Saturday, 28 July 2012

Oakwood Olympics Part Two.

    Following the Estate Olympics last week I'd just like to show my readers that living in Derby is uplifting, upbeat, exciting, a place without parallel. Derby, 'a with it' city; probably not exactly, but  mundane and boring, never! Well, go on then, Thursday night can be a little underwhelming at times, so what better than a little bungey jumping to liven up the evening. And what do you need for such sophisticated pleasures. A charity that can use all the money it can find in these austere times. (always easy) Some generous sponsors to encourage anyone and everyone to participate in an activity bordering on the insane. (again never easy).  As many as possible drunk, egocentrical or plain daft individuals to make a total exhibition of themselves. (Neither easy nor impossible) And an audience to cheer on the the brave? the crazy? the foolhardy?
    Participants were found (Some even jumped twice). At least one jumped with an inordinate amount of alcohol inside him, (I would not consider jumping sober, never mind with two treble brandies and a pint of lager inside me.) On or two looked decidedly ill. (Do you remember that Procol Harum recording 'A Whiter Shade of Pale.') The 'audience' was, I thought, reminiscent of the ones that attended public executions in times gone by.
    A modern equivalent without the macabre connotations I hope. An amusing evening, a charity concerned with breast cancer benefited and a good time was had by all. (Well nearly all). But it did make me think. Enjoy, if that's the right word, the two videos. I did not, of course display them before the event. I'm not that stupid, honest.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Olympic Gymnastics, Housing Estate Version.

    I seldom plan posts. One of the joys of blogging is that you write about what YOU like. I seldom write about the current news so, writing roughly weekly I'm never sure what to write about next.
    I was, with my wife in my favourite pub the other day. Called The Oaklands, in a way its a typical estate pub. Badly in need of a refit (Pub chains are more interested in profits than the comfort of the customers I fear). The clientele is mixed to say the least. But the beer is good, the staff are welcoming and the place works hard to survive in these austere times. Plus the Oaklands serves excellent meals and the staff have an excellent understanding of my wife's problems. (No I don't mean being married to me, my wife is a coeliac and MUST have a diet that is absolutely without question gluten free.)
    We sat in the pub, the door was open with a clear view across the road. In view was scaffolding surrounding some shops; it has been there some considerable time thus attracting various youngsters, from the very young to late teenage. (seemingly mainly if not exclusively male.) And the gyrations, the swinging from the scaffolding gave much food for thought. Foolhardy, certainly, but containing some moves that were both unusual and skilful. Where were such gymnastics learnt, I wonder.
    'Health and Safety' would certainly not approve! Neither did anyone in the pub. At one stage the police did appear, but the 'action' ceased only for the time the police were present. Now I'm not condoning the youngsters actions but think for a minute. Why are these youngsters using the scaffolding for their own purpose. It reminds me of the Everest conquest in 1953. 'Why did you climb it' they were asked. 'Because it was there.' I had no scaffolding available in my formative years; therefore I never climbed scaffolding. Instead I placed pennies on railway lines; I 'swam' in the River Derwent and the Borrowash Canal, although 'swam' is a misnomer because I was a non-swimmer at the time. In the farmyard I climbed high on the straw bales, drove farm machinery and once climbed into a pen, accidentally that housed a bull.(I climbed out a lot faster than I climbed in!)
    It's all part of growing up, 'horses for courses' so to speak and not everyone survives. Several of my peers died young. I've no answers as to why some did, some didn't (survive).
    One final point. Its the Olympics very shortly in case you haven't noticed. How many of the sportsmen or women at the top get there without help or influence. Tiger Woods, one of the best golfers in the world' playing golf at the age of three due to influencial, parenting. Andy Murray, not a bad tennis player, certainly by British standards. The son of a professional tennis player. Victoria Pendleton, British world champion cyclist on several occasions is the daughter of a somewhat fanatical racing cyclist in his heyday. You get the picture plus I wonder how many of the parents of the 'gymnasts' knew where their offspring were. (and perhaps even cared.) Most who reach the top in sport have advantages other kids don't have. I wonder too what Derby has to offer teenagers who strive for sporting success. One final thought. The youngsters on the scaffolding looked fit enough to me, unlike their audience including myself; plus it's cheap entertainment. Perhaps a case of 'pub clientele, eat your heart out!'

Saturday, 14 July 2012

There's Some Sad People About, That's For Sure.

