I will never knowingly publish a persons photograph or name on this blog without first obtaining the permission to do so.
The exception being that of famous and or well known persons who's details are already freely available on the internet.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Little Rascal comes to stay

After a hectic and stressful few weeks, I finally find myself with the time and the inclination to return to my blog - and to have a look at other peoples blogs, sorry for neglecting the few people who read this blog and who are kind enough to leave comments. 
Little Rascal came to stay with us whilst Mum spent some time in hospital, and what a busy but lovely time we had. Now I often get accused of spoiling Little Rascal (who me!), but I had permission to do so now to help cope with Mums absence, hence pancakes for breakfast. Oh, I forgot to mention, Little Rascals dog came to stay also.
Little Rascal enjoys the walk to school, even when the weather is inclement, but she does have the shelter of her nice green umbrella
We cut through the churchyard with a bag of monkey nuts to give the squirrels their breakfast, to Little Rascal's disappointment, the squirrels must still be in bed.
We played many games, this game was good fun. We both had a card on our head, we had to ask each other questions and try and guess what is depicted on ones own card. After an hour playing this game it can get a bit tedious!
 The Hide & Seek went well, who would have thought of looking in the basket?
Whilst I was busy in the kitchen, Little Rascal was happily watching television. She shouted through that she was watching a good dancing film. After a while I popped my head round the door to check she was OK. She said "Grampy, you had better not watch this, there is a lady with not many clothes on". She was only watching "Dirty Dancing", the 1987 film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.
Little Rascal took a lovely bunch of flowers up to the hospital to give to Mummy.
....and mother and daughter were so very pleased to see each other.
The flowers looked nice in the vase.
It was good fun using the control that moves the bed into many different positions.
 This delightful little girl celebrated her eighth birthday two days after Christmas, she seems to be growing up so fast. It is a real privilege to be involved in her upbringing, and what a good little friend she is to have.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

There may be trouble ahead ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬ ♫ (apologies to Irving Berlin)

It would appear that some people have a slight disagreement with TVP.
Day one a van covered in graffiti is pushed over in the road
The next day a pick-up covered with more graffiti is left in the middle of the road.
"Ello, ello, ello, What's going on ere then?"
The next evening I became aware of the smell of burning rubber, and here is why
A pile of burning tyres blocking the road
They take the mickey out of a police officer! 
...and this is what it is all about
 As the title of this post says "There may be trouble ahead", I am absolutely sure there will be!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


My fathers brother served with the Royal Scots Greys in Egypt during WW2. Whilst looking through his photograph album of somewhat faded photos, this photo caught my eye. Is it a contraption for washing clothes, has anyone got any ideas?

Sadly my uncle did not return home from Egypt.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Beware the Quart Pot!

There is nothing interesting about this building, I have seen better and have seen many worse in this City
Taking a closer look at the building we stop to read the inscription carved into the wall, now this is of interest, for where this building stands, once stood the Swindlestock Tavern.
It is here that on 10th February 1335 (St Scholastica's Day) that a squabble took place that would lead to violent altercations between Town and Gown.
Animosity between Town and Gown was nothing new, in 1209 riots broke out when a student killed a townswoman with his bow and arrow, seeking retribution the townspeople lynched two students.

But back to our story - Students and townsfolk were drinking in the Swindlestock Tavern, the students made disparaging comments about the beer to the landlord. John de Beresford was both the landlord and the Mayor at the time, apparently he answered the students complaints with "stubborn and saucy language" resulting in one of the students throwing a quart pot at his head. Locals came to the aid of the landlord, with one of them running to the City Church and ringing the bell to call the townsmen to arms. The students responded by ringing the bell in St Mary's Church on the High Street to summon students to the fight. Mayhem commenced, with both sides using bow & arrows, knifes and cudgels.

The following day, the Mayor left Oxford to seek help from outside the City, resulting in two thousand men from the surrounding countryside marching into the City shouting "Havock, havock. Slea, slea. Smyte fast, give gode knocks". The rioting went on for two days leaving sixty-two students dead.

The Mayor petitioned King Edward to take the Town side in the dispute, but the King came down on the Gown side. The rioters were punished and thenceforth, the Mayor, his Bailiffs and successors had to attend mass each year on St Scholastica's Day with sixty-two townspeople to pray for the souls of the dead students.

The Town had to swear an oath annually that they would recognise the Universities privileges in the City. Hence each year, the Mayor and his Bailiffs, plus the symbolic sixty-two townspeople would make their way to St Mary's Church, here they would be met by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, the University Registrar and the Proctors. The Mayor would then hand over sixty-two silver pennies in compensation. This ceremony carried on until it was finally abolished in 1825, nearly 500 years after the quart pot was thrown at the landlord.

A sort of truce took place in 1995 with the Mayor receiving an Honorary Degree from the University, and in turn the Vice-Chancellor being made a Freeman of the City.
Tensions still arise today between Town and Gown, but that's another story for another day.

And the moral of this story? Should you visit Oxford, and should you visit one of the many taverns, and should you be dissatisfied with the quality of the beer - For goodness sake DON'T THROW ANYTHING AT THE LANDLORD.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

In the Churchyard (again!)

