An Alphabet Of My Life: P


From an early age, I became interested in left-wing politics. I was very aware of social injustices, and also inspired by studying the Spanish Civil War, and the International Brigade soldiers who volunteered to go and fight in what was a ‘just war’.

In my teens, I joined far-left political parties, and moved to other mainstream ones throughout my life. I also attended many public protest demonstrations, including one against the Vietnam War. Later on, I became heavily involved with the unions in the Ambulance Service, when I was an EMT. We supported the miners during the strike of 1984-1984, and showed solidarity during other strikes by different workers.

I became used to public speaking, addressing large numbers of people at meetings, urging them to join unions and to be a part of the process of seeking fairness in the workplace. When the country-wide Ambulance Strike began in 1989, I was at the forefront of the protest, turning up every day to help organise things in my area, along with like-minded colleagues.

But by the time I was 50, union power in the UK was decreasing; beaten down by changes in the laws, and worker apathy. And as far as politics was concerned, I no longer had a left-wing party to support. By the time I was nearing retirement at 60, my inner fire had gone out. I was not in a union, and was not a member of any political party.

Now all I have left are the memories of a very political past, and my political blog.

Autumn Sunday Musings

The leaves are falling, but there is little variety in the colours as yet. Despite a few very cold mornings, we have enjoyed some lovely late sunshine in Beetley this week. As of today, we have not yet felt the need to turn on the central heating.


Recently, I have cut back on the time I spend on the computer. To give that some structure, I avoid using the computer after 6pm every day. That is why you will often not see any replies to your comments until the next day.


Despite treating him with the usual drugs and ear-drops bought from the Vet, Ollie’s ear is still not clearing up. He is shaking his head a lot, and still hanging his left ear. So I have made an appointment for him at the Vet, yet again. The earliest I could get is next Wednesday morning. Let’s hope they can come up with something to ease his discomfort. He had his bath and claw-clipping at the groomer’s on Friday. I like to think it makes him feel better to be clean and fresh for a while, but I seriously doubt he cares at all.


The political fiasco in Britain continues to make me shake my head in despair. Liz Truss has now sacked her Chancellor, Kwazi Kwarteng, and appointed a former Health Minister in his place. She is about to do more U-turns on the recently announced tax policies, and the media is already writing her off, certain she will not survive pressure from within her own party. Serves her right for wanting a job she is so obviously incapable of doing.


It has been another quiet week, which suits me perfectly. Next weekend will be much busier, as we are visiting relatives in Essex for a few days.


Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I wish you a peaceful Sunday.


Changing The World

Did you ever think you would help to change the world?

I did.

I was almost sixteen years old, and reading a lot of books. And I was also watching the news. Lots of things were happening.

*The Prague Spring.
*The Vietnam War.
*Civil Rights Protests at some American universtities.
*Protests at universities in Japan.
*Student protests in Poland.
*Demonstration against the Vietnam war in London.
*Baader-Meinhof terror bombings in Germany.
*Martin Luther King Jnr assassinated in America.
*Student riots and civil unrest in Paris.
*Student demonstrations in Yugoslavia.
*Robert Kennedy assassinated in America.
*State of emergency in Malaya following a Communist insurgency.
*Demonstrations against the military government of Brazil.
*Women’s Liberation protests in America and Britain.
*The ‘Troubles’ begin in Northern Ireland.
*Black Power salutes are seen at the Olympic Games.
*Israel attacks Lebanon.

Yes, a big list, and all in one year. And that is only a selection.

So, the young and committed me decides that the world is changing. The old order is being challenged, and I want to be a part of that. I am going to look back in old age, remembering how the younger generation in 1968 changed the world.

First step. I join the Young Communist League. At the time, this was the under-18 section of the British Communist Party. I go to the first meeting and I am overwhelmed by the bureaucracy and lack of enthusiasm. At another meeting, someone turns up with a deactivated WW2 rifle, and shows us how it works. He tells us that we will need to know how to use weapons when we ‘take to the streets and seize power’. We are going to sweep away the aristocrats and big-business millionaires, ensuring a fairer society for everyone in Britain.

I look around the room. There are eleven of us at the meeting. As keen as I am, I think we might be slightly outnumbered by the British Army.

After that, I don’t go to many meetings. Mainly because my parents moved us out to Kent, and it was too far to travel.

Fast forward to me at eighteen. I am working now, and my membership has been moved up to the adult section of the British Communist Party. But most of the time I am too busy to go to meetings. I have a car, a regular girlfriend, and almost forget about politics for some years. I stop paying my subscriptions eventually, and I am no longer a Party member.

