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 50 years of happy marriage.
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No more ‘playing soldiers’.

Posted by Big John on May 20, 2015

Every so often some not too bright spark comes up with the idea that it would be a good idea to reintroduce national service; and this time it’s the ex-‘ginger spare’ .. ‘Hooray Harry .. who loves the military so much that he has decided to return to his civilian life of piss-ups and pampered privilege. Mind you, I’m pretty sure that his time in the army has not been without it’s privileges. Apart from being a polo playing officer and having a jolly spiffing time in a very ‘posh’ regiment, can you really believe that he would have ever been put in ‘harm’s way’ by flying over Afghanistan as a co-pilot/gunner in an Apache helicopter, or being allowed to wander about without a squad of crack troops to protect him at all times and whisk him away at the first sign of danger ?

I see that HRH (His Royal Harryness) says ..“I dread to think where I’d be without the Army.” .. Umm! .. ‘Getting down’ in some dodgy royal palace or other close to the mean back streets of Kensington, smoking ‘skunk’ and slurping ‘Cristal’, or hanging out with his hedonistic Sloane ‘homies’ and bonking all those Belgravia ‘bitches’ I expect !

Most of those who usually call for the return of national service have no experience of service life, unlike Captain Harry ‘Wales’ who does: but his life in the military has been as far removed from that of an ordinary private soldier as it is possible to get; and certainly a bloody long way from how …

… this ex-national serviceman remembers it !

Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

A monumental mistake !

Posted by Big John on May 16, 2015

Two items in the recent news caught my attention. One is that the nasty nutters of the Islamic State have advanced to the gates of ancient Palmyra, raising fears that the Syrian world heritage site could face destruction of the kind the jihadis have already wreaked in Iraq.

The other item informs us that around 700 people left this country to join the ranks of Islamic State in Syria, and that half of them have been allowed to return to our shores (remember “Return ticket not valid ?”) to join the hundreds of radicalised young Muslims who can’t wait to destroy our entire nation: and I fear that they are likely to do far more serious damage than just take their sledgehammers to the Elgin Marbles, or their bulldozers …

… to Stonehenge !

Posted in political, rant, religion | 1 Comment »

A day to remember… Well, almost !

Posted by Big John on May 8, 2015

Today is the 70th anniversary of ‘VE Day’ (Victory in Europe) and I can just about remember it.

I was six years old and had lived all of my young life in war torn London, so the wail of air raid warning sirens, the boom of anti-aircraft guns, the drone of German V1 missiles and the question “Is it one of ours ?” whenever the sound of an aircraft engine was heard overhead, where all part of everyday life for me; although I was a little too young to experience the fear that slightly older children must have felt as I sat on my mother’s lap under the stairs in our basement and waited for the ‘all clear’ to sound.

Now all that had ended, and in our bomb damaged street that evening, there was a large bonfire on the ruins where once there had been houses; and some Royal Navy sailors were letting off flares and rockets from the top of the burnt out shell of the house across the road. Flags were flying from lamp posts and were hanging out of windows. Tatty home-made bunting was strung from house to house. That is, of course, if there were still houses to hang it from.

I suppose there must have been a street party, but I don’t remember it. I do remember seeing some people dancing in the middle of the road in what, in those days, was referred to as ‘a good old knees up': and I’m pretty sure that victory was being toasted in hard to come by booze.

So I was there on that momentous day in history, but, as a little kid, all the fuss didn’t mean much to me at the time; and now I can remember very little of those events. Perhaps my memories have faded with time, or perhaps, as little kids do, I just climbed on to my mum’s lap …

… and fell asleep.

Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

Oh No ! .. Not another one ?

Posted by Big John on May 4, 2015

Those of you who know me must have known that I would be unable to resist a comment or two on the birth of  the latest addition to the ‘House of Windsor’, or ‘er Maj’s mob, as I prefer to call them.

So, the ‘do nothing duchess’ has managed to provide a ‘spare’ to the heir, and can now take up her role as a hard working mother of two, which I know she will find exhausting, because all the royal worshipping parasites of the press have told us so. Although I’m not sure if they have told the nannies, cooks, maids, footmen and butlers at Kensington Palace and Anmer Hall yet.

There has been much speculation about the baby’s name. I favour Princess Chardonnay – Britney – Jordan – Kardashian – of the House of Middleton – Saxe – Coburg – Gotha. I think that Queen Victoria would have approved, and .. Blimey ! .. she does look like that miserable old monarch.

Oh ! .. bugger!   .. They’ve just named her Charlotte .. so Princess ‘Charlie’ it is then  …

… Gormless old grandpapa will be pleased.  

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

“Napoleon who ?”

Posted by Big John on May 2, 2015

This summer we will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo: and guess what ? ..

Yes, as you would expect these days, a survey shows that many Britons know little about a battle that cost more than 60,000 lives; and associate the name with a London railway station or a silly song by 1970’s pop group ‘ABBA’.

It seems that more than a quarter of the people surveyed (28%) had no idea who won the battle, 14% believed the French were victorious and one in five knew absolutely nothing about an event that changed the course of European history.

Just over half (53%) correctly knew that the Duke of Wellington had led the British army, but many suggested it might have been King Arthur, Francis Drake, Winston Churchill, or even Dumbledore from the Harry Potter stories: and it was our young people who showed a “particular lack of awareness” !

Oh ! .. and by the way, the politically correct brigade (Oops! Sorry, too militaristic) zealots have advised that people attending commemorative events should not act in a ‘triumphalist’ way because .. Sacré Bleu ! .. this would offend the French.

