Welcome one and all to my beach hut

Grab a deck chair, Tea or coffee and help yourself to a buiscuit but you'd better mind the seaguls or they'll grab them first. Just look at that view and doesn't the sea look inviting.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

I'm Very Well Thank You

I saw this poem just a few days ago, and it brought a smile to my face. I hope you all like it.

There is nothing the matter with me
I'm as healthy as can be.
I have arthritis in both my knees
and when I talk, I talk with a wheeze.
My pulse is weak and my blood is thin
but I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.

Arch supports I have for my feet

or I wouldn't be able to be on the street.
Sleep is denied me night after night
but every morning I find I'm alright.
My memory is failing, my head's in a spin
but I'm awfully well for the shape I'm in.

The moral is this, as my tail I unfold

that for you and for me, who are growing old
It's better to say I'm fine, with a grin,
then to let folks know the shape we are in.
How did I know that my youth was all spent?
well  my get up and go, just got up and went.
But I really don't mind when I think with a grin

of all the great places my got up and go as been.
Old age is golden; I've heard it said,
but sometimes I wonder as I get into bed,
With my ears in the drawer, my teeth in a cup,
my eyes on the table until I get up.
'Ere sleep overtakes me, I say to myself,
Is there anything else I could lay on the shelf?

When I was young, my slippers were red,
I could kick my heels right over my head;
When I was older my slippers were blue,
but still I could dance the whole night through.
Now I am old my slippers are black,
I walk to the stove and puff my way back.
I get up each morning and dust of my wits,
and pick up the paper and read the Obits,
If my name is still missing I know Im not dead,
so I have a good breakfast and go back to bed.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

OMG, What will they come up with next

I was watching TV the other day when an advert appeared for a bed with a built in TV set, with the use of a remote control the top of the footboard opened up and a 40inch plasma TV screen came up out of it. I remember thinking “OMG what will they think of next.

It’s along way from the beginning of television as I have seen it in my life time. The first broadcast that ordinary men and woman were able to see in Britain was in 1949 when the Sutton Coalfield Transmitting station transmitted the first broadcast outside of London. I watched the event the other day on Youtube and it’s pretty dour to watch with a panel of stuffy dignitaries making speeches it’s a wonder TV ever got off the ground. The first TV set I can remember seeing was in one of my Aunts houses during the morning on the Coronation in 1953, a group of neighbours had gathered around the small screen to watch the event with us kids playing in the background and getting more excited over the prospect of the planned afternoon street party. My grandparents were the next I remember to get a set and at the weekend I would go round and sit very quietly through programmes like Muffin the Mule and the Saturday afternoon Adventures of Flash Gordon. I remember the first TV set we had in our house, I think it was a bush make with a 12 inch screen, we didn’t have a proper outside Ariel at first we had to do with an set top one that you often had to move about in order to get a reasonable picture. Those early TV sets were made up of valves and once you had turned the set on it took ages to warm up before you got a picture and often even when you did get one it looked as though it was snowing inside the set, often a good remedy for this was to give the set a sharp bang on the top or side of the set. Of course there were no remote controls in those days so whenever you wanted to change channels or any other adjustments it meant a journey for one us kids across the room to do it whilst the grownups issued the instructions loll.

