Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A New Art Blog
begins on
and then will be updated every day

Thursday, July 16, 2015


A New Poetry Blog begins on Saturday 25th July 2015


Monday, November 5, 2012

All the personal memories recorded in 80 plus have been gathered together and published in
Additional material will be added to the new blog from time to time.
The address is 


Friday, October 5, 2012


The first post to this blog was made on 3rd July 2008 and the time has now come to conclude the series.

To bring 80 PLUS to an end, I've chosen an item from each of my current blogs, plus something that will be included in THE VICTORIAN BLOG next week.

From “taking the one less travelled by” blog


From "Wise Men Say . . . And Wise Women Too"

The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache. (Marjorie Pay Hinckley)


From "John's Gallery"

 "The Old Mill"
by Vasily Polenov 1844-1927


From "The Haiku Habit"

how satisfying
the sound of crunching leaves
beneath my feet


From "Music Has Charms"
Classic FM's 20th Birthday Flashmob


And from the new site "The Victorian Scrapblog"


Friday 12th October


Friday, September 28, 2012


I found this amusing piece on the internet some time ago and I decided to reproduce it here.


Worrywart - n. One who worries excessively and needlessly - from

The free encyclopedia wikipedia describes worry as “thoughts, images and emotions of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats. As an emotion it is experienced as anxiety or concern about a real or imagined issue.”

10 Questions to be answered

Do you worry that you’ll miss an important appointment by oversleeping?

Do you worry that your alarm clock will fail to ring?

Do you worry that you’ll miss your bus/train/plane?

Do you worry that the taxi won’t turn up and that you’ll miss your connection?

Do you worry that your luggage will somehow be lost on the journey?

Do you worry that you’ve forgotten to bring important documents/money/credit card/travel tickets/passport?

Do you worry that you may not have switched off the cooker/locked the back door/switched on the burglar alarm?

Do you worry that your taxi will break down/crash/be exterminated by daleks?

Do you worry that your bus will tumble over a precipice?

Do you worry that a crazed madman with a bomb will hijack your plane?

If your answer to all those questions has been “Yes” -

However let’s not be too depressed. There are a number of things we can do.

1. In case your alarm clock fails to go off, set a second one to ring, and also a third one should the second one let you down.

2. To ensure you don’t miss your bus/train/plane, leave the house 2 hours earlier than you planned. Better still, set off the night before.

3. If you have doubts about your taxi appearing, order 2 or 3 taxis, each from different firms.

4. Keep your luggage secure by firmly binding your cases about your person with strong rope.

5. Before leaving home, check that you have your documents, money etc at least 4 times, and the same procedure for turning off gas etc.

6. Regarding all possible calamities and catastrophies, you can prepare by fortifying yourself with enough liquor to keep you legless.

No, I haven’t forgotten about the madman with a bomb. If he turns up, your worries will be over!

Finally, a word of wisdom -

        Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do, but it won't get you anywhere.

NEW - The Haiku Habit - NEW
beginning on Monday 1st October


Friday, September 21, 2012


Do you know what this gadget is?

It’s a crystal wireless set with earphones - sometimes just known as a cat’s whisker set.

This was an early radio which needed no battery or power source. The cat’s whisker was a thin wire which was used to find the exact place on the crystal which would result in receiving the wireless signal. A great deal of patience was needed, for the crystal required just the right pressure by the wire. An aerial was required as well, and of course only one person, using earphones, could hear the broadcast.

These wireless sets were very popular around 1920 and many of them were homemade.

This photo, courtesy of Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia, was taken in a trench in France during the First World War and shows a soldier using a handmade crystal radio.


The falling leaves drift by the window,
The autumn leaves of red and gold;
I see your lips, the summer kisses,
The sun-burned hands I used to hold.

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song;
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall.
(Johnnie Mercer)



I came across this unusual letter in a newspaper recently.

"I married a widow and she already had a grown-up daughter. Then my father, being a widower, married the daughter. So that made my father my son-in-law and made my step-daughter my step-mother.  And it follows that my step-mother's mother is my grandmother - and I'm married to her. So that then makes me my own grandfather."

To which the Editor added - "Don't be fooled, folks. This is a song from the 1940s."

I'm surprised that I've never heard of such a song.


Finally here's a song which belongs to the days of the cat's whisker. One of the most popular singers then was the Irish tenor Count John McCormack. In this clip, uploaded by warholsoup100, the song is "The Sunshine of Your Smile" which he recorded in 1916. Try viewing it on full screen.




Friday, September 14, 2012


This is something completely different.
Tennyson's poem about the mysterious Lady of Shalott has always fascinated me and below you will find the complete poem illustrated by three famous paintings.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

with Paintings
John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)


On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-towered Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veiled
Slide the heavy barges trailed
By slow horses; and unhailed
The shallop flitteth silken-sailed
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to towered Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers "'Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott".

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-haired page in crimson clad,
Goes by to towered Camelot;
And sometimes through the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights,
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half-sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley sheaves,
The sun came dazzling through the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A redcross knight for ever kneeled
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glittered free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazoned baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewelled shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burned like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often through the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glowed;
On burnished hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flowed
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom;
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She looked down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror cracked from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over towered Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
"The Lady of Shalott."

And down the river's dim expanse,
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance,
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right,
The leaves upon her falling light,
Through the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot;
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
Turned to towered Camelot;
For ere she reached upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
"The Lady of Shalott"

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott".


A long poem, but I love it!!!


taking the one less travelled by
a picture to admire, a poem to ponder, music to meditate by
and a saying by Lao-Tzu