1948 was a notable year for a few reasons. In a personal sense, it was the year my parents got married, and stayed together for about 20 years or so. About 10 years into that marriage, I came along, and for whatever reason, they decided that was enough children for them, and no more appeared. It might have been that my father was at several of the nuclear bomb tests in the 1950’s (he was in Navy), and I was born intersex, that may have either put them off having more, or they might have been advised to do that, of course?
At the start of 1948, the railways here in the UK were nationalized, after years of deterioration due to the war, it was the only way that many of them could be rescued for public use. Of course, in the 90’s, they were privatized again, and I think most can work out how I feel about the outcome of that decision, given my comments on the local train companies around here previously!
A horse called My Love won the Derby that year, and much though I considered using said Wings song for this blog, I’ve gone for something way out of left field instead!
But why I’m writing this tonight, is for something that has celebrated its 70th Birthday today, the National Health Service! Strictly its called a free medical service, but of course, it isnt, we all pay for it out of our taxes, and other deductions, but because of that, its a case of service for all, paid to varying degrees, according to how much you earn. Some countries (Yes, US, I’m looking at you), have still not caught on to the benefits of this system, but anyway…
Its fair to say there have been many changes over the years since then, hopefully all for the better, but not being that old, I cant tell you what it was like back then. My first real experience (that I remember, so being born doesnt count) of the NHS would be about 9 or 10, when I wrecked my knees. I’ve been a few times over the years since then, though thankfully, other than the knees, not too much surgical matters have been required.
The amusing thing was, that today, I had an appointment at the local Doctor’s practice, for my quarterly meds check up. So yes, there for the anniversary, lol. The outcome was my prescription, with which I then proceeded to visit 2 pharmacies, who couldnt fill it! Thankfully, I have enough supplies until Wednesday, so I can collect them on Tuesday! In truth, the current weather makes it slightly less of an issue, hopefully that will last.
I wonder what they will be celebrating at the Centenary, as I’m pretty certain I wont be here to find out!
OK, video time. Any reader who can put their hand on their heart, and say they remember this song, I’m impressed! A few minor hits in the 70’s, and that was it. But yes, the name of the group seemed apt for the day!
As some readers may already know, and others outside of the UK might not, summer has officially arrived here in the UK of late, and quite delightfully so, for me. Why, you might ask? Simple, as with so many joint issues, they tend to flare up in cold, or damp weather (or worse, both), and ease to some degree when the weather is warm/hot, and dry.
So yes, at present, I’m in a lot less pain than I was a few weeks ago, when it was cold, and damp, shall we diplomatically say? In truth, I have contemplated easing off on the meds while its like this, but in truth, I’m practical, would hate to have any issues, of my own making, so have stuck to standard levels of painkillers for now. Mind, I’m due my quarterly review on Thursday, and I’m sure the matter is going to be discussed. After all, the Naproxen was only meant to be a top up while the weather was bad, so whether I really need it currently, who knows? But yes, I’ll let the medical experts make the call on that! Have to say that its lovely that on an evening like this, I can sit here typing this, not wearing the brace. Mind, it might mainly be because, being neoprene, I sweat like hell underneath it when the weather is like this, and even if I could do with losing a couple of pounds, maybe, thats not my planned way, or probably the best way of doing it!
As previously mentioned, I did a pre retirement course through work yesterday, and a rewarding experience it was too. Fine, a lot of it related to Civil Servants, with decades of work, and very nice pension funds, unlike my modest amount, but it gave me things to think about, and plan for my future. Hopefully I’ve got nearly another 6 years to give that pot a boost, but whether my back will let me go on, that long, I wouldnt put good money on it. Of course, a new option could come into my life anyway, and change matters, and I dont just mean the lottery jackpot at work, because I’ve never won anything in life, so cant see that happening. Yes, a jackpot win would very quickly see retirement on the grounds of health, believe me! I’d love to say enough to move somewhere hot, all year round, but given there are about 25 of us in the syndicate, it would need to be a rollover jackpot to do that on my own basis, probably!
Yes, I notice the difference with the weather. When its bad weather (cold, damp, or both), the 0.7 miles from work to bus station (or other way round) seems like the end of a marathon by the time I get there. Even in average weather, its about my limit. In the heat of yesterday (Low 80’s, I guess), I walked back from the course location, to Leeds station, about a mile, no issues whatsoever! Was just starting to tire at the end, but seriously… And yes, in Seattle, I was probably doing as much, if not more, at times!