At one time I remember we had a slot TV set. It had a meter fixed to the side of the set and you deposited shillings into the set when you wanted to view it, it was most annoying when the set switched off due to your time running out, usually this happened in the middle of a exciting action packed programme and every one scurried about to find a shilling to feed the meter before you missed the plot. Daytime TV didn’t really take off till much later, I remember they showed mainly test broadcasts in the morning of old news items, of bridge collapsing or England winning the ashes or of a speeded up train journey from London to Brighton that only took 5 minutes, amazingly at the conclusion of this test piece you would see someone throw a brick through the TV screen which would always get laughs from us kids. Certain times of the day their would be no broadcasts at all like on a Sunday evening between 6 and 7 broadcasts ceased because it was feared that people would not go to church if there was the alternative of the TV. We couldn’t afford one of the new colour sets at first and I remember we devised our own method of watching colour. By attaching the wrapping of a lucasade bottle to the front of the screen we would get a yellowy picture instead of the plain black and white. No matter what the colour of the screen there were some really good TV programmes in the early days. I was really into the adventures of The Lone Ranger or Robin Hood or William Tell and I distinctly remember staying up to watch Quatermass from the safety of the back of the settee, boy was that scary back then. Thanks to the wonder of Youtube you can relive most of these bygone shows of the 50s and 60s and you can see all the old TV theme tunes and opening credits, I spend many a happy hour reliving my childhood through some of these great shows. The TQM movie chanel on sky are showing all the Gunsmoke, High chaperal and Mavericks at the moment and they are still great to watch.
In those days our TV listings were not packed with cooking programmes or the selling and buying of homes and then giving them make over’s but what we did have was lots of variety shows and drama’s.

Going back to that advert for a bed with a built in television set, would I want one? Most definitely not. Surely bed is for rumpy pumpy or sleep and for the majority of my age just for sleep lol. I don’t want to wake up to a group of men playing football over my sheets or for that matter to see David Cameron sitting at the bottom of my bed telling me we are all in this together lol. I’ll leave the TV where its best suited in the living room where I can view at my leisure.

To Watch the story of television    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A7MN4TjC2Q&NR=1
More on those early years    http://www.retrowow.co.uk/television/television.html

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

"Thats The Way To Do It"

“That’s the way the way to do it” if you hear these words spoken with a very squeaky voice there’s a good chance that you’ll find a Punch and Judy show being played out somewhere close to you. As a child it was one of my great delights everyday on the beach. 

Punch and Judy is a glove puppet show performed inside a Booth made out of stripy material, most beaches used to have one of the shows somewhere on the beach and usually it was my first job on arriving at the seaside as a yougster to find out the location of the show. There would be 3 or 4 performances of the same or a similar story each day and a large bill board with a clock on it would announce the time of the next show.

Mr Punch can be traced back to the 17th century when on May 9th 1662 Samuel Pepys noted in his diary that he saw an Italian puppet play at Covent Garden, (it is likely this was a marionette puppet show and the puppets were operated by strings). The show was performed by Signor Pietro Gimonde (popularly known as Signor Bologna) and featured a character called Pulchinello. Pepys took his wife to see the show a couple of weeks later and Charles II was in the audience later that year.

At first the hook nosed, hunchback, shrill voice puppet was known as Pulchinello, just as in his native Italy, and his wife was called Joan, but eventually he became known as Mr Punch and her name changed to Judy. In the 18th century these puppets changed from marionettes to glove puppets. As seaside holidays became more popular in the late Victorian times, thanks to the new bank holidays Punch and Judy shows began to appear in all the new seaside resorts.

Punch & Judy shows have stayed popular down the centuries because they have been kept topical. In wartime, Punch would fight and beat Hitler. In more recent times, Tony Blair, has even made an appearance! Mr Punch has been the inspiration to many. He has had an opera written for him and even the long running humorous magazine borrowed its name from Punch. Many authors, film makers and writers have utilised the characters of Punch & Judy shows. Perhaps the most famous being Tony Hancock's 1960's film, The Punch and Judy man.

Punch and Judy shows cannot be classed as PC in any shape or form, they include a cruel wife beating husband and an equally cruel wife and a neglected baby, a policeman who hits people with a stick and a crocodile that also get beaten.

The main characters in the show often include

Mr Punch
Judy is wife
The baby
Toby the dog
A policeman
A ghost
A crocodile and sometimes a hangman.

