A better class of vandal…

I don’t normally like grafitti.  I will admit that.  However, when I was a student at Nottingham University in the early 1990’s, the gents toilets in the science library had some highly entertaining writings on the cubicle walls.

Sociology degrees: please take one.

Written on one cubicle wall:

To play toilet tennis, please look at the other wall.

Written on the other cubicle wall:

To play toilet tennis, please look at the other wall.

(Note the use of correct punctuation, upper and lower cases and spelling.)

The same joker used to put some joke comments in the science library suggestions book.  Here was one classic.

Name: J R Hartley.

Department: Marine Biology.

Question: Have you any books on fly-fishing?

Fortunately, the library staff had a sense of humour.  Their reply:

No.  Try Yellow Pages!

male and female signage on wall

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Have an entertaining day, won’t you!

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“I never get any post”

Back in 2004 I used to send, Marco, my friend in Düsseldorf, a postcard every time I’d go to the Saturday market at Masham, in the Yorkshire Dales.

It’s the only post I get these days, apart from bank statements.

I paid attention to Marco’s comment.  I resolved the following week to change this situation for him.

The United Kingdom has a lot of universities, from Aberdeen and Aberystwyth to York.  I googled “List of all British universities.”  I went through that list methodically.  It took a day or so.  I ordered Marco a prospectus from pretty much every UK university.  Every single one.

A fortnight later I rang Marco.

Marco thanked me profusely for his collection of reading material.  He had to go to his local post office to collect half of the items.  He had piled them up in his living room next to the TV.  One university had a translation and interpreting course that interested him.

He never complained about receiving very little “proper post” after this avalanche of prospectuses.  I don’t know why.

Have a voluminous day, won’t you!

brown envelopes in mail box

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Call the social workers!

The year 1977.  For me, that was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year.  Street parties, Union Flag bowler hats, bunting across the streets, a massive military parade staged by the BAOR (British Army of the Rhine) at Sennelager.  Things were different then.  The price of a 1st class stamp was 9p.

jubilee

(Above is a first day cover to mark that jubilee.)

How much does a first class stamp cost nowadays?  Having lived aboard for several years now, I had to google it.  Ulp!  Drum roll…

70p.

But what else has changed since then?  Let’s take this case study.

1977: the school secretary at Wolfenbüttel Primary School phones the Guardroom at the barracks, 5 minutes walk away.

Hello, Cpl Sunray.  School secretary here.  Can one of the Regimental Police pop over to the school?  One of the youngsters has got his head stuck in the back of a chair while messing about with his mates.

Cpl Sunray arrives in the classroom.  Little Charlie, aged 5, is standing near teacher’s desk, looking all sheepish.  His classmates are watching him.

Gentle tugging and twisting does not help.  Cpl Sunray decides the only way is to saw the plastic back off the chair.  But he has to have a bit of fun.  At Charlie’s expense.

Cpl Sunray takes his hacksaw.  He holds it in front of Charlie’s eyes.  He winks to teacher.  Very deadpan he sighs:

It’s no good, Charlie.  We’ll just have to cut your head off.

Charlie screams.  Loudly.

No, no, no, please, no!

His classmates, teacher, and Cpl Sunray laugh.  Also loudly.  And for a good minute.

Cpl Sunray then manages to saw the back of the chair off.  Much to Charlie’s relief.

Now, fast forward 40+ years.  What would happen?

  • Cpl Sunray would be severely reprimanded, perhaps dismissed.
  • Charlie would be diagnosed with PTSD and offered counselling.
  • Maybe his classmates, too.
  • And teacher…
man cutting tress using chainsaw

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Have a sawn-off day, won’t you!

What is Love?

I cannot say what love is.  I can say what love is not.  It’s not about violently assaulting the woman you claim to love.  You may remember me blogging some months ago about my ex-room-mate from university days.  He was convicted of murder in 1991, and was released in 2003, having served a life sentence in various English prisons.

I even appeared on local TV news in 1991 and a documentary in 2004 to provide a character reference along the lines of:

He seemed a likeable bloke, quite charming and charismatic.

After his sentence he moved back to New Zealand, working as a personal trainer and then as a baker.  (He had been studying Classics at university.)

Last night I found out he had this month been convicted of violently assaulting his current girlfriend, expressing little or no remorse.

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/sunday-feature-kiwi-murdered-girlfriend-in-uk-now-nz-jail-after-new-assaults

Newspaper report

My feelings?  Stunned.  I was expecting him after all these years to have calmed down, having learnt his lesson in prison and after fifteen years’ life back in normal society.

But no.

He can’t control his anger.

Horse feathers.  He won’t control his anger.

Murderers in English prisons attend courses to address their underlying issues such as anger management.  They aren’t released until the psychologist consider them no longer to be a threat to society.  It looks to me like he managed to hoodwink the psychologists.

Maybe this prison sentence will make him stop and think.  There again.  Maybe not.

nick.jpg

Have a loving day, won’t you!

The Monkey-Hangers

(Why do I sometimes feel like I am reading out Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America?  Instead you get Blog from Germany.)

Just over a decade a go I worked as a supply teacher, usually in rough comprehensives on Teesside, including Hartlepool, home of the monkey-hangers.  (In a battle against the French, the locals thought a monkey on board a French warship was a Frenchman.  They hanged the poor animal when he “refused to talk.”)

Most of the classes were rough rough rough rough rough.  The headteacher at one Hartlepool comprehensive give me a useful tip.

If the kids get too rowdy, just ask them about Lawrence, the transvestite Hartlepool football fan.

I did.  That worked.  I’d get non-stop anecdotes about Lawrence and his:

  • Drink problem
  • New dress
  • Season ticket problems
  • Tendency to re-apply make-up on during the last five minutes of every game

Ever since working at that school, I have got into Hartlepool, following the club and its trials and tribulations.  Now, after the club nearly went bankrupt last season, they seem to be on the up.  Undefeated so far in the National League, the fifth tier of English football.

Howay the lads!

Have a hearty day, won’t you!

Hartlepool-Monkey-660x330.jpg

 

So you think you know about Islam?

I have a pet hate, namely people who rant on about subjects where they have “received knowledge” (DE: erhaltene Weisheit) or pure prejudice.  I like the German term: Kneipenprofessor (“pub professor”).  I don’t mind you disagreeing with me – as long as you have done your homework, and not just read some Facebook post/internet meme that fits with your prejudices.

So you think you know about Muslims and Islam?  In that case, have a go at this exam paper.  I sat it in January 1993 and got 61% for it, which is a good 2:1 grade.

EPSON MFP image

To quote the famous barrister, F E Smith, on explaining a point of law to a judge:

You may be none the wiser, but you are most certainly now much better-informed.

You have one and half hours starting… now!

Have an academic day, won’t you!

pen writing notes studying

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