A year ago I was recovering in a neurosurgical ward with strict orders to stay calm and relaxed, avoiding unnecessary stress at all costs.
Doing so would keep my systolic blood pressure as low as possible and minimise any post op-complications.
So what happens?
Donald Trump gets elected as President of the USA on the very same day.
I can laugh at it now and enjoy the irony of it all.
Doug Stanhope made me laugh with his take on Nationalism.
Laughter always helps and heals.
Dennis Skinner was at it yet again today. Unfortunately the State Opening of Parliament clashes with Day 2 of the Royal Ascot Race meeting and it is no secret as to where the Queen would rather be. It is a perfect opportunity for Dennis to just do what he does best.
Even in what was a shortened ceremony Black Rod still came knocking on the door of the House of Commons to summon MPs through to the so called Upper Chamber in order to hear the Queen’s Speech. This is the way things work in our Parliamentary Democracy. The Queen sits in the House of Lords and tells someone to fetch the Commoners to hear what she has to say.
Not for the first time and hopefully not the last Dennis Skinner delivered yet another classic one liner.
Maybe we will not have to wait 2 years to hear the next one.
I love the Challenge Channel on Freeview Ch 48 Sky Ch 145. It broadcasts repeats of Bullseye on a regular basis, often back to back. There are plenty of shows to choose from as 15 series were produced. It is great!
The host, Jim Bowen (voted the Most Popular Game Show host last month in an online poll) is a proper legend. Bullseye was his show and it is great to look back and re-live those memories of Sunday tea time viewing thirty years ago. After all as Jim says “You can’t beat a bit of Bully.”
A classic episode was witnessed the other day. In the final round the first couple were a bloke, who had a delicious Bobby Charlton hair cut (circa 1972); we are talking proper comb over job. The other player, was in fact his daughter, and she had a mass of blonde hair, styled in a tightly permed mullet. Not a great style combo, but both were pretty handy dart throwers.
Fair play, they did well and won the best part of £600 in the quiz rounds. Then they went on to scoop a shed load of stuff on Bully’s Prize Board, namely a washing machine, a toasted sandwich maker, a hostess trolley and an telephone answer machine. This last high tech device was the size of a shoe box.
Happy with their winnings the leading pair declined the offer from Jim to gamble their prize haul and go for the Star Prize. As did the second pair Kevin and Jack from Barrow in Furness. They managed to win £550, which probably could pay the price for a terraced house in Barrow back then . They were not tempted to wager their cash, that they could hit 101 or more with 6 darts.
So it left Steve and Trish, the third couple, to cough up their £80 in order to have a pop at the Star Prize. The Star Prize was always not to be sniffed at. It could be a decent long haul family holiday, or a brand new car hidden behind a big, red velvet curtain in the TV studio.
This prize would not be revealed till the end of the show, but it was a “no brainer” decision to make for this last couple. They had to go for it.
Trish looked like she could hold her own in a bar fight and was a bit of a unit, truth be told. She gritted her teeth and bowled up to the oche and proceeded to chuck 22 with her 3 arrows. Not a great start.
Up steps hubby Steve, who hits treble 19 with his first dart and lands on single 16 with the next. This means, with a total of 95, the man of the moment only has to get 6 or more with his last dart.
Now if you look at the board what would you do? Aim left, surely? As anything will do 12 through to 19. Virtually half the board to aim at – it is not a tricky throw at all.
Yet what does Steve hit? THREE!!!! Are you sure? A collective gasp is heard from the studio audience off camera. Single 3! Steve loses the £80 won previously and the Star Prize also slips from his grasp.
Trish slowly hands back the cash to Jim, our ever diplomatic host. It hurts, you can see it in her eyes. Mind you, it is water off a duck’s back to Jim, who puts his arms around the losing couple and bellows “Let’s see what you would have won!”
Diminutive Steve stands still, ashen faced, anticipating a beating from the wife when he gets home to Rochdale. The curtain is drawn back to reveal the Star Prize. It is a blinking speed boat as well – loving it !! Trish does not look a happy bunny!
I have drafted a few posts about Rap artists and have decided to dust them down and get them out there.
