Amber Alert!

I have written before about times of deep contentment, of a happiness forged through adverse times, of family ties and meetings which bring warmth to these old bones.

But this Christmas family gathering was just a slight bit extra special for me. Not because of the arrival of my fourth grandson, welcome though his arrival was; not because of the presence of all the immediate family members, inclusive of three noisy grandsons as well as the sleepy infant mentioned before; but esppecially for the presence of the invader; a preposterous ball of fluff disguised as a Shih-Tzu puppy named Jo-Jo.

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This small animal obviously believed he was either a large Rottweiler, an equally-large Bull Mastiff or a fully-grown American Pit Bull, and I can confirm that, whilst out walking, this intrepid puppy challenged a dog which was at least six times larger than he!

I was in serious danger of being licked to death by this small animal, and I was rather sorry to see him depart, but all good things come to an end, and my home is once more quiet.

…and the bile and ‘spin’ rolls ever onwards.

Christmas. the Season of Goodwill towards all our relative, friends, acquaintances, and hopefully a lessening of tension towards those who wish to do us harm. Unfortunately, no-one told the BBC, so the lies, the garbage, the spin and the disdain rolls ever onwards.

The second of the guest editors on the BBC Today Programme lived down to every expectation believed possible. The editor today was Michael Sheen the actor and, unfortunately, the activist. He is a very good actor; unfortunately, his ‘Lefty’ viewpoints covered every syllable broadcast as he wished. Billed to the audience as an ambassador for UNICEF, we were bombarded with every possible combination of his prejudice and bile. The syrian refugees were fine targets for his treacly sympathy, with the usual small children’s suffering held up as an example of how We should do so much more. We visited Port Talbot, as Sheen is Welsh, and we then heard of how awful the austerity cuts were, and how the rugby club had donated the Xmas lights after the council pulled out. We heard how ‘Climate Change’ was definitely responsible for all the floods in Lancashire. Yorkshire and Cumbria, and once again we were TOLD that we had to give ever more to other countries, because we, as dirty, filthy capitalist running dogs; had caused all this change in the first place, and the ‘Refugees’ deserved our cash, and the Cumbrians; obviously, did not!

Fury diminished!

Firstly, I would confirm that I would rather schedule open-heart surgery without anaesthetic upon myself than have watched the BBC Sports Personality Farce / Clownfest / Contest (delete applicable).

I originally wrote:- I find that I have more than a sneaking regard for just one of those nominated, namely Tyson Fury; as he has demonstrated that he has more than enough guts and determination to not only batter several other men insensible in his pursuit of his Championship goals; but also to continue in the paths and beliefs which have nurtured him from an early age. He is gloriously politically-incorrect, and revels in the uproar from all those who are ‘OFFENDED’, by his statements regarding homosexuals, paeadophiles, etc., all spoken with the greatest goodwill and meaning.

But then he went and spoiled everything by apologising for any ‘OFFENCE’ taken by his earlier words. How truly, truly depressing!

It all depends who is listening.

The Prime Minister added: Assad can’t be part of Syria’s future. He has butchered his own people. He has helped create this conflict and this migration crisis. He is one of the great recruiting sergeants for Isil.”

So speaks the great Humanitarian; but one must ask why, if this man worries so much about a nation which we have no interest in, either diplomatic or trade: why do we not hear him vent his wrath upon President-for-Life Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Mugabe, who has bankrupted his nation’s people; yet lives the true high life on the proceeds of stolen diamonds, whilst his people starve.
Funny: that!

Are you sure the signal said ‘Fire’?

Some nine years ago, I wrote a slightly sardonic piece about the Royal Navy, and the effects of budget cuts on the administration of that Navy around the time of Trafalgar. It was built around the extremely unlikely possibility of commercial sponsorship for the Royal Navy, and I copy it herewith:-

The following conversation is taken from records unavailable for many years after the tragic events of Trafalgar unfolded, but in the light of recent disclosures regarding certain sponsorship deals for the 200th anniversary of Trafalgar, it was deemed timely to reveal them at the present time!

The scene is Portsmouth Dockyard, in the shore offices occupied by Admiral Nelson and his staff, three months before the battle which decided the fate of modern Europe.

Hardy. “My Lord Admiral, good news from the teams out searching!”

Nelson “Searching, Hardy? Searching for what, exactly?”

Hardy “Why, for the extra sponsorship deals that we need to allow a fully-funded fleet to go out once more to search for the French fleet.”

Nelson “I do wish that the Government hadn’t saddled us with keeping all costs associated with the campaign outside the normal funds which have been voted by Parliament!”

Hardy “It was something to do with these new ideas you floated, if you will pardon the expression, My Lord, floated to keep apart the normal campaign expenditures by which we were funded for Copenhagen, the Nile and the blockades, from the your new ideas regarding fleet manoeuvres and tactics. The Admiralty felt that as such proposals such as abandoning the tried and trusted methods such as sticking rigidly to…”

Nelson “Ah yes, Hardy, I remember; they wanted me to agree not to break our line-ahead formation! A member of the Admiralty Board claimed that as I was using ideas which had been the result of these new-fangled discussion and focus groups, and thus bringing untested tactics to the Navy’s battles, they should be funded by private subscription instead of from Navy funds! Yes, I recall the talks. You said ‘good news’ Hardy?”

Hardy “Well, Sir, we have full agreement where the names of the donors can be painted in between each of the gunports, with such titles as “Cornwall’s gunpowder is the best!” and “From the Tudors onwards, Rutland’s Oaks have served England!”. We have almost completed all the negotiations with the major sponsor, but there is one detail outstanding. We need your approval to allow to be flown, immediately below your own flag and that of the Union Flag, all ships of the line should fly a third flag which states, “Only Blogg’s Ship’s Biscuits are good enough for Nelson!”

A journey from Trafalgar to Star Wars; not as unlikely as one may think!

Different son, better ending?

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

I rarely quote from religious texts or books these days; religion itself does not play much part in either my life or my thinking, but I do like the sound of rare good news. The New Testament text I quoted from celebrates the return of the prodigal son, a parable about the presumed lost, and then found. Such an item is also the rare, the extremely rare, items of good news which come into the public domain. Despite the liberal calls for the release without any charge of the traitorous lying deserter Bowe Bergdahl: we read that Gen. Robert B. Abrams, head of Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., ordered that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl face a court-martial on charges of desertion and endangering troops stemming from his decision to leave his outpost in 2009. This craven coward deserted his post in Afghanistan, joining the Taliban who sheltered him for five years; (or as his story states he was imprisoned), and was only released at the express wish of President Hussein Obama by swapping five Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo Bay. Obama wanted Bergdahl to be freed without charge, but the United States Army recognises a deserting coward when it sees one.

One for the Army!