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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Bird and Fortune Comady Duo


It was with great sadness that one of the long Johns passed away. John Fortune had a face that could talk to the viewer without saying a word. He had some wonderful expressions that complimented the double act he did with John Bird.
Sometimes John Fortune would be the interviewer while John Bird would be the politician who talked himself into a dilemma or visa verse. Together they did some cracking sketches and at times they had me in fits of laughter. John Fortune sometimes had the ability to stare with stunned silence and raised disbelieving eye-brows while his nodding head lied to the man being interviewed.
Sadly we will see no more of this great comedy duo.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Last Days of Thunder Child by C.A. Powell - Pastiche Novel


A pastiche novel of HMS Thunder Child from H.G.Wells' War of the World. It is not available in the UK or Europe until 2017. It is, however, on sale in USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
 
This exciting extrapolation takes the reader into the War of the Worlds during the Victorian era. The science fiction story is now also an alternative reality story today. We follow the Thunder Child and her crew as she goes on her doomed voyage while on land we follow the adventures of Mister Stanley - the MOD man who gave Thunder Child her last mission. He is linked to the ship's destiny from start to finish. 
 
The book has been re-edited with a larger font for readers, making the experience all the more enjoyable.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Ratecatcher - A story of a Bow Street Runner by James McGee


I really enjoyed this tale and bought it as a collection of the three first stories of Hawkwood. The reader is introduced to the plot and character gradually via the run down slums and hardships of low life city of London classes. We see our Bow street runner walking amid this twisted world. However, in high office, upper crust people, of the ruling establishment, feed the reader insight to our rudely drawn hero, during private idol gossip or accountability appraisals. The plot of the story moves along nicely too, with good developing intrigue that held my attention. I'm assuming the period is around 1810 to 1820. The Napoleonic war is still going or just over. So we are in this time frame.

Its all put together wonderfully well with atmospheric descriptions of the run down city streets. These very streets, that are today; parts of the affluent West End. Its a bit like imagining Canary Wharf of Docklands before it was converted to a more affluent status.

The upper class gossip concerning the history of our 'frayed around the edges' Bow Street Runner comes in drips of dialogue and helps to form a gradual, more in depth picture, of our hard, modest, pony-tailed hero. All this high profile gossip and chatter is an added sideshow that is clever decoration for the first adventure of Matthew Hawkwood.

Ratcatcher is a terrific read and I look forward to reading other novels in this series. I would not be too surprised if we get a future TV series from this.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Dreamy Future of Youth and Dear Prudence by Siouxie and the Banshees



I never thought these days would change. I was young and the world of life was a vast unseen horizon stretching out before me.

Nothing stays the same, but sometimes when I hear these great sounds, it takes me back to when I was naive enough to believe that life was a beautiful dreamy future waiting for me with open arms.

Perhaps it was, but somewhere along the way the tinsel and glamour of it all diminished. I did not see the change each day, but when I hear these lovely sounds; I realise then; that somewhere through the journey of life, little bits of joyful expectation fell away.

Where and when I cannot say, but for a while I can listen and remember before such things fell away. I think rock stars of all eras make little moments in eternity that we can take for our own private use. We store things in our own personnel cupboards and we bring them out every now and then.






Mis-representation of UKIP by American Magazine Reporter Dennis Campbell


 
 
This man (Dennis Campbell) is portraying the idea of UKIP being right wing. This is sincerely wrong. They draw support from many fractions of the UK including left wing working class Labour supporters. Portraying them (UKIP) as far right is very mis-leading indeed. Over 5 million eastern Europeans and other none European immigrants have come to the UK in a decade. The population has gone from 57 million to over 63 million plus. That is what is admitted to. When you walk around little country towns, people are speaking in all languages and we feel like foreigners in my own country.

The 'only white people would be around' comment Dennis Campbell made is honestly offensive. Many people are rightly concerned that there are too many migrants coming to Britain and age is not conditioned by pro and anti EU. This problem goes across the spectrum and many UKIP supporters are Black British. It is not a whites only club and the migrants are mainly white Europeans that are causing concern.

These migrant people are not bad, but there are too many. The EU's policy of free movement of people was well meant, but it has caused a big problem of welfare benefit migrants - a problem that was not foreseen and something that the EU refuses to tackle. This is unfair on many eastern Europeans who work hard. However, as decent as these people are; there are far too many of them in the UK, Germany and other nations that have decent welfare benefit systems. Brits are not the only ones worrying about this issue.

