Sunday 12th February 2017
Well it’s a bit cold, grey and even a few snowflakes here in Cobham at the moment so I decided to toast a slice of bread in front of the fire just like we used to do. It’s on the end of my brass toasting fork which I bought some years ago at Widecombe Fair, that’s where Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney, Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawk, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all climbed aboard Tom Pearce’s old grey mare which promptly took sick and died, well I should think so – poor little sod. Anyway the toast was great, the corner did get a bit burnt but it tasted and smelt just it like it used to do in front of the range in my old Grandparents sitting room up in 21 Harrison Terrace, Darlington. My old Grandad used to sit there in his waistcoat, watch chain dangling from his waistcoat pocket smoking his pipe and listening to Ray’s a Laugh on the radio. Probably dreaming about his murky past over in Belfast, apparently he was a bit of a philanderer and a gambler but thankfully yours truly is none of those things – yet.
21 Harrison Terrace is indelibly etched on my memory as I spent some time there in the 40’s and 50’s; it’s still there but hopefully without the outside toilet and the tin bath. Harrison Terrace was one of hundreds of terraces in Darlington, rows and rows of them just like Coronation Street except the accent was the soft distinctive Durham lilt sandwiched between the Geordie and the Yorkshire. I even went to school there, played in 'The Dene', rode the trolley buses, went to ‘the pictures’ and spent a few weeks in the isolation ward with Scarlet Fever so you might think I should have that jolly Durham accent, well I do but it has a bit of Oxshott thrown in for good measure.
Visiting my mother’s brother’s and sister’s was the best bit. There was Tom and Madge with their children Sylvia and Mike over in Skinningrove. They lived in a similar house but surrounded by coal pits, slag heaps and continuous overhead ‘cable cars’ carrying the slag up the hill. At the bottom of the hill were a hundred steam engines shunting wagons 24/7 so all in all a great place for growing up in!
Then there was Bill and Alice with their son Ian all the way over the border into Yorkshire. A jolly, chatty bus ride, which was great in the snow as the bus would slither all the way down Gilling Bank deftly ‘controlled’ by the driver, some hopes, usually arriving sideways in Gilling West. Gilling West straddled The Gilling Beck where the trout would lurk in the shallows in the Spring, but you had about as much chance of catching one as Buzzy Boogle (Uncle Bill’s little Border Terrier) catching a rabbit up on the moor. The highlight for me was a ride in Uncle Bill’s Ford Popular over to the Lakes stopping off for lunch at the best Hotel in Reeth where I had the choice of the whole menu ‘Let t’ lad have whatever he wants’ I chose Beans on Toast - burnt of course.
The log burner on the previous page is in Chiswick this open fire is in Cobham but don't worry its smokeless coal, smokeless sticks and smokeless bread.
Wednesday 22nd February 2017
Now completed Powers of Attorney just in case I go stupid, silly or ga-ga however fortunately there’s not much chance of that as that only happens when you get old and wrinkly mmmmm. Apart from that I would recommend a visit to the cinema if you need a bit of an uplift because cinema’s nowadays (I know I’m a bit behind the times) but they now resemble a luxurious first class cabin on the top deck of a 747, talk about comfort, you can stretch out full length and still not block the aisle, you can sink into the comfy cushions, be transported by the sound system and put your arm around your neighbour and nobody would know. We saw a film called ‘Lion’ which is about a little 5 year old lad who disappears from home in India travels all alone for a thousand miles on the train to the back streets of Calcutta, spends a few years avoiding the child traffickers and finally gets adopted by an Australian couple. 25 years later he uses Google Earth to trace his route back to his home, unbelievable? But it is a true story. Never had that problem in Oxshott Woods and talking about Oxshott Woods I’ve already mentioned the fact that there is a great deal of pressure to build houses by the thousand in the area so the local pressure group convened a meeting in Cobham Church last night, never seen so many in Church they were overflowing into the choir stalls and side chapels all to hear representatives from the Council explaining why they are in a cleft stick and have to build houses on all the fields, woods and commons and if they don’t the government will force them to and if they can’t the developers will do it anyway. My take on the situation is that we are all like rabbits in the headlights unable to move destined to be flattened by progress. And it’s going to cost the tax payer millions commissioning reports, surveys, proposals etc and it’s going to cost the objectors millions fighting the proposals. Thank the Lord we’ve got death to look forward to. And that was said to me way back in 1964 by Rob Goff in a drawing office at Hurn Airport when we were asked to do ‘modifications’. And if you happen to be reading this Rob all I would say is 'Ministry'!
