Slip Slidin’ Away

Walking with Ollie today, I was reminded of the old Paul Simon Song. Not that it has anything to do with dog-walking of course.

No, it was because the mud is back with a vengeance, and I was definitely slip-slidin’ away, even in my stout wellington boots. Although we have had no snow yet, and only one ‘car window-scraping’ hard frost, we have had a lot of rain. Over the past week, it has often rained for 12-16 hours a day, and I can’t actually remember the last day when there was no rain at all.

They (the weather reporters) say it’s the warmer weather, caused by a nice video graphic swirling around in the Atlantic Ocean that is sucking up warm air from North Africa, and turning it into rain. (Something like that, but the graphic looked good on the weather report) It seems to be in a cyclical pattern, and definitely visiting the east of England on its cycle. Beetley is in the east of England, only 26 miles from the point that says ‘Next Stop, Holland’.

(Across the North Sea, so you will need a boat of some kind)

So as usual, we have had a lot of rain. Rain eventually makes earth become mud. Rain swells the local river so that it overflows onto the paths, creating more mud. Then the mud stops supporting the roots of the trees on the riverbank, and they fall into, or across, the small river. The trees in the water cause the river to overflow even more, adding slick new mud on top of the old thick mud.

Now that’s what I call ‘Cyclical’.

Altogether now, try to keep up with Paul…

Update! The Clearwater Anomaly Is Back!

In March this year, I posted this about the strange number of views a post was getting.

The ‘Clearwater’ Anomaly

Not long after, views dropped off again, but have remained constant at one or two a day ever since.

Then yesterday, I noticed my stats were climbing, and I checked on which posts were receiving all the views.

Yes, this original 2020 post was being viewed at an alarming rate, once again.

110 views for that day alone, and still coming in.

‘Clearwater’: A Short Science Fiction Film

I still have no idea why this happens!

Remembrance Sunday

In 2014, a very moving display of ceramic poppies was staged at The Tower Of London, to commemorate the fallen British service personnel in all wars.

The poppies were later sold individually, and I bought one for Julie, to remember her father who served in the army after WW2.

In the UK, we celebrate Remembrance Sunday on the closest Sunday to the 11th of November. As well as the National Ceremony held in London’s Whitehall at the Cenotaph Memorial to WW1, most cities, towns, and villages in Great Britain will also hold local parades and services in memory of those who served and died.

As so long has passed since the end of WW1 in 1918, we no longer have anyone left alive who served in that war, in any capacity. The last living veteran of World War I was Florence Green, a British citizen who served in the Allied armed forces, and who died 4 February 2012, aged 110. The last veteran who served in the trenches was Harry Patch (British Army), who died on 25 July 2009, aged 111.

Here is Harry Patch, being interviewed about his experiences in WW1. It always chokes me up to see this.

They will not be forgotten today. Neither will those who served in WW2, Korea, Suez, Malaya, Kenya, Aden, The Falklands, Northern Ireland, and modern conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan.

We will have our one minute of silence at 11 am, even though it will not be on the 11th. And those of us unable to be in London, or at local parades, will be able to watch it on the television, and quietly pay our respects.

Class Poverty In America: A Documentary Film

My friend Antony sent me this 45-minute You Tube video. It was filmed by a European documentary maker, at a time when Donald Trump was still the President.

Middle-Class homeless living in their cars. People working full-time, but unable to afford to rent anywhere to live. From Hollywood, to Texas, to Virginia, a whole generation with no hope.

(I know this doesn’t apply to everyone in the USA, but at the time of filming, it affected around 40 million people)

It is worth your time to watch it, as any of us could be next. (You can easily turn off the subtitles in the bottom menu)

Paris Police 1900: A Recommendation

This is a recommendation for an excellent French-language drama series, currently being shown here on BBC 4, with all episodes available free on i-player.

It is set around some real events in France at the turn of the century, particularly the Dreyfus affair, and the rise of far-right antisemitic parties at the time. The police force is outdated and corrupt, but is slowly being forced into the modern age.

