About This Blog

This blog was originally started as a thread on the forum pages of an animal rescue site. Now it's here!

The articles you find in here are purely for entertainment (yours and mine) and (with one or two exceptions) are all tongue-in-cheek chronicles of the World (my bit, anyway) as I see it.
No disrespect is intended towards anyone unless I make a mistake and make it too obvious.

I hope you enjoy my offerings. Feedback and comments of any kind are welcome.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Up North: Warkworth Castle (30.4.2013)

This is where you'll find it!

The Gate

The Keep from the gate.

The Keep from above the main gate

Castle plan (sorry 'bout the shadow)


The keep

From the Keep to the main gates
(the area by the steps was once the chapel)

The Coquet River/St. Mary's Island

From inside the Keep's main hall

A view to the west (From the Keep)

The Keep floor plan

Interesting stonework

From the postern towards the kitchens

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Up North

Going back home to Newbiggin  by the sea the first time in many years.

A long drive ahead of me.

I'll post some pictures later.

Friday, 26 April 2013

In the Beginning ...

... there was a bloody big bang and then...

"Ah!" I said. "I know this one. Then the universe was formed, right?"

"No, lad. As I was saying, there was the big bang ... but her dad found out and made us get married!" said Ted.

"Oh! You mean ... I thought ... "

"In my experience you young folks don't think" said Ted, as he strolled towards a park bench and sat down.

"Anyway, that was 61 years ago, back in 1952. Been married ever since. 'course it wasn't always easy. The first two years were terrible; fighting, shouting, violence ... oh, it was awful ..." he sighed.

"Yes, but it got better. I mean, you are still together" I said as I sat down beside Ted.

"Oh, God! Yes! It got better after two years, give or take" Ted began to refill his pipe.

"When you and your wife got accustomed to one another?" I suggested.

"No, no! When her dad died! It was him I was always fighting with" He lit his pipe. "He never really liked me"

"But, hey!" I said. "61 years! That's some marriage you have there. Go on ... tell me. What's the secret?"

"There's no secret, lad. It's not a game or some sort of science. All you have to do is find a woman that loves you, and who you love, and you look after each other! That's all."

Ted took another puff on his pipe then tapped it out on the arm rest of the bench.

"Nothing to do with secrets. It's all about love, honesty and loyalty. Young folks don't realise that. If they did, there would be a damned-sight fewer divorces" said Ted.

We said our goodbyes and I watched for a whiled as Ted wandered off towards the park gates, then I went home.

Ok, so I made most of that up, but the bit about there being no secret ... about love and honesty ... they were Ted's exact words.

And they are so very true.

That Ted ... he knows a thing or two and I really enjoy our all to infrequent chats.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Perception: The Lost Finger

Perception: (from the Latin perceptio, percipio) is the organization, identification,
                    and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and
                    understand the 

The following is a true story, albeit due to a slightly corrupted and age ravaged memory, somewhat modified.

It takes place in Germany in the early nineties and it began and ended in a kitchen.

I was about to prepare a meal but first I needed to hack a bone into two pieces in order to make them fit the pan that I'd chosen to make my stock in.

I took the cleaver from it's drawer, placed the bone on the chopping board, took aim and swung the cleaver for all I was worth at the approximate middle of the bone.

It bounced off and the bone made a spirited attempt to flee the scene.

Three times I swung and three times the bone appeared to shrug off my cleaver's assault with little more than the slightest nick on its surface.

I was getting angry.

I'm pretty sure the bone sniggered.

I decided on one more (valiant) effort and swung the cleaver with all the speed and strength I could muster.

But this time I failed to hit the bone cleanly and the cleaver bounced off to the left ... where my left hand was holding the end of the bone to prevent it flying across the kitchen.

The blade of the cleaver struck the knuckle of my left forefinger!

As I dropped the cleaver and grabbed my injured finger, I treated all my German neighbours to an eardrum bursting scream (I'm pretty sure they heard me two streets away) and a very colourful string of British expletives.

My then wife, Annegret, arrived in the kitchen at speed and found me holding my left wrist saying "I've chopped my bloody finger off! I've chopped it right bloody off!"

My finger, needless to say, is still on my hand. In fact I'm looking at it right.

But at that time my brain was adding up the evidence .... cleaver, bloody finger, pain, etc. ... and was overruling the evidence presented by one of it's main sources of information (my eyes) and declaring the digit to be lost.

I was a company medic in the Army and I really don't mind blood ... I don't, honestly ... so long as it isn't my own!

I could feel my knees beginning to wobble. My beads of sweat began to erupt form my forehead and face ...

Anyway, when I woke up, I had the mother of all headaches and the right side of my face hurt like hell.

"Wha...wha...wha..." I spluttered.

Annegret was hunched over me looking worried.

I was lying flat on my back on the tiled kitchen floor.

"What happened? What am I doing down here?"

Annegret explained what had happened.