So yes, somewhere warm/hot to live, post retirement, I really need to! Either that, or find someone daft enough to marry me, who lives somewhere hot, lol!
Right, video time. I’m sure many will have worked out the song tonight already. Of course The Kinks couldnt do anything too seriously, so they filmed the video on a freezing cold day in winter!
Oh, and as an added extra, another song of a very similar title, from about 10 years later, though to some degree, it sounds like something from 30 years earlier. Well, maybe not the electric guitar, but…
Firstly, let me say that the title is simply a play on the video song, I have no idea what the lady who is mentioned here, as to what her name was! Secondly, for the few who dont know, and are saying the blog is by Stevie Lou, not Harlean, its one of my transition names, now gone.
Well, summer has most definitely come over here at long last, the weather is glorious, and hot, and my back is thrilled by all that. Beyond a short trip out to get my meds supply earlier today, I havent worn a back brace all day, and its been heaven! Just shows how much heat does my back good, I guess? Fingers crossed the works syndicate was the lucky winner of the £17.9 million on the lottery last Saturday, because if so, I’ll be house hunting soon, somewhere warm. Dont think that idiot Trump will let me move to US, unless I marry, or something, but any offers, lol? No, pigs flying is more likely, on both counts!
So, given the wonderful weather, I’ve gone totally into summer mode, when at home at least, and I’m typing this in a short (above knees, ooh!), 20’s flapper style dress, in a glorious shade of pink. Sadly, I dont know if its the bra (slightly push up), or the dress, but it seems determined to show off my cleavage, and given they are prosthetic’s (vanity, darlings), I cant really flash them to the general public. But no, in truth, I’m not sure if, at my age, I’m prepared to flash this much leg in public, anyway! So, no, sadly, wont be work wear, lol! I know, could be done, but… especially when…
I was coming home from work last night, on the 7.20 bus from Bradford to Huddersfield. I know nothing surprising in that, other than maybe the fact it turned up! On said bus, when I got on, was a woman of my age (or slightly older), who had one of those dresses that you pull up over your boobs (in her case, no bra, unless it was bandeau), and hope it stays there! Yes, why not? And indeed, why not? What really got me though, was when she went to get off the bus. The factor I couldnt see before then, was the bottom of the dress. Lets just say it just about covered her rear!
So is it her thats got it wrong, and that women of our maturity should be a little bit more ‘modest’ than that, or is it me that has it wrong for thinking women in their 60’s shouldnt wear short, revealing dresses like that? Oh fine, I thought, for at least 2 seconds about wearing this dress out to the pharmacy, before deciding no! Now, whether that was due to length at all, or simply the cleavage issue, I decided against it. Yes, I might have thought about it longer, but for the cleavage issue, but even so…
So am I right, or am I just a little too modest for my own good, you tell me! Not that anyone will, I cant remember the last time I got a comment on here, though I usually get a few on Facebook!
Right, video time. It was a toss up between this, and a Kinks song, but voted for this, in the hope I can use the latter later in the summer. Not only do you get Rod, you get the DJ legend that was John Peel too! Yes, this is very much mimed, lol!
Before I leave Blackpool off the blogs for a little while…Some thoughts from the weekend.
When I was young, pretty much everyone, excluding the wealthy, used to holiday at home in the UK. For the wonderfully obvious reason that in those pre-package holiday days, most people had little choice to do anything else. So places like Blackpool, Scarborough, Southend (the 3 I now know best, now, and in the past), and numerous other seaside resorts thrived with visitors every year, in the summer. Its hard to believe that until the early 60’s, on a Saturday, the trains would run hundreds of ‘holiday trains’ to the seaside, filled with people going away for their week of leisure. To be fair, they had their day before then, with mass ownership of cars creeping in, but even then, there were enough people to make it worth while.
Then at some point in the 1970’s, a travel company came up with the idea of package flights, to beaches abroad, and the entry into the Common Market, and the demise slowly began. Lets face it, why, when you have a week of freedom, would you risk the UK weather, when you could have almost guaranteed sun, for little more money. I never got involved in that initial rush, as part of a single parent family, holidays had to be basic, and stay that way. Even when I could buy my own, I tended to stay in the UK (or Jersey) of choice, apart from ‘family’ related trips to Ireland. Apart from that, and a school day trip to France, I never went abroad until I was in my late twenties!
Since then, I havent often holidayed at home! There was the trip to Jersey a few years ago, and I noticed that numbers were less there, not surprisingly, but that really was about it. But UK seaside resorts otherwise, not at all.
