Minimum living wage

Today the minimum living wage has gone up by 50p a hour (an hour?) to £7.20. At first I laughed, not because it is such a low amount, but because I thought it was an April Fool’s Day Joke on the part of the those who rules us. Then it dawned on me that it was no joke, this is for real. This massive rise for low paid workers was orchestrated by people, the members of Parliament, who recently awarded themselves a 10% rise and now earn up to £74,000 per year + expenses.

It’s decisions like this that will certainly guarantee the loss of thousands of votes for the Tories in the next General Election! At least some good will come out of it. ‘Warms the cockles of my heart it does’ as they say oop t’North, and makes up for the fact that I almost believed that Virgin Trains, who now own the Flying Scotsman, say they have re-painted it in the company colours of RED. Then I realised what the date was.

Richard Branson: “Yeah, that’s a spiffing idea, I might just do that for real”.

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I’ve always said that Wales is the prettiest part of England . . .


Clic on the pic to activate.

Posted in From my Journal archives, Holiday time | Leave a comment

From the Archives – 1

Recently there were several Blogs taking part in Manu’s RAK (Random Act of Kindness) month. The idea was to give help, and kindness to a stranger, or to a friend who was in need of a helping hand and then to write about the experience on their respective blogs.

Reading about the involvement in the Random Acts of Kindness of other Bloggers reminded me of an similar experience I once had many years ago. It brought home to me just how uncaring and selfish some members of the public can be.

amateur-radio-rallyLet me first give you some background information. At the time I was 30, a Radio Amateur, callsign G6AFY/T, and I had a shack in the garden with my own Amateur TV station. I only transmitted in monochrome then, but I was keen to get my hands on the special components needed to build a colour camera so I visited every Amateur Radio and Electronics show I could get to. It was at one of these ‘Radio Rallies’, as they were called, that I had the experience I’m going to tell you about.

In my paper journal of 1967, I wrote the following:

Sunday 21 May 1967. Weather – Cool, showery.

Today was the day of the Drayton Rally. I went round to Robin’s place and picked him along with John. When we arrived at the entrance to the park there was a long queue of cars backing up down the drive all the way to the main road. It took us about three quarters of an hour to get past the ticket booth and into the main park.

Rob and John decided to visit the Bring and Buy sale by the lake, but I decided to go directly to the main hall where I would most likely find the three vidicon tubes and the dichroic mirror I needed.

As I walked along the path to the main doors I noticed a man on crutches who was struggling to walk about 50 yards in front of me. As I watched he suddenly fell over. He lay on the ground and it was obvious that he couldn’t get up unaided. I walked briskly towards him fully expecting the 10 people or so in front of me to stop and help him up, but surprisingly no-one stopped or even looked down at him. One person actually stepped over him in his haste to get into the hall! Bastard.

When I reached him I noticed that one leg was broken to the extent that it was folded forward of his knee joint, and his foot was facing backwards! I thought “Oh my God! this is an ambulance job. Yet he was smiling up at me and saying “It’s OK mate, I’m alright, this has happened to me before, help me up please.” I tried to lift him up without doing any more damage to his leg. Finally another man stopped and we got him upright and sat him on the low wall. Someone else ran off to fetch the St Johns Ambulance men.

By this time quite a crowd had gathered, one women was heard to snort “Drunk at this time of day! He should be ashamed of himself!” and walked away. Cow! Michael, that was his name, was laughing as he rolled up his trouser leg and showed us his prosthetic leg, broke into two pieces which were held together at the knee joint by one loose bolt, which was the reason why the lower part had twisted round to face the wrong way. “Bloody Hell! I have lost the other nut and bolt, has anybody got one on them like this other by any chance?”

At this point I volunteered to go into the main hall and see if anyone was selling nuts, bolts and other hardware. Luckily I found a stall that did, so I explained the situation to the owner, and leaving his missus in charge, he grabbed his toolbox and a handful of assorted nuts, washers and bolts and followed me out. Micheal was still sitting there, explaining to the First Aid man that his services were not needed, because the AA were on their way!

