One of those days!

Working nights doesn’t exactly make it easy to do things during the week, especially when you work a 13 and a half hour night shift…with an hour and a quarter drive at either end of it, like I do! So waking up yesterday to find I had a flat tyre due to a copper nail was a bit of  a drag.

Anyway, set about changing the wheel, only to discover the spare was worse than any tyre I’ve ever seen on a car, with the biggest dent in the rim you could get and still have a tyre intact on it! So that was out of the question, with the time constraints to make it to work, and the limited cooperation from local tyre dealers, I ended up getting a near new tyre from the scrap dealer, and heading back home to grab everything and go to work. (Tyre fine) Stopped at Westbury to get fuel…tyre flat (same wheel)….so pumped it up, and set off, got as far as Warminster…flat tyre.

At this point, I decided to put the spare on and take a slow, careful drive to work, so I set off again. Driving along the A36 at a sedate 40 mph and avoiding every bump and drain cover, and suddenly there is an awful noise from the back of the car. I stopped and went to the back expecting to see the wheel down on the rim, but no…I hadn’t latched the carrier up properly, so it had dropped down and was dragging along the the floor. So carry on, and made it to work….much to my, and everyone else’s, amazement.

When I went to the tyre centre round the corner in Downton to get it all put right, the South African chap that owns the place said…”Fuck me! You drove on THAT?” well….no….I put it on and carried the car here!…but anyway, he put it right and didn’t charge much, one brand new tyre, and straightened the rim out and made a good safe spare…so thank you Downton Tyre Services! It means I can drive over to sunny Wales and see my daughter and grandsons on Sunday 🙂 and believe me, I need some down time after the day yesterday and the night from hell on CNCs that followed…..thinking about it…when I found the flat tyre, I should have done the sensible thing and gone back to bed!!!

After seeing the weather forecast for SP2 area for tomorrow, I’d imagine that the people and parents going to the football tournament at South Newton tomorrow will be coming away and saying “one of those days” as they’re trying to dry out and warm up. Good luck to all those playing though, and the poor chap who spent hours getting everything looking nice for it.

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Wishford Oak Apple Day 2011

I’ve always liked seeing old traditions maintained, particularly when they’re regional, and the older, the better!

So it was rather nice to go down to Great Wishford in sunny Wiltshire, and see the Oak Apple day celebrations peculiar to the village….only it wasn’t sunny….it pissed down some of the time, drizzled at others, and remained steadfastly grey and windy for the rest on the Saturday. But still, for all that, we had a good time, and enjoyed the offerings of the beer tent.

Wishford villagers with St Gile's church in the background

Oak Apple begins with a procession of noisy villagers moving through the village, chanting “Grovely, Grovely, Grovelly and all Grovely”, and waking everyone, then a procession up to Grovely Woods to collect a bough of oak, which is taken back to the village, decorated with coloured ribbons and hung from the tower of St. Giles church, it’s called the Marriage Bough and is to bring good luck to those married in the church in the coming year…..then it’s breakfast at the Royal Oak and then on into Salisbury to the cathedral.

This year's float in the village

The villagers gather in Cathedral Close then walk in a procession to the west door, where four women dressed in early 19th century costume perform two dances, one with oak twigs, and the second with “nitches” or bundles of dry wood. After the dance, the Dean and Chapter lead the procession to the high altar, where the Charter is read out, the villagers answer with the shout of “Grovely, Grovely, Grovely and all Grovely”, there are only three “Grovely”s in the Charter, the extra one is thrown  to make it “three for them and the other for us!”

The "Nitche Women" perform their dance.

After this it’s back to the village and lunch, then comes the procession through the village and the fete, the procession begins at Town End, above Grovely Cottages, and goes round the viullage, there are floats, a band, all the children from the local school, founded in 1722. At the site of the festivities, the dance by the “Nitche women” is performed again, followed by folk dancing by the children from the school, Maypole dancing and Morris men, other entertainment is usually on offer as well as a display of the childrens art, and the presentation of the prizes, including one for the best presented scarecrows – which are set up outside peoples’ houses and judged in the morning, won this year by Di Shergold and her grandchildren, Jessica, Max and Billy. The beer tent is always well attended, and the barbecue does good trade.

