Sunday, 3 July 2016

A Rant

My friends.  You will observe that I have resisted placing any new pieces of my ever diminishing mind for some time. The fact is that I have been quite busy with a great deal of in house difficulties and projects.

Time nevertheless has now caught up with me and arrives at a time when so much is happening in the wide world.  Since my last contribution the situation world wide has become extremely fragile with all and sundry apparently hell bent on destroying each other.  The crisis with ISIS and the widespread tentacles of their terrible acts of unadulterated carnage defy belief.  We well remember how a certain gentleman managed to raise his country into following him into a political ideal of supremacy only to find the whole concept collapse with the culmination of World War Two. 1914-18 was supposed to have been the war to end all wars, but yet we finished with a further six years or so of similar conflict and so called lessons learnt.  How wrong it has proven to be.  Whatever was learnt was short lived and there is now hardly a place on earth where nations fight nations, and people find stupid arguments to wage war against each other.

As a regular church goer, and I trust a faithful Christian it is extremely difficult to take the challenge thrown at like minded people from the new age of secularism.  Thumping the Great Volume is not my idea of attempting to achieve what I might see as normality.  It seems that the technological developments; advancement of education; the revolution of Darwin, has indeed succeeded in destroying those traditional teachings.  Yet - if we could only accept that the teachings of the Great Volume is one of the greatest pieces of historical information we will ever find. Attaching a belief and adopting the principles of the most basic human standards to our daily life has alas fallen upon the stony ground. Recovery, or restoration to some semblance of normality (Dare I say morality also) has probably been left too late.

Moving on to another aspect of rant leads me to that other part of my routine. Supporting the National Rugby Team.  Not a good year in every respect. However - as a Nation Wales sports men, and women perform well alongside the rest of the world in  most events and sports.  By and large we are good competitors and at the same time take losing gracefully.  That is good. I do wish though that all those armchair experts would cease to blast their useless expertise over the airwaves, press and social media.  No sportsman ever proceeds to the field of whatever competition with the mindset of losing.  For Gods sake Experts give us a break.  I think I have been down this road before!

Lastly.  The referendum.  What an unmitigated disaster that has been.  The Albatross landed firmly to destroy the career of a very astute Prime Minister and generated what has now become a political fiasco of the greatest magnitude.  What a bloody joke.  It is often said you do not do business with friends and relatives.  I know that to be a fact!. But are there any friends or acquaintances in Politics.  Evidently not. Is Turmoil a good adjective.  I think not.  The mother of all Parliaments has surely never experienced anything to compare with the events of last week.  This coming week will surely be equally eventful with the twists and turns of potential Prime Ministers. Ah! there is more - There is the question of an unholy war with the future of the leader of the opposition.  And yet more - The Scottish Lady is hell bent on total destruction of the United Kingdom.  Is the fresh air of Scotland of such quality to be able to fund it's isolation; UKIP in total disarray; Plaid Cymru not sure where the hat should hang and the European Union continuing to be lead by unelected Beaurocrats. Finally to make the great week ahead even worse than the last - what about the Chilcot report. Wow!!. The only plus we have is that the Wales Football Team might indeed win the European Cup.  What a turn up for the books that will be given everything that has happened in the recent weeks.  I'm off to continue learning my Guitar.  

