Sunday, 31 December 2017

Bristol - A city proud to be scruffy !

Bristol - WHAT A DUMP !

Do not stand still anywhere in this scruffy city - someone will appear from out of nowhere and spray paint over you.

There are few surfaces anywhere in this unfortunate British city that have not been vandalised in such a way.

The strange thing about this is the city is proud of itself for the mess.

What ever happened to SHIP SHAPE AND BRISTOL FASHION ?

Bristol a city proud to be scruffy !

I go to Bristol to see my granddaughters. I had a lovely day with them yesterday.

I wish there were some way to be transported in and out of their home without having to drive through  the scruffy dump which is Bristol.

In contrast I will today be driving to Sheffield.  Yeh, yeh I am a Sheffield Wednesday fan - you all know that and YEH I am going to Hillsborough again but I have known Sheffield for a very long time, well before I discovered the football club. We are talking thirty and more year here. 

SHEFFIELD - the city with a warm welcome.  That's true you know. From the car park attendant to the club director I know I will be made welcome today and do you know what ?  I can guarantee there will not be a single piece of graffiti to be seen anywhere.

A question for you ?

Is this graffiti ?

The image is BANNED from being viewed by anyone in Bristol - I do not want it appearing on any walls !

Setting modesty aside I like it.  Yeh I know I have not looked like that for centuries.

The failed dental surgery has destroyed my smile and the receding hairline, RAPIDLY receding hairline, does not do much for me. I have this fear that 2018 could be the year when silver takes over.

I wonder if some Bristol spray painter could change the way I look !

That pencil drawing of Yours Truly came from one of those fun little things you find now and then on Facebook. When it was shared on my timeline so many people said that is how they remember me. The hair, the crooked tie and outside the image the platform shoes.

So here we are 4.28am Monday 1st January 2018. HAPPY NEW YEAR by the way.

What will this New Year bring ?

A thought.........

I hope what ever it brings comes more from locations like Sheffield and NOT from scruffy places like Bristol.  That is a metaphor of course.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

My dog Jake deserves a knighthood more than Nick Clegg does

Before you read any more of today's blog CLICK HERE.

Will you be stopping up tonight to see in the New Year ?  I won't be, I will tucked up in bed and fast asleep. Got a big day on Monday.

I remember seeing in the New Year in at the Millennium. I saw the New Year in TWICE. Honestly I did.

Let me explain.

I was in Detroit Michigan. The adjacent state of Illinois is in a different time zone.

A friend and I drove to the Detroit side of the state line to see the New Year and the New Millennium in. Shortly after midnight we drove into Illinois where it was just after eleven o'clock. We waited until midnight then saw the New Year in for a second time.

Over the years I have done some daft and silly things but nothing quite like seeing The Millennium in twice.

However, nothing daft that I have done in my life - nothing daft you have done in your life is quite as ridiculous as giving Nick Clegg a knighthood in the New Year Honours List. How mad is that ?

Why am I not in the honours list ?

Why are YOU not in the honours list ?

My best friend Jake deserves a knighthood more than any failed politician. Perhaps Clegg would be more aptly honoured with the title created by Gilbert and Sullivan - The Duke of Plaza Toro.

Having actually been involved some years ago in nominating someone to receive an honour I know how the system works and how people have to add their names to the nomination. What kind of people nominated Clegg ?

Could be the deaf, dumb and blind people The Who sang about in their 1969 hit !

Just checked how many friends I have on Facebook - 320. If I had my way all 320 of you would be on the honours list. You are on my honours list. Thank you for your friendship, you have made a difficult year a special year. THANK YOU to all of my friends who are not on Facebook.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL. I am just working how many times zones I can move through at midnight to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR more than once.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Fantastic Friday !

I wrote another thousand words yesterday for my book THE BRIDGE HOUSE. I have now reached the time where Juri Gagarin became the first man in space - 12th April 1961. 

The story of The Bridge House begins in 1901, shortly after the death of Queen Victoria and my grandmother Lily's 11th birthday. The book follows the life of my grandmother and leads the reader not only through her life but the times in which she lived. I hope the story makes the reader feel what it was actually like to live through the major events my dear grandmother knew.

Throughout the story there are a number of characters who share Lily's life and bring their
outlook on the times into the story line. There is Lord Henry Wilton, William - Lily 's husband, Billy - son and Kenneth - also her son and my father. Now, within the time I am writing that role has passed to myself. Mention is also made in passing of different members of the Ashford Family, characters like Thomas Ashford who won the Victoria Cross and William Ashford the landscape painter. One of his works which sold recently at Christies is featured in the narrative.

