Mama Said So

The old ones are the best, and that includes the Simple, Village Undertaker. With apologies to Ray!

A Simple, Village Undertaker

Unknown.jpegA certain little girl, when asked her name, would reply, “I’m Mr. Sugarbrown’s daughter.”
Her mother told her this was wrong; she must say, “I’m Jane Sugarbrown.”
The Vicar spoke to her in Sunday School, and said, “Aren’t you Mr. Sugarbrown’s daughter?”
She replied, “I thought I was, but mother says I’m not.”
 

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Twittering Tales #26 – 18 April 2017

Kat Myrman has this wonderful challenge to tax our creative souls. Just take her photo prompt and write a story, inspired by it, in 140 characters or fewer.

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Here is this week’s prompt and my contribution. Check out all the fabulous entries here.

On reflection I knew the twins were safer now than they’d ever been. Their father too! I wound down the window and tossed the 3 empty cases.

(140 characters)

I’ve never wished that I wasn’t a woman. 

A powerful piece of writing from a young lady who is worth far more than all the misogynist, childish, and ignorant bullies who hide their own insecurities behind group bravado. Please do like, and comment, on the original post.

Emily Speaks

I’ve never wished that I wasn’t a woman. Not once. I’ve never envied a man or wanted to be anyone else. I’ve always felt valued and equal to my male friends, never an object or something insignificant or worthless. I’ve never felt scared to walk down a street, as a woman. I’ve never felt like my gender defined who I am or what I’ve done. I like to break the mould, the stereotype; be different and be myself. As a woman, I’ve always stood tall. I’ve always felt proud and strong.

I’ve never wished that I wasn’t a woman, until recently. Until I was jeered at by a group of men, as I walked past them. Until two men stood in front of me and my friend and wanted to tell us (and probably show us) “all the things I’d do to you”. Until I was made to feel like…

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In memory of P.C. Keith Palmer, Metropolitan Police.

b4d7c990b8e792469d58c5dc69dc0f9e072ab9f4a3aabf6f6802f732b5e63e3f_3915030“The Final Inspection”

The policeman stood and faced his God,
which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining
just as brightly as his brass.

“Step forward now, policeman.
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My church have you been true?”

The policeman squared his shoulders and said,
“No, Lord, I guess I ain’t,
because those of us who carry badges
can’t always be a saint.

I’ve had to work most Sundays,
and at times my talk was rough,
and sometimes I’ve been violent,
because the streets are awfully tough.

But I never took a penny,
that wasn’t mine to keep….
Though I worked a lot of overtime
when the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I’ve wept unmanly tears.

I know I don’t deserve a place
among the people here.
They never wanted me around
except to calm their fear.

If you’ve a place for me here,
Lord, It needn’t be so grand.
I never expected, or had too much,
but if you don’t…..I’ll understand.

There was silence all around the throne
where the saints had often trod.
As the policeman waited quietly,
for the judgment of his God.

“Step forward now, policeman,
you’ve borne your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven’s streets,
you’ve done your time in hell.”

Author Unknown

I Loved Them Enough

For any parent whose children have yet to reach 10 years old you NEED to read this, and commit it to memory for later use.

The Chatter Blog

Each of my children, during their teenage angst years, once told me they hated me.  There was a five year age gap between them.  It was two separate occasions with years dividing the incidents.  So it wasn’t as if I was bombarded.  And each time I could see it approaching.

They didn’t mean it.

Though they were pretty vehement in their expression at the time, I knew better.

I knew they felt like they had no control.

I knew they felt like I had all of the control.

And I knew what to do.  I was ready.  Prepared.  I had this one.

I had read a story, long before this point in my life, about a parent who’s child had constantly said “I hate you”.  So when it was my turn, I borrowed from that wise parent.

When it happened I reacted with great calm.

When each child in their own…

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The Pleasures of Facebook – A photograph from WWII

This amazing story from Broadsides deserves a read. It stirred memories of my own experiences in Gibraltar.

