Thursday, 29 October 2009

In Praise of Railways

What man or woman of my generation does not hold fond memories of railway journeys?

The age of steam was in it's death knell when I was a boy, but I can still visualise my first journey on a train going on holiday to Llandudno in North Wales.

Arriving at the station I rushed ahead of my father to see the engine and watch the great man who was to drive this leviathan wiping his oily hands on an old rag, whilst the fireman shovelled coal into a greedy boiler.

The hiss and steam and smell live with me today, and then, the journey began, travelling in comfort, at speed through the English countryside, I was completely captivated and totally forgot that I was taking my first visit to the seaside.

I was blessed, in 1959 there were not many children who went on holiday to the seaside and travelled on a train, I was in heaven!

As a result, I have never lost my love of trains, even as a young man, when I was a compulsory commuter travelling every day in and out of London, I would simply think of the poetry of John Betjeman on the subject of railways.

Now as an older man I have rediscovered the pleasure of railway journeys, from the buying of the ticket to boarding the train,observing your fellow passengers and watching the English countryside go by, the little villages with their Church spires are still there as we whistle past at high speed, pondering the daily lives of the people who live in these timeless communities.

All this is possible because of a man who was barely literate, a man from my home county of Northumberland, called George Stephenson.

Born in 1781 in the village of Wylam, about 10 miles west of Newcastle, to a typically impoverished family, he started work in the mining industry and couldn't afford to teach himself to read and write until he was seventeen, he over the years became an accomplished engineer, working at various collieries in the region.

Waggonways were in common usage in the mines of the time and his growing knowledge of steam locomotion encouraged him to consider using steam for motive power.

Whilst not accredited with the invention of the steam locomotive,this prize goes to a Cornishman, George Stephenson built the Worlds first public railway, known as the Stockton and Darlington.

A twenty five mile track, that was to change the World.

Today most societies could not function without the train. How many commuters travel into Berlin,Paris,London or New York using this method of transport?

So when you next get on a train think of George, he opened our horizons.

The Man who Tastes Words

I caught an item in the press the other week, which I thought might interest you.

It concerns a man called James Wannerton, from Lancashire in England, who since the age of four, has had the ability to taste words, yes that's right, he actually has the physical sensation of taste.

There are apparently around 2.5 million people in the World with this condition, which is called, Gustatory Auditory Synaesthesia.

He says that it wasn't until later in life that he discovered that he was not alone in having this condition.

For him, specific words, phrases and languages have distinct tastes, not all of them pleasant; indeed his whole life and his selection of friends is determined by this.

He gives some examples:

The Lord's Prayer apparently tastes of bacon!

The French language is eggy!

And German is just pure marmalade!

What drew me to the item in the first place was his assessment of the taste of words spouted by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

He says that budding President of the EU, Tony Blair's words taste of dessicated coconut and that our glorious Prime Minister's words taste of mud and marmite ( a disgusting beef yeast paste spread).

How positively apt!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Bell's Palsy

Those of you that read this blog from time to time will know that I do not normally focus on personal issues.

However last Friday I contracted an ailment called Bell's Palsy, which I have to say I had not heard of before.

It has the effect of diminishing the power of the muscles in the left side of the face, from working properly.

In essence you look like someone who has had a minor stroke.

On Friday night, Manuela (my lady), noticed that I couldn't smile properly and insisted we visit the local casualty department.

After many tests it was decided that I had contracted this condition.

What it means is that the nerves on the left side of the face have stopped providing information to the local muscles.

The result is that your left eye tear duct, eyebrow and the left side of your mouth refuse to function in the normal way.

You still retain feeling so it isn't a stroke!

Being an avid reader, the only part of this condition that bothers me, is the discomfort I feel, through the lack of moisture to my left eye.

It seems more distressful to my children than it does to me, I suppose because of the visual effects of the ailment.

Doctors do not know what causes it, but suspect it is viral.

In most cases it just disappears in two weeks, but can take six months and in odd cases, stays with you forever.

The drug treatment is unpleasant, involving steroids, anti-virals,ointments and eye drops, but I have a full belly, clean water, a nice home and loving children, so not alot to worry about!

At 56 I have become a dribbler, which means that I can be even more outrageous than I was before!

The reason for this post is more to do with who we are.

