Monthly Archives: July 2010

Decision

Kerensa,

Do you really think that we could refuse an invitation ultimatum to meet JTL and HD? I’m still convinced that we’ll discover that he is a cardboard cut-out, much like the Dr Who in our hall 🙂

I’ve always wanted to see Glasgow and to do both in one weekend would be great. I think that a little more than an hour in our company would be a punishment for them though, just ask people in Swansea!!!

More Thoughts

Following the comments on my previous post I have a dilemma. Do I find time to go to the city of the deep fried Mars bar?

Plus : Deep Fried Mars Bar -do they actually exist?
May bump into guy from Hue & Cry
Possible Glasgow Derby
Meeting weird wibsiter and her imaginery HD
Rab C Nesbit & drinking cans of Special Brew outdoors
Seeing the Clyde
Billy Connelly

Cons: Incomprehensible Accent
Jimmy Sommerville
Sink Estates
Not Wales

Mmmmmm…..

Holiday Thoughts

I am counting down the days until I finish for our summer break. For the first year ever I am having half of August off. Not because we have plans, other than a week in Swanage with the nephews, but because it will be good to have a decent break.

We are planning to visit the city with the castle on the hill in November for a long weekend. I’ve never been that far north and am looking forward to visiting the capital of cross-dressing land and going over the steel monster on the train. Why else would one go there?

Reassurance (Disappointment?)

I am indeed still alive and therefore survived the altercation with the truck. Either that, or I am writing this from beyond the grave MWAHHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Apologies to any readers who would have prefered the second option….. I live to bring disappointment to the lives of others 🙂

Things What I Learnt Yesterday

1. If a truck’s wheel trims comes into contact with your car then you will come off worst.
2. A truck can push your car along just using its wheel trims
3. The gent’s loo in the BP garage toilet at the westbound services at Membury plays bird song – most unsettling
4. According to the guy behind the counter I look like Robbie Krieger from The Doors.

Left: Tired&Emotional Above: Robbie Krieger

For Bimble

I have visited the Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. I found it interesting but misplaced. The IWM would be the place for a temporary exhibition but it seems to have become a permanent home.

I think that it would be better to have a museum dedicated to genocide through history. It would include such things as the destruction of indigenous peoples of empire (not just the British); the Turkish massacre of the Armenians; Bosnia (and the rest of former Yugoslavia); Cambodia; Rawanda; and of course the Former Soviet Union.

I am not trying to belittle the Holocaust. If you’d seen my bookshelves you’d know how much it interests me. I have also visited several sites associated with it – including the Wannsee Villa where the bureaucrats met to discuss what a Jew was defined as. This was not the meeting that decided on the Final Solution, contrary to accepted wisdom.

It was the greatest ever attempt at the systematic destruction of an entire racial group. Being only one eigth Jewish was enough to consign you to a gas chamber or a bullet in your neck.

What was done here was murder on an industrial scale, something that had never before been done. Genocide has happened throughout history, even in the Bible, yet this was something never seen before. It involved people in every occupied country and territory in Europe, with the exception of Denmark. People knew what was happening but chose to ignore it.

Yet the IWM is not the place for a permanent home and the Holocaust deserves a home of its own. It is out of place in the home of our nation’s military history. It doesn’t fit in with the over-riding theme. It was a New Labour answer to a bigger question.

Broodie? Moi!!!

It was good to the see the news of the latest arrival at the Wibsite. Being born at 3:28 a.m. shows that she’ll be as conventional as her mother 🙂

People in work saw me grinning when I received the text from FW notifying me of the arrival. They asked if I was not broodie for kids. Me? I’m bloke!!! I only get broodie for my Alfa, my cats, rugby, football, alcohol, music, films and books. Oh, and FW when she’s away.

Children have never been on my agenda. 2 grown up children in the house are enough for me. I am not built to be a parent. I lack the patience to cope and don’t have the temperament required. I realised this at an early age and have never changed.

If kids went from birth straight to teens then I think that I might be able to cope. I found it much better when you deal with them as teens/adults. They are far more interesting, engaging and fun/

Don’t get me wrong, I love my nephews like nothing else but am only to happy to give them back. It’s best for them and me. I can cope with children in small, manageable doses.

Do I get concerned about not having a new generation following me? Not really. I have 2 nephews who may not share the name but they share the genes.

So I have no hankering for ones of my own but wish those well who have them.

Today

Today we got up very early.

Sorry, I got up very early and FW fell asleep again and woke up later than required. You see we had to leave the house early as we had to go to Stanmore to collect my Anniversary present. We also wanted to get home so that FW could do some work on the Plot.

