Changing the time

I had a bet with a friend the other day that before this week was out the media would be full of stories about the seasonal change at 0200hrs on 30 October from BST (British Summer Time – that is GMT plus 1 hour) to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time – aka UTC) – and I was right. For those who don’t follow the arguments about these seasonal changes I can assure you that for almost all my 81 years, I have heard the very same pros and cons expressed twice a year, every single year. Here I go, writing about “the olden days” again as my youngest relations keep telling me.

During the war we had Double BST – when the clocks went forward two hours during the summer months but that was, apparently, something to do with trying to thwart the inbound German bombers who were thought to be not so good at night flying! Since the war we have had years (I can’t be bothered to look up which years because it is now academic) when the clocks remained on GMT all the year round, and also years when they remained on BST all the year round, just to see how the public reacted. The fact that those experiments were short-lived suggests that they were unpopular.

The other thing that amazes me is that many folk never seem to know whether the clocks go forward or back in Spring – and by the time of the Autumn change they still can’t remember which way to move their clocks. (There are a number of memory aids. For example: Spring forward, Fall back. But then you have to remember the memory aid!) Continue reading “Changing the time”

Acting the part

In  retirement, I follow politics more closely than I ever did during my 47 years in the RAF. I do it for the entertainment value rather than any consideration of how political decisions might affect my remaining years.

After listening, reading and watching several of our most ‘visible’ parliamentarians in recent weeks, I came to the conclusion that most of them act as though they are auditioning for a part in the next local amateur dramatic production: they aim to use the script as written by the author but, as with genuine actors, they don’t always get it right first time and they then have to be corrected by their ever more peevish prompter or producer.

Of course, the ‘author’ sometimes gets it wrong and then the script has to be changed and all the ‘minions’ have to re-learn their lines. How frustrating for all concerned – except the media, who quite rightly, make the most of the gaffes. Continue reading “Acting the part”

Red Arrows off to China

This page was written on 29 September 2016

It has just been announced by the Chief of the Air Staff on the morning TV news channels that the Royal Air Force Red Arrows are leaving today for the Far East and will, in due course, be displaying in China and other countries in the Far East.

You may not have read the page on my website about how I, as the Team’s PRO, was buttonholed at the Singapore Air Display in 1996 by a high-level delegation from the People’s Republic of China who wanted to arrange a Red Arrows display in PRC. It has taken 20 years to set up but I wish all the Red Arrows, Reds and Blues, happy landings.

The Red Arrows website is here (opens in a new window).

Grand Old Duke of Wakefield

Versions of this piece have been on my website for many years. I re-worked it on 18 September 2016 for the next update to my eBook autobiography.

Richard, Duke of York, the father of the future King Richard III whose remains were unearthed in 2015 under a car park in Leicester and eventually re-interred in Leicester Cathedral, was the prime candidate amongst several for the one who, according to the well-known nursery rhyme we learned at school, marched his 10,000 men up and down the hill without knowing whether they were up or down. That’s what the citizens of Wakefield believe, anyway.

Oh, The grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
And he marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only half-way up,
They were neither up nor down.

Be that as it may, the ‘Wakefield’ Richard of York was killed on 30 December 1460 in the Battle of Wakefield at Sandal Castle just three miles south of the cathedral and so he never became King. The ruins of the castle are visible for miles around and a visitors’ centre was opened there in recent years. Continue reading “Grand Old Duke of Wakefield”

Resting on your arms reversed

This item first appeared on my Blog on 30 January 2009 and is here reproduced on 14 September 2016 without any changes.

According to newspaper reports today the Chief of the Defence Staff has said that “Britain’s armed forces have been smug and complacent about operations in Afghanistan.” Sir Jock Stirrup is further quoted as saying that “…there has been a tendency to rest on your laurels…..”

For some years I have expressed my opinion that British, American and other friendly nations had bitten off more than they could chew when they decided to run Afghanistan for the Afghanis. The population of that unfortunate country (and of the adjacent regions which are now supposed to be part of western Pakistan) are comprised of a disparate collection of tribes that have never had much allegiance to each other and who have always shown dislike of outside interference in their affairs. Continue reading “Resting on your arms reversed”