Thursday, 31 December 2009

Congratulations Lils and Elbers...

Mr Elias Sagtrouser has been supplying some various commodities to the local church, (like lead - for the third time this year...), and when he heard that Lils and Elbers were about to tie the knot, he arranged for a few of the lads to turn up and clonk out a little tune for the happy couple...

Here is a short piece to celebrate a great day for two lovely people!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Lux aeterna...

About this time of year, several of the house of Scrobs popped off and left this mortal coil.

This goes round the old grey matter about now, and won't stop for a few days yet...

If you can listen beyond 2.07 then you're in for a treat!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Hearts and Hands...

I'm sure charities get a boost around this time of year, as thoughts of giving are pretty well up there, and it becomes easier to be generous in spirit as well.

Here's an odd one then...

During WW2, the three cottages which stood on the site of the present 'Turrets', were demolished by a V2 flying bomb, and about thirty other houses were badly blown about as well, including the church behind us. It went off in the air at about fifty feet, and was an unpleasant awakening for all the local citizens, none of whom were hurt thankfully, because it happened very early in the morning.

The current 'Turrets' was built in the early fifties, with all the restraints of post-war shortages like hardly any timber in the roof, and the odd weak patches in the floors, but it now looks in pretty good shape, apart from a few things which Mrs S has instructed me to do over the holiday, like a little paving, and painting everything that doesn't move etc...

But, the garden still retains signs of the old houses, like an old mossy wall here, and stone steps and a foundation there. When we built the greenhouse, we found some of the old foundations of one cottage, with the drains still in the ground, so we just dug round them and left them all in place.

While digging the patch, I am always finding bits of clay pipe (a previous inhabitant of the Turrets site was the Church Warden, so he obviously was not averse to a few tilts at the old St Bruno), and other things like buttons, coins etc., which also go with the plot. There are also bits of gravestone with just a few words still scattered about, so the old V2 did quite a lot of damage!

One day though, I found this...




It is a tiny stamp, similar to that on a signet ring, but set in metal, and with a tiny loop so it could be attached to a watch chain. These were used to mark sealing wax on deeds, documents, letters etc.

(Owing to the impossible photographic qualities of the 'Webley-Bullock Boer War Bellows Camera, with walnut veneered tripod, and built in emergency tincture flask', the actual stamp just does not come out well, but a quick splunge into some White Tack shows this, which isn't much better...)



The image is a Heart in a Hand, with the words 'Love' and 'Truth' on either side. It took only a little Googling to find that these two words, together with the symbol, are closely associated with The Shakers in the US, and also The Oddfellows in the UK as well.

From the 1700s and the 1800s, right up to the bombing, the smallest of the three cottages was used as a local shop, where a dear old lady sold sweets which she made herself. It was also sometimes used as a store, where left over grain from the local market was kept, and, it is strongly rumoured locally, it was used as a Penny Bank! These banks were sometimes provident societies, or plain savings banks, where restrictions on savings kept accounts down to a level like £150 p.a. They were often sub-branches of the larger banks, and did a useful job in the community. They also had a strong asociation with Friendly Societies across the country - like The Oddfellows!

It was only this week, that I had a long chat with a local historian, who is well into his eighties about all this, and because he ran the local shop for years, he knows everything about the village. He is very excited about this find, because he told me that just a few yards from here are two houses, which were once known as 'Oddfellows Cottages'.

But this is as far as the story goes, and because there are so many unanswered questions, it seems to fit the season of good cheer, in that I'm thinking 'Charity', and 'Goodwill', 'Love' and 'Truth', not to mention that I may just be digging out there one day, and stick the spade right down into a long-forgotten vault stacked with piles of gold splonders...

Mrs S and I are going to be Grandparents in the spring, and we are on cloud nine for this fabulous news, so, from the Scrobs' household, may I wish everyone who calls by here a happy and enjoyable Christmas, and hope for renewed strength and prosperity in 2010.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Scroblantis, the new discovery...

There have been some amazing revelations about the discovery of the lost city somewhere deep under the River Thames.

Recent exploration by O'Blene Industries Inc, with special cameras supplied by the veteran explorer and provider of exploring requisites, Elias Webley-Bullock, (no relation), has uncovered a huge previously unknown underwater metropolis which may date back even to 1997.

In these grainy images, one can just make out the large buildings which were originally built to house the expense claim forms of the ruling Elders, the enormous tower built by Emperor Blully-Liar, ostensibly to turn into luxurious apartments for his minions, (Toadienses Arsoles), and other members of his sith, (The Despised).

Only now, can these pictures be revealed, (below) as it has taken many months to edit (redact) the computer generated images into some sort of excuse for a reason to enjoy the many grainy films which will be shown/repeated/repeated/repeated/redacted on the BBC (People's Pratwatch) this Christmas.

One can just make out the ugly old letter box which used to be situated in a small street off the thoroughfare believed to have been called Whitehell, the two Jaguarienses chariots (now abandoned), which were used by some fat bloke who was utterly useless at everything he did, and a medieval pig trough, large enough to feed 646 animals. Some of the pictures (grainy), even show a shoal of Blinker Fish which invariably mate with Gulper Fish, but these cannot be shown here as they may include images of children and/or policemen.

Historic records are scarce for this period, as shredders hadn't been invented, well, neither had electricity, so most documents which had to be kept away from the public eye were just burned, together with a few peasants who may have been passing by and used as kindling.

However, the Webley-Bullock Microscopic Zoom Lens actually picked out a scrap of parchment which proved that Scroblantis actually existed all those years ago. What the scrap also explained was the probable reason why the lost city was doomed to the waves.

Someone in Whitehell leaked...

Scroblantis through the looking glass...


Scroblantis with unexplained graphics...

Monday, 14 December 2009

Caption competition...



Meccano Sagtrouser's cousin, with friend...

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Mr Binks, the sequel...

...


Latest pic of the bear in question...

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Mr Binks...

...


And I've still got him...

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Another day at the office...

...

Hellfire; that speedy stretch just outside London Bridge will just not be the same again...

Scrobs is off to the City today, to see a couple of new sites, meet the Partners for a resume of how we'll beat the bastard Brown's policy of trying to cheat and ruin everyone, consider the business plan of an intriguing Jewish Rabbi, meet some more property people, (including the stunningly lovely lady who seems to appear about now every year, like The Angel of Lourdes, to help me out of my raincoat while I'm on the mowbawl), and probably approach incoherence after Xmonius Thronging with about 150 similar reprobates.

The car is safely embedded in the drive and the good people of Kent will regard with tireless sufferance, the return of a shambling, gibbering wreck later today - probably on foot - possibly arriving back at the Turrets after Mrs S and JRT have gone to bed, and starving hungry for about a pound of cheese, some of that funny brown bread in the pantry, a two inch layer of Lurpak, all the Branston in the gallon jar, a final 'Cleanser' if it's still in the fridge, and an unloading of all the cards, notes, keys, and other pocket detritus, about which I'll probably recall absolutely nothing!

It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it...

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Wall.e...




YD tipped me off about this, has anybody heard it?

Now safely enplonked in my Ipod, it's been going through this grey head all week...

It seems that I'm the only person on earth not to have seen the movie too!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

SPQR an' that...



Peter Brookes' perfect cartoon in 'The Times' today just sums up how we are being stuffed by the banks - again.

It also strikes me that the lights on the stairs look remarkably like those normally seen in the background, when Beeb hacks meekly trot off and crave interviews with shuffling, nervous, inadequate, pompous, inarticulate, unqualified, infuriating politicians.

Nuff said.

Friday, 20 November 2009

The excitement mounts...

...



As the slide rule post is grinding slowly to a climax, (and I can tell you, I've learnt quite a lot about people from the last post!), I thought I would add insult to perjury by explaining a little more, why calculators are so important in Quantity Surveying!

This really is rivetting stuff, and not for the faint hearted, so Ladies and Gents, pull up a pouffe, pour a green-tea, and I'll begin...

Up until the late sixties, the offices of QS firms operated a form of torture or apprenticeship, which would coincide with the starters getting qualified and moving up in the world. The difference between then and now is that calculators were a rarity, and not the size of credit cards which they are now. The machines we had were about the size of your average multi-tasking printer, with glowing lights and a keyboard rather like a Star Trek display...

(Little known fact - The hardware and software on the rocket and other kit, which took the men to the moon, was not as powerful as that designed into your everyday Beamer 7 series...)!

