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 56 years of happy marriage.

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Archive for the ‘rant’ Category

“Othello” it ain’t !

Posted by Big John on March 14, 2018

I’m not quite sure why Sir Vince Cable’s latest speech has received so much publicity, for I doubt if  most people in this country are seriously interested in this silly old sod’s opinions on anything: but to brand all the old farts who voted for ‘brexit’ as racists who want to recreate a world where, amongst other things, “faces were white” is disgraceful !

However, I must admit that, in general, I couldn’t care less about what colour someone’s face is, but I am beginning to wonder why so many non-white faces now fill my TV screen ?

I know that we have all got used to seeing those many TV ads showing the “dual heritage” family, and the TV News ‘man in the street’ .. Oops ! Sorry, ‘person in the street’ interviews with one white, one black, one brown interviewee, and almost certainly one wearing a hijab: but why do TV dramas have so many black characters when they are set in localities in this country where, in reality, very few people (if any) from ethnic minorities would be living or working ?

Now BBC TV ..’PC’BC TV’s latest ‘swords and sandals’ epic series .. “Troy: Fall of a City” .. brings us, not only some very dark scenes, but also a number of very dark skinned characters. … Take a look !

OK … The ancient Greeks, including Homer, probably knew something of black Africans, and Memnon’s home was thought to be in the ‘East’, perhaps in ancient Persia. As a consequence, he was thought to have a darker skin colour than the Greeks themselves, but …he definitely was not black ! .. Also it is just ridiculous to show the gods and heroes of ancient Greek mythology and history as African !

So why do it ? … I can take a guess … but, please excuse me if I just say that …

…  “It’s all Greek to me” !



Posted in entertainment, History, humour, rant | 2 Comments »

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 !

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

‘Fast forward’ 200 years !

Posted by Big John on January 21, 2018

Recently I acquired a fairly rare medal to add to my collection. It is a Military General Service Medal which was awarded to a cavalryman who saw action during the Peninsular War against Napoleon and later at the Battle of Waterloo.

This soldier was born around 1790, joined the army in 1812 and served for 15 years. He was discharged with the rank of corporal, with a small pension, and his regiment paid for him and his wife to be transported back to the town where he had enlisted.

He was lucky ! … Unlike many thousands of soldiers and sailors who, after Napoleon’s surrender were almost immediately discharged into a life of abject poverty, with many veterans selling or pawning their solid silver Waterloo Medals, the first such award issued to all ranks of the British Army.

Now, it’s hard to believe, and estimates vary, but reports indicate that, today, there could be as many as 13,000 British veterans living and dying on our streets, many with serious mental health issues !

A national disgrace ?  … Most certainly ! .. Still, never mind, for it appears that in Windsor, two in every ten rough sleepers are ex-soldiers. Just the place to be for that very expensive …

…  royal wedding !

Posted in History, rant | 1 Comment »

A touch screen screw-up !

Posted by Big John on January 3, 2018

A few days ago I ordered a small item from a supplier on ‘ebay’ who was offering a free ‘click and collect’ service, and although I had never used this service before, I thought that I would give it a try, as the ‘pick up’ point was at my local Sainsbury’s supermarket, so what could possibly go wrong ?

Now, ‘ebay’ advised me that they would inform me, by email or text, when my purchase was ready for collection and give a ‘collection code’ to me which I should take to the store as it would enable me to claim my package. Sounds like a quick and easy system, I thought.

Wrong ! … For when I located the touch screen into which I was supposed to enter my details on my next visit to the store, it had a big sign on it reading .. “Out of Order” !

The following day I visited the store again and it was working. Great, looks simple enough I thought as I read the instructions, only to be interrupted by a helpful nosey woman standing next to me.

“You have to touch ‘start’ first” .. she said … “Now, your name” .. she continued.

Blimey .. I thought .. I know that I’m an old fart, but do I really look that stupid ?

“Thanks, I can manage” .. I said and asked .. “Are you waiting for a package and have you been waiting long ?”

“A few minutes”.. she replied .. “Something seems to be causing a hold-up”.

Shit ! .. I thought, I knew that there would be a problem of some sort as I noticed other people standing around obviously waiting to pick up their goods.