Friday, 1 January 2016

A Review

A few minutes  have passed and 2015 is no more. It is interesting how we have come to make such an event of the transition from one year to the next. As a very young welsh family full of  traditional celebration, the New Year was quite an event.  I may have mentioned it before. At the risk of repetition I will continue.  It was the tradition to sing in the New Year by moving from house to house singing a greeting and best wishes for the new year and in return the recipient of the melodic good wishes would be greeted with a drink of hard stuff, money, or if the song was not good or indifferently sung the contents of the potty might get hurled through the window.  For us kids it was a different occasion and I recall my sister and I singing our way around the village of St Clears every New Years Day commencing at 7.30amish and ending at our Grandmothers house at Ffynon Villa, Pwlltrap at precisely 12noon.  At each house we sung we received money ranging from one penny, tuppence; threepence; sixpence; and sometimes nothing. At the end of the mornings singing we might have accumulated One or Two pounds to share.  We were frequently encouraged to return the compliment the following New Years Day.  This probably went on until we were about 9 and 11 years of age.  It was good fun.  The best was the Broth or Cawl as we call  it in Wales made by our Grandmother.  Afterwards it was not unusual to go ferreting for the dinners of the rest of the week. True. Whatever -  back to 2015.  I fell by the wayside with my blogs after about May I believe.  No particular reason other than life has started to roll past rather quick since passing the three score and ten years. At home things have not progressed very well as the onset of significant memory loss of lady of the house has been foremost on the mind.  It is a situation which has to be dealt with tenderly, with patience, and considerable understanding, and we achieve it together. Despite this unfortunate set back I have been able to undertake two voyages with the Jubilee Sailing Trust both of which brought me into contact with some amazing people and took my mind from the issues at home.  I was able to do this with the help and support of friends locally who covered my absence with visits and support for which I was most grateful.  The high point must have been the commemorative voyage coinciding with the 75 years since D Day.  Sailing along the Normandy Coast; landing on the beach at Arromanche from an inflatable; mixing with veterans; generally brushing up on the history of what had taken place, and most importantly being able to say thank you to our father in heaven for being able to do it all.  It is difficult to comprehend what the scene was like all those years age on the morning of the invasion that some 53 miles of beach head from Cherbourg to Le Havre was a battle front of unimaginable magnitude. Following our visit to Arromanch we transited the Caen Canal past Pegasus Bridge to a berth a short distance from the City of Caen. A most pleasurable task was to wheelchair a veteran Royal Marine from our berth to visit the Cafe Grondree at Pegasus Bridge.  This being the first place to be liberated shortly after midnight on the 6th June 1944.  We had the immense pleasure of meeting Arlette the surviving daughter now seventy something of the first family liberated.  An amazing lady who took time out from her daily routine to welcome Marine Williams and I and tell her account of her family involvement in the liberation.  That was truly an unforgettable occasion.  The voyage back to the UK was also quite interesting as it was done through a very rough sea with waves washing the decks and having to be firmly secured in bunks when sleeping.  The summer spent at home pottering around was not the most pleasant part of the year. Granted there were a few days suitable for a barbie or two but not much else. So to while away the lack of a holiday with my good lady I took another voyage aboard Tenacious and took part in a race with Lord Nelson (sister ship).  We should have gone to France and back but never made it due to unfavourable winds. We made up for that by sailing close to home for a few days which was most exhilarating heeling over 35 degrees at 10 knots for a great deal of the time.  We even had the pleasure of a flyby from a Spitfire the pilot of which gave a huge victory roll. Spectacular, especially over the sea in a cloudless sky. So it was that summer passed very quickly into the deluge laden winter. Some measure of the volume of rain is the fact that I have not ventured onto the local golf course since September.  I suppose I could go in the rain but I am a comfort golfer who does not enjoy getting wet.  I experienced too much of that prowling the beat years ago.  The serious events of the year have to be the proliferation of terror throughout Europe.  The influx of migrating peoples from Asia and the Middle East.  The situation in Calais camps of thousands wanting to come to the UK.  Isn't it sad that they can not get into their reasoning the fact that the UK is living in austerity and we can hardly look after our own. Isn't it sad that people who have been welcomed into our country are turning against the comforts they already have here and cause so much hostility to the extent that there is a growing sense of resentment to their presence.  What a travesty that so many of iconic and historical preserved buildings have been destroyed in the pursuit of a so called religious campaign. Crazy. The annual celebration of welcoming a New Year was curtailed in so many countries due to the activity and threat of activity of minority 'terror" groups. Isn't it sad that the terror being inflicted in practically every region of the world is being propagated by so called religious leaders of a certain faith.  As a christian with faith I feel marginalised, not so much by the threat of terror against my way of living, as by the so called secular society apparently void of faith yet make their annual visits to their local places of worship at Easter and Christmas.  Something wrong!  God bless her Majesty for being a champion of our Christianity.  I won't bang a drum on this but it is food for thought.  In the coming year I very much hope that I will achieve some essential goals.  Taking care of lady of the house; continuing my weekly contribution to my christian faith; attaining a good level of dexterity on my guitar; becoming a better golfer; painting and decorating; attending a few rugby Internationals; sailing aboard SV Lord Nelson (twice), and then fitting in a bit of gardening. Apart from the first two the remainder not in any particular order.  My so called music room is in dire need of decoration, and I have promised to do it for some time.  I have a tropical fish tank in the room which is quite big and is also in need of an overhaul.  To do both will take some time. But! there is an obstacle.  There is one fish in the tank the survivor of many. He/she been there for some years and enjoys swimming around in 80 litres on it's own.  I cannot kill it but I am worried about how long it will live for. Which one of us goes first, and who will do the decorating.