We live many lives on our way to closeness with the great architect of the universe, and as spirit beings this is nothing more than a modest trial.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Alfred Skeggs

Your Country Needs You!

At the outbreak of hostilities in 1914, the famous poster of Lord Kitchener, bearing these words, was to be found all over Britain.

A generation of young men joined the call for 'The War to End all Wars'.

One of those young men was a lad from Stevenage in Hertfordshire, called Alfred Skeggs, a trained motor mechanic, when there weren't that many cars on the road, he like his contemporaries considered volunteering as a way of seeking adventure and advancement.

'It will be over by Christmas', was the common cry.

Being mechanically minded he signed up for the new service, The Royal Flying Corp, a division, at that time of the army.

Though not officer material, he nevertheless qualified as a Sergeant Pilot, after eleven hours flight training and one hour solo.

Alfred was then shipped to France to begin his war.

He flew two seater aircraft which were used in the main on reconnaissance missions over enemy territory.

In the early days, his rear gunner consisted of a chap with a rifle and a bag of hand grenades, which were liberally tossed over the side when a likely target was spotted.

As with all army units they were supplied with tin helmets, but the air crews sat on theirs, since the threat came from the ground.

Having survived two years at the front unscathed, he was re-assigned to new recruit flight training duties, where he witnessed far more fatalities than ever over enemy territory.

Alfred was mentioned in despatches, signed by Winston Churchill and was demobbed in 1919.

He was my grandfather.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Feeding our People

A lady called Amber who has visited this site,has caused me to consider an issue that affects us all; namely hunger.

When you say you are hungry, really you are not, it's merely a mild discomfort and you descend on the fridge and the problem is solved.

Amber tells me that there are around one billion people in the World who suffer from true hunger, not knowing when they will have their next meal.

That meal when it comes, may be simply a bowl of rice or some plant shoots, that have not been destroyed by drought.

In the west we whine on about cancer or heart disease, both problems of an over indulgent society.

Millions are spent on idiots who want to look pretty using cosmetic surgery, to satisfy a passing vanity, whilst in Mali and other parts of the world, people do not even have clean drinking water.

It seems to me that surgeons and doctors who pander to this kind of lifestyle are fundamentally amoral.

The World has the technology to feed these people, just consider the great deserts of the Sahara and the Gobi.

We have the expertise to create de-salination plants, the oil companies have the technology to transport fluids.

They tell us that the seas are going to rise; what better way to alleviate this problem than to irrigate the deserts of the world and allow the hungry to farm for themselves.

This of course would require politicians to permit the movement of peoples to areas where this work could be undertaken.

What prevents this? A market economy that requires farm produce to be of a certain price that ensures farmers in Europe and America receive a subsidised price for their products.

We can as a global society no longer accept this method of doing business, it is not sustainable.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Silver Fish

Yes I have to admit I have silver fish in my bathroom! A strange name for a creature that is neither a fish nor silver.

These little chaps come out at night, ferreting for tasty morsels no doubt.

We all think of personal hygiene and use a variety of horrendous chemicals in the home to keep the little beasties at bay.

They must have the constitution of Henry VIII, since they seem capable of consuming anything!

But let us look at it from their point of view.

These foraging expeditions must be, not only to feed themselves, but also their young, who are no doubt living under my floorboards, without paying rent!

These little chaps go about their business clearing up the minute particles on my bathroom floor that I cannot even see, thus helping me to maintain a tidy home.

Thats what I call wildlife in action!

Friday, 23 October 2009

The English Longbow

Sunday will be St Crispin's Day, the 25th October.

On this day in 1415 a small bedraggled English Army defeated a much superior French force at The Battle of Agincourt.

Estimates vary as to the actual size of the French Army but it is known that the English force consisted of approximately 1000 men at arms and 5000 archers.

The French were wary of attacking this force, primarily because of the reputation of English Bowmen.

In these times it was law in England for young men to practice archery, starting at the tender age of seven and regularly attending local tournaments, from which the best were selected for military service.

Through years of constant practice an English Military Archer was not thought competent unless he could fire a minimum of 10 arrows a minute. The average however, was closer to 15.

What makes this even more extraordinary is that todays modern bows have a pulling weight of around 60 pounds.

An English Archer at Agincourt carried a bow with a pulling weight of 150 pounds!

