Tuesday, 15 April 2008


I have been reading an amazing amount in my paper about how bad Delia Smith is for doing a TV series and bringing out a book showing people how to cook the simple and easy way.
There have been people writing letters to the editor about it! Are these folks barmy? Just let me tell you a little story----
I have never cooked in my life. Well, I am married and have a woman to do all that sort of stuff.
However since I retired I have thought how nice it would be to cook for the little lady & as for the first time in my life I have some time I would give it a go. But where to start. What do you do to cook. Which pan to use. What to cook. What to add to the meal for extra taste. I had no idea about any of this--so how could I start?
Then I came across "How to Cheat at Cooking" in the supermarket and thought I would give it a go. Cor Luv a Duck Guv---you will never guess---I can cook!
OK so some of the ingredients or out of a tin. So what? Some of the dishes I have made are fantastic--so tasty.
Food snobs may not like it & I do not give a fig (not that I have cooked a fig)
What this has done is made me want to cook more and try new things so I am going to be more adventurous. This would not have happened without this book.
So go away food snobs-I am in my sixties and trying new things all because of Delia.
Delia I think I love you!

Sunday, 13 April 2008


I see that Peter Doherty the singer (as a music lover that is not how I would describe him!) has been jailed for 14 weeks for breaching a probation order. After all the chances he has had I think he has got away very lightly.
Although this case is not in it's self at all important. It has however brought to light a very serious issue regarding how long a prison sentence should be.
In days gone by a 14 week sentence would mean 14 weeks, more or less.
However it seems to me that almost all criminals only do half of this. The public likes to think it is getting protected from the undesirable elements in society and who can blame them? As a result of this a judge may pass a sentence of 6 years on an armed robber in the full knowledge he will probably be out in 3 years. This then avoids an outcry from the public but is in effect letting the public down.
However an even greater injustice is taking place that most people do not realise. Because the government has failed to plan for the correct numbers, jails are now full, and Mr Brown and his gang has come up with a scheme to help with this. They have introduced the End of Custody License which is a cunning plan to get criminals back on the street and avoid them sleeping 6 to a cell.
Under this scheme Doherty may serve as little as a month. Is it worth the bother I ask myself. Why not do away with jails and let everyone do what they want. Well this seems to be the direction we are headed.

Mind you the real losers will be the British public. Because when Doherty is out he is going to start singing again.

Perhaps they may let me in jail to avoid that!
(If there was room)

Monday, 31 March 2008


Reading my local paper I am amazed to see that once again the government has cocked up.
Although it was in the budget speech of 2006 (over two years ago) that they announced the new bus pass for over 60's here we are with 1 day to go to the new system and guess what?
The passes are not ready!!
How long does it take a civil servant to organise anything. (exclude a cup of tea, they get that spot on)
And this is costing us even more money
Due to the late arrival the passes are being sent out first class post! Give us a break!
If these people worked for a private firm they would be long gone. But how many people have been given the boot by the government? Not a soul that's how many.
Why not. Our tax money is wasted with impunity. And no one is bothered. Where will all this lead us?

At least I see the newspaper article is accompanied by a picture of a top civil servant doing what they do best.

Drinking tea. Well she is not doing any harm at the moment!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Thoughts Of An Old Codger

