Thursday, 16 May 2013
Nothing happened today. The sun rose and caused a mist. The day almost got warm. I got ordered to 'get on with it' by the boss at the museum and returned home so to do. I fell asleep when I got home. No news anywhere in the world worth considering. There was an occasion today when a rant or two crossed my mind, unfortunately it failed to stop and passed on. Now I am left wondering what agitated me. Surely I ask, surely there must be something in the 'Daily Wail' that would get me going? Indeed there is, but it is just not worth going over that again. The fact must be said that no matter how I rant Harriet Harman will never be charged with treason and hung.
A book from the museum shelf concerning the town records lies glaring at me. I have to acquire information from this tome but I don't know what I am looking for! No change there. Also scattered around are copies of 'Twenty Years After,' a magazine from the late 30's written by and for the ex-servicemen of the Great War. I began searching through this for info and got caught up reading bits. That wasted another hour. That is one problem with research, so much catches the eye and must be read which means the main subject gets pushed back for a little while, about three hours today!
I was impressed also today by the impression 'Meccano' left on people. However I know you all preferred the 'Dinky cars' but would not admit it. Worldwide folks were all over their floors, up to their knees in metal! Naturally ONLY BOYS would play with this, however one of my great nieces would probably be very happy in those days. Her dad being a builder she has always made things. In fact she used to help him fix the car and now does a car engineering course on Fridays. When I am rich I will get a car and have her fix it for me, I can't!
I am also impressed by how much I learn from you lot, there is so much I don't know and I know you will know. One thing I have learned in the past few years is that I know nothing! That has been hammered home quite well if nothing else in these days.
Radio 3 has been renown for the higher arts, many ignore it because of this. However I find lots of good programmes there and one is 'The Essay.' A variety of themes are offered in 15 minute bites to satisfy the intellect, well bits of it. This week a famous author I have never heard off gives a memoir of his life. You might like it if you can hear it where you reside.
Eight p.m. and nothing done. I must think quickly, I have decided, it can all wait until tomorrow.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
As you will have noticed today we celebrate 150 years of Frank Hornby, the man who gave the world 'Meccano,' 'Dinky Toys,' and model railways! This great man offered the world, especially boys in the days when we knew what boys were, education re engineering, fun and enjoyment through dinky cars, and huge pleasure which many still enjoy through model railways. What a man. He deserves a knighthood in my humble, and correct, opinion.
Being technically deficient I found Meccano a bit of a trial. The idea was simple enough, strips of metal with holes in, held together by screws and nuts, formed into a useful machine by following a simple diagram. The simple idea failed whenever I touched it. No two sides ever matched, bits were missing, anything that looked like it may work always had one item missing. Once built it was often impossible to undo the screws someone had inserted with a power drill! My dad enjoyed it, he made a model DC3 that was excellent for a kid like me. My brother who was technically minded managed to make everything he touched perfectly. The Steam engine he made many years later ran around the house quite happily. My little cranes and slot machines were like Spanish building projects, never completed!
However many went on to great things through this 'toy.' The budding Kingdom Brunel's of this world learnt much about engineering and making Forth Road Bridges that blocked their mothers house for months on end. Frank Hornby himself made a fortune, and deservedly so. After many years of trial and effort he eventually sold 'Meccano' worldwide.
During the 1920s Hornby introduced his 'O' gauge clockwork railway. Twice the size of the trains that were to come later this sold reasonably well, well enough to encourage the introduction of trackside accompaniment, cars, houses, people. These items became known as 'Dinky Toys' and as such became a favourite in every child's home ever since! Basic cast metal toys stayed popular until the early sixties when perspex windows, seats and steering wheels, were added. Kids of the sixties did not know the hardships we endured! Today
old men enthusiasts collect aged Dinkies, sometimes paying over £30 for a dingy Dinky! Rare models still in their boxes can raise huge sums, but not from me. Since 1933 the cars dominated a boy child's play. Today I do not see them so obvious in shops. Why have tastes changed? Political Correctness perhaps? Recently one company offered 'Boys Toys' and'Girls Toys,' and received a flood of complaints, from mothers, as if they had done something wrong! No longer can we claim a toy to be for one sex or another, even though boys still prefer boys toys, and girls prefer girls toys. Social engineering does not amend human nature, stupid mothers!
The greatest thing Hornby ever achieved however came after his death! The great 'Hornby Dublo' 00 Scale electric railways! The electric train set became every boys dream! Nothing could compare to having a train set, especially when the surroundings could be changed at will (easy, being made of shoe boxes and other objects) and the mind could develop layouts according to your own desire, until at least someone wanted the table back! Bah! My greatest mistake as a spoiled brat was to get rid of the train set and fall for the Scalextric racing cars rubbish! Did I think I was growing up perhaps? What appeared as great fun was, like all racing cars, boring! The train set enlarged the mind, the cars just fell off the track at high speed. There is of course many such railway layouts run today by men of certain age who ought to know better. The lure of the railway gets a grip and much money and many web forums are dedicated to (cough) mature men playing with railways. Not my thing today, but how I wish I had kept my set all those years ago.
