Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Start saving for Christmas

Well just seen what would make nice little Christmas present... once it has been cut and polished of course - the world's biggest diamond has been unearthed by a small mining company in South Africa.
Experts said that the find - twice the size of the Cullinan, or "Great Star of Africa", discovered near Pretoria in 1905 - was still in need of verification last night. As security was being tightened around the stone, Brett Jolly, a spokesman for the mining firm Two Point Five Construction, said it was being transported to a bank vault in Johannesburg, where it would stay, "until we calm down and decide what we are going to do".
However, neither the South Africa Diamond Board, nor the Diamond and Jewellery Federation, the trade body, confirmed its authenticity as a diamond.
A mobile-phone photograph of the stone - the only one released of it yesterday - shows it to be smooth with a rare green tinge. The first people to inspect the find reportedly viewed it to be industrial grade. A consensus is emerging that it will indeed be cut into a piece of spectacular jewellery. It has been described as being around the size of two fists

Political opinions from those best able to express them

"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are
Mark Twain

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress....
But then I repeat myself.
-Mark Twain

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in
a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
-Winston Churchill

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
-.George Bernard Shaw

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
-G Gordon Liddy

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
-James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
-Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
-P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
-Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
-Ronald Reagan (1986)

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
-Will Rogers

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!
-P.J. O'Rourke

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
-Voltaire (1764)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you!
-Pericles (430 B.C.)

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
-Mark Twain (1866)

Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it.

The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, witha happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.
-Ronald Reagan

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
-Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
-Mark Twain

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

There is no distinctly Native American criminal Congress.
-Mark Twain

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
-Edward Langley, Artist (1928 - 1995)

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
-Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Today in History

Not trying to steal your thunder, Paul but by the time most of you read this it will be 29th August - the second anniversary of the arrival of Katrina in New Orleans and coastal Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Spare a though for those who have still not been able (for whatever reason) to return to their homes and for those who will never be able to because they lost everything. Something like half the pre-storm population has made it back. Government at all levels continues to temporise and the only real reconstruction being undertaken is by private individuals who are restoring or have restored their homes - except, that is, for the Superdome - the huge indoors sports arena - which both local and state government apparently considered of prime importance and have reconstructed at VAST public expense to standards far higher than pre-Katrina times. Bet there were a few back handers involved in that little enterprise!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

For Bruce Of Oz

Rose of Sharon

No prizes.

Hope Rocky gave you permission for all the dates you've been on.

Not long now...

Very soon we will be able to replace this artists impression with photos of the real thing - As most of you know - quite a few folk are making trip over to Wilhelemshaven for the unveiling on Sept 3rd - and there is not much time left to get your name on the list of donatees. They are to be recorded in a book which will be presented to the Mayor in Wilhelmshaven after the unveiling.
The list will be finalised on Wednesday 29th August.. we have almost reached our target - yours could be the one that helps us reach it! Or you could help by buying a DVD as profits from that will go into the Memorial fund as well.

Just in case……..

…….I find myself on a charge again for being AWOL , I’m giving due notice of my absence from tomorrow onwards. The Urals, Moçambique, Neasden, the world it seems is my oyster…….

Friday, August 24, 2007

An on-theme posting for a change

Its not often I'm on theme these days, but Judy and Anne just arrived and produced these (and more) shots from Newbury. Enjoy!

Isn't this what reunions are all about? Judy and Bob Stokoe.

Top athlete Bob Walker. But our C'woodies already knew that or course

Bob with two Annes,.. Levitt and Cowper (both Drake)

Bob talking with Emilio MacMahon (right)and Bas Johnson (both Drake).

Judy (centre) talking with Chris Parnell (C'wood). Dave Cousins in the background. Anyone recognise the others?

The great mutual appreciation society,...Judy and Betty Tew.

We can't remember the name of the girl on the left, but the others are Vicky Spencer (Drake) and my sister Anne of cigarette factory fame.

Found another one.

Quite uncanny your lovely sisters arriving on cue Paul. Never realised I was in the same year as one of them. How did she escape my clutches? Please don’t say common sense and impeccable taste. That aside, I recall being gutted when I found out I wasn’t getting a prize for service to the school. Apologies for this off-theme posting.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My favourite Lily.

Just had to let you see this, my favourite lily, last years Mothers Day gift from my grandsons Cody and Laughlan. This is the first year for it to flower, and it has done very well considering the high winds and rain we have had lately.

New wheels,2007

Saturn Ion, as promised. Saturn bodies have been polymer from the get-go, but for 2008 they are changing to metal, due to pressure from the U.S. market, which apparently does not like the polymer. This will make the cars heavier, making gas consumption higher and for Canadian winters will likely make rust a bigger problem after driving on salted roads. Saturn is sold under the General Motors flag, but have their own dealerships. Go figure.

where are they off to then?