Monday, 11 May 2015

AMEN

So it is all over?? I voted true to form for my Country; Preferred Party; and respected Candidate. No guessing which one - could only be Conservative.  Why after such a long time since the era of Whigs and Tories, the word 'Tory' attracts such torrents of abuse from opponents, and used with considerable venom in some quarters to emphasise a political dislike of Conservative ethos defies me. I have a blinkered view of course  of Socialism; Nationalism; Liberalism; and various other isms.   Personally I do not believe that the majority of people take much notice as the continuous attempts to knock the hell out of 'Tories' has lost its impact.  Not unlike having a favourite song on continuous replay on a CD/MP3 player.  The voting public are a canny lot.  They are generally tight lipped, discerning in their decision making and not unsurprisingly frequently defy the apparent 'skill and knowledge' of pollsters.  I have to agree that there were occasions in the last couple of weeks when my own gut reaction was in agreement with the 'opinion polls' because of the likely outcome being published on a daily basis, and at one point I was resigned to the idea of a hung Parliament and another election very soon.  The prospect of that happening was very unpleasant and consideration of placing the savings under the bed seemed like a good idea.  Whatever, the more one shared likes and dislikes; discussed this and that over a beer with friends of all political persuasions, it became apparent that something was not right.  I recall several discussions with my friends on the question of accuracy of opinion polls and there was a very strongly held view that 'polling' was an intrusion, such as to merit giving completely wrong answers to voting intentions to surveys and researchers.  There appears to have been a willingness to divulge the actual decision after the vote was cast as the exit poll reflected.  There was considerable discussion on the impact the lady from Scotland was making and she managed to put the fear of hell into many, and still does!.  What a sinister example of the power of rhetoric, presence; forceful presentation of a dialect to create and identify oneself with a cause.  No doubting where the lady is rooted and the cause. Personally I feel the word 'Scotland' has become synonymous with nationalism of the most unpleasant kind. How soon the bubble will burst is a guess. Moving on I reflect on the question of 'Is it a British ailment that we have to press the self destruct button' so often?.  We are hours into a new administration. An administration which has been democratically appointed after months of deliberation, and immediately has become unacceptable to a vociferous bunch of minorities.  Minorities I say, because they lost the political argument and are immediately screaming from the rooftops trying to canvass their lost dreams on the majority.  What a sad state of affairs that democracy and freedom can permit the violent scenes we saw in London on Saturday.  The spraying of a memorial by misguided members of our country.  Apparently, done to bring attention to a cause. How terrible a thing for anyone to do. Obviously those responsible had not seen the parade of power in Red Square, a terrifying display of political threat and ideology. Had they not seen the terrible scenes from the Concentration Camps; the suffering of Prisoners of war  by the Japanese?.  With the commemoration of Victory in Europe very much in our hearts and minds, and once again the recall of the sacrifice of so much suffering,  a minority decided to try and make a point on 'austerity'.  Having been brought up during a period of austerity I can recall vividly what it was all about.  Ration Books; Darned socks; Patched up trousers; Down at heel shoes; hand me down clothes; Coal fires; Candles; Oil lamps (if you could afford the paraffin) etc; etc; etc. No NHS; No Benefits. That just about sums up 'austerity' for me. Yet, we remained a proud country 'British' to the core. One nation.  Haven't we been on a roller coaster ever since?.  I have said enough. It's off my chest. I have had a good nights sleep; all is secure; the local children are on their way to school (free); I have taken my free medication so that I can survive until tomorrow morning; I am free to do whatever I want within reason.  That sounds very selfish, but it is not, because I am always 'mindful of the needs of others less fortunate than myself'.  A fact!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Gold Milestone.

