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!

OMG There goes my smart mouth running away again : @JakeTheWriter

So many of my family and so called friends seem to delight in telling me that I have a smart mouth.  I defend myself by telling them that I am famous for my instant repartee and it is only jealousy and that they don’t understand my fast perception and enquiring mind.  However I do remember when I was a baby Midshipman, a Commissioned Gunner took great delight telling me in front of my class, that I suffered the fault of putting my mouth in gear before my brain was engaged.  Oh well, I’m far too old to change now.

On my way home from the Gym the other day, I called in at a supermarket to buy a newspaper.  As I entered I watched an elderly, frail old guy, probably nearly as old as me, he was holding a large bunch of roses as he shuffled slowly to the fast checkout and I stood back to allow him to be served before me.  I said to him jokingly “My goodness!  You must have done something really bad to have to buy such an expensive bunch!”

Silence – I thought he was going to ignore me but then he mumbled “They’re to go on my wife’s grave”.  Somewhat unlike me, I was lost for words, I stuttered an apology of sorts but the cashier had served him and he turned and shuffled away.

To put the icing on the cake, the cashier said, “Bless him, he buys a bunch of flowers for her a couple of times a week”.  I quickly paid for my newspaper and nearly ran out of the shop, I couldn’t think of a single piece of instant repartee.  There wasn’t a single adjective in my ammunition box.  I came out with few expletives that must be deleted once I was alone in my car.

I related this sorry tale to one of my friends later and all he said was “One of these days Jake . . . . . . . . . . . .”and just shook his head.  Well perhaps I do have a smart mouth!  Mr Old Widower, I am so very full of remorse!  My trouble is that I just know that it will not cure my smart mouth, but at least I will admit to having one.

Now I’m really sure you will be pleased to hear that I did get my comeuppance! It was at my gym again where it seems everything happens as far as my blogs go. The other day, as is my wont I arrived as usual at silly o’clock at the gym (sorry Health Club and Fitness Centre) to be told that my annual membership fee was due.

Once I had completed my daily dose of masochism in the gym and then recovered in the spa, I dressed and went out to the cafe bar to meet the young lady who looks after membership accounts.

I sat at a table and she provided me with a pot of tea and biscuits while she left to locate my folder.  I picked up a copy of Esquire Men’s Magazine and saw that the front cover was emblazoned “What to wear at a Gay Wedding!” I poured myself a cup of tea and settled back to read.

Before I could become enlightened, the perky little girl/lady (I’m very ancient so they are all sweeties to me) came back with my file.  Before she could sit down with my forms, I said “Oh that was quick!  I was just about to find out what I should wear to a Gay Wedding” and waved the copy of ‘Esquire’

Without blinking an eye and without even a trace of a smile, she came back with “Never mind, I’m sure you will be able to find something already in your closet”!  Well . . . . . Never has my flabber been so gasted – Gosh I bet she considers herself witty and amusing, I don’t like that in a woman, do you?

Once I had recovered from my speechlessness I rather wished that I had been about to read the article on “How to become a Paddle-boarder” if only to see what witty remark she could have made from that.  Closet indeed!!!

I thought that I was going to die and again and again! : @JakeTheWriter

I can’t be sure how I should categorise my Blog which is today’s Podcast
It’s either a Sailor’s Yarn or a Travelogue, whichever it all starts a long time ago!

I am getting a bit old in the tooth and in my long life I have acquired the knack of courting dangerous pursuits often finding myself in positions where I find myself saying either “What the Hell am I doing here?” or “Here we go again!”.  From Arctic Warfare training with the Special Boat Squadron, to skirmishes in Aden, Cyprus and Suez, I then took up ocean racing and rock climbing just to keep the adrenaline flowing.

Trying to claw a yacht under sail off Les Casquets in a Force 8 or seeking a handhold when you are clawing your way up a rock face of the aptly named Cenotaph Corner, towards Cemetery Gates in the Llanberis Pass certainly does that.

I was looking through the latest travel leaflets with a view to this year’s holiday plans.  I went to sea at the age of 15 and travelled the world and ever since I have visited most parts of the world, a lot of it when the countries had real names not their PC ones.  Korea was just Korea not North and South, Siam wasn’t Thailand, Burma wasn’t Myanmar, Formosa wasn’t Taiwan . . . . . . followed by my years as a Travel Journalist, Johnny Cash singing I’ve been everywhere man springs to mind. I digress but you get the picture I was probably looking for pastures new.

