Friday, May 19, 2006

Cause for Concern? - The Answer

Yesterday I wondered whether my daughter had done the right thing by allowing my grandson to have a motor-scooter. I hoped he would have as much fun on his bike as I had on mine, all those years ago. Unfortunately, as you can see from the photograph, the answer was a resounding NO. A mere 5 hours after taking delivery of his brand -spanking new Yamaha he crashed it. In fact, in the opinion of a motor-bike mechanic, he's completely written it off. At least he wasn't hurt, other than a few scratches and bruises but, of course, he maintains it wasn't his fault. So at least his ego is still as massive as ever!

5 hours driving for £2000. I think another wee dram is in order.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cause for concern?

Today, my grandson Scott, age 17 took delivery of his new pride and joy, his first motor vehicle.
Unfortunately it's not a car, it's a scooter. A 125cc, four-stroke machine, capable, so the salesman beamed of at least 60 mph. His mother ran him to the showroom to pick it up and watched him ride away. He was supposed to be coming straight here, (he and his mum, Diane, live with us), but, despite the fact that he was on 2 wheels and Diane was in her car, she arrived home 3/4 of an hour before him. His excuse was that he got held up in traffic! Diane was, of course, on tenterhooks until he arrived. He went out again minutes later and so far, 3 hours later, we've not seen hide nor hair of him. When he finally gets home,Di is going to go ballistic and I will be required to back her up and play the heavy.

The thing is, I remember only too well when I got my motor bike. I was aged 16 and mine too was a 125cc machine, but a "proper" motorbike with gears an' all. I remember the sheer thrill of twisting that throttle grip and accelerating effortlessly, the wind whistling into the crash helmet, the vibration, the sound, the sheer joy of cutting through the air on an empty country road, I felt like shouting and I did, long, loud and deliriously happy.

Is this him coming down the garden path? Time to disappear for a wee dram, I think.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


All those who think that all Americans support Bush's war in Iraq,
Please read this and pass it on

There's nothing left to say.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Vive La France!

Today, Jacques Chirac, President of France, scrapped the so-called, "Easy hire, easy fire," law, championed by his prime minister and likely successor, Dominique de Villepin. The law, more properly called, "The first job contract," or C.P.E. was designed to alleviate growing concern over youth unemployment. It's aim was to make it easier for businesses to hire young people, than at present, by the simple expedient of making it easier to also fire them if they proved unsuitable for the job.

Now, I'm not saying that the principle of the law is good or bad. I can see the advantage to a business of being able to rid themselves of a lazy, or otherwise unsuitable, employee. I can also see the danger that poses to employees of a bad boss. I have no doubt that the French government will, eventually, have a similar sort of law in effect, sometime in the future.

The point is, they can't have it now, because young French people, trade unions and others who didn't like the idea of this law, marched, rioted, fought police and made such a fuss about it that the President has decided to scrap the idea, whatever negative effects it may have on his prime minister. (Makes him look good though!)

This is not the first time, of course, that the French people have told their government, in no uncertain terms, to think again about new legislation or amendments to existing laws or benefits.The media on this side of the channel will, no doubt, rage about anarchy in France again but I actually think that the French have the right idea. If the government, the people that you elect to serve you, decide to do things that you disapprove of, then, surely, you are entitled to tell them to, "Pack it in!" If they won't listen to reason then, sometimes, taking to the streets seems to be the only thing that the politicians will take heed of.

Now, if only those of us, in England, who feel very angry about the introduction of I.D. cards could stir like-minded people to action, then perhaps we too could make these "public servants," do what we want, instead of us having to do what they tell us, in the name of democracy.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Rest Easy?

If I thought anybody read this rubbish I'd apologise for the delay between blogs. I've been busy doing other things for the last 3 weeks or so. To be precise I've been trying to get to know about my paternal grandfather. The reason I needed to find out about this particular grandparent was the complete lack of any family history about him. There was no oral history, no photographs, no certificates, nothing. His wife, my grandmother Bridget, I could actually remember. Not very well, I admit, for I was only 8 years old when she died. I also don't remember either of my mother's parents, grandad died before I was born, grandma died when I was just 13 months old. However we had photos etc. and lots of stories about them, so they never seemed like strangers to me.

My dad died 30 years ago and with him any chance of his memories about his parents and childhood. His only living sibling, Uncle Fred, lives in York and for some reason there seemed to have been more than just physical distance between him and us. In fact, the only time I'd seen him since my childhood, was at my dad's funeral. The only contact between my mum and him was a Christmas card every year. What started this whole business was after mum died in, my sister and I realised there was an absence of any identifiable photos of grandad in my mum's effects and the more we thought about it the more we determined to find out about him.

