Friday, 25 May 2018

Tyrants...


Trump has been having a good time.  Since moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, I wonder what the staff thought about that, and pandering to the rednecks who he thinks will ignore the tales of women abused, many wives, lie after lie, the loss of staff daily he has now made a mess of both Iran and North Korea! 
Moving the embassy because of US political electorate and because he is being pulled by a string the Israeli President is holding is one thing, not a good thing, but ignoring the consequences of such action and indeed taking a one sided view as politicians always is is clearly a bad thing.  While agreeing God has placed the Jews back in their homeland, thanks to the British, it is not always right to rush ahead thoughtlessly by following the will of an ungodly Israeli leader.  All Israeli leaders since 1948 have been secular, not religious Jews.
Trump must be pleased with the report that Prince William (which one is he?) will visit Israel and go visit the West Bank also!
To add to this the ending of an agreement which the majority of EU nations thought wise, and indeed the best possible at the time, just to play the tough guy is reckless at best and plain stupid at worst.  Iran is not just another Arab nation, Iran goes back, in their own mind, to Cyrus the Great some 2500 years ago and see themselves as a big nation in that part of the world.  They do not take bullying from the west easily, especially after the treatment the UK and Russia have given them in the past.
Here the US follow Israel and Saudi in their fear of Iran.  Because of that already the Saudi's have broken Syria with the west's backing, who knows what would happen had Russia not intervened, and a region already overflowing with refugees now has millions more, but we do nothing about this.  Being Arabs and far away they really don't count do they?
Quite how Trump has gone from 'bigging up' his meeting with the North Korean leader to blowing it in such style I fail to understand.  It could be China have intervened, the trade with the US is important here, and we never know what is going on behind the scenes,especially in North Korea.  
Two nuclear nations, so called, yet Trump plays games and offers an impression of not really knowing what he is doing.  The comments made in the media may of course have been deliberate, the whole thing is likely a game Kim is playing also, but we are left wishing a more sedate, indeed intelligent, President lived in the White House.  Is there no chance we can have one soon?



Today Europeans face the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into existence today. This is an EU rule that is intended to give individuals control over what facebook and Google and the like make of your data.  So for a while lots of emails from many companies have arrived demanding we 'accept' or not, or in facebook and Google's case 'take it or leave it!   
In short a great deal of fuss from folks who will not rob us, a great deal of words from the main ones who do!  These will continue to use our data, the weird people in charge gathering the cash, the power and who knows for what reason while our precious data is transferred into adverts for those daft enough not to download 'adblockplus.'  
I am not sure it is worth the fuss but someone somewhere will continue to make money and get around these laws.  The intention is good but while these folks are now open to huge fines if found guilty of avoiding the law it will take years to sort that out and they will have the data until then.  Most of us will not see much difference.  If we don't like it we can always dump facebook and Google and that will hurt them.


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

A Hard Days Work...


Another hard day at work over.  
I say 'hard' but much of that was due to being asleep when I arrived just before ten.  It was incredibly difficult to waken this morning and coffee did not help.  Only when the cleaner man was leaving and stopped to chat did the adrenalin kick in.  Had he not stopped I may well have drifted into stupor and fallen under the desk.
However as we spoke a lad did arrive asking for information re maps.  This was more interesting than the exhibition.  The trouble with maps I find is that once I begin looking at them I cannot stop.  For some reason pouring over an old map from fifty or so years ago is really interesting.  I just did it now to ensure Old Maps had the map I thought he was looking for and I almost forgot myself again.  So much has change since 1961, the basic layout is similar but so many changes within that have occurred.  Change is not always good but it is inevitable.  Last time I looked at my old part of Edinburgh on Google Maps I was shocked to see the changes, some things have been there for years and have disappeared!  Other things remain the same but that is not always a good thing.  


