Sunday 29 April 2012

Granddad's Still 'At It!

    Another blast from the past. Another bit of daftness. Only one more, honest! By the way, is it my imagination or has it not stopped raining since the drought orders were put in place. Was it 1976 when Jim Callaghan was appointed Minister for Rain or something similar and the same thing happened.

    Someone said I'm not thoughtful where the wife's concerned. I don't know where that idea came from. Only last night I said to her, 'Put yer coat on.' 'Why, are you taking me out?' she said. 'No, I'm going to the pub and I'm turning the heat down.' Now if that's not thoughtful I don't know what is.
    They were all there, Davey, Harry, One armed Wally plus Wally's lad, Montmerency. Bit modern for us old uns were Montmerency. Mind you, he bought a round, that's got to be a first for our group. 'He's right with it'
    I said to Wally whilst he were at the bar, 'and how longs he had an ear ring?' 'Ever since his missus found it in the bed' said Wally. He had a right strange haircut 'an all. 'Same haircut as Beckham' said Wally proudly. ''Go on,' I said, 'nothing like Beckhams.' 'It would be if Stan the belching barber in the Arcade cut it' said Wally.
    Montmerency came back with the drinks. I could see by his face he'd met Cyril the landlord. Bit of a joker is Cyril, especially with newcomers. 'Told me he'd had Georgia, Cambria, Arial and Frank Ruehi in earlier. Said he wouldn't serve them because they weren't the right type for this pub.' . 'An he said he'd refused to serve a gypsy 'cause he didn't take travellers cheques.' Poor old Monty, not up to Cyril's humour.
    Mind you, you need a laugh when Old Davey's around. He never seems to have much luck. 'I've not been very well,'' he said, 'been seeing red spots before my eyes.' I were quite concerned. 'Have you seen a doctor' I said. 'No, only red spots ' he said. 'Im and his wife's been doing some landscaping in his garden. He rang up Yellow Pages. 'I want a skip outside my house' he said. 'I'm not stopping you' a voice said and put the phone down. They cut a tree down between them. It fell on his missus, damaging her left leg and left arm. She's all right now. Davey had some funny phone calls. He rang up the phone company to report a nuisance call. When he got through they said 'Not you again.' He bought a crystal ball to cheer his wife up. When he got it home it were broke. I reckon they saw him coming.
    Harry were reading the pub paper. Not the Metro like any normal pub. Billy's Weekly Liar it were called. One headline read 'Man kicked to death by spiders' and another 'Unconscious skeleton found on beach.' It's not one for serious reading is Billy's Weekly Liar. There were a piece about a plane crash on a cemetery in Ireland. They reckoned one thousand, three hundred and seventy eight bodies had been recovered so far. Another headline caught the eye. Evidently this highly dangerous midget fortune teller had head butted a guard in the privates and was on the run from prison. It brought tears to the eyes. 'Small Medium at Large' it said. Very succinct.
    I didn't stay as long as usual. I had a sore throat and I didn't feel over well. I called in the late night chemists. Lovely little thing behind the counter. Hair right down her back. None on her head, just down her back. Bright red dress and strings of beads. Quite perked me up.
    'Don't feel well, can you make me something up' I said.
'The Queen's just been in here for some cough mixture' she said. My, there's no flies on her, only beads.
'I knew I could count on you' I said.
    The wife weren't in too good a mood when I got home. I think she were cold!
I knew I'd have to be careful if were to avoid trouble.
    'Would you like to go shopping tomorrow, my dear, I'm sure there's something you'd like' I offered.
'Well I need a new bra for a start' she said.
'You've nothing to put in it' I muttered under my breath.
Crikey, she's got ears like a hawk.
'Well it doesn't stop you wearing underpants' she hissed. By the heck, she's sharp.
    'Let's go to bed, my sweet' I suggested. But she were having non of that either.
'You were so romantic when you were young' she moaned,' you don't call out my name on the odd occasions we make love any more.'
'Well, I don't like to wake you' I thought, only this time I kept it to myself. I know when I'm beat! As George Dixon used to say, 'Evening all.'