What was that? It’s a good job I’ve signed a Power of Attorney?
Tuesday 28th February 2017
If you didn’t know Kingston Council have raised millions from motorists for all sorts of infringements like parking fines, straying into bus lanes etc etc and I have been one of the contributors. Well last Sunday lunchtime I found myself driving to Kingston taking my usual route (about 3 times a year) through Surbiton Crescent. On entering the Crescent I was aware of a ‘traffic calming scheme’ which was two bollards restricting traffic to one lane with ‘priority arrows’ also the same on the exit from Surbiton Crescent, no problem. Driving towards the second set of bollards I was aware of a bunch of hooligans shouting and waving their arms at me. I stopped looked back, decided they looked harmless enough so carried on. Some days later I happened to read in the Local that Kingston Council had collected £2 million in a couple of months from people driving through Surbiton Crescent as the Council had now decided that Surbiton Crescent was now a ‘no access’ to cars but failed to put up adequate signage. The article included a picture of a bunch of ‘activists’ dressed up in colourful road sign costumes to try to save motorists from a fate worse than death ie a fine of £130 for driving through a ‘restricted area’. As it turned out my ‘hooligans’ were not hooligans after all but annoyed residents trying to stop me collecting a fine. Thank you hooligans.
Moral of the story? Don’t assume that all hooligans are hooligans. Meanwhile I am waiting for a brown envelope to drop through the letter box and I shall be quite annoyed if it does.
Thursday 2nd March 2017
Woken again last night by what sounded like a twin engine Piper Apache going round and round in circles. A quick few taps on the IPad to Flightradar 24 dot com and sure enough revealed a light twin cris-crossing the sky at 10,000ft with a call sign VOR1. Now all of you knowledgeable people out there will know that VOR stands for Variable Omnidirectional Range so applying powers of deduction at 02.30 Zulu I concluded that it was on a mission to check navigation beacons, that is if there are any left in this world of Tom Toms and bearing in mind that there are night restrictions for flying around in the vicinity of Cobham I reckon I might have a case for compensation don't you think?
If ever you need to convert a small child's bike into a push along bike in other words remove the pedals, chain and crank you have come to the right place. Our little Lottie, now 3, asked me to do just that so without further ado I dialled it up on YouTube and found a detailed explanation of how to do it. Not that I needed to know how to do it of course because being a highly skilled engineer I knew exactly how to do it so I just had to check that the guy on the video had got it right. For the most part his technique was very helpful except that he called a left hand thread a reverse thread but other than that job done. You will of course know that there are left hand threads on the left pedal and crank. I did of course know that there is a left hand thread on the left pedal but I will admit that I didn't know that there was a left hand thread on the left crank, so you learn something every day. Lottie’s pleased as punch.
Now this is really interesting so pay attention. This is a picture of a Southern Rail, Weekly Season Ticket, Third Class, Issued 9th Sept 1931 from Ryde St John's Road and all stations in the Isle of Wight issued to and signed by Harry W Beesley. Price 7s 6d (at the time).
Harry Walter Beesley was my father-in-law and was born in Slapton Northamptonshire in July 1897. He volunteered for service in The Great War at the age of 17, he served in the trenches and Mesopotamia but unfortunately little else is known. He was a Motor Mechanic by trade. He lived most of his life in Perivale Middlesex. Amongst the motor cycles he serviced in the 30's was a Brough Superior belonging to a Mr T E Lawrence or Lawrence of Arabia. He met his wife Eileen on the Isle of Wight in 1931 and the date of this rail ticket coincides with that meeting. They were married in North London in December 1933. They had three children, Brian in 1935 and then Marcia who suffered a cot death in November 1939 and then another Marcia in February 1941. Harry served as a fire warden in WW2. After the war he continued in his trade as a Motor Mechanic also became proficient in aluminium welding which was at the time a new technique. Sadly during the harsh winter of 1955 Harry slipped on the ice at work, suffered severe brain damage and died in 1959. And this is a picture of mother and father-in-law in 1931. Now I think that’s quite sad but also interesting. I hope you do to. Have a nice day.