Lets just say that I dont remember Blackpool at all from my few brief visits 30-40 years ago, so I cant compare it to then. And as I said at the time, March was such a flying visit, I didnt get to see much. Of course, this time I did. I’m not going to say Blackpool is a depressed area, it isnt, but at the same time, its seen better days! Yes, its heyday is gone, for sure. But thats progress, I guess? The pier was busy on Saturday, and was quite crowded at times, and that was nice to see. Where the big clues lay for me, was Friday evening, when we walked inland, into town, to get something to eat. I know most retail areas are struggling today, due to online shopping, and stuff, but the town center didnt inspire me to do more than have a meal, and get back to the guest house.
To be fair, the number of guest houses, and small hotels in the town, business must still be decent, but I suspect way down from the heydays, up to the 1970’s? I’ll give Blackpool its due, its trying, Saturday showed that. I’ve heard other places may not be trying so hard, but the times have changed against these famous UK seaside resorts. Who knows, it may swing back again after Brexit, who can tell? I have my doubts, but fingers crossed…
Right, video time. One of those ‘foreign’ songs that were all the rage back in the 1970’s. Most were re-recorded in English, as this song was, several times. But this quirky video, from the 1970’s, of the original version of the song, truly is quite, err, something!
Yes, the blog title is a play on a song title, but unless you’re as old as me, until you reach the video, you may well not know it.
OK, fine, non sports fans might want to walk away here. Its funny, I remember when sport had deep bred traditions, but seemingly nowadays, thats not enough. In golf, for example, in the old days (and not that long ago, in truth), with the exception of the Ryder Cup (which used to be GB v US, but changed to make it competitive), and a Matchplay Championship once a year, everything was individual play, strokeplay, mostly over 72 holes, over 4 days.
Now, we have a tournament in Australia where they play 18 hole strokeplay for 3 days, with a cut after 2, before having a wild 24 person knock out tournament, with matches over 6 holes on the last day! This week, for the second year, we have a pairs tournament going on in the US, with 2 different formulas of play over the 4 days. Next week, in the UK, we have a round robin group tournament, involving 16 pairs in matches over 6 holes, with all sorts of weird rules (time to play shot being one of them), and in a few weeks, in Belgium, we have 1 with 2 days of standard strokeplay, followed by a 64 player knock out thing on strokes, over 9 holes!
I guess this is all to try and bring in a new audience, or maybe its because I’m just old, and set in my ways, but seriously…do we need all this?
The other sport in the UK that seems to be desperately trying to ‘re-invent the wheel’ is cricket. Not satisfied with the rapid fire 20 over stuff, someone has now come up with the idea of 100 ball cricket, 15 standard overs, plus 1 10 ball one! And instead of counties, and affiliation, there are going to be just 8 franchises. Now, lets face it, for example, if there is a franchise for the North, in Manchester, if they think Yorkshire folk are going to support it? Or vice versa? I suspect, in truth, both will get one, for the rivalry. But equally, if they think a West Country franchise based in Bristol, would get support from Somerset?
For US reader sake, imagine a baseball team, over 5 innings, 5 outs per innings, and 1 franchise in Los Angeles. You seriously think Angels fans would support it in Dodgers stadium, or vice versa?
The big snag with the cricket one is also the one our cricket board, as opposed to India, Australia and the like dont, is the financial one. Unless these teams employ international names, as opposed to county journeymen, who’s going to come and watch? Snag is, these things cost money, and the ECB dont like spending it, so…?
Oh fine, guilty as charged, I will probably watch some of it, when Sky Sports pay for the rights to show it, I’m sure. But do we need all these gimmicks in our sports, or not?
Video time. The snag with 70’s songs is finding live video performances from back then. Pre video cameras, and at a time when film of so many shows were wiped after use, ah well… So strictly, this is 10 cc. In reality, its one of the original group, but all the same…
I dont know how many of my US readers (and there are seemingly plenty) who will get the lack of logical stuff in this blog, seeing their National Rail System, where beyond a few lucky areas, most places still on the Amtrak network get 1 train a day, or less! East coast (especially North East), fine, same with West coast, but in between, well…? Rolls eyes! Of course, distance, and the fact that everyone has to live modern life at a rapid speed means the gap in between is generally done by plane, but anyway…
It would be reasonable to assume that train fares would be cheapest, especially between reasonable sized towns, and cities would be best served by one fare covering all, right? If only it was that easy! I’ve been looking at the fare between Huddersfield, and Inverness, for September, and the standard return for the journey, with senior railcard, comes in at just under £100 according to the National Rail Website. So, some might say fair enough, thats the price you have to pay, and leave it at that, and buy your ticket, yes?
