Tuesday, 27 December 2016

God, Church And First Class Seats.

A lot of people don’t know this. A lot won’t believe it but sometimes, on my walk to the village I pop into the church for a few minutes and have a sit down and a think.

I usually sit in a pew about halfway down the aisle. Never in the front pews. I don’t sit in the front pews because that is where the gentry sit and I’m not gentry.

To be honest, I don’t know if the gentry still sit there during services because I never go to services. But when I was a youngster, us kids couldn’t sit in the front due to rich people having first choice and it became a habit I keep to this day.

Some of the pews even had name plates on them. Lord this, Lady that, Colonel Stuck-up, Major something or other, The Right Honourable so and so, Dr and Mrs posh-nob. All up the front nearest the altar.

Those posh people, they even had proper thick kneelers to kneel on with fancy tapestry patterns. Their kneelers were so thick they hardly had to kneel at all. I know this for a fact because I sneaked a go on one once when I was putting the hymn books out. I didn’t even have to lift my arse off the pew and I only had a small arse in those days.

Us common people who wore boots and hand-me-down clothes never had names on the pews we sat in. We never had proper kneelers either. We had thin lumpy kneelers if we were lucky enough to get a kneeler at all. What with them always being in short supply in the back pews.

So yes, occasionally when the mood takes me, I will tie Mia the German Shepherd’s lead to the bench outside and pop into the church for a few minutes of quiet reflection. I will admit to saying the occasional prayer. Not because I believe in God exactly, but you know, there might be something in it and I don’t want to blot my copy book entirely.

I have it in my mind to go to a church service one Sunday and sit in the front pew. I shall say to Lord and Lady Muck, “Budge up you two, make room for a little ‘un.” I wonder what their reaction will be?

If by chance I do find myself in heaven one day I will be terribly disappointed if God carries on with His them and us policy though.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Golly Forgotten Marmalade.

It was whilst I was trekking across the fields on a walk with Mia the German Shepherd yesterday that I remembered - I say trekking, I mean, stumbling slowly with mud-logged boots – I needed to buy a jar of marmalade. I can’t be doing with toast without marmalade and Christmas Day the shops will be closed. Not sure what it was that jogged my memory but it might have been thinking about, why aren’t there any ginger birds? The feathered variety that is. I wasn’t thinking about redheads of the human variety. Well, not at that moment. I always think of marmalade as being ginger. Strange, as it is obviously orange?

It occurred to me that Mia The German Shepherd is quite ginger. And Bonnie the Ginger Cat of course. And some of the hens could be described as ginger. But is there a ginger bird other than the hens? I am talking wildlife here, not tame hybrids.

I googled ginger birds. Got loads of photos of women none of birds. It seems there are no ginger birds. I feel I have defeated google. A long-held ambition.

After consulting with Mia the German Shepherd, it seemed she wasn’t interested in my marmalade dilemma so we continued our outward walk. We went around the reservoir. Just two birds on the water - neither of them ginger. A coot, or it could have been a moorhen, that didn’t hang about when it saw us and a lone goose that could have been a Brent or a Canada. Difficult to tell due to the weather being drizzly and visibility not good. It was coming up to four in the afternoon and it gets dark around four thirty just now. I spent a few minutes wondering why the goose was on its own - geese usually go around in pairs – sadly, concluding that its mate was probably cooked.

I am walking a lot easier since I stopped taking the statins but due to the mud underfoot clogging my boot treads and making them twice as heavy as normal I was moving quite slowly. Trudging. That’s a nice word I don’t use too often. A little laboured with the old breathing too I noticed. Probably, sans statins, lining myself up for a heart attack? Strange how Mia’s paws don’t get clogged up?
Indeed, it was dark as we arrived back home, but with marmalade still on my mind I left Mia playing ball with my Extremely Handsome Son George and drove to the village shops.

I bought three new wire bird feeders, two bags of peanuts, A block of suet with embedded mealworms, a bag of mixed bird seed, two pints of semi-skimmed milk, half a pound of butter (unsalted), six mini apple pies, pot of double cream and a large family size Rice Krispies.

It wasn’t until I got back home that I realised I had forgotten to buy marmalade!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Happy Christmas!

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

EHS George and Mia the German Shepherd.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Shirley Oaks Children's Home. Abuse Survivors

It was on all the television news and all the newspapers so it must be true. All of us kids who were in the children's home I wrote about in my book 'Elbows off the Table' are to receive compensation. The amazing thing is that the articles in the papers could have been lifted straight from the pages of my book they were that similar.