The story starts with Mr Punch and his wife who will often ask him to look after the baby, Judy will often as the audience to shout her if Mr Punch harms the baby, which he always does. The one thing that makes this show so popular is the audience participation, throughout the performance the boys and girls can be heard shouting he’s behind you and other such phrases. Judy will hit Mr Punch with a big stick and will then get Mr Punch to do the same to Judy, the policeman will turn up and there’s more violence. Judy will then get Mr Punch to look after the sausages which is generally the cue for the Crocodile to appear and more violance. It would seem a little strange to understand why it is so popular with all the violance going on, we all like to bit of mischief  and if we look at slapstick (which comes from the large stick Mr Punch carries around with him) whether it be a circus clown a sketch by Morecambe and Wise or an old Laurel and Hardy movie they all contain the same kind of violance to each other.

Punch and Judy basically is a children’s show but as I believe we are all children in an adult body the shows are as popular with adults as with children. Unfortunately Punch and Judy shows are less frequent on the beach these days, they urn more by doing private birthday shows or at fetes, maybe this is because the public is less generous in giving in the hat than they used to be. I would love to see the return of the Punch and Judy show to the seaside beach or park and hope that it happens one day.

If you want to see clips of a typical P&J show go here   http://www.thepjf.com/video_clips.html

Sunday, 23 October 2011

History of Sea bathing and Bathing Machines.

The popularity of sea bathing dates back to the early 18th century when doctors spoke publicly on the advantages of sea air and sea bathing to the general health of individuals. One doctor described the practice of a sudden shock from the submergence into cold sea water as a cure for numerous ailments. Marine hospitals were set up in parts of the country to facilitate sea bathing. 
Mix bathing was banned along our coast until as late as 1901 so bathers were segregated. Local authorities became concerned with the moralities of sea bathing and so bathing machines were introduced that would ensure that people could undress in private and alight into the sea in all modesty. Calling the earliest bathing apparatus machines was not at first common practice, one observer called them a “ house on wheels”, they were also referred to as ‘bathing chariots’. The term ‘bathing machine’ was first used to describe a carriage invented in Margate by Benjamin Beale, it was describe as a machine because of a canvass type hood attached to the front on metal hoops that could be lowered down to the sea allowing the bather to descend from the machine into the sea without being observed from the shore. (sea picture above). The bather could step into the machine from the shore, horses would then be attached and it would be pulled down to the sea shore allowing the bather to change and store there clothes on a shelf above before changing into the bathing costume and then descending down the steps into the sea. Nude bathing was strictly prohibited. and by the end of the 18th century sea bathing had become very popular amongst the well to do mainly due to George III many visits to Weymouth in the hope that sea bathing could cure is ailments.  A certain Fanny Burney recorded a humorous incident in her diaries. “Think but of the surprise of His Majesty when, the first time of his bathing, he had no sooner popped his royal head under water than a band of music, concealed in a neighbouring machine, struck up "God save great George our King.
The Wealthy flocked to the coast and more and more of these bathing machines started to appear, some were owned by hotels that were springing up in various locations. The bathing costumes of the day were  “made of a fine yellow canvas, which is stiff and made large with great sleeves like a parson’s gown; the water fills it up so that it is borne off that your shape is not seen, it does not cling close as other linning (see drawing left).  The Gentlemen have drawers and waistcoats of the same sort of canvas.

Also it was quite popular in the early day for a person of the same sex as the bather to be employed to go out with the bathing machine and help the bather down into the sea and ensure that they had the right number of immersions prescribed by their doctor, these people were referred to as dippers.

There were incidents recorded when using the bathing machine’s one such incident was recorded in Lytham in 1857.
‘A deplorable accident, by which two men, named William Farrow and James Earnshaw, lost their lives, occurred at Lytham on Saturday last. The deceased had come from Oldham by at excursion train, and after enjoying themselves with others for some time in Lytham determined to bathe.