(“Hello Sailor you want something different?” “Why what have you got this time, Leprosy?” – Oh that nasty naval humour rears its ugly head again)

Back to the travel brochure, I opened it to look at Madeira and immediately delved into the old memory bank.
I was 17 years old and serving as an Extra, Extra, Junior Fourth Officer aboard Union Castle Line’s Royal Mail Steamer Capetown Castle we had called in at Freetown in Sierra Leone – now the home of the dreaded Ebola disease. I too picked up a dreaded disease; it wasn’t Ebola but an equally deadly one, a particularly virulent form of Malaria.  I don’t remember much of the rest of that trip around the Cape but not only did I think I was going to die, that was also the opinion of the ship’s surgeon.

Obviously I didn’t pop my clogs as I am still here but it was decided that I needed convalescence (either that or the surgeon didn’t want the publicity of a corpse in his sick bay).  It was decided that I should be put ashore in the beautiful island of Madeira to recover at company expense.  I found myself luxuriating in what then was the most lavish hotel on the island, the Savoy, where I spent six memorable weeks being pampered; bliss!  My memories bring back lovely cobbled streets, the biome wall lizards and the heady smell of fennel growing everywhere.  Fennel in Portuguese is funcha which gives Funchal its name.

All good thing come to an end and the company agent decided that rather than wait for my ship to call for me, I should fly back to Blighty for further recovery.

In those far flung days Madeira did not boast the lovely Santa Catarina Airport; in fact it had no airport at all.  What it did have was Aquila Airways who operated a fleet (three I think) of second-hand Short Solent Flying boats that flew two of three times a week from Madeira to Southampton.  I stress that these monstrosities were second-hand former WWII military machines.  You know how experts can scientifically prove that a bumble bee cannot fly, well you get the picture.

Short Solent 1

This barely recuperated sickly teenager was ferried out with around 18 other souls into Funchal Bay, The sea was flat calm, Tennyson’s painted ship on a painted ocean, calm!  The so called flying giant sat wallowing looking more like a hippopotamus than an aeroplane and I was helped aboard by a beautiful liveried and heavily made up, air hostess.  There were dining tables with crisp, white tablecloths, and the seats facing in from either side.  I also remember there were lovely frilly curtains at the portholes.

Short Solent interior

Remember this was the early 50s and I had never flown before.  All the passengers were comfortably seated and the very precisely spoken air hostess went through the doors to manual drill with great emphasis on lifejackets. The captain spoke over the Tannoy and after introducing himself told us that because the weather was so still and there were no waves the liner as he called it may have trouble unsticking itself from the surface tension.
He would make his first run and attempt take off but we were not to worry if it didn’t work, it was standard procedure and our first attempt would make sufficient waves to enable a successful launch on the second run.  The engines made an unbelievable deafening roar and he gave it full throttle for what seem like a couple of miles.  As he predicted we couldn’t get airborne and the throttle shut down and this flying pig slumped from about seventy or eighty knots and lurched forward and down to near standstill, then turned into our wake, engines roaring flat out and pop . . . we came unstuck and shot into the air. . . .

Once again I thought I was going to die.  Not only that, when I looked at the faces of the other passengers and the cabin crew, they thought so too!  I won’t worry you with the hellish landing in Southampton Water, suffice to say I later chose the Royal Navy rather than following my father into the RAF.
Do you know I think I shall give Madeira a miss this year and just cherish my memories. What does it say on my computer? “Memory almost Full.”

Thanks for listening!

I’m not a racist, this is a joke and the jokes on us! : @JakeTheWriter

Todays Podcast is from retired travel writer, journalist and commentator jakethewriter. There is no doubt that one of the major topics for the EU Referendum is the fact that immigration is out of control. I start my piece on this serious subject with a story that smacks of the truth

I’m not a racist, this is a joke and the jokes on us!

A Somalian arrives in London as a new immigrant to the UK.  He stops the first person he sees walking down the street and says……..  ‘Thank you Mr. British for letting me in this country, giving me housing, money for food, free medical care, free education and no taxes!’  The passer-by says, ‘You are mistaken, I am Mexican!’

