We went to the forties event at Ironbridge at the weekend, the weather was excellent, we had great fun dancing, meeting friends and making new ones, together with eating rather excellent West Indian food and watching the fabulous Battle of Britain Memorial Flight overhead.

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis will know that my wife Angella is somewhat reluctant to have her photo on Facebook so I’m hoping I can get away with this one while she’s not looking! I have to admit the image might have been improved had I disposed of the plastic bottle of ginger beer.

Just found another couple of images.

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I seem to have come to a point in life where I mostly communicate with people through email, the occasional text and rather sadly the even more infrequent telephone call, however having recently got back from a weekend away I am now trawling through the 658 emails that I received whilst I was away and it seems 652 of them are surplus to requirements.

Here are the six that were of some interest.

No 1. A message from an on line retail outlet where I buy leather shoes telling me they have some rather nice suede shoes back in stock, so I immediately purchased a pair.

No 2. A comment to a friend we met at the forties weekend about a photo he had uploaded with his wife in a rather fetching green hat which she wore over the weekend, my comment was that she had better not wear said hat out on dark nights as my wife had taken rather a fancy to it and there was every chance had she had the opportunity she would have whipped from her head and run off with it.

No 3. I made a couple of comments on blog posts that I follow.

No 4. A message from Facebook suggesting I may wish to send a friend request to someone who on closer inspection seemed most unsuitable as a friend.

No 5. A reminder that my car breakdown policy was going to expire in a months time, fairly useful but a tad premature I thought.

No 6. A request that I should sign a protest about the expansion of the London ULEZ, which seems rather like Hitler to have thoughts of, today inner London, tomorrow the world. We pay far too much tax to drive our cars at the best of times, so this was a protest I was only too happy to put my name to.

Even scanning the 652 which I perused without opening took some time but here is an example of why in modern life we spend hours and hours getting nothing done, all with the aid of labour saving devices like computers. Lord knows what will happen when AI takes over, will we get even more of this junk mail or will the AI read it all for us and then select the six that are worthy of comment.

I would have once ended a post like this with the old expression; Answers on a postcard but I suppose in this day and age it should be, Answers in an email to …………………

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One has to wonder what the real truth of this story is and having seen the video of the Police van following the boys on the bike it is obvious this was not a chase as they are going far too slowly to describe it as a chase.

It seems from the story that the 15 year old loved his motorbikes and yet he was too young to have a licence to ride one and I’m led to believe from an article elsewhere that the bicycle they were on was worth £4000 which leaves me to wonder where they may have acquired the bicycle as I would be surprised if children of this age would have earned sufficient to purchase it.

I’m not sure if it is illegal to ride one of these bikes without a helmet and I’m led to believe you actually need a driving licence to be on one but it surely must be illegal for two people to be on it at the same time, which I assume must have been the reason for the Police to have been following the boys.

Even assuming these boys were only guilty of both being on the bike at the same time and nothing else, the Police had good reason to follow them and I have to wonder how they managed to crash at such a low speed. I have seen another picture of the them which bears no resemblance to the angelic young boys used by some of the media, in fact they are far more mature and both were holding or smoking spliffs, could drugs have played any part in their crash.

At the moment no-one knows the answers to any of these questions, so I think it was a little premature to start rioting and trashing the neighbourhood including the setting fire of a disabled persons car and taking it out on innocent people who had nothing to do with it.

Obviously in the fullness of time we will have the full story, I look forward to reading it.

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What a complete waste of time this latest witch hunt by the Civil Service on Suella Braverman who was accused of breaching the Ministerial code with her actions over her speeding offence.

She was caught speeding and was entitled to take a speed awareness course, which is usually only an option when the speeding offence is very minor.

She asked officials if it would be possible to take the course in private, an option which many high profile people have done before.

Due to her high ranking position in the Government she was told it was not possible due to her needing her security people with her.

Accepting this fact she took the only option available to her and paid the fine and accepted the points on her licence.

These facts became public knowledge and the witch hunt began.

Having spoken to the Government adviser, Sir Laurie Magnus, who advises the Government on ethics the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made the following statement; “these matters do not amount to a breach of the ministerial code.”