Today very few people would be capable of even pulling such a bow, let alone firing 15 arrows in a minute!

These bows had a range of up to 400 yards and could penetrate any type of armour at up to 200 yards.

Thus it was on St Crispin's Day 1415, this small army suffering from hunger and dysentery, under the command of Henry V, had no option but to take the fight to the French.

The outcome of the day was an English victory, for the loss of less than 500 men, to a French force whose estimated losses are recorded as being somewhere between 7000 and 10,000.

Since most of these losses were Knights, the direct effect on the French aristocracy was appalling and to think that they had been killed by English peasants rather than their aristocratic equals, was too much to bear.

The final humiliation came with the subsequent peace treaty which required that the daughter of the French King should marry Henry and that their first son would be the heir to the French throne.

For a period of approximately 200 years the English Bowman was the most feared fighter in Europe and was not replaced until effective firearms were introduced.

My First Award


Thursday, 22 October 2009

On Having a Vasectomy

Time again for a little frivolity as long as you are not on the receiving end!

Having had two wonderful children, my former wife suffered medical problems which prevented further healthy births.

Thus we decided that the best way forward was if I had a vasectomy and so,as is required in England, we went to meet the surgeon, who firstly wished to establish that this was a joint decision and that we were both of a mind that this was the way forward.

Once he was comfortable with this,he said,ok and asked me whether I wanted a local or general anaesthetic .

Having experienced a general as a kid, I opted for a local, fine and so the date was set.

The day arrived and I showed up at Alnwick Infirmary and went through preparation including a local injection before lying on the operating table.

I am still relatively calm at this stage, and then I am lying on the table with my tackle exposed to the world,legs spread and my beloved surgeon then says,' my you are brave!','why?',says this idiot.

'You are the first man in Northumberland to opt for a local!'

Now ladies and gentlemen,by this stage the man has hold of my balls! What can you do? Not alot.

So the operation proceeds with two nurses dancing up and down the theatre to the Rolling Stones on the music system and the bloody surgeon telling me how wonderful Newcastle United football Club is!

Finally I waddle out of the hospital looking like a guy who has been riding a horse for a week and my wife falls about laughing!

What we men do for our art!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The Jannisaries

After the fall of the Roman Empire fighting units both in the Christian and Islamic Worlds were created when conflict was about to erupt. Fighting men fought for their liege Lord.

This situation did not change in the Islamic World until the fourteenth century when Sultan Murad I, created the Jannisaries, as an elite infantry corp of household troops, who were also the Sultan's bodyguard.

Unique at the time in wearing uniforms and being salaried.

The Jannisaries were created by abducting the sons of families from conquered Christian territories. Thus for the first few centuries of their existence they were predominantly Greeks and Albanians.

Since Christians were forbidden to bear arms in the Ottoman Empire, up until the nineteenth century, Jannisaries were required to convert to Islam.

Whilst under training and during their time in the corp, they lived a monastic existence, which required them to be celibate.

Upon retirement however they were permitted to marry.

Well organised and fanatical in battle they reached their peak during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent.

In later times however they declined as a fighting force; they dropped their traditional method of recruitment and this was replaced by a grace and favour system, which became a reflection of the growing corruption within the Ottoman Empire.

Successive Sultans lived in fear of the corp until in 1826, Sultan Mahmud II attacked their barracks with artillery fire, killing 4000 Jannisaries.

The survivors when then executed by decapitation.

They were in short a litmus test for the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Their legacy lives on in their martial music which influenced both Mozart and Beethoven.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

On Gnosticism

I have been asked on a number of occasions to give my definition of Gnosticism, an Esoteric belief system that has it's origins in about the 3rd Century BC and stems from the writings of a sage called Hermes Tresmegistus who wrote the 42 volume Hermetica.

In essence it is about self discovery and seeking the Divine from within.

Many of the early followers of Jesus,were Gnostics who believed that his teachings were not meant to be taken literally,but in an allegorical sense.

Jesus was what we would today call an Adept,seeking to guide people to the Kingdom of God,through self exploration.

Starting by knowing oneself and working through a number of levels to attain closeness with the divine.

We are all part of the mind of God, is one of the fundamentals that must first be grasped and the rest is a personal journey that only you can take.

Gnostics are not specifically Christian.

