31 July 2011

Posted by DMC on 1 August 2011 in Diary |

Those cricket fans amongst my readers must be wondering why I have not yet mentioned the second test match between England and India currently taking place at Trent Bridge. Nottingham. It is not that I have lost interest, or indeed not been following the match myself, but have refrained from too much discussion about the game merely in deference to those readers who find too much detail about cricket is incomprehensible. On this occasion therefore I start at the end of the third day.

I missed the toss but assume England won it and decided to bat. As it turned out they had a disastrous start and were 112 for 7 at one stage until they were rescued by Broad who knocked up 64 runs himself in partnership with the rest of the tail and managed to drag England to a respectable 221 all out.

This looked even more respectable when Makund was out for a duck from the first ball. Then however India settled down grinding away at England’s score and surpassing it with the loss of only 4 wickets. The game was suddenly running away from England when Tendulkar, fortunately, for England, failed yet again and was out to Anderson for 16, after which there was a monumental collapse with Broad achieving every bowler’s dream in a test match, taking a hat-trick (three successive wickets in three balls in the same over) in all he took six wickets. This plus his contribution to the batting certainly puts him in a strong position for ‘man of the match’ The star of the Indian side was Dravid (117) who was running away with the match until Broad got amongst them and the wickets began to tumble. India were 267 for 5 and all out for 288, a lead of 62. It could have been far worse from England’s point of view who finished the second day, at the start of their second innings at 24 or 1 having lost Cook for 5.

England batted all of the third day, piling on the runs, until an incident at tea, caused quite a stir and a lot of controversy. What happened was this. On the last ball before tea, Bell, who was then on 137, hit what he believed was a 4. Kumar, the fielder, dived in an attempt to stop the more striking the boundary and had no idea whether it can actually touched the boundary rope or not. Bell, believing the umpires had called ‘over’ started walking in with the rest of the players for tea.. He was then stumped (in effect run out) for being out of his ground, as it was subsequently determined that the ball was not dead as there was no proof that the ball had actually hit the boundary. According to the strict letter of the law the umpires were quite correct in giving him out but as a result of a plea from the English captain during tea, the Indian captain, withdrew their appeal and Bell was reinstated and went on to score 159. It was undoubtedly England’s day as they ended it with 441 for 6, 374 ahead giving the Indian team an almost impossible target, that is assuming England declare overnight

I went out into the garden in my neck wheelchair for a couple of hours in the afternoon, sitting shirtless, trying to build up my vitamin D, for the winter to come.

I should mention yesterday that Derek, our faithful, friendly plumber sacrificed a good part of his precious Saturday to come round and sort out our drains and immersion heater. Like me, Derek is passionate about cricket, and he popped in to have a friendly chat with me. We are so lucky with people who. Like Derek, look after us. We have been here so long they have become more like friends than tradesmen.

To finish on a light note here is a short love story



A man and a woman who had never met before, but who were both married to other people

themselves, were assigned to the same sleeping room on a trans-continental train

Though initially embarrassed and uneasy over sharing a room, they  were both very tired and fell asleep quickly, turned in, he in the upper berth and she in  the lower.
At 1:00 AM, the man leaned down and gently woke the woman saying…   ‘Ma’am,
 I ‘m sorry to bother you, but would you be willing to reach into the closet  to get me a second blanket? ‘I’m awfully cold.’
‘I have a better idea,’ she replied ‘Just for tonight…let’s pretend that we’re married.’
 ‘Wow!…………………. That’s a great idea!’, he exclaimed.
‘Good,’ she replied. ……… ‘Get your own f’ing blanket.’

After a moment of silence, …………………..he farted.
The End


1 Aug 2011

Posted by DMC on 2 August 2011 in Diary |

Chloe and the grandchildren returned yesterday from a splendid holiday in Corfu. They stayed in her first cousins beach side house. Apparently, beautifully finished and fitted out complete the cook, maid and gardener so it was a real holiday for my dear daughter. Barrister husband Karl, unfortunately, was unable to join them due to 6 week trial in which he is in the middle.

