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October 2010 - Posts - Owd Fred's Blog

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October 2010 - Posts

Computers Read the Lot

The moneys gone to Euros, bank rate measures that,
Information all in plastic, and its in your wallet sat,
Converted into bar codes, so computers read the lot,
Nothing ever private now, they know all of what you've got.

 Were in a plastic (card) revolution right now, and no doubt it will not be long before they get rid of the cheque book. My first card a few years ago, I say a few years ago because I was well out of date with these sort of ideas, was copied, or cloned or the number stolen. The first I knew about it was when my statement came and it stated that I had bought a new television at a London store for £355. Of coarse the card was stopped albeit late, and fortunately no other things had been purchased from the card. A new card was sent the old one destroyed and the money lost was reinstated back into my account.

On looking back on what had happened or how the number had been stolen, each Friday we nip off to the super market to do the weekly shop, and that weekend I filled up with fuel and drew some cash from the cash point in Tesco's shop wall, and unbeknown to me and a lot of other people there was a scanner stuck over the hole where the card goes in and the numbers logged, quite a few other folk had been caught in the same scam that same day.

About a year previous to my financial experience, her indoors had her purse stolen in the same super market while pushing her trolley round the store. A youth had been watching her and at an opportune moment, rushed by and lifted the purse from a shoulder bag, I know it should not have been open, but these things happen. Suppose you would call it a mugging. The alarm was soon raised, as a shelf stacker saw the incident and raced after the robber who legged it out of the store and along side the river Sow and over a foot bridge. On his way he must have stripped out the contents and threw the empty purse into the river .

We went through the rigmarole of stopping the card and obtaining a replacement. Then over six months later we had a phone call from a Seven Trent river workman, his gang were working on weeding out the river Sow through the town, he had dragged out the stolen purse, looked , and the plastic card was still in it, he found our phone number from our name on the card, and the stolen purse was returned useless muddy and going rotten.

Another silly incident was when my card date expired and a new one sent in the post, on reading through the bumf that comes with the new card it said in no uncertain terms that the old one must be destroyed immediately. With that I grabbed the card and popped it through the shredder, only to realise I had shredded the new card. Needless to say I had an embarrassing call to the bank to explain what had happened and to plead to them to send yet another new card. Suppose you could have called it a "senior moment".    


Plastic Card

Down to do the shopping, they're open till very late
Paid for on a plastic card, flexible friend a mate,
A number that they call a pin, must be punched in right,
This can use any time, even day or night,
Slong as money's in the bank, it will spit it out,
Over drawn is evil, of money you've got a drought.
Spending more than what you've got, do ya sums all wrong,
The trouble that it causes, bank letters they are long,
Makes ya sweat and worry, and cannot settle down,
Pace about and have a shout,  it gives ya face a frown.



Numbers Galore

Phone numbers and the mobile, bank sort codes n' accounts,
Credit card that can be skimmed, all ya savings trounce,
Car numbers and engine numbers and chassis numbers too,
Model numbers part numbers, colour codes pursue.

House numbers street numbers, area post codes an all,
All across the country, codes for counties large and small,
Field numbers, map numbers, parish number long,
Acres turned to hectares, if ya know where they belong.

SBI and there's IACS, vendor as well,
PI and a Trader numbers, and Stewardship numbers tell,
There's numbers for every thing, for this that and tuther,
Fill ya head with confusion, so many thing that got to cover.

Gallons turned to litres, pounds and ounces gone to grams,
Miles turned to kilometres, and foot to millimetre crammed
Therms have turned to Mj's, power in Hp turned to Watts,
Heat is Btu to lbs, is now into Joules per Kilogram it jots.

The moneys gone to Euros, bank rate measures that,
Information all in plastic, and its in your wallet sat,
Converted into bar codes, so computers read the lot,
Nothing ever private now, they know all of what you've got.



Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five.
W. Sumerset Maugham (1874 - 1965)

Loading Cattle


On the odd occasion, now and then, things take a different turn to what you have planned for that day. I had planned to take two big steers in to Market, checked their tags, they had been pre-movement TB tested, filled the entry form and signed the passports.