When any Brit tries to say something they are labelled fascist or raceist. This is wrong and Dennis Campbell's term of 'we' during his talk, seems very strange. We Brits all like going to Europe and like Europeans. Even the Brits who don't want to be part of the EU.

Our problem is not with fellow Europeans, but many Brits are questioning the governing body of the European Union - a parliament with an unelected president. We Brits are putting on the brakes and want a debate on these obvious problems. No one listens and now UKIP have taken up the banner. There are many people in other European nations that have the same fears. Britain is just more vocal against the unelected body in the EU. The Brit EU politicians who have been voted in by British voters to argue such things are UKIP. They sit in the EU Parliament elected, and argue with the higher officials that have power because it was given to them by a committee, and not the 500 million European peoples who should have had a chance to elect such important people.

Most of these unelected people are failed left wing socialists who could not get elected in their own nations. We have British socialists among the number - Neil Kinnock who lost his election campaign against Margaret Thatcher - three times disgraced Nigel Mandleson who can no longer be in the forefront of home politics so he gets on the EU gravy train. There is no example set to the good minded EU electorate believers, that alone the Euro-sceptics. This top gun click of the EU does seem like an unelected 'socialists only club' to coin a Dennis Campbell way of putting things.

Sooner or later these socialists will run out of other peoples money to spend and borrow. The unelected fractions of the parliament will not change and Brits are beginning to lose faith in trying to correct this dire situation. We search for allies among the Germans, Dutch and other nations. However, there does not seem to be anyone vocal enough to stand up to the unelected few who wield the power.

Therefore the exit answer is the only one that seems to remain to the continuing problem. Brits are being forced out of the EU by the intransigence of the EU.

 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Retro 80s UK XTC - New Wave







Old German WWI Submarine found off Sore of UK. (Newspaper Report)














A Newspaper report about a lost WWI German Uboat


Now, following an investigation by experts for English Heritage, the hull of a First World War German submarine has finally given up its secrets.

As part of a major project to mark next year’s centenary of the conflict’s outbreak, marine archaeologists have conducted research into the shipwreck to establish its identity and piece together its final journey.

The vessel, on a creek off the River Medway, is thought to be the only wrecked submarine from the conflict which can be seen from British shores. It is almost completely exposed at low tide and can, with caution, be visited.

It was previously thought to be one of either U122, U123 or UB 122, but following the investigation, the team believe they can discount the first two, which were minelayers, because they would have been larger in size.

 According to the team’s research, the vessel, captained by Oberleutnant zur See Alexander Magnus, had surrendered at the end of the war, and been taken to Britain. It had later been towed up the Medway to Halling, where its diesel engines were removed and fitted at a local cement works.

In 1921, it was being taken back down the river, towards the Thames Estuary to be further dismantled, when its tow broke and it was swept ashore, coming to rest in Humble Bee Creek, near to the Isle of Grain, where it remains.

The vessel had been one of the most advanced submarines of the German fleet, being launched in February 1918, at a yard in Bremen. It was a Type UB III, coastal patrol submarine and would have carried 10 torpedoes, with a crew of 34 and a cruising range of 7,200-9,000 miles. The vessel undertook just two patrols before the end of the war and failed to sink any Allied shipping.

After the armistice, it and other u-boats were surrendered to the allies. In November 1918, a total of 114 U boats were taken into Harwich harbour.

Some were subsequently given to France as part of the war reparations package, but most, like UB 122 were consigned for scrap. Before being broken up, the vessels’ components were removed and, where possible, recycled, hence UB 122’s trip up the Medway.

It was one of six u-boats to be lost after the war, while under tow on their way to be broken up. One, U-118, washed up on Hastings beach, where it became a tourist attraction until it was scrapped where it was. UB 122 was simply left in situ.

Mark Dunkley a marine archaeologist with EH said: “For most people, u-boats are out of sight. We know many were lost during the First and Second World War. For those that live on the coast, this is a tangible and visible reminder of those that lost their lives at sea.”

