I’m a bit worried, about me.

Am I ‘retro’? Old fashioned? An old man searching for his past? or whatever other euphemism is banded about these days? I am going backwards, in certain respects, and it goes like this, I read paperbacks, yes books, I usually buy them from charity shops that adorn many towns and cities around the UK. I have started writing on paper and not my wordprocessor not only that I write with a fountain pen not a ball point, ink in cartridges maybe but proper ink, and I find all this exciting (a bore am I not?). I make a mistake writing I simply cross out a word and write the right one above it, simples, I haven’t totally given up technology, for reading I also have a Kindle, some books I can’t seem to find in charity shops are available for 99p from Amazon.

Any calculations that I need to do I can still do in my head, thankfully, maths I have always like, not a genius by any means but competent. But I have struggled without a spell check I do admit that but at the same time realised how lazy I had become with my mother language. So I have a dictionary, no a whopping dictionary, to check my spelling as a lot of spellchecking is suited towards the Amercian English and there are subtle differences. I have a driving licence but no car, I do a lot of travelling by bus and know some bus timetables pretty well now. I can tailor my journey beforehand so that I am not hanging around bus stations or stops for too long, the breakdown of buses is the main cause of frustration, but that is not avoidable at times.

I read books to my younger grandchildren but their attention span seems to be deficient so a bit of a failure on that point, the technology still rules. And believe it or not, decades after the UK changed to the decimal currency I still transfer back to their pounds/shilling and pence equivalents. For those who are not familiar with our pre-decimal coinage, it went something like this. ,

£1 = 240 (old) pennies

Today £1 = 100 new pence

1 shilling = 12 (old) pennies

The equivalent today is a 5 new pence coin

2 shillings = 24 (old) pennies

The equivalent today is a 10 new pence coin

And so it goes on: A 50pm coin replaced an old 10 shilling note, a half crown coin is now

12 and a half new pence, only the half new pence coin has been scrapped. So instead of things being based on 12, money, like most of the world is based on 10, but try and stop me reverting back. A bus journey that costs 1 shilling years ago (5 new pence) now costs around £2.50 so I can see in an instance inflation in action, or in some cases greed in price rises. As I have said, I’m a bit worried, about me, I shouldn’t revert back, well not as far as prices are concerned.

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Travel from then until now.

When young, back in the 1950’s/60’s travel was something of a luxury, our summer holiday/vacation was a train/bus ride to visit relatives in a town about 70 miles away. But this was, for me at least, a whole new world, from my city life I was thrust into the country in a town called Otley. Open fields, small streams (Beck), and boys and girls who spoke English but not how I knew it, to be fair they needed a translator for my twang. But for 2 weeks my cousin and I, Elaine, sadly no longer with us, would roam the fields for hours on end, set off in the morning and return later afternoon/early evening. We climbed trees, splashed through streams and seemed to travel the end of the earth without a care in the world, and we were on just reaching double number ages. Elaine was a tomboy of the first degree, we didn’t have any trees from where I came from only lamposts so climbing a tree was a new adventure

Elaine showed me how, yes she fell out of a couple, rubbed her scratched knee and off we went again. All was well until we got back to her mother’s, my aunt’s, house then the Inquisition. We couldn’t answer questions like where have you been? We had been in fields that seemed go on forever, where’s the mud come from? erm the streams, look at those knees those muddy clothes. Now, this may be controversial but up to this point but Elaine and I used to get bathed together but now at around the age of 8 or 9 that was no longer thought prudent. So after we had both spruced up we would be off again, to those fields,  with warnings of dire retribution if we defied instructions not too. Well, that was a millennium ago but I have been revisiting another place of holiday pleasure in my formative years, Scarborough.

