Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A sick computer...

I type this post on my daughters laptop. The other night my laptop suddenly burst into a chorus of whines & screams that sent poor Charlie Coal sprinting for the door! He though,t I guess, that it was the cat equivalent of the banshee, when in fact it was I'm sorry to report the death throws of our 3 yr old laptop.
I wanted, as a fully paid up & Mass attending member of the Roman Catholic Church to call Father Fitzpatrick to the house & ask him to administer said laptop the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. (The Last Rights to all you heathens out there.).
 Kate told me to stop talking like a prat, & anyway, he'd probably tell me to "feck off" in his South Co Kerry drawl, which wouldn't matter cos I can't understand a damn word he says anyhow! But be that as it may, not even the Roman Catholic Church administers the Last Rights to computers these days.
So..... Its sick. Its in the menders hopefully undergoing surgery as I type. What I'm trying to say is that for the time being the world will be free of my rants etc cos my access to the net is limited. BUT....
I'll be back....

Saturday, 20 August 2011


Although I like dogs; in truth, I'm really a cat person. My earliest memory is of a cat my grandma had when I was about 4yrs old. I recall him being a ginger tom cat called 'Tiddles' & my grandma used to call him in at nighttime & generally fuss over him. granddad on the other-hand, being a pragmatic old Irishman, used to berate her for "fussin' over a bloody animal". Be that as it may, our earliest memories & experiences do determine how we behave, feel & express ourselves to & in the world. What we like, dislike, how we judge etc etc. (coincidentally, I guess I was lucky-my grandma though a bit of a 'live wire'  as far as men were concerned(!), she was a firm Socialist in her beliefs & used to read me passages from Engels & Marx-none of yer Grimms fairy tales!) ANYHOW....I think that's why I'm a cat person.  It has bugger all to do do with Engels & Marx though as far as I'm aware, but might explain my antipathy towards to right wing political parties.
Wheres all this leading too?? I'll tell ya:
Kate has said for a long time that she believes that Charlie Coal is a bit of a bully (my post of  June 9th 2011)-he often arrives home with wounds which have been caused by ?fighting? Well, the other day Kate actually witnessed him 'in action'. There is a house down the street with at least 5 cats & Charlie was noted to be seen chasing some of them under parked cars, hissing & growling whenever 1 appeared, attempting to throw a vicious right hook at 1 & Kate witnessed him literally rolling in the gutter with another! Kate attempted to stop the brawl but without success
Charlie it appears is the Jack Johnson of Westfield Road, HE is the bully &, as I suspected, a pugilist!
But I love him to bits. Bless his little, furry, pugilist paws!
Kate swears that she'll not fund the vets bills should he sustain a wound though. Charlie is, what what we used to call the tough kids at school, a 'hard knock'!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Ginger beer

I've always been into ginger beer. As a kid I used to buy the odd bottle from the 'Alpine pop man' who used to drive around the area delivering fizzy pop to whoever.I considered it a sign of affluence if a family had the 'Alpine' man actually deliver pop to the house. Sadly, my mom & dad either were skint, couldn't be arsed to have it delivered or (most unlikely!) thought fizzy, sugary drinks were bad for kids.
Anyway; I made some the other week but  being a big city boy now I decided to enter the premier league of ginger beer & make it alcoholic. So I added to the mixture fresh yeast. Kate was anxious that I didn't cause an explosion in the house ,& insisted that I  release the pressure on a twice daily basis. The smell from the cupboard which houses the central heating boiler was at times overpowering-a yeasty, gingery smell that on reflection was cruel to Charlie the cat (his bowl was adjacent to the cupboard) & the smell made him run out of the kitchen when I opened the screw lid of the bottle(s).
The day dawned last Saturday for the sampling & we took 2 bottles (4 litres) of the magical elixir with us to 'Lahore Karachi' Balti Buffet restaurant on Ladypool Road. Lovely!
As usual I got it all wrong.
You see, this restaurant is a buffet restaurant & you can eat as much as you want for the princely sum of £8.95p-BUT:- I see this as a CHALLENGE NOT AN OFFER..... & I left with a sore gut, full bladder & spinning head from the ginger beer.
The ginger beer was I believe, 4% alcohol content-& it was gorgeous!
As I type I have another 6 litres on the go in the home brew bucket my friend John Middleton gave me. Incidently, I am attempting to increase the alcohol content of this 'vintage'.

Who needs the 'Alpine 'man!!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

My last rant on the recent UK riots & looting....honest(!)

So the looting & rioting appears to be on the wane. Those arrested for the outrages include a 19yr old millionaires daughter, a classroom assistant teacher & some 11year old (budding) psychopaths.
 I hope now (albeit that I'm pissing in the wind!) that Cameron , his Judas catamite Clegg & George Osborne will look again at their plans to cut the police budget by 20% thereby reducing police on the beat numbers by approx'100,000 officers.
Cameron et al say that even despite the proposed cuts there will still be enough police officers to patrol the streets & afford the public protection. HA! Last night  (fair play to Cameron) he did "flood the streets of Birmingham with police". What he didn't disclose (but the Chief Constable of the West Midlands force did) was that the West Midlands police were supplemented by police from West Yorkshire constabulary & from the Strathclyde force in Scotland! Oh & we have enough police to keep our streets safe do we? Whilst West Yorkshire police are down her looking after us Brummies the Tykes in Yorkshire are running wild.
Cameron, you have once again demonstrated that you are a prize Prat.

Now I have a thought about those yobbos who robbed, mugged, smashed & looted:
 I'm a great fan of restorative justice. If we consider that university students have to pay upwards of £5000 for tuition fees whilst studying & most are left paying back their student loans way into their late adult life, then those thugs who smashed & destroyed our cities should be made to pay back in money for the things they smashed & stole. If they were 18yrs or under then I believe that their parents should cough up the bill.
Everyone's talking of "their rights..." well, with Rights comes responsibility, & these bastards have demonstrated that they are not responsible so therefore they deserve no rights. Make of that what you will. Harsh maybe but....
Its all about accountability.


Goodnight all!



Wednesday, 10 August 2011

North/South divide

Its long been said that there is in the UK a divide between the South & the North.
Northerners berate those living in the South as wet, soft & to some degree posh, whilst those living in the South accuse those in the North as being thick, stupid, slow witted & backward in life style.
Where exactly the North ends & the South begins I'm not too sure, but I have heard that the City(?) of Watford marks as being the beginning of the South. Personally I think the South begins at just outside Coventry & thus everything North of that is...North!

My point is this: Last night the Government flooded the Capital (London) with over 16,000 police. Needless to say there was little or no civil disturbances. These police were drafted in it appears from other forces the length & breath of England. Perhaps as a result of this depletion on police number elsewhere to secure London, there were riots & looting's last night in most of the major cities of England, including 3 men killed in my home city of Birmingham.
There we have it: The seat of Government has to be guarded. The rich, money centre of the nation must be wrapped in a blue cotton wool whist everywhere else can go to hell. The news caster on  the BBC Breakfast News announce with a smug smile that "...due to overwhelming police presence there was little or no disturbance in London last night..." I'm alright Jack bugger everywhere else.
The North can burn the South must be saved.
 But I would remind those money making centres in the south that it was on the backs, blood & bones of the former industrial North that you made your money....& then your bankers subsequently broke the Country throwing millions into unemployment.
Sadly, I don't think that the "North will rise again" (with apologies to those in the Southern States of the United States!)

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Looting & rioting across the UK.

Everyone who has eyes to see must by now know that since last weekend across the U.K. there has been rioting & looting carried out for the main part by young people. This criminality (as its been described) has blighted London, Bristol, Liverpool & last night my home town of Birmingham.
I have many feelings & thoughts about these events to be honest.
I believe that these thugs are completely out of order in robbing local corner stores, mugging other citizens & breaking into private residents & robbing the occupants of their belongings. Inflicting physical harm to others is also unacceptable. My heart goes out to the police who, like the 'lions led by donkeys' of the Great War (1914-1918) had to stand their ground whilst having rocks, petrol bombs & sticks thrown at them.
On the other hand; I believe that what has happened over the last few nights are/is the fruits of past & present UK Government policies in respect of education, job creation & training, economic policies, housing provision, welfare benefits etc etc.
Looking at the news footage it would appear as though the looters/rioters were all teenagers, they stole material things (mobile phones, plasma TV's, etc). I'm willing to bet that 99% of these looters/rioters were unemployed, not in any form of education, or at best in school, but were none achievers requiring 'special need' education.
Cameron recently cut/stopped 'Educational Maintenance Allowance' so these disaffected young people have no incentive to stay in education, train for a job, or improve their numeracy & literary skills as well as get a few academic qualifications. They see that others in society have material things & they want them-so they get them anyway they can.
For every 1 job in the UK there are apparently 8 people chasing that job. What chance has a scruffy, inarticulate, poorly qualified young teen got in getting that job?
They have nothing to lose in rioting & looting. They know that the courts are lenient in their handing out of punishments. They are aware that the prisons are overcrowded. They have nothing to do, no prospects so there you are...the fuse is lit....the bomb exploded last night.
As I said I feel for the police. What a job they have. Cameron has returned from his hoilday in Tuscany & has said that the "streets will be flooded with police this evening"  Bollocks Cameron.
In London last night there were police from the Met'. The City of London police, British Transport police, Kent police, Sussex police to name but a few forces helping out the hard pressed Met'.
Let us not forget that Cameron has cut police numbers & by this time next year there will be 100,000 fewer police on our streets. I am told by a would be recruit to the West Midlands police that he was told by the personnel dept that NO police forces in England are recruiting at the moment & that this lad has been told he has to wait at least 5years before he can apply!!
Chickens coming home to roost or what Cameron? You have at least 2 coppers on your doorstep don't you Dave?!
Then there's a smug neighbour of mine who, (in his posh Southern accent), denies that there are no problems within the present system, & that the army should be employed on the streets to crush the rioters/looters who are nothing more than thugs, wasters & dossers who don't want to work after a lifetime of dysfunctional behaviour at school. But I think that he's forgetting that all out troops are employed in an unwinable war in Afghanistan??  And that all that might be true, but these same "thugs etc" tend to come from poorer families.

Its grim though & its sad.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

What goes around....

....comes around or so the saying goes.
A couple of months ago a lady down the street who lives alone was having an Asthma attack. The lady is now estranged from her family following her taking them in from the streets. In return for this act of kindness they robbed her & old her stuff to buy drugs-nice guys-I think not. Any way there was no one to help when she was experiencing the Asthma attack. Kate &^ me met her on the street in a dreadful state as she was attempting to get to the local A&E dept. We took her to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital & stayed with her 'til she was stabilized & then took her home. We thought nothing of it, its what we should all do for each other ain't it.

Anyhow. I've been meaning to buy me a hose pipe to attach to the outside garden tap to water the flowers for MONTHS but its always been near the bottom of my list of priorities. Instead I make 1/2 dozen trips back & forth with the watering can. So Imagine my delight when I met Kathleen on the street whilst I cycling home today & she presented me with a lovely , brand new 'Hozlock' garden hose! I am delighted!!
BUT: Here's the fly in the ointment: The tap I have outside is so old that the fitting on the hose won't fit it & they no longer make a suitably sized adapter. Bugger!!  My friend John at 'York Supplies' (hardware store) hunted deep in the bowels of his shop for a suitable adapter but to no avail & said that  my only recourse  is  put a new tap on. Simple!!? Is it hell as like. I did this, forgot to turn off the stopcock for the mains supply before removing the old tap & was hit with a forced jet of cold water in a place where it was bloody painful. There was water all over the place, it was like a scene from an old silent movie!! My daughter was in fits of laughter,Charlie Coal ran down the garden like a greyhound (dog) out of a trap & I was soaked to the skin. Kate won't be too amused when she see the water splashes on the windows either!
But what the hell. Thank you Kathleen, not only have you given me a lovely hose, but you've also provided me with an afternoon of fun.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Post script to the previous post

I hear from UNICEF that approx' 4,000 children a day are dying in Somalia. This isn't, (contrary to popular belief) widely reported. 
I noticed the headline on  (wait for it......) The Sun 'newspaper ' on Saturday last which read 'Woman goes to bed as a 30 year old & wakes up 15' Jesus Christ & all the Holy Orphans just what the feck is going on & is wrong with &/in the UK? On Sunday I noticed a headline which read of a 13year old boy had been killed by his 'X-Box'. "Bloody hell!" I thought, that awful, thinking that the machine had fallen on him from a great height, or that he'd been a victim of abuse or attack by muggers or burglars  throwing the gadget at him or him defending his property- (the aforementioned X-Box. But no.....the guy had developed a Deep vein Thrombosis as a result of playing excessively on the 'X-Box'. 
Whilst any loss of life is a tragedy, the first word that comes to my mind is "Twat!" What was he thinking of to allow this to happen? But that's it...he wasn't thinking .But my point is: Is that all the 'reporters' of these newspapers believe to be newsworthy?
And then at Mass on Sunday there was not one prayer mentioned in the 'prayers of the faithful' for the  victims of the famine in Somalia. I'm alright Jack, bugger you.