Rule, Britannia!

So, main event completed: visit to my Dad’s grave.  Dead and buried, as he would himself doubtless say have said.  What did Schatz and I do on our four days in England?

Quite a lot in a short amount of time.  Fortunately the weather was remarkably on all four days.  Only when visiting the cemetery did we experience any precipitation – the right weather for such a visit.

Our base was Saltburn-by-the-Sea.  This time a 4-star hotel, a bit of a step up from when I lived in the town in the early 90’s: a bedsit.  The views!  Huntcliff.  The pier!  Redcar steelworks.  The beach, full of dog walkers and their dogs, happy as anything, tails wagging away for England.  I think I even caught the sun… (Not too difficult for a redhead…)

Saturday morning meeting with my ex-maths teacher and fellow church warden, Mr N.  “Call me Rob, not sir.”  Yes, sir.

Saturday dinner in the Thai restaurant, where the Thai waitress spoke surprisingly good German, having overheard me and Schatz speaking in Schatz’ native language.

Sunday morning stroll through the town down the cliff path, along the beach, taking hundreds of photos on the pier, then the hike back up the cliff path (someone maybe needed an oxygen cylinder in their rucksack).  Then our sore feet took us back to Emmanuel Church and the chip shop opposite, just as it opened.  Small cod and chips for Schatz; jumbo battered sausage, chips and curry sauce for me.  All consumed while seated on the church wall.

Finally, fed and watered, thanks to England’s liberal Sunday trading laws, back to our hotel room for a shower, followed by a lie down to let our feet cool off.  Not so much strength through joy, as sweat, through joy…

Have a joyful day, won’t you!

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‘Mad, literally mad’

Interesting character.

Lion & Unicorn

The following is extracted from Alwyn Turner’s book Crisis? What Crisis? Britain in the 1970s


When Harold Wilson announced that there was to be a general election in 1970, ITV immediately responded by postponing its broadcast of ‘Amos Green Must Live’, the latest instalment of the thriller series Callan.

The episode in question starred Corin Redgrave as the eponymous Amos Green, ‘a politician who believes that coloured immigration is dangerous to Britain and must be stopped’. Smoothly persuasive, he is building a large following with his TV appearances: ‘The people in this country know what they want,’ he declares. ‘What they want is not statistics, not facts dressed up, they want action. They want themselves; no visitors, no immigrants.’

As a prospective parliamentary candidate, he finds himself under threat from a rogue member of a radical civil rights group known as Black Glove. ‘We do not as an…

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Rest in Peace

Last Friday Schatz and I flew to England for a long weekend, coming back to DUS yesterday.  The “main event” was to visit my Dad’s grave, as I was in hospital here in Germany when he was buried.  In truth, I probably would not have attended his funeral, sad to admit.

In the days before our visit, for Schatz came with me, I had printed out:

  • The Lord’s Prayer in English
  • The Lord’s Prayer in Germany
  • The Lord’s My Shepherd
  • A plan of the cemetery

We turned up in ideal cemetery visiting weather: dull and overcast, with drizzle.  I brought my printouts.  I had forgotten to call at the florist en route to pick up a bunch of flowers for the grave.

 

To paraphrase Julius Caeser, I came, I saw, I… felt nothing much.   By referencing to other graves that had stones on, I found my Dad’s grave within five minutes of arrival.  It was non-descript.  No gravestone.  (There never, ever will be one for him.)  No wreath, no bouquet – either removed after so many days, or maybe, sad to say, stolen by local chavs.  Just broken earth.  It didn’t really look like a grave to trigger the “time to let British stiff upper lip wobble.”

Schatz went and grabbed three daffodils quietly from a corner of the cemetery.  She placed them on the grave.

I had kept my promise to my Dad last autumn that we would definitely come to visit him in April this year.  I just hadn’t anticipated under these circumstances.

We prayed at the foot of his anonymous grave.  I discreetly photographed his grave.  He has a picturesque view of the Yorkshire Moors.

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It started to drizzle more.  I looked Schatz in the eye.  We nodded.  It was time.  We left the cemetery and headed back to the main road to get ready to head to Whitby for the fun part of the weekend.

No tears.  No emotion.  No numbness.

I came, I saw, I departed.

Have a closure-filled day, won’t you!

 

Machmallauter!

I have catholic (little C – take note) musical tastes – everything from classical like Mozart to AC/DC to ZZ Top.  This morning I heard an old, recycled joke.

Q. What’s the difference between 1990s USA and today’s USA?

A. 1990’s USA had Bill Clinton, Bob Hope, Johnny Cash and Stevie Wonder.  Now it has Donald Trump, no cash, no hope, and no flippin’ wonder!

Then I looked up Johnny Cash’s biggest hits, one of which is below.  Stick your big headphones on and listen to this ‘un!

Have a Cash-rich day, won’t you!

Who guards the guardians?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  Who guards the guardians?

The British police are the best in the world,

I don’t believe one of these stories I’ve heard…

So sang Tom Robinson back in 1978.

Maybe your image of the  British police is based on your English lessons at school or on visits to London, to see soldiers in bearskin hats, Big Ben, pigeons on Trafalgar Square, cricket on the village green, etc?  It’s what we Brits would sum up as the “Dixon of Dock Green” British bobby.

