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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Tony Robinson Reflects British Taxpayer's Anger About the UK Banks



In the UK, there is a new scandal that has blown up concerning British banks. This threatens to rock the core of the British banking establishment and may cause criminal investigations into unlawful interest rate fixing. The consequences of this will anger the British public who have seen tax payers foot the bill for these failing banks. Above Tony Robinson reflects the angry mood of the British nation in Question Time.

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Friday, 29 June 2012

WWII Heavy Bomber Avro Lancaster in Colour R.A.F.


 
Colour footage of the Avro Lancaster bomber of WWII. I put this on the blog because the other day, when I was in my garden, I heard the extreme noise of propeller aircraft engines. There was an air display going on at Southend-on-Sea where I live. Suddenly, just above my roof, this WWII Lancaster bomber flew over. It was so low; I almost jumped out of my skin. I got a clear view of this classic plane as it flew directly above my garden and climbed into the clear blue sky. There is a two day air display every year in Southend-on-Sea and we often see old antiquated planes. I've seen Spitfires, Hurricanes, American Mustangs and German Me 109 from the more antiquated times. I've even seen a Fairy Swordfish or 'String bag' as sometimes called.  
 



Italy Mugs Germany - Euro 2012

Germany shell shocked by semi-final defeat
The fabulous German steamroller machine has been stopped in its tracks by the calm and almost modest Italian team. A say 'calm and modest' because that is how they seemed to walk out onto the pitch against this colossal looking German team of Euro 2012 tournament. I should have known that the Italians never do scared against Germany. They are the one nation that has always managed to throw a spanner in the works against German sides. To be fair, Italy deserved the win because they played wonderfully. Two fabulous goals in the first half from Mario Balotelli virtually killed Germany off. They looked shell shocked throughout the rest of the game and could not get anything against the strong defence of Italy.
Mario Balotelli puts Italy up 1-0
In the second half Germany came out and tried to attack but the Italian defence held firm and almost caught the Germans for a bigger goal deficit on several occasions in the second half. Germany got a consolation penalty in the dying seconds of the second half injury time to make it 2-1. That score flattered Germany in this particular game. I do not mean this disrespectfully against Germany because they are truly a great side. It was just this one game that went terribly wrong for them. As a neutral I was spell bound by the audacious Italians and could not help but admire the skill of this team - they were dynamic against an extremely prestigious German side.

Monday, 25 June 2012

England of Euro 2012 will dust themselves down for the next tournament.


England lost to Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter finals. It was 0-0 after extra time but the penalty shoot out saw England exit the competition. I think we should take some positives from this England squad that Roy Hodgson is building because our defence is coming along and soon the midfield will develop too. I'm not criticising our midfield, especially the likes of veteran Steve Gerrard, but there are a lot of new developing players and they will grow in ability and confidence alongside players like Gerrard who might have only one more international competition left in them.

I hope England fans will also look at the positive things in this new emerging England squad. I think they went as far as they could, in Euro 2012, but in the future we could go that little further with Roy Hogson's careful construction. England will dust themselves down for the next tournament.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Fly the EU Flag if You Are Happy to Accept EU Funding Mr Pickles.



This storm in a teacup is silly on my country's part
Surely one should fly the flag of an organisation that funds projects in this region. It is just common courtesy to show where such money comes from. Well that is what I think anyway. I say this because of an article I read which is below. I can't believe we are getting so blooming silly over flying the EU flag. We are part of the EU and, on this occasion, are receiving funds. Why cause a row over this? What purpose does it serve to get so bloody minded on such an issue? Fly the EU Flag Mr Pickles - you are accepting their funds. 
British people are surely better then this? There are far more important things to resolve then causing a stupid row over flying an EU flag which we are part of. The EU are funding your management projects Mr Pickles!
Once we English got paranoid with a Scottish King that came south and told us he was going to form a union and a new flag. We objected against that union and its flag too. We don't today - most of us do not know of its history but love the flag anyway.


When I look at the EU, I see a lot of well meaning people who want to build a better Europe for all people of all European nations. They get things wrong sometimes, but must continue to try. Pointing out wrongs is correct, but portraying the EU as a bad undemocratic body is very wrong and it seems that we, in the UK, always want to portray the EU in a bad way. Why? It is beyond me. If there is one issue I can't help getting vexed about; it is this desire to always pick an argument with the EU over the most trivial of things. We Brits seem to do anything to covert anti-EU feeling.

