Holocaust Reminder

In 2023, there are still many deniers of the mass killing of millions of Jews and other prisoners by Germany during WW2. Even faced with overwhelming evidence and personal testimony, some still refuse to believe the events ever happened.

So I am posting this short film clip to remind the rest of us, the sane ones, that it did.

Windows 11: Some Questions

I use a Hewlett-Packard PC for blogging, bought new with Windows 10 pre-installed. It seems to suit me very well, though I have only the most basic knowledge of how to use computers. I do not explore all the possibilties of computing, using it only for blogging, photo storage, emails, and an occasional word document.

Microsoft has been sending me invitations to download Windows 11. It is currently free to do this, and Windows 10 is unlikely to be supported after 2025. So I would like to ask PC users already using Windows 11 if they recommend that I do this.

I also have some other questions, and forgive me if they seem obvious or simple to you.

1) Will the change to Windows 11 lose the photos currently stored on the PC? (Or does all that have nothing to do with Microsoft?)
2) Will it lose the settings and shortcuts that I use regularly?
3) Will I need to reinstall my current Antivirus software, and other intsallations like Disk De-Fragmenter?
4) Will I lose any or all saved passwords on Google Chrome?
5) Is it drastically different to W10? Will I need to ‘learn’ how to use W11 from scratch?

Thanks in advance for your help.

The Blue Light: Part Twenty

This is the twentieth part of a fiction serial, in 765 words.

The man who liked to call himself Mark was in fact named Martin. And he wasn’t forty, he was fifty-one next birthday, in five weeks. Hard work at the local gym, and copious amounts of black hair dye, kept him looking presentable. Add a lot of money spent on cosmetic dentistry, and using old photos on his profile, and so far he was doing okay. He usually preferred the older section of the dating site.

Seventy-plus guaranteed success, and often came with financial rewards too. In his opinion, there was no fool like an old woman. Viagra helped of course, and he regularly gave thanks for the invention of that wonder drug. This latest one was a bit younger than his recent conquests, but he was sure he could live up to her expectations.

Although the pub was in walking distance at less than a mile, Emma didn’t do walking. And she didn’t drive to meet someone she had never met before, not even in a loan car. So she had booked a taxi for the short journey, asking them to arrive at her house at five-fifty sharp.

Martin allowed twice as much time as he needed to drive from Dorchester. He wanted to be there outside the pub, when she arrived. No lady should ever be expected to walk into a hostelry alone, he knew that. Touching up the sides of his hair with black dye, fretting slightly about how it was receding at a widow’s peak, he decided he would do, and made sure to slip the packet of little blue pills into his suit jacket before leaving.

Her taxi was a few minutes late, but Emma thought that was appropriate. Although she had never been on a date with a man, or so much as kissed one other than her father, she knew that women would be forgiven for not being on time. He was there when she arrived, standing outside but looking significantly older than his profile photos. Oh well, he was still younger than her, so he would do. The twelve red roses were too much though. She might have had no experience with men, but she knew that instictively. Nonetheless, she was gracious.

“Thank you, Mark. The flowers are lovely”.

In the bar, he seemed to know how it worked, so she followed his lead. Her white wine was handed to her with just the gentlest touch of his fingers. His eyes never left her face, seemingly ignoring her ample breasts, or her exposed knees in nylon stockings. After two drinks, he suggested a meal there. Emma was ready.

“Why don’t we just go back to my house? I had a sufficient lunch, and I am happy for us to continue this meeting in the comfort of my home”. Martin was greatly relieved. He had less than one hundred pounds in his bank account, and a meal at this place might have left him without enough to put petrol in his car later. Keeping up the facade, he appeared to be surprised, but grateful. “Dear lady, that would be my pleasure”.

His ten year old Peugeot car was less than impressive, but he remenbered to open the door for her to get in, and to make suggestive hand movements as he fastened her seat belt. On the short drive back to her house, Emma let loose with a prepared speech. “Mark, you don’t have to seduce me, I am already seduced. Let’s just get into my house and get on with it. Is that acceptable to you?” He swallowed hard, and nodded.

“More than acceptable, lovely lady”.

One hour later, and Martin was breathing hard, more thankful than ever for the Viagra. He had given her his full repertoire, but she showed no sign of being even remotely satisfied. “Is that it? I will go down and get us something to drink, and then we can start again”.