The stall holder looked at the damaged joint and managed to straighten it out and put two new bolts in with lock nuts this time. “That joint will see you out.” he said and went back into the hall. Michael got up, thanked us, and walked into the hall as if nothing had happened to him.

I saw him later returning to his car with a “goodie bag” full of components, switches, packs of resistors and capacitors. “Thanks again pal, for your help. I thought my day was ruined, but you saved it”. I felt a glow inside me knowing that I had helped someone out of a mess. He tried to give me a £5 note, but I refused it even though he insisted. I said if you are so keen to part with it, then put it into a charity box.

I continued round the stalls, then to a the marquees that contained the overflow stalls. I managed to find the three vidicon tubes and I bought an extra two as spares, but I didn’t find the dichroic mirrors I needed. One stall holder told me that they were “as rare as hen’s teeth”.

Later I met up with Robin and John to go for. . . . .

No need to read anymore, it’s not relevant, but we did have some fun in the Fun Fair later; on the Big Dipper and the Water Splash. We behaved like big kids! Disgusting!

“That’s all folks”.

Posted in Amateur Radio, From my Journal archives, Good Old days | 5 Comments

For the boys. . . .

Flying Scotsman has arrived at York!

Posted by National Railway Museum on Thursday, 25 February 2016

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Vote Leave

This is important. Everybody in the UK should be aware of this. Please read carefully before voting in the referendum on whether we should stay in the EU, or leave.

‘Vote Leave’ has this morning published its initial analysis of the renegotiation. Click here for the analysis

Top lines

1. The agreement does not restore control of our borders and will not affect migration. It brings no powers back to the UK and reaffirms the supremacy of the European Courts over UK law. It breaks the key promises made in the Bloomberg Speech and the 2015 Conservative Manifesto. The only way to get a new UK/EU relationship based on free trade and friendly cooperation is to Vote Leave.

2. The new deal is not legally binding: it could be ripped up EU judges and politicians after the referendum in the same way as similar so-called ‘legally binding’ promises made to Denmark in 1992 were ignored by the European Court. Key sections need to be approved by the European Parliament after we vote. We are being asked to accept an unsigned contract.

3. The deal makes it harder for the UK to block harmful EU laws. It now needs to get the support of 55% of national parliaments rather than just a third. It also obliges the UK to support a future Treaty that will introduce further Eurozone integration.

4.The UK has not won the right to stop the Eurozone imposing laws on it, with the agreement specifically ruling out a ‘veto’.

5.The proposed changes to ‘ever closer union’ will have no impact and will not stop further European integration. The EU has already announced that it is planning to introduce a new Treaty which will transfer more powers to Brussels over ‘social security systems’, ‘company law’, ‘insolvency law’, ‘property rights’ and taxation. The safer choice is to Vote Leave. 

6. Only 3 of David Cameron’s 33 promises to change the EU have been met which actually change the EU (and these are not substantial). Most of the other claimed successes are just affirmations of the status quo, need Treaty change to be effective or have been unambiguously dropped.


Commenting on the deal, Matthew Elliott, Vote Leave Chief Executive said:

‘David Cameron always wanted to campaign to stay in the EU so he only ever asked for very minor changes. He will now declare victory but it is an entirely hollow one: the EU courts are still in control of our borders and our laws, we still send £350 million a week to the EU instead of spending it here on our priorities and we have not taken back any control.

Crucially, this deal is not legally binding and can be ripped up by EU politicians and unelected EU judges so it will have no more force than an unsigned contract. The only way to get real change is to Vote Leave and take back control – that is the safer choice.’

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Lunch today


Posted in Cookery | 3 Comments

Is this Art?

Last night I went to my local pub and I noticed that over the bar were several small picture frames of various sizes with poems, quotations, wise thoughts etc, all typed on what was possibly the very first Remington trypewriter from the year nineteen hundred and frozen stiff, that has badly aligned, worn out letters that looked in need of a good scrubbing. I must admit the effect was very eye catching and the pictures had a certain charm about them. I asked who had made them, and it turned out it was the son of one of the other customers.

