Evening Post

Change. It’s been a long historical movement, through all my learning, experience and book work – mind you, all my reading has yet to find any answers. Life itself is subject to an alteration, or shall I say, a pitiful exchange of tit for tat?

No, change is definitely here and one had better look out if one doesn’t take any notice.

Take Swansea Singleton Park. The boating lake, yes I know it isn’t the Park as such but bear with me. I used to have a great fun as a child, playing on the swishy boats going to nowhere. They had oars and wood then. Leaving a friend on the island provided a laugh or two, never could find out whatever happened to him. Some Swansea shark must have eaten him for breakfast or something. Anyway, remember the Golden Mile, in Mumbles? All the pubs have turned into eating houses now, no more getting inebriated in a mile shot of drunken deliverance.

Those were the days.

Was it different or was it a figment of my imagination? Different, I’d say. Forty five years ago, times were gentler or more placid. The internet hadn’t come along and everybody talked. Young ‘uns found things to do and didn’t waste their time clicking nonsense to each other.

The television has become a trying exercise in patience (I’m not very good at it, patience that is), and for many of us it is a hopeless swapping of ideals, whatever ‘ideal’ you may have.

All in all ‘change’- whatever that means – is a good thing, a timeless event worthy of thought.

Whatever the future turns out to be, depending on your age. I’m fortunate I can think back to those days……or am I?

 

I must tell you, how extraordinary I find this plastic surgery endeavour by some in our society. ‘Extraordinary’, this is not a word I use lightly but given the extent to which some will go, I do find it mind-boggling. Outrageous lips, eyebrows that disappear, full to beyond belief breasts and bodies that have been trimmed down to almost nothing. Like I say, extraordinary.

What intrigues me more than anything else, is that why are people so malcontent with the body they born with, apart from a serious medical condition that is? Surely, an au natural skin is better than a scarred body complex and a personal anxiety?

I’ll grow old gracefully, and there is something to say for it – at least I won’t look like a disgruntled prune, which is looking for re-ripening. Mind you, I can see something in that!

Change again.

 

I was in this bar the other day. You know, all the smokers outside, the beer drinkers (not many of those) and food being pumped at the general public for all the landlord was worth. I remembered a time when I used to do bar work, a time without computerised till work and calculation was done in the head – God help you on a £20 order!

I looked around me and remembered my bar work, not as it is today. Who will pay £3 a pint when you can get similar for half the price at a local Tesco’s?

Bars are shutting, drinking holes are becoming extinct and I wonder why? Change again, in all its multifarious forms.

At a good age now, I can’t help feeling that I’ve seen a bygone era pass me by. Regrets? I have a few.

 

Classic cars

Well, you all know about classic cars. I’m perched in one of them in the photo, see if you can spot me. Sitting there bored out of my wits and wishing I could return home and be bored by my darling wife once again!

Now, these things one hears about classic cars is all correct – you don’t go out in one with at least a fleet of RAC vans following you. If you’re lucky, you may get away with a journey without needing one but I wouldn’t bet on it. So there I am, sitting and waiting for deliverance – fat chance of that!

I hate classic cars, so what, you rightfully ask am I doing here?

It’s all about friendship you see. I don’t own one (I never will) and I go to keep my friend happy. I hear about what the classic car can do (or can’t) and the latest litany of divorce procedures which has just cleaned my friend out. A ready mix of current financial interest interspersed with ‘holier than thou’ heartbreak hotel mischief.

A fine combination!

What did I get up to? I went off, bought myself a hamburger and went for a walk around the town. A delightful use of my defunct ankle but all the better for giving it a whirl. Having sat down for a couple of fags and shot of caffeine, I finally thought ah well, it’s better than giving up a Atlantic lecture cruise – as for this lot, God don’t do it!

Jeremy Corbyn, David Cameron and all the other parties you care to mention, are in a state of rumbustious chaos – that’s according to the intolerant press. Apart from this, there’s no mention (in a robust way) of balance and cohesion that is applicable to the wanting ‘out’ of the European Union.