Frank Hornby was born in Liverpool of middle class leaning parents in 1863. He left school at 16 to work in his dad's provision business. After his father died the business closed and when working for a meat importer he developed the 'Meccano' theme in his own time. His boss encouraged and supported this financially at first but it was not until 1907 that the name was established as his own business. By the beginning of the Great War offices were established in Paris, Mexico and Berlin! By the thirties he was a millionaire and the business well established. He died in 1936 of a combination of heart disease and diabetes. He left many happy little boys of all ages behind him.
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
The 'Tudor House,' built about 1620 they say, was home to a Bocking Clothier. Weaving was the strength of Bocking economy. For many years this highway saw pilgrims pass through the hostelries prepared for them on their journey to Bury St Edmunds a trade that passed away after Henry VIII decided to run the English church his way. Flanders weavers moving into Essex developed their cloth trade, a trade that lasted well into the late 20th century. Clearly the builder of this house knew his business well! Renovated in 1974 it is once again a family home. However it also stands at a busy crossroad and suffers constant and heavy traffic outside the door. Made of hand cut oak timber and wattle and daub walls, a few locally made bricks used in creation of a chimney and tiles also made nearby, the building has stood the teats of time. The small ground floor windows would have used expensive glass while shutters would have been on upstairs windows.
A close up of the bressemer, the wooden beam supporting the jettied upper floor.
The end view has changed somewhat from a 1920 picture. Not only does the building lean forward much more it has also lost the brick chimney that rose up on the outside passing the window above. The door has been inserted since then also. I suspect the open hearth, where all cooking would have been done in medieval times, was the reason for the chimney stack here. Gas and electric cookers would enable a removal, and the dangerous lean might have demanded a removal of the chimney itself.
This period saw Henry VIII take the throne, the reformation, Henry dump the Catholic church so he could dump his women, burnings at stake, Elizabeth take over, and bales of cloth from here enable the town to do very well thank you. It was a truism that the Flanders weavers always told the truth. Buyers took to not inspecting the 'bays' when delivered because the weavers always gave what was promised, and of good quality!
Friday, 10 May 2013
When I followed the Heart of Midlothian around Scotland's bonnie football grounds (the word 'bonnie' must be taken on trust here) I was young and foolish enough to express my opinion regarding a players ability in a full and frank manner. Knowing what I was talking about did not appear to matter much. Ernie Winchester, who died on the 8th of May, was one such player.
Ernie began his long career with Aberdeen in 1962 and became something of a cult hero. A big strong centre forward he banged in seventy goals in a hundred and twenty four appearances. He then moved to the NASL and played for Chicago Spurs, who moved following the strange US franchise system to Kansas and became the Kansas City Spurs. He scored regularly there also. Then his life improved. From 1968 until 1972 Ernie achieved the greatest height any footballer can attain, he joined the Heart of Midlothian! Playing alongside the great Donald Ford for the most part Ernie offered a bustling heavyweight up front. As I recall he was not a great goalscorer for the Heart of Midlothian, instead many at the time decried him a carthorse, a waste of space and simply there to pose for the action shots of the photographers. This I recall was a general opinion at the time, however I note fans forums today have many claiming they 'always liked him.' Aye, right!
One Wednesday night we travelled through to Glasgow to play Rangers. Once again these so called 'Glasgow Giants' were going through a bad patch and a mere 13270 turned out. The 'loyal' are only 'loyal' when they are winning. Rangers one only one game in 13 during this spell, and it was this one! The bus I travelled on, being more sensible types than others, chose to stand in the enclosure for this game. Many Hearts fans did likewise and we were rewarded with a display of ineptitude that would grace an 'Idiots Anonymous' meeting. Withing 20 minutes we were two goals down and the fight left the side. After one hour in was 3-0 and half the players may well have died as they appeared to have disappeared. One vexation was being made well known in the vast, near empty arena. This mood was not lessened by the sight of Ernie Winchester, our one substitute in those days, warming up. As he ran up and down in front of where we stood we gave him hell. We made our thoughts clear that he was inept, the team poor, and as we were three nil down and the game entering the final ten minutes we wished him to retain his seat as we gave vent to our feelings that he would not change things. He heard every word.
