Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Sixties - real or imagined?

I've had the laziest day I've had in weeks. Shopping this morning at Sainsbury's, bought some pastels from Hobbycraft in Hull to help me in my portrait drawing and paid the paper bill at the newsagents (I wouldn't care, it's for magazines and none of them for me!) Other than that, I had a snooze this afternoon after lunch and watched a bit of the England versus Bangladesh cricket this afternoon - I know how to party!

It's a long while since I did a memory test on here which is a great exercise. I was thinking this morning that while I love music, I know little about it. That became obvious at the end of course 'disco' at the bar at the psychic college in Essex a couple of weeks ago. Everyone was singing along with the words to the songs as I made some strange awkward alleged dancing movements, and all I knew were some popular one-liner choruses. I wondered what happened to the sixties?

You would imagine as a child in the formative part of his life in the sixties, that I would be very knowledgeable about the music of the time bearing in mind the legends that were at the height of their popularity but frankly, I haven't got a clue. I remember my mother listening to Radio Caroline - a pirate radio station on a small portable radio. I had to look this up, but Radio Caroline had its heyday between 1964 and 1967 broadcasting to Ireland, Scotland and the north of England from a ship in the Irish Sea and was eventually towed off because of alleged debts in 1968.

I can recall little from that era strangely, I joined three schools in Cottingham, the Infants (4 to 6 years of age), the Juniors (7 to 10) and the County Secondary School (11 to 16). I loved school but left with just one O'Level (Ordinary Level, yesterday's equivalent to today's GCSE - General Certificate in Secondary Education) which by today's standards would be considered a failure. The one qualification in English has never, in truth, opened any doors for me, but my love of school and education clearly has. There were many inspirational teachers for whom formal qualifications were not the main objective, just making the experience enjoyable was their main aim in life - God bless them. All of my few academic achievements have been obtained in the workplace.

I remember being bollocked as an eleven year old after moving to senior school for using a pencil in my school books and being told to use an ink pen and I can recall the move from shorts to long trousers. I often had a second hand school jacket because they were so expensive for my parents. I get quite moved because memories are so thin, just random snippets, mainly of people drift across the radar as I struggle to cast my mind back. Yet the over riding feeling is that I loved my childhood.

What did I miss in the swinging sixties? Well swinging for a start which has a different connotation today. Hippies, the Beatles, drugs, sex and rock and roll (I was too young to experience that first hand), JFK, the Cold War, Berlin Wall and I have absolutely no first time around memory of man landing on the moon. Burning the bra and Telstar, and the list of famous bands of the sixties is just too extensive to list. Notable films from the sixties which I still like are
Pink Panther; the Good, Bad and the Ugly; Midnight Rider; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid and many more I daren't admit.

Television was delivered by a small black and white set (actually more a dark green and white set.) Bewitched with the dishy Elizabeth Montgomery, the Flintstones and the Beverly Hillbillies. Doctor Who (William Hartnell) used to frighten me with the dreaded Daleks and Cybermen.

Bizarrely, I do remember the theme to the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.
I remember going to Blankenberge in Belgium for summer holiday in 1966 and watching England win the FIFA Jules Rimet World Cup on TV with a Belgian commentary. The mascot for the England side was World Cup Willie!

All of a sudden, the memories don't seem so distant after this little cathartic exercise, forgive my indulgence and for being patient.

Today's story has nothing whatsoever to do with the sixties, but it made me giggle.

Fred walked into a crowded doctor's waiting room and approached the desk. The Receptionist said, 'Yes sir, what are you seeing the doctor for today?'
'There's something wrong with my dick', Fred replied.
The receptionist was shocked and said 'You shouldn't come into a crowded waiting room and say things like that.'

'Why not, you asked me what was wrong and I told you,' said Fred.
The Receptionist replied; 'Now you've caused some embarrassment in this room full of people. You should have said there is something wrong with your ear or something and discussed the problem further with the Doctor in private.'

Fred walked out, waited several minutes, and then re-entered.

The Receptionist smiled smugly and asked, 'Yes?'

'There's something wrong with my ear,' he stated.
The Receptionist nodded approvingly and smiled, knowing he had taken her advice. 'And what is wrong with your ear, Sir? '

'I can't pee out of it,' said Fred.

