Thursday, October 29, 2009
I had a very good thought for a blog topic just before dinner ,,, about an hour ago .,.,
Now ? ,,,, can't bloody remember what it was ?? Too busy this past week or so ,,,
I've been losing my cool with some "suppliers" ,,,
Why is nothing made properly these days ,, ?
Every damn thing needs taking back & changed !
However I am having a good run of "successes" this past wee while ( ie, rubbish goods & services that I've managed to get replacements or money back from ! )
Here's the list ,,, so far !
British Rail , PC World ( for Epson ), Superfi ( for Kef ), B & Q ( late delivery & microvave problem), Egg ( credit card problem ) Earrings & Necklace problem ( not mine I hasten to add ! ) and faulty new Golf Bag !
But it's such a drag having to pursue these people ,,,, how much better if they just GOT IT RIGHT to start with ?
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The news report last night ( I tried so hard not to hear it ) of the little girl 'phoning for help as she died in a blaze .,., reportedly started by her father ! If he did then there is no sentence the courts can pass that will ever fit his crime .,., I sentence him to rot slowly in Hell for all eternity.
This is yet another death by fire which seems to have plagued my life for as long as I can remember.
I make no apology for lifting this story excerpt from my own book and blogging it this morning ....
Then there was the day, or was it the night ? ------ yes it was definitely the late evening, and one I’ll never, ever forget …….
We heard the screams first of all, loud and piercing and prolonged screams …. Awful screams …..
We thought at first, well I thought, that maybe someone was “carrying on“ ,,,,, some “ high jinx in the close “ , something like that …… then the thought that some people were fighting or ………… then finally, the sudden realization as the screams became even louder and more pain-filled, that someone was in real trouble …. and right outside our door, 3-stories up !!
Up each of the closes in Burgher St., three families lived on each “ landing “, with one communal outside toilet on the half landing . That was 12 families to the close ? ….. very bloody close we all became …. we stayed in the top flat, left as you climbed the stairs, right of course if you looked up from the street !
Jean Moore and her old dad stayed directly opposite us on the top floor. I can still see big Jean in her Rangers Scarf going to the football match on a Sat. afternoon … A big bruiser of a woman she was …. I think I even to this day still have a photograph of her just as I’ve described . But the Salt of the Earth .
Old Mrs. MacFedris stayed directly below us. She and her sister lived together, two old Lady-Buddies … and boy, did they suffer ! These were the two old dearies that used to have to put up with that budding football star and his coach , when dad and I played football up and down the lobby with the tanner ba’. Thinking back we really must have made a helluva din on top of these old souls ….. dad wasn’t exactly your light weight coach !!! and we would hoot and holler up and down the lobby for ages some nights …. no tv in those days either so we had to do our own thing ,,,,, make our own entertainment … and these were also the days of minimalist floor coverings ,,,, no wall to wall thick Axminster carpeting in this neck of the woods …… bare floorboards were the order of the day !! I can recall mum shouting at us to calm down some nights so I guess we must have been going at it .
Anyway to return to the story which, quite frankly, I’m not sure I can write, and I know I’m trying to avoid actually putting it down on paper …… some painful memories are perhaps better left dormant ?
I’ve spoken about this incident before, to people very close to me, but I’ve never seen it written down and I don’t know that I really want to .
The little girl was perhaps 5 or 6 , maybe as old as 7 but no more ---- she was 2 or 3 years younger than me, that’s all I can remember. She lived next door, in the middle flat .
How sad, I don’t even remember her name now ? I seem to recall an older sister and a mother but I don’t recall a father in that house somehow.
I can’t focus on her name or the family name ,,,,, I’m sure the trauma of it has made me block them out of my mind . I started to think about her again after my dad died …….. naturally …. but that’s another painful story for much later .
She had long, long black hair , that I remember, and she was wearing a long white nightie that fateful night. This I know absolutely. I can still see her .
The screams suddenly got louder as their door was thrown open and her mother started yelling for someone to help …..
“ Help ! help me , she’s burning ,” she cried.
Only then did we realize what was happening …… this seems to have taken an age to tell to this point but it all happened in seconds, from that first scream until we were all out on the landing .
If I live to be 100 I’ll never be able to forget that horror on the landing .
It simply won’t erase itself from my memory. It brings me to tears even reading this again.
