Thursday, 21 May 2015

Diary Study



Most of today has been spent in the war.  I was reading through a diary we have been given to take out the specific local items.  The writer spent his time during the war on cal as one who attended bomb incidents salvaging people and items and making good buildings where possible.  He had a reasonably busy time on occasions.  The above is the result of one of two large bombs, possibly parachute mines, which arrived near ten one night.  Huge damage, three killed.  The diary details incidents he attended, most regarding the work required to put roofs back on and suchlike, but references to daily life give an inkling of what it was like to live through those days.  
Having read through and selected my bits I have just merged them with what notes I had of the official 'incident reports.'  Therefore when he mentions an air raid I can sometimes add what actually happened. Often the result was bombs on open fields or reasonably safe areas.  Still the fact that every so often a plane or planes might pass over when you slept could be waring on the nerves.  
Add to this the encroaching rationing of daily items, the limits of freedom, work forced upon the individual, and what in fact was a dictatorial state until the war was won, all these things add up after a few years.
Diaries, when you are allowed to read them, give an interesting insight into the writer.  His personality comes through and his opinions appear even when these are not being forced upon us due to space. I think I could like him!  As I wander around town I now consider the repairs that must have been his work.  Few would realise when looking at some houses how damaged they were during the conflict, they appear fit and proper now.  This man can consider he done well by his fellow man.
Now I am wondering what to do with this.  Should I make it into an item and write it up?  Does the boss wish me to leave it with her?  I do not know, neither does she!  So I leave it for now and will find out tomorrow as I have been ordered to report for something or other.   

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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A Foreign Army



We had a Roman Army marching through the playground today.  Led by a Centurion who bullied the troops, marched them around, forced them to drill, and even made them defend a barrage from violent teachers!  
They all appeared happy enough!  
This is part of the school curriculum which now takes a longer view of history than before.  Kids have to learn about Romans, Anglo Saxons and Victorians as well as more modern history.  Actually I think they also have to learn about the Normans and medieval times also surely!  Scots history, a more accurate view of the world, is decided in Scotland and will already give a better view of the world, just look at me!    
This was our first Roman teaching day, the Auxiliary Soldier was magnificent.  The kids on parade were full of smiles and thoroughly enjoying the whole experience.  This is an excellent way in which to educate kids on the days of long ago.  When they are happy they learn, when miserable they forget the good things.  This lot will remember today.


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Monday, 18 May 2015

Quick Moving People




Busy day today.  Reading, writing, and messing about with the tiles on the bathroom floor.  In doing that I managed to set the radiator valve leaking (don't ask) and now it will not stop gently dripping every so often.  I ache everywhere and worse will arrive tomorrow when I struggle stiff necked to the museum.  Bah!
However I just came across this wonderful piece of filming.  Professionally done and well worth a look!  Part two follows on from part one.  Very good indeed!

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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Busy Sunday



I didn't see much of this today.  Apparently there was a lot of it about but I could not see much of it.  As I slouched down the road to St Paul's I noticed it in between dodging the Sunday drivers.  It was there above me but as the cold wind was on my back and I was hurrying slowly along I did not take time to look.  If I look up I note someone always removes the pavement from beneath me or sticks a kerbstone in front of me and then enjoys the sight of my prone body flattened on the pavement.  On the way back after a jolly good morning I met the gale force wind and again avoided looking up and catching frostbite.  So that was the closest to seeing blue sky all day.
The reason was simple, football!
As I microwaved a healthy dinner of something or other I set up to watch the English Conference play-off.  However some Italian stuff showing a feeble A.C. Milan came first, how the mighty have fallen, and then the English game.  However at three thirty I had to leave these big galloots kicking lumpsout of one another and move to Ibrox where Rangers and Queen of the South played football almost as it ought to be played.  The almost arises because Rangers won which has depressed Scottish football fans everywhere.  Gallant Queens lost in spite of their talents.
So the next game arrived within minutes just leaving me time to cook my tea and settle down for Alloa v Forfar Athletic.  For years the term 'Athletic' has been a bit of a joke around Forfar but no longer, leading three one from the first leg all they had to do was stop Alloa scoring.  They failed and lost four three on aggregate.  However I enjoyed watching it as they slugged it out in the rain over Clackmannanshire, indeed so enjoyable was this that even Wullie Collum as referee could not do anything wrong, his decisions were correct in my view and that is a shock!  He is not known as 'Gollum' for nothing!