Anyway, back to Quantity Surveying! This really is exciting isn't it... (more tea Vicar?)

When sprogs were taken on straight from school, they usually had a couple of GCEs and a series of bruises behind the neck from being battered by schoolmasters like the one in 'The Wall'. Their first job was perhaps making coffee, buying Partners' fags etc., and coping with amorous telephonists, (I've got a nephew just like you; nice boy, strong legs, plays rugger...how old did you say you were...ooooh). But for real work, they were put in a darkened room, usually a small windowless cupboard with a single unshaded light bulb, and ordered to calculate, by hand, using duodecimals, a list of figures on a pile of paper about a foot high, which was constantly added to by immediate superiors who smoked Gold Leaf and wore mohair suits (40 Guineas...).

It went like this.

Year one - Lowest of the low, little self esteem, probably just kicking the 'Clearasil' years, usually ignored by older members of the firm, told to calculate millions of areas, cubes, lists, schedules, (without the use of a single cylindrical slide rule or anything mechanical or electric...), thought Luncheon Vouchers were better than salary, fancied Gloria in Accounts; and her mother.

Year two - Promotion to Worker-Up. (True Gals...)! This meant that he or she could actually do some writing as well, or copying at least. It had to be done correctly and checked. Once the processes had been carried out, there was proof reading as well, God how we lived then, it was magic!

Year three - More Working-Up and even being in charge of a 'job' and allowed to beat up all the other juniors like the year one guys, and steal their fags, sandwiches etc.

Year four - Promotion to Taker-Off. (Even truer Gals)! This was a skill which was earned by experience and a detailed knowledge of the Bible of QSing, "The Standard Method of Measurement". It entailed measuring quantities of building materials and labours from drawings prepared by Architects, who were an odd race that walked on water at the time. The Taker-Off would write all his numbers in lists on Bill Paper, (Not the bloke who lives at No 45, a pad of specially ruled paper, please keep up...)!

The Taker-Off was indeed secure for life. He or she would be among the first people ever to cultivate the 'Nerd Pack', (a row of coloured biros in the top jacket pocket), and these would be carefully laid out next to the pile of paper in readiness for the day's work. Pencils were frowned upon, but rulers were needed by the ultimate perfectionist.

One man had a folded Kleenex on which he would carefully wipe the ink which gathered round the Biro tip...)! A highlight of his work was a 'Colouring Friday', when he would colour up important parts of a building on the drawing, to define the detail more easily! Another chap would occasionally pop his head round the door, and say something inane like "I've just done a reduction estimate on Chase Farm, Heungh Heungh Heungh"; all in the voice like Bluebottle's in the Goons).

So that's it! This was the start of a career which actually veered away pretty quickly from the original course after all the excitement explained above, and which is probably why I never made a fortune (yet), but with the experience of all those rude procedures, telephonists...oooooh, small rooms (and shenanigans) in the basement, well, the world's your oyster, er, wasn't it...

Slide over Cylindrical Slide Rule, Floreat Electric Calculator...

Better now?

Monday, 16 November 2009

Slide rules OK...

Lils has prompted - nay; cajoled - nay; jugularised me to do this post which I once threatened I'd do for Elbers who is a clever chap (much cleverer than me), and only because I'm possibly a dormant nerd passim, a hoarder, a collector, a greying, shambling, emotional won't-let-the-past-go-type-of-bloke-with-stuff-in-the-roof-which-he-just-can't-chuck-out; - er - yet...

So here it is!

A post on Slide Rules!

There; I've said it, and I must tell you what a relief it is to mention how much I'm going to enjoy life from now on!

My Dad used a slide rule all his life. It was an engineer's calculator, a scientific object to fiddle with on your desk, a magical instrument to teach your son when you're taking him away to Wales to boarding school, and need to occupy the lad until he's either bored to tears, or just full of tears.

Dad had at least three linear slide rules, and another cylindrical model here

which for the life of me I cannot understand one bit!

For intricate calculations, he'd use a single bar linear rule which was about two feet long, and was incredibly accurate. He then graduated to stellar numerology...

This pictured Otis King model 'L' was the bees knees up until the late sixties, when electronic calculators came on the scene. I worked in Westminster in a Quantity Surveyor's office then, and we had calculators which cost £350.00, and were the size of a multi-tasking printer from Currys now! They were huge, and did peculiar things if you pressed all the keys at once, then left it to smoulder; which we regularly did after taking bets on the number which would flash up after lunch...

But these slide rules are a bit special still, and they don't need batteries, and they still work after fifty years, and - well, they're a bit of Scrobs' history...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

RoHoBoN moment #2...

Iders has started something which has been on my mind just recently, and already the responses are flooding in...

A few months ago, I posted this, because the Pink Floyd classic made me get all the old LPs, cassettes etc. out, not to mention scouring the Youtube offerings!

What I want to do here is continue the quest for the RoHoBoN moments (Raising of hair on back of neck), and kick off a new series, following the first one with 'Echoes' of course, and present probably my all time favourite RoHoBoN ever...

Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony is so beautiful right from the beginning, but the few moments from 2.02, rising to 2.13 and then arriving at a gigantic soaring triumphant phrase, with a spectacularly dramatic, exhiliaratingly gorgeous high crescendo at 2.17, means I have to climb down several stairs from the ceiling, with severe palpitations and nerves all a-tremble, every time I hear it!

It really is the most emotive few seconds of music I've ever heard, and just to share the thrill with everyone, here it is...

Turn the volume up so those living three villages away can hear it!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Cobbers...




One of the sights which makes me extremely angry, is BBC footage of Gordon Brown wandering around the troops in Afghanistan, trying to look brave. Pictures of this awful person, with so little bravery to his name, taken among real soldiers and fighters, just remind me every time that men and women in both Iraq and Afghanistan are dealing professionally with a proper situation, and as experts, are having to do their work with precious little support from the serial troughers of the worst government my generation has had to endure.

While trying to reduce my blood presure from 'Astronomically Unaccountable' past 'Never seen anyone this high before' to 'Nearly below boiling point', it took a scan of the papers this morning to focus on what the weekend is really all about.

One article jumped out from this piece, and a few clicks found the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site which has an incredibly detailed account of the disaster known as Fromelles. This is where it all happened, and the area is now being dedicated to peacetime - for the moment anyway.

What bloody hell that 'battle' was; and I just didn't realise how many Aussies and Brits, and Germans, went down that day. And we can now glorify and humbly appreciate the word 'Cobber', from there.

Scenes like this show that the actions of generously paid politicians will rightfully mean that they'll have much more to worry about after next May. Sean Brierly and his Dad, and his Mum, are three of the heroes here, not the grinning one.

The grinner and the gobbler deserve nothing but spitting contempt from truly brave people, and while these disgraced politicians continue to place themselves above experts and the electorate in nearly everything they do, I'm looking forward to their crashing downfall, and it can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

When we were small...




When the Scrobs you know and occasionally love - may do, may do not... - was pretty small, i.e. in the fifties, Elder Scrobs (Phil) and Elder Scrobs' brother, (Jack), built their own houses in a village not far from here.

Well, they had a proper building firm doing the actual work, (in fact it was the firm that Jack managed, which was encouraged after the war when reconstruction was the norm). It was a big venture, but Jack had got planning permission to build two detached houses on a two acre patch, and the two brothers - sometimes aided and abetted with a third Uncle Bill, built homes for us all in 1953.

The two different houses were on their own plots, and Mrs Elder Scrobs and Mrs Elder Uncle Jack Scrobs (oooohhhh bugger this is getting tiresome...) MY Mother and MY Aunt) always kept in touch through a gate in the fence, and usually visited each house when they wanted to as they were good chums and had been through a nasty war together, while the blokes were away fighting the others.

And so, when I was very young, I'd visit Uncle Jack, and Auntie Connie whenever I wanted to, by nipping through the gate! I expect I caught them at it occasionally, but hey - so what, I was only a lad...!

Uncle Jack had started a collection of Giles cartoon books - all gone now sadly - and I used to look at them all every time I went there - often several times a week, and just soak up the humour, laughing all the time and eventually being asked, through a cloud of pipe smoke "Are you wearing out our Giles books again, with a huge twinkle, and a chuckle...

They do that, Uncles...

Saturday, 31 October 2009

After a few tinctures...

So what's all this about blogging?