Then followed an hour, or so it seemed like, with a woman wishing to talk about her dead relative.  He was one who fell during the Great War and this lass was supposed to arrive several months ago but chose not to.  Today she turned up unannounced for a chat re the letters and material concerning her forebear.  As the curator was elsewhere I was with her for a while and made clear I wanted all she had, but of course the curator decides whether we can or cannot hold such as this.  Once the two chatted for ten minutes, well about thirty as she can talk this lass, she can talk, it was decided she ought to discuss with the Records office and the Regimental Museum what they thought about it all.  Naturally I told her lies re the record office mice, the museums lack of care and that WE ought to have this stuff, especially me.  However after discussion she has arranged meetings with the others and I strongly suspect the material, letters, stories, medals, etc, will be with us soon.  I hope so or the curator will hear about this.
By the time all this had finished it was time to go home.  Such a hard life...

 

Monday, 21 May 2018

Media Clickbait


How much clearer life is when the papers are not filled with that wedding!  
Forty million pounds wasted on the benefit scroungers and masses of papers sold to those buying souvenir editions that will remain tucked away in cupboards for years to come. 
Bah! To all that I say!
Half the UK want to keep the monarchy, the other half do not.  The decent half cannot understand why people fawn over the royals, what is it that such silver spooned folks have that makes people wish to be near them?  Is it a desire to be one of them?  Just imagine living your life surrounded by underpaid fawning staff and grubby overpaid media personnel who will sentimentalise you today and stab you in the back tomorrow, do such folks really want that?  I feel sorry for the royals as none of them want to be in their position, however many in the nation do not wish to be in the position they are in either and just have to get on with it.  A life of luxury has its costs as much as a life at the bottom end.
Looking at the media all those I glanced at today were filling half their online pages with the wedding and the aftermath, this is them cutting down!  Clearly the media on all sides are pushing this heavily for the clickbait and realise there is an audience out there willing to be led like sheep.  It is indeed a worry that people are so easily fooled by such pomp, what is it within us that makes people seek celebs so desperately?  Clearly the hunger for God is within us all and requires satisfaction but half the church yesterday, if not all, were glued to their screens.  It may surprise you to know I missed it all.  I feel none the worse for that.


Saturday, 19 May 2018

Evening Volunteer Awards


Friday saw me dragged away from my bed to attend the Museum Volunteer Oscars once again.
Here gathered in a crowd of mingling beauties I attended wearing my best funeral/wedding/important date suit, I even cleaned my shoes.
Looking around it was at first difficult to identify people the scrubbing and dressing disguising folks in plain sight.  I have never noticed one of two of them were actually women before last night.  There again that might have been the imitation champagne on offer.  
Speeches were made, flannel was offered, and individuals praised for their contribution and photographs taken (by me).  One read her poem, prepared well in advance, another her imitation poem (prepared by the previous poet as she has talent) and one or two other stuttered when paraded in front of the audience.
Naturally I was presented with an award for something, I was discussing with another when this was announced and still don't know what it was for, but I received it graciously and placed it with all my other award.  

   
Clutching the Oscars the congregation gathered around the chocolate cake on offer for the managers "cough" 30th birthday.  Here silence almost reigned as the guzzling became more important than gossip, something not unusual among such women I note, chocolate being guzzled quite often during the week...
In the cool of the day, well night, we headed home laden with prize and content that we the volunteers were important to the museum and as I happened to point out the museum would not work without us!
The volunteers agreed...

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Meandering Waffle


I managed to survive the big day on Sunday, 'Textile Day' was a roaring success and by a clever trick I survived this day - I stayed at home!  It appears the multitudes did arrive, did spend money, did buy loads of cards in handfuls, did gossip, admire and altogether have a real good time.  I had better, I stayed in bed.
Tuesday however I was warned of a group arriving to visit, this soon occurred.  One woman arrived just after ten when she claimed they all would be meeting, ignoring the women gathering outside.  Eventually another woman arrived and then they came together to the prearranged meeting with one of my many bosses.  However still they women arrived, all of dubious ages, as there was a second group meeting here but not informing us, and they happily gathered themselves together slowly until they all arrived much later than planned.  It was however not their fault.  
This at a time when we have just begun to replace the heating system therefore half the museum is out of bounds.  Plumbers and staff, not me I must not leave my post, spent the day moving, clearing, carrying and hiding things while I attended to the ladies.  