Broadsides

I belong to this group on Facebook, Gibraltar Old photos 2 it’s called. It a nostalgia group whose members, mostly from Gibraltar,  post old photographs of life on and around and about the Rock. I lived there once and have many happy and treasured memories upon which I once contributed a piece to the site, some years ago, about being a boy in 1950’s Gibraltar. You can read it here. I still contribute to the site now and then, and to that purpose I was searching google for a film poster of a movie, made in Gibraltar in the early ‘60’s, staring Terry Thomas and called “Operation Snatch”. You need to be a bit careful what you type into google at times!

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In my search I stumbled across this lovely old photograph the caption of which read “Gibraltar families returning to Gibraltar in 1945 after five years of evacuation…

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I’m going to get fit and healthy

Marie is a Mum, and a full time solicitor (lawyer for my American friends). Her blog is fairly new and she would love you to follow her on her blog journey.

solicitormum

sport-927759_1920I’m going to get fit and healthy it just has to be done. I weighed myself the other week, having been to the toilet and even trimmed my pubes and the scales were not kind; in fact there were unbelievably rude. My 40th is looming around the corner and my arse has frankly got lardy. Time to positively do something about it. I’m not convinced about going back to Fat Class though. The Fat Class leader and I are not destined to be best buddies. I am going to use the Fat Class principles, but weigh myself in the privacy of my own home.

I started this process yesterday and Daughter and I went shopping for some proper running trainers and clothes. I also had my hair cut and coloured so feel more human about myself and collected my new glasses which I like.

I arrived home and Husband…

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The farmer, the puppy and the little boy 

A lovely tale here from Jack Fussell. There’s plenty more where this came from. Go have a look!

Fighting Alzheimer's

A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the 4 pups, and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard.
As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt tug on his overalls.
He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.
“Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”
“Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat of the back of his neck, “these puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”
The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket,

he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. “I’ve

got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”
“Sure,” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. “Here Dolly!” he…

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My life#11 – The Army – Northern Ireland

“The Army” series, came about through my Niece, Penny, requesting some information on my Army days. She was doing some sort of project that required a “behind the scenes” view of military life, so I started to jot things down.

I got a little carried away!

After my initial burst, as documented  in the previous few “The Army” posts, I was asked about my time in Northern Ireland.

This is the result. It was written in 2011.

For more like this click on the Tag “My Life”.

A bit about our time in Northern Ireland – Omagh, County Tyrone

[This is our particular experience. Procedures were constantly changing depending on the risk at the time, hostile activity, whether families accompanied or not and the length of tour.]

Prior to going we had to register our car with NI plates. This is done via DVLA who have special arrangements to ensure that there is not a “block” of numbers that are all forces!

We were told which ferry to use and numbers of military personnel, per ferry, were restricted.

Military personnel did not acknowledge each other on the ferry, even if they were well known to each other.

We were given a choice of 2 routes to use within NI and were not allowed to deviate. This ensured that the routes could be swept by military personnel at all times. (Panel vans were often used with one way vision rear windows). We had a specific time in which to complete the journey.

If we encountered any military check point, at any time, I had to show my ID card below the window line such that it could be seen by the soldier but not by anyone else.

On entering the barracks, all cars proceeded through a chicane of blast walls so that any risk was minimised. (Omagh barracks had a car bomb driven in and detonated shortly before we arrived!) We were checked by a single soldier close by with a second soldier covering him from a distance.

Once into Lisanelly Barracks we were given the keys to our house and, later that day, our belongings and furniture arrived.

Some houses, on one particular side of the camp, were left empty, because they had been damaged by fire bombs thrown over the perimeter wall. These were probably incidents performed by youngsters. Nice thought!

I had to regularly go into town to the bank, often carrying large sums of money. I wore civilian clothes and always tried to be discrete and to talk as little as possible. That’s fine until one of the cashiers says, at the top of her voice, “Are you from the Barracks then?”

When parking the car, I tried to ensure that I could view it from a distance with as few obstructions as possible. This helped when it came to returning to it. I could check for anything suspicious whilst approaching and I became very adept at tying my shoelaces and doing press-ups very quickly without too many people noticing. It became routine to do this and to check under the seats before getting in. I still check round my car but now for tyres and bumps!