However, the delay was not the fault of Sainsbury’s, ‘ebay’, or some supplier. In fact, the ‘hold-up’ was all the fault of my know it all kindly helper who it seemed had entered all the wrong details (including her daughter’s name instead of her own) via that touch screen which had brought the collection process to a temporary standstill !

I won’t go into detail, except to say that a young member of Sainsbury’s staff did his best to obtain the correct information from the confused woman, including asking for her ‘collection code’.

“Collection code ? .. What code is that then ? .. Oh! that one .. It’s on my smartphone”.

“Good” .. said the young man .. “Can I have it please”.

“I can’t do that” .. replied the woman … Young man “Why ?”

…   “I’ve left my phone at home” ! 


Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

A ‘Diverse’ Festive Fantasy.

Posted by Big John on December 11, 2017

You may remember that this is the time of year when I go into “Bah Humbug!” mode, and this year is no exception, although, so far I have not seen that bloody ‘Coca Cola’ convoy on TV, there are plenty of other .. “Oh! Oh! Oh!” .. “Spend ! Spend! Spend!” .. adverts in every commercial break.

This year there seems to be more than a hint of a ‘PC’ element to many of those ‘friends and family gathering’ scenes so loved by the ‘retail giants’ and major supermarkets. You know, the ones showing the latest trend in flashy Christmas trees, fake snow everywhere and a dining tables loaded with food that most people would not dream of eating at any other time of year, or, like some I see seated at these tables, would never eat at any time ! .. for this year, every gathering seems to include not only white, black, brown and yellow people, and, of course, the mixed-race “dual heritage” family; but also women wearing hijabs, a Sikh in a dastaar and a dreadlocked ‘Rasta’, although so far, I have not spotted the yellow robe of a Buddhist monk.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m very much in favour of people of different ethnic backgrounds and religions getting together as, perhaps if it happened more often, it would go someway towards bringing about the Christmas message of hope for “Peace on Earth”; but do these ads ‘reflect the norm’ here in the UK ?  …

…. I very much doubt it !

Posted in humour, rant, religion | 4 Comments »

‘Ginger Whinger’ to Wed !

Posted by Big John on November 27, 2017

Yes, it’s … “Oh! what joy time” again as we learn that ‘Hooray Harry’ is to marry his American girlfriend.

Well, at least she appears to have lived in the ‘real world’ and earned a living as a pretty decent actress, so I’ll tone down my usual ‘royal family’ rant and restrict myself to wondering how she will take to living in a world inhabited by some of the weirdest people you could ever meet ?

I bet that ‘er Maj is, even now, nervously waiting for the right moment to break the news to old ‘Phil the Greek’ that his new granddaughter is …

…   ‘Irish – African American’ !


Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

What Next .. The Fourth of July ?

Posted by Big John on November 21, 2017

‘Thanksgiving’ is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November when friends and family come together for a traditional meal.

It’s an American public holiday … IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH US ! … despite all the efforts of those greedy bastards who wish to cash-in ‘big time’, as they have done with bloody ‘Trick or Treat’ and other US traditions. I have even seen it being promoted as  .. ‘Brit-Giving’ !

Blimey ! .. the Pilgrims celebrated their luck at escaping from this country, although later generations of the Native Americans who attended that first feast were not so lucky.

Now, having had my little rant, I would like to say that I’m pleased to know that many British families join in this celebration with their American friends who live in this country. So, I hope that they all have a wonderful time, and wish all my friends and family across ‘the pond’ a very …


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

This is far more important than Brexit !

Posted by Big John on November 3, 2017

Let me say straight away that the perpetrators of serious sexual abuse should be exposed and punished; but, having said this, why am I not surprised that after the revelations about the disgusting ‘Hollywood’ goings-on by ‘Weinstein and Co’, we now find ourselves observing the ridiculous spectacle of .. ‘KNEEGATE‘ !

Now I know that our members of parliament are like a string of old Christmas tree lights .. ‘half of them don’t work, and the rest are not too bright’ .. but how, in this ‘touchy-feely’, ‘kissy-kissy’. “Mwa! .. Mwa!” world did they reach the conclusion that a touch on the knee or an inappropriate suggestion warrants so much valuable parliamentary time and such drastic actions ?  It may be unwelcome, unpleasant and deplorable behaviour, but it hardly falls in the category of …

…  ‘sexual abuse’ !

Posted in humour, political, rant | 3 Comments »