I just love talking to friends that I'll never meet personally (unless they make a special effort, like a certain lovely lady, and her biggest chum, from the West...) but with whom I can carry on a perfect discussion, rather like a fleeting meeting at a business function, or even locally in a pub; and we can therefore generate a bond.

Everyone who bothers to read the Scrobs gibberish automatically becomes a friend to the 'man' himself (just in case someone believed that Lilith correctly scavenged my name from the blogosphere, and I'm definitely not Kylie, well, not the last time I looked...), and I would be heartbroken to lose contact with anyone who ends up here!

What bothers me is that somehow, there could be the possibility that I'd lose my good friends; most of which are listed on the left of this post, and I'd feel pretty bad if anyone left.

This script is written after several tinctures with Mrs S, (we do this as a standard - after 37 years, it becomes a pleasant interlude) and comes with the very best intentions to love and like just about everyone who visits here!

Friday, 30 October 2009

"B*****"...!

Mr Elias Sagtrouser, whom friends here will know as the Avuncular Purveyor of Building Requisites, mentioned the other day that one of his 'Clients', (well, if you can call a 'gardening contractor' a 'client', without wondering why all he does is drive a ride-on mower around a lawn and get paid for it, when all the difficult jobs like lopping trees, digging trenches for serious shrubs and other dirty/skillful manual tasks are assigned to civil engineers who normally manage railways or build dams), has been considering buying a new pick-up truck.

As his 'client', (ha ha; still makes me laugh...), has finally decided what to get, this is what really made his mind up...

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Ice cold in Outlook...


My apologies for the fact that blogging has been somewhat light lately, (Lightlately sounds like a Dickens character from some Highland craggy castle - "Och Miss Lightlately, yooor arms are sooo heiry and strong fro' the washing of the Tweeds..."..."Tha's because it's Misterrrr Dougal Lightlately..."); but unlike Cranmer, the black hole I've been staring into has been the screen on my computer.

You see, my 'work' PC has been giving my backside the earache for some weeks now; Mrs S's PC sings like a bird, and although it has the dreaded Vista, we can make it do what we want after a few clops round the mouse, and perhaps a Hob Nob, but my PC has had a serious sulk in the Outlook department, which I use exclusively for business. In fact, I'm quite a dab hand at Outlook, although it's not the latest version, and although I'm not really a techie, definitely not a geek, I reckon I can turn the mitts to most things.

(Well, except where mains electricity is prevalent, especially after I pulled 30 amps from the back of the cooker while poking around inside, and it chucked me across to the other side of the kitchen with a loud squawk, and caused Mrs S some anguish while she gently folded her twitching husband into the recovery position, which was interesting...). Oh and also I'm buggered if I can work out why the bottom of our frost-free freezer accumulates ice quicker that the Great Scandinavian Glacier. In fact, it may not be long before the whole of the Turrets will be encased in a bloody great blue ice cube, eventually sliding downhill and probably reaching Bodiam Castle by 2015! But I digress.

My Outlook programme, which contains carefully filed emails from business acquaintances, decided to get nasty, and after getting into a serious hump last week, stopped working altogether. I'd been backing everything up over the past few days onto one of those hard disks from PCWorld, which hold about 500 squillobytes of kit, and had just finished the final upload, when the programme crashed around my ears.

It was smouldering and very upset with something or other...

The good people at 'Computeractive' and also 'Daniweb', had been spending some considerable time to try and sort out the problem of 'Outlook freezing', (there you are, freezers again...), with helpful advice and attempts to solve the problem, but nope; none of the ideas worked, and my PC still (probably) had a corrupt PST file flying around inside like a fart in a colander, intent on causing mayhem and destruction.

My language had deteriorated to the utterly obscene, ranging from Early Connolly, through Anglo Saxon Woss, and finally becoming Normal Geldof, and at one stage, after one particularly spectacular incident, JRT ran from my office with both front paws clasped over her ears, growling concernedly, and Mrs S was beginning to wonder why she could'nt commence beating me round the head with several garden implements.

So I reinstalled Windows! Yup; the modern day equivalent of driving your mother's Jaguar into a passing church service for confused parish councillors...

Just like that; all done in a day and it isn't anything like as painful as you'd expect, as long as you've saved all the important stuff of course. You wouldn't believe how much crap and rubbish my poor old PC had accumulated over the few years of it's existence! There were old programmes long forgotten, bits of smut from chums (thanks a bunch Roger, next time send it without sound...), some files duplicated to hero proportions, a piece of software for some kit which I never knew existed, some mail from a nice Nigerian wanting to use my bank, and a cache of stuff from some adventure game I'd been given years ago, which after spending about six months solving all the clues, ended up in a cellar under a station in blind terror with some chanting Acolytes from a Dan Brown story!

And now, I can log on with lightning speed, the hard disk has 40% less junk on it, which just shows how I'm not really that good at chucking things away, and Outlook downloaded 3016 emails from my server with a few quiet clicks and a huge sigh of relief... And I can also listen to music again as the sound system had originally packed up, so I'm feeling pretty proud I can tell you!

But I do want to get all my pictures back on, because my favourite one of JRT, before she came to live with us, is still in the HD, and I want that back pretty soon as a desk top...

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

For Cranmer ...

I'm more than a little concerned to see that Cranmer is not up to the line as of late. It had to be Old Holborn who alerted the post from last Friday, and although I must confess, I don't read everyone's blog all the time, I do rather like Cranmer's style and well thought script.

So, among the many followers he has, I've just slid this under the mat on his comments list - now approaching 200; but it does mean something to me in this particular case.

Here's my post on his site.

Morning Your Grace!

Recently I Blogged this because I'd been sent one of those 'pass it on for Good Luck' emails, which I usually ignore.

But, feeling a bit low, and knowing who'd sent it to me, I found 20 or so names and sent it off - presumably to forget that I was going to receive some 'good luck', (because I need it too I can tell you)!

The 'Good Luck' came back in a most peculiar way.

It came in the form of several emails from old friends and contacts, who had recently lost their jobs, lost their homes, even their families etc, and it took me several days to realise that I had the 'good luck' already, while many people were losing or had lost what was due to them!

I don't really know if this helps, but judging by the number of concerned posters here, I reckon you're in credit for 'Good Luck' now, and can move on.

Just a thought.


And now, I'm glad I said that, because Mrs S and I can face anyone as a team, and I'd like to think that he's got that advantage too.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

L.S.D. in metric...



They're refurbishing Wadhurst station - one of my many routes up to town, depending on how I feel when I walk out of the Turrets. The lady and the chap who work there are charming, very friendly, and always have a pleasant comment to make; even to a dishevelled bloke with a Senior Railcard, and travelling after 9.00 am...

On Wednesday, when I arrived, the lady was sitting in the waiting room surrounded by what looked like bomb damage, with weapons of mass destruction in every corner, and a huge hole in the wall. It was clear what they were doing; replacing the ticket office window, which had always seemed too high, and not appropriate today with the myriad of electronic kit you have to survive to buy a ticket.

One of the two chaps working there, suddenly exclaimed that he couldn't understand what "12s and 17s 6d meant"... He'd discovered a shred of old newspaper tucked in the wall cavity, and was reading the adverts for rooms to let in Clapham. We couldn't find the date, but it was probably about the early 1900s.

I translated, and even then got it wrong at first, but 60p and 87.5p seems a fair price if you want to live in Clapham. He was delighted too! So there we have the result of all the bungling of changing to decimal coinage in February, 1971, (the week before I first went out with Mrs S), and it's taken all this time for the change eventually to filter through! There was the usual political disorganisation, bureaucrats who still had to use their fingers to count, and weasley traders cashing in on the disorientation - especially the Government; oooh yes... Euro anyone?

I had to learn construction measurement in both Imperial and Metric in the late sixties; we were in the first wave of students who did this and it seemed a nightmare at the time. I still work in both regimes, e.g., I made the Electro-K bass in Imperial, but am currently making a cold frame in metric, and agent's particulars still print space sizes in both, with one in brackets!

It still seems to me that like most politically expedient gestures, there's an awful lot of work for state pen pushers, and their 'consultants', to get paid for, just to fiddle around with the rules and get nowhere. I bet there's an office somewhere in London, where about three hundred people have spent all their working lives on achieving almost nothing, dealing with the change to European weights and measures!

Meanwhile, the good people at Wadhurst Station can soon have a cleaner place to work, most passengers will be happy too, and I will at last be able to reach the buttons on the keypad...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

For Mrs Elecs...