While one meeting went quickly, as quickly as any all female meeting can go, the other group sauntered around examining each item and discussing its merits and meaning. I did not listen in, I had my own opinions.  The girls happily spent much time on each exhibit, and some it must be said are very well done, before coming in to the shop on the way out and spending money!  This was pleasing.  Such exhibitions do not attract great crowds during the year so to see groups making the most of them and enjoying themselves, and they appeared happy, was a good thing.


The laptop has been playing up.  It has been running slow and I have run all the proper items to speed things and also removed and altered other items.  On top of this the online banking has not allowed me in, so I must spend time changing all the info to see how much I have not got.  All this takes time as I also have been sorting out all the items on those memory sticks which are lying around.  These have become somewhat confused and there are several items (big items) on more than one disk and often twice on that!  
During this process, in between the grunts, swear words and oops I've closed it down somehow, reactions I have been discovering old pictures.  This one taken at Sandbanks a while back.  How lovely to be there when the sun shines, or indeed at other times.  At one time I considered moving there but it never felt right, which is a pity as I miss the sea and friends are there, but they at least are happy so that is one thing I suppose.


This Lightship was based at St Katherine's Dock positioned as you can see near Tower Bridge.  These one time busy docks had been transformed into residences of a variety of ships and the warehouses around contained shops etc and flats above for the upcoming rich.  In the late 70's I wandered down Wapping High Street, until then I had always known High Streets as laces full of shops and businesses but here I discovered, in between the empty spaces left by WW2 bombing, towering warehouses on both sides of the street.  A bit run down and seedy with the occasional burnt out church or ruin but quiet enough at the time.  How many people worked alongside these buildings?  How many famous or predecessors of famous people walked up Wapping Steps off shipping in days gone by.  How many foggy London nights saw ships rocking gently in the tide?  In the 70's all this had gone, only an occasional moored barge on the far side reflected the distant past. When I wandered there in the 90's these warehouses were now expensive flats with their own 'Oddbins' wine shop at the foot in easy reach for the trendy residents.  The two up, two down, houses of the late Victorian era had not survived the council planners even if they had survived the blitz.  Modern housing, expensive at that, filled the area outside the ex-warehouses and sleek cars sped past where once growling lorries or horse and carts had pulled their loads.  


Now you folks with any sense will regard this picture as boring.  There is a reason for this, it is a boring picture!  It is one I took some 20 years ago when I first had the bike and sauntered out around the area looking at the sky, dangerous on a bike, and watching green fields with strange crops therein.  Having sent so many years in the concrete jungle this was refreshing to the eyes and the locals could not see it because it was just always there!  I could see it and enjoy it, no matter how boring such pictures appear to be.  All around that road there were fields, they must be similar today, crops pushing into the sky cheering the farmer and possibly encouraging wildlife.  I am not so sure such fields help wildlife myself though the number of fields left fallow under EU rules has meant these fields do encourage birds and bees and other creatures to thrive.  I did however here a warning that rabbits, once covering the UK have disappeared from many areas.  In Scotland some 80% of rabbits have gone, about 60% in the rest of the UK.  Why I did not hear but many birds are also failing, sparrows are less in evidence and the Swifts that must soon appear are less in  number each year.  Maybe people have taken to eating rabbits rather than use foodbanks...?



