Thursday, 26 February 2009


At the beginning of the year in 2008 I liberally smeared mistletoe berries all over the bark and branches of several apple trees. I don't know how long it will take before I find out if any of the seeds have taken. There was no sign of anything throughout last year. Fingers crossed for this.

You may ponder on what brought this thought to mind today. I was flitting from one blog to another and came across this with the beautiful photo of a rose. And in an earlier post with the snow/ice scenes were some of mistletoe . . .

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


"Boo" to that reader inSsussex (Brighton) who has been peering at this poor offering for over 14 minutes.

University Challenges

University Challenge 2009 final was a cliff hanger. Now while everyone has been casting aspersions on Ms Trimble for [a] being very knowledgeable, intelligent and extremely fast on the buzzer and [b] her looks. I would just like to boast that over the last couple of weeks I have actually beaten her several times to the answer. It's harder playing at home as your answer can only be accepted if you have shouted it out loud enough well before it is answered by one of the team members.

Many of us have loads of facts and information stored in our brains. it's the retrieval system that can be faulty. Ms Trimble displays a phenomenal retrieval of her archive system. Mines not bad either. For a pensioner.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Pensioners Party

I am now officially a state pensioner. I never thought I'd live to see the day. I feel very grown up.
I have several 'thank you notes' to write. In particular one to an old school friend who sent me a watercolour of 3 fancy goldfish. It was a real surprise. I have admired many of her works since I discovered her website.

We first met age 7 years in infant school. We had just moved into the area. She thought I looked 'strange' or 'interesting' (I'm not sure which) and followed me home from school. Apparently I took the long way round. She lived towards the bottom of my road and I at the top end. We were inseparable until we had to leave school and join the world of work. Marriage and various moves around the country mean we see each other rarely. But this year to celebrate our becoming pensioners we hope to meet up in Worthing to party together.

Thank you Marion. It was a lovely surprise gift.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Say No to ID Cards

Say No to ID Cards and sign up for microchipping instead. It's simple and painless. It will never get lost or stolen. And it will be impossible for fraudsters to clone it.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Rant Free Zone

As you can see - or you may have noticed - I've been on a bit of a rant over the last few days. I've been in a full on rant mode. Full moon, sleep disturbed nights, an irritable angry spouse and domestic problems leave me feeling impatient and ready to take a bop at anything and anyone.

But today I just feel tired. Too tired to rant or quarrel with anyone. Today I feel a bit ashamed of my argumentative mode. No wonder my astrological sign is of 2 fish pulling in different directions, swimming in opposite directions, going around in circles. That's me to a 'T'

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Brown Fiddles While Britain Freezes

While Gordon Brown and Darling Alistair are tinkering around the edges of this depressive recession they appear to be equally worried about the obesity epidemic, MP's expenses on "second homes" and climate change or global warming (during the coldest winter for decades) .

We are being nagged to turning our heating down. Fit long life energy saving lightbulbs. Well bugger that. I fitted 4 energy saving lightbulbs. They take so long to warm up I've left the room before I can see where I'm going. They also fail to emit any warmth so I have to have the heating on 3 degrees higher. The 'long life' bulbs are less than 2 years old and show signs of being less efficient and slower than when first fitted.

I am now tracking down stockpiles of the old fashioned incadescent bulbs and have boxes of them stored in the loft. I don't see why these are not considered long life bulbs. In our previous house we had many of the old fashioned original bulbs that we'd fitted when we moved in 1982 still burning brightly in 1999 when we left.

Global warming? not according to all scientists. These are the experts who obviously do not have any vested interests in companies making wind turbines, energy saving lightbulbs, solar panels etc. If you believe that Maggie Thatcher was often right then in her time the view was earth is heading towards a new ice age. In which case the local councils and highways dept. had better buy in the snow ploughs and plenty of gritty rock salt before the prices rocket.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Jeremy Clarkson We Love You

Jeremy Clarkson - We love you - I do hope the BBC and all the other folk who are leaping on the 'Whingers Band Wagon' realise that there are far more worrying things in our world today than taking any notice of your non-PC comments.

I cannot believe it . . . Jeremy Clarkson is in trouble for reference he made to the 'Goblin King' in a press conference in Austalia. So many people appear to have taken offence in some way. I find Jonathan Woss very offensive. So I stop watching or listening: problem solved.
But even the RNIB spokeswoman has issued a statement. What has happened to everyones sense of humour? If we all want to call the PM Gordon Brown Cyclops - why not?? I also lost an eye. But 'in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king'. If we can't laugh at the things in life that scare or annoy us then I'm sure we'll become depressive psychos and turn to violence. I'm practically taking to the streets with a meat cleaver as I type... gggrrrh

Jeremy Clarkson is one of the few people to make me laugh out loud. He's Outrageous. But funny. Whatever he says I don't go believing his every word on lorry drivers, the Welsh, the Scottish, James May(Cpt Slow) and calling Richard Hammond 'the hamster' . Mind you I could object to that. Richard is far more attractive than any hamster . . .

