If nothing changes, nothing changes! : Jake

A famous quote whose author I am afraid I have forgotten. I hope that you realise that as the EU Referendum approaches that this time you really can have the power to make a change and vote for our country to leave the EU

A quotation that I haven’t forgotten is “There came boom and bust, bankruptcy, depression.  Great public thieves came along and picked the pockets of everyone who had a pocket.”  John Steinbeck wrote that about the year 1900 in his book East of Eden (1952). Has anything changed?



So what’s new? Nothing changes if nothing changes, and if I keep doing what I’ve always done, I’ll keep getting what I’ve always got, and will keep feeling what I always felt.  All things being whatever they are, it turns out what you’re looking for just isn’t here anymore. Maybe it was deleted; possibly it was renamed, removed, re written, or lost somewhere under my desk… Things are always changing. As hard as I try to keep a decent record of things, sometimes it’s best to just let it go. That’s what I think anyhow. You will no doubt find your own way to find if it’s really new and improved.

It’s an interesting and useful expression even if it’s completely and utterly bogus. The reality of the matter is everything is changing all the time and there is no way to stop that. Its part of life and the fact that most people resist change and feel uncomfortable with it is just one in a long line of life’s ironies.  In the time I’ve have taken to read this paragraph people have been born and some other people have died. Somebody somewhere has just lost their job whereas somebody else has received the letter telling them they got the new one they wanted.  However whereas things are changing on a rapid and permanent basis and there is nothing we can do about that,  we can at least positively influence much of the change process by the way we act, rather than letting it happen by default.

How many times in my long life have I told myself that things cannot get any worse but they did?  Anthony Eden involved me in the Suez debacle and Harold Macmillan took over.  I told myself that things cannot get any worse but they did.  Alec Douglas Hume wasn’t there long enough to do any damage but he was followed by Harold Wilson I told myself that things cannot get any worse but they did, they really did.

Even with a short interval of Ted Heath when I told myself that now things will improve and they didn’t and Darling Harold Wilson came back to abolish the death penalty, legalise abortion and homosexuality.  Then he devalued the pound trying to convince us that the pound in our pocket would stay the same.  I groaned and thought that thing can get no worse but they did.

We got James Callaghan and his winter of discontent, rat riddled rubbish in the streets and bodies lying unburied in mortuaries.  I told myself that things cannot get any worse I breathed a sigh of relief.  We got Margaret Thatcher, the Falklands war, the Miners strike, the Westland Affair, the Brighton Bombing, Poll Tax Riots and the Lockerbie bombing.

The Tories decided to make a change and we got John Major and the Maastricht Treaty, Black Wednesday, the National Lottery and the ill thought out Dangerous Dogs Act.  I told myself that things cannot get any worse but they did.

We got Tony Blair.  He gave us the Human Rights Act, the Bernie Ecclestone controversy; Devolution to Scotland and Wales; the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, Weapons of Mass Destruction, War in Iraq, War in Afghanistan, the mishandling of the Foot and Mouth Crisis, Mayoralty of London, introduced student fees;  Cash for Honours scandal  and I honestly thought, things really cannot get any worse but then we got . . . . . . . . . . . . Gordon Brown,

Oh My Sweet Lord! We had child benefit data misplaced.; Donorgate scandal;; Northern Rock and other Banks nationalised; Treaty of Lisbon ratified; the 10p Tax rate abolished; the Financial Crisis of 2007 – 2010; Cannabis moved back to Class B; the Parliamentary expenses scandal; the Release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi; and the Chilcot inquiry established yes that really was that long ago!

I breathed such a sigh of relief when the electorate threw him out.  And then we got David Cameron with the mishmash of a coalition of U-turners Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, et al, I’m sure that things cannot get worse.  Oh Yes They Can . . . . . . . . . . . .

“There came boom and bust, bankruptcy, depression.  Great public thieves came along and picked the pockets of everyone who had a pocket.”