The little girl was ablaze, from head to toe ----- her long beautiful hair was on fire and her face and head were in the middle of a raging inferno and she was jumping up and down on the spot, screaming and screaming and screaming ……. and oh God, screaming …
I couldn’t look, yet I couldn’t look away ,,,, I’d never witnessed anything so truly awful in my life before, nor since, and I never, ever want to again .
My mum pulled me to her apron and hid my face …… but still I witnessed the horror ….
My dad turned into an instant hero that night.
He pulled the loose carpet runner from our lobby ( fortunately not fitted or nailed down ) and dragged it onto the landing . He pulled the little girl down onto it, still screaming in terror and burning wildly ,,, the flames were about 3-feet above her head now, and all the way up his arms , ,,, he wrapped and rolled her in the carpet until the flames went out.
However, by the time that was done it was already too late --- the damage had been well and truly done …… her body and head burns were so severe that my little neighbour died, but not ‘til some 3 or 4 long, long painful days later . That’s another smell I can smell still ….. human flesh burning …..
I have absolutely no recollection of anything else that night, no ambulance, no medics, doctor, police ,,,,,, all of which must have happened ,,,,,, but to this day I can still see that little figure standing there totally engulfed in flames ,,, and I still hear her screammmmssss ,,, oh the screammmmmmsss …………..
It could have been yesterday ……….. it WAS yesterday … and today …. and tomorrow ….
This I guess is what affected me so badly when my dad died from the effects of that dammed fire . And again yesterday when I heard that news story .,.,
I couldn't sleep last night again.
I just hate fire so much .,., when I hear of anyone suffering a similar fate on the news it destroys yet another little part inside my soul .
Monday, October 19, 2009
Also click on this link & watch the video :
A coal mine, Freyming, in the Alsace Lorraine district, south east France, on the German border was having serious problems with a huge batch of our world famous underground Methane detectors, a semi portable combustible gas detector specifically designed for underground work.
Malcolm was to be the technical Whiz since this was a “Safety Division“ portable product.
I was to be the overseer, both technically and commercially ,,, the customer contact man and prime negotiator ,, ( not Malcolm’s forte ! )
Ronald Scott, our MD at the time, had advised me that this would be a huge challenge, since if these instruments had to be returned for full credit we would lose a fortune, and also lose all follow up sales in Europe to boot !!
Och no problem then, thinks me ,.,. gulp !!
Anyway off we set ( with barely a word of French between us I might add ! )
We arrived and were ensconced in a wee French hotel in the middle of nowhere, somewhat akin to a poor Travel Lodge type of thing !!
Next morning we were up with the lark and off to the Pit .,,. Introductions were made between us & the Mine Management personnel ( English speakers thank God ! ,, no need for our school boy French or translators ,, above ground at least ! ) We also met all the appropriate technical engineers who would be working with us, some of the miners using the equipment and of course the pit’s Lamp Man ! .,., he who dishes out safety helmet, Davy lamp, gas detectors etc, to the guys going underground for their 7-hour shift.
We were then taken to the Pit changing area to get kitted out for our first trip underground ( in France that is ,,, we had been down many other UK pits before this )
The sun was just coming up now for we’d set off very early to try catching the 6-am shift going down ,,, It was a typical late autumn, early winter morning in France ,, slightly misty, with the sun breaking through with great shafts of light coming in the windows.
I had expected a British style worker’s changing room with bench seats and lockers round the walls for our clothes etc ,,, but what I saw when I entered this ENORMOUS ( football stadium sized ) room was a sight that will never leave me ,,, it took my breath away ,, mine and Malcolm’s .,,. I looked around at eye level ,, body height ,,, no benches, no lockers ,,, ( we were alone in this room, the miners having already passed through ) then something drew our eyes upwards ,,,, a movement above us, the roof was a multitude of glass panels some 50-feet up ,, the sun was streaming in, in great wide shafts ,,, it took us a moment or two to focus ,,, then .,., all of a sudden, there they were ,,,
Bodies seemingly, dozens of them, swaying, ever so slowly turning, arms hanging limply by their sides, legs quite still, hanging 20-30 feet up in the air ,, on chains !! I couldn’t help myself ,,, “ Jesus Christ ! ” I shouted, “ what the hell is that “,,, then it all became clear ,,, These were the French Miner’s lockers in the sky .,.,., we quickly learned how to use this most ingenious but bloody scary contraption. The “body holder” ( in reality a fancy coat hanger with places for trousers, jackets, and even hats ,, ) was lowered on a long chain ,, you then proceeded to undress yourself ( standing up ! ) and dress the dumb waiter ,,, once you had donned your dungarees, boots etc, all your clothes & valuables were then hoisted up to whatever height you considered “safe”, where you then fastened a padlock through the chain, pocketing the key in a safe place in your dungarees, leaving your stuff dangling in the air till your return.
This is a sight I will truly never forget ! Oh that I had had my camera that week .,.,
Anyway, to cut a long story somewhat short ,,, Malcolm & I worked diligently for days on end down in the bowels of this pit, the deepest, muddiest and furthest train ride then walk to the lowest coal face I’ve ever seen, ( we were on our backs at some points at a 2-foot face ) trying to figure out the problem of these faulty instruments ,,, ( this was one of the Company’s most successful lines in preventing underground explosions so it was baffling that this French company ,,, one of the first to use them on the continent ,, was having such problems.
We monitored every unit going underground, checked it on it’s return, saw them being calibrated in the lab ,, everything ,,, and still the faults came ( instability, odd alarms ,,, ! )
Then came the long awaited breakthrough .,.,., first, we were very close to Hombourg Haut, my son-in-law’s ( at the time ! ) family home so I decided to take Malcolm for an evening visit to meet my French in-laws.
Secondly, André’s dad, wee Roland, was a very congenial host and plied us with the family's “Home Made Schnapps” as well as tales of when he himself worked in the very Mine we were investigating !! ( he had actually been Freyming's Lamp man years before ! ) Wow, What a small world I thought ,,,
Anyway, Annie & Roland fed us a splendid meal and home we eventually toddled to our sumptuous hotel ! ( NOT )
A few days later, about 10-days now into our visit, much more technical data taken and analysed, and more and more distraught calls from our home based MD, Ronald Scott, bemoaning our progress or lack of ,,, we hit the Mine for the mid morning shift changeover and were in the calibration lab when elevenses happened !
In comes the old Pit Lamp Man carrying a tray of drinks !! Eh ? Whit ?? The guys all have their little glass of “hooch” with their morning croissant ,, including me of course !! but not the dedicated Malcolm ,,, who carries on calibrating instrument after instrument ,,,
Shit, I suddenly think ,,, this is what my son-in-law's old man Roland had told us and we didn’t twig ,,, the Lamp man, with absolutely bugger all to do for the whole shift time the miners are underground, becomes the pit Schnapps Maker !! They have their own illegal distillery in practically every pit in France apparently ! .,., but I didn’t for a moment consider they might actually drink the stuff whilst calibrating their life saving instruments ( or prior to going underground !! )
Even yet it still hadn’t percolated through my sleep deprived brain ,, but as I swigged my drink and calibrated my next instrument it suddenly dawned ,, like a shaft of that great sunlight it hit me ,,, Malcolm missed it because he remained tee-total on the job !
For the non-technically minded among you , methane ( the potential underground danger gas ) is a simple hydrocarbon .,., alcohol is similarly a simple hydrocarbon ,,,, the instruments being zeroed on pure nitrogen of course, and then spanned ( calibrated to correctly read explosive levels of methane gas ) were being confused and incorrectly zeroed because of the hydrocarbon gas on the lab technician’s breath ! ( and similarly later underground on the miners breath ! )
I proved this to myself by simply breathing up close to the instrument sensor and then called out to Malcolm “ Pack your suitcase ,.,. We’re going home my son “
An afternoon of discussions with the Mine Management, a call to Ronald ( who practically kissed me thro’ the phone and was forever after grateful ) and we were on our way ,,, but not before the very grateful and relieved Mine Manager ( for it was he who had specified using the MSA instruments and not a local alternative !! ) presented Malcolm and I with very special gifts. Mine was a hand painted Japanese water / Sake jug with 6-little drinking glasses ,,,, ( how appropriate was that !! ) .,., each glass with a different naked woman on the inside base who only shows when there is Sake or clear liquid in the glass ,,,
I still have it to this day ! I don’t remember what he gave Malcolm .,., something different but equally unique !!
I rather think however, we were not quite as popular in the Lab or down the pit because a stop was immediately put on their mid morn hooch habit !!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Don't worry Thomas, it was all pretty positive !
We were kinda doin' a comparison twixt the old & the new .,., and really it wasn't the sons -in-law, but the Maws & Paws in-law who were being compared.
First off we had one of the salt-of-the-earth .,., little Roland, the Coal Miner .,., I had stuff in common with the wee man from Hombourg-Haut, having spent much of my own working life in the pursuit of underground life saving instrumentation. I even spent the best part of 2-weeks working in his Pit in France investigating peculiarly French problems ! ( something for another blog perhaps )
Then we got Peter, the absent minded Professor ... now Peter & I have little in common, work wise, even less belief wise, for Peter is a University Prof. of Theology & Divinity, but that aside he's a helluva guy and we get on like long lost brothers !
Roland, in his own quiet way was a fun wee man .,., alas, sadly now gone, both from our family and from this mortal coil ,,
Peter could never be descibed as a wee guy ,, more something of a man mountain ,, but both these guys enjoy(ed) good company & good whisky .,.,., In different circumstances I could actually see them also get on well together !
In France the Mother-in-law to my dear daughter was like a real mother, but more of a granny in both age & attitude to her beloved #2 son. Annie never worked outside the home ,,, but she did more than her fair share in children & culinary duties. A lovely old lady. I miss her.
Now there is Brita, who never stopped working ,,, and what fame she brings to the family ,, first ever Lady Minister of Religion in all of Denmark ,, Brita has now been forced from her beloved Church & into retirement ,, and she's finding it hard ! ( I must introduce this woman to Golf ! )
Like our sorely missed Angela ( our son's Ma-in-law) Both women in their own way are gems .,., I'm so happy to have known them .,., but I also wonder now, after the divorce & re-marriage, what they all think of us ,, the other side of the coin ?
Anyway, getting back to the first thought .,., not surprisingly, since the daughter chose them both, there are similarities betwixt the sons-in-law past & present .,.,
Both are absolute NERDS !! but there is a very fundamental difference .,., which I now see daily. The 2nd. ( and hopefully the last ! ) has brought the joy back into my daughter's life .,., his love for her shines like a beacon in the fog .,.,
Thomas/Phyllis, you need do no more than love each other this way, always, and you'll be the happiest of people.
What was daftie's crime ? He jokingly said his dance partner looked like a "Paki" after a tanning session. Now here's the rub, according to my beloved !
Since Anton's lovely Moroccan woman partner took such umbridge to this remark .,., ie, insulted to be called a "Paki" .,., then surely it's HER who's the racist ,, not the obviously joking dancer ?? Good point my dear .,., I couldn't agree more .,.,
Get her some security quick !! The Loonies might have worked this out too !!
Friday, October 16, 2009
He read the obligatory information leaflet dutifully, and as always there was a long list of possible side effects, which finished with, ‘In extremely rare circumstances deaths have been reported’.
The leaflet then went on to advise, in bold letters, ‘If any of the above happen to you, stop taking Augmentin and see your doctor straight away’ !!
ie, see the Doctor right away if you die.
THIS is toilet humour at its very best ! A guy from Charlotte, North Carolina, wrote : “I have a friend who was once a toilet attendant in London Kings Cross station and I asked him what the job was really like. ‘It’s murder, ’ he said. ‘Ye get awe the weirdos in. Pimps, transsexuals, glue sniffers, drug addicts, drunks, tramps…the list goes on and on and on’.
“He finished with, ‘Matter of fact, when someone comes in for an honest tae goodness shite it’s like a breath of fresh air’.”
Hahahaha, sniff that for a lavvy laugh !
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Hope I can show you it here ,,
Now this is what I call DANCING !
And all done in one take, first time !!
As Mr. Sinatra says ,, You'll never see the likes of this again ,..,
And look ! Eleanor Powell can do it fully clothed !
Eat your heart out Craig Revell Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and your gang of rank amateurs !
Sorry, of course I mean, read this if you will !
Football, Golf, Cricket, Rugby ( both kinds ,, oh & French ! ) .,.,., No it doesn't finish there .,., keep going ! Please ...
