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 ‘rant’ Category

“Worlds Apart”

Posted by Big John on July 4, 2018

I don’t know about you, but the more that I look around, the more I feel that the world has gone completely ‘bonkers’, with all those … ‘everything offends me’ zealots .. ‘mixed up’ millennials  … the ‘snowflake’ students in their ‘safe spaces’ … the ‘cotton wool’ kids and their ‘helicopter parents’ …  all those ‘me too’ and ‘look at me’ celebs …  those TV ‘reality show’ morons, “like yer know like what I mean and like stuff” and those ‘scream your bloody head off’ audiences … the ubiquitous internet and smartphone addicts …and… the multitude of religious ‘nutters’ and “grief lite” mourners … It makes me wonder how they would have survived in the ‘real world’ I once occupied ?

As a child I lived in a place of death and destruction, although I was a little too young to understand much of what was happening. I played amongst the ruins of what had once been family homes. We often read today of how so many people are suffering from ‘stress’ and ‘anxiety’, but can you imagine the stress when taking shelter at night and not knowing if you would still be alive in the morning; or the anxiety of wondering if your loved ones in uniform would ever return ?

School in the 1940’s and 50’s was not exactly fun, but the discipline meant that ‘ADHD’ (and ‘Ritalin’) was unheard of, and “face the front” teaching of a variety of subjects, unlike today’s ‘dumbed-down’ system, provided most of us with a fairly sound education; although very few working class school leavers made it to university.

However, every healthy young man could look forward to spending two years in the military after they reached the age of eighteen: and, speaking of ‘health’, food rationing made sure that ‘obesity’ was an unknown condition.

I remember a more dignified world where good manners were appreciated and courtesy was expected. My father was a blue collar worker with a limited education and some very ‘rough and ready’ workmates, and yet, I never once heard him utter a swear word in all the years I knew him.

I’m going to leave it there just for now. Now where did I last see …

… that old photo album ? 

 

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Posted in humour, nostalgia, political, rant, religion | 4 Comments »

Another ‘trance’ encounter !

Posted by Big John on June 19, 2018

Not far from my home is a railway bridge. A road runs under this bridge and has a safe footpath on one side of it. On the other side is a narrow strip of slippery brick, earth and concrete which some people prefer to balance along rather than cross over the road to use the ‘safe side’ and then cross back again, using the pedestrian crossings, to continue on their way.

At this time of year most of the strip is overgrown with all sorts of rough and prickly  vegetation making it difficult to negotiate without walking in the road. So what bloody idiot would take the risk ?

Answer ! … The bloody idiot who never even gave me a glance, as I braked to avoid him being splattered all over the front of my car as he strolled in the road under the bridge …

…  BLOODY TEXTING !

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

It only needed a soggy selfie.

Posted by Big John on May 4, 2018

From time to time I have written of my encounters with those of us who are totally addicted to their smartphones. Here is the latest …

Yesterday I was sitting in my car, which was parked in a quiet street. The weather was lousy. Heavy rain and a strong blustery wind. I glanced across the road and noticed a rather bedraggled young woman stop opposite my vehicle. She was wearing some sort of ‘hoodie’ and carrying a large bag which hung from one shoulder. She leaned against a fence which was partly sheltered by an overhanging tree. It gave little protection from the cold driving rain.

She opened the bag, and yes, out came a smartphone ! .. Immediately she started texting. She then removed a plastic bottle of orange juice and managed a swig or two whilst still texting. The bottle was returned to the bag and replaced by a large baguette wrapped in aluminium foil. She managed to unwrap this and devour it’s rather ‘messy’ contents as she juggled with her ‘phone, all the time texting. Considering that she was soaked and very much windswept, her dexterity was something to marvel at.

Her soaking al fresco lunch lasted about fifteen minutes and was finished off by her smoking ‘who knows what’, before she walked off, seemingly oblivious to the atrocious weather, and …

…still bloody texting !

Posted in humour, rant | 1 Comment »

Here we go again – Part Sixteen.

Posted by Big John on April 12, 2018

I see now that ‘The Donald’ has made friends with ‘Little Rocket Man’, he is considering polishing up his missiles and aiming them at “animal” Assad, and, as you would expect, our Prime Minister is going into ‘Joan of Arc’ mode, which means that British armed forces could be involved in yet another messy conflict where, as usual, little thought will be given to planning what comes next !

I’m not saying that President Assad is not capable of killing his own people. Of course he is. However, all wars always produce fake atrocity stories, as well as real ones, and this  propaganda can now be disseminated via You Tube, Twitter, Facebook etc. and in the case of Syria very little news comes out of that country via Western news organisations, and what does usually comes from the rebels.

What will we be seeing next on the TV news channels after the proposed allied retaliation ?  .. The ruins of schools, hospitals, homes and the bodies children. The military call it …

… collateral damage !

Posted in political, rant | 2 Comments »

A HAPPY ‘hot-cross bun’ EASTER.

Posted by Big John on March 28, 2018

I must admit that I was not surprised to read that the wording on the packaging of 90% of Easter eggs on sale this year does not include the word “Easter”.

Yes, once again, it’s those ‘PC’ defenders of those they imagine may be offended by reading the name of a Christian festival on a box containing a traditional treat. Which made me wonder if Muslims, Jews etc. etc. would really want to buy food and other items associated with the Christian religion ? … and then … I read that Sainsbury’s had enquiries about Halal eggs, but I doubt that they will be asked for …

… a Køsher chocolate bunny !

 

Posted in rant, religion | 5 Comments »

“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 »