The man goes on and encounters another passer-by  ‘Thank you for having such a beautiful country here in the UK!’  The person says, ‘I not British, I Polish!’  The new arrival walks on further and the next person he sees he stops, shakes his hand and says, ‘Thank you for the wonderful Britain!’  That person puts up his hand and says, ‘I am from Russia, I am not from Britain!’

He finally sees a nice lady and asks, ‘Are you a British?’  She says, ‘No, I am from Africa!’ Puzzled, he asks her, ‘Where are all the British?’  The African lady checks her watch and says………  ’Probably at work’.

Migration from the EU will rise to 428,000 per annum by 2030, the equivalent of adding a city the size of Bristol to the UK population each year.  5.23 million persons will be added to the UK population as a direct result, the equivalent of the population of Scotland. The NHS will require an additional £9.35 billion by 2030 to maintain current funding levels on top of the existing savings required by the Five Year Forward View.  Attendances at A&E will increase by 12.8 million per year by 2030, the equivalent of a 57.0% increase in demand for accident and emergency services.  The UK will need an additional 14,746 doctors and 43,193 nurses to maintain current levels of medical staff per capita. This is the equivalent of 13.3% of the current NHS number of doctors in England and 13.6% of the current number of NHS nurses in England.

There is a fairly clear way ahead: to minimise disruption, while achieving control of numbers. The key element that needs to be controlled is migration for work (which accounts for the bulk of net EU migration). This could be sharply reduced if EU immigrants were subject to the same requirement for work permits as now currently apply to non-EU workers: the aim would be to reduce the overall scale of immigration without losing the economic benefit of highly skilled immigration. By doing this, net migration – 330,000 last year – could be cut by about 100,000 per year. Tourism would not suffer: obviously, there would be no need to require tourist visas for EU citizens any more than we do for Americans now. Nor would there be any need for restrictions on students, or genuine marriage. Even freedom to live elsewhere could be protected: EU citizens could still come to live in the UK provided they had the means to support themselves. All you have to do is to Vote Leave on June 23rd

That was more serious than I usually like to be but our position is such that unless we do something about the situation on June 23 Referendum day by voting to free ourselves from the shackles of the EU it will be too late. We will only get one chance, so make your vote count. Thanks for listening, I’ll be back next week. Cheerio!

Loitering with intent – The story of an abandoned tent : @JakeTheWriter

Being a person with a penchant for outdoor pursuits, I have camped since a very young age. I include camping on the Cairngorms, Snowdon and Brecon Beacons in the midst of winter in snowstorms including a whiteout on Darva Moor as well as many times in France and Spain. In spite of all this and even at my great age I usually still manage to have a camping break a couple of times a year.

Since having replacement joints in both knees I have compromised and bought myself a large six berth two bedroom affair on the grounds of comfort and joy. I however still get a buzz from waking up free from the pressures of the world and if I’m lucky to birdsong and sunshine.

Last year in early June I was in North Norfolk for a break bird watching and photographing in the salt marshes in a hired Canadian canoe and was accompanied by an old friend, Lee a former Captain in the South Vietnamese Army during the Viet Nam war. Lee was attached to the American Army as an intelligence officer and was left behind in the American Embassy when the Americans and anti communist forces withdrew, or as Lee puts it got their running boots on.

Lee had spent the next 4 years hiding out with his thirteen men in the jungle and successfully brought all of his men out safely via Cambodia and Thailand. I was unable to teach Lee very much about survival in the wild but he appreciated the comfort of my tent and my Michelin starred camp cooking.

Came the morning for us to break camp the weather was still good but the Met Office had issued a severe weather warning so we didn’t spend too long packing everything into the car and clearing up our area. The campsite is one that I regularly use and is top class (no groups, no noise after 10pm and kept immaculate). I cleared up our rubbish and headed for the bins. Very green, separate bins for glass, paper, plastic etc., I separated our rubbish taking the cardboard packaging from the plastic carrier bags and so on. I was about to put the plastic in the correct bin and opened it up . . . . . . . completely empty except for a virtually brand new tent all roughly rolled up with its bag, poles and pegs chucked on top.