Up early on the morning with the trailer already hooked up to the Land Rover, leaned over the field gate and shouted the bunch of cattle down to the yard where they have been starting to eat some silage. Once in the shed it was a matter of sorting out the two I wanted, and run them into the race. On the end of the race is the cattle crush from where we are able to load cattle directly into the trailer.

Reversed up the trailer with the tailboard right up to the crush gate, pulled in a side yard gate, and opened the trailer side gates. Everything is set with no possibility of escape, a job I done so many time over the years. Opened the race gate for the cattle to move forward through the crush and followed them through the crush tapping them on gently with a stick.

 First one walked into the trailer then as the second one walked in, the first one turned and walked back out onto the tailboard, I pulled the crush gate almost too shutting myself safely inside the crush at the same time tapping the head of said bullock who proceeded to turn and go back into the trailer. As he quietly turned and ducked backwards, his rump hit the crush gate, springing the partly open gate shut very rapidly, me with me yed ducked down in the crush got a ding on the head. I clung onto the bars of the crush and gathered myself enough to realise both bullocks were standing patiently waiting for me to close the tail board which I duly did, only to realise I was loosing blood.

Sometimes these "old men's Tablets" that thin your blood are not a good thing when ya geta ole in ya ed, anyone would think that there is greater pressure if the hole is at the bottom of the tank, but then this is a pumped leak, at the top of the "stack" but still it leaked at a worrying rate.

Not wishing to stain the seats in the vehicle, I drew my jacket round to form a canopy on my lap whilst I drove the outfit down to the house where I sprinted (at my sprint) to the back door and got under the cold tap over the kitchen sink. A bit of firm pressure and after a few minuets it all but stooped bleeding (down to a drip). I threw my jacket shirt and jeans into a bucket of cold water to soak and put clean ones on again. Me wellingtons, well the last time I saw them in that state was when we used to kill and stick turkeys, caked with blood, wash them under the back yard tap.

In the meantime it felt safe enough for me to go through to the office to ring Mark, a chap who helps me on a part time basis, as and when needed. Well, now he was needed, he was not too far away, and he took the cattle down to market for me.

Next I rang my daughter to come over, and she was able to take me to the notorious STAFFORD HOSPITAL, (its been in the national news over the last year and questions asked in parliament about the number of patient usually older patients, being lost through neglect, too busy looking at saving on their budget, not enough front line nurses). Eileen my misses was the last to be told, as she can get very worried, it always looks so much worse when there is so much blood, ( too much stress at her age is not good for her) she examined the wound and said get off and get it stitched.


Six stitches pulled it together quite neat don't you think


By now it was 9am with about three people waiting in A&E (accident and emergency), we waited an hour only to be told they had no doctors on duty, and until one arrived, they could not proceed with any treatment. Another half hour and I was called through into the treatment cubicle where I could see a senior member of staff instructing a couple of young doctors of their routine, then eventually a full qualified doctor (at least I hope he was) came in with one of the new recruits, and went in details of what other pain or ailments other than what he could see, the proceeded to put in six stitches. He made a neat job, and a plaster was stuck over the wound. It was not until the following day when the black eye began to appear. The result  is in the picture taken two days later. 


How does the old saying go 

A stitch in time save nine  --   in this case it could mean nine pints blood


I'm Not an Educated Chap

I am not an educated chap, I have difficulty stringing words together to write down, let alone sepllign them correctly, so I find the spell checker on the computer an absolute must.

These blogs of mine on the FWI were the first writing I have done, since the essays we did at school some sixty years ago. For me it's a one finger job typing, which is about the same speed as my thinking, and as for putting in the full stops and comers, I get short of breath these days, and I am told, every comer is for a pause for breath, hence, the, numerous, c,o,m,e,r,s, . Okay I am over doing it a bit, but you will know what I mean eventually some day, if you don't now.


