Christmas and the bloody New Year!

That’s Christmas and the New Year out of the way. Thank heavens for that! I can’t stand the way we all stretch our pockets until they are empty – my wife has been pushing and pulling mine until they are jangle free of any coins let alone notes. That’s marriage for you.

So, what’s this Christmas all about then? A child being born in a manger, forget the ‘immaculate birth’ and so on, and three strangers turning up with diverse and various presents. All good stuff, particularly for those of a religious inclination. Jesus being born is what Christmas is made of, exactly when is a point that stretches the imagination but who cares?

Now, does anyone think of this when their out spending their cash (or credit) as if tomorrow never comes? The answer must be an unequivocal no. I heard nothing about it in my home and the same goes for the family reunion in Devon – I’ll never do this trip again, seven hours to get back and a right royal mood it has left me in! Next year they can all go, well you know what I mean.

Christmas is a fine excuse to make money, full stop. The shops glitter, stalls blabber with amusement and everybody makes a tidy living – well, not everyone. It’s the one period of the year when everyone can go nuts and spend the following year paying for it. Crazy.

Next year, I’m spending the festive period at home. Being miserable and fed up with it all.

And quite right too! I’ll bet there are some of you out there who feel the same way.

 

Talking of Devon, we arrived in all good humour and happy that it was Christmas – well, I’m good at hiding my feelings, comes from writing you know. Everyone got on well, and my lot didn’t upset anyone. The food filled the belly (no turkey is sight) and believe it or not we played some board games to get shot of the evening hours – forget TV, its all board games and reality shows, why people bother with Sky is beyond me. Come to that, why bother with TV at all?

The Matron cheated, that’s what you’d expect. Needs a close eye does the wife, pulls a stroke before you can say ‘Blackjack’. Anyway, all went well and we left after saying ‘Goodbyes’ and ‘Thank you’. Somehow I can’t see the hosts doing it again, I wonder why?

Think about it.

I live in a semi-rural location. I was out for lunch and overheard (I don’t do this often) some lady on the next table saying how horrid the place was. The poverty, the lack of opportunity for the young etc etc. I’ve not found it at all like this but there we are, differing opinions and so on.

I’ve lived from north to south and I can say that on my return to Wales I’ve not been disappointed. My wife can drive 15 miles to work without having stop once and well, the people are friendly and welcoming.

It’s not all that bad, that’s if you ignore education, health and the economy. It’s alright if you’ve got a few quid too – far be it for me to comment on this. After Christmas, well——-no opinion now Julian!    

        

Room enough!

It’s all going berserk, isn’t it? America’s President-elect is riding a storm of will he or won’t he and the European Union is one minute trying to stop us from leaving and the next minute saying, “ Get out of here, you’re a pain in my posterior anyway!”

The media are tearing themselves up, all in the prospect of ‘truth’ and the joke is, no-one knows anything about what will Trump do and what Therese May has planned. It does cause amusement.

Here is one that’s fair game though:

Conservatives “cannot be trusted on devolution”. So Baroness Jenny Randerson, of the Lib Dem Government relations said. Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, Chris Davies, has called for Westminster to have the power to place the Welsh Government in “special measures” withdrawing powers from Welsh politicians. In respect of the PISA 2015 results, Baroness Jenny Randerson clams:

“I’m astounded that Chris Davies MP has the audacity to suggest that the politicians in London know better the Welsh teaching profession………..the best people to make decisions about our schools and our children’s education are the people of Wales, not bureaucrats and the people of London. The Tories clearly cannot be trusted to roll back the tide of devolution.”

Well now Baroness Jenny Randerson, the comment might just have arrived after the worse PISA results yet. Maths and English are at an all-time low, the lowest in the UK, so what is your response to all this? Reform may take some time but how long have you got before another generation hits the deck?