Harry Walter Beesley age 34 in 1931
Eileen Marcia Banks age 18 in 1931
Thursday 16th March 2017
Today is a very sad day as we have just discovered that little Jimmy Nash after a 62 year struggle with life died on October 8th last year. Jimmy was cared for by Marcia from the age of 3 in 1958 at The Church of England Children’s Home in Cheam Surrey. Marcia wasn’t supposed to have favourites but she fell in love with him because he was easy to love and even at that age had experienced trauma. Marcia introduced him to her parents and her brother Brian (above) and they all fell in love with him.
During the next four years Jimmy spent many happy days and holidays with the Beesley family in Perivale, Jimmy began to call Harry and Eileen Mummy and Daddy and they explained that they weren’t his real Mummy and Daddy but they didn’t mind, they even started to enquire as to whether or not they could adopt him. Sadly in late 1959 Harry died after a long struggle with a brain injury sustained after slipping on the ice. Jimmy continued to spend time with the Beesleys and, in his own way, was a comfort for the Beesley family in their grief. In May 1962 he was cruelly taken from them, without warning, by the ‘authorities’ to be adopted by another family. The Beesley family were informed that there should be no further contact with Jimmy and were unable to explain to him that they still loved him dearly and were not even able to give him a hug and wish him well in his new life, which, it appears was a continuing struggle. All we can say is Rest in Peace dear Jimmy and may the spirits weave their wonderful ways.
Marcia with Jimmy and Jenny in 1958 Brian in his wedding suit in 1963 Jimmy with admirers in 1959
27th December 1953 - 8th October 2016
Monday 10th April 2017
That last story is particularly sad, sad mostly for Jimmy of course but sad for many others who knew him as it seems he suffered a lot; I never knew him but would like to have done.
There's been a lot of suffering going on around the globe since I last blogged including the tragic story above so you begin to wonder if it will ever end, to answer no is a bit depressing and to answer yes is a touch optimistic so all you can do is hope that it won't get any worse and hope that there will be a few 'sparkly moments ‘, what is a sparkly moment?
It is when you achieve your goal, don't get hit by an asteroid or sucked in to a sinkhole. Now there's not much chance of number 2 or 3 happening so achieving your goal is the only way forward, right Sam? My goal today is to keep breathing so my 'sparkly moments ' are averaging 6 per minute - which is enough sparkle for anybody.
Also for me a sparkly moment is when I'm blogging even though only 5 people read my blog last week and 4 of them was me so with that in mind I am going up a notch in the world and blog in 16 point instead of 14 point that way I can save energy by not having to keep putting my glasses on.
Talking of energy jobs today included finishing the fence, starting a very complex shelf project (details of which you will be spared) and erecting a swing in a lovely garden for lovely grandmother for her lovely granddaughter. I won’t mention fitting a Gloster Javelin tail to my cockerel weather vane as nobody would believe me.
Saturday 15th April 2017
If you don’t know what a Gloster Javelin is then I feel sorry for you, back in the 50’s and 60’s in my view it was the ultimate in design, innovation, power and aesthetics, you have only to Google it to see what I mean. I made plenty of balsa wood models of the Javelin most of which ended up in bits or balls of flame but the catastrophic failures were not due to the model or my modelling skills it was down to my ham-fisted mates who assisted me in the launch phase. Anyway my cockerel up on the weather vane now thinks he is one, a Javelin that is and not one of my ham-fisted mates.
Reminiscing again, sorry about that, but it’s better than grappling with the arse twisting language you have to deal with when changing anti-virus providers on this old PC, what a farce. I’m a great ‘techy’ when dealing with fences or shelves but the mind bending contortions required for this digital can of worms leaves me cold. Think I’ll get the old slide rule out; the Javelin was designed with the slide rule – not a kilobit or megabit in site - happy days!
Apart from that a Happy Easter to my reader – yes you and may all your eggs be in many baskets.