He had made a few when he was “between jobs” and sold them at the local church’s Easter Fair last year. “Went like hot cakes” she said.

After that he made some more and put them on eBay and managed to sell all of them. He then scoured all the local charity shops (thrift stores in the colonies?) and found lots of small framed pictures. After removing the prints he put his trypewriter art in, and some of these are for sale in the pub.

I tried to take photos with my cellphone, but it was too dim in the bar. The flash was no good, it just reflected of the glass, and frightened the little old lady who sits in the corner.

Dark-Garden copyI thought what a good scheme to make a quick buck to boost my ailing finances! The difference is that I would handwrite mine in various scripts and use brightly coloured inks. Every one would be an original and signed by me. Well you never know, it could work, and I might be a millionaire this time next year, so I’m off to sort out some pens and parchment. Oh no, I haven’t got any old frames… and I have a feeling there wont be any left in the local charity shops now.

I just photocopied a poem I wrote a while ago to show what one might look like. The more astute amongst you might notice that the frame isn’t real; I made it using Photoshop. The handwriting is original though, and in one of my semi-posh scripts.




Vicious dog.
“Hi, pleased to meet you.”

This picture has been hanging around in my “Might use it one day” folder, so I thought I would give it an airing.


Posted in Calligraphy & Lettering, DIY, Poetry Bit, Pubs | 8 Comments

My friend’s and my thoughts

A fellow blogger, who I’ve known for years, recently posted the fact that we are only about three minutes away from obliteration as shown on the Doomsday Clock.

She states that “It’s a mix of climate change and unrest in the world and as if that isn’t enough the Zika Virus could kill us all”. I think she may be right. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that has soon as we get rid of one pandemic threat another one crops up? We had Asian flu and Bird flu, then the Ebola virus rears it’s ugly head. It took a lot of effort and time to get rid of them, and now suddenly along comes the Zika virus. After all we know that the Myxomatosis virus is man made and was designed to stop large numbers of rabbits colonizing. I believe it was first used in Australia, and now it’s world wide.

Maybe all these viruses are man made to cut down on this overpopulated world. Man with his greed, seems to be the main reason why we now have climate change.

Obviously the Ebola scheme failed, so “they”, who ever they are, created a new virus for mosquitoes to delivery, which is spreading rapidly according to the World Health Authorities. If it takes hold it would cause women to think twice about having children. This could drastically reduce the worlds population in two generations.

Did you know that if your parents never had any children, then there is a strong possibility that you wont have any children either. . . . .just pointing it out, if you see what I mean.

She went on to comment about lorry drivers being threatened with knives, machetes, iron bars, baseball bats and other weapons.

She stated that:”Next on my I am thinking about list is this story about migrants threatening lorry drivers, my thoughts on this, this type of behaviour won’t help their cause, it certainly won’t make people warm to them. How does this make them any better than the people they are running away from, (they are attacking people) and if they can take up weapons and attack innocent people going about their work why can’t they take up weapons and fight back in their own country?” I couldn’t agree more.

This was the comment that interested the most, because about a year ago I was listening to an acquaintance at out local pub who told us that he was too frightened to drive on the Continent any more. He said that on his (his last trip ever!) way to Calais from Germany he was stopped by what he thought was a hitch-hiker. When he pulled over to pick him up several more men appeared out of the bushes and demanded that he open up the back of the lorry. He was threatened by the man saying that he had a gun and if he didn’t comply he would shoot him. So he immediately hit the accelerator and roared away. When he got to the checkout at Calais he left the lorry there, bought a foot passenger ticket to Dover, and then in the safety of England (?) he telephoned his company and told them where to find lorry, and promptly resigned from the job.

Of course we all laughed at him and accused him of romancing, making it all up to try to impress us. I am inclined to believe him now.

I don’t read newspapers, and I only watch the BBC for the news, and as far as I know they have NEVER mentioned this type of thing happening. I wonder why?

