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Blog for April 2013

Posted on 3rd April, 2013

I have not put fingers to keyboard for quite some time and really could not trust my self to write about our politicians without swearing.

For this Blog I can steer clear of politics because I have just made a pleasant discovery.

For years people have been telling me to join the National Trust.

I ignored them for various reasons. (I did not like the cost and I did not really see the point.)

Then recently my wife's family came over for a visit.

I had to find things of interest for them to see and do.

One of the things that they showed an interest in was to visit the historic places like the tower of London and all the sites of London and  the further afield places, like Stone Henge .

There at Stone Henge  was a woman pushing the National Trust joining  pamphlets at me. I explained as usual that I was a pensioner and couldn't afford it. To which the Lady replied there is a special price for pensioners. I still was not convinced and just paid out for the tickets that allow you to walk round the Henge. Not near enough to them so that you can really appreciate them and just near enough to make you feel a little disappointed and somehow cheated at the same time.

Coming out I again encountered the lady with the trust joining Pamhlets. This time I thought what the heck and signed the paperwork and was given my card and credentials.

Then came the amazing part. She gave me my money back for the car park and my entrance fee plus the entrance fee for two of the others who happened to be students under 19. so already I have made half of the joining fee money back.

From there we went to Old Sarum a few miles away and again myself and my two  students got in free (a saving of around £24.

With the Long summer holiday still to come and 4 grand children to be entertained I think me and my trusty NT card are going to have a wonderful time.

I can take up to 6 young people under the age of 19 in with me for free.

Senior annual Rate £37 .  Some of you will be saying that you have been doing it for years and some will be like me and feel a bit doubtful. But I think its the best deal I have seen for ages.

Blog for 15th July 2012

Posted on 15th July, 2012

I have just had another of those weeks that seem to be coming part of my life at the moment. I have attended two funerals.

The first funeral was again in my home town of Hednesford where only a few days before I had attended Barry Duckhouse' s Funeral. This time it was a dear friend of mine and my family. Although she was quite old when you compare her age with that of Barry she will still be missed and her death has left a gap in my life that will never be filled.

 

The other funeral was my cousins wife who died from a cancer that had grown in her ear canal. From onset to the end it was only about six months. Although I had kep in touch with them I had not actually seen either my cousin or Kath his wife for nearly 50 years. I had planned on having a holiday near them this year because they live in Aberystwyth and it seemed like a good idea. As with a lot of things in my life I had left it a bit too late.

 

The funeral was of course held in Aberystwyth and I had to travel up on Thursday and stay two nights in a Hotel. The jurney up ther was a nightmare because there was an accident on the M1 and I was stuck there for 3 hours going nowhere.

On arrival in Aberystwyth I met up with my cousin and had an emotional reunion, a few whiskeys and a chat over old times.

The funeral the next day was another emotional happening with a hymn that always breaks me down(The old Rugged Cross) because of all the funerals I can associate with it.

The Wake afterwards also brought saddness because I met up with old school mates and found that many of our old class mates had passed away recently.

 

During all this melancholy I realised that what I should be doing was celebrating life becaus with all the sad news there came news of births and marriages and news about mates that were doing well all round the world. At the end of the day its good to be here and still doing the things that make the world tick.

Cheers and heres to the next 67 years.

Blog for the end of June

Posted on 1st July, 2012

Well I could not believe it when I looked at the blog page. February was the last time I posted anything here.

 

Well since I last wrote we have had three of our number pass away  Ron Snook, George Dawkins and Barry Duckhouse RIP lads.

 

All I ever do just lately is attend funerals. Last week it was Barry Duckhouse and I had hopped that would be it but no," The Reaper" has taken an old friend of the family and also my cousin’s wife. Both were dear to my heart. It never seems to let up and I am dreading the next phone call or email. Still that’s what you get for reaching our age I suppose.

 

The funerals of old mates do have one consolation to them at least we manage mini reunions. Although the circumstances are not the best we do get chance to catch up with each other.

 

I have already booked the next reunion at the King Charles Hotel for the first weekend in March. So look after yourselves Lads I want to see as many as possible while we can all get about.

 

I have finally self published my book of my sketches. The process has many pitfalls but I got there in the end and even if I never sell a copy I have checked another thing to do before I pop my clogs.

 

My pop clogs list actually started in the 1979 or there about.

 

The list went something like this

 

1)                  Learn about computers  (Done and have had loads of fun since starting off with my first ZX81 where you typed in code for about two days and managed to make a hang man game)

 

2)                  Learn Guitar (Done but still play very badly but I didn’t actually start learning till I was gone 45 years of age.

 

3)                  Go to China and America (Done and along the way took in a few extra Places)

 

4)                  Live to see Grand children (Done 4 times so far)

 

5)                  Write a story ( Got 3 different ones on the go at the moment but have managed to publish something see above.)

 

6)                  Write a pop song (wrote loads and had one recorded and taken up by the Staffordshire men Folk Group. More on the way) this has all been done this year.

 

7)                  Teach myself how to carve things out of wood. (Its hard going and my joints hurt but I am getting there)

 

8)                  Do something that will impress my wife ( No luck there so far and I don’t think I will achieve this one.

 

 

Well this has been a bit of waffle but it should pass a bit of time while you wait for everyone else to be ready to go out.

 

Beef

February Blog

Posted on 2nd February, 2012

Well here we are February already. Where did the last 12 months go?. It seems like I looked out of the window and it was January 2011 and When I looked again it was Feb 2012.

 

I am, as usual, looking forward to the Reunion. Its always great to see all the familiar faces and this year it will be tinged with sadness for those who passed away last year.

 

I do try to make this site and the newsletters as interesting as possible but as you will have noticed I could do with spell checking more often. My only excuse is that I try to jot things down and add things in before they become ancient history and as a result I probably publish with out due care. In future I will send things to Taff Fisher to edit as he can usually find a spelling or grammatically error almost before I write it. I am not being sarcastic because Taff has been really helpful in keeping my worst mistakes in check.

 

Speaking of Taff between us we have been trying to find references and pictures of the time we were given the freedom of Ripon. After a lot of correspondence between Taff, Myself and The Assistant director (Library and community Services) in Ripon. We managed to track down a very bad photo copy of a march past for the Rememberance parade 1965 but it was only the regiment and the RAF that was mentioned. The photos that accompanied the article were so bad I would not be able to reproduce any of them.

 

There must be some one out there that took a photo because I remember instamatics galore as we marched along. Just as a matter of historical fact I hated marching in things like that especially if it was in No 2 Dress.

 

Thats all the meanderings I have for now so see you at the reunion.

Blog for September 2011

Posted on 14th September, 2011

Well here we are half way through another month. Dosen't time seem to fly past when you get older? I thought time would drag once I retired but the opposite has turned out to be true.

 

This month I am looking forward to a trip up to York to meet up with Geordie Marshall and Frank Hughes. Of course the will also be Pete Edwards and John Farrell who seem to be the Bedrock of the York get together's. As I have never been to York it should be interesting. I don't like the prices quoted for Hotels up there. I think 2 days in York would cost the equivalent of a weeks Holiday with plane fare to Spain.

 

I have had news of several of our number undergoing treatment with Chemmotherapy and I would like to pass on my best wishes and hope for speedy recovery to all of them. I did think that the place they all had in common was the far east but I have revised that since learning of people that were in Libya with the same problems. John Ashton always said That I loved a conspiracy theory and he was probably right.

 

Speaking to different people over the last year there seems to be an Idea that Ron and I organise the Reunion event at Chatham. Well organisation as always been the last thing we wanted to do.

 

Right from the start it was always just a get together and the only organising was booking the venue and advertising the date and time. The whole thing is kept as for from organised reunion as possible. I think most people agree that just seeing old mates for a chinwag is what its all about. As was said on the first evening two years ago, "If nothing else happens over the next 24hrs the last 3 hours have made it worth while"

 

People that turned up on the Friday evening were still discussing old times with gushing enthusiasm when they were leaving on the sunday morning. By that time most of them sounded a little hoarse. Yes we could organise a dinner Party with a top Table wearing medals etc but that is what we have tried to avoid. For that kind of thing you have the RE reunion and the RE association do's. Ours is just a few boring old farts talking about old times, Looking at old photos, catching up with what we have been doing over the last 40 odd years and having a good time.

 

Well thats about it for now.

 

Beef

August 10th 2011

Posted on 11th August, 2011

Barry Duckhouse spoke to me on the phone last night and pointed out a small mistake on Page 2. I had put the date down as 1945 instead of 1965. I seem to make these kinds of mistakes more and more. I had just re-organised the page because I thought it looked a bit untidy as it was one of the first pages I had written and it got bits added to it as I went along. I found I had also written a rather strange spelling for Labuan, which I also corrected while I was on.

 

At the time of writing this the riots seem to have eased up a bit and my Son is going back to work although he is still limping a little. There is only one clear space on his body armour and the concrete block seemed to find it. Apparently it knocked him off his feet and dumped him like a sack of spuds. He then had to endure the embarrasment of being draged off the road by his mates.

 

We have lost four members of the black Ants this year and to add to that my Sister died after fairly short illness of Cancer and multiple stokes. It was only a year ago that she seemed so full of life and now she has gone. Her husband and Children and Grandchildren are devastated of course. It all make you painfully aware of your own mortality and brings life into focus.

 

The number of people who have said they will be attending the Reunion has already exceeded previous years so it looks like we will have an even better knees up.

 

Beef

Blog for July 2011

Posted on 28th July, 2011

Thought I would just put in a few words just to keep the blog ticking over.