'Also remembered was a John Bull printing set. Comprising of a small much prized tin containing: inkpad and two sets of rubber letters. The complete alphabet, one set being capitals, a small wooden block and a small pair of tweezers to handle the individual letters. Considering every word and sentence had to be set out backwards it was a wonder we persevered, though printing out rude words in private was an education few adults had reckoned on.
Concerning rude words I well remember discovering at school the word twat. Thus virtually every sentence was punctuated with the word, ‘twat this’ and ‘twat that’ until I made the mistake of uttering such ill chosen utterances in front of adults, in my case Aunty Mary. I was made to understand in no uncertain terms that such words had no place in God fearing households. Strangely enough no attempt was made as to why such words were taboo. The result, the words gained a new prominence, to be uttered now on away from adult ears. I must have been around eight years old at the time.'

    This extract was taken from my e-book A Childhood Revisited. I was, as indicated a mere child of around eight at the time. Then I gradually grew up! I still swear at times, I am not particularly proud of it, it is generally selective and on occasion it can be effective I reckon. But I would not dream of swearing in front of a lady or children.
     I used to teach English for a living in a large, very average comprehensive. IF a child swore in class I used to 'jump' on it quickly and point out that I didn't swear in class, so why should they. Even the most challenging of pupils, with very few exceptions accepted this 'rule' and we 'got by' quite well in a career lasting nearly twenty years.
    I am reminded of those days in my distant past when I read of the trial of John Terry. Irrespective of a not guilty verdict concerning racial abuse, what a depressing scene; what desperately pathetic, uncouth, limited, ignorant people there are in the world. (The trial centered around the use of the terms a black c*** and f****** k***head.) No argument that the term was used, merely how it was used. And these people are adults, for goodness sake! How rich and self indulgent some modern sportsmen seem to be. And not just sportsmen, for there were loud cheers from the public gallery in court that clearly indicated the behaviour and presumably language of John Terry was acceptable to some. To what depths have we sunk. I am a football follower (of my beloved Derby County) but at times I question whether I am just encouraging sick and depraved people by spending my hard earnt cash so that they can lead a lifestyle devoid of any moral worth.    
    Not all footballers are bad of course. But when you have a footballer who admits he tried to break an opponents leg (Roy Keane) and another paragon of virtue who doesn't admit to adultery and then has the cheek to resort to law to prevent us knowing what a hypocrite he is (Ryan Giggs) all seems lost. No one seems to care, Keane is seldom off the television sports programmes; Giggs is captain of the Great Britain Olympic team. Remember, these people are heroes, role models to our children and grandchildren; is that right. And before I get too carried away, what would my attitude be, I wonder, if Derby County were to be offered a psychopathic, philandering centre half who happened to be the best prospect since the proverbial sliced bread.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Act Your Age.

Regular followers will have read of our recent problems. Not helped by increasing years. A fact of which I became increasingly aware when watching 'When I Get Older' on BBC television this week. I was particularly moved by four nursing homes featured in the documentary. Some of the residents had various stages of dementia; it was at times harrowing and extremely sad. But dedicated staff insisted even dementia patients can have a quality of life that is of sufficient value to justify existence. In a way us 'old uns' can seem  somewhat decrepit but boy, 'we ain't finished yet!' At times it tends to be 'What does society expect of us; what are we supposed, and more important, not supposed to do!'
    My wife wears stripy leggings on occasion. (Influenced by two 'with it' daughters); she also has, at least for July, glorious red hair. Its not her natural colour but its great (and so useful when I lose her in a crowded supermarket.) Some probably frown on it. They think when you're getting on a bit you should go all dowdy and let your hair go grey. Old people are interesting if you get to know them. (When you get them off talking about free bus passes,  fuel allowances and their aches and pains.) Do you remember when you were young and you did daft things. And what did your parents say. 'Act your age.' Always act your age! What exactly does that mean. And why should you, not acting your age is far more fun.
    A couple I know, John and Lyn have just changed their transport. Now John's over seventy and Lyn's not too far short. Plus Lyn's arthritic so you'd think they'd go for something a bit sedate. Not a bath chair (presumably John pushing) but some 'old age pensioney' type transport. So what's John gone out and bought? (With Lyn's approval of course). Only a trike, a 3.5 litre, Rover engined, Jaguar back-ended automatic gear boxed trike. What's more John, who is an exceptionally talented engineer has only gone and fitted a hand throttle so that Lyn can be in charge  of it as well. (She normally rides as passenger.) What a terrific, brave, exceptional thing to do. What a brilliant advert for the elderly. What a proverbial 'poke in the eye' for all those who dismiss anyone in their 'senior years' as 'past it', geriatric duffers. (Many of the 'young uns' couldn't do it, couldn't face it and couldn't afford it.) So good luck to John and Lyn, 'keep on trikin', while ever you do so there's hope for us all! 
    As a matter of interest, what do you fancy doing or buying
that you really shouldn't at your age. It's not true you're only 'young' once!