Saturday, 3 June 2006

Getting it right

Dangerous work requires attention to detail. Soldiering is dangerous work. Military personnel practise and appreciate attention to detail. They expect it of the politicians set over them.

This lady makes her point well - might almost have been a soldier! (sarcasm or irony - you sort it out. I'm just making a point)

Friday, 2 June 2006

When will it end - if ever?

We are here seeing more Protestant refusal to progress towards what might be regarded as even a moderately civilised country. Catholics scorned again. Their inclusion in this service is perfectly justified. As a Catholic serving in RUC, they were in constant danger. On duty, at home, in their community - everywhere and always. The degree of courage to keep this up over a considerable period of time is tremendous. Quite often, they were alienated from relatives and even loved ones. They were not always made welcome by their brother officers. Those who have never served in something like a disciplined service cannot understand how vital it is that one can rely on ones comrades. Many Catholic policemen were denied this support.

The sun has got his hat on

Well, is it too much to think that we are about to have a spell of settled good weather? Pretty much the whole East coast is basking in the sun up here in Scotland. We are due for a week over on the West coast next week and good weather is the cream on top of the coffee over there.
I suppose it is a plot to suppress further discussion about Prezza whilst they wait for some Tory cock-up so as to redress the balance. I never cease to wonder at the way sunshine improves everything (except the dust under my desk!). Given the time I used to spend happily wandering the hills in quite atrocious weather, one might think it immaterial.

Thursday, 1 June 2006

Freeze or fry

I have little trouble with the concept of global warming, ozone depletion and the ned of the world as we know it. My time remaining here is limited. I have sufficient trust on the native cunning of the human race that when push comes to shove they will come up with something that will keep away the water or whatever.

One thing that does worry me is the degree to which an unknown future impacts upon our now. We have quite a few wind farms here in Scotland. They are, mostly, sufficiently remote as to cause little damage to the scenery or are in areas where they are out of sight because of the landscape. We got past one farm adjacent to the A68 that is all hillocks and dips such that the turbines look like effects in a War of the Worlds film set. Some great cars are being outlawed.

Now, I see that it may all have been a mistake anyway. Or, at least a miscalculation. Damn!!

Spare a copper guv?

There is much discussion about what police should and should not do and how they should do it when they have decided that. This, of course, is before the prosecutors have their decision and implementation debate. And then comes the judiciary. My guest blogger helps lift the veil on how things are done.

Image hosting by Photobucket


Games police people play

Strong women

No - sorry. No lewd accounts from me here.
I had often sought out the work of this woman. I liked her style of writing and the way she went about her work. Like her or not like her, the actual writing was strongly put and created it's own dynamics regardless of cubject matter.
I came across this item because I still scope her name. What makes it for me now is her description of her meeting with the then head of Iran. What she did took a very high level of courage and must have required a strong sense of purpose. Her description of the man totally reflects what I have noticed in many Arabs. They have this Godly effect. Grips one. Read it.

Garden becomes an allotment

Seems someone has finally recognised that Kent is no longer any sort of garden, still less the prime Garden of England.
Well - don't blame me. I moved away almost five years ago and it was buggered then. The quoted article gives a number of reasons. It was just the over-crowding that drove me out. Not only the number of humans. It was the sort of human being. Apart from immigration overload being pushed down the line, we had the horsey set.
At one time I could walk anywhere I wished all around my house. I knew the farmers and they knew me. The hop fields and orchards were safe from me. Changes in farming and the pressure of subsidies changed the nature of what was grown. Horse owners moved in. They bought up swathes of country and fenced it off in a pale imitation of Kentucky. Footpaths were reclaimed and rights of way denied to protect horseflesh. Chubby little girls rode out of their Ponderosa enclaves and onto narrow and twisty country lanes where they had to risk space with motor cars. Don't forget - chavs first bred in Kent and they also had a part in my disenchantment.


My female side (huh!) sometimes causes me to stray over to where they congregate. I think I miss the cut and thrust of those early days of the female movement and go there to see if there are any embers I can fan into life. They were very good at debate and argument.

