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.




    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 54 years of happy marriage.
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Archive for the ‘rant’ Category

! Can you believe …

Posted by Big John on February 4, 2016

… that as soon as I signed up with ‘BT’ for my new broadband service, THIS bloody well happens ?

At the risk of ‘boring the pants off you’, I must tell you that I have received two ‘phone calls from the CEO’s office at ‘TalkTalk’ from people wanting to ‘discuss’ my internet connection problem. It only took three weeks !

Oh ! .. and before I forget .. my Indian friend .. Ramana .. commented .. “I am surprised! I had a completely different opinion of the level of customer service in the UK!” .. to which I have to say .. Sorry mate, but I believe that the customer service call centres are …

… in India ! .. :-)

posted via BT ‘Hot Spot’ connection.

Posted in rant | 3 Comments »

Is that Gandalf on the Bayeaux Tapestry ?

Posted by Big John on January 6, 2016

I suppose that I should no longer be surprised when I read of how people in this country know so little (if anything) of our history, and, once again, an on-line poll has found that those nobles who struggled to rule England in the 11th century are less well known than claimants to the throne in the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV series.

Now, in this age of so-called ‘Reality’ TV, with it’s narcissistic presenters, phoney weeping ‘celebs’, screaming audiences, fixed ‘Talent’ shows, and dodgy ‘docudramas’, I have to wonder how many mor.. people, who’s lives seem to revolve around such entertain… crap, believe that programmes like ‘Game of Thrones’ and the new ‘Beowulf’ saga are our true history ?

The year 1066 is probably the best known date in English history. The Battle of Hastings was won by William Duke of Normandy, who then became king.

Yes, it actually happened. It’s true history, unlike those entertaining TV fantasies.

“Fantasies” ! … How can you tell ? … Well, let’s start with those …

… fire breathing dragons !

Posted in entertainment, humour, rant | 3 Comments »

Heroes or villains ?

Posted by Big John on December 30, 2015

It goes without saying, that many of the people who made the British Empire so ‘Great’ were pretty unpleasant characters: but, having said that, it is almost impossible to judge them by today’s standards, which is what is happening in the case of the Cecil Rhodes’ statue.

Nearly every town and city in the UK has at least one statue of a ‘conquering hero’ posh pukka sahib or the like. Are they all to be removed ? If so, I suggest that we start with the upper class white supremacist colonialist who said that he was off to take part in …

… “a lot of jolly little wars against barbarous peoples” who had a “strong aboriginal propensity to kill” … “It was great fun galloping about.” … and personally killing at least three “savages” !

He wrote of his “irritation that Kaffirs should be allowed to fire on white men”, and demanded more conquests, based on his belief that “the Aryan stock is bound to triumph”. He also declared that he was “strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes …[It] would spread a lively terror.”

He hated Indians stating that … “They are a beastly people with a beastly religion”. He also believed that “natives” were like helpless children who will “willingly, naturally, gratefully include themselves within the golden circle of an ancient crown”.

So who was this great man ?… No! .. It wasn’t Cecil Rhodes … It was …

… Winston Churchill !

Posted in political, rant | 4 Comments »

Another ‘climate change’ con !

Posted by Big John on December 16, 2015

I recently bought a small table lamp at my local ‘Homebase’ store. That was easy. The hard part was trying to find the correct light bulb for it. Even one of the sales staff was confused by the shelves full of dozens of different bulbs which we are now forced to use.

What will they change next in their quest to ‘save the planet’ (and make a fortune) ? .. I wondered.

Now I know … Gas must go ! .. That means the natural gas which we rely on to heat our homes and cook our food.

Of course this bright idea comes from the recent Paris jolly summit, where our Dave said … ‘This global deal now means that the whole world has signed to play its part in halting climate change.” … No it doesn’t ! .. It means that the UK government will fall over it’s self to comply with any new regulations, while most of the rest of the world’s leaders nod, smile, go home and …

… don’t ‘give a shit’ !

Posted in humour, political, rant | 2 Comments »

Here we go again. – Part Thirteen

Posted by Big John on December 1, 2015

Will we join in the bombing of IS fanatics in Syria or won’t we ?

Of course we will. Our Dave wants his ‘Churchill’ moment in history !

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has told MPs that the UK is already a target for Islamic State extremists and the threat has “intensified” .. and .. “air strikes alone” would not destroy IS but .. ‘could reduce its ability to attack the UK’.

Please someone tell me .. How ?

The terrorists are not making plans for a Paris or Mumbai style attack while sitting under a palm tree in Raqqa. For, just as in Paris …

… They’re already here ! 