What if I said, that if I used the perfectly legal method known as split ticketing, I can do it for just over £72! And yes, if times suited, and they dont for 2 ‘less than young’ folk (hence the senior railcards), I could actually do it for about £66! Fine, it means having to carry 6 rail tickets each, instead of 2 (one each way), but the difference in cost…wow! All because, strictly there are no advance tickets between here, and Inverness, but because beyond Edinburgh, and Inverness sections, you can buy them for each portion, and the cost drops dramatically! Even more so, when you think those reduced fares include an admin charge for the online company providing the details!
Lets just say I’m not an internet genius, but thankfully I know enough for websites like this, and can save a fortune for the trip. And before anyone says that it only works for long distance trips, sadly not true. I put in the details for our day trip to Kyle of Lochalsh, to see Skye, assuming that all there would be for a shorter trip, was the standard day return, about £18 at our reduced rates. No, unadvertised advance fares reduce it to £15, even with handling charge! No, the other trip, to Aviemore, to go on a steam train, shorter, so no bargain there. Ah well, but…
Yes, seriously, is it any wonder that you only ever hear complaints about rail fares when you see things like this? If only the masses knew, and could book in advance…?
Right, video time. There is a clue in the blog title, no shock there, I guess?
Let me say that I’m currently on a bit of a subject drought for these, now I’m doing 3 a week, instead of 2, so if anyone has any suitable ideas for subjects they’d like me to discuss (excluding anything UK politics related), feel free to either post in comments here, or send them to email@example.com , and if they appeal, I might just go with them!
One thing that any number of the rail companies over here are hyping, is the supposedly spectacular new service we will be getting from next month! Yes, from experience, I laughed a lot, but after a couple of hours…
The one that has amused me the most, is the obvious local firm that couldnt arrange a booze up in a brewery, let alone a decent train service, Trans Pennine Express. Earlier this week they put out a promotion mentioning more trains between Leeds, and Manchester (6 instead of 5), which run through Huddersfield. They also mentioned that they would be speeding up services on the route between those 2 places, and Liverpool.
So being curious to see how they were coping with their current service, let alone this new spectacular promised one, I took a look at their live runnings through Huddersfield to Manchester at that time. Yes, I did check, and there were no delays that would have been beyond their hands at the time. And…
Of the next 5 trains (the following hour) through Huddersfield to Manchester, 3 were 26, 19, and 17 minutes late respectively. Another had been cancelled due to ‘staff shortages’. So get this right, they havent enough staff to run 5 trains an hour on that route, so they’re going to try and run 6! Going towards Leeds was slightly better, but 4 of those trains were promoted as being between 5, and 10 minutes late at the station! And I suspect most of those were 3 carriages long, despite their promise, when they got the franchise again 2 years ago that all trains would be lengthened, it hasnt happened!
To be fair, I’m sure all the other train companies are making similarly wildly optimistic claims about their new services too! Northern (the other local company around here) made all sorts of claims about replacing all their very elderly stock with newer trains by the end of this year, yet nothing seems to have changed with them. With the rare exception, the trains I catch on a Saturday morning to work are the same elderly carriages they were before!
So yes, next month, I have no great expectations on improvement. I hope I’m wrong, but when I wrote to TPE, via their site, asking them how they were going to provide all these improvements, given their current level of service, I got no reply! Probably cancelled the Customer Services ‘train’ too, lol!
So yes, I suspect most of these so called inprovements will no more come to light than the last lot, and will prove simply to be make believe. Hope I’m wrong, but…?
Which leads me to the video. No, not Bucks Fizz, though I was tempted. Instead a group, that had I actually been a young lady in the late 70’s, I’d have swooned over, as so many probably did. They didnt last that long, as their timing wasnt great, coming to fame just as punk rock hit town, and temporary put a lull on boy bands
I’ve had some fun today, given there’s been little of interest on TV in other matters for me today, I’ve been watching some cricket. Yes, I know, I like cricket, but the Indian Premier League (IPL) just tends to leave me cold for some reason. In truth, I blame the commentators for that, mainly because they tend to fawn over the Indian cricketers as if they were gods, and well, when Danny Morrison starts commentating, lets just say it starts to grind on me. So lets leave the actual cricket there, OK? Tonight, given that ESPN are giving baseball a pass on the early games tonight, I’ll have the Masters on until bedtime, much more sedate. And beyond the fact of commenting that I’ve just seen Tiger Woods knock in a long eagle putt, and do nothing more than acknowledge the crowds (no fist pump, as it used to be with him), I’m beginning to hope he wins again sometime soon, and if you’d told me a few years ago that I’d be saying that, I’d be laughing at you!