Saturday 21 April 2012

Plain Daft!

Just off to Blackpool way. Its peeing it down with rain. I've been up to my eyes with the ebook. Hopefully out soon. (Aren't people marvellous. Without friend Russell it would never materialise. Never forget, people are what make the world go round. More later. So just a couple of 'people' stories, a bit of daftness from the past hopefully to brighten a wet winter like morning. Forgive the fact that they're probably politically incorrect! 

I've missed seeing old Harry and Davey and one armed Wally. The World Cup were ok but it's not the same. The pub never changes. The bloke in front of me had a lump of tarmac under his arm.
'What you're having?' asks Cyril.
'A pint of bitter and one for the road' sez the bloke.
I were quite amused. It's not often someone gets one over Cyril. He's usually the one on top. Told me last time I were in a sandwich came in for a lager but he refused to serve it as he doesn't serve food. An' he reckons a penguin came in the other night.
'Have you seen my brother?' sez the penguin.
'What's he look like? sez Cyril.'
Funny man, mind you, fair play to the bloke, he stands up for his customers. A dwarf with learning difficulties were having a rough time at the hands of the younger daft customers. Cyril soon put a stop to that. He's right, though, it's not big and its not clever.
I sat down with my mates. Montmerency, Wally's lad were there too. My God, he's dim. Evidently he tried this job selling door to door. He went to this house and a child came to the door with a whisky in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
'Is your mother in?' asked Montmerency.
'What do you think?' retorted the eight year old.
Wally's quite worried about Monty's drinking. He made him join Alcoholics Anonymous. He joined but now he tells Cyril his name is Albert. He thinks Alcoholics Anonymous is for people who drink under an assumed name.
What makes it worse is that Wally reckons he's the smart one but he's not really. We were arguing, again about whether Monty were downright thick or just too lazy to bother.
'You don't know the difference between ignorance and apathy' I sez.
He's a stubborn old blighter is Wally when he wants to be.
'I don't know and I don't care' he sez. End of argument.
He's a long winded old blighter as well. I 've tried to educate him by improving his grasp of the English language.
'Name me two pronouns' I asked.
'Who, me' he said. You can't win.
Old Harry's no better. His grandson Charlie helps at the furniture auction and can get stuff real cheap. Not that it does Harry any good. This bloke came in with a sofa and two chairs and offered them to Charlie. Real good they were but Harry wouldn't let him have them.
'Taught him proper, I have,' sez Harry, 'right from a baby.'
'Charlie I sez, you must never take suites from a stranger.'
Charlie told Harry two of them had been manhandling a bureau up the auction steps when a drawer opened and three people fell out.
Harry never learns. 'Go on' he sez, 'why were that?
'Cos it were a missing person's bureau' sez Charlie. Poor old Harry.
And Davey doesn't get any better either. He's showing his age and he's always at the doctors. He's not often on this planet.
'Doctor, I think I'm losing it' he sez, I think I'm a goat.'
'How long have you felt like that' sez the doctor.
'Since I were a kid' sez Davey.
The doctor decided Davey needed an injection to steady him down. He got the syringe out and filled it with sedative.
'Just a little prick with a needle' he said.
'I can see that' said Davey, 'but what you're going to do with it?'
Good old Davey. There again everyone seems normal 'till you get to know them.