It’s an east coast holiday/vacation destination still popular today but has struggled with the rise of world wide travel, and it shows. I don’t often visit Scarborough now, its like other east coast resorts, Withernsea, Hornsea, Bridlington, Filey, and even Whitby, it’s just somewhere I don’t visit anymore although they all have their stalwarts. But visit I did this past weekend and even though the weather was kind the passing years have not been. I have no reason to visit again, there is even a motorcycle race track of world renown, Olivers Mount, where I last saw the legendary Barry Sheene race, but those days are long gone and so for me has the magic of such places.

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I’m wondering again.

Ok what now? I have touched on certain subjects of which I know just a little about, I’m not expert in anything but I do, like most people have opinions. Now I don’t know the ages of the people who post on WordPress but sometimes I do pick up the thoughts of people younger than myself, a lot younger, and take it onboard. But there is a problem, their opinions relate to the today scenario and don’t seem to have any comparison of years gone by. In fact I may go as so far to say that us older generation, despite our experience, are discarded, we are of no relevance. I could go on to say, errm who invented this thing called a computer? in whatever shape or form today, errm who invented the internet? But I know that they would shrug, it was Steve Jobs or whatever, so you have lost them, they think that and so its true, to them that is. But I have tried, and failed, to tell my grandchildren that there is an alternative to all this Google, Apple, Microsoft, but as I say I’ve failed.

Library? Are you mad? Just meet your friends? Are you mad? Send a letter, you know actually have a pen and paper and write, mad again? And so it goes on, now I’m old, well not so much that Claudius was ruler but some think that way, but still. And it is despairing to be thought of as such, this ramble is hard to take in unless you have older siblings, older siblings of siblings and I have to say that I am losing touch with what is happening even in their lives. Myspace? Give me a break, Snapchat, What’s App, Facebook, that, currently although I have a disclaimer here that there maybe something else that I don’t know about, which is more than likely. I do take advantage of these modern meeting places, although I am a novice of the first degree, Facebook is the only place that I can see up to date photos of my grandchildren, and so it goes on. But hey what is wrong with a library?

A thanks.

I thank everyone who has bothered to look at what I have written, it is an honour to know that what I have to say is what some people like to read. I will try and get around to as many of your own blogs a possible as I know the importance of visitors to your blog, thank you all once again.

Frivolous

This post has no direction I write as I go along as I don’t seem inspired of late so lets see what comes out. I have been travelling but instead of leaving on a jet plane I’ve been leaving on a bus, well coach. I have explored places far and wide in merry England, well not always merry but England at least. I have been on some trips, (no not those kind of trips) with a company call National Coach Holidays and they do a 2 day weekend thing called a Mystery Trip where only the driver knows where we are heading. Now in winter you take pot luck with the weather and sometimes its down right misrable but you usually end up in a reasonable hotel and are fed and watered in the evening and the following morning. So where do we go? Here’s a clue.

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Or.

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Or even.

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I’m not sure if our overseas readers will know where some of these pictures were taken but they were all taken by me and are random, in fact just like it says in the title Frivolous.

At last my own sunset pictures.

I have always looked at some pictures of sunset and sunrises and thought, ‘I would love to be able to take some pictures likes these’. Crimson skies with fleeting clouds but I’ve always seemed to miss the occasions near to where I live. But just lately the weather has provided some spectacular sunset and due to various things I was just too late to capture any of the beauty. Then yesterday Saturday 18th October 2014 I got my chance, but true to form nearly missed it, not earth shattering stuff but enough to make me fairly pleased that for once the pictures of a beautiful sunset are my own and not someone else’s no doubt that now the weather will change and the opportunity will be lost.

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The last picture captures the sun before its decent over the horizon I had to dash to a footbridge nearby to get a picture over the rooftops. There has been other spectacular sunsets during the past few weeks I have just been unable to catch any on picture, now I have but I feel there is still room for improvement.

Lets talk about something realy interesting and amazing to all people ………………….. BRICKS.