Tuesday 18th April 2017
There's a lot of talk recently about getting old farts who shouldn't be driving off the road, couldn't agree more, nearly got written off by one yesterday. Old fart couldn't see over the steering wheel, no idea which side of the road she was on, forgotten where the brake pedal was, careering down a twisty country lane, heading towards another old fart coming the other way, serious accident only avoided by lightening reaction by one of the old farts. I was one of the old farts. Guess which one?
There is a serious issue here which should mean that all old farts who wish to drive should have a weekly mandatory check on driving skills, eye sight and reactions. That could be done easily by playing a simple game against an 11 year old on your iPad/iphone/keypad and if you lose you are banned from driving, my 11 year old twin granddaughters would ensure that would be no more old farts on the road. And if anyone from the DVLC is reading this blog and uses my idea I want £1.05 for every old fart banned from driving. That's a Guinea in old money.
Saturday 22nd April 2017
Never heard such a long running April Fool story in all my life. Some dozy Dutch engineer has proposed an airport design with circular runways and would you believe, not only that it seems that he has received EU funding for a study. What a plonker. Doesn't he know that all aircraft have to take off and land into the wind and wind doesn't blow in convenient circles? Whatever next? A chair-o-plane for aeroplanes?
He thinks he's a Javelin with his new tail!
Spot the aeroplane.
Tuesday 25th April 2017
There's only one thing more inspiring than watching the London Marathon and that's taking part. I was so inspired I dialled up bbc/getinspired and tried to find a local event to get inspired by, but I couldn't find one - phew. Respect to all those taking part.
Instead I got inspired by taking another trip around the M25 and collecting another couple of Dart Charges. Never fails to amaze me how the hell those cameras pick up around 140,000 number plates a day and send out fines to those who don't pay. I bet that the answer is they don't, but who is brave enough to check it out? I spotted plenty of unreadable number plates so maybe a drive through a muddy field before driving over/through the Dart Crossing is the answer but then it'll cost you more than that to get your car cleaned, that is if you don't get stuck in the mud. Better to pay up Sam and enjoy the view don't you think?
Sorry I can’t be more inspiring today but inspiring (but satisfying) trips to the dump is hardly worth blogging about.
Saturday 29th April 2017
Evidence, if any were needed, of rip-off’s going on in the kitchen appliance insurance world. Yesterday I called my fridge freezer insurance company to complain about the 20% increase in premiums, following a short chat with Annabelle instead of 20% increase I was offered a 50% decrease thank you very much. So what does that tell you about being a long term loyal uncomplaining customer? Answer, you get ripped off. I’m sure that is also the case for many other long term contracts – I’m going to have a go at my Broadband/TV/Phone provider next – but I will be polite.
Yes I know it’s trivia in the grand scheme of things but news here in the UK at the moment is once again dominated by ego maniacs trotting out their ‘messages’ for a ‘better future’ – who’d be a politician? Two years ago we had a General Election which I thought was conclusive, last year we had a referendum which wasn’t necessary or conclusive and now we have another couple of trips to the polling station to make (local and national) which will result in a ‘better future’, so that’s great. I think. I shall vote for The Democratic Capitalist Party but there aren’t any candidates, nobody knows what they stand for and nobody’s heard of it but that goes for this blog as well! Have a nice Bank Holiday.
Tuesday 2nd May 2017
I make no apology for banging on (again) about West Wittering Beach and in particular a morning stroll in brilliant sunshine around East Head. This is for all you guys out there domiciled around the globe and dreaming about the old country (and for me when I can’t drive, see, hear, walk, talk, write and wonder). The drive was a dream in the old Corsa and just for the record she now has new tyres and a gear shift that doesn’t get stuck in park. I digress.
The tide was somewhere over the horizon exposing a vast flat landscape of shimmering sand peppered with crystallised salt (no vinegar!) reflecting an endless carpet of pin pricks of light, or perhaps it was the sun reflecting on the sand facets. Multi-coloured tufts of seaweed clinging to pebbles strewn about the place, deceased crabs deposited at the high water mark and overhead a stationary line of slowly rotating cumulus. Mesmerising. A slightly cool breeze from the south filled the sails of passing yachts silently threading their way up and down the channels marked out by the port (red) and starboard (green) buoys (cans). They’re still there Mac. Ready about, Lee Ho!