God knows there is so little fun in the world today. No wonder everyone feels glum. What with the Credit Crunch, low interest rates (particularly gruelling for savers where we almost have to pay the banks for taking care of our hard earned savings). And now anyone who tries to crack a joke there is some individual or organisation that leaps on the 'Offensive Band Wagon' . . ye gods If you feel as I do then email the RNIB here: and tell them what you think.

I thought it was bad enough in the early 1990's when a work colleague was 'disciplined' for making a reference to a MANhole cover . . . ye gods. I thought that was bad but I just cannot believe it . . . the world is galloping towards a deep depression financially and mentally and all people in 'authority' can do is complain and/or discipline some poor victim for having a sense of humour. HUH!

Here endeth my rant . .

Friday, 6 February 2009

Race and Words Matters

I've been thinking more about the 'Golliwog' and Carol Thatcher BBC affair. I've also been interested to read Robert's comment on my previous post.

On reflection my grandfather would make me feel uncomfortable when he talked about 'niggers' (after Jamaicans moved into England mid 1950's) and the eyeties (Italians). I think it wasn't so much the terms he used but the impression he gave me of his dislike Being young at the time I can't remember what he said but I do remember his unkind tone of voice. So it wasn't the 'words' more the implication from his tone. I remember my mother telling me that 'nigger' is a rude word to use. A " very old fashioned term" she said for a 'coloured person' . Which being old fashioned myself still feels the most polite way to talk of someone with a different coloured skin. Black to me sounds too close to 'nigger'. When I first heard the word 'wog' I asked my father what it meant. He told me it meant a Western Oriental Gentleman. It wasn't the words themselves but more the implications I gathered when they were used that I noticed. If some youngsters today hear the word 'black' used in a derogatory manner theymay feel it's an unacceptable word.

In the same way that if someone uses a crude word when swearing venomously I'll blush. If it is a youngster liberally using such a word due to a poor grasp of the richness of the English language I don't take any notice. But I feel a blush sweep over me when someone swears with deep feeling using innocuous words like 'fudge' or 'sugar'.

It's the feelings behind the words that are important rather than the words used.

I also remember when I was about 7 yrs old confiding once in an Uncle that other school kids called me names. He told me that names can't hurt. And just to remember "that sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me". Such a simple message but it made me feel strong enough to not care.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Golliwog and The BBC

Fields in Sidmouth were selling golliwogs before Christmas. I hope they have one left. I intend to buy one when I go shopping next. I'm going to call it The BBC and hang it by it's neck from my rear view mirror.

I'm also going to complain to the BBC. I'm almost certain I heard Jonathan Woss make an improper comment about Gollywog a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Gollywog and Racial Awareness

Golly what a fuss over Carol Thatcher using the term Gollywog. She has apologised and said she meant nothing offensive by it. If from what I have been able to read is true, then she was saying a tennis player reminded her of a Gollywog.

Well I have a friend who being tall slender, large busted with long blonde hair reminds me of a Barbie doll. She is not offended and I mean no offense when I call her Barbie doll. She is secure in her intelligence; is comfortably appreciative with her appearance. "No side to her" would have been one of the comments my mother would have used. I am envious that someone can be so attractive with no artificial enhancements. Will anyone report me for making 'offensive remarks' if they over hear me saying that Angela's a 'Barbie Doll'?

I well remember the picture of the Robertson's Gollies on jars of jams and marmalade. We collected the badges. There is no way that either my sister or I saw them as being linked in any way with the black children we went to school with and who were often invited home for tea after school. They were our friends. But Golliwogs, Robertson's Golly, Teddy, Rupert Bear and Barbie etc were much loved 'toys'.

Growing up in Croydon in the 1950's I was never aware of any racial issues or prejudices in my family. "Do as you would be done by" was another of my mothers beliefs. People were people as far as our family were concerned. Some good, some bad. Some were friends, some bullied you, some had awful manners and some you would like as friends but felt in awe of them. For me one of the girls I would have like to have known better was called Anna Blake. She was tall black slender, quiet and gentle manners and always dressed much more smartly than I. She looked like a remote Princess but I was too shy to try talking to her. As I was with another school girl. White (well, pale pink) Joyce Roberts was sporty and, I thought, more intelligent than I. As I was particularly non sporty I felt we'd have nothing in common. Again shyness held me back.