As I am a pre WWII baby I abhor waste. I looked around the site which contained a few campervans, about a dozen family size tents, most of the occupants having left for the day. The Yurts and Tepees were also unoccupied. As the tent in the bin was obviously deliberately abandoned I felt no qualms about liberating it in order that it may be recycled. I packed it into my car boot and we set off for home.
It rained for the next few days so the errant tent was left in my garden shed until the next dry and sunny day and I was able to examine it more closely. As I thought the tent was virtually new, it was a two man model with built in groundsheet, the telescopic poles, pegs etc., all had separate bags and there was even a new looking LED camping lantern. All deliberately discarded and looking as forlorn as an abandoned kitten. Aaah!
I have found the kit a new home and its next outing hopefully will be a much happier one, probably at Glastonbury Music Festival.

My next outing will be to North Wales next week to look at the mountains but as a professional raconteur and teller of tales I am sitting here trying the imagine the story my recycled two man tent could tell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It wasn’t abandoned after a hellish night of storms by its only just survived occupants. Could it have been dumped by a Romeo and Juliet after a lover’s tiff? If that was the case surely the tent would have just been left where it stood as one or both drove off in a huff (they came by car and left in a huff). Perhaps it was a guy on his own who had been watching Bear Grylls on the box and discovered that sleeping on the floor wasn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep.

I can’t understand why the tent was taken down and the pegs put in the bag, the poles folded up but the tent was screwed up and the lot including its bag plonked in the bin. Why not donate it to charity or to a deserving youngster as I have? Within an hour of my finding it the bins would have been emptied by the bin men. Meanwhile I am imagining so many different stories that could fit the history of the discarded and forsaken ‘Marie Celeste of a tent.

If my chum Lee had been a Major instead of a Captain I could have used the title “A Major Incident” and made everyone groan!

Something stinks but that’s nothing new : @JakeTheWriter

This week’s Podcast from retired travel writer, blogger and commentator Jakethewriter is another of his sailor’s yarns provoked by the astonishing downright lies and innuendoes coming from the mouths of those whom wish to remain in the EU, including some from the Prime Minister himself. Jake is old enough to remember the Profumo affair, that was when John Profumo the Minister for War in the Cabinet lied in a statement to the House and was sacked. It is now looking that Davis Cameron may also have lied to the House and we wait to see the outcome. With ex-members of the Secret Service being involved on both sides of the Referendum debate, the mix brought back some memories also involving politicians and the funny folk.

Something stinks, but that’s nothing new!

There is a saying on submarines, that if you can smell something nasty and there is no-one standing behind you, mister it’s you!

Lionel “Buster” Crabb Served in the Merchant Navy and when WWII began he was commissioned into the Royal Navy and volunteered for mine and bomb disposal.  He trained as a diver and had an impressive war record receiving numerous commendations including the George Medal and was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. 

He left the RN in 1948 and his CV shows him working in the private sector for the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston.  He also spent time searching through sunken Spanish Galleons.

He returned to active duty in the RN in 1952 where he is reputed to have spent time searching and investigating sunken submarines.  In 1955 he worked with another frogman (Sydney Knowles), investigating the hull of a Soviet ship, the Sverdlov.  It became later known that he had been recruited by the funny folk at MI6 and was assigned to perform surveillance on another Russian cruiser, the Ordzhonikidze, which supposedly had a propeller of an innovative design, (probably a bit of cold war propaganda).  It was moored in Portsmouth Harbour where it had carried the Soviet Premier Bulganin and Future Premier Khrushchev on a diplomatic mission.  Crabb got as far as inspecting the hull of the cruiser but disappeared and was never seen again.

At this time I was also a frogman stationed HMS Vernon the shore station of the Royal Navy Torpedo and Anti Submarine Branch which trained Clearance Divers and Minehunters.  To say that the crap hit the fan is to put it mildly, all we were told was that one of ours was missing and all available diving teams were carrying out evolutions in Langston Harbour for about two weeks.

This was an unforgettable time for me.  Portsmouth harbour is famous for its thick black mud which is commemorated today with a bronze statue at Portsea Hard of the Pompey Mudlarks the kids who used to dive for coins for centuries.  Somewhat less remembered is that this nasty black slime covers the bottom of Portsmouth Harbour, it is somewhat over a fathom deep, it’s black and it stinks to high heaven.  It is full of centuries of detritus, a mixture of the contents of millions of gash buckets heaved over the side of every ship that has moored there since Tudor times.