Accordingly, about one o'clock in the afternoon, they and two companions, Archibald Booth and James Lees, hired a bathing machine, which was driven into the water. The tide was running out strongly at the time, and immediately the horse had been taken from the machine by the owner, John Parkinson, the van came down what is called the "steep breast" into deep water. Farrow jumped into the water, and was drowned; the other three climbed the roof of the van, but Earnshaw afterwards leaped off into the water with the intention of swimming to the beach, but the current and the ebbing tide were too strong for him, and he was swept back by the retiring waves and drowned in the presence of a great number of persons. Booth and Lees were then rescued by some men who went to their assistance in boats.

With the introduction of the railways, more and more people were flocking to the coast so to deal with the high number of bathers new designs were appearing including a saloon bathing machine that could hold up to 50 people, one machine would hold men and the other women positioned at a modest distance from each other and reached from the shore by rickety looking series of raised planks. In Folkestone Walter David Fagg patented and built is ‘Safety Bathing Carriage’ to run on tramlines into the sea.

By 1910 the practice of running the machines down into the sea had stop and they were left on the beach for people to use to get changed in them and eventually they disappeared completely, later to be replaced by beach huts. But that is another story to be told on another day.

I’d like to at this point thank Kathryn Ferry and her book entitled ‘Beach Huts and Bathing Machines’ which was the inspiration behind this piece and for her consent for allowing me to use information from it.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

There Goes That Song Again

I was listening to some Beatles songs on my IPod and my mind was taken back to the time I used to go to the record shop to buy there latest single and before I bought it I would step into a booth, put the headphones on and listen to it. There would be a whole line of these booths and they were all sound proofed so it looked strange from outside watching everyone jigging about and all you could here was the silence. It’s always been my greatest regret that I never saw the Beatles live even though I owned every album by them on vinyl right up to the White Album. The Beatles toured the UK between 1961 and 1966 there last gig was at Wembley. They gave up touring because the girls screaming were making it impossible for any one to here what they were playing. Just wondering if any of you the readers got to see the Beatles live? You can check where and when they toured herewww.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Beatles%27_live_performances#1963.

  A few years ago we went on a pilgrimage to Liverpool and we visited Mathew St and the mock Dungeon Club, (the original was pulled down years ago) we also took a trip round the sites Penny Lane and Strawberry field and ended up at the Beatles Museum on the docks, that was a great frill. I remember on a trip to London in the 1960s taking a stroll down Carnaby Street, that was where all the top fashion shops were in those days, where Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton and George Best could be seen, unfortunately none of them were around when I visited lol. It was the time of the Sgt Pepper Album and everyone was walking about in mock army uniforms.

I tried to see as many of the top pop stars of the day when they appeared in Nottingham, I got to see The Searchers, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Dusty Springfield, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich and PJ Proby (and yes he did split is trousers and the girls went wild). I remember going to see a Larry Parnes Tour once, Larry Parnes was a manager and introduced some of the top acts of the day and he often gave them new names to sound more cool, singers like Billy Fury, Marty Wilde and Johnny Gentle, Vince Eager and Dickie Pride lol. Larry Parnes tours were never small events, there were often up to 15 top billing rock and roll stars on the same night. On this particular show were: Marty Wilde, Joe Brown, Adam Faith, Susan Maughan, Shane Fenton (later to become Alvin Stardust) and a young Rolf Harris who was in the charts with ‘Sun Arise’, great show that was.

It is always great to visit places that are mentioned in songs. I couldn’t go to London without going to Waterloo Station and pondering over Waterloo Sunset a hit for the Kinks and we’ve been on a Ferry Cross the Mersey but I think the great thrill of them all was on a trip to Newcastle and whilst walking along the front at Whitley Bay and we came across an old locked up and sad looking sea front fairground and the name above the closed gate read ‘Spanish City’.  Spanish City was immortalised in the Dire Straits 1980 hit song ‘Tunnel of Love’ where they were remembering singing about this place that they used to go to when they were kids, It is said that the song was played every morning when the park was opened. Funny how something mentioned in a song can stop you dead in your tracks like that, I can here a song and it will take me right back to a time and place in my life. Like the Sandy Shaw Hit ‘Girl Don’t come’ That reminds me of the time I was waiting for a date that never showed up outside of the Nottingham Odium cinema, the song was No1 at the time and the coffee bar near college where every day I would play All alone am I on the Jukebox. I can recall a weeks holiday in Skegness and the Beatles No1 was ‘Help’, I used to play the record everyday on the jukebox in a coffee bar under the pier, funny though I can’t remember the name of the coffee bar lol. I expect we hall have songs that bring back memories of sad and happy times.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Memories of childhood Journey's on Steam railway's