It is a bit of a strange experience writing about myself in the story, while there is an element of fiction at times when I tell of what I did as a child with my grandmother everything is accurate and autobiographical.

Within the stage I am currently writing in The Bridge House I bring in a record that made it to number four in the hit parade at the same time in history as Juri Gagarin was orbiting the Earth. I did not own the 7" vinyl single of this but I did have the album ADAM where the song is featured.

Let me play it for you.

Nan liked that song. I got the LP from the record department at Stone's Newsagent just over the road from where she lived.

Yesterday I was the guest on Secklow Radio's Classics From Scratch. I told listeners a little tale from my childhood, a tale I am just about to bring into the book. I headed a revolt at school and changed the system from Music being a subject only taught to girls to become something boys also were allowed to join in.

You will have to listen to the ON DEMAND feature for the show or wait until The Bridge House is published to know of my plot which changed the school's timetable.

CLICK HERE to listen to my choice of music from Classic From Scratch. That's a beautiful piece of music isn't it ?

The picture above shows me clapping along to another choice of mine which show host Catherine Rose played for me. CLICK HERE to listen to The The Radetzky March.   Be it classical or be it pop music you can listen to the tune or you can listen to the music. To listen to the music. To listen to the music you need to understand more than the sound the piece makes. 

Johann Strauss Sr composed this march for Field Marshall Radetzky. When it was first
played the army officers standing on the side began to clap their hands and stamp their feet in time to the music. That tradition remains today for the audience to clap their hands in time to the music.

When my choice of The Bridisi, or Drinking Song, from Verdi's La Traviata was played Catherine and I did the actions. Here she is waving a bottle of water about in time to the music.   I had a can of Pepsi Max in my hand !

CLICK HERE and listen.

The 1910 Fruitgum Company and Black Lace did not invent songs which require actions to accompany the music.

Tomorrow I will be driving to Bristol to see my lovely granddaughters Katherine and Frances. Of all forms of music I love ballet more than all else. Here is Katherine at her ballet class. On the radio yesterday I explained in its my AMBITION to take Katherine to watch a performance of The Nutcracker. It is my DREAM to watch her dance The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker.

My final choice of music yesterday was not The Sugar Plum Fairy but the final waltz from The Nutcracker. CLICK HERE and listen.

Being the guest on Catherine Rose's radio show yesterday brought my day to a lovely end. THANK YOU Catherine for inviting me.

At the other end of the day was a meeting a 9.30am in Asda Supermarket in Bletchley where I am taking The Secklow Radio Roadshow on Saturday 6th January. (Spot the Typo below ! I always like to include typos for those who delight in finding them !)

I had planned for everything to be located within the covered entrance foyer of the supermarket. I found out that is NOT Asda's plan, we will be located INSIDE the supermarket adjacent to the entrance. During the day TEN THOUSAND people will pass by the roadshow. As well and The Geriatric DJ spinning the discs Catherine and presenter
Stuart Moore will be there.

I think all three of us could be upstaged when customers and Asda staff take over the microphone.  What a day this is going to be.

Ahead of this Gary and I will be back at Hillsborough cheering on our team on New Years Day. Yesterday Stuart asked me if I wanted to be on his show on New Year's Day. Sorry Stuart I will be part of a live performance singing Hi Ho Sheffield Wednesday. Here we are at a previous performance of our anthem.

Time now to play my personal anthem for today. Here's my choice of fun music to start your day. Keep the bouncy melody from The Shadows with you all day and  have a SUPER SATURDAY.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Record readership but ZERO support

Yesterday's blog ended up as the third most read page since I started writing a year ago.

CLICK HERE if you missed it.

Record readership but nobody coming forward to help within the areas I listed. Oh dear, what a shame - never mind !

Meet Sheffield Wednesday's latest fan. When I send my usual good luck message to the team ahead of tomorrow's game away to Brentford I will include that picture for the boys. On Monday I'll be back at Hillsborough cheering for victory against Burton Albion. Gary and I are back in the posh bit of the club again. I could get used to that kind of lifestyle.

OK let's play today's inspiring music to make your day go well.

Yesterday I was fighting off being stressed with everything I have to do for the coming Secklow Radio Roadshow on Saturday 6th January. I suggested to Maureen and Doiggie Jake that we get into the car and
drive to Stowe National Trust Gardens. We usually go there every week but did not make a single visit during December. Yesterday was one of the best visits we have ever made. Five miles wandering round the beautiful landscape created by Capability Brown was super. My camera went into overdrive.

I am writing the concluding chapter of my latest book THE BRIDGE HOUSE. I will let you into a secret...... Stowe features in that final chapter.

I will have the book finished well ahead of schedule for it to be published in May.