It has been surveyed by experts from Cotswold Archaeology as part of an English Heritage scheme to locate dozens of British and German submarines which sank off the coast of England during the First World War. The project, to last for another four years, will involve identification and analysis of all submarine shipwrecks from the period which are within territorial waters - 12 miles from the coast.

Preliminary research by the team, studying historical records, identified three British and 41 German submarines from the conflict which are known to have sunk in the area. The locations of some of these have already been established, but others have yet to be discovered.

Although most associated with the Second World War, submarine warfare was first deployed during the earlier conflict, as German U-boats attempted to cut supply lines into and around the British Isles, while Royal Navy vessels patrolled in search of enemy ships.

At the start of the war, submarines were supposed to abide by international rules, under which they were supposed to allow the crews of merchant ships to get to safety before sinking their vessels.

But this swiftly became impractical and led to the adoption of unrestricted submarine warfare by Germany, which, nearly brought Britain to its knees in 1917.

During the course of the war, German U-boats sank more than 12 million tons of shipping - around 5,000 ships - with the loss of 178 submarines and almost 5,000 men killed. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Scotland and England Relationship.



A YouTube video of Scotty. 

I don't always agree with Scotty on historical things but he makes a lot of entertaining and thought provoking clips. I get all passionate when England play Scotland in football or Rugby. The thought of losing against them and suffering a year of bragging rites is horrendous.

When they (Scotland) play other national teams, I don't like seeing them defeated, but don't get too bothered about it if they do lose. I find many Scots to be argumentative and find them generally disagreeable in their views. Perhaps its me? I just find Scots to be often cynical about lots of issues. They see glory over grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory and sing songs about a bold prince that run away after such a dire undertaking.

However, I also know of lines of Highlanders standing in squares at Waterloo and this Scottish King that came down to London in 1603 with a grand idea of forming Great Britain. We English were not too enthusiastic about it. We did not like the Union Jack because the cross of Saint Andrew was of equal importance to the Cross of Saint George. How very wrong we English were and how far sighted the Scottish King James VI was when he became King James I of England.

The thought of Scotland leaving the UK is extremely sad and something I would genuinely hate to see. I find Scots very trying most of the time, but I still vote for the best Briton in elections. Being English, Scottish or Welsh does not come into it when I think of the UK. I'm English and a Brit. As a Brit, I'm proud of all Brits, including the founders of the Union.





Ripper Street - British Victorian Period Setting Crime Drama

I have been thrilled by the Ripper street TV series depicting the trials and tribulations of Lemon street policemen in East London during the late Victorian era. The stories begin just months after the last Jack the Ripper murder and no one knows what has become of the serial killer. Will the enigma strike again? When?

Amid this tense and paranoid time, other murders are going on as per usual and the viewer is taken on a roller coaster ride of various types of crimes delving into the shadier side of Victorian society. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every episode from series one and series two. This joint British/American funded show has been splendid.

I have heard that the BBC has pulled the plug on the show. Why? I cannot say! What the heck is wrong with the BBC? Every time they get something good going; they abandon the thing. I know there is only so much that can be done, but as far as Ripper Street was going; there was much more to be explored and exploited. I do hope the powers that be reconsider this dynamic and thoroughly entertaining show. Please let us have a series three.



I knew two policemen from Lemon Street Police station. They served during the 1940s 50s and 60s. One was a Scotsman from Glasgow called Jock Hunter and the other was an Irishman from Cork called Johnny Holland. During their era, they saw some of the notorious villains of these decades, including the Kray twins.  

Monday, 18 November 2013

Boudicca and Cartimandua - Ancient British Queens meet




This is a new cover for the novel; Meeting Boudicca. It is a fictional story of a secret encounter between the Iceni Warrior Queen and Cartimandua of Brigantes. When Boudicca lost her final battle against the Roman Empire she went into the wilderness to take poison and die. Her body was never found.

However, prior to ending her life and leaving the cruel world of Roman Britain, the warrior queen must play one last part in the drama of another British queen of the Brigantes. Her name was Cartimandua. She was everything that Boudicca was not. A friend of Rome.


Sunday, 17 November 2013

George Orwell's Writing of Homage to Catalonia



George Orwell is an enigma to me - a very great one. I just get engrossed in anything he has written. He has the ability to be depressing, defeatist, morose - yet I can't put down anything he writes. I've never know anyone as compelling as this man was.
 
