Credit where credit is due….

It’s fair to say that on the TWBrit blog, I have never shied away from giving this bloggers life long buddy and 24yr veteran of the Black Watch Regt. a bit of stick about wearing skirts etc.

In fact regular commenter and a past contributor to this blog Charlie Wright also does the same. So I laughed when I received a pic in my email today – and yet I find myself simply having to concur…

Indeed…………………………. they belong in a barrow!! :D

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Published in: on 17 September, 2012 at 16:33  Comments (1)  
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Scotland…. say what?

Yer know… I love Scotland; the Highlands are the last great wilderness in Europe apparently. The history of the place is nothing short of staggering! There are more castles and fortified houses than you’ll find anywhere and the people? The people are awesome.  One of my oldest friends is Scottish and I understand fully why he and his family are proud of their heritage.

Recently I took Gabsatrucker up there and showed her the basic sites; Glasgow, Loch Lomond, Fort William, Loch Ness, Inverness and Edinburgh, and while I’d have loved to taken her further north, sadly time simply didn’t allow.

Scotland is of course a major part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and through a thing called “devolution” Scotland now has its own parliament and has a fair amount of control over its own affairs, not everything because together we are one nation – not separate entities.

This has been both good and bad, Scotland is a credit to the UK as a whole, its history and traditions kept alive through tourism and investment from the greater nation, but there has always been a strong nationalist movement in Scotland who have wanted independence from the UK.

This is based mainly within its proud history, but the reality of life today is often quite different. Nevertheless, some of the “Freedom” chants are not always a brandishing of a historic nation – today some are just downright rude and out of order.

It’s funny I guess, the first time I noticed a difference apart from the culture, landscape and accent was as a child. We were on holiday up there when my mother noticed some of the “keep the place tidy“ type signs. You see in England and Wales they say “Keep Britain Tidy” but these signs simply stated “Keep Scotland Tidy”. It was as though they were all but saying “and F*ck the rest” – and I noted that at 8yrs of age.

Nevertheless there is now a real call to vote for independence… But this seriously doesn’t make sense. Scotland has a greater identity because it’s part of the UK than without, but you don’t have to go far to hear some interesting claims from our Scottish brethren. Things like “England takes all the money from Scottish oil” or “We pay all our taxes to England and what does Scotland get?” This infers that Scotland is being robbed by England and in turn shakes the historic references of England stole Scotland from the Scottish – which they didn’t – they actually signed it over to the then King.

So, while I have posted something similar previously on Facebook – I’ll point out the benefits of Scotland being in the UK and it not… and yes we’ll mention some money too – then I will tell you what I personally feel.

If Scotland leaves there will probably be a lot of unemployment and discomfort for a good few years.

As of 2007 the population of Scotland was 5,494,801 (call it 5.5m) and of these, only 2,475,386 (2.5m) are of working age – take away between 8 and 11% unemployment and of the remaining 2.2m only 80% of them are working at any given time. This leaves 1.76m people working and that is a major problem with income versus what has to be paid for. Best case we’re looking at 2.2m people working, supporting Health, Defence, Social Services, Govt/local authorities and Police/Fire. Now consider the upkeep alone of thousands of miles of roads, street lighting, snow clearing and then the pockets and mouths of the other 3.3m people…

What about the upkeep of the national heritage, all those castles and the history…

So contrary to popular belief, England DOES NOT keep all the tax…  Spending £12 billion alone on Scotland’s NHS and in 2010 Scotland’s public spending was £78 billion pounds, not bad for a country that only raises around £35 billion in taxes etc.

So when people say England keeps all the tax, well, I’d say evidently they don’t… more the case they collect it and share it out across the UK as a whole… And remember, people in Northern Ireland get a bigger cut per capita than most people in the UK.

Then there is the loss of the military, if Scotland goes it alone, it won’t have an airforce, army or navy – it simply won’t be able to afford one. This of course means the disbanding of some of the oldest and proudest regiments in the world – one of the things that make Scotland just as proud a nation today as at any time in its history.

All joking aside, this issue is about the here and now, a 21st Century Scotland… Yet no matter which way around you look at the figures, they just don’t add up… You see these days  people like their creature comforts, but when they see there isn’t the money for Hospitals, Defence and most other things – life would get very tough considering the sheer scale of the short fall.

However; the energy industry is an area that can be capitalized on – but in doing it, it would bastardise every acre of stunning beauty that is Scotland’s natural trademark to do so.

Financial services is another area already developing, but if you were to throw in a Free Trade Zone – then there could be a very big future. That said a free trade zone would put Scotland outside Europe.

Ok, My feelings on the subject:

Scotland just rocks!! And yes there is and will always hopefully be an age old rivalry between England and Scotland. The Scottish have done incredible things for the UK throughout its history and certainly while many think of Irish hard work building in the Empire, it was the Scottish who did most of the exploring and managing.

David Livingstone was one of the greatest explorers in the world, he found most of Africa, the best governors of Australia were Scottish and today there are huge Scottish communities in every English speaking nation on earth.  Infact of all the UK nationalities, none move away from their home country like the Scottish.

In 300 years no one has prevented Scotland becoming its own economic goldmine and centre of global entrepreneurship… Yet today we live in different times, the internet age – a global nationality in cyberspace. Even the CBS Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson enjoys poking fun at England which is fine and fun, but then you find he soon left Scotland and lived in London, then moved to the US saying that his entire previous life was a failure… This is common and yet so many things were invented in Scotland;

The Telephone,

The TV and Colour TV,

The Refrigerator

The Kaleidoscope

The Flushing Toilet

The first automated can-filing machine

Cotton-reel thread

The Ghillie suit

Pioneering the use of surgical and general anaesthesia

Identifying the mosquito as the carrier of malaria

Penicillin

The Bicycle

The MRI body scanner

The seismometer

The ultrasound scanner

Criminal fingerprinting

Hypnotism

Radar

and of course “Swish F*ck-it” (sorry, I meant Golf…)

There are just so many more things, and an irony? The Bank of England was designed by a Scotsman as well and there are just far too many things to list here that Scotland has achieved. But the question remains, why isn’t Scotland a wealthy nation? No one put handcuffs on these inventions, they’re not stolen by England – they’re used by the entire world…

So Scotland has fewer than 2 million people working and over 5.5 million people, and yet at a recent stay in a hotel in Scotland – every single member of staff was eastern European, not a Scottish accent between them. I don’t want Scotland to leave the UK, I too am proud, very proud of Scotland – and yet I’m English…

BUT!!

Some attitudes are just too snarky, often said beyond humour and certainly recent comments by  tennis player Andy Murray soon lost him a massive amount of support across the UK in his Wimbledon final… Is this the way we want it to go? Really?

Scotland would have to do a great deal if it left the UK and wished to join the EU, until it did, border controls would have to exist, all the British Military real estate and jobs would be gone over night making tens of thousands unemployed.  The Scottish SNP leader has been touting this real estate to the US DoD but forgets that the US is reducing its UK presence considerably. They’ve already shut down their operations in Scotland for the most part and closed several major bases in England too.

Then there is the sheer cost of administration – all those UK passports held by Scots that would be instantly void and a Scottish one would need developing to replace them. What money does Scotland have for foreign embassies? What back up support can Scots be able to rely on while living and travelling overseas with a home country that spends £78 billion yet only generates £35 billion in taxes? I’d argue none… in fact I’d argue that beyond the romantic notion of an incredible history and days of old – anyone wanting to put Scotland through this is no Scottish patriot, in fact they gotta hate the place to even conceive of putting a nation through it. Heck the base rate of tax would have to be 60% over night…

To my Scottish friends… don’t accept the people with venom in their whinges, yes historic and rival piss-taking is ok, but know that England isn’t England without a bit of grief from Scotland. But likewise – don’t let the people who would foolishly destroy your country – do so.

Also remember; if Scotland goes it alone, you’d be saving England over £43 billion a year… and that constitutes a third of the UK deficit…  add to this the cost of the Scottish Military and that’s staggering. Yet Scotland will be strapped for cash.

Go if you wanna, we don’t want you to, but if you go – you can’t come back :-(

Christmas and the Year Gone By

Well this past year has been every kind of trauma, fun, upheaval, renewal, learning and as much realisation as you can possibly imagine. At the beginning of 2011 I was indeed living in Devon, now I live somewhere in the middle of the UK and plan to move yet again inside the next 6 months or so.