I consider myself very lucky to have lived at a time when steam locomotives were still in service on our railway network. My earliest memory I can recall was when I was around 5 years old and out with my Grandfather, he pointed up to the railway bridge at a steam locomotive known has a garret and said “I drive those engines”. The locomotive was a monster, certainly the biggest engine I had seen and I can remember my opinion of my Grandfather after that moment increased by at least 100%. Steam engines were common place in Long Eaton where I lived. It was a railway town with a junction that joined Nottingham and Derby to the main London line. It also contained  Toton marshelling yard that dealt mainly with the supply of coal from the Midland collieries to London and the south. Steam engines were magical to a small boy and have often been likened to a living creature rather than just a piece of engineering and if you have ever stood on a station platform on a dark night with a non stop express train going tearing through with its whistle roaring and sparks mixed with smoke coming out of its funnel you will understand exactly what they mean.

Both my grandfather and an uncle worked at Toton and it was with them that I went for my seaside holidays each year whilst I was growing up. Working for the railways meant that you received concessionary travel and so distances were no problem. Each year I was taken to faraway places like Bournemouth, Blackpool or The Isle of wight. Early journey’s I recall were in very primitive carriages that had no connecting corridors, you just stepped into a part of the carriage with two bench seats facing each other and you were stuck there until your journey’s end. Like most little boys once the journey had started I suddenly felt the need to go to the toilet and the only solution open was for a grown up to lower the carriage door window and to hold me up to the open window so that I could do what was needed, you just hoped that no one further down the train popped their head out of the window at the same time. The more modern carriages had corridors with toilets and separate compartments that meant if there were 4 or 5 of you in your party you would get a compartment all to yourselves. I soon became a railway enthusiast and a train spotter and my Journey to and from the coast were one of the highlights of the holiday. Equipped with both a notebook and a copy of Ian Allen’s ABC of Locomotives each journey became and exciting adventure especially when approaching a large city station, if you were lucky there would be a whole line of locomotives parked just outside of the engine sheds and you would have a frantic few seconds writing down all of there numbers before they went out of view. Steam engines came in all shapes and sizes and us young spotters had our own language when discussing what we had seen on  the journey’s, there were Jinties and tanks and 8fs and 9fs and if you were lucky there were black 5s. What got us excited the most was if we caught site of a named engine often pulling an express. My favourite classes were Royal Scots and Britannia’s  with there streamlined shapes and shining BR black liveries these were the bees knees to us spotters and if your journey took you out of our own London Midland and Scottish region there was the hope of seeing Battleships, Bullied Pacific’s as well as Castles and Kings.

I’m still a railway enthusiast and when possible enjoy visiting preserved lines, but nothing can compare to the days when Steam was common on all British Rail routes before Beeching came along and before Diesel became more of an economical alternative.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Reading matters

I do enjoy reading and have got through a number of books over the summer months. I would like to share two of the books with you and hope that these reviews do them justice as I enjoyed them very much. They are very much different from one another, one is a piece of historical fiction and the other is set in the present tense and is very topical.