The one thing I like about my local is, it never changes. Scruffy, untidy, you wipe your feet when you go out. I told Cyril the landlord he's apathetic; he says he's not, he just can't be bothered. Mind you, it doesn't seem to make any difference, the place is still full of characters. Old Davey's always good for a chat, though he doesn't always make sense. He'd just been to an exhibition of Dutch artists in the art gallery. He reckons Van Gogh would have been blind if he'd had the other ear off. Something about he'd never have been able to wear his glasses. Poor old Davey's showing his age. Whatever you tell him, it's in one ear and out the other. Now you'd never get that with Van Gogh. It'd be in one ear and out the same ear.
Plus old Harry gets no better. He's an awful belching old bogger is Harry. He belched at the bar last night, right near a terribly posh couple.
'How dare you belch in front of my wife' the bloke said indignantly.
'Oh I am sorry' said Harry, 'I didn't realise it were her turn.'
There's no flies on Harry.
We don't just get us old uns in the pub. The young uns give us hours of entertainment, cocky young devils. Young Barry chases anything in a skirt, though his chat up lines are a bit suspect.
'Haven't I seen you you before' he said to a young woman at the bar.
'You might have done' she said quick as a flash, 'I'm the receptionist at the VD clinic.' He never learns and he never gets any better. He's so thick he thinks safe sex is not falling out of bed.
You don't have to be chatty if you don't want to. One chap just sits in the corner and reads. I noticed he were reading some Shakespeare. I tried to engage him in conversation. I nodded towards his book.
'Which one?' I enquired.
'William' he answered without even looking up.
Serves me right for being nosey. I told Cyril. He thought it were funny.
'He came in here one night' he said.
'Who came in' I said.
''Shakespeare' he said, ' I wouldn't serve him. William I said, I'm not serving you. You're bard.'
He's a right one is Cyril when he's on form.
The pub dog still lies in the middle of the floor. This chap came in with this strange pig-like animal on a lead. Cyril were quite worried in case it went for the dog cos its quite old.
'You keep that thing under control' he ordered, 'I don't want no fighting.'
The bloke were quite indignant.
'Its better behaved than any dog round here' he snapped. 'Of any case, a little aardvark never hurt anybody.'
Much as I enjoy my pub visits, you have to go home sometime. I just hoped she were in a better mood than last time. Mind you I upset her just before I came out. The phone rang and there were no speaking, just heavy breathing. She didn't like me shouting 'It's for you dear.'
It were me birthday last week and she were in a good mood and let me win an argument. I never knew what happiness was until I married. Then it were too late. This week she's promised me a surprise when I get home. Perhaps she's gone to live with her sister. Now that would be a nice surprise.
(Only joking about the wife. We've been married a long time and it shows. Last night she said 'Lets go upstairs and make love.' 'Make you mind up,' I said, 'I can't do both.')
As George Dixon used to say, 'Evening all.' If you remember George Dixon you must be getting old!

(And you thought it couldn't get worse! Three more to follow! As my wife says, the old ones are the best!)

(Back from Blackpool!!! Just in time to see scheduled post, (this one) didn't work. Try again. (Sunday afternoon)

Friday 6 April 2012

And We Puffed Away Oblivious.

This week a new law comes into being in England that prohibits cigarettes and tobacco products being for sale on open view in supermarkets. Worth a try, it's a habit not to be encouraged. The following piece some might find interesting. ( It is part of an e-book called A Childhood Revisited which I hope to publish in the VERY near future. More on this at a later date. The technical side of publishing I am finding excruciatingly difficult. My capabilities only just extend beyond mastering the light switch. And being seventy two years of age doesn't help!)

