Me (Andrew) aged 18 years

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This is me aged 18 a young fresh faced engineering apprentice, cheeky and smiling the photograph having been taken at work by my apprentice trainer, why an earth he was taking my photograph God only knows?…………… I’m wondering is he still with us? A great guy.

Big sigh, I gaze at this photo and think to myself ‘where an earth have those thirty four years gone?’ I look at my cheeky grin and wonder ‘which of my young friends am I looking across at?’ I can remember for certain feeling embarrassed and someone close by was making some sort of funny comment………. happy days I’m so pleased I discovered this photo as for a full head of hair I’m saying nothing!

I know it’s been a while but for the first time in many months I’m happy, not so depressed and feeling positive about life because Britain appears to be reopening for business, yesterday my Boss phoned to say I may be unfurloughed and return to work Monday Morning! Fingers crossed and there’ll be a posting from there for sure.

After ten weeks of legally enforceable home detention, only a single days exercise to purchase groceries from the Supermarket, perhaps the occasional illegal visit to my mother’s for a natter and shared cup of tea, yes due to unexpected political reasons Britain is rushing out of lockdown. You may be aware last weekend our Government completely trashed it’s corona virus health policy just so as to save one political advisor, the name of Dominic Cummings might ring a bell, all I can add is this very obnoxious arrogant Machiavellian civil servant MUST be deemed so important as to justify offending the entire nation and we really are angry. Never again will Johnson be able to call on the public to make sacrifices and follow his clear health instructions, with one lie all trust and compliance disappeared in the space of hours, so now we know, rules are made for us little people to follow yet are there to be broken by the ruling elite, but isn’t that the way it’s always been?

Military Generals strategize and plan their war campaigns, but it’s only the Privates who die in the trenches, time to move on, open schools and universities, get people back to work earning money and to be honest I’m not tooo disappointed, it’s all a question of expectations and in hindsight I’d never have expected Cummings to obey the Law anyway.

Google ‘Dominic Cummings broke the rules’ if you’re intrigued, then again I wouldn’t bother.

I’ll be completely honest, as I always am on this WordPress, the first thought crossing my mind after attaching this picture of my 18 year old self was err sex! Unsurprisingly my first hypothetical question to female (or lol male) readers is, if you met this guy way back in the day 1983/4 might you have slept with this young virgin? Lol don’t answer but just so as you know this pleasant anxious guy had many issues about his looks also low self esteem to such a point he never got laid until many years later, 123 ahhhh. What plays on my mind lol today and after many recent liaisons with older women, I’m feeling disheartened because I remember opportunities presented themselves on certain evenings out say no more, and occasional readers to this Blog might already be aware (they won’t so humour me) just might remember I hadn’t yet masturbated myself to orgasm still at age 18! I know unbelievable or what!

All I can add is we lived in different more innocent times, I’m the product of a school with appalling sex education policies because incredible as it may sound to some, I hadn’t yet worked out how to use my penis properly more’s the point like most people I guess I can’t say I was overly concerned. Yes I’d purchased a second hand copy of ‘Penthouse magazine’ from my friend ‘Paul Suker’, money and pornographic contraband exchanging hands one sports afternoon in the school gymnasium changing rooms, but and this still makes me angry today ( 😀 ) just imagine the years of pleasurable me time I’d missed out on? Am I unique or were many other girls and boys of the 70s equally as naïve?

Anyways back in the good old days and yes they were, sex was rarely spoken about and MOST DEFINITLEY content WASN’T as readily accessible as now……….. just imagine my 1980s TV had 3 Channels and one of those was the BBC and if ‘auntie Beeb’ ever made the cardinal sin of showing a pair of naked female breasts on screen, questions WOULD have been asked in The Houses of Parliament, I kid you not, ‘The Viewers and Listeners Society’ that powerful 1970’s self appointed moral compass of the nation would have cited obscenity laws and executive BBC heads might have rolled.

I’m of an older generation you see (I’m old) I’d yet to use a computer for the first time, the internet and www were the stuff of science fiction films and possibly a day dream eureka moment sparking Steve Jobs imagination, as of this very moment I could google ‘naked woman’, press return and well you get the idea, yes I’d kissed girls but as yet never consensually groped let alone sex. The photo above brings back so many returning memories, break times of listening to fellow apprentice dating tales (or bs stories who knows), secondhand lurid accounts of fingering girlfriends the evening before and yes young men spare few details in close company, hmm… I guess that’s how unfortunate young ladies garner a ‘bad’ reputation, then again I have a sense girls are NO different when chatting amongst friends.