Other faiths have adherents to the Esoteric path,in Islam they are called Sufis and in Judaism you have the Caballah.

Re-incarnation is one of the principles within the Esoteric,so past lives are important areas of
study for the Gnostic.

I can recommend a good book for those wishing to investigate this subject further,from a laymans point of view.

The Secret History of the World by Jonathan Black

Monday, 19 October 2009

Well I've Got Nothing to Wear!

This is one for the chaps.

How often gentlemen in your lives has a friend and his partner invited you round for supper? Quite often I suspect.

Great,you think,I can't wait to get home and tell 'she who must be obeyed', the good news! What could be better than a convivial night,with friends over a good meal,and apart from taking a decent bottle of wine it's gonna be free!

Then you get home, and your dear lady greets this marvellous news with,'well I've got nothing to wear!'.

Your mind instantly goes to the house extension you had to build to accommodate her wardrobe!

'Well are we going or not?,I hear you say.'You've said yes,so we'll have to!' the great lady says.'But i'll need a new outfit!'.

So off we go to John Lewis for a new frock. Two hundred and fifty quid later she says,'I'll need some new shoes and a bag to go with them.'

By this stage you could cheerfully murder your pal for the invite!

Thus a free night out costs the better part of four hundred quid,but the lady is happy and I am now planning an extension to the extension.

Sexist unfeeling,inconsiderate git! I hear the ladies say................


Today we live in a quasi-globalised society,if you believe the headlines and the pontifications of World Leaders.

To keep us all in check,these people need to have us living in fear.

Just consider some examples from the Twentieth Century,Kaiser Wilhelm II, Adolf Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Ayatollah Khomeini, HIV, The Swinging Sixties, Pinochet, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism and so it goes on and on.

The truth is that civilisation is but a veneer and our masters are those who truly live in fear,and thus they need to distract us from their psychotic need to control.

There is something fundamentally odd about an individual that needs to control others using fear as the tool.

Let us not forget that it is rarely individuals who have committed heinous crimes against humanity,who were not driven by some leader, who incited them in the first place.

The good news though,is that the internet has allowed people from all over the World to come together,in mutual support, for those that are oppressed.

This is forcing politicians to act in a way that was not possible before.

Consider some of the examples where ordinary people have had an affect.

The Yahua of Peru,overturning legislation that would affect their World, people in Iran using the technology to notify the World of their plight,the people of the UK who exposed the greed and corruption of MP's.

Yes there are still many areas,where we as individuals can do something to highlight an issue,however small it may appear,each step takes us nearer to being better human beings.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

The Importance of Robin Hood

There cannot be a child today in countries that have film and television,who has not heard of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

Sadly the programmes and films made about this mythical character are in the main abysmal;I recollect seeing one effort by Kevin Costner which looked promising at the start,having our hero returning from the Holy Land with his Muslim chum.

They landed in England,with shots of the White Cliffs of Dover,great!

Then what happens? He and his pal are next seen walking along Hadrian's Wall! Now if the guy is trying to get to Nottingham,he has overshot by 150 miles.

In fact the best part of the film, was when Alan Rickman was on screen,sending up the Sheriff of Nottingham as a seriously stressed out chap!

What however interests me in this English folk tale,is, what is behind it.

After 1066 our country was ruled by a nasty bunch of land grabbing thugs,called the Normans,whose ancestors are the chinless wonders referred to as English Aristocrats.

Now enough of this frivolity,at the time when these events are supposed to have taken place,the country was ruled by Prince John,brother of Richard the Lionheart.

Prince John spent much of his time collecting taxes from a people who could ill afford to pay them.

The Normans used ruthless tactics in extracting revenues from the poor.

Thus the myth of Robin Hood came into existance,an outlaw who lived in the forest with his followers and took from the rich,to give to the poor.

In all honesty,if such a man had really existed,the Saxons would have risen against they're masters.

Since their King was busy in the Holy Land with the fighting elite of the country,this should have been a walkover.

Thus it sadly suggests that the story was more to do with keeping the spirit of freedom alive,than in any basis of fact.

Today the story of Robin Hood still has resonance for peoples across the World oppressed by their masters.

Next week I shall post about the English Longbow and the Battle of Agincourt.........Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, 16 October 2009

The Plantsman

Well it's time for a more whimsical post.