Personally, I’m getting a little fed up with these petty witch hunts looking for any excuse to get rid of right wing Government Ministers, when this sort of thing was portrayed on the TV programme “Yes, Prime Minister” it was considered a joke and something to be laughed at, however in real life it looks a little small minded and childish.

I dread watching the news lately as we have to watch as a member of the public is arrested for trying to remove Just stop oil protesters who were blocking the road which is a criminal offence and yet the Police do nothing to remove the protesters.

Now, yet another attack on Boris Johnson from the Civil Service, I can’t be the only one to be thinking we need someone with some “bollocks” like Suella Braverman to sort this country out, now there’s a thought.

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It has been reported by a spokesperson for the couple that Harry and Meghan and her mother were involved in a “near catastrophic” car chase after being followed by paparazzi.

Allegedly the incident happened after Harry and Meghan had left an awards ceremony for Women of Vision in Manhattan, New York.

A statement released last night said, “Last night, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms Ragland were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi. This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers. While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety.”

However, according to the New York Times, the New York Police Department had not received a report of a car chase involving the couple in the area, although a law enforcement source told CNN that paparazzi followed Meghan and Harry in cars, motorcycles and scooters and that an NYPD protective team had to take evasive action at times, rather contradicting the previous statement and all rather confusing.

From what I can gather, it seems they took the rather unusual decision to leave the event in a New York cab with a security person in the front seat and were then pursued for over two hours through the streets of New York by highly aggressive paparazzi in vehicles with blacked out windows. I believe it was also alleged that poor Harry had nasty visions of the tragedy that befell his mother during this horrendous chase.

I have to admit to being a tad sceptical about things I hear in the news and this is no exception, perhaps it is early days in the story but there seems to be some ambiguity as to whether the story was reported by Harry and Meghan or not, together with the detail that they appeared to have left the event in a yellow New York taxi cab, followed by paparazzi in vehicles with blacked out windows. It seems to me that Harry and Meghan who make enormous fuss about wanting to be left alone and whinge about their lack of privacy should have swopped cars with the paparazzi and been in the ones with blacked out windows.

Whilst having sympathy with Harry with regard to the events leading up to his mother’s death one has to point out that had she been wearing a seatbelt she would have survived with nothing more than bad bruising, together with the thought that to try to out run the pursuing press always runs the risk of ending in tears and I can think of any number of better vehicles to use that would be better for the task than a taxi cab. I’m also wondering why Meghan who was at the event to collect a Woman of Vision award didn’t have the foresight to see the perils of leaving the event in such a vulnerable means of transport.

Lastly, having left the Royal Family and the security that is given to any working member of the “Firm” and to have fled to the colonies to be chauffeured about in a yellow taxi seems very lax if you really value the privacy and security of your family, how much better they would have been had they just knuckled down and done the job when they had the chance.

Finally, I have to admit the photograph I have used for this post is not of the actual event but one that represents what seems to me to be the rather exaggerated story we are being fed, therefore I am using artistic licence with the photo, just because I can and I have a wicked sense of humour!

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The following is an extract from an article I found about the first driverless bus service
taking paying passengers across the Forth Road Bridge.

The vehicles have two members of staff – a safety driver who can take control of the vehicle
and a “captain” to sell tickets and provide customer service.

A fleet of five Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV buses will cover a 14-mile route, in mixed
traffic, at up to 50mph across the bridge.

While buses generally have just one driver, the captain is on board to demonstrate what a
full-size autonomous bus may feel like in the future when the buses can operate
with one member of staff who can leave the cab as the computer drives.

The bus company has said, “I would say to anyone who is a bit cautious about using the vehicle not to be, there is a full safety case that has been worked through, and the vehicle has been certified as safe for public use.” The buses have completed one million testing miles so far.

Now forgive me for pointing out what appears to be the bleeding obvious but, in trials the bus needs a safety driver and a captain although in the future the safety driver will be able to leave the driving seat and come round and collect fares. I have to admit I am trying hard to see the merit of the driver not being at the controls of the bus as it still requires him to come round and collect the fares, so I’m wondering why he couldn’t sit at the controls and take the fares as they do in a conventional bus, this would also have the added safety feature of having someone at the controls should the bus attempt to plunge from the bridge into the icy waters below.