Miles and Kimberly are also on the move today. There are off to our cottage in North Wales where there is no guarantee of sunshine but that is less likely to worry them than the grandchildren who apparently spent almost all of their time in the swimming pool when in Corfu.

This fourth day of the test match against India certainly went England’s way. I was expecting them to perhaps bat on for an hour and then declare. Instead they batted right through to 20 min before lunch when they were all out for 544 leaving India an impossible 484 runs to win.

I was disappointed that England decided to bat through to the end and not give themselves more time to take a couple of wickets before lunch. However the gods smiled favourably on the English side and Broad, got the wicket of Dravid for 6 just before lunch putting England in a strong position to win this match. When India were 107 Anderson once more took Tendulkar’s wicket. The Indian side were then seven wickets down and they were all out for 158, a magnificent win by England by 319 runs.

Joy Barrow, a longtime neighbour from across the road, dropped in this afternoon with a little Book of Remembrance for Fred Sam ford, a great local character who died recently, aged 88. Fred, came with other village worthies, to Chloe’s wedding, – Chloe was born in our present house, went to primary school, sang in the church choir – which we held in our garden, almost 17 years to the day (31 July)

Fred had a hard life and was fostered out to a local family at two weeks old, apparently because his own family could not afford to feed him. However the new family with whom he was fostered also seems to have had problems as they lived on, what was called in those days, the Parish Allowance. 7/6d (37 ½.p) split three ways to cover clothing, food and everything else. As Fred said, when he was being interviewed for this book “Times were very, very hard. I have been hungry hundreds of times and I mean hungry” he goes on to describe what life was like in the Thirties, as he says “it was tough”

The book is full of fascinating anecdotes, for example. “The butcher, when we used to have a little bit of meat on a Saturday, would hide a beef sausage under that piece of meat for me, and I would run to meet him and hug him for it. And I’d cut back into three or four pieces and eat it with a piece of bread and save the fat to put on toast for another day”. The stories go on and on, Fred remembers the saddle maker, the wheelwright and a blacksmith, all essential trades in villages in those days. Fred himself worked in farming, catering and decorating but is best remembered for the last 22 years when he was the caretaker in the Village Hall.

This Is the Third Volume in the Clavering Remembered series, part of the Clavering oral history project series.. Such a good idea to recall so many interesting historical facts which would be so easily forgotten if they were not written down.


2 August 2011

Posted by DMC on 3 August 2011 in Diary |

I slept very little last night and have a great deal on the BBC World Service about the parlous state of the world economy. The American Senate approved the President’s proposal to increase the lending level by $1.4 billion in order to avoid them defaulting on their debts. I shudder to think what effect it would have had on the world economy had the Senate failed to vote this through. I look at the problems that exist in Europe with Greece, Portugal and Italy and realise that we are still very much on the edge of unknown territory. One mistake and the world could be plunged into something far worse than the depression of the early 30’s.

We must just pray that the politicians know what they’re doing but I’m not holding my breath on that.

Being Tuesday I should have gone to golf today but when we looked out at 8.30 this morning it was pouring with rain. Coupled with that I had not resolved my constipation problem so the combination of the two was sufficient for me to cancel my taxi. As it happened the sun came out shortly after and shone all day and the other issue did not turn out to be a problem, so I could have gone after all. Fortunately, ‘my lovely’ was kind enough to put me into my electric wheelchair so I was able to sit in the sunshine in the garden for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

Yesterday, I wrote about the little booklette entitled Clavering Remembered which was written to commemorate the life of Fred Samford and is organised by the Clavering Oral History Project. I understand from one of the voluntary organisers of this project that they intend to feature Eggie Abrahams next year to commemorate his 50 years as chairman of the Parish Council. In the meantime I thought it might interest readers if I were to record one or two other anecdotes from Fred Samford’s life in the 30’s.