Posted in Anti-Social Behaviour, Depressing | 7 Comments


braille-frameDo you know what this is? Probably not, unless you have connections with blind people. I don’t think the person Document-Holderwho stole my document case knew what it was either. In the case was my Braille Slate, that is what the yellow plastic gadget is, and my stylus plus several sheets of manila cartridge paper, some of which I had already written on.

I have a “pen friend”, not quite the right word in this case but you know what I mean. He was born blind and has been passed around from one institution to another all his life. We met in 1998 at Leicester University where he was giving a lecture about how sighted people can help the blind and partially sighted. He was from the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People). Johnathan, that’s his name, who gave the lecture and I struck up a friendship during the tea-interval because we found we had a lot in common, like a silly sense of humour.

To cut a long story short, I bought a Braille Slate from the RNIB stall there and with John’s help over the next few weeks I learned to braille. He now lives in Banbury and we correspond in Braille about once a month. If he hears of an article in a newspaper or magazine he wants to read I translate it into braille for him.

That was just a brief resumé leading up to the reason for this post.

About three months ago I took my brailling equipment to the library to translate an article from the “Daily Mail” about the Gov’t wanting to cut benefits to the visually handicapped. John wanted as much information as he could get before kicking up a fuss with the media.

I spent about three hours working on that article and afterwards I decided to go to the local hotel to get a pre-Christmas meal and to read through what I had written. After the food I went to the pay-desk, paid, and walked out without my document case. Yes, I know, I’m stupid! When I arrived home I suddenly realised what I had done so I phoned the hotel and spoke to the restaurant manager and he and the staff searched everywhere but there was no trace of it. We came to the conclusion that somebody had seen it on the table and picked it up thinking there was something of value in it, then probably threw it away.

It’s been over three months now, and there’s no sign of it so I conclude that it’s lost forever. It even had a card inside with my name and address on it!

I have tried to get another Braille frame, but the only one I could find was one at the RNIB that is A4 size and is too big and hard to handle. If anyone out there in Bloggyland knows of one similar to the frame in the pic above that’s going spare I would be eternally grateful if. . . . .(hint).

Posted in Depressing, Gone | 3 Comments

My Journals

two-journals01 A fellow blogger asked me if I really do keep secret journals. Yes I do, but not on the internet, well apart from the one you are reading now, and this is not really secret.

In all the journals for the last 20 years some entries are written in a secret alphabet that I created especially for my eyes only.

When I was a snotty-nosed grubby little schoolboy I started writing my thoughts down in any exercise book I could find, usually scrounged from the English teacher on condition that she could read my journal occasionally.

open-journal01The two shown are from that time and are the earliest ones in my collection. There were others around about then, but they are now lost in the mists of time, or they were stolen by my English teacher. She always said I should be an author or a journalist when I finished skool, but my speling wasn’t very good in those days, so she gave me extra tuition in grammar and spelling. It didn’t work though because I tend to write down as I think, what is not like the proper way what Mr Pepys done!

After I left school I stopped writing for various reasons. Well, I was a teenager then. The word ‘teenager’ hadn’t been invented in those days, the usual phrase was ‘those bloody kids’.
One reason was that I discovered girls, and the fun you could have with them, if you follow my drift. . .

I was drafted into the Army in 1955 to do my National Service. I did try to get out of it by fleeing the country, but they found me and dragged me screaming and yelling into the training camp! After a while I found I quite liked Army life and that’s when I started writing in my journals again about all the good times, and the bad times in the Army.

There are some good stories in those old khaki journals, one of which I related on this blog. Click on ‘The Suez War’ in the navigation bar, if you dare.

DCF 1.0This is the new one I bought for 2016 – to ?, a bit different to the original ones! In my box room there is a big khaki wooden box I scrounged when I left the Army, marked ‘6 mortar bombs 81mm’, empty of course (mores the pity!), that I used to carry my souvenirs back home (No, no mortar bombs). It is now full of my old journals from that time up until the 2013-2015 edition. There must be about 40 or more in there.

Maybe I will copy some of the more interesting entries, cutting out the gory bits of course, and publish them on here. Depends on which way the wind blows. . .

Posted in Armed Forces, Childhood days, Good Old days | 1 Comment