The suggestion that must be made, is England doing better that Wales? The answer is an unequivocal yes – come to that it’s a ‘yes’ to the economy and the health system. Chris Davies does have a point. Tony Blair regretted devolution, and he’s right. Splitting the nation has done no good at all, look at all the chaos that has resulted from it. How can 3 million people in Wales decide its own future….against a population of 65 million?

Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Business, the Economy and Finance, Adam  Price AM has responded to the publication of the latest GVA (Gross Value Added) figures for Wales by calling on the Welsh Government to hold an emergency summit to address the “deep structural crisis” at the heart of the Welsh economy. “These are amongst the worse figures we have seen since 1954.” 

Well, need I say more?All the parties are in a flux about the way the country is going – although, I would remind you about my historian, opportunism and pessimism. Whilst they tear themselves up over difficulties, we the people carry on as always, with a grin and a smirk.It’s all part of daily living you see………..well I take that back, partly living. Pessimist or opportunist? The words of the historian still linger in my mind. 

As Andrew Marr said, “Brexit, Trump, what next?”

I don’t know. Politics is moving in directions that we know nothing about.    

 

 

 

Oscar

I was listening to a historian the other night. He came out with a question – that we’re all better off than we ever could be, or in comparison with let’s say, Victorian times. This twitched my curiosity and I wondered about what he was saying. He compared the poverty, the richness, the democratic states of all in sundry and he came to the conclusion that: We’re all better off!

Looking back is the thing. When we all take a cursory glance at moments in our history, we are undoubtedly more in tune with prejudice and racism etc We are more tolerant – at least where old curmudgeon’s like myself are concerned. We remember the bad old days, the young don’t. We remember the signs on B&B, saying, ‘No Immigrants Here’, it seems impossible to believe that such notice of racial disharmony could exist, but it did. And in all its glory.

We have indeed moved to a better place and I say, like the historian, life is better. I have a Sikh friend, who is more English than the English. He comes to stay every now and again and all hell breaks loose – in a nicest possible way. Racism? I think not.

I spent many years in and around Birmingham. I never once came across the tidal wave of racial discord. The media have it got it all wrong, just like the ‘remainers’ of late. Can you imagine that Theresa May hasn’t got a plan up her sleeve? Has she been fiddling with her pen holders all these months?

Utter nonsense.

I am convinced that the principle reason for the EU vote came from intelligent people. They wanted control of who comes in to this country, not a racist conviction – although these can be ignored, they are an irrelevance. Social services, education, health etc are all in the minds of those who wanted to leave. A genuine case of not enough services to put with what we’ve got. Simple.

Why the media has to spotlight everything that goes wrong is beyond me. It’s a small country, why does the media have to highlight all those things that are so pessimistic? We come back to my historian again.

Things are better, it’s a pity people shouldn’t start shouting about it! There are wars, there is poverty, but nothing of the note of previous debacles. We should live our lives in a state of hope, hope that things will improve. They have too. Improve to what, I just don’t know? This a question for more learned folk that my good self – but then, what ‘more learned’ people have come up with an answer to all these problems?

Bite the bullet and see where it gets us……Brexit come to mind as soon as I mention this! We should be looking at what we’ve got, not what we haven’t!

Live like the Victorians? Not likely!

We could end up like Oscar Wilde, now that’s another story.             

A mess?

It’s all a bloody great mess, isn’t it? Politics doesn’t know  where it’s going or where. May is keeping her actions under wraps (and who can blame her?), and the opposition such as it is, is demanding redress on her capability to answer their questions. All a bloody great mess.

You may well be thinking, that the Prime Minister should answer in detail what her negotiating standards are, well, would you answer this if you buying a house for example?

The answer has to be no.

The media and and commentary in particular, has to be assigned some of the blame for this. Personally, I can’t see the PM knowing precisely zero about the upcoming tangle of the EU, can you?

Think about it.  