We heard how there had been many ,many times when Fred had been really hungry. He went on to describe that sometimes the local gamekeeper would give him a bit of rabbit and his mother would then make a rabbit pie and perhaps after that some rabbit soup or perhaps he would be given a pigeon or even rook but never a pheasant, as that would be illegal! He recounts one occasion when he was in a shop and a newcomer to the village asked one of the local girls if her father was a poacher. She said “who wants to know? The newcomer said “so, well is it true? Complete silence for a moment and the little girl said “I’ll tell you one thing, we never went hungry. Does that answer your question?”

Fred talks about the gypsies who would come round pea and potato picking on the various farms (what we have today is tens of thousands of Eastern Europeans because our own people are not prepared to work for the modest wage offered for this work and are even discriminated against in favour of these hard-working people who have come halfway across the world looking for work). Fred recounts how occasionally they had problems with these gypsies in the local public house. When it happened the landlord would reach for his 12 bore under the counter, put in two cartridges t and say “the door is over there”. Apparently they looked at him in astonishment. The landlord will burn cock the safety catch at and say “I’m not joking. You either go out of the door without lead in you you or you go out with it in your.” He never had any more trouble in the pub. Sadly such behaviour would be illegal today.

Fred told us how he started work at 14, on a farm, for a wage of 7s 6d (37 ½. p) a week. He started at 6 a.m in the morning until 5.00 at night and to midday on a Saturday. If you were given a rise it was always on your birthday. They used horses to plough the land although this was about the time tractors were beginning to be used. He graphically describes bringing in the harvest before the day of the combine. The corn was put into sheaves to dry then later these sheaves were put onto a threshing machine.

(Even I remember haymaking, long hours in the sunshine and travelling back in the hay wagon, thirsty, hungry and tired but very happy)

Fred met his future wife, Jesse, at the local public house The Swan, (
sadly no longer with us) where Fred went every night with his mates to play darts. Jesse was living with a local woman called Molly Hancock who were newcomers to the village but they wanted to join in so her family took her down to the pub in her wheelchair in the evenings. They married in 1948 and rented a caravan for 18 months before moving to Surrey to live with Jess’s father until he died 18 months later, they then returned to Clavering.

Fred recounts the birth of his daughter Elaine and how she ‘bettered’ herself by going to Harlow College for secretarial training. Fred’s last job was caretaker at the village hall which he had helped, many years earlier, to raise money to build. He loved this job but health problems made him give it up in the end. He was saddened at how village life had changed in the last of his 10 years – not all for the better, mainly because of the newcomers who he wondered if they were shy. (I suppose Alice and I have to be included amongst those newcomers although we’ve been here for the best part of 50 years). However, towards the latter years of his life Fred was known to all of us and we would never pass him by without stopping to have a chat. He was a lovely man and this small piece of social history recorded for posterity is extremely important and ensures that people like Fred and the life that they led, will never be forgotten.


4 August 2011

Posted by DMC on 5 August 2011 in Diary |

The’ flying doctor’, Michael, arrived late yesterday afternoon in time to crack open a bottle of champagne before supper. Mick has very kindly come here from Sweden, en route home to Australia, in order to give Alice time to go to Cornwall to see her mother who will be 100 on 29 September. As the dear old thing has not been to fit lately we were all concerned about the possibility she would not make her birthday, so just in case Alice is training down to see her. The good doctor has been given voluminous instructions from ‘my lovely’ from the second that I am hauled out of bed in the morning to the time my respirators is fitted and I’m tucked up for the night (but no kiss!). Of course, we still have the lovely girls and boys coming in from Ross Nursing, four times a day, but there seems to be plenty of other little jobs to do in between times to keep Mick on his toes. Anyway he is here until Saturday afternoon and I’m sure we will have a lot of fun in the meantime .