Sunday, 13 May 2018

Tiring Weekend


An emotionally tiring weekend.
Saturday I sat through three full games, from the 'National League' play-off to the Dundee v Partick Thistle relegation battle.  Thistle now enter the play off on Thursday.  Today I was forced to watch Hibernian playing Rangers.  Now this is a time when I want Hibs to win! Anyone playing the old firm has my vote and today the Hibs numtys went in to a 3 nil lead within 20 minutes.  Fantastic to watch the Huns fans staring into space.   Naturally Hibs threw it away and not long into the second half they were 5-3 down!  However perseverance brought them level to a 5-5 result in the end.  With Aberdeen defeating Celtic (who lay down I suspect) this means Aberdeen finish second for the fourth year in a row and Rangers sadly finish third.  Hibs are fourth and we are happy to remain in sixth place, the season has been hard for a variety of reasons exemplified by the fact that in our last game today we had only four senior players fit so the youngsters, eleven teenagers, were in the squad and fiver were on the pitch today, two for their debuts.  The loss of a single goal was satisfactory in the situation and we now plan for next season.  Of course I also watched the Dumbarton v Alloa play-off tonight, the fifth this weekend, and am happy to see Alloa rise to the second tier of Scottish football. 
Just a handful of proper games left, then a cup final or two, and the season is over.  I must say that watching European giants play is far less satisfying than watching lesser clubs fight for promotion or to avoid relegation.  Such games have more desire and while the talent is less the entertainment is much more.  Real Madrid could learn a lot from these boys.
I am worn out now...



Friday, 11 May 2018

Book Tokens in the Sun


I escaped on the zimmer bus this morning to exchange my Xmas book tokens at Waterstones.  This took me out on a hot day eager to see bookshelves.  Therefore I stopped in the cathedral first as they have a book stall and sadly discovered this had been shorn somewhat, it transpired that next door the Diocesan House contained a bookshop also and they were working on not competing with one another. 

  
This meant I had to walk over the graves to the House and visit their small bookshop.  I felt it unfortunate that much of their stock was too similar, some discussion required between the two I think to get this right.  I would think the more 'heavy' books, commentaries etc, ought to be in the House while more 'daily' sorts in the cathedral, but what do I know?  All I know is that Christians do not buy books to learn about the book and the author but prefer books that make them feel good or offer the fashionable 'soup of the day.'



So down the High Street to the bookshop where I found three books worth spending my voucher on. There were more obviously but I am not greedy (much).  Browsing among the tables, much easier than the low shelves, I chose, eventually, 'Babylon' by Paul Kriwaczeck as I like the Sumer type of history, way back in the early days of southern Iraq.  'Undertones of War' by Edmund Blunden, supposed to be a WW1 'classic,' in time we shall see and 'Estuary' by Rachel Lichtenstein.  This purports to tell of the Thames Estuary, a place not far from here, rich in history and something I like reading about. 
All these books will lie on the pile of 'Books to read' which must be brought nearer where I sit as they are in danger of toppling from a height at the moment and this could be dangerous.  Naturally I now wish to drop the books I am reading and begin on these but must show some discipline and wait until ready.  This is not easy.

     
Home tired and aching I longed for sleep and wished to read the books at the same time.
However I was somewhat put out by a comment from Jerry in Missouri his state of health.  He has been very unwell for some time and his sick wife died not that long ago and now with his heart in a poor state he feels seriously that his time is short.  I rather regret this.
This Redneck has been a rude and nasty man to me for a while now, I like him! His humour and desire for God is real and he is able to argue, though never able to accept that I am right, tsk!  I fear for his health.

On a somewhat lighter note this music is what followed me around town all day.
 

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Hairyplanes..


High above a four engines aircraft takes of for far away places.  I wonder however if this is a freight plane, possibly one of those UPS or such like aircraft you see dotted around airports idling away.  The middle of the day is not when I would expect such to be flying however so it may be on the way to Florida or the like.  Just over a hundred years ago such flights became possible, now we regard it like a bus service to far away places (well I don't as I canny afford it) and moan constantly about flight delays without considering that a hundred years ago you would not have had the cash to fly to these places.  If you had cash you went by boat and took a week or a month maybe to get to the destination, risking all in high seas and dubious travel agents.
I made use of Flightradar to track a man flying to far away places.  I was interested to follow his flight from Heathrow airport across Surrey and Kent and over the channel.  The trip took a few minutes to travel the distance and I cogitated on how long it would have taken to walk that distance, the Roman army allowed about 15 miles as a days march unless pushed, so how long would it have taken a fit walker?  It would take me until the ambulance picked me up!  A few minutes travel at 500 mph is far better than most other methods for getting around but we do take it for granted.  The more we have the more we want and the more we do not appreciate what we have.  Strange logic really.  A man offered a lift on a horse and cart on a long journey, at three miles an hour, would probably appreciate the lift more than the one sitting in row 36 at thirty two thousand feet.  They might complain about the neighbours, the toilet queue or the food.  
Looking at the European flightpaths on Flightradar reveals hundreds of aircraft criss crossing the continent, it is a wonder there are so few accidents.  Having been outside Heathrow many times it is possible to see an aircraft landing and a second landing as the first turns off the runway with the lights of four more coming behind.  If only the rest of the airport operated as efficiently as the landing and take offs do.
The transport of freight also is hastened by aircraft. Veg grown in Africa can be on our tables within 24 hours all to often.  When I was a lad, indeed until the 1980's exotic foodstuffs like peppers were only bought by the rich and anything beyond cabbage was unheard of.  How things have changed, yet we eat worse than before with a much better choice (Kippers, Beans and Waffles tonight).  I may be unhappy in the morning...  