With ten minutes remaining he entered the game. Almost immediately he galvanised the side and scored a goal! Four minutes later he enabled big Jim Irvine to score a second! The next six minutes of play, plus injury time, showed the entire Rangers team inside their own six yard box with almost the entire Hearts side desperate to get the equaliser! We cheered every move and almost expected to win let alone draw.
As the teams left the field those around me did not give much support to the players, we all felt ashamed, but were too macho to admit this. One of my football regrets is that I did not climb over the wall and apologise to Winchesters face. I still feel bad about that today, he deserved an apology. His attacking style did not change, but my appreciation of the man himself did. Then one day his luck changed. Jim Townsend, our midfield general, indicated to a Celtic player at a home match that he ought not to kick him. The referee took action, he sent Townsend off! This required altering the team and big Ernie moved into midfield where he was a revelation! It transpired that at heart he was a defender and had only become a forward at Aberdeen's then managers bidding. He continued from then on as an attacking midfielder, and one he left Heart he played centre half for Arbroath. He scored 14 goals in 75 games for the Hearts, but making some of us look fools was the best thing he ever did. They used to say 'Play the man' in spite of what others say or do to you, Ernie Winchester 'played the man' that miserable night at Ibrox and almost saved the game.
We need more like you in this world Ernie. RIP.
18 May 1944 - 8 May 2013
Thursday, 9 May 2013
'The Apprentice' is a TV programme in which one rich business man works his way through a bunch of applicants looking for a job. He is famed for his shoddy Amstrad products, his support for the Labour Party and his move, under Labour, into the House of Lords. The screen offers us a hyped up badly presented shower of TV wannabees desperate to become famous through this programme. I should mention I have the sound off as I have no wish to hear what is said. Sharp suited, slick, self possessed, male wastes of space are joined by over painted hussy's on the make. The last winner of this drivel claimed she was given a non-job by Lord Sugar, the hero of the programme, and took him to court in a bid to claim money. She lost! What does it say about her that the court believed him instead of her? Television today panders to the small minded who adore such stuff. I just want to reach for a gun. Any NRA men out there.....?
Sir Alex Ferguson has stood down as commander of Manchester United. The media have responded with a frenzy of excitement details of his every victory in cup and league, his life, his temperament, his battles, his mind games and the vast number of players he has made use off.
All bar the fact he once managed in Scotland!
This I need not let you know fair scunners me!
His record with East Stirling, St Mirren and Aberdeen were ignored. So much so that a report claims that on Sky Sports a discussion re the man to take his place (David Moyes) included the comment,
"Moyes does not have European experience"
and received the answer,
"Neither had Ferguson when he arrived."
Aberdeen, his previous club, as you will know not only played many European matches they also under Fergie won the European Cup Winners Cup. Not that an English broadcasting company would know this.
'Dunderheid' is the word indeed!
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
The heavens declare the Glory of God they say, and indeed they do! Vast numbers of planets, stars, galaxies and who knows what out there. Huge clouds of dust cover thousands of miles either forming planets or the remnants of collapsed ones. The only thing not seen are space ships carrying wee green men. Such as they are found only on earth. Some years ago, during the Soviet days, reports of aliens appeared regularly from the far reaches of the Soviet Union. At the same time young girls were reporting visions of the Virgin Mary in Latin countries, while in the UK people were constantly finding Elvis Presley at work in local Burger bars. I feel these may all be one and the same thing myself.
Go out and find a clear sky and see if you can find these images near you! Hubble Images
Monday, 6 May 2013
I need one.....
How's the flat you're living in in London, Jock?" asks his mother when he calls home to Aberdeen.
"It's okay," he replies, "but the woman next door keeps screaming and crying all night
"It's okay," he replies, "but the woman next door keeps screaming and crying all night
and the guy on the other side keeps banging his head on the wall."
"Never you mind," says his mother, "don't you let them get to you, just ignore them."
"Aye, that I do," he says, "I just keep playing my bagpipes."
Sunday, 5 May 2013
It's been a tough weekend. Not only did I have to interrupt my day yesterday to watch half a football match from China, listen to the Heart of Midlothian defeat St Mirren on the wireless (I don't mean they were playing on a wireless there, I meant I used a wireless to listen to the game) and then, exhausted as I became I then had to watch Dundee United play St Johnstone. This was tiring I must say, but I endured bravely. Today, in between many other duties, I found that the requirement to indulge Ross County at home to Celtic was thrust before me, this too I bravely endured. I then took a break out in the sunshine just to obtain that picture for you. I almost obtained on of the girls but resisted partly because I don't like taking 'candid' shots of strangers, I see that as an intrusion, and partly because my teeth are already loose enough. I must get out more as the opportunities for something new to photograph are limited here. Returning back home I discovered that Kilmarnock versus Hibernian (yaboo sucks!) was on telly. So I sat back to watch and discovered this to be an enjoyable game which is unusual with Hibs. However the game was abandoned after a spectator suffered a heart attack which halted play, required the assistance of both club doctors and the on stand by ambulance and led to the game being halted. A short while ago during the game v Inverness a man died in similar circumstances at this ground, and one players father also died this way after a major game. No wonder they wished to call it off!