    In the years after the war the majority of adults smoked. Nor was the habit merely the prerogative of the workers at the bottom of the social order. It was not unknown for the local doctor to be puffing away at a Capstan Full Strength or similar whilst he attended to the coughing, wheezing unfortunates peering through the haze in his gloomy waiting room, which was of course provided with an ashtray. Will’s Woodbines, known universally as coffin nails, Players Weights, Park Drive Players Navy Cut, the choice was endless.      Almost everyone seemed to smoke, and everywhere. Crowds at football matches, customers in shops, even teachers in schools, sometimes non-too secretly. No consideration was offered or given to the minority who were not addicted to the gruesome habit. This meant many children, some already fragile and often sickly were exposed to passive smoking, including in the home, though the term had not been invented until many years after the war. Smoking was the norm, smokers were role models for children, which in part explains our childish fascination in what we considered ‘a grown up’ pursuit. And so entrenched was the tobacco habit that many children, myself included received, in their Christmas stocking, white, sickly tasting sweet cigarettes, complete with red tip in imitation of the lighted real thing. Imitation cigarettes that we practiced inhaling and proudly held aloft, blowing imitation smoke rings for all to see. Is it surprising we yearned for adulthood and possession of the real thing? But adulthood was too far away and patience was a virtue beyond our experience. Thus our approach to such forbidden pursuits was ingenious beyond our years.
A disused stone cow trough provided privacy from prying adults. An iron bedstead on top, liberally covered with branches, leaves and all manner of debris meant a den that was indescribably cosy. A hole in one corner allowed entry to this most secret of places.
Here we enjoyed diverse delights, one of which was the art of smoking; smoking was adult, smoking was exciting. The dangers of smoking were naturally unknown to ignorant adolescents, not that it would have made any difference. Besides, death from suffocation and the risk of being burnt alive in so confined a space were at least as likely as the risk of contracting the dreaded ‘C’ word from inhaling tobacco. Not that tobacco was necessarily the only ingredient smoked.
First attempts involved an acorn, a straw and dried walnut leaves. The acorn was discarded and the acorn cup carefully drilled at the base. The straw, around four inches long, was inserted into the hole in the cup and hey presto, a pipe evolved. The next step was to carefully break up the collected dry walnut leaves, using thumb and first finger. The small, parchment like particles were inserted into the prepared pipe. Matches were produce; having been secreted one one’s person for days prior to the ‘happening’ and the smoking mixture was anxiously ignited. Long, experimental ‘draws’ on the straw produced clouds of smoke, much coughing and occasionally glowing leaves flying in all directions. A fearsome prospect in an area that measured no more than eight by four feet, containing at least two small boys and miscellaneous bedding of straw, grass or hay.
We nevertheless persevered, moving on to the delights of the elderberry bush, at first sight an unlikely smoking source. In spring the bush was much sought after as a provider of berries for wine making. As the seasons progressed, the bush died back, leaving dead, woody bark. We carried lengths to our hideaway. There we carefully stripped the external wood, exposing an internal pith surprisingly cigarette like in shape and appearance.
A piece of wire was pushed down the centre of the pith to make a hole and the operation was complete. We lit the makeshift cigarette, the results were almost indescribable. White or grey smoke abounded, flames sometimes singeing throat and tonsils. Whereon the offending incendiary would often be dropped, causing anguished cries in the semi darkness amongst the straw or hay carpet; wherein the smokers would search, panic stricken, eyes streaming, for the glowing butts, lest our secret camp became our tomb.
Because such tobacco substitutes were not even remotely in the Woodbine or Park Drive class, not surprisingly alternatives were sought. The alternatives usually took the form of nub ends procured by the dubious practice of walking along pavements and picking up any discarded cigarette ends. Several small boys could soon accumulate a small paper bagful. We would return triumphantly to our lair where the cigarette ends were stripped and the paper discarded, there being no filter tip in those days. Pipes would be produced, this time real pipes bought from local jumble sales or ‘borrowed’ from unsuspecting adults. The pipes were filled with the tobacco gleaned from the cigarette ends. Matches would be produced and a real ‘smoke’ would result. A ‘smoke’ fraught with both obvious and unimagined dangers, but enjoyed just the same, in part due to the illicit nature of the event itself. Eventually, as the years progressed, we moved on to the real thing, Woodbines, Park Drive and Turf, and, when funds allowed, the luxury of Passing Clouds. Happy days indeed! Though less than happy when on occasion a filter less cigarette unexpectedly welded to your top lip; careful detachment immediately became the order of the day, rushed removal of cigarette from mouth resulting at best in a portion of the lip itself being permanently attached to the cigarette. Even worse, burnt fingers and a red hot cigarette end flying through the air might suggest that the joys of cigarette smoking was a less than perfect pastime.
And, away from the prying eyes of adults, when the cigarettes were smoked, we secretly learned of the world of grown–ups. Illicit books and magazines spirited away from adults were produced and eagerly examined. The Adventures of Pompeii and the Woman of Rome were avidly devoured and mental notes taken. Naturalist magazines were ogled, naked breasts and pubic hair causing an uncomfortable yet exciting stirring in adolescent

Sunday 1 April 2012

Mad Marvellous March. Grumpy's Alternative News.