He had been given little time to scope out the house and the things in it, but the cursory appraisal of the size and location, along with substantial grounds outside, confirmed she was worth plenty. The house alone woud sell for not much change from a million, and it was packed with genuine antiques inside, from what he had seen so far. Resisting the urge to open a few drawers in the bedroom to see if they contained valuables, he waited for her to come back with the drinks.

This one was worth taking his time over. He was going to try the long-haul approach, make her fall in love with him.

The Blue Light: Part Nineteen

This is the nineteenth part of a fiction serial, in 800 words.

On the fourth day of her self-imposed house arrest, Emma received a phone call from the policeman dealing with the accident.

“The passenger has woken up, and her account is that the driver was her sister, and that she was using her mobile phone to ring her husband at the time of the accident. Apparently they come from a traveller community, and were living in a caravan on an illegal site when the accident happened. As a result of this information, and considering that using her phone was an offence under law, there are no further investigations into the accident”.

Emma thanked the officer, remembering to add that she was pleased to hear that the passenger would survive. To celebrate, she drove down to nearby Weymouth, walked along the beach, and treated herself to a high tea in a very nice cafe in the town. Five nights of the blue light had made her feel very different, and as far as she was concerned, in a good way. As she drove home, she was thinking about Internet dating. Although she had never considered it previously, she was wondering what value might be placed on a sixty year-old virgin with her own house and comfortable financial situation.

That evening, some brief research led her to a dating site specialising in older members. She paid the fee to sign up for three months, and took some photos on her phone to add to her profile. Some of them were slightly provocative, at least by her standards. A low-cut dress once worn to a Christmas event, and a relatively short skirt that she had only ever worn once, many years ago. As she was compiling her profile, she noticed an email from the car repairer. They might have some trouble sourcing some parts, but the work should be completed in two weeks if they could get them. The estimate was almost three thousand pounds, but she replied by telling them to proceed.

By the time she was thinking of going to bed, the dating site had already produced five suitable matches. She discounted three of the prospects, as they were all over seventy. The last two were accepted by her, and she gave permission to disclose contact details. One, named Dennis, was a similar age, and a widower who lived in Dorset. The other was only forty years old, and looked younger in his profile photos. She liked the look of him very much, especially his bright smile and taut physique.

Not stupid by any means, Emma knew full well that if he was genuine, ‘Mark’ was not interested in her for her company, or desire for her sixty year-old body. He would be a money-grabber, perhaps a gigolo, that was obvious. But when she approved his request to contact her, she was smiling.

Two could play that game.

In the early hours, she stood naked in front of the light once again. During the short time before it went out, she experienced the delicious nerve tingle, and the brain activity that made her think about sex again. The light had awakened long-dormant feelings that she vaguely remembered from puberty. It made her realise that life was indeed short, and it was time to discover things she had denied herself.

Dennis contacted her by email the next morning. He suggested they meet in Christchurch, and mentioned a restaurant with a good reputation where he would book a table. So he didn’t want to collect her from her house. He lived in Christchurch near the restaurant. And expected her to walk into a restaurant alone to meet him. No, that wouldn’t do. Her reply was rather curt.

‘Try again, Dennis’.

Mark’s email was so predictable, it was laughable. He addressed her as if she was twenty-five, and used phrases hardly appropriate for a woman of her age.

‘Hello lovely sexy lady! I see you live in Winterbourne Abbas, not far from me in Dorchester. I have to say I don’t normally do this kind of thing, but I definitely could not resist your profile as you seem incredibly well-suited to me, classy, and very attractive. Please say you will meet me. I am happy to collect you from your home, or if you prefer I will meet you outside the Coachhouse Inn. We can start with a drink, and if you like what you see, stay on there for dinner. On me of course! Let me know soon, as I can be free tomorrow night, and I am so excited! Mark. xx’

Still lauging at that, Emma ignored Dennis’s second try and replied to Mark. ‘Yes. Shall we say six tomorrow evening at the Coachhouse Inn? That will suit me nicely’.

His reply took less than one minute to arrive. She had her first date.

Retro Music 40

In 1965, The Walker Brothers released a cover version of a Bacharach/David song that had been a minor hit for Jerry Butler three years earlier. With the powerful lead vocal of Scott Walker, the new version became a hit around the world. I already had the original on record, but I bought the new version too.

