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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Take a ‘dekko’ at this !

Posted by Big John on August 25, 2016

I am reading a very interesting book (at least it is to me) at the moment about life in the British Army during Victorian and Edwardian times …

army book (269x400)

… written by the American military historian and biographer Byron Farwell.

Now the author quite rightly says that the true home of the British army during the Victorian era was India, and he touches on how British soldiers used both Hindi and Urdu words in their everyday language.

Nothing strange in this, you might say, for people who live in foreign parts often ‘adopt’ local words, but what I find a little unusual is that I served in the military more than fifty years after Queen Victoria died, and yet, I had a ‘cushy’ time, I drank ‘char’, I rode in a ‘gharry’, I looked after my ‘clobber’ whilst my dirty laundry was given a ‘pukka’ wash by the ‘dhobi wallah’: and, by the way, nearly sixty years later, I now live in …

…  a ‘bungalow’ !

Posted in humour, nostalgia | 7 Comments »

“Gawd luv a duck, guvn’r !”

Posted by Big John on August 18, 2016

My mother left school at the age of thirteen in 1918 and after a brief period working in a draper’s shop she started work at the local laundry. It paid a few pence a week more than working behind a shop counter, but it was hard work in unhealthy and unpleasant conditions.

I only mention this because the other evening I watched, with interest, the movie “Suffragette“, a fairly mediocre historical drama that recalled the English Suffrage movement, in which Carey Mulligan played Maud, a Bethnal Green laundress.

The laundry scenes looked authentic and the character’s name was right for the period, as all my mum’s friends were ‘Mauds’ or ‘Adas’ or ‘Ethels’ and I’ve plenty of photos of my mother in those hats, but, as with so many period pieces these days, such as ITV’s “Mister Selfridge” most of the actors seem to struggle with the accent of a working-class Londoner.

Notice that I say ‘Londoner’ and not ‘Cockney’, for London accents do vary and ‘Cockney’ traditionally referred to someone “born within the sound of Bow Bells” which meant mostly the poorer parts of the East End and a small area of ‘Sarf Lundun’. Today it is generally, if wrongly, used to describe the dialect of all working-class Londoners.

Now I lived and worked in London for most of my life. In my youth my friends, neighbours and family were blue collar workers, but I can honestly say that I never heard anyone speak in the strange way most actors do when playing shop assistants, taxi drivers, postmen and, ‘Gawd and Dick Van Dyke forbid!’, chimney sweeps: for they seem to adopt what I can only describe as a weird slightly lisping ‘Estuary English’ crossed with an almost baby sounding ‘Mockney’.

I wonder if, when some of them reach Hollywood, they are any better at ‘Brooklyn’, ‘The Bronx’ or even …

… ‘Nu Joisey’ ?

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

“Wow ! .. ‘er what’s a pentathlon ?”

Posted by Big John on August 11, 2016

I have often said that I have absolutely no interest in the fact that one sweaty person can run a bit faster than another sweaty person, or that one very wet person can splash down a swimming pool faster than another very wet person, and I have to wonder just how many people in this country feel the same ?

Well, if the BBC is anything to go by I must be the only one, because just about every minute, on every BBC TV channel, including the 24 hours news channel is devoted to the bloody Olympics !

If you enjoy sport, that’s fine with me. There are plenty of sports channels to watch, but this gross waste of our licence fees by our public service broadcaster is ridiculous to say the least.

I don’t give a shit about who ‘medalled’ (what a stupid word) today, who’s blubbing on the podium, or even who is bonking who in the competitors’ village. Mind you, I might just take a look at the women’s beach volleyball … Well ? …

perhaps not !

Posted in humour, rant | 5 Comments »

Another summer at the supermarket.

Posted by Big John on August 3, 2016

I’ve just returned from visiting my local Sainsbury’s supermarket which, over the years, has often featured in this blog, so please excuse me if I repeat myself, as with the exception of Christmas, this is the time of the year which most ‘drives me up the wall’ !

Yes ! .. It’s the schools’ summer break, which means weeks of completely out of control ‘little darlings’ running up and down the aisles screaming their sweet little heads off.

It also means that because of an influx of summer visitors (I live by the sea) the supermarket ‘zombies‘ increase in number, clogging up the aisles as they aimlessly wander about.

I don’t know if the heat is to blame or if it is just holiday stress, but I did notice one or two strangers to the store getting somewhat frustrated because the baked beans weren’t where they thought they would be, and one scary tattooed lady was publicly ‘tearing her husband a new arsehole’ because he had led her down the wrong aisle in search of the salad dressing.