Anyways moving on!

I discovered the above photograph whilst clearing out my spare room, thirty plus years have passed by for heavens sake, and gazing at my youthful cheeky grinned self again I can remember this moment snapped in time as if yesterday, in hindsight I don’t lol think I was such a bad looking young man, perhaps if I’d been a little more cavalier on our apprentice nights out together, not been as shy also blessed with the self confidence and silver tongues possessed by several colleagues, looking back I know I passed on opportunities (judge me), you don’t need reminding thoughts of sex cross a young mans imagination once every 3 minutes. Back in the day at breaktimes, we fifteen used to sit on a wall outside the apprentice training college and watch attractive young women walk past, and whether you ‘men hating lesbian feminists’ agree with me or not, these young women adored the admiring looks and good natured attention. Happy days.

Err not the posting I’d intended to write, but not to worry sooon I might be back at work which makes me very happy 🙂 . 

A. Shepherdson 2020

‘The Empire on which the Sun never sets’

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My Grandmother’s ceramic ‘Empire’ Globe manufactured to commemorate the Coronation of King Edward VIII

I’ve a response posting for you today and specifically for a Blogger (all readers welcome) I’ve just recently started following, however I won’t name their blog here for fear of embarrassment. Hmm perhaps I should have begun my WordPress adventure with an orderly structured blog written around themes, rather than whatever ‘interesting’ topic floods my imagination that day?

All good fun.

You’ll have guessed by now after reading today’s Title, I’m sharing 5 photographs of my Grandmother’s ceramic ‘Empire’ Globe placed carefully upon a card table in my mother’s conservatory, cutting a short story shorter, because of the health dangers surrounding COVID-19 also my mother’s age means I only ever sit in her conservatory! Sad times 😦 .

Incidentally Eagle eyed readers may well have read the inscription encircling the base, if you haven’t it reads:

To commemorate the Coronation of King Edward VIII May 12th 1937

….….. and those of you who know your Kings and Queens of the British Realm will be aware Edward VIII was never ever crowned! He abdicated his thrown so as to marry his true love Wallace Simpson, a political scandal of the day which by all accounts nearly brought the Monarchy crashing down! Complete rubbish of course, I’m old enough to understand each and every year for these past 1000 years at least one member of our Royal family has disgraced themselves, yet to the dismay of many a Republican the House of Windsor always survives and stumbles on.

(You may be one step ahead of me again now drawing parallels between Edward and Wallace also the ‘Duke and Duchess of Canada’ 😀 Prince Harry and Megan, incidentally misogynism and xenophobic similarities of course don’t end there, divorcee Wallace Simpson was hated by the British press much the same as ‘money grabbing’ Megan is now and the reason she’s fled these shores, yep Meg’s decided she’d rather live abroad taking Harry with her (lol not that I’m particularly worried) but a terribly sad ending.) 

Oh yes returning to my Grandmother’s Globe!

When visiting my Grandparent’s home as a child without fail I’d ask my Grandma if I could touch and look at it more closely. So after removing from the mahogany framed china cabinate, and with me seated at the dining room table, Grandma would gently place the Globe in front of me so that I could carefully turn by hand. And why was I captivated by this unusual piece of pottery you may ask? I still am actually, in all my born years I’ve not seen the like of this ‘novelty’ again. I remember as a child marvelling that however slowly you rotated this globe by one revolution, a country painted red would ALWAYS be visible………. yes way back in the day 1937, the Great British Empire stretched across 64 countries and through the wonders of Wikipedia here they all are! (Btw the sheer number of countries was news to me!)

Afghanistan, Antiga and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica, Egypt, Estwatini, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Ireland, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone. Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Georgia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United States, Vanatu, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

64 countries (note including the USA) who have since gained independence from Great Britain, hmm a sobering list don’t you agree, I’ll say no more because this is a politics free Blog but where did it all go wrong 😀 ? (Of course that’s if you’re British!)