Oh my Lord! It wasn’t just the kitchen waste of millions of ships it was also the bodily waste of Billions of sailors and my shipmates and I were feeling our way through this foul slime looking for a dead body.  It wasn’t just MI6 who were in the shit, we were spending some six hours a day groping around in it.  One of our teams gave us a laugh when he related that as he probed through the slime he thought he had found a head and when he brought it to the surface found that he was holding a large head of cabbage that had gone over in the gash.  I think that is called ‘gallows humour’ or as Nietzsche put it ‘any experience that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.  All I can confirm is that we smelled very strong.

It was about two weeks before that story got into the newspapers and we were pulled out and given a few days leave, sworn to secrecy.  The legend of Buster Crabb, with rumour and speculation goes on even today.  MI6 is supposed to operate outside of Britain, while MI5 operates within the country.  For some reason, Prime Minister Anthony Eden forced the resignation of John Sinclair the Director General of MI6. It took the Suez debacle before Eden resigned through ill health. Now there’s an idea. . . . . . . .

 N. B.  British government documents related to the Buster Crabb incident will not be released until 2057 – I should live so long!

In my recent Podcast I pointed out that nothing changes, conspiracy abounds. To err is human, but it takes a politician to really screw things up. Someone succinctly put it; Cameron has painted himself into a corner and is now trying to walk out over the paint, dragging the rest of us by the hair with him. I must say that his ever increasing scare stories sound nothing more to me than his desperation and I cannot believe that I once thought better of him. Thanks for listening, I’ll see you again next week.


It will probably all come out in the wash : @JakeTheWriter

This week’s Podcast from retired travel writer, blogger and commentator Jakethewriter talking of the scales falling from his eyes.

It will probably all come out in the wash

Could I have become a cynic in my old age? Or could it be that I have a very long memory? Someone once said, it’s not when politician’s lips are moving that they are lying, it’s when they are breathing.  I can remember when I believed the politicians and the British media when they told me that the murderous Jomo Kenyatta and his Kikuyu tribesmen ate babies. Then he became Kenya’s first Prime Minister and then it’s President.  The politicians described him as Kenya’s Founding Father and World Statesman.  I will only mention Nelson Mandela in passing.

My parents both came from the North East and lived through the Depression. My mother was from a mining village in County Durham. They were both tribal Socialists, they could see no wrong in anything that was uttered by a Labour Politician. I used to joke that if a monkey put up for parliament and wore a Labour rosette they would vote for him. Unless it stood in Hartlepool, where I’m told they hang monkeys.

I had a very different upbringing in the Home Counties, educated in a Grammar School and then a bursary to a Public School, all thanks to my parents, which I did by questioning their politics. I have voted Tory in every election since I was old enough.

I listened to David Cameron, who I had voted for and quite liked, a man who just six months ago said that if he didn’t get the substantial reforms that he wanted. He would personally lead the Leave Campaign to leave the European Union. Instead he’s now trying to bully and frighten the people of Great Britain into staying in a rotting, unreformed, anti-democratic super state. What he should have been doing was saying ‘Sorry folks, I did my best but they wouldn’t listen. It’s time to go.

That would have assured him of leaving an honourable legacy. Instead he is coming out with such unbelievable rubbish with his ‘Project Fear’ while he tries to scare us into following him into the corrupt cesspit that is Brussels. Thus condemning our country into decades of rule by arrogant, unaccountable foreign politicians and judges. This ex-Tory says “Not ruddy likely.

You see I once believed the media and the politicians when they told me about those Greek Murderers from EOKA, General Georgios Grivas and his sidekick Archbishop Makarios III in Cyprus. Then with the declaration of Cyprus as an Independent State: Grivas received a hero’s welcome as the liberator of Cyprus and was subsequently decorated with the highest honours by the Greek Parliament and Makarios went from Pious Archbishop to villainous ENOSIS leader and after being deported into exile returned to become president of a new, independent Greek-Turkish Cyprus, retaining British military and naval bases and being feted by both our government and our Queen.

I believed the media and our politicians when they told me about that dreadful man Ian Smith and his racist policies in Rhodesia with his UDI, and the saviour Robert Gabriel Mugabe KCB who changed Rhodesia into Zimbabwe. We all know what history will tell us about that.