Posted in political, rant | 2 Comments »

Now you won’t get a prayer with your popcorn.

Posted by Big John on November 24, 2015

I see that the ‘someone will be offended’ brigade are at it again !

Blimey ! .. It was only recently that I was ranting about sausage rolls and bacon sandwiches supposedly offending every Ahmed, Moishe, Sanjit and Hardeep in the country.

Now it’s a cinema ad which shows a number of people from different walks of life, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Who could possibly be offended by that ? … Could it be our Muslim fellow citizens ? .. I hear you ask.

Well, .. No ! .. is the answer according to Ibrahim Mogra, of the Muslim Council of Britain,  who said … “I am flabbergasted that anyone would find this prayer offensive to anybody, including people of no particular religious belief“; which I suppose includes this old atheist.

On the other hand as one who dislikes all forms of ‘evangelism’ and religious mumbo-jumbo, I suppose that I should go along with Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, who argued that the Church of England is … “arrogant to imagine it has an automatic right to foist its opinions upon a captive audience”: but in this case I really find it hard to object and I’m certainly not offended, for I always smile when I remember my very dumb young classmates reciting … “Our Father which art in heaven  …

Harold be they name”…  :-)

Posted in humour, rant, religion | 3 Comments »

Barbarians … ‘inside the gate’ !

Posted by Big John on November 17, 2015

Unlike the United Kingdom, France is a country that can call on several well armed police forces in both local and national emergencies. There is the ‘Gendarmerie Nationale’ (a military force) … the ‘Police Nationale’ (a civilian force) which includes the ‘CRS’ (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité), the formidable riot police, and various municipal police forces whose officers are also armed: and yet they were unable to prevent the recent terrible events in Paris.

However, they appear to have responded fairly quickly and in some numbers which meant that the terrorist attacks were brought to an end before more lives were lost.

Which brings me to my question … What will happen if when a small number of homicidal religious nutters carry out similar actions in London or some other British town or city ?

We do not have any kind of national or local paramilitary police force. In fact the vast majority of our police officers are unarmed, we have very few ‘armed response vehicles’ (ARVs) on the streets and the weapons carried in these vehicles are no match for the AK47 Kalashnikovs and explosives used by these deadly medieval butchers.

I’m afraid that our ‘contain and negotiate’ until someone with a gun turns up approach won’t work when dealing with a fanatical loony who is only too happy to be ‘sent to paradise’ as he takes as many innocent people as possible with him.

To make things worse, there are said to be around 450 (probably many more) ex-jihadi volunteers freely walking our streets after returning from Syria, and as usual and, despite all the rhetoric, the same incompetent idiots who let them back into the country haven’t a clue how to protect us from them.

Still, never mind, our Dave has vowed that British “resolve” would defeat Islamist terrorism. Thank goodness for that,  …

… I feel safer already !

Posted in political, rant, religion | 3 Comments »

“but the locals are so friendly and the drinks are cheap”

Posted by Big John on November 13, 2015

I have travelled quite a bit during my long life, both for pleasure and business. I’ve seen most of Europe, much of the United States, a small corner of Asia and set foot very briefly in Africa, and on most of those trips I have felt perfectly safe.

I say ‘most’ because there were one or two ‘hairy’ moments, like when on a business trip to both sides of the Irish border back in the 70’s and driving through what was then known as ‘bandit country’ and being constantly asked .. “Are yoos English ?” .. not knowing who was asking the question.

A little later in the USA I sometimes found myself straying into the wrong neighbourhoods, such as the South Bronx in New York City or South Central Los Angeles, and getting some very strange looks from those local lads ‘homies’ wearing those so colourful bandanas.

I never knowingly ventured into a ‘danger zone’, which is why I am amazed when I read that today some crazy people take themselves and their families off on vacation to some very dodgy destinations indeed, and for what ?

Well, if your idea of a good time is laying in the blistering heat on some African beach, covered in sun screen and insect repellent, flicking away the flies and watching the sweating soldiers toting their Kalashnikovs around the perimeter of your holiday resort … Good luck !

Once the only ‘dangers’ faced when travelling to far-off lands (and some nearer ones) were persistent pedlars, funny food, suspicious smells, severe sunburn, myriads of mosquitoes, and (very) primitive ‘privies’.

Now, if after the recent atrocities in Egypt, Tunisia etc. you are foolish enough to head for the delights of those “far away places with strange sounding names”, at best you could end up with a bad dose of Montezuma’s revenge after helping yourself from the poolside buffet, or at worst, find yourself  kneeling in the sand in some desert … I think that I will leave the rest …

… to your imagination !

Posted in nostalgia, rant, travel | 6 Comments »


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