One year Claire was due to fly in, from school, on 12th July. Because this is the day for Orange Marches, to celebrate the Battle of the Boyne, we had to get special permission to leave the barracks to collect her from the airport. On the way we found that the motorway was closed because of a security alert and we were diverted onto side roads. Unfortunately, we ended up in the middle of an Orangemen convoy of cars with no way of avoiding them. We were stuck in the middle for some considerable time. Very unsettling! If you have ever heard of the saying “sixpence, half a crown” this was definitely such a time. (Ask a friend!)

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We were able to travel within specific areas. Other areas were a definite no go. Armagh for example was, and is, a hot bed IRA area. Our main operational area (I was with 2nd Battalion Royal Green Jackets) was the Strabane/Castelderg area on the border with Eire.

We sometimes went to Gortin glen, a really lovely area close to Omagh, and we felt almost normal at such times and were able to almost forget the circumstances of our restricted life. We also enjoyed going to the North coast and blew away the cobwebs at the Devils Causeway.

Always, at the back of our minds, were the unspoken thoughts and concerns that lots of people, who looked and behaved exactly as everyone else, would quite like to kill us or anyone else who did not fit in to their ways.

We were warned on arrival that opposite the entrance to the barracks was an office block which was constantly manned with people who were taking photographs and notes of all arrivals and departures. I suppose that intelligence gathering is a vital part of any war!

Erica “signed on” in NI and was given a fictitious address to use. However, she found it very difficult to cope with friendly ladies asking what she had been doing, where she lived, what she wanted to do. She met a young man on several visits and he appeared to realise she was a soldiers wife, she believed he was an ex policeman but neither could be open and honest.

During our time there Erica had to go to hospital in Belfast. Belfast was not a nice place to visit. She was driven by a young lady driver, was a little disturbed by the pistol on the seat beside her, and not entirely happy with all of the road blocks and paramilitary types between her and the hospital. Belfast had bunkers on the tops of blocks of flats. Most were IRA bunkers!

Our House was alongside the Helipad – a very large area where the helicopters were stored, serviced, took off and landed, apart from the Chinooks. They landed on the sports fields. Consequently, we were always aware if something big was happening. We saw the bomb disposal teams coming and going, the stores being loaded and unloaded. One night, a particularly low flying heli lifted our garden shed and deposited it 3 gardens down!

WO2

As a Warrant Officer I had to take turns to man the Operations room during the night. This involved handling communications by radio, telephone and teleprinter and acting as the link between the barracks and all patrols. It was stressful at times, especially if there was “contact” with any hostiles. You could detect the edginess, the fear and the adrenaline over the radio but felt almost helpless in that you were unable to see or hear what was happening because the radio procedure on contact was “Contact. Wait out”………………………… What the hell was happening, they were too occupied to let you know!

A lot of the equipment that is used by soldiers is dangerous. Guns, explosives, helicopters, large vehicles, bayonets, heavy objects.

In my tour of Northern Ireland more soldiers were killed and injured by accidents than by hostile action. This is probably true of all deaths in NI but don’t quote me on that.

We had a major helicopter crash  where, miraculously, only one soldier was killed. One poor young lad was very seriously injured and burned. He crawled away from the crash site and was not found immediately. Amongst other horrific injuries he lost his sight and has been a resident of St Dunstans ever since.

One young Corporal was married to an absolutely stunningly pretty and highly intelligent girl. They were a lovely couple. He became insecure and could not understand why she had chosen to marry him. He attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest. He survived and appeared to recover fully. However, the second time round he made sure and shot himself through the roof of his mouth. What a tragic waste.

Despite all this, life went on. People got married, children were born, relatives died, gardens were created and thrived, church, shopping, parties, all of life carried on.

Whilst writing this I am brought to tears! What a tragic waste of life but how privileged I am to have experienced what the majority cannot even contemplate and how fortunate I am to have had Erica beside me.

Pause for thought

What is the difference between a bunch of lads, noisy, brash, slightly offensive, standing on a street corner and a troop of lads patrolling the streets in NI or Afghanistan?

Google facts
  • There is an almost even split between the number of British troops killed in combat situations and the number killed in non-combat situations – that is, in accidents, friendly fire incidents or from natural causes.
  • The IRA killed almost twice the number of British soldiers in one year (1972) as Iraqi insurgents have killed over more than three years.