What I am on about now, is the title I found there. I don't know what it is that leads us to choose the titles we do. Designed to intrigue people and attract them? To describe our emotions when we start blogging? Whatever.

This is one I would love to have chosen.

Learn something new everyday and you know you're not dead!

Fragrant Harbour

I am told by those with sufficient interest to care, that Hong Kong translates as Fragrant Harbour.

Well, sorry. From my knowledge of things in mid '70s, I am at one with Sir Peter Ustinov. I have always liked a comment attributed to him, upon visiting Hong Kong.

When confronted by the unmistakeable stink that heralds high summer, he remarked to his companion, “What on earth is that stench?” which elicited the reply, “I’m afraid its sh*t, sir.” Ustinov quickly quipped, “I know that, but what the hell have they done to it?”

Wednesday, 31 May 2006

On the streets of Palestine - this modern city

"One of the gunmen said 'where is her brother?' and when he stepped forward they said to him 'you know what you need to do,"' he said. "The brother took out a gun and shot her in the head with one bullet."
I cannot see this as anything worth fighting for. You might?


The campaign for the World Cup football championship has not yet started. The whole place - even here in Scotland - seems full of cars dashing about with the English Cross of St George flag flying from the rear windows. I managed to convince my wife this was a road safety measure and that those drivers deemed totally mad by police had to fly these flags as a warning. We start with our - possibly - most talented player on the sidelines through injury so the excuses for failure are already in place.

A man had great tickets for the World Cup Final.

As he sits down, another man comes down and asks if anyone is
sitting in the empty seat next to him.

"No," he says. "The seat is empty."

"This is incredible!" says the other man. "Who in their right
mind would have a seat like this for the World Cup Final, the biggest
sporting event, and not use it?"

"Well, actually, the seat belongs to me. My wife was supposed to
come with me, but she passed away. This is the first World Cup Final
we haven't been to together since we got married.

" "Oh ... I'm sorry to hear that. That's terrible. But couldn't
you find someone else, a friend or relative, or even a neighbour to
take the seat?"

The man shakes his head. "No. They're all at the funeral..."


I like a good rant from a good ranter.

The Briff has a nice little article up at The Times today. Apparently, you can go to a site and pick from 42 disgusting images of what smoking will do to you, and the "best" 14 will soon be appearing a cigarette pack near you.

Some cynics might scoff that it’s a bit rich coming from a Government that is considering implementing “shooting galleries” where heroin addicts can shoot up at the taxpayers expense.
Yes, it is rather.
But that’s new Labour for you.
Ain't it just...
Clearly, the idea that we are all adults capable of making decisions for ourselves is one quite alien to the powers-that-be.
Well, yes, of course it is; we are merely the untermensch, the fucking proles who must be guided through life with every faltering step. Still, it might help if not quite so many members of the great British public behaved like total fucking morons 90% of the time.

Lilly now knows - just what exactly?

This struck me as a well written insight into many things.The guys own idea, the way in which someone in even desperate straits can find help and what I think is a basic American trait - compassion.

However, some five minutes after getting to the heart-uplifting end I found the right hand side of my brain stir. Just what - exactly - had Lilly gained from her tuition? Oh dear! Seems the writer had another supporter for his ideas. There must be room here for a valid re-write of that bit about giving a hungry man a fish or teaching him how to fish but my intellect is not up to doing it the justice it deserves. Shame on me!

Image hosting by Photobucket

Anyway - read it for yourself. Might just be me in a miseral old man mood eh?

Punchy old fighter - down for the count?

Country squire Lord John Prescott seems to have added to his problems by allowing himself to be photographed playing croquet. Interviewed, he said the game involved careful placement of one's balls. Well - for him, nothing new there then! These big stags do tend to lash out when rutting.

It's a load of old hoop-la. Whilst the media have the agenda to get him out, I suspect the rest of us are singularly uncaring. Whatever it is he does in return (or should that be alleged return?) for his ducal salary is not known to many 'men in the street'. Alongside the wide spread of incompetance, suspected corruption and general not-fit-for-purpose of his cabinet colleagues, his little transgressions in public are as insignificant as his illegal tart described his private parts.

