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Category Archives: In The News

The March Lion Did Roar


It’s not very often I feel vulnerable when at home, but when I am in bed in the dead of night, seeking sleep, and outside the wind is whipping and cracking, rocking and moving the wheelie bins, whistling at high pitch across the overflow pipes and window vent, I have visions of airborne debris catapulting into my bedroom window.  I don’t have a mental plan of action, who do you call when a roof tile shatters the glass or half a tree branch shifts the sturdy bricks at stupid ‘O’ clock.  Maybe it is something that creeps up on you as you age, experience erodes invincibility perhaps. 

Storm Emma raged and roared unabashed, shifting the inches of powdered snow and freezing it to where it landed, pushing through the merest cranny to turn a whisper into a palpable icy draft.  A  couple of streets from me, a tree which has proudly stood at the corner of a bank car park for decades (if not a century) succumbed to the battering assault. Thankfully no person was hurt but a couple of cars were damaged (pictured above).

Today the world beyond my windows looks a picture of frosted innocence, just waiting for a moment of complacency to turn on you and test your resolve.

It’s March, in three weeks I reach a golden mile stone, where is Spring or the milder days of sunshine.

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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in General, In The News, Life

 

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America – you’ve lost


You are being controlled, the ‘supposed’ greatest country of the western world, of the ‘free’ world ….. isn’t. 

It’s not your evangelical pastors, or your charismatic Congresspersons, or your gregarious Govenors, or well spoken Senators, or any of your elected officers.  It’s not your law enforcement personnel.  It’s not your civil rights activists or your media hungry celebrities.  It’s not big business, the Apple’s, Google’s, Starbuck’s or oil barons.

Before you get ready to jump to a passioned defence, I don’t even mean your handheld pistols or various animal hunting rifles.  

You legally put ‘military grade assault’ weapons in the hands of anyone (except convicted felons) ….. just because.

Even your Second Amendment states that the militia should be ‘well regulated’ but the non-militia can do as they please with their weapon of choice somehow exonerated of consequential responsibility (except their own moral compass).  Any attempt to bring any form of control or conditions, (to some even a waiting period) is seen as an infringement of right.  

The problem is not numbers, nor ages, oddly it is not even the gun. There are those who will quote statistics around deaths caused by drugs, alcohol, smoking, driving under the influence or texting while driving, heart attacks, strokes, diabetic conditions, air travel, swimming, all of which have ‘well regulated’ laws surrounding them, but the g-thing that’s in a completely different category of mind set.

So America, best trade in your hummers for armoured personnel carriers, don your flak jackets and helmets, up the g-s-w aspect of your medical insurance as it will never change, he/she/ze/it/they with the biggest more powerful weapon with a disregard for any life because they are aggrieved at something trivial will win.

Is there an answer? Of course there is, but no one will like it or agree it and by the time anything is discussed, decided, debated and passed to law, there will be a different president who can blame all the previous incumbents, a change of faces in the Senate and Congress …… and another few thousand graves filled.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2018 in In The News, Life

 

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Death, Destruction & Drivel 


I make no apology for the next paragraph.

I have no interest, in fact I do not want to know anything about destructive perpetrators. I am not interested where they were born, to what parents, I am not interested in where they went to school or dropped out of university, I am not interested in the countries they visited or their family members. I am only interested in hearing one of two things, the perpetrator is dead or the perpetrators are arrested. End of. Nuff said. Anything more gives credence and advertising to groups who do not deserve my ear.

Now onto other things.

Hearing about the cowardly actions of an individual could not do anything but shock, hearing how young children and teens were fair game targets is disgusting, hearing the heroic endeavours of trained professionals, entrepid volunteers, and selfless strangers was endearing and touching. 

When there is an attack on a community, it takes that community to come together and fight back with kindness, whether a church/mosque/temple/tabernacle opens it doors for shelter, whether it is hard working taxi drivers who turn off the meter and drive people home safely, whether it is a homeless beggar who cradles a dying lady so she’s not alone, to reaffirm that there are strands of humanity around us in this busy, stressful, enclosing, faced paced times.

As for the media, stop trying so hard to be the first, find the worst, to criticise and condemn, you are swaying opinion, blackening good deeds, generalising those to be feared, and generally repeating the same thing over and over to fill the hours of broadcast.  Only on tv are crimes investigated, forensic tests done and results analysed and the bad guys questioned into a confession in around 45 minutes.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2017 in In The News, Life

 

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What’s my X for?


Well, a little around three hours ago Prime Minister Theresa May has called for a General Election and I am already tired of the media reporting and I’ve got another seven weeks until Election Day  (June 8th) and the harping and bemoaning after the result. Is there such a thing as election reporting fatigue?