I’ve also managed to travel extensively and even had this blogs help and hindrance appear for the über fast tour of southern and middle England before she went on her way. I also became an author; publishing the first of several books to Kindle, with a further two in the final edit and one in the writing stage. That one I need a literary agent for.

I’ve had the pleasure this year of meeting several people I have only known online, I also seemed to have travelled a lot and appear to have been to a lot more networking functions than usual. At one of these I met an old friend from my Sheffield days; Alan and I played in a band together, I was a drummer back then and he was the lead guitarist. Heck we even did a European tour and completed several dates across Germany and into Switzerland. No, sadly while I’d like to have claimed it was all rock and roll – we provided the musical backing for a rocked up Christian youth choir… But it was, how should I say… “eventful”. Alan went on to join the RAF Police (like my brother actually) and now is a respectable photo-journalist, podcaster and DJ’s a local radio show – it was fantastic to catch back up with him.

I also finally gained a good Dentist, not only good but both he and his assistant are a shed load of laughs which is always welcome, but he also has a real handle on the state of the bombsite better referred to as my mouth. This is a major “plus” to this year.

This past 12 months have proved an eye opener for me, it has shown me some of the true nature of the most outstanding people I know, ALL of who I am grateful to!! I’ll pop a list at the bottom, but it is in no way complete, so please do not be offended if I didn’t mention you.

The last few weeks have been fairly heavy, because there is much in the works and I’ve been somewhat outside my comfort zone, in fact I could probably say that sums up 2011.

So, here it is, TWBrit thankyou to all who have come by this way to read the blog, contribute to this, and some many other aspects of my life. I truly can’t thank you enough, you have been outstanding, and my life this year would not have moved forward so incredibly well. Above all these people have brilliant;

Sue Black : For constantly encouraging me, ringing up and checking in. Dragging me to the Google Garden Party at Bletchley and for various other things. In the world of tech and software.

Joanne Black : For being true to who she really is; honest, courageous and a genuinely nice person, mom and wife. And for clearing the trees so I can see the wood – and direct encouragement.

Fenny : For stepping up to the plate like no other (and getting a new bathroom out of the deal). Fenny I have known for a great many years, she is way more geek than most geeks and is truly an awesome person. I am seriously indebted to her this year for her direct help and support.

Martha Lane Fox : For getting me to write my first book, in itself it did come to much – but was a catalyst for all the writing since and that is more than enough! :-)

WKD and Kev&Jenette who have kept in contact to see that all is going well. WKD is strange as a former work colleague because while I’m sure my patronising and arrogance drove her nuts, I miss the banter at work.

Hammy & Dean : These two guys were lost to me just over a year ago, and a lifetime apart has changed little. Hammy is still one of the most funny and outstanding guys I know and it’s been a real pleasure keeping up with them throughout the year.

Charlie, Ray Willis, Gary Jones and Steve Easey : Rockin, just rockin!

Gabby aka Gabsatrucker : I swear, this hardcore whoop-ass nut job of a friend could never have been any nationality but her own… she’s crazy in a good way and razor sharp with her wit. She has also help out on this blog, editing my books and all manner of other things. Not bad seeing as every aspect of her life over the last 12 months has been very tough going.

Other areas of outstanding help and encouragement came in the form of Twitter friends @Ritchhh and Natalie… without these guys I wouldn’t have been even on the net still, let alone able to get my ass down here.

Great chats and great laughs, insights and fantastic help which is a large part of the essence of life have often been on Twitter and in email, these have come from;

Loraine in Ohio

Dan Mann

Big Dog

@howlatthemoon

@seasparkle_x

@Pete1550

@Domjoly

@2rexy

@EricMcWhirter

@Simplycycling

@Gypsyhooker

@catflap

@bobbylew

@ethics13

and just so many more

Bloody Skirt Wearer

In the cold, cold January of 1978 I went to stay a place for a couple of years with no effective heating of any kind..
The first two people I met there I ended up sharing a room with and are now scattered across the Pacific Rim.
One of those people went on to be a soldier… he joined a historical and long established regiment in the British Army.
I knew he would join it, it’s a family thing for him. As such and losing contact from 1980 I followed the whereabouts of the regiment for many years. Germany, Berlin infact.. where he became the unfortunate soldier guarding the gate of Spandau Prison on the 17th August 1987, the day the prisons only occupant, Hitlers right hand man Rudolf Hess died – and within minutes having to face down the Russian Army Taskforce with nothing more than his smile and his rifle. He went on to giving away Hong Kong, numerous tours of Northern Ireland and then on to Iraq and the taking of Basra.
In this time I too a had been a soldier (twice) but in no way did it compare to 24 years of loyal service.