Prior to quasi retirement I was a professional gardener,managing two gardens in the south of England.One site in Hawkhurst,Kent, and the other Wadhurst Castle in East Sussex.

This was a poorly paid profession,but immensely satisfying.

My employers were in both cases wealthy lawyers working in London.One had a garden that was three acres and the other had a patch that was eleven acres.

My expertise is not in landscaping,but in planting.

I can cheerfully remember creating planting schemes which gave me great pleasure,not only in advising my masters,but also in the outcome.

Since a boy, I have always had a passion for plants and nature and you grow up understanding the landscape.

We sadly live in a World where the value of a lawyer's opinion is more important than a man who understands nature.

If we were to have a major disaster, that meant we went back to a simpler way of life,Where would the lawyers be?

I suggest nowhere,my former employers were completely oblivious of nature and just assumed I provided the outcome.

Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub

Better known in the West as Saladin,the Muslim leader of Islamic forces who ultimately recaptured the Kingdom of Jerusalem from the Franks.

Born around 1137 in Tikrit,in what is now modern day Iraq,to Kurdish parents,Saladin was to create a vast,but short lived Empire,stretching from the shores of the Mediterranean to Yemen in the south of the Arabian peninsula.

Much of his life was spent in subduing and consolidating Arab territories and only clashing with Crusaders when they were allied with his enemies.

It is clear however that his ultimate ambition was to remove Christian power from the Outremer (The Knight's Templar name for Palestine).

An educated man who could converse on subjects including, Euclid,Arithmetic,Law and the Qur'an,he was also well versed in the military tactics of the day.

He was a pragmatist who would often avoid conflict if the odds were not favourable,occasionally brutal,which was not uncommon in this age of man.

On one occasion he endeared himself to the citizens of a recently conquered town by abolishing taxes imposed by the defeated Emir,saying,' The most miserable rulers are those,whose purses are fat and their people thin'.

He recovered Jerusalem after a long siege on 2nd October 1187,allowing safe passage to Christian Knights and their families. Sadly the poor old foot soldiers were sold into slavery.

His reputation in Europe mainly stems from the short lived Third Crusade, led by Richard the Lionheart, King of England.

Whilst foes in battle they both admired each other.

It is recorded that when Saladin heard that Richard was sick with a fever,he sent his personal physician with medication to cure him.

On another occasion Richard lost his horse under him during battle and Saladin sent him two replacements as a gift.

The legacy of Saladin lived on in Europe,where he was seen as an example of Chivalry and indeed an epic poem was written about him in the Fourteenth Century.

He lies entombed in a simple wooden sarcophagus,for all to see,in Damascus.

Irrespective of your faith, God is Great.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Albigensian Crusade

In the early 1200s the Papacy was becoming increasingly alarmed at the rise of a sect in the Languedoc (an area today of Southern France) called The Cathars.

The Cathars were dualists,in other words they believed in the existance of two equally powerful Gods.One good and one evil.

They believed the Good God created our souls and the Universe,whereas the Evil God created our material World and the human body to imprison the soul.Thus a Cathar did not want to be of this World.

Their beliefs also encompassed pacifism, vegetarianism,reincarnation,heaven but no hell in the Catholic sense of the word.

They had no Churches and either held their meetings in a members homes or in the open air,much as the early Christians did.

They found the Old Testament abhorant and considered it the work of the Evil God,followed only the Gospel of John and had only one prayer.'The Lord's Prayer'.

There were two levels within Cathar society,the Credente who were the vast majority of followers and the Parfait who were an initiated elite,consisting of both men and women since they saw no difference, as the soul for them, had no sex and thus the body was irrelevant.

At the time the Languedoc was the centre of culture in Europe and thus also a very prosperous region,more influenced by Northern Spain than by France.

And so it was that Pope Innocent III decreed that the Cathars were heretics and appealed to the King of France to launch a crusade against them.

So began in 1209, yet another chapter in the ignominious history of the Catholic Church.The Pope offered lands,wealth and absolutions to those who would travel South to deal with,what were essentially a peace loving people,in the most brutal episode in the history of that part of the World.

Estimates of the numbers butchered range from 200,000 to 1,000,000 men,women and children.They slaughtered whole towns including people who had sort sanctuary in Churches and if survivors refused to give up their beliefs,which 90% of them did,they were burnt alive.