On a different note, here is something quite er, different.....
Stolen blatantly from Rab at the Ben Lomand Free Press
Saturday, 4 May 2013
Life was hectic this morning. I was out on the rusting bike by five past six, cycling slowly around as I refound muscles unused for a month. Before seven I had cleaned the window. That is I moved the plant, books and other detritus that have blocked it since Adam was a boy and mucked it out. Then I replaced the curtains after their annual Spring wash, or is it bi-annual, I forget? How long does it takes to place the brutes on the runner? Why on earth does the bit to stop them running of the end not go back on? What woman designed this thing anyway? After almost killing myself hanging on to the brute, screwdriver in hand to turn the screw that would not turn, I gave up and am happy to let them hang badly until the next wash. I then went for veg, had breakfast, had a 30 minute kip, far from curtains, and it was not even nine by the time I had finished grumbling my way through the online papers. The light mornings do make it easier to get things done.
Later I decided to wander through the town watching the citizens rush about eager to get the shopping done. Quite why such folk go shopping when the town is busy I never understood, and it's always the same people! Try shopping early, or late even, and then you need not fret so. I meanwhile smugly promenade. This eventually took me past the cricket ground where the local team were struggling to beat their opponents. I still find this a strange game this cricket. One man throws a ball at another, he in turn swings a big stick at it. All around a dozen others loiter in the sun. A man wearing several hats and a white coat every so often makes strange hand signals, possibly Morse code I suspect, and after every thrown ball missed by the one with the big stick the others cry "Well done," and applaud even though nothing has happened. You quickly realise this game was invented by an Englishman! "Play up! Play up, and play the game!" This is what it says on the mural outside Lords Cricket Ground, once the home of cricket itself, until India nicked the game. Yet the English have always cheated. I watched the excitement for a while, none of the gentlemen noticed me, and I was impressed by the response of the other team members gathered around the scoreboard, they too were happily ignoring the, er, action!
One interesting aside from the County Council election came in the constituency for the other half of town. The UKIP candidate was named as Philip Avramovich Maximenco PALIJ. This made me laugh, as do those folks called Conneletti or Patel who stand as candidates for the Scottish Nationalists!
You may find this LINK useful at some time.
Friday, 3 May 2013
For a change I removed my bulk from the chair and wandered the streets looking for unusual things to photograph. The sun is out, the weather delicious, the sky blue and having sat in the park studying the
As I sat
Sunshine planned for the weekend, a bank holiday with sunshine, it has never been known!
Thursday, 2 May 2013
Around half past nine this morning I joined the happy throng of concerned democrats crowding the entrance to the polling station. Having opened at seven in the morning the four members of the council controlling the station had been overwhelmed by the twenty individuals urging a rethink of county council and government policy. One of them put down her book to attend to me and having noted my name on the card which I proffered to her asked if I was who I was. You cannot defeat democracy when such security is in operation! It crossed my mind to return later with the card belonging to an ex-neighbour who returned home to India, and informing her I was Mr Salivati. It might have worked.
The selection was simple, insert one cross beside the name of the individual you wished to be your chosen representative. At this point I wished to insert a name of my own choosing, but this is not allowed. In front of my dim eyes lay five names about whom I knew very little. The Conservative is smugly sitting in the council at this moment and expects to stay there, the Labour man was removed some time back, the UKIP, Green and LIb-Dem are perennial also-rans but someone keeps appearing on their behalf. How I longed for a 'Pro cycling and anti smoking,' or 'Monster Raving Looney Party,' representative, alas they were not available. Maybe I should stand next time as the Scottish Nationalist? It would be interesting to see how many votes I gathered.
Having selected my numpty I then sat in the park while the sun warmed me and the east wind chilled me at the same time. I exchanged words with pretty scantily dressed girls as they passed by, I used several words, they used two. The blue tits flitted among the trees chewing at the new budding leaves, a dog or two wagged its tail, the newly cut grass gave off a fragrance unlike that given off by the brats who litter the place later in the day. Men wore shorts and dark glasses (why do men wear shorts in public?), silver aircraft reflected the sunshine as they passed by on their way to exotic places or Majorca, and one passerby stopped, stared and put ten pence in my hand so that I could "get a cup of tea mate."
Now I sit alongside the list of things to do that await doing.
Much later, I'm still sitting........