It could have been something starting with a S and ending with an X but hey you can look anywhere for that type of thing so I chose bricks, well more or less the formation of bricks they way are laid. Being a former builder my interest is a little more involved but one sadness I have today with modern structures is the lack of any interesting brickwork used in construction. These days decorative brickwork may cost too much or maybe today’s bricklayers are just not trained in the arts and crafts of many of the styles of brickwork, I would hazard a guess that cost has a lot to do with it more than the craftsmen themselves.

But what do I mean by all this? Well looking round my local city centre, Hull (England or Kingston Upon Hull its full name) I often look at the many old buildings still standing despite the ravages of WW2 ( I know it was years ago but things don’t move very fast in these parts due to lack of funding and investment but that’s another story) and some vandalism (indiscriminate demolition) by the local council and the brickwork craftsmanship is wonderful (well I think so). So without further ado I will show some pictures of what I actually mean oh and they are my own pictures not purloined from anywhere else.

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This is one of my favourite buildings in Hull for decorative brickwork the craftsmanship is superb. You have everything, arches, circles, a bay and a turret on the top of the building which is circular. Thousands of people pass this building by every day of the week and never notice the splendour of the architecture but I’m sure that is the same the world over, but whenever I am near to this building I always spend a few minutes admiring it. Another example of the fine arts of brickwork craftsmanship is in a building that is tucked away down a narrow side street not far from the building in the other picture and has some equally wonderful brickwork so more pictures to follow.

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Another building I stand and stare at (yes I know I do get some odd stares in my direction but I’m not so decorative), and again the arches are just magnificent. Now before I get carried away by posting too many pictures there is the odd modern-day building constructed using bricks in a decorative way, not a lot, but still an effort has been made but come nowhere near the magnificence of these older structures. Cue more pictures.

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As I say brickwork can still be more than just straight lines of bricks that we all pass by many times during out lives but I have only scratched the surface of the structures involved, anyone interested in the marvellous subject of brick chimney stacks? (and yes all this is said with tongue in cheek as we say, joking in other words). 🙂

THE DRIVE

The twilight was dancing on top of the hills, beyond were the lights of the city, and home. But to get there was another hour’s drive along these twisting roads, and Donna was feeling the effects of having driven nearly 120 miles already. There was no motorway café where she could have pulled off the road and had a coffee before the last part of the journey, and home. She decided against using the motorway, found it tedious, and, if the truth be told, she nearly nodded off at the wheel a couple of times. So this time she decided to take the ordinary roads, with her new sat nav gadget, it would be no problem, just tap in her destination, using the ‘Avoid motorways’ part, and follow the instructions.

Road light were few, maybe an odd house here and there and one light, trees either side were tall and foreboding, casting long dark shadows in the fading evening light. There were many twists and turns, which coupled with her tiring, made driving a chore. As she hit a bit of a straight road there was a dazzling light from behind, something was catching up, fast. “Bloody ell” Donna shouted, at no one in particular, she couldn’t see in front of her because of the light behind, so she slowed down. The other vehicle slowed down, for at this point Donna couldn’t tell what it was, car? Van? Lorry? The bit of straight road came to an end and it was back to the twists and turns as before, only this time Donna had company. The vehicle was getting closer, so close at times their bumpers touched, and it was scaring Donna.

“Mobile” she suddenly remembered, in her bag.
“Damn” as Donna realised that her mobile phone was indeed in her bag, but her bag was in the boot, put there for safety, and, until now, forgotten about. The vehicle behind was still close, too close, as Donna could now feel the sweat trickling down her back. Her fingers hurt, as she had been gripping the steering wheel extra hard, although she hadn’t noticed too much at the time. Then without warning the car, yes it was a car, a red sporty one at that, swerved out and raced past Donna, causing her to slam on her brakes and wait for the inevitable crash. But it never happened; the sports car disappeared around a bend and into thin air. Donna slowed down then came to a stop, wound down the window meaning to take in some fresh air, even if the air was now getting cold. But she remembered she was on a mainly unlit road so pulled off before coming to a halt.