So now all has finished I look out the window and high above the clouds were gathering for the rain that promises to cover us all week.  So I saw the blue sky at last.  Naturally as I write this it has gone and darkness creeps towards us as the sun dips below the horizon and the clouds join together to form one large gray cloud.  
As I look to the filthy gray sheets that once were white when I put them on the bed all those days ago, or is that weeks, I note that Australia will be heralding the dawn in the next hour or so.  How typical of them to wish to be first at the bar!  
A couple I knew went to China in 1935 as missionaries right in the middle of the country.  To contact home somewhere in south London a letter would have to be sent.  This would travel by boat for around a month arriving at the destination somewhat crumpled.  The contents would be digested (by this I mean read, not eaten), understood and answered.  The answer would board ship, probably at London or Southampton docks, and cruise its way slowly back to Chinaland.  Within two months, or maybe three communication would have been achieved!  Marco Polo would have been happy!
Today a phone call from the middle of China, if not interrupted by the secret police, would bring two people together in minutes.  An email would inform over vast distances, and some use 'Skype' for face to face contact over the same distances, how the world for us has changed and improved!  I never cease to marvel that contact is so easy today.  Rich folks travel these distances within twenty four hours, not months, however I still take an hour and a half to get fifteen miles into the big towns by bus!

Australia are you there?  USA are you there?  Operator, operator, I've been cut off!


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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Saturday Reading



I find myself entranced at the moment by peoples experiences growing up during the war.  For the exhibition, whenever it is ready, the lass interviewed several locals and I am reading through the transcripts in an attempt to aid deciding what should be broadcast to the public.  Headphones will be provided for the public to listen to the peoples experiences and these are intriguing.
Obviously they were children at the time of varying ages and the greater world was outside their ken but the war touched them in various ways.  There was the loss of dad to the war perhaps, taking part as a young man in the Home Guard ('Dad's Army') or simply living under the flightpath of an airfield checking the numbers of the returning bombers and wondering about the ones that were missing.  John of course was always adventurous, that is why he and other kids ran to an unexploded land mine, one dropped by parachute, and shared some of the parachute between them.  Dad was not so keen and John was informed of his mistake.  Parachute  bombs could cause huge damage for a large area around.  
Memories fade with time, as some of you will be well aware, what was I saying...anyway memories fade in time but the gist of the experience does not.  Emotions remain, especially when noise from explosions is great also, fear aiding memory then right enough, and the emotion often remains long after exact memory has departed.  Double checking does show how much of memory is correct even when exact details were not clear at the time.  Specific events can never be forgotten, such as a plane low over the houses shooting and killing passersby, or the long wait at the station for dad to return on leave and he does not come, that remains fresh in some.  
The impression given by some is that war for kids was boring in that trips away were not allowed, sweets and food was in short supply and dad was often away from home, mum too sometimes, otherwise it was a lot of fun!  The kids had adventures, parties from Americans at the airfields, chewing gum aplenty, and fun with things dropped from service personnel, often things they should not have touched!  Children can have fun with a cardboard box if need be and war, if they are fed well enough, will not stop that.  

The sun shines tonight, the kids are enjoying Saturday pleasures at home, well fed and wrapped up in some television rubbish no doubt.  However in far flung parts of the globe other children suffer war and we no little, and care less, about them.  They hunger and thirst while bombs drop, although if fed they will find fun somewhere.  It is too easy to forget the troubles elsewhere when our sun shines. 

Seven transcripts read, each takes almost half an hour and the time flies by but not when I have football to watch!  I am so glad the season will be over soon, I need a rest!  Seven to read and half way through.  Quite how these folks have made it into their eighties and nineties I know not.  On the other hand I suspect some of these will make it into the hundreds yet!