More is the pity.

The only way forward in this classic change of peoples’ will, is to handle this decision in a contemplative manner. This the only way we will ever find a discourse through the presumed chaos of ‘out’- I’m not telling you how I voted, that would be far too much of a breach of privacy.

So let’s take a step back, look at this with a sharp and clear eye, and move this country to a clear and responsible future.

That’s all we can do, isn’t it?

I saw it coming, that’s the view of this humble scribbler. In fact, I warned the Matron of what was in the cards. Out, out and out again. I waited in the wings and saw what was happening to the first UK results and from then on I knew what was taking place. It makes you wonder what all the high-brow politicians were thinking, doesn’t it just!

It was all about the council estates and the working class, and don’t you let anyone tell you it was anything else. I’ve been reading about the European Union for a few years now, and this was the only conclusion I could be reasonable reach.

Who says reading is not much use to you?

I don’t know where I’d be – without the caustic intelligence of books!

 

Evening Post

“Get a grip do your job.”

Leanne Wood criticises Labour for being absent on key votes for Wales. Not a bad assessment on the Assembly’s on the ruling elite’s performance. Recently, amendments to the Wales Bill were again debated in the House of Commons and the few Labour MPs abstained again on what is Welsh Labour Policy, this time on what is devolved policing.

“It seems that Labour MPs have they have no problem turning up for powers devolving policing in Greater Manchester, but they can’t bring themselves to support devolving the same to Wales.

“The Labour party’s inability to stand up for Wales, is letting the Tories off the hook.”

Now, not a bad description of the Labour party’s political chaos. Right now it seems to be all mouthy insult, general distemper and what……nothing? It needs to bring itself together (I’m not betting on it) and have some tea and cakes if you ask me.

As if Plaid isn’t laying down the law, the leader of the Conservatives Andrew R T Davies, is having a go too. Labour’s ‘narrow tribalism’ is his hit for the day and heaven help anyone who steps in and say otherwise. “Like their colleagues is London” he says, “Welsh Labour are bereft of ideas and leadership, and suffering from a lack of direction. Most new governments want to get off to a flying start, but Carwyn Jones want to use Brexit as a smokescreen. That’s why there is no absolutely no excuse for Carwyn to lay down a programme of government before we head in to the summer recess. Sadly, he has slammed the door in the face of cross-party co-operation over Europe, and his attitude of hostility to the result is in danger of becoming counter-productive.”

That’s Welsh politics for you…..or English?!

Have you ever tried driving through Swansea town? I have, and I must say it was an experience never to be missed. I ended up in Mount Pleasant of all places. It has something to do with all these one-way systems apparently – the Council doesn’t anticipate a one-way mind however.

I drove from East-West and noticed the driven skulduggery of the East – poetic nightmare of the first order. There was a happy view from some houses and a miserable sight for some of the others. Swansea Town in all its glory.

I kept driving on, not knowing where I was going too (one-way again) and enjoyed the dismal but laughable fight going on between the houses. It was a battle for survival and I looked on with wary eyes.

Who will win and who will lose? Perhaps some money will come from somewhere, I don’t know where though.

You know, I’ve lived in various parts of the UK. From London to Bury St. Edmunds, Birmingham and every other part in between. I’ve lived a lively life but at 60, I now wake up to an absence of cars and modern facility.

What a pity on you, I hear some of you say. And I also hear some of you bemoan the fact that I don’t bother with social media – I can’t understand this but there you are. I wake up to the baa-baa of sheep and the grisly moan of distempered cows. Not a bad life and one that certainly beats the chaos of modern living.

I’m content in my semi-rural existence but look out when I travel up to London. A state within a state, trying to tell us all what we should do. It never used to be like this this – 30 years ago anyway.

