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Saturday 30 December 2017

Down memory lane

Social media has a group
Clitheroe Past and Present
there folk share old pix and many a reminiscence.

Getting nearer to year's end seems a good enough time for musings and borrowings.

When folks' lives stem from places rich in history, some areas are more conspicuous than others.

Take an old Norman Keep and its surroundings then delve into the past as it resonates into the future. 

Formerly part of Lord Montague's estates the Keep and its surroundings were purchased for posterity as the town's War Memorial soon after World War I. 

Typically in that area much of the funding was collected door to door from local inhabitants and topped up by donations from local worthies.

Some 50+ year's later the town decided on a swimming baths.

Once again local folk went door to door making collections in their part of town. Each area had their local collector who arrived weekly and each household dibbed in what they could. 
Then the swimming baths were built and are still there to this day. Previously, we swam in the river and some still swim in the river today.

Thursday 8 June 2017

Cultural appropriation or not...

Yesterday saw the appointment of the bookseller Waterstones 10th 'children's laureate'. Good publicity for them and monies for the person selected.

Earlier on BBC Breakfast interviewed the winner, followed later by a more well-known 
author Anthony Horowitz.

Since studying Worlds of English, I've done l lot more transcribing especially anything that interests me about English Language and Literature.

There were some unintentional errors, or I'd like to think the winner was not that ignorant.

She said, "Children need to remember they are real people".

Next she opined
"We are all born literate".
"Children can read expressions from the minute they are born".

Tell that to the educationalists, and the scientists if you dare.

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Love Manchester

Excerpt from
Longfella aka Tony Walsh

Tuesday 16 May 2017


as a result of world-wide ransom-ware proliferation this weekend...the poor old NHS is in it good and proper.

Typically, although reputable news reports (I.T. mags) noted weaknesses in NHS systems, the government have been at pains to say 'not my problem'.

When large parts of the NHS have continued to use an out-dated unsupported operating system Windows XP, this weekend's problems were an accident waiting to happen.

I've been following events as reported by 'The A Register'.

"Proud website boasts that the "NHS is totally protected with Sophos" became "Sophos understands the security needs of the NHS" after the weekend scrub-up.

El Reg asked Sophos to comment on what seemingly went wrong with its security defences but we're yet to hear back beyond an acknowledgement of our query."

As they might say...

The plot thickens...

Friday 12 May 2017

MCAS quandry

I recently wrote about MCAS aka the physiotherapy 'service'.
Apparently they'vs been having problems with illness and some folk have moved on to jobs elsewhere.

I must admit to a preference for morning appts. Otherwise the appt. seems to ruin the day making it awkward when the appt. is in an afternoon/

There's been another phone-call this time from them to me.
Mon. appt #1 cancelled
Rearranged by them for afternoon.
Rearranged by me for same time, different 'local' venue appt. #2
Today's phone-call to cancel appt. #2
Next appt. #3 back to venue #1 and same 9.10 appt time. Now with a.n.other person and on a Thursday instead of Monday.

Makes one feel that they could not organize the proverbial booze-up in an open brewery.

Time will tell...


This morning's post (Sat.) bought an appt. (first class post)

Theoretically, it is the go-ahead for appt. this Thurs.

Thurs. appt has been and gone. New physio complete with student. So it was all about assessing him and allowing him to practise his physio-patient skills.

He did well, convincing me which routine of movements might be of more use. Much better than just handing out booklets. He won;t be there next time. Yes, am going to co-operate and see Sarah again. Now, to attempt to makes an appt. Wonder how many attempts it might take this time?

Sunday 7 May 2017

May she will stay as in Simon and Garfunkel

Unusual weather seems to have become the norm. North-South airstreams more typical of Winter than of Spring. They continue because of high pressure systems lining up one after another.

This fine but chilly weather has brought on an outbreak of gardening. The grass has had several haircuts already. I say grass as one area is lawn, but the other round the fruit trees could nay would never be a lawn.

Then there's the venerable greenhouse, transported having been disassembled long ago from the garden in N.E. Lancs and reassembled here.

With Spring comes growth and there's the remnants of a privet hedge in a back corner that needed attention. Out came the extension leads and hedge-trimmer. Large garden collection bin filled brim-full and beyond. Not forgetting to give the berberis canadesis shrub a short back and sides.

Next came a visit to the local Garden Centre. We came back with tomato plants, Vermiculite and two new azaleas, a white and a rich purplish one.

Gardening has broken out in force. Wild garlic had invaded part of a flower bed. It was hard work, but it has been cleared.

Friday 5 May 2017

Outrageous fortune

Distance learning is not as easy as it sounds. even when conducted thro' the auspices of a long-time provider.

It pays to 'Remember the human'.