The checkouts were busy and the call kept on going out for the ‘queue busters’ who were probably hiding in the cold store, and I was unfortunate enough to be behind a lady whose husband was in hospital in a fairly uncomfortable state after undergoing surgery. I know all the details, but I won’t repeat them here as they would take too long to relate. In fact, it would take as long as it took this silly … poor woman to very slowly, with one hand, place each item one at a time, on the checkout conveyer, pausing only to describe some distressing detail of her husband’s ordeal into the bloody smartphone …

…  in her other hand !

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

The brave and the barmy !

Posted by Big John on July 29, 2016

Some of you may recall that I have an interest in the Victorian era and the lives led by ordinary people at that time. In fact, I’m old enough to have known a few.

One aspect of my interest is in researching the history of the individual soldiers and sailors whose medals I have gathered together in recent years; and recently I decided to search for a particular Royal Navy medal to add to my modest collection.

I eventually found what I was looking for and discovered that the name on the medal belonged to a boy who joined the marines as a drummer in 1838 at the age of just fourteen. Two years later he was in a battle at sea where his fellow drummer was killed and he earned the medal.

During my search I came across another medal, which was not quite what I was looking for, but was even more astonishing when one considers the age of the recipient. He was a volunteer who joined the navy at the age of eleven in 1800. The following year, at the age of twelve he was on board a ship which was severely damaged at the Battle of Copenhagen with more than 200 of it’s crew being killed or wounded.

At that time in history, on land and on the sea, battles raged with who knows how many young ‘drummer boys’ and ‘powder monkeys’ facing death at any moment ?

Luckily those days are long gone, and in the weird world we all live in today, the only danger most young lads face is being hit by a train .. or .. drowned when playing …

… bloody Pokemon Go !

Posted in humour, nostalgia, rant | 2 Comments »

A perfect ‘love match’ ? .. Of course it is !

Posted by Big John on July 21, 2016

How ‘jolly soooper’. Pippa the party planner poppit is to wed.

I’m sure that you all remember her stealing the show when her bum stood out amongst all those other aristocratic and royal ‘bums’ who attended sister Kate’s wedding.

How ‘golly gosh’ that her engagement ring has cost a whopping quarter of a million quid. The poor ‘gel’ looked a little confused in all those press photos, as if she didn’t know what to flash next. Her ring, her ‘toned legs’, her arse, or her £14,500 Cartier diamond watch, which is believed to be a present from her hedge fund manager filthy rich boyfriend who just happens to own a £17million London mansion and a £3million private jet. I wonder what she sees in him ?

Now I hate to be cruel (who moi ?), but when I look at pictures of Pippa I can’t help thinking that she resembles a wannabe royal who ‘hit the headlines’ back in the 1930’s. Yes! .. Mrs. Wallis Simpson. She with a face like ‘a sack full of spanners’.

Unlike her sister and old Wallis, poor Pippa won’t be a Duchess, but, I’ve just learned that her future father-in-law is the Laird of Glen Affric and owns a 10,000 acre Scottish estate near Loch Ness in the Scottish highlands, and that when he ‘pops his clogs’ she will become Lady Affric … Ah ! .. How simply ‘spiffing’ ! …

… That’s made my day !

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

“Pass the Pimm’s and my Panama please”.

Posted by Big John on July 19, 2016

The ‘Bonkers British’ are at it again !

It’s 90° and rising in my garden. The slight breeze feels like it is coming from the Sahara and even the birds are hiding from the blazing sun on this “Phew ! .. What a scorcher” day, and …

Yes ! .. It’s .. “Mad dogs and Englishmen” .. time again, when acres of flabby white flesh goes on display (not to mention the tattoos) as half-naked people rush into the sunshine with their kids to roast themselves in the sweltering heat despite all the health warnings from the ‘nanny state’ about dehydration and other heat-related conditions, and a Met Office ‘amber’ warning which could turn to ‘red’ at any moment. Just like all that, soon to be so painful, …

… ‘flabby white flesh’ !

Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

Brexit ? … Umm ! … Let’s wait and see.

Posted by Big John on July 13, 2016

I’m confused !

Our Dave has resigned as Prime Minister because he wanted us to stay in the EU … Good ! … but, shouldn’t that mean that we then have a new PM who supported the ‘Leave’ campaign ?

Surprise ! .. We now have our own ‘Frau Merkel’ in the form of a lady who supported the ‘Stay’ campaign.

She may well prove to be a capable leader of our government, but when it comes to negotiations with the boys in Brussels, I have a feeling that we may end up with …

… ‘Brexit-Lite’! 

Posted in humour, political, rant | 2 Comments »