoons together with the name of another one of my great-great-great- granddads: which means that, a little later, the son of one of these ‘comrades in arms’ married the daughter of the other. Result ? …

… My granny’s granny !

 

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Posted in family, History, humour, nostalgia | Leave a Comment »

Too much too soon !

Posted by Big John on February 27, 2019

According to press reports …”Primary school children from the age of five are to be taught about gay and transgender relationships as part of compulsory lessons,” .. and .. “children as young as four will be taught about relationships, staying safe online and the link between physical and mental health.”

Well, good luck with that ! ..

… I’ve been around for a very long time and I’m still confused, despite the fact that I had a bi-sexual aunt, a transvestite workmate, a rather ‘camp’ lesb .. thespian neighbour, a ‘flirty’ Flight Sergeant, and, long before homosexuality was made legal in the UK, I knew one or two of the ‘usual suspects’ when they ventured out of their ‘closets’. Blimey ! I even remember when the word ‘gay’ had a very different meaning.

Now, as I have previously stated … “I couldn’t care less if someone is gay, straight, bi-sexual and all the rest, so long as they do no harm to others and “don’t frighten the horses”.

However, I have to wonder how a teacher explains about ‘LGBTI’ and all that .. ‘gender fluidity’ .. ‘male/female binary’ ..’gender self-identification’ .. and the rest to young children who cannot possibly understand such a complicated subject; and, more importantly, at that tender age, …

… do they really need to know about it ? 

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia, rant | 4 Comments »

“Fake News!” … I wonder ?

Posted by Big John on February 11, 2019

Today is my birthday, and it feels great to have reached “the ripe old age” of eighty.

Last year, on my birthday I posted that …

“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 !”

… and this year I’m hoping to find out if that was true, as today I received a large package containing this …

… On opening the box I found this …

… An original copy of ‘The Times’ for the day of my birth !

….   Keep watching this space.

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 3 Comments »

Does Brexit mean no more continental breakfasts ?

Posted by Big John on February 9, 2019

I’ve just had a long telephone conversation with my American cousin who lives in Upstate New York. He is now in his eighties and, as you would expect, he is not as fit as he used to be. However, his brain is as sharp as ever, and although he has lived in the United States for 60 years and is a patriotic US citizen, he has managed to retain his British sense of humour.

The reason he called was to get my perspective on the Brexit situation, as he is getting the impression, from the US media, that here in the UK the myths of ‘Project Fear’ are about to come true, and that we will soon be running out of life saving drugs, starving as our supermarket shelves empty, and our other imports dry up, as we are cut off from the rest of Europe.

Now, I had to remind him of a far worse period of our history, which we both lived through as children when playing in the ruins of war torn London: and of all those years of food rationing, including sweets (candy), when all that Spam and powdered eggs from America was most welcome.

I’m now awaiting …

… my first food parcel !

Posted in family, History, humour, nostalgia, political | 2 Comments »

100 years since the guns fell silent.

Posted by Big John on November 9, 2018

The young lady on the right in this photo is my mother …

… and some years ago, in a previous post, I wondered who her sad looking companion was: and now I’m pretty certain that I know. She was my mother’s cousin Rosie, who’s father Bill had been killed on 8th May 1915 at the Second Battle of Ypres where his unit saw action in a battle which resulted in over 100,000 casualties. Like my own grandfather, Bill had served with the Royal Field Artillery and was one of the first soldiers to fight in France.

1918 – 2018

Posted in family, History | 1 Comment »

Taking an old blogger’s break .. Part two

Posted by Big John on September 10, 2018

“I couldn’t ask for more” … Did I say that ? … Well, I certainly got a lot more. In fact I got …

….  Two paramedics.

….  One ambulance.

….  Emergency room doctors and staff.

….  Five days in the ‘CCU’ (coronary care unit).

….  A Consultant Cardiologist and his team.

….  Countless radiographers and assorted technicians.

….  Wonderful nurses and ward staff. … and ..

….  A brand new pacemaker

That’s it for now, as I have to go and organise …

…  all those bloody pills !

Posted in family, humour | 4 Comments »

A special week.

Posted by Big John on July 11, 2018

This week I have been able to celebrate two anniversaries. One is due to the fact that I have been married for 57 years: and the other is that the Royal Air Force was founded 100 years ago.

Is there a connection ? … There sure is ! .. For it was during my two years service in the RAF that I met my future wife, which turned out to be the luckiest day of my life.

I suppose that I was lucky after being conscripted into the RAF as I became a radar operator in ground controlled air defence, so seeing the one hundred aircraft flypast on TV reminded me that during my time in the service I never flew in or even saw a single aircraft on the ground.

However, I did get to go to sea on …

… one of these !

Posted in family, History, humour, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

Garden guests.

Posted by Big John on June 28, 2018

Remember my little fox cubs… Well they have returned, at least one of them has …

and this time it is daylight and it has grown a bit !

and ‘Robert’ the robin is thinking “are you looking at me?”

Now, I may not be the greatest nature photographer in the world,

but here are a couple more visitors to my summer garden …

This is ‘Russell’. OK! .. I know that it’s not a very original name.

Did you know that crows mate for life ?

Here’s the happy pair on their favourite perch.

I hear your question .. ? .. and …

I’ve no idea !

 

Posted in family, nature | 4 Comments »