I wonder how many of my readers have noticed the little DVD at the beginning of the blog. My dear friend Monti made this for me, and my direction!, so that I could eliminate the long written introduction. Do look at it, if you haven’t done so already, it’s quite fun

‘ My lovely’ got up as usual just before .5.00 a.m making the final preparations for her departure and notes for Mick for my: my pills and other duties. If she had been going to climb Mount Everest the checklist could be no greater but, to be fair to her, she has a system that really works and she was pretty concerned that I was well looked after even for the two days and one night she was going to be away.

The days passed peacefully and without mishap and in the evening Mick managed to place me into my wheelchair and somehow get me through the little arch from the kitchen into the breakfast room which is one of the few places in the house I’m allowed to smoke. So it was in there that we had our champagne, in the middle of which, Paula, my night carer on this occasion, arrived to run my tummy. (We do offer her a glass but she refused, quite rightly, because she was on duty) There is something therapeutic about a change of scenery if you are stuck in one chair all day. Sitting in the breakfast room with its large windows overlooking the garden, even though it was only for an hour or so., certainly lifted my spirits and, as the good doctor says, a change of scenery from time to time is very important.

When it came to 5.30 Mick hoisted me into the wheelchair and managed to get me up the ramp and into the nursery. or, I suppose, now more correctly called the breakfast room -although we have most of our meals there – as our two children fled the nest well over 20 years ago. I was terribly excited to try out my new gadget, the very cleverly made stand for my smoking stick with a removable extension into which I could put my drinking glass. Barton and I have in the garden a couple of days before with him interpreting my design by drawing it on a scrap of paper. Basically it is shaped like the horses hooves and the smoking stick is set in the top sloping towards me. Barton certainly improved the design by adding a magnet to the base of the smoking stick so that it would not topple over when I was smoking. It is a brilliant idea, if I say so myself, but even more brilliant is the way that Barton translated bad idea and made it for me in record time

We spent our evening pretty well as usual, reading or watching television until Craig arrived to put me to bed. Normally whoever comes in in the evening only has hoist me into the wheelchair and from the wheelchair sits me up on the edge of my bed, after which Alice likes to take over. Having invited Craig to observe the routine from the night before he managed very well with a bit of help from the doctor. Between them they left me reasonably comfortable then, during the night, when Michael woke up naturally, he popped down to check on me and, if necessary, to turn me over

The plum tree, in our drive, is groaning with fruit, so much so that one of the main branches has split off and is hanging on by a thread but the plums look healthy enough and may well ripen. Seeing this tree reminded me of the incident which prompted me to write the short story entitled Jamie Oliver eat your heart out. Regular readers may recall that Jamie was born next door at the Cricketers. (See Anecdotes for the full story. It is well worthwhile reading and will give you a laugh).


5 August 2011

Posted by DMC on 6 August 2011 in Diary |

Mick was absolutely wonderful during the night, he came down a couple of times and turned me over, so it was very much like’ business as usual’.

It was a beautiful summer’s day so at lunchtime we wandered down to The Cricketers (me in the wheelchair) sat at our usual outside table and enjoyed a drink before lunch. We were in no hurry and so we lingered over our food and I christened my new smoking stick stand. When we returned to the house we decided it was far too nice to go inside so we sat in the garden, me with my shirt off absorbing some of that wonderful sunshine and Mick in the shade reading. In fact, the hours slipped by and and before we knew where we were it was time to crack our evening bottle of champagne. Having scarcely filled our glasses the evening carer arrived.

On this occasion it was Paula who had to do her tummy rubbing in the garden shortly after that, under a threatening, rain filled cloudy sky, we decided that we had had enough and decided to go in.

When it came to supper, quite honestly, I was still full from lunch and therefore did not eat the food that ‘my lovely’ had left out for me-just a bowl of with our own stewed plums and some yoghurt. We then sat watching some rubbishy programmes on television trying to make up my mind whether to sit up for Alice -she was not expected back before 10 – or let Craig put me to bed as usual, with help from the doctor.