So there you are, my Grandmother’s ceramic ‘Empire’ Globe which now resides in my mother’s china cabinet, I’m really unsure if it’s worth a great deal of money then again our Globe is a family heirloom which will be passed onto generations to come, as for rarity? I’ve not seen the like of it again and thousands of commemorative plates mugs and memorabilia were produced bearing the name King Edward VIII so no value there.

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km², 24% of the Earth’s total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic, and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase “the empire on which the sun never sets” was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

(Wikipedia)

…………….and even though over 40 years have passed I still enjoy gazing upon our lol once Great British Empire…… lol I’m saying no more! 😀

(Btw this post isn’t me lamenting the fact Britain no longer has an Empire, I’ll leave you readers to guess the context for a Response posting.)

 

A. Shepherdson 2020

Guarding the Tower of London

🙂 A reminder of happier days.

I hope it goes without saying these photographs were taken by myself, ‘snapped’ during a daytrip visit 2019 to the Tower of London, incidentally an earlier posting tells the tale of how ravens came to be residents at the historic ‘Tower’.

Hopefully one day we’ll adjust to a New Normality, I don’t think life will ever return to the happy carefree days before this awful pandemic, however we human beings have always adapted to our surroundings, through out World War 2 my four Grandparents became accustomed to food shortages restrictions and hardship, they grew their own fruit and veg, my Grandmother pickled perishable produce to extend it’s life well into autumn and winter and COVID-19 is no different. Both young people and the young at heart will adapt to the New Normal whatever that may be. 🙂

On a more personal note I’ve set myself a goal. As of yesterday our Government is beginning to loosen its grip on ‘lockdown’, people are tentatively returning to work, social distancing remains and probably will for the foreseeable or possibly for evermore, and everyone is nervously hopeful there won’t be a second spike………… finger’s crossed but I’m far from hopeful.

🙂 I’ve set myself a personal goal, on the first day restrictions are lifted to visiting The Tower of London, I’m going to take a day’s holiday from work and have myself a daytrip to our wonderful capital City……….. oh and without forgetting my face mask!

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Guarding the Tower today are soldiers from The Grenadier Guards (lol says so on the sign!)
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These bronze 6- pounder guns were fired at the ‘Battle of Waterloo’ commanded by The Duke of Wellington, they’re individually named and saw action in various parts of Napoleon’s Europe 1813….. yep the ‘Battle of Waterloo’ no less!
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Grenadier Guardsman resplendent in robin red tunic and rich brown bearskin…. which incidentally are now made from fake fur, damn vegans!
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Sentry boxes such as these can be seen ‘dotted’ around the Tower grounds….. I guess they’re good cover because did you know it rains a lot in the UK?
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I was pleasantly surprised to see the Grenadier Guards were on duty, resplendent in their scarlet red tunics and probably the most recognisable regiment in the British Army.

 

A. Shepherdson 2020

 

Holiday time is well and truly over

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Now I have to work from home the same as everyone else!

I had a severe reality check Wednesday afternoon, I’m not joking for effect because although lockdown this past 7 weeks has been a living hell, self isolating in my home for 23 hours each and every day being near intolerable, but if I’m honest with you dear readers, in some respects slipping into a routine of doing very little can be likened to a staycation. I’ll not lie waking of a morning at 9am beats my pre-pandemic 5.45am hands down, better still COVID restrictions mean I don’t have to queue at the bus top then endure a 1 hour commuter ride into Oxford, crammed like sardines in a tin rubbing shoulders with 50 other weary commuters. Yep lockdown does have its upside, I’m doing very little to keep my brain active and the Government pays my wages!

Oh yes returning to Wednesday’s afternoon!

Well first I receive a text saying my boss will arrive outside my home within minutes, also a reminder to socially distance at all times and we’d better get used to it because this is the new normality. Then just as I finished reading my text a Van pulls up outside my home, so I stepped out into the May sunshine to meet with my work boss, a guy I hadn’t seen for nearly 2 months and I think we both enjoyed the banter and conversation. Then he opened the rear doors to his Van and placed a selection of computer equipment between us on the pavement. 