This is especially true of email. It's oh so easy to misinterpret what's been written.

As the warning goes...never write and send when you are in a bad mood or upset. That way you lesson the chance of making a fool of yourself.

Similarly, electronic communication is not a level playing-field. Because computers have been around for such a long time it's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security.

It's also easy to assume that others have similar computing skills.

Unfortunately, having traditional writing skills may be fine but add a computer into the mix and stand back to see what happens.

Documents have the facility of commenting (part of word processing). I've had it happen before and now it has happened again.

What, you might ask?

One tutor was a whizzkid at tutoring but not word processing. His documents always had comments with his wife's name. When it's a regular occurrence, it's irksome but I can cope.

However, when for the last assignment the comments suddenly have the wrong name and seem by the wording to be from someone else...that's more awkward.

Tutor had no idea when I mentioned it.

That's why I duly sent a reply with a png file (portable network graphics) showing some of the problem comments.

Here's hoping she understands...

Friday 28 April 2017


...that 'necessary' process when osteoarthritis has been declared.

Musculoskeletal Assessment ''Service'' which in old 'money' is physiotherapy.

Begins with GP referral which is both frustrating and laughable.

Form duly completed by me at the surgery and left for processing. Feb. 3rd

Nothing heard from MCAS until Feb. 28th

Letter informing / instructing me to phone up and make appt.

Then all went pear-shaped.

Person on other end said I'd been taken off the referral list because I had not replied within the fortnight!

Obviously MCAS have a different time-zone.

Letter dated 22nd Feb. received 28th Feb, post-marked 27th Feb - go figure! 

Eventually after much argy-bargy I was given an appt April 10th which turned out to be 45 mins of 'grilling' going thro' a long drawn-out form on computer. Followed by another appt. on April 24th. The later was more ridiculous...trying to get someone the osteoarthritis to do moves as tho' there is no deformity of the hip and no pain. 

Then she added insult to injury by talking thro' recommended exercises and providing me with booklets even tho' I already had downloaded them. Make another appt. for three weeks time? I offered to bow out, but she was insistent.

I am far from sanguine about the outcome...

Wednesday 29 March 2017

It's history

When a conversation turns into an impromptu history lesson.

Chatting earlier today we both went back down memory lane with Andy who must be only late 20s at the most. We were talking car registrations, it being that time of year when the new 17 plates come out. 

Both of use could remember our first car reg but nothing much after that. Mine was BFM which a friend suggested stood for Bl**dy fine motor. Fine it was not, but I learnt to drive with it and happily drove in the opposite direction to most of the rush hour traffic that was stop-go into the city as I drove out.

This led eventually to my Marina, not so much as vehicle but welding practice. With a rotten floor that we replaced with pieces of dexion shelving welded into place. A front wing that ended up more 'cocky' as in body-filler than metal. Then I remembered the Marina had drum breaks. we checked them by removal, placing in a large pan on the stove and heating to reveal any cracks.  

Safer modern vehicles have disc brakes all round.

I was hankering after another Yaris until I found out that it still has drum breaks on the back. Also as himself remarked he'd feel happier with more metal to the 'box'.

Sunday 26 March 2017

going against the grain

Mothering Sunday has nothing whatsoever to do with the saccharine Hallmark fest.

Nauseating is the word of choice.

True my long-time friend of more than half a century is and has been a terrific mother. Something that seemed to come to her naturally.

But Sunday as in Mothering Sunday has always been in praise of the Mother Church! Nothing whatsoever to do with sprogging and coping with dirty nappies, feeding one end of the digestive tract and cleaning up the other.

There, I've said it, I've acknowledged the elephant in the room.

To indulge in a mothering one has to have had a baked apple pie caring, hugging and in all ways delightful mother.

There are those whose mothers were just the opposite. Cleaning the house maniacally and thereby making everyone uncomfortable. Two-faced liars putting up a front of congeniality for the rest of the world whilst making family life uncomfortable and threatening. Throwing treasured items away or disposing of them at a whim. Ruining meals and insisting they be eaten. An endless list...

Monday 20 March 2017

St. Paddy's Day

I'm lucky to have made several journeys to the Emerald Isle as in to Dublin the capital. Suddenly, I had an invite to fill in on an already booked trip. Naturally I agreed. That's how I came to fly to Dublin on the evening of the 14th March and return on the evening of the 18th. Not only did I spend time in Dublin, I also went to another Saw Doctors concert at the Olympia. The last time I saw then was at the same venue.

Usually the hotel of choice is the Beresford, formerly the Isaacs near Garda central and the Busaras. Travel from Dublin airport into the city has been altered by the new tunnel which means entering the city along the banks of the River Liffey.