This is another tale of his soul searching exploits during the Spanish Civil War. I think this is the pinnacle of his life time endeavour and real sacrifice for an alternative way of life via socialism.
 
This is the journey, through his remarkable life, where I believe he realised equality can't work, especially trying to fight in the anarchist's brigade during this terrible civil war in Spain.
 
After this came Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four. Orwell's works are a stage through the journey of his deep thinking life. Sometimes via essays, auto biographical or fiction.
 
This author is truly brilliant and you can see the development of his thinking if you read his publications in order.
 
Homage to Catalonia is a very important book - a very important book indeed.

 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

James Hunt's Son Tom Hunt In Interview.

video
 
Tom Hunt, the son, of the late James Hunt - British Formula one racer of the seventies decade. Here Tom Hunt talks of memories concerning his late father and the new film called Rush. It concerns the rivalry and friendship between Niki Lauda, the Austrian Formula 1 driver, and James Hunt. Both were in the McLaren racing team of 1976. The movie follows the Formula 1 competition in which Niki Lauda had the horrific crash and then went back to his racing car six weeks later.  
 
 
It was James Hunt's only Formula 1 championship competition win and follows his flamboyant playboy lifestyle alongside his rivalry and friendship with the dynamic young Austrian driver who won three Formula 1 championship competitions in 1975, 1977 and 1984.
 
Tom Hunt was only seven when his father, James Hunt, died of a heart attack in 1993 at the age of 45. The film set in 1976 is when James Hunt was in his late twenties, ten years before Tom Hunt was born. The film has had sound reviews and caused great interest from many people, including Niki Lauda who is now 64 and helped director Ron Howard with the film.
 
 


Thursday, 14 November 2013

Thomas Plunket - The Sharpshooting Irishman of the Napoleonic Peninsula War in 1809


As Thomas Plunket fired his dynamic shot most believed he reclined in this manner.

Some say November 1808 and other reports say early January 1809. Well, it was during the Peninsula War and Britain was retreating before the French forces of Napoleon’s army. Sir John Moore was head of the British army at this time before Sir Arthur Wellesley (AKA Duke of Wellington) took over. This was a dire time for Britain and the French were almost routeing many parts of the rapidly retreating British as they made towards a port called A Coruna in Spain.

One body of the British army had maintained discipline and these particular men were of a special rifle brigade of sharpshooters called the 95th Rifles. They wore a green uniform and stood apart from the scarlet jackets of other British foot soldiers.  These men carried special Baker rifles that differed from the muskets of the rest of the British army. They were often at the rear guard of the failing forces, trying to buy time for the retreating army. The sharpshooters of the green-jacketed 95th rifles would target the advancing French, trying to halt the enemy advance as best as possible.

The last of Sir John Moore’s British Army, led by Henry Paget (Lord Paget) arrived at a bridge outside a small Spanish village called Cacabelos. These men were the stragglers making for A Coruna. Also by the bridge was a group of the sharp shooter green jackets of 95th rifles. There had been rioting and confusion at Cacabelos and as the order was being restored to guide British soldiers over the bridge, reports were brought before Henry Paget of advancing French Chasseurs – dreaded cavalry units of the French Napoleonic army.

These mounted French forces were led by Brigadier General Auguste Francois – Marie de Colbert – Chabanais – a thirty-one-year-old veteran of many battles, including Egypt, Marengo, Austerlitz and many other campaigns. By all accounts, he was a charismatic heroic young officer that made his way up through the ranks from the start of the French revolutionary wars. On this particular day, he came upon this staggered formation of the retreating British soldiers and managed to capture fifty of them. He saw more British soldiers making for the Bridge and decided to press home his advantage. However, he noted the British positions of defence and decided to form his cavalry in formation for the proper attack.

 As Colbert led his mount forward, a shot rang out well beyond the normal range of 200 to 300 meters. The gallant French cavalry officer was struck in the head by the projectile and he fell back upon his mount and slid down onto the snow layered ground. His fellow cavalrymen looked on in shock and bewilderment. All believed General Marie de Colbert to be out of range and in an area of relative safety. 