 

Evening Post

Jeremy Corbyn may be a long time serving politician but he’s had plenty of years of it – who wouldn’t be after the length of time he’s got under his belt! The thing is he’s pandering to the far left of the Labour party and not its core voters. Wrong? Well, you might say it shows a distinct lack of personal courage or on the other hand, you might it feel it shows a degree of abject distinction of the other.

Either way Labour is in a maelstrom of confusion and back biting – not the only party here.

We haven’t had a Corbynite show of hands where the referendum is concerned have we? So what do we do about this?

The answer is simple. Nothing. Jeremy Corbyn has laid his hands bare on umpteen occasions – he’s a consummate European hacker and all to the good one might say. Why doesn’t he come out and say it and have done with it, after all the voter has their say and regardless of previous political thinking – not a bad thing you might be suspecting!

He’s anti-European and good luck to him, so let the electorate decide.

This will certainly help the Labour Association critics if not the general parliamentary bods but nothing venture nothing gained. They can be a run lot but they’re entitled to have their say no matter what, so what about it Jeremy?

I haven’t made up my mind yet, I‘ll let you know when I do…….on second thoughts. Chance would be a fine thing!

I lost my greyhound this week. She went beyond her sell by date, so I can’t really complain. She was the Matron’s dog (although, I used to look after her most of the time, when her mistress was out enjoying herself, that’s the stay at home master that I am!).

Anyway, she not there in the morning and she’s not there when the other mutt likes to charge at the gates. I often find that I’m looking for another dish to put her dog food in but there we are, that greyhounds for you. Lithe and sleek and always running faster than me – always missing that something one could say.

She was an ignorant and disgracefully fretful dog, disliked the lighting, disliked me but all the same I miss her.

She gone now up to the heaven made for dogs, I hope she likes it there.

She deserves it.

Talking of dogs, once when I lived in Bury St. Edmunds, I had a rather caustic relationship with a Rottweiler. She was a beauty it must be said, and soft as the lights burning on the Mumbles Bay – that’s all caught you dog haters out hasn’t it?

Mind you she wasn’t so soft when the postman came around. He’d put a letter through the front door and she was off tearing the thing to pieces. She had a thing about postmen, can’t remember what exactly and I ended up putting one of those lock up things at the front gate – anything for enjoying the tranquil retreat of a bucolic hinterland.

Anyway, so there you have it. Me and my dogs (there’s couple more of them!) and I’ve had everyone when it came to the crunch, put down – not too early either.

I’ve loved my dogs, I don’t go on about them but life is always a chance isn’t it?

 

Steel- Evening Post

Swansea Bay research centre “the foundation upon which to build the future steel industry”- that’s assuming we have one?

Plaid Cymru makes the case for a Swansea University steel research and development centre.

Well Plaid does have some good ideas, so mock ye not when they come up with something worthwhile.

Bethan Jenkins AM said:

“Figures from Swansea University that show the cost for establishing a fully realised steel research and development centre on the new Innovation Campus would be £5.2 million in the first year, and £17 million over the next four years. The Welsh Government needs to move now and help the University develop this centre to give potential investors and steel workers some certainty for the future.”

That’s fine, but will the Welsh Government do anything about it?

Doubtful, it’s got its hands full of complaints for the Welsh language commissioner on these new legal regulations (the Commissioner is not inclined to be interviewed on this) and everything else come to think of it, so nice try Plaid but I somehow don’t think you’re going get away with it.

You the voters might try to slice Plaid up but it’s got some new policies which shouldn’t be scoffed at. Apart from anything else, better Plaid than old/new Labour?

All in all, as predicted, we have a new and disabled form of Welsh Government. What the AMs’ are all going to do about this heavens knows.

Thank you Lord, I am not sitting in the Welsh senate of political deliberation. Three million   against a total of sixty three odd souls, certainly not!

 

That twistable bliss called marriage – I think I’ve written this in a book somewhere! And I bet there’s some of you which will agree with this comment….although not agree, depending on your inclination.