The other protection he has will come from others whose future waits for that bloke Damocles and his sword. They have their own concerns. True to form, their own personal interests come first and foremost. If the great unwashed should see someone deposed by the pressure of the mob,it would not be long before the masses gathered at Downing Street. The only question would be whether they went first to number 10 or number 11. B Liar and Brown as much wish to see Prezza go as a swimmer off Bondi beach welcomes blood in the water.

Sadly, I think we will be denied the sight of a feeding frenzy.

Service to your country never ends

As British, we appear to some others on this spinning globe as a bit cold fish and unemotional. We are reluctant to band together to do good works. Some do but that involvement is sparse.

So, I was pleased to read this from an American blog.

But hospital visits are just a small part of what the veterans groups stand for. Nationwide, on a daily basis, they continue their battles on the front lines helping their communities; collecting food, clothing, bottle caps and anything else that they might bring hope to those in need. Whether caring for elderly veterans or cradling sick infants, they are on hand helping out at the hospitals and retirement homes. They are at the blood banks, working with the mentally ill, placing flags at the graves of our fallen heros, supporting the Holocaust exhibits, lobbying our lawmakers to not forget those who sacrificed for our freedoms, telling their stories at schools, always available to do whatever needs to be done for those who may not be able to do for themselves, showing that you never need stop being of service, even when you're out of the service.

This is something we could easily do here. Sure, we do not have anything that equates to a veterans agency and there must be few ex-service organisations that are active other than as social clubs. Whilst we are, possibly, cold and remote we do not lack the ability to criticise our political 'leaders'. Some of that energy could be devoted to good works.

Incidentally, the guy who writes this uses a little mot juste. "Not so lean, not so mean, but still a marine". Maybe those few words that reflect his attitude and his pride summarise the difference between our two countries?

Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Friends - not the TV show

Day or so back I invented the phrase Electronic Friend. This was to maintain confidentiality of someone by avoiding use of their gender. During a totally sleepless night, I thought more about the idea of such a friend.

I don't 'do' friends. My address book, even when formatted to include all possible contact methods, wife's birthday, name of third child, golf handicap and all the other corporate bilge, is no more than two A4 pages. The Christmas card list is less than 30. Most of them are the duty ones "Will write later" sort. I have never found the lack of friends to be a problem. My own company suffices. I am capable of entering into conversation with total strangers when need drives. I have a core of about six people who are more than friends. They go back to my Army service that started over 50 years ago. Most I have not seen in the last 30 years. There is a bond of loyalty with them and we are in touch on a weekly basis.

That is as it is in the real world. Flesh and blood. Touchable.

In, say, four years wandering about in the world of the Internet, I have formed Electronic Friendships with over a dozen people. We agree to call each other friend. I cannot think that I will ever meet any of these friends face to face. Hard to say but if one of them did pitch up at my door in need of something, I would do what I could to help. I offer them advice - quite often unsolicited and of a personal nature. They correct my more outrageous behaviour and I do not resent this. In short, they act exactly as I understand a real world, flesh and blood, touchable friend would. I cannot think of much that would improve our inter-action.

I cannot think what it is that makes the status of friend vary as I have described. The pleasure of internet friendship has not encouraged me to find friends in my everyday life.

Strange old world isn't it?

Smoking and sex hand in hand!

This is a worrying report. Seems that Oz brothel keepers are fing a fall in business coincides with new smoking restrictions.

I have to say that I was always most careful to ensure that sex and smoking did not go hand in hand. Any cigarette burns in that part of the anatomy are likely to be very painful and take mucho explainio.

Image hosting by Photobucket

You read about it here first!!

Monday, 29 May 2006

Looking back

As an oldie, I am aware how easy it is to write about things that have a very limited appeal. Things that were most significant in our times, are inconsequential now. That is why this blog pleases me. One can be old in years but youthful in approach to what life still exists.