All the British soldiers would have assumed so too. All except one 95th rifleman of the British forces. The shot was fired by an Irishman of the 95th called Thomas Plunket. The sharp shooter hit Colbert from beyond the normal range of expected accuracy. As the Irishman began to withdraw and reload his Baker rifle he stopped once more and fired a second shot. He killed another officer riding to aid the already stricken Brigadier General of the French Chasseurs. In one fatal moment, the enigmatic young French officer was no more. The sharp shooter of the British army had dealt a vicious blow to the French cavalry as a minor battle ensued. Around 200 men on either side were killed before the French halted and the British withdrew in the enveloping darkness.

Thomas Plunket's shot was a mind blowing distance of the time.

Some say Thomas Plunket’s shot was around 600m though many rightly challenge that. However, most believe it was in excess of 300m and the Irish sharpshooter performed this task twice killing two high-ranking officers of the French cavalry. This was witnessed by Henry Paget and Sir John Moore from a hilltop overlooking the action. Again, this account is questioned. It seems distance and reality might have been twisted when the story was recounted sometime later. Some accounts say Thomas Plunket advanced to meet the enemy before laying upon his back and steadying the rifle with his foot. This advance could have cut the distance down from some of the exaggerated accounts. However, the undeniable fact is, that Thomas Plunket shot and killed two officers of the French Chasseurs.

Thomas Plunket went through the entire Peninsula War and saw the final victory in that theatre of the campaign under the Duke of Wellington. He would later take part in the Hundred Days War when Napoleon returned from exile on the island of Elba. During the Battle of Waterloo, Thomas Plunket was wounded, but he still survived. He recovered from a wound to the head and was discharged from the army. He was awarded 6d a day pension but re-enlisted back into the army where an officer who knew him, got his pension awarded to one shilling a day and rank of corporal. No one knew exactly the year Thomas Plunket was born in Ireland. It is possible he may not have known this either. He died in Colchester, England in 1851 and is remembered in history for his exceptionally long range shot that killed Brigadier General Auguste Francois – Marie de Colbert- Chabanais of the French Chasseurs.


1. Frenchempire.net http://www.frenchempire.net/biographies/colbert3/
2. Napoleon-series.org http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/biographies/c_plunkett.html







Wednesday, 13 November 2013

German Tiger II Tank WWII


 
This ferocious piece of engineering was an absolute beast. It was dreaded by all allied forces through out World War II and in all theatres of campaign. The Tiger II was an impressive upgrade and was produced from 1943 to 1945.
 
Its main service was from 1944 to 1945 - coming into service when Nazi Germany was already losing the war. If such a heavy armoured tank had been in production when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, one shudders at the thought. The tanks official title was; Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B. As previously mentioned, the tank was an upgrade, hence the B, but it was shortened to Tiger B or Tiger II as we commonly know the tank today. There are still some left in various museums around the world, including UK Bovington Museum. 
 
The Tiger II made its infamous presence known to the allies during the Normandy campaign on 11th July 1944 and went into service on the Eastern front against Soviet forces on 1st September 1944. The were used by the German Army and Waffen-SS. Sometimes Germans refereed to the Tiger II as Königstiger. This translated means Bengal Tiger.
 
 

 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Moyra Melons Purple Ear Rings

When Moyra Melons' poor husband went up stairs to go to bed, he was confronted by her in a new bedtime outfit.

"Do you think the purple ear rings are a little over the top?" She asked him.

He, of course, stuttered a little and coughed. "Well... I think they go very well with the rest of your night attire dear."

"Really," she replied encouraged. "So they were a good choice?"

"An exceptionally good one dear, but they might not match your night attire for too long. Perhaps another colour, like flesh pink would have been more appropriate."

"Flesh pink?" Moyra looked a little perplexed.

"Yes, you'll understand in due course I'm sure," replied her husband feeling that 'Devil may care caveman" feeling rushing all over him.

"Are you alright?" enquired Moyra. "How do you feel?"

"Like I've just slain a dragoon and now I want my booby prize."

"Booby prize?" replied Moyra Melons.

The bedroom door slammed shut and in no time at all, Moyra Melons realised why she might have been better off with flesh coloured ear rings to match a different type of suit from the purple one she had been wearing.