So where were Sue and Frances Burroughs off to on the Eurostar on Aug 21st 1997 - 10 years ago today .. they look very happy about it - must try and find pic of them coming back - shattered after no sleep for several days!!

Amazing weather

Apologies for the quality of this picture, its from yesterdays newspaper. The waterspout was one of many that appeared off the coast on Sunday during a fierce storm.

Lovely Day...

No picture - but today is my 3rd Wedding Anniversary! Just wanted to share that with you, the sun is shining and the sky is blue. Couldnt be more perfect.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A few flowers and that lovely dog, Abe

Thought you might like to see a few of my flowers, as its the first year for the lilies I am really pleased with them, the bulbs survived the winter. Next year should be better. Isn't Abe a lovely dog, unfortunately I didnt get one of him front end on, laughing! His personality is as lovely as his coat. Sorry he isnt mine.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Continuing Saga of Bob's Neurotic Pussy...

You may recall the tale of our 'inside hotel walls and ceilings exploring' cat. He and our other (normal) cat were, we thought, hatching plots to take one of us out in retribution for their caged transportation to Norfolk. This may have indeed been the case. However, this animal has shown marked neurotic tendencies and She Who Must be Obeyed decided the cat's neurosis was something the vet should pontificate upon. Several hundred dollars later, Management has medicines - several of them - to be administered orally. She then departs for New Orleans, leaving your intrepid writer to administer them. The cat's immediate reaction was, "Sod this for a game of soldiers!" He went AWOL - somewhere in the house. For two days, he would be seen as a shadow, streaking past me at warp speed to secrete himself God only knew where. Management was of course beside herself at my ineptitude. Even after I had found his most frequent hiding place, my explanation that I could lift the sofa and reveal the cat but it was physically impossible for me to both lift the sofa and catch the cat, fell on deaf ears. This is an animal with known terrorist inclinations. Without so much as a 'by your leave', he has been seen to morph from supine and seemingly sleeping into a veritable fireball, catapulting from a lap to somewhere half way across the room, the while leaving extended scratch-marks on the legs of any poor person upon whose lap he had been dozing. He will also succumb to stroking and purr loudly but, lest you become too cozy, he will suddenly grab your arm with four sets of claws and his teeth and hang on as if his very life depended upon it. Two hands, duct tape, several towels and total concentration are required merely to restrain this creature. Administering any medication, whether pill or squirty liquid, requires surprise, speed, strength and guile and at least four hands. Thus, Osama bin Lintott (as he is known) remains unmedicated and neurotic pending my peripatetic partner's return.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

d'ya mean this one, B?...

Australia - very close to the sea ...

Thanks to Helga for the photos from Sydney. And of course I remember when we first met - our eyes meeting across the hotel lobby - somewhere between you being kicked out of your digs and us boozing in The Rocks and climbing up some Harbour Bridge. Helga says I travelled for miles to meet her - but in Australia we don't use units of distance for travel. We use time - the sun usually sets before anything but a small trip is over.

I recall your subsequent visit had survival issues. Remember the speeding car smashing into everything in its way as we came out of the restaurant after dinner?

Just to put everyone in the frame, I did my last 3 years of school in the 5th and 6th forms at PRS, from 66 to 69. my recollections might be selective over time, but the PRS sites have jogged the memory somewhat - plus I took a bunch of photos while I was there.

It was cold enough to make me seek the sun - hence the land of Oz. Great country: hot, cold, wet, dry, floods, fires, - its got everything you could want. (And yes, the UK floods made headlines here, just as we were recovering from the worst floods since the 1950's around Newcastle.)

My recent late night chat with Babs included the tale of the bulk coal carrier 'Pasha Bulker' discovering that the Pacific Ocean goes right up to the edge of Australia. Newcastle hosted the ship for a few weeks after it drove up the beach during the major storm in June that produced the floods.

We watched for a few weeks while tugs turned up and the weather cleared enough to pull it off. It quickly became a tourist attraction, and if it remained stuck we were going to call it the Pasha Bulker Casino.

My work here is done. I'll throw in a few more anecdotes from downunder and see what I still have from my days on the Fliegerdeich.


Reunion in Phillipines

Some newish faces - well think Dave must appear in the Stoke ones somewhere - and he is in cadets picture from way back - but I just received this from him with comments - Here is a picture of the 10th or maybe 20th PRS reunion in the Woodmans Head on Sunday 5th August in Manila. Participants as always Brian Bailey (Collingwood) and Dave Nelson (Rodney). Please note polo shirts still available in blue or white from Marg Garford!!

Terry from down under, part deux!... the time equalibrium was sorted in 2007, a good time was had by all and both Barathea and Terry became m'guides during these few days there......As fer the following photos, I have absolutely no idea who was the recipient of such mirth...but B was behind it all!!! :) meet Terry, you can see, he's a fun guy and I hope he doesn't mind me posting these piccies afore he got the chance to!...Hi there Terry and beers...Hey B, what will it take to get this guy to come to the next reunion?...You are closer so it's up to you to start the ball rolling eh! :)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Terry from down under...

...hey there Terry!...good to hear from you...hope you don't mind if I jump the gun and introduce you to the folks ahead of time!...This wonderful guy travelled fer miles, as did friend Barathea, to chew da cud in Sydney with yours truly at the beginning of this year...However, I initially got to know Terry way back in 2004 when our eyes met across the uncrowded entrance to some hotel in Sydney and he was good enough to act as guide fer the whole day...remember this Terry?...


Since I was on about airports, let's try this fer size.

The Department of Homeland Security - which, I believe, would be more aptly named The Department of Homeland Insecurity, has become an all powerful entity here. At airports, the uniformed primates of the security companies have apparently been given the right to treat the traveling public as if they were contenders for the Darwin awards. With that cadence more normally reserved for errant children, these people will intone, "BEFORE you PUT your BAG in the X-RAY, REMOVE YOUR COMPUTER", and "IF you REMOVE your SHOES BEFORE you GET to the X-RAY MACHINE, you WON'T hold UP the LINE". They are protected from verbal onslaught by notices which warn the public that challenging these people is punishable by death or worse.

This bothers me. Why are completely innocent, work-a-day folk, going about their lawful occasion, treated with such disrespect and disdain? This is, after all, the self proclaimed Land of the Free. All too often, the last part of that accolade ( do what the government tells them) is missing!

And then the public Address system will announce, "The Department of Homeland Security has designated a security alert of code orange", This always makes me laugh - because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS! In today's politically correct society, I wonder, is there a separate code rainbow for gays? What other colours are there....puce? violet? chartreuse? But most of all, WHAT DOES IT MEAN? It seems to me that any security alert has to be IMMEDIATELY understandable if it is to be acted upon and beneficial to ANYBODY. Is it, perhaps, that by coding with colours, the D of HS will confound the enemy? Maybe it's a ruse to allow D of HS personnel to scarper in the event of a terrorist attack while the rest of us (terrorists included) fall over each-other in our haste to find the key to this code and understand what we should be doing.

But, the biggest question is: why does the public at large put up with this bull?

Australia Calling ....

Thanks for the invite to the blog, Paul.

Babs has been chatting with me from Melbourne on messenger - its now 3am - staying up late after recovering from her recent swan to sunny Europe.

And hello Helga!

I'm just checking in from Canberra - and in no time flat I'll be checking out and hitting the sack.

And my plan to send a pic from Oz has been shot because one of Microsoft's 'add image' buttons won't click. Maybe later when its daylight here.


Terry Barker

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Don't Ever Leave the Airport

Yesterday, my wife Jen and grandson Quinn were booked on a DELTA flight from Norfolk, VA to Atlanta, changing there for New Orleans. I drove them to the airport and arrived in plenty of time. DELTA, however, had other plans! Their flight to Atlanta was running 4 hours late. Out of 12 DELTA flights on the board, 4 were seriously behind schedule. For some reason, there was only one other delayed flight on the entire board. Not surprisingly, there were no lines at any of the other airlines' chek-in counters while the World and HIS wife (and kids) were all waiting at DELTA to re-book. One of the wonders of e-tickets is that ground staff are now as rare as rocking horse droppings and the line to the only staffed DELTA desk was moving with the elan of a glacier. A uniformed (but not DELTA employed) person suddenly materialised gesticulating like a windmill and shouting, "This line is for INTERNATIONAL travel! If you're not 'going' international, you need to check in at the e-ticket machines.". She was standing close to me so I said, "Most of us have tried that and, not only does it not work but the baggage handlers (who are DELTA employees) have told us to join the line if we need to re-book. Without breaking her stride, she started shouting again, "This line is for INTERNATIONAL travel AND for re-booking.............". Just where is John Cleese when you need him? Another fine example of how uniforms provide some officials with FAR more authority than their intelligence can support. I suppose we should be thankful she didn't say, ".....if you're not going TO international......".

Anyway, after an hour and a half of almost imperceptible movement, Jen and Quinn were given two alternatives: fly the delayed flight or don't fly. They elected to fly the delayed flight. Fortunately, we live only 5 minutes from the airport so they were able to go back home, take a swim and still catch their flight and make a connection in Atlanta - which, it turned out, was also delayed, adding another hour to the trip. From door to door took thirteen and a half hours - as opposed to the four and a half we had expected.

All this brings me back to the title of this's what DELTA stands for!

Why did we book DELTA? Well, you see, they supposedly fly at times which avoid rush-hour traffic and, since they connect in Atlanta, the scheduled flight time is less than those airlines which hub in Houston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Newark or the like. However, this is the third time this has happened. Remembering the maxim 'once is an accident, twice a coincidence and three times an act of open warfare', we will not make this mistake again! We will now buy new watches which show anti-social times, get up at the first crack of a sparrow's fart and fly with US Air via Charlotte, NC!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

And now for the full line up

This is a repeat posting to save you scrolling back to Sept 2006 when this photo of Drake lads circa 1958-59 (sent by Dmitri before he joined our merry throng) was first published. There were a couple of doubtful names that Roger Hall has now confirmed for us. Left to right: John Frewer, Ian Stewart, Jimmy Mellor, Brian 'Charlie' Arthur, Roger Hall, Bill Johnston and foremost, Bob Innes.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The fountain of life.......or not?

I have to confess, this made my laugh!

The rabbinical student is about to leave for America. When he asks his mentor for advice, the rabbi offers an adage that, he tells the student, will guide him for the rest of his life. "Always remember," the rabbi said sagely, "life is like a fountain."

Deeply impressed by his teacher's wisdom, the student departs for a successful career in America.

Thirty years later, he learns that the rabbi is dying, so he returns for a final visit."Rabbi," he says, "I have one question. For 30 years, whenever I was sad or confused, I thought about the phrase you passed on to me, and it has helped me through many difficult times. But to be perfectly frank, I have never understood the full meaning of it. Now that you are about to enter the realm of truth, tell me, dear rabbi, why is life like a fountain?"

Wearily, the old man replied, "All right, already, so it's not like a fountain."

Monday, August 06, 2007


Quiz inquisitor Michael Miles put contestants through a series of minor obstacles, including a sixty-second spot where the player had to answer questions without the use of words 'yes' or 'no' ("The Yes/No Interlude") with Alec Dane who would immediately gong out the contestant if they uttered one of the fateful words, and finally three straight questions which led up to the prizes (announced by the voice of Bob Danvers-Walker). Then the fast-talking Miles would enter into some cash bidding for the keys to the box selected by the players; three out of thirteen boxes contained booby prizes. Box 13 contained a mystery prize which was not even known to Miles and then there was the treasure-chest of money and 'tonight's star prize' which was greeted with a crescendo of oohs from the audience as if they'd never seen a three piece suite before.

What should he do? - open the box or take the money?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

To continue Paul's line......HAPPY BRITHYAD Eileen - although I feel by now as wishes go it's a tad belated! Sorry, I have absolutely no idea how to get a pic of a prezzie on here - but it's the thought that counts!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

fly high this day...

...just came in here to blog m'birthday card to ya and I see that Carol got here here's some balloons too!...Have a simply fabby day, Eileen!...

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Eileen - Have a lovely day - hope my card is in pride of place!!

Thursday, August 02, 2007


If you are new to Blues music, or like it but never really understood the
whys and wherefores, here are some very fundamental rules:

1. Most Blues begin with: "Woke up this morning...."

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you stick
something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the
meanest face in town."

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then
find something that rhymes - sort of: "Got a good woman with the meanest
face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got
teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weigh 500 pound."

4. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch...ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't
travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii the Hamptons or anywhere in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that don't get no rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the Blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is.. Breaking your leg 'cause you were skiing is not the Blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chomping on it is.

9. You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.

10. Good places for the Blues: a. highway b.jailhouse c.empty bed d.bottom of a whiskey glass

11. Bad places for the Blues: a. Nordstrom's b. gallery openings c.Ivy League institutions d. golf courses

12. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

13. Do you have the right to sing the Blues?

Yes, if: a. you're older than dirt b. you're blind c. you shot a man in Memphis

d. you can't be satisfied

No, if a. you have all your teeth b. you were once blind but now can see
c.the man in Memphis lived d. you have a 401K or trust fund

14. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. Sonny Liston could have. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the Blues.

15. If you ask for water and your darlin' gives you gasoline, it's the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are: a cheap wine b.whiskey or bourbon c.muddy water coffee The following are NOT Blues beverages: a. Perrier b.Chardonnay c.Snapple d. Slim Fast

16. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death.
Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So are
the electric chair, substance abuse and dying lonely on a broken-down cot.
You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while
getting liposuction.

17. Some Blues names for women: a. Sadie b. Big Mama c. Bessie d. Fat River Dumpling

18. Some Blues names for men: a. Joe b. Willie c. Little Willie d. Big Willie

19. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and Heather
can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

20. Blues Name Starter Kit: a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Mute,
Lame, etc.) b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime,
Kiwi, etc.) c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, Clinton,
etc.) For example: Blind Lime Jefferson, Pegleg Lemon Johnson or Lame Kiwi Clinton, etc. (Well, maybe not "Kiwi.")

21. I don't care how tragic your life is: if you own a computer, you cannot
sing the blues, period. Sorry!