Ken Follett has become an author that is rivalling Bernard Cornwall in the field of historical fiction, anyone who has read Pillars of the Earth or the sequel World Without End will attest to this. His latest epic novel is titled Fall of Giants and is set around the period of World War One. The two giants in question are the German and Russian empire. The story is centred on a Welsh mining village and the country seat of Earl Fitzherbert whose land the mine is on. The main characters are the Williams Family from the mining village and the Fitzherbert family. Secondary characters are mainly visitors to the Fitzherbert country house. These include a military attaché to the German Embassy in London, an attaché to the Austrian Embassy, a Russian Princess from the Tsars’ family and an advisor to the American president; there are also two Russian Brothers who become embroiled in The Russian Revolution. The story opens in 1912 when 15 year old Billy Williams spends is first shift down the pit and Ethel Williams who becomes house Keeper to the Fitzherberts. The story follows all of the main characters has the approach the start of the Great War has it is often called, it takes you all through the war including the major events such as the horrors of the Somme and the Russian Revolution and ends with a strange peace and the start of the depression eventually ending in 1924.

I must admit I have never really understood how the assassination of an Austrian Duke led to a world war, the story takes you step by step and involves all the real historical characters and how they figured in events that led up to one of the worst conflicts of the 20 century. The story telling is fabulous and combines richly developed historical detail with fast moving action and powerful emotion, it brings together two people who are both madly in love and yet separated because they are on separate sides, it brings together two women from different backgrounds to stand side by side for the cause of votes for women. It brings the true horror of war to the reader has the telegraph boy delivers the fatal telegram to every other home in the mining village and it reveals how things can never be the same again for the residents of the big house.

This is perhaps the best novel I have read over the last few years, it is to be a part of a trilogy and it wouldn’t at all surprise me if this is not captivated on film or a major TV series. There is something for everyone in this tale and I highly recommend you to read it

My second book I’m introducing today brings us right back to the present and the piracy problems in Somalia. It is called Those In Peril by Wilber Smith. The first Wilbur smith novel I read was The River God which was a part of a trilogy set in ancient Egypt, I really enjoyed the richness of the way he describe that area of the world and he brings is knowledge of the ways and customs of the lawless area of Africa to this story.
The story centres around Hazel Bannock is the heir to the Bannock Oil Corp, one of the major oil producers with global reach. While cruising in the Indian Ocean, Hazel’s private yacht is hijacked by African pirates. Hazel is not on board at the time, but her nineteen year old daughter, Cayla, is kidnapped and held to ransom. The pirates demand a crippling twenty billion dollar ransom for her release. Complicated political and diplomatic considerations render the civilized major powers incapable of intervening.
When Hazel is given evidence of the horrific torture which Cayla is being subjected to, she calls on Hector Cross to help her rescue her daughter. Hector is the owner and operator of Cross Bow Security, the company which is contracted to Bannock Oil to provide all their security. He is a formidable fighting man. Between them Hazel and Hector are determined to take the law into their own hands. The story can be grim in places and not for those easily offended or squeamish. But it’s a very fast moving tales and has a much unexpected twist at its end. This is a story you will find very hard to put down.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Letter to my 16 year old self

It was someone on my Facebook page that first raised the question and it now seems someone has written a book around this same question. The question is “If you could write a letter to your 16 year old self and send it back in time, what advice would you give yourself? It is often said that youth and wisdom don’t go together and if I’m honest in my case that is very true. We all have said “if I knew then what I know now I’d have done things differently”. So it got me thinking, if I could send a letter back to me at the age of 16 what would I tell myself.

Firstly I wouldn’t want to make to many changes, on the whole I’m happy with my lot now, yes I’ve made many mistakes but haven’t we all and they say you learn by your mistakes, I have not made a lot of money but money can’t buy happiness and contentment, having said that, a little always helps. No I think the things I would pass back to my 16 year old self are the kind of things I couldn’t possibly have known then but if I had would have made life simpler.

I was born in 1947 so that would make me 16 in 1963, I had been at work for a year, The Beatles were just starting out on the road to stardom, young people of my age had more money to spend, jobs were easy to find, there was a fear that we were all going to be blown up by a nuclear bomb any day and youth were starting to rebel against authority and we were singing Who songs about our generation and “ hope I die before I get old. So what advice would I have given to my 16 year old self?