We decided on the latter course and just as I was about to be’ put under’ with the respirator,’ my lovely’ turned up just in time to give me a kiss and tuck me up for the night. So ended a relatively quiet and certainly peaceful day I scarcely like to mention that I started the day, yet again with another long session with Dragon voice activation people. This time I was allocated the senior technician who, like the other technician was very charming and patient which make it all very difficult to get crossed with them. Having said that I have really come to the end of my tether on the problems associated with this latest programme having spent over 10 exhausting hours on the telephone trying to sort it out. The programme which has served me very faithfully over the last 20 years but somehow this last version will not communicate with Word. This senior technician- whose name escapes me for the moment – seems to be taking the matter very seriously and referring it to the people who developed this latest programme who are located in America. If they can’t sort them out, heaven knows what I will do.

The other thing I find distressing is that Dragon has been my lifeline, particularly over the last two years, and I have pressed a number of my friends into purchasing it. If they have anything like the problems I’m having at present, I shall be extremely embarrassed.


6 August 2011

Posted by DMC on 7 August 2011 in Diary |

The night before last was the first time that I had been put to bed by anyone other than’ my lovely’ since I contacted MND. Michael, the good doctor, was strictly in locus parenti but Craig had a job to do and intended to do it, so between them they jointly battled out various tasks. In the end I was pretty well where I would’ve been had my lovely’ being here herself.

However, much as I admire the good doctor and the carers, no one makes me as comfortable as Alice.

 Around lunchtime we tried to convince ourselves that it was nice enough to have lunch the garden, after all it is only the beginning of August! – although to be honest it was overcast and cloudy and at least 10° colder than the day before. Still, we persevered and having eaten and smoked a small cigar, a drop of rain convinced us that we would be better off inside. The rest of the day passed peacefully enough with both of us reading until the rugby between England and Wales came on in the afternoon. Mick had packed and was ready for his taxi around 4.00. He checked in online and discovered that he had been updated Business Class (Lucky Devil). Some years ago he save the life of the senior attendant or one of the passengers on Qantas (or something along those lines) so is always targeted for an update if one becomes available.

 All the news at present concerns the parlous state of the world economy- are we possibly heading for another deep depression like the 30’s, as I suggested a few days ago? I really hope not. Except today we moved one step closer to the edge of the precipice when America was downgraded from a triple AAA gold standard economy by the Standards and Poor credit agency. This has prompted a reaction from China, who hold around one third of the American debt, angrily suggested that they put their house in order. The only crumb of comfort I can take is that it is not in anyone’s interest for either the American’s defaulting on their loans or any of the members of the EU. We are very much in a global market today and any default could cause the whole bubble to burst. Our trouble is that whatever happens to our income or capital there is very little that I can do about it at my age and we will just have to ride out the storm and hope we survive in reasonable financial shape.


7 August 2011

Posted by DMC on 8 August 2011 in Diary |

With the good doctor winging his way to Australia,, no doubt sampling the delights of Business Class. (I’m sure he would not mind me telling you that he is very partial to a good whisky) I made my weekly filial call to Shropshire to my mother and Richard to make sure they were both still in the land of the living! They do pretty well considering she is 94 and Richard 92 and run a pretty good house with minimal help. The rather sick joke is that despite their age and my mother’s early onset of dementia (hardly discernible) they are not entitled to continuing care because neither of them is suffering from a terminal illness, although suspect that either could take the journey across the River Stix before I do! Anyway I found them both in reasonably good spirits.

