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 ‘political’ 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 »

Was that a ‘Wise-Guy’ in The White House ?

Posted by Big John on August 1, 2017

I know that it is sometimes difficult to understand the way that the US government works when looking at it from this side of ‘the pond’, but I have to ask … What in the name of old Abe Lincoln is going on in Washington at the moment ?

To me it looks like the West Wing has been fitted with a revolving door, on the inside of which is fitted a large box labelled …

“Presidential Appointments .. Please take one”.

It is filled with large envelopes bearing the instructions .. “Please deposit in the trash can on your way out”.

If I’m wrong about this how did a nice Italian boy named Tony- ‘the mouth’-Scaramucci become a ‘made m..’ member in Trump’s team. Could it be that they both attended a course on Joe Pesci’s English and horse’s head diplomacy ? .. If so, then someone could soon be ……

… “sleeping with the fishes” !

Posted in humour, political | 3 Comments »

Stifling free speech !

Posted by Big John on July 27, 2017

I see that my fellow atheist, Richard Dawkins, is in the news again after a radio station in Berkeley, California, cancelled a fundraiser and discussion with him, calling his comments about Islam “abusive speech”, after members of the Berkeley community brought Dawkins’ previous remarks on Islam to their attention.

Yes, Dawkins has been critical about Islam, but he has also made a number of equally critical observations on Christianity, and, as far as I know they didn’t lead to him being ‘de-platformed’ (what a silly word).

I realize that we now live in a crazy world where common sense and logic are often ignored and many delicate ‘snowflakes’ (and others) are offended by just about everything, but, as far as I know, everyone still has the right to express their opinions and beliefs, and equally, those who disagree can respond in like manner. It’s called “freedom of speech” and I’m still with old Voltaire on this one …

“I may disagree with what you have to say,

but I shall defend to the death, your right to say it”.

Posted in political, rant, religion | 2 Comments »

What a way to run a country !

Posted by Big John on June 13, 2017

For the first time in my life I did not vote in a general election, mainly because I’ve had enough of being governed by a bunch of self-serving hypocritical slippery chancers, who’s manifestos did not make me feel that I should rush to the polling station knowing that my future prosperity would be secure and our country would be in safe hands.

I then learned, after one of the biggest cock-ups in our political history, that our Prime Minister and her cabinet appeared to have had little to do with the proposed future government policies as they were conceived in the brains minds of two unelected advisors from Westminster’s ‘La-La Land’ known as the ‘gruesome twosome’ !

Now, after her failed gamble, we have one of the weakest prime ministers ever, who could be ousted at any moment, and who is about to start Brexit negotiations with the EU. Something which she wasn’t in favour of in the first place.

… What could possibly go wrong ? 

Posted in humour, political, rant | 4 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 »

Here we go again – Part Fifteen.

Posted by Big John on April 18, 2017

If you believe all the press reports, this could be the last “Here we go again” post that I publish !

Yes, .. We are said to be on the brink of “all out war” ! .. and all because of a ‘tweet’ addicted ‘Gung-Ho!’ US President and a cheese addicted ‘supreme leader’ and number one nutter of a very weird country who seem determined to see ‘who blinks first’ !

So as Trump ‘rattles his sabre’ I can only hope that Kim Jong-un only …

… rattles his chopsticks !

Posted in humour, political | 5 Comments »

You’re not supposed to lick them !

Posted by Big John on April 1, 2017

I see that the Bank of England may use palm oil in the manufacture of the new £20 note because of the protests by vegans and others over the use of animal fat tallow in the manufacture of the new £5 note.

In my recent post about my medal collection I mentioned the medals awarded by ‘The Honourable East India Company’, the last of which was The Indian Mutiny Medal and was issued on behalf of the British Crown.

In India this bloody rebellion is often referred to as ‘The First War Of Independence’ and came about for many reasons, one of which involved a new type of rifle which required that a soldier had to bite off the end of a lubricated cartridge in order to load it. A rumour spread among the Hindu and Muslim troops that the grease used to lubricate the cartridges was a mixture of pigs’ and cows’ lard; thus, to have oral contact with it was an insult to both religions.

I wonder if the use of palm oil in the new bank notes will ‘plant the seeds’ for a …

‘tree huggers’ uprising  ? 

Posted in History, humour, political, religion | 4 Comments »

Duck ! .. ? .. Well it is ‘The Donald’.

Posted by Big John on February 4, 2017


For the moment I will reserve my judgment on Donald Trump as it’s still early days in his presidency and it could take some time before the media (at least on this side of the Atlantic) gives an accurate account of what the silent majority of ordinary American people make of him, and stop concentrating on our ‘special relationship’, the bloody ‘state visit’ and the protestations of all the ‘celebs’, ‘luvvies’, political pundits and those US voters who are still ‘in shock’ over how democracy works.

However, I must say, that although there is much about the new resident of the White House that I find distasteful and somewhat unnerving, he does score “Bigly” with me for not being the usual slippery, self-serving career politician and being so stinking rich that he won’t need to reach under the table for those brown paper envelopes.

Anyway, we (Yes ! I do mean ‘we’) are stuck with him, and to misquote the late Bette Davis in the movie ‘All About Eve’, all I can say at this point is …

… “Fasten your seatbelts, its going to be a bumpy ride” !

Posted in humour, political, rant | 4 Comments »