First off I would have advised myself to buy Beatles records, photos, tour programmes and any other items I could get my hands on and then Get John, Paul, George and Ringo to sign them where ever possible and then to store them away for a few years. Beatles memorabilia is fetching unbelievable prices today, Matchbox models of the Yellow submarine on sale for a few shillings are going for £100, signed photos or LP’s are going for £500+ each and if all four have signed you could be talking in the Thousands.

Don’t get hooked on watching Coronation Street you will never see the end of it lol.

Make the most of the 66 Football World Cup win because it’s very unlikely you’ll see it happen again.

Don’t buy a bet Amax video recorder in a few years time because you’ll be wasting your money.

If you are able to get any money together in a few years, put it in real estate, buy a few houses cheap do them up.

Take driving lessons whilst you can still afford them and pass your test.

Be choosy about the job you are going for, believe in yourself and don’t let anyone talk you into taking a lesser job. If possible get into the banking business.

Forget about going on Ban the Bomb marches.

Don’t rush into falling in love and settling down, you won’t be left on the shelf if your not wed by twenty, enjoy a bit of life first. You may still make a big mistake with your first marriage but don’t let anyone drive a wedge between yourself and your children.

Liston more to what your elders say, believe me when I say they DO know what they are talking about, they have been where you are too and you will one day be there age and then you’ll be writing this letter instead of me.

Just a few of the things I would advise myself about if I had the opportunity of sending a letter back in time to my 16 year old self. Would if have made any difference? I very much doubt it lol.

Oh and here’s some advice from the celebrities to their 16 year old selves.

TV presenter and comedian Jonathan Ross told his young self to “stop worrying about the opinion of others and be yourself,” and offered this reassurance: “You will eventually lose your virginity and go to Disneyworld (though not on the same day).” Debbie Harry said, “go for it girl… Dreams Do Come True. Keep Dreaming.” I particularly liked the contribution from Emma Thompson, who wrote, “Don’t EVER EVER EVER bother to go on a diet… Just be you & get on with it, I cannot tell you how much time & energy you’ll save & how much happier you’ll be.”

Friday, 14 October 2011

Our Weather

Over this year I have become more interested in the weather through watching programmes such as The Weather Show on TV. We take the weather for granted very much and yet it can have a very profound affect on our lives. We are blessed here in the UK because we have a very temperate climate, we rarely suffer the extremes of weather that other countries often face, and thankfully we don’t get the storms that can cause devastating tornadoes like they get in America. It is due to our climate that people from all around the World throughout history have migrated here due to our ideal farm land and rich minerals ready for the picking. Our climate is controlled by our northerly position and the flow of the Gulf Stream. Our position means that we have warm but not too hot summers and the Gulf Stream gives us mild winters. 

Skegness being positioned on the coast and the fact that at present tourism is our main industry means that dry warm summers are essential to our success. Located as we are centrally on the east coast of Britain gives us even more of a chance to prosper. The reason Skegness is situated on the dryer side of Britain can be explained by the movement of air around us. Airflow is caused by the rotation of the earth and every molecule of air contains moisture, when this air hits an object like a mountain it causes it to rise, the higher it goes up the colder the moister gets and the heavier it get causing it to drop as rain, this explains why areas like Wales and the Lake District have high levels of rain each year whilst Lincolnshire which is relatively flat as very low levels of rain. We have already said that the Gulf Stream that flows off our coast allows us to have very mild winters but we can’t take that for granted; if the flow was ever to be deflected away from us, then things could be very different. 

History reveals to us that we need to be constantly vigilant regarding our weather, we have all seen on the television the devastating effect a tsunami can have on an area and we all feel safe and secure with the knowledge that those kinds of events don’t happen in our part of the world, or do they? Around turn of the sixteenth century some kind of catastrophic event must have happened along our coast, because the area of Skegness around that time is now 40 miles out to sea, how much property or human life was washed away at this time we don’t know but the evidence of a vast forest stretching out on the sea bed confirms the known facts.