We are better off in the EU as a bigger and stronger body of 500 million plus Europeans on the world stage. This does not stop Brits being Brits or French people losing their identity. Germans are still Germans and Italians remain too. We are all in the EU and should be learning how to come together in crisis. The UK is sadly lacking here and I wished it was not so.   
 
 
 
A row over the Government being forced to fly the European Union flag took a farcical turn last night after Brussels offered to pay for a new flagpole if it complied with the demand.

The Mail on Sunday revealed earlier this year that Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles was furious after being told that he faced being fined under new European Commission rules if he did not fly the EU flag continuously outside his office.

 
His headquarters currently has two flagpoles: one permanently bears the Union Flag while the other has been used mainly to display British regional emblems.

 
The Cabinet Minister said the demand showed a ‘deep sense of political insecurity’ and called on the European Union to ‘grow up’.


Mr Pickles is currently obliged to fly the flag – a circle of 12 golden stars on an azure background – for a week each year, starting from Europe Day on May 9.

 

But under the proposed change, drafted by the European Commission and due to take effect within the next two years, the flag would have to fly permanently outside any organisation which managed development funding from Brussels.


Mr Pickles wrote to the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Austrian Johannes Hahn, to protest about the demand to use it to fly the EU flag.


In his reply Mr Hahn replied: ‘I thought flying the [EU] flag all the year round would be a great pleasure for you.

‘In that respect, I would finance a third flagpole’.

Last night Tory MP Chris Heaton Harris said: ‘With the euro in meltdown, I would suggest that the EU had more to worry about than what flag flies over Eric Pickles’s department.’


European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Austrian Johannes Hahn has offered to buy Mr Pickles a flagpole so he can fly the EU flag permanently
European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Austrian Johannes Hahn has offered to buy Mr Pickles a flagpole so he can fly the EU flag permanently.
 

Spain Book Place in 2012 Euro Semi-Finals


Xabi Alonso marked his 100th international appearance for Spain by scoring the two goals in his nation's victory over France in the Euro 2012 quarter finals. It was a fair result, but neutral observers and, perhaps, France might have expected better opposition. 

During the first half, France looked out of sorts, with the exception of Frank Ribery who I thought played with passion. Spain got a goal and took a comfortable lead. France were lucky to go off at half time only 1-0 down.

The Spanish were passing the ball about and looked good, though they were not put to the test. In the second half France looked a little better and started to put some moves together. Again Frank Ribery of France looked good, but the rest of the team still seemed lacking as though there was no belief. Spain got a spot kick in injury time and Xabi Alonso converted the penalty to make it 2-0.

I think France has played much better on other occasions and we are yet to see a team put the Spanish defence to the test. They face Portugal next and I think this will be a dynamic encounter.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Retro British Motor Car - Austin 7 Built 1929

Austin 7 built 1929
As Carole and I was walking back to Leigh-on-Sea from Chalkwell in Essex, UK; this little gem of a car pulled up beside us and out jumped the driver who had been giving the car plenty of TLC for a number of years. He said it was his Austin 7 and it was made in 1929. He was taking it to a car show. Obviously, it is a good old retro Brit car so why not have it here on the Retro Brit blog. You don't see such splendid machines every day unless you are the gentleman that owns such a grand little car. 

Britain During the Time of Ancient Druids


Ancient Britons tended to build round dwellings with mud rendering around wicker frames in the south. Further north, Britons would use stone instead, though still in round wall design. The thatched coned roof was also common. They did not use chimneys and would have a fire burning in the middle of the dwelling. The smoke would rise up inside the thatched and cone shaped roof to slowly seep through the straw and out into the open. This stopped birds and insects nesting in the thatch. Sometimes these dwellings were clustered within great hill fort Palisades and had done so for many hundreds, if not thousands of years. The Great Hill Forts were like market towns where people would come to trade farm produce and other manufactured items, like tools. The people were illiterate before the time of the Romans and would have spoken Celtic dialects like that of the Welsh, Cornish or even Bretons of North West France. They had a religious culture based on Druidism, which today is thought of in romantic and mystical ways, though it is possible they did practise human sacrifice on occasions. This adds a more sinister aspect to the druid priests.


In Gaul, today's France, young apprentices were sent to Britain to be schooled in the ways of druids. It must have been done through word of mouth and been a very hands on method of tuition if they were illiterate and they may have had some form of rune carving that meant certain things. This religion was all but vanquished after the first couple of hundred years of Roman rule, and when Christianity came it would have diminished further.

Many of the communities throughout Britain lived in such abodes seen above until the Romans began to build villas and great cities. 

Coming Home to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.