What infuriated the Church on these occasions was that many Cathars were happy to die,which may explain why it took twenty years to remove the threat they posed to the established order of things.

Their persecution was managed by a monk who later became the founder of the Dominican Order,better known to you as The Inquisition. An ex-soldier, this Spaniard created an organisation responsible for such horror and carnage, I refuse to defile my blog with his name.

However they ultimately did not win,since Gnostics, such as myself, still exist today.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Good Things Do Happen!

Over the last year or so,the indigenous Yahua people of the Peruvian Amazon jungle have been collectively fighting the Government.


The Congress had voted through a series of laws that would enable foreign companies to exploit the natural resources of six provinces in Peru,primarily jungle and inhabited by native peoples.

What Congress didn't bargain for,was the reaction of the Tribes.Today these local people are all connected via two way radio.

The people formed The Amazon Indian Federation and blocked roads and rivers in the provinces,which resulted in the Government sending in armed police to disperse their protests.

The Indians were clearly having none of this and violence erupted,with the outcome that 34 people,including 20 policemen lost their lives.

The result of this conflict caused a diplomatic incident with their neighbours,Bolivia, as Presidente Evo Morales sided with the Indians.

I am however happy to report that the Peruvian Congress has seen sense and voted to repeal two laws at the heart of the protest.

Daysi Zapata,Vice Presidente of The Indian Federation has stated that they are pleased with the result and will now call off the blockades.

We in the developed World must learn to temper our lust for material objects which require raw materials from the few unspoilt areas of the Planet,that are still left.

Spiritually we may also learn from the Yahua how best to live with nature,they are a far more valuable resource than any mineral.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

What is a Knighthood?

Indeed what is a knighthood?In today's World they are dished out to Civil Servants,Politicians,Business People,Pop Stars,Scientists,Actors and Sports Personalities.

They are an anachronism of the past!

Francis Drake was knighted by Elizabeth I for stealing treasure from the Spanish,let's be honest whilst still a schoolboy hero of mine,he was a pirate!

Isaac Newton was knighted because an apple fell on his head,ok, he was a very clever man,who amongst other things discovered gravity.I bet most of you didn't know that throughout his life he was a practising alchemist!

It gets even worse,today a shopkeeper,Stuart Rose gets a knighthood because he runs Marks and Spencer.Now don't get me wrong,nice underwear,but does it warrant a knighthood?

The value of this honour has become absurd!

Probably the most important Englishman who ever lived,in terms of a contribution to World culture,never received a knighthood.

William Shakespeare.

An Important Invention of the Twentieth Century

A provocative title you may think;an important invention of the twentieth century.You may wonder is he talking about penicillin,the cantilever brassiere or nuclear fission?

No,the humble tea bag!

As a boy I always enjoyed the taste of tea,but my dear old mum,God rest her,used loose tea without a tea strainer so I usually ended up with a mouthful of tea leaves,not nice!

Then miraculously the tea bag arrived on the scene in the nineteen sixties and I've never looked back.

An old remedy in England for whatever ails you is a nice cup of tea.

Mr Chamberlain the Germans are about to invade!Have a nice cup of tea sir,you'll feel much better.

You are about to be summarily executed by firing squad,never mind,have a nice cup of tea first,there that wasn't so bad was it?

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Extremism the Curse of our Age

All too often we see in the news stories of bombings and shootings around the World undertaken by radicals in the name of God.

We tend to assume that these acts are undertaken primarily by Muslims and radical Jews,but step back and think a moment.

Do we in the West not abuse the name of God when launching wars on terror?

Who is behind all this anger? The answer in simple terms is a small group of fanatics who want to impose their views on the majority.

These fanatics are Jews,Christians and Muslims.

They all have vested interests in perpetuating violence and hate.What is most appalling is that they do this in the name of God.

These creatures are not respectful of the teachings of God and can therefore only be followers of Satan.

In our three faiths the first law of God is Thou Shalt Not Kill.

God did not lay down any caviats for this law.

The time must come when we all say enough is enough.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Hairy Hats

What is it about men who wear toupees?How sad is that!If you have lost your hair or are losing it,why not just accept the fact and keep it short!

You can see the join;the colour never matches and in high winds mate,you are in the shit!

The other one of course is the comb over!

Now come on,who do you think you are kidding!