Her breathing was erratic as she warily stepped out of her car and made her way to the boot, with the intention of retrieving her bag, and mobile phone. She lifted the boot, grabbed the bag and moved quickly back to the driving seat. She fumbled about inside her bag for the phone, looked through her list of contacts and found Tricia. Donna pressed the connect button only to see the screen go blank, dead battery. She began to weep, and tremble, was it fear, or all of a sudden the night air was too cold. She pulled back onto the road and took a steady pace to continue her journey, looking in her mirror, only to see darkness. But that comforted her that no one was behind, but something was in front, a car, a red sporty one. It was smashed up against a tree, steam and smoke coming from the bonnet, glass strewn across the road, blood trickling down the door.

Donna slowed, but did not stop, as she passed the wreckage she couldn’t see the driver, she couldn’t see anyone. One front headlight and the backlight were somehow still on, and as the car started to drift out of sight Donna was wracked with both fear and doubts as to what she should do. She pulled over and got out of her car and started to walk back, very slowly. She picked up a large tree branch that lay at the side of the road that was for her protection, protection from what she didn’t know. “Why doesn’t anyone come by?” she thought to herself, but there was nothing, and no one but this wreck of a car. As Donna approached the car, her eyes scanning all around her for any movement, the coldness of the night air got to her, but still she carried on. At last she was within touching distance of the vehicle, but still could not see a driver. But donna could hear a car, not behind, but in front, and as she dashed back to the road she saw her own car disappearing into the distance, and something Donna hadn’t noticed up to that point, a trail of blood from the crashed car to her own.

Stranded no protection from the elements, no protection from anything and still steam and smoke streaming from the crashed car. Donna started to look in the car for a coat, jumper, anything, and nothing at all. She went round the back thinking the boot may be loose and with that some sort of cover inside, coat anything. As if someone had heard her cries the boot was loose and inside was a cardigan, the type with a wrap round belt and a pocket at either side. Not a young woman’s clothes Donna mused, but welcome none the less, and unmarked. Donna herself was bordering on her late 20’s and the ever nearer 30’s but still regarded herself as a lot younger. There was nothing for it, she had to walk, waiting for a knight in shining armour to come along, was not an option. Into the dark she ventured, every step sounded as though she had workmen’s steel toe capped boots on, boots yes, but fashion boots. Her pace was brisk so as to keep her warm, and move her nearer to home. Nothing came either way, nothing she could wave at, draw attention too, nothing and no one. She thought she heard noises, but there was nothing for company, only the trees, and the natural life that called the trees their home.

She rounded a corner and her heart lifted, for in the distance, not too far away was the bright city lights, and the place called home, which had seemed a million miles away not long ago. Then her spirits lifted again as she saw a solitary roadside light, right next to a country cottage, not only that but the cottage had a room light on. She quickened her pace, dashed across the road and knocked on the front door. No reply, she knocked again, nothing, no slight movement of the curtains, nothing. “Just my luck” she thought, so she ventured round the side to see if there was another entrance. Before Donna could get very far she was brought to an abrupt halt, for there, parked in the gloom, but just visible, was a car, her car.  No she hadn’t noticed it when she crossed the road, she hadn’t even noticed the gravel driveway, but this was her car alright. As quietly as she could she crept up to the vehicle to see if the keys were still in the ignition and if so she would jump back in her car and drive off.

Whoever had drove away from the crash scene, now had the sense of mind to remove the car keys this time. One more try on the front door, someone must be in, her car was there, hers that was driven off from a crash scene from what seemed like an hour ago. Bang bang bang, she hammered with her fist, the noise seemed to echo for miles around. Bang bang bang, hurting her hand this time, then looking towards the upstairs of the cottage. And there at the window a face, splattered in blood, hair stuck to the face, which was pallid, and was also a woman’s face. Donna drew back staring at the upstairs window, but the face had gone. Instead Donna found herself face to face with a wreck of a body at the opening front door, a body that looked as if it would collapse at any minute, and did do just that. Donna cautiously moved forward, trembling, not of the cold, that had almost been forgotten, but fear.
The heap on the floor didn’t move, but a line of blood was trickling from it, but Donna couldn’t determine from where on the body the blood originated, she was no medic. Donna bent down and tried to hear if there was any breathing, there was but it was faint. She got up and looked around the room, why hasn’t anyone been by for ages except this wreck of a woman, and looked for a phone.