    I reckon in the main its people, pure and simple that most make life interesting. Take the following, regarding 'normal',  where do you draw the line?
    Vincent Price is sent on an anger management course in Cirencester for firing a pistol at teenagers. But he upset everyone on the course and was sent back to court! Nothing to do with his name I presume.
Talking of self control, the bridegroom who set fire to the hotel at his wedding reception in Peckforton Castle in Cheshire because he was refused credit did £6million of damage. Some bridegrooms to be need a sanity check for everyones sake, bride included.
    Talking of brides, Emma Horne of Somerset takes some beating. 'Married' seven times, including twice bigamously, she is addicted to sleeping pills. So when she couldn't get enough  (sleeping pills) she was nothing if not inventive. She dressed as her seventh husband, and fooled a doctor into subscribing more pills!
    Three policemen were transferred from a Greater Manchester Police's firearms unit for fooling about with a shotgun. How old do you have to be to join the police? We all need the police but at times they make you wonder. The secure storage unit at the former police headquarters in Leek Wootton contains £113,000 seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act. At least it did until it went missing. Warwickshire Polioce are investigating. I don't hold out too much hope for its recovery. A report has discovered 52% of the Metropolitan Police force (men) are overweight, 22% are obese and one in 100 is morbidly obese. (Women 32% overweight, 16% obese and 2% morbidly obese.) Sorry to be cynical but the problems are from the top down. A recommendation from the Senior Salaries Review Body was that directly elected police commissioners earn up to £100,00 a year and if part time, pro rata. They were overruled by nincompoop Home Secretary Theresa May. She rules the part time bit makes no difference, 'Give 'em the full amount, whatever the hours!' No wonder in times of austerity, ordinary people are contemptuous of such stupidity.
(Officialdom, such a wonderful concept. The London Olympics, the 100 metres final. Of 75,000 watching, members of the public will total 29,000; enough said.)
    On a lighter note for a minute. (Several items, not connected).  The Eden Projects Cornish Pasty competition was won by chef Graham Cornish. The coroner for Bournmouth is searching for a man found dead at home. He is a Mr Henry Alfred Special-Brew. At one stage in his life he gave up drinking and changed his name to Henry Alfred Irn-Brew.    
    A football team, Nova 2010 in the Torbay Sunday League lost a game 58-0. Believed to be the highest ever defeat in any English Sunday League game. It was a good job their opponents star striker was not playing. By the way, the picture is of a Nova player, Lewis Parker.  And Mr Parker's age, sixty!
    For my Indian followers, Audi has provoked fury in India by marketing a car with a much louder than average horn. Some love it, some hate it. what do you reckon?
    A study in San Diego suggests people who ate chocolate frequently were slightly thinner than those who don't. Mind you, the research was a bit iffy so beware! A World Cancer Research Fund suggests we don't know the calerie content of everyday foods. The example they gave was hoummos. As a mere, oldish male, what the hell is hoummos!
    The Museum of Natural History in Manhatten is to hold an arachnid exhibition. Phobias to the fore but guess what the staff are concerned with. Teaching spiders to overcome their fear if people! And evidently they're doing OK.
    I noticed the house where Vincent van Gogh lived in Brixton in 1873 is up for sale. It has a blue plaque, £450,000 but it needs painting!
    It pays not to be too bright in Britain. Actress Donna Air had two Central London parking permits. You are only supposed to have one. In court, charged with fraud, her lawyer came up with a brilliant defence. Basically he suggested she was too thick to know what she was doing. The jury took one look at her and fifteen minutes to find her not guilty!
    Finally for once a sad ending. The Limbach-Oberfrohna Animal Park in Saxony had a new star. An earless rabbit, cute in the extreme. The press were summoned and fame beckoned. Unfortunately, during filming, horror of horrors, a cameraman,trying for a closeup stepped on the unfortunate creature, killing it instantly. Perhaps the bunny was deaf? They have had the animal frozen whilst they decide what to do.
And a happy Easter to all my readers!