Making our way back to the car we bumped into Scott, a great friend and Operations Manager for The National Trust at Stowe. He's a great guy with whom I will be working this
year on projects both for OurRebekah and Secklow 105.5.

Did you know that The Serpentine in London is based on the meandering lake at Stowe ?  The water was high yesterday and showing off Lancelot Brown's genius to its maximum.

I overslept a bit this morning, did not get up until 4am. It's now 5am and I have a lot to do.

I had a bit of a dream in the hours before I got out of bed.I was thinking about what I should write when The Bridge House is finished.

I have decided I am going to take my book The Case Files of Dave McDermott and add at least another two cases.

There are three investigations in the present edition.

ANGELS OF THE ANTICHRIST is about a serial killer. McDermott tracks down the killer and finds he has sympathy for him and you will if you read the book.

McDERMOTT'S NEXT CASE is a kidnapping.

KRATH THE PORNSTAR has a character committing deeds at scenes where in years gone by crimes which have now become legends took place - Bridego Bridge and Deadman's Hill to name but two.

I have decided the next case for McDermott will be ROBIN HOOD. Yes the criminal, actually there will be two of them, rob from the rich to give to the poor. The criminals rob a bank and give the money to the homeless. They raid a gaming shop and spin the coins into Ronald McDonald House boxes in the fast food outlets. They break into parking meters in hospitals, steal the money then donate it to medical charities.

But back to today......

First thing I have a meeting at Asda Supermarket to finalise everything for the Secklow Radio Roadshow on Saturday 6th January.  I am nervous about this event, particularly as nobody came forward to offer help from yesterday's blog but I am certain it is going to be a great day.

Then I have a training session with the radio station's technical director. After this I am appearing as the guest on Classics From Scratch with Catherine Rose. Tune in at 3pm to
FM 105.5 and hear me talk about my favourite four pieces of classical music.

Catheine is a super presenter and a lovely lady. I am so looking forward to my time on her show.

Following Catherine's show I will be touching base with presenter Stuart Moore. He was a real star at the roadshow before Christmas and I know he will be a mega star on 6th January.

Then it's home again.

Maureen and I splashed out on a new TV, it's really cool. We don't watch a lot of TV but we will wind down our day in front of it.

But at 5.18 am it's not time to wind down - got to wind up the day. Let's play some music.

This is not one of my selections to play on Catherine's show. The piano duet is played here by two teenagers.

In my e-mail box this morning is a long message from Ronald McDonald House in San Francisco so let's play something for them.

Well I AM going to San Francisco and I am busy growing my hair. Flowers ? NOT A PROBLEM.

I will be playing this song at the roadshow on Saturday 6th January. I have a wig to wear and I have heard that Asda sell flowers.

Have a fantastic day. I plan to.

Speak again tomorrow.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

UNDER PRESSURE - can you help ?

My Christmas blog was read by 233 people. Time now to get back to writing a daily edition. Let's start off with some fun music to make our Thursday, it is Thursday isn't it, go well.

Now I am going to hand over to a good friend of mine.......

Freddie is the main character in one of my stories, The Great Pretender, and describes perfectly in that song how I am feeling right now.

I have never liked this time of year. The weird time of nothingness between Christmas and the New Year. A time when everyone is supposedly back to work yet no routine is in place. Roll on Tuesday 2nd January and a return to normality.

The turbo charger on the Jag has blown !  My local garage is not open until next Tuesday so I am having to drive our hideous little spare car. It does 0 to 60mph in three quarters of an hour !

What was it you said Freddie ?


On Sunday I have to drive to Bristol for my granddaughter's third birthday. Then on Monday I have to drive to Sheffield to watch Wednesday hammer Burton Albion.

Come Tuesday morning I will be a nervous wreck !

Sort it out for me Freddie will you ?

But having to drive a silly little car for a week and the prospect of a repair bill way the wrong side of a grand is not why I am under pressure. If I tell you about it could you help ? PLEASE ?????

SATURDAY 6th JANUARY from 8am to 8pm The Secklow Radio Roadshow is playing music in the entrance to Asda's giant supermarket in Bletchley.

Tomorrow, first thing, I am meeting the lady in charge at Asda to finalise the day. I am under pressure.
Under pressure to get all the planning in place and guarantee a perfect day.

The Roadshow Is happening to launch the new Asda Green Token Community Programme. Customers can vote using green plastic tokens collected from the tills for their favourite charity from the three Asda has selected for January to March. The winning good cause receives a generous donation of £500  from Asda with the two runners up each receiving £200. That's really something special if you ask me, something I want to give extra special support to on Saturday 6th January.

The three good causes are:

MEDICAL DETECTION DOGS - that's a great cause do you not think ?

A new organisation - JO'S HOPE which provides comfort bras for ladies recovering from breast cancer operations. As a man I can not properly understand what this involves for the patient but I can understand this is a great cause and something needing lots of Asda's green tokens in the ballot box.

The third good cause is OurRebekah !

Yes our very own OurRebekah supporting families with a child sick in hospital.

On Saturday 6th January I am in charge of the roadshow, I am representing ALL THREE good causes. I can not be associated with OurRebekah. But we do need representation there for Beck. Without that we will be failing Rebekah BIG TIME.

SO I AM UNDER PRESSURE  - Beck's friends, my Leonites, those who have supported OurRebekah since Beck died in May...... PLEASE is there any chance you could pop by even for an hour to represent Beck and tell people what OurRebekah is all about ?

One of the good causes has asked Asda if it could have collecting buckets out on Saturday.  That's great. At tomorrow's meeting I am going to suggest buckets are in place representing all three causes then at the end of the day when the money is collected it is divided into three with a share for Medical Detection Dogs, Jo's Hope and OurRebekah.

Secklow Radio's presenter Stuart Moore, he's a great guy you know, has offered to meet me at Asda for 7am on Saturday 6th to help set up.

Stuart did an mega job when the roadshow was at Wrigglies standing in the rain handing out sweets for the children.

With the Jag transporting all the gear to a roadshow is simple but with my silly little second car it is MISSION IMPOSSIBLE !  I am under pressure. Could anyone help me ? We would need to be loading up round about 6.30am at my home to get to Asda. I then need 
help at the end of the day.

I have three tubs of sweets for Stuart to hand out. If we run out there are plenty more on the supermarket shelf I can buy.

I have purchased ONE THOUSAND balloons to hand out. One thousand need to be blown up and tied to a length of string.

In my experience using one of those silly hand or even electric pumps you can buy to inflate balloons is a waste of time.  The only effective way is using your mouth. To ask anyone to blow up a grand of balloons is a bit much. I need lots of people with lots of puff throughout the day. 

Any offers ?

I don't suppose anyone has access to some helium inflating machinery do they ?

Joining Stuart from Secklow Radio is presenter Catherine Rose.

Hopefully Catherine and I will be working together on a  couple of other projects later in the year taking community radio into the community. I am actually appearing as a guest on her show tomorrow.

The Asda Roadshow lasts for TWELVE HOURS so yours truly will be behind the
microphone for most of the day !

NO that is not putting me under pressure.

See the handsome young guy holding the microphone in the picture below.  LEONITES you remember the 24 hour discos we used to hold. If I could do twenty-four hours back then surely the Gerriatric DJ could manage twelve on the 6th January.

No problem !

However, I want to break the time up with a fun DJ Competition.  Tomorrow I plan to see if I can get Asda staff to pick up the microphone and spin some discs. I am sure that Stuart Moore as he chats to customers will drag some of them in before they hit the shelves of Asda.

But how about this ?

Come on you LEONITES - we are the people ! How many of you can I persuade to drop by for an hour to play some music ?

I was head of year four times at Leon. This pic is just one of those groups. Look at Lord Muck sitting in the middle.  I was proud of you guys and girls then. I am proud to be in contact with so many of you today. Come along and lets share some memories on 6th January.  Come and see that Sir has not lost his ability to bop to the music.

I am working on a quiz sheet to hand out to people. The quiz contains fifty questions about vinyl music. Vinyl is, of course, making a comeback. Every supermarket now sells vinyl. If it aint vinyl then it aint music !

This song is in the playlist for Saturday and is in the quiz. YES, I will be playing it on vinyl. I hope I cue it in a bit better than I do in this video.

Let's have another bit of vinyl.

Don't tell Maureen what ever you do. I was sixteen years old when this record was released. OMG did I have the hots for Sandi Shaw !  Must have been something to do with her feet.
Are you old enough to understand that ?

Leonite Chris put this on my Facebook page last night.

THANKS CHRIS you are a great friend.

It's true of course.

Just wait and see the costume I will be wearing on Saturday 6th !

Leonite Rachel after the comment you made a few weeks back about the shoes your former head of year used to wear I got these.

Yes, I got this wig as well.

Life is a DISCO so DANCE.

When the word gets round to Tesco and Morrissons on Saturday 6th January that The Geriatric DJ is fooling about and dancing in Asda they may as well close their doors.



Help me out on Saturday 6th January and we will have an amazing day supporting all three great causes in Asda's Green Token Scheme.

One last piece of vinyl before I close and publish today's blog ?