Let me get this straight before I start I am a fan of all genres of music and I think that Rap music has its worth. I prescribe to the idea that all true and pure record collections should have no Beatles albums in them at all and must contain Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. After that there is certainly space for hip-hop and rap music.
The first Rap artist I want to talk about is Snoop Dogg. He gets a bad press at times, which is to be expected when one considers some of the things he has done. He got a bit of a ticking off by Jay-Z this week, probably due to Mr Dogg sending a cake and some strippers to R&B singer Tyrese for his 36th Birthday.
The Guardian is a bit more complimentary about him, where they grudgingly admire his resourcefulness in making tv adverts for car insurance.
Rolling Stone described Snoop Dogg as “everyone’s favorite pimp”. I would not go that far, but he is a likeable rogue who is able to laugh at himself as well as those he is taking money from.
Loving his work with my other favourite joker Bootsy Collins.
The World needs people like Snoop Dogg and for that reason I salute him.
The Hod carrier in flip-flops
After completing my teacher training I got a placed in the pool of recruits in the London Borough of Hillingdon. When I pitched up in July 1991 on my first day as a “probationary” teacher I in my newly assigned school was joined by a 35 year old ex- hod carrier, who had also just retrained and joined the profession.
William Davids was a huge bloke who had switched codes from a blue collar trade to a white collar profession so to speak. He had done a few things since studying Maths at Bristol University and the last job he had was in the building trade. We both had the Bristol connection – he knew about Natch cider and Clarks pies, so we hit it off immediately.
As an individual he was very strong willed with an inherent sense of right and wrong. If a system was flawed or unfair in his eyes he would always question and rebel against it. He kicked against the system. Management did not like him much because of this.
He was a generous man with his time and energy. He loved working with students who were willing to learn, but could not stand the odd one who would not bother at all. Kids loved him. One year he did a great version of Right Said Fred’s “Deeply Dippy” that brought the house down at the Staff Talent Show in Charities Week.
Despite being teachers in different faculties our paths crossed a lot during the working day. We both started as Year 7 form tutors and followed our pastoral groups right the way up to the 6th form. We both had long commutes to work and so got in early. We always met at the local greasy spoon before school on Fridays for a fry up before the weekly staff briefing. I remember that we also used to jump in the car and buzz down to Southall for a curry before a parents evening as there was little time to get home and back in the interval between the end of school and the start of proceedings.
We even did break duties together on the playground. Which had its ups and downs. At least we saw the kaleidoscope of outdoor conditions that the British weather can bring.
Not one to turn down a challenge. He would be up for anything slightly rebellious.
William and I used to sit together at the back of the Friday morning briefing – it is strange how schools survived on calling together staff once a week to discuss and inform the staff of major issues within the school.
Now briefings are called daily in most schools. It means that this meeting is no longer a milestone event that it once was.
After one meeting William and I got talking about dress down days that were a regular Friday occurrence in the private sector. We could not agree on what a dress down day meant in our workplace in terms of what would be acceptable attire. There was an unwritten rule that you could wear pretty much what you liked on a normal day, so if we dressed down, how far should we go?
Through further discussions William and I decided to push the dress code boundaries each Friday and see what reaction we got. It was a good day to try it as we would be seen by all staff and may cause the desired reaction.
We did our experiment in stages we started by not wearing a tie on the Friday of week 1. Then it went to no tie and no morning shave in week 2. A polo shirt replaced the more formal shirt the following week and still nobody batted an eyelid, so we pressed on with our quest. It continued for weeks and we had progressed to a t shirt, shorts and trainers accompanied by an unshaven face, but I called a halt when William suggested ditching the trainers for flip flops for the following week. Teaching whilst looking like a beach bum was fine with me but it was not a sensible thing to be doing science practicals “open –toed.”
William carried on the baton for one more week, and I think we took a photo of him sat in briefing in his beach ware as well as his flip flops! He always pushed the boundaries.
Warning – the punchline is not a typing error. Try reading out the dialog out loud in a Wurzel like stereotypical West Country accent, it might help.
Another home defeat for my football team and Dad and I are left to trudge back up the terracing to the exit from the stadium.