To-day, Chloe and two of my three grandchildren came to lunch, joined by Karl’s mother, Val, and her long serving partner, Larry. Again we were hoping for a garden day but it was windy and chilly so, although I did go out into the garden in my electric wheelchair it was not for long as we were soon driven in our passing shower. What on earth has happened to our summer. I know I’m always going on about our weather but really there has scarcely been one really hot summer’s days since April. Almost up to the time that I contracted MND I would spend day after day working in the garden, behind my wind shield screen-in order not to give offence to neighbours or passers-by – even if I’d been fit this year I doubt whether I would have got this setup out more than two or three times. As a result of the inclement weather we abandoned the idea of lunch in the garden and instead used the nursery which has become easily accessible by wheelchair since ‘ Bill and Ben’ built the ramp,

Val and Larry, with their usual generosity, came laden with presents for, me and ‘my lovely’ It was like Christmas all over again but despite my protestations I’m afraid Val’s generosity will always get the better of her. Lara and Fred Simenon were in very good form. Fred has settled down very well in his new ‘big school’. He has made some good friends and seems very happy there. Lara is also very conscientious little girl and at six as a reading age of only the hard-year-old. Seb was away at some sort of adventure camp, the sort of thing the revels in. The two little ones went back to stay with Val and Larry for a couple of days, so Chloe stayed behind and left after tea -delicious freshly made scones with Peter’s mum’s raspberry jam. She showed us some photographs from their holiday in Corfu with cousin Edwina and co-. It was a lovely house with lots of other cousins at the same time- and they clearly had a great time.

We discussed Christmas, as it is ‘our turn’to have the family. We are selfishly fortunate that Kimberly’s family live in America so we can usually count on them in any case.

Whether they will actually stay with us or at the B&B at the gate, still is to be resolved but at least I can look forward to one more traditional Christmas – although, I shall miss all three of them getting into bed with me in my fourposter and opening the presence left by Father Christmas. Heaven knows whether I will even be here next Christmas, or what state I should be in, although everyone convinced seemed to think that I will live forever!

Received various e-mails from the good doctor plotting his way hme. Firstly from Heathrow to let us know he had arrived safely and was ensconced in the first-class lounge getting stuck into the victuals. Then another one from Singapore. Apparently he managed eight hours sleep – which is not that difficult on a flat bed with a mattress, pyjamas and a duvet. (How the other half live!). To be fair to Mick he is a very good traveller and really does not mind travelling in economy class as he seems to be able to sleep anywhere. If anything I am the sybarite At the stopover he showered and shaved and was contemplating getting stuck into the whisky. No doubt we will receive a final missive when he touches down in Australia. Having said that he will be back here in October and as always will be very welcome.



8 August 2011

Posted by DMC on 9 August 2011 in Diary |

Yesterday saw the second night of rioting in London. It originally started in Tottenham after a policeman had been shot at (and being saved by the bullets striking his mobile phone on his chest) he shot back and unfortunately killed the assailant. This is ostensibly was the cause of the riots in the first instance, however it did not take very long before the criminal fraternity realised that this was a unique opportunity started looting the local shops. Diversionary tactics were employed by part of the gang setting fire to buildings and cars whilst their fellow gang members plundered the shops behind. It did not take very long before other gangs decided to take this unique opportunity and so the riots spread to Hackney and surrounding boroughs as well as other cities such as Birmingham and Nottingham. Clearly in these latter cases they are not local people angry at the death of one of their own merely criminal gang taking advantage of the current unrest…

Throughout these proceedings the police were pelted with rocks and stones and other missiles and occasionally with a Molotov cocktail. They were very long suffering and only engaged the rioters using shields and batons. In other countries they would have been mown down or at least scattered by water cannon or tear gas. Why are we so soft in this country? This is pure anarchy and should have been put down, by the Army i necessary, before it escalated. (That is if we have enough army left in this country to deal with such situations) t well over 100 people have now been made homeless as a result of damaging their properties and a large number of businesses have been looted and completely ruined. This, apart from the innocent police who were injured just doing their job in trying to keep the peace.