This time with it being close to Paddy's Day hotel accommodation was at a premium. The Beresford being already fully booked we found ourselves residing in Wynn's Hotel circa 1921. fantastic hotel redolent with history.
"Wynn's Hotel is steeped in History - built in 1845, bombed during the 1916 rising and rebuilt in 1921 using mass concrete, the only building in Dublin to do so at this time."

Wow what a difference, with a concierge at the entrance and service par excellence. No idea of the cost as it had already been booked for someone else who was not able to go.

Favourite hostelries
Madigans - Abbey St. across from the hotel
Robert Reade

Not forgetting the Luas (tram) which knocks all others into the proverbial cocked hat. Bought a 7-day pass so we had freedom to use the Luas whenever necessary. Bonus being it stopped near the hotel. 

Friday 10 March 2017

signs of the times

I seem to have become  a 'frequent flyer' at the GP surgery.

Things began to go haywire towards the end of 2014 when I found myself in hospital recovering from a major op. Since then 'himself' has spent time in hospital twice once in 2015 and again in 2016. Now he's had two replacement ops, one knee and one hip.

For some few years I've been rather creaky and put it all down to tempus fugit. Whilst I was doing Tai Chi regularly twice a week until my op the creaks were kept at bay. It took months of recovery after the op before I could begin Tai Chi again. Then disaster struck in June 2016 the Friday class ended. This left the group at a loss how to continue and we ended up joining in with another group. Theoretically Tai Chi but bore no resemblance to the real thing. For a while I got himself to take me to Lymm. But that's such an awkward place to park that I gave up.

Now I have a hankering to return to Lymm for proper Tai Chi to keep the aches and pains at bay. Himself asked if I could D.I.Y. the Tai Chi on my own but I really want to go back to having proper tuition. I'm certain it will help.

This year I've had an x-ray of my hips - Result - right hip is within normal parameters but the left shows signs of osteoarthritis. 

Now there's a tale to tell...

In Feb. the G.P. referred me to MCAS the musculoskeletal assessment service. What a hoot! I waited and waited and weeks went by.

28th Feb. the post brought a letter from MCAS.
Written Feb. 22nd
Posted Feb. 27th - Stamped by postal service 27th Feb.
Received Feb. 28th

Here comes the funny-business...

I phoned MCAS to make appt. as requested by the letter just received.

But...after holding the line for some 15-20 mins I was told (much to my surprise) that...
I had been crossed off for not replying with the fortnight.

Monday 6 March 2017

With apols to Flanders and Swann

"Oh, it all makes work for the working man to do."

Back in September 2016 there was the indoor flood as the old lead pipe rising main gave way.

19th September aka 'give a little man a job'.

It would appear we have been labouring under the misapprehension that we have a water meter and that it was fitted last September.

According to the billing section of United Utilities the water rates charges have been based on rateable value as we have no meter. Of course the letter arrives with the Saturday post so nothing can be done before Monday. 

Big companies must waste far too much money sending out computer generated formulaic documents. 
Some property requires a water meter?
Send out letter informing of site inspection visit...
Send forth little man to conduct the inspection...
G.A.L.M.A.J. 'give a little man a job'.
Hopefully little man returns to an office with the information...
G.A.L.M.A.J. 'give a little man a job'.
Send team of little men to install meter?
G.A.L.M.A.J. 'give a little man a job'.
That's what was assumed to have taken place nearly six months ago....

Hence my reference to Flanders and Swann

Next there's yet another 'we will send out someone to perform the inspection'.

Phone-call again to UU and reassurance (eventually) that the visit is to fit a meter.

Wouldn't it be fun to find a meter already in place and staring at them when the lid is lifted!

and with apols to the late great Sir Terry Pratchett -
UU would stand for the
Unseen University
wouldn't it?

Saturday 25 February 2017

To everything change...

There's a backwater in the furthest stretch of Cornwall that's made its way into news media. Over the years Pendeen remained the quietest of quiet backwaters undiscovered by many until Winston Graham's 'Poldark' series was made anew for the small screen. Its 1st on-screen incarnation was before the days of mass media. 'Poldark' was a quaint series starring Angarhed Rees (1944-2012) as 'Demelza' and Robin Ellis as 'Poldark'. In the 1970s that was one of my favourite TV series to watch.

Moving on to the 21st century and another airing this time a much more modern version, more of its time and less truthful to the original books, So what? on might ask. Isn't it good to update series? For what it is worth I have no problem with the various incarnations of the story.

The problem lies with a body that likes to portray itself as conservationist and all-round do-gooder.

They have noticed an influx of visitors travelling along the Cornish coast to view locations made famous by the recent TV series.

Rubbing their hands with glee; they have set up machines to collect money from sight-seers.

This has annoyed and upset local people of the Penzance - St. Just area. They are incensed at the insensitivity of the large organisation...and quite rightly so. 