But going back to the IPL, and that ‘other universe’ life I might have had. Yes, I was watching the cheerleaders doing their routines, and wondering what that sort of life might be like? Well, without the bit of checking their smart phones while not dancing, but hey, if I was young now, like that, maybe I would do that sort of thing? In truth, I have no idea how well paid they are, or anything? I assumed all these Pro Sport cheerleaders were well paid, well pampered, and everything else, and then I read an article about how badly some NFL teams treat their cheerleaders, and it shocked me. Basically their attitude seems to be that of supply and demand, but I wonder how much demand there will be in future when they find out how badly the women are treated, but anyway…?
Alright, I suspect Clara, and all those other chorus line dancers were on pretty strict diets during their working years, to keep them slim, all the same. Probably why most only did a few years, before getting married, and retiring, I guess, as they could then eat more normal amounts?
But fine, if I had the youth, the looks, and the dancing skills, that sort of life might just be fun? I know, I’ll never know, I guess, unless Clara gives her full life story if I ever get regressed again! Either that, or a wonderful lady I know online, who worked in Vegas tells me. Not that either give me that personal experience, but short of a rejuvenation chamber, or something, not going to happen to me!
Fine, video time. I apologize for the less than regular quality tonight, but this is from Top Of The Pops in 1974, basically a lost episode, but someone found this bit at least. The actual song, and routine is fine (very vintage, apt for the song), but a couple of, err, interesting interludes. No, I know nothing of the artist, beyond this song!
About the only blessing of being unable to get through a whole day at work yesterday, because of my back flaring up badly again, was the fact that I got the chance to catch some of the Par 3 Tournament at the Masters, from Augusta, Georgia. In truth, seeing the actual coverage of the event only started at 8 pm my time, I would have been home in time for most of it anyway. Yes, the program started about an hour earlier, with the presenters just talking, but anyway, I survived all of that!
When I was young (mid – late teens or so), I was actually a reasonable golfer, think I got to a 12 or 13 handicap at one point. Not good enough to do anything major, but at least I could have a decent walk around a course without having to wander off into the rough too often! After that point, I started getting more involved in cricket, and I started to play less, and less, until I reached a point where I just didnt play any more. 20 years or so later, I was playing what the US people call Par 3 golf (UK folk probably know it as pitch & putt) for fun for a while, and while the basic skills were still there, its fair to say that my body meant much of the talents had receded, not helped by various injuries, arthritis, and the like. Now, with my back gone, I wouldnt even try any more, though in truth, its been a few years now, anyway.
All that meant though, that I’ve tended to follow golf over the years, to some degree or another. More so back then when I was playing a bit, than now, though I still watch some, and unless there is baseball on, I will probably watch the final round of the Masters on Sunday, for sure.
But yes, on the Wednesday, before the big event gets started, Augusta has this sweet little par 3 event, which seems to be played by a selected number of the tournament players, past champions who will, and wont be playing the main event (because of age), and randomized others! The others are mainly relatives of the players, usually children, but not always.
Anyway, when I was a young ‘woman’, one of the players I grew up loving to watch was Tom Watson. Always seemed a nice guy, though in truth, he was probably as competitive as the rest of them! Still, if I say that now, he’s one of those that no longer plays in the event proper, due to his age, it shows we’re all getting old! Amazingly, less than a decade ago, he was runner up in the Open, at the age of 59, and nearly won it!
Still, the story is, last night, despite age, despite everything, every putt he hit seemed to drop, whatever the distance, and some were lengthy. Yes, he won the whole event, though I suspect that some of today’s players dont try too hard, partly not to risk injury, partly as they’re just having fun, but anyway… There is 1 strange jinx, no player who has won the Par 3 event has won the Masters in the same year. Its going to happen at some point, but not this year, for sure!
But yes, for an old lady like myself, it was lovely to see the likes of Watson, Player, and Nicklaus doing so well in the tournament. We all grow old, and weary, but seemingly some less than others! Congratulations, Tom, enjoy the moment.
Yes, the video tonight is the blindingly obvious one, given the blog title. A live performance by the late, great, Ray Charles