But this does drag up a recurring question – exactly what am I voting for with my all powerful X?

  • Is it Mr(s) Somebody
  • Is it Mr(s) Somebody representing This Political Shambles Party
  • Is it This Political Party
  • Is it all of the above
  • Is it none of the above coz we don’t know

People griped about not having voted for TM to be PM, well I’ve never had a paper asking me to select a PM. I’ve also never had a tick box for a coalition so absolutely nobody ‘elected’ the Government in 2010.

So, batten down the hatches for political fliers filling up the recycling bin. Go raid the charity shops for cheap DVD’s to avoid the endless media drivel. Deactivate your social media accounts as opinionated ‘erberts get hot under the collar over trite trivialities.

Already the media reporters have nick-named this the #BrexitElection, well only if you (the media) harp on and don’t give equal time to issues such as education, NHS, social care, police and justice, defence, taxation, benefit system AND how changes can be implemented, costed and monitored. But I am a stupidly common sense semi-intelligent person, so I know that ain’t gonna happen.

*sigh* if I go missing again, I’ve gone into hiding, or hibernation, or been committed…

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2017 in Grumble, In The News

 

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Doris’s Dudgeon


Doris got her dander up round these parts yesterday.  She was fickle in her choices of destruction. 

In the morning she took a dislike to the roof of the local Baptist Church, a building frequently used for AA meetings, a drop-in centre, Food Bank, as well as other things. The crew of volunteers were preparing lunch for the lunch club when the tile roof gave way. Thankfully no one was seriously injured, one person was treated by the neighbouring GP clinic.

Where my little road meets the Main Street there are a coupe of tall advertising billboards, it’s nothing unusual on a wet wild windy day for the paper to peel off and I watched as a corner piece flapped back and forth, slowly getting bigger.  Later in the day I saw a police person wrapping police tape around the lamppost in front of these hoardings and thought it curious as the adverts were not peeling that badly. Today, however, some beefy burly types in eye-aching orange kit erected proper barriers and dismantled both structures.

But last night as I munched through my paella, listening to the gusts fart their way through my front door, there was a crash outside my curtained window. Utoh.  Peeking through the curtains it was too dark to tell whether it was a roof role or the terracotta clock/barometer that used to hang in my parents courtyard. It was not until this morning I found out for sure, but in truth I already knew. 

*sigh*

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in General, In The News, Life

 

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Does preparation breed complacency 


It was something of a surprise yesterday when I turned on the BBC1 lunchtime news to find my home town a main feature! Didn’t think the rest of the country knew anything existed east of the M1.  

Numerous warnings had been issued, plans were being implemented, preparations were unfolding as the east coast braced itself for a weather phenomenon that seems to be happening more often. A mixture of super high tides, plus full moon, plus strong gale force north/north-westerly winds were converging to push the seas at the land and cause significant flood risk damage; add winters rain, sleet, hail and snow and all things being as they are, things were rather grotty out there.  Sand bags were being filled, flood boards were being screwed into place, police were door knocking advising people to evacuate their properties and where the evacuation centres were.  TV crews were everywhere looking for that photogenic story, the housebound nonagenarian and the cute cat being housed upstairs on a warm duvet, the neighbourly community spirit, the over exaggerated precarious deathly risk. 

Back in 2013 when similar weather got together there was significant coastal and inland flooding and there were those dramatic images of bungalows falling from the crumbling cliffs into the crashing seas. Then, as yesterday, plans had been implemented but possibly too little too late; the sea enveloped the promenade and cascaded into many seafront businesses and homes, the surge along the river breached the walls turning roads into babbling brooks. In the aftermath there were calls for better protection and better warnings and these were heeded, which was a factor in yesterday’s action.

Thankfully last night the surge was not as high nor as strong as had been predicted, few areas were flooded and there was minimal damage to property. Today’s local papers have a handful of washed up debris shots. It ‘could’ have been far worse.

One thing that did strike me yesterday throughout the days numerous reports and the social media up-dates from plentiful agencies, news sources and groups, there seemed to an edge of complacency that because all the warnings had been issued, that gates and blocks were in place, with the Police, even the Army in presence, alongside Environmental Officers and Coastguard personnel, everything was going to be okay and that joe public did not need to do anything.  I’ve not seen any comment or columnists complain that yesterday’s reaction to the potential threat was overboard, but I am sure there will be. It’s a damned either way situation, prepare and its doesn’t happen it’s over reacting, under prepare and have flooding and it’s not doing its job properly. 

But I am concerned, the more often these flood preparations are implemented and no significant flooding occurs, the reaction should be “phew, it worked, we are safe” but will more likely be “they always say/do this and nothing ever happens I’m not doing this next time” which really will put people and property in danger.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2017 in General, Grumble, In The News, Life, people

 

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One’s At The BBC!

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“How would you like to be in the One Show studio on Friday with me” was how it started, I took my Sister’s excited high squeal as a yes, lol.  It began with one of those ‘well I’ll just try’ things, a modicum of hope invested but a healthy dollop of disappointment prepared. When the email arrived confirming attendance it was a mad frenzied series of phone calls and web searches to secure the one and only wheelchair seat on the four trains, and to reserve wheelchair accessible hotel room.  All was set for Fridat 30th September, what a way to end the month!

Arriving at BBC Broadcasting House with comfortable time to spare we sat with a drink and panini looking down into the news room, the news studio is underneath the media cafe. Before too long we were booked in, given our yellow wrist bands and grouped together ready to go across to the studio. The lovely audience greeters instructed us that we should have fun, keep watch on the floor manager, watch out for cables and moving cameras etc, and finally could we give a hearty laugh.  We must have passed the audition as we were lead across the piazza through the barriered area and into the studio.

Martin the floor manager introduced himself and shook my hand, placing me and my sister comfortably. He addressed us all, reminding us to be careful of cables, to watch for his signals, to laugh if there is something amusing, clap enthusiastically, and have fun. Seated not more than ten feet on the iconic green sofa were Alex Jones and guest presenter Shane Richie, familiarising themselves with a section of auto-cue. They both turned and greeted every one, I passed my congratulations onto Alex, as it has recently been announced she is expecting her first baby. My first impressions of the studio were how small it was, how calm it was (we were less than five minutes to air).  There are three cameras, the sound guy, props man Dave, the hair stylist and make up lady, as well as other assistants. The monitors showed that we were in the final minute to air when a voice announced “Ladies and Gentlemen Barry Gibb is in the studio” huge applause and cheers from the dozen or so fans there, he waved and as he turned towards the sofa the same voice announced “Ladies and Gentlemen Stephen Gibb is in the studio” more applause and cheers. I was directly opposite the door they came in through, his face was a picture of surprise and glee as he spotted me, pointed and came straight over to hug and kiss me as he was then escorted out to the performance area.

We were on air! In my direct eye line, over Shane’s shoulder was Barry, and to my right peripheral vision was the auto-cue with monitor beneath. Everything felt so calm considering how time conscious live broadcasting must be. Martin had his hand signals to an art, palms up as ‘get ready’, silent clapping to ‘clap enthusiastic’, palms down to signal stop and double thumbs-up as good job done. As the vt’s are run cameras and cables are moved, we are shown our marks for when we could move forward and when we returned to ‘first positions’.  We listened intently to those on the sofas.

It is an eclectic magazine programme, there was a segment about notable cars from the 1970’s being reclassified as ‘classic’ and included a section where Barry and impressionist Jon Culshaw trying to guess the first names of a family who had named their five children after classic cars. Another vt was about singing falsetto. Barry discussed his new album and recounted the tale of running around the house in search of a mini recorder as he had the hook to “You Win Again” in his head and if he went back to sleep he’d forget it.

Barry was to perform the title track from his latest album “In The Now” to close the programme, Stephen is a member of the band. As the last tv was run (about clam fishing is Scotland) we were ushered out the studio and around the piazza to the performance area.  Stephen shouted to me as we massed together, laughing together as we \m/ each other.  The closing piece was broadcast and the performance began, due to issues with sound it was lip synced from a recording taken earlier. Once we were off air Stephen came across to give me another hug and kiss, express his surprise and we exchanged a few words. I introduced him to my big Sister. He gave me his plectrum (in the header photo). Barry met each of us in turn, which was a nice gesture. Stephen had to start packing his kit (they would be going to Elstree Studios for Strictly Come Dancing) and the assistants were waving for us to leave, in order to hand back our wrist bands and have a group shot taken.

After having seen numerous online videos of the various band members, it was exciting to be just a couple of feet away from the familiar faces of Tim Cansfield, Dan Warner, Julio Hernandez, Beth Cohen, Leesa Richards, Charlotte MCKinnon, watching Lee Levin, Doug Emery and Richard Bravo along with Barry and Stephen.

Back at our hotel, I connected to the Internet to watch the programme, which is when we received messages and texts on our phone saying we had been seen! We watched the broadcast with exclamations of “Oh that’s me!” And “There are my feet” and “Doesn’t it look different on the telly” and “Look my feet are in the closing shot”.

Quite the experience. We got rained on getting back to the train station the next morning and our train was delayed because of an incident requiring police and medics at Ilford, we missed our connection, but got home safely, if a little chilled and shattered.

Sometimes investing hope can pay off, but boy it is a rarity.

 

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2016 in In The News, Life, people

 

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