 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Great Overload Image


Overload get a graffiti image, which I think looks great. I don't think this picture is in UK, but somewhere in Europe. I wonder where? Does anyone know>

Saturday, 12 October 2013

RyRy of Overload.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBC3q5BAKGo



I was very proud to see my youngest son RyRy performing at the Wembley arena on Saturday 12th October. I wished I could have been there to watch his first live gig with Overload, but found this clip of him on YouTube. Therefore, whoever took the shot, much thanks and hope you don't mind me blogging it.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Extra-terrestrial Life Discovered in Earth's Stratosphere.




Extra-terrestrial life has been discovered by Brit students at Sheffield University. Not bug eyed green monsters but microscopic from meteor showers. The scientific investigators have isolated the microbes from weather balloons high in the stratosphere and have quarantined them from infection by Earth microbes. They seem convinced the micro-organisms are alien and from meteor showers that broke up upon hitting Earth atmosphere. 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Japan Builds Huge Aircraft Carrier

video

Japan has built a huge state of the art Aircraft Carrier. Its the biggest in the world according to news sources.

Nigel Farage of UKIP talks to Australian tv news about Britain leaving the EU



The UK looks more and more likely to leave the EU. It would mean an end to over regulation for UK industries and UKIP think this would bring about smaller business economic growth.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Mum's Notes from the Early 60s

Mum's notes from early 1960s.



When I was a kid I stumbled upon these old notes in the back of a pocket Oxford dictionary. They were my Mothers and she had aquired the book on 11th October 1958. The front page reads:





Miss Shirley Hayward
52 Gough Grove
Poplar
London. E14





My Mother and Father were married in 1960 and I was born in February of 1961. Today is 14th February 2010 - one day after my forty nineth birthday. The next one is the big 50. Today I visited my mother and she dug out the old dictionary and gave it to me. I was pleased to recieve this because I thought it was lost back in the late seventies, because that was the last time I remembered reading it. I have come home and photocopied the pages and pasted them on this blog. They might be of interest to some people who like such rum little ditties. They are written blogs on each year - small notes of things in her life and mention of the bad winter snow of 1963, the US President's assasination in 63 and Winston Churchill's death in 65, plus other things concerning our family. To me, these notes are special because they start just before my first birthday in January 1962. I was so pleased my Mum came upon these and it was a nice little unexpected suprise when she dug the book out and gave it to me for a keep sake.





You will need to click on each page to see whole page layout. When you have done this, if you click onto page along the top lefthand tool bar, go down to zoom and click 150% then you will get larger text and be able to read the writing more clearly.































Sunday, 25 August 2013

GIVING YOU WAR OF THE WORLDS' HMS THUNDER CHILD AND HER HEROIC ADVENTURE



If you live in the USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA or NEW ZEALAND you can download this on Kindle or buy in print from Amazon. Check it out and come aboard HMS Thunder Child in 1898 as she embarks on her doomed and heroic voyage fighting the Martian tripods that have invaded Earth in this Retro Sci/Fi or alternative history story - a pastiche perspective of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS gives new meaning from the eyes of the ironclad Royal Navy crew.

Get: The Last Days Of Thunder Child










 .


Saturday, 24 August 2013

My Dad Always Seemed to be Messing About with Cars.

My Dad's 1947 Austin 16
My Dad and I about 1962/1963
An old Austin 16 made 1947. The picture is taken in 1963 with my Dad and me. I can't help thinking what these old cars would be worth now. I would love to go back in time and get one of them and bring it back in such condition.

My Dad and me in the early 60s
Dad and Me
My Dad and I in the early sixties. I've been wading through photos and thought I might play safe and not lose them if I put them in a blog space. I was born in 1961, so I'm guessing this is about 1963. I'm obviously enjoying the day, but I don't know where it was taken. In the background, there are a lot of other people who seem to be enjoying a day out. It might be Theydon Boyes, Essex, England - we used to go there a lot.