I wasn’t quite so gullible when the media and our politicians told me of the atrocities of Northern Ireland. Dependent on whether my loyalties were Green or Orange one could make your mind up whether Martin McGuiness and Gerry Adams were worse or better than Ian Paisley and Johnny Mad Dog Adair. Being Green had a different meaning then.

Then it was First Minister Paisley, Peacemaker Gerry Adams and the Minister for Education, Mr Martin McGuiness; Gerry Adams is on the Presidential Christmas Card list.

You see I can remember my Grandfather telling me about the atrocities of the Black and Tans and when “The Troubles” were at their height so I told my children to wait and see, it will be “World Statesman” McGuiness and even “President “Adams before we know where we are, I can now say “I told you so”.

Can you remember when those murdering scum “The Taliban” were called the “Tribal Elders” when they were killing Russians. I wonder if it will be in my lifetime that a world statesman called Saif al-Adel who was designated by Al Qaeda to replace Osama Bin Laden after his untimely demise, will be sitting around a table at the United Nations with that other man of peace Gerry Adams.

It does go around in the other direction too of course.  Should we remember Blair kow-towing to General Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi or President Bashar al-Assad having an audience with the Queen and a later meeting with Prince Charles.  Before telling Blair that there were no Palestinian terrorists in Syria, only a few “press officers”.  One would have thought that an arch-fraud like Blair would have been able to spot a fellow Liar.

To err is human, but it takes a politician to really screw things up.” Someone succinctly put it; Cameron has painted himself into a corner and is now trying to walk out over the paint, dragging the rest of us by the hair with him. I must say that his ever increasing scare stories sound nothing more to me than his desperation and I cannot believe that I once thought better of him.

Thanks for listening; I’ll speak to you next week.

Pro bono, to upset the Solicitors : @JakeTheWriter

Hello, this is Jakethewriter, nearly retired travel journalist, writer and commentator with today’s Podcast.

This one is pro bono in the hope

that it upsets a lawyer or two

I don’t know about you but I need cheering up, so today there will be no whistle-blowing, no politics well except to suggest that you should give serious consideration to voting in the referendum on June 23rd and if you use your intelligence you will certainly vote to leave the undemocratic and unelected European Union. I will not mention wind farms, or global warming, the BBC, NHS or even Jimmy Savile, who by the way is still dead.  Today there will just be a smile as we look forward a sunny weekend.

I’ve been reading all week about the naughty goings on within Northumbria Police, senior officers, a female lawyer fondly know as ‘sex on legs’, gagging orders, fights, gagging orders lifted and everybody shagging everybody else. Now the court restrictions have been lifted and photos published the story I was going to write a ‘Carry on Constable’ skit but good Lord they must be some really poor sex starved beggars in the Northumbria Force. Have you seen the objects of their desire? Completely spoilt my story.

If Jethro had been relating the tawdry tale he would have said “Christ! I wouldn’t do that with yours” or “I wouldn’t climb over you to get to her!” So as a show of sympathy to Northumberland’s sad lack of good looking females I shall cease taking the Mickey.

Instead I have another story of the legal profession, not that I have anything against the money grubbing low-life, who if they cannot win by ambulance chasing have a tendency to alter the facts. It will be a long time before I forgive those performers in Iraq and the serious damage they have done to our troops. As Shakespeare succinctly put it “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”.

My story goes – A Solicitor parked his brand new Porsche in front of the office to show it off to his colleagues. As he was getting out of the car, a truck came speeding along too close to the kerb and took off the door before zooming off.

More than a little distraught, the Solicitor grabbed his mobile and called the police. Five minutes later, the police arrive . . . . . Before the policeman had a chance to ask any questions, the man started screaming hysterically: “My Porsche, my beautiful silver Porsche is ruined. No matter how long it’s at the panel beaters, it’ll simply never be the same again!”

After the man finally finished his rant, the policeman shook his head in disgust.”I can’t believe how materialistic you bloody Solicitors are.” he said. “You lot are so focused on your possessions that you don’t notice anything else in your life.” “How can you say such a thing at a time like this?” sobbed the Porsche owning solicitor.

The policeman replied: “Didn’t you realise that your arm was torn off when the truck hit you?” The Solicitor looked down in horror. “Freaking Hell!” he screamed. “Where’s my Rolex????”