Why am I not surprised ?  .. Well, in this age of ‘dumbed-down’ education and political correctness …

… “Ignorance is Bliss”  (Thomas Gray)

Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

“Don’t vote, it only encourages them”. Billy Connolly.

Posted by Big John on April 23, 2015

I’ll be glad when this bloody election is over, as I’ve had enough of lying, self-serving, hypocritical politicians showing off their wives and kids (not to mention their kitchens), walking about in hard hats, talking with school kids, rolling up their sleeves when visiting hospitals and all the rest of the nauseating behaviour which they think will win votes.

Now, in the middle of this political pantomime, our Dave, not missing a trick, has turned his attention to the terrible happenings in the Mediterranean where hundreds, if not thousands, of desperate people are drowning as they attempt to flee the chaos in Libya and elsewhere in Africa.

In a recent speech, our excuse for a prime minister said that .. “crucially we’ve got to do more to deal with the problems in the countries from which these people are coming and we’ve got to crack down on the terrible people traffickers and people smugglers who are at the heart of this problem“.

I can only assume that his tiny brain has forgotten the fact that these ‘problems‘ have come about as a result of him and his mates destabilising the region by naively rushing in to give military assistance and support to every band of so-called ‘freedom fighters’ in the Middle East, without, it would appear, having a clue about the likely outcome of such reckless actions.

Meanwhile, back at home, the forecast is for a ‘hung parliament': and I must say that when I look at the gang of shysters who sit on those green benches at Westminster, the word ‘hanging’ …

often springs to mind !

Posted in humour, political, rant | 4 Comments »

It’s time for a good TV ‘swords and sandals’ !

Posted by Big John on April 16, 2015

I have posted previously about how much I enjoy a good TV historical/costume drama: but alas the latest ‘crop’ does not always live up to my expectations, and some are only worth watching for a laugh and to spot how little (if any) historical research has gone into some of these productions.

I did enjoy ‘Wolf Hall’, and I’m a fan of the latest in the ‘Vikings’ series which really seems to portray those warriors from the north as I imagined them to be. Scruffy Scandinavian farmers, turned sword wielding warriors, with a few hairy bikers thrown in for good measure.

Now I know ‘Poldark’ isn’t strictly ‘historical’, but it’s not bad entertainment, although a lot of time is wasted with Ross on horseback galloping along the Cornish cliffs; and although he looks heroic, unlike all the other ‘gentry’, he never shaves, combs his hair, or wears a wig: and, come to think of it, he’s not keen on wearing underwear.

So, what of  ‘Banished’ .. Oh dear ! .. What a disappointment this ‘epic’  has turned out to be, with one critic branding this story of the first criminals transported to Australia as .. “I’m a convict, get me out of here” ! .. Well, the ‘celeb reality’ show’s Ant and Dec haven’t turned up yet, but they would probably fit in nicely with the odd assortment of starving prisoners, filthy floozies, a nutty vicar, a randy major in charge of a bunch of moronic marines, and dialogue which included a reference to a ‘Dear John’ letter, a term which wasn’t used until US soldiers invented it during World War 2: and had convicts playing poker with their guards. A game that was only introduced to Britain when Queen Victoria showed an interest in it in 1871, nearly a century after this load of old .. drama takes place !

‘Indian Summers’ is quite good with the action taking place in India during the last years of the ‘Raj’, and as you would expect there are plenty of very unpleasant colonial ‘pukka sahib’ types around, and lots of talk (but not much explanation) about Gandhi, ‘Congress’ and the untouchables. There is also a rather raucous Julie Walters as the memsahib owner of the Royal Simla Club, bastion of snobbery, colonial rule and gossip. Perhaps the next series of ‘Downton Abbey’ could be set in India with a plot featuring a ‘downstairs’ scandal about Mrs. Hughes and the new Dhobi Wallah ?

Must go now, as I’m off to switch on and watch my favourite epic medieval fantasy  … Yes ! … ‘Game of Thrones’ is back, and although I’m not too confused by the story at the moment, I have a feeling that …

… I soon will be !

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

Return ticket not valid !

Posted by Big John on April 7, 2015

As a young man I worked alongside a veteran who’s ideals and courage I greatly respected, for, a few years before, he had left this country to fight in a foreign war. That war was the ‘Spanish Civil War’ and he had been a volunteer in the ‘International Brigade’ fighting against Franco’s fascists. When he returned to the UK his left wing political convictions did not threaten my life or that of any other British citizen. In fact many leading politicians where on hand to welcome these Republican volunteers back to this country when that war ended.

Now we have a situation where many young men and women are leaving these shores to fight in another foreign war: and some of our naïve politicians and others are concerned about them, and would like to see them return safely to their British homes.

If this is not insanity, then I don’t know what is, because the difference between my old workmate and his comrades and these jihadists, is that they were no threat to the people of this country; whereas these poor misguided religious fanatics most definitely are, as they would like nothing better than to bring mayhem to our streets, as they will have been trained so to do, as part of their desire to wipe all those of us who do not believe as they do, off the face of the earth.

OK ! .. So if they are that keen to live under the black flag of the ‘Islamic State’, or ‘Daesh’ as it is known in the Middle East, and are happy with Sharia law etc. I say, let them go, but ensure that they never return …

… “In sha’Allah” !

Posted in nostalgia, political, rant, religion | 3 Comments »


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