Chat soon


The photograph above is a non copyrighted photograph from Wikipedia, author unknown of The Beatles in America, 7 February 1964.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Crazy Train Runs Again!

My day started well today, bimbling along in the car on the way to work listening to the morning show on BBC Radio 2. Chris Evans was reviewing the papers and stated that there was a junior school somewhere in the UK that had cancelled a sports day, an event that they had held for the last 40 years. The reason?

Apparently, a diktat from the local education authority had stated categorically that we should not be encouraging children to have negative emotions, therefore the potential of losing at the sports day is conducive to negativity so - no sports day!

I was so annoyed when I heard this story, which I take to be true, I couldn't help thinking about it for the next half an hour of the morning as I settled at my desk.

If losing is not an acceptable experience for a child because the emotions are negative, then why teach them to play chess for example because inevitably they'll lose sometime - but they'll never love this ancient game; why get them fit to play sport because they'll be on the losing team at some stage - but they'll never love sport or get fit; why take an exam which they might fail and therefore be upset - but they'll never become qualified; why teach them about relationships, because they may lose a loved one to someone else - but they'll never know love; why bother going for a job interview because they may not be the best person for the job and may come second - but they'll never enjoy employment.

Why bloody-well bother getting out of bed in the morning?

These moronic, unintelligent, impractical, unrealistic 'people' who come up with this rubbish should not be employed in the real world because they have no sense of the realism of life - at all. There - if you are responsible for this instruction and are reading this, I think your reaction will probably be a negative emotion. I am absolutely delighted but I am also really sorry for you because you are clearly unprepared for this. You might even need help. Those to whom you deny the opportunity learn from life's disappointments clearly would need help because of their inability to deal with failure or disappointment - all because of you.

I am a very positive calm person and so I never felt annoyed for long this morning. I now feel pity for the policy maker and I hope at some stage they will see the light.

Rant over. I hope you've had a great day, Bank Holiday weekend coming in the UK - wahaaaaay!

Chat soon

Picture above is a Clematis Montana over the pergola in the back garden

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose

The first rose of the year greeted me in the drive today when I arrived home on a plant my mother gave me in a pot last year. The delicate mauve/blue 'Rhapsody in Blue' is the most fragrant bloom and evocative of childhood memories of standard roses in the tiny front garden of my Victorian home in Cottingham, East Yorkshire.

When I moved into my current house, the front garden had about twenty uncared for rose bushes and there were dozens in the back garden, tall, straggled and diseased from years of neglect. I took them all out because we had kids and I didn't want them to be hurt. Today, I just have three roses, two small climbers and the rose in the pot.

The rose is important to me because I was brought up with fragrant roses around the garden and even today, I often try to imagine the unique smell when I meditate and walk through imaginary gardens in my mind.

Of course closer to home, being a Yorkshireman, the white rose of the county (from the House of York) represents my roots in the same way a red rose represents someone from our friendly rival county, Lancashire (the House of Lancaster). Hence why, when the Yorkies thrashed the Lancashire lads in the fifteenth century civil war, it was called the War of the Roses. Henry the Seventh, clever lad who stopped the civil war joined the two roses together to form the Tudor Rose. Wikipedia has a very interesting article on it.

Roses have important symbolic significance for others, it's the national flower of the UK and the USA and a red rose is often used for socialism.

Shakespeare wrote prose about roses, Romeo and Juliet of course:
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

A line from Robert Burns poem A Red, Red Rose:
O, my love's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June

Sacred Emily, the Gertrude Stein poem carries the well known phrase (the original first Rose is the name of a person):
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.

You can be a rose between two thorns, (a nice person in between two rogues), or perhaps part of a Valentines Day poem, Roses are red, violets are blue... (put your own ending).

A rose of course makes lovely perfume and I found this limerick to stick with the theme today:

The bottle of perfume that Willie sent,
Was highly displeasing to Millicent.
Her thanks were so cold
They quarrelled, I'm told,
Through that silly scent Willie sent Millicent!