By 1977 I am married, and my first wife and I both join the local branch of The Labour Party. There is a Labour government, but it is led by one of the rather stuffy moderates, Jim Callaghan. We go to some meetings, put some leaflets through letterboxes. But in middle-class Wimbledon, it is all very comfortable. Nobody talks about changing the world, they are more interested in the better schools for their kids, and local issues like rubbish collection.

And they don’t really like the idea of any poor people living in the same street.

Then I heard about the Militant Tendency. This was a far-left group within the Labour Party. I was still paying my subscriptions, so I joined that group too. This took me back to my original ideas in 1968. We would change the Labour Party by working within the structure. Get back to the Socialist roots. Support the working classes, tax the rich, and spend the money on promoting social equality.

Maybe I could be part of changing the world after all, but I was going to have to settle with starting in England.

It didn’t work of course. The newspapers caught on, and vilified the leaders and organisers of The Militant Tendency, calling them revolutionaries and Communists in disguise. (Both actually true.)

It seemed I was going to have to be content with my role as a union organiser in The London Ambulance Service, where I had already earned the occasional nickname of ‘Stalin’.

Besides, in 1986, the Labour Party expelled me as a member, along with everyone else associated with Militant Tendency. The Communist Party had split into pro-Soviet and anti-Soviet groups, and I had nowhere to go. My politics were old hat. The Sovet bloc was fracturing, and the hard left was splitting into ever more smaller parties. None of those held any attraction to me.

Now I sit here, seventy years old and in a reflective mood, on a very hot day in Beetley. I left my last Trade Union in 2012, and I live in the heartland of right-wing Conservatism. The unions have lost most of their power, and many people work for minimum wage on no-hours contracts. Some cannot pay their fuel bills, or put enough food on the table for their families. The rich are obscenely richer, and the government is run by heartless capitalists who think it is amusing to grind down the working classes into a life of despair.

Change the world? Me? That’s a laugh.

Sickbed Musings On A July Sunday

This past week has been dominated by the weather, and by Ollie and I both being ill. I have written about it during the week, but in case you missed it…


We had the two hottest days of the year so far, including one day that broke all known UK heat records by reaching 40.2 C. (Over 104F)
That heat badly affected me, and made Ollie’s fur fall out badly too. On Thursday, I had an upset stomach, and something else had happened to Ollie. As well as his skin breaking out in an infection, he did something to his back legs (or back muscles) that meant he could not lie down. This made him distressed, and he would not eat or drink. By late afternoon, we had to take him to the Vet. He is now beginning to recover, after being prescribed antibiotics, painkillers, and steroid cream for application onto his skin.
Neither of us has completely recovered, but the signs are good that we will.


The search for a new Prime Minister has been narrowed down to two candidates. One is Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor, the other Liz Truss, the current Foreign Secretary.They will be voted for by their party members, with the winner announced in September. From my point of view it makes no difference which one wins. They will still make the rich richer, and the poor poorer.


After not being able to sit in the office to write my blog for a couple of days, most of those spent in bed, I am able to get back into the swing of things. Thanks to everyone who reads the fiction serial for your patience in waiting for the next episode.


Today is supposedly the last ‘Very hot day’ of the recent heatwave. It is expected to top 31C (88F) in Beetley, before cooling down slowly over the course of next week. I won’t be sorry to see cooler weather, as the unusual heat has really affected Ollie, and done me no favours either.


I hope you are all having a peaceful and happy Sunday, wherever you are.


Pre-Heatwave Sunday Musings

I wrote about the forthcoming short heatwave yesterday. It hasn’t officially started yet, though it is set to reach 32C here today nonetheless.


It is now a month since I passed the DVLA eye test, and still no driving licence has arrived. It will soon be six months since my initial aplication to renew it was submitted. No doubt the staff in Swansea will all be going on summer holiday soon, and there will be more delays.


Ollie’s fur has started to come out in patches again, set off by the unusually hot weather. His coat now looks like a ‘work in progress’.


The Conservative Party contenders for Prime Minister continue to stab each other in the back. Westminster is becoming more like the Roman Forum every day, as sneaky leaks abound, and character assassination is the order of the day. Whichever one of them wins, it will be of little consequence to me.
All rats look the same, and do the same things.


One less pleasant aspect of good weather and open windows is increased noise. Petrol mowers, hedge-trimmers, pressure washers, DIY projects, and yapping dogs left in gardens. All congregate together to provide us with a ‘Symphony of Summer’ in Beetley.


I hope the weather is not too hot where you live, and that you all have a peaceful Sunday.