Not only are we far too soft on these criminals but even the judicature seem now to impose unreasonably light sentences. There was a case yesterday of a young man being murdered by a gang of four-in fact, they murdered the him believing him to be the person involved in some drug activity whereas they got the wrong man, he was entirely innocent – one of the gang beat him with a golf club until the head came off and then used the shaft to stab him to death. On being found guilty the golf club wielder was given a life sentence of 21 years but the other three were only given three-year sentences for violent disorder. In other words they could be released in as little as nine months. Surely they were almost as culpable as the one who wielded the golf club. Why on earth should they get off so lightly?

On the home front Paul came to babysit me as Jane decided it was about time you try to shear her sheep as their coats were virtually hanging off. Jane brought her nephew, Toby, to help round them up and no doubt assist with the shearing. They achieved the task, of shearing these three sheep, after an hour or so. I could not help comparing this with the Australian sheep shearers, who I watched when I was in Australia, who I believe could shear over 200 or so sheep a day, taking something like 2. mins. per animal. I e-mailed the good doctor in Melbourne and asked him for some statistics. He replied Frank Vearing (his late sister Jenny’s husband) who at one time was “The Australian Strong Wool Shearing Champion”. Most shearers in Australia shear between 150-220 adult sheep per day however in New Zealand there are shearers who regularly shear up to 300 sheep per day. Shearing lambs and small sheep is faster and the numbers might be slowed with some merino breeds (wrinkles) and with rams.

These Australian shearers move around from one spread (farm) to another. I suppose why they don’t call them farms is that vast tracts of land-some over 20,000 square miles -for breeding cattle or sheep. Following the annual shear the young men of the family who have, no doubt, worked their socks off at times of the year are usually given a substantial bonus to go into the nearest town, which may be several hundred miles away, and’ let their hair down’

I recall one occasion being in a bar out-back when a group with these young men turned up and after downing a large number of schooners (approximately half a pint) of beer, the inevitable rough and tumble started, breaking furniture and generally knocking the place about. The landlord reasonably complained and one young man asked him how much the places was worth. He then produced from his pocket and role of hundred dollar bills as large as a Swiss roll, peeled off most of it and handed it to the landlord telling him that he would buy the bar from him. Having completed the transaction the fighting continued under new management! This really was not such an unusual event in the outback where young people can be isolated for months on end just working and when they are let out they go a little mad


9 August 2011

Posted by DMC on 10 August 2011 in Diary |

My brother-in-law Lauren Grand’s 80th. birthday many happy returns of the day, Lol.

My taxi driver advertised for two drivers. He had 30 applicants, not one of them British. In the end the jobs went to 2 Eastern Europeans. Who said there weren’t any jobs out there? The stark truth is that there are jobs but the British nationals are better off on benefit, so why bother!

Tuesday, therefore geriatric golf day and what a beautiful day was, warm and sunny. Nothing much to report there except that Griggsy, now an octogenarian – and does he ever let us forget it! -to the shock horror, of his golfing mates is hitting off the yellow (junior) tees! What is the world coming to?! The boys at the club were wowed by my new combined smoke and drink stand.

The riots and carnage continues unabated in half a dozen towns and cities around the country. The Prime Minister has cut short his holiday to deal with the matter personally and has promised a sharp increase in the number of police available on the streets to deal with the troublemakers.

For today’s light touch here is some advice and instructions taken from actual US military sources. Some of these guys must have had a sense of humour

“Aim towards the enemy.”
–Instruction printed on U.S. Rocket Launcher

“When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.”
–U.S. Marine Corps

“Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs are guaranteed to always hit the ground.”
–USAF Ammo Troop

“If the enemy is in range, so are you.”
–Infantry Journal

“A slipping gear could let your m203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what’s left of your unit.”
–Army’s magazine of prevention maintenance

“It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.”
–U.S. Air Force manual

“Try to look unimportant; the enemy may be low on ammo.”
–Infantry Journal

“Tracers work both ways.”
–U.S. Army Ordnance

“Five-second fuses only last three seconds.”
–Infantry Journal

“Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.”
–David Hackworth

“If your attack is going too well, you’re walking into an ambush.”
–Infantry Journal

“No combat-ready unit has ever passed inspection.”
–Joe Gay

“Any ship can be a minesweeper….once.”