My Dad's Wolseley 680 (1954 Model)
My Dad, my Sister and Me
When I was a kid I thought this car was very big. We lived near Limehouse but we would always go away to places in Kent. Not many of the other kid's parents had cars but my Dad always seemed to have one and he was always tinkering about with them. That's me on the right of the picture and my sister and Dad on the left. It was a Wolseley 680 and was built in 1954. The picture is about 1965. I wonder what a car like that would be worth now? It was probably an old banger by then, but now it would be a vintage classic car. I can remember them well when I was a kid, but they did seem to vanish from the roads very quickly. I can't recall seeing many by the 1970s. I really like the retro look of the old British Cars and back then, almost every car on the roads of Britain, where British made motors. I would love to see one that has been restored to its former 1950s glory - they looked great.
Dad on left, Bushie Cauldroy in middle and unknown friend on right
The year is about 1958 and the man with dark hair on the left is my father Alan Powell. The three squaddies are at a British Army Barracks in Germany (Herfad) and he is doing his national service. The man in the middle is called Bushy. I think it might be Bushy Couldroy or something like that. He remained friends with my Dad when they both left the army. I think he worked on fruit and veg running a stall or shop along Burdett Road near Mile End station in East London. I can vaguely remember him in the 1960s as a kid, but by about 1968 they had lost contact.

I don't know who the bloke on the right is, but he obviously does - he has written 'ME' on the photo with an arrow pointing to himself. All three were great Army buddies and spent their national service together. My Dad on the left is now 72 years of age and his hair is white, but still very thick with a Teddy boy bung hanging forward from the top - he has put on a little more weight, as can be expected, but he is still fit and up and about in Hornchurch, Essex.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Sunday, 11 August 2013

The World Sort of Dawned on Me and then Elaine Happened


My little sister just seemed to gate crash the whole sha-bang of my early life. I remember often going out along the streets of East London's, Mile End, holding my mothers hand as she took me to the shops. I can remember the big red Route master double decker buses, the black taxis, yellow three wheeled scamel trucks - the main road was full of traffic and everything seemed busy and flowing. I had toy cars of all the vehicles, I looked at. Matchbox made all designs and I remember constantly playing with such toys knowing I saw the designs along the main roads. The world was delightful place and often I recall people making a fuss of me when I was out with my Mum.

Then I seem to recall, standing by a pram by the front door one day waiting for my mum to emerge so we could go to the shops. She came out holding a shawl with my sister's new born head sicking out of it. I'm only eighteen months older then my sister Elaine, but my memory goes back in little flashes, especially the buses, and the taxis, and the shops that I went to. But then one day, my baby sister was there in a shawl. Where did this little person come from? When did she happen?

I remember it was the first time I realised there was another small person in the house. Not just me, Mum and Dad. For the life of me, I can't remember my sister before that. I have no recollection of my mum going away or giving birth. I don't remember a pram or cot with a baby crying in the house before that. I remember being surprised that this baby suddenly appeared when my Mum went back indoors while I was standing next to a pram, but it was not her pram. I was walking but there was a pram before? I knew she went into shops and bought things. I know she bought food in fruit and veg shops, and meat in butchers, and toy cars in toy shops for me, but I could not recall her buying this little baby in a shawl.
I did not have a great deal of interest in Elaine at first because she drank milk from a bottle and cried a lot. She had no interest in cars like my cousins or the neighbours' children, and I could not make out what use she was. When she got older, she had a dummy in her mouth and seemed to like dolls, cuddly bears and a toy pram. I thought this was all rather yucky and boring.
Then one day I remember she was not at home and I grasped she had become ill and taken to hospital. She had caught pneumonia which I was unaware of at the time. I just knew she had gone to hospital, but I thought it was because she cried a lot. Maybe in hospital they might fix the crying. She seemed to be gone a long time and I remember being a little surprised when my Aunt Joan brought me home from playing with my cousin Johnny one day.
Elaine, my sister, was back home in the living room with my Mum, Dad and my Grandfather. Elaine just said to me; "Colin look at this." It was as though she had not even been away or missed me at all.
I went to the armchair and she had some of my toy cars laid out on the chair and was playing with them. I remember thinking the hospital had made her so better that she could now play with cars like the boys. She still played with dolls and prams after, but she knew how to play with cars too.
As we grew up together, we often had our own silly way of saying things. One such sentence that we always used was as follows: "For the last of the old cegg eggs!"
We used it instead of saying: "please try and understand."
I don't know where it came from but we used to say it to each other often, even when we were teenagers. If I could not understand something and Elaine was becoming frustrated at her attempts to get through to me, or visa verse; we would say it as though exasperated. "For the last of the old cegg eggs." One more time - one more try - for God's sake try and understand. 
She was always very determined as a little girl and was usually good at everything she did. At school she was the brightest in the class and while learning to read and write she had a better and faster learning ability than me. I was not dumb or anything, but just the average plodder. Elaine seemed to excel in her education.
We both grew up and Elaine married, I got married too, and had loads of kids, between us. My Mum and Dad were swamped with grandchildren from two off spring. I have four sons and four grand daughters plus one grand son. Elaine has four sons and one daughter and her first grand daughter too. She lives in Cambridgeshire and has riding stables and paddocks and became a deputy head Mistress at an all girls high school. It's hard to imagine her as that little crying baby that gate-crashed my life back in 1962. She's 50 now and when I visit my Mum who lives close by we laugh at Elaine and her antics. She talks to everyone as though we are pupils in her school.
My Dad says so too, but we do love her very much and she never stops having get up and go ideas. She just seems to want to take everyone, in proximity, with her. I tend to keep my distance in case I get caught up mucking out horse stables. LOL.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