Chat soon


Sunday, 23 May 2010

Spirits at the Hall

I hope everyone is well and that those reading from the British Isles are enjoying this fabulous UK weather. I arrived home yesterday afternoon (Saturday) having done seven days - twelve hours a day on a college course in Essex and have been so lucky with the weather. There was an added bonus of no TV, no newspapers and just a luxury half hour in the morning listening to Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2 on my mobile phone in my bedroom.

My residential course was held at the magnificent Arthur Findlay College housed at Stansted not too far from the international airport set in many acres of its own grounds. The fanciful name of a hard but hugely enjoyable course was '
The Spirit, the Psychic and the Artist.' There were students from around the world. On my course were a Dane, an American, Dutch, German, Scot, Englishman (Lancastrian to boot!) and three Yorkshire folk. They all spoke superb English which put me to shame.
Other nationalities at the college doing other interesting psychic courses included Irish, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, and probably more I have forgotten - forgive me.
In simple terms, I learnt to enhance my skill or ability to communicate with spirit with the additional difficulty of learning to draw the faces I saw. I can't give you an example of my work because we gave our pictures of other's loved ones for them to keep!

The college itself is housed in a magnificent hall which has gone through a number of transformations to be the place it is today. The first Hall was said to have been on the site as far back as 1216, the land being owned then by Baron Mountfitchet, the same Baron who owned Runnymeade where King John was made to sign the Magna Carta. The present house with a curious mix of dynastic styles was probably substantially completed by around the 1870s.

James Arthur Findlay MBE, JP, was a retired Glaswegian stockbroker, a contemporary and friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He came to Essex in 1923 looking to retire and fell in love with the hall and bought it and the 400 acres of agricultural land that went with it, for just £8,800! Findlay himself wasn't a Spiritualist, but he did investigate the subject very thoroughly and wrote a number of books on the subject, many of which are still in print today. The Hall was given up during the war as a hospital, but returned to the Findlays when hostilities had finished. He bequeathed the house to the Spiritualist's National Union (SNU) in his will in 1964 and they own the house to this day and run it as a college for the advancement of psychic science.

We weren't allowed to take photographs inside the college, but I've reproduced my picture of the outside of the house and snapshots of just part of the grounds which don't really do it credit.
I can't speak with my wife about the course, she doesn't believe in what I do although she agreed for me to go and although she doesn't support it, she doesn't stand in the way of my psychic/Spiritualist work. My profound love goes to Shirley Ann and Barry who are my mentors and very good friends for their encouragement and support.

The special and very talented people on the course were: Sharla, Ans, Paul, Ann, Karin, Thomas, Stefanie, Barry and Shirley Ann and me. The class tutor was Su Wood and her other fellow course tutors were Stella Upton and Lynn Cottrell.

I have learned so much from these dedicated tutors, great and inspiring teachers all.

I've spent Saturday afternoon and most of today, Sunday, cutting the grass and planting out my flowers which had survived the stewardship of my dear wife who doesn't know the difference between a weed and a cultivated plant. The hot weather had encouraged a phenomenal amount of blanket weed in the pond, so that had to be dragged out. Between us we've built a garden bench and the best surprise of all, my wife had completely redecorated the kitchen while I was away - it looks brand new, amazing what a lick of paint and a deep clean can do.

The flowers in the garden are fantastic, everything is green. the wildlife is so active - everything is good right now. I just have to look forward to work tomorrow. But another fortnight sees us away into the sun for ten days, so lots to look forward to.

Home made salad tonight - yummy.

I hope you have a great week in front of you - enjoy. Click on any of the above pics to enlarge them.

The art of living -

Is forgetting and forgiving.

Chat soon

History of Stansted Hall by courtesy of SNU - ISBN 0902 036 157

Friday, 14 May 2010

Dripper on the roof

I hope the week has treated you well and that you've managed to survive the cold frosty nights. Ne'er cast a clout 'till May is out.

Welcome to new follower Mick Cope - now there's a blast from the past. Hello Mick it's good to have you on board.

Nothing much has been happening in this world of routine so I shouldn't complain really, I have been really busy preparing to go away for a week's holiday to a specialist college in Essex for a course of study on psychic art. I've been doing some psychic art recently, drawing dead people for those for whom I am doing readings and so far it's been very positive, so I'm off to get a grip of this specialist subject and see what happens. If nothing else, it will be a relaxing week in the company of good friends.