Is it twistable? Marriage that is. There are some of us that go in for it time and time again (two is my personal limit!), and others who stay put with just the one husband and good luck to them I say.

We have to accept that personalities change and alter (God help the young ones who marry before they’ve got under starters orders) and let’s hope these manic changes do not happen whist we enjoy this marital bliss!

Marriage is about commitment, and let not anyone tell you it isn’t. Commitment to life and death, unhappy and happy circumstance and everything that goes along with it.

I’m actually content with my twistable bliss called marriage!

 

I was talking with an expert on matrimonial discourse the other day. An ‘expert’ you understand – we’ve got plenty of ‘em around at the moment. Anyway, he was of the view that marriage falls into two sections: The ones where everyone is nice to each other and the ones where there is total turmoil.

Well, me and the matron fall into the latter category and are quite happy in our condition.

So, that’s two categories. Two mind you. I don’t know what’s happened to the other thousands, but there we are he answered my question nevertheless.

I don’t know where you stand on expert opinion but as far as I am concerned they can all to—–damn, you know what I mean.

For all that, after all the shouting is done, we go bed, cuddle up, kiss ‘Goodnight’ and go to sleep.

How many ‘experts’ can do that?

Evening Post – 20.5.16

Writing?

I thought I would start by saying something about ‘writing’. There’s any number of writers out there who moan about writers block – I can’t say I’ve had any experience of this, I don’t often run out of ideas, tough if I did! The ‘blocking’ is of is of a mind of its own, you just can’t write.

Well, is this counter- productive or just another modern day creation?

I say it’s a part and parcel of a new, shiny and the inexplicable ‘we want everything now or you had better shut up about it’ syndrome. Don’t you agree? This is my point and I’m sticking to it!

Writing is about you and the reader, if it’s about something else, you’ve got it wrong. How do the characters pan out, what is going to happen, what’s the plot about? All important, all essential. I’ve got six novels published (Amazon and all full and trial and tribulation!) and one sitting with Canadian publishers. Hum drum nonsense or works of genius. Different readers have altering opinions but the thing is, no-one knows until the end of the story how it’s to going to conclude.

Hum drum or genius?

Frankly, I don’t know which it is. I just get on the write the thing and that’s all there is to it. I don’t go into a ‘depression’ about a book, I don’t go up the wall with it, come to think of it, I am all rather tidy about it! There are some of us who take little time and some of us that take years. I’m of the ‘little time’ brigade, far too impatient. But and here’s that thing, does how much time you take to write a novel, say 80,000 to 100,000 words, really count?

I think not.

There’s so much garbage going around the local boozers about writing (actually make that coffee shops), that it makes one want to give up before the keypad is booted up. Not me I hasten to add. I take no notice of such gobble kook. Write on and bore some poor soul to death and God help the consequences. Well, if they can’t judge genius when it’s thrown in their faces, I don’t know what God can do, do you?

Now if all this makes you suicidal, I’m sorry (I am not actually but is sounds good doesn’t it?). Take heart, scribble on, and damned to the negative soothsayers. What do they know anyway? Actually, I seem to be making suspicious predictions here, who are the readers? You might like to answer this one yourselves, that will put the blocks on anything I’ve written above.

I’ve no trouble writing a column or two (it’s taken me a bit longer than normal!) but a book?……….No thanks, I simply can’t concentrate enough.

And what was I saying about novel writing?

It just go to show what a crazy business this ‘writing’ is. One denotes a few lines on something, one deludes, one chances and all in the name of what? Some outrageous dictum on the merits of life…or death, depending on what mood you are in!

 

Corbyn – Evening Post 6.5.16

What crisis?

This is Jeremy Corbyn’s answer to the recent turmoil hitting his party. An answer that could be interpreted as clever or dare I say it, utter nonsense. Whatever your view is, the Labour party is undergoing a process of extremes. Centre Left to Left of Left?

