You talkin’ to me? : @JakeTheWriter

This week’s Podcast from freelance travel writer, author, blogger and commentator, Jakethewriter, came to being when he discovered that he didn’t just find that he was talking to himself but actually having conversations. He thought he should justify himself before the men in white coats appear.

You talkin’ to me?

There’s no-one else here, so who do you think I’m talking to?  I’ve begun talking to myself and I’ve no idea when it started.  “What have I come upstairs for?”  Out loud and often without knowing that I’m doing it.  Did it come with my grey hair, the wrinkles, or expanding waistline?  Kids do it without embarrassment all of the time, they even have imaginary friends, but at my age?  No, what I do is furtively look around me wondering if anyone heard me.

It doesn’t help that another of my signs of old age is that I have become very deaf and I’m not sure how loud I am speaking.  Perhaps if I lived alone it would make more sense, but I don’t, I live with my very understanding wife.  She is quite used to being asked if she has moved my watch/keys/reading glasses etc. But now it’s me that I am speaking to.

The more I write my web logs to keep this old brain ticking over and I research a subject or recall something from my past for a story, I find myself chatting to myself and suddenly realise that I’m chatting loud and I’m guiltily looking around to make sure that I’m alone.

Oh my Lord, where do I go from here?  Will I find myself dressed in Salvation Army couture pushing a stolen Waitrose trolley along the street as I hold loud, dribbling conversations with myself?  Should I get myself a dog that can act as a ‘beard’ to hide behind?  Nah! I’m a cat person and my cat always knew that I was weird.  He was also totally irreplaceable.  Sometimes now that he is no longer with us I find myself chatting to him.  I just hope that no-one hears my conversations.

Talking to yourself is supposed to be a bad sign. What about hearing voices. Also bad, talking to yourself suggests a mild neurosis or perhaps improper socialization. Hearing voices in your head talk back to you? Now we’re talking psychosis. Me? I talk to people that aren’t there. They talk back. Of course they talk back. What do you think I am, the sort of fool who’d waste time talking to people who don’t answer? Please!

Sometimes they’re conversations I really need to have with real people, sometimes they’re scenes from stories I’m going to write, or that I’m writing right now. So I don’t tell my mind to run. I just let it play. So far, it hasn’t complained. I talk to myself a lot. And I don’t mean only in the privacy of my own home. I talk to myself while I’m walking down the street, when I’m at my office computer or even when I’m shopping.

Thinking out loud helps me materialize what I’m thinking about. So I’ve done a little research to help me make sense of things, it may even help to convince my friends that even though it might make me look insane, I’m not really.  Talking to one’s self, it turns out, is a sign of genius. The smartest people on earth talk to themselves. Look at the inner monologues of the greatest thinkers. Look at poetry! Look at history!

Albert Einstein talked to himself. He wasn’t an avid social butterfly when he was growing up, and he preferred to keep to himself, he used to repeat his sentences to himself softly. So, you see? I’m not alone, and I’m not completely bonkers. I’m just really smart. Ha!

This morning, fortunately sitting alone in the sauna at the gym, I once again caught myself talking to myself out loud as I was planning my day – I stopped the conversation as soon as I realised that I was doing it again.  Then I said to myself, out loud, “Bugger it! I’m old and I’m entitled to be a bit eccentric – I’m off to see the Wizard. . . . . . . . . .

Thanks for listening, you see, you are some of the people that I chat to out loud. I’ll see you next week as usual. Cheerio!

Hello! Hello! Be very worried! : @JakeTheWriter

This week’s Podcast from retired travel journalist, author and blogger Jakethewriter which he wrote after being stopped at a routine police road check and which stirred a tale from his memory bank he calls it . . . .

Hello! Hello! Be very worried!

I admit to being worried when I was stopped at 9.0am on a Sunday morning and breathalysed even though I hadn’t had a drink in weeks.  Over the years one reads of some very dodgy happenings that somewhat knock ones faith in the rule of law.  The Hillsborough inquiry, The Battle of Orgreave, The Police handling of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, and that is just the failings of one police force. Don’t even start me on the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Station on the London Underground in 2005.