The Sun

I sat down in a chair the other day and wondered about the sky. The sky, yes I know, a bit morbid isn’t it? The point is, what faced me was a clean and pure environment. A bit poetical of me but never mind. It was untouched by a world that is going backwards – backwards to what, heavens knows. The politics, the pressure groups and those who try exert influence, were absent from the transparent mass above me. What a world we live in, some say it’s the best we’ve had, some are not so sure As I looked I thought well, the sky is the best place to be.

After all, one can remain in a state of total indifference to it.

150 Words

I was looking at the sky the other day – yes, I know I’m know I’m going on about the sky but bear with me. And all these jet steams were running about the place, holiday makers off to their dream places and such like. More fool them, I thought. I’ve done more travelling in my time than Marco Polo having a hangover on a bad day!

I thought about the cases, the airports, security and came to the conclusion, that I’m better off sitting at home and watching all these silly people make a mess of their lives – although, they might say I’m making a mess of mine, no argument there then.

Travelling. It’s a dream come true for some, but hell on earth for those who have to do it.

One place is much like another – sorry Attenborough, but there it is.  

Let’s get a bit thoughtful……

The other day, I employed two men to do the garden. It  was a right royal mess and needed some loving attention. I gave my instructions and left the men to get on with it. Purple chip stones, removing the outrageous plants etc Nothing wrong with this and I removed myself from the men as they deliberated and worked out what went where – I don’t hang around where men are working. Far too exhausting for my general well-being, if you see what I mean.

Anyway, I had been let down so many times, so I entered the house with a degree of despair, God help me when the matron returns I thought. Heaven knows what the garden will look like with these two at it with shears and shovels and God knows else.

Well now, the matron returned early evening and guess what? She was smiling and said, “Well done Julian, you’ve made an amazing job of the front lawn. Bloody amazing!”

I’d given the two boys an extra few quid to their keep their mouths, that’s if the matron caught them at it.

A little lie doesn’t do any harm when the intention is right, does it?  

War and peace

Yesterday, I went form one hospital to another and ended up late for an appointment with a lady, from the surly sands of Swansea Bay. That was a bit literate wasn’t it? I don’t blame you all for pulling faces, Ruck gets a bit like this now and again! Anyway, I was late for the hospital and late for the lady – nothing scurrilous I assure you.

Now the strange thing is, I consider unpunctuality to be a major crime where the human condition is concerned. People who fail to do a tie up properly (or bow tie) or curlers that won’t go in, are a no-go area – makes you wonder why I put up with the wife doesn’t it? Come to think of it, does anyone use curlers anymore? Anyway, waiting for a woman is a frustrating business, it drives me mad. “I’m doing my hair” or “I’m deciding which shoes to wear” all contribute to a disgruntled Julian (among many others I hasten to add).

I sit there in the hall way and say, “That’s all right dear, take your time. We only have 10 minutes before the train goes.”

You see what I mean?

There’s another one – make up. Now I’m fairly lucky here, my wife doesn’t wear much but when she does it’s all over the place. Lipstick here, there and everywhere. Can’t complain much though she’s a beauty for all that, despite age adding a wrinkle or two! But the smile gets better with the onrush of time and funnily enough, more enchanting.

 

Tattoos. Now here’s a one to get all you oldies going. Personally, and I say personally, I can’t understand why one wishes to imprint sculptures on one’s own body? Take my body for instance. There’s more scars on it than a desultory whale waiting to be carved up on a whaling ship – mind you on saying this, I can see a case for tattooing my torso with a surgeon’s scalpel! The point is, it’s become fashionable. Even girls are doing it. Birds and heavens know what are everywhere, so thank God I’m old and worn out – some would say!

So in ending this I have to say, what would future employers think? Not much, they probably have a load of ‘em themselves! It’s a pity one couldn’t go into the interview room and say,  “Shirts up and let’s see what you’ve got!”

 

I was watching a bird singing at the back of my house. It was early and he was just about to start looking for some grub. There was no noise coming from anywhere, I live in a rural location, so peace and quiet is the order of the day. I watched him tweet a little bit and his head seemed to curl around in impossible directions – reminded me of boozed up days in some accommodating gutter but that can wait for now (the Editor would never the print the stuff!).