A soldier can be measured on many levels, but on paper it is usually the ones who get into trouble whom when the chips are down – they come into their own and excel in their chosen field. Indeed, history has proven this out time and time again… They’re the hardcore, the real soldiers and the lifers.

As years have gone on, the British Army has been bastardised in the name of modernisation in which saw the destruction of Regimental depots and amalgamation of the regiments into faceless titles of a begotten time when their merits stood for something.

Like his grand farther, father, him and now his son’s… the name The Black Watch is continued in the history of family line.

So why write all this?

Because I have nothing to give! But a friendship that has lasted many years… and today it’s that bloody skirt wearers Birthday!

Pte, L/Cpl, Pte, L/Cpl, Pte, L/Cpl, Cpl, L/Cpl, Cpl, Sgt, Cpl, Sgt Hamilton Scott

Happy Birthday!!

General things

I have been writing something that’s not of this blog (shock!) though it will take the name sake and hopefully be the first of many things in that vein, it is designed to be an easy read, with typical TWBrit humour etc and typically stuff with out the fluff…

This Blog’s (and her own blog) Gabsatrucker has given up on iPhone and opted for the Motorola Atrix… A dual core processed phone with a kicking 1 gig of ram and fully Flash enabled. Now while this 4G super phone is pretty smart and cool, it totally leaves iPhone back in the dark ages AND has a replaceable battery, memory and other commonsense things the iPhone (as all Apple products) will NOT let the owner tamper with – I say owner very loosely when referring to Apple…. This all causes many problems when trying to get your information out of an iPhone because technically you no longer own it. Nevertheless, with the aid of Google Apps (of which some are astounding) she was able to finally suck her information from the iPhone in part and get up and running again.  Oh and the best part… she left the WiFi, Flash video and GPS switched on and 12 hrs later the phone still had life!!!  On top of all this is the complete Webtop…. if you’re wanting to do some everyday computing, this little sucker is all you need!! It’s a complete desktop if you want it to be…. No I’m not saying you’re going to be playing high-end games and making a 14 foot Photoshop image, but it’s all here in this package and it’s a damn fine bundle if I say so myself!

While in London last Tuesday to deal with things regarding the old St.George’s and Finborough School saga, I was walking along and after having a smoke thought to have one of those extra strong mint things. I don’t know quite what possessed me to do it, but I crunched it up…. And as I did so I thought – hmmm, interesting crunch…. As two large chunks of tooth fell from my mouth… bugger!!

Funny thing about anything to do with the school, I felt blank before I went, strange during and knocked sideways after…

Anyway, I met and had lunch with the ever smiling and great buddy Sue Black (the now known name sake of Mustang Sue’s Wreckin Crew) at a place called Planet Organic… who knew that growing things that way would be so popular!!

In other news and leading straight on from Sue is that HM the Queen visited Bletchley Park yesterday. She came to offer her thanks to the Code Breakers themselves, to unveil a plaque and said the following:

The papers and hacking scandal has gone as far as Mr Murdoch wants it to as Rebekah Brooks finally leaves his side… You see, Murdock wanted to capitalise on this and refused her resignation twice… Now with share prices plummeting and as much money from it all he could muster… Rebekah leaves and Mr Murdoch starts giving out “sincere” apologies… the obvious concept is that the news machine with then move on… Not So as the FBI start investigating the hacking of 911 victims families..
It’s possibly going to end in the downfall of the worlds largest media operation and if these accusations do hold true, then what questions of integrity will land on the shoulders of people in these News Corp companies.. The plot thickens :-)

Fenny aka Hooloovoo42 heads out stateside this coming week, so at last I can rest from all the loud music, wild parties and general ruckus that she doesn’t make, though I maybe taking her to Heathrow on Tuesday.