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To a greater extent this image is still valid.  British police officers don’t routinely carry pistols.  Their preferred “weapon” is the pot of tea and quiet word.  The motto of British policing is still “policing by content.”  In fact, Sir Robert Peel, founder of the police in the United Kingdom said:

The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

What would “Bobby” Peel have to say about the modern-day police?  Look up the word “kettling” in relation to police methods in dealing with public order matters, such as demonstrations, protests and riots.  Now read the following article: kettling.
Essentially the article outlines the police’s increasingly macho stance (“over-zealous”) against peaceful protest to the extent that the British police have acted as a quasi-military force against citizens attempting to exercise their democratic right to protest.  So, when did the police start to deviate from being “the public”?
Wind back to Lent 2008, when I attended a presentation by a chaplain to North Yorkshire Police, who suggested that it all goes back to the days of the miners’ strike in the early 1980’s, when the Thin Blue Line was massively reinforced to police mass pickets of striking miners, especially in South Yorkshire, an area which had become nicknamed “The People’s Democratic Republic of South Yorkshire” as a result of its hard-left Labour council.
Picketing turned into rioting, with South Yorkshire Police (SYP) being accused of “being not very nice” to the striking miners.  Later in that decade, SYP were involved in the deaths of tens of football fans at the Hillsborough stadium disaster.  Over a quarter of a century later, the Chief Constable was fired, and other senior officers were condemned in the Coroner’s report.  So, has SYP learned from its mistakes?  Has it learnt from reports such as that of the Home Affairs Committee of MP’s, that kettling and testosterone-packed crowd control techniques alienate the public, of whom Sir Robert pointed out, they are members?
It seems, no.  The police are not second-line support for security guards.  Take a look at this clip from YouTube.  Arrest never followed by charge?  Is that to be expected in England, or Eastern Europe?
Have a democratic day, won’t you!

Is Jeremy Corbyn anti-Semitic?

Jeremy Corbyn is the Official Leader of the Opposition in the United Kingdom.  He has a penchant for certain hats.

First of all, have a read of this article.

Is JC anti-Semitic?

You decide.  Personally, I think he is not anti-Semitic, but lacks sensitivity to realise the consequences of his actions, and needs to be careful about the company he keeps.

Have a sensitive day, won’t you!

corbynhat

 

The Modern Parents

First of all, a few facts about me.

  1. I’m a redhead.
  2. I live in Germany.
  3. I’ve a mum.
  4. I’ve no dad (since 16 January).
  5. I have my Schatz.
  6. I have no children (unless there’s some Boris Ginge-in-Germany that I’m not aware of from my year abroad in Russia).
  7. I believe in the saying, “None of us has been to the North Pole, but we all know it’s pretty freezing there.”

I haven’t read Viz comic for about fifteen years.   One of their best comic strips was The Modern Parents.  This is the topic of my rant du jour.  First of all, have a read of the following snippet.

mod

Before anyone says, “Ah, but you’re not a parent yourself, so how can you have a dig at parents?” please scroll back up to fact 7.

I’m not a parent, but I bump into them and their offspring at church, in cafes, on the tram, in the library and of, course, on Facebook.  So, in a way, I see myself as an outside observer.  Let me give you a quote.

I aim to be not just their [my sons’] father, but also their best friend.

Those were the exact words of B, an acquaintance of mine, in early 2017, whose sons Whatsapp him about once a month.

And some other quotes, this time from CEB, a former classmate of mine.

Number 1:

So [daughter’s name] and I have just tried out [son’s name]’s pesto crusted salmon as he got all the ingredients a week early. The Asparagus was very tasty, hope he manages as well in his master chef competition. Had to wait till 7 as we had to watch the golden compass for [daughter’s name]’s homework!

Number 2:

Mother’s Day over for me. Well done to [daughter’s name] who cooked smoked salmon and scrambled egg bagels with orange juice and coffee for me, my sister and niece.  Soooo impressed at the beautiful prayer she wrote for me for Sunday’s church service.  Nine years old, and writing like a theologian.

Etc ad nauseum.

Now clearly, to quote the liturgy, “it is right to give thanks and praise,” but I would question whether putting your children on a pedestal for everything they do, and in such a gushing manner, is really necessary.  Imagine if your line manager at work acted in a similar manner…

So proud of Fred for the way he cleaned the toilets at the bus station this morning.  Those endless hours of showing him how to mop floors have most definitely not been wasted!  Go, Team Toilet!

How about:

Astounded at how Julia has made such delicious slices of toast today, using our secret method.  Three customers have all taken photos of their toast this morning.  Catering Assistant of the Year!

All of these quotes just remind me of Mr “Which Was Nice,” a comedy character from The Fast Show, a hit comedy series from the 1990s.

Is the aim of all these posts to be “two-sheds”: Anything You Can Do, I Con Do Better, as per the song?  Is it projection?  “Because my offspring are so clever, that is proof that I am clever.”

As for being your sons’/daughters’ best friend, may I, as a mere non-parent, humbly suggest that you leave it to them to decide who will be their best friend, as a refusal can often offend.

(Am I being too harsh?)

Have a praiseworthy day, won’t you!