I question whether much has changed over the years, we have all heard about the jolly policeman of our childhood who would sort the Yobs out with a clip round the ear.  That must be from people whose memories are better than mine.  If I think back to the sixties, when I was a witness in a case at West End Central Court.  I was told that I would not be required for an hour or so, so I wandered into one of the courts and sat in the public gallery.  The case was being heard by a Stipendiary Magistrate.  The prisoner in the dock was charged with burglary was a rather scruffy, weedy little man and a short stocky man who looked to be under the minimum height for the Met Police.  He identified himself as Detective Sergeant Harold Challoner.

He took the Oath and said in a very tortured plodding police jargon “As a result of information received I went to the greasy spoon cafe (not really its name) in Fulham Road where I found the prisoner sitting at a table.  I told him that he answered the description of a person seen leaving a burglary in Eaton Square, I am arresting you and you will be taken to West End Central Police Station where you will be charged with burglary.  I then cautioned him and he was arrested”

The Stipendiary (that’s a paid Magistrate who sits alone) asked the prisoner if he had any questions of the officer.  He said “No not really, he said Hello Jonno! I’ve been looking for you, you’re f***ing nicked, get in the motor!”  The Beak looked over his specs and said “Well that’s basically what the officer said”.  I listened to the rest of the case and saw the prisoner remanded in custody.  I left thinking that I had witnessed a fit up.

A couple of years later there was a real scandal when during a demonstration outside the Grosvenor Hotel where the King of Greece was staying on a State visit.  Student was arrested (and apparently hit) by one Detective Sergeant Harold Challoner and three of his colleagues.  Challoner had picked on the wrong man; the man was a cartoonist for Peace News and a member of the National Council for Civil Liberties.  The man alleged that Challoner shouted “You’re f***ing nicked, my beauty. Boo the Queen would you?” and hit him on the head

At the Police Station he was told that Challoner had found half a brick in his pocket and he was charged with having an offensive weapon.

It transpired that forensic evidence proved that the man’s suit had never been in contact with any brick dust and the piece of brick could not be fitted in any of the pockets.  OOPS!

Detective Sergeant Harold Challoner had served in the SAS during World War II and had been awarded the Military Medal; he had earned the reputation as the craziest soldier in the Regiment.  Taken prisoner twice and escaped twice.  After the war he joined the Force where he earned the reputation as a chancer.  His luck ran out when he was charged with his three colleagues with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and corruption offences.

The three other officers were sentenced to prison for three years, while Challoner was found mentally unfit to plead and spent some years in a secure mental hospital.  There was strong feeling in the media that he had been spared jail because he had known where the bodies had been buried.  The whitewash allowed police corruption to continue within the Metropolitan Police unabated.  Doing a Challoner became police slang expression for avoiding punishment and prosecution through retiring sick from the force.

Challoner died in 2008 after a comfortable retirement in Cornwall.

It’s strange that it doesn’t take much to bring my old memories to the surface. Did you know that Cop was derived from Constable on Patrol?  Not that appropriate these days when it is reported that the average time actually spent on patrol is less than 8 minutes in each hour, “Evening All!”

Cor Bugger Janner – Be Happy : @JakeTheWriter

Today’s podcast from retired travel journalist and author Jakethewriter comes in a slightly lighter vein when he attempts to pass on some force fed culture in the form of one of his sailor’s yarns. We have to issue a public warning before you listen because there might be some rather awful singing involved. If that thought frightens you, please switch of now.
Cor bugger Janner!

Another sailor’s yarn, it’s time to swing the lamp to give you landlubbers some force fed naval culture.  A “Janner” in naval terminology or Jackspeak; is someone from the West Country specifically Plymouth.  It is believed to originate in Devonport dockyard when talking to their workmate “John” tis pronounced Jan in Devonian see?

Rather like workers in the Chatham Dockyards being known as “Marmites” from colloquially talking “Estuary English about “mar mites” instead of my mates.  As for Portsmouth being known as “Pompey”! it is reputed to be from the Portuguese, Bom Bahia, two words meaning good harbour; also the origin of Bombay, sorry Mumbai.