What hasn’t changed is the old homily ‘Shit happens.’ In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, it was suggested that Forrest Gump created the slang. When he was running across the country and a bumper sticker designer asked him about whatever Gump wanted to say so that he could put it on a bumper sticker and sell it; exactly at the time, Forrest stepped on dog excrement, as the other guy said to him “Whoa! Man, you just ran through a big pile of dogs shit!”, then Gump said “It happens”, the guy replied, “What, shit?” Gump replied “Sometimes”; and the slang was created. 

Maybe it does owe its origin to the 1994 film but it is as true today as it was in 1900 and even before Magna Carta.  It was probably just called Murphy’s Law in those days. What can go wrong, will go wrong and if nothing changes, nothing changes. Oh no that’s Sod’s Law. May the bridges I burn light the way?”

Australia The Fair : Jake

As a freelance travel writer sometimes writing articles for newspapers and magazines, I needed to write what the Editor wanted to hear. For example if I had been writing commentary on Venice as a great place to hold a wedding, it would not have gone down well if I had included; that sometimes on certain tides the canals took on the look and smells of an open sewer. However once I retired and I no longer had a paymaster to call the tune I decided that my blogs would be more open. This is one of my “Real Travel Blogs” that I called:-


Snakes, spiders, crocodiles, sharks and drunken white males

I have been robbed at the point of a machete in Demerara; mugged in Barcelona; caught up with rampaging Millwall football fans in Peterborough and bar fights in Mexico and Gibraltar; had my pocket picked in Singapore, Cape Town and Sierra Leone.

Source: My Real Travel Blogs | jakethewriter.com

You didn’t see that one coming! : Jake

All the recent publicity about historical child abuse set me thinking about my schooldays and the abuse I was subjected too. Not to denigrate sexual abuse of children in any way but other types of abuse can also leave its mark.

A couple of years after the war finished (WWII), I left my delightful village primary school when I passed my 11 plus and had to travel to our nearest Grammar School, which was some 20 miles away.  The journey called at all of the nearby villages and took the best part of 2 hours each way.  That was abuse enough!

I happened to be built like the proverbial brick outhouse even in those days which set me apart, being at least 6 inches taller than the other lads in my class, (it was a boys only school) which set me apart from my peers and no matter how I tried, I couldn’t hide in plain sight.

Most of our Masters had served in the armed forces and I always think of them favourably compared to the milksops teaching today.  Modern teachers seem to go from School to University or Teachers Training College back into School as Teachers.  Rather like a lot of our Politicians.  No experience of the real world.  Anyway I digress.

My Schoolmasters were a competitive lot and although we had a PT Instructor (note a Physical Training Instructor not a Physical Education teacher) any specialist sports attracted a specialist teacher.  Hence my Maths Master who had a Rugby Blue from Oxford and had added Rugby to his job description.  Because of my size I was first of his “You, you and you when he picked the Rugby squad.  No volunteering in that man’s Army.  I found myself a Prop Forward, no trials, little training and as luck would have it, found that I loved it – a square peg in a square hole.  Especially proud to have my mother sew the School Colours around the edge of my blazer.

However there was worse to come in my schoolboy abuse.  Our Geography Master had represented the Royal Air Force in boxing and had won the coveted Inter-Forces Boxing Championships.  His success led him to run the school amateur boxing team and was looking for new blood, literally.

Oh dear! Was that me he was pointing at?  I was at the back trying my best to look small and insignificant.  OMG he told me to be in the gym at 4.0pm – “But Sir! I have to catch the school bus home, I live in Woburn Sands!  The rotten nasty piece of work said “That’s fine; I live in Fenny Stratford so I’ll give you a lift home.  Apparently the ‘Pig’s Orphan’ (Naval Term meaning unloved by anyone) had done his homework and had conspired with the Maths Master his colleague and Rugby Tutor who told him that I had potential as a Heavyweight.

Heavyweight? Me? I was a twelve year old schoolchild and hated the very idea of someone punching seven bells out of me.  When I arrived home and explained why I was late, my father was like a dog with two dicks, (That’s worse than a dog with two tails).  My Dad was in the RAF since joining the Royal Flying Corps in WWI and was a regular until the end of WWII.  He had a boxing career of some distinction in the service and had won the Inter-Services Championships for no less than eight years running with all the silverware to prove it.  All of which explains why I hated the very thought of boxing and why I joined the Navy – Perverse moi?