This picture is from the corner of our house, we are looking across the front lawn, over the trimmed hedge is the road through the village and the other side of that is the village green. The building on the right is the village school where my mother went from the age of three (1910) taught by Miss Pye who and also taught me 35 years later in the same class. My son also went there from the age of four only having literally yards to walk to school.


 I Remember Miss Pye

Miss Pye was our teacher, in the infant's class,
Taught all us to write, everyone en mass,
With big bold loops, and Capitals a Flourish,
We all did our best, so as not to be punished.

Mother she taught, To write same way,
Looks like my writing, as I write my essay,
Holding the pen, and biting my lip,
Concentrate on writing, without a slip.

Numbers and tables, we did recite,
Chanting each morning, without respite,
Letters and alphabet, practiced each day,
Till words we could write, then go out to play.

In winter when cold, big coal fire she had,
And pulled up our chairs, when learning to add,
Kind teacher she was, no cane in sight,
Cared for us all, no matter, how dim, the light.



In the "Big" school that we went to at the age of eleven in town, we had wood work and metal work lessons. A whole half day for the whole term, in fact the class was split into two, half the class went woodwork, and half to metalwork, then swapped over at the end of every term ( a school term is short of 3 months).

Everyone, that is the pupils, got on well with Harry Nutter in the metal work class, he was kind and patient with those who were not very practical, he guided and helped them and he aloud us who had finished our item, to help those who struggled.

We started by making a round washer, then a square washer, and on to make a brass toasting fork (Toasting forks went out of fashion years ago, I doubt if most of the younger generation now know what one even looks like let alone used one) . Then we made a round copper bowl with a brass bead round the edge and the same round brass rod soldered on to make the base. The copper had to be rubbed with soap then heated until the soap went black, to soften the metal, then it was beaten on a leather pouch filled with sand with a ball pane hammer, this process was repeated until it was deep enough, and the shape that was desired.

 We even helped Harry Nutter to cut panels out of his Morris Thousand van, an ex post office van, and helped him fit the glass in the sides. This was done in his lunch hour, and he was glad of a bit of help. Eventually we were shown how to work the lathe, on which I made a tractor drawbar peg complete with a pointed end and a small hole in which to put a retaining clip, a thick washer was brazed round its neck then the handle was shaped and heated and bent across almost 45degrees to form the handle, it lasted for a good many years before it got lost.

The wood work teacher was another matter, he was almost the opposite to Harry Nutter, his name was "Bulldog" Lees, he had a permanent scowl on his face and all the fours years at that school I never saw him crack a smile. He did not seem to mix with the other teachers, at break time he would be tatting about his immaculate classroom checking on how sharp his chisels were and touching up the saw blades.  (There were twenty of every tool and ten benches with two vices on each) All the tools were arranged in two wide cupboards at the back of the room, so that when the doors were wide open, small tools were in racks on the doors, and larger one on the allotted shelf, any tool missing would be spotted before anyone left the classroom. There were no power tools back then, he showed us how to saw without putting pressure on the saw, "if the saw is sharp, its own weight is enough to do the cutting" we were told, and he could soon tell if we had not listened.

His response to any deviation from what you were told came in a loud booming deep voice that almost shook the glass in the windows, and anyone who dare to cross him more than once (in a lifetime), he had your card marked for good.

Bulldog even demonstrated his anger one day by throwing a chisel, from the front of the classroom into the back of an open store cupboard on the back wall dagger fashion. It was rumoured that he had been a sergeant in the army where he trained men hand to hand dagger fighting, and dagger throwing. I can tell you when that happened it frightened all the class ridged, and no one dare even ask a question.


We Had a Woodwork Teacher (1950 ish)

We had a woodwork teacher; we called him Bulldog Lees,
Had stern face and bad temper, no one dare to tease,
If he could not get class attention, throw a chisel hard,
Hit the back wall cupboard, like a dagger stuck and jarred.

All the class it stood and quivered dare not cross his path,
The respect was thrust upon you; dare not stir his wrath,
No one liked his lessons, even those who could push a plane,
Perfection in this man and all his tools, but he was a bloody pain.


Natural ability without education has more often attained to glory and virtue than education without natural ability
Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC)