Friday, 31 December 2010

COLD TURKEY

The beast that lurks in the Bennett house, a condensing boiler.

You may have noticed that in recent weeks and days I have had a bit of a rant about my nearly new condensing boiler, it seems that mine is not a lonely rant as households all over the nation have been ranting too about their new boilers that shut down the minute it begins to freeze outside.

According to the press British Gas had 60,00 very unchuffed customers in Yorkshire alone, I have not seen the figures for the rest of the country but if only one county has so many boilers packing up in the cold weather then there must have been several hundred thousand very cool families over Christmas.

The general idea of the condensing boilers is to improve efficiency, which you have to admit they do, as I can confirm from my plummeting gas bills after our ancient forty year plus Potterton gave up the battle against age and time. The old thing used to rattle and shake a bit when it fired up in the mornings, being directly under our bedroom it was a bit like a reliable alarm clock. At 6.30 am every morning as it fired up its casing used to shake and vibrate and in minutes you could hear the noises made when pipes expand with the heat. These mornings I hear nothing, I put my foot out of bed and if cold air grips it I know the boiler has frozen up at night - again!

The situation this winter with condensing boilers is now so bad with elderly people being stuck in cold and frozen houses, and with so many boilers hitting problems due to the condensed water freezing as it passes along plastic pipes to the outside, many plumbers and gas fitters are recommending that people hang on to their trusty old boilers until they have no option but to change them.

So why did the Labour Government a few years ago completely ban traditional boilers and only permit condensing boilers to be sold? The press and media have been having a fair old time with this one and the figure of hate who has taken the brunt of the blame is that old bruiser himself, John Prescot, now Lord Prescot of ‘two Jags’ fame.

As usual, what the press and media have failed to pick up is why two Jags made this rule. In fact the decision was not his nor that of anyone else in our elected Government of the time, but that of the EU - as with most things that blight our lives these days. HERE is a snippet of the source of why you may have been going cold turkey this Christmas regarding your home heating.

Monday, 27 December 2010

SHAKING OFF THE CHRISTMAS LETHARGY

Derek enjoying a post Christmas beer in the Lyndon, taken by Mrs B with his new Christmas present.

A critical point has been reached where guilt that I have not put anything on this blog since the 23rd December, has overtaken the attraction of being bone idle thanks to the Christmas break.

I hope for you it has been a splendid Christmas and you are enjoying the chance to be as lazy as me, and that Father Christmas left the goodies you asked for in your stocking. I certainly did well as my better half treated me to a natty little camera which I can pop in my pocket and keep on me at all times. For one who for many years been a keen amateur photographer and a sort of unofficial in-house snapper for UKIP, as many members will notice in the latest edition of ‘Independence’, the party newsletter, up until Christmas I only had one camera, my SLR which is not the handiest thing to lug about.

My dear old dad, whose photography genes I inherited, always had a compact camera on him wherever he went and took some pretty goof photos with it too, so now, which luck, I will be able to grab some otherwise missed shots with my snazzy little camera, just as Mrs B did with the picture of me above taken in my favourite haunt enjoying a pint.

Over the Christmas I have not been too mobile, dinner out with the family on Christmas eve, then home to thaw out the EU approved condensing boiler that shuts down in freezing weather because the condensed water freezes - as well as us in a home with no heating other than the open fire. Christmas day In the Lyndon for a Christmas lunchtime pint - the place was packed (see photo taken with my new camera!), then home to thaw out the boiler and turkey. Boxing day I rose to thaw out the boiler, took my father-in-law home then back to ours to thaw out the boiler. Finally, Boxing day night the boiler threw a real wobbly and refused to be thawed, while we froze which meant a cold wash this morning and a desperate call to Bassa the boilerman.

No doubt the EU is already plotting its dirty deeds for 2011, and our supine politicians are preparing to do as instructed, so life goes on and the battle will be resumed - once I have shaken my lethargy.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

WHY CAN'T UNDER SIXTEENS BUY TOFFEE HAMMERS?

Linda celebrating a certain birthday on the London Eye.
Urban legends abound, we all hear about all sorts of tales of strange things that happened from a friend of a friend who told the story to another friend of a friend. When we here these tales you always sigh and the natural instinct is to respond with the answer: ‘I’ll believe that one when it happens to me.'

In a similar vein we often read unbelievable items in the press about a 90 year old pensioner being refused a purchase because they don’t have proof that they are over 18 – or some other mad thing. Well, yesterday something akin to this happened to my better half while doing some last minute Christmas shopping – and this ain’t from a friend of a friend – it comes direct to you from the missus.

Linda, Mrs Euro sceptic blog, was in BHS in Walsall mooching around and picked up one or two items on the ground floor, then went upstairs to get one or two other things and when finished she went to the till on that upper floor.

The first reaction she got from the lady on the till when she noticed some chocolates that were from the lower floor was: “Has that got alcohol in them? We are not allowed to sell items with alcohol up here”. As none of the items had any kind of intoxicating ingredients there was no problem, but the madness hit home by the fact that you can legally buy a product with alcohol on the ground floor but not the upper floor of the same store – surely there can’t be an issue with that? Obviously there was.

The best bit, however, came with the large slab of brazil nut toffee, which included a toffee hammer. “Are you over 16?” Mrs B was asked. Open jawed she responded: “You what?” to which she was informed that because a toffee hammer was included the item could not be sold to those under the age of sixteen.

Now if you take a look at the photo of Mrs B above, taken on the London Eye last year on a certain significant birthday in which a bus pass was featured, as youthful as she looks and as beautiful as I always known she looks, in reality there could be little point in asking if she was under sixteen. If you wish to challenge that statement and let her know otherwise, all messages will be gratefully received.

So, on top of the madness of a single store not being able to sell the same item from different floors for certain mad legal reasons, and for the fact an assistant with the age and experience to know better than to ask a mature woman if she is over sixteen, that leaves the question of who would be insane enough to even consider using a small toffee hammer as a murder weapon? Could you imagine an episode of Inspector Poirot concluding that his ‘leetle grey cells’ are telling him that the murder victim was battered to death by someone using a toffee hammer – and it took five hours of constant battering to kill them while the victim waited patiently for the murderer to complete the task? Why can’t those under sixteen buy toffee hammers? Why are we living in such a mad world and how the bloody hell have we become so barmy as to put up with this nonsense.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

A WARM, MERRY AND SAFE CHRISTMAS

A wintery scene, ice on the Rushall canal near the home of Derek Bennett in Walsall.

Surprising as it is, considering the weather conditions, this morning my journey in the snow from my home in Walsall to the office in Birmingham was quicker than normal. Now the schools are closed for Christmas and, no doubt, some people are staying off the roads during this wintery weather, the traffic was much easier and the M6 clear of ice and snow which made the drive in a doddle.

As everyone begins to wind down for the Christmas break we all begin to think about what we are planning for the festive season. There can be little doubt that this Christmas we really are in for a white Christmas, and for me it will be my first Christmas in 23 years spent at home in Walsall rather than the village of Dolwyddelan in North Wales where my parents retired to, which is going to make it a strange Christmas.

Although we are all looking forward to relaxing over the holiday period, we are not quite there yet and there are still things to do, also for some there is no respite over Christmas as many in our essential services will still have to be on duty. So we should all give a thought to our brave lads and lasses serving in dangerous parts of the world such as Afghanistan – there is no Christmas for the Taliban. Our police, ambulance drivers, firemen, doctors, nurses and many ancillary staff will all have to report for duty on Christmas day while we are opening our presents, eating turkey, mince pies and generally having a good time – so give them a thought.

The one body of people who will not be working over Christmas will be our politicians both here in the UK and those in the European Parliament – which is, without doubt, a real blessing.

I have not yet finished for Christmas and hope to be putting some more postings on this blog before Christmas eve, but in advance I wish you a warm, merry and safe Christmas.

Monday, 20 December 2010

SILLY COW

This joke has just been e-mailed to me, it is so spot on I couldn’t resist using it on the blog – enjoy.

A farmer named Bill was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Scotland when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the farmer, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

Bill looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg , Germany .

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spread sheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-colour, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the farmer and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Bill.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the boot of his car.

Then Bill says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a Member of the European Parliament", says Bill.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the farmer. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of pounds worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep...

Now give me back my dog.

ODE TO INDECISION

This brilliant article written by Irwin Stelzer in the Wall Street Journal should be read by one and all. There is little joy in the EU, just an ode to indecision.

THE COST OF THE EAW IS TOO HIGH

Although this blogger has recently been a bit of a lazybones and not posting on this blog as much as I should, the arch enemy of freedom, democracy and sovereignty, the EU, never sleeps and never stops in its quest for our capitulation and surrender to its will of a European superstate in which the people serve it, rather than it serving the people.

On Sunday the Telegraph reported news of the dreadful European Arrest Warrant (EAW), sad tales of which this blog has covered many times. This is a serious problem for the British people as everyone in the UK is now at risk of arrest, even though they are oblivious to the fact. This problem has been created by the EU in its undemocratic lust for power and our own servile politicians who keep us tied to the EU and surrender to the EU’s constant and unreasonable demands.

The problem is even worse than I realised, and I study and observe every devious move the EU makes. At the UKIP conference in Torquay in September we were told that 1000 people in the UK had fallen victim to the EAW, but according to the Telegraph article that number has to be quadrupled as the EU had sent Britain 4000 extradition requests, one of which is for the Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange.

Although some of these EAW’s may be based on a sound footing for genuine and serious crimes, more often than not they are based on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence or for crimes that are either considered trivial or in some cases, for criminal offences which are not an offence in the UK. Such an offence could be for people who are avid aeroplane spotters, such as the group arrested in Greece a few years ago for plane spotting which is an offence in that country but not here in the UK. If the Greeks demanded the arrest of a British plane spotter our police would have to arrest that person and courts may be able to stall, but there is no way they can stop it and eventually that poor soul will have to be handed over the Greek authorities for a none UK offence – such is the unfairness and injustice of the EAW.

It seems the Polish courts are one of the most active producers of European Arrest Warrants, many for such trivial things as Poles now living in the UK quite freely (thanks to the EU’s open borders), who may have inadvertently left an overdraft with their bank in Poland. One Polish teacher living in the UK now faces an EAW for exceeding his overdraft limit even though he settle the debt five years previously.

Out of all the EU nations Britain receives more EAW’s than all the others, this country only issues around 200 a year on average and none for minor crimes. Naturally all this comes at a cost to the British taxpayers, even though the Government is reluctant to give a figure. In Ireland a judge has revealed that each EAW costs £21,300, if the same figure is applied to British cases where an EAW has been successful, that the total cost of the EU’s system of injustice for the 699 that went through is £17 million, plus the additional cost of all the unsuccessful cases which add to the taxpayers bill for being part of the EU which few British subject now want but are stuck with as the three party system rules out withdrawal.

The cost of EU injustice is far too high a price to pay, if the people of Britain want to tackle the problem than they have got to forget their ‘donkey’ mentality by voting for the three political parties that constantly betray them and start voting UKIP. The EAW is a tool of the EU to suppress freedom, liberty and the right to free speech, in the EU Orwellian future that lies ahead people will fear what they say or write as the EAW looms over them.

Friday, 17 December 2010

THE LADY SUPPORTS UKIP

It now seems that Baroness Thatcher, or Maggie to many of us, is quietly supporting UKIP. I always knew I did the right thing when I gave up all hope of the Conservative Party and joined UKIP.

SEASONS GREETINGS FROM NIGEL TO THE EU

Here’s wishing the European Union and its sham Parliament a happy Christmas in the Nigel Farage style, Belgium gets a mention too!

The happy Christmas we will all most enjoy is the Christmas after the whole of the EU inevitably collapses – which can’t be too far away now. Enjoy the video.

REMBEMBERING ROSE

Bert & Rose Bennett, walking the Welsh hills and mountains they so loved.

Yesterday was one of those days which you always know is going to happen at some stage, but never want that day to come – that day was the day of my dear old mother’s funeral.

With all that has been going on since she died on the 4th December, there hasn’t been too much time for blogging as my brother, Bruce, and I have been busy organising things. Am at least pleased to say that all went as it should have yesterday, the funeral directors did an excellent job and helped greatly, the service was taken by the Reverend Mark Kinder, who my brother knew. Mark was splendid and guided us through the service and both Bruce and I spoke about Rose, our mother.

These days are always bitter sweet, bitter for the loss of someone who you loved and cared for, sweet for the reunion of family and friends who you never see often enough. In fact many friends and family from not only the Midlands, but also from North Wales where she and my dad retired to 23 years ago made the journey to Walsall. So too did relatives from Middlesbrough in the North East as well as cousins from the South East and Derbyshire – it was so good to see them all again.

The reception after the funeral service was held in the Lyndon House Hotel, where we all like so much, including my mom. Ken and his staff, as usual, were excellent in the way they looked after us and so many of the guests were impressed with the place, which I consider to be the best hotel and watering hole in Walsall.

When I spoke about Rose I told of her young days, growing up in what can only be described as the slums of Birmingham as one of six sisters. She could be loving, incredible stubborn, generous and fearlessly loyal. Both my parents had a love of North Wales, as kids we had holidays around Barmouth every year. In 1965 the purchased a small end terrace house in Blaenau Ffestiniog, it was a tiny place but they spent as much time there as the business would allow. Two years later they sold that place and purchased a slightly bigger house on the edge of the town. It was never somewhere you could really live, there was no hot water expect that you boiled in the kitchen, which was a lean to cut out of the hillside. The only heating was an open fire and a few paraffin heaters, but we had some good times there – including all the friends of Bruce and myself who used to pile in there and sleep in the bunk room where there were two bunk beds and a couple of divan beds.

Finally, in 1980 they sold that house and purchased, what was to become their retirement home, in the village of Dolwyddelan five miles away – they finally retired in 1987 and sold their Walsall home so they could spend the rest of their days in walking the Welsh mountains they so loved.

Sadly, age caught up with them and my father, Bertram Bennett (Bertie to all his family and friends), died in 1999 aged 84, he was nine years older than my mom. When he died we took his ashes up Moel Siabod, which is the mountain which overlooks and dominated the village below, and on a ledge whith a view of Dolwyddelan below we spread his ashes and said goodbye. Soon, when we are ready, we will return to the same location to do the same for Rose so she can spend all eternity with my dad.

These are sad and strange times, yesterday we had the funeral of my mom, today is my birthday and next week it will be Christmas. There are three sets of cards in our home, sympathy cards, birthday cards and Christmas cards. Strange times indeed.

Soon her home in Dolwyddelan will be sold and Bruce and I will have the job of clearing the house, we made a start last weekend and found lots of thing that gave memories of happier times. On the day the keys are given to the new owner all links to the village and North Wales will be cut and there will be little incentive for us to return, other than to remember. Goodbye Rose, she was a mother that battled for us as kids and gave us values, for which Bruce and I are eternally grateful. I thank you too, dear reader of this blog, for putting up with my indulgence of remembering my mother.

Derek, Lin, Rose, Chris & Bruce, Rose with her sons and daughter-in-laws.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

REVEALING MAGGIES SECRETS

Maggie Thatcher, or Margaret Thatcher and now Baroness Thatcher, when mentioned always stir the emotional extremes between love and hate. Almost everyone who lived through her time as the leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister of this once sovereign nation either loved her or hated her, there are few that were indifferent to her – such was her power and influence.

This blogger was a great admirer and the beginning of the end of my support for the Conservative Party came when those treasonous and traitorous pro-EU anti-British vermin within the Conservative Party ranks politically knifed her and ended her leadership because, I believe, she was waking to the serious dangers of EU membership.

Now, under the thirty year rule, secrets from when she first became Prime Minister during her first days and months in office are being released and they make some interesting reading, take a look, especially the items relating to the European Community.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

AGREEING WITH THE ECONOMISTS

There are two cracking articles on the dire problems facing the EU’s euro in the Daily Telegraph today by two economists whose opinions we should all take note of.

Roger Bootle goes back to that hoary old topic of the euro being a currency without a country or a single government. This potential problem was pointed out to the Eurocrats pushing for a single currency for the EU by EU-sceptics, but the EU had its grand plans and would not listen.

It is no use having a currency without a country to back it, in their eagerness for the EU to become a single country the plan always was to create the currency which would then give an impetuous for the creation of a new nation called ‘Europe’. Its architects know this would not be accepted by the people who have no desire to surrender their nation states and national identities, so they were not told and the euro was created – a sort of euro cart before the horse situation.

Roger Bootle gives a clear view of the EU’s fiscal problems and concludes that a break up of the eurozone would be the best option.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who can in no uncertain terms be described as a friend of the eurozone, looks at much the same topic but concludes that the project is so rotten it needs an undertaker rather than rescue – I couldn’t agree more with both of these knowledgeable economists.

SIEGFIED'S HEATBALLS

The EU, which was never the brightest idea for an international organisation, in its strange way of going about things made a ruling that all of the poor souls living within its remit should live life in the dark during these long, cold, winter nights. It banned the sale of 100-watt incandescent light-bulbs which so many of us found practicable. The reason being was they were not green enough for the EU.

These days, thanks to the dim witted directives of the unelected and unaccountable in the EU’s corridors of corruption, we now have to spend our winter nights in the gloom and the dull glow of the EU’s approved compact florescent or LED bulbs, which are full of dangerous toxins and mercury and are a serious health hazard if broken. No doubt to try to counter the loss of light from these useless EU approved objects, people are using more lights than before which negates any so-called energy savings these supposedly ‘green’ bulbs were designed for.

So fed up by this madness, one enterprising and imaginative German, Siegfried Rothauser, has attempted to get around the EU’s light-bulb ban by rebranding them as “heatballs”. Rather than intending to sell the light-bulbs for lighting, he advertised the 40,000 imported bulbs as a source of heat and the components as an art project – that was until the EU stepped in.

Customs officers have seized and destroyed the bulbs, despite the fact his lawyers argued that 95 per cent of the bulb’s energy was given off as heat rather than light. Nice try Siegfried, if you want some decent 100 watt light-bulbs you will have to come to the UK where thousands are stored in homes all across the country and will be burning brightly for many years to come – even after the EU has collapsed under the weight of its own cumbersome bureaucracy and all its candles blown out.

Monday, 13 December 2010

BEWARE OF THE STATE CHILD CATCHER

I picked up this chilling video below from the Subrosa blog. As mentioned on her blog this is reminiscent of what Hitler was doing – and this was Tony Blair, a British Prime Minister, speaking. If we in this country can vote and elect such people then the thought of what lies ahead is frightening.

In recent times the much admired campaigning journalist, Christopher Booker, has been writing a great deal about the state kidnapping of children, which links in with this video and the plans of Tony Blair, which Cameron’s and Clegg’s coalition Government still seem to be honouring.

The ‘child catcher’ from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is alive and well, he is now working for the state.

WARWICK PROTEST AGAINST EURO RAILWAY

Campaigners against the High Speed 2 rail link plans are set to hold a demonstration in Warwick.

Members of the campaign group Stop HS2 are planning to hold a major demonstration on Tuesday, December 14 as Warwick County councilors meet to debate the contentious HS2 scheme.

UKIP West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass, who is a member of the EU’s Transport and Tourism Committee, has urged people to support the peaceful protest and the growing groundswell of opposition to the plans.

Protestors will gather outside the Shire Hall, in Market Square, between 9am and 10am as councilors meet to discuss the plans which have sparked an outcry from people living in villages, towns and cities across the West Midlands.

Coventry City Council has already voted unanimously to oppose the Government’s HS2 plans and Staffordshire County Council has also hit out at the scheme saying the proposals simply do not stack up.

Mike Nattrass MEP is currently lobbying the Government to get the HS2 plans changed in a bid to protect countryside sites which lie in the path of the proposed route.

Mr Nattrass said: “The campaign against the HS2 scheme is clearly gaining momentum. Local authorities such as Coventry are saying loud and clear no to HS2 and I urge people to support the demonstration in Warwick.

“These deeply damaging proposals emanated from the EU which is trying to bulldoze through plans to create Trans European Transport Networks (TEN-T) which have now regard for our precious countryside.

“The Government needs to take action, change the HS2 plans, and protect our countryside. Alternative routes could be upgraded at far less cost.”

Joe Rukin, from Stop HS2, said: ”We are holding the protest in Warwick because so far Warwick County Council has dragged its feet over coming to any position over the HS2 line.

“We really hope Warwick County Council make the right decision over High Speed 2.

“The campaign is really gathering pace. This would be just a fast rail line for fat cats,” he added.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

ONE THING TO THANK JOHN MAJOR FOR

Andrew Alexander, who has been writing in the Daily Mail for many years and is no lover of the EU and its sickly euro, has written an interesting article in his weekly column predicting the demise of the euro.

In his latest article he relates to situation we now have in the eurozone, with the bail-outs in Ireland and Greece, plus the other problems affecting this artificial currency, to past currency crisis such as the sterling crisis in 1967 when the then Labour Government was forced to devalue. Those of a certain age, like me, will remember Prime Minister Harold Wilson assuring us about the pound in your pocket, he stated: “It does not mean that the pound here in Britain, in your pocket or purse or in your bank, has been devalued.". Then, of course, there was the crash-out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), which we should never have joined in the first place.

What a disaster the ERM proved to be. Before we joined we were fed the tired old platitudes that we had to be part of it and should not lag behind the rest of Europe, as we always do, there was talk of trains leaving the platform and we should be on it, there was also much hype about fiscal disaster and job losses if we did not join the ERM – so we joined, adopted the wrong interest rates and immediately created job losses, bankruptcies and much fiscal misery. When we finally crashed out and things immediately began to improve, it was not long before the same people who predicted disaster if we did not join the ERM began to predict disaster if we were not part of the first wave of eurozone countries, which of course, would have meant having the wrong interest rates once again which would have created exactly the same problems as the ERM. Once again there was the same old tripe about missing trains etc. The poor sods whose countries managed to board the EU’s train were on a journey to crisis canyon and are now suffering because of it.

The thing that Andrew Alexander picks out, which also struck me, is John Major’s tinkering with history and his very convenient misconception regarding the ERM. His rewrite of history claims that our ERM membership was responsible for curing inflation. As Andrew Alexander states: “It was not. It was simply a recession, shared also by the U.S.” It also seems that Major is claiming that Margaret Thatcher knew what she was doing when she approved membership of the ERM, but my recollection is that Major and others pushed her into it, before he and the other euro-traitors in the Conservative Party stabbed her in the back or anywhere else they could stick a knife.

There was only one thing that John Major succeeded doing during his grey and lacklustre time as our Prime Minister, that was ensuring that many long standing traditional Conservative voters and supporters, including this blogger, will never vote Tory again and sent us into the political arms of UKIP – I thank him for that.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

ORPHANS

Bruce and Rose Bennett in North Wales in the 1950's.

The reason there has been no blogging on this site for the last few days is, sadly due to the death of my old mom in the early hours of Saturday morning – she was 86 years of age and now my brother and I are orphans.

It’s been a strange few days, we all live with the knowledge that at some point in our lives our parents are going to pass away, and when that day comes it is still a shock and a blow, even when they have not been in the best of health, as was the case with Rose, my mom.

She was born in 1924 in the slums of Birmingham, and the second of six daughters to my grandparents. Growing up in those days in those circumstances was not easy. Her grandfather on her mother’s side was not short of a bob or two, he ran a shop in which my old grandmother used to work in until she met Alf, my granddad, and when she married him he cut her off without a penny as he did not approve of Alf.

From time to time my old nan used to say to my mom, and her sisters, go and see your granddad. So they would go and knock on his door, he would ask what they wanted and when they said their mom had sent them to see him, he would give them sixpence each then tell them to scram.

There were lots of tales from the ‘old end’ as we called it when Bruce, my brother and I were growing up. Rose would delight in telling us of her fascination with fire buckets. Kids in those days had few toys and made other things to entertain them. One popular pastime was for kids to get an old tin can, punch some air holes in it, tie some wire round the top of the can then fill it with red hot coals from the fire. They would then swing it round and watch the sparks fly as the air made the fire bucket glow.

She was always in trouble for playing with these dangerous things, so did all she could to avoid getting a larruping. Often if she saw her mom coming she would quickly hide the fire bucket in the paraffin store, which was not the safest place and it was a wonder she did not set the whole place ablaze.


From an early age she had a love of books and was seldom without something to read – even in her last days in the Walsall Manor hospital she had her books. She loved art and poetry too, which was the thing that gave a mutual bond to my father and her.

They met and married during the war, and after the war had ended my father set up his fireplace business which, without the support and drive of my old mom, would never have survived – she worked like a Trojan in that business.

As business built up and improved in the mid fifties they purchased their first house, a few years later in 1961 they moved to a larger detached house in Walsall where they lived until my dad finally retired at the age of 72 in 1987. They sold the house and moved into their Welsh home, they had owned houses in North Wales from 1965 where they loved to go and walk the hills and mountains, which they continued to do in retirement. My dear old dad passed away in 1999 leaving my mom on her own in Wales. She coped well but age crept up and in the end she could not get out and had one fall too many, so she came back to Walsall and sadly, spent the last weeks of her life in the Manor hospital.

If there is not much blogging on this site for a little while then you know the reason why. It seems strange living in a world without a parent, as I said, we are now orphans.

Friday, 3 December 2010

THE ANSWER MUST BE NEIN

How outraged do you think you would feel if many of your neighbours had not been as careful with their money as you, run up some pretty hefty debts and because you all live in the same road all the households were responsible collectively for the money owed – and you and one or two other responsible residents were landed with the bill?

This, in a far less complex way, is the situation we have in the European Union. We are all neighbours and for years have generally got on, but because 27 of the neighbours decided many years ago they wanted to ‘pool their sovereignty’ and have ‘ever closer union’, the responsible neighbours are now having to bail out the reckless and profligate in their ranks – this means every British family will have to find £300 this year to bail out Ireland, Greece and very soon Portugal, Spain, Italy and possibly others who have spent their money as if it was going out of fashion. Are our expensive neighbours worth it?

As we cut back and go without such essentials such as the means to defend ourselves, teach our kids and pay for university degrees, we in the UK face a loan and liability cost of £20 billion – is the EU worth it? We all know the answer to that, it is a resounding NO.

The Daily Express in its continued and welcome crusade against EU membership, points out that with additional costs, as the Eurozone goes deeper into crisis, that every family will face a potential bill of £773 to save the EU’s worthless currency. Is the euro worth it? No, of course not, it should be left to die a death so we can all be shot of it.

For those nations who have well and truly landed themselves in the euroshit, they must now be wondering if the EU’s euro was worth it too. Some of Germany’s top financial brains are asking themselves if Germany should remain in the eurozone, they too are questioning if it was worth it – the answer must be ‘nein’.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

HOW THE BAILOUT PACKAGE WORKS

This has been doing the e-mail rounds for a little time, but it is so good I could not resist posting it, which explains perfectly how the EU bailout works. You can also see another example with the video posted on this blog too.

It is a slow day in a damp little Irish town. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt and everybody lives on credit.

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel. The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub. The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him "services" on credit. The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.

The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money and leaves town.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

PJM, A CALL TO GOVERNMENT

One of our West Midlands MEPs, Mike Nattrass, is backing a concerted campaign by veterans to wear their Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) medal, which UK troops won through service in Malaysia, including Borneo. I commented on this a little while ago on this blog as I feel the brave men and women who served their country should be allowed to wear the medals awarded them by the Malasian government in gratitude. During the period of both campaigns (1957 - 1966) a total of 1,174 decorations for bravery were made, with one Gurkha soldier being awarded the Victoria Cross.

The UKIP MEP has pledged to fight for UK veterans to be allowed to wear the decoration, in the same way that their Australian and New Zealand comrades are allowed to do.

The Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal was awarded to British and Commonwealth troops by the Yuan di Pertuan Agong of Malaysia for service in Malaya and Borneo from the date of their country's independence on 31st August, 1957, to 31st December, 1966, during what was known in Malaya (now Malaysia) as ‘The Emergency’ and in Borneo as the ‘Konfrontasi’.

But, due to a decision by UK civil servants, those British troops who received this decoration are denied the right to wear it.
During the Emergency 1,346 Malayan troops and 519 British military personnel were killed with 2,406 Malayan and British troops wounded. Civilian casualties were 2,478 killed and 810 missing.

Australian and New Zealand veterans were given permission by the Queen to accept and wear the PJM but British veterans are denied this, due to an instruction from the Honours and Decorations Committee.

Commenting on the issue, Mr Nattrass said: “Men and women who join up to serve our country do not ask for much, but their service and dedication should be recognised and this is heartless obstruction for no good reason.

“On Remembrance Day our veterans cannot wear the PJM Medal due to a petty decision by civil servants, whereas our ANZAC cousins, with whom they may well be marching, have that right.

“Do these civil servants not realise the hurt, anger and unnecessary distress this insult causes to those veterans who served their country so bravely?

“I call on the Government to allow these veterans to wear their PJM medals, with pride,” he said.