She was cursing her decision not to take the motorway, when the body moved, in fact the body stood up and there before Donna was a tall woman, who, before the crash, looked like she had been elegantly, dressed but was now a mess of dirt, sweat and blood. The body moved forward, stumbling and finally falling into another heap before reaching Donna. The line of blood continued to where the body now lay, again quite motionless. Donna was about to dial 999 when it came to her to get her car keys and drive away from this place, where she had no reason to hang about other than this poor wreck lying before her and all the human race deciding to abandon this road to Donna herself. 9….9….9

“Which service do you require?” someone said “Police and an ambulance” seemingly as an afterthought. “What’s your name?” Donna Westcliffe “What’s your location?” good question what is my location?
“I’m down the old A63 into Hull, near to Newport/Gilberdyke, that way, it’s a cottage”
“Has there been an accident, anyone injured?”
“Yes yes, why all these questions someone’s badly injured, please send someone”
“I need some detail first, are the injuries bad?”
“I would say very bad”
“You say a cottage, any name or number?”
“I don’t know just send someone”
“It’s the old main road to Hull, Newport/Gillberdyke way”
“A patrol car is on its way can you make yourself seen?”
“Ok I’ll stand outside”
“Hopefully it won’t take long” the voice rang off.

Donna saw a white tablecloth and wrapped that around her, for want of something else. Then she remembered, “My car” dashing round the end of the house she grabbed her jacket from the car, a black one and not very thick at that, but at least something else against the cold night air. With the tablecloth and the jacket along with the cardigan she had taken from the crashed car she didn’t feel too bad waiting for this patrol car. She looked inside the house, the body hadn’t moved and Donna feared the worst, but kept on looking for this car, any car really. “Doesn’t anyone use this road at night?” thinking to herself. After what seemed an eternity a shaft of light came down the road, a car, a patrol car at that. Donna frantically jumped up and down to attract the attention of the 2 police people inside the car, she couldn’t determine if they were both men or what, she was just glad to see them.

“Where’s the ambulance?” were Donna’s first words, but the policeman went into the cottage, and the police woman, as it turned out, stayed with Donna. There was a lot of mumbling into radios as Donna was lead to the police car. Before long an ambulance, more police cars, and personnel, the whole road outside the cottage was suddenly alive with activity, when only what seemed like a few moments ago not a soul had passed by all night. Donna sat in the police car, still shivering when the policeman mumbled something to his companion, ‘hospital’ was the only word Donna could work out. With that another officer, who got in the driving seat, with the police woman sat in the back, next to Donna and they were off. They were hurtling towards Hull, with the police woman asking Donna various questions. The first lot of questions were about how she felt and such, then name, age, where do you live, where had she been, all written down. The warmth from the cars heater was a welcome relief to Donna as she was able to feel her body relaxing. Before long they were at this hospital, Hull Royal Infirmary, with a doctor and nurse to check her over. Nothing was found to be wrong, other than slight shock for which a hot cup of tea was prescribed.

Then it was on to the police station, Queens Gardens, for more intensive questioning at which Donna felt she was some kind of suspect to all this drama. She repeated everything, twice, driving home, then being overtaken, then finding the crashed car, getting out of her car to see about the driver only to hear her own car being driven off. Then starting to walk, and knocking on the door of the cottage after finding he own car on the gravel driveway. The woman at the door, who then collapsed, all this being recorded, and written down by two men in suits, probably detectives Donna thought. All track of time had been lost, all Donna wanted was to get home and her car back. That was not possible at the moment, she was told, so how would she get home? What seemed to be begrudging she was offered a lift in a police car, back to her flat. Donna had the frame of mind to retrieve her bag and a bit more stuff from her car when she spotted it on the drive, which included the keys to her flat. She wearily unlocked her door but was suddenly startled by the bell, the bell to her bedside alarm had just gone off.