Sunday Musings In A ‘Heatwave’ July

Today sees the start of increasing temperatures that are forecast to give us the second ‘heatwave’ (by UK standards) of 2022. We are expecting 32-33C (90-92F) by midweek, with hot and humid nights. For me, this means taking Ollie out much earlier, to spare him the afternoon heat, and sleeping on top of the bed in front of a large pedestal fan. No rain is forecast, so that at least will keep me cheerful.


For anyone still remotely interested, (and I do not blame you if you are not) my driving licence has still not been received. So I am continuing to drive on a technically ‘expired’ licence, and if stopped, I will look forward to a day in court exposing the complete shambles that is the DVLA here.


There is no news that does not concern who will replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. So for me this is of no interest. Whoever replaces him will still be hitting the poor, the working class, and the unions. Trampling on hard-won rights and working conditions, and laughing at those struggling to get by. Also trying to dismantle our beloved NHS, and continuing to sell off its services to private companies based in America. In short, I hate them all, with a vengeance. So I will hate whoever they choose, for as long as I am still alive. (That hatred is real, not a choice of words.)


I’m struggling to think of anything postive for these musings, to be honest. But we are looking forward to our 7-day holiday in September. Although in England, and only 90 miles from Beetley, it gives us a change of scene next to a beach, and we can take Ollie with us.
Everyone on Earth needs something to look forward to, and this holiday is what I look forward to, humble though it may be.


More shootings in America since I was last here. My one observation is that those ‘brave gun owners’, that ‘good man with a gun’, much lauded by the NRA, appeared to be too scared to fire back at the Chicago shooter. Why am I not surprised about that? Taking selfies in front of your 200+ gun collection is very different to having the guts to fire back.
That ‘brave man with a gun’ is just a coward with a gun. They all are, that is why they own guns. The are scared, but they are also too scared to use them when it matters. Cowards.


That’s about it for the 10th of July. I hope you have a stress-free Sunday, wherever you are, and whatever you are doing.



I have to -sort of, but not really- apologise in advance for what follows, because I am angry. Very angry.

And if you have ever voted Conservative in the UK, best look away now.

I worked hard for all of my life, most of that in public service in stressful and sometimes dangerous jobs. I was trying to do some good for society, and certainly didn’t do those jobs for the money, which was below average for London. But I didn’t mind, because I wanted to do something good, not make profits for huge corporations.

I paid into two workplace pensions, and paid my National Insurance to receive my State Pension at the age of 65. When I retired at 60 and moved to Norfolk, I expected to live a reasonable life. Not affluent, far from that, but hopefully free from worry. I certainly never expected to end up in 2022 to find this country run by a gang of ‘Entitled’ pigs who cared nothing whatsoever for the people of Britain.

I really didn’t.

But that’s where we are. A gang of rich buffoons who have mega-rich friends, and a huge parliamentary majority. A Prime Minister who is an embarrassment to this country, surrounded by politicians and old friends who have got rich, and then richer, on the hard work of ordinary people. Members of Parliament on salaries of £84,000 a year, plus expenses of up to £200,000, telling ordinary people to ‘work harder’, or ‘do two jobs’ as they laugh at us in the subsidised bar of the House of Commons. A country saturated with ridiculous echoes of a long-gone empire, and fawning over a Royal Family that includes some of the richest people in the world, as well as hangers-on and paedophiles.

Fuel increases have been blamed on the war in Ukraine. That is a lie. The UK imports very little oil from Ukraine or Russia, and Shell and BP have made never before seen profits since the Russian invasion. WHY? Because they can, because the government lets them. Because they have friends who are shareholders in those companies.

Now the price cap on electricity and gas is set to rise to record levels. The members of parliament don’t care, because their energy bills are claimed on those ‘expenses’. But most people are set to see a 120% increase in their fuel bills in one year. More profits for the utility companies, engineered by their friends in government. They seek to distract us with ‘Platinum Jubilee’ celebrations, and an extra bank holiday. Yes, let’s all celebrate the Queen, who is one of the richest women on Earth, and doesn’t even need the taxpayer’s money that is pumped into her and her family so she can pay a woman £12,000,000 to drop a case against her sexual abuser son.

Meanwhile, hard-working people are becoming overwhelmed by utilty increases that may put their everyday lives in complete jeopardy. Someone as well-prepared for retirement as me (at least I thought so) has to think twice about using a car, as it costs me £105 to fill it up with diesel. And I have to shop ‘carefully’, for the first time in my life, because food price increases are blamed on higher transport costs, and that war in Ukraine.

If there had been no war in Ukraine, I wonder what they would have blamed it on? They would have found something, I’m sure.