Nobody has a parting that starts by the left ear!

Donald Trump you are a multimillionaire.........visit the barber!

Just get a hair cut boys,you ain't sex on legs!

Old Books

For those of you who have read my various posts,you will know that my interests spread far and wide.

I've just been looking at some old books of mine that haven't seen the light of day for nearly 30 years,and I came across Folk Song in England by A.L.Lloyd,first published in 1967.

An interest in folk song stems from my deep interest in history and a love of traditional forms of music.The folk song,from whatever country it comes from,tells you a story about real people and the social events that governed their lives,their priorities and beliefs.

In England it was often a vehicle to express oppression by landlords,masters and the law.But it was also a way of letting off steam and being a little risque.

I give you the words of a song collected from the Wigan area of Lancashire;the song is thought to be from the early nineteenth century and is evocative of the feelings of a young working class girl during the Industrial Revolution.

My mother sent me for some water,
For some water for my tea.
My foot slipped and down I tumbled.
Collier lad gat hold of me.

Collier lads get gold and silver.
Factory lads get nobbut brass.
Who'd get married to a two-loom weaver
When there's plenty of collier lads?

Times don't change much do they?Only lasses today want a footballer!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Island of St Helena

How many of you would care to live in a sub-tropical paradise 1000 miles from the nearest land mass,where outside supplies only come in once a month by ship?

The island in question is St Helena in the South Atlantic,a British Territory with a population of approximately 5000.

An extinct oceanic volcano with a land mass of around 2000 square kilometres,this island may for the first time be acquiring an airport,so that rich tourists can get away from it all.

Estimates suggest that this endeavour will create employment for 300 islanders,but no doubt the better paid jobs will go to outsiders with the relevant 'skills'.

The British Government seems reasonably keen on the idea,purely and simply on the basis that at the present time this community costs money.

St Helena's only claim to fame is that it was the location of Napoleon's imprisonment until his death in 1821 and now Longwood House, where he lived is a museum owned by the French Government.

Tourism is often seen as the solution to self financing for small island communities around the World,but without exception,the culture and nature of these communities is destroyed.

Today I ask you to think how would you help in creating meaningful employment for the people of St Helena,without the infestation of rich folks money and all that goes with it.

An entire culture is at stake here,so please post your ideas on how economic self determination may be achieved.Thankyou.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Council of Nicaea

Today our view of the Christian Faith is determined by what ever Church we were brought up in,whether it be Catholic,Eastern,Anglican or Lutheran.

What all these institutions have in common is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the literal sense of the word.

This was not always the case,prior to The Council of Nicaea in AD 325 there were many different groups with varying belief systems.

In simple terms we may seperate them into two distinct groups. 1.The Literalists who believed every word in the Bible was true as written. 2.The Gnostics whose approach to the Bible was one of allegory that required interpretation achieved through the pursuit of personal knowledge leading to enlightenment.

So therefore the battle lines were drawn in AD 325 when Emperor Constantine convened the council of bishops to determine the future of a state sponsored religion.

We all know today the outcome, but many will be unaware of the purges that followed the establishment of the Catholic Church in Rome and the Eastern Church in Constantinople.

With the power of the Empire behind them the early Catholic Bishops systematically destroyed the Gnostic Church by persecuting it's adherents and wherever possible destroying their literature.

This did not succeed in total since Gnosticism reappears in different guises throughout the history of Christendom,often in the form of sects or secret societies.

The Knights Templar,The Cathars and The Bogomils are just three examples where the pursuit of knowledge was paramount in achieving Christian enlightenment.

Gnostics have much to thank Islam for preserving within the Koran their own belief of Jesus as a man,prophet and Messiah in the traditional Jewish sense.

The great period of Islamic culture which coincided with Europe's Dark Ages preserved and indeed enhanced ancient knowledge which was later reintroduced into Europe during the rennaisance.Knowledge and learning were greatly revered in the Caliphate of Baghdad when Rome was busy burning so-called heretics.

Not until the Twentieth Century was evidence found for the existence of other Gospels and even then only fragments remain of the Gospels of Mary Magdalene,Phillip and Judas. But enough to suggest that there were widely differing interpretations on the teachings of Jesus.