He reminded me of what it’s like to be ignorant of all that surrounded him. The wars, the peace and the general intemperance. I watched him fly off and thought, good on you little bird, just watch out for the nasty soul flying above you. He might you just soar down and eat you for his breakfasts.

Aleppo immediately came to mind.

It’s all nonsense!

Yesterday, I went from one hospital to another and ended up late for an appointment with a lady, from the surly sands of Swansea Bay. That was a bit literate wasn’t it? I don’t blame you all for pulling faces, Ruck gets a bit like this now and again! Anyway, I was late for the hospital and late for the lady – nothing scurrilous I assure you.

Now the strange thing is, I consider unpunctuality to be a major crime where the human condition is concerned. People who fail to do a tie up properly (or bow tie) or curlers that won’t go in, are a no-go area – makes you wonder why I put up with the wife doesn’t it? Come to think of it, does anyone use curlers anymore? Anyway, waiting for a woman is a frustrating business, it drives me mad. “I’m doing my hair” or “I’m deciding which shoes to wear” all contribute to a disgruntled Julian (among many others I hasten to add).

I sit there in the hall way and say, “That’s all right dear, take your time. We only have 10 minutes before the train goes.”

You see what I mean?

There’s another one – make up. Now I’m fairly lucky here, my wife doesn’t wear much but when she does it’s all over the place. Lipstick here, there and everywhere. Can’t complain much though she’s a beauty for all that, despite age adding a wrinkle or two! But the smile gets better with the onrush of time and funnily enough, more enchanting.

150 Words

Tattoos. Now here’s a one to get all you oldies going. Personally, and I say personally, I can’t understand why one wishes to imprint sculptures on one’s own body? Take my body for instance. There’s more scars on it than a desultory whale waiting to be carved up on a whaling ship – mind you on saying this, I can see a case for tattooing my torso with a surgeon’s scalpel! The point is, it’s become fashionable. Even girls are doing it. Birds and heavens know what are everywhere, so thank God I’m old and worn out – some would say!

So in ending this I have to say, what would future employers think? Not much, they probably have a load of ‘em themselves! It’s a pity one couldn’t go into the interview room and say,  “Shirts up and let’s see what you’ve got!”

150 Words

I was watching a bird singing at the back of my house. It was early and he was just about to start looking for some grub. There was no noise coming from anywhere, I live in a rural location, so peace and quiet is the order of the day. I watched him tweet a little bit and his head seemed to curl around in impossible directions – reminded me of boozed up days in some accommodating gutter but that can wait for now (the Editor would never the print the stuff!).

He reminded me of what it’s like to be ignorant of all that surrounded him. The wars, the peace and the general intemperance. I watched him fly off and thought, good on you little bird, just watch out for the nasty soul flying above you. He might just soar down and eat you for his breakfasts.

Aleppo immediately came to mind.

Evening Post

Last weekend, I was up in West Bromwich. My wife and I left talking with each other and got out refusing to speak with each other, that’s driving for you. I used to work in West Brom, sorting somebody else’s financial traumas out. That was the day, when I was inundated with wails of bankruptcy and re-possession and had to do something about it – court, court and court! But there we are.

This time I was up there for a wedding. I hate weddings, but I went to show willing, nice chap that I am. I’ve been to a few, Sikh and Hindu and this was my first where the participants were of a white colour. Congratulation and happiness were the order of the day and everything went off to a flying start, ended up on the floor but so be it! It was good day and that’s that. Missed the bottles of whisky and Bacardi, as is the want of a Sikh marriage but you can’t have everything.

Anyway, it was good to return to a place I know so well. Not so sure about the Hotel we stayed in that’s a recent addition but everything was clean and tidy so I can’t complain. My friend booked it, I paid. That’s the usual arrangement where we are concerned. Some friend!

