Blogging Up The Works

Saturday, November 10, 2018

In Flanders Field.......

I am a firm believer in the red poppy.

I could almost bring myself to wear a purple one for the animals who were killed in conflict.

But that's as far as I could go.

If people must wear a white poppy, either because they really don't understand what the red poppy symbolises or they feel a need to virtue signal, they do have the right, mainly thanks to the men for whom the red poppy is worn. I would however prefer them to choose one of the 364 other days in the year and leave the 11th for it's original remembrance.

I have been reading a book of David Mitchell's, comedy actor, writer and celebrity "quiz" contestant. He writes upon the subject of the Red Poppy and sums up how I see things but could never be as eloquent. I hope he won't mind me sharing part of it here.

The poppy is an incredibly moving symbol. This flower somehow flourished on battlefields smashed by the world's first experience of industrialised war - a war of unprecedented carnage which became almost as terrifying to the statesmen who had let it start as it was to the millions of soldiers who were killed or wounded by it.

Such was the international shock that, even after our side had won, no one could bring themselves to remember it with anything other than unalloyed sorrow. Not with victory arches or triumphal parades, but with the plain, mournful Cenotaph and a tradition of wearing paper versions of the flowers that had grown among the dead, the petals with which nature had rebuked the murderousness of men. That's why, whilst I understand the point they are trying to make, I disagree with those who eschew the red poppy but wear a white one for peace. To me, the poppy is already a pacifist rather than a martial symbol - a sign that war should be rejected at almost all costs.

The poppy represents the consensus that existed after the armistice - not a military or political consensus, but an emotional one: an overwhelming sense that the indiscriminate bloodletting of total war was too terrible ever to be forgotten, that only in solemn remembrance can any sense be made of those millions of deaths.

So, at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, I will be remembering

My grandfather, Thomas Kenna, who ended the war with a metal plate in his head and invalided out of the war with mustard gas poisoning. He was never able to work. He died in 1964. I can only remember him visually through pictures but I can still hear his laboured breathing as though it was yesterday.

My Great Uncle, Samuel Longbottom, who died 24/8/16 and lies in the Peronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt, France.

William (Willie) Lacey. who died 27/11/17 and is commemorated at the Cambrai Memorial, Louveral, France, as his body was never recovered. He was not a relative but a friend of Thomas Kenna, above. He made Thomas promise that if he, Willie, was killed, that Thomas would take care of the girl he was courting, Kathleen Haycocks. Thomas kept his promise, not only looking after her but doing so by marrying her. Kathleen was my beloved Grandma Kenna.

I will remember also, all their comrades who fell or made it through from wherever in the world and also the German troops and their allies, who my grandfather looked on as the same as him, young lads who were sent to the slaughter by politicians.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning - We Will Remember Them.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Recollections 1

This is thrilling, in a not very sort of a way. By adding that 1 to the title you know there is to be a follow-up, suitably titled Recollection 2. The big question is whether I will get round to writing it.

First things first though.

We have just been visited by my brother, G and his wife A. Myself and A didn't get off to a good start. And not just because she is loud with a capital L O U D, likes to shock for the sake of it. (We were in the middle of a restaurant the other day when she decided to talk loudly about vaginas for some reason. The 14 year old who was with us nearly died of shame and she had to walk away. And that is now that A has calmed down from what she was like.

I may have said before the real reason I don't see eye to eye with A. It goes back to their wedding some 35 years back this last month. Prior to the day I think I had only met her a couple of times as I had been living in Birmingham and they in London so had only seen her at my Mum's for occasional family meals. My brother had decided to have his best mate O to be his best man even though G had been mine. There was a really good reason for it and I was totally happy that O performed that duty but was pleased that G asked me to be a witness at the signing of the register. Anyway, come the glorious day, we turned up at church and Amanda was being the big I am and organising things, not like a traditional bride at all and Graham came up to me and took me to one side. He told me Amanda had decided that as her brother had come all the way from Australia he should have something to do, and that something was sign the register. Not that she got on with her brother, she can't stand him. And not in place of the other signatory which was one of her friends but in place of me. So that was that. My Mum could see I was absolutely fuming. Partly for my own disappointment but more so that she should stop Graham having who he wanted in his wedding party. The only role someone from his close family was actually involved in.