As you can glean from my photograph of a newly assembled computer workstation, my employer has purchased new laptops, screens and peripherals so that we Technicians can work from home, yep a reality check that my 7 week holiday time is well and truly over. But having to work from home isn’t so bad, I’m emailing colleagues and I’ve sensed these past several weeks being isolated from work is taking a mental toll, is emotionally draining and beginning to affect my mental health. So after quickly Googling to find out the cost of all this Dell equipment I discovered the new laptop cost £1000 alone! And wow after switching on and downloading the required software I soon realised this laptop is a powerful amazing piece of tech………… shame it’ll have to be returned one day.

Now I have to draw on my reserves of self-discipline, get myself into a routine frame of mind and work, there’ll be no more sitting in my garden enjoying the warm sunshine on my face. But seeing my boss after such a long time was a reminder of how much I’m missing social interaction with my work colleagues, a reminder that when the sun’s out and the temperatures rise so do dress and skirt hemlines! Sigh, there’ll be no Female secretaries wearing transparent summer blouses or girly age 18+ students with exposed long legs, no cute young Researchers with shapely boobs clothed in loose fitting tee shirts, you know the ones where she leans forward and the viewer gets a flash of pink boobs, however not this year, 2020 will be a disappointment in so many different ways. 

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So back to work it is along with hundreds of other employees working from home, solitary independent individuals who’s only connection is by means of the internet, hmm I’m wondering post pandemic might this be the workplace of the future? 

A. Shepherdson 2020

My Toolbox, only trouble is… it’s at Work!

‘Working for a living adds purpose to life and a reason to get out of bed every weekday morning’

After 6 weeks of lockdown (legally enforced home detention) I’m sooo mind numbingly bored, the day to day tedium of eating and sleeping, one daily walk, perhaps masturbating, and living on my own is draining me of all spirit and enthusiasm to live, I’m NOT necessarily complaining mind, because we’re all fed up with these COVID-19 restrictions, all upset by tragic heart wrenching News stories that test our emotional resilience, to such a point many of us no longer watch the horror and limit our exposure just so as to remain sane! 

If truth be told I’m missing my workplace, I long for the social interaction with colleagues, to see their friendly faces, listen to amusing tales and funny stories, share anecdotes and gossip about who’s alledgidly having an affair (I work in a large institution where gossip is everywhere!) I’m missing the comradery and banter nurtured over the many years we’ve worked together, I miss chatting about yesterday’s soccer matches, putting the world’s to rights, complaining about Management and yes social interaction with female secretaries or admiring (18+) shapely ‘girly’ students……. those f###ing filthy Chinese and their disgusting insanitary non existent food hygiene habits have a lot to answer for!

(Or was covid released from a Lab?)

Yes I’m increasingly frustrated but most of all I’m harbouring feelings of rage, angry at these disgusting b******* who’ve robbed good decent people of their paid occupations, changed lives forever, and tragically so many people have lost relatives before their natural time, such a needless waste of life and heartbreakingly avoidable……. And yes I’ll freely admit to having walked past Asians and felt like voicing my anger, giving them a piece of my mind, of course I don’t but I understand why these people are being racially abused, and yes I felt terribly sorry for the Nottingham Chinese lady who was doused with hot coffee by abusive van drivers, yes unfair and uncalled for, but I understand the reasons why.

Why? Because whatever happens after this pandemic is over our lives will never be the same as before, those experts telling you how life will change are lying because no one knows how this will end, but be sure of one thing IT will end!

As usual my stream of consciousness has strayed.

The reason for this posting was an excuse to share a short video my workbench, the reasons why I filmed easy to explain simply because I’d been ‘test driving’ my new smart phone camera……. but watching once again I miss my workbench terribly, between the hours of 7.30am-4.30pm I’ll use those hand tools throughout the day, I’ve sat at this bench 5 days a week for the past 15 years, I’m comfortable relaxed and at ease with the world when I’m making parts or putting kit together, I know my way around these tool chests so well, and lol rather sadly, I can instinctively choose the correct required tool to such a point you could blindfold me and I’ll find whatever you ask for.

I miss my toolboxes so much so it actually hurts, now I’m wondering if those 3 bananas are still there!

(Having said all OF that I can’t say as I miss my boss 😀 )

Photographs taken (by me) from within my place of work, technically I shouldn’t be publishing them but after carefully scanning I can’t see anything tooo incriminating.

So now I’m wondering post pandemic will I ever work again?

 

A. Shepherdson 2020