Wandering back from the Post Office, I had to send chocolate to a woman for her birthday, it might have been cheaper to take it there, chocolate is heavy!  Anyway the sun was shining, the temperature just right and my aches allowed to to get their and back.  I did stop and chat to a man who has dug the front of his garden thus making friends with a Blackbird and a Robin.  While it is clear someone has put something on the ground before, probably weedkiller, and there are few worms to be seen in his earth the birds still came looking for something, anything, that might pop its head up to be chomped.  This was holding back his rate of work but he seemed happy with this.
No football tonight, this is good as I need emotional stability after watching the last Edinburgh derby of the season.  The stresses I endure watching such a game cannot be equalled by anything else, though listening to a woman talk about her baby can be stressful, and after such an important game I need to rest for a few hours.  I know how the players must be feeling today... 

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Earworms and Books



Each morning I wake, look out at the clear blue sky (no really) and find my head filled with music I do not wish to hear.  There has been a selection of appalling tunes that have wandered through my head for a while before I can get something musical into the head.
Bing Crosby crooning one morning, Sousa marches the next.  I have endured bland inconsequential pop music that I have had no idea I knew, even Irish rebel songs stuck there for hours one day.  Now I can accept Van Morrison repeating the same line over and over but I am not putting up with 'Buck Fizz' under any circumstances!  
If only there was a way of fixing it that certain tunes and melodies would fill the head when empty rather having rotten dross take over the space between the ears, and you see how big that is.  I look for one of these old systems we used to have on gramophones that dropped the next record onto the pile and played what you wished rather than what is given.  I suspect this is a problem that will not go away.
I note that walking up the street at various speeds (slow, slower) then music in the head fits the speed.  Possibly this is why I am so slow at walking?  Maybe a bit of Beethoven or AC/DC would speed me up?  I do not however wish for tunes to fit while shopping in Tesco, that would be unwise.

  
This card makes sense to me.  The writer missed out charity shops, remainder bookshops and anywhere else books are on sale.  The only disappointment is when they are all junk books, you know the women's books that no man would read, the famous authors that are not as good as they are made out, the books that win trophy's that are junk, all that can be ignored.
However it is fascinating to search a large second hand bookshop, always the best if you can find one, when you find a book long forgotten but always desired.  A book read years before or concerning someone or something that connects with you that has not be wither known to exist or extremely rare.  It helps if it is cheap also.
I think I may seek a bookshop tomorrow...


Friday, 4 May 2018

Friday Frippery


Having struggled to do so yesterday I eventually made it to the shopping centre today to enquire about mealworm pellets to feed the birds.  I found the big shop there sells them and has plenty in stock.  However at £3:50 for a bag that costs £1 in the other shops or £2 in the wee pet supply shop I can see why they are a big national company.
I trudged home via the Marks & Sparks food hall spending my money there on overpriced foodstuffs, though I failed to see the meat I wanted, the greedy Friday shoppers had got in first.  Still I got something and the empty fridge was pleased.
Later I ventured out for bird seed and found a tub costing £5:99, from which I got 10% off as the top was broken, and a similar tub in the big pet shop cost £12:50!!!!  I am amazed!
Since then, birds happily squabbling outside, I have spent an enormous amount of time attempting to log in to the online bank.  I appear to have made a mess of the password so changed it after three attempts to log in, then after several more failed attempts I changed the next bit.  This also failed after I changed it so I am none to happy with the bank that now says I must change things again!
I went into a huff instead.
Where would we be without technology...?


