Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori.

The Wireless Theatre Company have produced my first short radio play, the following link will get you to the Wireless Theatre page and you can find my play under the Drama category, I hope. Why do people keep moving things about, I’m damned if I know.              ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori’ is available as a download for virtually nothing, for your edification and delight.

Follow the link


It took ages to get the above link on this page, I think computers should be easier to do than this, couldn’t there be an Add Link box on the tool bar thingy, perhaps there is and I just don’t know where to find it.

Still I got there in the end by copying a previous blog and deleting everything bar the link! I’m exhusted by all this computer jiggery pokery, I’m off for a lay down in a dark room.

Toodle pip.

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The Olympics.

I have said it before but am beginning to be even more appreciative of living in the countryside especially now the Olympics are to be foisted on an unsuspecting East London.

There are obviously business opportunities to be had for the small entrepreneur most of which will revolve around the fact that East London will be at a standstill for most of the day and I suspect some of the night too.

The first scheme that came to mind was to revive the old traffic light window cleaning scam whereby, (for those of you not old enough to have seen it before) was to rush up to cars stopped at traffic lights and squirt soapy water at the windscreen in the pretext that removing it with a rubber ‘Squeegee’ blade constituted a window washing service.

Personally I’m a little precious about any of my cars, even more so when I’ve just cleaned them so always had to resort to the not too friendly greeting of shouting, ‘don’t you dare touch my F’ing car’ whenever I was caught at the traffic lights.

Funny how the practice has stopped, or has it? Perhaps the aggressive Eastern Europeans who assaulted you at the traffic lights have merely gone up market and mellowed in their ways, or maybe the staff at the current hand car washes come from an altogether more friendly part of Europe.

Alternately we could revive the practice of selling small bunches of roses to the grid locked traffic, after all we all need small bunches of roses to take home on our way back from work, assuming we have managed to get there in the first place.

Selling newspapers, sandwiches, or ice cream, are all schemes that have crossed my mind but have all been written off as you need a vehicle to get the merchandise to the customer, not an easy task when the whole of East London is grid locked.

I have a creative mind and am not one to be beaten, so by a process of elimination came to the conclusion that whatever one wanted to sell it would have to be transported by bicycle but what was to be the product.

Then in one of those ‘Eureka’ moments it came to me, if all the drivers are stuck for hours in their cars the obvious service they will all need is a public convenience.

Luckily I’m good with my hands so have put the Bank Holiday weekend to good use by affixing wheels to a portaloo and coupling it to my trusty bicycle.

This scheme was appearing to be a possibility, barring the strain on my Sturmey Archer gears and my legs when I realised the fatal flaw was that I no longer lived in the East end and would require a vehicle to transport my ‘bicyloo’ to London every day.

I have to admit I have not patented the idea so if there are any budding entrepreneurs who wish to use my idea I am only too happy to relinquish the scheme, however it would be a nice gesture if you were to send me a small gratuity, I’m thinking 10% is not overly greedy.

Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Toodle pip.

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Now I don’t know about you but I speak English, it may not be the best English but it is English none the less and I hope to continue speaking English until I die.

However our children and it seems an ever larger number of the youth of today are veering away from English and taking up speaking American of all things.

So many words are being waylaid; movie for film, candy for sweets, garbage for rubbish, principal for headmaster, cookies for biscuits, to name but a few.

I blame British television or indeed the lack of it for the decline in the use of proper English, where I might ask are the English programmes, all our children watch are mostly American.

The only time you see proper English spoken on television is when they put one of the fabulous period dramas on for a few weeks on a Sunday evening and yes, I know I’m a Luddite, but if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

I’m sure when the Pilgrim Fathers left these shores for a better life in the Colonies we were speaking the same language, what on earth went wrong, perhaps they were too busy concentrating on the religious side of things to bother speaking properly.

I realise that language evolves but it should be for the better and I myself have used many modern words, for example Fab which I use on a regular basis.

However I would justify my use of the word by pointing out that it was originally derived from 15th century Latin, Fabulosus, ( from a fable or story) and even the popularised Fab only came into use in the late 50’s early 60’s, so not too modern then.

I wonder if you were to ask the Americans what language do they think they are speaking, American, or English very badly, what their answer might be?

Still as I have said language does evolve so perhaps there is sliver of hope, would it be possible I wonder, that the American language could evolve and go full circle and emerge as perfect Received Pronunciation English.