...
This is a real favourite of mine,, and I'd like to dedicate it to Mrs Elecs, who is a lovely lady, and can bring beauty and grace to any post!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

All on expenses...

...



An MP parks his brand new Lexus on a double yellow line in Parliament Square to show it off to his colleagues, and assembled sycophants, spads and wonks.

As he's getting out of the car, a No 11 bus comes speeding along and takes off the door before zooming off down Victoria Street.

More than a little distraught, the MP grabs his mobile and screams for the police, shouting ‘commands’ all the time and annoying the passers-by, and the residents in the blue plastic tents more than somewhat. The Police arrive a few minutes later, but before the copper has a chance to ask any questions, the man starts screaming hysterically: 'My Lexus, my beautiful silver state benefit Lexus is ruined. No matter how long it's at the panel beaters, it'll simply never be the same again!'

After the MP finally finishes his rant, the policeman shakes his head in disgust.
'I can't believe how materialistic you bloody MPs are,' he says. 'You lot are so focused on your fiddling your expenses and claiming for things you don’t deserve, that you don't notice anything else going on in your life.'

'How can you say such a thing at a time like this?' sobs the MP. “Don’t you know who I am; I’m bloody important I can tell you?’

The policeman replies, 'Not really, I presume you sometimes turn up here occasionally, but didn't you realise that your right arm was torn off when the bus hit you.'

The MP looks down in horror. 'F*****G HELL!' he screams........'My Rolex????...

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Handbags at dawn...

This pic was taken in a forest not far from here, and reminded me of a short story, somewhat prompted by some of Guido's posts this morning...



Two Crocodiles were sitting at the side of the Serpentine in Hyde Park.

The smaller one turned to the bigger one and said, 'I can't understand how you can be so much bigger than me. We're the same age, we were the same size as kids. I just don't get it.'

'Well,' said the big Croc, 'what have you been eating?'

'Politicians, same as you,' replied the small Croc.

'Hmm... Well, where do you catch them?'

'Down the other side of the lake near the Houses of Parliament.'

'Same here. Hmm... How do you catch them?'

'Well, I crawl up under one of their Lexus cars and wait for one to unlock the car door. Then I jump out, grab them by the leg, shake the shit out of them and eat 'em!'

'Ah!' says the big Crocodile, 'I think I see your problem. You're not getting any real nourishment. See, by the time you finish shaking the shit out of a Politician, there's nothing left but an arsehole and a briefcase.'

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A breath of hot air...

I picked up a copy of Vernon Coleman's 'England our England - a Nation in jeopardy' the other day.

It's not much more than a powerful set of blog posts, often turning into a prolonged rant as well, but it lifts several lids on the EU disaster waiting to happen. Naturally, our spineless administrations - and those as far back as Heath's as well, get a lambasting on every page. I just can't help thinking how much taxpayer's hard earned dosh is wasted by such enormous 'public' organisations, staffed by such incompetent but power-hungry people.

Which is what my point is all about.

As some old friends here might have established some time ago, my business is developing property - mainly hotels. ('Nasty, greedy old Git in a sheepskin coat' come some comments from those who think I drive a Hummer, and live behind electric gates...)! Wrong I can assure you, the 'Scrobmobile' is well qualified for scrappage - by three years - I just love driving it; and the gates have been non-existent for twenty years as I keep hitting them when I get home...

So my company takes enormous risks to get something built. There are no contentious issues with hotels, mainly because they have to be on big roads to be seen, or town centres, to attract business and tourism, and hardly anyone wants to live near those sorts of place anyway.

We search everywhere to find sites, and meeting as many people as possible to achieve our goal is the norm, which is why I usually go to big events like 'The Thames Gateway' exhibition. (see November posts passim, especially recalling the lovely lady, who still keeps in touch...). We definitely cannot afford to go to MIPIM, (big property bash in Cannes), which is good if you have several thousand quid to spread around, and end up so alcoholically re-adjusted, that you've forgotten who you met..), so I make sure I get around here in London mainly, but on a strict budget. (The bus pass even works for me too)!

I've just been informed by email that I 'should' consider going to yet another 'Local Authority talking shop'. Most of the delegates are from local councils and boroughs, but also hundreds of quangoes like SEEDA, BURA, and the like which control/degrade/interfere with every aspect of trying to get a simple building built for business. You'll count the commercial ability points on one hand...

This year, the Thames Gateway organisers are charging four times as much (£400) for private individuals (i.e. the tax paying companies which provide the wealth they fritter away), and even giving discounts to public services staff who don't create anything, except prolonged chaos in this weak, drowning government's task of ruining UK inc.

The latest one wants me to pay something similar, but for what?

This...

...A chance to hear the views and learned discussion of various councils, unelected spenders of the public purse, dead-handed planners in sink boroughs, lessons from bankers (for Chrissakes), wise words from 'Learning and Skills Councils', regeneration experts - perhaps the sort of person which prepares the budget for the Olympics..., a smattering of MPs on expenses of course, loads more 'government' employees of a day out, someone in a pullover from the LDA, and a handful of bemused students who like to collect all the biros, sweeties and scratch pads from every stand!

These exhibitions are usually sponsored by private concerns, and they put up much of the money. The big names are there, but they can afford to, because they've got an ongoing project worth zillions lurking in the planning system, and anyway, I hardly ever come across them in our business, they're far too big. There are also a few housebuilders, who are hanging in too. Don't knock them, many of the good guys have gone now, and love 'em or hate 'em, they at least take huge risks, and bring something to the prosperity of a crap area, while councils wouldn't have a clue how to do it themselves.

So your correspondent will not be gracing any of these big events to meet nobodies, instead, he'll be doing what he normally does; wake up early, start thinking what to do next to earn a crust, get going on the phone early, email like crazy, get up to town the cheapest way possible, take a few Ryvita and a bottle of tap water for lunch on a bus between meetings, get excited rarely - but, when something goes well, you know it's despite government spouting rubbish, not because of it.

Oh yes; for one day, I will be at my monthly business meeting bash; (no public faces there, we don't want them), this Thursday, and I should know it works, because I started it over ten years ago!

And it costs nothing to arrange, you buy your own drinks, and it's free!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Left on a jet plane...

...

Farewell Lovely Lady.

May The Early Morning Rain fall gently and always revive the flowers you sang so beautifully...

Sleep well.

...

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Student loans fiasco...

...



Today is the 'Turrets Annual Hedge-cutting Day'. They always get done this weekend, because it is a ritual which started seventeen years ago.

You see, this is the time when Elder Daught left home for the first time to go away to College. Two years later, Younger Daught left for Uni too, and it was painful on both days. Mrs S and I kept wandering around the house, trying not to think of her going, and eventually I said 'sod it' and went out to start clipping the church side holly hedge, (now thankfully gone). It seems like yesterday and I can remember feeling utterly miserable all the time.

The BBC news this week had a story about the utter failure of the Student Loans company to get their act together, and organise the new intake's loans in time. What a bunch of losers, they are; originally cobbled together in a vain attempt by both governments to squirm through the fact that they were making students pay through the nose for tertiary education. In fact the brighter/better off parents just got the loans out at the ridiculously low interest rate, invested the dosh in a better deal, and then pocketed the interest.

So Nulabyrinthe's policy of chucking every student into a 'University' to study just about anything, and thus keep them off the unemployment lists for three years, has now culminated in thousands of disillusioned kids having to cope with having no money for the first few important weeks, as well as the fear of leaving home for the first time, and facing their own crisis in another world. They've been let down - yet again - by a weak and ineffective administration.

To think that their future is overseen by a 'government' staffed by such pathetic figures as Ed Balls, and his ugly wife, Yvette 'Turtle in the headlights' Balls-Cooper (did you see her on TV this week; absolutely petrified and gulping for air), I fully expect them to be let down several more times before they get their degrees. Ministers knew months ago that there would be a problem, but as usual, they put their personal situations first, blurted anything they were told to by their whip-meisters and did nothing.

This is a cock-up of devastating proportions, and my heart goes out to the families who are trying to come to terms with one of the most upsetting times of anyone's life.

Those hedges will just fly today...

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Reever's survey yarn...



'Reevers', who is a loyal poster here, and always finds time to place a comment even when the desperation posts (i.e. - can't get organised/excercised) take up space, has sent this marvellous note, which must be seen!