After fifty years together, two daughters; three grandchildren, and everyone ticking over quite nice, it has been a a weekend of togetherness.  Celebrations would have been easier to contend had it not been for the threat of possible dementia and the progressive nature of the condition upon lady of the house.  Currently putting a very brave face on the ups and downs of bygone recollections and knowledge that memory and memories are not what they used to be are a significant strain on us both.  However the last few days have been most rewarding from the point of view that we achieved fifty not out, and the delightful cake embellished in gold by the hand of our daughter Gaynor.  Her artistic skills evident from a very early age will never leave her and the our contribution in honing those skills through support and encouragement over the years are always  a joy to see.  Over the years there have been many ups and downs to deal with. I view the birth of children, not only our own but those of our respective sisters to rate very high in the ascending scale.  Alongside that there have been many sad events, indeed, one, most tragic and difficult to come to terms with.  For as long as I live, the memory of the loss my sister in law's little one in a Road Traffic Accident will never be erased. So much heartache. Following on from there was the regularity of the passing of so many of the family connections who left us under chronic illness and suddenness that at times one did not know what was likely to happen next. However like all families the ups and downs no matter how sad have to be taken on board and understood. We are not  immortal, The message of Christmas and Easter are both Christian events on which to hold on to.  Now! Being a trifle melancholy is not to be depressed. That I am not.  Realistic definitely.  Upwards and onwards, always look on the bright side.  Tomorrow will be a yesterday.  So much to look forward to, much more to achieve no matter how creaky the bones might tell you to slow down.  I have yet to say thanks to the wonderful people who have sent greeting and best wishes for our fiftieth wedding anniversary.  There is a reason.  It WILL follow. Yes! Despite the cool looking lady of Scotland making all sort of pronouncements, and the finger tipping gestures of the leader of HM Opposition accompanied by some theatrical stares into the camera to convince us to go for a new style of Government. (Sorry dear reader I am feeling sick.) (A political illness pause)

Ten minutes later!!

I have recovered now and I am still voting Conservative.  Blue to the end!!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Wannabees