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Friday, 15 May 2015

Friday Reading



Little happened today.  This was because I woke up asleep.  Until I had my siesta later in the day the mind did not work.  Then I had to saunter to the museum to pick up the reading material for the WW2 exhibition.  This will be all about the town during the war so I now have to read through all the missives from those who have recorded their memories for us.  I have six of them here to read through and this with several football matches to watch this weekend! Time is so short! 
One of our men has appeared in the 'Daily Mail' of all things.   
During the war he was evacuated to a village close by.  There he was left and lost touch with his mother. He blamed this on her having eleven kids and no money.  Edmonton in north London at the time was not a wealthy area and feeding the kids was a problem.  The 'Daily Mail' story gives the tale of how he got in touch with some distant relatives recently, the first contact since the war, and this explained much about how he was left in Essex.  
He himself handled things well and successfully lived out his life, writing a book on his adventures, and is very happily married to a lovely wife.  Dumped he may have been but he has done well, a cheery good man to meet.  

My attempts to catch a picture of the birds on the feeder has been hard work. For one thing the Starlings still annoy me, one just flew in the window instead of going the other way, bounced off the front window and squawked his way back out off the kitchen.  This has happened in the past with young birds, not adults. It must have been a she.  At least I know know a Robin has also joined the feeder queue but refuses to let me take a picture.  Standing hiding behind the fridge holding a camera for hours is not much fun I can tell you!    

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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Watching the Chimneys



Plant life will arise anywhere!  I noticed this settling itself on the neighbours chimney today.  A small seed somehow plants itself in a crevice and happily grows away knowing the owner not only cannot see it he will not dare climb up there to fix it.  
Any building, town or city left to itself soon becomes overgrown with what we often refer to as 'weeds.' Yet they are plants of some sort to another even if we cannot find much use for them.  The birds and bees and other beasties certainly make use of such as these and without them I suspect we would wither also. The variety of plant life in this world is astonishing when you stop for a moment to think about it. Those little blue flowers that I can never take a decent picture off, the crops that feed us, the trees that last hundreds of years and climb hundreds of feet into the sky are all a wonder, just grass in a variety of colours, sizes and shapes.  A walk through a well stocked 'country garden,' the type not favoured b y the BBC these days, gives a splash of colour and fragrance we could never copy.  
Just saying like....



The variety of bird life around us is also a wonder!  For a start it is a wonder that every time you press the button the brute turns his head the other way! They do this for spite I tell thee!  At least this one is calling his mate from a distance and not outside my door.  I am having trouble with Starlings however. My little bird feeder is meant for wee birds like Tits and Goldfinch but recently Starlings have discovered how to land on it for the wee white Suet Pellets that I give them.  This annoys me as the big birds hinder the wee ones and It's them I want.  Starlings are excellent birds but come in flocks rather than in pairs and chase away other birds.  I even saw a Wood Pigeon eyeing up the feeder considering how to get a handful from it.  



Up above we have been enjoying blue skies and thick clouds.  At least those who ventured outside. I remained indoors, working hard - for an hour - and wasting away otherwise.  At least I did some work on the WW2 exhibition, feeble I know but it was a start, and I am amazed at how much the lass has managed when I was shirking work.  The next thing is to search for downed aircraft, and there were a few, and bomb holes maybe.  
Oh suddenly my brain hurts.  I think I had better go and watch Forfar Athletic playing Alloa Athletic and let my mind cool down a bit.  Life can be so trying sometimes...  

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Monday, 11 May 2015

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Kippers



Kippers with grass, tomatoes, spicy cheese and bread formed my late, late breakfast.  The smell still fills the place, or is that plaice?  My hands stink of fish and I expect the lass next door will be putting another smelly thing in the hall when she gets home. This Kipper is part of my new healthy fish and veg diet, as long as I can put up with the smell.  
A visit to the veg man this morning gave me lots of eat quickly before they go off fruit.  One juicy soft mango went down well after the kippers but it took three hours to get the juice of the laptop, desk, floor, hands, face and everything else.  Tomorrow I eat the other one over the sink!  The strawberries sit there rotting demanding I eat them tonight.  Tsk!  Life is so hard sometimes.
This also is part of the health kick.  Eat more fruit and veg and make up for all the pizzas eaten recently, however tonight I ignore this and eat pizza again before the red juicy strawberry fruits!  There are limits after all!  I feel so much better already after one plastic bag of microwaved kippers although the fizzy chemical is ready just in case.

You can tell my life has not been exciting today.

