Wednesday, 30 November 2022
Tuesday, 29 November 2022
Monday, 28 November 2022
Sunday, 27 November 2022
Friday, 25 November 2022
Have Godparents become a thing of the past?
With so few churchgoers, and so few babies being Christened/Baptised, it does seem that Godparents are no longer required. No more plunging babies into cold water, no more promises to make sure that he/she behaves like a saint, and no more guaranties to make sure the poor thing believes in gods, devils, and pixies.
Only once have I been asked to be a Godfather. It was someone I hardly knew, he was a Catholic, and I had never met the infant daughter concerned. Why he chose me is something of a mystery. Anyway, I said 'no', and explained that I wouldn't be a very good example to a young French maiden. Of course, I could have given her a few Francs every birthday, but that didn't seem a good enough reason to go against all my principles.
I myself had a Godfather; he was the husband of my mother's older sister, known to all as Sir James. Unfortunately, he went mad and ended up in a 'home'. As my dutiful Godfather, he had left me a tidy sum in his will, but by the time he died his own sister had bled him dry. My father had been his executor and revealed the sorry state of affairs after his demise. I really wasn't fussed.
That was my only experience of Godfathers, and I'm not sorry to see the 'position' fading into obscurity. I think we can all happily live without them; and I for one can certainly live without having been one.
Thursday, 24 November 2022
Wednesday, 23 November 2022
Tuesday, 22 November 2022
I'm not a great wordsmith, I have never been someone to throw around obscure words in order to impress. It is not something that impresses me, and I've always imagined that others would feel the same.
However some quite ordinary words have managed to pass me by. Even with my extensive education, certain words that should have been part of my everyday vocabulary have simply managed to escape.
I remember well when I first saw the word 'ampersand' written somewhere, I could hardly believe that I'd got to adulthood without ever having either seen or heard it somewhere or other. It seemed a word that I should have known; and would have been pleased to know.
I've now found another. It may not be a word for daily use, but there it was on the front page of this weekend's Sunday Times, and it stood out like a sore thumb. Talking of Football (well they had to didn't they) someone mentioned waving a flag aloft 'like a holy gonfalon'.
Now, I don't know if you know what a 'gonfalon' is; but I didn't, so let me tell you. It seems that it's a type of flag or banner held from a crossbar; not unlike those Trades union banners one sees on marches, with streamers or tails.
I don't suppose it's a word that I shall be employing too often, apart from anything I don't like the sound of it. But at least if someone sidles up to me and asks "Would you like to see my gonfalon?", I won't have to slap his/her face. A simple 'no thank you' will suffice.
Monday, 21 November 2022
Sunday, 20 November 2022
Saturday, 19 November 2022
Friday, 18 November 2022
Thursday, 17 November 2022
Wednesday, 16 November 2022
Tuesday, 15 November 2022
Our personal mobility is something we take for granted, our legs are designed to walk and run just as our lungs are designed to deliver oxygen, and there's no reason why they should go wrong.
So when our mobility is questioned, it comes as a shock. Something as simple as walking is not expected to go wrong. Unfortunately, age has a way of delivering surprises, and uncooperative legs are amongst the worst.
Until about three years ago I was still striding through the woods with the dogs, looking for mushrooms, and enjoying the beauty of it all. Then suddenly I began to take shorter walks as my back and legs were becoming either tired or painful. Now I can just about manage a mile or so before I start to wish I was back home, sitting down.
The culprit seems to be Sciatica. I've looked at the symptoms, and they all point that way. Painful back, pain down legs, and tingling sensation (pins and needles) into feet. There's no 'cure' as such, just stretching exercises to relieve the back pain.
It's a nuisance more than anything because it has reduced my walking distance to a small radius from home. Luckily with the car and my bus-pass I can get around OK, but once at my destination I'm limited.
The one thing I've always dreaded about getting older was walking around with an old man's stoop. It looks as if I'm heading that way. The walking stick won't be long!
Self-pitying? Yes, I suppose so, but mostly I'm just annoyed with the inefficiency of my own body.
Monday, 14 November 2022
Sunday, 13 November 2022
I was listening to a radio version of Dad's Army recently, which questioned how Captain Mainwaring had actually become a 'Captain', and it reminded me of my own father (who slightly resembled Mainwaring).
Father didn't really talk much about his activities during the war, but I think he was in The Home Guard, and was also a Special Constable. However, towards the end of the war he (who had studied Accountancy to a certain level) was commandeered to find the source of some quite serious fraud that was going on at a couple of nearby Army transit camps.
When he was interviewed for the job, the (Surrey Light Infantry?) officer amusingly asked him what rank he thought he should be given; Private or Captain? Father suggested that being a public school man, it would give him more kudos if he was a Captain; so 'Captain' he became.
I have no idea if this was ever actually made official, or written down anywhere; I suspect NOT, as he didn't wear a uniform, but when he visited the camps to inspect the books, he was apparently told to introduce himself as Captain 'Magnon'.
He very quickly found where the fraud was taking place, and a couple of Officers were eventually court marshalled. His job was done, and father returned to being plain Mister again.
He had been a quasi-Captain for about two weeks (?). My father told me this story just a few months before he died, otherwise I would never have known. I do vaguely remember him telling me about his role in fraud-busting, but not the bit about his rank.
p.s. I have always found his story a bit baffling, but just recently I learned that BBC War Correspondents were also given the honorary rank of Captain, so I'm now convinced that his story was absolutely true. He seemed to find the episode quite comical, but maybe that was the whiskey colouring his tale.
Saturday, 12 November 2022
Friday, 11 November 2022
Thursday, 10 November 2022
Wednesday, 9 November 2022
When I return to my native land, I need to show my valid passport stating that I have 'right of abode' in the UK. If I was to try to enter without any papers I'd probably be thrown in the slammer and put on bread and water.
