“Old age ain't no place for sissies.” .. Bette Davis

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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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“Cheers !”

Posted by Big John on October 3, 2018

I downed my first ‘pint’ in 1955 when I was sixteen and had just started my first job. Well, actually it was only a half pint of ‘bitter’ and it was handed to me by a workmate on a Friday evening, after a week working of pissing about in the office, and was at a regular weekly gathering in an old fashioned ‘spit and sawdust’ pub which was situated close to our place of employment. As I recall, I was not that keen on the taste at the time. I soon got over that !

I was reminded of this momentous occasion when reading about this load of old bollocks new research which has found .. “that the perfect time to enjoy a pint is 5.30pm on a Saturday – and ideally in the beer garden of a country pub, in the company of your partner, and with a bag of crisps (potato chips) on the side”…. Oh ! .. and that pint .. “should take 28 minutes to quaff”.

Now, as a once champion “quaffer” I have to say that I don’t know where these researchers found their subjects, as these days most of our surviving ‘country’ pubs (and the rest) seem to be in the hands of major breweries and the like, or have become ‘gastro pubs’. Which means that you mostly have a choice between loud music, giant TV screens, flashing slot machines and, worst of all, out of control screaming brats !  .. or .. a pub where the “bag of crisps” has been replaced by Avocado on Artisan Sourdough with Dill Butter, followed by, 28 day Matured Steak served on a bed of Fennel, with a Fricassee of ‘freshly picked’ vegetables and Rock Salted Parmentiere Potatoes. All served on a small plank of wood decorated with a sprig of Rosemary, a “drizzle” and a small dollop of Gawd knows what !

I remember the pubs of my youth as places where I used to meet with my mates for a game of snooker and a pint or two of ‘brown and mild’, a place to relax after work, or even as somewhere to enjoy a pint with your “partner” girlfriend.

These days, I rarely enter a pub, but all this nostalgia has made me wonder if there is a pub near here that still sells …

… “a pie and a pint” ?



Posted in humour, nostalgia, rant | 3 Comments »

The’re ‘driving’ me mad !

Posted by Big John on September 20, 2018

When I was discharged from hospital I was informed that I should not drive for one week and that this ‘advice’ was “MANDATORY”  !

I also learned that I needed to advise both my car insurance company and the DVLA (Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency) that I now have a pacemaker.

Should be simple enough I thought; and so it was for the insurance company when I went on line, answered a couple of questions and was advised, along the lines, of … “If it’s OK with your doctor for you to drive, then it’s fine with us. You are covered by your existing policy”.

The DVLA was a “whole different ball game” ! .. (As I should have expected)… I went on line and after ‘ticking several boxes’, this appeared …

“In order to use the service you will need to confirm your identity. You will need to do this by using the service GOV.UK Verify. If you haven’t used GOV.UK Verify before, it will take you about 15 minutes to get set up”.

After half an hour of selecting options, receiving emails and texts, transferring codes, and generally ‘pissing about’ I was completely lost, gave up and ‘phoned the DVLA for advice.

“Have you tried our on line service ?” .. I was immediately asked. My somewhat ‘blunt’ reply did not seem to surprise the lady at the other end of the line, who must have been thinking ..’not another one’ !  … “I’ll send the forms to you”.. she said .. “They must be returned within 14 days or your driving licence will be cancelled” .. she added.

I’ve now received 7 pages of questions .. and .. guess what ?

… They have taken 5 days to arrive !


Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

Taking an old blogger’s break .. Part two

Posted by Big John on September 10, 2018

“I couldn’t ask for more” … Did I say that ? … Well, I certainly got a lot more. In fact I got …

….  Two paramedics.

….  One ambulance.

….  Emergency room doctors and staff.

….  Five days in the ‘CCU’ (coronary care unit).

….  A Consultant Cardiologist and his team.

….  Countless radiographers and assorted technicians.

….  Wonderful nurses and ward staff. … and ..

….  A brand new pacemaker

That’s it for now, as I have to go and organise …

…  all those bloody pills !

Posted in family, humour | 4 Comments »

Taking an old blogger’s break.

Posted by Big John on August 18, 2018

I’m sorry that I have not been blogging during recent days, but my old brain feels somewhat ‘scrambled’ at the moment due to me being a bit ‘poorly’. Well, a lot bloody ‘poorly’ actually !

I know that in the UK we moan a lot about our NHS health care, but it’s at times like this that you appreciate the fantastic service that it provides.

I won’t go into details, but, at present I am being monitored and treated by the dedicated doctors and nurses at my local health centre and …

I couldn’t ask for more !

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

Another ‘Living Dead’ driver !

Posted by Big John on August 6, 2018

Recently I visited my local health centre (nothing serious) and parked my car in an almost empty car park. As I headed for the entrance I noticed another car arrive. The driver parking it one empty parking space away from my vehicle.

Now the spaces in this area are a bit tight, but if you are careful it’s not a problem, and in any case, on that morning there were plenty of empty spaces, so no driver arriving would need to manoeuvre into a tight spot.

On leaving the clinic, I could not believe my eyes, for the car park was still almost devoid of vehicles, but there, parked in the space between my car and the one which had arrived just after me was a newly arrived SUV, with the driver and his passenger still sitting inside.

Why were they still sitting inside ? .. Well, the idiot behind the wheel had parked so close to my car that his old lady passenger could only open the door a few inches. Strangely she was still trying the impossible. If the driver had backed up a few feet he would have had half the car park to himself !

“I’m just about to leave” .. I called to her as I approached my car. No response. I drove off. Then ‘the penny dropped’ .. The health centre is next to Sainsbury’s ..  sacred to the supermarket ‘zombies’ reported on in previous posts, and these two hadn’t obeyed their …

…. ‘Spectral Sat Nav’ !

Posted in humour | 3 Comments »

“Mad dogs and ….”

Posted by Big John on July 26, 2018

It’s hard to believe, but even those “Englishmen” who “go out in the midday sun” are beginning to complain about the present heat wave.

Today the temperature is over 90º where I live, and it’s going to get even hotter tomorrow !

I’ve crossed some pretty hot desserts in the western USA including Death Valley and have been to the west coast of Africa close to the edge of the Sahara, but I don’t recall feeling as uncomfortable as I do right now.

Back in the 70’s and 80’s a popular BBC TV show was the funny but not very ‘PC’ .. “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum” ..  Good title ! .. I echo their message !

One minor character in the series was a not very energetic ‘punkah wallah’. In this heat …

… I know how he felt !

Posted in humour, nature, nostalgia, travel | 5 Comments »

A special week.

Posted by Big John on July 11, 2018

This week I have been able to celebrate two anniversaries. One is due to the fact that I have been married for 57 years: and the other is that the Royal Air Force was founded 100 years ago.

Is there a connection ? … There sure is ! .. For it was during my two years service in the RAF that I met my future wife, which turned out to be the luckiest day of my life.

I suppose that I was lucky after being conscripted into the RAF as I became a radar operator in ground controlled air defence, so seeing the one hundred aircraft flypast on TV reminded me that during my time in the service I never flew in or even saw a single aircraft on the ground.

However, I did get to go to sea on …

… one of these !

Posted in family, History, humour, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

“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 ? 


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