The Cameronites are planning destruction of the lower orders as we speak.  10 Downing Street will be packed with Saville Row suited men claiming "We are all in this together" while working out how to steal sweets from children.  Apart of course for Scotland as the SNP and their 56 seats will be ensuring that cruelty remains in England where I am....hold on!  The media naturally are talking still about the result, over and over, with nothing new being stated.  

Today I watch the football, ignore the meaningless chat and consider brain training exercises.  However the effort to search for such has left me mentally tired.  I may put that idea aside for a while and spend more time recovering by watching football.  That takes no effort of any sort.  I do however find that if the game is hard fought I get tired watching the men running about, I am not as fit as I was!  

 



  


Friday, 8 May 2015

Good News, Bad News



The good news is Scotland voted against the English racism that dealt Scotland such a blow after the referendum!  The contempt felt for Scotland by the selfish English was released and encouraged by the media at all levels.  This provoked an understandable backlash that saw the Scottish National Party (SNP) win 56 out of the 59 UK parliament seats available in Scotland!  A huge success that saw many 'Toom Tabards' who had sold their nation to take English coins kicked out of a job, and good riddance to them!  Now with Alec Salmond, an experienced politician and canny operator the Scottish interests will be considered in Westminster when parliament resumes in due course.

The bad news is the Conservatives under David Cameron winning an overall majority!  This means more attacks on the poor, unemployed, sick and the death of the NHS!  Already those US Insurance companies and other health organisations that have their feet in the door will be bribing lobbying for more and the cabinet, already containing so many men with shares in such companies, will be happy to let them in. The rich will get richer, the poor will suffer and if you lose your job, get sick or require housing you can forget it from now on chum!

The victory came about simply because of English racism!  Cameron  had his lackeys in the media tell them 'Vote Labour and get SNP take your money.'  A lie the greedy English fell for.  The poorest areas who voted Labour now suffer as badly as Cameron wished Scotland to suffer, however with a majority of merely ten he has problems in his own house.
The Conservative Party is a mixed bag, the 'One nation Tories' and Cameron claims to be one will not be finding jobs in the cabinet, they go to his men.  The anti-EU feeling is strong amongst many and failure here will cause rebelliousness to arise, and a small majority requires to avoid this. The 'Eton Prefect' needs to go canny with his own people although what opposition there is will most likely come from the SNP as who knows what Labour will come up with next?

Ah Labour, the part of the workers that became the party of the middle classes. A new leader must be chosen as the old stands down.  The selection is not easy as many who will stand believing in the 'divine right' to the job will be empty jackets with no charisma and less talent.  The future is bleak and we must pray constantly or disaster lies around the corner.

Worse still the local elections gave similar results.  The counsellors elected in this region were almost all Conservatives.  I have yet to see if any opposition member has been brought in.  Dearie me the 'working class Tory' is a strange things so he is. 


This morning I wandered round to 'Specsavers' (who sponsor Scottish Football referees) where I had my eyes examined with lost of lights shone into them, pictures taken of the back of my eyes, questions asked, and small letters to find on screen.  All this by a capable young Asian lass who enjoyed her job and was thoroughly capable. Then the man asked me for a small fortune!  I collect them in two weeks time and if all goes well will fall over the pavement as I leave the shop like I usually do.  I expected to be in and out in twenty minutes but it took almost an hour.  The requirements for my eyes caused difficulty as the woman knew what she was doing but the assistant he was struggling.  I remained smug throughout as I no longer get myself tied up in knots in jobs that can cost me the sack when it all goes wrong.  

The telly and radio is full of the election.  I bet David Cameron is full off it also!

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Thursday, 7 May 2015

At Last!