Last night saw our sitting PM and Wannabee in combat with Paxman. A brute of an interrogator who can put the fear of hell into his targets. Last night was no exception. For my part, because I am a blinkered Conservative, David Cameron was the slicker of the two with the aura of a statesman with knowledge and reality very much in view.  The other guy was doing his his best in wanting to be liked by asking questioners - "wots ya naime" (did you notice he included the "T" in his his words?) before answering - playing for time - slick trick.  Whatever.  A real low ball from Paxo to Dave as an opener, looking for the 'yes' or 'no' was fielded really well on the question of food banks, followed by a bouncer to check if he could live on the minimum wage. For goodness sake - no family could fulfil all the demands  of a daily existence could, so the answer was "No".  That threw my man Dave to go on the defensive for a while but he soon settled in and played a really good  innings.  The other bloke needs to go the memory clinic as he has forgotten the sordid state of affairs he and his gang left the country five years ago. We were bust. We have been going up hill ever since and now that the country has reached a  bit of smooth ground there is a serious possibility that we are going to crash back down. I really do get steamed up listening to Socialist Politicians. To be social is a good thing, to be a socialist in itself is not a bad thing provided they stay with feet firmly on the ground.  The problem is that they want to socialise everything with consideration of the cost and implication of making things easy, because that is what happens until the wheel falls off and the problems are passed on to the next team to sort out. Everything that (I"ll have to call him by his name) Mr Milliband,  (that hurt) came out with about 'caring for my country' was extreme left wing socialism and quite honestly I found frightening.  If he wins we will be bust again in no time. It will be last man out switch off the lights.  The only good feature to emerge from the Paxo grilling was at the end of it all my man seems by all accounts to have come out on top. That's good.  The next six weeks is going to be challenging.  I said to my friends the other day that I was going to get bored with the election.  Suddenly I am in the middle of it concerned, interested, gripped, avidly following progress and just about can't wait to get it over with a resounding Conservative Government. I think I will sell my shares in case that other bloke wins. No doubt there will be more on this.  Oh! Forgot - I have a Conservative sticker on my car!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Spring update

Last time I engaged on 'blogging' I was in a bit of a twisted situation with many issues playing on my mind.  The thought process was clear enough, the diatribe probably bewildering to those of you who took the time to read through it.  Obviously I survived Christmas, mainly because wife and I did not over indulge and have done quite well since.  I discovered that I was grossly overweight (everyone except yours truly knew that and made frequent comments) the upshot of which was to declare war on the flab by referring to the NHS Weight loss programme on this medium.  Believe me it works a bloody treat. I eat what I want in far less quantity; more or less given up the demon drink voluntarily and don't mind telling you feel quite good. Undergone a blood pressure test and much to the delight of the practitioner nurse it has come down quite well. As I write I am a full stone lighter than when I started and genuinely rearing to go forward to get rid of some more.  Already wearing things I thought of as 'had it' only a matter of weeks ago.  Another thing that has been ignited is my passion for a guitar and in that direction I found a second hand instrument which has been a really good find.  I have a really good musician to teach me and making really good progress and heading to performing 'house of the rising sun' in my own time.  X Factor look out.  Of course I cannot allow this spiel to proceed without reference to the 6 Nations Rugby Championships.  Sportsman as I am, it was disappointing not have come second in the table.  First would have been a bonus but reality rules that out.  Ireland were really deserving.  I still have this hangup about England (nearly all welsh Sportsmen feel the same) and them not being magnanimous in defeat.  Surely for one at least of their ranks to suggest that Italy and Scotland had not played their part, and the referee awarding a dodgy penalty to France was a bit silly. For my part every player was deserving the highest accolade as they all knew that the armchair experts would have drawn knives in their hands at the slightest error. Given the pace an intensity of modern rugby mistakes are bound to happen. It is all over now until the World Cup competition starts later in the year. More whinging no doubt.  Our little troupe of armchair experts went to Scotland for the Welsh -v- Scots challenge. Apart from the Rugby everything was quite good really.  Strangely I could not help feeling that the warmth of previous visits was not quite there this time.  That Independence thing was still very much in the air, and even now is hanging over our heads. The turmoil of that contest was nothing to compare with turmoil experienced on the Excursion train we took to Edinburgh and back.  I can tell you without any doubt that Wales have as many idiots to contend with as any other part of the UK.  What an awful lot of wasters, they  managed to spoil a really nice train journey.  Won't be doing that again!.  Maybe - if we managed to link up a train of sealed up semi refrigerated trucks and bundle the whole lot inside with no specific timetable for the train operator to adhere to, and the rest of us in Pandelino high speed comfort I would consider it. Whatever!.  A whole new estate of houses is going up in the land to the rear of my house.  I'm not going to suggest anything about the progress of the project but I do wonder if they will be still habitable in the equivalent time our older houses still are. A soakaway consisting of hundreds of plastic boxes (look like beer crates) have been sunk 5 metres into the ground and covered over with earth a few metres from my back garden. One way of getting rid of plastic waste.  Spring is definitely in the air with flowers blooming, weeds growing, grass needing cutting, not to mention  the birds that I have fed all winter twittering gaily and now responding to my calls to come for food. Wonderful.  I won't leave it so late before writing again.  I am in bouyant mood over my weight; can't wait for my sea going adventure in June; hoping that my good lady will have a positive result from her memory clinic of which I will have real concern. Until the next time cheers, chin up, and don't forget - Cemetries are full of indispensable people. And just in case you have forgotten or don't know  I will be voting Conservative!!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Scrooge!