And so for 35 years I have resented it. I am a Yorkshireman and we take these things hard.

So during their visit, and I can't remember why, the subject of their wedding came up. And A says to me, "were you at our wedding?" I was very restrained and just said yes. Why she thought G's own brother wouldn't be there, Lord knows, but she obviously didn't care too much whether I was or not. I could of course decide after all this time to let it go. On the other hand, I have decided I'll just put another chalk mark on the tally of things to resent her for.

Can you tell that was a full on vent?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Greetings from Bedlam


It is August.

It is madness

But today is actually a day off. Or a morning off so far, you can never tell whether a guest will ring with a problem. 

It is full on work at the moment with the turn-rounds and the pools.

This is our first Sunday off so far in 6 weeks. Last week was clear until Saturday evening and then we ended up working until 9 in the evening, which is a busier Sunday than a normal busy Sunday.

Anyway, I haven't got anything interesting to say.

I'll try not to leave it two months again.

Au revoir as they say here in Franceland.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Banal Blogathon 4


We have loads of them. 
That's only one board. 
We have another. 
And that's before all our personal keys. 
And all the ones in various drawers to go with houses we lived in previously. 
Or cars owned 30 years ago.
Keys of every description.

Now you can get doors that open with an app on your phone. 
How good is that going to be!?!?!
Until your battery goes flat.
And your charger is indoors.
Behind the keyless door.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Banal Blogathon 3

We have a cat.

A cat that does this.

It really isn't helpful when you are trying to work on a laptop.

She knows numerous shortcuts.

She knows how to turn the screen so it reads sideways. Or sometimes back to front.

This takes her a matter of seconds and me a matter of hours to fix it.

Sometimes she decides it is better if she decides to sit right in front of my face rather than on the keyboard. Usually with her backside towards me, which isn't the best view.

Which reminds me of the Kenn Dodd joke bout the man who invented cat's eyes.

So he is driving along one day and sees a cat in his headlights, he notices how reflective they are and he goes back to his workshop. He makes these cat's eyes for the ministry of transport and they take them on as a safety feature. It's funny how things work out. If the cat had been facing the other way he'd have invented the pencil sharpener!

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Banal Blogathon 2

Wall art. What's all that about?

Of course we know what it is all about. There has been a trend of decorating the walls of ones house throughout the ages. The Romans had their murals, later we had wall hangings and tapestries. By the 16th and 17th centuries paintings were the big thing. Now for some reason we have decided to adorn our walls with bits of twisted metal.

This photo shows two panel that adorn our lounge wall. I have no idea what they are meant to represent. Are they planets? Perhaps they are the bubbles in a glass of our local tipple Blanquette de Limoux. Perhaps they aren't anything but discs for discs sake.

An Old Master can set you back millions, tapestries many thousands but I suspect, even in a couple of hundred years, people won't be queuing up in Antiques Roadshow 2218 with a rare piece of wall art. Assuming there is any left that hasn't rusted away.

Banal Blogathon 1

So here we are back at Bren's June Blogathon contribution - The Banal Blogathon. And I'm late. I suppose I should do a banal post as to my lateness but I wont.

The English word banal comes from the French word banel. Unfortunately, as an object, banal or banel don't exist, so instead I give you ........


I like a banana, with custard, ice cream, perhaps in a sandwich. The problem is I like a slightly under ripe banana and I can't get them in France. In fact I can't get a decent banana for love nor money. The French prefer wherever possible to use home grown produce or something from a French colony. Unfortunately it would appear none of the French colonies were banana growing ones. Sometimes if we are really unlucky we have some grown in France. They shouldn't bother.

It drives me bananas!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

It Pays to Check

I needed to go out and buy some grub screws today. My French may be improving but not to the standard that I can name all types of ironmongery available. So time to call in the help of an online translator.

English  -  Grub Screw
French  -  Vis a Ver

OK. Vis is often the basis of any type of screw so thought there was a good chance for once it might be right. Still, one can never be quite sure so when in doubt, reverse translate.

French  -  Vis a Ver
English  -  Fuck of Worm

Probably as well I didn't ask anyone!