But all this political correctness is beginning to make me very racially aware. When i was young it was considered polite to call people coloured. Black was considered rude, racist and reminiscent of the slave trade. I resent the fact that I can no longer look at non whites as just 'people'. I can't stare in wonder if they are dressed in an exotically foreign costume. I no longer feel comfortable meeting non white British people. I am so afraid of saying something that will be taken the wrong way. I invariably smile when I catch a stranger's eye as we pass in the street. But if it should be a black or Asian person I stifle any smile as I am afraid it will be misconstrued or seen as patronising.

I remember a black staff nurse I used to work with in Mayday hospital c 1960s. As we were walking back to work one lunchtime she said that she forgets she's black until she sees someone staring at her. I told her I assumed they were 'staring at us because we're 2 pretty girls'. I'm not sure what I would say today.

I also know what it is like to be in the minority. A few years ago I became lost in Thornton Heath trying to find the house where I was born. As I waited near Thornton Heath pond for traffic lights to change I realised that everyone was looking at me. I was the only white (well, very very pale pink actually) person for as far as my eye could see. I felt uncomfortable. I'm sure I would have been more confident in this situation in the 1960/70's.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Help Please Information Wanted

Help Please - Information Wanted on the wherabouts of St Billy aka Stinking Billy.

I came on this afternoon and wanted to read some of my favourite bloggers butI've been unable to access St Billy's pages. All I can get is a page which says Invited readers only. St Billy - please invite me to be a reader.

update half an hour later: I emailed St Billy to ask if he was having technical problems. Then I had a brainwave. I Googled Stinking Billy "Goodbye" an this is what I found in the 'cached pages' rather than create a link I will cut and paste the cached page here so that anyone coming late to this post will know what has happened. I'm sad . . . I've also retained the blogs that St Billy linked to - there may be other bloggers like me who want to keep up with some of his 'harem'.

Stinking Billy
A 74 year-old retired Fire Officer from Northumberland who enjoys writing with a splash of irony. Main interests these days are blogging, e-mailing and Bridge, in that order.
Sunday, 1 February 2009

All good things must come to an end, and this is the final post of Stinking Billy. There, now, don’t any of you go upsetting yourselves because it’s not such a big deal. Not even any scandal or story attached to my decision, just par for the course for Billy.I have said here more than once that I am by nature mercurial, a ‘hit and run’ and ‘keep moving’ merchant, and I guess I have just come to the end of this particular tether. I feel sad, sure, but I will find something else to take the place of this amazing hobby of blogging, and off I will go again, you’ll see, or rather you won’t, I guess.You have all been wonderful to know and my life is all the richer for having met you, if you know what I mean, not least the treasured members of my harem (every woman who is either a ‘follower’ or a link on my blog-list). Was there ever a luckier sultan than me?I can’t deny that I have had my favourites, but to mention names would only be invidious and I have no intention of going there. I will miss every one of you, but then I do have a penchant for wearing hair-shirts. Yep, I am expecting to feel a little pain, and that will prove something, right? I’m not sure what, but I am always confident that providence will somehow compensate me for being so brave. ;-) Let it a big chunk of money this time

Finally, you are welcome to call in on Mrs Billy and me here in Seahouses for a coffee and a chat anytime you are up this way. Don’t leave it too late, though. We may be gone from here by mid-summer but, then, there are still no signs of the housing market picking-up. If you do fancy dropping in you can contact me via e-mail at btippins@supanet.comNow, I will have to surprise my wife with the news and find a way of closing this site down. Lingering deaths (no, I do not have some incurable disease) are never pleasant. Good luck to you all! To my faithful harem, a special thanks. You have made a very happy man old, or something like that. ;-) Luv, Billy. xP.S. The fact that this happens to be the 400th post of a confessed target-driven airhead, is just sheer coincidence. ;-)

Posted by Stinking Billy at 11:27
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softinthehead said...
Oh Billy why - wont you miss it. I know I don't post everyday but i like to know I can if something occurs to me, Will you still be reading? It's not February fool is it? You will be much missed :(
01 February 2009 11:42
Grumpy Old Ken said...
I am both saddened and shocked. You will be missed by many. Thanks for help so willingly given. Hope everything goes well for you in the future.
01 February 2009 11:49

About Me
Stinking Billy
Overage, Over 6ft (just), Overweight, Overdosed (whisky), Overrated, Undersexed. >