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The Bill

Following on from my Jimmy Reid posting, I spotted the following quote from Bill Shankly at Adullamite’s blog

“The socialism I believe in is not really politics. It is a way of living. It is humanity. I believe the only way to live and to be truly successful is by collective effort, with everyone working for each other, everyone helping each other, and everyone having a share of the rewards at the end of the day. That might be asking a lot, but it’s the way I see football and the way I see life.”

That’s a belter isn’t it?


Team Grumpy

When did ‘teams’ pervade everything from sales and marketing to customer service to people who like a particular band/film/ artist?

When did that happen?

You used to read a blurb for something and there would be a phone number or an address with an exhortation to “contact our representative”.

Not now; it’s “Contact our sales team” or “Contact our specialist advisory team” or something similar.

Is it just me who imagines squad of guys and gals just back from a quick game of basketball, all manning the phones wiping sweat from their brow with a towel?

Call me old fashioned but I have a bit more confidence when someone to whom I’m speaking on the phone says “I’ll refer that question to a colleague”,  or “I’ll transfer you to another member of staff who will be able to help you”. “I’m just passing you to another member of the team” means I’m the basketball. Having (metaphorically of course) swivelled on Daryl’s finger, he’s grabbed me with both hands and now I’ve been thrown to Tracy.

“Halllao” says Tracy. I’m sure there is a special training school somewhere in the home counties that they teach telesales people to say hello like this. “Daryl has passed you over to me because you’re having a problem?” The question mark denotes not a question but the irritating habit that people have these days of their voice rising at the end of a sentence. “I’d like to resolve the matter?” “I’ll just go over a few security questions?” “I’m just waiting for that to come up on the screen?”. The rise in the vocal tone seems to be asking for a reply so one mumbles “yes” or “ok”. The whole thing is quite meaningless.

Anyway back to teams. The mourners gathered outside the Amy Winehouse (see what I did there?) are now being dubbed “Team Amy” in the press. “Team Amy?” What the f*** is happening to society?

My two daughters as well as being into Harry Potter, like all these trashy teen vampire movies. One is apparently in “Team Edward” and the other is in “Team Jacob”. There is quite a rivalry.

And another thing when did passengers become customers?

“A message for passengers travelling on the 3:25 to Edinburgh” has now become “A message for customers travelling on the 3:25 to Edinburgh?” Aye, note that f***ing question mark again!!

And notice how even the NHS refers to customers first and patients second? It’s subtle, but is it an insidious way of making us think that this is something we should be paying for at the point of use?

Am I going to phone up the doctor one day soon and have a conversation along the lines of:

“NHS customer team, Mercedes speaking, how may I help you?”

“I’ve got piles”

“Ok hold on until I transfer you to our pain in the arse team?” (phone goes on hold and plays some horrible interminable “R & B” wailing noises interrupted by a message saying “Your call is important to us, please continue to hold…..that pack of frozen peas near the pain”)

Coming soon…..When did continental quilts become duvets?

Forty Years Ago

There can hardly be anyone in Scotland of my generation who doesn’t know who spoke these words on this day in 1971:

“We are not going to strike. We are not even having a sit in strike. Nobody and nothing will come in and nothing will go out without our permission. And there will be no hooliganism, there will be no vandalism, there will be no bevvying because the world is watching us.”

AnElephantCant ever forget
When he first heard the name Jimmy Reid
On the front page of every newspaper
A brave man defined by his deeds

He fought for the rights of the workers
He gave laldy to sad Mr Heath
He refused to kowtow to the Tories
He never gave up his belief

No hooliganism no bevvy
No vandalism No way
We are here to fight for what is right
The whole world is watching today

He was a hero to a whole generation
Who followed where he dared to lead
He was a man who did make a difference
We will never forget Jimmy Reid

To Get Ahead…….

Wear a hat!

To be fair to William Hague who was talking on Wednesday about people making great mistakes, I thought I’d publish a couple of pics to show the other side of the at ease urbane politician about town.

Poor old Willie. No sooner than he had taken the decision to recognise the Libyan rebels and hand all the country’s assets in the UK over to them than this happens.

My point made repeatedly here, is what happens if and when Gaddafi goes? Are the rebels a unified democratic force for change? That would seem to be in some doubt I’d suggest.

Remember David Cameron’s statements at the beginning of March?

Limited military action, no-fly zone, it’ll all be over by Easter etc?

How does one explain Willie’s comments yesterday?

“We mustn’t expect each country to be neatly done in six months. It’s not a computer game that comes to an end when you get bored.”

What kind of hat do you think William should wear to reflect his image?

William Hague yesterday.

William in happier times

William Hague – Master of Irony

Willie wasn’t being vague again yesterday.

The Scottish government had “made a great mistake” in releasing the “Lockerbie Bomber” Abdelbasset Ali Al Megrahi he said.

Yes you read it right. William Hague was criticising another government in relation to Libya.

So there you have it folks, releasing one terminally ill man on compassionate grounds is a great mistake.

Getting involved in a seemingly interminable foreign war with no clear objective or strategy, bombing and killing the very civilians you are supposed to be protecting, all on the ridiculous premise of a no fly zone and “limited military action”

*pauses for breath*

Starting out by saying Gaddafi must leave power and leave Libya and then saying he can stay and star in the next series of Location, location, location!

No mistakes there surely.

Or wait a minute…..surely he wasn’t trying to score a pathetic cheap political point to deflect from his own shortcomings? was he?

And Finally from Berwick

At least for the moment.

This is Berwick Parish Church built on the site of the medieval Church of the Holy Trinity in the mid 1600s.

It was the only church to be built during Cromwell’s commonwealth and is noted for its distinctive Presbyterian style. It is the most northerly church of the established Church of England. Much of the stone used in the construction came from Berwick Castle already at that time in disrepair. It opened in 1652.

I’m not religious of course, but old churches are a fascinating draw in terms of the history of a place. The churchyard had many interesting graves dating back to the 1600s.

And I just loved these photos I took of the stained glass.

The left window reads “They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever” which is apparently from Daniel 12:3.

This round window caught my eye too:

The best thing about my visit was that it was completely free of thunderbolts and lightning!

Berwick and Lowry Revisited

Not in a physical sense but I took a photo of the harbour when I was there:

I took it on the same morning I took the pictures of Spittal and the old property in Tweedmouth so this photo was taken from that side of the bay.

Here was how Lowry depicted it in 1959 in a pencil drawing:

Once again from familytraits.co.uk:

Berwick Harbour, 1959 pencil drawing

Lowry has drawn an image of Berwick that at the time was not real, he has chosen to add boats which are tied up on a sand bank but there are however ships on the stocks of a small shipyard which closed in 1979.

Despite the inaccuracies the drawing still remains highly evocative of Berwick’s unique setting.

And what about Berwick today?

The ship yard is long gone; it had a long history and produced some very fine ships. Some of the old buildings still stand today, notably the “Chandlery” which houses a number of small businesses, the rest of the buildings are mainly storage units and there is also some parking bays, but recently we have discovered that there are plans for the old harbour area.

More housing development and a new marina, so Lowry’s image of Berwick may not have been quite as fanciful as we were led to believe!

I found the Lowry trail fascinating. I’m not even all that big a fan of Lowry’s work but from a historical point of view it was so interesting to see how different areas had been depicted by him, and then the challenge of trying to photograph from a similar angle. It was interesting too to see that Lowry didn’t just paint and draw Salford and all the matchstick figures.