I must say this has reminded me of the old joke…….

I want to die in my sleep, like my dear old dad.

Not like the passengers on his bus, all crying and screaming in fear of their lives!

Autonomous bus service

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My wife and I had a busy weekend starting on Saturday morning, having decided on the spur of the moment to visit a forties event at the Kent and East Sussex steam railway, unfortunately the moment of the spur was a little late in the day which meant we arrived about lunchtime but better late than never.

As usual my wife started with some vintage shopping and bought two pairs of trousers, a couple of jackets, a snood and a house coat which I suggested she could wear whilst doing the housework while I would read the paper and have a fag! I seem to remember there was then some suggestion as to where I might place a broomstick but I ignored it as a steam train which had come into the station was about to depart.

Once aboard we bought some refreshment, my wife had some fizzy pop and I entered into the spirit of the forties by having a locally brewed beer which made a change as I usually drink lager and I have to say it was quite pleasant.

The main reason for the train trip was to seek out “Viv the spiv” and say hello as we were told he was at the end of the line but when we arrived he was not there so as there was little going on at the station we promptly got back on the train and came back to where we started from.

Sadly, by the time we got back the singing and dancing was over and things were winding down so we decided to go home and headed to the car park whereupon we ran into “Viv” and had a quick chat and then drove home. A vey quick decision to go to the event meant it was a brief visit but good fun none the less.

The following day we went to a material sale in Norfolk as we had been told we could get some dress making material which my wife did, I’m beginning to think she has a bit of the shopaholic about her but I could be wrong!

We then carried on to the Little Vintage Lover Fair at Mannington Estate once again in Norfolk where we met friends, chatted and had tea and cake, all very British and why not? My wife, who seems to think of herself as a charitable institution assisted the poverty stricken vintage clothing stall holders by purchasing yet more clothing. I’m forced to think, if everyone else was to spend as much as we have and plan to for the rest of this year we wouldn’t be in a recession at all!

I have said before than when we were young we hardly took any photographs unlike the youth of today who even snap their dinner for uploading at a later date, thank God they don’t photograph what they ate the day before. Sorry there are no images to go with this post but obviously my wife and I are still happy just living in the moment.

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To those of you who have read episode one and two, I can now report that I have nearly finished my week of blood pressure readings and am delighted to report the average figure is now 136 over 76 so I’m sure when I finish tomorrow it will be about the same which although not the result of an Olympic athlete I think is fair enough for a 72 year old chap who eats too much cake and drinks a little too much lager.

End of report!

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Following on from my my post of yesterday I can report that I do indeed have an update and one which will be fairly brief and concise, especially for those of you who may have read episode one.

When I arrived home yesterday I thought I would just write in the readings I had taken during the previous week but looking at the form it seems I should have recorded each reading twice and taken a note of my pulse, although I was wondering if the recording of the pulse was a little superfluous as without a pulse I wouldn’t be in a state to record anything.

Now, as a man I think it safe to say that most women know that men never read the instructions and true to form I had done likewise which meant that as the last time I had done my blood pressure was over two years ago I was a little rusty and had not noticed some of the more important notes contained in the instructions on the back of the form.

Some of the more pertinent points being to sit down and relax for some five minutes before taking a reading, supporting the arm at heart height, wearing loose fitting clothing, and not to measure your blood pressure within half an hour of eating, smoking, drinking caffeinated drinks such as coffee, or exercising, along with avoiding measuring when you need to use the toilet.

Having taken all my previous readings where I had breeched most of the instructions, except drinking coffee and having a fag it was pretty clear I had made a complete pigs ear of the process which necessitated another visit to the doctors surgery for another form and to start again. At least there was a different receptionist who seemed a little more sympathetic than yesterday, so it wasn’t all bad.

Those of you who are not already bored with this tale of woe will have to wait for another week for the conclusion of my story but I can report that having taken my first new reading obeying all the proper instructions I have a very successful result to report, in fact it seems I am just as healthy as I thought I was when I first suggested to the Doctor that all this was a waste of time.