NEW WORLD SURVEY

Last month a world-wide telephone survey was conducted by the UN. The only question asked was:-

"Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"

The survey was a huge failure because of the following:

In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant.

In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.

In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.

In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.

In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.

In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.

In the US they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.


And finally............ In Australia they hung up because they couldn't understand the Indian accent of the researcher.

Reevers also signed off with this, which produced a rather interesting Rioja based splatter effect all over the electronics...

'I shall now hastily exit left with with gaberdine and wellies (which if you spell check in Word asks whether you meant "willies").'

No need Reevers (RVI), great post - thanks!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Thoughtful - I really did think again...

Subject: WHY I (sometimes) FORWARD JOKES

This explains why I forward jokes.

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years, and he wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?'

'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered. 'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.

Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up.'The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveller asked.

'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'

'Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.'

'How about my friend here?' the traveller gestured to the dog.

'There should be a bowl by the pump.'

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveller filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself,
then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who
was standing by the tree.

'What do you call this place?' the traveller asked.

'This is Heaven,' the man answered.

'Well, that's confusing,' the traveller said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'

'Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope; that's Hell.'

'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'

'No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'

Soooo...

Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word and maybe this will explain.

When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do? You forward jokes.

When you have nothing to say, but just want to keep in contact, you forward jokes.

When you have something to say, but don't know what, and don't know how, you forward jokes.

Also to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get?

A forwarded joke.

So, next time if you get a joke, don't think that you've been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile.

I was going to bin this, but felt it was worth an airing...

Friday, 4 September 2009

Hellfire...




Mrs S. has become very adept at growing chilli peppers this year...

Over the last few years, she's experimented with growing our own, saving seed from various types and planting them with interesting results. This year, she went the whole hog and bought some serious 'heat' to see what happened...

Hellfire...!!!

That's what's happened; they are fantastic, and becoming very addictive! I didn't know until I read Annie Hawes' fabulous book, 'Extra Virgin', and the sequel, that peppers become a necessity in much of the Italian (and presumably the rest of the Mediterranean) diet! They can then become addictive, they're pretty good for the system and, presumably, the 'Ring of Fire' is a by-product...

I spent a whole day in a darkened room recovering from peeling one of these, and accidentally touched a spare eyelid. Absolute agony, and it even hurt the next day, although it was well worth the pain.

Mrs S. instructs me, (from behind an Atomic Bomb shelter with eight inch glass) to decant the ordinary olive oil into a special bottle with pourer (thanks to the King of Oil, 'Tuscs', it is a great pourer still...), and then the heat builds up!

And up...

And up...!

They apparently become a serious habit, because the desire to try something hotter/stronger takes over, and eventually, you get to a point where only the most volcanic will do, and even then, that's not enough!

You'd think I'd just stick to red wine wouldn't you, but there again, on the downside, we've had a problem with the poor old tomatoes.



Late blight (here, this is what you look like you bastards...") has struck with a vengeance. We've lost about 25 plants, and only saved a few pounds of toms from them! It is the same strain which brought Ireland to it's knees, helped of course by the government and the landowners...

Nonetheless, we'd planted loads more, spread all over the Turrets Estate, and they'll keep us in the buggers for a few weeks yet...

Next year...plans already afoot...

Friday, 28 August 2009

"I saw Trubes standing there..."




Trubes' word is her bond, and she's posted a marvellous one here - you lucky Girl...!.

When I was at school, we formed "The Bootles", and learned every song the real Beatles had done up to then - 1964! It really was a great time to play a guitar, and not many of us had one surpisingly. As you can see if you peer closely at the pic, the black steel bedsteads and total lack of comforts were 'de rigeur' in dormitories like this, and this was one of the better ones! But it was the place to practise - and so we did. For ages. And every weekend.

My guitar had cost £7-10s-0d new (proceeds of holiday work on the hop farms in the summer...), Simon's was second-hand at a few quid, and Henry (second from left), drummed on a cardboard box, which was actually a surprisingly good sound. Warwick was actually our friend who actually didn't do much, except tap his feet and hum a bit, so we made him - er - 'Manager...'!

So Trubes, here are the Fab Four who didn't quite make it to 'The Cavern', and I'll dedicate it to you, as long as you'll tip your rather smart hat to Simon R-M, Henry T, and Warwick W.D., without whom, I'd never have persevered...

(I'm on the right wearing the only pullover we were allowed out of regulation Harris Tweed jackets and the rest of the thornproof uniform. Simon (on the left), is wearing jeans on pain of death (after prefectural mutilation and public humiliation...)

Good Guys.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Leg over...

It seems that 'legs' have become quite an interesting subject of late. I suppose I'm interested because I am an unashamed 'Leg Man', and continually admire the shapely, well-turned limbs of girls like Lils, (adorned my garden seat), Pips (we've seen them Pips; you showed us...), Trubes, (whose legs apparently go up to her armpits), Apricers, Hats, Mrs Elecs, Merms et al.

Iders' legs have started a huge fan club, and even Tuscs commented on the apparel, so this is a subject where I'm going to bound in, and swing my arms about!



These legs (shown with huge plaster casts c1955), have had the following atrocities visited on them...

1) Op as above (both broken and re-pinned to cease OLDS (One Legged Duck Syndrome). Seven massive stitches in each one, plus eight scaffolding pin holes big enough to hide a small garden implement.
2) Broken knee cap from crashing Lambretta in 1965. (My fault, but it was raining).
3) Torn cruciate ligaments, (rugby injury while falling in hole on Lewes RFC's first's pitch).
4) Two stitches after bad cut on a hop bine ground anchor, while playing hide and seek years ago...
5) Several stitches in each knee from same Lambretta incident.
6) Schlatters disease in one of them (can't remember which one), meaning six weeks in plaster and much ridicule! (Also a bit of a pong, as I couldn't shower...)
7) Varicose vein repair, when they used to stick them with some gunk and keep you swathed in a tight stocking for six weeks, and make you walk three miles a day).
8) Trendelenburg 'rip-out' of said veins when the glueing didn't work...
9) Septicaemia from an unknown invasion of something or other again after a rugby game, probably at St Mary's field, Bexhill; it was built on an old tip...
10 Lacerations (bloody great long ones) from yet another rugby game at The Polegrove, Bexhill, during the hottest autumn in living memory.

and...

11) Two nipped toes courtesy of JRT, who gets a bit excited when I'm wandering about in sandals...

So, you can see that the title, to commemorate what could well be an historic day's cricket, coupled with a few anecdotes from the Scrob archives, is the most apt for the moment. I couldn't think of anything else...

Monday, 17 August 2009

Paul's early mobile...UPDATE...

I've only ever seen Paul McCartney in the flesh on one occasion, and that was a few years ago in Rye. He sometimes gets in the local pubs near here, and nobody really makes life difficult for him, (except possibly the local council, but they can piss anyone off at the drop of a hat), which is an agreeable situation all round.

He's done quite a lot for the local community too - especially the hospital, and he gets a good welcome generally.

When Mrs S and I were taking the air in Rye, up near the church where we were married ages ago, there was Himself, with a mobile glued to his ear, and not really making any issue with life, which made us all feel pretty good.

What really made me sit up though, that this picture here was taken years before mobile phones were invented, or even thought of!

Just shows what a few lyrics and a funny looking bass can do for one, and why not indeed...

UPDATE...While I'm up in the roof looking for Mrs S's MONO copies of her Beatles LPs, can we please just make this a general Beatles discussion, as it saves me all the hassle of thinking of another inane subject to bore everyone with?

This is all down to Lakes!

I thank you...

and have a nice day...

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Another fighting story...


Tarfers (Old Tarf...), Iders (Iders) and a few more, are all getting understandably energised about the failure of our miserable politicians' "work" in running the war in Afghanistan.

When I was a kid, we'd only just finished WW2 a few years before, and my Dad was still on reserve. When Suez cropped up, he told me once, while we were in the garden, that he might have to go and fight the enemy again. This made me look down at the ground a bit, and hope that he was wrong...

The pic shows Mum and Dad working on the same flower bed where he told me how he'd possibly be gone tomorrow - his bag was already packed!

So, to complete the nostalgia, I reckon that a visit to another song about yet another war just forty years before this worrying time in my little life, is beautifully described by Mike Harding here and still makes me think a bit...

(Listen to the song too - it's powerful...)

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Scrobs to charge for views...