“Never tell the platoon sergeant you have nothing to do.”
–Unknown Marine Recruit

“Don’t draw fire; it irritates the people around you.”
–Infantry Journal

“If you see a bomb technician running, try to keep up with him.”
–USAF Ammo Troop


10 August 2011

Posted by DMC on 11 August 2011 in Diary |

Last night was the fourth of the current riots which have now spread to the North-West and the Midlands. Hundreds of youths rampaged in Salford and Manchester overnight looting and burning shops which led to over 100 arrests. In Birmingham the police are investigating the death of three youths to see if they are connected with the riots. Over 200 young people rioted and looted in Toxteth, Liverpool all of this outside of London where the shooting of the gangster started. To date there have been over 700 arrests but heaven knows where they’re putting them,, as our prisons are already full to bursting. (Someone suggested some sort of Alcatraz or Boot Camp subjecting these young people to 6 months or so hard discipline-not such a bad idea. Alternatively we could reintroduce compulsory national service which I’m sure would go part way to resolving the problem)

It seems that, for the time being, bringing the Army and has been ruled out, instead there will be something in the order of 16,000 more police involved in London over the next day or two. This begs the question as to whether or not the areas from which these additional police are drawn will be at greater risk. I discussed this with a number of people at the golf club yesterday and most were in favour of bringing in the Army and certainly employing water cannon and, if necessary, tear gas and even rubber bullets. People overseas simply cannot believe this is happening in the UK and will undoubtedly have some effect on our tourist trade which is particularly unfortunate as this time next year we will be in the middle of the Olympic games

As if we do not have enough trouble already with anti-government riots in Syria, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East pockets. Add to that the precarious situation that the whole world finds itself in economicly, and this becomes a very worrying period to be living in.

Going back to the riots in England when some of these youths have been interviewed their excuses range from ‘there being nothing to do ‘or ‘we are bored’ to the problems of unemployment. Well we all know about that. There are plenty of jobs out there if the young people were prepared to work for the minimum wage, which they are not.

.What on earth are the parents of these young people thinking about when some as young as 9 and 10 are out in the street throwing rocks at the police and looting the shops. Surely as a parent you would want to know where your youngster is and might be slightly suspicious if they came home with brand new 40 inch television and one arm.!

Obviously the first thing is to get these riots under control but then after that what can the government do to prevent such occurrences in the future. Probably very little if these organised criminal gangs are determined to formalise looting. Maybe something drastic like suggested boot camps need to be set up to give these youngsters a good dose of discipline for at least six months. Instead I suspect a large majority of them will be cautioned which will be about as effective as a chocolate teapot.

The other problem for the government is the electorate’s perception of their inability to control such situations. Even Churchill came unstuck on one occasion and riots have been responsible for bringing down governments in the past. No doubt the Labour Party will make much of the Conservatives inability to control these hooligans and for a while Prime Minister Cameron ‘will be on the back foot.’ This cricketing term reminds me that the first test match between England and India started today in Birmingham. If that had been cancelled then we will all have known that matters are really serious! Stiff upper lip and all that. (It’s a bit like the entry on the Club Championship board, at my golf club. The entry for 1940.- 1944 says,” ‘interrupted by hostilities’.)

The match went ahead without any interruption. It was a great day for England who won the toss and put in the into bat. At one stage India were 107 for seven wickets and it looked as though they could be all out for as little as 120 or 130. However, Dravid had other ideas and in scoring 77 with the rest of the tail took the score to 224 for eight. The last two batsmen were out without scoring. England came in with around one and a half hours play left in the day. Strauss and Cook started very tentatively, more intent on staying there than scoring runs but once they have gone past the first half-dozen nervous overs they scored steadily until stumps were drawn at 84 for no loss, putting England in a very strong position and well on the way to that world number one spot.

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