She looked at the clock, shafts of sunlight were breaking through the curtains, she was confused, there in the parking space was her car. What was she doing on the bed, still immaculately dressed, everything intact? Putting on her coat she went down to see her car, perfect, just as it was last night as she had driven home down a long dark twisting road, come home into her flat and fell asleep on the bed. “Last time I drive down that road when I’m tired” she mused. She got undressed, showered, had a light breakfast and got ready for work. It had been one hell of a dream, or nightmare, she had had thought Donna, and gave a little laugh of relief to herself.
It was a beautiful sunny, warm, sunny morning, as she went over to her car and was just about to climb in when this other car came round the corner.

A sporty car, a red one at that, and driven by what looked like a tall elegant, well dressed woman. It passed Donna and sped off, disappearing into the distance.
Donna froze.

 

All we are saying …… is give peace a chance.

Its Sunday, the weather is glorious, its sunny and in the mid 60’s F, my wife and I are sat on deck chairs in the garden, a glass of vino at our side and all it well with the world …….not. Bang bang bang, drill drill drill, bang bang bang, lawnmowers, and I’m sure someone is drilling for oil as there is the sound of a formula 1 car revving up. We try to ignore and I shout out in vain, BE QUIET!

Then miraculously it is quiet …… for a minute or so and then its bang bang bang, drill drill drill. It’s as if the whole neighbourhood has dusted down their DIY stuff and decided that today’s the day that they will start their never-ending quest to spoil the peace and quiet for everyone else, oh and we haven’t got to the bonfires yet. Yes folks those twigs, dead grass, and any other detritus has to be got rid of, to hell with going to the local tip, about 2 miles away, nope we will have our very own bonfire so we can send smoke signals to the nearest Apache tribe instead of sending a text.

I think some guys are masochists they can’t wait to knock something down only to rebuild it again come hell or high water, the amateur car mechanics are not all that bad, until they decided to start the engine and the whole place sounds like a starting grid at a GP. But hey the sun is shining so ignore the racket, I wish as not only is it on the ground it is also in the air as the local flying club have woken up as well. Like scene of a WW2 film we have light aircraft that I’m sure are replicas of those kamikaze pilots from those films.

We not only have the real aircraft circling overhead we also have the model kind which are really something when they nosedive into your fish pond. They buzz about and you don’t take much notice, well I didn’t until one crash landed in our said fish pond. 2 guys came knocking at our door with a variant of ‘can we have our ball back’. And there, nose down, was a fair-sized model plane that had gone awol, it took 2 of them to haul it out of the pond, apologise profusely and say it won’t happen again, but guess what, it does.

So you can see the coming of summer, whilst I greet with overwhelming enthusiasm I also welcome with trepidation, I love the summer and the sun, especially at the weekends when the usual rigid itinerary of work is suspended for a short while. But unless these DIY Rambo’s and others retreat then its just a matter of grin and bear it ….. oh hang on …… bang bang bang ……. drill drill drill …….. vroom vroom vroom ………… sigh!

Death and pop/rock stars.

I don’t pretend to be knowledgeable about today’s music scene in any way but one thing I do know is that the death of Amy Winehouse, through alleged drink/drug abuse carries on the the sad tradition of talented people destroying their lives at an early age.

I’m a child of the 60’s and well remember some spectacular star deaths, not least Elvis Presley, due to many things, including drugs, and of course the likes of Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones, and Keith Moon of The Who. There are others, who although not my personal favourites, were big stars in their time, like Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain to name two.

It might be easier to name stars who didn’t dabble in drink/drugs at some point, but Amy will join the list of those who will never age now and will always be fondly remembered by her fans as she was. R.I.P girl.