White Noise of the Adult World and Betting Shops




I like all little memories that take me back. Don't get me wrong; I love the way things are today, despite the endless bad news. I would say there has always been bad news on television. I remember old people saying; "it wasn't like that in my day."

No it was bloody worse - they had the depression, national strikes and two world wars. Today is much better and I am very contented and think things are progressing. We just don't always appreciate this.

I don't have a great deal to gripe about really except I would like to earn a lot more money than I do, but then, so do multi-millionaires. So, I'm in the same boat as a multi-millionaire. They just have better seats then me; that's all.

Back in the days of my childhood, I had a blissfully happy and ignorant time. I looked out at the world through very innocent eyes and always had a habit of getting the wrong end of the stick. I think the adult world was a place of white noise that went on around me and often snippets of information were wonderfully misconstrued.

As a kid, I was incredibly naive and sometimes I enjoy that innocence even now when I think back. I, of course, had a very over inflated opinion of myself. I thought I would grow up and be a dynamite footballer – play for England one day – score all the goals in a World Cup final – become Prime Minister and re-build the British Empire – and all that before breakfast… LOL.

I knew I lived on an island surrounded by sea and the world beyond was a wilderness where countries like France, Germany and Holland lived. These poor people couldn’t speak properly because they were not British. I also felt it was my duty to feel incredibly sorry for these foreign people because they were not British and that God might look down on me and be pleased at such charitable thoughts.

I imagined that all these foreign people longed to be British and had an abstract picture of them wishing to be as lucky as me. I thought it was a tremendously sad thing and was ever so shocked when I found out most foreigners were happy being who they were and the thought of being British might be very unappealing. I was flabbergasted by this and thought it was because they lacked the ed-umy-cation. My dear old Nan told me that and I loved her very much. I also felt cheated of so much sympathy I had lavished upon these ungrateful people and felt rather indignant that they might not wish to be British. Who would not wish to be British?

Another thing that springs to mind is betting shops. I had big ideas about betting shops and an awesome misunderstanding of betting shops. For the life of me, I could not understand why little kids were not allowed in betting shops. They were places where a group of silly grown up blokes sat around a table talking about things until one turned to the other and said, "No it's not."

Then the man, talking in the first place insists, "Yes, it is so."

Then both men would hold out a hand to shake and say, "Want a bet on it."

To the little boy me; this is what betting shops were all about – simple – no problem – nothing to it.

What was so adult about, 'want a bet on it?'

I said it all the time with my class mates at school and I was dashed good at it.

I remember winning a bet with a kid in class. He said Batman could fly and I said, “No he can’t, want a bet on it?” Needless to say I came out of the ‘want a bet on it’ clash with honours intact.’

I remember standing in the school playground afterwards and looking up at the blue sky. I was shaking my head despairingly, during one of my deep moments, and thinking, “If only my Dad could see sense and take me to the betting shop. He would win loads of bets.”

I knew my Dad went to the betting shop because he couldn't stand watching those boring horses running along a grass track. I found them blooming boring too, so why the heck could he not take me with him to the betting shop? He always seemed to shoot off before they came on the television.

In my mind’s eye I could see my Dad walking down the street with me by his side, while adoring neighbours looked on whispering; “There goes Powell and Son – the champions of the betting shop.” I, of course, was my Dad’s secret weapon and had won loads of ‘want a bet on it’ contests for him and he would be parading me around very proud of our united reputations.

I couldn’t wait to grow up – Britain was waiting with open arms for astute little chap like me.