I came home from my sister's farm in Lincolnshire and walked straight into my street's Diamond Jubilee Street Party to commemorate our Queen's reign of sixty years. If Queen Elizabeth II reigns for three more years, and I'm sure she will, her reign will exceed that of Queen Victoria. Queen Elizabeth II will be the longest ruling monarch of the UK.

In the above picture, I am at the back on the crowd's right, in front of the black car, in a white cardigan. Carole is in front of me and slightly to my left with copper coloured hair. Further to my left and at the back, by the side of the car is Lloyd, my first son, holding up a beer. And just down to Lloyd's left, in front of the dark haired boy waving, is my third son, Robbie. He is waving to the camera and has ginger hair with a dark top.

Germany Euro 2012 Team Look Awesome



I sat down and watched the Germans play last night, and for a long period, in the first half ,the Greeks seemed to be holding them off in a haphazard sort of way. Plus; when the Germans did get opportunities; they were squandered. I dared to think, 'perhaps Germany might drop the ball,' and Greece would pull off another one of its team's remarkable abilities to frustrate sides that are superior to them. I don't mean this disrespectfully to the Greeks, but they are a good side that can often achieve results like this. It has enabled them to punch above their weight and in 2004, they won the competition doing this - total respect and it has worked for them in the past. It could have meant a big gun dropping out cheaply and any other nation fancying their chances for such a prestigious trophy. 

Germany did get a goal in the first half and to be fair, they deserved it. Then in the second half the Greeks needed to chase the game and for a short time they did. They scored and made it one - one. I could barely contain my excitement for I thought Greece was going to do it again and perhaps the Germans would become unsettled. No way!

Germany's response was devastating and awesome. The great German team machine clicked into gear and responded. Credit to Greece, they tried and made a game of it too, but Germany was far too strong and they won by four goals to two - five of the match's goals were scored in the second half. Greece were eventually four - one down but got a consolation goal at the end from the penalty spot to go out of the Euro 2012 competition 4-2. 

Germany's goals were excellent as her players really began to show what they are made of. Any team watching this side will be awe struck by what the Germans can do. However, there are so many good sides in this competition.

One Sunday 24th of June, England and Italy must compete to play the awesome Germany side in the semi-finals. I obviously would like to see England overcome Italy, but the Italians are a great side too. Of the sides left Germany, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and England. I think England might be the least favourite of these great teams at the moment, but on a given day; they could have the capability.

If I had to lay odds or gamble; I would go for a Spain v Germany final.

Ronnie Barker - Mispronunciation Comedy



Mispronunciation is always a cause for a giggle, but if you can do it and keep a straight face it becomes so much more laughable. I think British retro comedians explored these things and exploited them wonderfully. We still have fine comedians today, but much is based on cheap and vulgar hits on people, or so it seems. I'm not saying they were not vulgar in the past; but they often used more clever innuendo to soften the blow.

Friday, 22 June 2012

The Two Ronnies - Four Candles - Accent Confusion


This particular sketch from a British comedy show called 'The Two Ronnies' is one of the many retro classics that people always talk about. There are so many different types of accent across Britain and you only need travel 70 miles along a motor way to hear the difference in local dialect. Sometimes it is easy to misunderstand someone. In this sketch the point is really stretched and causes much laughter, because you can see the shopkeeper's point of view, yet understand the ignorant cockney who can't be too bothered by the store man's dilemma. 

Goldilocks Double Dutch by Stanley Unwin - Goldiloppers And The Three Bearloders




Another retro comedy star was Stanley Unwin. He always mixed his words up and spoke double Dutch or pigeon English. The strange thing was; everyone listened intently to try and decipher what he was saying. He would have small walk-on parts in movies and confuse everyone with his speech - yet somehow you grasped the gist of what he was trying to say. Once they had him talking about a government budget and he was a scream to listen to. The presenter remained serious and asked her political budget questions while Stanley Unwin spoke of the hardships the budget would cause to the average working Brit. He, of course, spoke in his usual confused mushy worded English. The funny thing was; you could grasp what he was saying. He made a living out of speaking like this because people wanted to try and decipher what he was saying. In the above clip, he tells the story of Goldilocks and the three Bears. Because you know the story you can grasp what he is saying - terrific fun to listen too...

The Beatles - Singing Paperback Writer



One of my favourite Beatles songs was Paperback Writer. I can remember when I was a kid and this song first came on the radio. I asked my mum who sung it. She was in the kitchen pottering about. When she said it was the Beatles, I felt a little dumb. For of course it was and I knew of them from news clippings and 'She Loves You - Yeah Yeah.' and 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' and many, many, more.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

He Who Dares Danny - Wellbeck Amazing Goal.