To shorten the tale my Pa became my Geography Teacher’s hero and agreed to extend my abuse from School to home.  I found myself jogging through Woburn Park at weekends while my Pa followed my progress on his bicycle making rude comments about my lack of fitness and enthusiasm.

Five contests against schools in Buckinghamshire and I was unbeaten, having won four on points and one by a walkover.  That was my best fight when my opponent failed to turn up.  I found myself representing the County at the Schools Amateur Boxing Championships at the Albert Hall no less.  My Mother had bought me a gumshield and Pa presented me with a beautiful pair of leather boxing boots.  He drove me to London for the contest accompanied by two of his cronies, the local hairdresser and the Landlord of the Station Hotel both keen boxing viewing experts.

I had to suffer a pep-talk for the whole of the 50 mile journey to London interspersed with further abuse when he bragged about his son’s performance through the qualifying round, O.M.G…  I was subjected to further abuse while I was in the dressing room as both Mr Wilson my Geography Master and my Pa took turns giving me the benefit of their advice, like bob and weave, keep moving, keep your guard up etc.  No-one mentioned how to duck.  The heavyweight bouts were the last of the evening so I had to sit through all of the early rounds with butterflies playing havoc with my stomach.

It got worse when I left the changing room and started the long walk to the ring in my dressing gown under spotlights and loud music.  I tried to settle my nerves with a little footwork and shadow boxing like I had seen Bruce Woodcock do on the TV.  I don’t remember a lot after climbing through the ropes, looking at my opponent, who I believe was from Middlesbrough.  The Ref muttered something about no biting or spitting and to touch gloves and come out fighting.  We got to the centre of the ring, touched gloves and he must have hit before I was ready because I woke up on a stretcher being carried along the walkway I had just danced down.  I later learned that I had taken a left uppercut right on the point of my jaw.  I know that I had a tremendous pain on either side of my jawbone which lasted more than a week.

We had a fairly subdued drive home, neither Pa nor his two chums had seen the punch that floored me, it had happened so fast.  As Mr Wilson said later when I got back to school, just to keep the abuse going “You were too busy posing, you certainly didn’t see that one coming!”

My historical abuse continued even though my boxing career was over.  It must have been a month later when I went to the Saturday Cinema Matinee with half a dozen of my chums from my village.  We had just watched ‘Flash Gordon’ beat the ‘Emperor Ming’, the film ended and before the second film came on we settled to watch the Pathe Gazette News.  They showed the recent Amateur Boxing Association Schoolboy Championships from the Albert Hall; Oh Shoot!

Did they make a meal out of my 1 minute of fame; the camera followed my unconscious moment off the floor, out of the ring and along the aisle on a stretcher.  As you can imagine my chums ensured that my historical abuse continued, jeering “You didn’t even punch him once”  And that your worships is why you see this damaged personality before you today.

A “Jolly Boys” outing ends with a cup of coffee : Jake

I’m a regular at our local Bannatyne’s gym, usually visiting for a couple of hours between 0630 hrs. and 0930 hrs. – a lot of members going before they start work.  The remainder are oldies who begin early simply because they sleep badly and an early start isn’t a penance.  Half a dozen of us end their visit chatting in the Jacuzzi or stopping off in the café for a cup of tea and a chat.

It was during such an adjournment that a ‘Jolly Boys’ outing to North Norfolk was planned.  All early risers and a reasonable weather forecast we set off last Monday at 0600 hrs. in pouring rain, four old reprobates decided that there is no such thing as the wrong weather just wrong clothing.  There should have five of us but he was a Scotsman and therefore unused to rain – he had looked out of his window, saw the weather and decided that he had to visit a friend who had been admitted to hospital.

Source: A “Jolly Boys” outing ends with a cup of coffee | jakethewriter.com