The Grauniad has just reported that Murdoch's papers will soon charge for viewing on line.

So this means that I'll have to pay to read 'The Sun' and 'The News Of the World', from now on, as well as 'The Times' of course. (I willingly pay to read The Wall Street Journal already, because I can easily do the 'Terminally wretched' Sudoku in about 8 minutes...)

Well, Rupert, (may I call you 'Roo'?) I agree whole-heartedly that we are getting far too much for nothing these days, and a nominal charge per click - say five pence, will ensure that everybody can read the news displayed by your excellent organs knowing full well that the money will go to a good cause, and we don't ever have to worry again about stories reaching the public, because, like the BBC, our payments will cover every eventuality, free from political interference!

In fact, this will mean the end of all blogs as we know them, because everyone will rush to spend as much money as possible on Murdoch sites to pay for such information! There may well be another run on the banks for cash to throw at these papers. Almost certainly, Gordon Bruin will tax everyone for some unknown reason!

And so, the Board of Scroblene Enterprises has recommended that we charge per view of this blog, with immediate effect. The move has already been voted on, and JRT has indicated her agreement by biting the hand that feeds it...

Tariff: -

One page view - £1 per session
Two page views - £5 per session
One comment - £20 per line
Two comments - £50 per word
Three comments - £100 per syllable
Anon comments - £500 per letter
Bad spelling, sloppy wording - £1000 per event
Rudeness - £10,000 per insult
Foul language - £100,000 per expletive
Dirtiness/nastiness - £500,000 per bit of filth

and...

Boring stories about politicians shagging, celebs bonking, footballers punching waifs, town halls skiving, politicians punching waifs, celebs bonking footballers, town halls shagging footballers, shaggers waifing politicians, waifs bonking town hall footballers with politicians and celebs at both ends...five times a night

well...

you tell me...

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Boom boom...

At last Gordon Brown decided to throw in the towel and resign.

His cabinet colleagues decided it would be a worthy gesture to name a railway locomotive after him. So a senior 'Sir Humphrey' went from Whitehall to the National Railway Museum at York, to investigate the possibilities.

"They have a number of locomotives at the NRM without names," a specially-sought consultant told the top civil servant. "Mostly freight locomotives though."

"Oh dear, that's not very fitting for a prime minister," said Sir Humphrey. "How about that big green one, over there?" he said, pointing to 4472.

"That's already got a name" said the consultant. "It's called 'Flying Scotsman'."

"Oh. Couldn't it be renamed?" asked Sir Humphrey. "This is a national museum after all, funded by the taxpayer."

"I suppose it might be considered," said the consultant. "After all the LNER renamed a number of their locomotives after directors of the company, and even renamed one of them Dwight D. Eisenhower."

"That's excellent", said Sir Humphrey, "So that's settled then, let's look at renaming 4472. But how much will it cost? We can't spend too much, given the expenses scandal!"

Well, said the consultant, "We could always just paint out the 'F'."

Monday, 27 July 2009

Young Sagtrouser's admission...

Just this weekend, Sunday to be precise, 'Meccano' Sagtrouser (erstwhile son of Mr Elias Sagtrouser, Conveyor of Building Requisites to the Hard-Working), was in church.

He was there for a special reason was 'Meccano'. (His name comes from a general appreciation of his - er - parts, and it is a well know fact that what can be done with his trunnion supported by a flange and a burst from a Magic Motor*, has brought some surprise and much comfort to many lady customers in the district). Yesterday, Sunday, was the day when a visiting Preacher was going to show off his ability to create religious history.

Meccano was duly called to the rail in the South Chapel, after several local converts were cured of various inflictions such as 'Gripes', and 'Scrotes'. The perspiring evangelist, Fr. Jabez Corncrake, placed his hands on the shoulders of our hero and asked in measured tones, what was required in this place of religion and belief.

Meccano replied, 'Father, I would like you to pray for my hearing'!

Now this came as a bit of a surprise from the assembled congregation, as nobody ever doubted Meccano's ability to hear a pint glass being filled at thirty paces, although he was usually oblivious to some of the afore-mentioned ladies when he was requested to stop...

Anyway, the Evangelist began to pray for Meccano's hearing, invoking his best voices, incantations etc, and eventually ended with a bellowing request to the powers bestowed on him by those on high, for Meccano's ears to be released from their deafness.

After a few moments, chest heaving, and with echoes of the final intonement still rattling around in the organ loft, Fr. Corncrake asked Meccano what his hearing was like now.

Meccano replied, 'I don't know Father, it's not until next Wednesday'!

* For those of an enquiring nature, consult the Meccano Book of Parts, available from all booksellers in 1947.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Absent friends...

I'm sure that this man will be remembered for many years to come, and it's amazing that he was 51 years old when I was born (today's yet another Scrobs birthday, and we're going out later...)

What a big man Henry Allingham was! I salute you Sir!

Another much younger name to leave us - thankfully still with us in body, is the Grumpy Granny duo.

I was sorry to read a thoughtful comment that was left here on Friday, and even sorrier that I missed them and didn't see it in time to wish them 'bye!

So, here it is, slightly abridged as GG said that she's been instructed by Blogger not to say so much in one post.

It says an awful lot, so over to you Grumpers...

"This posting illustrates perfectly why we Grumpys have finally decided to quit and buzz off to our secure little hidey hole far far away from Nosepicker McStickyfingers and the rest of the poofs in Downing Street and the Marxist claque in Brussels.

I know we "retired" a few months and then returned - but that was caused by a minor hiccup to our long standing plans which has now been successfully ironed out. Grandad is a modest chap but he spent much of his life in economic and finance work and first saw the writing begin to appear on the wall when those who were pulling Bill Clinton's strings (and now probably those of his wife) instructed him to pass into law the conjoining of high street retail banking and investment and commercial banking; an absolute NO NO in banking terms. He described it as foolish and dangerous and said it would lead to great trouble and distress.

Knowing something similar was likely to follow in the UK, since then we have carefully watched minutely every action of our politicians. Things began to come nicely to the boil with the so-called dot-com bubble when brainless investors declared a young girl with a cat and a computer had suddenly produced a billion pound company overnight and out of thin air. No product, no history, no accounts. Lunacy. That little bubble went pop quite early on and we were not affected as we had no investments in that sort of idiocy.

The simmer continued gently with the ever increasing house prices. Grandad used to have a small graph showing average salaries (which hardly ever moved) against house prices which rose almost daily. It was obvious for anyone with eyes to see that this could not go one. How could anyone earning £20k before tax ever hope to service a £250k mortgage which, by the time the compounding had been done would amount to nearer £800,000. The sums simply did not add up.

We continued to watch. However, on the afternoon that Snottyfingers announced the £5billion pension grab changes, grandad was on to our fund manager and cashed in the lot within 24 hours. The proceeds were despatched to our hidey hole offshore and have since been earning a steady if unspectacular (but tax free)return annually. We eventually decided in 2002 that it was time to get rid of our house and rent while the money was there for the taking, so we put it on the market for what our agent said he could get for it and sure enough 3 weeks later we had a firm offer from a thick Indian who paid us over 3 times what we had paid 10 years previously and over 5times what we considered it was actually worth. The vast majority of that substantial amount of cash too followed into our offshore fund.

And now we both have new passports and ten years permanent resident visas, so we have left the tip that the UK has become for pastures not exactly new for us as we have visited our little cottage overlooking a beautiful bay at least twice a year since we bought it in the 1980s for really quite a pittance. We have made new friends in the village and happily we both speak the local language fairly fluently. It will see us out now I think. We do not have a land line phone installed so we will not be able to browse the internet any more.

The major advantage of this is that folks of our advanced years do not need all the daily boiling blood pressure, frustrating but helpless feelings over much of what the politically correct garbage and other mendacious crap we read or get fed via the BBC. We spent the better part of 130 years between us working honestly and diligently doing our bit for the UK (or England if you prefer) and were really quite proud of our country in a quiet sort of way. Basic things (health service, utilities, transport etc) worked ok most of the time, most companies were there to help rather than screw you, kids got educated properly and many did very well by their own efforts.

Take a deep breath, look outside and note what you see - wheelie bins with chips, cctv cameras all over the place, a useless politicised police force, once the finest armed forces in the world engaged in 2 illegal wars and reduced to penury by a one eyed Scottish Communist prat, and from overseas, our so-called "government" is simply a laughing stock.