Old comrades

Say what you like - they wrote good music. Something they might replay when the hooligan football hordes invade.

My favourite oldie though is this - they used this when they tried to teach me German.

Itchy feet

Back in the days when I had a proper civilian job, I quite often had to recruit casual staff. Could be anything from clerical through switchboard to muscle men to shift things. The agency we used had a standing instruction that I preferred people from Australia working their way round the world on their talents (or muscles!). I don't recall a single duff placement. Even when I had a mixed origin workforce and needed to appoint someone as a senior to receive instructions and pass them on, I gave the job to an Oz.

I frequently heard what they had done on their way to me and what they were going to do next. As someone who had seen a fair share of the world myself, their optimism that all would be beut mate struck me as strong.

Image hosting by Photobucket

That is why it is good to read blogs such as this

Infamy - they've all got it infamy

The Home Office is being revealed as the sort of Home that most of us would run away from. Just three little snippets from recent Press reports show that there are conflicting matters on their agenda. None of the ducks are on the same pond still less lined up. The Attorney General says the conviction rate is crap. This under a regime that was to be tough on crime and it’s causes. Then there is commitment to increase convictions. But – hey! What do you know? No room at the nick. You cannot put prisoners in the barn like Messiahs. More into open prisons I suppose. Hardly short sharp shocks guys.

Inner glow

Feeling quite satisfied with myself today. Even 'smug' might not be denied.

A electronic friend had been having doubts about a relationship and their unsettled state was showing although the problem was not expressed in so many words. I risked poking my nose in and putting my foot in my mouth - it needed that sort of contortion to save giving offence in something so personal.

I based my advice on experience well-researched by me personally. As the lady said, 'Life is too short to spend time stuffing mushrooms'. Spending time on a relationship that has stopped dead in the water achieves nothing and engenders bitterness. I advised a clean break. Today, I learn that that is just what my friend has done. It takes a lot of courage to step out into the black void of uncertaintity. Even if my advice played just the teeniest part in this - I'm glad and proud to have helped someone.

If you get round to reading this after unpacking, electronic friend, all the very best for the future. All parties have got their just desserts.

Better than the one I have?

Your Papal Name is Pope Anastasius V

You think Pope Benedict IX was a Saint who should have indulged himself a bit more. You're already halfway though "How to Excommunicate for Fun and Profit" and, if you were made Pope, you would have the treasures of the Vatican on before the end of week one.

Get your own name at What's My Papal Name?

Another bore

So, hunting animals is cruel sport? Seems that the idea of sticking pigs as was a major entertainment in the Raj's India, may make a come back.

This is something I'd like to see. From a safe distance. I went out with a boar hunt in the Ardennes and they are very nasty looking animals when roused. There was little chasing there; the dogs - warily - put them up and the hunters shot them down. The idea of chasing one for a couple of miles on horseback could get very character building. Lots of opportunity to get bloodied!

Sunday, 28 May 2006

The Green Lavatory

I enjoyed my time in Northern Ireland. The Army spirit was at it's finest, I was operating professionally at my best and the daily events - whilst many were tragic - could generally be relied upon to include something amusing.

My opinion of the people was something different. Prejudice and bigotry wre endemic. Many exhibited so clearly signs of actual madness that required no medical expertise to diagnose. My Guest Blog this time around showcases one viewpoint

Image hosting by Photobucket


Here you are - read this balanced and reasoned piece of literature

Scoff the lot

Whilst I freely admit that Norma and I could represent our country at eating, I do not think we would hack it in the world of competition as hinted at in today's Guest Blog.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Serious eating - the truth revealed!!

Enterprise culture

I think I have identified a potential business venture!

Provided one can get the business done within the 3 mile limit, there would be no large expenditure on food or crew costs. No requirement for lecturers. Seats at the Captain's table could be sold - 'Get yours now before there are no more'.

My little secret

Great money-making idea. I'm going to add a Pay-Pal button. Those who donate get directions to THIS car wash where naked hunks will give you a damned fine wash-down. Maybe even a shampoo and set?