 

I have been getting my grumpy old man vibes this week with all the hoo ah about the Olympics. Of course Zeb Coe and Boris are full of enthusiasm saying how wonderful it is going to be. (In Zeb Coe's case he has £10 million worth of enthusiasm because that's how much he will be making out of it and that is only what they are telling us about)

 

There are more fingers in more pies so that Little Jack Horner would have been squashed. The Tory press are well in line with the gravy train. The Daily Mail in particular has a sycophant per page toadying up to the organisers. the only little snag was when their masters couldn't get them tickets, then we had a little discontent in the ranks.

 

When this first began the affected parts of East London were told there would be lots of jobs for local people and these would carry though to after the Games. When questioned yesterday Zeb Coe said that 14% of jobs in his firms had gone to local people. What he did not say that most of those employed on the sites have been from other countries. They claim that they use foreign Labour because Local People won't work for the same pay. That's not really the case. It is just easier to employ foreigners on short term contracts without any real security. I suspect there are quite a few illegals working for these firms too. If you ask questions like that around the site you get very evasive answers.

 

Another thing we heard a lot about before the first bit of ground was broken on the site was the affordable tickets for Londoners from the area and all the affordable housing that would be in the area afterwards. What they never said was who would be able to afford them.

 

The whole lot is elitist from start to finish. They are content for the tax and council charges plus lottery money to pay for everything Lining their own pockets but they don't want us to enjoy it unless we are part of their select few.

 

Well thats a lot off my chest and I feel a lot better.

 

 

Beef

 

Blog for June

Posted on 26th June, 2011

Well its been a bit of a sad month with the two old mates passing on. I attended John Ashton's Funeral Service and I will be attending Derek Keetch's funeral on this coming Thursday. Also at the funeral were Alastair Brownlie and Mary, Tony Allen and Julie, Pete Edwards and Sue, Frank Hughes, John Farrow, Myself and my Son Robert.

 

I understand that quite a few of us will be attending Dereks Funeral too.

 

On a lighter not I have managed to speak to Both Brummie Duckhouse and Bob Adams.

Bob persuaded me to go on to the Skype set up and the process was relatively speaking quite painless. So all you skypers can now contact me free of charge.

 

As I sit here writing this the temperature reading is 31C. Mind you this room does hold the heat because it gets the full glare of the afternoon and evening sun. I only mention this because Bob Adams was telling me it was 30C in Spain. Still I suppose Spain will be more consistent throughout the summer.

 

I have attempted to put the first ten newsletters into one PDF file and put it on the archive page. I don't know yet if it has worked yet. If you are reading this and found that the pdf file did not work then bear with me I will have it working by the end of the week.

 

Thats it for now I hope you all enjoyed the last newsletter and dont forget I am always looking for bits to add and Pad so send me a few emails and stories.

 

Beef

Blog for March

Posted on 4th March, 2011

Well we have just had our 4th reunion and as usual everyone seemed to have a good time.

We had a few new faces this year and there were a few that could not make for reasons of health etc. There are of course some photos added to the reunions pages with more to come as people send me their own pics taken on the day.

 

I hope to have a newsletter out by the end of next week but life seems to be getting in the way of all the things I want to do and all the things that need doing and it seems to take twice as long to do the things I have planned. (Don't Tell anyone but I think I am getting Old)

 

This last twelve months have been good for renewing old freindships and on return from the reunion I had contact with Bob Booth. I have his email should anyone want it.

 

I think if we are holding the Reunion at the same place next year we will have to try for a room without the pillars so that people do not get shut off from each other and we can get better views of the computer slides.

 

Well thats all for now

 

Beef

Blog for December 2010

Posted on 29th December, 2010

I see that I have not done a blog for quite some time. I think it is because I seem to put most of the news on the first page when I put the update info on.

 

Well at the time of writing Christmas is over and we are heading to the new year so Happy new year to one and all.

 

Just a recap on the latest contacts, Geoff Slack, Les Painting, Bob(Jock) Morton, John Weston and Tony Walker have all joined us over the last few months and all say they will be at the next reunion.

 

There was a report that the King Charles was fully booked for the reunion. Well that's not strictly true. There are no more single rooms left but there are plenty of Double and twin rooms left.

 

News of John Ashton. John has had his operation an apart from one or two set backs he is recovering and may even make the reunion this year.

 

Its sometimes hard to explain to people why the Reunions are so great. On the face of it we do not do much more than sit down and chat about old times. However I think everyone who has attended the previous Reunions knows it is a lot more than that.

 

One comment on the first evening last year just about summed it up for everyone, " I have only been here two hours but I have already had 4 times the enjoyment I expected and the weekend has already paid for its self."

 

Dave Hamilton said he would ask the RSM of the RSME to maybe "pop in" to our reunion and give us a talk on the modern day Corps. I thought this was a good Idea. Then  when I replied to Dave's email saying I would run it past everyone else because we had always tried to keep our Reunions more about Freindships rather than the military and Corps side of things. Maybe it would not be everyones cup of tea.

 

I think Dave took that the wrong way because his reply was a bit Terse to say the least.

 

For the record, we are still connected to the modern Corps with Children and Grand children who have also served or are serving.

 

Thats about it for now

 

Beef