Here are both versions.

(It was also covered by Dionne Warwick, but not until 1970.)

The Blue Light: Part Eighteen

This is the eighteenth part of a fiction serial, in 777 words.

Emma was impressed by the turnout of the emergency services. Three police cars, two ambulances, and a fire engine. A smart traffic policeman spoke to her through the window of her car, to make sure she wasn’t injured. “I think we will have to get your car recovered to a repairer, madam. The nearside lights are broken at the front, and the impact may have damaged your steering. Someone will give you a lift home once that happens”. The he asked to see her driving licence, and took details of her insurance before asking her what she remembered about the accident.

“Oh, I remember it clearly, officer. I was heading home from Waitrose, and I was about to overtake that car when it pulled out from the inside lane unexpectedly, for no reason I can think of. There was no chance I could avoid hitting it in that situation. I didn’t even have time to apply the brakes. I hope the people in the other car are going to be alright”.

Surveying the scene in front of her, she saw one stretcher being loaded into an ambulance with the body completely covered by a blanket. Before the recovery truck arrived to take her, the second woman was removed from the car apparently still alive, an oxygen mask over her face and a stiff medical collar wrapped around her neck. The traffic policeman came and told her they would call on her at home to talk to her, perhaps tomorrow.

She told the recovery driver to take her to the main Jaguar dealership in Christchurch. Despite that being some distance away, it was the one her father always used. She would pay whatever it cost to have the Dailmer repaired, and they would give her a replacement car to use while it was in the workshops.

By the time she got home in the loan car late that afternoon, Emma was feeling very pleased with herself. She decided to have some of the good vintage Claret with her meal that evening. As she ate, she sat and thought about things. An intelligent woman, and quick-witted too, it soon occurred to her that the mysterious blue light must have something to do with it. After spending her life being so meek and mild, such a change in her character could not be explained by anything else.

That night, she slept naked for the first time in her life. When the light illuminated the curtains and woke her, she rushed to the window and opened them, standing in the blue glow. Once the light went out, she felt wonderful, and soon managed to get back to sleep.

Up bright and early, Emma opened the door to the police officers just after ten. They were very professional, declining her offer of tea or coffee, and asking her to make an official statement about the accident. Once that was noted down, she showed interest in the proceedings. “What will happen now, officer?” He looked across at his colleague before replying.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you that the driver was killed in the accident, Miss Howard. The passenger is still unconscious, so we cannot get her version of events. To be completely honest, it doesn’t look too good for her, she is on a life-support machine. I also have the information that the female driver had no driving licence, so the car was technically uninsured. You should inform your insurance company of that”. Emma made herself look suitably shocked and upset. “Oh, those poor women. Were they not wearing a seat belt?” He shook his head, and stood up.

“There are no traffic cameras on that stretch of the road, and we cannot find any other drivers at the time who actually witnessed the accident. So as things stand, there are no charges being made against either driver at the moment. Unless the passenger wakes up and has anything to tell us, it will be resolved as a tragic accident and dealt with through your insurance company. You may be required to appear at the Coroner’s Court in the future”.

Thanking them as she closed the door, Emma turned and smiled. She would inform her car insurance company, and tell them she was not intending to claim. She had more than enough money to pay for the repairs, and she didn’t want to get into any legal entanglements over a compensation claim. Although tempted to go out for a drive in the replacement car, she knew that might not be a good idea.

Best to make it look as if she was too upset to venture out so soon after an accident.

Retro Music 39

1962, and a big hit for Carole King. Originally written by her and Gerry Goffin for Bobby Vee to perform, the record company preferred her version and released it as a single.
(The Bobby Vee version was released almost a year later.)

As the saying goes, the rest is history.

London 1971: The Photos Of John De Prey

During 1971, John de Prey stayed for a few months with his friend Marcus in Powis Square in Notting Hill. This is the same area made famous in the 1999 film ‘Notting Hill’, but over fifty years ago, it was still a multi-cultural working class area of London.

From 1981 until 2001, I worked as an EMT in the same area, based at the nearby Ambulance Station. I saw it change rapidly during that time.

Hare Krishna devotees in Portobello Road Market. They had a ‘temple’ nearby in an old shop, and used to parade around the area.