Weird things:

The Jewish guy stood beside the road in Harrow with a fluorescent yellow jacket and walkie-talkie. There was no visible reason for this. We decided he was a Torah Man, keeping a watch out for sabbath-breakers.

The woman we bought my present from actually lives in Cardiff but was clearing out her father’s house. So we had a 310 mile round trip 🙂 Ah well, we enjoyed it.

Tomorrow is the Beer Festival at the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway. For those who are not aware, the railway recently extended the line by 1 1/4 miles to the old Blaenavon High Level Station, which is being rebuilt. The line last had a passenger service in 1941.

The plans are to build a branch line to connect with The Big Pit. Then it will be extended up the valley to Waunavon and down the valley to Talywain.

Blaenavon is one of the sites that mark the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and is a World Heritage Site. This is a bleak and rough area that would probably have remained as open moorland, if the iron ore and coal had not been found in the area. Since Big Pit closed in 1980 Blaenavon has become one of those depressed mining communities whose best days are behind it.

Attempts were made to rebrand Blaenavon as a Book Town, similar to Hay on Wye, but this died a death as very few people came. One problem is that the attractions are outside the town centre itself and people tend to visit Big Pit or the railway but not the town. As such businesses that are there struggle to survive.

Torfaen Council are heavily involved in regenerating the town but I have no idea what this means as you see no concrete results. What they did do was close the local leisure centre and tell residents to travel 6 mile down the valley to Pontypool if they wanted to swim.

Blaenavon was also the setting for Rape of the Fair Country by Alexander Cordell. A story of the Industrial Revolution and part of a trilogy with The Hosts of Rebecca and Song of The Earth that followed a family through the upheaval that followed.

For those who believe that such exploitation is gone should know that Glamorgan Power want to create an Open Cast Mine just down the valley in Varteg. This has created strong local opposition. One reason being that it would be under 500 metres from a local school and houses, this is the legal minimum allowed for such a develpoment.

Local opposition has gained a partial victory but it looks like the company will come back. It doesn’t seem to matter that the road network is not capable of handling the number of trucks that they envisage using and no one is talking of improving them.

More tomorrow.

French Lessons ( and Others)

As I write this I am watching Monsignor Renard, the series with John Thaw as a priest in occupied France. It is odd becuase all the French seem to come from the north of England, while the Germans speak in German or with German accents. Maybe John Thaw couldn’t speak in a French accent!! Then again it could be seen as being to Allo! Allo!

The series is good but it lacks a sense of reality. It is a British view on a French tradegy and that it is the problem. There is a lack of depth to the story and the underlying tensions between the Petainists, the Communists, those who were patriotic to France and the vast majority who wished to live life as best they could.

This ties in well with the current “heavy” book I’m reading – The Dark Years, 1940-1944 by Julian Jackson. Some of you may actually know him, as I believe he worked in a 3rd rate educational facility somewhere to the west of here 🙂

This is a heavy academic styled history book. It covers the years of occupation but also the background to what helped to weaken France; how French society was lost and unsure of its own identity. That it had been lost since the fall of the Third Empire, the Dreyfuss Trial and the disappointment with the Third Republic.

I’m also reading Kristallnacht: Prelude to Destruction by Martin Gilbert. I have already read his The Holocaust; Israel: A History and his 3 volume work on the History of the 20th Century. He is one of my favourite historians as he writes in an open and accessible way. His histories flow with a sense of personal involvement and a desire to share his interest in the subject he is writing about.

His book on the Holocaust brings this subject to life in a different way. He shows us how the persecution grew by telling us the story from the ground up. He tells the stories of the people who died each day and in each village, town and city. How a death here and several there, soon mount up into the hundreds, thousands and millions.

Almost no village, town or city in occupied Europe was unaffected by Hitler’s Final Solution. There were many acts of resistance to the policy but most, whether German or otherwise, chose to ignore what was happening, or actively took part.

It is funny how so many Germans, Poles, Russians, Balts, French or Belgians had no idea that all this was happening.

Cool For Cats

I am officially cool!!!

I have always known that I am cool because I have always been a trend setters. Cargo Pants? That was me. The Mod Revival (circa 1979)? That was me. Levi 501’s? Ditto. Those pilots jackets that are popular with skinheads and some gay men? That was me – not the gay bit.

The other day it was reinforced as I was called cool on Facebook. If it’s on Facebook then it must be true…… 🙂

Thanks Stroppy Boy for the accolade.