She said she had rushed into the kitchen when she heard my screams (I was shouting! Men don't scream!) and she arrived just in time to witness my slump to the floor. My fall, she said, was slowed by my head cracking against the worktop on my way down and was eventually stopped by my bouncing on the tiles. She saw the blood and, ever the practical person, dashed off for something to stem the flow of blood.

That is why I awoke to find a sanitary towel wrapped around my finger.

"I couldn't find the first aid box!" she explained.

At this point it all came back to me.

"I chopped my finger off with that damned cleaver" I said.

She assured me that I hadn't and eventually unwrapped the sanitary towel to prove it.

I had been convinced that my finger was gone.

My eyes had seen that it was still there but my brain hadn't believed them.

What was perceived to be true (by my eyes) was deemed, wrongly, to have been untrue (by my brain).

I felt like a fool.

In fact I managed to feel like a fool for quite some time, as my wife was destined, during our many subsequent social engagements, to recount this tale on many occasions.

If only my brain hadn't jumped to conclusions!

Friday, 12 April 2013


I haven't always been interested in words.

That's because, if I'm honest, they used to frighten me.

I mean, why put an 'H' in spaghetti? Why does the word 'those' not have a 'Z' in it instead of an 'S'?

Things changed however when I found out ... after years of living in fear ... that 'dichotomy' had absolutely nothing to do with removal of a man's most essential extremity.

No more quivering in fear every time that word was used for me!

Not that it was used much by anyone in the northeast of England when I was young. More often than not people would say 'Wey man, it's split doon the middle, hinney' and be completely unaware that they had just used one definition of the word 'dichotomy'.

We were simple people you see. We thought education and schooling was useful only to give parents time to make more children and go to work. A kind of baby-sitting service if you like.

I however used school ... especially English lessons ... to rid myself of my northeast accent. I began to pronounce my words as the rules of Queens English demanded they should be pronounced.

This resulted in ridicule from family and friends.

Simple saying 'no' correctly in the northeast ... 'nay', 'ner' or 'no-a' (pronounced 'noah') was more usual ... would raise eyebrows and cause some folks to 'out' themselves as abderianists.

I braved the scathing wit and merciless ridicule for many a year and, even if I say so myself, I became highly skilled in the art of adoxography, as you have no doubt already noticed.
My attempts to better myself resulted in exsibilations from my peers, to which I responded with aggressive attacks of hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian nature.

This may make me seem to be somewhat of a philosophunculist, but at least I know what 'philosophunculist' means without having to look it up.

Words, eh?

Don't ya just love 'em?

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Catch Up and a Trip Down Memory Lane

Things are definitely looking up!

The garage is sound! No leaks!

The wall ... the one with the cracks in it ... this one in fact ...

Lower right of window
Upper right of window

... has almost dried out to the point where it could be reinforced with steel rods.

The bathroom, which wasn't originally on my "To do" list,  is about to be ripped out and new fixtures and fittings installed.

All-in-all I reckon nearly £4000 of my money has evaporated into those two projects.

Now, knowing everything is either finished or well in hand, I can
Now, let me take another of those trips down memory lane. Indulge me, if you will, as I recall an incident from my childhood.

It was in 1971 and I was 12 years old.

Memory is fickle and my recollections of this time are sketchy to say the least, but at 12 years of age I do recall that I very nearly committed suicide.

There are many ways of doing such a thing; many involve pharmaceutical product of one kind or another, arriving on low places at speed or firearms.

In my case it would have been suicide by Margaret Middleton.

Margaret was a big girl.

She stood a good five inches taller than I did and, in times of trouble, she was perfectly built for several people to hide behind.

One day, just after my twelfth birthday, a note was passed to me in class.

It read 'Meet me after school at the gates! Margaret'  

It was a note that struck fear into my heart and made me yearn for several hours of detention.

You see, Margaret always got her way and she was quick with her fists when she didn't. If she didn't get you, her two brothers would.

I spent all day in school telling my friends that she didn't scare me and that she'd have to wait until the world froze over before I'd go out with her.

But I was quaking in my boots!

I therefore decided that at the end of school I would run like hell across the sports field, climb the fence and take the long way home.

As I was halfway over the fence I heard a voice say "You little shit! I thought you'd leg it this way!"

It was Margaret!

She punched me!

Several times!

Then, to my surprise, she gave me a curly-wurly (a chocolate covered toffee bar) and told me that she only wanted me to get my best pal, Les, to stop sending her notes asking to take her out because she was going out with Tom 'Knocker' Powell.

It was like a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt like I was almost floating. I was in the clear!

Oh and the up-side of the story is that she gave me a handful of notes, all in the handwriting of my pal Les, which I was able to use for many weeks as a means to torture him.

But I was brought back to earth with a stern warning from Margaret.

She said "If I had wanted to go out with you and you'd run away from me like you just did, I'd smash you face in!"

Now that did scare me. After all, she'd just punched me in the nose and fattened my lip. I dreaded to thing what her version of a smashed in face looked like.

This is the first time that I have ever admitted that it was she, and not her brothers (as I told everyone it was), that beat me up.

I do so in the full knowledge that none of my school friends will be reading this ... I hope.