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 the ‘nostalgia’ Category

A Shenandoah Stopover.

Posted by Big John on August 19, 2017

Here is a photo of a statue of some American Civil War ‘hero’….

It was taken by me, when, back in the 1980’s my wife and I visited some friends in Pennsylvania and decided to take a trip further south, first visiting Gettysburg …

… before journeying on into …

… I only mention this as it now seems that some Americans wish to change history by removing or destroying similar statues of soldiers of the Confederacy. We have had this sort of protest about our colonial past here in the UK, and what this achieves ? … I have no idea !

Mostly what I recall from our trip through …

… that part of the U.S.A. were friendly people who seemed to show great respect for the memory of those who fought and died in that terrible conflict. There appeared to be very little commercialism relating to the Civil War. In fact it was hard to locate a souvenir of any kind, apart from the ubiquitous Confederate flag, which I believe has also ‘fallen into disrepute’.

My final picture is not very clear, but it shows part of a motel in which we stayed near Front Royal when visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was called ‘The Lee Jackson Motor Hotel’ and you can just about read that name on the restaurant building in the background (click on image).

Now it could just be that the motel was named after some local ‘good ‘ole boy’ named Lee Jackson, and not after ‘Robert E’ and old ‘Stonewall’, but I doubt it. Which makes me wonder …

… Is it still there ?

Posted in family, History, humour, nostalgia, political | 11 Comments »

Don’t get too exited … Part 2

Posted by Big John on July 16, 2017

Many thanks for all your kind thoughts and comments; and at the request of my friend  .. Ginnie .. from North Carolina for a ‘selfie’ …

Well, we did try !

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

Don’t get too excited !

Posted by Big John on July 8, 2017

Today is my 56th wedding anniversary !

This year the old ‘trouble and strife’ not only gave me the usual apron and ‘Marigold’ rubber gloves, but, Oh, joy ! .. she included a new mop and dust pan.

So, I’ve polished up the old ball and chain and am considering how to celebrate this joyful occasion.

Dinner at a restaurant ?  …  A visit to the local pub ? …  A Chinese take-away ? … A fish and chip supper ? … or perhaps just a ‘quiet night in’ adding a little teriyaki sauce to our sushi and tempura prawns and listening to a cork or two ‘pop!’.

I wonder what’s on …

Sky Movies ?

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

For one day only.

Posted by Big John on July 4, 2017

HAPPY 4th JULY 

TO ALL MY AMERICAN FRIENDS AND FAMILY

and .. “Pass the turkey”  … Oops ! … Sorry ! … Wrong holiday.

 

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

Bullet or Baton ?

Posted by Big John on June 8, 2017

When I was young it was common to see policemen ‘on their beat’ patrolling the bobby (239x398)streets. They were usually impressive figures in their helmets, smart high collared uniforms, blue and white striped armlets and silver whistle chains. Their only means of defence was a short wooden truncheon which was concealed in a side pocket of their trousers.

Today’s coppers look very different, and although some still wear the traditional helmets, most are dressed in ‘Hi-Viz’ clothing, stab vests, polo shirts, even baseball caps and the vast majority still rely on a similar ‘weapon’ for self defence , as did those very brave officers who were the first to tackle the three terrorists in the recent London Bridge atrocity.

Now my question is … Is it time to arm all British police officers ? .. for if those officers who first confronted the fanatics had carried side-arms and used them, it is possible that there would have been far fewer casualties including the officers themselves.

The days of the ‘beat bobby’ are long gone. We now have ‘robocops‘ and armed response units and, as far as I know, members of the public do not feel threatened by them.

It has been said in the past that our police officers do not want to carry guns. In view of recent events and future threats, I wonder how many …

…  still feel that way ?

Posted in History, nostalgia, political | 6 Comments »

“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 »

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 »

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).

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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 »