“An extraordinary still rumbling on, indulged the Labour Party yesterday,” the words of Andrew Neil and on his Politics Show last Friday. Ken Livingston maintained that Hitler supported Zionism in support of his policy and anti-Semitism was not quite the same as racism.

“People will be unbelieving in what they are hearing in British politics,” thus the intervention of Andrew Neil. It was ever thus as they say.

A rare outburst from one of Labour’s finest. ‘You Nazi apologist’ and “it’s so grotesque to say so,” Labour MP John Mann, had a blazing row with said Ken and all caught on camera. Ian Watson said Ken Livingstone enjoyed spending “more time with his much loved reptiles than the press.” Wonderful you might think? There were two thinkers on the show and both occupying different corners of the argument. One scribbling for the Spectator and one occasionally for the Guardian and The Independent.

Well, they got into a right hue and cry about the incident and that was that. All very good – how will this affect the Labour voting? Now, all you loyal and passionate Labour supporters, are going to be slightly put off by all this (none of the political parties are any different where racism is concerned) but what will you do?

This is being put down to the supporters of Labour who joined the party at the last general election. A winsome and outspoken contingent they may well be, but they have a voice and Corbyn is misdirected if he observes the party line. There may be 500,000 or so members but are they, the voting electorate?

They are not the 21st century ‘mark the box’ voters. They have it in for Israeli politicians (what difference does it make if they are ‘Jewish’), and I’ve never thought about the Middle East confusion as anything but total chaos.

These people have it in for Israel full stop – must be upsetting for an Israeli and all other Jews but then unfortunately, that’s freedom of speech for you. Come to think of it, you should read my novel ‘The Silver Songster’!

This is nothing but political trouble making and scurrilous thinking. Albeit that it is having a large scale and serious effect. The Labour party is having to accept the accusations of going far Left and be done. No harm in this, at least for the hard Left of the party but will it prevail worth with the constituent Labour people?

I think not.

Jeremy Corbyn may well be a genuine leader but he has lost sight of the Labour voter? Is it his intent to push far Left policies on a centrist electorate?

Time will tell, I am certain however that the people will continue to say, ‘No, no and no’.

Corbyn has cancelled a visit to Wales to show pre-election support. Some in the party consider this to be a good thing, while others feel he’s a plus to the Labour party. You can make up your mind on this.

Corbyn and the Labour party? We’ll just have to let the clock tick, and see where it gets us.

 

Evening Post 22.4.16

I’m going to make you grind your teeth with some politico thinking!

It’s the Assembly Member appointments in a few weeks’ time, so I had better stand up and be counted – not that I’m telling you how I’m voting, that really would be too much!

Well, I’ve had a couple of conversations with Andrew R T Davies, Kirsty Williams, Leanne Wood and the leader of UKIP – they’re not allowed to call themselves ‘AM’s’ at the moment for obvious reasons. Be that as it may, the point is I was trying to find out was where the parties lay, in other words in spite of all the other news hitting the headlines – God help all the internet users and I am one of them!

They were all to the point and (no pause or the like) no shenanigans. Andrew RT as usual was up for a fight. Leanne Wood ready and willing. Kirsty Williams playing a steady hand but I’m not so sure about Nathan Gill (UKIP). No extremism on either side apart from the Tories claiming they were ‘soft left’, their Conservatives and so there. Funny that?

We got down to the real business of Welsh political thinking.

Davies was full of it, the Tories were the only way etc etc  Andrew RT backed this up with a hob nailed boot. Wood was having none of it, socialism rules and that’s that and look out any of you who try to suggest otherwise. Williams was more gentle about it (we might give her a try) but we might have changed government in the past few years and UKIP was well, out and out immigration.

All the opposition parties have worthy policies, the trouble with Leanne Wood she might well have lots of charm but she can’t get away with hating the Tories, so this may well lead to a coalition of Labour and Plaid. Not good.