The celebration was split over Saturday and Sunday this year, with the cathedral part on the Sunday.

The winning entry in the scarecrow competition

All in all, it’s a great day out for the family, and well worth going along to!

Morris Dancers at the fete

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How do people see us?

It’s one of those tricky questions isn’t it? everyone sees everyone else differently, does it even matter if there are those who despise you when there are so many more who care about you?

The expectations of perfection some require of us is often beyond our abilities to achieve, it doesn’t always matter, but there are times, and people, where you wish it could be otherwise.

Changing a person’s entrenched perception of you is an extremely difficult, if not impossible task, I speak from experience.

Perhaps if we were all more tolerant, and less demanding of perfections in others we fall short of ourselves, the world would be a happier place.

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New Events, Cricket and Memories….

So we’ve had a nasty earthquake in Haiti, the dead numbered in the hundred of thousands, the final toll will never be known. The World has responded, the USA has thrown it’s hand in, in manpower, expertise and cash, and still gets slated…the price it has to pay for being a super power with too much power and influence in the world in the eyes of many. All over the world, people have been digging deep in their pockets to help unseen, unknown people who have had a terrible misfortune in their life.
And that’s all it takes to get a common response from humanity….a major disaster…sad isn’t it?

So the circus in the USA continues with regard to gay people, the usual suspects trot out the same kind of lame brained objections to same sex marriage and gay people serving openly in the forces as they did to equality between black people and white people, and marriage between races, they lost the earlier arguments, they will most surely lose this one…eventually. And I have no doubt, there will still be as many still against it in 2065 as there are people still against black people having equal rights on a bus in 2010, despite the stand made by Rosa Lee Parks back in 1955, it’s basically down to ignorance and intolerance – how far in the future do we need to look to see an end to them?

The Under 19 world cup is running in New Zealand, (that’s 50 over ODIs) and England got bounced out of it….sigh! Watched the match between Pakistan and West Indies U19s, West Indies won it, and well deserved too.

Reading on NP this evening, a bit about the Magdalene Laudries, brought back memories of reading books by many people, not just on that subject, but books like “The All Of It” and “Amongst Women”…and listening to Mary Coughlan, the Black Family, Christie Moor, The Saw Doctors, Mary Black…some of the music haunting and thought provoking, some relaxing and some rocking, but most of it unashamedly Irish, the influence of Irish music has enriched the listening experience of audiences world-wide, but it is more than that within Ireland, and to a great degree in the British Isles, it has educated and informed, and saved and stored history and lore in the psyche of generations.

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Earthquakes and more

So here we are in a week that has seen all sorts of strange and wonderful things. And a few too many awful ones as well.
The weather continues strange, too cold here, too cold in Canada (though they have it rather worse, -40 to -20 for the last three weeks in parts, here we have seen lows to -20) in my kneck of the woods it has gone down to -14, which is waaaayyyy low enough for me! While in Australia they are experiencing an above average seasonal high.
England have been accused of ball tampering in the 3rd test against South Africa, looks very much like sour grapes I’m afraid, one nil down in the series with one to play, England only need to draw to win!
All but 11 games in the football leagues in England, Scotland and Wales were cancelled yesterday(Saturday) and only one game survived in England today, all due to the weather of course.
There was an earthquake today just off the coast of California, a really unsafe place to live in my opinion, but there have been quite a few ‘quakes across that region of the globe the last few days, hope that nothing major is brewing.
Another journalist killed in Afghanistan, a Brit this time, following a Canadian a few days ago.