I am about to type a list of things to do for my nearest and dearest who will be having her own break - at home away from me! Water plants in greenhouse, feed fish, put the domestic bin out on such and such a day, put the blue recycling bin out on another day and so on and so forth. I didn't realise how much of the domestic chore rota I had under my wing of responsibility.

We have had our flat garage roof felted this week after we had noticed some leaks this winter. The roof has been felted for about seven years now and was time for renewal anyway. Don't ever have a property with a flat roof - pain in the neck! I wish I could afford a pitched roof - if I win the Euro Millions tonight - I'll have one.

The trouble is the roofer has left a mess behind. Yes he's done a good job on the roof, he's swept up and cleared away, but he's left tar drips on a window, oily tar marks on the white double glazing window frames and on a garden seat and I am not pleased at all.

So, there'll be no blog for a week, mercifully, less for you to read therefore, and I'll update you with a precis of what happens at the college when I get back.

Have a great weekend and a successful productive week next week.

Chat soon


Saturday, 8 May 2010

Just Like That...

I was reminded today of the late Tommy Cooper by a friend, Ian Mac who sent me some classic Cooper jokes - simple, clever and funny. I still have some Cooper videos and a couple of DVDs which I watch every now and then and some of the best bits are shown on G.O.L.D. on Sky TV occasionally.

Welshman Thomas Frederick Cooper was a complex individual when you read the story of his life and there was much anxiety, sadness, drinking and infidelity. He died on stage at the end of his act way back in 1984 at Her Majesty's Theatre in London during a live broadcast of a London Weekend Television show. I never saw it then and I can't bring myself to watch it even now which can be found on YouTube. I just want to remember this remarkable man at the height of his comedic power, making people laugh with his deliberately disastrous magic, his slapstick and one-liner jokes.

I saw him on stage once at the Bridlington Spa Theatre at some stage in the late seventies. He was a presence and a half and just made people laugh as he approached the microphone and looked around without saying anything at all.

Here are some of the classics; enjoy:

I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any.

I went to the butchers the other day and I bet him 50 quid that he couldn't reach the meat off the top shelf.
He said, 'No, the steaks are too high.'

A man came round in hospital after a serious accident. He shouted, 'Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs!'
The doctor replied, 'I know you can't, I've cut your arms off'.

I went to a seafood disco last week, and pulled a muscle.

'Doctor, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home'

'That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome. '
'Is it common?'

'It's not unusual...'

So I was getting into my car, and this bloke says to me 'Can you give me a lift?'

I said 'Sure, you look great, the world's your oyster, go for it!'

Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, and the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one off.

You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.' So that was nice.

A man walked into the doctors, he said, 'I've hurt my arm in several places.'

The doctor said, 'Well don't go there anymore.'

Our ice cream man was found lying on the floor of his van covered with hundreds and thousands. Police say that he topped himself.

A man takes his Rottweiler to the vet. 'My dog is cross-eyed, is there anything you can do for him?'
'Well,' said the vet, 'let's have a look at him.'
So he picks the dog up and examines his eyes, then he checks his teeth. Finally, he says, 'I'm going to have to put him down.'
'What? Because he's cross-eyed?'

'No, because he's really heavy.'

Chat soon


Thursday, 6 May 2010

Cross on the Paper

I exercised my democratic right this morning to take part in deciding who should run the country. For the first time I can ever remember, at 0730 this morning, they were queueing outside the door. I wonder if that is a new found enthusiasm encouraged by the leadership debates or that people have been so bombarded by publicity about politics and politicians in the last couple of years, that people really want their say about how they've been treated and how they really want their future to look perhaps.

Is it the meteoric rise of anonymous Clegg, the puffy-eyed under-pressure Brown or the sterile sound-bite Cameron who has attracted you or is it pure politics that informed your decision to place your cross on the ballot paper where you did? Perhaps because of what they've been sayingand doing they've persuaded you NOT to vote.

At least we have the freedom to choose.

Today's story has a theme of 'taking responsibility', something politicians don't (sadly) readily do.