The local elections did not trouble me yesterday sadly, we had no vote this time, this is disappointing as I like to  vote for someone who fails to unseat the Tory.  However in spite of the Tory press claiming victory when you stand back it is clear Labour and the LIb-Dems did well and the Tory succeeded simply because UKIP voters returned to vote for the Tory party.  The 'Swivel-eyed-Loons' are coming home.
Those Brexit areas full of Little Englanders and racists continued to vote Conservative, elsewhere folks voted against Brexit by choosing the Lib-Dem though our Conservative dominated council lost a seat and now one member of the Labour Party can be found there, that area is not a UKIP stronghold however.  
Not much change overall, no change in Tory cost cutting hitting the poorest, no change in the mess that is Downing Street, no change in the nation.  A sad day.
I did notice the  Conservative members in Peterborough in that picture.  The many Asians there are renown for their hard work and Tory approach, I wonder if they will remain loyal to the party when the Home Office visits and tells them they are 'Not British' and about to be deported back to Pakistan or India...?


Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Textiles...


Hmmm yes it's that time of year again when history is replaced by textiles.  This is not quite true as the Silk Weavers Archive are responsible for this and many folks come from all over to their Textile Day each year.  We hold an exhibition during this time and this one features many 'works of art.'  
Now my opinion of 'works of art' varies from the opinion proffered by 'art lovers' as I live in the real world.  To this end I have been told in full and frank exchange of views with the ruling authorities I am not allowed to refer to the 'artworks' as 'Tea towels.'


The ladies who produce this charge in the region of between £60 and £600 for the items on show.  I have not noticed any being sold as yet.  However I did sell a card made from one of the designs on show (£2:50) and I did think the cards look very good and our customers will appreciate them at that price.  
Some have writing on them to reveal an artists view of the world, I was banned from adding my opinion to them also, and I began to wonder about the people, all women, who produce such 'works of art' and make money from it.  Are these all middle class 'arty' women who see this a s a way to change the world or just a few who reckon they can make money out of this?   One or two will be doing workshops but so far only one person appears to have signed up for them (at £25 a go).  This goes down well at the archive so it is a surprise so few show interest, maybe they are working on their 'tea towels' 'works of art.' 


The wee camera is not that good and does not bring out the colour properly on these 'works of art' however it was all I had and to be honest this one might be improved, or not as the case may be.
Textiles, like cards made from the design, appeal to some but not to me, a cloth is ether the one you want or it is not but it is not something to spend much time worrying over.  Some women do take a long time over such things however ensuring each design matches other items, not in this house...


With such an exhibition I expected this to be my view all day.  However not only did they give me things to do but several people came in for a variety of reasons including viewing the exhibition.
This kept me awake.
Nothing else happened.



Monday, 30 April 2018

It's Goodbye to Her...

 
Now here is a novelty.  A Conservative Party cabinet minister has been caught out lying and has resigned, that is something that does not happen every day.  If it was there are several others, Gove, Johnson, Fox etc who ought also to walk.  Oh hold on, this is not a surprise, this is the FOURTH cabinet minister to depart Theresa May's government!  It appears she has been taking lessons from that nice Donald Trump after all.  
In 1982 the Argentinians stupidly invaded the Falkland Islands in an attempt to turn their peoples attention away from their economic problems and ended up in a war.  Lord Carrington, then Foreign Minister, immediately resigned on the grounds that his attention had been elsewhere and he had failed.  Margaret Thatcher attempted to persuade him to stay on, as he could have done, but he felt he ought to go and he did.  This was the last time a Conservative Minister resigned with dignity, since then all others have had to be pushed and some of them were far from dignified in their going.   Of course some of the opposition members have also fallen foul but mostly it now appears the Conservative policy to never resign whatever the fault, lying, deceiving, cheating in government or at home all should be shrugged off and keep the party together no matter what.
The keeping the party together is of course the real problem.  In the 19th century Sir Robert Peel took a brave stand for the sake of the nations economy and ended the Corn Law that protected some and increased bread prices for the majority, this broke his party in two and they were out of office for thirty years after that.  In 1867 Disraeli brought in a Reform Act that gave a million men the right to vote, not that he wanted to but he worked with Conservative MPs that did not wish an election in case they lost their seat and radicals who he despised just for spite against William Gladstone and pushed through a radical reform act he did not really want.  Theresa and her colleagues are involved in similar games now, either break the nation or break the party, she has chosen the party as have they and soon they will all lead us to destruction, and then they too will be destroyed.  Amber (Who calls their daughter 'Amber?') has lost out to save Theresa, but she will be back.
What a mess.