As I have mentioned recently I have been building my family tree (slowly!) and this has set me thinking about my own "olden days" not just those of my forebears. Although not quite in my dotage yet I do go back a long time and can remember events from the late 1940's. This may only be about 60 years but we live in an altogether different world now.
I well remember sitting in the kitchen by a blazing open fire making toast on a long toasting fork. It needed to be long because the fire was so hot it would burn my arm if I got any closer. We make toast in a toaster now and it is not the same but what can you do without the open fire.
We also listened to the radio a lot. There was not much choice in those days with almost all the stations coming from London. One of my top shows was Dick Barton Special Agent. Great! You could ofcourse listen to Radio Luxembourg which you could hear well one minute and not at all the next!
There was no such thing as TV (or if there was we could not afford one) but my mum and dad took me to the local picture house at least once a week. The show changed every Monday and Thursday so we sometimes went twice in the week. In those days every district of the city we lived in had it's own cinema and ours, about a mile away, went under the great name of The Sunbeam. I loved going on a Saturday because the manager would stand on the steps to greet the customers in a dinner jacket! I had never seen anyone in a DJ before and this made it seem a special event even though the films had been shown at the big expensive cinemas in the city centre ages before. Another thing that seemed really strange to me was that as we left after the show on a Saturday there was always a man on the steps selling a Sunday paper! How on earth could a Sunday paper be sold on a Saturday night I wondered. The paper concerned was the long defunct Empire News which was also a funny shape, not very long but quite wide. We had no car ofcourse and I would make the long trip home on my dads shoulders. Knowing now how painful that can be I will always be grateful!
When we went to town we went on the tram. How great were those trams? 100% great that's how much. They were double deckers which would sway down the tracks at speed sometimes losing the overhead pole to the power lines if they went round a corner to fast. It would smash down on the roof and everyone upstairs would jump off their seats thinking their time had come! Great fun! These trams were taken off the streets as old fashioned and a dead loss. This was about 30 years before they were brought back as the way forward for public transport! My head hurts! But these sleek modern jobs that tell you what stop you are at do not have the magic of the old boneshakers.
On Coronation Day we went to my auntie's house in Wakefield (24 miles away) as they were posh & had a telly. We caught the tram to town and the Wakefield bus from there. I can well remember seeing the headline on my dads paper that day but it did not speak of the Coronation. It read " EVEREST CONQUERED ". What a great day.
Needless to say it was not long after this that my folks bit the bullet and bought a telly. It was a small black & white screen built into a polished cabinet. It also had doors on, which were always closed when not in use. This may have been for when people came round so they were not aware we had a TV. It tended to be frowned upon in the early days for some reason. (My mum would always tell people "Of course we do not watch it much") However the ariel on the roof was a bit of a giveaway!
I do not want to bore you to death so I will leave it there but it does make you realise how things have changed in a relatively short period of time. What will it be like in another 60 years? Well I will never find out!!
Thanks for reading the thoughts of an old codger!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


I am in the process of building my family tree.
This is a long and time consuming process but one which is richly rewarding. There is something very special about digging into your past and finding out about people you did not know existed.
And one of the really interesting things is seeing how these people lived. You often read in a newspaper about people being poor but we no longer understand what poor means!
If you go back 100 years or so you find that if people did not work they did not eat. It was as simple as that. There was no visit to the social to get money for nothing ( although M Ps probably could)
I have send for one marriage certificate from my Gran who was married in 1910. But the strange thing is that it reveals she got married on Boxing Day! Cor Blimey I wonder why they would do that I wondered. Then the thought struck me that they did it because Boxing Day was a holiday anyway and they could not work on that day. That would save having another day off work they could not afford.
This is all a far cry from today. When you ask people today where they are going on their honeymoon they may throw exotic names such as the Maldives at you. I think there is more than a fair chance that my Gran and Grandad were straight back to work on December 27th. I see from the certificate that Grandad is listed as a labourer so that would not have been a barrel of laughs. If they saved their money up really hard they may have got to the coast for a couple of days in the summer. But being as they had the cost of my mother 15 months later they would not be able to do that then.
I love looking at old pictures of these days & sometimes think how laid back it must have been at the side of todays stressful life. But I must be wrong. Behind the scenes of the ideal country life there must have been real poverty.
I am certain there has always been stress and worry. There is one thing for certain----the stress is not going to go away!!

All this has set me thinking about when I was growing up & how life has changed over those 60 years. I will tell you about that very soon. Have a nice week.

NEXT WEEK--- My memories of growing up.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


So you have been writing asking where my blog is.
I have been rather busy but am back now.
Sorry about the break

Please log on as I will update at least once a week.


And you can rely on it. I am not a politician!!!

(See below)


OK I do not like politicians. I do not trust them with my money. I do think they are just interested in Number One.
But the latest developments confirm where the Whitehall Farces got their name from!
You will of course be aware that an inquiry has been called into the way MPs claim expenses. This is because it would appear that some have been rather less than scrupulous about what they claim. (You will notice I am being very kind here)
As a result of this, the speaker in the House of Commons has been placed in charge of the committee putting forward a report to overhaul the system. Almost at once reports came to light suggesting that the speaker himself was also involved in questionable behaviour over expenses. His wife's taxi fares of over £4,000 being an example. As a result of this there have been calls for him to resign as speaker. This job is such easy money he is of course reluctant to do so.
However the scene in the House yesterday was a total disgrace. The speaker was treated like a hero! They let him know they adored him. As he shouted "Order! Order!" there was a chorus of cheers from the Labour benches as if he was a returning God. I even saw one MP get up and tell him how wonderful he was! Yes, really!
I just ask myself if this sickening sight was anything to do with the fact that this is the man putting in the report about their expenses. He holds the purse strings in a way.
Choose how you look at all this there is something very smelly about the whole thing. Because at the end of the day the people that have the final say on MPs expenses are going to be MPs!
There is an easy way to clear this up. Make these people put in a receipt for everything and stop them employing their own family at taxpayers expense.
But they do not want to put in a receipt.

Now why would that be?