The weather plays a very important part of our lives and our future, we generally feel better in the warm of our summers, and gloomier in the depths of our winter, we need to be prepared as best we can for any winter storms especially if they coincide with high tides because we all know what that can bring, but at the same time we must never let fear keep us from moving forward. At the same time we cannot rule anything out such as climate change and I also believe we should harness nature more in the form of the wind and the sea. We need to get away from our dependency on fossil fuel not just because of climate change but also because it is getting to expensive, that is why it saddens me when every time someone brings forward plans to build more wind farms immediately there’s an action group that springs up to oppose it. They may be a blot on the landscape to some and I honestly believe these people who oppose them are doing it purely from a selfish motive because they fear it will bring the value down of their property. Sooner or later our councils have to stop this trend of blocking these appeals and allow what must be done if we wish to have any sort of a future for those that come after us.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Blog is back

Now that the weather is distinctly turning, the visitors have gone home and the nights are drawing in I thought it was time to return to my virtual beach hut and continue with the blog I started early on in the year. When I started up the blog it was not with any hope of getting a big readership, it was just me putting down my thoughts in the hope that in a few generations time one of my ancestors might discover them and from these musings might be able understand something of my life. I’m fascinated by the past and have gone back as far as 1610 in my family when my ancestor escaped from France to start a new life over here in England (but that’s another story for another day). Today there are websites to help us track our family tree from birth to marriage and death, if we are lucky we may even discover what they did for a living. Unfortunately until now there as been no way we could discover what they were really like (unless they were really famous and someone had written their biography. You can then understand my surprise that once I had established the blog and added a plug in to show facts on who was reading it I was to  discover that as well as a few folks in Skegness it was being read by people in Australia, America, Israel, Greece and even Russia.

For those who are maybe reading the blog for the first time it’s not meant to be a serious one, I have no message to preach and I try to steer well clear of politics. Mainly it’s my experiences living in the popular English seaside resort of Skegness as I view life from what I call my sea front beach hut. Anyone who knows Skegness also knows that we don’t have any beach huts with sea views, we do have a few beach huts but these are hidden behind the sand dunes, at least from our kitchen window I can sea the sea. I will also in the blog share things from my past, memories of a life live through the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the sounds the sights and the people, I read a lot and listen to music and watch TV so I like to record all the things I’m enjoying, I especially like to pick up books of trivial facts that now and again I will share with my readers and I’m always trawling through the web in search of interesting pages. My big interest is history and I love discovering nostalgic websites about people and a way of life that is different from today.

So that’s it in a nutshell, just pull up a deck chair, make yourself comfy and I’ll rummage around the beach hut and see what I can discover.

What Kind of a year as it been here in Skegness so far you may ask. Weather wise it’s not been that special, we had a very good April with wall to wall sunshine and we have just had a mini heat wave over the first two days of October but in between in you could say it has not been anything special. We like to book a beach hut in Mablethorpe for a week when we know in advance that it looks like we are likely to get interrupted good weather but it didn’t materialise this year so we were only able to book the odd days. Apart from the weather this has probably been the most exciting year for us here in Skegness since we moved here permanently 13 years ago.

In March this year we moved into our present abode right on the sea front and we couldn’t be happier, we have found our sangria. Lots of exciting events have filled the calendar this year, in July Skegness staged the best of its SO Festivals so far with so many fun packed things to watch and enjoy over the three days. At the beginning of August we enjoyed a great day out leading up to the Illumination switch on which turned out to be a great success, followed shortly afterwards by our Carnival week. Much effort has put into the event calendar and the feedback from our visitors has mostly been very favourable. Just over a week ago we had one of the hottest weekends of the year and people flocked to the beach, folks were swimming in the sea (See Photo above) and you were able to enjoy sitting out in short sleeve shirts till after 10 pm, it was hard to believe it was the beginning of October.