Christmas Past; Christmas Present; Christmas future; Oh my goodness! How sad!. I think  I might be on the point of conversion. I am mixed up.  I am besieged with Scrooge type symptoms.  However I am certainly not mean to the same level as that Dickensian character and genuinely want to retain the spirit of Christmas so that the occasion will in fact be joyous for everyone.  However, being in the queue at Lidl's store in Pembroke Dock this morning set me off on a thought process which got worse as the morning wore on. A lady ahead of me was reading the head of her Newspaper and was aghast to find that there was an important piece of advice within on how to make 'gravy' for the Christmas Dinner.  Being in the unpleasant mood I was in at the time, the lady actually helped to zap me out of it, and we had a few moments of fun, in which many other shopper/revellers joined in.  Having been making gravy for sometime past we both had a banter as to how ridiculous the build up to the season had been.  I am almost certain that ever since late August, Magazines in various issues of weekend newspapers  have been carrying advice on how to make a Christmas Dinner; Prepare the add ons, and drinks.  The conclusion on my part anyway is that there must be a very poor level of cooking skill amongst the masses if they have not yet mastered the trick of preparing a decent meal.  Just think for a moment of the numerous items of journalistic drivel you have seen in the last few weeks about the matter.  Proceeding onwards do not forget the TV Chefs who have had a field day with so called celebrities preparing the festive meal.  The fact that celebs cannot, or have not yet mastered the required skill is not surprising!.  Then of course we have had the benefit of each and every Supermarket and Food Processing company spending literally millions on TV adverts of how a Christmas dinner table should look like.  Heavens above, has anyone ever seen a dinner table cluttered to the absolute hilt with a stockpile of processed food.  There's no room for the knife and forks and plates. What is more stupid is that the adverts are probably already recorded or being scripted in readiness for Christmas 2015, and beyond.  The phrase"Are you ready for Christmas" has been ringing in the ears for months, and I am convinced that is the point when my blood pressure takes a turn for the worse, and my mood swings become more variable than the weather.  I may have said on previous occasion that I am not a Religious bigot, and I really stick by that.  Consequently the commercialisation of Christmas has become a real thorn in my side.  As Christians we are taught through the New Testament of the origins and meaning of the Christmas story. The Old Testament relates the development of the world through the prophets and the way they saw things  centuries ago.
Unfortunately as Christians we seem to have lost the ability of appreciating things as they used to be; what they have become; and be able to responsibly think ahead of what we need to do to make the future a stable world in which to live. Spare a thought for the reasons our military are currently engaged in 'peace keeping', 'stabilising disease', 'preventing/fighting terrorism'.  Even our homeland streets are under the watchful eye of our security/police services to ensure we are safe in our homes during this Christmas spree. Before I lose the plot completely to anyone reading this can I just say that I trust we can take a long breath, jump off the bus of commercial insanity, and settle to a more steady lifestyle.  The crushing of the Credit Card might be a good place to start 2015.  As for myself?
Let me assure you I am not Scrooge - I enjoy my time working for and giving to charities. I cherish the ability of being able to help in my community.  Above all, isn't it a thrill to be able to share time and giving amongst the family at all times, and especially at Christmas.  So to all my readers - Have a Wonderful Christmas Season, and may 2015 be a Happy and Prosperous Year.

By the way - I will not be voting UKIP.