It is amazing how a game can change from being demoralising to one of pure joy. This hard fought 'rollacoaster of a ride' game between Sweden and England in the Euro 2012 finals had it all. England took the lead and then Sweden, our chief boggie team, came back and led 2-1. Theo Walcott came on for England and he levelled the scores to 2-2. Then Sweden and England went at each other, each side searching for that winning goal. England prevailed with this wonder goal form Danny Welbeck. The striker must be walking on air with super sub Theo Walcott. I had about 100 heart attacks watching this game.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Sir Prancelot UK kiddie TV series


I always remember this episode with Bert and Harry - the two soldiers on the Sir Prancelot odyssey in the travelling balloon. They aid the escape by sling shooting spaghetti at their assailants. Every evening there was a different episode. I used to like the end theme tune with the jester playing his lute like an electric guitar.


Why Vespasian the Roman Soldier Become the Nineth Emperor

Vespasian
I had to do a blog on Vespasian because he is one of my most favourite Roman Emperors. I think it is because I knew of his name long ago, though I did not know too much concerning him. I sort of stumbled upon things of interest when Vespasian was a soldier and thus he was propelled into my Retro Brit sphere of interest. He was about during some remarkable historical events and lived through the reign of some of the more dreadful times of Tiberius, the chief prefect Sejanus, Caligula, Claudius, Nero and the first three of the emperors during the 'Year of Four Emperors.' Vespasian was the fourth in the year of 'Four Emperors' and would have a non-threatening ten-year reign until his death in 79AD at the age of 69. He would be the first emperor to be succeeded by his son too.

Vespasian, as a man, was forth right and amiable and had a commanding presence. Perhaps overbearing among his equals.  He seems to have been a very hands on person and won the respect of his men in the Roman Army. He had little time for philosophers or artists and regarded them as unmanly dodgers of responsibility. Perhaps his opinion of Nero might have been guarded during that emperor's reign. He was also said to be quick witted and enjoyed off the cuff jokes.

He was born in 9AD and as a young man his family acquired status through senatorial bodies but were not connected to the ruling Julio/Claudian families. He went into the military and served for three years in Thrace (around Greece and Slavonic's areas) This was when he was around 18 to 21 years of age. He returned to Rome in 30 AD. It was during the reign of Emperor Tiberius, but the head of the Praetorian Guard was a virtual regent ruler. His name was Sejanus and this was one year before the over ambitious Prefect met his grisly end for all but trying to usurp his Emperor Tiberius.

After Emperor Tiberius came the dreadful reign of Caligula, though Vespasian was overseas in Crete and was able to stay out of this emperor's notice. After this short reign, a new emperor named Claudius came into power, and it was at this point that Vespasian's career began to take off.


He was made a Legate in the 2nd Legion in 41AD and was stationed on the German frontier. He saw some action here and was becoming well respected by his men. In 43 AD he led the 2nd Legion during the invasion of Britain and saw a great deal of campaigning including a siege of one of the many British hill forts. He won great acclaim for his command during this important historical period in Britain's history.

He saw many other tours of duty and gradually his men became very devoted to him. During the reign of Emperor Nero, he led the campaign against the revolt of Judea in 66AD. However, in 68 AD when he was about to lead a siege upon Jerusalem, Vespasian was brought the news of Emperor Nero's suicide.

The new emperor was a man called Galba and he was unpopular from the start. He failed to pay the Praetorian Guard for supporting his seizing of the Roman empire's throne and levied taxes upon provinces that made him more unpopular. He was assassinated in January of 69AD - the first of the emperors in the 'Year of Four Emperors.' 

A new emperor called Otho came about but his rule was immediately challenged by a man called Vitellius stationed with his Roman forces in Germany. So after failed attempts at mediation Otho and his forces marched north towards the Swiss Alps to confront Vitellius and his Roman forces of Germany. There were a few battles but in the end, Otho committed suicide for the good of Rome, allowing Vitellius to become the third emperor after only three months of rule by late Emperor Otho. 

The late Emperor Otho was actually respected by many of his men and the appointing of Vitellius finally brought Vespasian forward as a contender for the supreme rule of the vast Roman Empire. He also commanded great loyalty from his men and he challenged the legality of Emperor Vitellius. After seven months of civil strife, Emperor Vitellius finally conceded defeat and resigned from power. However, Vespasian's soldiers still set upon him and murdered the broken man when they entered Rome. There could be no room for future threats and Vitellius had made his dreadful mistake when challenging Emperor Otho eight months earlier. 

