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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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  …


… I opened it and found this …


… 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 …


… 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 …

wedding 1927 001 (665x790)

… 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 …

des. beach

… 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 »

When ..”It’s better to be safe than sorry”.

Posted by Big John on May 25, 2016

I know that for some time now the ‘powers that be’ and their ‘jobsworth’ minions have been obsessed with ‘Health and Safety’ and that everyone from police officers to postmen are wearing ‘Hi-Viz’ jackets and vests, so I got a big laugh when earlier today I looked out of the window and saw the following …

A large van covered in bright red and yellow markings and flashing amber lights pulled up across the road from my house.

Two men got out, opened the rear doors and spent several minutes donning orange suits covered with reflective stripes. The also put on hard hats, safety boots, thick gloves and protective glasses.

They then removed several large traffic cones, ‘Danger!’ signs and a couple of safety barriers from the van and distributed them around an area towards the rear of the vehicle.

After several minutes an unmarked car pulled up and a young man got out and approached the two ‘hard hats’. He was dressed in a polo shirt, jeans and trainers (sneakers). He looked into the back of the van and pulled out some sort of tool and proceeded to use it to remove a large manhole cover in the road. I couldn’t see what happened next, although the two overdressed men in all their safety gear were just spectators taking no part in this hazardous task.

A short time later the casually dressed young man returned to his car and drove away.

I wonder if he was …

… wearing a seatbelt ?  

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

Which one is ‘barking mad’ ?

Posted by Big John on May 19, 2016

Recently, as I passed by the local dog beauty grooming parlour, an elderly lady came along the street leading one of those yappy little dogs which seem to be ‘in fashion’ at the moment, and the tiny creature was not happy judging by all the noise it was making, and by the way it was attempting to go in the opposite direction.

“Stop that !” .. said the lady .. “You know how you like the young ladies in the shop”.

Yap! .. Yap! .. Yap! .. replied the dog.

“There’s a good boy now. Please be quiet for mummy”.

More … Yap! .. Yap! .. Yap! .. which ended with the little mutt taking a ‘dump’ in the middle of the footpath.

“Oh dear ! .. That’s very naughty” .. sighed the lady .. as she pulled a small plastic bag from her pocket … “Mummy is very cross with you”.

Lots more .. Yap! .. Yap! .. Yapping !

This one sided conversation went on for some time, before the old girl finally managed to drag the dog into the shop, after threatening not to let the animal play with his “bally” when they got home.

Now, here’s the question … Why do so many people believe that dogs can understand the English language ? … and how do they communicate if they own ..

.. a German Shepherd ?

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

“Smile ? .. I’ll think about it”.

Posted by Big John on May 14, 2016

During a clear out of years of accumulated household rubbish I came across this rather tattered picture …

IMG_0002 (664x800)

… Could it be an long lost ‘old master’ ? … No, it’s not even an old ‘mister’. In fact, it’s an old ‘missus’.

Yes, it’s a hand coloured photograph of ‘she who must be obeyed’ taken during the 1930’s. Doesn’t she look cute ? …

IMG_0001 (446x508)

… Even if she does look as if she is about to tell the photographer to …

… “Get a bloody move on !”


Posted in family, humour, nostalgia | 5 Comments »

Now here’s a difficult one !

Posted by Big John on May 11, 2016

Below are three press reports relating to Islam. Only one of which is true. Can you guess which one it is ?

1 … Due to London now having a Muslim mayor, the Saudi government is advertising for a Christian to take up a similar post in Riyadh.

2 … London’s buses and public transport in other UK cities will carry banner adverts featuring the Arabic phrase “Subhan Allah” for Ramadan. This idea has been taken up by the authorities in Tehrān where buses will now carry posters wishing people a “Happy Christmas”.

3 … Police who staged a mock terrorist attack featuring a bomber shouting “Allahu Akbar” have been forced to apologise for racial stereotyping.

Need a clue ?  …  This happened 

… on the same day !

Posted in humour, rant, religion | Leave a Comment »

‘Catch Up TV’ … why bother ?

Posted by Big John on May 5, 2016

I recently invested in a new ‘all singing and dancing’ Sky+HD satellite TV system, and I am now wondering .. Why ? .. for after scanning through it’s TV guide, I can find very little worth watching apart from one or two US crime series, such as ‘Blue Bloods’ (‘she who must be obeyed’ fancies Tom Selleck) and a few interesting documentaries on the ‘History Channel’ and ‘PBS America’.

Now I know that I have ranted about this before, but ‘Trash TV’ is getting beyond a joke, with an endless parade of blubbing bakers, crying cooks, distraught dancers and assorted ‘wannabes’ taking up many hours of ‘prime time’ TV. Old style game shows for the gormless seem to be back in a big way, along with lots of ‘celeb’ chat show crap for cretins.

Decent drama is hard to find and comes around about once a week if you are lucky, but don’t expect the actors to keep their clothes on, even one of my favourites, the Simla ‘soap’ better known as ‘Indian Summers’ has degenerated into more of a story of ‘rumpy-pumpy’ during the ‘Raj’ than a serious portrayal of the last days of British rule in India.

Still, it’s not all bad news. ‘Game of Thrones’ is back, so the old brainbox gets a workout, as I try to stay with the plot (is there one ?) and tell a Lannister from a Targaryan; and tonight will see me sitting in front of my TV wearing my flat cap, with a glass of stout in hand as I eagerly await the return of those 1920’s haircuts and the  bloody tale of  the …

… ‘Peaky Blinders’ !

Posted in entertainment, family, humour, rant | 8 Comments »


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