So, in a nutshell we have had enough and we have been careful enough to secure more than sufficient resources to ensure our futures well away from Scottish poofs and nosepickers and Marxist theorists in Europe. We shall honestly miss all our blogging/commenting cybermates, and you all know who who are, so from the bottom of our hearts Grandad and I thank you for keeping us in turn, mildly irritated, bloody annoyed, screamingly helplessly infuriated - as well as most of the other emotions from amused smiling at the sharpness and unalloyed wit of many of you, to those who more than once occasioned the necessity to change the grandmotherly undergarments (it happens when you get to our age you know) when creased up in uncontrollable hysterical laughter.

En passant you may be wondering how I managed to type all this if I no longer have a computer. Well, the answer is that we have stopped off en route to spend a few days with one of our regular commenting gang who has kindly offered us accommodation, victuals and transport free of charge – which is nothing less than is to be expected from somebody I have known since we were both in the infants schools at the age of six in South London.

Bye everyone; it has been fun".


Luckily Pips was here to wave them off, and so do I here (waves)!

'Bye Grumpers, sorry to have missed you, and the very best of good fortune to you both!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Lils' utilities...

Gas bills, Electricity bills etc., are a nightmare to understand. Lils' bills just mirror what Labour always do, which is confuse everyone, and take the money.

Just as I found out how to save £30 a month on my mobile, BT pulled the plug on the deal! I still haven't a clue how to understand how they charge, and all manner of spreadsheets and downloads are hopeless.

So, after a long term at my local evening classes, I've reverted to the old methods like these...

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Gently, gently...

...

End of final school term...

New hopes and dreams...

Shining eyes...

Moving away soon...

Maybe can't wait; maybe frightened...

Been there; done it - twice...

The song that brought it home - eventually...

...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Urban myth...

...
A Well-Planned Retirement
(From The London Times)

Outside the Bristol Zoo, in England, there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 coaches, or buses. It was manned by a very pleasant attendant with a ticket machine charging cars £1 and coaches £5 .

This parking attendant worked there solid for all of 25 years. Then, one day, he just didn't turn up for work.

"Oh well", said Bristol Zoo Management - "we'd better phone up the City Council and get them to send a new parking attendant..."

"Err ... no", said the Council, "that parking lot is your responsibility."

"Err ... no", said Bristol Zoo Management, "the attendant was employed by the City Council, wasn't he?"

"Err ... NO!" insisted the Council.

Sitting in his villa somewhere on the sun coast of Spain, is a bloke who had been taking the parking lot fees, estimated at £400 per day at Bristol Zoo for the last 25 years. Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over £3.6 million!

And no one even knows his name.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Strawberry gaff - not...

...


Pips was talking about strawberries and raspberries etc just now, and I remembered - with some anxiety, an occasion when I wish they'd never been invented!

My old firm used to welcome our MD down to our Sussex office occasionally, and we'd always repair to the local restaurant for a long and liquid lunch. This was about the time of 'Spitting Image', and they'd been doing sketches about Margaret Thatcher, Kinnock, etc ad nauseam - but very funny. One sketch was about Mark Thatcher being able to come and go through a flap in the back door of No 10, which claimed the description 'Prat Flap'.

Cue lunch with said MD, whom we all knew well and actually liked. He'd once told us that strawberries tasted much better with a dusting of ground black pepper, rather than cream etc, as it brought out the flavour etc. We'd all tried it and 'had' to agree of course, but when we saw him at this particular lunch, everyone had forgotten this culinary epithet.

So, the liquids continued to pour, we all got more relaxed, and the conversation wandered around cricket, work prospects and TV stories. The No 10 sketch was the masterpiece of the Scrobs end of the table and we were all laughing heartily, until Scrobs himself just mentioned when the strawberries arrived, 'Who was the chap we knew who used to put pepper on his strawberries'?

Because I worked with utter, callous, mean bastards then, I hated them all and wanted to run them all over every second of the day (not true...), the place went quiet and one of the said bastards gestured towards our MD, and muttered, 'Who was the PRAT who put pepper...???'

And I never did say that, I really, honestly never did, but to this day I've never been allowed to forget it, especially when I see the bastards who tweaked my friendly little statement, and now I hate pepper on strawberries, and I hate the bastards (again), just for good measure...

Bastards...

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Mrs S. spots a famous tennis blooper...

Just before Andy Murray won the match against Ferrero, he was fluffing a few shots, and not getting his quick finish.

Andrew Castle, commentating in the box casually mentioned that "He's doing a Tim Henman".

Pity that Tim Henman was sitting right next to him...

Ooooops...!

(Hat tip - Mrs S).

Friday, 26 June 2009

So what is dying...

Farrah Fawcett put up a great fight - sadly she lost, and Michael Jackson will be Twittering and Googling for a few days yet.

Yesterday, I was early for a meeting in Tunbridge Wells, and while waiting for the other two reprobates, with whom I have the pleasure of a 'Company Organisation', I wandered around in the street, and found myself looking in the window of a Funeral Directors.

There was a display of the usual kindness and soothing pictures, but also a small writing, which actually brought the Scrobs' eyes to a moisturising condition - a rare event except during (and after) such lunches where the comestibles become heavier than 13%...

I've Googled the words, and here they are, in abbreviated form...


A ship sails and I stand watching
till she fades on the horizon,
and someone at my side says,
"She is gone."

Gone where?

Gone from my sight, that is all.
She is just as large as when I saw her.
The diminished size and total loss of sight
is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,
"She is gone," there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout...

"Here she comes!"

... and that is dying.


So now you know.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Bullshit explained...

...


Pocket Oxford Dictionary, first printed July 1924. (Not as Polly Toynbee believes apparently, but then, who really cares what she says anyway).

REDACTION
n, Putting into literary or publishable form, editing or re-editing; new edition.

Balderdash, Parlour game, circa 2009...

REDACTION
n, (see below, I’m a bit pissed off with having to explain things all the time...)

1) An old word re-dug up by spin doctors in Whitehall, to describe how expenses claims are re-invented.

2) To say one thing but mean something totally different to appease ‘The Fees Office’ (a previously unknown organisation which apparently turns up on Thursdays and ‘vets’ how much MPs can get away with).

3) The art of concealing ridiculously inappropriate claims for non-essentials.

4) The business of trying to swindle the tax-payer and hope that because Gordon Brown’s in charge, nobody cares, or notices, because he’s got more problems than you can shake a stick at.

5) Diverting the gullible public from the real problem we face with our elected representatives.

6) The act of hatred of sponging politicians who are useless at their jobs and who will do anything to keep their personal gravy train in full pelt while the country suffers the worst depression for nearly a hundred years.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Little legs...

...



Once upon a time (1955), about this time of year, I was in hospital having an operation on the little legs. Apparently, they were both growing in the opposite direction, and needed a swift chop and restitch, to stop the confounded walking in circles syndrome...

Of course, the butchery was a complete success, and from there on in, there was never a problem, with twelve good years of rugby, golf and cricket followed by the occasional walk home on my hands and knees...

Although I was only seven, I was in The Royal East Sussex Hospital in Hastings for six weeks, and it's not difficult to remember the total love and kindness of all the nurses, doctors, senior staff, and cleaners etc, who buzzed round the Children's Ward 2 all day and night. There were so many people to talk to, all dedicated, and busy making everyone better.

Of course, at that tender age, I would never have understood the mantras of 'administration', 'budgets', 'politicians' etc. etc., but I got the best care in the world.

Listening to that prat Andy Burnham yesterday, (four months 'work experience' with the NHS Federation when he was 27, and now Minister for Health), it isn't difficult to understand why the NHS suffers from the utter waste dumped on them by politicians with their incompetence in dealing with the business of making people better. Because most politicians have never been inserted into the real commercial world, it's not surprising that they spotted long ago, that the NHS was a breeding ground for the very types who should be kept away from it - i.e. themselves.

Perhaps the NHS should become it's own political party, but run by people who work in medicine without a single politician allowed anywhere near. I'd vote for them.

BTW, I'm the lad in the wheelcair on the left with the Ian Botham hat and the new walking plasters, the other lad, Stephen, was worse off, he'd spent months in the RESH, and was almost a member of the family there. I hope he's alright now...

...

Friday, 5 June 2009

In loco - er - Wilson Street?...