These locals didn’t seem very keen on being photographed.

Graffiti on a side wall.

An unenthusiastic busker.

Some elaborately decorated shops in Portobello Road. They tended to sell ‘alternative’ items.

Golbourne Road Market. Many of the traders there sold second-hand goods.

This horse is taking advantage of discarded vegetables in the market to have a snack.

Children having fun in the Antiques section of the market.

This man is selling low-grade meat for consumption by pets.

Many of the items being sold were not of good quality. This potential buyer is inspecting something closely.

A second-hand shoe stall attracting some multi-cultural buyers.

The Blue Light: Part Seventeen

This is the seventeenth part of a fiction serial, in 841 words.

In a quiet village due west of the town of Dorchester in Dorset, Emma Howard was looking out of her bedroom window with a puzzled look on her face. It was hundreds of yards in every direction to another house, and she had no idea where the strange light could be coming from. It reminded her of the floodlights that illuminated sports grounds, but this light was only shining across her garden and into the room. Although it didn’t scare her, it made the room too bright for her to continue to sleep in. As she went to get her watch from the bedside table to check the time, it went out.

Three in the morning was a strange time for aircraft, helicopters, or anything else, to be shining lights around the village, but at least it had gone out and she could get back to sleep. And there had been no sounds suggesting aircaft anyway, so she forgot about it and slept soundly.

The next morning, Emma woke up feeling full of energy for the first time since she had retired last September. After forty years in the Library Servioe in Dorset, the rumours that her library was going to be closed down came true. As she was already sixty, she took the opportunity to retire and take her pension. Not that she had much need of money, as her father had left her comfortably off when he had died fifteen years earlier, and she still lived in the five bedroom family home that she had been born in, with no debts.

Her mother had died when Emma was a child, and she had little memory of her. So as soon as she was old enough, Emma assumed the role of housekeeper, and later became the carer to her father. Because of that, she had never married, and had not even had so much as one date with a man.

That feeling of well-being extended to cooking an unusually large breakfast, then taking time to look her best for the day. Having used the last of the eggs, and needing some other groceries, she decided a trip into Dorchester for a supermarket shop was how she would spend her day. She might even have lunch in the town while she was there, something she hadn’t done since she worked at the main library.

Father’s car might have been well over twenty-five years old, but it was a very good car. He had maintained it well, and she had carried on using the same dealership when she inherited it. No longer needing her small Fiat, she had sold it for cash after advertising it in the Post Office. Starting the engine of the Daimler Double-Six, she smiled at the purring, burbling sound it made. You couldn’t buy cars of this quality any longer, and she didn’t care that the petrol consumption was so high, as she rarely used it anyway.

Emma’s preferred supermarket was Waitrose, to the north of the town. More expensive, certainly, but much better quality. The journey took less than thirty minutes, even in unusually heavy traffic. In the car park of the store, she spotted a good space fairly close to the entrance, and swung the front of the car in to claim it. The blast of a horn made her jump out of her skin, as a small Japanese car drove into the same space at speed, almost hitting the Daimler. Feeling shaken up, she reversed back, eventually finding a space nearer the back. As she locked the car, she could feel herself getting very angry.

In her entire life, Emma could not remember ever being angry. It was a weird feeling, but also felt surprisingly good.

Once she had bought her shopping, she was heading back to the car with her bags when she spotted two women walking to the Japanese car that had stolen her original parking spot. They were wearing vest tops and leggings, and one was smoking a cigarette. She also had tattoos all over her arms and neck. Just the sort of white-trash newcomers that were lowering the tone of the once sedate town. Too many new housing developments that included social housing, that’s what Emma blamed it on.

As she was driving out, so was the small white car, and she stayed behind it. The women headed west, past Poundbury, and onto the A35 main road. Still driving behind them, Emma slowed a little to make some space between the cars. Two minutes later she accelerated rapidly, reaching over sixty as she rammed the car from behind, careful to make contact with the rear corner of the bodywork. The small car lurched to the left, then rolled over. It rolled again, then came to a halt on its roof. Nobody tried to get out.

Other cars were stopping to help as she got her phone out of her bag. Sitting in her car in the inside lane, she dialled 999.

“Police, please. I appear to have been involved in a traffic accident”.