The visibility seemed endless as Chichester Bar Beacon standing proud on its stilts and The Nab Tower on the horizon beckoning all those (I used to be one) intrepid yachties to faraway places. Get the picture? And if you don’t this is the best I could do.
Wednesday 3rd May 2017
By the way a cream tea was enjoyed lounging in The Landing Café in West Wittering village which is recommended.
And if it’s your birthday today then a very sparkly birthday to you especially if you were born 47 years ago around lunch time i.e. between Sunday roast and pudding – I’m still waiting for my pudding!
Monday 8th May 2017
Yesterday, I know it’s getting a bit tiresome now, but another trip to Romford around the M25 including an exhilarating glide back over the QE2 Bridge was completed without incident. It could have been better if the bloody cool breeze from the east wasn’t a cool breeze from the east but a balmy breeze from the south. For weeks now hardly a drop of rain has fallen and temperatures have been on the cool side despite the sun now being high in the sky. If you look back at this blog about a year ago I was complaining about the winds from Europe just before we voted Brexit, yesterday France voted in a virtually unknown President so does that mean that the winds will affect our up-coming election? Maybe my Democratic Capitalist Party will have a chance if I can get together a manifesto by tomorrow, what do you think Sam?
Recently I discovered a cosy Book Shop called Persephone Books, it’s a small book publisher and re-publisher of books by a variety of mostly female authors and is located in Lambs Conduit Street- well worth a browse. Click HERE if you wish to know more but be aware that Persephone is pronounced Persephanie and not Percyphone, you probably knew but if you are an oik from Oxshott you probably wouldn’t know.
You might have detected a slight bounce in my step this morning, there are reasons for it but you won’t find out until a couple of weeks’ time, all I can say at this moment is that this bloody ancient laptop has suddenly, for some reason, burst into life sssshhh! Maybe it's the wind.
Wednesday 10th May 2017
Just for the record the ‘contact’ email has changed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Not that I expect any ‘contact’ but expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed - somebody said.
Saturday 13th May 2017
Nothing to say today except that It’s raining, at last, and computers around the world have been hacked and there is nothing we can do to stop it happening again and again, except don’t use computers? Back to the drawing board!
I spent 40 years standing at a drawing board,sharpening pencils, drawing straight lines, curves and circles and rubbing out but mostly dreaming.
Monday 22nd May 2017
Last week the oldest Hippy took a picture of the youngest Hippy on the ferry boat from Santa Eulalia to Ibiza Town, the only problem was that somebody had to go and spoil it by playing Viva Espana on his accordion. Other than that another trip to Ibiza was completed without incident except (there is always an except) that the cleaners at Ibiza airport were on strike leaving mountains of plastic bottles, coffee cups, nappies, etc. etc. strewn about the place – not a pretty site. Pictures might follow although pictures are nearly always a disappointment don’t you think, better left to the imagination, except maybe a picture of a sensuous door handle I fitted to the gate as the old one had snapped off, well it’s what keeps the oldest Hippy happy Sam.
Tuesday 23rd May 2017
One hundred and eleven years ago today (1906) in a sleepy town called Sleaford in Lincolnshire Mabel Conway was born, she was the third of eight children born to William and Agnes Conway. Here she is at the age of 12 with her two younger sisters Rene and Ruby. Why is this of interest? Because she was my mother – see the likeness?
Thursday 25th May 2017
OK you can’t see the likeness but many people can and dissolve into hysterics when they see the picture so I thought I might spread a little sunshine. Talking of sunshine here in Cobham its sun, sun hat, shorts and sandals weather at the moment but also sadness as you can’t ignore the headlines which once again are of many innocent young lives taken for no reason. I’d not heard of Ariana Grande but her comment of ‘no words’ seem to be appropriate. Us old farts who have children, grandchildren, health, lived our lives and still have a roof over our heads have much to be thankful for. Tomorrow we are promised a return to political jousting - again, who’d be a politician? Respect.
Meanwhile Bob’s Blog has reached the end of page 13 so let’s hope that page 14 will reflect a little more luck, good news, peace and prosperity for all, including planet Earth.
Not so optimistic