Jack decided to go skiing with his friend, Bob. So they loaded up Jack's camper van and headed north to Scotland. After driving for a few hours, they got caught in a terrible blizzard. So they pulled into a nearby farm and asked the attractive lady who answered the door if they could spend the night. 'I realize its terrible weather out there and I have this huge house all to myself, but I'm recently widowed,' she explained. 'I'm afraid the neighbours will talk if I let you stay in my house.'

'Don't worry,' Jack said. 'We'll be happy to sleep in the barn. And if the weather breaks, we'll be gone at first light.' The lady agreed, and the two men found their way to the barn and settled in for the night.

Come morning, the weather had cleared, and they got on their way.
They enjoyed a great weekend of skiing. But about nine months later, Jack got an unexpected letter from an solicitor. It took him a few minutes to work it out, but he finally determined that it was from the solicitor of that attractive widow he had met on the ski weekend.

He dropped in on his friend Bob and asked, 'Bob, do you remember that good-looking widow from the farm we stayed at on our ski holiday up north about 9 months ago?'

'Yes, I do.' Said Bob.

'Did you, err, happen to get up in the middle of the night, go up to the house and pay her a visit?'

'Well, um, yes!' Bob said, a little embarrassed about being found out, 'I have to admit that I did.'

'And did you happen to give her my name instead of telling her your name?'

Bob's face turned red as a tomato and he said, 'Yeah, look, I'm sorry mate. I'm afraid I did. Why do you ask?'

'She just died and left me everything.'

(Did you think it would have a different ending?)

Chat soon


Monday, 3 May 2010

Windmill's of my Mind...

On my way to see a friend for lunch in Beverley today on this chilly May Day Bank Holiday Monday, I passed Skidby windmill in rural East Yorkshire, just one village away from where I was brought up. The mill has been in working order for as long as I remember it and it’s just gone through a refurbishment on its sails and it was a lovely sight, seeing the sails gently turning in the strong breeze today.

It’s ages since I wrote anything about the area where I live, so I thought you might like a potted history of the mill. Skidby is a small village north of Hull in a lovely part of rural East Yorkshire surrounded by fields. Originally found by the Danes in 892 AD give or take a few years and mentioned in the Domesday Book , the name Skidby came into use around 1566 from the original names of ‘Scteby’ and ‘Schitebi’ in Domesday. Today, the population is just under 1400 souls.

It had a Manor House for the Lord of the Manor, the Duke of Northumberland and a gallows for hanging 'sheep stealers,' today marked by a clump of trees named Gallows Hill. When threatened with a Spanish invasion in 1584, it even had 36 able men ready to repel the enemy.

The original mill dates back to 1388, and by the 1600s there were two mills. The mill you see today replaced a small mill that had been on the site in 1821 and it is reputed to be the last working mill in Yorkshire producing different types of flour from locally grown grain. You can go and visit it today and entry to the mill is a small fee.

Even today, as we pass in the car and if the sails are turning, we ask the kids if they can see the sails moving, perhaps they're getting pissed off with that considering they're 19, 22 and 23!

Thanks to
here for some of the information on Skidby and you can get details of the mill and visiting etc., from here.

Hope you've managed to keep warm this weekend.

Chat soon


Saturday, 1 May 2010

Foot Enters Mouth

White Rabbit, white rabbit, white rabbit.

Well, the temperature is disappointing for the first day of May - we've had a breeze here directly off the North Sea.

I'm sick of listening to repeated recordings of Gordon Brown calling the Rochdale woman a bigot. Gordon however is not the only one who can put his foot in his mouth and here are some old quotes I dug up from footballers and commentators.

'Never go for a 50-50 ball unless you're 80-20 , sure of winning it.' - IAN DARKE
'I'd like to play for an Italian club, like Barcelona' - MARK DRAPER
'There are two ways of getting the ball. One is from your own team-mates, and that's the only way.' - TERRY VENABLES
'He has now got a scapegoat to hang his hat on.' - FRANCIS LEE
'I never predict anything, and I never will.' - PAUL GASCOIGNE
'He's chanced his arm with his left foot.' - TREVOR BROOKING
'Winning doesn't really matter as long as you win.' - VINNY JONES

Enjoy your weekend

Chat soon