Contrary to the stated 'coastal management' scheme mooted by that organisation...this wild coast does not require 'management' nor interference from them 'Up country'. 

According to media reports, the first toll machine at Levant was soon uprooted and destroyed. Vehement protests have been made by locals at the lack of respect for the area shown by the organisation demanding charges. 

It is a former mining area and family ties run deep. Everyone knows everyone else in the locality. Upset one and you upset all. Historical events are alive for the local folk. They still remember the Levant Mining Disaster as tho' it were yesterday.

Thursday 19 January 2017

Last of the group of friends

SEDGEMAN Jimmy On Monday 16th January 2017, suddenly at Treliske Hospital, William James (Jimmy) aged 80 years of Pendeen.

An 80-year-old man has died after his car was involved in a crash with a parked car in Pendeen this week.

Emergency services were scrambled to Boscaswell Terrace at 8.55 am on Monday after a silver Ford Fiesta collided with a parked car - a purple BMW - but police have only just released the details.

At the time of the collision the 80-year-old local man who was driving the Ford was taken to hospital with what was thought to be a minor head injury.

However, a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police has since confirmed that the man has died.

Kel phoned several times this week with news of Jimmy. The local grapevine insisted Jimmy died at the scene, but the local newspaper says otherwise.

Geevor mine where Jimmy worked closed years ago. The group of friends had known each other from schooldays. Most if not all spent their lives in the village of Pendeen on Boscaswell estate.
True Cornishmen with strong Cornish accents. It took time to tune in to what they said. Women of any age were always (allus) addressed as 'maid'. Men were allus 'pard'. At the weekend they spent time in Penzance, wandering along the Promenade, 'aving a bit of a natter. Then they went on their routine pub crawl. They drank and smoked heavily. Often opinionated, some had hearts of gold. They could always be counted upon to 'set the world to rights'.
Theirs was the generation that went down the mine on leaving school and spent their working lives down there.
If the mine had continued, the next generation would have followed in their footsteps.

Tuesday 17 January 2017

History repeating

The older I get, the more noticeable it becomes as events clash with one another. 

December is already marred as there was the anniversary of a funeral on the 18th. 

January is forever marred by the events of 1984. What an appropriate year you might say with the Orwellian story '1984'.

33 years ago, but it feels much fresher in my memory. But, it isn't every day you lose someone that was of great importance to you. Or that their sudden demise coincided with your dear friend's birthday. The events of January 1984 resound across the years. At least nowadays I no longer sink so rapidly into the depths of despondency. 

This is were social media raises its ugly head. There folk post poignant remembrances which at this time of year tend to hit a nerve.

Putting on my tech awareness 'hat', it makes me uneasy to read how much really personal information folk share so openly and so carelessly on-line. Less is more as in asking those folk to omit personal data, leave it stored safely in that most human of memory-banks - your brain.

Tuesday 10 January 2017


Borrowed from a post by an on-line friend.

Granted I have a soft spot for all things owl in many forms. Apparently this image is of a plaque on a building in Cambridge.

Two dates might be someone's life from 1851-1934.
The owl clutches a scroll in its' claw - often a sign of learning, accomplishment sometimes a degree. It's perched on a mortar bowl with accompanying pestle. Then there's the 'ribbon' with necessary Latin tag-line.

Curious...hoping it'll be made clear eventually.

Thursday 5 January 2017

Spoilt rotten

Yesterday evening MJM went for a celebratory Chinese meal in Woolton. There's a restaurant on the High Street that's been run by the same family for many years.

My neighbours had decided we had a good reason to celebrate as according to them, I've now joined the Silver Threads like them.

They'd planned the meal. Over the years we've refined our menu choices and opt for the Early Bird menu. Mavis is on a restricted diet, yet allows herself a few what she calls 'naughties' when dining out. We used to have duck with pancakes etc. but Marilyn had decided it was not for her. We'd taken to having dry spare ribs instead as none of us like the sauce that usually accompanies the ribs. 

When they chose the banquet including duck, I queried it and ingenuous as ever, Mavis said she and I like it and we'd order spare ribs for Marilyn.

The meal progressed, the staff know Mavis well as she goes there fairly regularly with different sets of friends. 

We began with chicken and mushroom soup. Nothing unusual you may think, apart from it not being on the menu. None of us drink alcohol with the meal so they lalways provide a jug of iced water (without charge).

Next, we each choose a different dish that we like. Typically, Marilyn hardly touched hers and asked for a 'doggy bag'. That way she has her Chinese meal at home the next day.

As I was looking in my handbag to pay my portion of the bill, Mavis dropped the 'bombshell'. They were paying the bill for me! 

How lovely to have such thoughtful, caring friends.