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 54 years of happy marriage.
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“… and counting.”

Posted by Big John on July 8, 2016

.. 55 years ! …. That’s a bloody long time ! .. and today marks the anniversary of my marriage to ‘she who must be obeyed’.

Yes, I’ve been wearing this ‘ball and chain’ for more than half a century, and if you have never had such an experience, then you don’t know what …

… you have been missing ! 

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 9 Comments »

He came home.

Posted by Big John on July 1, 2016

Today marks the one hundredth anniversary of the deadliest day in the history of the British Army, when around 20,000 British Empire soldiers lost their lives in just 24 hours.

Recent research shows that an estimated eleven million British people have an ancestor who fought at the Somme, and I am one of them.

My grandfather …

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… was there !

I was born twenty years after World War I ended, and I knew my granddad as a kind and gentle man, who let me march around his kitchen wearing that same cartridge bandolier shown in the above photograph.

I wonder what his thoughts were, at that time when we were once more at war with Germany, as he watched that little boy …

… just playing soldiers ? 

Posted in family, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

What can I say ? .. “We’ve gorn and dunnit now !”

Posted by Big John on June 25, 2016

Maybe not quite so dramatic as ‘The Fall of the Berlin Wall’ or ‘The Storming of the Bastille’, but ‘Brexit’ was pretty dramatic nonetheless. To to me, it would appear to represent something of a ‘revolution’ by millions of  ordinary British people who resented the doom-laden prophecies of the massed ranks of our financial and out of touch political Establishment.

Who knows how this will all turn out in the end ? .. All I know is that the good news is that ‘our Dave’ is on the way out … and the bad news ? … He could be replaced as Prime Minister by Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Yes ! Bloody ‘Bojo’ ! Time to send for …

Madame de la Guillotine !

Posted in humour, political, rant | 5 Comments »

A Soggy Solstice.

Posted by Big John on June 20, 2016

My thanks to Lin for wishing me a “Happy Solstice”, for as some of you will remember, the Summer Solstice is my favourite day of the year, and the nearest that this old atheist comes to believing in any form of religious codswallop.

Unfortunately, my celebrations this year have turned into a bit of a washout as ‘Mother Earth’ has turned to mud, as ye ancient deities have decided to piss all over those who, like me, are trying to salute the sun on this most solemn of days.

In fact, the bloody thing has been hiding behind the clouds all day. The rain has extinguished my sacred fire. The ceremonial drum is soaked. The naked maidens are wearing plastic ponchos and refuse to dance around the ashes. My flower garlands are drooping. My Druid’s robe is drenched. My mistletoe looks miserable. My blue woad has washed off; and, to crown it all, some wet wacky Wiccan has walked off with my rainproof …

… Pagan Parka  ! 

Posted in humour, religion | 5 Comments »

When .. “Everything in the garden is luvverly”.

Posted by Big John on June 18, 2016

Marcus Tullius Cicero … philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, consul, constitutionalist and all-round Roman ‘clever clogs’ once said …

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need”

So, here is a picture of my back yard …

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(click on image for a better view)

… OK ! .. So I’m no Vita Sackville-West (another ‘clever clogs’) when it comes to garden design, but, at least it’s a pleasant spot when the sun shines; and although it does not rival ‘The Bodleian’, my eclectic collection of reading matter is near at hand.

However, I’m not so sure that old Marcus was correct when he said “everything”, as a cold beer or two and some fish and chips would go a long way towards satisfying my basic ‘needs’ on one of those rare…

…  hot summer’s days.

Posted in humour | 3 Comments »

Someone needs to ‘turn up the heat’.

Posted by Big John on June 9, 2016

Have you ever heard of .. ‘Generation Snowflake’ ?

I must admit that I hadn’t until I read that Dame Fiona Reynolds, master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, believes that parents in Britain need to rethink their children’s experiences, as kids no longer have room to run around and play. It would seem that children are now three times more likely to be injured because they have fallen out of bed rather than fallen out of a tree, and are currently growing up shielded from the harsher realities of life, which probably means that they are growing into a generation of mollycoddled wimps who need their own ‘safe space’ in an increasingly ‘politically correct’ country.

Now, the so-called ‘cotton wool’ kids have been around for quite some time, In fact, I commented on them at the end of this post of March 2007 after describing my own experiences in a far from ‘safe space’…

… But it sure was fun !

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

Much appreciated, I’m sure !

Posted by Big John on June 5, 2016

Remember when, last month, I was clearing out some household rubbish and came across this picture. Well, this weekend I continued with the task and came across this dirty battered old case  …

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… I opened it and found this …

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… a set of tarnished silver plated fish knives and forks: but what was far more interesting than these items was the note pinned inside the lid …

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… written on a scrap of paper which looked like it had been torn from some kind of ledger. It was dated 9th August 1927 and read …

“To Edie (my mother) .. With the Best of Good Wishes for your Future Happiness. From All at Walton Lodge Laundry”.

Now my mother was born in 1905 and had worked at this now famous laundry since she was fourteen and this was a wedding present from her workmates.

Here’s the happy couple …

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… Don’t they look classy ? Now you know why some ‘posh’ office plonker well meaning soul thought that a newlywed laundress, from working class Brixton, and her ‘hard up’ carpenter husband needed …

… Bloody silver plated fish knives and forks !

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 5 Comments »

What next ? … Starched collars !

Posted by Big John on June 1, 2016

Hardly a day goes by without my humble blog receiving a ‘hit’ or two on a post which I published in March 2007. It’s subject was the British working man’s traditional headgear which was most popular during the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Now I read that the old cloth cap is much in demand. Could this be because of my popular old post ? .. No ! .. It’s due to one of my favourite TV shows .. ‘Peaky Blinders’.

My own flat cap …

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… needs replacing after many years ‘service’ in all weathers, so I’m about to order a new one.

Just one question. Should I order it ‘with’ or ‘without’ …

… a razor blade ?

 

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

 
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