Managed to spend a good while talking the guys in the Asia Pacific region this week which was great! Emailed with Gary up on Nth Island NZ and Skyped for a good few hours with both Hammy and Dean, respectively Sth Island NZ and of course Dean in Australia… who is due to send me a photo of something (hint) so I can sort him a web logo and icon/avatar like most other people. That said, I’m at a loss what to do for some of them, but i’m sure imagination will eventually come up with something…

Finally, this Monday….  I’m getting my eyes checked, I have squinted long enough and it’s time to go four-eyed… so we’ll see how this sucker pans out. It wont improve my looks, but may in turn help to mask them.

lately

So….. what’s new?
Well it’s fair to say I’m starting to settle a little, things are starting improve somewhat.
The place I’m renting is sufficient to say the very least and the landlady asked if I could pop a new electric shower in, no problem…. Except the stud wall supporting it wasn’t in the best of shapes. So after ripping that out, along with the entire bathroom, tiles and everything else, it’s in and the finishing touches are being applied… I also gave it my own special touch about half way through…

Work wise, things are a little slow but getting there for sure.
It’s been great to go down to Bletchley Park, very weird from how I remember it, but feel I have done or said all I can about it – especially after being interrogated as to why I wasn’t wearing a sticker… strange but true…

Had the odd call from old Devonian friends which has been good, even WKD is out and about and in none other than Edinburgh this weekend painting the town red – and good for her…


Over in New Zealand, Hammy came face to face with a 4 inch thick file of his military records which read more like an encyclopedic reference manual of the damned… no surprise there then.
Actually had a really good chat with him the other day and yes I did complete a write-up for him in the Who’s Who.
Dean has been a little quiet since moving to his new coastal mansion and Charlie is keeping the streets safe (or so he claims) Steve – just complains I spell his name wrong – which I do (on purpose – shhhh!) :-)

Talking of  the Who’s Who section, giving it a bit of an overhaul at the moment, some names going, new ones appearing, but this is taking longer than I wished – Sue Black has gained a write-up too and just click on the logo for the page to open in a new window.

Today it is six months since I last drove a 44 ton truck… and hope it’s the first of many more. Which brings me finally to the trials and tribulations of my buddy and this blogs 2iC Gabsatrucker over this last 14 days…
I’m not kidding, if it could go wrong, it has gone wrong;
Two blowouts, nail damage to drive tyres requiring their replacement, AC failures, truck going into limp home mode, more electrical faults than a city full of Christmas Tree lights, queue jumpers and ALL this is way before – the weirdo’s…
I don’t know what constitutes Sexual Harassment in the USA, but when a woman cannot go about her basic work without getting drivers following them, calling out their truck numbers on the CB, offering to actually kidnap them, and even try to pull off on to an off-ramp when they’ve effectively past to follow her is not just insane but down right scary….
To be touched without permission because she has tattoos on her arms by people she doesn’t know, and then have people walk up and just open her truck door even when they can see she’s on the phone…
Well before one person says “It’s a male industry” – wind your necks right in… A woman has no less rights than anybody in ANY work place… and who said trucking was a guy’s job?!
No….it’s wrong, in most places 100% illegal and a complete and total violation of an individual’s human rights to be able not to only work, but to feel safe and secure in their place of work… NOT to have to get up and move their truck to a place miles away to feel safe after they’ve already parked up for the night in a truck park… Not all US male truckers are like this at all, in fact, most show a level of professionalism to rival any white-collar professional, but it’s about time they either brought these idiots  to book and at the very least police officers and trucking companies should not only know what is going on (and they do) but start getting to grips with doing their jobs properly too… Protect their employees and a whole segment of working America…

Published in: on 24 June, 2011 at 21:14  Comments (4)  
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Rain….

Kinda needed to be finishing Fenny’s timber work today, but every time I step outside to crank the old chop-saw – it rains..
Being lazy – I decided to contemplate adding Hammy to the Who’ Who section..
I haven’t worked out the wording quite just yet – but below was a logo I knocked up for him that’s better than the icon he generally uses (like that was hard lol)
Now, there was going to be a latin phrase under it that according to online English to Latin translators – should read Magis balls ut a orichalcum monachus
Now bearing in mind that Latin is very old, so translations are often a little different – but generally have the same meaning…
The return translation read : More siege engine when a copper ore monk…

My original text?? More Balls than a Brass Monkey…

Enjoy the logo H….

UPDATE :  Hammy’s Who’s Who is completed & can be found clicking here 

UPDATE :  the right up for Hammy is now complete and can be found in the

Published in: on 17 June, 2011 at 16:53  Comments (2)  
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