In the morning we went for a scuttle around the town centre. Nothing much had changed. The odd building had gone up and a scruffy coffee shop had disappeared, progress I think you would call it. I walked around looking and seeing and I came to the conclusion that in 10 odd years, nothing much had changed. There were more Asians that white, and that was fine with me. Made me wonder about Wales again, and how we are detached from the Brexit argument. I have lived in all sorts of places and I cannot understand the disquiet. Cardiff has got a few immigrants but nothing to speak of, ah well time immemorial I suppose.

Oddly enough, we ended up in a café just by the bus station. Filled with white bods talking about the exit. It was run by Asians and very polite they were too, it was the only place in the town that I spotted a white conglomerate. Not much hatred going on, they’d all just got used to the new environment. Funny that, although it’s a pity that some of us can’t see it.

It was lesson in racial harmony – sorry for using those two words – but it happens far and wide. The 3rd generation of Asians are as British as you or me, I can’t understand all the nonsense that goes on but there we are.

I’d like to bet that Theresa May is going through an equal state of confusion. Politics is in a state of unfettered don’t know this or that and we shall eventually see where it all leads us!

Time, time and time.

 

 

Evening Post

Well, that’s the Jeremy Corbyn institution seen too. Far left, and here we go. Momentum party isn’t of course, filled with Marxist and Trotskyists but there we are. One never knows with political interest. ‘Democracy’ rules and that’s ok.

“That the best candidate that they could muster to challenge Corbyn, was a former Viagra lobbyist is a reflection of the dearth of talent that exists within their ranks,” so said the Welsh Conservative spokesperson.

If Lord Neil Kinnock lasts another ten years (which is a modest age by present standards), you’ll be looking at 10 years of Labour doldrums and quarrels. I interviewed the gentleman last year and he ended things by saying, “What did you expect, I’m a bloody socialist!” In all fairness to the gentleman, he was fair and honest in his answers, not the deliberating slyness that politicians are often accused of – not that I ever have been aware of any, in all the political interviews I have done.

So what’s this Corbyn/Smith all about one may well ask? Extreme left or centre left? The infighting has concluded that Corbyn wins and Owen Smith has been knocked out. But what will this do to the Labour Party?

Annihilation or a community of spirit? Momentum has been shown to be inclusive of extreme left participants, who are driving the Labour party into extinction. Jeremy Corbyn appears to be untroubled by this, indeed it could be said that his lackadaisical attitude welcomes it. One will never know.

The extreme left of the party try to make their presence unknown, but this doesn’t really convince the voter. The party is on a left projection but be nowhere near thinking it is nothing more than an illusion to think otherwise. I don’t feel that 600 odd membership is a true ‘democratic’ vote but there we are, the word ‘democracy’ exists in the mind and nowhere else. It’s rather like ‘where are you going to get then money from’, a question that is rarely asked of any of them.

The Liberal Democrats have nowhere to go, in spite of the party trying to grab the ‘centre’ ground. Kirsty Williams has joined the Welsh Labour party so the Welsh arm is out, and little can be said about the parliamentary contingent – unless they started shouting to all in sundry what their policies exactly are? Tim Farron is the leader but will he convince voters of his courage and out and out strength?

UKIP are now led by Diane James, a woman, and I can see comparisons to our own Prime Minister not being far off. Time will tell if she a worthy opponent but the question remains? What are her policies?

All in all the opposition is a fine state and this isn’t good for our ‘democracy’. An opponent of worthy stature is needed to fight the Tories head on. At the moment there is no-one. They have nothing to fear from the opposition, indeed their must humble enemies have turned into a rag tag and bobtail mess – that’s if they don’t watch their administration of the Brexit, look out then!

There’s not one who has the gravitas to have an effect on Teresa May – more is the pity. Now, David Miliband and a disciplined Labour party?

He would cut it, wouldn’t he just!