That’s all for today, thanks for listening. See you next week

Call me Ishmael : @JakeTheWriter

Hi there, this is Jake the Writer with

this week’s Podcast which is another sailor’s yarn from my memory bank

from Dylan Thomas to Herman Melville

Call me Ishmael!

During my rock-climbing days, spending regular weekends hanging from a rock face in the Llanberris Pass and our evenings taste testing the ales in a pub in Capel Curig, I remember one of my chums teasing our barmaid who was the spitting image of Dylan Thomas’s Gossamer Beynon (“O beautiful beautiful Gossamer B”), by telling her in a pseudo Welsh accent “I really love Wales” and when she agreed with a big smile he went on “Yes, honestly, I’ve watched Moby Dick at least ten times”. She didn’t laugh, didn’t even smile, I wonder now if she may have heard it a hundred times before. The gang however thought it hilarious, probably helped by the local bitter. What was it Melville wrote “Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian.”

Even longer ago, when Nelson was a boy, I was on a cargo boat chugging through the Indian Ocean, miles from anywhere when we came to a shuddering halt when we collided with an enormous Hump-backed whale that had like us been cruising along minding its own business. The collision was hard enough to result in a lot of broken crockery and a poor cabin boy with a broken arm. The damage to the whale was more serious, probably fatal. We stopped to examine our damage and were treated to a remarkable display as we watched the injured whale which was by then spouting blood and making heart rending bleating noises, as its partner appeared alongside it and appeared to be trying to keep it afloat.

We watched the display for ten minutes or so before it was full ahead both and we continued on our way. The incident did not a lot more than give the crew a talking point on a long and boring journey. I was young enough to be upset by the fate of such a stunning beast.

A couple of years later I was aboard a large passenger liner, we made a regular stopover in Capetown and on a run ashore, met up with some of the crew of a Norwegian Whale Factory Ship and over a glass of Tickey Hock ( a local plonk, if I remember correctly a Tickey was slang for a South African Threepenny piece the cost of this brew). I related my own whaling tale. In the way of shipmates who would otherwise pass in the night I accepted their hospitality and returned with them to their ship for a tot or two. . . . . . .

Talk about the little ship of horrors, it was more like Dante’s Inferno. I was treated to a guided tour of the factory ship in full flow.  A flow complete with blood, snot and horror that no-one had prepared this delicate seventeen year old for. The floating abattoir was as busy and noisy as any factory as workmen dealt with the huge carcase of a sperm whale with nothing wasted. Men were slicing huge lumps of flesh and blubber with long fletching knives and tossing lumps of it into huge steaming vats. They were slipping and sliding on bloody slime as they carried out their gruesome tasks. The sight and smell and noise of this steaming hell I will not carry on describing but I am sure that you get the picture.

I didn’t quite run away screaming, I just ran for the guardrail where I leant over for a ‘kit inspection’ of everything that I had eaten and drunk that day. I made my excuses and left.  Memory locked away in a filing cabinet in a folder marked not required on voyage through life.

Until that was, when I read reports in the media that commercial whaling looks set to start up once more after the world had appeared to come to its senses 24 years ago and said goodbye to the bloody slaughter.  I thought that we had become more civilised and had outlawed the hunting of great whales for good and allowed these marvellous and complex creatures to roam our ocean depths in peace.

It now appears that the Japanese, Norwegians and Icelanders are about to convince the world’s politicians that they should be allowed to return to their barbarous ways in the slaughter of the innocents. I’m not sure that I want to still be around if they get their way. Perhaps I will hang around long enough to add my voice in opposition to try to stop this greedy and unnecessary trade.

My God! I’m beginning to sound like a treehugger but I assure you that I am not. I just love whales and Wales.  At least thanks to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall whom incidentally I read recently is now a millionaire, they will no longer have to throw the wrong species back.  Oh no that’s only fish not the beautiful, nearly inedible mammal, and yes I have tasted it, it was known as snook to us during the war.  I can confirm that it tastes far worse than horseflesh. Nuff said!

Call me Ishmael. “There she blows!–there she blows! A hump like a snow-hill! It is Moby Dick!”  

I’m sorry that my tale has nothing at all to do with the European Union and the Referendum but they bring me in for light relief. You may have gathered though that I want absolutely nothing to do with Bruxelles nor it’s politico-economic union of 28 member states and I urge you to do the right thing when you get the once in a lifetime chance to vote to leave on Independence Day. Thanks for listening.