Assuming the rest of the readings continue in the same fashion I shall be delighted and perhaps a little smug when I return the form to the surgery, let’s hope so!

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A week or so ago I had arranged to have my yearly review with my doctors surgery and on the allotted day I received a telephone call from what sounded like a rather young fellow who I assume must be new as I wasn’t aware there were any young doctors in the practice.

I was pleasantly surprised that he telephoned spot on the arranged time to start my interrogation, although not so pleased as the questioning went on.

“I see you were a smoker.”

“Yes, I used to do 80 full strength Marlboro a day but I am delighted to tell you I gave up in 2001.”

“Do you drink?”

Thinking on my toes I quickly responded, “Yes!” Hoping that by keeping it brief it would avoid further awkward questioning, but no the doctor persisted.

“How much do you drink?”

I’m thinking to myself, “by the gallon, or daily, and finally plumped for; two or three cans of lager a day hoping to fend him off.”

No luck there as he parried with, “you realise that’s too much alcohol.”

He seemed a little precious so I decided not to tell him the full amount of my consumption and came back with, “well it helps me to calm down and relax of an evening time.”

This man was just not giving up and fired a shot across my bow, “I see we were a little worried about your blood pressure last year.”

Blast, I now had to regale the story of my last years blood pressure test which did indeed show a high result.

“Well, Doctor last year you were doing the tests in the surgery and not in the local hospital as usual and I was sent to the wrong surgery which caused me to drive like I was in a Formula 1 race with Lewis Hamilton to the correct one some miles away. When I arrived I noticed the car park was completely full so I had to wait for a space which took some time and led to some stress on my behalf. However, after what seemed like forever an old man emerged from the building and started to walk to his car at a speed that even the laziest three toed sloth could have put to shame and eventually I had my blood pressure taken which unsurprisingly was somewhat raised.”

I vaguely remember we somehow got onto the subject of things that wind me up and I let rip with, “having to do this stupid review every year and wasting my time when you could be dealing with someone who can’t get an appointment who is actually ill, I promise if I’m really ill I will come and see you, we don’t have to go through the farce every year.”

I’m sorry this is a long story but bear with me, there will be a conclusion eventually and I do apologise if this is raising your blood pressure while you wait for the conclusion of my story.

That, as I recollect was virtually the end of the conversation except the Doctor said he would send me a form for a blood test at the local hospital and I was to take my blood pressure twice a day and to fill in a form he would send me on me telephone.

Now, I only tend to use my phone for phone calls, the occasional text or the odd photograph which left me a little flummoxed when the forms arrived from the Doctor and I duly opened them and briefly looked at them and closed them.

The next day I started with taking my blood pressure in the morning and evening and recording the results on paper ready to fill in the form I had received from the Doctor which only left me to follow the link thing he had sent me to arrange the blood test at the local hospital, all seemed to be going swimmingly I thought.

My blood pressure was as usual within the limits for an old codger like myself and much as I hate to do things on my telephone as the screen is small I felt ready to accept the challenge and attempt to complete the form, unfortunately both of the links I had received had mysteriously disappeared which meant a visit to the surgery to try to put matters right.

Upon explaining my predicament to the receptionist who seemed to have a look of contempt on her face, one that might have been mirrored by my good self as I was thinking how much simpler this would all have been had we not had to go through this rigmarole.

Now, I’m not saying I’m hard of hearing but I do find that when people get up from their chair and walk to the back of the room mumbling to me I have a little difficulty hearing, however upon her return I asked her to repeat the conversation which entailed me going online to Swiftqueue and booking a blood test and handing me the form which I should have printed from my phone had I set my phone up to connect with our printer at home.

At last, I felt I was getting somewhere unfortunately when getting home and reading the instructions on the back of the form it seems I should have taken each reading twice together with a note of my pulse so all my efforts up to now had been in vain and I would have to do it all again.

Now, I’m not saying all this has raised my blood pressure but we shall find out later in the week when I complete the process yet again and keep you updated as we go along!

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