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 56 years of happy marriage.

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“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 ? 

 

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

Garden guests.

Posted by Big John on June 28, 2018

Remember my little fox cubs… Well they have returned, at least one of them has …

and this time it is daylight and it has grown a bit !

and ‘Robert’ the robin is thinking “are you looking at me?”

Now, I may not be the greatest nature photographer in the world,

but here are a couple more visitors to my summer garden …

This is ‘Russell’. OK! .. I know that it’s not a very original name.

Did you know that crows mate for life ?

Here’s the happy pair on their favourite perch.

I hear your question .. ? .. and …

I’ve no idea !

 

Posted in family, nature | 4 Comments »

Another ‘trance’ encounter !

Posted by Big John on June 19, 2018

Not far from my home is a railway bridge. A road runs under this bridge and has a safe footpath on one side of it. On the other side is a narrow strip of slippery brick, earth and concrete which some people prefer to balance along rather than cross over the road to use the ‘safe side’ and then cross back again, using the pedestrian crossings, to continue on their way.

At this time of year most of the strip is overgrown with all sorts of rough and prickly  vegetation making it difficult to negotiate without walking in the road. So what bloody idiot would take the risk ?

Answer ! … The bloody idiot who never even gave me a glance, as I braked to avoid him being splattered all over the front of my car as he strolled in the road under the bridge …

…  BLOODY TEXTING !

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

Much more than a musical memory.

Posted by Big John on June 5, 2018

The other evening I watched an interesting and evocative BBC documentary about the Everly Brothers (‘Harmonies from Heaven’).

It reminded me of the late 1950’s and, in particular, of one miserable rainy night on the platform of a railway station where I waited with a group of other young airmen for the last train, which would take us back to our RAF station after attending some lucky national serviceman’s ‘de-mob’ party.

We were chatting and joking amongst ourselves when we suddenly heard the sound of someone singing further along the platform. In fact, it was two of our fellow conscripts who had only recently been posted to our camp after returning from duty at the nuclear test site on Christmas Island. On the way home they had a few days leave in the USA and had picked up a number of records, among which were the latest Everly Brothers’ hits.

Obviously we had all had more than a “sniff of the barmaid’s apron”, and so these two lads singing may have sounded better than it actually was, but it silenced our chatter.

OK, so they weren’t exactly Don and Phil, and it wasn’t quite one of those “Harmonies from Heaven”, but it did have a strangely ‘haunting’ quality about it as it echoed around that gloomy station.

That was 60 years ago and I’m still here: but I wonder if the same can be said of those two young airmen who had spent a year or more on a Pacific island watching …

These clouds ?

Posted in History, nostalgia | 4 Comments »

Foxy fun in the dark.

Posted by Big John on May 18, 2018

I don’t have a very large garden, but I do like to let much of what I do have, grow fairly wild, like this corner …

… as it does seem to encourage the wildlife, which mainly means a good selection of birds, an odd squirrel or two and the occasional fox.

Recently I have noticed that each morning when I look out of the kitchen window I see signs of some nocturnal activity, such as plant pots tipped over, earth dug up, twigs scattered about and small shrubs flattened.

What’s doing this I wondered ? …  Well, yesterday evening, just as darkness was falling and I was closing the kitchen window blinds , I looked out and saw …

….  this little bugger !  .. and then …

… these two … and …

… these two … making five little fox cubs ! …

(Poor quality pics, but it was dark and taken through a double glazed window).

In view of this weekends events I have decided to name them … ‘Meghan’ … ‘Harry’ … ‘Willy’ … ‘Katie’ .. and .. ‘Pippa’.  ….  How do I know which one is Harry ? … He’s the …

… scruffy ginger one !

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

It only needed a soggy selfie.

Posted by Big John on May 4, 2018

From time to time I have written of my encounters with those of us who are totally addicted to their smartphones. Here is the latest …

Yesterday I was sitting in my car, which was parked in a quiet street. The weather was lousy. Heavy rain and a strong blustery wind. I glanced across the road and noticed a rather bedraggled young woman stop opposite my vehicle. She was wearing some sort of ‘hoodie’ and carrying a large bag which hung from one shoulder. She leaned against a fence which was partly sheltered by an overhanging tree. It gave little protection from the cold driving rain.

She opened the bag, and yes, out came a smartphone ! .. Immediately she started texting. She then removed a plastic bottle of orange juice and managed a swig or two whilst still texting. The bottle was returned to the bag and replaced by a large baguette wrapped in aluminium foil. She managed to unwrap this and devour it’s rather ‘messy’ contents as she juggled with her ‘phone, all the time texting. Considering that she was soaked and very much windswept, her dexterity was something to marvel at.

Her soaking al fresco lunch lasted about fifteen minutes and was finished off by her smoking ‘who knows what’, before she walked off, seemingly oblivious to the atrocious weather, and …

…still bloody texting !

Posted in humour, rant | 1 Comment »

Where’s my invitation ?

Posted by Big John on April 27, 2018

I know that I have not been around much lately, but I know that you will forgive me when you know the reason why I have neglected my blog for the last couple of weeks. I’m sure that you all guessed the reason …

Yes ! .. I have been absorbed with all the wonderful things that have been happening to my favourite family .. the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha gang.

Where do I start ? .. Well, old ‘Phil the Greek’ got a new hip (was it on the NHS ?) … ‘er Maj’ had her first birthday of 2018 (she has another one in June) … another royal brat was born (just what we need) … Pippa (OK ! I know, she’s only a sister-in-law to Willy) got in on the act by joining ‘the pudding club’, as did ‘horsey’ Anne’s daughter Zara… Fergie’s daughter Eugenie got engaged to some rich geezer and her other daughter Beatrice got a proper job… Charlie got a new top job involving lots of expensive travel (which pissed orf  Cruella) … She cheered up when she heard that she will get the title of ‘Queen’ when Charlie gets an even better ‘top job’ … and ‘last but not least’ … all is set for the royal wedding. I can hardly wait ! In fact when I look at the ‘Ginger Whinger’ and his bride to be, I go all ..”sigh”.. (‘hand on heart’)..  ‘touchy-feely’ .. ‘Maw ! Maw ! kissy-kissy’ and ‘huggy-wuggy’ … Now I wonder …

… where I got that from ?

Posted in humour | 4 Comments »

Here we go again – Part Sixteen.

Posted by Big John on April 12, 2018

I see now that ‘The Donald’ has made friends with ‘Little Rocket Man’, he is considering polishing up his missiles and aiming them at “animal” Assad, and, as you would expect, our Prime Minister is going into ‘Joan of Arc’ mode, which means that British armed forces could be involved in yet another messy conflict where, as usual, little thought will be given to planning what comes next !

I’m not saying that President Assad is not capable of killing his own people. Of course he is. However, all wars always produce fake atrocity stories, as well as real ones, and this  propaganda can now be disseminated via You Tube, Twitter, Facebook etc. and in the case of Syria very little news comes out of that country via Western news organisations, and what does usually comes from the rebels.

What will we be seeing next on the TV news channels after the proposed allied retaliation ?  .. The ruins of schools, hospitals, homes and the bodies children. The military call it …

… collateral damage !

Posted in political, rant | 2 Comments »