I won’t hold my breath waiting, but you never know.

Toodle pip.

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The Orthodontist.

I was up at the crack of sparrows this morning as usual when I realised there was no great rush as I was taking our youngest to the orthodontist.

It’s strange how impersonal things have become and we all seem to take it for granted, like checking in at the doctor or orthodontist for example.

Gone are the days when you would stand at the counter to be greeted by a cheery ‘hello’ from the friendly receptionist, oh no, nowadays it’s a flat screen computer thingy where you punch in the relevant details, date of birth etc, all very impersonal.

Then you sit down and wait your turn, it’s almost as if you have skulked in, God forbid you should actually have to speak to another human being and then in an effort to avoid eye contact while you are waiting you can get your mobile phone out and engross yourself in playing with it.

I prefer the more human approach to life so embroiled our daughter in conversation much to her chagrin as she felt I was speaking too loudly and I’m still struggling to get her to appreciate my sense of humour.

During our conversation I noticed a thirty five year old man coming into the waiting room dressed in a schoolboys outfit and was most surprised when he punched in his birthday details to find he was younger than our daughter.

Lord knows what they’re feeding fourteen year old boys nowadays, I suppose some of it must be genetic and to be fair he was sporting the same moustache as his mother.

It wasn’t long before we went in to have her brace tightened and for her to choose yet another colour for the retaining bands, this time dayglow green and as she had only had the bottom done it was an interesting colour contrast with the bright blue she had on her top set.

In my day we never had braces, as I recollect the dentist (I don’t think orthodontists had been invented then) always used to say to everyone, ‘oh they will straighten by themselves, don’t worry’; they never did of course, still what’s wrong  ‘character teeth’.

I must say I prefer a bit of character, it must be the media that is making all the young try to look the same with perfect teeth, film star looks and ‘comb over’ haircuts…….’comb over’ haircuts, do they know where the original ‘sad git comb over’ came from!

What, I wonder are all the young people who are currently sporting ‘comb over’ haircuts going to do when they get older and start to go bald, there’s a conundrum.

I’ll leave that one with you, answers on a postcard.

Toodle pip.

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I’m sure I mentioned before that our boy child is not the brightest spark and after much persuasion we have finally managed to make some headway in getting him assessed.

It seems he has a mental age of 8 and an IQ of 60, (bear with me, it’s a long list) Frontal Lobe Damage, Learning Difficulties, ADHD and is borderline Autistic, it’s no wonder he’s not top of the class at school.

When you know all the things that are wrong with him it’s surprising he can function at all and it’s even more surprising that all the time we insisted to the school that he wasn’t the full shilling, they persisted with their opinion that there was nothing wrong.

We’ve seen that many councilors lately I’m loosing track as to which one is which and what their purpose is, let alone which of us is actually being counciled.

The counseling does help as it’s the only time the boy opens up, or at least attempts to do so, the world must be quite a confusing place for him.

Obviously with the ADHD you can see when he drifts off and is not with you and you call his name and he comes back, but the worrying aspect is his description of when he’s drifted off.

One example was at school in DT, what we in the old school used to call Woodwork and Metalwork, he described drifting off and when he came back he had damaged the bench with a drill.

Now maybe I’m being overly dramatic but I’m hoping that sometime in the future he doesn’t find himself, (having just returned from drifting off), holding a blood stained kitchen knife and wondering where the rest of us have gone to.

Disciplining children is a new experience for me, I used to use the old school method, the same method used to communicate with foreigners; you say what is necessary in a raised voice with perfect English pronunciation and that used to get the job done.

Apparently this method of child rearing and for that matter, communicating with foreigners has been superceded by a more considered approach, and one which I embrace wholeheartedly; apparently foreigners actually expect to be spoken to in their own language nowadays.

At school it has now got to a point where the Peter Principle is having an effect, ie; the boy has risen to his level of incompetence.

He is in year 10, higher tier doing GCSE except Maths where he is in the Foundation class, this may mean something to my younger readers but it’s all Greek to me.

I was extremely lucky when I was young and had the benefit of an excellent school, but as far as I recollect we just had classes and some children were clever and some not so clever, which left everyone else somewhere in the middle, it was so much easier in the old days!

It seems quite extraordinary that the school would have him in the higher class when he is so obviously completely out of his depth and even he has realised he’s not going to get to University all we have to do now is get him in the right class and hope he can scrape some sort of qualification.