Three weeks back, I was walking through the Churchyard, it must have been around nine in the evening.  Seeing flickering lights on one of the graves, I just had to walk over and investigate
Further over the Churchyard I see more lights at the memorial
...and bunches of flowers
The Churchyard was devoid of people (the living that is!), so with no one to ask, I decide to come back the next day and have a look at the grave with the candles
3RD APRIL 1919 AGED 42
I decided to research further and found Andrew Musto's place of death to be HMS Victory, Portsmouth. The cause of death given is illness.
The HMS Victory referred to here is not Nelson's flagship of Trafalgar fame. HMS Victory was used in WW1 as the name of Portsmouth Barracks.
So I am left no wiser as to why the candles and flowers!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Insomnious Rambling

To make this post a little different, I will here and there add applicable verse, though I will be taking liberties at times choosing verse to match the narrative! I will not name the author of  each verse, I wonder how many you can get?

I took to my bed early, but my usual insomnia coupled with a cough now in its twelfth week kept me from sleeping, so getting up and heading out for a night time walk seemed a good idea.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea
The plowman homeward plods his weary way
And leaves the world to darkness and to me
I take the path into the churchyard
Then not sure which path to take, I decided on this one
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair.
In the undergrowth I spotted someone sleeping, and wary of using the flash in case I aroused him or her from their slumbers, I struggled to take a photograph. I had to tinker with it on the computer to come up with this rather poor pic. I don't know where the lights came from, they were not there when I took the pic. 
What if you slept
And what if
In your sleep
You dreamed
And what if
In your dream
You went to heaven
And there picked a beautiful flower
And what if
When you awoke
You had that flower in your hand
Ah, what then?
A dog sat by the sleeping person, again I took a rather poor photo due to lack of light.
And a dreadful thing from the cliff did spring
And its wild bark thrilled around
His eyes had the glow of the fires below
Twas the form of the Spectre Hound
I have a wander around God's Acre
As I pass the church, the security light automatically turns on
I make my way out of the churchyard, leaving the rough sleeper and the more permanent occupiers of the graveyard to their slumbers.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf  in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
On reaching the road, I watch a somewhat inebriated man walked into the gin saloon sign - and then apologise to it!
Ho! Ho! Ho To the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe.
I decide to head for quieter parts, a twenty minute walk finds me on the track leading to the river. I am mindful that several muggings have taken place recently in this area, but surely all self respecting muggers will be safely tucked up in bed by now!
It was under this bridge that a woman's body was pulled out of the river. The poor woman could not cope with her troubled mind, she ended things in this river. Very, very sad.
The bleak wind of March made her tremble and shiver;
But not the dark arch, or the black flowing river;
Mad from life's history, glad to death's mystery,
Swift to be hurl'd - anywhere, anywhere out of this world. 
The lockkeepers cottage looks pretty with its welcoming lights
As I pass by the boats at their moorings, I hope the camera flash will not wake the river dwellers from their sleep. The only noise is the low hum of a boats generator, someone is quite literarily burning the midnight oil!
In the dark my eyesight is not so good, neither is my balance, I trip over one these mooring ropes and nearly end up in the river
I think it prudent to leave the river (after nearly drowning in my youth, I never did learn to swim). Just then I notice a boat making way slowly down the river, there are lights on the boat, but no red navigation light showing from the port side as there should be when the boat is under way. The story of the Mary Celeste comes into my mind!
I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky.
(Where this boat will end up if it keeps drifting)
I climb a fence and find myself in a wood, I find my way through the trees and the undergrowth and end up in a field.
 In the dark I hear something coming towards me, he turns out to be friendly and lets me scratch his head.
I've never seen a purple cow,
I never hope to see one,
but I can tell you anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!
(I did say at the beginning that I would be taking liberties linking verse to narrative!)
Time to move on, I take the long walk into town. On the outskirts, food is still being served at 4.45am
I pass this pretty Christmas tree
Town is nearly deserted
Due to the poor photo, I was in two minds as to if I should include it in my blog. I was touched so deeply by this girl, that I feel compelled to use it here. The young woman is homeless, all her possessions are in the bags she has with her. I give her some money for her breakfast. A woman living on the streets is especially vulnerable - her dogs will protect her. 
Draped in a blind cloak of tomorrows sorrow,
The invisible Homeless,
Dead to the world, left to soak, beg and borrow,
The invisible Homeless
Skeletal, yet boneless,
The invisible Homeless,
Floating by, weightless, invisible Homeless
With a heavy heart I move on. I wander round the side streets deep in thought
It is along one of these streets I pass the oldest pub in Oxford
When chapmen billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors meet,
As market days are wearing late,
An' folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the long Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps and styles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky sullen dame,
gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
Tam O' Shanter is a fantastic poem about what happened to a soul who had drunk too much, and what befell him on his horse ride home. It is worth reading the complete poem. I had to learn the complete poem as a thirteen year old  attending an Edinburgh school.
At the coach station, the London coach waits for early passengers
I start walking home and see an offer almost too good to ignore
Half way home and I see blue flashing lights. A fireman tells me that burnt toast had set a smoke alarm off - a false alarm
And down the long and silent street,
The dawn with silver-sandaled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl.
Whilst on my walk I watched two drug deals going down, and passed a lady of the night plying her trade. I thought it best not to photograph either - though I was tempted!
As I come to the end of this posting, I hear the wind howling and the rain pelting against the window, and I cannot help but think of those sleeping rough, of the people on the street with no home to give them shelter on a night such as this. I say a silent prayer for them.
My mind drifts back many years, to a time when I for a while I slept rough with no home.
So, we'll go no more a roving
So late in the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon still be as bright.