The Anonymous Widower

Dave Allen

I have just watched a documentary on Dave Allen, who to me was perhaps the best comedian of his generation.

His robust attitude to religion, described here in Wikipedia is summed up by the first statement.

He was a religious sceptic (according to Allen himself, “what you might call a practising atheist”, and often joked, “I’m an atheist, thank God”)

My views on religion, run on similar lines, although I had virtually no religious education., compared to Allen.

My father had the same attitude to religion as I do, but his most passionate conviction was probably as an anti-fascist, although some might find that strange, as he had been a lifelong supporter of the Conservative Party.

I seem to remember that he liked Dave Allen, but I can’t be sure.

Although, he used to get me out of bed to watch That Was The Week That Was, as he was very much a lover of provocative comedy and a hater of the pompous and self-important!

January 4, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

My Second Worst Christmas Ever!

This has been my second worst Christmas ever! Except for Christmas lunch with my son, his partner and a few friends, it has been an unmitigated disaster.

I’ve frozen stiff, as my house has fought back against the plumber, who has gamely tried to fix the killer central heating system.

One of my pleasures at Christmas is going to see Ipswich play and the fixture list and the trains conspired to make that impossible. My attempts at finding a lift were a futile waste of time. I think, I should have developed a Plan B, where I skipped Christmas lunch and found a good hotel near Doncaster, from where I could have got a taxi to the match.  But then knowing my luck, it would have been flooded out.

Incidentally, I’ve not bought my ticket for the trains to Bournemouth for Sunday, as the day I do, something will come about to stop that!

Next Christmas, I won’t be here at Christmas! Perhaps, I’ll just hit a policeman on Christmas Eve, so I’m inside for a day or so. At least, I’d have some new friends to talk to.

On the other hand there must be hotels that specialise in miserable Christmases. I could always try a cruise, as from past experience, I know they’re pretty grim.

My worst Christmas wasn’t 2007 when C died just before. I helped out at the Old Peoples’ Christmas Lunch and I seem to remember there was plenty of football to watch amongst friends.

The worst one had actually been a few years before, when our eldest son and his wife, went off skiing and left C and myself to look after about a dozen horses.  And it snowed! I’m not in contact with them any more, as she feels that husbands should have no contact with their former families. That was a Christmas to truly forget.  But as we did, C and myself, laughed it off. I do hope my son and his wife are flooded out this Christmas and have their worst Christmas ever. I know that’s uncharitable, but they deserve nothing better.

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , | 4 Comments

Ed Milliband and the Daily Mail

We all have skeletons in our families.  Mine is my uncle, who was one for the ladies and was always in trouble. During the Second World War, he actually had a bigamous marriage, from which there were children.

My father’s political leanings were very much Tory, but to the left of the party. He would probably have views like Kenneth Clarke today. But my father was a passionate anti-fascist, probably because of his partly Jewish ancestry. He was also one of the most non-racist men I have met of his generation. I can’t remember too well, but I don’t think he liked dictators and as he had names for them all in his Cockney poetry.

A couple of weeks ago, I met a man of my age, who said that his father was a died in the wool communist, who never condemned Stalin till the day he died.  He joked about it, but I suspect that was because he was rather embarrassed by his father supporting Stalin.  Alexei Sayle joked about his parents hard-line communism on The One Show last night.

I would suspect that the Milliband brothers, are in some ways embarrassed by some of the views of their father.  Most of us have a similar view about our own father, although, I don’t think I ever heard mine, pontificate on anything controversial in a way, that we would find politically incorrect.  Some of my mother’s views were not so acceptable?

All politicians live in glass houses, with everything they do, don’t do or have done under the greatest scrutiny. And all of their ancestors come under close scrutiny.

Just as the political views of Denis Thatcher,  Alfred Roberts, Tony Booth and other related to previous Prime Ministers, have been important to the Press and the scandal-loving British public, Ralph Milliband‘s political views would come under scrutiny from a paper like the Mail, the Express or the Sun. Especially, as some on the left have hard left views very unacceptable to those in the Labour Party, who want to bring it into the twenty-first century.

So in my view the Milliband brothers should have clean about the more unacceptable views of their father years ago, and perhaps joked about it in a more sympathetic medium, as Alexei Sayle and others have done. I don’t have this problem with my father, but anyway, I’m not a politician and my father wasn’t either, so it’s not important.

Now that the Daily Mail has attacked Ed Milliband for his father’s views, the story is out in the open. The Mail’s behaviour since has been unacceptable, but Ed Milliband’s keeping it going is in many ways making it worse. I haven’t seen any comments from his brother.  But then David’s in the United States, where communist connections bring a different reaction.

After all, everybody in the country now knows the full story of Ralph Milliband and it will play a large part in the next General Election. Those to the right will play the Reds under the bed card and those on the hard left will play their Class War one.

In my view though, Ed Milliband has shown a lack of judgement in how he handled his father’s views. Compare it with the way Tony Blair handled those of his father.

Today there is this report on the BBC entitled Ed Miliband urges Daily Mail owner to examine ‘culture’.

It’s not the culture of the Press that needs examining, it’s the culture of the country, where most people seem to value celebrity tittle-tattle well above real issues. Just look at the sales of celebrity magazines!

Ed Milliband is now on BBC Breakfast going on about it again.

Does he not know, when it is time to stop fanning the flames of an out-of-control fire?