I believe the wife knows someone who is a supermarket manager so perhaps he could employ our boy to stack shelves and who knows, from little acorns!

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I’m getting hints of Elderflower.

My how versatile the Elderflower appears to be; one can use it in beer, Champagne, liqueur spirits, cordial, Vodka, Gin, Tea, and also surprisingly make Elderflower wine.

In cooking it can be used in Summer Pudding, Honey Cake, and Cheese Cake and in Fritters to name but four, however Wiki do dah says a fritter is any kind of food coated in batter and deep-fried.

Quite how this equates with the Scottish habit of deep-frying Mars bars, or how even with the addition of the magic ingredient Elderflower, I still fail to see how a deep-fried Mars bar can become an edible foodstuff.

Apparently one can use Elderflower in a pudding called Panna Cotta which I’m led to believe comes from Italy, although it looks to me to be nothing more than good old-fashioned British Blancmange.

It’s strange how even the mention of certain things can instantly transform you back in time to your school days, ah yes, school dinners; happy days!

How pleasant some times can be; a beautiful summer day, a picnic by the river, Radio Four playing quietly on the wireless, a glass of chilled wine and, yes I’m getting creosote with hints of Elderflower.

Such a shame that the Elderflower seems to be so versatile and yet in the countryside all it seems to do is congregate on the trees in enormous quantities whilst waiting for sufficient wind so that it can float happily on the breeze.

Yes, vast quantities of the Damn stuff, like snow falling, eventually landing and covering everything in a fine white powder, like an explosion in a Cocaine factory.

In the mean time I and many like me are sneezing as if we are auditioning for one of the Seven Dwafts, eyes red with irritation, this never happened when I lived in the town.

I must say though, even with the attack of the Elderflower I’m still preferring my new life as a Country Bumpkin.

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Water, water, everywhere!

Here we are in the country, up to our necks in water and not a drop to drink and suffering a hosepipe ban.

I would love to use a hosepipe and wash the car if only it would stop raining long enough, still that’s the British Spring for you.

Talking of Spring it’s wonderful to see the little baby rabbits in the garden, the little ducklings on the pond and the beautiful baby lambs in the field although I’m led to believe by the locals that they are actually food and not just there to decorate the countryside.

One looses track of time but I must have lived in the countryside for at least two, if not three years by now and I’m begining to get used to the place.

What joy it is to drive in the countryside, no speed humps, very few speed cameras, no stupid 20mph speed zones which you find in London.

Whoever invented the 20mph limit in London can’t have ever driven a car as most of the time when driving there you would be only too happy to attain the giddy heights of 20 mph.

On a different tack altogether, the wife, well I say the wife even though we haven’t actually got married yet but it is on the cards for the future…anyway, the wife has four children, two elder and two younger which she adopted with her previous husband before he died.

Well, it’s a long story, but….the boy when he arrived had obviously not been stimulated a great deal and had difficulty speaking properly but the wife spent many a long hour working to improve him and has indeed made a silk purse out of a sows ear.

However he is still not the sharpest tool in the box and when I arrived I was wondering if his inability to shut the door or obey any instructions when I asked was because of his resentment that I had in some way taken his mothers attention away from him.

The wife had always insisted to the doctor and especially to the school that there was something wrong but they always said ‘no, everythings fine, he’s on track for C to A grades there’s no problem’.

Well with much persistance we have at last managed to get some help and the boy has been diognosed with Frontal Lobe Damage, Learning Difficulties and ADHD and one is forced to say, ‘I told you so!’

He is now 15 going on 16,with a mental age of 8 to 11,  such a shame we couldn’t have got some help earlier, but at least it explains all the things he does and when he now does something stupid we remind ourselves, he’s only 8 and it helps a lot.

It also helps to have a name to put to the problem as ‘stupid boy’ didn’t seem to work as a medical condition.

It’s very early days, it was only yesterday that we had confirmation of the ADHD and the posibility of medication to help the situation.

We have for some time now been pondering what the future may hold for him as it seems hard to imagine him being able to hold down a job, although one thing he is brilliant at is timekeeping, he’ll always be on time for work, it’s just a matter of what he can do when he’s got there.

I’m sure we’ll find something for him, we don’t like to be beaten…..Good Lord, I’ve just noticed it’s stopped raining for at least two minutes, I must dash out and deal with a problem with the septic tank, ah life in the country, you can’t beat it!

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