 I can't believe it! Compensation? It is going right back to the 1950's. There must be hundreds of us? Perhaps thousands? How is that going to work? Also I know that abuse was going on even before the 1950's. I met one man who was ten years older than me and he still had nightmares about his time there.

I have mixed feelings about receiving money as compensation. Too little and I shall feel insulted. Too much and I shall feel guilty. Where is the money coming from? How does it compensate for an unhappy childhood? Will money bring back my sense of loss? I recovered eventually why should I get compensated?

One concern I have regarding this and which has been causing me some anxiety, is to do with the good and decent people I met as a child. There is nothing in the news reports about these caring people who did their job with proper respect for the kids. I mention some of those who had a good influence in my book. Those who have now passed away, are they to be tarred with the same brush?
I phoned one of the national papers who ran the compensation article to express my feelings about this but they were not at all interested in hearing about the good in people. I suppose that doesn't sell papers?

I am considering changing the title or sub-title of my book to include the name of the Shirley Oaks Children's Home. I am not sure how I feel about doing that either. Remember how the Jimmy Saville story was in the news when I published my book and I felt some might think I was jumping on the band-wagon? I feel that now, but at the same time I want people to know about my book too. I mean, that's why I wrote it!


Saturday, 10 December 2016

Great Britons. No 2.

Frank Drake one of many children in his family was born sometime in the 14th century at a young age. He didn’t do a lot. Just sailed about. Found a few places. Magellan Strait springs to mind for some reason. No idea why or how it has anything to do with Frank but it rings a bell. Although I thought Magellan discovered the Magellan Straits, else why would they be named after him? History eh? Weird. Maybe Drake just passed through on his way to somewhere else?

Drake, or Drakey as he was affectionately called, was Queen Elizabeth’s friend, cos he didn’t like the Spanish and neither did she. He was always aggravating the Spanish by sinking their ships and stealing stuff from them. That’s probably why she made him a knight and he became Sir Francis Drake. They had strange ethics in the old days.

After getting knighted he became one of the first slave traders, making a lot of money from it. Then he did a bit more sailing about and a lot of plundering and destroying things he really had no business messing with. Bit of a bleedin’ nuisance to be honest! I can’t take to him personally, but to be fair maybe he wouldn’t have liked me either.

Not much is known about him after that, except he liked to play bowls and he was the Mayor of Plymouth once. It is not known if he was any good at playing bowls or mayoring. Probably people would have said he was good at stuff just to curry favour because he was rich and powerful and they didn’t want their heads chopped off.

Talking of chopping heads off Drake was responsible for having Thomas Doughty -another of the Queen's favourites – beheaded. Accused of witchcraft would you believe? A touch of jealousy maybe?

I don’t know how Drake made it to number two on my list of great Britons? I am thinking about moving him further down or even deleting him entirely.

Sir Francis Drake died in... Oh, I don’t know when exactly, but people didn’t live long in those days. Anyway, he got the shits bad one day and expired soon after.

Good riddance I say. Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe he was a decent bloke? We will never know for sure. If only we could turn back time, we could ask some of the slaves or Thomas Doughty what their feelings towards him were. No, why bother? I know the answer. He is definitely off the list!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Great Britons. No1.

The bicycle was invented centuries ago by a young bloke called Wally, who felt sorry for those people who were unable to get their heads around the concept of the internal combustion engine. Internal combustion at that time was common parlance for the condition known today as severe flatulence. In those days, before reading and writing was invented you could only have a motor vehicle if you invented it yourself and it was powered by self-generated gas.

Originally, Wally had intended his invention to be called a cycle but due to political correctness - which was going around in cycling circles –  going around in circles, cycling circles… That sounds funny. ‘Raindrops keep falling on my head’. Yeah, well, anyway, political correctness decreed that it should be called a bi-cycle. This was so people who couldn’t decide if they were gay or just brightly coloured had an equal chance to buy one.

Wally later found world fame when he invented waterproof puddles for Her Majesty the Queen to tread in. Soon after this invention Her Majesty was obliged one day to make use of it during a downpour and Wally -bless him- was knighted and became that special person we all know and love, Sir Walter Raleigh. Sir Walter later invented the wheel thereby making the bicycle even more popular.

Sadly, Sir Walter Raleigh was tragically killed when a bicycle pump he was inventing blew up and took his head off.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Bain Of My Life.

My latest book is ready for you to purchase. It didn't take long to write because it is full of posts written from the beginning of this blog. This is just part one. This could turn into a series.

Here is a link to it.


I hope you will all rush there to have a look and maybe buy a copy or two.