Vespasian was now Emperor with no more competitors and would rule for ten years until 79 AD. His rule was a good one and his son succeeded him. His prowess as a soldier before becoming emperor are what grab my interest most, especially his campaigns in Britain during the rule of Emperor Claudius.

Sources:

BBC HISTORY

THE ROMAN EMPIRE

UNRV HISTORY

BIO

Moyra Melons Interview Ear Rings

Moyra Melons was very pleased with her new sky blue ear rings that matched her wonderful sky blue jacket and skirt. This was the outfit she thought to wear during an interview for a new job. She was hoping to gain a promotion and wanted to create a good impression. As usual, she waited for her husband's valued opinion concerning such matters and so, with great aplomb, and a little charming start from his hard days work; her husband walked through the living room door and was confronted by his darling wife, as you - the reader see her in this photo, sitting in the armchair. One might imagine the Wow! factor blowing a few cobwebs from tired eyes.

"Do these create an impression with this?" she asked doing the buttons up on her delicate light blue jacket. "I thought this pair of shapely ovoid ..."

"Stop, stop Moyra!" called her excited husband, coming over in a heart pulsating, flush. "Please say no more."

"You don't approve of them darling?" asked Moyra, a little confused, for she thought her ear rings were wonderful.

"Moyra, my absolute darling, they are the most wonderful, round and wholesome..."

"...Ear rings you have seen," finished Moyra clapping her hands in delight. "I want them to stand out and be noticed - I want them to scream out for attention."

"I'll give them some expert attention," replied her husband as he closed the door.

And guess what? He really did give them some very serious attention. Would you, the reader, give the lush Moyra Melons the benefit of such divine attention, concerning her large, round and fulsome ear rings, if you were her husband?




Ghoulish Remains of Vampires Found by Archaelogists.

Bulgarian Archaeologists dig up Vampire remains
Since fictional knowledge of supernatural creatures, such as vampires, came into our minds through stories, etc; many of us have wanted to believe in such beings. Over time we have even twisted and re-fashioned them into anti-heroes, convincing ourselves they live among us secretly and preserve some strange good. We re-invent them as beautiful Gothic type creatures that we might want to fall in love with. I think some of these strange Goth dressed teenagers, of today, would run headlong into the path of a vampire to be bitten into the supernatural world of such beings. We even have loads of tv, books and film series based on such things. However, this is all fantasy, but the original folklore comes from rural Balkan people and their belief of such things. Vampires were very real, to these people, at one time, and because of such beliefs; they often did things from hysteria and panic concerning their conviction of vampires. 


In remote areas of Eastern Europe, the people have always harboured a fear and belief of vampires. Such creatures were not so pretty to the small perspective of peasant villagers and the remote type of world they lived in. Even up to a few decades past. Often people, believed to be vampires, were buried with stakes through their heart to stop them returning as undead supernatural beings. Often they were visualised as the rotting flesh of dead people walking about, but sometimes possessing abilities to portray an image of allurement to deceive a victim into thinking they were an image of love.


Recently in Bulgaria, archaeologists found two medieval skeletons pierced through the chest with iron rods to supposedly stop them from turning into vampires. The discovery highlights the dreadful belief and practise common in some villages up until a century ago, say historians.

People suspected of becoming undead (vampires) had their hearts stabbed after death, for fear they would return to feast on living humans' blood.

Many such archaeological sites get unearthed in countries throughout the Balkan region as this area is home to a great number of vampire burial grounds.

In the photo at the very top of the blog, searchers came by two specimens in their graves, dating back to the Middle Ages, in the Black Sea town of Sozopol. The skeletons were stabbed with rods betraying a practise which was common in many Bulgarian villages up until around 1910 of the 20th Century. This is according to Bozhidar Dimitrov who is based at the National History Museum in the Bulgaria's capital city, Sofia.

People believed the stake would impale the undead to their graves thus preventing the 'believed' vampire  from leaving the grave at night to roam and terrorise the living.

In 2004, archaeologists discovered another six nailed-down skeletons at a site near the eastern Bulgarian town of Debelt. These ghoulish religious rites were also practised in neighbouring Serbia and too.

Vampire legends form an important part of the region's folklore. The most famous tale is that of Romanian count Vlad the Impaler, known as Dracula, who staked his war enemies and drank their blood.  Also a Hungarian Countess that was tried for such things concerning bathing in virgin blood.

The myth inspired Irish writer, Bram Stoker, to create his legendary Gothic horror novel, Dracula, which was first published in 1897 and has since been turned into numerous film versions.