After a rather heady lunch yesterday, (some would say 'Hero'), when I finally dragged myself up the stairs in our chosen establishment to scamper down to Cannon Street and hence The Weald, this small comment arrived by magic...

To my friends who enjoy a glass of wine.. . and those who don't.


As Ben Franklin said:

'In wine there is wisdom,
in beer there is freedom,
in water there is bacteria'.


In a number of carefully controlled trials, scientists have demonstrated that if we drink 1 litre of water each say, at the end of the year we would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of Escherichia coli, (E. coli) - bacteria found in faeces.

In other words, we are consuming 1 kilo of crap.

However, we do NOT run that risk when drinking wine & beer (or tequila, rum, whisky or other booze), because alcohol has to go through a purification process of boiling, filtering and/or fermenting.

Resuming :

Water = Crap, Wine = health .

Therefore, it's better to drink wine and talk stupid, than to drink water and be full of crap.

There is no need to thank me for this valuable information; I'm doing it as a public service, but having read Idle's post this morning, I'm beginning to think that I'm losing my capacity...

And also seeing Killem's result on Tuscs', I've just recalled talking in some detail about a certain Russian lady yesterday, who seemed to take over the whole event!

Scheme me up Botty...

Friday, 29 May 2009

Sagtrouser's economics lesson...

...

...
Mr Elias Sagtrouser confided the following ‘off the record’ information with me in The Bells the other day, while I was deciding which MP to report to the Revenue as part of my new appointment with The Telegraph.

He had been working behind the counter in his Builder’s Merchants, taking orders, making calls, shouting at thick storemen and generally being a damn good egg in his business.

A local Builder/Developer, Quentin ffoxley-Cabbage, sauntered in and casually mentioned that he was interested in taking the whole load (several thousand) of reclaimed clay tiles stacked in the yard, for a fixed price to be negotiated. ‘Q’ is a respected man, known to be generous to a fault when it comes to buying everyone several pints of bitter of a Friday after work, and so Mr Elias Sagtrouser happily agreed to let him reserve the stock for a few hours, while ‘Q’ took a sample tile to compare with the roof on the mansion he was restoring.

For consideration, Elias asked ‘Q’ if he could leave a couple of fifty pound notes on the counter as a returnable deposit, and Mr ff-C immediately peeled off a couple of notes from a collection the size of an Izal bum roll.

Mr Sagtrouser is a fair man, but like most business people struggling to pay for their MP’s expensive lifestyles, the sight of a couple of large notes going spare for a couple of hours gave him an idea.

He quickly called Jabez Moxie, a well known local brick manufacturer, and offered to pay his account in cash, as long as Jabez called round for the money immediately. This deal was gladly accepted, and a screech of brakes from an elderly Ford Transit was heard in the yard as the phone reached it's cradle.

Mr Moxie’s wife, Barbarella, needed several quid to settle up with her manicurist, where she had rashly employed Toniatellene Nuggett for three hours to make her nails look rather like the talons of a wishful nobody in ‘Hello’ magazine.

Toniatellene has a bit of a reputation for ‘services rendered’, and there’d been quite a lot of ‘rendering’ going on of late in various households. She was also struggling under her usual premise of being unsure which baked bean in the tin had made her fart, and needed a sum of cash to make sure that it didn’t happen again, for a few weeks at any rate.

So she paid Nurse Atom Heart (not her real name you understand), the two notes to get something more ‘stable’. Nursie had just relaid her bedroom flooring under the close supervision of Mr Elias Sagtrouser’s son, Meccano, and he’d unfortunately made his father a bit of a laughing stock by having to take the whole lot up when the family cat went missing, only to be discovered disguised as a bulge under the bed…

So, the two fifties finally ended up back on Mr Sagtrouser’s counter after only ninety minutes, and just as they were about to be scooped up and placed in the back pocket for safe keeping, in walked Quentin ffoxley-Cabbage as large as life and reclaimed them as the colour of the tiles was unsuitable for his job!

But…

Everyone in the chain was now out of debt, and also breathing huge sighs of relief from the continual financial burden they were facing, and all because of ‘Q’ and his correct business-like attitude.

Politicians take note!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

For Lils and Elecs...

...
Before I 'really' met Mrs S, I used to join a lovely group of people at every leisure moment in our local, and afterwards, we met at various homes where we would carry on singing, laughing and usually having a few more glasses, but funnily enough, never the 'recreational' stuff...

This was the flip side of Albatross and I immediately loved the crisp guitar and simple, pounding rhythm.

So I dedicate this to two friends, here!
...

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Chelsea concrete show...



They just don't get it do they!

Chelsea's all about growing things in gardens. This year's sponsors, Marshalls, have been making good concrete products for years. When I flogged concrete in the seventies, they were my biggest competitor, and while I recognised and noted their business, I beat them time and time again - especially when the M25 was being built, because I won most of that!

I also spent several years appearing on their main competitor's stand at Chelsea. Our stand had some paving, but it was almost covered with shrubs, colour, fountains and of course, 'men' like me and all the lovely ladies who turned up every day. We all had a marvellous time, and as I was able to smoke in those days it was paradise...

We won a Silver Gilt, or a Bronze Sod-all most years, and all sorts of silly prizes to denote some sort of skill, like 'Best Old Fart's Seat'. or 'Most Colouful Outside Commode', but the best day was the Friday, when we all got pissed/went mad and bought up all the stock on offer to the highest bidder.

Mrs S and I eventually stocked a whole garden with shrubs and cuttings from Chelsea, and we've still got (we think), some growing in the current Scroblene Towers today, or at least a few of their children.

Now, on the TV coverage, we see uniform, angular, slabulate, airport runway-emulate, council estate - admirate, apologies for a winner.

Absolutely unbelievable.

I cannot see why such a 'garden' is making any occupant sit and wonder at nature. All there is to see in these 'gardens', is a few sharp lines and a couple of greenish things lurking in the distance.

Our garden has a bend everywhere, no straight lines, vegetables planted in with the roses, cucumbers fighting the raspberries as an experiment, a runner bean (William), up the clematis by the front door, logs from a downed cherry tree in the churchyard behind in strategic spots (glass holders for emergency sips), in the bark bed, and I'm thinking of putting a few tomatoes in a hanging basket - just for kicks...

So, up yours Chelsea, you've given me a few years of fun, but the prats who exhibit, (not the professional growers - they have business acumen legs), can go jump in the ornamental-green enthused-antieverything-softoption-luvvieLondonpatio lake...sorry 'external liquid featurette.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Sad song...

Just allow a late middle aged old fart a small indulgence if you please...

In 1975, I was working for a firm based in West Bromwich, but most of my work was in London. It was a strange job, with people from a previous age being revered for their strength and fortitude in finishing their working lives after being in the action in WW2, and sprogs like me, newly married, trying to get somewhere before they got us!

This clip was actually in the charts, and as West Bromwich was full of places and buildings like the song, it was a bit of an eye-opener for me; being a Southerner...

The lyrics are somewhere on the net, and I've lost them, so I'll stay up all night looking for them for you!

But the last few words really get me just here.

UPDATE - found the bastards at last...

WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE
(Sammy King)

Arthur Edward Pickersgill
Workin' 'ard at mill
Sorting out the bales
The ones to empty and to fill
It's Sat'day night, he's rushing home
To check his football pools
While Chelsea won and let him down
And so did Hartlepool...

So off at dawn on Monday morn
Working for his rent
Money's hard to come by
And half's already spent
'Cause Billy wants a pair of shoes
And Tilly wants a dress
And Freda wants some curling pins
She says her hair's a mess...

And so, where do you go from here
Where in life do you belong
You've worked so hard throughout your life
To make your country great
And now it runs away from you
Leaving you behind and out of date...

Every week your Sunday joint's
No bigger than your thumb
With eight of us to share it
And that's not including Mum.
But first you've got to find it
And the kids are lookin' out
It's there, Dad, in the processed peas
Behind that brussels sprout...

And Freda's getting married soon
You'll 'ave to pay for t'do,
Invitin' all the folks we know
Will cost a bob or two
And after all the toastin'
And the speeches and the gags
It's back to working overtime
And rolling your own fags...

And so, where do you go from here
Where in life do you belong
You fought for King and Country
And your comrades in the war
And is it any different now
You're fighting to exist, just like before...

And so, where do you go from here
Life's inclined to hurry by
Your clogs went out with ration books
But still you carry on, forever if you can
'Cause you're the kind of man who
Can't afford to die...