With that in mind, my sister, Andrea, carried on the tradition of sending a card at Christmas but also added a note. This started a communication between her and Uncle Fred's wife, Auntie Marion which culminated in us visiting them, in York. We knew there had been some sort of family falling out at the time of Dad's mother's death but we didn't know the details. We didn't learn any more about that during our visit but we did meet our cousins who we hadn't seen since childhood days. We also learned some details about grandad, including the fact that he died when grandma was 6 months pregnant with Uncle Fred, at the age of only 34 years.

On our return home I did some research on the Net and made enquiries with our local council cemetries and crematoria office and discovered where both grandma and grandad were buried. For some reason our parents had never bothered to tell us about their grave although we had been shown the grave of mum's parents, not 50 yards away. We went to the cemetry to find the grave and imagine our surprise and sadness to find that their final resting place was not marked in any way whatsoever. It was just a plot of slightly longer grass than it's surroundings. Again, I don't know why this should be or who, if anybody, is to blame. Compared to the nice polished stone headstone and surround of mum's parent's grave, dad's parents were lying unrecognised and apparently unloved with only their God knowing where they were.

This anonymous couple had had a wretched life by our standards. Grandad has been described in census returns as either a "carter" for a brewery - drayman I suppose we'd call him now and a steelworker. We know they were running a small off-licence near to the Kirkless iron and steelworks, somewhere at the top of Belle Green Lane, Ince, at the time of his death. Apparently he got 'flu which worsened and eventually killed him, (I'm still waiting for a copy of his death certificate). Grandma, pregnant with her 7th child, (although we think 2 had already died in early childhood), took over the running of the shop. Apparently her brother did a deal with her that saw him take over the shop and she got his house to live in. It's possible that he "did the dirty" on her and left her impoverished. That's as maybe, what's known is that she struggled to provide for those kids and succeeded in raising them to adulthood. Unfortunately, two of her sons, my uncles William and Thomas died in their 20s or 30s. Thomas is actually buried with his parents. I'm sorry to say that I haven't yet found out where poor William ended up, but I will.

My sister and I think that their resting place should be finally recognised by a headstone and we are looking into the why's and wherefore's of providing one. We still hope to find out what caused the family fall out but that's not too important. I find this whole story so depressing. Families shouldn't fall out to such an extent that cousins don't see each other for tens of years and hopefully nothing will seperate us again. We've met 2 of our cousins and I've spoken to another on the 'phone, that just leaves one more, who I'm positive, I have never met at all previously.

I just wonder why one set of granparents repose under a neat polished stone grave, their names picked out in white letters for all to see and the other pair are lying, unnamed and unnoticed under a scruffy layer of course grass.

I hope to change all that.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bleeding Heart

I wouldn't normally respond to an anonymous comment to one of my blogs.
This time I will make an exception.
The blog in question was my last one about the execution of Clarence Ray Allan, a 76 year old, legally blind and infirm Californian murderer(?).
Here is the comment, I've had to edit it for grammar, of course;

"Reading your blog made me feel sick.
In my opinion you are a left wing, bleeding heart, liberal.
Get real, why don't you look at the following websites;

Just 2 points "Anonymous";

(1) I've read the first 2 articles, (the 3rd link didn't lead anywhere), and nothing in them would want me to change my mind.
(2) Yes, I am a left-wing, bleeding heart, liberal, and proud of it, as are all the human beings, past and present, that I respect; Ghandi, Albert Schwiezer, Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Florence Nightingale, Peter Benenson, the list goes on and on.
These are people who tried to do their utmost for their fellow human beings. Surely these are people who should be respected, unlike the warmongers, arms dealers and "profit above all" merchants who make up the hard-headed right?
I have never agreed with the use of the death penalty. I'm not going to repeat all the arguments, for and against, here but I do like to point out the obvious answer to those who say it is a deterrent against murder, "Why do you have to keep executing people?" - think about it.

That is of course if people like "Anonymous" are capable of rational thought.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Golden State ?

Just after midnight, local time, Clarence Ray Allan was put to death in San Quinten prison.
Clarence Ray Allan was 76 years old, blind and a wheelchair user. The State of California decided that he had to die now, rather than in a few years time, from natural causes. I hope that the citizens of California who support the death penalty are feeling very proud of themselves and their Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, that well known law abiding crap actor.

There's simply nothing left to say.