The Lib Dems? Let’s hope they do better than Westminster and—— UKIP? There, any bets are simply wild but who knows.

All in all, we’re faced with a conglomeration of political chaos – I’m sticking with this come what may. And I can’t see any party coming up with a noble view, at least a view that no-one has heard before.

I stated that 17 years is a long time of the same governing party. From the beginning to the end as we see it now. It is a time for a change in whatever direction and I hope this will see Wales gird it loins and run up to the success wire.

One can but hope. When you think about it, ‘hope’ is the last word in the Welsh lexicon.

The ‘click click’ brigade is running faster than their tails can carry them and the news is overtaking them. I genuinely feel we cannot get a grip no matter how hard we try and the world just passes us old ones by.

This a hard fact, but nevertheless a fact.

Vote for whom you like or fancy and hold your breath. The race has stated, the riders have got the mettle between their teeth and who knows where they are going? We must lead, we must give them a pitch, but it’s no use sitting before the fire waiting.

It’s now or never – God help us if we wait, the clock is ticking!

Wake up, it’s time to vote!

Labour? I can’t write a thing about the party as they won’t send me anything. You must make up your own minds.

 

Evening Post 8.4.16

Have you noticed (you must have done!) how all this doom is placed on our unsuspecting shoulders? Alzheimer’s, senility, cancer of God knows what, obesity and general ill-health is threatened with a stick and not a carrot.

Never mind the doctors, it’s all around us whether we like it or not. Come to think of it, I was rang up the other night by a doc friend of mine, we exchanged views and decided that we’re all going bonkers on health issues – whatever they are.

The fundamental problem is this: We are all expected to be immortal and any ‘health’ problem is treated as such. You know, I sit on the bus and all I hear is stories about GP’s and the NHS. Now, we all know the difficulties that the system faces, no nursing staff, no doctors etc but does one have to listen to it on a daily basis?

Try answering that one!

I am reminded of a session I spent with a psychologist not so long ago, a pretty little thing, restored my faith in the medical professional. I sat there and pondered, well I could have had a go at that 10 or maybe 15 years ago but then I realised with a withered face, what’s the point is trying now?

I’m a no-go for anyone else (apart from my darling wife, who says that marriage is done for?

), so that’s the medical class for you!

It’s all about accepting age and what comes with it, and frankly that’s where I stand. Not pulling my punches am I? Certainly not, I’ll go when my numbers up and that’s all there is to it!

I hope to God it’s not too painful though, now that really is carrying the banner too far.

TVR, until now the ex-motor mechanics, have stated that they are setting up in Wales – with Welsh government support. Or is this a grant or is it a subsidy….no-one knows as the Welsh administration won’t say anything. This is on top of the steel industry which is in terminal decline, no buyers yet and nationalisation? I know the answer to this one.

Now the thing with all this is, is the taxpayer being made fully aware of what’s going on?

No.

The Welsh government gets away with all kinds of questionable decisions and is the voter aware of it? More so now, as the election in May is likely to be overwhelmed by national torpor.

It is time for the Welsh to speak up, never mind the politicos, vote for whom you want to see in the Senate. That’s if there is anyone, it’s up to you.The next Welsh government must rebuild a relationship with creative industries, instead of a “knuckle-headed philistine fashion”, so said Professor Dai Smith, the outgoing chairman of the Welsh Arts Council. He goes on, “….it shows a lack of joined up thinking and the next Welsh government will need to rebuild the relationship with TV and film companies, as well as the Arts Council itself.”

Oooh a bit rough, although it would help if the Arts Council would stop giving grants to no-hope writers on the Welsh no-hope book shelves, would it not? The ACW has a talent for investing in the long term future, but nobody has heard of the writers it supports.

Funny that.

It needs to up its game, up its grant structure and up its raison d’etre. This way it will cease to amuse, what is salt for the aficionados isn’t necessarily salt for the game-changers.