Just imagine one day the deserts of the Middle East may give up the actual writings of Jesus,this indeed would be momentous!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Mobile Telephones

Depending on the part of the World you are from,they are either Mobile Telephones or Cellphones and they are a part of every day life for millions of people.

Until recently I had one,pretty much from their inception as one of the tools of my working career and have seen them reduce in size and become ever more complex in terms of functionality.

Those of you who have read my profile will know that I am not in the first flush of youth and as a consequence not overly obsessed with technology.

My old Nokia having given me loyal and faithful service for many years,finally died three months ago and being a dutiful environmentalist I sent it away for re-cycling,receiving £27 for my trouble.

I have now been without a mobile for three months and feel totally liberated!

I no longer receive incomprehensible texts from people using idiotic dehumanising predictive texting.

I no longer have pointless conversations with people I am going to see in five minutes time.

I can enjoy a pint in my local pub without the bloody thing going off!

So ladies and gentlemen I have come to the conclusion that these objects are certainly irrelevant in my life and I suspect the same applies to the vast majority of people in the World.

Freedom is at hand,join this old dinosaur and liberate yourself today and no longer need you answer your phone to listen to some buffoon asking 'where are you?'.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

The Madness of Litigation

A strange title you may think,but I have just witnessed a woman on TV who has just received £1 million compensation from the Turkish Government because sadly her parents were killed in a terrorist attack in the country,whilst on holiday.

Unfortunately the World we live in today is full of risk,whether you are just crossing the street or going into hospital for a routine operation,things can go wrong.But why should we assume we are entitled to compensation?

Indeed criminals in the UK can expect compensation if they are injured in the course of a burglary!Why?

I read some years ago about a woman in America who sued Toshiba because there was nothing in the instruction booklet for her microwave to say that it was not a good idea to use it to dry her poodle after a bath.As a consequence her dog exploded!Now there's a surprise!
There are two things going on here, 1)Ambulance chasing lawyers are exploiting loopholes in laws,for justice?No,for money.2)The mass of the population in the words of Gore Vidal 'are idiots!'.

Why should a government,local authority,company,compensate you for your own ineptitude.Granted if you worked in a hazardous industry without proper protective equipment,that is different.

In Britain we have people who go climbing what we laughingly call mountains,and if they get into difficulty,RAF helicopters and mountain rescue squads(all unpaid volunteers)risk their own lives to save these self centred fools.

All of this nonsense is paid for by taxpayers in the jurisdictions it occurs in,so the £1 million paid to this lady by the Turkish Government is £1 million less that can be spent on the welfare of the Turkish people.

In America some 8% of GDP goes on legal fees!

If it were possible to personally sue politicians who create laws that adversely affect us,then maybe we would start to return to a situation of personal responsibility for our own actions.

Lawyers are very fond of the term 'conflict of interest'.Next time you get a chance just check how many of your elected representatives are former lawyers,you will know then what conflict of interest means.

The Twin Foxes

Today in Britain poaching is considered to be nothing much more than a petty crime,the argument being that those who have land enough for game can afford to lose a few pheasants.

But in Victorian and Early Twentieth Century times,when most of the local magistrates were also the landowners,things were considerably different.Indeed in even earlier times it is recorded that poachers were transported to Australia for the offence of taking a pheasant,never to see their loved ones again.

This offence was turned into a fine art by two twin brothers born in 1857 to a Mr & Mrs Henry Fox from the village of Symonds Green near Stevenage in Hertfordshire.Named Albert Ebenezer and Ebenezer Albert after the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Albert Street,Stevenage,they decided at a young age that working their father's small farm was not for them.

They both became crack shots at shooting game in the pitch dark and in the course of their careers they were arrested no less than 150 times,but did not receive their first conviction until 1904 with the advent of finger printing.

How may you ask did they manage to get away with poaching for so long?Their secret lay in never going out together.

One would always be propping up the bar in The Marquis of Lorne,never letting on to the assembled company whether it was Albert or Ebenezer!

They became so notorious they often made national news and indeed an item on their exploits even appeared in The New York Times issue of 9th February 1913.

Both retiring they lived to a healthy old age,one dying in 1926 and the other in 1935.Today they are considered local folk heroes,but at the time the local landowners tried every means possible to catch them and were infuriated that the law could do nothing since it couldn't prove which brother had been arrested!

Sadly today,the World is lacking in such characters.