The ground is emptying pretty fast of fans, who had stayed to see the bitter end of another dismal performance by the team we called our own. The fans’ expectations are not high and pretty resigned in first place, but there are a lot of long faces to be seen amongst the people making their way home. Dad and I weave past the odd groups of supporters who were still stood around to boo the team off the pitch. We do not look back or say anything until we get to the top of the concrete terrace.
“Got to go for a quick leak” I tell my Dad as we passed the Gents. It is a 2 hour drive back home for me. Enough said.
The toilet is not as jammed as it can get before the match. This is particularly true when everyone piles in after a walk from the pub before the start of the match. It is quieter now. Nevertheless you can still hear the odd catcall from the enclosure below. Two old boys shuffle into spots either side of me at the metal trough that we all share.
It is a bit quirky in a way, but blokes as a rule do not look around when they use a public urinal. They just stare forward for some strange reason. This is why commercially minded pubs put advertising posters at eye level above their urinals. It is a crude form of subliminal messaging.
The two old boys are obeying the stare forward rule. Rather than look at each other they just look straight ahead and talk to the wall. Having me between them and in the way does not help, but they chat away as if I am not there.
“Well Bill, that was crap” says the bloke on my right whilst looking straight at the breeze blocks in front of his nose. He is a Bristolian you can tell by his local accent. Bill replies in an equally broad West Country drawl “Yeah, proper rubbish.” there is a pause whilst he thinks for a while, just stood there also gazing at a point ahead of him. He zips up and adds, “In fact I will go so far as to say, that is the worst side I have ever seen down here,”
Bills mate nods philosophically in agreement as he too turns to shuffle out.
They start to look at each other again as Bill finally concludes “and I can say that without any fear of contraception.” They both walk off into the night.
The one liners I come out with seem to have a theme – they are always blurted out when I am in the queue at the Co-op. My latest quip came as I was stood paying for a few bits at the fag, booze and lotto kiosk during a busy time in our local store.
It was about 6 pm and a train had just pulled in at the station around the corner. It had thrown out a lot of hot and bothered commuters, who added to the queue of punters wanting a mid-week lottery ticket, or to buy a packet of fags as well as to pay for a few groceries.
The man on the till serving me is a nice bloke. He is a bit of a jobs worth, but always outgoing and polite and has been working there for years. I punched in the PIN number to my bank card on the payment machine and as I did our man made a big announcement for the benefit of the customers queuing behind me.
“Sorry folks” he declared in a loud, confident voice. At this point he stepped back and pointed, so people could see that behind him next to the rows of vodka, gin and whiskies there was a big empty space in a whole section of the shelving,
”If you are here for cigarettes, we have none.”
He had a lot more interest in his announcement now and whist still gesturing he continued. People hushed up for a second or two.
“I am afraid to say there has been a break in last night and we have had all our cigarettes stolen…….”
“…….by a teetotaller”
I finished the sentence for him, loud enough for all to hear.
He did a double take at me as he stood there still pointing at a void next to bottles of booze. His hand dropped as soon as the penny did. I made a sharp exit.
I was in the car yesterday, listening to Test Match Special and at one point between overs the chit chat between Jonathan Agnew and Geoffrey Boycott centred on being to sea. It was a bit of a random conversation, but at one point Agnew paused and mused
“You can’t swim, can you Geoffrey?”
“No, but fish can’t bat so we’re even aren’t we,” came the reply
A great comeback that caused a few chuckles in the commentary box.
Happy Birthday Alan Border! The former Australian cricket captain, who is 58 today was quoted in the week as saying about the current team’s batting in the Ashes series so far :
“Our major concern right now is the performance of the top six. I could honestly say the nine, ten and jack [No 11 batsman] looked more competent than our one, two and three. If that was me in the top three, I’d be embarrassed.”
Chin up mate and enjoy your special day!
Great photo from REUTERS/Philip Brown of two blokes who could play a bit in their time, but now just enjoying the day at Edgbaston yesterday.
But what were they saying?
My guess is that Warne was saying to Vaughan.
“Hey, I reckon that the Aussies could bat for a day and a half in an extended game over here this Summer.”
To which the ex-England skipper replies, “Yeah right, maybe against Scotland!”
Any other suggestions?