Amazingly authentic sets and costumes give a real feel of the period, and committed performances by the cast ensure that each character is completely believable.

Some parts are very violent, and there are scenes involving sexual content, and drug use. But it never feels salacious, or exploitative.

If you don’t mind subtitles, this is top-notch Saturday evening television well worth watching.

(For readers outside the UK, I have no idea if this is being shown elsewhere at the moment.)

Here is an official trailer, with subtitles in Englsh.

India and Covid-19: The Harsh Reality

Thanks to Australian blogger, Lloyd Marken, I have been following his reports about the pandemic all around the world.

His latest post features a You Tube video clip from the news programme, ‘India Today’. This 4-minute clip shows the devastating effect of Covid-19 deaths in that country. Poverty is so severe that many cannot afford the wood to use to cremate the bodies of their loved ones. As a result, many corpses are simpy floated into the River Ganges instead.

On the sandy banks of the same river, thousands are being buried in shallow graves in the sand, covered by prices of cloth. Unknown, and unmarked, these graves are increasing daily, and when the river floods after expected heavy rains, most of the bodies will simply be washed away into the river.

This is not the sort of thing we see on nightly news bulletins in the west. But it is exactly what we should be seeing, when we still have so many people convinced that C-19 is a conspiracy, and are refusing to get innoculations. This is the reality of life in a poverty-stricken country, facing an explosion in numbers of deaths from the virus.

Exploring London’s Pubs: A Video Guide

Robert Lordan is a licenced London Black Taxi driver, and a great blogger and writer too. He has a love of London, and wonderful knowledge about the history of that city too.

He has produced a 13-minute video on You Tube, looking at ten famous London pubs. In his London accent, he describes the buildings, the history, and the often quirky details concerning each pub.

I am pleased to report that in my 60 years in London, I have had a drink in nine of the ten pubs featured. Only the one in Brixton escaped my patronage.

He covers a wide variety, all over the capital, and some of them were also featured in my own blog post about historic London pubs.

If you live in or near London, or are thinking of visiting the city as a tourist, this is an essential guide to some fascinating places to have a drink in while you are there.

Exploring London’s Pubs

Pygmy Music: A Video

My good friend Antony sent me this fascinating clip. Cameroonian musician Francis Bebey is playing a one-note flute, explaining how it served as both entertainment and a form of musical communication for pigmy tribes in Africa.

To bring it up to date, he is accompanied by another musician using a modern drum and bass machine.

It is a magical sound, full of history and culture.

London Walks: Bermondsey And Rotherhithe

Two more of Joolz’s Guides London walk videos. This time with a very personal connection to beetleypete!
(Each short film is around fifteen minutes long)

The first is a tour of Bermondsey, the district just immediately south and east of Tower Bridge, on the banks of The Thames. We see how the former leather-making district has becme ‘gentrified’ since the 1980s, but all the historic buildings remain. I was born in Bermondsey, and lived there until I was 15, when my parents moved us away to the suburbs. In my youth, the leather industry was still very much in evidence, and the modern-day food markets and smart delicatessens were traditional street markets, and cheap cafes.

The second film features Rotherhithe, which is a continuation of the walk from Bermondsey, along the riverbank to the east. Once again, we see the preserved history, and how docks and warehouses, where my grandfather and my mother worked during WW2, have now been converted into smart (and very expensive) apartments and restaurants. Joolz continues to the famous riverside pubs The Angel and The Mayflower. I moved back to Rotherhithe in 1985, and lived not far from The Mayflower. In fact, I had my second wedding reception in the upstairs restaurant of the pub, in 1989! It has famous connections with The Pilgrim Fathers, and the founding of America.

If anyone is planning a visit to London, watch to the end of the second video. You will see that you can book Joolz for a personalised tour of London, and contact details are shown. I couldn’t think of anyone better to show you around, except me of course!