The Lady in Damascus has been suffering with a sore throat, poor dear…and I had a look at some of her artwork, a maturing talent, and one to watch, for words as well as pictures in the future, wonder what her singing voice is like?
Do you ever wonder what the world would be like if all that mattered was how much quality art a countriy’s populace produced…would that produce the enmity we have with religious differences, would people be prepared to die for the belief that their citizens were greater artists than ours?
I look at the divides that occur within nations, and think that it may be so – a bit like which end of the egg to open, that Gulliver had the right idea!

And to more important issues, a very lovely lady with a fine son finds herself at odds with a school authority that seemingly ignores human rights and sees it’s written rules and governances as above any concerns a parent may have for their child’s welfare, please read and give your support….
I know that there are many times when, no matter how much sympathy you feel for a person’s plight , it is difficult to give the support you feel they deserve, there also times when the mere fact that your understanding and empathy are given freely and without prejudice is a help, I know this from experience.

I’m going to sit down now and read some of Susan Kovalinsky’s work…google that name, and enjoy the journey through the world wide web.
These are the people who expand our horizons and make life worth living.

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The Years a Week Old

My garden in the snow

So seven days into the new year, what’s going on?
Well it’s bloody cold here, night time temperatures of minus 14 in my back garden, snow on the ground, ice on the pavements, schools closed.
England have managed a draw in the third test against South Africa, thanks to a sterling last stand by Graham Onions for the last eleven balls of the match, leaving England one nil up and one to play, so we have at least earned a series draw, a win in the last match at Johannesburg will see a series win, I just hope that is what England will strive for, I’d rather see a conclusive win at that venue by one side or the other than a wishy-washy draw.
What else is going on?
I marvel anew every time I venture on to NP at the insular attitudes of our cousins across the pond.
It doesn’t matter how many interest articles are put up about events in the world, if the event doesn’t include or impact said cousins, the level of indifference displayed (made manifest by the lack of views and recs) is as close to complete intelectual and moral apathy as you would be likely to find outside of a minor counties match result at start of season.
Sat and watched an excellent presentation by Walid Khalidi, available on you tube here
For the article that the link was posted on there were just 67 views and 4 recommendations, with 6 comments, one of those was mine, another the posting of the videos.
Compare that with a much more recent article about a passenger being taken off a flight from Miami to Detroit for racist remarks, which attracted 128 views and 58 recommendations, with 4 comments in just 6 hours, or the story of a shooting in St. Louis, Mo, which left 3 dead, which attracted 851 views, 44 recommendations and 10 comments in 7 hours.
And you wondered why the tabloid main stream media do so well?
People are dying every day, from hunger, cold, disease…… all preventable….but not AS preventable as the deaths from war and greed.
Then compare the stories out of the US with one by a journalist from Pakistan – about the treatment of women displaced by the unrest, and abandoned by her husband who chose to take another wife, this story attracted just 23 views, 2 recommendations, and one comment (mine!).
Good luck in this year ahead Habib!

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A good evening

We all went out this evening, to have some good food and some good wine at a good friend’s house. A very enjoyable time, with discussions ranging from UK politics, to Americanisation of the UK, with disgusting commercial enterprises like MacDonalds, Starbucks, Disney Shops, KFC….and on and on..that’s not to mention some of my pet hates where it comes to the crap the USA have flung at us.
Like, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentines Day, BLOODY HALOWEEN! well, basically, anything to make a quick buck.
I know so many nice Americans, surely they don’t enjoy being ripped off any more than we do?
Anyway, talk ranged on to Richard’s son’s gap year, which will be spent somewhere down in South America teaching English with a charity.(You would not BELIEVE what he and his dad are paying said charity for him to enjoy this privilege.
The young lady in Damascus put up another story, still trying to figure out why there was nothing on my channel to say it was there, damn good job I check all my favourites every day, wonder if that is some kind of censorship, or maybe I don’t understand how they prioritise stories?
Something I will have to keep an eye on to build up a history.

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