October 4, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | 2 Comments

C Would Love This Story

My late wife, C, would love this story on adoption from the BBC. Here’s an extract.

Nearly 4,000 children in England were adopted from care in the year to March.

The latest statistics from the government show an increase of 15% compared with the year before, and ministers say it is a record.

She had been adopted herself and much of her work as a barrister had been in the field of adoption.

September 27, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

My Devonian Ancestry

I was watching Who Do You Think You Are? last night and it got me thinking about my family tree.

Of the four surnames of my grandparents; three are fairly common, but my maternal grandmother, who incidentally was born in the Balls Pond Road, close to where I live now, had a surname of Upcott. So I typed “surname origin upcott” into the Internet and found this page, which says this.

This name is of English locational origin from one of the four villages so named, all in the county of Devonshire. These “Upcott’s” are to be found in the parishes of Culmstock, Dowland, North Mol;ton and Rockbeare, and all have the same meaning. This is literally “the cottage up (the hill)”

So if she didn’t come from Devon, the name certainly did.

August 1, 2013 Posted by | World | | Leave a comment

A Real Redhead

My Aunt Gladys was a real redhead, although she was totally grey when I knew her.

Her likeness drawn by her husband and my uncle, sits and looks down at me, as I type this.

Cousins Reunited

Cousins Reunited

My mother is on the left and Gladys is on the right.

Her likeness drawn by her husband and my uncle, sits and looks down at me, as I type this. She was good to me and C and even paid for our marriage licence, on condition I passed on the value to someone else. Which of course, I did! (I must write that story up some time!) I just did and it’s here.

Incidentally, that red gene is still in my family, as years ago, my beard had a touch of the reds and my son, says his does too.  But that is minor really!

Yesterday, on the Underground, I saw a girl of about ten or so with her mother. She had the most amazing red hair.  It wasn’t short and curly like most red hair seems to be, but long and straight and just clipped into a pony tail. Obviously, because of her age, the colour was totally natural.

They say that people’s fortune is in their face, this girl could have it in her hair.

April 1, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

My Mother-In-Law’s Funeral

After Oakwood, I thought I take a bus through Barnet and come home on the Northern line, but I got off near where my mother-in-law used to live.

This picture shows St. James’s church in New Barnet. which was where my mother-in-law worshipped.

St. James's Church In New Barnet

St. James’s Church In New Barnet

C, my late wife, also used to worship there as a child, but as a teenager she just didn’t get on with the vicar, so she moved her patronage to the church where we got married at Cockfosters.

By the time my mother-in-law died, there was a new vicar, who we’d not met until her funeral. He was incidentally an ex-policeman and we did know that my mother-in-law liked him a lot. She was taken into the church and the vicar started to go through the funeral service.  Every time, he spoke of my mother-in-law he called her Frances and her many cousins in unison would chant her birth name of Edith.

After the cremation, we came back to her house round the corner and sandwiches and soft drinks were partaken. Most of the cousins left and we were left with a couple of my mother-in-law’s half-sisters and their family. We did then have a bottle of wine and about an hour later, when everybody had left, we were drinking by ourselves in the empty house, when the door bell rang.

It was the vicar! He’d been unable to come to the cremation or even back to the house, as he had had two funerals that day!

He congratulated us on our drink, as he felt it was a good practical idea.  He then asked us, what all the hissing was about and we told him, how my mother-in-law had hated her first name and had always used her second. but the cousins had continued to use Edith.

He then said, that the first day, he’d met her, she’d walked up to him and said hello, indicating she was Frances and in the six months they’d known each other, he’d not used anything else.

So as she was virtually a friend, he felt that he didn’t need to check with the family.  As it was, we’d have given the same name.

Today was probably the first day since then, that I’ve gone anywhere near that church.

January 29, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Not So Gay Paris!

This story is the most shared this morning on the BBC’s web site. here’s the first paragraph.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Paris over plans to give gay couples in France the right to marry and adopt children.

France seems to be getting in more and more messes, what with the taxes, jobs and the economy in general. Will they come to regret their incursion into Mali.

January 14, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s That Mother Again!

The Standard today has yet another article, about the mother who doesn’t want her son to have radiotherapy.

I’m getting rather fed up with this woman.

it’s not news, but a personal tragedy for everyone involved.

January 3, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

C’s Worst Nightmares

Reading the story about the little girl taken to Pakistan against her mother’s wishes, reminds me of C’s worst nightmares in her job as a family barrister.

The first was obviously not being able to protect a client from a violent partner. I don’t think she actually had it happen, although she was very worried, that a body found on a Norfolk beach, was a former client. I know she was critical of the law in that she felt as time progressed judges couldn’t give the same level of protection to clients.

Strangely, I can’t remember any child being abducted, whilst she was dealing with the case.  Although, she did go to court to get children returned to the jurisdiction.

I can remember though, her discussing how some countries that you might find were a nightmare to deal with were not and others you think would be easy weren’t. It all depends on whether the country has signed and/or adheres to the Hague Convention.

In one case, a child had been abducted to a southern state of the United States and she wondered if it would be a difficult case.  Everything was organised by phone and fax and the Americans said to send a responsible adult like a social worker. I think though she did have a difficult case concerning a country much nearer to home.

So the happy ending to today’s case fits the rather random pattern. Although it did take a long time to resolve.

December 28, 2012 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment