FLEETINGLY IT’S FRIDAY

Bad news first but fleetingly only I promise.

The corona virus has resulted in  the UK having the 2nd more deaths in the world but there were still more than 300 yesterday. Lock down is now easing but that is because Boris Johnson is making political decisions rather than scientific reasons. He is so concerned about getting the economy moving the number of deaths diminishing is now deemed acceptable. Unfortunately deaths are being counted in numbers rather individuals , somebodies mother, father, sister etc. Just making a point.

I am now in my seventies and having a bit more time to think during lock down I have been reading my short stories and poems. In fact re-reading them! I must write down in words incidents and memories of what I would consider a reasonably interesting and eventful life. I have traveled a lot in the UK and abroad both for my career and personally. In the UK alone I estimate I have driven more than 1.3 million miles. In a way this leads to my first trip abroad. I was 19 , in 1964, and lived in a small industrial town called Blyth. Most people worked down the mines or ship yards. They have all long since gone. Blyth is located on the Northumbrian coast in North-East England. Very industrrial but has as a contrast beautiful beaches! I hadn’t long left school and my friend and I decided on our first holiday abroad. When you realise we flew from Newcastle airport, which then consisted of two green corrugated iron “Nissan” huts and is now a substantial international things have changed somewhat!. We flew in a dull evening in September and rising above the clouds was this stunningly beautiful sunny white desert . I was captivated and i still am after flying hundreds of time since. More was to come that evening, we flew down to Heath Row and as the sun had set by then flew over  central  London with its bright city lights. A  magic scene! Much more was to come.  We departed later that evening and flew over central Paris seeing the unforgettable vista .   The seven days in Paris was a whirlwind. We visited the normal sightseeing places, Versailles and Malmaison, obviously the Louvre, strolled down the Champs-Elysees  climbed the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.  But also remember we were 19 so the real eye openers were in Montmartre where we stayed, the Follies Bergere, the Moulin Rouge and the Lido. We had never seen topless women before. Paris was my first ever trip abroad and it is still my favourite city. I have been many times since but there is an ambience, an atmosphere a romance about the city and the people. I have travelled all over the world and been to many wonderful places but I’m always drawn back to Paris. I suppose that first memory is special and it certainly was for a boy from Blyth!

HUMOUR-Prisoners from Alcatraz prison always had showers so they did not get acclimatised to cold water and try to escape by swimming!

In 2002 the US military developed a sandwich which stays fresh for 3 years. Who tried it out after the 3 years I wonder?

Japan has as many bank holidays as the UK, including “Greenary Day” and “Respect for the Aged” Wonder if Boris Johnson knows this?

Grapples are apples that taste like grapes.

Ancient Romans ate puppies.

OLD FASHIONED WORDS

Pettish– Cross or petulant.

Midden– Rubbish dump.

Middy– 1/2 pint of beer.

Miff– Sulk, go in the huff.

Mike– Skulk, or avoid hard work.

Faff– To dither, be flustered.

GEORDIE WORDS

Femmer–Weak

Fret– sea mist.

Gandie– A look.

Ganzie– Jumper.

Hefty– Large

Hoppings– a fair.

Just a footnote. fotr several weeks now I have vehemently criticised the UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock for his performance during the corona virus. I am a supporter of, in fact a season ticket holder of Newcastle Utd football team. I have just discovered he is an ardent fan , does that mean I have to like him?

SHORT STORY. rather a poem this week.

 

 

FANDANGO FOR FRIDAY

I’ve had enough of this coronavirus, all these infections and deaths. I’m just fed up of talking about it. There’s not a lot I can do , continue life and stay safe, encourage my friends and family to be sensible and carry on until the immediate future. There is no question at my age life will be different but there will be a new normality which we will have to cope with.

So about four years ago I started to write a blog as you can tell from the heading it was Beach Thoughts- An  old dog and his bloke. Well my dog was younger then not old and I was the bloke who was old and still is just even older. I hope you understand that, it was all just a play on words. Anyway I walked on the beach where I live and every day was different. The beach changes , the tides ebb and flow , the sand moves, tides bring in all sorts of debris. I have never failed to be fascinated by the power of the waves and why the sea has never been used as an energy source to any great extent baffles me. The prevailing  weather at the coast is amazing , it can be windy in one direction then it changes direction and brings in clouds and rain. Or there are days where I can’t see the local lighthouse for fog then the sun breaks through and it is a glorious morning. Or in the winter when it starts to snow on a beach there is no where to go. But when your dog wants to go swimming  no matter the weather winter or summer it would be unthinkable to deprive him of the privilege. The clothing you wear is hugely important and once you brave the elements there is a certain type of masochism involved. All in all no matter what the weather is like I just love being in the open on the this everchanging  vista of beach. And while I walk I think. It allows me to open my mind to the freedom of my thoughts. I  try to remove my mind of everyday worries and gives me the clarity of more creative thoughts. Inspiration I suppose for poems, stories locked away in everyday life. Too profound it might be but it does work for me. Ok I’m lucky to have the environment and I would certainly accept that having a dog who has an insatiable appetite for walking helps. Oh, and because I am retired. That certainly helps.

HUMOUR– Did you know that Woody from Toy story’s last name was Pride?

Until January 2013 it was illegal for women in Paris to wear trousers!

People will gamble more if they are holding a crocodile. Holding a crocodile would be a gamble enough for me!

The original Popeye got his strength from rubbing a chicken. Spinach growers must have been delighted.

Crisp packets contain nitrogen!

Orthodox Jews can buy kosher sexual lubricants!

OLD FASHIONED WORDS

Hurry scurry– Turmoil, uproar

Foretoken-Prophetic sign, omen

Foozle–To make (or do) something awkwardly,

Fogbow– A phenomenon like a white or tinted rainbow.

Offing– A distant part of the sea from the shore.

Oozle–To steal.

GEORDIE WORDS

Champion–Good or brilliant.

Chare– Lane

Cuddy– A horse

Dowie– depressed

Dunch– To bump or crash.

Femmer– weak                                                                                                                                        POEM ATTACHED                                                 HOMECOMING

 

 

FRAUDENTLY FRIDAY

It is really difficult to get away from the subject of the coronavirus. Quite rightly as a lot of people in the world are dying from it.  Countries have reacted very differently to coping with it. Some have handled the situation well but others not so well.

USA- Trump initially didn’t really take the virus seriously at first , said it was “just”  another type of flu. The country reacted much too slowly to lock down in the major cities especially New York. Now Trump is pushing to reactivate the economy quicker than most states want. The infection rates are still way too high.

BRAZIL- The President, Bolsonaro is , quite frankly, hoping the virus will just go away and keep his economy going despite a lot of deaths.

RUSSIA- Is now a worry. Their infections and deaths are rising quite rapidly now and I hope their lock-down is proving effective. They sat on the fence too long and now are paying the price. They already have a shortage of Safety Equipment  (SSE)

ITALY, FRANCE and SPAIN. Initially had a lot of deaths and infections and  very strict lockdowns are  to easing off very slowly and carefully.

GERMANY.- Have  had a lot less deaths than other European countries. They have tested more of the population than any other of the large European nations. They are now slowly opening some of their lockdown situations and industry is being to start up.

Most of the other European nations are now easing lockdowns.

CHINA- Whether we believe the virus was started in a Wuhan laboratory or in a livestock market we don’t know (or ever know). But infections and deaths are much lower than other countries (if they are to believed) Chinese industry is now starting up and the whole world needs their economy to recover quickly.

Other Asian countries have controlled the virus  well. Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, Singapore have used testing to good effect.

My great worry is for some of the other populous Asian nations where workers in factories need to work to live. If they don’t work they starve. Countries like Bangladesh, india, Pakistan and Indonesia.

AFRICA seems to been little effected so far. But it is early days there.

And what about the UK. Well we were too slow and unprepared for the virus. Austerity over the past 10 years has caused this problem. We were too worried about Brexit to do anything else. Uk deaths are the worst in Europe and while diminishing are still far too high. Due to the lack of social care in the community deaths in care homes have been unnecessarily high.

Our PM Boris Johnson has now alienated the other home nations. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are now doing their own thing. Johnson’s quandary is that infections and deaths are still too high but he is trying to reopen schools and industry. Who knows what will happen in the next few months!

 

On a brighter note we might even see some sports events soon although they are likely to be behind close doors. How crowds will be admitted later no one knows.

The same goes for theatres, cinemas, pop concerts , in fact anywhere there are crowds. We will just have to wait for guidance in the future. It is possible that in the summer some pubs, cafes and restaurants could operate out doors.

Like most people we wonder if we will be able to travel abroad again in the near future. The government is now considering a 14 day quarantine for all travellers even when they return from holiday. So the likely hood is that most people will try to get accommodation at home but there will be a huge demand this summer. And we don’t know when hotels will reopen. These are strange times. But where I live the weather has been good recently and we can still walk our dogs on the beach , stroll through the woods. Life isn’t so bad. For some of us anyway.

HUMOUR–Bananas are used to make kimonos. Presumably you can eat them first!

The New Zealand badminton team was nicknamed the “Black Cocks” but had to drop it after complaints.

The US doubled in size in 1983 when President Reagan expanded it’s coastal waters from 3 to 200 miles!

Human rights were invented in Iran.A while ago!

Rice Krispies in Germany go “Knisper, Knasper, Knusper” Of course they do!

OLD WORDS-

Woozy– unsteady with drink, dizzy.

Hugger mugger–confusion, muddle, jumble.

Hullaboo– clamour, hubbub.

Humbug–sham, empty talk.

Hurdy gurdy– old musical instrument.

Hurly burly– turmoil. uproar.

GEORDIE WORDS

Sneck– part of a door lock.

Tappy lappy– stroll or walk.

Tab–cigarette.

Gammy– Injured part of the body.

Clout– hit someone violently.

Claggy– sticky

POEM Attached                                                     STORMY WEATHER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FLAMBOYANTLY FRIDAY

Today in the UK is the 75th Anniversary of VE day (Victory in Europe) . It is a celebration in a way for liberation but on the other hand 21 million Europeans were killed . Many more were injured. That was only the military losses plus all many million civilians. I totally understand the relief and the sacrifice of people when victory was announced. But it cant be a total celebration. Wars kill ordinary people due to politicians and religious fanatics. Even today where the coronavirus dominates world news  wars continue. People are still dying but it is not news worthy. When will we ever learn!

The UK are now leading the number of deaths in Europe. And they are still growing. I will not elaborate the point but our Government have not at any stage got to grip with this virus. Everything has been too little , too late. Testing, we still have not consistently met the so call 100,000 target at the end of April and Boris the clown is now going for 200,000! As I have said before promises, promises never facts only wish lists. Testing has been too slow as has the supply of Safety equipment and leadership skills and organisational abilities are non existent. This government has blamed austerity on everything over the last few years. The local authorities were starved of cash for social care in the community and that is the main reason the death toll in care homes is so high.. I also think after this is all over the state of mental health in this country will have to be reassessed drastically.

Just finally on this subject has no one thought it might have been useful to create a coalition or interim National government to sort out this current crisis?

An old soldier Captain Tom Morgan who has justed turned 100 raised £39 million for NHS charities. The internet company Just Giving charge 5% to administer for this charity. So they made £308,000 profit out of raising funds. What a pathetic performance, they must have no shame!

Last week I spoke about some local facts to the area I live.

Firstly the ship the HMS Resolute was built at Smiths Dock in 1850 at North Shields where I live.It was a sailing ship and was sent on an expedition to the Arctic in 1854. It was trapped in the pack ice and abandoned.  It was rescued by a US whaler and renovated  back in a port in the US. She was given as a present from the US to Queen Victoria. The ship was subsequently broken up and her timbers were made into furniture. In 1880 Queen Victoria gave President Hayes a desk for the White House in Washington. That desk known as the Resolute desk is still used by the current President, Trump! Wow

A William Smith was born in Seaton Sluice, a small village 4 miles away from my home, in 1790. He became a ships master and had a small sailing ship built. It was called the “The Williams” In 1819 he subsequently sailed from Buenos Aires in Argentina on his way to Valparaiso in Chile and inadvertently sailed to undiscovered land.He had landed on the South Shetland peninsular. He was the first man to discover the continent of the Antarctic.

HUMOUR

American tank crews have a superstition that will not allow them to eat apricots, allow them on board or even say the word apricot.

Traffic lights were introduced 18 years before cars were invented.

The average pigeon in London has 1.6 feet.

The least common PIN number is 8068. Well it was until I told you.

Madonna was sacked from her job at Dunkin Doughnuts for squirting jam at customers. She always was a fun girl.

Clams can live for 400 years. Not on my beach  they don’t!

OLD ENGLISH WORDS

Mizzle– To run away.

Palaver–A fuss, bother.

Pallmall– An old game using a mallet to hit a  wooden ball through a metal hoop.

Panjandrum–A pompous official

Wonky– Shaky or unsteady.

GEORDIE WORDS

Howk– Pull violently.

Breeks– trousers

Wisht– be quiet!

tatty– unkempt, untidy

Stot– bounce

Spuggy–sparrow

POEM attached                               .A place in the heart

 

 

 

 

 

FORTISSIMO FOR FRIDAY

Another week has gone. We have just over two weeks left for our self isolation in the UK. It looks as if things will be eased off then probably slowly at first. We are expecting some of the schools going back in May, shops and some factories will open.I saw a Oxford professor on the TV tentatively forecasting we may have a vaccine available in Sept/Oct. Ready for millions of the population with some priorities at first. Hopeful news soon.

Deaths and infections are slowly coming down which is also good. Although deaths in care homes are also increasing.

Bear with me I won’t be much longer with the corona news. With out the inevitable inquests into how the government performed during this crisis the facts are likely to emerge that the provision of  safety equipment (SSE) for the NHS and latterly care homes has been far too slow. Also the testing has just this week been improved substantially, but again far too slowly. Finally it is likely that the number of deaths in the UK will be greater than any other country in Europe pro rata to population. I hope civil servants and scientists will not be made scrapecoats rather than the politicians who hopefully deserve a larger part of the culpability.

Sorry that was my rant over.

When I wrote my blog some 4 or 5 years ago it was based on my thoughts while walking my dog Bruce on the beach where I live in Whitley Bay , a seaside town in the North east of England. I have recently moved house which is now closer to the beach in Cullercoats. We live about 10 miles from Newcastle but the Northumberland coast has 60 miles of magnificent sandy beaches. We are the most northerly county in England and the least populated.. We have more castles than any other county and Northumbria was both a centre of Christianty and military might in the 9th century. The coast line was invaded by the Vikings but never occupied . They settled futher south in Yorkshire but were kept at bay by the fierce nature of the local inhabitants.Many battles were fought by the Scots and English in Northumberland which was why we have so many castles. In the southern border of the county is Hadrians wall which some 2000 years ago seperated the Romans from the Picts and the Scots. This area , mainly Newcastle was where the railways were first invented as was the first electric lights. In fact the oldest dedicated commuter railway line  in the world   between North Shields and Newcastle is only 2 miles from where I live. This area is a hugely  important area in history. I will bore you with other facts from the area in the future.

HUMOUR

Aristotle thought small penises were better because semen got cold in large ones! I couldn’t possibly comment on that!

Ancient Greeks declared their love for a woman by throwing an apple at her.

In the Himalayas the smoke from burning millipedes is used to treat haemorrhoids!

It’s illegal in Saudi Arabia for men to work in lingerie stores!

In 2014 a pair of underpants donated by the Mayor of Brussels was stolen from the Brussels Underpant Museum. Interesting!

There are more plastic flamingoes in the USA than real flamingoes.

OLD FASHIONED WORDS

Shindy–A noisy disturbance, commotion.

Shufty– A peak or look.

Guffaw– Loud laughter.

Larrikin– A rough , disorderly person.

Larrup– To whip or flog.

Floozy– A disreputable or loose woman

GEORDIE WORDS

Bleb– A spot or flaw.

Brekks– Trousers.

Howk– Pull violently

Whisht– To be quiet.

Tatty- Unkempt, untidy.

Thank you and good night My poem is attached       .Revelation 2nd draft