Snooker, Pool, Motor Racing, Motorcycling, Horse Racing, Greyhound Racing, Boxing, The Ultimate Fighter, Tennis, Athletics, .,., Bowls, Ten-Pin Bowling even .,.,., and there's more !
Now we have American Football ( a misnomer if ever I heard one ), Karting, Tightlines, Angling ( I know it's supposed to be the most participated-in sport of all time but honestly ,, who cares ? )
Then there's Watersports ?, Hell in a Cell ? (Cage Fighters ), Wild Spirits, Raw, Smackdown, Max Power, Hockey, Ice Hockey, Rallying, ???
Up next are Russian/Spanish/German/Dutch /Portugese football, Ozzie football ( another misnomer ? ) Extreme Wrestling, Yachting, Sailing, Power Boating, Speedway, Darts, ( isn't this just Beer Drinking under another name ? ) Surfing, Kiteboarding, Poker ( Card gambling is SPORT ? and worth watching ??? ) Aerobics, Polo, Beach Polo, Modern Pentathlon, Basketball, Netball, Freeride Spirit ?, Judo Action, Mountain Biking, Show Jumping, Squash, Baseball,
On top of all that we have Transworld Sport, Premier League World, Ajax / Bayern/ Barca/Real Madrid /Man U/ Liverpool/Rangers/Celtic TV, and still it goes on ,,,
It's Sports ad nauseam ,,, 80% of which is MINORITY sports, not in the least interest to anyone on the bloody planet ?
And for these" Murdoch having a laugh " offerings we pay £55 a month ! And the bastard has the gall to throw in, at no extra charge, but real extra annoyance,,, an AVERAGE 20- adverts every 10-bloody minutes.
How does he get away with it ?? I'll tell you how !
BECAUSE WE DON'T ALL STAND UP AND TELL HIM .,.,.,.,
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH .,.,., STICK YOUR SKY SPORTS UP YOUR ARSE !
( withdraw our monthly subscriptions & stop paying for this shite ! )
Saturday, October 03, 2009
( Hey ! Do I know how to treat a girl or what ? )
Anyway, there we were, chomping away, ready for a quiet night by the fireside watching Tv ( this can be translated fairly easily into snoozing in the armchair while the Tv plays to itself ! )
When all of a sudden the back door opens and in walks the daughter, her man and the we'an, Anna-bits ? Hi, shouts Big Tam ,,, ( Me thinks ) What the ,,, ( but says ) Oh Hello peops ,,
They take off their jackets, the we'an's outer clothes and sit themselves down.
I begin to think to myself ,,, Oh help, what's up ,,, why are they here at this time of night ,, what news have they got for us ,,, Has Thomas landed a big contract ? Have they come to celebrate ?,, Has Thomas lost a big contract ? Are they here for succour and comfort ?,, To drown their sorrows ? What ??
I look again and Phyl looks quite upbeat ,, in fact now that I check out her face for signs of ,, something ,, I see she is made up ,, lippie on , hair all nice ,, Mmmmm it's a celebration then ,,
Can't have come to tell us she's pregnant ,, already done that !
Ok ,, I take the last mouthful of my fish and the remaining solitary chip ,, I chew a little and form the question in my mind ,,
It comes out wrong ,,
"So" I says ,, "to what do we owe the pleasure of this strange time of night visit ?"
Eh, they say in unison, looking at one another with that ,,, What are these old tossers on look ,,, we're off out for the night ,, you're baby-sitting ,, don't you remember ?
You promised about a fortnight ago ??? Ahhh !
Well, then it all comes out in the washing .,., The Beloved ,, all by herself and and completely unbeknown to me ,, had promised to babysit but had subsequently completely forgotten all about it ,,,!! albeit she did say there was some little niggle going on in her head about the 2nd of Oct !! Like I said at the beginning ,, Auld age and all that !!
Anyway the young folks were going pubbing with an ex colleague in town ,, Phyl being preggers suggested she might come home alone early ( at the back of 9 to watch her fav celeb Barbra on the J Ross show ) and leave Thomas in the pub ... so we kept the we'an happy and out of bed 'til about 10pm ,,,, mummy didn't show so at that point me & Anna decided to have that wee snooze on the chair after all .,.,.,
Obviously they had a good night for the pregnant driver & the slightly less than sober dad arrived back to pick up their offspring around 1-30am !! Where they got to after pub shutting time I never actually found out ?