The latests April shower has blown a gale since last night and limited my opportunities for travel.  
So I did the laundry instead...
Sitting here watching the rain lash against the window I am cogitating on those who cannot get out at any time.  Folks in hospital for months, those trapped in old folks homes, the sick and the old.  What must it be like to be trapped all day indoors let out only when a friend or family member arrives to aid you, and what if there are no such people?  How lucky I am that I can get out and about, how grateful I am not in a wheelchair or sick and in pain.  How grateful for the good life God has given such a man as I.  


I have spent some time attempting to sort my files.  This means switching from one to another via the laptop, dumping some (usually deliberately) and trying to work out what others actually are.  Scandisk could make it better by the brutes not switching themselves off constantly.  This of course could be the fault of this laptop, the cursor slides too easily, even after amending the thing, and slips past where it ought to go and sits where it ought not.  I wish I had just stuck to the laundry...

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Market Drizzle


As it is wet, drizzly and not so hot the market has a special day.  Once again the wide variety of grossly overpriced foodstuffs bring out the crowds (Where do they get the money?) and as a special treat this month there are a few stalls selling the kind of overpriced hand made items women buy, whatever they are.  


I am always tempted to the bread but the price £3 or so a loaf puts me off.  It looks good and probably is good stuff but expensive being twice and more the price in Tesco's.  I suspect the variety of cakes available are also good but to fattening for my calorie controlled diet (with chips).  

   
Once again the car folks brought out their pride and joy into the drizzle.  A different crowd from last time and I suspect that when the sun shines regularly there will be more of these on show.  I am not clear as to why that guy has his bonnet up, possibly he broke down, possibly he is showing off his clean well tended engine.


Somehow I managed to spend nothing but a few quid on mealworm pellets for the Starlings that are breeding just now.  The brutes have emptied the feeders already this morning and trying to empty them again this afternoon.  A single Blue Tit has been spotted there but few other wee birds.
Guarding my money carefully I came limping slowly home and have spent the day watching football!
What more can a man want?
Oh yes, a woman to iron a shirt for tomorrow...



Thursday, 26 April 2018

A Walk in Lexden


As always my ideas were good.  I would venture out to Lexden, wander through the park to the 'earthworks' and find if I could a way to the tumulus where an Iron age King, possibly Cunobelinus is buried.  Naturally wandering about in the Bluebell filled woods was a delight, especially as few were about, yet it was not possible to find my way to either object I sought.  The earthworks was behind a fence somewhere in the woods and it was not clear how to get onto the path behind the tumulus, so I let the king sleep and wonder if there was in fact a second way into the woods which I did not find.  I did however pass three bags standing alone at one point.  Either someone was hiding nearby or they were transported by aliens as they passed through the woods though why anyone would carry three such bags through the woods was unclear.


Lexden was a mere village for many years and was referred to as 'Lassendene' in the Domesday Book but was of little importance until the rich Victorians from Colchester a mile to the east moved here to build big houses and enjoy clean air.  Nothing but agricultural work in the rolling hills of the area. Today's large fields are ploughed, seeded by tractor and machinery while in days of yore hard work for the man ploughing with oxen on such hills and then while harvesting later in the year.


Clearly some had been making money fro many years before that time, and being on the main road there was naturally a 'Toll booth' to extract money from passers by and to help maintain the roadway, when they got around to that.  The resplendent house had the name 'Weavers' on the door but this does not look like a weavers type of home.  He may of course have made his money and employed workers elsewhere, there were lots if such in this area.



The churchyard and the woods teemed with Bluebells.  Masses of them crowded together under the towering trees.  Few creatures more however, a few birds flitted among the trees rushing about to feed themselves as they produced eggs and a single squirrel avoided me in a hurry and raced up a nearby tree.


This hill, along with a dead tree and what looks like blocks once used to stop tanks during world war two were ideal playmates for the males of the area.  A nearby tree had an improvised ladder which would have been brilliant had I been a few years younger!  A great place for kids.  

 
Many such trees were all around some around four hundred years old, coppiced by the looks of it for much of that time.  When the rich moved out this area must have been roped off for the 'Lexden Park House' built at the far end, no poor peasant would be gathering firewood from here then.

  

With a wood, a pond and ducks to feed plus acres to run around in this must be a marvellous place during the summer months for kids.  If all this belonged to one family it must have taken an army of cheap workers to maintain the grounds.  



In case there were no ducks or geese around someone has placed four large geese in this corner alongside a tree trunk shaped like a human.  The ducks and one solitary wary Canada Goose sitting close by did not show any appreciation of the artwork to my knowledge.


During the English Civil War (why call it 'civil' when so many died?) Lord-General Thomas Fairfax camped his men here while he laid siege to Colchester.  To the east lie 'Hilly Fields' which appear to contain much woodland now, but which gave a good view of Colchester defences a mile further east. A cannon from the town caused many casualties among the Parliamentarian forces until similar weapons were brought up to demolish the battlements the cannon was based on.  I wonder whether Fairfax used the 'Sun Inn,' now a private house but since the 1500s a busy tavern or whether he imposed himself on 'Weavers' over the way?  Boudica did similar before destroying Colchester a few years before this.  She gathered her troops around this area and then trashed the town.





 
St Leonard's Church, St Leonard was patron of prisoners apparently, was built and remodelled during the 19th century.  Some form of church building had begun sometime in the 12th century but this small agricultural village had little wealth and even by the 1600s the building  was in poor condition.  The present church, of the Liberal Catholic tradition, whatever that is, however is in fine condition and expanding to enable facilities for more to attend their business.  A bit too 'High Church' for me but a pleasant place to sit and talk to Jesus after wandering through the woodland.  It is always good to find such a church open, too many thieves force the buildings to be kept locked much of the time unless someone is attending them.





I found it interesting that in spite of the war memorial on the main road there were no individual war graves to be found.  It is possible I missed them, churches tend to let the grasses grow around this time of year to benefit the wildlife which struggle with the loss of farmland and the concreting of front gardens for car parking.  There were several gravestones indicating some of the people who resided here had held important posts during the 'Raj' and wished their grave to reflect their position.  How strange that class is reflected even in death.  However the Braintree weavers Courtaulds would have been pleased as the funerals would have been attended by many leading ladies wearing, and outdoing one another, with black dresses made from the Black Crepe which their local mills manufactured.  




 'Spring Lane' now a quiet side street as the new bypass has taken almost all traffic away offered some delightful cottages, once farm labourers homes now owned by those who can afford half a million I suggest.  The influence of Flemish weavers can be seen on many houses in Essex, their 'Dutch Roof' is a common sight here.  The Victorian semi detached would have been admirable for the farm hand as his several children, two up and two down and an outside loo to yourselves. I particularly liked the old street lamp being used at the side of the house.  The locals have put the old horse trough to good use.  Turning what could become an eyesore into a delightful piece of road furniture.

Waiting on the bus outside what once was the workhouse.  This was built on Jeremy Bentham principles it seems to me.  Four winds reached out from the centre, from here the men in charge could looked down each wing without having to change his position, 'Strangeways Prison' in Manchester was built on similar proposals.  The whole is surrounded by buildings forming a circle with the entrance, for the nice people at the front, I suspect inmates went in the back!  The building is seen on the 1877 map and now of course has been transformed into flats.  I wonder what stories could be told...?