There was a yarn about an infamous Portsmouth Lady of the night known as “Pompey Lil” who reputedly, perhaps that should be disreputably, had two false legs.  Two Devonport ratings had removed her legs and hitched her up on the church railings.  After having their wicked way they had walked off without paying, leaving her hanging.  She was heard to berate the matelots as “You bloody Janners are all the same, if you’d been proper Pompey men you would have helped me down when you finished”.

I digress as usual; Once upon a time when Nelson was a lad, I was a Midshipman, an embryo officer and gentleman taking a run ashore in Weymouth.  Our huge Aircraft Carrier being too big to go alongside was anchored out in the bay.  All the libertymen were ferried ashore using a naval MFV (motor fishing vessel), as per standard operating practice.

My shipmate and I proving our suitability for gentleman status, went sightseeing in the lovely Dorset countryside, had one gin and tonic and returned to catch the liberty-boat as per our orders at 2100 hours. Meanwhile the remainder of the crew had promptly got themselves completely rat-arsed (another naval term meaning as drunk as skunks) on the local “scrumpy” once they had discovered it was only one shilling a pint. (That’s 5 pence in new money)

There were quite a lot of merry sailors aboard the MFV, singing their tribal shanty “The Janner Song” as we approached the gangway. It was November, cold, dark and blowing up for a gale, imagine; about sixty somewhat inebriated crew men, singing:-

Half a pound of flour and marge,

Makes lovely clacker,

Just enough for you and me,

Cor! Bugger Janner.

Oh how happy us will be,

When we gets to the West Countree,

Where the oggies grow on trees,

Cor Bugger Janner!


Up to Camborne Hill we go,

Down to Helston ‘Furry’,

Come on Janner don’t be late,
Come on Janner hurry.

Oh how happy us will be,

When we gets to the West Countree,

Where the oggies grow on trees,

Cor Bugger Janner!


You make fast, I’ll make fast, Make fast the dinghy.

You make fast, kiss my arse, Make fast the dinghy

There are several more verses but I’ll spare you those

There were also us two young “Snotties” trying to look as though we weren’t with them. The Officer of the Watch called down to the MFV “Coxswain, take them round the harbour until they have learned to behave”.

Bastard! Stupid, Sub Lieutenant; we fended off and took another trip around the bay. It started to rain and then some bright spark decided that all officers are Bastards and set of an ox-blood fire hose. This is a fire-fighting implement that pumped sea water through a barrel of ox blood which when mixed with sea water produces thick white foam. They aimed the foam at the two ‘bloody officers’ but also covered the vessel and everyone aboard with it. It was very cold, very wet and very slippery.

In spite of this, as we came up to the accommodation ladder for the second time, sixty voices began, “Half a pound of flour and rice, makes a lovely clacker, Just enough for you and I, cor bugger Janner”. This was followed by an apoplectic officer of the watch screaming at the Coxswain to take them round again.

So it went on, six trips around the harbour until about two in the morning, cold, and wet, bedraggled and by this time silent, we were allowed back on board. The only two to get it in the neck were my fellow Midshipman and I.  We were told in no uncertain terms that we ought to have known better.

Oh happy days; don’t worry, be happy! To quote Bob Marley, everything will be alright.  I was quite worried when I recently read in a Lad’s Magazine (it was in my barbers’, honest); “Fifty things you should do before you die” and I discovered that I have done them all but two. I found that a bit worrying – Just two to go before I pop my clogs. Then I read on and found that the two that I had left were Sodomy and Morris Dancing – NO WAY.  How does it go? In every life we have some trouble, when you worry you make it double, don’t worry, be happy.  It wasn’t a great ‘bucket list’ anyway, number forty eight has to be a pain in the arse and my dancing is worse than my singing, so that’s that then.

Just remember to Vote Leave on the 23rd June and make it Independence Day and then we’ll all be happy. Thanks for listening! I’ll be with you again next week when I promise not to sing, cheerio!