Apart from the exultation/despair filling the biased media tomorrow, followed by the endless guesswork re the next coalition government if there is to be one, at last we can forget about the election!
First thing this morning I put aside the urgent pressing desire to vote and instead stuffed my face with an unhealthy breakfast.  That is, it started healthy but I forgot myself and went for whatever was lying around.  Much later I stumbled heavily to the museum, where the vote was being taken in the large hall, and surprisingly when I entered the place was empty!  I expected many to be there and it appears many had voted earlier, while I was munching on a somewhat aged dry nan.  (By 'nan' I mean one of those bread things, I do not mean 'Nan' in the sense of 'Grannie' just in case you are confused.  I have not eaten a 'nan' as in 'Grannie' for some time now).  
Anyway my Big Boss, the museum manager, was running the election here as he always does and he offered me the white and yellow sheets of paper in which to vote for a loser.  His female companion, trained by the Gestapo, questioned my address, house number, name, first name and shirt size just to check my identity and in case I had found the voting card in the street.  I did not point out that as she asked me my address, house number, name, first name etc I read them off the card!   At least I had people who could confirm my identity, what if I could not?
So I took the valuable papers remembering the many who had fought for years to obtain the franchise and later a secret ballot, and headed for the private cubicle.  There I selected 'Mad as a Hatter and a Lover of White Elephants Party' from the motley collection on offer and considered the names on the yellow sheet for the local elections.  A good idea to use a different coloured paper as some may get confused by two similar white sheets with names of people you have never heard off theron.  Of the umpteen candidates about which we, as is usual in local elections, know almost nothing, I selected two by Party link (the desperate for votes party) and one as I know her from one of the churches and if elected she might not be effective but will never shut up and that will really annoy them!  Having exhausted my intellect I sat with the girls in the museum to ensure they were behaving, no they were not, and so I passed on to my other duties, and fell asleep.

So we have voted.  What will the outcome be?  A coalition appears likely, with possibly another election within a year.  The UK will be a different place whatever and the one side effect may be the media suffering badly.  The bias and absurd stories found therein, mostly in the Conservative media is beyond parody.  One obvious example is 'The Sun.'  This grubby Murdoch paper is published in Scotland and England.  The English version of the 'Sun' tells its readers through screaming headlines to vote Conservative and keep out the SNP!  The Scottish version of the 'Sun' through screaming headlines tells its readers to vote SNP!  Ed Milliband, the leader of the Labour Party has made clear he does not like Murdoch and may do something about him and those foreign or non domiciled owners therefore he gets attacked.  Alec Salmond while leader of the SNP kept in with Murdoch successfully and obtained support from him, Nicola Sturgeon who replaced him as First leader has said nothing re the press in this campaign.  Both receive a big black mark against them for this!  We now await the hype regarding the results coming in, the lies and half truths, the despair of the losers and gloating of the winners and look forward to a glorious future not much different from the present.    


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Something Different



The Clyde Puffers used to sail the west coast of Scotland to the isles delivering this that and everything.  Now long gone only one is left, taking tourists through the road to the isles.' 

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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Back to Work!



After my furlough I stumbled down the road, braving the gale force wind, and entered the museum once again.  Naturally all the bright young lassies were desperate for my return (yes they were!) and I settled quickly into the routine, making mistakes, forgetting names, losing things, overcharging customers (and that was only a 50p postcard) and forgetting where everything was kept.  
Back to normal then.  
Usually I was left on my own but today young Lee, an unemployed accountant, fills his time by volunteering and today he joined me and it was just as well.  The first customer wished tickets for an event, Lee knew where they were and I was supposed to know how to work the 'friends of the Museum' discount.  Naturally I got it wrong!  After much fiddling the lovely Jenny told us the simple way of 'doing it right' and the man was happy enough with things.  Lee had to correct me several times as I forgot what/where/why and so on.
Just like normal!


So now I sit here staring at the 'To Do' list and thinking of reasons not to do it.  So much requires attention, the museum requires something - even though they do not know it yet, the house requires lots of work, the body however wants to sit and stare.  The mind cannot even work out what to watch or listen to at the moment.  The news is filled with liars asking, nay pleading, for us to save their careers and I really do not posses the desire so to do!  A quick look at the candidates for election has made my mind up.  I will not be voting 'for' anyone but 'against' the man who will win.  We also have local elections on and I am positive who I will vote for there even though I know nothing about them!  I found one item of information re one woman, nothing whatsoever re the others wishing to be local Councillors!  A disgraceful state of affairs I say!  In a town as small as this you would think such information important - there again so few will vote normally at local elections and those who do so today will vote for a Party, not a candidate.  We have no other choice.  Again I am voting for a Party because the other Party dominates and opposition is a must - even if poor.


That's it.  I'm all washed up now....