So here I am at 70, after a relatively hard life. Suddenly worrying about everything, for the first time ever. Thanks to the Tory scum that run this country, and laugh about those foolish enough to vote for them. Like sheep volunteering to be the first one in the slaughterhouse.

Why did you vote for them? I would love to know. Working class people all across Britain, especially in the North, and the Home Counties, voted for them. Middle-class people voted for them, perhaps out of habit. Upper class people voted for them for obvious reasons, and so they could become multi-millionaires.

Did you really think they cared about you? Did you really think they believe you are the same as them? If so, you are not only ignorant, not only politically ignorant, but deluded and cretinous in every way imaginable.

You betrayed me, and every person who genuinely worked hard for this country.

This is no longer my country, it is a disgusting sham. Because of you.

I am not just angry, I hate you all. I will hate you with a spiteful vengeance until my dying day. Which should not be too far in the future.

If anyone doesn’t like this post, please feel free to unfollow me. I am probably better off without you.

Subdued Sunday Musings

I still can’t seem to shake my blogging malaise. I may have to resort to reblogging some of my oldest posts, just to keep my interest going.


Yesterday was the warmest day of the year so far. I actually felt uncomfortably warm during the night, finding myself sleeping outside the covers at one stage. That warmth is triggering thundery rain apparently, forecast to arrive in Beetley soon.


One blogger I follow mentioned that 2022 seems to be going by very quickly. I know how she feels. It seems like only yesterday that it was my birthday, not two months ago.


Ollie is happy enough, so that makes me feel calm. Despite his arthritis becoming visibly worse, he is still playing with his toys and enjoying his walks. It feels strange to imagine life without him. So I try not to.


The politics in this country is still disgusting me, and the war continues in Ukraine with Russia appearing to be unable to make further progress in their invasion. Another mass shooting in America, but they will never give up their guns. Israeli Army and police still attacking Palestinians in Israel, and Britain and Ireland and the EU squabbling about Northern Ireland. At times I grow weary of this world.


Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, I hope you have a happy Sunday.


Two Levels Of The Ukraine War

An alternative American view of the war in Ukraine. Always worth reading a different opinion from someone who knows his history.

In Saner Thought

Like all war there is more to them than the one sided manure that the media spreads……Ukraine is no different….there at least two levels to this conflict.

If you get your opinion from the MSM then you know that Russia invaded Ukraine….Ukraine is heroically fighting back….and refugees are fleeing and suffering…..and that is about it.  In other words Ukraine–good….Russia–bad.

Back in 2019 I tried to explain what was happening in Ukraine….

But there is more going on than the small amount of information that corporate news is willing to share…..

It has become increasingly clear to the world that there is not one, but two, actually three, distinct levels of conflict embedded in what the world’s media and political leadership deceptively insist of calling the ‘Ukraine War.’ The first level was clearly initiated on February 24, 2022 when Russia launched an aggressive war against Ukraine imperiling its sovereign rights…

View original post 759 more words

Sunday Musings In A Sunny January

‘Sunny January’ continues unabated in Beetley. Unusually bright weather for the time of year, accompanied by frosty mornings, and foggy evenings. The sun is so low in the sky, and so unbelievably bright, we have to keep the curtains closed until it moves around after midday.
Not complaining, as it hasn’t rained for days!


Ollie’s recent trip to the Vet seems to have kick-started some recovery. Going back on the steroids and ear drops has stopped him shaking his head, and his fur is starting to regrow, albeit far too slowly for my liking.


Julie has been ‘decluttering’ with a vengeance. Seven bags of ‘stuff’ taken to the charity shops last week, and six more to go in the car to be dropped off next week. Most of it was clothes that no longer fit her, as she has lost weight with a change of Diabetes medication. Much of ‘the stuff’ was brand new with tags, so never worn.
There’s a lesson there, somewhere.


After shifting some storage boxes that have remained untouched in the main bedroom, we were horrified to discover that tiny carpet beetle larvae have eaten away large areas of the bedroom carpet. Okay, so it is very old, (long before we moved in, probably laid in the 1990s) and is the only flooring we haven’t changed since we moved into the house. But now we have to face spraying the area, to stop the larvae spreading onto the good carpet in other rooms. Then we will have to replace the carpet as soon as is practical to do so.
It never ends.


Cutrently, it seems that our Prime Minister may well survive the recent scandals around his leadership. Conversely, I actually think that might be a good thing, as it will give him time to act the clown and upset the electorate even more before the next general election. If someone who knows what they are doing succeeds him now, I might well be stuck with a repulsive right-wing government until my dying day.


Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone. The sun is still shining in Beetley!
(A bit, through this morning’s cloud.)