So, when people land on the beach in their own craft (rather than taking the much cheaper, safer, legal, and more comfortable ferry) they should go through the exact same process as I do. If they can present passports and proof of residency in an EU country, or possess some sort of genuine visa, they would be given a three month permit to stay, and allowed to go on their way; just like everyone else. If they wished to apply for asylum at a later date they could do so.
If, however, they have no papers they should be treated like any other illegal immigrant. All I wish to see is EQUALITY, and basic abidance of the law.
Of course it'll never happen; nor probably should it. But someone has to come to a realistic solution. We cannot continue to have hordes of Albanians (other nationalities are available) being let loose on our high streets (currently the number of Albanians in UK prisons is costing us £57 Million p.a. Many of these people come with criminal intent, or to escape criminal proceedings back at home. They are certainly not wanted here.
I cannot understand why (yet again) there is one rule for law-abiding citizens, and another for the law breakers. And why the law breakers should be treated to hotel rooms, free handouts, and pampering, baffles me. I suppose (yet again) it's their so-called 'Human Rights'.
Of course, Sir Kier Starmer (Lab) continues to moan about the situation, and moan about every proposed solution; but he would.
Some hard-line action HAS to be taken, even if it is slightly distasteful. The whole business has become ridiculous, and out of hand!
N.B. Just in case news of such UK illegal immigration has not reached wherever you live, the photo above shows what has become a daily occurrence on South Coast beaches around Dover. About 40,000 have arrived in small rubber boats so far this year; mostly men, and I believe mostly from Albania.
Tuesday, 8 November 2022
Monday, 7 November 2022
Sunday, 6 November 2022
Saturday, 5 November 2022
Friday, 4 November 2022
When we returned to Blighty for Winter 2021/2022 we were met by daily sunshine, no sub-zero temperatures, and hardly any rain. We felt as if 'Global Warming' was very much on our side, and we did begin to hope that it might last.
This year has already been very different. My new Barbour Stockman coat has already had plenty of use, I regret not bringing back my wellies, and according to the forecast we are in for plenty more foul weather; and we've only been back for two months.
I don't dislike wind, in fact I rather like a stiff breeze, what I don't like is wind when it gets to tile-removing force, and even less so if it's combined with horizontal rain, snow, or hail.
I don't even dislike some mild frost; anything up to minus 5C is reluctantly accepted.
I recently bought a waxed rain hat to accompany my new coat, but it is useless. The rim is too thin and it flops down over my eyes so that I can't see. I shall have to buy another.
My youngest invited us to spend the Winter with him down in Oz, where, of course, they are having a lovely Summer. But the idea of spending 20 hours in an aeroplane is totally out of the question. I wouldn't mind spending the Winter in Martinique or Guadeloupe which would involve a 6 or 7 hour flight, but since Brexit, all French Dom/Toms are as interdit as the mainland.
So, we'll hunker down, make sure we have tent-like seriously waterproof clothing by the back door, and prepare for a wet and cold Winter. My gloves are at the ready, and yesterday I bought a new woolly scarf.
We shall survive, but oh how I wish it was like last year. Yesterday was really foul!
Thursday, 3 November 2022
The reign of Queen Elizabeth II was almost faultless but it did have its moments; just nowhere near as many as Netflix would have us believe.
I suppose we have to start with The Queen's younger sister, Margaret, who was, in any other situation, a perfectly normal fun-loving gal. Sadly her penchant for riding around on motor bikes, getting squiffy in restaurants, and leading young men astray, was not seen as befitting a Princess.
Then we had Fergie... Dear old Fergie, the first 'royal consort' to demonstrate how best to be a 'commoner' by going on a rubbish TV game show. It brought the alure of the Royals down to rock bottom, and we all groaned as she and a few other young Royals made idiots of themselves. After five years of marriage to Prince Andrew she became bored with his constant absence (his duty as a Naval Officer naturally took priority over his being at home) and Fergie began to 'look elsewhere'. Amazingly it was Princess Margaret who wrote to her saying "You have done more to bring shame on the family than could ever have been imagined".
After, and running parallel to, Fergie came the still much-admired Ms Spencer. After two years of marriage her roaming eye very quickly led to a string of 9 different lovers, whilst new husband Prince Charles cosied-up to his one true love and waited for a divorce after which he would re-ignite his relationship and marry the much more suitable Camilla. Diana's constant search for privacy led to an army of paparazzi following her every move and naming her every new beau. It was whilst trying to escape the press and hide her relationship with Dodi Fayad that it ended badly.
In more recent times the antics of 'Randy Andy', and 'Ginger and Whinger' have been grabbing the headlines. Both Andy and Harry have now been stripped of certain titles and duties, and Harry's wife has dug a huge hole for herself into which she has willingly leapt. Of course for Netflix it's the bastards at Buck House who are all to blame.
I don't see any 'bad eggs' waiting in the wings, so King Charles's reign starts well. The current junior Royals now seem like a good bunch, but of course they are young, and it remains to be seen how they develop. Little Prince George does have a look of Henry VIII about him, so maybe a few future heads will roll.
Overall, it was a calm reign for Her Majesty. Just an errant sister, three errant consorts, one errant son, and an errant grandson wasn't a bad record. Let's now hope that the 'person' her aides named as the 'Narcissistic Sociopath', and her lap-dog husband, just shut-up, and go away.
As far as 'they' are concerned, if the only way you can earn mega-money is by being nasty about your esteemed family in TV interviews, fictitious documentaries, and in silly so-called biographies, then it's time to take a long hard look in the mirror.
Wednesday, 2 November 2022
Tuesday, 1 November 2022